News in the Humanosphere: USA Getting Closer to Striking in Syria

Screenshot from recent VICE series on the Islamic State.

There are growing signs that the White House is laying the groundwork for strikes against Islamic State targets inside Syria. “Defense officials said on Monday evening that the Pentagon is sending in manned and unmanned reconnaissance flights over Syria, using a combination of aircraft, including drones and possibly U2 spy planes. Mr. Obama approved the flights over the weekend, a senior administration official said. The flights are a significant step toward direct American military action in Syria, an intervention that could alter the battlefield in the nation’s three-year civil war.” (NYT)

Meet The Face of the Fight Against Ebola…”David Nabarro, a British physician the United Nations appointed to coordinate the global response to the crisis, was in Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown for the fifth day of a tour of the region. “The effort to defeat Ebola is not a battle but a war which requires everybody working together, hard and effectively,” he told a news conference. “I hope it will be done in six months but we have to do it until it is completed.” (Yahoo)

Ebola
The United Nations cautioned against flight restrictions into and out of Ebola-affected countries in West Africa, saying such limitations were preventing the transport of critically-needed health workers and supplies, as well as contributing to economic and diplomatic isolation of the region. (UN News Center )

Liberia’s president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has called for creation of a board of inquiry to look into last week’s Ebola-related rioting and deadly shooting in the West Point slum of Liberia’s capital, Monrovia. (VOA)

The WHO said on Monday it has sent protective equipment for medical staff to Democratic Republic of Congo, where authorities have confirmed two cases of Ebola in a remote area. (Reuters)

One of three African doctors infected with Ebola and treated with the experimental drug ZMapp has died in Monrovia, Liberia’s Information Minister Lewis Brown said on Monday. (Reuters)

Japan said Monday it is ready to provide a Japanese-developed anti-influenza drug as a possible treatment for the rapidly expanding Ebola outbreak. (AP)

Africa
South Sudan’s warring leaders signed a fresh ceasefire deal Monday vowing to end more than eight months of conflict, according to mediators who threatened sanctions should the agreement fail once again.

The cholera outbreak in Ghana has led to more than 1,000 cases in the last three weeks. Nine districts out of sixteen have recorded cases to date with Accra metro and Dadekotpon are the most affected districts and account for 87% of cases. (IFRC)

Boko Haram’s declaration of a caliphate and an Islamic state in Nigeria yesterday mirrors the declaration made three months ago by the leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. (VOA)

Mozambique’s government and the former rebel Renamo movement have signed an accord to end two years of low-level fighting. The unrest had raised fears the southern African country would slip back into civil war, two decades after Renamo and the ruling Frelimo party ended hostilities. (VOA)

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe met with Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Monday on a visit to China hoping the long-time ally and economic giant can help the African nation’s ailing economy. (AP)

The Tanzanian government’s system of rounding up children with albinism in state-run education centers isn’t adequately protecting them from widespread superstitious beliefs that human albino body parts will bring wealth and success or cure disease, the UN human rights office said. (AP)

The government of South Sudan signed an Action Plan with the UN in 2012 to end the use of child soldiers but there is evidence the ongoing conflict is eroding any gains achieved. (IRIN)

MENA
A sharp increase in fuel prices threatens to plunge hundreds of thousands of Yemenis into poverty and food insecurity in the Arab world’s poorest country – particularly if regular welfare payments to Yemen’s poorest people continue to be dispersed erratically, aid organizations have warned. (IRIN)

Twice in the last seven days, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have secretly launched airstrikes against Islamist-allied militias battling for control of Tripoli, Libya, four senior American officials said, in a major escalation of a regional power struggle set off by Arab Spring revolts. (NYT)

The hunt for the Islamist State militant who beheaded US journalist Jim Foley is focusing on British jihadists, including a one-time British rapper known as L Jinny. (VOA)

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights condemned the appalling, widespread and systematic deprivation of human rights in Iraq by the Islamic State and associated forces. The violations include targeted killings, forced conversions, abductions, trafficking, slavery, sexual abuse, destruction of places of religious and cultural significance, and the besieging of entire communities because of ethnic, religious or sectarian affiliation. (UNHCR)

Syria says it is willing to work with the international community, including the United States and Britain, to fight the advance of Islamic State militants inside Syria, but warned that any attacks should only be carried out in coordination with Damascus. (VOA)

Asia
Adolescent girls in Bangladesh’s Mymensingh district meet once a week to discuss their rights, and topics like sanitation and personal hygiene. (IPS)

Thailand’s young people are facing a new rise in HIV infections – the virus that causes AIDS. Researchers say they are finding it tougher to reach at-risk populations with messages about safer sex. (VOA)

Vietnam has a nutrition problem that sounds like a contradiction: too many of its children are underweight, but at the same time, more and more children are becoming overweight every year. (VOA)

The Americas
Police in Brazil say four prisoners have been killed – two of them decapitated – in a riot in a jail in the southern city of Cascavel. (BBC)

While accurate figures for New York’s unsheltered homeless are hard to come by, the thousands sleeping on the streets are in addition to the 53,615 people – a record-breaking figure not seen since the Great Depression – who enrolled in the city’s shelter system in January this year. (IPS)

Opinion/Blogs
Gaza aid worker: we have stopped feeling anything (Guardian)

Inequality and the dangerous radicals (Global Dashboard)

NZ aid and the New Zealand private sector’s role in Pacific sustainable economic development (Dev Policy)

“We are eating grass because there is no food” (UN Dispatch)

The Post-2015 Development Goals Need to Address Migration—And It Looks Like They Just Might (CGD)

The Loss of Skill in the Industrial Revolution (The Growth Economics Blog)

Australia has a Problem (UN Dispatch)

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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.