News in the Humanosphere: Greece to shut down border camp

People hand in their documents for identification at the entrance of the transit center for refugees near the southern Macedonian town of Gevgelija, after crossing the border from Greece. (Credit: AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)

Greece said Monday it will step up efforts to clear the squalid camp of Idomeni where more than 8,400 migrants remain on the border with Macedonia after braving a winter in vain hope of being allowed through to Europe. “The transfer of refugees trapped at Idomeni to hospitality areas probably begins tomorrow (Tuesday),” Yiorgos Kyritsis, the government’s migration spokesman, told state news agency ANA. Most of the migrants will be moved to camps at former industrial facilities near Greece’s second city Thessaloniki over 10 days, he added, as Greek media reported that around a dozen squads of riot police were heading to Idomeni. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1WO64uX)

A first ever debate…The World Federation of United Nations Associates held a historic debate between Thailand and Kazakhstan, who are vying for one seat open to Asian countries on the Security Council next year. Today, Italy, Netherlands and Sweden will debate and face questions from fellow member states and civil society. Those three countries are competing for two seats open to European countries. (WFUNA http://bit.ly/1WO4FVe)

Movie review of the day…Sean Penn’s latest, set in West Africa, looks pretty terrible. And offensive! (Vulture http://bit.ly/1TSG2Qu)

Stat of the day…Increased investments to reduce malnutrition by 40 percent by 2025 could add $83 billion in additional GDP growth in 15 sub-Saharan African countries. (Glopan.org http://bit.ly/1TSEXbw)

World Humanitarian Summit

Final draft of the official Political Communique from the World Humanitarian Summit: http://bit.ly/1WO38yq

Explainer of what the so-called “Grand Bargain” is all about (UN Dispatch http://bit.ly/244pQB0)  

ACT Alliance on the need for increased participation of local and national organizations in humanitarian policy and decision-making processes, in order to bring the much-needed ecosystem of diverse local, national and international organizations necessary to move from delivering aid to ending need  (ACT Alliance http://bit.ly/1WO4h9e)  

Africa

Kenyan police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse protesters on Monday after demonstrations against an electoral body resumed in the afternoon. (Reuters http://bit.ly/25coUgn)

At least one person has died during opposition protests in Kenya’s western city of Kisumu. (BBC http://bbc.in/1TSH66X)

Across Burkina Faso’s capital, even the wealthiest neighborhoods that are typically spared from shortages, are suffering without water amid an unprecedented heat wave. Already the short supply has increased the price of a barrel of water more than 10-fold from just a few months ago. (AP http://yhoo.it/1WdBGtu)

The European Union has urged authorities in Congo to breathe new life into the electoral process so that political chaos doesn’t undermine the chances for free, fair and inclusive polls. (AP http://yhoo.it/25cpgDK)

The European Union is criticizing “all parties” in South Sudan for human rights abuses and killings of civilians, saying they “must cease immediately.” (AP http://yhoo.it/1sNi43r)

Somalia’s president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud, issued a decree to legalize the 2016 electoral process in Somalia, after the outgoing parliament failed to endorse the election rules. (VOA http://bit.ly/1YT5Gso)

South Africa’s main opposition party said on Monday the state prosecutor’s decision to appeal a High Court order that graft charges against President Jacob Zuma be reinstated was an attempt to shield the president. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1RllDSd)

The United Nations said that Sudanese authorities had declined to renew a permit for the head of its humanitarian coordination office in Khartoum, Ivo Freijsen, saying he was being effectively expelled from the country. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1Ts7s5t)

Nigeria’s central bank governors are meeting amid a gloomy financial outlook for Africa’s largest economy. Numbers released last week show the country’s economy contracting. Economists blame a shortage of fuel, persistent power outages and a fall in the production of Nigeria’s top moneymaker, oil. (VOA http://bit.ly/1TrWWuU)

MENA

Bombs killed nearly 150 people and wounded at least 200 in Jableh and Tartous on Syria’s Mediterranean coast on Monday in the government-controlled territory that hosts Russian military bases, monitors and state media said. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1sygAtd)

A landslide caused by heavy rain has swept through a village in southwestern Yemen, killing at least 20 people, local media said on Monday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1sNl7bM)

Iraqi forces have begun an assault on Falluja, a city that has been held by the Islamic State longer than any other in Iraq or Syria, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in a televised speech on Monday. (NYT http://nyti.ms/1TSGSga)

