News in the Humanosphere: Cameroon army frees 900 Boko Haram hostages

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau speaks in a 2014 video. (AFP PHOTO / BOKO HARAM)

Cameroon’s army, backed up by a regional task force, has killed at least 100 members of the militant Islamist Boko Haram group and freed 900 people it had held hostage, the west African country’s army and defense ministry said on Wednesday. Army spokesman Col. Didier Badjeck said troops had conducted a sweep operation between Nov. 26 and 28 along Cameroon’s long border with its western neighbor Nigeria. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1lwINx3)

Stat of the day: Of Syrians surveyed in their homeland who said they wanted to move, a mere 6 percent chose the United States and Canada as their desired location, according to a Gallup poll. Europe was the most popular destination, chosen by 39 percent, followed by the Middle East and North Africa, with 35 percent, it said. (TRF http://yhoo.it/1lYhYSO)

U.S. to Kagame: Don’t run for third term… The United States expects Rwandan President Paul Kagame to set an example and step down at the end of his second term in office next year, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said. (VOA http://bit.ly/1XzGg6t)

Human Rights Report of the Day: Just Deserters: Why indefinite national service in Eritrea has created a generation of refugees, by Amnesty, reveals that, despite claims by officials that conscription would be limited to 18 months, national service continues to be indefinite, often lasting for decades. Conscripts include boys and girls as young as 16 as well as the elderly and conscription often amounts to forced labor. (Amnesty International http://bit.ly/1LPglvq)

Africa

At least seven people including a police officer were killed overnight in separate incidents in Burundi’s capital and the surrounding area, police, witnesses and an official said on Wednesday. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1TvVXG3)

The U.S. State Department said on Tuesday it had authorized the voluntary departure from Mali of eligible family members and non-emergency personnel from the U.S. Embassy in Bamako, following an attack on a hotel in the capital last month. (Reuters http://reut.rs/1LPi0kL)

Nigeria’s federal police chief on Wednesday ordered reinforcements to the country’s southeast, after protests by pro-Biafran groups and an apparent attempt to blockade a key bridge in the region. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1lwILVT)

A prominent Angolan rapper on trial for rebellion has told a court that Africa’s second longest-serving leader, President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, should step down after 36 years in office. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1lwgCye)

U.N. peacekeepers in Central African Republic need stronger powers to take on armed groups trying to disrupt the build-up to presidential elections, the country’s interim prime minister Mahamat Kamoun said. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1RnMEcb)

Kenya’s chief public prosecutor on Wednesday ordered police and the anti-corruption commission to file any evidence of graft surrounding the country’s multibillion-dollar Eurobond issue. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1lwIHFB)

If current trends continue, the number of child brides in Africa could more than double by 2050, UNICEF warned in a new report. (IPS http://bit.ly/1OxYP5q)

Akinwumi Adesina, head of the African Development Bank, has a bold vision for electrifying a continent where two-thirds of people lack access to power, and getting there by skipping carbon-intensive growth in favor of renewable energy. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1XzEeDF)

The Botswana government has quietly sold the rights to frack for shale gas in one of Africa’s largest protected conservation areas.. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1lwIL8k)

MENA

After a day of high drama at Westminster, dozens of Labour MPs ignored their leader Jeremy Corbyn and backed military action; Britain will now join France in a U.S.-led coalition committed to attacking Isis in its heartlands. (FT http://on.ft.com/1LPftqG )

A Red Cross employee’s kidnapping in Yemen underscored the “extremely fragile” situation in the country for humanitarian workers, with the coming days crucial for securing the hostage’s release, ICRC Director-General Yves Daccord said Wednesday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1XzaQxj)

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Iraq does not need foreign ground troops to defeat the Islamic State group, after Washington announced it would deploy special forces to fight the jihadists. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1TvVYtA

Libya’s warring factions are very close to a deal on forming a unity government and could sign a long-awaited accord in a month, the new U.N. envoy said. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1lwGf1J)

Qatar’s government has rejected a report by Amnesty International that said abuse of migrant laborers in the Gulf Arab state remains “rampant” five years after it won the right to host the World Cup. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1lwGcmF)

Saudi Arabia will let divorced women and widows manage family affairs without approval from a man or a court order, a state-aligned newspaper said on Wednesday, a major step to lift some of the legal powers men hold over female relatives. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1lwIFxx)

