News in the Humanosphere: South Sudan world’s most fragile state, again

But there’s also some good news in this year’s Fragile States Index! “South Sudan has topped the Fragile States Index for the second year in succession, as the country continues to be wracked by internal conflict, fractious politics, and poverty. South Sudan is joined at the most fragile end of the Index by countries that have long struggled, such as Somalia, Central African Republic, Sudan, and D.R. Congo. However, a lack of change at the most fragile end of the Index (not to mention a similar lack of change at the sustainable end of the Index) belies the significant movement of a number of countries over the past year and indeed the past decade…As Cuba continues to dominate headlines in the United States — for all the right reasons — it has managed to be one of the three most improved countries of 2015, and also the most improved country of the past decade. Cuba is joined by Portugal and Georgia as the most improved countries, all having improved their scores by 3.4 points in the space of a year.” (Fund for Peacehttp://bit.ly/1fld2UK)

MERS Case Confirmed in Thailand…”Thailand has confirmed its first known case of the deadly MERS virus, a 75-year-old man who recently arrived from Oman for treatment of a heart condition. Public Health Minister Rajata Rajatanavin said on Thursday two laboratories had confirmed the results. The man has been quarantined at the ministry’s infectious diseases facility, he said, adding that the patient was traveling with three other family members, who are also being watched at the facility.” (Al Jazeera http://bit.ly/1d4wALm)

Sean Parker is Donating Millions to Eradicate Malaria… Your move, Metallica. “Billionaire Silicon Valley entrepreneur Sean Parker has given money for medical research, including allergies and cancer, and now has turned his attention to malaria with a $4.5 million gift to UCSF to tackle the global health issue. The Napster founder and former Facebook president, 35, is donating the money to start up a program dedicated to developing new and aggressive approaches to fight the mosquito that transmits the potentially deadly infectious disease.” (SFGate http://bit.ly/1d4xiZ3)

Quote of the Day: The Pope! “We know that technology based on the use of highly polluting fossil fuels – especially coal, but also oil and, to a lesser degree, gas – needs to be progressively replaced without delay.” (From the Encyclical, which you can read here:  http://bit.ly/1d4wbIP)

Africa

Boko Haram militants attacked two villages in southern Niger’s Diffa region overnight, killing at least 30 civilians, two security sources said on Thursday. (VOA http://bit.ly/1GTeNCZ)

Malawi needs nearly half a billion dollars to repair the damage from devastating floods that killed 176 people earlier this year, the southern African country’s president said Thursday. (AFPhttp://yhoo.it/1d4xsj5)

The United States has pledged an additional $133 million in humanitarian assistance for South Sudan, where U.S. officials say a surge in fighting in recent months has caused conditions to deteriorate sharply. (VOA http://bit.ly/1TykThw

Nigeria’s government announced last year it would start giving out clean cook stoves to women in rural communities to cut down on the use of harmful wood stoves. Months later, however, a watchdog group is calling the program nontransparent. (VOA http://bit.ly/1Gv2DPe)

The United Nations MINUSMA peacekeeping mission in Mali doesn’t have the training, logistics or intelligence capabilities to effectively carry out operations, its commander said. (AFPhttp://yhoo.it/1Li0j2e)

Kenya’s president ordered Thursday the central bank to issue regulations and then lift restrictions on key money transfer services vital for Somalia suspended over suspected links to the Al-Qaeda-allied Shebab. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1H1Kagz)

Global warming poses a significant threat to the bednet-driven fall in malaria deaths in Kenya since the millennium development goals were introduced. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1IRDuPJ)

2,600 aspiring female politicians in Tanzania are participating in training on how to improve their campaigning skills and avoid the sexual pitfalls often faced by Tanzanian women in any bid to advance a career. (TRF http://bit.ly/1IRDzD5)

U.S. private equity firm TPG will invest up to $1 billion in Africa through a tie-up with Sudanesebillionaire Mo Ibrahim’s Satya Capital, a person familiar with the matter said. (Reutershttp://bit.ly/1IRDAH5)