U.S. industrial conglomerate General Electric said Monday it would invest $1.4 billion in Saudi Arabia in support of the kingdom’s recently unveiled plan to diversify the oil-dominated economy. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1syenOd)

The United Nations Committee Against Torture, in its most recent evaluation of Tunisia, condemned the use of forced anal examinations as an attempt to find “proof” against people accused of homosexual conduct, Human Rights Watch said. (HRW http://bit.ly/1TzxL6M)

Nearly half of the 692 schools run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East across the region have been impacted, attacked or otherwise rendered inoperable by conflict or violence in the last five years. (UNRWA http://bit.ly/1TzCLbo)

Libyan coast guards intercepted about 850 migrants on Sunday off the coast near the western city of Sabratha, a spokesman said. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1sygJg0)

Asia

The United States announced a complete end to its arms embargo on Vietnam on Monday, a historic step that draws a line under the two countries’ earlier enmity and underscores their shared concerns about China’s growing military clout. (Reuters http://reut.rs/1TSHBOk )

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani signed an agreement with Tehran on Monday for a transport corridor designed to open up a new route to Afghanistan via the Iranian port of Chabahar, circumventing Pakistan. (WSJ http://on.wsj.com/1TSI7fl)

The Peace Corps is at last coming to Vietnam. President Barack Obama announced Monday during his visit to Vietnam that the Peace Corps will be invited to establish operations in that country. (AP http://yhoo.it/1RllBK1)

The EU has not taken any decision on whether to ban fish exports from Thailand, the Thai foreign ministry said on Monday, clarifying comments made by its deputy prime minister that Bangkok had been given more time to end illegal fishing. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1RllPB7)

Tens of thousands of Bangladeshis returned Monday to wind-battered villages and rain-soaked fields after a strong storm pummeled the coast and killed at least 26 people over the weekend. (AP http://yhoo.it/1Ts7FFM)

India’s space agency ISRO has launched a rocket from its facility north of Chennai carrying an experimental spacecraft it hopes will mark an important step towards the country’s first re-usable space shuttle. (Al Jazeera http://bit.ly/1TSHzGq)

The Americas

Brazil’s interim government came under fire on Monday as a secret recording emerged of the planning minister discussing a purported pact to push for President Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment to stall a massive corruption probe that has engulfed much of the nation’s political class. (AP http://yhoo.it/1NHIZH3)

Doctors and scientists in Haiti are bracing for the possibility of a wave of rare disorders triggered by Zika in an impoverished country that has faced one public health crisis after another and is fertile ground for mosquito-borne scourges. (AP http://yhoo.it/1sNiK8W)

Peruvian President Ollanta Humala has declared a 60-day emergency in a remote part of the Amazon to curb high levels of mercury poisoning from rampant illegal gold mining, the country’s environment minister said on Monday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1WdBJ8L)

…and the rest

The spiraling crisis surrounding the Zika virus is the result of decades of policy failures on mosquito control and poor access to family planning services, the World Health Organization said Monday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1TrWixz)

From 2017, actress Angelina Jolie will join the former foreign secretary William Hague as a “professor in practice,” announced the London School of Economics, as part of a new MSc course on women, peace and security, which LSE says is the first of its kind in the world. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1TrWmNW)

A boat carrying a 20-foot-tall inflatable figure of a refugee is likely to turn heads in Copenhagen’s harbor this week. The “inflatable refugee” is an artwork by Belgian artist collective Shellekens and Peleman, depicting a life-vest wearing refugee clutching his knees on the deck of the wooden boat. (AP http://yhoo.it/1RlgHwR)

Opinion/Blogs

Greece is emptying its largest refugee camp and the timing could not be worse. (UN Dispatch http://bit.ly/1TSIqqk)

Why do a million women still suffer the treatable condition of fistula? (Guardian http://bit.ly/1Tzpu2L)

10 Things You Should Know About Women & the World’s Humanitarian Crises UNFPA http://bit.ly/1WNZGnJ)

Why land means hope for India’s vulnerable single women (TRF http://yhoo.it/1Ts7zOp)

World Humanitarian Summit: Historic achievement or failure? (Humanosphere http://bit.ly/1WdMqYE)

25 Years After Independence Eritreans Still Yearn for Freedom (The Conversation http://bit.ly/1WO0RU7)

World humanitarian summit starts amid hope, hype and fear of empty words (Guardian http://bit.ly/1TrPkc6)

‘Enfants du Pays’ Project Remembers Victims of Burundi’s Crisis With Life Stories and Artwork (Global Voices http://bit.ly/1YT5MR1)

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