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News in the Humanosphere: Blood on the streets of Kinshasa

More than 40 people have been killed in days of protest against President Kabila’s attempt to change the constitution so he can run for another term in office. A powerful church group is siding with the protests. “As anti-government demonstrations in the capital Kinshasa entered their third day, the leader of Congo’s Catholics, Cardinal Laurent Mosengwo Pasinya, strongly criticized any attempt to postpone a presidential election due next year. Opposition supporters took to the streets on Monday to try to derail legislation that would require a national census before the vote. The opposition says the count would take years to organize in a poor nation the size of Western Europe, although the government denies this. … In Kinshasa’s main Mama Yemo hospital, witnesses said that members of the presidential guard entered a ward where wounded opposition supporters were being treated and opened fire, injuring several people.” (Yahoo )

Concert for the planet 2.0: A Live Earth music event to demand action on climate change will take place on June 18 across seven continents, including Antarctica, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and pop star Pharrell Williams announced on Wednesday. (Reuters

Speech of the day: Samantha Power marking the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

Blog of the day: Amanda Glassman of the Center for Global Development Tweets: “Care about #vaccine prices in middle-income countries? Check out database here and suggest analytics to me!”

People who are hospitalized for pneumonia face a higher risk of heart attack or stroke in the following weeks and months, Canadian researchers reported. (AFP

Nigeria/Boko Haram
Germany’s Foreign Ministry says a German man believed to have been kidnapped in Cameroon by the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram has been freed. (AP

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau has claimed responsibility for the mass killings in the northeast Nigerian town of Baga and threatened more violence. (AP

Nigeria’s military stepped into a political row about the legitimacy of the main opposition candidate’s run for the presidency, in a fresh twist to an issue gripping the campaign. (AFP

Nigeria has ordered a brigadier general and 21 other army officers to face a court martial over alleged sabotage in the war against Islamist militant group Boko Haram, two military sources said. (Reuters

A regional summit opened in Niger Tuesday aimed at stopping Boko Haram as the Islamist insurgents step up attacks both inside Nigeria and in neighbouring countries. (AFP

Nigeria on Wednesday confirmed that five states have been hit with the H5N1 strain of bird flu, resulting in the deaths of tens of thousands of poultry but no human cases. (AFP

A tropical storm that battered Madagascar at the weekend left 46 people dead, according to a final toll published by the authorities on Wednesday. (AFP

Burundi police arrested the head of a key radio station close to the opposition in connection with the murder of three Italian nuns after broadcasting an alleged confession of the killer. (AFP

A U.N. helicopter gunship destroyed a rebel vehicle in northern Mali, causing some fatalities, after U.N. troops came under heavy weapons fire on the ground, the U.N. mission said. (AFP

Hundreds of people protesting against airstrikes on Tuareg rebels by United Nations peacekeepers in Mali occupied the airport in the northern town of Kidal on Wednesday, forcing U.N. troops to abandon positions there. (Reuters

Boats and ox-wagons were deployed to get ballot papers to parts of Zambia hit by torrential rains as presidential elections were extended for a second day Wednesday. (AFP

Close to 1,000 new cases of Ebola were recorded in the last three weeks despite progress in combating the deadly disease and “the fight is far from won,” the U.N. mission chief in West Africa said. (AP

Somalia’s Shabaab militants, Al-Qaeda’s main affiliate in Africa, on Wednesday urged supporters in Europe to follow the example of Islamist gunmen who carried out attacks in Paris. (AFP

The World Bank repeatedly violated its own rules while funding a development initiative in Ethiopia that has been dogged by complaints that it sponsored forced evictions of thousands of indigenous people, according to a leaked report by a watchdog panel at the bank. (GlobalPost

United Nations agencies need a final $1 billion to fight West Africa’s deadly Ebola epidemic as experts move to a new phase involving a massive detective operation to trace remaining cases, the U.N. Ebola chief said on Wednesday. (Reuters

Syria has gone a year without a reported polio case, the World Health Organization said Wednesday, after a massive immunization campaign triggered by the disease’s appearance in the war-torn country. (AFP

Human Rights Watch accused Egyptian authorities on Wednesday of failing to take serious steps to improve conditions in overcrowded prisons which are causing deaths. (Reuters

Latest on the Coup in Yemen: The country is at risk of fragmenting. (NYT

Benjamin Netanyahu was invited by Republicans to address the United States congress. Meanwhile, it appears that Israeli intelligence officials are in agreement with the Obama administration about the deleterious consequences of new sanctions that some in congress want to impose. (Bloomberg

Doctors Without Borders announced Wednesday that it has returned to Myanmar’s troubled state of Rakhine nine months after it was ordered out by the government for hiring members of the long-persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority. (AP

A Myanmar Buddhist monk who called a U.N. human rights envoy a “whore” has violated his monastic code and could damage his religion, another prominent monk said, but he is unlikely to face censure. (Reuters

Wearied by the rampant cheating, endless rote learning and mandatory Leninist ideology classes, Vietnam’s middle-classes are fleeing the country’s school system for overseas education. (AFP

Several dozen people on Guam have had their federal food stamp and welfare benefits suspended for violating program policies. (AP

A court has ordered the Indian government to release $300,000 sent by Greenpeace’s foreign partners for use in India by the environmental group. (AP

China’s ruling Communist Party will abolish targets for arrests, prosecutions and convictions, state media said on Wednesday, the latest in a series of legal reforms at a time of widening public discontent. (Reuters

The Americas
Greenpeace said it has given prosecutors the names of four people involved in a protest for renewable energy at the country’s famed Nazca Lines archaeological site, an action that sparked widespread outrage in Peru. In naming the activists, the group urged prosecutors to drop legal proceedings against two journalists who covered the event. (AP

As Venezuela’s ailing economy spawns unprecedented shortages of basic goods, panic-buying and a rush to snap up subsidized food, demand is high and the pay is reasonable for those willing to wait in line. (Reuters

U.S. President Obama says he will not relent in his determination to shut down the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. (AP

The United States and Cuba are due to hold their highest-level talks in decades in the Cuban capital, Havana. (BBC

#OccupyPlayGround: Police used teargas on our children, but for now we celebrate the win (The Guardian

What Obama said on international development in his State of the Union address (Humanosphere

Is this the beginning of the end for the Ebola outbreak in West Africa? (GlobalPost

This year’s development summits have many mountains to climb (The Guardian

CUBA/U.S.: Catching a glimpse of the possible future (IPS

France doesn’t need a Patriot Act. It already has plenty (GlobalPost

Sustainable development is only possible if women’s health is prioritised (The Guardian

WEF: What to watch (IRIN

Is South Sudan’s fractured SPLM party poised to reunite? (VOA


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]