News in the Humanosphere: 2.81 million face hunger in Central America, warns WFP

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A severe drought has ravaged crops in Central America and as many as 2.81 million people are struggling to feed themselves, the World Food Programme said on Friday, though the region’s coffee crop has been largely unscathed. (Reuters)

Surprising Facts About Suicide Around the World… One person commits suicide every 40 seconds — more than all the yearly victims of wars and natural disaster — with the highest toll among the elderly, the United Nations said Thursday. (AP)

Plus… The New York Times discovers that the WHO is totally underfunded and understaffed! A must-read

Africa
Amid fears that Islamist militants were closing in on the major city in Nigeria’s northeast, hundreds of residents were said to be fleeing Maiduguri on Thursday in the face of doubts that the army could repel an attack on the metropolis of more than one million people. (NYT)

Cameroon’s military says some 400 Nigerian soldiers have sought refuge in the country after fleeing intense fighting against Boko Haram militants in Nigeria’s Borno State. (VOA)

Malawi President Peter Mutharika, who took office in May, is considering all options for cracking down on a recent surge in violent crime in the country. (VOA)

Nigerian authorities are monitoring nearly 400 people for signs of Ebola after they came in contact with a Port Harcourt doctor who died of the disease but hid the fact that he had been exposed, a senior Nigerian health official said. (VOA)

Nearly 200 experts on Ebola are meeting in Switzerland to discuss possible cures and vaccines for the deadly disease, as the number of cases in West Africa continues to rise. (VOA)

South Africa’s main opposition party said on Thursday it would seek a reopening of a corruption inquiry against President Jacob Zuma after the release of secret evidence cited in a 2009 decision to drop the case. (Reuters)

Fear of contracting the deadly Ebola virus is hampering efforts to recruit international health workers and slowing the delivery of protective garments and other vital materials to stricken areas in West Africa, World Health Organization officials. (Reuters)

USAID is providing $75 million to fund 1,000 more beds in Ebola treatment centers in Liberia and tens of thousands of protective suits for health care workers. (AP)

MENA
Four months of fighting by militias in Libya’s two biggest cities, Tripoli and Benghazi, has forced some 250,000 people to flee, including 100,000 who have been internally displaced, finds a new UN report. (AP)

Hundreds of thousands of children in Iraq’s northern Kurdish region are facing an “education emergency” after being forced from their homes, with hundreds of schools used to shelter displaced families. (AFP)

Saudi Arabia is changing tack in its labor reforms, softening the blow to companies with money for subsidies and training while trying to lure Saudis to the private sector with more attractive working conditions. (VOA)

Power cuts hit many parts of Egypt on Thursday, causing blackouts and halting some public transport in the Arab world’s most populous country. (Reuters)

Two Britons researching migrant worker issues in Qatar, the Gulf nation that is due to host the 2022 World Cup, have gone missing after one of them reported being harassed by police, according to the Norwegian human rights group that employs them. (AP)

Asia
Bangladesh announced this week that it will send back over 2,000 Muslim Rohingya refugees to Myanmar, stoking concerns about the prospect of returning them to an increasingly dire situation. (IRIN)

An estimated 135 million children under the age of five in the Asia-Pacific region have not been registered by any government agency. That leaves them unable to claim national identities needed for access to rights and critical services. A major push is about to commence to get such children, and those of all ages, a legal identity. (VOA)

Child trafficking is earning front-page headlines in Indian states where thousands of children are believed to be victims of the illicit trade. (IPS)

Private orphanages have mushroomed across Nepal in the absence of a state-run welfare system, their growth fueled by corruption and the prospect of attracting donations from foreigners, activists say.

The completed a nationwide polio immunization campaign in all districts of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces. The national immunization days campaign was carried out during three days between 17 and 19 August. http://bit.ly/1o2sdjh

The Americas
Torture is still rife in Mexico and routinely used to extract confessions, human rights organisation Amnesty International says. (BBC)

The dengue vaccine developed by the French pharmaceutical Sanofi has shown an efficacy of 60.8 percent in tests with children and teenagers in Latin America, and is effective against all four serotypes of the disease, the company said today. (El Universo)

Oregon researchers developing a vaccine that has shown promise in preventing HIV infection in primates said on Wednesday they have been awarded a $25 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. (Reuters)

Opinion/Blogs
Can Constitution Respond to Challenge of Addressing Inequality? (SACSIS)

A Development Agenda without Developing Countries? The Politics of Penurious Poverty Lines (CGD)

Sexual health isnt just about health its about sex too (Guardian)

Lesotho coup: a squabble among elites or a sign of social instability? (Guardian)

Sanctions and Retaliations: Simply Unconscionable (IPS)

Obama’s Syria Dilemma: Global Dispatches Podcast  

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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.