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News in the Humanosphere: Secretary of State Tillerson visits China

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Beijing March 18, 2017. (Credit: Lintao Zhang/Pool Photo via AP)

Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson pledged in talks Sunday to work to strengthen a relationship strained by disputes over North Korea and trade. Xi met Tillerson in Beijing just hours after nuclear-armed North Korea tested the U.S.-China relationship anew by announcing a provocative rocket engine trial, and with delicate negotiations under way for a Xi summit with President Donald Trump. Xi told Tillerson that he and Trump had resolved in a phone call last month “to make joint efforts to advance China-U.S. cooperation, and we believe that we can make sure the relationship will move ahead in a constructive fashion in the new era. “I’m confident that as long as we can do this the relationship can surely move in the right direction,” Xi said. (PRI

Major Clashes in Damascus … Heavy clashes rocked eastern districts of the Syrian capital on Sunday after rebel fighters launched a surprise assault on government forces, a monitor and state television said. Steady shelling and sniper fire could be heard across Damascus on Sunday as rebel factions allied with former al-Qaida affiliate Jabhat Fateh al-Sham launched an attack on government positions in the city’s east. The clashes centered on a government-held gap between two besieged opposition enclaves, the Jobar and Qaboun neighborhoods. The ultraconservative Ahrar al-Sham rebel faction said fighters had “liberated” the area. (Al Jazeera

Top Stories

Four people were killed on Saturday evening when suicide bombers blew themselves up in a village on the outskirts of Maiduguri city in northeastern Nigeria, police said. (AFP

Ministers from the world’s top economies heralded plans to boost development in Africa on Saturday, at an otherwise fractious G20 gathering in Germany. (Reuters

A Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen called on Sunday for the United Nations to place a strategic port under its supervision after a helicopter attack on a boatload of Somali refugees left 42 dead. (Reuters

A saffron-robed Hindu holy man was sworn in on Sunday to lead India’s most populous state, sealing what appears to be a shift in course by Prime Minister Narendra Modi that could redefine the world’s largest democracy as a Hindu nation. (Reuters

China, backed by Russia, blocked a short U.N. Security Council statement on Myanmar on Friday, diplomats said, after the 15-member body met to discuss the situation in Rakhine state, where the country’s military is conducting a security operation. (Reuters

The intense rains, overflowing rivers, mudslides and flooding are the worst Peru has seen in two decades, Peruvian authorities said Saturday, affecting more than half the nation as the death toll since the beginning of the year hit 72. (VOA

After living through shortages of water, electricity, medicine, banknotes and beer, Venezuelans are now struggling to find one of the most basic foodstuffs of all, unleashing what President Nicolas Maduro has dubbed the “Bread War.” (AFP


The “Four Famines,” Explained (UN Dispatch

Podcast: On the ground in Kenya where drought threatens massive famine (Humanosphere

Trump’s foreign aid budget: The response on Twitter (Devex

We must all stand up to the world’s richest nation and oppose its use of modern slavery (Guardian

The end of the golden age (Dev Policy

Famine and its causes in the Horn of Africa (Guardian Letter

We are all Helen Zille. Or, why the West thinks that colonialism was not all bad. (Africa is a Country

America first, development unplaced: Trump’s 2018 budget proposal (Dev Policy

Drought in Africa 2017 (IRIN

Separately, China and India are booming. Should they partner to tackle twin challenges? (Devex


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