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News in the Humanosphere: South Sudan firmly on the brink of famine, again

The remarks came at a pledging conference in Nairobi. More than 2.5 million South Sudanese are on the brink of famine, with the civil war likely to intensify, the United Nations said Monday as it launched a $1.8 billion aid appeal. U.N. emergency relief coordinator Valerie Amos said she had witnessed “first-hand the continuing widespread devastation and destruction” and an “untenable level of suffering” after returning from a three-day visit to South Sudan. … After seven failed ceasefires, the United Nations said in its appeal for cash the “most likely planning scenario” was that violence “intensifies” in the dry season when military vehicles can move around more easily. (AFP


A bomb exploded in Niger’s border town of Diffa on Monday hours after Islamic sect Boko Haram attacked a prison there, a military and a local source said. (Reuters

Somali lawmakers approved a new cabinet on Monday, hours after Shebab insurgents assassinated a colleague as he made his way to parliament. (AFP

Suspected Boko Haram fighters launched attacks on three communities in northern Cameroon, abducting more than 30 people including those aboard a packed bus, residents said Monday. (AP

Aid workers in South Sudan are finding it hard to operate in the country because roadblocks are suddenly being erected in some areas, the U.N.’s top official for humanitarian assistance said on Monday. (AP

Nigeria on Monday vowed to crush Boko Haram within six weeks as its leader warned a new regional fighting force “will not achieve anything” and the rebels launched a fresh cross-border attack. (AFP

Somalia’s parliament approved a 25-strong cabinet on Monday, a pivotal step towards preparing the war-torn nation for a vote on a new constitution and presidential elections in 2016. (Reuters

Uganda’s gay community is fighting back against stigma with Bombastic, a new magazine published and distributed privately. The free 72-page glossy publication features personal essays, commentaries and poems by “proud” LGBTI Ugandans, some using pseudonyms. (Guardian


Syria’s foreign minister on Monday criticized neighboring Jordan, which recently stepped up air strikes against Islamic State targets in Syria, and said his country does not need outside help in battling IS militants. (AP

Journalists in post-revolution Libya face the constant threat of attack and have lost even the limited freedom that existed under slain strongman Moamer Kadhafi, Human Rights Watch said on Monday. (AFP

Syria will not allow foreign ground troops on its territory to fight the Islamic State group, Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said on Monday. (AFP


The International Committee of the Red Cross removed more than twice as many dead combatants from Afghan battlefields in 2014 than in the previous year as fighting intensified, the charity said on Monday. (Reuters

As Myanmar’s President Thein Sein struggles to reach a nationwide peace agreement by the year’s end, the Ta’ang National Liberation Army has turned into one of his biggest obstacles. (AP

An Indian woman who discovered she had mostly male chromosomes has given birth to healthy twins after intensive treatment in what doctors said Monday was the “rarest of rare cases.” (AFP

East Timor’s president on Monday accepted the resignation of independence hero Xanana Gusmao as prime minister ahead of an expected restructuring of the government that would make it more inclusive. (AP

Laos is facing increasing pressure to delay construction of a 260 megawatt dam on the Lower Mekong River because of concerns about its environmental and social impacts. A gathering last week in Laos highlights the continuing controversy surrounding the project. (VOA

The Americas

Anti-government street protesters plan to shut down Haiti’s capital for two days starting Monday as the country plunges deeper into political and economic crises even as many prepare for the annual Carnival, normally a time of peaceful revelry. (Reuters

Brazil’s Health Ministry is using fake Tinder profiles and massive condom giveaways to promote safe sex during the country’s no-holds-barred Carnival celebrations. (AP

One of its biggest contractors tied to the U.S. Agency for International Development faces increasing troubles amid allegations of mismanagement and impropriety. (VOA


A discussion with Jan Egeland about the crisis in Syria, its global consequences, the 2004 Tsunami, and being the subject of the single greatest parody of the United Nations.  (Global Dispatches Podcast

A seven-year, one-term for U.N. chief? (IPS

Drones for good? (IRIN

View on private sector: The dark side of microfinance (SciDevNet

The end of extreme poverty in the developed world (PovertyAnalysis

Do policy briefs change beliefs? (Development Impact

Combating corruption via constitutional courts: South Africa as a model? (The Global Anticorruption Blog

Re-framing representations of aid (CIHA Blog

Where dreams are made of… (The XX Factor

Time’s ‘Person Of The Year’ is feeling kinda lost (Goats and Soda


Girls in at least 70 countries have faced threats, violent attacks and other abuse for trying to go to school over the past five years, the U.N. human rights office said Monday. (AP

Global growth is threatened by developed countries’ flagging efforts to reform their economies, a major international organization warned on Monday. (AP


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]