Top of the Morning: Ebola Outbreak “Out of Control”

Ebola Outbreak ‘Out of Control’…A very dire warning from MSF about the outbreak in western Africa. “MSF is having difficulty responding to the large number of new cases emerging in different locations.“We have reached our limits,” said Janssens. “Despite the human resources and equipment deployed by MSF in the three affected countries, we are no longer able to send teams to the new outbreak sites.” The scale of the current Ebola epidemic is unprecedented in terms of geographical distribution and the numbers of cases and deaths. There have been 528 cases and 337 deaths since the epidemic began, according to the latest World Health Organization (WHO) figures. An Ebola epidemic in West Africa is out of control and requires massive resources from governments and aid agencies to prevent it from spreading further, the medical charity Doctors Without Borders said Monday.” (MSF http://bit.ly/1pbLBjM)

Egypt: Al Jazeera Journalists Sentenced to Prison…The verdict comes one day after John Kerry visited Cairo, with promises to resume military aid. “Two of the journalists were sentenced to seven years in prison, and the third was given 10 years, the three additional years apparently for his possession of a single spent bullet. The case has drawn condemnation from international rights groups and Western governments because there was no publicly available evidence that the journalists had either supported the Brotherhood or broadcast anything inaccurate.”

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Africa

Chinese workers have abandoned road construction and mining exploration sites in northern Cameroon in the wake of last month’s kidnapping of 10 workers by suspected Boko Haram rebels. (VOA http://bit.ly/1lLUi1O)

Thousands of people have fled their homes in northern Liberia following an invasion of caterpillars – which have overtaken houses and schools, destroyed crops and contaminated water sources. (VOA http://bit.ly/1lLUldX)

A Sudanese woman on death row for refusing to renounce her Christian faith had her sentence canceled and was ordered released by a Khartoum court on Monday, the country’s official news agency, SUNA, reported. (VOA http://bit.ly/1lLUw9b)

South Africa’s AMCU union declared a five-month platinum strike “officially over” on Monday as thousands of miners roared their approval when leader Joseph Mathunjwa asked if they wanted to end the longest work stoppage in the country’s history. (VOA http://bit.ly/1lLUL4a)

Residents of the Central African Republic city of Bambari say that a militia attacked a nearby Muslim village and killed 18 of its inhabitants. (AP http://apne.ws/ToTl32)

At least 20 people were killed in inter-clan violence in northern Kenya on Sunday, the police said, further destabilising one of Kenya’s most volatile regions. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1rrgUEj)

Two million children under five die each year in central and western Africa, accounting for almost a third of all deaths worldwide in that age range, the UN children’s agency said. (AP http://yhoo.it/1rrh7qZ)

The first-ever United Nations Environmental Assembly is underway in Nairobi, Kenya, where more than 150 high-level delegations are addressing environmental sustainability challenges. (AP http://yhoo.it/1nYynmv)

MENA

Middle East analyst Nezar al-Sayyad said US Secretary of State John Kerry’s call on Egypt’s new leaders to embrace democracy and press freedom may fall on deaf ears because Egyptians do not seem to be interested. (VOA http://bit.ly/1rraVix)

A group of Egyptian human rights activists is calling on the United Nations to send a fact-finding mission to Egypt to investigate human rights violations against women, including sexual abuse and rape. (VOA http://bit.ly/1lLUf5Z)

The international chemical weapons watchdog charged with ridding Syria of its stockpile says it has received the last of the country’s toxic chemicals identified for removal. (VOA http://bit.ly/1rrbWXX)

Non-state armed groups in Syria have used children as young as 15 to fight in battles, sometimes recruiting them under the guise of offering education. (Humano Rights Watch http://bit.ly/1rrfQAf)

Asia

A Thai police general has announced he will give cash rewards to those turning in photos or videos of anyone illegally expressing a political stance. (VOA http://bit.ly/1lLU4HX)

Sri Lanka’s government should take action to prosecute acts of communal violence and promote peace, say observers, following the worst clashes in five years that left at least two dead and over 80 injured. (IRIN http://bit.ly/1rrewx7)

A shortage of viable evacuation centres in areas hit by Typhoon Haiyan has humanitarians and officials in the Philippines concerned that survivors will not have alternative accommodation in case of another one. (IRIN http://bit.ly/1rreJk3)

A mine in China, where people have worked for decades, leaves a nearby village poisoned by arsenic and hundreds of residents stricken with cancer. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1nYzsL8)

