News in the Humanosphere: Black Friday spreads worldwide

A tongue-in-cheek demonstration in Seattle urging people to buy more stuff. Flickr, John Henderson

Black Friday is spreading across the world. In recent years, the hugely popular American phenomenon of Black Friday, famed for its one-off knock-down retail prices and representing a massive chunk of retailers annual revenue, has started to spread across the globe. South Africa doesn’t do Thanksgiving, for example, but it does do Black Friday. Merchants worldwide are copying American retailers – despite the fact that in the most of the world, it’s just another Friday following an ordinary Thursday. (Newsweek)

France marks Friday with memorials… A subdued France, still reeling from deadly terrorist attacks two weeks ago, held a national day of mourning on Friday, centered on a memorial service in Paris that was tinged with patriotism, solemnity and no lack of defiance. (New York Times)

Belgium charges sixth terror suspect…  Belgium has charged a sixth suspect with terrorist offences over the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris after a series of house searches in Brussels and southern Belgium. In Germany, police also arrested a man suspected of selling weapons to Paris terrorists. (Reuters

Turkey jails more journalists… Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the Istanbul office of an opposition newspaper Friday, accusing the government of silencing critics and attempting to cover-up a scandal after two journalists were jailed on terror and espionage charges for their reports on alleged Turkish arms smuggling to Syria. (New York Times)


Pope Francis condemns ‘New Colonialism’ … On his last day in Kenya, Pope Francis attacked “new forms of colonialism” that exacerbate inequality and poverty. Such injustices were the result of “wounds inflicted by minorities who cling to power and wealth, who selfishly squander while a growing majority is forced to flee to abandoned, filthy and rundown peripheries”, the pope said. (Guardian)

How Liberia’s latest Ebola cases slipped through… Just weeks after the country was declared Ebola free, the newest case of the deadly virus revealed worrying shortfalls in its ability to prevent another outbreak. (Foreign Policy)

Suspects arrested in Mali attack... Two people suspected of having links to a siege at a luxury hotel in Mali’s capital Bamako earlier this month have been arrested, the country’s security ministry has said. (AllAfrica)

Child marriage to increase in Africa… In an alarming new study, UNICEF estimates that the total number of child brides in Africa will rise from 125 million to 310 million by 2050. (CNN)

One million CAR children in urgent need… More than a million children in the Central African Republic are in urgent need of humanitarian aid while almost half of those under five are malnourished, the United Nations said on Friday ahead of Pope Francis’ visit to the conflict-torn country. (ThomsonReuters)

Drought puts millions in Ethiopia at risk… The UN says 8.2 million Ethiopians are in need of food assistance, and projects that this number will balloon to 15 million next year. The scale and severity of the drought has been compared to the notorious famine year of 1984, and soil moisture in some parts are at 30-year lows. (IRIN)

Boko Haram is the worst… A new report says Nigeria’s Boko Haram Islamic insurgents have become the world’s deadliest extremist group, edging out the Islamic State group to which it is affiliated. (AmeriPubs)


Yemen airstrikes on civilians not investigated… The Saudi Arabia-led coalition carrying out attacks against the Houthis in Yemen has failed to investigate its apparently unlawful airstrikes that have killed hundreds of civilians, Human Rights Watch said in a report issued today. The United States is also obligated to investigate attacks in which it played a role that allegedly violated the laws of war. (HRW news release

Campaign to boost US role with Syrian refugees…  U.S. advocates for Syrian refugees are intensifying a campaign to boost public support for resettling them in the United States, as opinion polls suggest more than half of U.S. citizens oppose the resettlement program. (VOA)

Saudi Arabia to do mass executions… Saudi Arabia plans to execute more than 50 people convicted of terrorism, according to reports, in what appears to be a warning to would-be jihadis at a time of militant attacks on the kingdom. The last time Saudi Arabia carried out mass executions for security offences was after a group of Islamist militants seized Mecca’s Grand Mosque in 1979. (Guardian)

ISIS is in Libya, too… World powers need to step up efforts to stop Islamic State gaining ground in Libya while keeping up the fight against the militant group in Syria and Iraq, France and Italy say. (UKReuters)


China bars beauty queen for human rights comments… Canada’s Miss World contender has said she was barred from boarding a plane from Hong Kong to the Chinese city hosting this year’s pageant. Chinese-born Anastasia Lin, 25, said the Chinese block on her trip is due to her human rights campaigning. (BBC)

Asia struggles for solution to ‘missing women’ problem…  A cultural preference for male children has cost Asia dearly. Count up all the girls who were never born because of selective abortion, victims of infanticide and females who died from neglect and there are upwards of 100 million women missing on the continent today by some estimates. (WSJ)

India is the biggest big challenge for climate talks… If any single country embodies the challenge of reaching an agreement at the huge United Nations climate conference that begins in Paris on Monday, it is India. India is already the world’s third biggest emitter of greenhouse gases and it plans a massive increase, proposing to treble CO2 emissions within the next 15 years. (BBC)

The Americas

US rejection of Syrian refugees painful for some Japanese-Americans… “What really disturbed Japanese-Americans was when the mayor of Roanoke, Va., David Bowers, a Democrat, suggested that barring Syrian refugees was prudent in light of the Japanese internment.” (NYTimes)

Two massacres in Honduras kill 15… Two massacres that killed 15 people in less than 12 hours rocked Honduras and left the country’s top police official in tears Wednesday. (Fox

Brazil’s rainforest saw 16 percent more destruction…  The destruction of Brazil’s Amazon forest, the world’s largest intact rainforest, increased by 16 percent in 2015 from a year ago as the government struggles to enforce legislation and stop illegal clearings. (Reuters)

…and the rest

Europe increasingly refusing refugees… Two weeks have elapsed since the terrorist attacks in Paris. With the news that at least two of the attackers posed as refugees to enter Europe via Greece, a number of EU countries have taken steps to shore up their borders and restrict entry by asylum seekers, citing both security concerns and capacity problems. (IRIN

Migrants in Sweden fear more arson attacks… At least 25 centers for asylum seekers in the Scandinavian country have been reduced to ashes or damaged by fires this year, often set in the dark of night while the migrants sleep, unaware of the danger they are in.. (Arab News


Ethnic minorities in Myanmar denied vote… After the Myanmar election, Aung San Suu Kyi must turn her attention to the rampant human rights abuses in her country, not least toward Rohingya Muslims. (Guardian)

Guatemala’s Bloody Farce… Some consider it a supreme irony – or even tragedy – that Guatemala’s just elected president, Jimmy Morales, is an evangelical right-wing comedian with no political experience and ties to a political party made up of military veterans dedicated to opposing investigations.  (CounterPunch)

Pacific trade deal offers little worker protections… Worker protections in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) actually amount to nothing, an opposition lawmaker said, as Putrajaya seeks to play up these widely lauded aspects of the contentious pact. (Malaysia Insider)

And the trade deal likely won’t help efforts to fight climate change either…  Says Mark Dearn of War on Want. Any steps to halt runaway climate change will be wholly undermined by the secretly negotiated EU-US trade deal (Guardian)

More war unlikely to help solve Syria’s problem… The Syria war is escalating in tandem with intensified diplomacy, but neither growing foreign military intervention nor a revived political track look capable of bringing an end to the 4-1/2-year-old conflict. (ThomsonReuters)


About Author