News in the Humanosphere: Syrian government accused of yet another chemical weapon attack

Aid workers with the Syria Civil Defense provide assistance in Eastern Ghouta, Syria. (SCD)

An international inquiry blamed Syrian government forces for a third chemical weapons attack, according to a confidential report to the United Nations Security Council. The report, prepared by a committee set up by the U.N. and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and seen by Reuters news agency, was presented to the security council on Friday. The U.N. experts behind the report said Syrian forces were responsible for a toxic gas attack in the village of Qmenas in Idlib province on March 16, 2015. The committee was unable to determine who was behind two other gas attacks – against Binnish in Idlib province in March 2015 and Kafr Zita in Hama province in April 2014. (Al Jazeera

Mass prison break in Haiti…More than 170 inmates escaped from a Haitian prison in Arcahaie, 45km (30 miles) north of the capital Port-au-Prince. The inmates stole five rifles; a guard and an inmate were killed in an exchange of fire. The authorities have begun a manhunt for the fugitives with the help of U.N. peacekeepers stationed in the country. The Haitian government tweeted that it condemned what it described as a prison mutiny. “One guard was killed during the incident,” Justice Minister Camille Edouard Junior told Reuters news agency. (BBC

Long read of the day: Spurred by global warming, rising sea levels are causing massive erosion – in some places eating away more than 100 feet of land in a single year. Sea levels around the world are expected to rise by more than two-and-a-half feet by the end of the century, but they are expected to rise faster than the global average in West Africa, according to the West African Economic and Monetary Union. In a region where 31 percent of population lives along the coastline, generating 56 percent of total GDP, according to the World Bank, this is a potentially catastrophic problem. (FP


Cameroon’s President Paul Biya on Sunday pledged to investigate the causes of a rail crash that killed at least 75 people, as rescue workers scoured wreckage for more bodies. (Reuters

The head of the United Nations peacekeeping operation in South Sudan, Ellen Margrethe Løj, has informed Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that she will be stepping down at the end of November after more than two years of leading the mission. (UN News Center

Burkina Faso’s police director-general says a police squad has killed a suspected Islamic extremist after a shootout in the capital. (AP

Some 83 Nigerian soldiers are missing in action since Boko Haram Islamic extremists attacked a remote military base in the northeast, senior army officers said Sunday. (AP

Twenty-six Asian sailors freed after more than four years of captivity in a small fishing village in Somalia arrived in the Kenyan capital Nairobi on Sunday, ahead of flights home, a maritime expert said. (Reuters

A senior official of South Africa’s ruling party on Sunday urged its leadership to resign, including President Jacob Zuma, following divisions over charges faced by finance minister Pravin Gordhan. (AFP


Warplanes from a Saudi-led coalition attacked targets in Sanaa at dawn on Sunday, hours after a three-day truce in Yemen’s war expired, residents in the capital said. (Reuters

Fierce fighting and airstrikes broke the third day of a four-day unilateral Russian cease-fire in the divided Syrian city of Aleppo on Saturday, a monitor said. (Reuters

Almost a week into the U.S.-led onslaught, many of those running the campaign say the battle to retake Mosul could be long and hard. But they have also identified what they think is a chink in the jihadists’ armor. (Reuters

France’s foreign minister urged the international community to “do everything” to end the “massacre” in the Syrian city of Aleppo on Sunday after fighting resumed following a 72-hour truce declared by Damascus ally Russia. (AFP

A cartoon that appeared on social media shows a drowning Egyptian, only his hand protruding from the depths, waving for help. The next strips show President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi diving in, taking the drowning man’s watch and turning away. The cartoon captures the mood of desperation and anger among Egyptians clobbered by tax rises, soaring food price inflation and cuts in state subsidies. Some fear a repeat of the mass street protests that drove Sisi’s two immediate predecessors from power. (Reuters


Two apparent explosions hit the Japanese city of Utsunomiya back-to-back Sunday, killing one person and injuring three others in what police are viewing as a possible suicide. (CBS

A top Bollywood film mired in controversy for featuring a Pakistani actor will open as scheduled in India during the festival of Diwali, after an industry body agreed to ban actors from across the border in future. (Guardian

The Americas

Venezuela’s opposition-majority legislature declared Sunday that President Nicolas Maduro’s government had committed a coup d’etat by blocking a referendum on removing him from power, vowing mass protests and international pressure. (AFP

Several thousand women marched on the streets of Caracas, Venezuela Saturday to protest against the suspension of a referendum effort that could have led to the ouster of President Nicolas Maduro. (VOA

Chile’s electoral service has mistakenly listed hundreds of thousands of voters as living in towns far away from their actual place of residence, casting a minor pall over Sunday’s local elections. (Reuters

A representative of Pope Francis in the U.S. led a cross-border mass on Sunday in an effort to bring awareness to the plight of immigrants and refugees. (AP

Washington state is grossly unprepared for a large earthquake and tsunami that may strike in the coming decades, putting it at risk for a humanitarian disaster, the Seattle Times reported on Sunday, citing a draft government report. (Reuters

…and the rest

Aid workers accused France and Britain on Sunday of failing more than 1,300 unaccompanied child migrants whose future remained uncertain just a day before the French government begins dismantling the filthy camp where they are holed up. (Reuters


Africa’s community of evidence-informed policymakers is growing fast (Guardian

How to tell apart trade agreements that undermine democratic principles from those that don’t (Dani Rodrik’s

A New Health Care Project Won Awards. But Did It Really Work? (NPR

Transitional Justice Battlegrounds: Another Bad Week in Burundi (Justice in Conflict

Geneva: global development’s best kept secret? (Development Horizons

Why should Australia care about ending polio? (Devpolicy

The Place of Race and Racism in International Relations (Africanist Perspective

Why is South Africa withdrawing from the International Criminal Court? And why now? (Africa is a Country


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