News in the Humanosphere: Massive loss of life in the Mediterranean, again

A cruise ship rescues refugees fleeing from Syria from a stranded small boat off the southwestern coast of the east Mediterranean island. (AP Photo/Haris Milonas)

At least 239 migrants, believed to be from West Africa, have died in two shipwrecks off Libya, a spokesman for the United Nations migration agency, said on Thursday. Five rescue ships, coordinated by the Italian coastguard, were within sight of the migrants but, despite attempts to rescue them, most died, the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) chief spokesman, Leonard Doyle, said. “Two rubber dinghies, which is what they are, rubber dinghies, packed with migrants, totaling over 300 we think in all … have succumbed to the waves off Libya in very bad weather,” he said. Migrant arrivals in Italy surged to 27,388 in October, more than the two previous Octobers combined and bringing this year’s total to more than 158,000, IOM’s Italy spokesman, Flavio di Giacomo, said. (Reuters https://yhoo.it/2fg9Vik)

Haiti, one month on, prepares for elections…As campaigning for Haiti’s on-again, off-again presidential vote begins for the fifth time Thursday, questions continue about whether the storm-ravaged country can hold fair and effective elections so soon after Hurricane Matthew hammered its southern region. ‘I can’t see the election going forward,’ a doubtful Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami, said after visiting Haiti’s hard-hit Grand’ Anse Department last weekend with Miami Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and North Miami Mayor Smith Joseph. ‘I don’t see how.’ A month after Matthew‘s Category 4 winds and rains left at least 546 dead and upended the lives of some 2.1 million Haitians, huge challenges remain as relief efforts sparked at least two more deaths and aid groups struggle to reach victims in remote, mountain communities. The election is set for Nov. 20.” (Miami Herald http://hrld.us/2fhf3CO)

Africa

Police in Kenya’s capital fired tear gas Thursday on protesters demanding that the president act on rampant corruption or resign. (VOA http://bit.ly/2fHRfLc)

Kenya’s U.N. ambassador said Thursday that the Kenyan general who was in charge of peacekeepers in South Sudan during a violent episode in July has been made a ‘scapegoat’ for systemic U.N. peacekeeping failures. (VOA http://bit.ly/2fheQiS)

South Africa’s justice minister presented a bill in parliament on Thursday to repeal the country’s membership of the International Criminal Court – which the government has said clashes with diplomatic immunity laws. (Reuters http://bit.ly/2fg6nMN)

Uganda told the U.N. rights council on Thursday that it does not “tolerate” discrimination based on sexual orientation, a claim directly undermined by the government’s widely condemned record on gay rights. (AFP https://yhoo.it/2fHT76V)

South Africa’s Jacob Zuma faces a no-confidence vote in parliament next week with his presidency mired in crisis, after investigators documented allegations of government corruption and thousands of people took to the streets to demand he resign. (Reuters http://bit.ly/2fHYvXG)

The African Development Bank’s board approved a $600 million loan for Nigeria on Wednesday aimed at helping Africa’s largest economy plug its budget deficit as it grapples with its first recession in more than 20 years, a senior bank official said. (Reuters http://bit.ly/2eiaVjK)

The World Health Organization’s battle to eradicate Guinea worm is being hampered by conflict and infections in dogs but cases have fallen to just 17 so far in 2016, the doctor leading the fight told Reuters on Wednesday. (Reuters http://bit.ly/2fHV82Z)

MENA

Thousands of Yemenis protested Thursday against a new U.N. plan to end the devastating conflict between rebels and the Saudi-backed government, saying it would legitimize the insurgents’ power grab. (AFP https://yhoo.it/2ei6o0F)

Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri said on Thursday he hoped for the quick formation of a government of “national accord.” (Reuters https://yhoo.it/2ffSxwo)

A standoff with Morocco, which controls the majority of Western Sahara, is renewing pressure for a diplomatic solution to ensure foot soldiers don’t return to fighting as the last generation of commanders once did. (Reuters http://bit.ly/2f54aTS)

Men and boys from Iraqi villages recaptured from the Islamic State group in the operation to retake Mosul have been unlawfully detained, tortured and ill-treated by tribal militia, Amnesty International said Thursday. (AFP https://yhoo.it/2ffWG3y)

Egypt devalued its currency by 48 percent on Thursday and announced the pound would be allowed to float – measures that meet a key demand by the International Monetary Fund in exchange for a $12 billion loan over three years to overhaul the country’s ailing economy. (AP https://yhoo.it/2fyVF80)

Asia

U.S. airstrikes early Thursday killed at least 30 Afghan civilians, including women and children, in the volatile northern province of Kunduz, officials said, after a Taliban assault left two American soldiers dead. (AFP https://yhoo.it/2ei9qC6)

