News in the Humanosphere: Yemen ceasefire deal to go in effect in April

Men inspect a house destroyed by Saudi-led airstrikes in Sanaa, Yemen, Jan. 8, 2016. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)

Yemen’s warring parties have agreed to a nationwide cessation of hostilities starting next month in an attempt to end the year-old conflict that has killed more than 6,000 people – half that total civilians.  The ceasefire will take hold at midnight on April 10, the U.N. special envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said on Wednesday. A new round of peace talks between the rival sides will take place in Kuwait beginning on April 18, Ould Cheikh Ahmed added. The country is facing a humanitarian catastrophe, according to the United Nations, with millions of people without enough food or access to adequate medical care. (Al Jazeera http://bit.ly/1UlOMEc)

Aid groups out…The conversion of reception centers for refugees and migrants into detention facilities has led to the withdrawal of support by the U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and Doctors Without Borders. An agreement struck last week between the European Union and Turkey to return people passing through the country and onward to Greece. It fundamentally shifts the response in Greece from supporting asylum seekers to detaining and returning people who arrive. (Humanosphere http://bit.ly/1UlECDN)

Dominic Ongwen to stand trial…ICC judges Wednesday confirmed 70 charges against notorious Lord’s Resistance Army commander Dominic Ongwen for crimes committed in Uganda, including keeping sex slaves and recruiting child soldiers. A former child-soldier-turned-warlord, Ongwen was Kony’s one-time deputy and one of the most senior commanders of the LRA, which is accused of slaughtering more than 100,000 people and abducting 60,000 children in a bloody rebellion against Kampala that began in 1986. Prosecutors in January at a hearing to confirm charges against Ongwen told the ICC’s judges he was the “tip of the spear” of the group that has sown terror across several countries in central and eastern Africa. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1RhwHob)

Mea culpa…The new commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan has apologized for the American attack on a hospital last year that killed 42 people and wounded 37 more. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1pzbLyh)

Africa

Authorities in Mali have arrested 21 people in connection with an attack on the headquarters of an EU military training operation there, a senior police official said on Wednesday. (Reuters http://reut.rs/1UlM5mf )

People uprooted by Boko Haram violence in northeast Nigeria are leaving host families and moving to camps for the displaced as food becomes increasingly scarce, the European Commission’s humanitarian arm said on Wednesday. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1RlCg3E)

A senior Burundi army officer and ally of the president was shot dead in the Defence Ministry compound on Tuesday, the army and soldiers said, the latest in a series of killings in an almost year-long crisis that risks plunging the nation back into war. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1pzbH1s)

Opposition candidates in elections in Congo Republic said on Wednesday that President Denis Sassou Nguesso placed no better than fourth in any major district, rejecting official partial results that gave him a commanding lead. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1pzairG)

Senegal voted in favor of constitutional changes including reducing presidential terms from seven years to five in a national referendum put forward by President Macky Sall, the election commission said on Wednesday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1RlFDaX)

Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou, re-elected for a second term in a controversial weekend poll, on Wednesday proposed forming a unity government with the opposition which boycotted the vote. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1RhwIZ8)

Malawi and the United Nations children’s agency are experimenting with drones to speed up HIV testing for infants. (AP http://yhoo.it/1Ps6EVI)

MENA

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi reshuffled his government on Wednesday, replacing nine ministers, including for the finance and investment portfolios, but leaving the key ministries of defense, foreign affairs and interior untouched. (AP http://yhoo.it/1WJBAqr)

An American airstrike on Tuesday killed dozens of fighters at a mountainous training camp used by the Yemeni affiliate of Al Qaeda, Pentagon officials said, the latest sign that the military is hastening its strikes against militants in the Middle East and Africa. (NYT http://nyti.ms/1UlMViT)

The U.N. envoy to Libya said on Wednesday he had been forced to cancel a flight to Tripoli because he had not been granted landing rights by the self-declared government there. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1Ps6BsS)

Syria’s government has given a U.N.-backed taskforce permission to deliver aid to more besieged areas, but two opposition strongholds and a city controlled by the Islamic State group remain off limits, a UN official said Wednesday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1UlFV5q)

The United Nations has closed its military liaison office in the disputed territory of Western Sahara as demanded by Morocco amid an escalating dispute over remarks by the U.N. chief, a U.N. spokesman said on Tuesday. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1RhzbD8)