The Americas

The World Health Organization says it found a strain of the polio virus at an international airport in Brazil in March, but there are no human cases. (BBC http://bbc.in/1lLVrqf)

The Argentine government publishes an advert in US newspapers denouncing the recent US Supreme Court ruling in favour of hedge fund investors holding its defaulted bonds. (BBC http://bbc.in/1lLW0QJ)

Starting this fall, 25 percent of all US hospitals — those with the worst records for infections and injuries — will lose 1 percent of every Medicare payment for a year. (NPR http://n.pr/1rrg4ak)

Opinion/Blogs

The Good and Bad News in the Fight Against Polio (UN Dispatch http://bit.ly/Tp8tNU)

Oxfam tweet stirs UK controversy for being too political (Humanosphere http://bit.ly/Tp9s0D)

Analysis: Looking beyond IGAD in South Sudan (IRIN http://bit.ly/1lLVwdo)

Eastern DRC: Stop Fixating on Conflict Minerals (Think Africa Press http://bit.ly/1rreFAR)

Somaliland’s leading lady for women’s rights: ‘It is time for men to step up’ (Guardian http://bit.ly/1lLVXED)

Transforming Development: Tackling sexual violence in war needs gender justice in peace too (IDS http://bit.ly/1nYze6E)

Is China’s Anticorruption Crackdown Really a Crackdown on Anticorruption Activists? (Global Anticorruption Blog http://bit.ly/Tp8jpY)

Pacific women and contraceptive use: what are the barriers? (DevPolicy http://bit.ly/Tp8O32)

Using Knowledge to Fight Poverty in Africa (AfricaCan End Poverty http://bit.ly/Tp9lST)

Research/Reports
Landmine ban success reaps results; strict adherence, rapid clearance, and assistance for victims remain crucial (Campaign to Ban Landmines http://bit.ly/1rrfE3X)

Top of the Morning: Ebola Outbreak Worsening

Ebola’s Toll is Growing in West Africa…More than 200 people have died from Ebola virus in Guinea, making it one of the worst ever outbreaks of the disease. “The UN’s health agency said it so far had registered 328 confirmed or suspected cases of Ebola in Guinea, including 208 deaths, with 21 deaths registered between May 29 and June 1 alone. Neighbouring Sierra Leone and Liberia were also increasingly affected, said WHO, which has described West Africa’s first-ever outbreak of the deadly haemorrhagic fever as one of the most challenging since the virus was first identified in 1976 in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo.  (AFP http://yhoo.it/1j2V3xg)

Yet Another Boko Haram Attack...Suspected Islamist militants dressed as soldiers rounded up and killed at least 42 villagers in Nigeria’s northeast, the centre of an escalating insurgency increasingly targeting civilians, a police source said. (Reuters http://reut.rs/1l8UN4b)

Global Dispatches Podcast: Understanding Al-Sisi’s election — with 96% of the vote(!) — And Egypt after the counter revolution. http://bit.ly/1pTEfgW

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Africa

DR Congo accuses Rwanda of “protecting” M23 rebel leaders wanted for war crimes and delaying attempts to interview ex-fighters currently in Rwanda. (BBC http://bbc.in/1pIxGAz)

Authorities in Niger have destroyed safe houses owned by human trafficking networks for sheltering illegal migrants and forcibly turned back anyone without a valid identity document in towns near its northern border, a government minister said. (Reuters http://reut.rs/1j2S73V)

Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague will host a meeting of African and Western officials in London next week aimed at stepping up international efforts to defeat Islamist group Boko Haram, his office said. (Reuters http://reut.rs/1l8US7P)

US companies have promised $1 billion for off-grid power projects in Africa, putting a growing focus on small-scale and renewable energy in the push to ease the continent’s chronic electricity shortages. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1l8Wo9W)

NATO has decided to extend its Indian Ocean counter-piracy mission by two years to the end of 2016, judging that piracy remains a threat despite a sharp fall in attacks, the alliance said. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1l8WsXo)

Human Rights Watch called on the Democratic Republic of Congo to investigate attacks and threats against opponents of a major oil exploration project at one of Africa’s oldest national parks. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1l8Wqin)

According to new research – published in the New England Journal of Medicine – involving 2,800 children hospitalized in South Africa, Malawi and Kenya, the key to better TB diagnosis could lie in 51 genes found in the blood of infected children. (IRIN http://bit.ly/1l8WYVl)

MENA

Israel has announced plans to build about 1,500 more settlement homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in response to the Palestinians’ formation of a unity government. (VOA http://bit.ly/1l8V1Iz)

