13/04/2017—North Korea prepares a military parade for the weekend while encircled by hostile troops.

Somalia (disease): Cholera has killed over 500 since January according to the World Health Organization.

United Nations

Russia vetoed a Security Council draft resolution condemning the use of chemical weapons in Syria’s Khan Shaykhun on April 4th (video). Co-signed by the UK, US, and France, the draft resolution received ten votes in favour, two against and three abstentions.

Nigeria has been re-elected to chair the UN Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations.

UN Briefings: Journal of the day; yesterday’s Press Briefing.

UN Reports: Gaza; South Sudan; Mali; Sudan; Ethiopia.

European Union (News of the day)

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Russia failed to protect the hostages of the Beslan school siege in which about 330 people died in 2004.

President Trump holds Press Conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, where he states that NATO is “no longer obsolete”:

President Donald Trump and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg holds Joint Press Availability, at the White House on April 12, 2017 (transcript).

Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte cancels visit to disputed South China Sea island.

US President Donald Trump said he wouldn’t label China a “currency manipulator.” Going back on a signature campaign promise, the US president said he didn’t want to risk jeopardizing talks with Beijing about how to handle North Korea. Further Readings: When Did China “Manipulate” Its Currency? (CFR).

Uber: The Public Utilities Commission of California published a report about drivers who are under the influence claiming the company ignored users’s reports and frequently allowed drivers facing multiple complaints to keep picking up passengers. It was also reported that Uber has tracked Lyft drivers using a secret software program named ‘Hell’. Google lawyers threaten to sue Uber over corporation spying accusations (paywall). Eight high-ranking managers have left the company since February (at least the departures that were disclosed publicly), including Uber’s president Jeff Jones.

Facebook: Company again under fire for spreading offensive and extremist thanks to a report by The Times. Further Readings: How Facebook and the New York Times corporatised 'fake news' (Open Democracy); Facebook can’t escape mounting evidence that it’s making people miserable (Quartz).

East Africa: Kenya, Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda joined forces to create a unified continental military force, the East Africa Standby Force (EASF). EASF troops are currently serving in Somalia under the African Union Mission in Somalia as well as the United Nations missions in Darfur and South Sudan.

South Africa: President Jacob Zuma committed perjury according to former National Prosecuting Authority head Mxolisi Nxasana claims in affidavit. President’s Zuma no confidence motion has been postponed.

Nigeria: President Muhammadu Buhari says the government is in talks to release remaining captive Chibok girls, a day before the third anniversary of the kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls by Islamist insurgents Boko Haram. 12 light attack aircrafts will be bought to the US to fight the islamist group.

Zambia: Main opposition party called for the immediate release of its leader, Hakainde Hichilema, who was charged with treason this week for failing to move off the road for the President’s Edgar Lungu motorcade.

Venezuela: Two people were killed yesterday during protests. Conflicting reports say that they were either opposition demostrators (BBC) or by protesters who toppled the main gate of the Ali Primera Socialist City, a commune established by the Bolivarian Revolution in 2014 for low-income citizens, firing guns at residents (teleSUR; SCMP). Government officials did not provide an official account of the events. Dozens of people have been injured and more than 100 arrested since last Thursday, according to authorities. Further Readings: Halting Venezuela’s Meltdown (Real Clear World).

Syria: According to CCN, a senior US official told them that the US military and intelligence community had intercepted communications featuring Syrian military and chemical experts talking about preparations for the sarin attack in Idlib last week. President Bashar al-Assad said a suspected chemical weapons attack was a “fabrication” to justify a US military strike. A Report by the White House alleging proof of Syria as the perpetrator of the nerve agent attack in Khan Shaykhun surfaced on the internet.

Syrian army says US-led airstrike hit an ISIS poison gas depot yesterday killing hundreds. Russia sends more warships to Syria. US people’s support for Syria strikes rates low in historical context.

Further Readings: Out of 46 Major Editorials on Trump’s Syria Strikes, Only One Opposed (Alternet); Those Condemning Syria Have Themselves Recently Used Chemical Weapons (Global Research); The Nerve Agent Attack in Khan Shaykhun, Syria (Unz); Busted: White House Syria Report Obviously False (Veterans Today); The White House “Intelligence Assessment” Is No-Such-Thing — It Shows Support for Al-Qaeda (Moon of Alabama).

