News in the Humanosphere: Dazed Syrian boy becomes new symbol of brutal war

Omran Daqneesh sits in an ambulance after being rescued from his home in the Syrian city of Aleppo that was destroyed by an airstrike. Taken from a video posted by the Aleppo Media Center.

A shocked Syrian boy pictured sitting in an ambulance covered in blood and dust after an airstrike became a symbol of civilian suffering in Aleppo Thursday, drawing worldwide attention. As international concern mounted, President Bashar al-Assad’s key ally Russia said it was ready to halt fire in the battleground northern city for 48-hour “humanitarian pauses” from next week. The announcement followed pleas from the United Nations and the European Union for a halt in the fighting in divided Aleppo to allow aid deliveries. (AFP

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South Sudan’s government has recruited child soldiers in the past week to prepare for a renewed conflict, according to an internal United Nations document obtained by The Associated Press. (AP

Mexican police arbitrarily executed nearly two dozen suspected gang members on a ranch last year, the government’s National Human Rights Commission said on Thursday, one of the worst abuses by security forces in a decade of grisly drug violence. (Reuters

The bodies of five migrants were recovered and 534 others were saved on Thursday following an array of rescue operations in the Mediterranean sea, Italy’s coastguard said. (Reuters

U.N. agencies warned Thursday that southern African countries were at risk of another year of food shortages as the drought-hit region is expected to be hit by above-average rainfall likely to trigger floods. (AFP

Thousands of women took to the streets of Bulawayo on Thursday to demand free education for their children as protests against the government mount across Zimbabwe. (VOA

Some 86,500 people have filed for federal aid after deadly flooding hit Louisiana in the past several days and damaged some 40,000 homes, Gov. John Bel Edwards told a news conference on Thursday. (Reuters

Migrant construction workers, abandoned by the thousands by Saudi employers in filthy desert camps during the kingdom’s economic slump, say they will not accept a government offer of free flights home unless they receive months of unpaid wages. (Reuters

The U.S. Justice Department announced that it would the end use of private prisons, phasing them out as contracts end over the next five years. (PRI

The United Nations on Thursday said it had found no sign of any suspicious military activity by Morocco in the disputed Western Sahara, after a separatist group complained about a Moroccan security operation in the region’s far south. (AFP

Haiti said it would spend $55 million on a new election after the results of the last vote were scrapped, with most of the money to be drawn from the poor Caribbean nation’s own coffers as foreign donors are reluctant to pay again. (VOA

Seven years of war against Boko Haram militants have left northeastern Nigeria in the grips of a humanitarian emergency. Borno state has borne the brunt of the violence and is now feeling the pain of an increasing food shortage. (VOA

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will travel next week to Kenya, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia on a three-nation tour focused on counterterrorism, the State Department said. (AFP

The Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) militant group on Thursday threatened to pull the oil region out of Nigeria, accusing President Muhammadu Buhari of fueling divisions in the country. (AFP

A U.S. State Department video of a press briefing about secret U.S.-Iran nuclear talks was deliberately edited but there is no evidence to suggest the cut was intended to hide information, a U.S. spokesman said on Thursday after further details were released of an investigation into the incident. (Reuters

A British nurse who developed Ebola working in Sierra Leone is facing disciplinary action over allegations she lied about her temperature during health checks on her return. (AP

Research using lab mice has shown for the first time that infection with the mosquito-borne Zika virus may damage adult brain cells, not just developing fetuses, said a study Thursday. (AFP

Twitter announced that it has suspended an additional 235,000 accounts for promoting terrorism over the past six months. (VOA


You can now take a virtual tour of Assad’s notorious torture prison in Syria (GlobalPost

Debate Continues Over U.N. Role In Bringing Cholera To Haiti (Goats and Soda

What Can International Development Learn From Britain’s Olympic Team? (Center for Global Development

Nicaragua has a cervical cancer problem. A coffee farm is trying to help. (PRI

Offshore Justice: Could Australia End Up Facing the ICC for Abusing Asylum-Seekers? (Justice in Conflict

Choosing the right words in global health and development (WhyDev

Map of the Day: Where and How the USA Will Spend Foreign Aid in 2017 (UN Dispatch


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