News in the Humanosphere: U.N. officials kidnapped in Congo

Helmet and flack jackets of the members of the 1 parachute battalion of the South African contingent of the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. (Credit: UN Photo/Marie Frechon/flickr)

Unknown assailants have kidnapped two United Nations officials of American and Swedish nationality in Congo’s Kasai Central province, the Congolese government said on Monday. A government statement said Michael Sharp, a U.S. citizen, and Zaida Catalan, of Swedish nationality, had “fallen into the hands of negative forces not yet identified,” along with four Congolese they were with near the village of Ngombe. It did not give a date for the incident. A U.N. spokesman telephoned by Reuters declined to comment on the incident. (Reuters http://bit.ly/2mD8A8U)

The commission on the Status of Women begins today. This year’s theme: “Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work. “The Commission is one of the largest annual gathering of global leaders, NGOs, private sector actors, United Nations partners and activists from around the world focusing on the status of rights and empowerment of all women and girls, everywhere. This year’s session is taking place at a critical juncture, as the world of work is changing fast, spurred by innovation, globalization and increasing human mobility. At the same time, it is adversely impacted by climate change, humanitarian crises, rising informality of labour and economic inequality. For sustainable and healthy economies, the world of work must empower women and remove the persisting inequalities that hold women back from getting on equal footing with men.” (UN Women http://bit.ly/2mFr0r4)

Top Stories

South Sudanese rebels kidnapped eight locals working for a U.S. charity and are demanding aid deliveries as ransom, a military spokesman said on Monday, as food in the famine-hit nation looks increasingly likely to become a weapon of war. (Reuters http://bit.ly/2mD14uL)

A car bomb near a hotel on a busy street in the Somali capital killed at least 13 people on Monday, police and the emergency medical services said, hours after a man was killed by a blast as he tried to ram through a checkpoint. (Reuters http://bit.ly/2mDcfU9)

Bangladesh’s highest court ordered the demolition of a lakeside building occupied by powerful garment groups, a move welcomed by activists who considered the structure an enduring symbol of corruption. (AFP https://yhoo.it/2mkx6dL)

Late last year, the United Nations promised to strengthen its fight against the spread of the deadly cholera disease. U.N. peacekeeping troops unknowingly brought the disease to Haiti seven years ago. But, so far, the U.N. has raised just a small amount of the estimated $400 million it needs over the next two years to fight the disease. (VOA http://bit.ly/2mD1C3R)

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari told parliament that he resumed his duties following seven weeks of medical leave in Britain, his spokesman said. (Reuters https://yhoo.it/2lUiTbD)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party expects national elections in 2019 to deliver an even bigger mandate than in 2014, its leaders said, buoyed by a thumping victory in the country’s most politically important state. (Reuters https://yhoo.it/2mF8MWY)

Forest fires are a regular feature of Chile’s hot, arid summers, but a nearly decade-long drought combined with historically high temperatures have created tinder-like conditions in the nation’s central regions. (Reuters https://yhoo.it/2lUe01Y)

South Africa says it will launch an “early warning” system with Nigeria to track and deter xenophobic attacks following a surge in violence in the rainbow nation. (Al Jazeera http://bit.ly/2mFp81O)

Estimates for the cost of rebuilding Syria’s ravaged infrastructure vary from $300 billion to $1 trillion, and most experts agree that the task of repairing the damage from 6 years of war will not be easy. (VOA http://bit.ly/2mDgEGM)

Opinion/Blogs

US interest rate rise to deepen debt crisis in developing world (Guardian http://bit.ly/2nwi450)

VIDEO: Famine, explained (UN Dispatch http://bit.ly/2mFq3iE)

Why do countries become donors? Assessing the drivers and implications of donor proliferation (ODI http://bit.ly/2nwh5lc)

Senator Shaheen on her fight to repeal the ‘global gag rule’ permanently (Devex http://bit.ly/2nwgZKm)

US may support world’s worst abusers of women’s rights at UN gender talks (Guardian http://bit.ly/2n0H7QW)

The ethics and practicalities of foreign aid (The Boston Globe http://bit.ly/2mCcrTM)

Khat in the Horn of Africa: A Scourge or Blessing? (IPS http://bit.ly/2mjPUdt)

A Syrian refugee family’s year-long Greek odyssey (IRIN http://bit.ly/2mCQdRt)

Chimamanda Adichie And Her Comments on Trans-Women (This is Africa http://bit.ly/2lUbnNP)

‘Dying One By One:’ Somalia Drought Crushes Herders’ Lives (VOA http://bit.ly/2mCR6JH)

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