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News in the Humanosphere: Obama makes historic and unapologetic Hiroshima visit

President Obama delivering the 2014 State of the Union address. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, to pay somber tribute to the ghastly cost of war while standing firmly by President Truman’s decision to drop the atomic bombs that ended World War II, the White House said Tuesday, announcing the first visit to the city by a sitting U.S. president since the attacks seven decades ago. Obama’s stop was tacked on to a long-planned tour of Vietnam and Japan later this month. The schedule change reflects internal White House wrestling over how to pull off the trip, certain to reawaken complaints that Obama’s foreign policy is based on an attitude of apology for the use of American might. He is not seeking an apology for the attack on Pearl Harbor, nor will he offer apologies, lest he insult the generation that counts its sacrifices of World War II among the most significant contributions made to humanity. (LA Times

Quote of the day…“The normal U.S. practice and the normal international practice is that communities anywhere have the right, or have the ability to decide what they are going to be called. And normally when that happens, we would call them what they asked to be called. It’s not a political decision, it’s just a normal practice.” —U.S. Ambassador to Myanmar Scot Marciel, on his decision to use the term ‘Rohingya’ despite the Myanmar government’s objections (ABC

Welcome to Obock...A town in Northern Djibouti that is a haven for refugees fleeing Yemen and a departure point for east African migrants headed there.  (IRIN


Hammered by plunging commodity prices, Africa’s political and business leaders meet for three days from Wednesday to discuss diversification and entering the digital economy to kickstart growth. (Yahoo!

A state-affiliated broadcaster in Ethiopia says at least 50 people have been killed in flooding and landslides triggered by heavy rains. (AP

Unrest at Sudan’s University of Khartoum continued at the weekend as students torched a building where others were staying after they were forced to move out their dormitories. (Radio Dabanga

At least 12 people have been confirmed dead and scores still missing following a landslide that hit Uganda’s Bundibugyo district Tuesday morning. (AllAfrica


Four young Egyptians have been remanded in custody accused of making fun of the government in a satirical video posted on social networks. (AFP

Although protesters demanding political reform have retreated from Baghdad’s streets, the underlying challenge to Iraq’s leadership and stability is not over. (VOA

Russia’s foreign ministry on Tuesday said global powers would gather in Vienna on May 17 to discuss the crisis in Syria, where a recent surge in fighting has threatened peace efforts. (AFP

Yemen’s government and Iran-backed rebels agreed Tuesday to free half of the prisoners and detainees held by both sides, in the first breakthrough in peace talks that began last month. (Yahoo!


At least 10 people were killed and 23 wounded on Tuesday when a suicide bomber blew up his car near the house of a pro-government militia commander in the Afghan province of Nangarhar. (Reuters

Bangladesh hanged Islamist party leader Motiur Rahman Nizami on Wednesday for genocide and other crimes committed during the 1971 war of independence from Pakistan. (Reuters

Myanmar and the U.S. appeared to agree to disagree Tuesday on what to call the Southeast Asian nation’s beleaguered Muslim minority that most of the world know as Rohingya. (AP

Villagers from northeast Thailand traveled to Bangkok on Tuesday to demand that police and human rights groups investigate the disappearance of a prominent land rights activist. (Reuters

The Americas

Bolivian officials say the country’s Congress will investigate 95 offshore companies listed in the latest “Panama Papers” leak. (AP

Supporters of Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff have set up burning barricades and blocked roads in cities across the country in protest against moves to impeach her. (BBC

Chile’s southern coast has been hit by the biggest ever “red tide” in history, and the local fishing economy is struggling to cope. (BBC

Allegations of torture of suspects by Mexican police have cast doubt on the convictions after the September 2014 disappearance of 43 college students. (AP

…and the rest

Despite bold efforts, responses to the large movements of refugees and migrants – due to such issues as conflict, poverty and disasters – have been largely inadequate, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today in a new report. (AllAfrica

Laws to protect breastfeeding against the growing multi-billion-dollar breastmilk substitute business are inadequate in most countries, exposing small children to a greater risk of childhood diseases. (AllAfrica


How Aid Became Big Business (Pulitzer Center

Don’t just condemn humanitarian law violations. Stop them (Guardian

Africa: Replacing Dlamini Zuma Won’t Be Business As Usual (ISS

We’re losing $240bn a year to tax avoidance. Who really ends up paying? (Guardian

What Kenya Can Teach The U.S. About Menstrual Pads (Goats and Soda

Innovation Needs the Right Partners to Have Impact (

Can innovation help fix the world’s overwhelmed humanitarian system? (Guardian


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