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News in the Humanosphere: More dire predictions for upcoming El Niño

NOAA is predicting the strongest El Niño on record, affecting weather patterns all over the world. One climatologist has called it “the Godzilla of el Niños.” “‘We’re predicting this El Niño could be among the strongest El Niños in the historical record,’ said Mike Halpert, deputy director of the Climate Prediction Center for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in a teleconference with reporters. This year’s El Niño is already the second strongest for this time of year in more than 60 years of recordkeeping, he said. El Niño, which begins with warmer-than-usual water temperatures in the Eastern Pacific, can affect weather around the world – most notably for Americans by bringing heavy winter precipitation in California and across the American South. El Niño events have also been linked to droughts in Australia and India, and more numerous hurricanes in the Pacific (but fewer in the Atlantic), and a warmer planet overall.” (NYT

This is what regressive reproductive health policies looks like
A girl in Paraguay was forced to give birth. “The girl was allegedly raped and impregnated by her stepfather when she was 10. The stepfather has been arrested and is awaiting trial. The girl’s mother has been charged with negligence. The mother requested an abortion for her daughter, but the government refused to allow it, drawing praise from religious groups but criticism from many human rights organizations, including U.N. officials. Paraguay bans abortion except when the mother’s life is in danger. At the time, the girl was five months pregnant and local health officials said she appeared to be in fine health.” (WaPo

Fact of the day
Humans have exhausted a year’s supply of natural resources in less than eight months, according to an analysis of the demands the world’s population are placing on the planet. (Guardian


Burundi’s presidency on Thursday condemned the attack on the correspondent of Agence France-Presse and Radio France International, who was detained and tortured by security forces. (AFP

Burundi’s ruling party on Thursday termed the controversial re-election of President Pierre Nkurunziza a “divine miracle,” as the opposition accused him of declaring war by clinging to power. (AFP

The troubled west African nation of Guinea-Bissau was plunged into fresh political turmoil Thursday after the president sacked the government in a row with the prime minister. (AFP

The Ebola epidemic in West Africa could be completely over by the end of the year if efforts to root out new cases are kept up, the WHO chief said Thursday. (AFP

The United Nations in Tanzania called for calm Thursday saying it was “highly unlikely” a Burundian refugee who died after bleeding from his eyes and ears had Ebola. (AFP


In one of the deadliest single attacks in postwar Baghdad, a truck bomb shattered a popular fruit-and-vegetable market in a teeming Shiite neighborhood Thursday, killing 67 people and wounding more than 150 others. (Military Times

Cuts in food aid to vulnerable refugees in the Middle East are making young men “prime targets” for recruitment by extremist groups, a top official at the U.N.’s World Food Program said on Thursday. (Guardian

Egypt: Opposition politician Abul-Ela Mady was released on Wednesday after nearly two years of pretrial detention, Mady’s son Ahmed said, two days after a court ordered him set free. (Reuters


Thailand’s military-installed prime minister defended a new law that places tight restrictions on public gatherings and warned Thursday it will be strictly enforced. (AP

The president of the low-lying Pacific island nation of Kiribati called on Thursday for a global moratorium on new coal mines to slow global warming and a creeping rise in world sea levels. (Reuters

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reform agenda suffered another major setback on Thursday when lawmakers ended the summer parliament session acrimoniously and without approving a tax reform bill aimed at faster economic growth. (Reuters

A freshly dug anti-tank ditch running along a short stretch of metal fence topped with barbed wire marks the start of a new border defense that Ukraine hopes will protect it from Russia. (AFP

Cambodia’s prime minister on Thursday demanded the arrest of an opposition senator, accusing him of treason for comments posted on Facebook criticizing a 36-year-old border agreement with neighboring Vietnam. (AP

A lack of answers about vast explosions in the Chinese port of Tianjin Thursday reinforced questions about standards in the country, where campaigners say lives are sacrificed on a lack of respect for safety and poor implementation. (AFP

The secretary general of Myanmar’s ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) said on Thursday senior party members had ousted him from his position. (Reuters

The Americas

Brazil: Thousands of women rallied in support of President Dilma Rousseff, whose poll numbers have plummeted amid a national scandal involving state oil company Petrobras. (AFP

With shortages of basic goods and looting on the rise, more Venezuelans say they are resorting to nighttime waits in front of closed stores. (Reuters

A former Venezuelan defense minister and ally-turned-critic of the late president Hugo Chavez has been released on parole after spending more than six years in prison on corruption charges, his lawyer said Thursday. (AFP

Five gunmen burst into a bar early Thursday and killed a reputed drug gang boss, a reporter and four other people in Mexico’s Gulf coast state of Veracruz, authorities said. (AP

The highest court in Connecticut overturned the death penalty as unconstitutional on Thursday, saving 11 prisoners on death row from execution in the northeastern US state. (AFP

...and the rest

Nearly half a million Catholics have signed a petition urging Pope Francis to condemn same sex unions as unnatural and rule out allowing divorced believers who remarry to receive communion, organizers claim. (AFP

New York-based Human Rights Watch decried as politically motivated the sentencing of a leading rights activist in Azerbaijan on Thursday to eight and a half years in jail, saying it was part of a campaign to muzzle dissent. (Reuters

Hungary’s government says it plans to extend its anti-migration campaign to countries like Greece, Macedonia and Serbia, transit points used by the more than 120,000 migrants who have entered Hungary this year. (AP


This is Haiti, according to TOMS (Humanosphere

Global Dispatches Podcast: Mark speaks with Jeremy Farrar of the Wellcome Trust about the big global implications of the new Ebola Vaccine

The role of International Aid Agencies Protecting National Humanitarian Staff” (ATHA

What if global development was funded by developing countries’ money? (Guardian

Unilever opens a can of worms on corporate human rights reporting (From Poverty to Power

Some Cultures Treat Menstruation With Respect (Goats and Soda

How young people could hold the key to SDG success (Devex

We could end famine if we cut food waste by a quarter – so why don’t we? (Guardian

Our Continent Needs New Vision of Pan-Africanism (The Star

A Polio-Free World Is in Sight – What’s Needed to Wipe Out the Last 1 Percent (The Conversation


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]