News in the Humanosphere: New push for peace in South Sudan

Dec 2013 - A patient is treated by a military doctor in a ward of mainly soldiers with gunshot wounds,at the Juba Military Hospital in Juba, South Sudan. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File)

The “troika” is back. “Heavyweight international powers will pressure South Sudan’s leaders to end civil war, diplomats said Thursday, with the African Union, United Nations, United States and China to kickstart stalled peace talks. Over a year of talks mediated by East Africa’s eight-country IGAD bloc have failed to make headway, with the last attempt breaking down last month, and rebel forces accusing regional nations of bias. The U.N. Security Council has passed a resolution paving the way for targeted sanctions. Now diplomats have told AFP they plan a boosted “IGAD-plus” to bring in extra powers to add pressure.” (AFP http://yhoo.it/1y7LdYb)

Nuba Reports Special: Over the past month, SPLA-N rebels have attacked nearly a dozen garrison towns across Sudan’s South Kordofan State. Their goal is to disrupt the elections and show the government the scope of their military reach. The attacks have been highly coordinated, often hitting multiple garrison towns on the same day. Read the latest dispatch from Nuba Reports and watch the accompanying video: http://bit.ly/1PnnsAY

Promising Ebola Stat of the day: 30…Thirty confirmed cases of Ebola were reported in West Africa in the past week, the smallest number in nearly a year of the worst ever outbreak of the deadly fever, the World Health Organization said. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1CkpGrI)

Yet More Excellent Ebola News…The American clinician from Partners in Health who contracted ebola in Sierra Leone was released from the NIH hospital in Bethesda, Maryland having been declared virus free. (PIH http://bit.ly/1NXvEEn)

Most countries don’t make the grade on education…The UN gave a third of the world’s countries a passing grade Thursday for efforts to provide universal basic education, but said most governments had failed on a pledge made 15 years ago. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1FECFYM)

Africa

Warring forces in the Central African Republic have agreed to a ceasefire deal after months of negotiations mediated by Kenya, Nairobi announced  (AFP http://yhoo.it/1FpQyYq)

Cameroonian refugees displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency in northern Cameroon say they are living in desperate conditions — going without food, water and medicine for days at a time. They complain the government and U.N. agencies are focusing solely on Nigerian refugees and ignoring their needs. (VOA http://bit.ly/1IMEDXp)

An early test for Nigerian president-elect Muhammadu Buhari is how his incoming administration will handle the volatile oil revenue-generating Delta, where former militia commanders pledged their support to Goodluck Jonathan, their clansman, who was emphatically beaten in the 28 March presidential election. (IRIN http://bit.ly/1y7GGVG)

All of Togo’s presidential candidates have agreed on an updated but still “imperfect” voter roll, removing an obstacle that had forced a delay in the election that will now take place on April 25, election officials said. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1DnrsfK)

South Africa’s University of Cape Town decided to remove a contentious statue of British imperialist Cecil John Rhodes which has triggered protests from students over the past month. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1Ivsz09)

Norway’s state-owned development fund, Norfund, plans to double or even triple its investments in Sub-Saharan Africa’s power sector by 2020, its managing director said. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1DnrpAz)

Malawi police are under orders to shoot anyone attacking albinos in the latest bid to crack down on a rising wave of violence against albinos in East Africa whose body parts are prized in black magic. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1CkpHMo)

For the first time in decades, young basketball players in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, are enjoying better security and playing tournaments at night – attracting more fans. (VOA http://bit.ly/1y7GCW2)

MENA

The International Committee of the Red Cross is calling for immediate access for humanitarian aid to the  embattled Yarmouk Palestinian camp in the Syrian capital. (AP http://yhoo.it/1FECNYp)

Asia

The United Nations has launched an appeal for $111 million to help a vast portion of North Korea’s population now facing a food crisis. (VOA http://bit.ly/1IMEFyB)

Bangladeshi women who are not content to sit by and wait for the lack of female representation in news stories to change have taken matters into their own hands. They are doing so by getting on the airwaves and using the radio as a tool to raise the voices of women and bring rural issues into the limelight. (IPS http://bit.ly/1DnrdkQ)

To escape the beatings and find a sense of belonging, LGBT people in Asia flock to cities in their own country, and increasingly – with the Internet and social media easing migration for jobs and gay marriage – many are leaving their home country altogether. (TRF http://yhoo.it/1FpT151)

China’s environment ministry has refused approval for a hydropower dam on an ecologically vulnerable river already damaged by construction, a rare setback for the country’s extensive dam-building program. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1FpT8gP)

An American aid worker deported by North Korea on charges of using her humanitarian status as a cover to gather and produce anti-Pyongyang propaganda arrived in China Thursday, the US embassy said. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1FECOvo)

The Americas

About 100 supporters of Cuba’s government aggressively heckled dissidents from the communist-run island attending a civil society forum Wednesday at the start of the Summit of the Americas in Panama. (AP http://yhoo.it/1FpSPml)

El Salvador had more homicides in March than any other single month in a decade, a dark milestone that some attribute to the collapse of a gang truce and one that could mark a trend of greater violence to come. (AP http://yhoo.it/1y7KPZJ)

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet said her ambitious reform drive would not be derailed by a recent run of natural and political storms that have dragged her popularity to an all-time low, promising to continue with “key” educational changes. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1IvsEAZ)

The biggest hurdle to signing peace with Colombia’s FARC rebels and ending a half century of war is getting the Marxist group to agree to face punishment for human rights abuses, President Juan Manuel Santos said. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1FpQzvf)

A new legal definition of what constitutes a family took effect in Nicaragua, drawing ire from gay groups who say it massively impacts their rights. (AP http://yhoo.it/1FECOve)

...and the rest

A Japanese research team said on Thursday it had developed a field test for Ebola that gives results in just over 11 minutes — down from the 90-minute test used now. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1FpT8O5)

As a tenuous ceasefire brings a lull to Ukraine’s yearlong conflict between pro-Russian rebels and Ukrainian troops, the lurking danger of landmines threatens lives as well as economic recovery, particularly on once rich agricultural lands. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1IvsCZG)

Babies exposed to hepatitis B virus in the womb have a more developed immune system against bacterial infections than babies born to healthy mothers, says a Singapore-led study. (SciDevNet http://bit.ly/1Pnk6Oe)

Opinion/Blogs

On A Scale Of 1 To 10, Brazil Gets A Zero For Disability Access (NPR http://n.pr/1CklGrp)

What Iran’s nuclear deal means for Palestinians: 3 Questions with GlobalPost’s Jerusalem correspondent (GlobalPost http://bit.ly/1CkmBb4)

#RhodesMustFall – Who’s Driving the Debate? (Daily Maverick http://bit.ly/1FpS5NS)

Hear it from the people: What’s wrong in the Central African Republic? (IRIN http://bit.ly/1y7GgP4)

Aisha Buhari: a new style of First Lady in Nigeria? (AFP http://yhoo.it/1FpRkEG)

Is “Game of Thrones” aiding the global debate on climate change? (TRF http://yhoo.it/1CkqoFj)

Chronology: Franco-Rwandan relations since the 1994 genocide (AFP http://yhoo.it/1IvsNUT)

Students Speak: Can volunteer holidays be a force for good? (Guardian http://bit.ly/1FpSsbg)

The Smartification of Humanitarian Response (Policy Innovations http://bit.ly/1INBvKP)

The World Bank has a conflict problem (Chris Blattman http://bit.ly/1PolzUH)

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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.