News in the Humanosphere: Boko Haram is on the march

Screen grab of a 2013 Boko Haram video.

Three incidents over the last three days suggest that Boko Haram is becoming more and more audacious in its attacks, and that the situation is spiraling out of control. On Sunday, Boko Haram fighters orchestrated a prison break that freed more than 130 inmates and compatriots. On Monday, a suicide attack killed dozens of Shia worshippers. And yesterday, Boko Haram fighters took control of commercial town, including a large cement factory, renamed the town, and are now effectively holding thousands of residents hostage. The Nigerian government very clearly does not have the situation anywhere close to being under control.  Two stories: (The Premium Times http://bit.ly/1pifPlQ) and (AFP http://yhoo.it/1pifKyh)

Stat of the day: 94,000 people die of snake bites every year, mostly in Southeast Asia. At the big American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene meeting, scientists announced a new method to deduce the species of snake based on DNA samples from the bite mark.

U.S. midterm elections: The fate of the U.S. Senate is up for grabs.  We recommend FiveThirtyEight’s Live Blog for wonky and thoughtful coverage of the results. Stay tuned over the next few days  for analysis of the implications of this election for U.S. foreign policy and international development.  http://53eig.ht/1seuFVT

Ebola

Thousands of people in Sierra Leone are being forced to violate Ebola quarantines to find food because deliveries are not reaching them, aid agencies said. (AP http://yhoo.it/10igHKY)

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim Tuesday urged Asia to send trained health workers to Ebola-stricken West Africa, warning the focus on stricter border control was not the solution. (Yahoo http://yhoo.it/1uqyqhi)

From using Bitcoins to raise funds, to adopting new strategies to prevent malaria victims appearing to be Ebola cases, to working with new partners – aid agencies in West Africa are learning to adapt fast. (IRIN http://bit.ly/1uqGiiU)

Thirty-nine people who traveled on buses with a toddler who died from Ebola in Mali are still being sought for checks, although the country is believed to be free of the disease, the World Health Organization said. (Reuters http://bit.ly/10ip356)

Guinean authorities say they are planning to move the country’s main Ebola treatment center to a larger site. The center has been overwhelmed by new cases in the past month. (VOA http://bit.ly/10ip6hy)

Africa

International envoys tried Tuesday to resolve Burkina Faso’s political crisis, with the specter of a power vacuum looming after the country’s longtime president fled last week. (AP http://yhoo.it/1uqC6j9)

Zambia’s acting president on Tuesday rescinded his decision to dismiss the ruling party’s chief in a bid to defuse a political conflict that triggered overnight riots. (AP http://yhoo.it/10if1B1)

Several hundred magistrates in the Democratic Republic of Congo began an “indefinite” strike over pay. (Yahoo http://yhoo.it/1uqy8XX)

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir was in Khartoum for talks with his Sudanese counterpart on Tuesday after a new flare-up of fighting in his country’s 11-month civil war. (Yahoo http://yhoo.it/1uqzJNs)

Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court said they want to put Côte d’Ivoire’s former president and another suspect alleged to be one of his key supporters on trial together on charges of involvement in deadly violence that erupted after the country’s 2010 presidential elections. (AP http://yhoo.it/1uqAw0M)

The U.N. refugee agency on Tuesday voiced alarm at violence raging in a sprawling complex of refugee camps in northwestern Kenya that has left eight dead in the past week. (AFP http://yhoo.it/10iiJKX)

At least one Democratic Republic of Congo soldier was killed in clashes with a Ugandan rebel group blamed for massacres at a national park in the country’s remote north east, the U.N. peacekeeping mission said. (Reuters http://bit.ly/10ioFnn)

Aid and some small harvests have helped stave off a feared famine in South Sudan, but any more fighting there could still leave millions facing severe hunger next year, a senior World Food Programme official said. (Reuters http://bit.ly/10ioRD7)

MENA

There is still not an effective or united Palestinian government in place in Gaza and unless stability is achieved rapidly, another conflict will engulf the territory, a senior United Nations official said. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/10iiTCe)

Iraq’s reckless spending on its battle against Islamic State, including over $1 billion on Shiite militias accused of human rights abuses, is undermining efforts to keep the country functioning, the finance minister said. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1uqBZUH)