Iraq: At least 13 civilians killed in US led-airstrike in western Mosul.

North Korea: Pyongyang’s residents are practicing for a military parade to be held at the weekend. A US-based 38 North monitoring group reported yesterday that satellite images suggested Pyongyang is prepared to conduct its next nuclear test, possibly during the weekend, describing the test site as “primed and ready”. China alerts that military force cannot resolve tension. Further Readings: Let’s stop calling North Korea ‘crazy’ and understand their motives (The Guardian); North Korea’s Pukguksong-2 Missile — A Gamechanger (Viable Opposition).

North Korean university students carry balloons as they gather at the Ryomyong residential area, a collection of more than a dozen apartment buildings, to attend its official opening ceremony in Pyongyang, (Wong Maye-E / AP Photo)

Serbia: Germany backs EU membership, but asks for reforms.

France: Marine Le Pen blames ‘leftists’ for arson attack on Paris building where National Front presidency candidate has HQ. Leftist Presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon surges in French presidential election.

New Zealand: State of emergency declared as Cyclone Cook is looming the country.

‘We didn’t expect this’: A historic yellow fever outbreak spreads in Brazil

by Dom Phillips for STAT

“It makes you want to cry,” Rodrigues said. “You are facing a situation that you know what the solution is, but the decision to put the vaccine there is not in your power.” Recently another 200,000 doses of the vaccine were held up for a week, she said.

How the Government Is Turning Protesters Into Felons

By Natasha Lennard to Esquire

The government has already proven its willingness to set what Goldstone called “a monstrous trap” for protesters, by leveraging high risk trials against paper-thin cases. At this point, unsurety hangs over the remaining J20 cases. With 213 remaining defendants, and nearly as many separate lawyers defending them, it is unknown whether better pleas will be offered or taken, how many protesters will take their case to trial, and how many, if any, convictions will stick.

Watchers of the earth

by Carrie Arnold to Aeon

The destructive power of natural disasters hasn’t diminished in the thousands of years during which these stories were told and retold. And humanity now faces an even greater catastrophe in the form of climate change. Unlike floods, earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes, the devastation from global warming isn’t sudden and violent. It has been creeping up on us for decades, but that doesn’t mean it will be any less deadly. To fight these changes, humanity needs a new set of tales.

The Ends of Lava Jato

by Alex Hochuli to Jacobin

It remains a misconception outside Brazil, however, that Lava Jato caused the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff of the Workers’ Party (PT). She was impeached on the frivolous grounds of breaking budgetary laws. No evidence has yet been produced to tie her to the corruption scandal.

The Unbearable Cost of Drought in Africa

by Baher Kamal for Inter Press Service

Drought, a complex and slowly encroaching natural hazard with significant and pervasive socio-economic and environmental impacts, is known to cause more deaths and displace more people than any other natural disaster, according to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).

Economists are arguing over how their profession messed up during the Great Recession. This is what happened.

by Henry Farrell for The Washington Post

The recent argument began with a disagreement between Unlearning Economics, a blog that is critical of mainstream economics, and Simon Wren-Lewis, a left-leaning macroeconomist, over whether mainstream economics was partly responsible for the turn toward economic austerity during the Great Recession.
”The Big Bank Fix” — Panorama, BBC. The documentary reveals how the Bank of England not only knew of, but repeatedly pressured commercial banks to reduce, the London Inter-bank Offered Rate (Libor) during the 2007–08 financial crisis.
“The Island” — The Guardian. Christmas Island, off the coast of Australia: here 50 million crabs make their slow and ancient migration from the jungle to the ocean’s edge, while thousands of people seeking asylum are indefinitely held in a high security detention facility.
“Guam’s struggle for self-determination”-The Stream, Al Jazeera. A debate is heating up on the US territory of Guam about its political future. The Pacific island’s attorney general has filed an appeal to a federal court ruling that struck down a planned referendum on its political status.

Inmates built computers hidden in ceiling, connected them to prison network.

Meet Sweden’s museum of failure: a spectacular catalogue of the world’s worst innovations.

The ‘Chicago Tribune’ did to Aaron Rodgers what media outlets do to women all the time and men didn’t like it.

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