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News in the Humanosphere: Only two Ebola cases remain in West Africa

A healthcare worker in protective gear sprays disinfectant around the house of a person suspected to have Ebola virus in Port Loko Community, situated on the outskirts of Freetown, Sierra Leone. (AP Photo/Michael Duff)

Some good news from the WHO is being released today. ”Guinea and Sierra Leone each recorded a single case of Ebola in the past week, putting a year-end goal of ending the deadly epidemic within reach although risks remain, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday. ’The progress is real … as of today we have two cases (in the week to Aug. 2),’  [WHO Assistant-Director Bruce] Aylward told a news briefing upon return from West Africa where the epidemic has killed more than 11,000 people since December 2013. ‘It is a realistic goal to have transmission stopped this year.’ In the previous week to July 26, there were seven confirmed cases in the two countries, which had been the lowest in the past year, according to the WHO.”  (Reuters

Historic peace deal may end this long simmering insurgency
“Hopes of ending one of India’s oldest insurgencies have risen with a landmark peace accord in the remote northeastern state of Nagaland. But questions remain whether the agreement will endure. India’s government has sealed the peace deal with the National Socialist Council of Nagaland, a feared insurgent group that has waged a violent struggle for an independent homeland for the Naga people for more than six decades. Nagaland is one of seven remote northeastern states in which India has been battling several separatist rebel groups. The restive region borders China, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Bhutan.” (VOA

Did the U.S. water down its human trafficking report?
In the weeks leading up to a critical annual U.S. report on human trafficking that publicly shames the world’s worst offenders, human rights experts at the State Department concluded that trafficking conditions hadn’t improved in Malaysia and Cuba. And in China, they found, things had grown worse. The State Department’s senior political staff saw it differently – and they prevailed. (Reuters

It’s really, really hot in the Middle East right now
And this could have some political ramifications. (NYT


The attempted killing of a leading Burundian human rights activist, shot in the face by a gunman, triggered international outrage and concern on Tuesday. (AFP

The International Criminal Court must broaden its investigation into the violence that ripped Ivory Coast apart in 2010 and 2011 to include violations committed by loyalists of President Alassane Ouattara, Human Rights Watch said Tuesday. (AFP

State radio in Liberia says 14 men illegally mining for gold in Liberia’s west fell victim to a landslide. They were trapped under rubble and are presumed dead. (AP

The United States could lift a ban on shipping arms to Nigeria’s military to help fight the militant Islamist group Boko Haram if Abuja improves its human rights record, visiting U.S. Congress members said on Tuesday. (Reuters

Amnesty International said on Tuesday that the Sudanese army had committed war crimes in the conflict-hit South Kordofan region, including bombing and shelling civilian areas and infrastructure. (AFP

Sudan said on Monday it could freeze court verdicts against armed rebels if they agree to join national reconciliation talks, a renewed attempt by the government to end fighting that has long mired the country. (Reuters

French police have released the chief of staff to Gabon’s President Ali Bongo who was detained for questioning in a corruption probe after the foreign ministry said he had diplomatic immunity, a judicial source said on Tuesday. (Reuters

A South African judge struck the corruption case against fiery opposition politician Julius Malema off the roll on Tuesday, saying that the firebrand leader had waited too long for the trial. (Reuters

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi leaves this week on a visit to three of the African nations hardest hit by an outbreak of the Ebola virus, the Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday. (Reuters


Blocked from selling Yemen’s oil, the Houthi-led government has slipped into a financial crisis after four months of conflict with a Saudi-led military coalition. (WSJ

A severe funding shortfall has led to the closure of 84 percent of health programs supported by humanitarian partners, including the World Health Organization, in Iraq, leaving almost 3 million people without access to urgently needed health care services. (WHO

More than 2,000 people have died trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe this year, data showed Tuesday, bearing testimony to migrants’ increasingly desperate attempts to reach the continent. (AFP


Floods from days of torrential rain have now claimed at least 180 lives in India with 1 million people sheltering in relief camps after fleeing surging waters, officials said Tuesday. (AFP

Myanmar said on Tuesday it had appealed for international assistance to help provide food, temporary shelter and clothing for more than 210,000 people affected by widespread flooding following weeks of heavy monsoon rains. (Reuters

Twelve people were killed early Tuesday when an old building on the outskirts of Mumbai collapsed after days of heavy rain, an Indian official said. (AP

Bowing to a public outcry, the Indian government on Tuesday said it would lift a days-old ban on hundreds of pornographic websites after critics accused the government of encroaching on personal freedoms. (LAT

Pakistan on Tuesday hanged a man whose case triggered an international outcry because his lawyers said he was arrested as a juvenile and tortured into confessing to murder. (Reuters

South Korean President Park Geun-hye removed her minister of health on Tuesday after criticism over the handling of an outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome which killed 36 people as it spread through hospitals. (Reuters

Malaysia’s anti-graft agency has said that nearly $700 million deposited into the prime minister’s personal bank accounts were from “donations” and not related to a brewing scandal. (AFP

The Americas

Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera has expressed his outrage over the murder of photojournalist Ruben Espinosa and four women in the city last week. (BBC

Jamaica’s LGBT community is holding its first gay pride celebration in the island’s capital, a weeklong event that was previously almost unthinkable in a Caribbean country long described as the one of the globe’s most hostile places to homosexuality. (AP


Is creating a new nation for the world’s refugees a good idea? (Guardian

Africa’s entrepreneurial dilemma (Al Jazeera English

Claim that Jonathan left Nigeria with 7 trillion naira deficit does not add up (Africa Check

16 Crucial Lessons After a Decade of Experience in Humanitarian Work (Douglas La Rose

Beware development geeks bearing gifts (KM on a Dollar a Day

South Africa: Are Minimum Wages Desirable? (Africa in Fact

The UN has set itself some ambitious new goals (GlobalPost

Amnesty must stand firm on decriminalising sex work (Guardian

In The Fight Against Tsetse Flies, Blue Is The New Black (Goats and Soda

Problems in the immigration court system are seemingly endless (GlobalPost

Searching for Indonesia’s Amartya Sen (The Jakarta Globe


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]