News in the Humanosphere: WHO declares victory over yellow fever in DRC and Angola

A member of a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) team fumigates the Yolo Sud neighborhood of Kinshasa, Congo, on Friday, July 22, 2016, in an effort to kill mosquitoes that can transmit yellow fever. (Credit: AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

A yellow fever outbreak in Angola and Congo has been brought under control by a major vaccination campaign, the World Health Organization’s director of infectious hazard management Sylvie Briand said on Tuesday. “One [piece of]good news is that this outbreak is under control now. We haven’t had any new cases in Angola since June 23, and since July 12 in [the Democratic Republic of Congo],” Briand told a regular U.N. briefing in Geneva. The entire Congolese capital of Kinshasa, 7.7 million people, had been vaccinated in less than 10 days, as well as 3 million in border areas to prevent transmission from Angola, and another 3 million on the Angolan side of the border, where a second phase of vaccinations would be carried out soon. “So far in Angola more than 15 million people [have been vaccinated], this represents 65 percent of the population. So we still have to protect certain districts and provinces but the risk of a major outbreak I think is now over,” she said.  (Reuters http://bit.ly/2cp93a2)

Syria ceasefire holding…The cessation of hostilities in Syria that came into effect at sunset on Monday is largely holding on its first full day, reports suggest. U.K.-based monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it had recorded no civilian deaths in the first 15 hours of the truce. Residents in the embattled northern city of Aleppo reported calm. U.N. officials say they are ready to deliver aid to besieged areas but need better guarantees of peace. The Syrian government says it will not allow aid, particularly “from the Turkish regime” to be delivered to Aleppo without prior co-ordination with it and the U.N., state media report. (BBC http://bbc.in/2cCsu1m)

Stat of the day: War monitor the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Tuesday the number of deaths it had documented in Syria since the start of the conflict in 2011 has reached more than 301,000. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/2cpd1zg)

Quote of the day: “Anyone, like Hungary, who builds fences against war refugees or breaches press freedom and the independence of the justice system should be temporarily, or if needed forever, excluded from the EU.” – Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn (Reuters http://reut.rs/2cCtFOb)

Africa

Zimbabwean police plan to ban public demonstrations in the capital for a month, according to a public notice issued on Tuesday that opposition lawyers said marked a slide toward a police state. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/2cUTAhB)

The Tanzanian government and aid agencies have dispatched medical workers, food and shelter materials to the northwest region where an earthquake at the weekend killed 16. (Reuters http://bit.ly/2cpfwSn)

A former Congolese rebel commander who started a hunger strike last week to protest the conditions of his detention at the International Criminal Court (ICC) told judges on Tuesday he is “ready to die.” (Reuters http://bit.ly/2cDeu8y)

Nigerian officials have been accused of stealing food from desperate people who are living in camps after fleeing the terrorist group Boko Haram. (Guardian http://bit.ly/2cD6ODu)

U.S. pastor Steven Anderson has been banned from visiting South Africa over his anti-gays views, which the country’s home affairs minister on Tuesday equated with hate speech. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/2ctCBVx)

MENA

Israel said its aircraft attacked a Syrian army position on Tuesday after a stray mortar bomb struck the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights, and it denied a Syrian statement that a warplane and drone were shot down. (Reuters http://reut.rs/2cCsEFU)

Former Israeli President Shimon Peres suffered a “major stroke” on Tuesday and experienced heavy bleeding in the brain, a hospital official said, as doctors raced to stabilize the 93-year-old Nobel laureate. (Politico http://politi.co/2cCtYsl)

The U.N. said Tuesday it had readied help for civilians in Syria’s ceasefire, but aid convoys would not roll until security was assured. (AFP http://yhoo.it/2cDekOF)

U.N. Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein condemned the Syrian government on Tuesday, in a wide-ranging speech cataloguing human rights abuses around the world. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/2cpbIQU)

The Dalai Lama says there should be dialogue with Islamic State extremists to end bloodshed in Syria and Iraq, and argues that religion is never a justification for killing. (AP http://yhoo.it/2cDgRrQ)

Asia

North Korea is experiencing a “major and complex disaster” the Red Cross has warned, after floods killed scores of people and left tens of thousands in need of urgent help. (AFP http://yhoo.it/2cUQwCg)

A humanitarian crisis is looming in Afghanistan as 5,000 refugees return each day from Pakistan, where they are being pressured to leave and join hundreds of thousands already displaced by war at home. (IRIN http://bit.ly/2cDggXj)

India on Tuesday rejected a request by the United Nations’ human rights chief for a visit to gather information on the disputed territory of Kashmir, where security forces have been accused of using excessive violence in trying to quell unrest. (LAT http://lat.ms/2cCuWEZ)

