News in the Humanosphere: U.N. Security Council fails to make progress on Syria

Syrians hold photos of Assad and Putin during a pro-regime protest in front of the Russian embassy in Damascus, Syria, Sunday, March 4, 2012. (Freedom House/flickr)

An emergency session of the U.N. Security Council on Syria has ended with no action taken as Russia clashed openly with representatives from the United States, Britain and France. All three Western powers heaped blame on Moscow Sunday for supporting the offensive by its close ally, Syrian President Bashar Assad, which has been the deadliest of the 5 1/2-year war. And when Syrian Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari was called to speak, all three ambassadors walked out of the council chamber in protest. Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin blamed Syria’s rebels for sabotaging the Sept. 9 cease-fire agreement by shoring up its forces. And he accused the Western coalition of failing to separate the moderate forces it backs from “terrorist” groups including the al-Qaida-linked Fatah Sham Front. “Bringing a peace is almost an impossible task now,” Churkin said.” (WaPo http://wapo.st/2cuHcTP)

South Sudan’s rebel leader wants more war…South Sudan’s rebel leader issued a call for renewed war with the government this weekend, declaring the collapse of an internationally-backed peace deal. Former vice president Riek Machar is in exile in Khartoum where he fled following fighting in the South Sudanese capital Juba in July. In a statement received by AFP on Sunday, Machar said he intended to “wage a popular armed resistance against the authoritarian and fascist regime of President Salva Kiir in order to bring peace, freedom, democracy and the rule of law in the country.” (AFP http://yhoo.it/2cuGEgI)

Not dead yet? A man who claimed to be leader of Nigeria’s Boko Haram has appeared in a video posted on social media, rejecting statements by the country’s military that he had been seriously wounded in an air strike. “You have been spreading in the social media that you injured or killed me,” the man purporting to be Abubakar Shekau, leader of the armed group, said in the 40-minute video released on YouTube on Sunday. (Al Jazeera http://bit.ly/2cuHUAn)

Quote of the day: “War crimes are being committed here in Aleppo,” French Ambassador Francois Delattre told reporters, adding: “They must not be unpunished and impunity is simply not an option in Syria.” (AFP http://yhoo.it/2drOwSs)

Africa

Gabon opposition leader Jean Ping on Saturday rejected what he said was an “unjust” ruling by the Constitutional Court which upheld the victory of President Ali Bongo in the Aug. 27 poll that he says was tarnished by fraud. (Reuters http://bit.ly/2drKusY)

Nigeria’s Boko Haram jihadists have killed four Chadian soldiers in a cross-border raid in the volatile Lake Chad region, a security source told AFP on Sunday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/2duaIxV)

The World Bank on Sunday urged Sudan to undertake swift structural reforms to revive its ailing economy, which a top Sudanese official insisted had been adversely impacted by U.S. trade sanctions. (AFP http://yhoo.it/2d1AloT)

President Jacob Zuma has received the latest call for his resignation from his own brother, according to a media report, as the South African leader clings to power despite a string of scandals. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/2d1Fiwa)

Africa’s elephant population fell around 20 percent between 2006 and 2015 because of a surge in ivory poaching, the International Union for Conservation of Nature said in a report on Sunday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/2d1HaVK)

Elections in Somalia to choose a new parliament have been postponed for the second time in two months due to a dispute over how to select future members, a lawmaker said on Sunday. (Reuters http://bit.ly/2daDWhg)

The United Nations, the African Union and the European Union pressed Democratic Republic of the Congo leaders on Saturday to urge their supporters to refrain from violence as the International Criminal Court prosecutor warned she was watching the situation. (Reuters http://bit.ly/2d1AWHd)

The embattled leader of jihadist group Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, resurfaced in a video posted online Sunday, rejecting assertions by the Nigerian army that he had been seriously wounded. (AFP http://yhoo.it/2daECD2)

Timbuktu’s residents still recall with horror the sight of jihadists waging a campaign of destruction against the fabled Malian city, but now some say they are ready to forgive an extremist whose trial in The Hague they see as a rare moment of justice. (AFP http://yhoo.it/2d1AYib)

