News in the Humanosphere: U.S. considers leaving U.N. Human Rights Council

The Trump administration is considering pulling the United States out of the United Nations Human Rights Council, a body that has been accused of being biased against Israel and criticized for including abusive governments, according to two sources in regular contact with former and current U.S. officials. No immediate withdrawal is expected ahead of the council’s next session, which starts Monday, but discussion of abandoning the council is likely to alarm international activists already worried that the United States will take a lower profile on global human rights issues under President Donald Trump. A final decision on membership in the council would likely involve Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, as well as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, and of course the president himself. (Politico http://politi.co/2lZnUyI)

Mosul battle intensifies…Iraqi jets struck Islamic State targets inside neighboring Syria for the first time Friday, Iraq’s prime minister said while vowing to chase down militants “everywhere” as Iraqi troops opened new fronts in their battle for the city of Mosul. The airstrikes in Bukamal, in Syria, were coordinated with Damascus and carried out through a joint intelligence-sharing and command center in Baghdad involving Syria, Iran, Iraq and Russia, according to Brig. Gen. Tahseen Ibrahim, a spokesman for Iraq’s Defense Ministry. (WaPo http://wapo.st/2lZliky)

Top Stories

Kidnappers are demanding a ransom of 60 million naira (about $200,000) for a German archaeologist and his associate abducted this week from a northern Nigerian village, a worker at the excavation site said. Two villagers were shot and killed in the kidnapping, police confirmed Friday. (AP https://yhoo.it/2lJsNLy)

North Korea is flouting tougher new UN sanctions with more ingenious tactics, circumventing trade bans by relying on middlemen and front companies, notably in Malaysia and China, a report by UN sanctions experts says. (AFP https://yhoo.it/2lYPgVQ)

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI has called on the United Nations to take “urgent measures” following months of tensions with the Polisario independence movement in the disputed Western Sahara region. (Reuters http://bit.ly/2mzKOta)

Mexico does not need financial aid from the United States, Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong said on Friday, after President Donald Trump ordered a report on U.S. assistance to its southern neighbor over the last five years. (Reuters https://yhoo.it/2mssbIm)

Supporters and opponents of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte turned a traditional celebration of the 1986 “People Power” uprising into demonstrations for and against his bloody war on drugs. (Reuters https://yhoo.it/2lJyJUx)

The World Bank’s Vice President for Africa, Makhtar Diop, said he had agreed to give Gambia $60 million in budget support after government allegations that former ruler Yahya Jammeh took tens of millions of dollars in public money, leaving it heavily indebted. (Reuters http://bit.ly/2lYQJLE)

Puerto Rico’s governor met with the U.S. treasury and health secretaries to seek support in pulling the island out of a deep economic crisis. (AP https://yhoo.it/2mzxchH)

Armed groups in northern Mali have agreed on the return of interim authorities to towns there next week, a government statement said, overcoming a stumbling block in the implementation of a 2015 peace deal. (Reuters http://bit.ly/2lYKE20)

Officials in Southern California are crying foul after more than 140 million gallons of raw sewage spilled into the Tijuana River in Mexico and flowed north of the border for more than two weeks, according to a report. (AP https://yhoo.it/2lUdy2M)

Opinion/Blogs

South Sudan and the lure of a gleaming new capital (CSM https://yhoo.it/2lYONmm)

Advice from The Gambia on staying flexible when conflict looms (Devex http://bit.ly/2lYMaRK)

Seven Letters from Congolese Groups in Support of the U.S. Conflict Minerals Law (Enough Project http://bit.ly/2lZ0XM7)

Central African Republic: What’s gone wrong? (IRIN http://bit.ly/2lYY5Pr)

#CuriousGoat: What’s A Good Exit Strategy For A Charity? (Goats and Soda http://n.pr/2lYZ3Lw)

Is gender parity a task for the next WHO chief? (Devex http://bit.ly/2mzIFh7)

How introducing electronic votes in Brazil saved lives and increased health spending by a third (From Poverty to Power http://bit.ly/2lZ7Ahl)

The crisis around Lake Chad (Africa is a Country http://bit.ly/2mztrsq)

South Sudan Cannot Be Allowed to Collapse (NY Times http://nyti.ms/2mzuTv5)

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