News in the Humanosphere: U.N. and aid groups slam plan to return migrants to Turkey

Syrian refugees in a camp in Turkey. (© European Union 2016 - European Parliament)

The United Nations and human rights groups warned on that a tentative European Union deal to send back all irregular migrants to Turkey in exchange for political and financial rewards could be illegal. ‘I am deeply concerned about any arrangement that would involve the blanket return of anyone from one country to another without spelling out the refugee protection safeguards under international law,’ U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi told the European Parliament in Strasbourg.  (Reuters

Zika as an STD…Sexual transmission of Zika is more common than previously thought, the World Health Organization said Tuesday. But scientists still have a number of questions about the first mosquito-borne disease known to spread through sex, including how long it can last in semen. Investigations in several countries “strongly suggest” the virus spreads through sex more often than scientists assumed, said WHO director-general Margaret Chan. (USA Today

Humanity affirming stats of the day: The number of women using contraceptives in developing countries has soared to record levels in recent years, such that projections for global population growth could be cut by as much as 1 billion over the next 15 years. (Guardian

DIY project of the day: It has never taken off, and could well be a death trap, but a homemade helicopter built in Malawi is drawing crowds captivated by its creator’s determination to succeed against all the odds. (AFP


Three Congolese employees of charity Save the Children who were kidnapped in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo last week have been released, a U.N. official said on Tuesday. (Reuters

Dozens of university students protested in Ethiopia’s capital on Tuesday, demanding an end to police crackdowns that followed months of demonstrations over plans to requisition farmland in the country’s Oromiya region late last year. (Reuters

Niger’s opposition coalition said on Tuesday its candidate, Hama Amadou, would not contest a runoff election on March 20, effectively ensuring that President Mahamadou Issoufou will win a second term. (Reuters

Benin’s presidential election looks set to be a second round run-off between Prime Minister Lionel Zinsou and businessman Patrice Talon, the country’s electoral commission indicated on Tuesday. (AFP

China hinted on Tuesday that it was planning more global bases following the setting up of its logistics center in Djibouti, what the Horn of African country’s government calls a military facility that will be China’s first overseas. (Reuters

Two hundred young Malian jihadists are ready to lay down their weapons as part of a new government and civil society deradicalisation program, its organisers said Tuesday. (AFP

#BringBackOurGirls was created to engage Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan’s government to find the girls.  Now, the president is Muhammadu Buhari and, authorities say Boko Haram has been degraded significantly. (VOA

A decade ago, South Africa was in crisis, struggling with AIDS and widespread criticism of the president at the time for a policy blamed for the early deaths of several hundred thousand South Africans from the disease. Now that former leader, Thabo Mbeki, faces fresh scrutiny for defending his old pronouncements about the disease. (AP

South Africa’s agriculture sector has incurred losses of $1 billion due to a severe drought, a government statement said on Tuesday. (Reuters

A former missionary from Oklahoma was sentenced in U.S. federal court on Monday to 40 years in prison for molesting children at a Kenyan orphanage. (Reuters


Palestinian attackers unleashed a series of shooting and stabbing assaults on Israelis on Tuesday, including a stabbing spree in the ancient Mediterranean port city of Jaffa that killed an American tourist near where Vice President Joe Biden was meeting with Israel’s former president, police said. (WaPo

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) test-fired several ballistic missiles on Tuesday, state television said, challenging a United Nations resolution and drawing a threat of a diplomatic response from the United States.  (Reuters

A delegation from the Houthi movement is in Saudi Arabia for talks on ending Yemen’s war, two senior officials said, in what appeared to be the most serious attempt to date to end the conflict. (Reuters

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden spoke with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Tuesday to express condolences for a suicide attack on Sunday that killed at least 60 people and wounded more than 70, the White House said. (Reuters

The U.N. envoy for Syria will begin holding “substantive” peace talks with both Syrian government officials and opposition representatives no later than next Monday even as preparations toward the discussions get underway this week in Geneva, a spokeswoman for the envoy said Tuesday. (AP

Humanitarian disaster is looming in the western Iraq city of Falluja, an Islamic State stronghold under siege by security forces, where tens of thousands of people face food shortages, the United Nations WFP said on Tuesday. (Reuters


A 15-year-old girl was fighting for her life in a New Delhi hospital Tuesday after being raped and set on fire on the rooftop terrace of her family’s home in a village outside the city, police said. (AP

Bangladesh’s highest court upheld a death sentence Tuesday for a senior member of the country’s largest Islamist party who was convicted of committing crimes against humanity during the 1971 independence war against Pakistan. (AP

Pakistani security agents on Tuesday recused the son of a slain governor, abducted five years ago from the eastern city of Lahore just eight months after his father’s assassination, officials said. (AP

China has no plans to allow couples to have as many kids as they want after changing the rules to allow all couples to have two children rather than one, a health official said Tuesday. (AP

A doctor, a one-time driver and a personal assistant head a motley ensemble of possible picks for Myanmar’s next president, as democracy figurehead Aung San Suu Kyi seeks a close confidante to rule in her place. (AFP

Indonesia’s western province of Riau has declared a state of emergency over forest and land fires blazing on the island of Sumatra, a government official said on Tuesday. (Reuters

Six months after fleeing a Taliban assault on her city, the owner of an Afghan radio station devoted to women’s rights is back home and returning to the airwaves. (AP

The Americas

Venezuela’s opposition called Tuesday for the “largest movement that has ever existed” to oust President Nicolas Maduro, vowing to pursue all means to force him from power, including a referendum and protests. (AFP

Chile’s Supreme Court has upheld a ruling that declared it illegal to dismiss workers for striking outside of a formal collective bargaining process, a decision that could have ramifications for future labor disputes. (Reuters

Suspected of causing brain damage in babies and a rare neurological ailment in adults, the Zika virus was linked by researchers Tuesday to a third disorder: paralysis-causing myelitis. (AFP

…and the rest

As the world marks International Women’s Day, a new report finds females globally wield little political power, hampering efforts to bring about positive social and economic change for women. (VOA

A radio campaign detailing harrowing experiences and a call from President Francois Hollande to “face up to harassment” show that France still has much to do tackle the widespread denial of violence against women. (AFP

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday things were moving in the right direction in Europe’s efforts to tackle its migrant crisis after EU leaders reached a draft deal with Turkey aimed at stemming the flow of migrants to Europe. (Reuters

Around 40 migrants a day were detained after crossing the Channel from France to Britain last summer, according to an official report on Tuesday which criticised the authorities’ response as “inadequate”. (AFP

Despair and confusion spread through the camp at the Greek-Macedonian border Tuesday as thousands of stranded refugees were forced to acknowledge that the route through Europe that had carried their hopes and dreams was now shut. (AP


The “Third World” Is Not Your Classroom (The Development Set

International Women’s Day: Five pictures that reveal how women are treated (BBC News

CAN THEY DO THAT? Great wall of Trump faces great hurdles (AP

‘Failure is accepted’: Kenya reflects the challenges deaf pupils face worldwide (Guardian

Are We “Celebrating” Women Again? (Inter Press Service

Spies Sans Frontières? (IRIN

Low wages, unsafe conditions and harassment: fashion must do more to protect female workers (Guardian

Nothing Is Going Right In The World’s Newest Nation (Goats and Soda

The Return of the D.I.Y. Abortion (NY Times


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