Power prices in South Africa have risen 70 percent since 2010 and a second double-digit increase proposed for this year will make it difficult for the country’s businesses to compete internationally, an industry body said (Reuters http://bit.ly/1d4xDuV)

MENA

The UN’s refugee chief on Thursday urged the world including Western states to open up their borders and follow Turkey’s example in hosting Syrian refugees. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1d4wUK5)

Local medical teams and aid agencies in Yemen are overwhelmed by the scale of the crisis there and the strain of keeping health services going is taking a huge toll, says MSF. (TRFhttp://tmsnrt.rs/1IRCOJZ)

Escalating violence in Yemen has pushed half of the population into hunger and the situation is likely to deteriorate further, the United Nations said as it called for a blockade on imports of fuel, food and medicine to be lifted immediately. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1H1KrjJ)

Thousands of people have been diagnosed with dengue fever in southern Yemen, where fighting has raged for months between Shiite rebels and their opponents, international organizations and health officials said Thursday. (AP http://yhoo.it/1InbErM)

The International Committee of the Red Cross on Thursday described living conditions in a Syriantown cut off near Damascus as dire after delivering aid there this week for the first time in six months. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1IRGMSQ)

Almost 24,000 Egyptian children have received school meals and rations for their families under a scheme to prevent youngsters in the poorest areas from dropping out of school and working, U.N. and EU officials said. (TRF http://yhoo.it/1H1JEz4)

The head of the U.N.’s Commission of Inquiry on Syria said Thursday that Syria is at “a bitter and murderous stalemate,” as countries with the ability to push toward a political solution to the country’s four-year war fuel the fighting rather than work for peace. (VOA http://bit.ly/1InbTDl)

Some 25,000 refugees and migrants, mostly from Syria, have descended on the Aegean island of Lesbos so far this year, local officials say — a massive increase that has piled pressure on debt-ridden Greece. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1d4xszK)

Asia

A group of eminent doctors have called for urgent measures to introduce a vaccine against hepatitis E infection into Nepal, where they say the lives of hundreds of women are at risk. (Guardianhttp://bit.ly/1InbII6)

One of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s signature achievements in Afghanistanis helping increase the number of students enrolled in schools from 900,000 in 2002 to more than 8 million in 2013. But were these figures falsified, as recent allegations claim? (Devexhttp://bit.ly/1d4CFY4)

The Americas

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is already looking at the possibility it will need to reset biofuels use targets in 2017 and beyond. (AP http://yhoo.it/1H1KJqF)

The Ranchería river has run dry after three years of intense drought, decades of overuse and a lifetime of public corruption in the province of La Guajira, one of Colombia’s poorest and most forgotten regions. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1d4xCHe)

...and the rest

Urgent plans to help the world’s poorest people become more resilient to extreme weather and rising seas are on hold because of a lack of cash in a U.N. climate fund set up for least developed countries, amid fierce competition for limited aid. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1GTeBUl)

A former U.N. climate chief expressed confidence Thursday that global climate talks in Paris later this year will produce an agreement, putting the world on track to begin the process of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius. (AP http://yhoo.it/1GTeCaJ)

Opinion/Blogs

A deep dive into the new world refugee and displacement data released by the UN Refugee Agency (UN Dispatch http://bit.ly/1d4CMmt)

The rise of the digital savior: can Facebook likes change the world? (Guardian http://bit.ly/1LhZTZG)

No Place to Hide in Addis (Inter Press Service http://bit.ly/1GTf0pG)

Is it worth making enemies of Russia, Qatar over football? (AP http://yhoo.it/1Li0xXp)

The changing face of disaster funding (IRIN http://bit.ly/1H1JU11)

What the FIFA Scandal Tells Us About International Justice (ISS http://bit.ly/1H1JRT7)

What is the millennium development goal on HIV and malaria all about? (Guardianhttp://bit.ly/1IRDsaq)

Single-Dose Medicine Could Both Treat and Stave Off Malaria (SciDevNet http://bit.ly/1InbIb6)

Nigeria: What Future for Children Born of War? (ICTJ http://bit.ly/1InbEIj)

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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.