News in the Humanosphere: Major progress against global hunger, says report

Credit: Gates Foundation

The flagship state of Food Insecurity Report has some encouraging news. “The number of hungry people globally has declined from about one billion 25 years ago to about 795 million today, or about one person out of every nine, despite a surge in population growth, the United Nations reported Wednesday. In developing regions, the number of hungry people has fallen to 780 million today, or 12.9 percent of the population, from 991 million 25 years ago, or 23.3 percent of the population at the time, according to the United Nations’ annual hunger report, published by the Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Food Program.” (NYT http://nyti.ms/1SD7p3s)

Unemployment in South Africa hits 10-year-high … rolling blackouts are bad for the economy.
“South Africa’s economy grew at a slower pace in the first quarter as power outages curbed factory output and a drought cut harvests, undermining job creation.Gross domestic product rose an annualized 1.3 percent from the previous quarter, when it expanded 4.1 percent, the statistics office said in a report on Tuesday. The median estimate of 19 economists in a Bloomberg survey was 1.5 percent. The unemployment rate climbed to 26.4 percent, the highest level in 11 years.” (Bloomberg http://bloom.bg/1SD7PHe)

Stat of the day
Courtesy of a Tweet from IRIN: “The $150 million in bribes allegedly paid to #FIFA officials would have fed 4 million #Syrian refugees for more than two months.”

Africa

Hundreds of thousands of Mauritanians are struggling to feed themselves as they fall victim to the effects of climate change. (IRIN http://bit.ly/1J1rYnv)

Greenpeace on Tuesday called on the United States, Europe and China to launch probes into companies selling lumber from the Democratic Republic of Congo where illegal logging is damaging the country’s forests. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1cj7rMH)

The Central African Republic’s transitional president Catherine Samba Panza accused France on Wednesday of keeping her in the dark about allegations of child sex abuse by French peacekeepers in her country. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1J5Dyw8)

Burundi’s main opposition parties said Wednesday it was now “impossible” to hold free and fair elections next week and that the result should not be recognized if they take place. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1cj7YhI)

No surprise there: Ethiopia’s ruling party and its allies have won an overwhelming majority in parliament in weekend elections, the country’s electoral board announced Wednesday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1cj84pw)

Madagascar President Hery Rajaonarimampianina challenged on Wednesday an impeachment vote against him in parliament, where critics say he has dragged religion into politics and failed to deliver on his promises. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1J5Dw7E)

Scores of Senegalese migrants returned home on Tuesday after they were detained by Libyan authorities and imprisoned for months when they tried to reach Europe illegally. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1Bpj2Ah)

Rwanda’s parliament is to debate changing the country’s constitution in order to allow strongman and President Paul Kagame to stand for a third consecutive term in elections in 2017, an official said Wednesday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1FDn6Rp)

Burundi’s government is asking Burundians to donate money to pay for elections as some foreign donors warn of aid cuts if President Pierre Nkurunziza runs for third term. (AP http://yhoo.it/1FDn8J3)

The U.N. refugee agency, UNHCR, said on Tuesday that 72,618 people have fled Burundi in recent weeks, cutting its estimate of how many had sought asylum in neighboring countries by more than 30,000. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1J1F444)

MENA

Nearly 50,000 tons of U.S. food aid bound for areas of Sudan affected by conflict arrived in the country on Tuesday, the U.N. World Food Program said. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1J1F7gg)

A new report confirms gruesome allegations that militants from the so-called Islamic State systematically booby-trapped dead bodies before abandoning the Syrian town of Kobani in January. (IRIN http://bit.ly/1J1rZaM)

Yemen faces a humanitarian catastrophe unless the Saudi-led coalition allows it to import and distribute vital food, fuel and medicines, the International Committee of the Red Cross said on Wednesday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1FDn5Np)

A bill that would provide better protection for transsexuals in Iran has been sent to researchers in parliament, the ISNA news agency quoted an official as saying on Tuesday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1J5CWqj)

