Humanosphere is on hiatus. Many thanks to our web design, development and hosting partner Culture Foundry for keeping the site active while we plan our next move. Culture Foundry builds, evolves and supports next-level websites and applications for clients you know, and you couldn’t ask for a better partner to help you thrive in digital. If you’re considering an ambitious website design or development project, we encourage you to make them your very first call.

News in the Humanosphere: ISIS targeting ‘educated women’

A dire new warning from the U.N. “The UN on Tuesday decried numerous executions of civilians in Iraq by the Islamic State group, warning that educated women appeared to be especially at risk. … Numerous other women have also reportedly been executed recently in IS-controlled areas, including Mosul, [U.N.] spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told reporters. She said educated, professional women, particularly women who have run as candidates in elections for public office, seem to be particularly at risk. ‘In just the first two weeks of this year, reports indicate that three female lawyers were executed,’ Shamdasani said.” (Yahoo )

Treaty Ratification of the Day: Somalia ratified the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child. Now, the only two countries not to have ratified it are South Sudan and the United States. (UNICEF

Stat of the Day (Not so Humanity Affirming): More than 1 million people may have been forced to leave their homes in northern Nigeria by the 5-year-old insurgency of Islamist sect Boko Haram, a United Nations agency said. (Reuters

Armed men kidnapped a woman working for the U.N. peacekeeping mission MINUSCA in Central African Republic’s capital Bangui on Tuesday, the mission said. (Reuters

Nigeria was on Tuesday awarded $8.1 million in funding for a final push to eradicate polio, as it nears six months without a case of the disease. (AFP

Police in Democratic Republic of Congo fired shots in the air on Tuesday to halt a second day of protests against a draft measure that could delay a presidential election set for 2016 and allow President Joseph Kabila to stay in power. (Reuters

Half a billion dollars of aid pledged to end the Ebola outbreak in west Africa still hasn’t been paid, according to the U.N.’s response coordinator. (Guardian

Dodged a bullet: The economic impact of Ebola on African economies in 2015 will be less severe than previously thought, the World Bank said in a report on Tuesday, causing just a fraction of the more than $25 billion in losses first expected. (VOA

Eighteen Nobel prize winners called on Saudi academics to condemn the flogging of Saudi blogger Raef Badawi in an open letter published by British newspaper the Independent on Tuesday. (AFP

The Islamic State group threatened in a video Tuesday to kill two Japanese hostages within 72 hours unless it receives a $200 million ransom, but Tokyo vowed it would not bow to “terrorism.” (AFP

A Bahraini defense lawyer says prominent human rights activist Nabeel Rajab has been found guilty of insulting government ministries on Twitter and sentenced to six months in jail. (AP

As the season for wheat planting in Iraq wound down early last month, farmers in areas under the control of Sunni militant group Islamic State grew worried. More than two dozen farmers say they had not planted the normal amount of seed, because they could not access their land, did not have the proper fertilizers or adequate fuel, or because they had no guarantees that Islamic State would buy their crop as Baghdad normally does. (Reuters

Rights groups welcomed the release of a prominent Rohingya Muslim doctor who was arrested while trying to calm rioters during sectarian violence in western Myanmar, but noted Tuesday scores of political prisoners remain behind bars. (AP

Sri Lanka’s new health minister said a mystery kidney disease that has ravaged farmers in part of the country for two decades will be given top priority under the newly elected government. (AP

State-controlled media say a court in northern Vietnam has sentenced eight people to death for heroin trafficking. (AP

Malaysia on Tuesday cut its economic growth forecast for this year and announced a slew of austerity measures as tumbling oil prices force the government to slash spending. (AP

More than 100 Chinese citizens trapped by fighting between government troops and insurgents in northern Myanmar, have been arrested and are being held by the Myanmar government, a Chinese embassy spokesman in Yangon said on Tuesday. (Reuters

A U.N. campaign to make North Korea accountable for human rights abuses should be scrapped, a semi-official North Korean propaganda website said on Tuesday, days after a defector admitted parts of his story about brutal prison life were untrue. (Reuters

At least three security marshals were injured in a brawl that broke out in Nepal’s parliament early on Tuesday, with opposition legislators climbing on their chairs and throwing microphones and shoes in a heated debate over the Himalayan nation’s new constitution. (Reuters

On Jan. 17 last year, representatives from two dozen of the world’s largest fashion brands wrote to the Cambodian government demanding that it investigate the killings by security forces of at least five garment workers during violent demonstrations two weeks earlier. But one year later, it seems little progress has been made. (VOA

The Americas
Thousands of Argentines took to the streets in protest on Monday following the death of prosecutor Alberto Nisman. (BBC

The family and supporters of “one of the most abused prisoners in Guantanamo” on Tuesday launched a new celebrity-backed campaign demanding his release, coinciding with the publication of his prison diary. (AFP

“The Age of Miracles” ONE’s CEO Michael Eliot sets the scene for 2015. (Time

The global land rights organization Landesa released a new video to advocate for explicitly including  land rights for women and men in the post 2015 development targets and indicators.

Winners and losers in China’s deepening economic slowdown (AP

Can countries still trade their way out of poverty? (Guardian

Zambia: Rise of the UPND down to good preparation and luck (African Arguments

Africa in 2015: 10 things to consider (Africa Research Institute

Israel’s challenge to the International Criminal Court (The Washington Post

On the Zambian presidential by-election (An Africanist Perspective

Achille Mbembe on how the Ebola crisis exposes Africa’s dependency on the West (Africa is a Country

Five years on, it’s time to go back to Haiti (Humanitarian Practice Network

The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday sharply cut its 2015-16 world growth forecast of only six months ago, saying lower oil prices did not offset pervasive weaknesses around the globe. (AFP

Unemployment will rise by 11 million in the next five years due to slower growth and turbulence, the U.N. warned. More than 212 million people will be jobless by 2019 against the current level of 201 million, the International Labour Organization said. (AFP

Myanmar, Haiti and Mali were ranked the least open and transparent countries in a global index of government data released on Tuesday, which found that most governments do not make official data openly available to the public. (Reuters

Two giant pharmaceutical companies should lower the price of a new vaccine against pneumococcal disease that is needed by children in developing countries, but is unaffordable for some of their governments, say the volunteer doctors of Doctors Without Borders. (Guardian


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]