News in the Humanosphere: Gitmo detainees sent to Ghana

Guantanamo Bay (Navy Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Joshua Nistas/U.S. Army)

The United States transferred to Ghana two Yemeni men who had been imprisoned at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, for nearly 14 years, the Pentagon said. The transfer marked the start of what is expected to be a flurry of 17 departures in early 2016. The transfers also represented the first time that lower-level detainees have been resettled in sub-Saharan Africa, suggesting that the State Department is widening the aperture of its diplomatic efforts to find homes for those on the transfer list. (NYT http://nyti.ms/1RtEU8b)

U.N. Security Council prepares new North Korea sanctions … It was an intense day of nuclear diplomacy at the U.N. in the wake of North Korea’s latest outrage. A key question is the degree to which China will be willing to tighten existing sanctions. “The U.N. Security Council says it will begin work immediately on new measures against North Korea, after Pyongyang said it had tested a hydrogen bomb. The council condemned the test, saying ‘a clear threat to international peace and security continues to exist.’ This is the North’s fourth nuclear test since 2006, but, if confirmed, would be the first of an H-bomb. However, the U.S. has joined nuclear experts in questioning whether the blast was large enough for such a test.” (BBC http://bbc.in/1RtEIG4)

Map of the day: Where NETFLIX is now available. (Hint, pretty everywhere except China and Syria http://nflx.it/1RtFId9)

Stat of the day: 0 Ebola cases in West Africa and holding strong. (WHO http://bit.ly/1RtFWkI)

Africa

Boko Haram gunmen have mounted their first attacks since Nigeria’s government declared the Islamist group “technically” defeated, killing seven people in a raid and suicide bombing, residents said. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1MTITVg)

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said she supports the call by Liberians to reduce the presidential term of office from two six-year terms to two four-year terms. (VOA http://bit.ly/1mCzeOe)

Prosecution lawyers in Burundi demanded on Wednesday that 28 men on trial for launching a failed coup be jailed for life. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1mCz5u0)

South Africa may need to import as much as 5 million tonnes of maize this year, roughly half of its requirements, because of its worst drought in three decades, the country’s largest producer group said on Wednesday. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1MTJ17k)

The German cabinet has approved plans to send up to 650 soldiers to Mali, boosting its presence in the U.N. peacekeeping mission in the West African country which is beset by Islamist militant violence. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1mCz9Kn)

Ivory Coast’s government resigned on Wednesday after President Alassane Ouattara vowed to bring more “efficiency” to the West African state just two months after he was re-elected. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1MTJ7eZ)

MENA

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan is urging top Republican committee chairmen to explore whether there’s support in the House to formally authorize a military campaign against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, the early stages of what appears to be Capitol Hill’s most serious effort to define the effort against the terrorist group. (Politico http://politi.co/1RtEdf7)

The Islamic State group has executed what is believed to be the first female citizen journalist for reporting inside its territory, Syrian activists reported. (VOA http://bit.ly/1RtFov8)

Gunmen in Syria have shot and killed the commander of an ultraconservative rebel group in the central Homs province, activists and an official from the group said. (AP http://yhoo.it/1mCzahm)

The medical charity Doctors Without Borders has ended its sea rescue operation aimed at reducing the number of migrants and asylum seekers killed while trying to cross the Mediterranean from north Africa to Europe, it said. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1ONju7j)

Islamic State threatened to destroy Saudi Arabian prisons holding jihadists after Riyadh’s execution of 47 people including 43 convicted al-Qaida militants. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1VJwx9d)

Asia

Sri Lanka’s new government has been lauded for efforts at reconciliation after a devastating civil war. Yet, civilians are still being abducted, tortured and sexually abused by security forces, according to a report published today. (IRIN http://bit.ly/1mCzdda)

Thai police, acting on a U.S. tip about child pornography uploads, arrested a British man Wednesday in a northern province where another Westerner was arrested weeks earlier in a similar case. (AP http://yhoo.it/1mCzaOz)