China offered $16 million in humanitarian assistance Thursday for refugees from the conflict in Syria as part of Beijing’s growing engagement with the Arab world. (AP http://yhoo.it/1l8Vpqi)

Asia

International rights groups are questioning the independence of Burma’s election commission, after it accused opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi of speaking in violation of the constitution at public rallies. Her party, the National League for Democracy, has been urging the people to test parliament, and petition for constitutional change. (VOA http://bit.ly/1l8V2fq)

The average annual cost of natural disasters has quadrupled over the last three decades and it makes economic sense to boost spending on preparedness to ensure a stable future, a senior European official said at a conference in the Philippines. (AP http://yhoo.it/1l8VOZR)

Having money in your pocket does not translate into a toilet in your home, so Cambodian sanitation campaigners are trying new ways to encourage latrine construction in a country where years of awareness and subsidy campaigns have not been flush with success. (IRIN http://bit.ly/1l8X4we)

Angry paddy farmers blocked major roads in the Minneriya and Girithale areas in Sri Lanka’s North Eastern Polonnaruwa region last month, complaining the government had not released enough water for their rice to grow. (IRIN http://bit.ly/1j2Wqw1)

The Americas

The state of Florida is “under an imminent threat from dengue and chikungunya” (Miami Herald http://hrld.us/1j4p0gr)

Opinion/Blogs

Profile of a global health prankster, Bill Foege (Humanosphere http://bit.ly/Sc6ED0)

Scapegoating Africa’s immigrants (Monkey Cage http://wapo.st/1pIytS1)

Did rice production create collectivism? Evidence from within China (Chris Blattman http://bit.ly/Sc6awN)

Corruption? What kind? (Campaign for Boring Development http://bit.ly/Sc6D21)

Jordan: Green (Medium http://bit.ly/Sc6CuZ)

Bits and Atoms: ICTs in Areas of Limited Statehood (People, Spaces, Deliberation http://bit.ly/Sc7IHg)

Burma: There’s a Kind of Hush (NY Times http://nyti.ms/1pIytkU)

Measuring and Improving Social Impacts: A Guide for Nonprofits, Companies, and Impact Investors (SSI Review http://bit.ly/1pIyIfU)

Press Releases: Remarks at Boston College’s 138th Commencement Ceremony

SECRETARY KERRY: Your Eminence Cardinal O’Malley, Father President Leahy, Father Monan, Father Devino, members of the faculty, my fellow recipients of honorary degrees, parents, siblings, and the distinguished class of 2014: Congratulations to everybody here today.

You know I thought I had a lot to worry about as I was listening to the introduction, between Afghanistan and Iran and so forth. But now I’m worried about where Challenger is. (Laughter.) I will leave here knowing that Boston College liberates eagles. (Laughter.)

It’s a great honor to be with you. You all might remember from English class that the great American novelist Thomas Wolfe wrote that you can’t go home again. Or maybe you know that quote because it’s the same thing that your parents are telling you now. (Laughter.)

Well, Wolfe had obviously never been to Boston College. It is nice to be off an airplane, but my friends, it is great to be home. I am really happy to be here. (Applause and cheers.)

I know that many of you stayed up all night so you could see your last sunrise at BC. (Cheers.) Some of you thought it would never come, graduation that is. I’ve got news for you: Some of your parents and professors didn’t think so either. (Laughter.)

Now, I notice a lot of you are wearing shades. It won’t work, folks. I’ll still hear you snoring. (Laughter.)

I was on the campus of one of your rivals yesterday in New Haven. And while I let them know that they could be proud of their title in men’s hockey last year, I also had to put it in perspective: Yale is still four titles behind BC. (Cheers and applause.)

There are many things actually that Yale and Boston College have in common, but one is probably the most powerful: mutual dislike of Harvard. (Laughter.) Although to be fair, hundreds of schools don’t like Harvard very much.

As Secretary of State, I track many factions and rivalries around the world. BC versus Notre Dame is at the top of my list. Of course, there’s also Alec Baldwin versus the NYPD. (Laughter.) Beyonce’s sister versus Jay Z. (Laughter and cheers.) And then there’s the rivalry: Red Sox and Yankees. (Cheering and applause.) We absolutely loved the last ten years: Yankees – one World Series, and Red Sox – three. That’s my kind of rivalry, folks. (Cheers.)

Now BC reminds us today that though rivalries can be overcome, here today you have honored a Holy Cross alumnus, the great Bob Cousy, who, as you heard earlier in his degree presentation, won 117 games at Boston when he was coaching here. Eighty-five years old and the Celtics could have used him this year. (Laughter.)

