Newsfile: 2016

Newsfile aggregates news that might otherwise drop off the horizon about situations affecting humanitarian work and the international situation. It doesn't chase after the most immediate stories which other newsfeeds can offer. Latest items from each region are presented first. To comply with fair-use rules we give only a headline, or enough of the story to explain the headline. All the stories cited are fully detailed. Dollars are U.S. unless stated otherwise.


Superforecasters reveal sources for Trump's first 100 days

Colombian grads again win Geneva Challenge

The Geneva Challenge heard from its finalists this week. Most striking: these graduates all want to do something to change the world for the better. A Colombian team won with a project to help Bogotá's wastepickers.

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Will Trumpery target the aid world?

IRIN kept up its reputation for exclusive investigation of humanitarian issues with the revelation on 14 November that ten key relief agencies depend on U.S. government funding for more than half their income.

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Why the U.N. needs IRIN's critical voice

IRIN's new director Heba Aly promises to “more critically analyse the sector” with the humanitarian news agency's independence from the U.N. and establishment in Geneva. Co-founder Ben Parker adds: “We are not after anybody. But we do think that more openness and more truth can only be good.” They frankly discuss the challenges.

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Time for the U.N. to find its superforecasters

The new Secretary-General can do something immediately to improve the U.N.’s dusty reputation: assemble an expert panel on the risks of political, economic and social disaster around the world and the possibility of progress in its development efforts.

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Kim's struggles at the World Bank

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim's battle with the organization's bureaucracy got the full treatment in The Guardian on 11 August 2016 in its long-read section by Andrew Rice. The message: Kim "thought he could lead the World Bank to fight global suffering. Then the organization turned against him." Note that the deadline for nominations for the President of the Bank was/is 14 September. Kim was later renewed in office. Coincidence?

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SDGs for 2030: watch this space

How are countries doing since the U.N. adopted its Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 on 25 September 2015? A meeting in New York on 11-20 July received reports from 22 countries on the 17 SDGs and the website put together a compilation from the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.

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Eritrea accused of slavery and crimes against humanity

A U.N. Commission of Inquiry this month accused Eritrean officials of "crimes against humanity, including widespread and systematic enslavement, imprisonment, enforced disappearance, torture, rape, murder and other inhumane acts".

Bronwyn Bruton, deputy director of the Africa Center at the Atlantic Council, in Washington, described it as a "shoddy human rights report" in The New York Times. His argument: "It's Bad in Eritrea, but Not That Bad."

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The elephants in the protectionist room

The G20 nations, self-proclaimed promoters of freer trade, have introduced unprecedented measures restricting trade and have seen "a notable rise in anti-trade rhetoric" since October 2015, the World Trade Organization notes in its latest monitoring report. The elephants in the room are the U.S. and China.

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Do marine parks still make sense?

In the past 30 years, says veteran conservationist G. Carleton Ray, marine protected areas (MPA) have "become an international mantra". The world has some 5000 MPAs. But after a 60-year career that includes helping create the world's first land and sea park, the University of Virginia professor questions most of the principles on which MPAs are based. And in a country that has been a leader in MPA establishment, he challeged local conservationists to question whether MPAs offer "rational" environmental protection.

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Gold still glisters in global trade

Cultural goods traded across the world -- everything from books to video games and jewellery -- doubled in value to $212.8 billion from 2004 to 2013, according to a UNESCO report issued on 10 March 2016.

That's maybe not a surprise. But nearly half of that was gold jewellery. And China is by far the biggest player on the cultural goods scene.

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Doing Business -- still not doing so good

The first World Bank Doing Business Report to fully reflect the changes introduced after an independent review that threatened to emasculate it has now appeared as of 27 October 2015. How much has it improved? Not much, in the eyes of at least one development-minded critic.

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