United Nations-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi is meeting today with U.S. and Russian officials ahead of Syrian peace talks scheduled for Jan. 22 in Switzerland. Separately, Russia reportedly blocked release of a Security Council statement condemning the recent missile and "barrel bomb" attacks by the Syrian government.
Officials from the United Nations, African Union and four African nations are working to mediate the conflict in South Sudan. Separately, the UN Security Council is discussing the situation today. About 34,000 civilians are seeking refuge at UN bases in the country.
Organizations such as Tostan, The Orchid Project, Sister Fa and Daughters of Eve are working to help change the social norms around female genital mutilation, writes Tania Beard. The groups use a multipronged approach to elicit change, Beard argues.
Central African Republic Prime Minister Nicolas Tiangaye said Thursday that presidential elections will be held in 2014, a year earlier than planned. Meanwhile, Rwanda is sending troops to bolster African Union and French peacekeeping forces.
World Bank President Jim Yong Kim says the developing world's biggest threat is graft, and the bank is creating a good-governance unit to fight it. "Every dollar that a corrupt official or a corrupt business person puts in their pocket is a dollar stolen from a pregnant woman who needs health care; or a boy who deserves education; or from communities that need water, roads and schools," Kim argues.