News in the Humanosphere: South African president survives no-confidence vote

South African President Jacob Zuma. (Credit: Linh Do/flickr)

South African President Jacob Zuma survived a rebellion in his own African National Congress, his spokesman said Tuesday, after discussions over his future in the party’s top decision-making panel dragged on for three days. “He is the president, yes. Of both the ANC and the country,” said Mr. Zuma’s spokesman Bongani Ngqulunga. The three-day meeting of the ANC’s National Executive Committee presented the biggest challenge yet to Mr. Zuma’s seven-year presidency. Tweets by participants in the meeting, which ended late Monday, and local media reports suggested members of the 86-person NEC were taking turns speaking out in favor or against the president staying in office. (WSJ http://buff.ly/2fMtssx)

Government forces advance on Aleppo…Thousands of people were sent fleeing for their lives on Monday as rebel fighters lost a large stretch of territory in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo to government forces, in what could prove a turning point in the conflict, both militarily and psychologically. Residents described desperate scenes of people being killed by shells as they searched for shelter after their homes came under the heaviest bombardment yet in years of airstrikes and shelling that have destroyed entire neighborhoods of the rebel-held half of the divided city, once Syria’s largest and an industrial hub. (NY Times http://nyti.ms/2gzyEBl)

Zika Messes With Texas…Texas reported its first home-grown case of Zika virus infection Monday — making it the second U.S. state with mosquitoes spreading the virus. It’s a long-feared development but not a surprising one. Like Florida, South Texas is home to the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that spread Zika and also hosts many travelers to and from countries where the virus has been spreading. ‘The patient is a Cameron County resident who is not pregnant and who was confirmed last week by lab test to have been infected. She reported no recent travel to Mexico or anywhere else with ongoing Zika virus transmission and no other risk factors,’ the Texas Department of State Health Services said in a statement.” (NBC http://nbcnews.to/2gzDEpj)

Top Stories

Unidentified gunmen kidnapped three workers from the United Nation’s refugee agency in Sudan’s restive Darfur region, a local official told Reuters on Monday. (Reuters https://yhoo.it/2gp5i5y)

Puerto Rico’s health secretary says nearly 500 new cases of Zika have been reported in the U.S. territory in the past week. (AP https://yhoo.it/2fFimly)

U.N. aid officials say they are upbeat at the prospect of the Central African Republic becoming a stable, peaceful country but they acknowledge that this will be a challenge requiring the sustained support of the international community. (VOA http://bit.ly/2gz8YVe)

The number of migrants who have reached Italy by boat from North Africa this year has already topped a previous record set two years ago, official data show, as pressure on Italy’s shelter and asylum systems grows. (Reuters http://bit.ly/2gz5mTp)

A Malawian woman trafficked to the United States by a diplomat, confined to a house for three years and forced to work long hours for little pay has been awarded $1 million in damages in a human trafficking lawsuit against her former employer. (Reuters http://bit.ly/2fJv3PT)

The European Union has pledged its continued support towards vulnerable communities facing food shortages in Malawi. An EU commissioner made the pledge at the end of his three day visit to Malawi. (VOA http://bit.ly/2gz0ltK)

Women in Morocco have reacted in horror after a program on state television demonstrated how they could use makeup to cover up evidence of domestic violence. (Guardian http://bit.ly/2fJm8hl)

The Myanmar government is to set up a “national level committee” to investigate conditions and allegations of abuses amid international pressure from rising violence and a humanitarian crisis in northern Rakhine state. (VOA http://bit.ly/2gp65n8)

The United Nations needs to make sure there is an “effective combination” of human, civil and economic rights in a world where many rights are not respected, U.N. secretary general-elect Antonio Guterres said on Monday during a visit to Beijing. (Reuters https://yhoo.it/2goZzN0)

The United Nations’ incoming secretary-general said Monday that he wants U.N. peacekeepers to be better trained and more respectful of human rights, amid pressure on the organization to address a series of sexual abuse allegations. (AP https://yhoo.it/2gp3Wb0)

Britain is to step up efforts to combat abuse of women and girls around the world, international development secretary Priti Patel said this weekend. (Guardian http://bit.ly/2fJwTAk)

Opinion/Blogs

Why You Should Care About More Than Just “Conflict Minerals” in the Congo (UN Dispatch http://buff.ly/2gAJp2n)

Uncertainty for Cuba’s youth after death of Fidel Castro (Humanosphere http://buff.ly/2ftVmeg)

Will a united opposition finally unseat Gambia’s strongman? (IRIN http://bit.ly/2gAoyw2)

Why Aleppo is Syria’s fiercest battleground (AP https://yhoo.it/2gAsk8R)

Africa: How to Get Climate Finance Down to Where It Matters? (TRF http://bit.ly/2gbBN9A)

Africa: Continent Has Air Pollution Problem but Lacks Data to Tackle It (The Conversation http://bit.ly/2gbDV12)

Castro’s Africa (BBC http://bbc.in/2gzbLhk)

The Eastern Aegean is becoming Europe’s Nauru (IRIN http://bit.ly/2gz0mxO)

Can the Rebels Hold On in Aleppo? (VOA http://bit.ly/2gzgtLQ)

Sun, Sea And…Laying Cement? A New Type Of Cruise Tries To Do Good (Tiny Spark http://buff.ly/2gARqED)

‘Turning a blind eye’: the policy response to Rohingya refugees in Malaysia (ODI http://buff.ly/2fu5rHX)

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