The Philippines moved to shore up relations with the United States on Tuesday with guarantees that a treaty between them would be honored and security ties were “rock solid,” despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s railings against Washington. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/2cp71Xj)

De facto Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi will visit Washington today to discuss whether changes to the U.S. sanctions against the country can help spur much-needed economic growth, a Myanmar official said. (VOA http://bit.ly/2cp5UH8)

Taiwan has asked its diplomatic allies to send the United Nations secretary-general a letter requesting participation in three U.N. agencies, an unusually aggressive application that answers domestic pressure for more international achievements, but one that is sure to be rejected by China. (VOA http://bit.ly/2ctwYa3)

Singapore said Tuesday it is investigating the severity of its locally transmitted Zika virus, amid a rising number of cases. (AP http://yhoo.it/2cpdSAg)

Thailand has recorded about 200 cases of Zika since January, the health ministry said on Tuesday, making it a country with one of the highest numbers of confirmed cases in the region. (VOA http://bit.ly/2cDftG2)

The Americas

Brazil’s lower house of Congress voted overwhelmingly to strip the legislative seat of its former speaker amid accusations of corruption and obstruction of justice. (AP http://yhoo.it/2cDeMMG)

Argentina’s ex-president, Cristina Fernandez, has been subpoenaed to testify as part of an investigation into the awarding of public works contracts during her 2007-2015 administration, according to court papers filed on Monday. (VOA http://bit.ly/2ctxzs9)

Venezuela’s opposition says authorities are cracking down on its members on the Caribbean island of Margarita as thousands of delegates arrive for a summit of the non-aligned movement. (AP http://yhoo.it/2cDfLN5)

The government of Chile has demanded that Venezuela “immediately” disclose the location of a journalist who was detained earlier this month. In return Venezuela accused Chile of “inadmissible interventionism” and a “lack of diplomatic circumspection.” (BBC http://bbc.in)

A judge in El Salvador has ordered a former attorney general freed, saying there is not sufficient evidence to detain him on charges that he divulged intercepted telephone conversations while prosecuting a Roman Catholic priest from Spain in 2014. (AP http://yhoo.it/2cDfNVh)

…and the rest

Three young Syrian men arrested in Germany on Tuesday were Islamic State members brought into the country by the same network that smuggled militants into France to carry out deadly attacks last November, the German government said. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/2cUTw1p)

A wooden sailboat carrying 49 migrants arrived safely Tuesday at the Greek island of Samos under escort by vessels from the Greek coast guard and European border patrol agency Frontex, the coast guard said. (AP http://yhoo.it/2cKp2yQ)

Germany’s massive influx of refugees has driven a sharp wedge through the electorate, and nowhere is the divide greater than in Berlin ahead of regional elections. (AFP http://yhoo.it/2cBCCHy)

Turkey’s state-run news agency says the Justice Ministry has sent the United States its first formal request demanding the arrest of the alleged mastermind of July’s abortive coup. (AP http://yhoo.it/2ctAQrF)

The new Brexit negotiator for the European Parliament reiterated on Tuesday that the EU legislature will not accept giving Britain access to Europe’s single market if it blocks free access to EU immigrants. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/2cDdAJt)

A United Nations independent expert today called on States and Parliaments to ensure that all future trade agreements stipulate the primacy of human rights and to align existing treaties with the duty of States to fulfill binding human rights treaties and meet environmental and health goals. (UN News Service http://bit.ly/2cDfIRs)

Opinion/Blogs

The U.N. General Assembly Kicks off Today. Here’s What that Actually Means (UN Dispatch http://buff.ly/2cGydl7)

How can we better value water as global shortages start to threaten economies? (Guardian http://bit.ly/2ctuwAq)

The timing of North Korea’s latest nuclear test is smarter than it looks (Reuters http://yhoo.it/2cUVoqR)

ECHO budget almost doubles – but migration strings attached (IRIN http://bit.ly/2cUXR4X)

Why Trump and other anti-immigration supporters are completely wrong (A View from the Cave http://buff.ly/2cKxZbm)

Secret aid worker: Greece has exposed the aid community’s failures (Guardian http://bit.ly/2cp9vFl)

10 lessons on democratic transitions and its development impact (Devex http://buff.ly/2cBMiSr)

South Sudan: A runaway kleptocracy or a gradual evolution towards statehood with an encompassing interest? (Africanist Perspective http://buff.ly/2cpnr27)

Yes, the U.S. Can Fight Corruption Overseas (Foreign Policy http://buff.ly/2cBOJ7f)

Saving Refugees to Save Europe (Project Syndicate http://buff.ly/2cKzmXA)

Crowdfunding development aid would direct funds where they are needed most (Guardian http://bit.ly/2cpeMwu)

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