News in the Humanosphere: Nepal villages found devastated

Shankar Pradhan, left, brings bodies of his family members who died in Saturday's massive earthquake for cremation at a Ghat on the banks of Bagmati River near the Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu, Nepal. AP April 28, 2015

People stranded in remote villages and towns across Nepal were still waiting for aid and relief to arrive on Tuesday, four days after a devastating earthquake destroyed buildings and roads and killed more than 4,600 people. The government has yet to assess the full scale of the damage wrought by Saturday’s 7.9-magnitude quake, unable to reach many mountainous areas despite aid supplies and personnel pouring in from around the world. Prime Minister Sushil Koirala told Reuters the death toll could reach 10,000, as information on damage from far-flung villages and towns has yet to come in. (WaPo http://bit.ly/1ExQDg8)

Health Concerns Rise as Conditions Deteriorate for Displaced Nepalese
“There are an estimated 1.6 million people temporarily displaced in Kathmandu, according to the Nepal Red Cross Society (NRCS). The picture outside the capital, including areas closest to the epicenter, is still unclear, as remote mountain villages have yet to be reached. The Nepalese government says it has identified 16 camps in the capital, but NGOs say the figure is actually in the hundreds. People have sought shelter wherever they can, on every available piece of open, flat ground, in every neighborhood of the city. Damaged buildings are still vulnerable to aftershocks so survivors prefer to sleep out in the open.” (IRIN http://bit.ly/1OB8LMT )

The Good News: Hundreds of Abducted Girls Rescued in Nigeria
It looks like none of the rescued was among the girls kidnapped in Chibok last year. But this is still critically important. “Nigeria’s military on Tuesday claimed the rescue of 200 girls and 93 women from a notorious Boko Haram stronghold, but said there was no confirmation the hostages were those kidnapped from Chibok a year ago.” (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1OB7t4p)

But Still More of the Same
“Hundreds of people have been found dead in the northeast Nigerian town of Damasak, apparently victims of the Boko Haram insurgency, as details emerged on Monday of fresh attacks by the militants. Reports of decomposing bodies littering the streets of Damasak came as president Muhammadu Buhari denounced the Islamists as a bogus religious group and vowed a hard line against them when he comes to power at the end of next month.” (AFP http://yhoo.it/1OB7t4p

Africa

Hundreds of people marched in the outskirts of Burundi’s capital on Tuesday in a third day of protests against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to run for a third term. (VOA http://bit.ly/1JPBhmW)

Burundi told diplomats on Tuesday to stay neutral in a political crisis sparked by President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to stand for a third term, a move that sent protesters onto the streets for three days. (Reuters http://reut.rs/1OBaa5O)

Tuareg rebels shot at U.N. peacekeepers outside Timbuktu in northern Mali on Tuesday in a sign of growing tensions that threaten a fragile peace process. (VOA http://bit.ly/1GF2bAB)

A practice of denying admission to South African public schools to children without visas or whose parents are refugees from other African countries is creating a foundation for the current rash of xenophobia, critics of the practice say. (IPS http://bit.ly/1PTBNEr)

MENA

A U.S.-flagged ship was recently intercepted by an Iran Revolutionary Guard naval patrol in the Strait of Hormuz. (CNN http://cnn.it/1IjyRPa)

Some young Palestinians in Occupied East Jerusalem are turning to drugs to cope with Israel’s military occupation of the city. (Al Jazeera http://alj.am/1EALLae)

Saudi Arabia on Tuesday announced the arrest of 93 suspects with ties to the Islamic State. (VOA http://bit.ly/1HONolA)

Asia

The Indonesian government rejected last-ditch calls for clemency for eight of the so-called Bali Nine heroin smugglers, executing seven foreigners and one Indonesian by firing squad. (The Week http://bit.ly/1OB9OfD)

A massive landslide in a remote province in northeastern Afghanistan killed at least 52 people Tuesday. (Al Jazeera http://alj.am/1DTYK1V)

The Afghan government has rushed thousands of troops to the northern province of Kunduz in recent days as a fierce Taliban offensive has surrounded the regional capital city. (NYT http://nyti.ms/1AcHrsd)

Pakistani human rights activist Sabeen Mahmud was fatally shot by gunmen on the streets of Karachi after hosting a seminar on abuses in the restive Baluchistan province. (WaPo http://wapo.st/1JPBYwO)

The Americas

After the World Health Organization (WHO) declared glyphosate a probable carcinogen, the campaign has intensified in Latin America to ban the herbicide, which is employed on a massive scale on transgenic crops. (IPS http://bit.ly/1GCDSQW)

According to data from the U.N. and other international organizations, people of African descent in Latin America face numerous structural barriers including less access to education, higher maternal and infant mortality rates, lower earning potential and limited political participation. (El Pais http://bit.ly/1EOn1Nq; Spanish)

...and the rest

The ascendance of militant extremists and criminal gangs who abduct and kill reporters, combined with rising government repression in the cause of counterterrorism, has created the biggest threat to journalism in recent times. (NYT http://nyti.ms/1Dyquc3)

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Tom Paulson

Tom Paulson is founder and lead journalist at Humanosphere. Prior to operating this online news site, he reported on science,  medicine, health policy, aid and development for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Contact him at tom[at]humanosphere.org or follow him on Twitter @tompaulson.