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News in the Humanosphere: Air strikes, Ebola and malaria genes

Northern Iraq - Wikimedia

US air strikes in Iraq are making a difference, both on the battlefield and for refugees of Mount Sinjar. At least 20,000 Iraqi civilians who were besieged by jihadists on a mountain have managed to flee after US air raids on Islamic State (Isis) forces, officials have said. Shawkat Barbahari, an official from the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, said 30,000 people had escaped to Syria and then been escorted back into Iraqi Kurdistan by Kurdish forces. A spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) in Iraq said officials had been reporting to the UN that 15,000 to 20,000 people had escaped the siege. Fears had been growing for the civilians, mostly Kurds of the Yazidi faith, trapped on Mount Sinjar in north-west Iraq in the searing summer heat with little to eat or drink.” (Guardian)

But Iraqi politics is still as fractious as ever. “Iraqi news reports says troops loyal to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki have surrounded the home of President Fouad Massoum.” (VOA

Maliki vows to fight being replaced by new prime minister (NYTimes)

Ebola Outbreak
 Patient Zero in the Ebola outbreak, researchers suspect, was a 2-year-old boy who died on Dec. 6, just a few days after falling ill in a village in Guéckédou, in southeastern Guinea. Bordering Sierra Leone and Liberia, Guéckédou is at the intersection of three nations, where the disease found an easy entry point to the region. (NYTimes)

Nigeria has banned the transport of corpses over national and state borders. This comes a day after Guinea closed its borders to Sierra Leone and Liberia in a bid to halt an Ebola outbreak that has killed more than 900. (DW)


French forces have bombed Islamist militant positions in northern Mali. Four or five bombs were dropped in the Esssakane region, west of the city of Timbuktu on Sunday morning, the BBC’s Alex Duval Smith in Mali reports. (BBC

Kenya’s tourism industry has taken a big hit amidst increased violence in tourist hotspots. (Al Jazeera )


Yet another ceasefire has begun between Israel and Hamas. (NYT

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says his country has started to evacuate wounded people from Gaza to Turkey for treatment.  (Times of India


China appeared to rebuff pressure from the United States to rein in its assertive actions in the South China Sea on Sunday as Southeast Asian nations declined to overtly back Washington’s proposal for a freeze on provocative acts. (Reuters

The United States portrayed  the outcome of a meeting in Myanmar among Southeast Asian nations as a setback for Beijing’s attempts to minimize territorial disputes in the South China Sea. (VOA

The Americas

Just two days after Chinese President Xi Jinping finished his visit to Latin America on July 23, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe landed in Mexico to start his 11-day visit to the region. (China Daily

Some international-aid charities are joining forces to challenge the Canada Revenue Agency’s increased scrutiny of the sector, saying onerous new demands are draining them of resources that are badly needed overseas. (Guelph Mercury


Is Africa the next frontier for global capitalism? Ken Silverstein in Bloomberg

How to get a digital job in international development. (Guardian

Why are children fleeing Central America? (Bloggingheads


MIT scientists have discovered and easier way to manipulate malaria genes. (MIT


About Author

Tom Paulson

Tom Paulson is founder and lead journalist at Humanosphere. Prior to operating this online news site, he reported on science,  medicine, health policy, aid and development for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Contact him at tom[at] or follow him on Twitter @tompaulson.