Asia

A prominent Vietnamese blogger and his assistant went on trial in Hanoi Wednesday on charges of publishing articles critical of the government. (VOA http://bit.ly/1Rhzldx)

Police in eastern China have detained 37 people implicated in a scandal involving the selling of poorly refrigerated and probably ineffective vaccines, state media reported Wednesday. (AP http://yhoo.it/1WJBCP0)

An American-Spanish same-sex couple has opened a high-profile custody battle in Thailand for a baby girl born to a surrogate mother, who decided she wanted to keep the child when she found out they were gay. (VOA http://bit.ly/1RhyCZW)

Police in eastern India arrested a local journalist and beat him after he criticized authorities on social media and demanded a law protecting reporters in a region embroiled in a Maoist insurgency, his supporters said Wednesday. (AP http://yhoo.it/1RhyGbW)

The World Bank has approved a $500 million loan to China to support financing of projects to help control air pollution in and around Beijing. (VOA http://yhoo.it/1Rhzgqb)

The Gambia’s establishment of relations with China this month is raising concern in Taiwan of a new fight to retain its few diplomatic allies around the world and exert international influence. (VOA http://bit.ly/1Rhz7Dj

The Americas

A Brazilian Supreme Court justice said a lower court judge erred in releasing tapped phone calls of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and at least temporarily removed him from any investigation of the embattled ex-leader. (AP http://yhoo.it/1Ps6ygI)

Guyana is establishing night courts to help reduce a backlog of cases and ease overcrowding at jails following a prison riot in which 17 inmates died. (AP http://yhoo.it/1pzaiYR)

Brazil’s economic and political crisis has relegated Rio de Janeiro’s Olympic preparations to an afterthought with South America’s first games just over four months away. (AP http://yhoo.it/1RhzhKO)

Haiti’s interim president named a new prime minister after the last one was essentially rejected by parliament in the latest chapter of the poor country’s chronic political instability. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1Rhzde3)

President Barack Obama on Wednesday praised Argentina’s new center-right leader, Mauricio Macri, for the swift pace of reforms to create a stronger economy and said Washington was ready to work more closely with Argentina after years of tension. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1Rhza1Z)

Two Guatemalan brothers with alleged ties to Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel have been convicted of international narcotics trafficking in a U.S. court, officials said on Wednesday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1UlFZCt)

Americans have been killed by prisoners released from the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a senior Defense Department official told lawmakers Wednesday, triggering sharp criticism from Republicans opposed to shuttering the facility in the wake of deadly attacks by the Islamic State group in Brussels and Paris. (AP http://yhoo.it/1RlFwvX)

…and the rest

Refugees and migrants in Greece staged protests Wednesday at the country’s border with Macedonia and on islands near the Turkish coast, with officials still unsure when an international agreement to reduce migration will take full effect. (AP http://yhoo.it/1Ps7Qbz)

Brussels airport will remain closed on Thursday, CEO Arnaud Feist said, after Tuesday’s twin bomb attacks that killed at least ten people. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1WJBzCL)

Romania’s Holocaust institute on Wednesday protested the appointment of a well-known journalist to the board of the country’s public television station, saying the move is disrespectful to the victims of the Holocaust. (AP http://yhoo.it/22wEkOI)

The Netherlands has temporarily closed its consulate-general in Istanbul due to a possible terror threat. (VOA http://bit.ly/1Ps6yNU)

Opinion/Blogs

One Way to Stop the Unrelenting Deaths of Civilians in Yemen? An Arms Embargo on Saudi Arabia (UN Dispatch http://bit.ly/22wGVZ3)

You ask if NGOs should exist, but some are already devolving power (Guardian http://bit.ly/1pzaiI5)

Will the EU-Turkey Deal Unravel after Brussels attack? (UN Dispatch http://bit.ly/1UlLlNU)

Keep connecting dots… (Development Truths http://bit.ly/1RhA52v)

It’s not just in Greece that refugees are stranded (IRIN http://bit.ly/1RhwH7B)

After Brussels, Will the Controversial EU-Turkey Refugee Deal Unravel? (UN Dispatch http://bit.ly/1WJFjnR)

Politics And Ebola Are Not Such Strange Bedfellows, Report Says (Goats and Soda http://n.pr/1pzc3VT)

When will the UN be held to account for failing to protect civilians? (Guardian http://bit.ly/1RhyGZz)

Probing The Complexities Of Transgender Mental Health (Shots http://n.pr/1RhwFwC)

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