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FARC agrees to demobilize child soldiers

Wikimedia Commons- Mrnico1092

UNICEF facilitated the negotiations. “Colombia's Marxist FARC rebel group has agreed to remove child soldiers from its ranks as part of the peace deal it is close to signing with the government. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia agreed on Sunday to "implement departure of those under 15 years of age as soon as terms are agreed upon", the parties said in a statement in Cuba, which is hosting peace negotiations. Among the terms that must be decided is how the children will be re-integrated back into society. News of the agreement comes as the FARC and Colombia work on terms of a bilateral and definitive ceasefire, one of the last major points before a peace deal can be struck to end Latin America's longest-running and last civil war.” (Al Jazeera http://bit.ly/1OxZo0W)

Libya Arms Embargo to be Lifted...Diplomats from 25 countries and international organizations, including the United States, said Monday that they are considering arming and training the new unity government in Libya so it can fight the spread of terrorist groups in the country and counter the smuggling of migrants to Europe. In a joint communique after a lengthy meeting on ways to rein in chaos in Libya, the diplomats said they would support Libya’s request to be exempted from a U.N. embargo that was put in place five years ago to keep arms out of the hands of Islamist militants and rival militias locked in a power struggle.”  (WaPo http://wapo.st/1OxTSvf)

Least surprising news of the day...”Once again, temperature records have been smashed in 2016. Data released by NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies shows that April was the warmest ever recorded. It was a remarkable 1.11C above the long-term (1951-1980) average.”  (Al Jazeera http://bit.ly/1OxUp04

Quote of the day..."To me, America is built on people from around the world coming together for freedoms, especially freedom of religion. So it's hard to hear this is coming from someone who is pressing to be an American president," -- UN Refugee Agency Special Envoy Angelina Jolie, talking about you-know-who (CNN http://cnn.it/1OxUQrx

Africa 

The International Federation of Red Cross and the Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has pledged $110 million to a new initiative to help drought-stricken southern African countries. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1Nw1fDc

South Africa’s rand fell for a second day, heading for its weakest level against the dollar in two months, after reports that police are set to arrest Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan over alleged irregularities at the nation’s revenue service. (Bloomberg http://bloom.bg/1OxYuld)

The UN is deeply concerned by a surge in violence in Burundi and a rise in the number of detentions in recent days. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1Nw0KsU

The effects of a deliberate campaign of mass rapes in the Central African Republic by the forces of former Congolese vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba will be felt for generations, war crimes judges heard Monday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1Nw1tKt

Ugandan opposition figure Kizza Besigye, who had been taken to a court in the country's remote northeast to face a charge of treason, was on Monday transferred back to a prison in the capital Kampala. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1Nw0Oc2

Al-Qaeda affiliates are threatening West Africa’s most peaceful cities. (WaPo http://wapo.st/1OxYuS3

MENA 

Egypt's government has allowed for a 20 percent price increase for domestically manufactured medicines. (AP http://yhoo.it/1Nw1jmp

Jordan is routinely denying transit permits for Gazans and effectively preventing patients, university students and others with business abroad from leaving the territory. (AP http://yhoo.it/1Nw0J8m

Powerful blasts rocked a key gas field in central Syria on Monday, with a monitor saying they were caused by the Islamic State group blowing up pumping stations. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1Nw0sSR

Asia

Efforts to combat discrimination against India's lower castes, religious minorities and women must begin in the classroom, a human rights campaigner said. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1Nw1ZIp

Pakistani farmers are benefiting from a pilot project led by the Punjab provincial government to provide biogas equipment at a subsidized rate. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1TkhPVZ

Philippines President-Elect Rodrigo Duterte said he would pursue peace talks with Marxist guerrillas and as an olive branch would offer government roles to the Communist Party of the Philippines. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1Nw1Yo2

Sri Lanka's government says that six people have been killed and two others are reported missing as flash floods and landslides struck several parts of the island nation over the past two days. (AP http://yhoo.it/1Nw0pqf

The Americas

The Rio Olympics in August will give Brazil's battered economy only a limited shot in the arm, Moody's credit rating service said Monday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1Nw0lqk

A month after a devastating earthquake flattened the Ecuadorian beach town of Pedernales, people are still living in tarp shelters and schools remain closed. (AP http://yhoo.it/1Nw0VVb

US House Republicans have unveiled a $622 million measure to battle the Zika virus, offering President Barack Obama just one-third of the money he requested almost three months ago. (AP http://yhoo.it/1Nw0TMS

Venezuela has reached a deal with China to improve the conditions of an oil-for-loans deal, giving its economy "oxygen" ahead of heavy debt payments. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1Nw11vL

...and the rest

The U.N. envoy for Kosovo says the election of a new Kosovo president and the return to power of Serbia's government provide "an excellent opportunity" to end political infighting and focus instead on challenges facing the region. (AP http://yhoo.it/1Nw0iLi

Britain's former prime minister Gordon Brown on Monday launched a new global fund to help 30 million refugee children stay in school. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1Nw0mKV

Opinion

What the history of margarine can teach us about the future of global development. A conversation with Calestous Juma. (Global Dispatches Podcast http://bit.ly/1Yvi6GI)

How South Africa could become the first African country to decriminalize sex work. (NewsWeek http://bit.ly/1XvvM6i)

Pregnant in a war zone: What are your choices? (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1Nw1Vsb

Fear Is not a Good Counsellor (IPS http://bit.ly/1Nw1VIS

Volunteers should stop visiting orphanages and start preserving families (Guardian http://bit.ly/1TkiGFU

How development innovators can navigate politics (Nesta http://bit.ly/1TkiOVX

5 billion reasons for open access (Curt Rice http://bit.ly/1Tkjmep

10 questions with Women Deliver CEO Katja Iversen (UN Dispatch http://bit.ly/1TkjyKR

Air pollution is deadly and hurts the world’s poor the most (Humanosphere http://bit.ly/1TkjpXF