News in the Humanosphere: Pakistan suicide blast kills more than 60 and injures hundreds

A suicide blast claimed by Islamist militants ripped through crowds of families celebrating Easter at a park in the city of Lahore on Sunday, killing at least 60 people and injuring another 300 in an attack the jihadists said had deliberately targeted Christians. The attack was carried out by a suicide bomber in the parking lot of Gulshan e-Iqbal Park at about 6:30 in the evening, transforming a joyful scene of picnicking families into a spectacle of chaos and horror. Many children were among the dead, local officials said. (WaPo http://wapo.st/1Rv0l5Z)

A battlefield defeat for ISIS…”Syrian government forces backed by heavy Russian air support drove Islamic State out of Palmyra on Sunday, inflicting what the army called a mortal blow to militants who seized the city last year and dynamited its ancient temples. The loss of Palmyra represents one of the biggest setbacks for the ultra-hardline Islamist group since it declared a caliphate in 2014 across large parts of Syria and Iraq. The army general command said that its forces took over the city with support from Russian and Syrian air strikes, opening up the huge expanse of desert leading east to the Islamic State strongholds of Raqqa and Deir al-Zor.” (Reuters http://reut.rs/1Rv0PsR )

Delegation of the day…The White House announced that Samantha Power will lead a U.S. delegation, that includes a member of congress and several high ranking American officials, to attend the inauguration of CAR President Faustin-Archange Touadéra on March 30.

Burned effigy of the day…This country’s artisans usually set fire to effigies of unpopular Mexican politicians in their “burning of Judas” ritual every Easter weekend. This year, the politician they love to hate the most is an American: Donald Trump. (USA Today http://usat.ly/1Rv1dYt)

Africa

Nigeria is waiting for the green light from Cameroon to verify a would-be suicide bomber’s claim that she is one of 276 Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in 2014. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1pEAC3L)

Two Malians who “actively participated” in a deadly Islamist assault on an Ivory Coast beach resort have been arrested, including the right-hand man of the suspected mastermind, security sources said Sunday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1Rv17jr)

Burundi’s ruling party has accused Rwandan President Paul Kagame of seeking to “export” genocide, as relations between the two neighbors deteriorate further. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1qagiI6)

A riot stopped play in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier on Sunday as fans threw missiles and police fired tear gas into the stands. (BBC http://bbc.in/1Rv1vOQ)

MENA

The Libyan coastguard on Sunday stopped three boats carrying 600 migrants including pregnant women trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe, an official said. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1qagjeZ)

Amateur video appearing to show an Israeli soldier killing an already wounded Palestinian attacker sparked uproar in Israel on Sunday, reflecting the deep divisions in the country following six months of violence. (WaPo http://wapo.st/1Rv1k68)

Jordan will get a cheap $100 million loan to help create 100,000 jobs for Syrian refugees and its own citizens, the World Bank president said Sunday. (AP http://yhoo.it/1PzvUJG)

More than 360 civilians were killed during the first month of an unprecedented ceasefire in Syria, the lowest monthly toll for four years, a monitoring group said on Sunday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1qagmaF)

Influential Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr met with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi Sunday night after beginning a sit-in in Baghdad’s highly fortified Green Zone intended to be a show of force following his calls to combat government corruption. (WaPo http://wapo.st/1Rv1mLq )

Ban Ki-moon and World Bank Chief Jim Kim visited Zataar refugee camp in Jordan this weekend. (UN News Center http://bit.ly/25rxp8l )

Al-Jazeera, the Qatar-based broadcaster, said Sunday it is slashing about 500 jobs a little more than two months after announcing the closure of its U.S. offshoot. (AP http://yhoo.it/1pEACk7)

Asia

Facebook apologized to users on the other side of the world from Sunday’s suicide bombing in Pakistan who received computer-addressed notices asking if they were safe. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1pEAC3D)

Chinese security officers appear to have detained several people in their investigation of a mysterious, fiery letter posted online this month that strongly criticized President Xi Jinping and demanded that he resign. (CNBC http://cnb.cx/25rxRn4)

The Americas

A video purportedly made by El Salvador’s main street gangs is offering an end to killings in the country, and asks the government not to continue an anti-gang offensive. (AP http://yhoo.it/1qagjvs)

Guyana’s government plans to establish several new jungle capitals on the border regions with its South American neighbors as it moves to develop its mineral-rich interior, the office of President David Granger said on Sunday. (AP http://yhoo.it/1PzvUtj)

…and the rest

Hundreds of migrants, egged on by activists, are protesting near the fence separating Macedonia from Greece, demanding that the border be opened to allow them to continue their journey into central Europe. (AP http://yhoo.it/1pEACAF)

Opinion/Blogs

Ebola: We May Have Won The Battle But We Haven’t Won The War (NPR http://n.pr/1PzvSS6)

‘International humanitarian law is unravelling before our eyes’ (Guardian http://bit.ly/1LSSGSf)

The misleading use of the term ‘foreign aid’ in two charts (Humanosphere http://bit.ly/1PzwUNO)

The global rent-a-womb industry is starting to crumble (GlobalPost http://bit.ly/1PzvS4H)

Slay it Loud and Slay it Proud: Lessons from the Fourth Wave (Global Dashboard http://bit.ly/1qagOpt)

How science is moving farmers from poverty to prosperity (Devex http://bit.ly/25rBYj6)

Sustainable Diplomacy Goals (IRIN http://bit.ly/1pEB7e4)

How do we end inequality? Women’s rights activists speak out (Guardian http://bit.ly/1qah2gh)

South Sudan is entering an extremely dangerous phase (Reinventing Peace http://bit.ly/1qah5Zr)

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