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News in the Humanosphere: A Groundbreaking Climate Change Report on Australian Heatwave

Australia's North West Coastal Highway. (Michael Theis/Flickr)

The savage heat waves that struck Australia last year were almost certainly a direct consequence of greenhouse gases released by human activity, researchers said Monday. It is perhaps the most definitive statement climate scientists have made tying a specific weather event to global warming. (NYT

Kind of Disappointed in Cape Verde…The Mo Ibrahim Foundation releases an annual ranking of human development and good governance in African countries. It’s called the Ibrahim Index of African Governance and this year the top five countries that always rank the highest each earned comparatively lower marks than in prior years. This augurs poorly.  “Over the past five years, Botswana, Cape Verde, Mauritius, Seychelles and South Africa recorded lower scores in at least one category of the index, which measures overall government performance, safety and rule of law, participation and human rights, sustainable economic opportunities and human development. Botswana registered a fall in economic indicators, Cape Verde had losses in human development while Mauritius, Seychelles and South Africa dropped in security and legal indicators..“The results show that high ranking countries cannot assume that future achievements will necessarily follow previous accomplishments. More generally, let us make sure that the Africa Rising narrative that everyone is talking about truly benefits all African people,  said Jay Naidoo, a board member at the Mo Ibrahim Foundation.” (Guardian

Mediterranean an increasingly deadly route for migrants… More than 40,000 migrants have died since 2000, says a new report from the International Organization of Migration. “Limited opportunities for safe and regular migration drive would-be migrants into the hands of smugglers, feeding an unscrupulous trade that threatens the lives of desperate people,” said William Lacy Swing, Director General of the International Organization for Migration. “We need to put an end to this cycle.” (Humanosphere

The UN mission to combat Ebola opened its headquarters on Monday in Ghana, where it will coordinate aid for the accelerating West African crisis. (AP

A leaked copy of a World Bank investigation has accused the bank of failing to protect the rights of one of Kenya’s last groups of forest people, who are being evicted from their ancestral lands in the name of climate change and conservation. (Guardian

South Africa may turn to an Israeli circumcision device to reduce the number of young males who die in botched initiation ceremonies, provoking an outcry from union allies of the ruling party who support sanctions against the Jewish state. (Reuters

With the backdrop of World Heart Day on Monday, medical experts said more than 80 percent of people living in French-speaking, central African countries who suffer cardiovascular diseases do not know it. (VOA

A Spanish national working at his country’s embassy was found Monday stabbed to death at his home in Khartoum, Sudanese police said, with the foreign ministry speaking of a “crime.” (AFP

ExxonMobil is part of a public-private partnership to fight malaria in Cameroon with a complicated balance sheet. (GlobalPost

MAMA, a public-private partnership in South Africa led by Johnson & Johnson and USAID, aims to inform pregnant women and new mothers via text messages. Despite its good intentions, the program is still proving itself. (GlobalPost

Coca-Cola is partnering with governments, NGOs, and other companies to improve access to water, occupying a gray area where genuine charity meets corporate profit. (GlobalPost


About 25 percent of new Israeli houses being built in Jerusalem in the first half of 2014 were in the city’s annexed east, an Israeli NGO said. (AFP

President Barack Obama gave voice to the conundrum at the heart of his Syria policy, acknowledging that the U.S.-led military campaign against the Islamic State group and al-Qaida’s affiliate in Syria is helping Syrian dictator Bashar Assad, a man the United Nations has accused of war crimes. (AP


Pakistan is heading for one of its worst years for polio in recent times. According to figures from the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, 166 cases of polio have been verified this year, compared to 28 at the same time last year. (IRIN

Thousands of defiant Hong Kong protesters stood their ground on Monday after facing tear gas and riot police in overnight clashes, paralyzing parts of the city with their campaign to demand Beijing allow free elections. (AFP

Sri Lanka is currently facing a severe drought that has impacted over 1.6 million people and cut its crop yields by 42 percent, according to government analyses. But a closer look at the areas where the drought is at its worst shows that the poorest have been hit hardest. (IPS

In a glitzy show of lights, lasers and slogans, populist Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered a triumphal address to tens of thousands of Indian-Americans and U.S. dignitaries in New York, less than a decade after he was barred from the United States over bloody sectarian riots. (Reuters

Australia on Monday ruled out sending doctors to West Africa to help fight the Ebola outbreak there because of logistical problems in repatriating any Australian who became infected with the deadly virus. (AP

Death arrived in India soon after the Bundapani tea estate closed last year. Deprived of health care and food rations, workers who had been scraping by on $1.50 per day were left with nothing. (AP

Samoa attracts tourists with its beaches, natural beauty and relaxed pace of life, but similar to other small nations with constrained economies, it is experiencing an exodus of young people, who are unable to find jobs. (IPS

The Americas

Emergency workers in Peru have recovered eight bodies from the rubble of a village after a 4.9-magnitude earthquake hit the southern Cusco region. (BBC


Will AFRICOM’s Ebola response be watershed moment for international action on human security? (The Washington Post

Tackling the Proliferation of Patents to Avoid Limitations to Competition (IPS

What Is the Future of DFID? (CGD

Why it’s so important to protect schools during wartime (GlobalPost

Women are better off today, but still far from being equal with men (Guardian

Why is Infant Mortality Higher in the US than in Europe?


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]