News in the Humanosphere: A malaria vaccine on the horizon?

A female Aedes aegypti mosquito. Credit: Sanofi Pasteur/flickr

A big breakthrough was reported in a peer reviewed, scientific journal. “A team of international researchers have made a major step toward a vaccine to for malaria, something scientists have long been trying to achieve as the disease kills up to 600,000 people each year. There have been two major roadblocks – scientists did not know what part of the disease the immune system needed to target, nor did they know the mechanism used by the immune system to block an infection. The head of the Burnet centre for biomedical research in Melbourne, Professor James Beeson, said he and his team had managed to unlock the strategy the immune system needed to use to target and kill the disease.”  (Guardian http://bit.ly/1MMTxjn)

Yemen Lurches Toward Deeper Civil War
“A Yemeni jet commanded by the capital’s Houthi conquerors fired missiles at a palace housing Yemen’s deposed President in the country’s south Thursday, injuring no one but marking an escalation in deadly fighting that’s erupted between forces for and against the ousted leader. The jet flew from Sanaa, which Houthi rebels overtook in January, to the palace in the port city of Aden, where the jet conducted the strikes Thursday afternoon, a senior air force official said on condition of anonymity.” (CNN http://cnn.it/1EyXcxi)

Quote of the Day
Bill Gates makes call for “germ games” (as opposed to “war games.”) “The Ebola epidemic was a wake-up call to get ready,” Gates said during an on-stage presentation at TED in Vancouver. “There is no need to panic – we don’t need to horde cans and spaghetti in the basement – but we should get going.” (AFP http://yhoo.it/1MMTXWU)

Africa

Senegal’s president wants to shorten his term in office to “set an example” for other African countries. (AP http://yhoo.it/1MMTRPc)

Violent clashes have erupted between the army and a militia in eastern DR Congo, forcing many civilians to flee their homes, officials said Thursday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1EuPGRH)

Sierra Leone is planning another three-day, countrywide shutdown later this month to ferret out Ebola cases, remind people how to protect themselves from the disease and control its transmission. (AP http://yhoo.it/1H5xmEN)

Human rights activists and journalists are increasingly being targeted by the regime of Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, a rights group said in a report Thursday, days after two activists were arrested in Africa’s second-largest oil producer. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1MMTVOU)

Guinea’s opposition withdrew its lawmakers from parliament Wednesday and said it would no longer recognize the election commission in protest over the timetable for presidential elections. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1MMTR1I)

Democratic Republic of Congo ordered the immediate expulsion of four foreign pro-democracy activists detained at the weekend during a news conference and criticized the United States for supporting the event. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1MMTUum)

Central and West African states will hold a summit next month to agree a common strategy to combat the Boko Haram insurgency, their leaders said. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1MMTVhO)

Sierra Leone’s fired vice president says his removal by the president was unconstitutional, and he will challenge it in the country’s supreme court. (AP http://yhoo.it/1EuPGBd)

Conservation group WWF on Wednesday urged the Democratic Republic of Congo to “drop any plans” of modifying the boundaries of Virunga national park – home to the mountain gorilla – for oil exploration purposes. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1H5xwvX)

MENA

The United Nations human rights office said on Thursday that Islamic State fighters may have committed genocide against the minority Yazidi community in Iraq as well as crimes against humanity and war crimes against civilians including children. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1EuPEJI)

Gordon Brown, U.N. special envoy for education, launched an international appeal Wednesday to close a funding gap and pay for the education of 500,000 Syrian refugee children in Lebanon. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1MMTV1s)

Asia

Vanuatu has hit out at aid groups swarming the cyclone-ravaged Pacific nation over a lack of coordination, which it said cost precious time getting help to those in need, while warning food will run out in a week. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1EuPCS4)

A Myanmar court sentenced two reporters to two months in prison on charges of defamation, in the latest ruling that raises concerns about press freedoms as the country emerges from military rule. (AP http://yhoo.it/1F8tzG3)

The U.S. military bases in Kandahar and Jalalabad are likely to remain open beyond the end of 2015, a senior U.S. official said, as Washington considers slowing its military pull-out from Afghanistan to help the new government fight the Taliban. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1MMTVOP)

IMF chief Christine Lagarde said India is poised to become the world’s fastest growing major economy overtaking China as early as this year. During a recent visit to India, she also cautioned emerging markets to brace for instability in the event of a hike in interest rates by the United States. (VOA http://bit.ly/1BZLCMe)

The Americas

Haiti asked the U.N. to delay a plan that would nearly cut in half its peacekeeping force there, just as the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere is poised to enter a tense election period. (AP http://yhoo.it/1MMTTXh)

Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff announced a series of anti-graft measures in the wake of Sunday’s massive nationwide rallies calling for her impeachment and protesting rampant corruption in Latin America’s largest country. (AP http://yhoo.it/1H5xowj)

The Amazon rain forest’s ability to soak up greenhouse gases from the air has fallen sharply, possibly because climate change and droughts mean more trees are dying, an international team of scientists said. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1MMTRi6)

...and the rest
Nearly half of the world’s hungry, amounting to about 363 million people, live in some of the rising middle income countries, including Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and Mexico, according to a new report released Wednesday by the Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute. (IPS http://bit.ly/1BZKVlR)
Opinion/Blogs

What four years of conflict have done to Syria — in one infographic (GlobalPost http://bit.ly/1EuPJNj)

Meet the man leading Britain’s fight against Ebola (Guardian http://bit.ly/1H5wQ9K)

9 ways to measure disaster resilience better (TRF http://tmsnrt.rs/1O9flav)

Key to Preventing Disasters Lies in Understanding Them (Inter Press Service http://bit.ly/195zttm)

Here’s how the Cambodians who stitch your clothes are routinely abused (GlobalPost http://bit.ly/1F8tG4h)

Abbott on Australia’s modest aid cuts (DevPolicy http://bit.ly/1O9frin)

What you need to know about DRR (IRIN http://bit.ly/1F8urdM)

Ghana, the rising star: progress in political voice, health and education (ODI http://bit.ly/195zGg0)

How Malaria In The Brain Kills: Doctors Solve A Medical Mystery (NPR http://n.pr/195Adif)

Smallholder Farmers and Agricultural Value Chains: What Is the Policy Relevance? (Marc Bellemare http://bit.ly/1AJKQ1y)

Why the ICC Won’t Prosecute Museveni (Justice in Conflict http://bit.ly/1O9frii)

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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.