So we have with us today a great legend, but most importantly an amazing person, an amazing player, and three other extraordinary builders of community, all of whom I am very honored to share degrees with today. Their lives and their selfless service are testimony to the fact that Boston College is an amazing place.

Over the past years, you have all been blessed to experience a special quality that has always defined BC: the welcoming spirit of this community. That has been a distinguishing characteristic of Boston College since its first days, when it opened its doors to Irish immigrants and Catholics who were barred from other schools.

When I came here more than 40 years ago, I want you to know that I felt that welcome firsthand. I had, as you heard, served in war, and when I came home, I worked to end it. It was a turbulent time – for our country, for me personally. It was a time of division and disillusionment.

But because of one thoughtful man of conscience, one member of the Boston College community, I found a home right here.

Many of you today might not even recognize the name of Father Robert Drinan. He was the dean of the Law School and he was running for Congress when I first visited him on the campus.

And what impressed me most about Father Drinan – whether on Chestnut Hill or Capitol Hill – was that he made no apologies for his deep and abiding Catholic commitment to the weak, the helpless, the downtrodden.

“If a person is really a Christian,” Father Drinan would say, “they will be in anguish over global hunger, injustice, over the denial of educational opportunity.”

In fact, it was Father Drinan who encouraged me to study law at BC, even when it wasn’t the obvious path. I had come to law school from a different background than my classmates. I’d served in the Navy, just turned 30, and had a young family.

And because of where I’d been and what I’d seen, I came to Boston College with a set of nagging questions. I had confronted my own mortality head-on during the war, where faith was as much a part of my daily life as the battle itself. In fact, I wore my rosary around my neck hoping for protection.

But on closer examination, I realized my wartime relationship with God was really a dependent one – a “God, get me through this and I’ll be good” kind of relationship. And as I became disillusioned with the war, my faith also was put to test.

There’s something theologians call “the problem of evil.” It’s the difficulty of explaining how terrible and senseless events are, in fact, part of God’s plan. That was a very real test for me. Some of my closest friends were killed. You see things in war that haunt you for the rest of your life.

So coming here to BC Law, reading St. Augustine on the problem of evil, or St. Thomas Aquinas on just war, the letters of St. Paul and thoughts about suffering – this was not an abstract or academic exercise. It was a chance to dig in and really try to understand where and how everything fit, including trying to understand where I fit in. I’m sure a lot of you ask those questions.

It was the compassion, listening, and understanding that I experienced at BC that made me feel welcome, taught me literally how to think critically, how to ask the right questions, and reinforced in me a personal sense of direction.

It would be years before Pope Francis would talk about the responsibility we all have to reach out to those who “stand at the crossroads.” I might not have connected the dots at the time, but that is exactly what BC was doing for me and I hope has done for you.

The people I met here were putting into action the words of the Jesuit motto that you’ve heard already today: “Men and women for others.”

Every institution has a mission or a motto – that’s the easy part. The hard part is ensuring that they’re not just words. We have to make sure that even as our world changes rapidly and in so many ways, we can still, each of us, give new meaning to our values.

Today, I promise you that is one of the greatest challenges of America’s foreign policy: ensuring that even when it’s not popular, even when it’s not easy, America still lives up to our ideals and our responsibilities to lead.

Never forget that what makes America different from other nations is not a common religion or a common bloodline or a common ideology or a common heritage. What makes us different is that we are united by an uncommon idea: that we’re all created equal and all endowed with unalienable rights. America is – and I say this without chauvinism or any arrogance whatsoever, but America is not just a country like other countries. America is an idea, and we – all of us, you – get to fill it out over time. (Applause.) So our citizenship is not just a privilege – it is a profound responsibility.

And in a shrinking world, we can’t measure our success just by what we achieve as Americans for Americans, but also by the security and shared prosperity that we build with our partners all over world.

In times of crisis, violence, strife, epidemic, and instability – believe me – the world still looks to the United States of America as a partner of first resort. People aren’t worried about our presence; they’re worried about our leaving. One of the great privileges of being Secretary of State is getting to see that firsthand.

In December, I walked through the devastation left behind by the typhoon in the Philippines. The U.S. military and USAID had arrived on the scene before countries that are much closer than we are.

This month in the Democratic Republic of Congo, I saw how the United States is supporting surgeons and Catholic nuns helping victims of violence and abuse.