Vietnamese police have arrested a blogger for allegedly posting anti-state comments in the communist country’s latest crackdown on dissent. (AP https://yhoo.it/2eiaHJD)

Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi said Thursday that her government is following the law in dealing with the situation in Rakhine state, where police have reportedly beaten and raped minority Rohingya Muslims. (AP https://yhoo.it/2eiaLcl)

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte held talks with a wanted Muslim rebel leader at the presidential palace on Thursday, immediately after a court suspended a warrant for his arrest, in an effort to bolster his nationwide peace process. (Reuters https://yhoo.it/2fHRR3p)

More than two dozen schools have been burned in Indian Kashmir by unidentified arsonists during the last two months as education becomes a new flashpoint in the unrest that has gripped the region since July. (VOA http://bit.ly/2fHVbMd)

Despite the process of democratic transition, farmers in Myanmar’s Karen state are being pushed off their land and face arrest and prison for standing up for their rights, an international watchdog reported Thursday. (AP https://yhoo.it/2ffYZDu)

As clocks passed midnight into Friday, remote islands in the Pacific Ocean, many in danger of rising seas from global warming, kicked off a rolling coming into force of last year’s global agreement to slow climate change. (Reuters https://yhoo.it/2ei71HP)

Land conflicts in Myanmar have escalated in recent years, with military and armed groups driving people from their land, and new laws failing to protect farmers, a rights watchdog said on Thursday. (Reuters https://yhoo.it/2fHYaV0)

Thailand’s top court Thursday dismissed a criminal defamation case against British labor activist Andy Hall that had been brought by a local fruit canning company and the attorney general, but his suspended prison sentence in a related case still stands. (AP https://yhoo.it/2fHWAlU)

The Americas

The Venezuelan Armed Forces are taking control of the distribution of medicine and medical equipment to public hospitals, Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino announced. (BBC http://bbc.in/2fHOZ6O)

As U.S. politicians argue on how best to tackle illegal immigration – which has emerged as a dominant issue in the White House race – activists pieces together the human cost of an exodus along America’s southern border that has proved a challenge to successive administrations. (AFP https://yhoo.it/2ffU3ig)

Police in Quebec secretly tracked phone calls received and made by six French-language reporters in 2013, according to press reports on Wednesday, widening a media surveillance scandal that has already sparked a furor in the Canadian province. (Reuters https://yhoo.it/2fyS0r0)

…and the rest

Greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 will exceed by 12 billion to 14 billion tonnes what is needed to keep global warming to an internationally agreed target, the United Nations said on Thursday. (Reuters https://yhoo.it/2ei746t)

The leadership of a World Health Organization treaty aimed at controlling tobacco could be about to get tougher with the global tobacco industry. (Reuters https://yhoo.it/2eictKJ)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative ‘Union’ is anything but unified, with her Bavarian allies preparing to hold their annual party conference without her as the alliance struggles to repair divisions over her open-door migrant policy. (Reuters https://yhoo.it/2fHUClw)

More companies have promised to cut back deforestation in their supply chains for agricultural commodities since the Paris climate change deal last December, but progress in implementing those pledges is mixed, research groups said on Thursday. (Reuters https://yhoo.it/2fHQYYO)

Post-communist countries in Europe have made significant headway since transition, but inequality poses a growing threat to long-term development, a report from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development said on Thursday. (Reuters https://yhoo.it/2fHU7aZ)

Greek retirees staged an anti-government rally in Athens on Thursday to protest a new round of cuts under the country’s international bailout program. (AP https://yhoo.it/2fgaSqV)

Opinion/Blogs

How Hot Sauce can Explain the US Elections (Global Dispatches Podcast http://bit.ly/2fhhLIf)

Sustainable Development Will Be Impossible Without Radically Transforming How People Move Around the World (UN Dispatch http://buff.ly/2fHT5vJ)

Khwezi showed how to challenge rape culture – the rest is up to us (Guardian http://bit.ly/2flgXkI)

Voluntourism – What’s Wrong With the ‘White Savior Complex’? (DW http://bit.ly/2ffWXDs)

Hope Defines Obama’s Legacy in Africa (VOA http://bit.ly/2ei9WAh)

Why aren’t ‘Diaries of the Poor’ a standard research tool? (From Poverty to Power http://buff.ly/2erScWl)

Margaret Chan attempts one last WHO funding boost (Devex http://buff.ly/2fHZh70)

The US presidential election: dollar transmission important for developing economies (ODI http://buff.ly/2fHYmnd)

The death knell of Zuma’s rule echoes transitions elsewhere in Africa (The Conversation http://buff.ly/2fHZPK0)

Foundation CEOs Shouldn’t Serve on Corporate Boards (Chronicle of Philanthropy http://buff.ly/2fghQMk)

Share.

About Author