News in the Humanosphere: Planet’s wild animal population fell by more than half since 1970

Zebra (Credit: cncalvin/flickr)

The number of wild animals living on Earth is set to fall by two-thirds by 2020, according to a new report, part of a mass extinction that is destroying the natural world upon which humanity depends. The analysis, the most comprehensive to date, indicates that animal populations plummeted by 58 percent between 1970 and 2012, with losses on track to reach 67 percent by 2020. Researchers from WWF and the Zoological Society of London compiled the report from scientific data and found that the destruction of wild habitats, hunting and pollution were to blame. The creatures being lost range from mountains to forests to rivers and the seas and include well-known endangered species such as elephants and gorillas and lesser known creatures such as vultures and salamanders. (Guardian http://bit.ly/2eVaP3k)

A dangerous fake sanitary pads scheme…“The discovery of a huge ‘fake sanitary towel’ operation in southeast China has prompted fears about the possible impact on women’s health. Police in Nanchang, Jiangxi Province, say they have arrested two suspects believed to have produced millions of the fakes in dirty facilities. The fakes are thought to have gone on sale across China since 2013. Chinese authorities have warned against buying discounted products, saying there could be serious health risks. The Nanchang Public Security Bureau says it seized fake sanitary towels with a resale value of more than 40 million yuan ($5.9m; £4.8m) in a factory with no disinfection facilities.” (BBC http://bbc.in/2eVbbHi)

Quote of the day: “[Do] the right thing to stop the draining of the blood of Syrians.” — OCHA chief Stephen O’Brien, to the Security Council. (UN News Center http://bit.ly/2eVaEFl)

Africa

Kenya’s government on Thursday announced a 60-day dusk to dawn curfew in the northeastern town of Mandera, hit by two deadly terrorist attacks in three weeks. (AFP https://yhoo.it/2eVds42)

Two Eritrean pilots have defected with their fighter jets to neighboring Ethiopia, an Eritrean opposition group confirmed Thursday, in a dramatic exit from one of the world’s most closed-off states. (AP https://yhoo.it/2eVfBg5)

Pope Francis has accepted an invitation to visit South Sudan to preach peace in the country embroiled in inter-ethnic and political strife, religious leaders said after talks with the pontiff on Thursday. (Reuters https://yhoo.it/2dOUpY9)

Improving drainage, storing the water, then harnessing the community to keep things working is reducing flood risks in Senegal. (TRF http://tmsnrt.rs/2eV7Mbv)

MENA

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has demanded an immediate investigation into an air strike in Syria on Wednesday that reportedly struck a school, killing more than 20 children. (BBC http://bbc.in/2eV9t92)

The spokesman for the Libyan navy says more than 90 migrants are believed dead after their rickety boat was damaged shortly after leaving the Libyan coast. (VOA http://bit.ly/2fj82Em)

A U.N. peace proposal to end a 19-month war in Yemen appears aimed at sidelining exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and setting up a government of less divisive figures, according to a copy of the plan. (Reuters https://yhoo.it/2eVgHIZ)

The U.N.’s public health agency said Thursday it has trained 90 Iraqi medics in “mass casualty management,” with a special focus on chemical attacks, as part of its preparations for Iraq’s operation to retake Mosul from the Islamic State group. (AP https://yhoo.it/2eVjC4c)

The European Union has begun training the Libyan coast guard as part of efforts to curb the growing influx of irregular migrants from North Africa, EU foreign affairs head Federica Mogherini said Thursday. (AFP https://yhoo.it/2eVjpOs)

The United Nations vowed on Thursday to press ahead on securing medical evacuations of hundreds of sick and wounded from the Syrian city of Aleppo and demanded that warring sides drop their conditions. (Reuters https://yhoo.it/2fj7oH2)

Asia

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday said India was expelling a Pakistani diplomat in New Delhi after briefly detaining him on what it called “false and unsubstantiated charges,” a sign of increasing tension between the two South Asian nuclear-armed archrivals. (AP https://yhoo.it/2e0qD60)