Iran was actively designing a nuclear weapon until 2009, more recently than the United States and other Western intelligence agencies have publicly acknowledged, according to a final report by the United Nations nuclear inspection agency. (NYT http://nyti.ms/1LPgBKW)

Asia

More than 600,000 people in Myanmar need food assistance due to natural disasters, violence and conflict, the U.N. World Food Program said on Wednesday, announcing a $40 million funding shortfall for food aid through June 2016. (TRF http://yhoo.it/1O4hVLU)

Weeks of torrential rains have forced an airport in southern India to close and have cut off several roads and highways, leaving tens of thousands of people stranded in their homes, government officials said Wednesday. (VOA http://bit.ly/1lwgAGH)

Pakistan hanged four convicted militants on Wednesday who were sentenced to death over a Taliban attack on an army-run school last year that killed more than 150 people, mostly children, officials said. (AP http://yhoo.it/1Oymh2g)

Indian Prime minister Narendra Modi announced a $30 million solar investment, but also pinned historical blame for climate change on rich countries asking them to do more on emissions and aid. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1lwhlzm)

China will reduce emissions of major pollutants in the power sector by 60 percent by 2020, the cabinet announced on Wednesday, after world leaders met in Paris to address climate change. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1lwIOkm)

Democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi held direct talks with Myanmar’s top general for the first time on Wednesday as her party prepares to form the government in a country where the military retains considerable clout after decades of rule. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1TvYCzu)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Afghanistan’s visiting President Ashraf Ghani agreed Wednesday to work jointly for stability in the South Asian country and to reduce illegal migration. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1OxYK1A)

India’s federal government said it will restore funding to the country’s HIV-AIDS program months after it cut its contribution and asked regional governments to fill in the gaps. (AP http://yhoo.it/1lwhrag)

The Americas

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s popularity has jumped in the run-up to Sunday’s crucial legislative election, but probably not enough to prevent an opposition victory, a new survey by a leading pollster said. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1lwgEpG)

Police in Colombia’s capital have recovered the remains of four women whose bodies were dumped near a pilgrimage site that is one of the city’s most-emblematic tourist spots. (AP http://yhoo.it/1OxYPCh)

The United States will contribute $30 million to climate risk insurance schemes in the Pacific, Central America and Africa, President Obama announced at a meeting with leaders of small island nations in Paris on Tuesday. (TRF http://bit.ly/1lwgZIU)

New test results show that waters where athletes will compete in next year’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics are more widely contaminated than previously known, threatening the health of athletes competing in the games. (VOA http://bit.ly/1lwgD5k)

…and the rest

Germany wants every European Union state to contribute to a $3.2 billion aid kitty for Syrian refugees in Turkey, saying it is a question of “European solidarity.” (AFP http://yhoo.it/1PwUFMF)

France’s top diplomat Laurent Fabius, presiding over 195-nation talks for a UN climate pact, urged negotiators Wednesday to pick up the pace so as to finish the job by December 11. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1lwfH0O)

A well-known Russian television host announced live on air that he is HIV-positive, an unprecedented revelation in a country with rising infection rates but where HIV/AIDS remains a largely taboo subject. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1lwGhGW)

Opinion/Blogs

NGOs Still Leading the Global Debate on Climate (IPS http://bit.ly/1O3ZFSW)

Those who contributed least to climate change are fighting for survival (Guardian http://bit.ly/1lwL9M9)

How Much of Africa’s Energy Needs Can Be Met With Renewables? (RFI http://bit.ly/1lYhCvx)

Ending Aids Depends On Ending Violence Against Women and Girls (Gender Links http://bit.ly/1lYhGLH)

HIV can be prevented in babies if their mothers are kept safe (The Conversation http://bit.ly/1RnOaem)

You’re wrong Kate. Degrowth is a compelling word (From Poverty to Power http://bit.ly/1lwLe2p)

A Bad Night’s Sleep Might Do More Harm Than You Think (Goats and Soda http://n.pr/1Px0GJ9)

Europe’s Eritrean “problem” (Africa is a Country http://bit.ly/1lYiSPe)

South Sudan: No Money, No Peace (Foreign Policy http://atfp.co/1O4MhOe)

New approaches to studying weakly institutionalized states (Rachel Strohm http://bit.ly/1lYiYGF)

How the NGO community will play a role at COP21 (Devex http://bit.ly/1Oyoyuy)

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