News in the Humanosphere: Zika-linked microcephaly comes to Europe

Angelica Pereira feeds her daughter Luiza, who was born with microcephaly in Santa Cruz do Capibaribe, Brazil, Feb. 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

A woman infected with the Zika virus gave birth on Monday to a baby with microcephaly in Barcelona, in what is probably the first case of its kind in Europe, according to the hospital where the infant was born. The woman is believed to have caught the Zika virus while traveling in Latin America, where Zika has spread most widely. She was not identified, and her exact itinerary was not disclosed. …There have been 190 cases of Zika infections reported in Spain, of which 26 are linked to women who were pregnant at the time of the diagnosis, according to the country’s health ministry. (NYT http://nyti.ms/2auM8fE)

Al-Shabab targets AU troops in Somalia…“Suicide bombers killed at least 13 people at the gates of the African Union’s main peacekeeping base in the Somali capital on Tuesday, police said, in an attack claimed by the Islamist militants of al Shabaab. The force of the bombings shattered windows at Mogadishu’s nearby airport, showered arriving passengers with glass and forced the suspension of flights, police and witnesses said. …Al-Shabab regularly attacks AMISOM, which is made up of about 22,000 military personnel from Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and other African countries helping to support Somalia’s government and army.” (Reuters http://reut.rs/2auLq21)

Feeling hot, hot, hot…The U.N. weather agency says it suspects a 54-degree Celsius (129.2 Fahrenheit) temperature recorded in Kuwait has set a record for the eastern hemisphere. (AP http://yhoo.it/2aI1yK6)

Africa

The apparent disarray in South Sudan’s Transitional Government of National Unity comes full circle Tuesday when former rebel leader and First Vice President Riek Machar is formally replaced by his one-time chief peace negotiator, General Taban Deng Gai. (VOA http://bit.ly/2af0Tl0)

Republic of Congo opposition leader Paulin Makaya was sentenced to two years in prison on Monday for his role in protests against a referendum proposing a third term for President Denis Sassou Nguesso, the High Court of Brazzaville ruled. (Reuters http://bit.ly/2aI1Hx6)

More than 37,000 people have fled South Sudan for neighboring Uganda in the last three weeks following intense fighting between rival troops that left hundreds dead, the U.N.’s refugee body said Tuesday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/2aI1yd4)

Contaminated drinking water has led to Madagascar having one of the highest rates of stunting for under-fives, causing lasting physical and cognitive damage. (Guardian http://bit.ly/2aI1tG8)

The World Bank has suspended funding for the long-delayed Inga-3 hydroelectric project in Democratic Republic of the Congo following disagreements over the “strategic direction” of the project, it said in a statement late Monday. (Reuters http://bit.ly/29Xs1WM)

Malawi police have arrested an HIV-infected man who was paid to have sex with more than 100 adolescent girls as part of a traditional ritual marking their passage to womanhood, officials said Tuesday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/2ao4A7l)

MENA

Syrian government forces on Tuesday seized a rebel-held neighborhood in the northwest edge of Aleppo, tightening their siege of opposition-controlled parts of the city, a monitor said. (AFP http://yhoo.it/29Xsh85)

The Islamic State’s latest suicide attack in Baghdad, which killed nearly 330 people, foreshadows a long and bloody insurgency, according to American diplomats and commanders, as the group reverts to its guerrilla roots because its territory is shrinking in Iraq and Syria. (NYT http://nyti.ms/2auMZwP).

Palestinian leaders are seeking Arab League support for a complaint they intend to file against Britain for its 1917 Balfour Declaration backing a Jewish homeland in Palestine. (AFP http://yhoo.it/2a2CGv6)

The U.N.’s Syria envoy voiced hope Tuesday that peace talks could restart next month, as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said there had been “progress” in efforts to salvage an urgently-needed ceasefire. (AFP http://yhoo.it/2aeZvPt)

Asia

Authorities lifted a curfew in most of Indian-controlled Kashmir’s main city Tuesday after a 17-day security lockdown, but shops and businesses remained shut due to a strike called to protest Indian rule in the Himalayan region. (AP http://yhoo.it/2a2DBLX)

Three prominent Thai rights defenders were charged Tuesday with criminal defamation over a rare report describing torture suffered by detainees in the restive south, police said. (AFP http://yhoo.it/2aeZUBj)

More than 1.2 million people in northeast India have been hit by floods which have submerged hundreds of villages, inundated large swathes of farmland and damaged roads, bridges and telecommunications services, local authorities said on Tuesday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/2a2CfAZ)

Hundreds of Nepalis who had borrowed money to rebuild their lives after two earthquakes left them homeless are at risk of being trafficked or duped into selling their kidneys to pay off their debts. (TRF http://tmsnrt.rs/2auLZZO)

