News in the Humanosphere: climate change summit high on rhetoric

Leonardo DiCaprio, actor and United Nations Messenger of Peace, addresses the climate summit in New York Photograph: Richard Drew/AP

World leaders gathered in New York to address climate change. The US was light on commitments, despite Obama’s much-heralded speech. “As predicted, Obama didn’t announce any new emissions commitments, saying those will come next year. He did, however, announce a new executive order requiring federal agencies to take environmental sustainability into consideration when designing international development programs.” (Salon http://bit.ly/1uW6cc2)

US leads ISIS hits…The US is responsible for the “vast majority” of airstrikes against ISIS, say military officials. “Military officials said that the airstrikes began at midnight Monday local time with the launching of some 40 Tomahawk cruise missiles from the guided missile destroyer Arleigh Burke at positions held in Aleppo by a Qaeda-linked network known as Khorasan and at Islamic State targets around the group’s headquarters in Raqqa.” (NY Times http://nyti.ms/1r6XoQx)

Troubling Ebola outbreak projections

Anywhere from 550,000 and 1.4 million people could have been infected by Ebola by the middle of January, warns the CDC. “Extensive, immediate actions – such as those already started – can bring the epidemic to a tipping point to start a rapid decline in cases,” CDC said in a statement. (VOA http://bit.ly/XWf3NO)

Another projection of Ebola cases from a WHO panel of experts comes with the warning that it may become endemic. ““The disintegration of the health care systems in the affected countries is already having a profound impact on the populations’ health beyond Ebola, as clinics close or become overwhelmed or nonfunctional,” write Dr Jeremy Farrar and Dr Peter Piot, in an accompanying editorial.” (Humanosphere http://bit.ly/1uW5tb1)
Ebola drug trial to roll out… A clinical trial of a prototype for a Ebola treatment will launch with the backing of the British biomedical research charity Welcome Trust. “The charity said there had been some experiments with treatments already “but none has yet been tested for efficacy and safety in humans with Ebola” and scientists underlined that months of cautious work lay ahead.” http://yhoo.it/XWi1lo

Africa

Amid concerns about media freedoms, repressive measures and the death penalty, can Gaborone remain a beacon of progress for the continent? (Guardian http://bit.ly/1rmfIny)

Sierra Leone’s army has “sealed off” the borders with Liberia and Guinea in a bid to halt the spread of Ebola, the army spokesman said. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1qqCXI8)

Liberia has been the hardest hit country in West Africa’s Ebola outbreak with more than three-thousand cases. Fourteen of the country’s fifteen counties have been affected. (VOA http://bit.ly/1qqAiyc)

A German-American journalist who was kidnapped in Somalia more than two and a half years ago has been released. (VOA http://bit.ly/1rmiERk)

Thousands of residents of Warrap state in South Sudan have been displaced after heavy rains caused flash flooding that washed away entire villages, state officials and aid agencies said. (VOA http://bit.ly/1qqAvBw)

Presidents from three Sahelian nations met at the United Nations to discuss what may prove to be the only upbeat topic of the week at the General Assembly. The subject of their meeting was the vast potential for economic growth in the Sahel over the coming decades due to a phenomenon known as a “Demographic Dividend.” (IPS http://bit.ly/1qqBO39)

MENA

The United Nations refugee agency said it was making contingency plans for all 400,000 inhabitants of the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani to flee into Turkey to escape advancing Islamic State militants. (VOA http://bit.ly/1rmi8mh)

Israel’s high court on Monday outlawed a detention center where African migrants are held without trial and ordered some 2,000 inmates there released over the next three months. (VOA http://bit.ly/1qqzR6M)

The United States and a group of five Arab countries have carried out air strikes against Islamic State militants in Syria. (VOA http://bit.ly/1qqA3D8)

Around 1.8 million Iraqis have been displaced by the conflict in Iraq since mid-June. The humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate because of the fighting and many Iraqis are living in precarious conditions without access to food, water or shelter. (WFP http://bit.ly/1rmmI3X)

Food prices have risen in Libya as payments problems, fighting and a breakdown in authority disrupt the usual import routes as the country spins out of control three years after the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi. Rice, vegetables such as tomatoes and juice have become more expensive by up to 10 percent in cities such as Benghazi. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1qqGJRD)

Asia

Sanitation infrastructure in India’s sprawling slums belies the official story that the country is well on its way to providing universal access to safe, clean drinking water. (IPS http://bit.ly/1qqBD8e)

Cambodia’s International Tribunal has announced that the second phase of the trial for two former Khmer Rouge leaders will begin on October 17. The date will mark the beginning of the final phase in the trial of Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan. (VOA http://bit.ly/1qqzKs4)

Dozens of Chinese firms are producing and exporting “tools of torture”, from electric stun guns to metal spiked batons, to countries with bad human rights records, rights group Amnesty International said on Tuesday. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1qqDf1M)

Landslides and flash floods triggered by two days of heavy rain have killed at least 28 people in India’s remote northeast, officials said Tuesday. (AP http://yhoo.it/ZHdHYJ)

Sri Lanka’s vast tea sector is comprised of a largely female workforce, but there are some serious problems with their access to healthcare. (IPS http://bit.ly/XWk5Kl)

The Americas

Experts weigh in on the costs and benefits of welcoming undocumented kids into the US public school system. (GlobalPost http://bit.ly/1qqE2Q8)

Governments have agreed to draw up national plans to protect the rights of indigenous groups in their countries as part of a hard-fought agreement during a two-day conference in New York, but it received a warm welcome from indigenous groups. (Guardian http://bit.ly/XWl3WQ)

Opinion/Blogs

UNGA Dispatch: The Launch of the New Global Innovation Fund (CGD http://bit.ly/1qqyCoq)

Failure to help victims is blind spot in struggle against human traffickers (Guardian http://bit.ly/1qqyKUH)

Can IS Ultimately Be Defeated? (VOA http://bit.ly/1rmhftX)

Sustainable Development Goals risk being unworkable (ODI http://bit.ly/1qqzAko)

U.N. High-Level Summits Ignore World’s Political Crises (IPS http://bit.ly/1qqAEEP)

With journalism under attack, protecting press freedom becomes more urgent (GlobalPost http://bit.ly/ZHaQit)

Research/Reports

UNFPA’s Dr Babatunde Osotimehin said over the past 20 years,” we have seen the rise of hundreds of millions out of poverty, gender parity in primary education, fewer women dying giving life and more women in the workforce.” (IPS http://bit.ly/1uW7Avg)

About 500 million farmers in South Asia and Africa need help developing “climate smart agriculture” by 2030 to brace themselves for water shortages and super storms and to mitigate against potential food crises, a coalition of food security groups warned on Tuesday. (TRF http://yhoo.it/XWjLv6)

A £12 million fund to support small, grassroots organisations that are defending sexual and reproductive health and rights was launched in New York, featuring backing from Denmark and the Netherlands. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1uW8ibR)

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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.