News in the Humanosphere: New Delhi smog triggers health warnings and concerns

Smog in New Delhi, India. (Credit: Mark Danielson/flickr)

Residents of New Delhi woke up to a blanket of smog on Monday as air quality deteriorated sharply overnight in India’s capital, triggering warnings that even healthy people were at risk of respiratory problems. “Last night, levels hit the severe category, which is the worst. You could see and sense how the visibility had come down and there was a choking haze all around,” said Anumita Roychowdhury at the Centre for Science and Environment. Levels of PM 2.5, tiny particulate matter that reaches deep into the lungs, more than doubled within a few hours to 750 micrograms per cubic meter in the city’s worst affected parts, India’s Central Pollution Control Board said. (Reuters

Stat of the day: Some 300 million children around the world are breathing highly toxic air, according to a new report from UNICEF. (NPR


South African prosecutors on Monday dropped fraud charges against the finance minister and two former tax officials, reversing a decision that was criticized by many South Africans and deepened concern about the country’s struggling economy and alleged government mismanagement. (AP

Seven Gambian opposition parties united late on Sunday behind businessman Adama Barrow, endorsing him as the main challenger to President Yahya Jammeh in elections scheduled for December. (Reuters

Rwanda’s government on Monday said 22 French senior military officers helped to plan and execute the 1994 genocide, in which more than 800,000 people were killed. (AP

Faced with its most serious challenge yet, the Ethiopian regime, a crucial Western ally in the fight against terrorism, risks a deepening crisis if promised reforms do not come, researchers and analysts warn. (AFP

The head of the Islamist militant group Ansar Dine has agreed to cease attacks in Mali that have killed dozens of civilians, soldiers and U.N. peacekeepers this year, Mahmoud Dicko, president of the country’s top Islamic body, said on Monday. (Reuters

Belgium’s foreign minister and democracy activists in Democratic Republic of Congo called on Congolese authorities to investigate allegations that high-ranking officials stole millions of dollars in public funds. (Reuters

The governor of the Nigerian state most devastated by Boko Haram’s Islamic uprising is accusing some U.N. and international aid agencies of misusing funds meant for refugees. (AP

An Ethiopian official said 2,000 people have been detained and later released under the country’s state of emergency that was declared on Oct. 8. The remarks came amid local media reports that thousands of people are being detained across some parts of the country that have witnessed some of the worst violence in the past couple of weeks. (AP


Thousands of outraged Moroccans held protests in several cities on Sunday after a fishmonger in the northern town of Al-Hoceima was crushed to death inside a garbage truck as he tried to retrieve fish confiscated by police. (Reuters

Western and some Middle Eastern powers expressed support on Monday for Libya’s U.N.-brokered unity government and Prime Minister Fayez Seraj’s push to restore order across the chaotic country and revive its oil-based economy. (Reuters

The U.N. envoy for Yemen said Monday he will immediately return to the region to try to clinch a peace deal in the coming weeks, even though both sides have rejected his proposals. (AFP

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday welcomed the long-awaited election of a president in Lebanon and said a new government must now be formed without delay. (AFP

Bahrain on Monday postponed until Dec. 15 the trial of prominent democracy activist Nabeel Rajab to permit more investigation of a Twitter account he is accused of using to publish criticism of the government, the government and his human rights group said. (Reuters

Egypt’s Health Ministry says recent floods have killed 26 people and injured 72 others across the country. (AP


Police on Monday fired tear gas to scatter hundreds of anti-government protesters heading for Islamabad, the Pakistani capital, after a court cleared the way for opposition politician Imran Khan to hold a mass protest this week, media reported. (Reuters

Hundreds of Muslims in eastern Bangladesh angry about a social media post launched a wave of attacks against Hindu temples and homes in a rare convulsion of communal violence in the region, Bangladeshi police said Monday. (AP

China will invest $140 billion by 2020 to relocate its poorest citizens from remote, inland regions to more developed areas, the state planner said on Monday. (Reuters

A letter from six women at a spinning mill in southern India, describing the sexual harassment they face at work and asking for help, exposes the widespread exploitation of women in the multi-billion-dollar textile industry, campaigners said. (Reuters

Just five months after her party took power, Myanmar’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, is facing international pressure over recent reports that soldiers have been killing, raping and burning homes of the country’s long-persecuted Rohingya Muslims. (AP

A surge in the number of private schools is offering fresh hope for the future to young Afghans in Kandahar, once the seat of the Taliban theocracy. (Guardian

Two Pakistani politicians have spent their political careers fighting for women. Although they have never met, and usually are on opposite sides of the aisle, Kishwar and Imam became unlikely allies in the battle to pass a historic law to protect women from murder by members of their own families. (AP

The Americas

Members of Venezuela’s opposition sat down with the government for talks aimed at defusing the nation’s political crisis as embattled President Nicolas Maduro seeks to fend off an intensifying campaign for his removal. (AP

Argentina’s former president Cristina Kirchner appeared Monday before a judge investigating allegations her government steered public works contracts to a businessman close to her. (AFP

…and the rest

Turkish police detained the chief editor and at least 11 senior staff of Turkey’s opposition Cumhuriyet newspaper on Monday, a move that signals a widening crackdown on dissenting voices. (AP

Pirate attacks worldwide fell to a 20-year low in the third quarter, the International Maritime Bureau said Monday, as it credited anti-piracy efforts by authorities and the shipping industry. (AFP

Paris police rounded up Afghan migrants Monday and cleared away some of their tents in a makeshift camp that has resurged in recent weeks in a new challenge to French government efforts to tackle the migrant crisis. (AP

About 220 African migrants forced their way through a barbed wire fence into Spain’s North African enclave of Ceuta on Monday, clashing with Spanish police who tried to prevent them from crossing the border with Morocco. (Reuters

Backers of a global accord to fight climate change that formally comes into force on Friday say they are confident the deal can survive any legal challenges by U.S. Republican candidate Donald Trump if he wins next week’s presidential election. (Reuters

Georgia’s ruling party has scored a landslide win in disputed parliamentary polls, official results showed on Monday, as the main opposition cried fraud. (AFP


Here’s What Happens When Thousands of Fireworks are Set Off in the World’s Most Polluted City (UN Dispatch

Bolivia’s melting glaciers may threaten water supply for millions, study says (Humanosphere

Why social inclusion in Colombia is more important than ever (Devex

Is It End of the Road for ICC in Africa? (Monitor

Many untold migration stories (Africa is a Country

How NGOs in Kenya curb the challenge of salary disparity and talent retention (Devex

Developing and operationalizing Responsible Data Policies (Wait…What?

Distribution of Global Incomes: Four Regions With the Same GDP (Africanist Perspective

Projecting progress: are cities on track to achieve the SDGs by 2030? (ODI

The number of premature baby deaths is still too high. What can be done about it (The Conversation


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