News in the Humanosphere: U.N. implores Saudis not to cut off aid delivery point in Yemen

A Yemeni man inspects his house destroyed by Saudi airstrikes near the airport in Sanaa, Yemen, Tuesday, March 31, 2015. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)

A quarter of Yemen’s people are on the brink of famine, parents are marrying off young daughters so someone else can care for them and cholera cases are escalating, U.N. officials warned on Tuesday as they work to avert a Saudi-led attack on a key port. The United Nations has warned the Arab alliance fighting Iran-aligned Houthis against any attempt to extend the war to Hodeidah, a vital Red Sea aid delivery point where some 80 percent of Yemen’s food imports arrive. “An attack on Hodeidah is not in the interest of any party, as it will directly and irrevocably drive the Yemeni population further into starvation and famine,” U.N. aid chief Stephen O’Brien told the U.N. Security Council, urging all U.N. member states to help keep the port open and operating. (Reuters http://reut.rs/2rBU2vA)

RIP…Manuel Antonio Noriega, the brash former dictator of Panama and sometime ally of the United States whose ties to drug trafficking led to his ouster in 1989 in what was then the largest American military action since the Vietnam War, has died. He was 83. President Juan Carlos Varela of Panama announced Mr. Noriega’s death on Twitter early Tuesday morning. Mr. Varela’s post read, “The death of Manuel A. Noriega closes a chapter in our history; his daughters and his relatives deserve to bury him in peace.” (NY Times http://nyti.ms/2qCZ2eh)

Canceled trip…The Vatican said on Tuesday it had scrapped tentative plans for Pope Francis to make a visit this year to South Sudan, which has been hit by civil war, famine and a refugee crisis. (VOA http://bit.ly/2qyuI5s)

Top Stories

Migrants rescued from a rubber boat that left Libya last week said as many as 30 people were trampled or drowned during their voyage as this year’s Mediterranean death toll climbed to more than 1,700, the U.N. said on Tuesday. (Reuters http://bit.ly/2qD1cKT)

Egypt issued a new law that regulates the work of non-governmental organizations, a measure seen by rights groups as the latest sign of a growing crackdown on dissent against President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. (Reuters http://bit.ly/2qwMsSF)

The United Nations World Food Program is concerned about the humanitarian conditions inside western Mosul’s old city, where as many as 180,000 people are reportedly hungry and living in miserable conditions. (WFP http://bit.ly/2r8aAtI)

Algeria and Morocco should to take action to assure safe passage to 41 Syrian refugees stranded along the border between both countries for weeks, UNHCR said. (VOA http://bit.ly/2siTQgU)

Burundi human rights activists expressed outrage Tuesday over an online video that shows pro-government youth militia members teaching young students songs comparing the opposition to lice. (VOA http://bit.ly/2qD0woM)

Thirteen South Sudanese soldiers accused of raping five foreign aid workers and killing their local colleague appeared before a military court on Tuesday, a case seen as a test of the government’s ability to try war crimes. (Reuters http://bit.ly/2rh6dep)

The Colombian government and the Farc rebel group have agreed to give rebel fighters more time to disarm. In a televised speech, President Juan Manuel Santos said the group had been granted an extra 20 days. (BBC http://bbc.in/2qy06ku)

Campaigners warned that the lives of mothers and children are at risk after an Indian government scheme that pays women to receive maternal healthcare throughout their pregnancy was amended to apply only to first-borns. (Guardian http://bit.ly/2rkdzj0)

A ‘period emoji’ on mobile devices could help break the taboo of menstruation, according to an international child rights group, which is pushing for an icon to help highlight the stigma that girls experience when they menstruate. (Reuters http://bit.ly/2r8kewj)

Opinion/Blogs

The Kasai Region of the Congo Could Become Africa’s Next Hotspot (UN Dispatch http://bit.ly/2qyuP11)

A conversation about the road ahead for the World Health Organization (Humanosphere http://bit.ly/2qy0Sy0)

Gold, guns and China: Ghana’s fight to end galamsey (African Arguments http://bit.ly/2qyk26E)

Two proposals to clean up our oceans of garbage: Will either work? (PRI http://bit.ly/2qxW1gp)

Somaliland Wants To Make One Thing Clear: It Is NOT Somalia (Goats and Soda http://n.pr/2rkn02d)

Asia Pivots to Germany (Foreign Policy http://atfp.co/2siDTHG)

Could Big Data Help Solve Hunger in Africa? (VOA http://bit.ly/2r7W0SO)

Can Crowd Funding Help Scale Up Solar Power for Africa’s Poor? (TRF http://bit.ly/2qwpL10)

Mark Zuckerberg supports universal basic income (PLoS Blog http://bit.ly/2qxVkUk)

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