News in the Humanosphere: Roadmap for Syrian peace offers new hope

A man walks between destroyed buildings after heavy shelling by regime forces in Aleppo, Syria on August 28, 2014. (Photo by Karam Almasri/NurPhoto/Sipa USA)

The U.N. Security Council’s unanimous approval of an international road map for a Syrian peace process was a rare display of unity among major powers on a conflict that has claimed more than a quarter-million lives, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said. “Kerry praised ‘the unprecedented degree of unity’ in the council, which previously has been stymied in finding a political solution in Syria. He called Friday’s agreement ‘a milestone’ and predicted the diplomatic effort would move forward quickly in the new year. “ (VOA http://bit.ly/1O1LrpJ)

Kagame moves closer to holding power … Rwandans have voted overwhelmingly to allow President Paul Kagame to extend his term in office, official results released yesterday showed, prompting international criticism and expressions of concern from human rights charities. In effect it authorizes him to stand for another term of seven years and two more after that of five each, meaning that Kagame could be in power until 2034.(Guardian http://bit.ly/1YpUXts)

Failed coup attempt … Niger’s interior minister on Saturday said nine military officers had been arrested on suspicion of planning a coup and would face a military tribunal, after the opposition challenged the government to provide proof of the plot. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1J17hcC)

WTO concludes big agriculture deal … The World Trade Organization reached deals on agricultural export subsidies, food aid and other issues on Saturday, capping a ministerial conference in the Kenyan capital where rich and poor countries had been split over the path of trade reform. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1O1LzFB)

Africa

Burundi’s government said Sunday it would not agree to the deployment of African Union peacekeepers, warning that they would be seen as “an invasion force.” (AFP http://yhoo.it/1kaV1KF)

The International Criminal Court has sent two militia leaders convicted of committing war crimes in Congo to that country to serve the remainder of their prison sentences.(AP http://yhoo.it/1Oh4Het)

The first phase of former Chad dictator Hissene Habre’s history-making trial for atrocities during the 1980s concluded in Senegal this week, with the regime’s victims giving at times traumatic and horrifying evidence. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1O1Lz8p)

More than 27 high-profile Congolese figures, including Moise Katumbi, considered a main opposition candidate in next year’s presidential polls, have formed a coalition aimed at preventing a bid from Joseph Kabila for a third term, their statement said. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1O1LzWf)

Human Rights Watch said at least 175 people, and probably many more, have been kidnapped in the Democratic Republic of Congo this year, and the rights group has called for a special police unit to track kidnappers and investigate allegations of complicity by state agents. (VOA http://bit.ly/1Oh5nAC)

MENA

Human Rights Watch charged Sunday that Syrian government forces and their Russian allies have been making “extensive” use of cluster munitions against rebel groups since late September. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1Oh5nk7)

The Yemen peace talks ended with no major breakthrough, but with the expectation that the parties will meet again next month. A ceasefire will be extended for seven more days, though that ceasefire has hardly been respected. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1QDbENn)

The United States embassy in Tunisia has warned its citizens to avoid a major shopping mall in the capital Tunis on Sunday because of a reported threat of a potential militant attack there. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1kaUZCE)

Asia

Chinese state media said 59 people remain missing after an enormous landslide hit an industrial park in southern China and buried 22 buildings, including two workers’ dormitories. (VOA http://bit.ly/1Oh5oV8)

Police opened fire on protesters who were attempting to attack a police station in southern Nepal on Sunday, killing one, officials said. (AP http://yhoo.it/1O1LDVW)

A man convicted as a juvenile in the fatal 2012 gang rape of a young woman aboard a moving bus in India’s capital ended his three-year term in a reform home Sunday, as angry protesters demanded that he remain in detention. (AP http://yhoo.it/1J17wnM)

How the USA blew 17 billion in Afghanistan. (ProPublica http://bit.ly/1QDbKEF)

The Americas

Several government buildings were set ablaze in scattered sections of Haiti and one demonstrator was killed in violent protests ignited by the release of final legislative election results, officials said Saturday. (AP http://yhoo.it/1Oh4GHn)

Puerto Rico’s electric utility says it has been given a brief reprieve to pursue an agreement with bond insurers on a debt restructuring deal that it reached last month with its bondholders and bank lenders. (AP http://yhoo.it/1Oh4J63)

..and the rest

The Ikea Foundation on Saturday insisted that its refugee shelters are safe, a day after the Swiss city of Zurich said it no longer would use the units after discovering they posed a fire hazard. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1J17gW1)

Opinion/Blogs

Clinging to power: the African leaders who won’t stand down (AFP http://yhoo.it/1kaVlJh)

Why I give (How Matters http://bit.ly/1Oh5Mmz)

Syria’s Christian Refugees: Four Wrong Assumptions (On the Ground http://nyti.ms/1muY3uY)

Non-violence and the political marketplace (Rachel Strohm http://bit.ly/1RymIf3)

How to make coherent policies for development (ODI http://bit.ly/1O1N4DG)

Catching up with the debate on catch up growth and development for young children (Development Horizons http://bit.ly/1Oh6hx0)

How to ensure (and insure) climate change resilience (Devex http://bit.ly/1YutnpD)

Out of the frying pan and into…Denmark (Cherokee Gothic http://bit.ly/1kaWW1Z)

Is the Paris agreement toothless? (Interpreter http://bit.ly/1YuttNR)

#BecauseStarWars – ‘Star Wars,’ if it were directed by Ken Burns (WaPo http://wapo.st/1muY4z4)

 

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