The United Nations says changes to India’s child labor law, which permit children to work for their families and reduce the number of banned occupations for adolescents, will disadvantage vulnerable groups such as tribals and lower-caste communities. (TRF http://yhoo.it/2a2Cr39)

Indonesia has beefed up security at Nusa Kambangan prison island as authorities prepare to execute people convicted of drug crimes for the third time since President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo was elected in 2014. (AP http://yhoo.it/2ao6iFF

Police raided a den of suspected Islamic militants in Bangladesh’s capital Tuesday, killing nine men and seizing explosives, revolvers and black flags, police said. (AP http://yhoo.it/29XsYyf)

The Americas

Two armed police officers accused of briefly kidnapping and extorting a New Zealand jiu-jitsu athlete in Rio de Janeiro have been arrested, said Brazil’s Military Police Tuesday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/2a2CoV3)

Colombian health officials declared on Monday that the worst of a Zika outbreak in the Andean nation had passed just 10 months after its arrival, raising questions about how the virus is affecting parts of Latin America differently.  (VOA http://bit.ly/29XsOHc)

The Obama administration will soon expand efforts to help Central American families and children legally immigrate to the United States amid another surge of migrants caught crossing the border illegally. (AP http://yhoo.it/2aI1qtV)

Brazil’s top government finance and spending regulator is expected to report in the coming months that Rio de Janeiro will receive almost none of the environmental benefits promised by organizers of the 2016 Olympic Games, officials working on the report said. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/29XrxA8)

The Olympic team of Belarus has branded the athletes’ village in Rio de Janeiro unsanitary, a day after Australia refused to check its athletes in over health concerns. (AP http://yhoo.it/2a9gZiw)

…and the rest

An Ethiopian was killed and six other migrants injured when clashes erupted on the outskirts of the migrant camp in France’s northern port city of Calais, authorities said Tuesday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/29XsOab)

Hungary is willing to take back some migrants from Austria under European rules and would then return them to their countries of origin, mostly Kosovo and Albania, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said Tuesday. (AP http://yhoo.it/2a2Czzn)

Britain will order a review of how police deal with hate crimes after a sharp rise in offenses reported following last month’s vote to leave the European Union. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/2aI1jyt)

The area covered by palm oil plantations worldwide could double without damaging protected areas or sensitive forests, Austrian researchers said on Tuesday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/29XrtQE)

Officials in the Swedish city of Sodertalje say vandals have removed rainbow flags that were raised outside city hall in support of the gay pride festival this week in neighboring Stockholm. (AP http://yhoo.it/2aeZOtF)

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is looking to support financially the development of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline, which plans to bring gas across the Balkans and on to Italy. (AP http://yhoo.it/2ao4uN1)

Turkey Coup Fallout

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday accused the EU of not meeting its aid commitments under a deal to send Syrian refugees back across the Aegean, but Brussels denied the charge. (AFP http://yhoo.it/2af10gn)

The U.S. Embassy in Ankara said on Tuesday the State Department has authorized the voluntary departure of employees’ family members in Turkey after a failed military coup. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/2af21oC)

Turkish leaders on Tuesday stepped up their calls for the United States to punish Fethullah Gulen, the reclusive cleric living in Pennsylvania whose organization is said to be behind the failed July 15 coup that sought to topple President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government. (WaPo http://wapo.st/2auLA9v)

Turkey’s religious affairs directorate has so far removed a total of 1,112 personnel, including preachers and instructors in the Koran, since the July 15 failed military coup, it said on Tuesday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/2a9gG7l)

Opinion/Blogs

On debt and taxation, rich and poor countries are worlds apart (Guardian http://bit.ly/2aI1dag)

Inept but not corrupt: Kenya’s doping mess explained (AFP http://yhoo.it/2aHXzNC)

Can Olympics ‘beautify’ Rio? (CNN http://cnn.it/2auDePh)

Swaziland’s Secret Weapon Against Child Abuse: Grandmothers (Goats and Soda http://n.pr/2a7qomM)

Secret aid worker: is the humanitarian sector ageist? (Guardian http://bit.ly/2a9cbtD)

Despairing About Elections? This Is Why Your Vote Matters (The Conversation http://bit.ly/2a9cxjY)

SDGs Could Boost Citizen Science in Africa (SciDevNet http://bit.ly/2aeXdzT)

Can Robert Mugabe be tweeted out of power? (Guardian http://bit.ly/2a2CsEc)

How Did We Arrive at This Chaos? (IPS http://bit.ly/2aeYsPg)

An etiquette guide to the African internet (Guardian http://bit.ly/2aI1Y30)

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