News in the Humanosphere: LRA commander/victim gets his day in court

Dominic Ongwen made his first appearance at the International Criminal Court on Monday. This is the first case against an LRA leader and potentially complicated by the fact that Ongwen was conscripted into the LRA as a child. “Dressed in a dark blue suit and white shirt, Ongwen appeared hesitant, looking nervously around the courtroom as he rose to confirm his identity. ‘I’d like to thank God for creating heaven and earth together with everybody that’s on earth,’ he said, speaking in his native Acholi. ‘My name is Dominic Ongwen and I am a Ugandan citizen. … I was abducted in 1988 and I was taken to the bush when I was 14 years old,’ he said through an interpreter. He faces seven counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes, including murder, enslavement, pillage and attacks on civilians committed during a 2004 attack on a camp for displaced persons in Uganda. Judge Ekaterina Trendafilova convened a first pre-trial hearing for Aug. 24.” (Reuters http://bit.ly/1C6Rsw8)

Big USAID Contractor Gets the Boot
In a terse statement, USAID said it was suspending International Relief and Development from receiving U.S. government funds, citing “misconduct.” A USAID official says USAID will take steps to recover mismanaged awards, which could be millions or more. He spoke on the condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to publicly discuss the case. “In 2010, IRD received about $631.5 million for work in Afghanistan, Iraq and other nations, making it USAID’s sixth-largest contractor. Last year, it received $29.4 million, ranking as USAID’s 25th largest contractor.” (Star Tribune http://strib.mn/1ti7b8D)

Stat of the Day: Our Urban World
A new world bank report finds that in the decade to 2010, 200 million people in East Asia moved to cities. “About 36 percent of people in the region – which under the World Bank’s definition includes Northeast and Southeast Asia – were living in urban areas as of 2010, up from 29 percent 10 years before.” (AFP http://yhoo.it/1Jtf66X)

Africa

More than 100 people, mainly insurgents, died in fighting on Sunday in Nigeria’s Maiduguri, a local journalist counting bodies at the biggest morgue said on Monday. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1Jt99qv)

Two men have been shot dead and shops owned by immigrants were looted in South Africa’s biggest city, as unrest following the death of a teenager last week spread in Johannesburg townships, police said on Monday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1Jtf2Ek)

Eight Central African Republic officials kidnapped by members of the country’s former rebel coalition have been freed, one of the officials said Monday. (AP http://yhoo.it/1Jtg7fi)

Senegal reopened on Monday its land border with Guinea, the Interior Ministry said, five months after closing transport links in August to prevent the spread of the worst outbreak on record of the deadly Ebola virus. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1C6RrIH)

Rwanda received $70 million in aid from the World Bank to help reduce poverty by improving the African state’s social protection benefits meant for the poorest households. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1C6RtQT)

At least two soldiers were killed in an ambush in Mali’s north, an army official said Monday. (AP http://yhoo.it/1Jtg56Z)

In Zimbabwe, caring for MDR-TB patients at home or even at taking them to hospitals is a challenge for relatives, especially as the disease is uncertain to completely go away after treatment. (IPS http://bit.ly/15L3MVm)

MENA

At least 17 people were killed on Sunday in Egypt’s bloodiest protests since Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was elected president, as security forces fired at protesters marking the anniversary of the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1C6RvIu)

In an unusually critical column, the chairman of Egypt’s state-run daily Al-Ahram newspaper has specifically called out the country’s president as being responsible for protecting the public after the shooting death of a protester. (AP http://yhoo.it/1Jtf4vI)

Kurdish fighters backed by intense U.S.-led air strikes pushed the Islamic State group almost entirely out of the Syrian town of Kobani on Monday, marking a major loss for extremists whose hopes for easy victory dissolved into a bloody, costly siege that seems close to ending in defeat. (AP http://yhoo.it/1Jtf7Yv)

An Egyptian doctor has been convicted of manslaughter after a 13-year-old girl died in a botched female genital mutilation procedure, campaigners said on Monday following the country’s first female genital mutilation trial. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1Jt9ae6)

The U.N. Central Emergency Response Fund has earmarked about $100 million to boost life-saving relief work in Syria and 11 other countries where humanitarian needs are high but financial support is low. (IPS http://bit.ly/15L4MZQ)

Asia

The deputy chief of Indonesia’s anti-graft agency submitted his resignation letter on Monday after being named a police suspect, worsening a two-week long feud between the two rival law enforcement agencies. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1Cs0xyb)

Afghanistan’s fragile economy has lost around a third of its value in the past year as international aid organizations that poured in cash for more than a decade have drastically scaled back after Western forces effectively ended their 13-year war against the Taliban. (AP http://yhoo.it/1JteYEr)

Lambada women in India, who never went to school, now keep vigil over young girls in the community. When a child stays away from the classroom for too long, they sound the alarm against possible child labor or trafficking. (IPS http://bit.ly/1EMtAw7)

Philippine authorities say the death toll is over 40 in a fight between a special police raiding team and members of the country’s largest Muslim rebel group, which is forging a peace agreement with the government. It happened a day before congressional hearings on a proposed law that would see the formation of an autonomous Muslim-majority region in the country’s restive south. (VOA http://bit.ly/1yVmN2A)

The Americas

The body of a journalist who was abducted by armed men three weeks ago has been found in eastern Mexico, authorities said Sunday, adding that a former police officer has confessed to carrying out the crime allegedly at the request of the town’s mayor. (AP http://yhoo.it/1JteVIJ)

Poverty reduction has stalled across Latin America, barely budging since 2012, as economic growth has slowed, the United Nations’ economic body for the region said on Monday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1Jtg0Au)

Millions of genetically modified mosquitoes could be released in the Florida Keys if British researchers win approval to use the bugs against two extremely painful viral diseases. (AP http://yhoo.it/1JteIoT)

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez says the deployment of special military police has cut the country’s murder rate, one of the world’s highest. (VOA http://bit.ly/1EMxoNR)

Opinion/Blogs

This superhero takes on violence against women in India (Humanosphere http://bit.ly/1EMMyCR)

Middle East scholar, activist and media personality Trita Parsi is Mark’s podcast guest this week. Come for the wonky analysis of Iranian politics. Stay for his compelling personal story of escaping Iran during the revolution. (Global Dispatches Podcast http://bit.ly/1DalvjI)

52 reasons not to date an aid worker (Global Development Professionals Network  http://bit.ly/1Cs2pH8)

Inequality: All talk and no action (Save the Children UK http://bit.ly/1yVyRAX)

Ongwen on trial, perpetrator or victim? (Africa is a Country http://bit.ly/1CsgyEo)

Women’s rights in Saudi Arabia after King Abdullah (CFR http://on.cfr.org/1z28VCa)

On wealth, debt and inequality – in response to some criticism (Mind the Gap http://bit.ly/1Csg4hB)

Progress in small steps: security against the odds in Liberia (ODI http://bit.ly/1Csg7Ke)

Why fragile cities hold the key to stability and development (The Guardian http://bit.ly/1z1PYPZ)

After Ebola: What next for West Africa’s health systems (IRIN http://bit.ly/1z1Q4Y4)

Nepal’s “poor woman’s problem”: how obstetric fistula blights lives (The Guardian http://bit.ly/1z1PYzC)

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About Author

Tom Murphy

Tom Murphy is a New Hampshire-based reporter for Humanosphere. Before joining Humanosphere, Tom founded and edited the aid blog A View From the Cave. His work has appeared in Foreign Policy, the Huffington Post, the Guardian, GlobalPost and Christian Science Monitor. He tweets at @viewfromthecave. Contact him at tmurphy[at]humanosphere.org.