Top of the Morning: Global Aid for Disaster Relief Reaches Record High

International Aid for Disaster Relief is Soaring…The USA and UK topped the list of international donors. ”Global spending on humanitarian relief soared to a record $22bn…last year as conflicts in Central African Republic, South Sudan and Syria combined with natural disasters such as typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, drove donors to pay out more emergency aid than ever before.Donations from governments reached $16.4bn (£9.63bn) last year, a 24% rise from 2012 figures, says research group Development Initiatives” (Guardian  The Chart (click through for interactive version)

Yet Another Mass Kidnapping by Boko Haram…The group is very much on the ascendent. “Kummabza resident Aji Khalil said Tuesday the abductions took place over several days last weekend in an attack during which four villagers were killed. Khalil is a member of one of the vigilante groups that have had some success in repelling Boko Haram attacks with primitive weapons. Khalil said suspected Boko Haram militants took about 60 married women and girls, some as young as 3, and 31 boys from the villages of Kummabza, Yaga and Dagu, all in Borno state, as reported by local Nigerian media. “Four villagers who tried to escape were shot dead on the spot,” Khalil said. (VOA

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The United States welcomed the release from a Sudanese jail of a Christian woman sentenced to death by hanging for apostasy after refusing to revert to Islam under Sudan’s Sharia Law. (VOA …and she was rearrested hours later. (Reuters

The tit-for-tat attacks against rival religious groups in Central African Republic threaten to create the conditions for a genocide reminiscent of Bosnia in the 1990s and requires swift efforts by the government and the international community to stop the violence, said a new report by the International Federation for Human Rights. (AP

Rebels have boycotted a new round of peace talks to end South Sudan’s conflict because of a dispute about who should attend, those involved in the protracted negotiations said. (Reuters

Cameroon’s military has arrested 40 suspected Boko Haram militants in the north of the country. (VOA

In West Kordofan state, an estimated 67,000 displaced people and approximately 33,000 refugees from South Sudan are in urgent need of humanitarian aid according the Government’s Humanitarian Aid Commission and humanitarian actors. (OCHA

The IMF warned that Zimbabwe’s economy remains fragile with a “precarious” level of external debt that needs to be addressed. (AP

The United States said it was boosting its humanitarian aid to the Central African Republic to $118 million in fiscal 2014. (AP

Representatives of some of Ethiopia’s biggest aid donors have announced that they will send a team to the southwest of the country to investigate persistent reports of human rights abuses amongst the tribes living there.

A government-approved programme to give micro-loans and training to young people in rural areas is helping to stem the influx of migrants to Zimbabwe’s urban centres. (IRIN


The United Nations estimates that over 2,000 people have been killed in the renewed Iraq violence. (UN News Center

Shi’ite residents describe a massacre in northern Iraq. (WaPo


About 50,000 Pakistanis have crossed into eastern Afghanistan to escape air strikes over the past 10 days and 435,000 have fled within their homeland, which could fuel the spread of polio as many are not vaccinated, U.N. agencies said. (VOA

Vietnam’s rejection of 45 key recommendations in its UN human rights review has drawn criticism from activists. (VOA

The first organized opposition to Thailand’s military coup has emerged, with an exiled leader vowing to work with fellow dissidents to restore “democratic principles.” The formation of the Organization of Free Thais for Human Rights and Democracy was announced Tuesday in an open letter by Jarupong Ruangsuwan. (VOA

Tobacco companies have largely snubbed an Indonesian law requiring them to put graphic health warnings on all cigarette packs, another setback for anti-smoking efforts in a country that’s home to the world’s highest rate of male smokers and a wild, wild west of advertising. (AP

As nations try to better plan for responding to and recovering from disasters, the United Nations has convened a gathering of some 40 countries in Bangkok to discuss how to ensure that human and economic losses are kept to a minimum. (VOA

The Americas

The United States is telling Central American parents there is no path to American citizenship for the thousands of unaccompanied children who are entering the U.S. illegally in hopes of escaping poverty and crime in their native lands. (VOA

A video depicts the conditions faced by child miners in Bolivia. (Guardian

White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice cast the protection of gays from global discrimination, abuse and even death as one of the most challenging international human rights issue facing the United States. (AP


Why polio in Brazil is as scary as Ebola in West Africa (Humanosphere

Male gender-based violence: a silent crisis (ODI Is Getting Bigger; Here’s How to Make It Better (CGD

Five takeaways from Australia’s new foreign aid policy (WhyDev

Individual versus community incentives for service provision (Running Randomized Evaluations: A Practical Guide

A Piketty Protégé’s Theory on Tax Havens (NYT

Male gender-based violence: a silent crisis (ODI

They Come in Ones and Twos (Warscapes

Surging environmental crime, from illegal logging to elephant poaching, is worth up to $213 billion a year and is helping to fund armed conflicts while cutting economic growth, a UN and Interpol report said. (Reuters