News in the Humanosphere: Ethiopia releases 9,800 people held in crackdown on anti-government protests

In this photo taken on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016, Ethiopians chat slogans against the government during their march in Bishoftu, Ethiopia. (AP Photo)

Ethiopia said Wednesday it is releasing nearly 10,000 people detained under its ongoing state of emergency but plans to charge almost 2,500 others accused of destabilizing the country. Deputy government spokesman Zadig Abraha told The Associated Press that 9,800 people were being freed. “They have been given lots of trainings … so that they won’t be part of the destructive trend that we have seen in the past,” Zadig said. This East African country declared the state of emergency in October after nearly a year of anti-government protests that human rights groups say left hundreds dead. It was some of the country’s worst violence since Ethiopia’s ruling party came to power in 1991. Rights groups have accused the government of using excessive force. Most of the detainees are from the restive Oromia and Amhara regions (VOA http://bit.ly/2h2b1gR)

Stalemate in Gambia…”The Gambia faced prolonged political deadlock Wednesday after strongman Yahya Jammeh, defiant despite his election defeat, said he would await a court ruling likely to be long in coming before ceding power. Jammeh, who has been in power for 22 years, stunned observers by initially accepting his defeat in the Dec. 1 vote by opposition candidate Adama Barrow, but then flip-flopped a week later, rejecting the results. His stance has stoked international concerns about the future of the tiny west African country, with the U.N. joining African leaders in calling for him to step down.“ (AFP https://yhoo.it/2ib3ph4)

No fire and rain…Grammy award-winning singer James Taylor has canceled a concert in the Philippines next February in protest at alleged extrajudicial killings during President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal war on drugs. (AFP https://yhoo.it/2hasPty

Top Stories

Tens of thousands of displaced Syrians say they have become trapped in an “open-air prison” in the northwestern province of Idlib, which they fear will be the army’s next target. (AFP https://yhoo.it/2hcWzr6)

The Philippine government filed a criminal case in court on Wednesday against a staunch critic of President Rodrigo Duterte, accusing her of trying to sabotage a congressional investigation into her alleged involvement in the drugs trade. (Reuters https://yhoo.it/2hatcUO)

The U.N. Security Council approved the delivery of humanitarian aid across borders and conflict lines in Syria for another year Wednesday in a resolution aimed at reaching thousands in need in rebel-held areas without government approval. (AP https://yhoo.it/2ib6Ow7)

Turkey suspended nearly 2,000 teachers and school employees on Wednesday, an official from the Ministry of Education said, as part of the widening purge that has followed a failed coup in July. (Reuters https://yhoo.it/2h2nWPC)

A Philippine provincial newspaper publisher has been shot dead after writing a column alleging official negligence over a recently discovered methamphetamine laboratory, in the first killing of a journalist during the country’s war on drugs. (Reuters https://yhoo.it/2h2oTrh)

The U.N. Security Council is expected to vote on Friday on whether to impose an arms embargo on South Sudan, even though the U.S.-drafted measure is likely to fail despite warnings by U.N. officials of a possible genocide, diplomats said on Wednesday. (Reuters https://yhoo.it/2hVzVTN)

A new armed group in Central African Republic has killed at least 50 civilians and displaced around 17,000 in a growing campaign to control parts of the country’s northwest, Human Rights Watch said in a report. (Reuters http://bit.ly/2ifN6LM)

The Islamic State group is “indiscriminately” attacking civilians who refused to retreat along with the jihadists in the Iraqi city of Mosul, Human Rights Watch said on Wednesday. (AFP https://yhoo.it/2iba0YY)

An international aid agency is warning of a potential humanitarian crisis as Mongolia grapples with another unusually harsh winter that’s decimating livestock and sending temperatures to minus 70 Fahrenheit, with worse still to come. (VOA http://bit.ly/2h2jKja)

New York City is about to reach a milestone in drug overdoses. By the end of 2016, it’s expected that more than 1,000 people will have died of overdoses. One reason for the spike: the drug fentanyl. (NPR http://n.pr/2hcUU55)

A 15-year-old girl in western Nepal suffocated to death after being forced to stay in a poorly ventilated shed because she was menstruating, in an age-old Hindu practice banned over a decade ago, police said. (Guardian http://bit.ly/2ifXpj2)

The face of human trafficking is changing with more children and men falling prey and more victims trapped in forced labor than a decade ago, the United Nations reported on Wednesday. (TRF https://yhoo.it/2hrzAoq)

Opinion/Blogs

A Rare Moment of Bi-Partisan Consensus in Washington (UN Dispatch http://bit.ly/2i1ujVt)

Why Photographs Don’t Stop the War (Reading The Pictures http://bit.ly/2ifGixF)

What is Rio’s Olympic legacy? (Guardian http://bit.ly/2hd65KP)

In Withdrawal? Africa and the International Criminal Court (Justice in Conflict http://bit.ly/2hVNxOZ)

Migration trends to watch in 2017 (IRIN http://bit.ly/2i1p0Fe)

Will the Trump Administration Realize that Fighting Extremism Requires Fighting Corruption? (Global Anticorruption Blog http://bit.ly/2hVLXN7)

7 international family planning trends that will shape 2017 (Devex http://bit.ly/2ib7DW5)

East Aleppo evacuations in 360 (IRIN http://bit.ly/2i1aNIt)

Investing in mental health in low-income countries (ODI http://bit.ly/2ibez5y)

Is this time really different? Will Automation kill off development? (From Poverty to Power http://bit.ly/2h2nu4b)

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