News in the Humanosphere: United Nations Secretariat Extends Same Sex Partner Benefits

The UN announced it was changing its policy and would begin extending benefits to same-sex couples that worked for the organization. The new policy became effective June 26, and will impact the UN’s approximately 43,000 employees worldwide. “Previously, the United Nations only recognized the unions of staffers who came from countries where gay marriage is legal, U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said. “This is a step forward that many of the staffers at the United Nations had been seeking for some time,” Haq said.  (USA Today)

Bahrain Expels Top US Diplomat…The Bahraini government formally made the top American human rights diplomat, Assistant Secretary of State for Rights, Democracy and Labor Tom Malinowski persona non grata. The USA has a large naval base in Bahrain and provides the monarchy with significant military assistance. (BBC)

The UN and international NGOs are failing to respond to humanitarian emergencies despite having more resources at their disposal than ever before, warned MSF. (Guardian)

According to World Bank official Daryl Fields, understanding the water-energy nexus is critical for addressing growth and human development, urbanization and climate change, but many policy-makers are finding it challenging to transform this concept into a reality. (IPS)

Africa

International donors who withheld aid over Uganda’s anti-gay bill “misinterpreted” the law whose main focus was to stop promotion of homosexuality to children and others, the government said. (AP)

UNHCR said an unprecedented number of refugees from the Central African Republic and Nigeria are still flowing into Cameroon, fleeing violence by anti-Balaka and Boko Haram militias. (VOA)

A US citizen in Ghana is being tested for Ebola, which has killed nearly 500 people in West Africa this year. (VOA)

Police fired tear gas at anti-government protesters in Kenya on Monday, shortly before an opposition rally in the capital, stoking tensions in a nation haunted by past political violence and battling a wave of militant attacks. (Reuters)

Somalia’s food security crisis is expected to worsen over the next several months following poor performance of the major rainy season, shrinking humanitarian assistance and access, increasing malnutrition, conflict and surging food prices, analysts have warned. (FAO)

More than 60 Nigerian girls and women abducted by Islamic extremists two weeks ago have managed to escape, officials said Monday, though more than 200 girls who were kidnapped in April remain missing. (AP)

Jill Biden, wife of US Vice President Joe Biden, is returning Monday from a week-long trip to Africa, where she stressed the need for girls’ education and for women to work in government. (VOA)

MENA

Hamas has fired a volley of rockets into southern Israel following a series of air strikes by Israeli forces. (BBC)

Iraq’s parliament has postponed meeting until August, adding to the chaos and uncertainty of the future of Maliki and the stability of the Iraqi government. (CBS)

Asia

The five BRICS nations have reached a broad consensus on their $100 billion development bank though some differences remain, a senior Chinese diplomat said on Monday ahead of a summit in Brazil next week to be attended by President Xi Jinping. (Reuters)

India’s Supreme Court has ruled Sharia courts and fatwas have no legal power over the country’s Muslims. (VOA)

Myanmar is beginning its citizenship verification process, which many people feel is a ruse to exclude the Rohingya a term recognized by the UN, and foreign nations, including the US. Burmese authorities are calling them “Bengalis.” (VOA)

Recent heavy rain, coupled with the after-effects of a recent aid worker pull-out, is prompting health concerns in Myanmar’s western Rakhine State for the more than 140,000 IDPs mostly from the persecuted Muslim Rohingya minority. (IRIN)

Thailand’s military government said on Monday peace in the Muslim-dominated south was an “urgent national priority” for the Buddhist-majority country following a decade of unrest blamed on separatists. (Reuters)

The Americas

Football’s World Cup in Brazil is drawing to a close leaving great sporting memories. It also leaves a legacy of controversy over evictions and land dispossessions that made way for the event. The scenario is repeating itself as Brazil prepares for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (VOA)

Opinion/Blogs

Fighting Killer Diseases Is Essential in the Post-2015 Agenda (IPS)

New thinking needed on food aid for refugees in Africa (IRIN)

Back to the People: Reorienting China’s Health System to Primary Care (CGD)

Vulnerability and Poverty: Which 7 countries are most committed to ending hunger? (IDS)

Q&A: Jeffrey Sachs on why the SDGs are big on science (SciDevNet)

Food Prices and Food Riots: How High — Not Volatile — Food Prices Cause Food Riots (Marc F. Bellemare)

Africa’s big gender gap in agriculture #AfricaBigIdeas (AfricaCan End Poverty)

Research/Reports

In a new report that capitalizes on the “data revolution” for development, the Center for Global Development and African Population and Health Research Center identify core issues behind a lack of good data in Sub-Saharan Africa and provide strategies to help donors and governments overcome them. (CGDev)

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About Author

Tom Murphy

Tom Murphy is a New Hampshire-based reporter for Humanosphere. Before joining Humanosphere, Tom founded and edited the aid blog A View From the Cave. His work has appeared in Foreign Policy, the Huffington Post, the Guardian, GlobalPost and Christian Science Monitor. He tweets at @viewfromthecave. Contact him at tmurphy[at]humanosphere.org.