Asia

Almost half of Indian girls marry before they turn 18, even though it is illegal. Now, women’s rights activists are helping them fight back. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1J1sRfJ)

Hundreds of protesters marched through the streets of Myanmar’s largest city of Yangon on Wednesday to denounce foreign criticism of the country’s treatment of stateless Rohingya Muslims. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1cj81dj)

The World Food Program is hiring thousands of mountain and trekking guides, porters and other workers to carry food, medicine, tents and supplies to Nepal’s mostly inaccessible northern villages where two powerful earthquakes destroyed houses, officials said Wednesday. (AP http://yhoo.it/1cj81dc)

Already branded “foreign agents” while endeavoring to help abuse victims or protect the environment, Russian activists fear a new law against “undesirable” NGOs will further stymie their work. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1cj7wzV)

A Burmese woman working in Thailand hired a man to sedate and smuggle her 3-month-old baby across the border to relatives in Myanmar, researchers said, describing a common “service” for desperate migrant mothers fearful of losing their jobs. (TRF http://yhoo.it/1cj87ld)

The Americas

Peru said Tuesday it is sending its army to intervene in seven regions where workers have called a strike to protest a controversial mining project by Mexican firm Southern Copper. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1cj7rw3)

In six seconds, a tornado ripped through the border city of Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, with a ferocity that officials said hasn’t been witnessed in more than 100 years. (CNN http://cnn.it/1BpbE8d)

According to the World Bank, Nicaragua has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in Latin America, and one of the highest in the world. Last year’s records from health centers in Leon, the country’s second largest city, and nearby communities show 32 percent of pregnancies are adolescent. (GlobalPost http://bit.ly/1BpbGwH)

An overwhelming majority of U.S. residents think the drought that has hit agriculture in the West will lead to increased food prices, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Wednesday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1J5DsVs)

Colombia’s FARC guerrillas said Wednesday that a member of their delegation at peace talks with the government was among the 27 rebels killed last week in an air strike. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1dxZNzA)

A U.S. man died of a rare African Lassa virus in New Jersey after returning from West Africa but the risk of contagion is very low, U.S. health authorities said Tuesday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1Bpj0IG)

...and the rest

If targets to end world hunger by 2030 are to be met, governments and donors in developing countries must spend more on cash transfers to poor farmers, school meals and other social protection schemes, a U.N. report has said. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1J1sG3T)

The European Commission is due Wednesday to unveil its latest version of a controversial plan to force EU member states to more evenly absorb the wave of migrants making the dangerous crossing of the Mediterranean to Europe. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1J5CYia)

Responding to climate change in the next 15 years is the world’s “mega development project,” given the need to invest trillions of dollars in infrastructure, creating jobs and economic stability, the United Nations’ top climate change official said. (TRF http://yhoo.it/1FDn9Nl)

Opinion/Blogs

Why Most Foreign Aid Doesn’t Actually Go to the Poorest Countries. (Global Dispatches Podcast http://bit.ly/1SD7F2p)

African people don’t want your stinky T-shirts, and other mythbusters (Guardian http://bit.ly/1PNCX7W)

An ‘almost impossible job’ – 10 tips for the UN’s next humanitarian boss (IRIN http://bit.ly/1PNEzP0)

Who will be Africa’s next top banker? (RFI http://rfi.my/1KoQL24)

We cannot let down the Central African Republic again (Al Jazeera English http://bit.ly/1PNEBGN)

The U.N. at 70: A Glass Half Full (IPS http://bit.ly/1Bpg9zn)

U.K. top of the nutrition scorecards; France and the U.S. could try harder (Guardian http://bit.ly/1J1sO3n)

Key priorities for Nigeria’s new president (Yahoo http://yhoo.it/1LIcfqX)

Nepal earthquake: Why truth was a casualty in rush to formulaic coverage (BBC http://bbc.in/1HwoHqo)

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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.