And just a few weeks ago in Ethiopia, I saw what our sustained commitment to combatting AIDS is achieving. Local doctors and nurses are making possible the dream of an AIDS-free generation. We’re on the cusp of achieving that.

And what we have done to turn back the armies of defeatism and indifference in the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and even polio – this work should give every one of you confidence to confront another cross-border, cross-generational challenge, the challenge of a changing climate. If we’re going to live up to our values, this is a test that we have to meet.

Now look, I know this is hard, because I spent almost 30 years in the United States Senate pushing this issue, trying to get colleagues to move. We got up to maybe 55 votes, couldn’t quite get to 60. And I know it’s hard to feel the urgency. As we sit here on an absolutely beautiful morning in Boston, you might not see climate change as an immediate threat to your job, your community, or your families. But let me tell you, it is.

Two major recent reports, one from the UN and one from retired U.S. military leaders, warn us not just of the crippling consequences to come, but that some of them are already here. Ninety-seven percent of the world’s scientists tell us this is urgent. Why? Because if crops can’t grow, there’ll be food insecurity. If there’s less water because of longer droughts, if there are stronger and more powerful storms, things will change in a hurry and they will change for the worse.

Climate change is directly related to the potential of greater conflict and greater stability – instability. I’m telling you that there are people in parts of the world – in Africa today, they fight each other over water. They kill each over it. And if glaciers are melting and there’s less water available and more people, that is a challenge we have to face. And guess what? It is the poorest and the weakest who face the greatest risk. As Father Drinan would say, we should be in anguish over this. (Applause.)

What’s frustrating is that this challenge is not without a solution. In fact, not one problem I can think of today that we face in this country is without a solution. It’s a question of capacity, willpower. The solution is actually staring us in the face. It is energy policy. Make the right energy policy choices and America can lead a $6 trillion market with 4 billion users today and growing to 9 billion users in the next 50 years.

If we make the necessary efforts to address this challenge – and supposing I’m wrong or scientists are wrong, 97 percent of them all wrong – supposing they are, what’s the worst that can happen? We put millions of people to work transitioning our energy, creating new and renewable and alternative; we make life healthier because we have less particulates in the air and cleaner air and more health; we give ourselves greater security through greater energy independence – that’s the downside. This is not a matter of politics or partisanship; it’s a matter of science and stewardship. And it’s not a matter of capacity; it’s a matter of willpower. (Applause.)

But if we do nothing, and it turns out that the critics and the naysayers and the members of the Flat Earth Society, if it turns out that they’re wrong, then we are risking nothing less than the future of the entire planet. This is not a hard choice, frankly. But still, let me tell you we need the help of every single one of you to make it.

In the end, all of these global challenges – how to defend against extremism, how to eradicate disease, how to provide young people with opportunity, how to protect our planet – all of these questions of whether men and women can live in dignity. What do I mean by dignity? I mean exactly the same thing that Father David Hollenbach taught on this campus and brought to the forefront of Catholic social teaching: That when families have access to clean water and clean power, they can live in dignity. When people have the freedom to choose their government on election day and to engage their fellow citizens every day, they can live in dignity. When all citizens can make their full contribution no matter their ethnicity; no matter who they love or what name they give to God, they can live in dignity.

And this is where you come in: the struggle for dignity. Whether across town or across the world, it makes demands on your own lives. The diploma that you will receive today isn’t just a certificate of accomplishment. It’s a charge to keep. It’s a powerful challenge to every single one of you, because you have already been blessed with a world-class education, and with it comes responsibility. Part of that responsibility is taking to heart the values that you’ve learned here and sharing them with the world beyond BC. That spirit of service is part of the fabric of this school, just as it is part of the fabric of our nation.

I often think of the words of our first Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson, someone who also founded a prestigious university like yours. Jefferson spoke about the beauty of a simple image: using one candle to light another. And he said that when that happens, both candles gain light and neither candle loses any. He was talking about the contagious quality of shared knowledge. As heirs to the Jesuit tradition, this is an idea that you know well. Two centuries before Jefferson, St. Ignatius Loyola always closed his letters with a simple charge, and it’s one I pass on to you today. St. Ignatius wrote simply, “Set the world aflame.”

So graduates of 2014, pass on your light to others. Set the world aflame with your service. Welcome those who are lost; seek out those at the crossroads. That is how you can fulfill your responsibility as a graduate of this great institution. That is how you can answer the call to be a servant, leader, and that is how you can keep faith with and renew the idea of America, and that is how we all live up to our duty as citizens.

Congratulations to all of you. Good luck and God bless.