News in the Humanosphere: Violence greets U.N. Security Council delegation in Burundi

Young men hold a banner on the road that the convoy of the United Nations Security Council delegation took, in Bujumbura, Burundi, Jan. 21, 2016. (AP Photo)

“At least one person was killed as gunfire and explosions rocked the Burundi capital Thursday evening, a local official and witnesses said, just as a U.N. Security Council delegation arrived to push for an end to months of political unrest. One youth was shot dead by police after a grenade went off, a local administrative source said, adding that a second person was injured by gun shots. The unrest erupted shortly after U.N. Security Council ambassadors landed in Bujumbura to push the government to hold serious talks with the opposition and accept peacekeepers.” (AFP

New U.S. visa restrictions take effect  “The Obama administration announced changes to a visa-waiver program that will make it harder for travelers to enter the United States from Europe if they have dual citizenship from Iran, Iraq, Sudan or Syria, or have visited one of those countries in the last five years. Those travelers will now have to go through the more rigorous regular visa application process to enter the country. The Department of Homeland Security, which announced the changes, said they would take place immediately.” (NYT

Syria peace talks set to begin Monday … “A major obstacle for United Nations officials organizing the upcoming Geneva talks is deciding who will represent the fragmented Syrian opposition, which include radical Islamist fighters and peaceful and secular opponents of Assad’s government. There is agreement that two of the major armed opposition factions – Islamic State and Al Nusra Front, the official al-Qaida franchise in Syria – will be excluded from the talks. But the participation of other radical Islamist groups, such as Ahrar al Sham, cofounded by an al-Qaida operative, have not been ruled out. Militant Sunni Islamist factions dominate the armed opposition on the ground in Syria. The dispute about who will represent the opposition in Geneva is playing out against a backdrop of foreign powers’ deep involvement in the complex, multi-sided Syrian conflict.” (LAT


A suicide car bomber rammed the gates of a restaurant near a beach in Somalia’s capital before gunmen fought their way into the building in an attack claimed by an Islamic extremist group that killed at least three people on Thursday, a police official said. (NYT

Aid agencies have warned that security issues are harming the health, education and nutrition of children in Mali, where the unchecked spread of Islamic extremist violence has left many schools and health centers beyond the reach of humanitarian programs. (Guardian


A bomb attack killed six people, including three policemen, on Thursday near a road leading to the pyramids in the Cairo suburb of Giza, security sources said. (Reuters

Egyptian authorities have intensified a crackdown on dissent ahead of next week’s anniversary of the country’s 2011 Arab Spring uprising, with police raiding apartments seeking signs of plans for organized protests and checking people’s social media accounts. (NYT

Palestinian officials said Thursday they have started discussions over a new United Nations Security Council resolution that would declare Jewish settlements in the West Bank illegal. (WSJ )

U.N. agencies and international organizations have urged people to join an appeal to end the war in Syria. The groups said the more than 260,000 people who have died in the war need to be seen as more than a statistic. (DW


A court in India’s Kerala state has found a millionaire guilty of murdering his security guard after deliberately ramming his car into the man. (BBC

For seven years, the young Swedish man had directed a nongovernmental organization in Beijing that offered legal aid to Chinese citizens in trouble. Now he was a captive of China’s legal system, forced in police detention to speak on video about his so-called crimes. (NYT

The Americas

Members of the United Nations Security Council on Thursday received a draft of a resolution that calls for establishing a U.N. mission to oversee disarmament should Colombia’s government and leftist FARC rebels reach a final peace deal. (Reuters

Gunmen killed a prominent ally of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, prosecutors said, a crime the socialist leader suggested was politically motivated. (AP

Bloomberg is putting together a committee of regional thought leaders from Latin America and the Caribbean who are charged to select four city applicants to receive grants of $1 million each with one grand prize city receiving $5 million for an innovation initiative. (Gov Tech

…and the rest

Three U.N. aid agencies are appealing to European countries to help prevent sexual abuse of women and girls in refugee camps. (AP


A brilliant young academic discusses her new study into the the psychology of drone strikes. (Global Dispatches Podcast

Empire state of mind – why do so many people think colonialism was a good thing? (Guardian

A war on drugs? We’d be better off paying for a war on hunger (Guardian

Why Indonesia should join the TPP (The Interpreter

UCTs: What do we still need to know? (WhyDev

What Happens To The Body And Mind When Starvation Sets In? (Goats and Soda

News: GJN asks – is the Gates Foundation always a force for good? (Dev Truths

A Portrait from The Hague:  All You Need to Know About What Laurent Gbagbo Wants You to Know (Justice in Conflict

Roving Bandit: Are good teachers ‘born’ or ‘made’? (Roving Bandit


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