A Human Rights Watch report says Kurdish children between the ages of 14 and 16 were tortured and abused while detained by the Islamic State militant group in Syria. (VOA http://bit.ly/1uqHenv)

Asia

Thai authorities have distributed hundreds of assault rifles to village volunteers in the insurgency-battered south, in a move seemingly at odds with a pledge to find peace to a decade-long conflict within a year. (AFP http://bit.ly/10ijMux)

India on Tuesday ordered that Delhi’s legislative assembly be dissolved for a new election after the three main political parties failed to form a government this year for a city of nearly 25 million people. (AP http://yhoo.it/10ifdjW)

People in northern Afghanistan describe how increasingly extreme weather patterns are making their lives harder every year, they map out many of the symptoms of climate change. As a new U.N. report warns that “irreversible” climate change is affecting more people than ever, these Afghans are on the front line. (IRIN http://bit.ly/1uqGGhq)

Thailand’s military government appointed a committee to draft a new constitution on Tuesday in a move seen aimed at preventing ousted former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his allies from returning to power. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1uqzxgY)

Sri Lanka confirmed that at least 10 people died and 28 are still missing from a mudslide at a tea plantation last week, as officials began using voting and school records to count how many more people may be buried under the mud. (AP http://yhoo.it/10ihMCu)

As the number of ethnic Rohingya Muslims fleeing Myanmar hits record levels, the prospects for a lasting settlement of the crisis in Myanmar’s Rakhine State look bleak. (IRIN http://bit.ly/10inrs5)

The Americas

Mexican police detained Tuesday a fugitive ex-mayor and his wife accused of ordering a police attack that left six people dead and 43 college students missing since last month. (AP http://yhoo.it/10ih3Bc)

Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro announces he will raise the minimum wage by 15 percent to counteract an inflation rate of more than 60%. (BBC http://bbc.in/10ikM1M)

Opinion/Blogs

Global tax reform is on the agenda at the G20 in Brisbane to prevent aggressive tax avoidance, but developing countries are being excluded from decision-making. DAWNser Rosalina Press reports in the Guardian http://bit.ly/1pieBa8

More than sexual exploitation, human trafficking is forced labor (GlobalPost http://bit.ly/1uqCT3M)

The painfully obvious Core Humanitarian Standards highlight a humanitarian system that’s out of touch (MSF UK http://bit.ly/10ikfwG)

What if we had a safe and natural way to capture and store carbon? (CGD http://bit.ly/1uqDD8S)

My two big worries about the World Bank (CGD http://bit.ly/1uqDToj)

Where’s the evidence that land grabs are good for economic progress? (The Guardian http://bit.ly/1uqGdfg)

Ending violence against women – a global responsibility (Inter Press Service http://bit.ly/10ipufR)

U-report Liberia launches in Westpoint – keep chillin at 8737 (Stories of UNICEF Innovation http://bit.ly/1xa3IWJ)

“Shocking” report on flu vaccine is neither shocking nor correct (Forbes http://onforb.es/1x1iFOe)

Seven myths about disasters (Trust http://tmsnrt.rs/1xa493v)

The dilemmas of Ebola, and an African state on the edge of genocide (Devpolicy Blog http://bit.ly/1x1iHWu)

Research/Reports

More than two-thirds of the investments made by the private sector arm of the U.K.’s aid program last year were channeled through “notoriously secretive” tax havens, according to a report that calls on European development agencies to be more transparent and accountable in their business dealings. (Guardian http://bit.ly/10inggA)

A new report published by the Committee to Protect Journalists shows that nine out of 10 cases of journalist killings go unpunished. The report found that between 2004 and 2013, 370 journalists were murdered “in direct retaliation for their work” and that in 90 percent of these cases there was total impunity – “no arrests, no prosecutions, no convictions.” (IPS http://bit.ly/1uqJsDo)

The Gates Foundation’s spending on fighting hunger overwhelmingly goes to NGOs and consortiums based in the global north. Only around 10 percent of nearly 3 billion in grants has been spent in Africa according to new research.  (GRAIN http://bit.ly/1pieQC1)

The U.N. Refugee Agency Tuesday launched an ambitious campaign to wipe out statelessness in the next decade with the goal of preventing millions from spending their entire lives without legal documentation. (AP http://yhoo.it/10iglnx)

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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.