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News in the Humanosphere: Hundreds drown fleeing Libya … again

These are entirely avoidable tragedies. “Survivors of a capsized migrant boat off Libya have told the aid group Save the Children that an estimated 400 people are believed to have drowned. Even before the survivors were interviewed, Italy’s coast guard said it assumed that there were many dead given the size of the ship and that nine bodies had been found. … The deaths, if confirmed, would add to the skyrocketing numbers of migrants lost at sea: The International Organization of Migration estimates that up to 3,072 migrants are believed to have died in the Mediterranean in 2014, compared to an estimate of 700 in 2013. But the IOM says even those estimates could be low. Overall, since the year 2000, IOM estimates that over 22,000 migrants have lost their lives trying to reach Europe.” (CBC

Sub Saharan Economic Growth Likely to Slow
Plunging oil prices, sluggish growth in the developed world and a slowdown in China’s pace of industrialization will bring down sub-Saharan Africa’s growth rate this year to its lowest in two decades, the World Bank said Monday. Economic output is expected to grow by 4 percent across the region in 2015, the World Bank said in its biannual economy report “Africa Pulse,” significantly below the historic average of 4.4 percent. While that is still well above the global economy average, seen by the World Bank at 2.9 percent for 2015, the decline highlights how vulnerable the world’s second-fastest growing region is, both from trouble at home and abroad. (WSJ

Quote of the Day
“He is known as 007 James Bond; I’m 008 – United Nations Secretary-General Ki-moon Ban! I am very happy that you have agreed to use your global star power to raise awareness and global action to destroy mines which have been killing many people.” —The Sec-Gen on the appointment of Daniel Craig to serve as a the first U.N. Global Advocate for the Elimination of Mines and Explosive Hazards. (UN


The “Champions for an AIDS-Free Generation” gathered together today to announce new efforts to ensure that all children in Africa are born free from HIV and that children living with HIV have access to life-saving treatment. (UNAIDS

Al-Shabab militants have attacked a government complex in a busy area of Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, leaving at least 17 people dead, including seven assailants. (BBC

The government of Kenya has announced that the Dadaab refugee camps should be closed within three months and the 350,000 Somali refugees living there returned to their country. (UNHCR

At least five people have been killed and hundreds forced to flee their homes in one of South Africa’s worst outbreaks of xenophobic violence in years. (Guardian

A New Human Rights Watch report says the Malian government should act to curtail rising violent crime and abuses by armed groups and state security forces that threaten the security of the population in northern and central (HRW


During an Oval Office visit with the Iraqi Prime Minister, President Obama pledged US$200 million in U.S. humanitarian aid to  to help those displaced by Islamic State militants, an offer of assistance that appeared to fall short of the Iraqi prime minister’s request for greater military support. (Today Online

Hundreds of additional Iraqi troops are being sent to reinforce colleagues who are trying to fend off ISIS’ attempt to overrun Iraq’s largest oil refinery. (CNN

The United Nations Security Council today approved an arms embargo against the rebel group’s leadership and demanded that all parties refrain from unilateral actions that could undermine the country’s UN-facilitated political transition. (

Dozens of Palestinian doctors who work in Israel will be allowed to drive their own vehicles into the country from the West Bank, exempting them from a blanket ban in force for 15 years. (NYT

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights is warning that some attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure in Yemen may amount to war crimes. (VOA

The White House relented on Tuesday and said President Obama would sign a compromise bill giving Congress a voice on the proposed nuclear accord with Iran as the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in rare unanimous agreement, moved the legislation to the full Senate for a vote. (NYT


India’s prime minister has called for India to take a leading role in the “pressing global problem” of climate change. (WaPo

Myanmar has been rocked by student demonstrations and, once again, the authorities have reacted with force, to the extent of using hired thugs in Yangon to beat and drag protesters away. (Irrawaddy


The recent demonstrations in Brazil show that, while dissatisfied with the current sociopolitical landscape, Brazilians have finally lost their fear of protesting, years after the dissolution of the brutal military dictatorship. (El País; Spanish)

President Obama has decided to lift the U.S. designation of Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism. (WaPo

The opposition in Venezuela has demanded the immediate release of three anti-government activists whom they argue were arbitrarily imprisoned. (El País; Spanish)

And the rest...

Diabetes that develops early in pregnancy may increase women’s chances of having a child with autism, according to a study published in JAMA. (Al Jazeera

Foreign ministers of the Group of Seven industrialized countries are meeting in Luebeck, Germany, to discuss issues ranging from Ebola to arms control as they prepare for the G7 summit in June. (VOA

IMF experts say the global economy will expand 3.5 percent this year, a very slight increase over last year’s growth. (VOA


“Give one”: What happens after you buy a pair of TOMS? (WhyDev

Should International Groups Be Monitoring Sudan’s Elections? (FP

Why the United States and Nigeria Will Never #BringBackOurGirls (FP

Bringing governance back to the citizens (Devex

Turning to Big, Big Data to See What Ails the World (NYT

Everyone is worthy of protection (SRC

Where do Africa’s Multi millionaires live? (CNN


About Author

Tom Paulson

Tom Paulson is founder and lead journalist at Humanosphere. Prior to operating this online news site, he reported on science,  medicine, health policy, aid and development for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Contact him at tom[at] or follow him on Twitter @tompaulson.