Bangladesh’s top court on Wednesday upheld the death sentence on the leader of the largest Islamist party for crimes during the country’s 1971 independence struggle, paving the way for his execution within months. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1MTKIBt)

Indonesia is bolstering its rural flood defenses to help farmers protect crops from monsoon waters and the La Niña weather pattern, its agriculture minister said on Wednesday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1IR8nYz)

A court has accepted China’s first same-sex marriage case, lodged by a gay man against a civil affairs bureau for denying him the right to marry, in a decision hailed as a step forward for gay rights. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1ONjvIq)

Chinese rescuers have dug out dozens of bodies from a massive landslide that occurred at a construction waste dump in southern China more than two weeks ago, bringing the death toll to 58, authorities said Wednesday. (AP http://yhoo.it/1VJwwSv)

Members of Aung San Suu Kyi’s victorious pro-democracy party will take their seats in parliament on Feb. 1, Myanmar’s speaker said Wednesday, beginning a new era for a nation under army rule for decades. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1ONjxQq)

Farmers are illegally growing genetically modified corn in China’s northeast, said environmental non-profit Greenpeace on Wednesday, in a report that may generate further distrust of the government’s ability to ensure a safe food supply. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1ONjDaC)

The Americas

The Dominican Republic has sent hundreds of soldiers to its border with Haiti to make it harder for migrants without legal residency to enter the country after returning home to spend the holidays. (VOA http://bit.ly/1VJwF8A)

Prosecutors have arrested the brother of deceased former Guatemalan President Fernando Romeo Lucas Garcia in connection with killings and disappearances during the country’s 1960-96 civil war. (AP http://yhoo.it/1mCz7Cj)

Extreme weather in the United States during the last 10 days of December could bring insured losses for the month to more than $2 billion, reinsurance broker Aon Benfield said on Wednesday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1mCz89g)

Uruguay finished the year 2015 with a record number of those tried for crimes and offenses, the National Observatory on Violence and Criminality of the Interior Ministry reported today. (Prensa Latina http://bit.ly/1mCz8pJ)

The newly elected speaker of Venezuela’s National Assembly, Henry Ramos Allup, has said there will be a change of government within six months. (BBC http://bbc.in/1MTIXo6)

Some of the first Central American families targeted by immigration authorities in recent raids have had their deportations temporarily halted. (AP http://yhoo.it/1VJwGcP)

…and the rest

Germany has seen no drop in the number of people arriving and seeking asylum despite EU efforts to confront a migration crisis, the deputy interior minister said on Wednesday, blaming a lack of controls at Europe’s borders. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1mCzhtf)

Nearly 1.1 million people were registered as asylum-seekers in Germany last year, more than 400,000 of them from Syria, the government said Wednesday. (AP http://yhoo.it/1VJwyty)

Opinion/Blogs

How North Korea’s Nuclear Test Puts the Security Council in a Bind (UN Dispatch http://bit.ly/1MTMbru)

If the world is getting better, where next for NGOs? (Guardian http://bit.ly/1IR58Aq)

Questions No One Asks About Eritrea (African Arguments http://bit.ly/1VJtQV9)

Development specialists must get to grips with fragile cities (Devex http://bit.ly/1VJxBd6)

Is humanitarian aid really broken? Or should we all just calm down? (Guardian http://bit.ly/1RsLdZE)

Interested in feminism and development in Papua New Guinea? Be prepared for a bumpy ride, but read on (Devpolicy http://bit.ly/1n4DXYI)

A discussion on girls’ digital privacy, security and safety (Wait What? http://bit.ly/1mCAO2H)

Daily Nation suspends editor for strong criticism of President Uhuru Kenyatta (Africanist Prespective http://bit.ly/1IR96cg)

How can Latin America meet the demands of an aspirational new generation? (Guardian http://bit.ly/1n4AIAC)

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