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News in the Humanosphere: An Ebola Vaccine is on Its Way…Maybe

A nurse at Merawi health centre in northern Ethiopia prepares a measles vaccine for delivery. (Credit: Pete Lewis / DFID)

Perhaps. But it will take some time. Still, this is encouraging news. Both GlaxoSmithKline and NewLink Genetics are working to boost their capacity to make Ebola vaccines, with a goal of a “very significant increase in scale during the first half of 2015”, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday. Even under the best conditions, if the experimental vaccines are proven to be safe and confer protection in clinical trials, a significant number of doses will not be available until late in the first quarter of 2015, the WHO said. GSK and NewLink are conducting phase 1 trials in healthy volunteers currently or soon in more than 10 sites in Africa, Europe and North America, the WHO said in a statement after hosting a two-day meeting of 70 experts. Initial safety data was expected by year-end, with phase II trials early next year to generate more data.” (Reuters

USA Waives Sanctions on Countries that Use Child Soldiers…This happens every year. And every year it’s an embarrassment.  Washington is releasing some $26 million to Yemen in military aid and boosting funds to armies in five other nations, waiving sanctions imposed for recruiting child soldiers, a US official said Thursday. President Barack Obama on Tuesday fully waived sanctions and lifted bans on international military, education and training assistance to Yemen, Rwanda and Somalia applied under the Child Soldier Prevention Act, said deputy assistant secretary Michael Kozak. Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan were also given partial waivers for specific military purposes, while sanctions were maintained on Myanmar, Sudan and Syria, found guilty of the widespread recruitment of children into their armies.” (New Vision

Sanitation in india is Getting a Boost…”Indian PM Narendra Modi launched the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan to modernize sanitation within five years. He starting by trying to change attitudes and he set an example by taking a broom and sweeping up rubbish in a Delhi neighborhood occupied by members of the Valmiki caste, whose lot in life is traditionally “manual scavenging”, a euphemism for clearing other people’s feces. “ (Reuters

Five people are being infected with Ebola every hour in Sierra Leone and demand for treatment beds is far outstripping supply, Save the Children warned. (AFP

Britain and Sierra Leone are appealing for more help to slow the biggest ever Ebola outbreak — and are proposing a new type of clinic to do that. (AP

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau dismissed Nigerian military claims of his death in a new video obtained by AFP on Thursday and said the militants had implemented strict Islamic law in captured towns. (AFP

French peacekeepers killed up to seven people as they tried to control clashes between armed groups in the Central African town of Bambari that have left at least 16 dead, officials said. (AFP

Lesotho’s feuding political parties have agreed to hold early elections by February, in a bid to exit a crisis that has seen a coup attempt and running battles among the security forces. (AFP

Women’s anger is mounting in Sudan as a result of surging food prices and worsening repression in the name of Islam, rights activists said at the launch of a report. (TRF

Airlines and airports handling travel to countries worst hit by the Ebola epidemic are trying to prove that flying to West Africa is safe, following concerns that the first case diagnosed in the United States could curtail worldwide services. (Reuters

Turkish lawmakers voted Thursday to authorize military force against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, joining a growing international coalition against the Islamist militants as they continued to capture territory just south of Turkey’s border. (CNN

Islamic State militants pushed on with its assault on a Syrian border town on Thursday despite coalition airstrikes meant to weaken them. (TRF

At least 10 migrants from sub-Saharan Africa drowned Thursday and dozens more were missing after their boat sank in the Mediterranean offshore Libya, the coast guard said. (AFP

The Obama administration has approved a $1.75 billion sale of Patriot missiles and associated items to Saudi Arabia to bolster the air defenses of the key U.S. ally in the Arab world. (AP

Thailand will revive talks with Japan and Myanmar aimed at kick-starting the floundering multi-billion dollar Dawei Special Economic Zone in Myanmar, a junta spokesman said. (Reuters

Crowds of protesters in Hong Kong swelled Thursday after police were seen unloading boxes of tear gas and rubber bullets, sending tensions soaring as authorities urged pro-democracy demonstrators to disperse “as soon as possible.” (AFP

A Malaysian low-cost housing project could lift some of the world’s 860 million slum dwellers from poverty by helping to secure jobs and food as well as shelter, Malaysia’s IRIS Corp. Bhd said on Thursday. (Reuters

A Swiss Red Cross worker died when shells burst through the heart of Ukraine’s main pro-Russian stronghold for the first time since the foes struck a September 5 truce aimed at ending Europe’s worst crisis in decades. (AFP

The Americas

Prosecutors in Colombia say they have detained 33 soldiers suspected of killing a farm worker. (AP

Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff widened her lead ahead of Sunday’s presidential election and would defeat environmentalist Marina Silva in an expected runoff vote, pollster Ibope showed late on Tuesday. (GlobalPost

Police say violence has erupted in several slums around Rio de Janeiro. At least two people are reported dead. (AP

For more than two months, Mexico did little to explain how a Mexican army patrol escaped practically unharmed from a gunfight that left 22 suspected criminals dead in a grain warehouse. This week, officials changed their story to say soldiers may have committed murder, but questions about the lopsided confrontation remain. (AP

Somaly Mam, in her own words (Global Dispatches Podcast

Accepting flaws & doing good: Cognitive dissonance (WhyDev

The Return of America’s Favorite Anti-Trafficker (The Baffler

Lessons from FDR can help regain public trust during Ebola crisis (GlobalPost

Advice for the #UmbrellaRevolution, from Tiananmen protest veterans (GlobalPost

With camps limiting many refugees, the UNHCRs policy change is welcome (Guardian

Analysis: South Sudan at a crossroads (IRIN

A Double-Edged Sword: Livelihoods In Emergencies (Women’s Refugee Commission

The New Hunger Figures: What Do They Tell Us? (Development Horizons

Seven Million Lives Saved: Under-5 Mortality Since the Launch of the Millennium Development Goals (Brookings Institution

Obama’s Law: When Western advocacy misses the mark (Pambazuka


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]