News in the Humanosphere: Gambian opposition leader upends president’s 22-year reign

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh

Yahya Jammeh, Gambia’s long-time ruler, has lost the presidential election to the opposition leader, according to the electoral commission. Adama Barrow’s victory in the tiny West African country brings an end to Jammeh’s 22-year rule. Jammeh, who came to power in 1994 as a 29-year-old army officer following a military coup, had won four previous polls. Adama garnered 263,515 while Jammeh won 212,099 votes, Alieu Momar Njiehe, the electoral commission head, announced in the capital Banjul on Friday. (Al Jazeera

Ethnic cleansing in South Sudan… A U.N. human rights monitor says “ethnic cleansing” is under way in parts of South Sudan, and warns the country is on the brink of a genocide. Yasmin Sooka heads a U.N. Human Rights Council team that just finished a 10-day visit to South Sudan. In a statement Thursday, she said people are being displaced from their homes through a process of starvation, gang rape and the burning of villages. “Everywhere we went across this country we heard villagers saying they are ready to shed blood to get their land back. Many told us it’s already reached a point of no return,” Sooka said. She added, “The stage is being set for a repeat of what happened in Rwanda and the international community is under an obligation to prevent it.” (VOA

Stat of the day: The world’s population grew slightly to 7.4 billion in 2016, the U.N. said Thursday, with a substantial youth bulge challenging political and social systems across the planet. (AP

Transition news…Retired Marine Gen. James N. Mattis has been selected by President-elect Donald Trump to be his defense secretary, according to people familiar with the decision. (WaPo

Top Stories

Police say a fire has engulfed a factory manufacturing explosives in southern India and 15 workers are feared dead and another three injured. (AP

Bahraini authorities have put a prominent human rights lawyer on trial for charges that include insulting state institutions, Human Rights Watch said on Thursday, in a further crackdown on dissent. (Reuters

The International Committee of the Red Cross is in talks with the Syrian government about gaining access to people fleeing rebel-held eastern Aleppo who are being screened or detained, a senior ICRC official said. (Reuters

An Ethiopian opposition leader has been arrested following his return from Europe where he had spoken out against a state of emergency imposed last month to quell anti-government protests, his coalition said Thursday. (AFP

United Nations officials said that attacks on aid workers and bureaucratic interference are preventing supplies from reaching tens of thousands of desperate South Sudanese who have fled their homes amid escalating violence. (Reuters

The judge presiding over a historic corruption investigation urged Brazil’s Senate to oppose a bill that would undermine the authority of prosecutors and that critics say the lower house passed in a hasty bid to shield lawmakers from graft charges. (Reuters

The Colombian government said its peace negotiations with the National Liberation Army  were postponed to Jan. 10 while the guerrilla force conducts internal consultations and is to free a kidnapped politician. (Reuters

U.K. aid will be more closely allied with trade policy after the British government signaled a new approach to development assistance that may risk sidelining poorer countries. (Guardian

A U.N. expert on freedom of expression says the Congolese government is violating international human rights law with moves like jamming radio broadcasts and arresting journalists. (AP

In the back yards of rural Cambodia, a tiny weapon is being deployed to fight dengue fever, the world’s fastest spreading tropical disease that causes debilitating flu-like symptoms and can develop into a deadly hemorrhagic fever. (Reuters

Young gay men are the frontline of China’s battle to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, with new cases occurring at one of the fastest rates of any segment of the population. (Reuters

Infant mortality rates in Afghanistan were once among the world’s worst, but a new children’s unit at Kandahar’s Mirwais hospital is accelerating slow progress. (Guardian


EU countries are on track to meet their 2020 targets for renewable energy and emissions cuts but could fall short of ambitious longer-term goals, the European Environment Agency said Thursday. (AFP


Podcast: What Political Science Can Teach Us About Trump’s Cabinet Picks (Global Dispatches

America under Trump must not overlook the importance of women in battling HIV (Guardian

Are we heading for another debt crisis? If so, what should we be doing? (From Poverty to Power

Boko Haram food crisis demands cooperation and accountability (IRIN

Why Can’t We Bring Down The Number Of New HIV Cases? (Goats and Soda

Ending AIDS Needs Both Prevention and a Cure (Inter Press Service

Cuban Medical Internationalism: Fidel Castro’s humanitarian legacy (IRIN

How not to address maternal mortality (DevPolicy

Interview with Fred Bauma and Sylvain Saluseke (Reinventing Peace

3 questions for rolling out the next generation of HIV prevention (Devex


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