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News in the Humanosphere: Worst mass kidnapping in Nigeria since #BringBackOurGirls

Screengrab from a Boko Haram video.

More than 200 villagers were kidnapped in a remote town in Northern Nigeria. The kidnapping occurred on Sunday, but news is only now coming out about the incident. “This is yet another abduction on a staggering scale – one of the worst since the Chibok girls were seized in April. It might seem surprising that it has taken four days for news of the killings and abductions to break. That points to just how dangerous that area of northeast Nigeria still is despite promises of a massive military deployment there. Gumsuri is about 43 miles from Maiduguri, the state capital, but survivors had to travel hundreds of miles via a circuitous route to avoid areas overrun with jihadists in order to reach the city and alert people to the horrors they had witnessed.” (BBC

Big Changes at the OECD: After a two-day meeting in Paris, the development arm of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said the changes – the first in 40 years – “will create incentives to mobilize more and better financing for development”. The key changes include modifications to the way concessional loans are calculated and reported, a recommitment to target more assistance to least-developed countries (LDCs) and other vulnerable nations, and moves to create a broader definition of aid flows. (Guardian


One of Sierra Leone’s most senior physicians died Thursday from Ebola, the 11th doctor in the country to succumb to the disease, a health official said. (AP

The World Health Organization and the nations that fund it failed to respond quickly and effectively to the deadly West Africa Ebola outbreak despite repeated warnings by aid agencies, a U.K. parliamentary committee said on Thursday. (Reuters

The death toll in the Ebola epidemic has risen to 6,915 out of 18,603 cases as of Dec. 14, the World Health Organization said. (Reuters

For some Ebola survivors, overcoming the lethal viral assault has not heralded a full return to good health. An array of ailments including headache, joint pains, vision and hearing problems have afflicted convalescents; experts are still uncertain of the exact cause. (IRIN


Cameroon’s army said Thursday its troops had killed 116 Nigerian fighters from the Islamist Boko Haram group in the far north. (AFP

Up to 10,000 children have been recruited by armed groups during the conflict in the Central African Republic despite a U.N.-backed peacekeeping presence, the number rising sharply in the past two years, Save the Children said on Thursday. (Reuters

Clashes in Central African Republic between Muslim and Christian fighters have killed 28 people, left dozens wounded and sent civilians fleeing for safety, a Red Cross official said Thursday. (AP

A human rights lawyer says 54 soldiers have been sentenced to death because they embarrassed Nigeria’s military by demanding weapons to fight Islamic extremists, and says they were justified in not going on what would have been a suicidal mission. (AP

The U.N. force in Mali says three peacekeepers were wounded when a vehicle carrying Chadian troops hit a roadside bomb in the country’s north. (AP

Kenyan opposition lawmakers shouted slogans, sang and threw water in parliament on Thursday, disrupting a vote to authorize terrorism-related measures that rights activists say threaten civil liberties and free speech. (Reuters

Sudan’s intelligence chief warned South Sudan against “hostile moves from its territory,” saying any incursion by rebel forces based in its neighbor would be treated as an “assault” by Juba. (Reuters


U.S.-led air strikes against Islamic State in Iraq have killed three of the militant group’s top leaders, the head of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff told the Wall Street Journal on Thursday. (Reuters

The United Nations is seeking more than $8.4 billion for next year to help nearly 18 million people affected by the war in Syria. (AP

A United Nations body agreed on Thursday to let Iraq postpone its final payment of reparations to Kuwait for the 1990-91 Gulf War, in an effort to help ease Baghdad’s cash-strapped budget. (Reuters

Negotiations on a draft U.N. resolution that sets terms for a final Israeli-Palestinian peace deal will take time, Jordan said Thursday, indicating that a Security Council vote was not imminent. (AFP

The U.N. warned Thursday it was running out of funds to house families in Gaza, as it doubled its estimate of the number of homes damaged or destroyed in this summer’s war with Israel. (AFP

The United States would not support a new Palestinian-proposed U.N. Security Council draft resolution, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Thursday. (Reuters


Cambodia’s prime minister appealed Thursday to villagers in northwestern Cambodia not to lynch an unlicensed medical practitioner who they suspect caused more than 100 people to become infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. (AP

The plight of an 8-year-old Chinese boy with HIV, reportedly ordered to leave his village by 200 petitioners, sparked intense online soul-searching Thursday in a country where discrimination against sufferers remains rife. (Yahoo

The Americas

How revived ties between the U.S. and Cuba came to be. (AP

Former President Jimmy Carter says he is “proud and grateful” for the president’s efforts to restore diplomatic ties with Cuba. Carter calls the shift in policy “courageous.” (AP


Cause-of-death study identifies overall but unequal progress and some red flags (Humanosphere

Diplomacy, Vatican style (Global Dispatches Podcast

Here’s how to determine if that charity is worth your dollars (LA Times

What has Christmas shopping got to do with allocating foreign aid? (ODI

Remember Invisible Children? (Africa is a Country

When the protagonist isn’t a white kid (How Matters

This graphic shows how dangerous it is for children to go to school in Pakistan (GlobalPost

REDD and the green economy continue to undermine rights (IPS

‘Confronting Ebola for the first time generates strong emotions’ (The Guardian

Basic income paid to the poor can transform lives (The Guardian

What counts as “aid”? New rules on concessionality (ODI

Using innovative film-based storytelling to help improve the lives of women and girls (IDS


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]