News in the Humanosphere: Malaria deaths dropped sharply since 2000, says WHO

A village malaria worker takes a blood sample, in Cambodia. (Gates Foundation)

The World Health Organization reports there has been a dramatic fall in the number of malaria deaths since 2000 and the number of cases is also steadily going down. “Mortality in children under five, the age group, which concentrates the biggest malaria problem in terms of severe disease and death, has reduced by a staggering 58 percent,” WHO Global Malaria Program Director Pedro Alonso said. “And, if we try to quantify the number of lives saved since 2000 up to 2014, we estimate that over four million deaths have been averted.” (VOA http://bit.ly/1GfJtdt)

A stunning report on US torture…The CIA’s interrogation of suspected terrorists after the 9/11 attacks was far more brutal than the agency disclosed and failed to elicit information about any imminent threats to the USA, the Senate Intelligence Committee concluded in a searing report released Tuesday. “Our review indicates that interrogations of detainees on whom EITs (enhanced interrogation techniques) were used did produce intelligence that helped thwart attack plans, capture terrorists, and save lives,” CIA Director John Brennan said in a statement. “The intelligence gained from the program was critical to our understanding of al-Qa’ida and continues to inform our counterterrorism efforts to this day.” (USA Today http://usat.ly/1wapz2p)

Israeli war crimes in Gaza? Amnesty International says Israel committed war crimes in Gaza with what the human rights group called the “deliberate and direct” destruction of four civilian high-rise buildings in August. (VOA http://bit.ly/1qqFOrm)

Just half of major global banks have in place a public policy to respect human rights, according to new research, despite this being a foundational mandate of an international convention on multinational business practice. (IPS http://bit.ly/12ox4XH)

Ebola

A senior United Nations official says an upsurge in the transmission of the deadly Ebola virus in western Sierra Leone and northern Guinea requires a more intense international response to halt the spread of this fatal disease. (VOA http://bit.ly/1qqu7RC)

The impact of recent years of land grabbing have left a mark on Liberian communities — one that might be complicating the Ebola crisis response. (Mic http://bit.ly/1vLfoRR)

Africa

A year of unrest in South Sudan has crippled the young nation’s economy, experts say. Hundreds of thousands of workers have been displaced from their homes by the fighting, and output of the government’s main source of revenue, oil, is down sharply, says a senior economic analyst at the Juba-based Ebony Center for Strategic Studies. (VOA http://bit.ly/1qqu1cE)

Businesses have shut up shop, generators have sold out and cars play cat-and-mouse at darkened road junctions in South Africa, where power cuts have suddenly become a daily reality. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1qqvOhR)

The leader of Zambia’s opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) said that of the country’s three main political parties, his is the only stable one. (VOA http://bit.ly/1GfJo9G)

Democratic Republic of Congo’s second-largest opposition party, the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC), expelled its leader and two other senior officials on Monday, a day after they agreed to join a new national unity government. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1GfK9zK)

As unemployment deepens across this Southern African nation and as the country battles to achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) ahead of the December 2015 deadline, thousands of urban Zimbabweans here are facing starvation. (IPS http://bit.ly/12owKIw)

MENA

The World Food Program has resumed its program providing food vouchers to Syrian refugees in five countries, following a week of massive fundraising. (VOA http://bit.ly/1qqtXJL)

The U.N. refugee agency said on Tuesday that Western governments had heeded a call to take in more Syrian refugees from neighboring countries and estimated that, in all, more than 100,000 places would be offered in the coming months. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1zpx9qR)

Jordan is straining under the weight of its over 600,000 Syrian refugees, with government officials and aid agencies warning of dwindling resources and capacity to respond to the ever-growing needs. (IRIN http://bit.ly/1GfTjMt)

Egyptian pro-democracy activist Ahmed Douma was sentenced to three years in jail on Tuesday after he accused the judge of bias and denounced his trial on charges of violence against the state as political. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1qqvOyd)

The U.N. peace envoy to Syria on Tuesday rejected suggestions that a proposed truce in the northern city of Aleppo would play into President Bashar al-Assad’s hands, saying it was a stepping stone in a political process and vital to allowing in aid. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/12owh9d)

Asia

Philippine police say at least nine people were killed Tuesday and more than 20 others wounded when a powerful blast ripped through a commuter bus in the southern Philippines. (VOA http://bit.ly/1qqu9IZ)

Indian police questioned an Uber executive Tuesday about the company’s claim it conducts comprehensive background checks and a top official called for the taxi-booking service to be banned nationwide after one of its New Delhi drivers was accused of rape. (AP http://yhoo.it/1zpx5aK)

Marginalised communities and civil society groups helping them are warning of a “tragedy” in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) as international funding for HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis (TB) programmes in the regions is cut back. (IPS http://bit.ly/12owLMo)

The Americas

More than 150 protesters were arrested in California overnight after shutting down a major freeway in another outbreak of nationwide demonstrations against police use of deadly force on minorities. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1zpx8Do)

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, expressing deep concern about slow action to combat climate change, told governments at U.N. talks in Lima on Tuesday there was no “time for tinkering” and urged a radical shift to greener economies. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1zpxgmm)

The US Senate backs a bill which would impose travel bans and economic sanctions on Venezuelan officials found to have violated protesters’ rights. (BBC http://bbc.in/1qqEvZm)

A new wave of Cuban comedians is drawing big broadcast audiences and huge live crowds, using biting humor to take on corruption, shortages, government inefficiency and other everyday problems in a country where the government tolerates little dissent. (AP http://yhoo.it/12owglF)

The Climate Investment Funds, an institution that finances programs to cut greenhouse gas emissions, has received an injection of $765 million that increased CIF’s total pledges to $8.3 billion, according to Mafalda Duarte, who manages the funds. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/12owhGk)

Opinion/Blogs

Responding to Ebola’s Long-Term Threat to Development (CGD http://bit.ly/1qqFw3F)

Nigeria: When wealth doesn’t mean development (WhyDev http://bit.ly/1qqFKrD)

The Senate Report on the C.I.A.’s Torture and Lies (NY Times http://nyti.ms/1vLeGUQ

I am an economist therefore I assert (Bottom Up Thinking http://bit.ly/1B2zeZ1)

How Is Somalia Navigating The Healing Vacuum? (Medium http://bit.ly/1B2zozC)

Much-awaited government shuffle brings in opposition parties, bolsters Kabila’s grasp on power (Congo Siasa http://bit.ly/1B2zlDP)

Deconstructing Green (Campaign for Boring Development http://bit.ly/1B2zl6U)

Britain and the US must help mend the Syrian refugee crisis they helped create (The Guardian http://bit.ly/1qqFR6G)

When disaster strikes, we’re more ready than ever before (The Guardian http://bit.ly/1GfTkzX)

Women Must Be Partners and Drivers of Climate Change Decision-Making (IPS http://bit.ly/12otvkp)

South Africa: The Long Goodbye to Cheap and Abundant Electricity (Daily Maverick http://bit.ly/1zpEQgG)

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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.