MENA

Russian and Syrian forces bombed a strategic camp on the northern edge of Aleppo on Sunday after losing control of it overnight, both rebels and the Syrian army said. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/2daGSdL)

A Saudi-led coalition airstrike in Yemen killed nine members of the same family, including several children, on Sunday in the southwestern rebel-held city of Ibb, witnesses and medics said. (AFP http://yhoo.it/2cDzsC8)

Canada confirmed on Sunday it had become aware of a citizen taken hostage in Libya and was “diligently pursuing all appropriate channels to obtain more information.” (Reuters http://buff.ly/2daJkAL)

Russia’s U.N. ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, told the Security Council on Sunday that peace in Syria was “almost an impossible task now.” (Reuters http://yhoo.it/2drLSvN)

A gunman shot dead Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar on Sunday outside the court where he was to stand trial on charges of contempt of religion after sharing on social media a caricature seen as insulting Islam, witnesses and state media said. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/2drLwW6)

A Syrian journalist on Sunday accused the U.K. of playing into the hands of Bashar al-Assad’s regime, following the confiscation of her passport at London’s Heathrow airport after it was apparently reported stolen by Damascus. (AFP http://yhoo.it/2d1zDYC)

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi ordered the tightening of border security after more than 160 mainly Egyptian migrants died when their Europe-bound boat sank in the Mediterranean, a tragedy that highlighted the extent of Egypt’s economic woes. (AP http://yhoo.it/2daIioD)

Dubai prosecutors have dropped charges against a British-Australian man who used social media to highlight the work of an Afghan refugee charity, a local newspaper said on Sunday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/2d1G8sS)

Asia

A prominent local journalist who helped organize a gathering in Nepal of investigative reporters from throughout Asia was notably absent from the event, exiled to avoid possible arrest. (AP http://yhoo.it/2cDxphr)

Philippines Foreign Minister Perfecto Yasay told the United Nations on Saturday his country’s new president, Rodrigo Duterte, had an “unprecedented” mandate and the world should not interfere in his crackdown on crime. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/2drL1eE)

India’s prime minister said Sunday that his country will ratify the Paris Agreement on climate change early next month. (AP http://yhoo.it/2cDzn1m)

The Americas

Thousands of people in Mexico City have protested against a government proposal to legalize same-sex marriage, which they say would undermine traditional families. (BBC http://bbc.in/2d1AtVr)

…and the rest

Britain’s parliament must be kept fully informed about the government’s strategy for leaving the European Union, Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the main opposition Labour Party, said on Sunday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/2cDxFNz)

The United Nations secretary-general promised Sunday to lend his personal support to rival Cypriot leaders who are locked in complex talks aimed at reunifying the ethnically divided island nation. (AP http://yhoo.it/2drKQzY)

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said U.S. federal attorneys took aim at him in their prosecution of a Turkish gold trader accused of helping to violate sanctions against Iran, Turkish media reported on Sunday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/2cDAkXD)

Opinion/Blogs

The world needs loud-mouthed activists more than ever (Guardian http://buff.ly/2daIHrb)

Our Food Systems = 3 billion with low quality diets. Let’s start fixing it. Now. (Development Horizons http://buff.ly/2daJw2X)

What’s The Prognosis For $3 Billion Zuckerberg Health Plan? (Goats and Soda http://buff.ly/2d1FDRa)

Saving mothers’ lives begins at the grass-roots level (Devex http://buff.ly/2duc7Vd)

No DRC leader gives up power peacefully, so why would Joseph Kabila? (Guardian http://buff.ly/2d1IwQb)

What’s a national anthem got to do with anything? (Africa is a Country http://buff.ly/2d1Iyrk)

Most refugees don’t live in camps (World Bank Data Viz http://buff.ly/2drPqxX)

There’s A ‘Glaring’ Gap In The War Against Poverty And Disease (Goats and Soda http://buff.ly/2daLTD6)

Enough is enough. It’s time to protect aid workers (Guardian http://buff.ly/2cDCUwJ)

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