China’s Communist Party has elevated President Xi Jinping to the position of “core” of the leadership, underscoring the overwhelming clout he has amassed on the back of a sweeping anti-corruption campaign and crackdown on dissent. (AP https://yhoo.it/2fj6ha1)

A Cambodian official says authorities are working on a request from Thailand’s government to extradite three Thais accused of insulting the monarchy. (AP https://yhoo.it/2eVgXHP)

Cambodia’s foreign minister assured the United States on Thursday that the political deadlock in the country will ease soon since opposition lawmakers have agreed to end their boycott of the parliament and attend its upcoming plenary session. (AP https://yhoo.it/2fj6Z7q)

The Indian state of Haryana is leading the fight against useless – and potentially harmful – remedies illegally peddled to pregnant women desperate for a boy. (Guardian http://bit.ly/2dOTNC6)

The Americas

A landslide on a major highway in Colombia has killed at least six people, officials said. On Wednesday tons of earth engulfed the main highway leading north from Colombia’s second-largest city, Medellin. (BBC http://bbc.in/2eVfiSz)

A U.N. rights committee said Thursday it will study a petition filed by Brazil’s embattled former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva claiming the country’s courts violated his rights over a huge corruption scandal. (AFP https://yhoo.it/2eVc6WW)

Doctors have gradually left Puerto Rico during a decade-long recession that has gripped the island and driven more than 200,000 people to the U.S. mainland seeking better opportunities. Now, the steady departure of pediatricians, surgeons, orthopedists, neurologists and others has become a stampede as the economy shows no sign of improving and financial problems in the territorial health insurance program make it nearly impossible for doctors to stay in business. (AP https://yhoo.it/2dOVe3l)

Food staples like rice and milk are returning to the empty shelves of Venezuelan supermarkets after a long absence – but who can afford those eye-popping prices? (AFP https://yhoo.it/2dOW5Rn)

…and the rest

Dozens of migrants stranded in the Calais “Jungle,” some of them children, desperately sought a way out Thursday as diggers begin tearing down the last remaining shelters in the burnt-out camp in northern France. (AFP https://yhoo.it/2e0nsLW)

Migrants arriving at France’s Calais “Jungle” since demolition of the camp began cannot expect to be resettled by the local authorities, the government prefect in the region said on Thursday. (Reuters http://bit.ly/2fj5gz3)

Officials in central Italy began early Thursday to assess the damage caused by a pair of strong earthquakes in the same region of central Italy hit by a deadly quake in August, as an appeal went out for temporary housing adequate for the cold mountain temperatures. (AP https://yhoo.it/2ePUfm2)

Global efforts to cut carbon dioxide emissions will be key for the adoption of liquefied natural gas as a marine fuel, German shipowner and ship-management firm Bernhard Schulte said. (Reuters https://yhoo.it/2ePQgWo)

A top Russian official says Russia will destroy all of its chemical weapons by the end of next year, a year earlier than previously announced. (AP https://yhoo.it/2e0mpLV)

Opinion/Blogs

The Battle for Mosul (Global Dispatches Podcast http://bit.ly/2eV86qX)

Free school meals a recipe for success for young learners in Liberia (Guardian http://bit.ly/2fiVoVN)

From IS slaves to global voices for Yazidis (AFP https://yhoo.it/2e0oAyS)

Fear stalks Myanmar’s Rakhine State in wake of deadly attacks (IRIN http://buff.ly/2dOZUWQ)

Policy Prescriptions Trump and Clinton on global trade (AP https://yhoo.it/2dORDlI)

Beyond the International Criminal Court (Africa is a Country http://buff.ly/2eQ79QR)

DfID sheds light on $477 million research and innovation investment (Devex http://buff.ly/2fjcbYJ)

Sudan – Real and Imagined (Daily Maverick http://buff.ly/2fjbqim)

The Guardian view on development aid: do it better, but do it (Guardian http://buff.ly/2dP6gWi)

Review of Kent Anann’s Slow Kingdom Coming and Three Classic Works on Poverty (Across Two Worlds http://buff.ly/2fjbVsL)

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