News in the Humanosphere: 100 AIDS Researchers and Activists among 298 Killed in MH17 Downing

Simon Boddy

This is absolutely tragic news for the entire global health community, in light of the deeply tragic news of the downing of MH17. “About 100 of the 298 people killed in the Malaysia Airlines crash were heading to Melbourne for a major AIDS conference, conference attendees have been told. Delegates at a pre-conference in Sydney were told on Friday morning that around 100 medical researchers, health workers and activists were on the plane that went down near the Russia-Ukraine border, including former International AIDS Society president Joep Lange…Organisers of the International AIDS Conference, due to begin in Melbourne on Sunday, have not released numbers, but did confirm expected attendees were among the dead.” (SMH)

Israel Launches Ground Invasion of Gaza…Meanwhile, four more children were killed in air strikes and journalists were told to evacuate a popular hotel. Earlier yesterday, Hamas ended a six hour humanitarian pause in the fighting. “Israel began a ground invasion into the Gaza Strip on Thursday night, saying it would target tunnels that infiltrate its territory after cease-fire talks failed to de-escalate the air war that has raged for 10 days. The military released a statement at 10:39 p.m. saying the goal of the operation was to “establish a reality in which Israeli residents can live in safety and security without continuous indiscriminate terror.” (NYT )

Africa

The Health Sector estimates that about 206,000 people in Darfur are unable to access health services due to the suspension of Red Cross activities and withdrawal of support to health facilities by NGOs. (OCHA)

The UN Security Council warned it is ready to consider “appropriate measures” against warring parties in South Sudan if they do not stop the violence in the world’s youngest nation and negotiate a transitional government. (Reuters)

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan sought approval from parliament to borrow up to $1 billion abroad to help the armed forces tackle the security threat posed by the Islamist insurgent group Boko Haram. (Reuters)

Democratic Republic of Congo has launched its first agricultural business park, the initial step in a plan to use its vast tracts of arable land to produce food, create jobs and wean the economy off its dependence on mining. (Reuters)

Burundi is finally to set up a Peace and Reconciliation Commission to examine crimes committed since 1962. But the controversies and disagreements that have dogged the mechanism since it was first mooted continue to reverberate, casting doubt on its efficacy, with the key concern being whether the commission’s purview will be selective. (IRIN)

Street children in Uganda suffer from systematic abuse by the country’s police and other officials, including beatings and sex attacks, Human Rights Watch said in a report. (AP)

A report on agriculture in Africa calls for increased investment for entrepreneurship in the rural food sector, and cites agriculture as the key sector for creating jobs for African youth. (VOA)

MENA

Concern is growing over how the semi-autonomous government of Iraqi Kurdistan is managing its borders amid reports that vulnerable families seeking refuge are being refused entry or forced into transit camps along ethnic lines. (IRIN)

Libya’s navy said it retrieved the bodies of three would-be migrants and rescued almost 100 others after their boat sank on Thursday. (AFP)

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA said Thursday it was investigating after finding 20 rockets hidden in one of its vacant schools in the Gaza Strip. (AP)

Asia

The Philippine capital of Manila is road-testing an ambitious and sustainable scheme to ease traffic congestion and pollution problems. (Guardian)

The U.S. State Department’s top human rights official accused Myanmar authorities of resorting to police state tactics after five journalists from a weekly magazine got 10 years of hard labor for a disputed story about a weapons factory. (AP)

Heavy rains have killed at least 18 people in southern China and a state news agency said six more were missing Thursday after a landslide. (AP)

Sri Lanka’s president has extended the terms of a commission investigating missing people and possible war crimes in the country’s 26-year civil war, bringing in foreign experts for the first time to advise on the inquiry. (Reuters)

The Americas

Health officials in Puerto Rico on Thursday declared an epidemic of the mosquito-borne virus known as chikungunya. (AP)

Opinion/Blogs

The International AIDS Conference kicks off in Australia next week. Mark speaks with Erin Hofhelder of the ONE Campaign who previews the conference, explains why new data released this week shows that we’re winning the fight against HIV/AIDS, and describes how new anti-LGBT legislation in some countries is undermining progress. (Global Dispatches Podcast)

BRICS Build New Architecture for Financial Democracy (IPS)

From Syria to South Sudan, the need to be prepared has never been greater (Guardian)

Can Modi clean the Ganges, India’s biggest sewage line? (AFP)

A Challenging Cup of Tea (IDDS Tanzania)

Ebola in Sierra Leone: battling sadness, fear and disgust on the frontline (Guardian)

‘ICC should drop charges against Kenyatta, for now‘ (Daily Maverick)

Invisible People (Campaign for Boring Development)

Research/Reports

A conference of international donors pledged more than $2.43 billion to help Bosnia and Serbia recover from devastating floods in May. (AP)

The challenge of ensuring future food security as populations grow and diets change has its roots in soil, but the increasing degradation of the earth’s thin skin is threatening to push up food prices and increase deforestation. (Reuters)

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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.