News in the Humanosphere: Guinea declared Ebola-free by WHO

Two women walk in front of a billboard, which says "Ebola must go. Stopping Ebola is Everybody's Business" in Monrovia, Liberia. (UNMIL/Emmanuel Tobey)

The World Health Organization has declared the West African country of Guinea free of Ebola transmission. WHO says this marks an important milestone in the two-year struggle to stop the spread of this deadly disease, which has claimed the lives of thousands of people. ‘We will maintain a presence in every prefecture of Guinea, in every district of Sierra Leone, and every county of Liberia for the next 12 months. We will have to support local health care workers in the prevention, detection and response to potential outbreaks,’ said Richard Brennan, Director of Ebola Response and Coordination at the World Health Organization. (VOA

Election day in CAR…”The Central African Republic votes Wednesday in presidential polls, in which all leading candidates have vowed to reunite a nation torn and terrified by unprecedented sectarian strife…The vote, which also includes legislative polls, follows a referendum on constitutional change that was backed by a resounding 93 percent of voters, widely seen as showing how much people long for peace and a return to normal life.  Three men are tipped as front-runners in a race with 30 candidates. All are experienced politicians who held high-profile posts in previous governments and one comes from the small Muslim minority population. (AFP

Stat of the day: Sixty-nine journalists were killed around the world on the job in 2015. Twenty-eight of them were slain by Islamic militant groups, including al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. (AP


As drought continues to cripple its hydropower plants, Tanzania is struggling to produce enough electricity – and is moving toward using more fossil fuels to make up the shortfall. (TRF

Former Niger leader Mahamane Ousmane will challenge incumbent Mahamadou Issoufou for the presidency in February elections, the opposition MNRD party said. (AFP

A German court sentenced a former Rwandan mayor to life in prison on Tuesday, convicting him after a second trial of participating in genocide for helping organize the killing of some 400 members of the Tutsi minority in 1994. (AP

Authorities in Burkina Faso have arrested around 20 soldiers for plotting to free from prison a prominent general who has been charged with staging a coup, Prime Minister Yacouba Isaac Zida told a news conference. (VOA

For years, South Africa’s last white president opined on post-apartheid rule without getting much attention in a country anxious to shed its racist past. Now F.W. de Klerk is being vilified for remarks about the legacy of British colonialist Cecil John Rhodes. (AP


A U.N. operation to evacuate around 450 Syrian fighters and their families from two besieged Syrian areas was completed on Monday with the arrival of planes carrying them to Beirut and Hatay airport in Turkey, U.N. and airport sources said. (Reuters

Turkey president Erdogan is in Saudi Arabia for talks about the Syria crisis. (WaPo )

An anti-Islamic State Islamist group in the Libyan capital released a propaganda video detailing the confessions of five captured militants who say they took part in a half-dozen attacks in Tripoli. Their testimonies suggest IS is relying on inexperienced fighters for the bulk of its operations in the North African country, and that it is facing manpower challenges. (VOA

A Filipino murder convict was publicly beheaded in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday after failing to meet the demand of the Sudanese victim’s family for payment of $1 million to save him from the death penalty, officials said. (AP

Islamic State theologians have issued an extremely detailed ruling on when “owners” of women enslaved by the extremist group can have sex with them, in an apparent bid to curb what they called violations in the treatment of captured females. (Reuters


A suicide bomber blew himself up outside a government office in a northwestern Pakistani city on Tuesday, killing at least 26 people and wounding 45 in an attack claimed by a breakaway Taliban group. (HuffPo

A low-ranking Chinese energy official accused of hiding more than $30 million in cash at home in one of the country’s most sensational corruption cases admitted his guilt during a court appearance Tuesday in northern China. (AP

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was on the offensive on Tuesday in India, after Facebook’s plan to bring free Internet to the South Asian country hit a snag with regulators. (Newsweek

Three months after an angry mob beat to death a Muslim man in the state of Uttar Pradesh following rumors that he had slaughtered a cow and consumed its meat, a preliminary investigation has found that the meat retrieved from his home was goat. (NYT

The Americas

A NGO that tracks crime in Venezuela says the homicide rate climbed in 2015, putting the country on track to be perhaps the most-violent in the world. (AP

The security forces in Argentina have launched a major operation to arrest three prominent convicts who escaped from a high security prison on Sunday. (BBC

Central American nations have reached an agreement to allow several thousand Cuban migrants stranded in Costa Rica for over a month to continue their journey towards the United States. (BBC

…and the rest

Authorities in Germany’s most populous state have banned people from setting off fireworks at refugee accommodation and in the grounds of asylum centers over the new year. (AP


Why Uptake of Internet Remains Lowest in Africa (Nation

A Disease So Neglected It’s Not Even On ‘Most-Neglected’ Lists (Goats and Soda

Africa and the Patrons of Poverty (Guardian Ng

Why African countries need to make plans to cope with rising temperatures (The Conversation

Secret aid worker: How can we fight inequality if we live as privileged expats? (Guardian

2015: Africa for pessimists (Daily Maverick

How can Africa develop its electricity infrastructure? (Footprint to Africa

Foreign Direct Investment: Myths and realities (IPS

Tunisia: Is Help On the Way for Cancer Hotspot? (Al Jazeera

10 tricks to appear intelligent during development meetings (Guardian



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