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News in the Humanosphere: al-Shabab threatens Western targets

Troops Advance during Anti-Shabaab Operation in Somalia (UN Photo/Stuart Price)

The group has so far not been able to extend its reach beyond the Somalia, Uganda and Kenya. But Western security officials are taking very seriously a threat contained in a video released this weekend. “The masked narrator concluded by calling on Muslims to attack shopping malls, specifically naming the Mall of America in Minnesota, as well as the West Edmonton Mall in Canada and the Westfield mall in Stratford, England. Speaking on morning talk shows in the United States, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson called the video ‘the new phase’ of the global terrorist threat and warned the public to be vigilant.” (AP

Somalia’s government has released new details on Friday’s al-Shabab attack on a popular hotel in Mogadishu, where at least 25 people were killed and more than 50 were wounded. (VOA

Another attack on Red Cross in Myanmar
Five people, including a Red Cross volunteer, were wounded in an attack on a car near the Chinese border where battles have raged between government soldiers and ethnic insurgents, the second such attack within a week, the Red Cross said on Sunday. (Reuters

Climate change panel chair withdraws from meeting amid sexual harassment claim
The head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Rajendra Pachauri, has withdrawn from a high-level meeting in Kenya next week, a spokesman said on Saturday, as Indian police investigate a sexual harassment complaint against him. (Reuters


Gunmen in war-ravaged South Sudan have abducted at least 89 boys, some as young as 13, from their school in oil-rich Upper Nile State, the United Nations said on Saturday. (Reuters

Nigerian forces backed by air strikes seized the northeastern border town of Baga from Islamist group Boko Haram on Saturday, the military said, a significant victory in an offensive against an insurgency affecting four African states. (Reuters

A young girl killed herself and five others Sunday in the latest suicide bombing in the restive northeastern part of Nigeria, where government troops are battling insurgents from the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram. (VOA

The last of a group of Congolese nationals accused of plotting to assassinate Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila were acquitted in a South African court, a defense lawyer and media reported on Saturday. (AFP


Since Islamic State militants declared a “caliphate” last year in parts of Iraq and Syria, thousands of Westerners have traveled there to join the battle. But one American man told VOA he has joined the fight, not for the Islamic State jihadist group, but against it. (VOA

The families of three British schoolgirls feared to be traveling to join the Islamic State group in Syria issued emotional appeals for them to come home Saturday. (AFP

Growing frustration over the reality of life in eastern Libya, which contrasts with the promises of politicians, is feeding support for a former army general, Khalifa Haftar, who has set himself up as a warrior against Islamist militancy and who some also see as their savior. (Reuters

Saudi Arabia’s Health Ministry says two more people have died after contracting Middle East Respiratory Syndrome or MERS, pushing the total number of deaths from the virus in the kingdom to 385. (AP


Myanmar’s army Saturday said more than 130 people had died in a deepening battle with rebels in the northeast, declaring it would not rest until stability was restored to the border area which tens of thousands have fled. (AFP

Allowing genetically modified crops is critical to Modi’s goal of boosting dismal farm productivity in India, where urbanization is devouring arable land and population growth will mean there are 1.5 billion mouths to feed by 2030 – more even than China. (Reuters

The Americas

Several social organizations will demand the immediate withdrawal of Uruguayan troops from Haiti, where they are part of the U.N. Stabilization Mission in that country. (Prensa Latina

Coca-Cola’s largest bottler in Mexico has temporarily suspended operations in the capital of the embattled state of Guerrero following attacks on its workers and its trucks. (AP

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez accused the judiciary on Saturday of launching a political battle after state lawyers organized a march to demand justice for a dead prosecutor who had been investigating her. (Reuters

...and the rest
The United Kingdom is failing to meet its “moral and political obligations” to tens of millions of children caught up in conflict zones and has not developed even a basic strategy to help youngsters affected by war, a parliamentary report reveals. (Guardian

Can the violence in Honduras be stopped? (IPS

Will the SDGs be the last hope for lost causes? (The Guardian

The anatomy of tax evasion in Africa (An Africanist Perspective

U.N. reports rising attacks on girls’ education (CFR

Australia’s aid to Indonesia: a quiet good, until dragged into a fight (Devpolicy

If I were Prime Minister: I’d use Britain’s influence to tackle world poverty and inequality (The Independent

Failures and meta-failures (Campaign for Boring Development

How Islamic State is expanding its empire of terror (The Guardian

The future of the Global Fund (Devpolicy Blog

Replication data (and the perils thereof) (Chris Blattman


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]