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News in the Humanosphere: Polio case discovered in Mali

Children disabled by polio begging in Abuja, Nigeria (Credit: Mike Urban)

Polio vaccinations declined in Guinea during the height of the Ebola outbreak, which may have contributed to this case. “The World Health Organization reported today that a 19-month-old boy in Mali has polio. The child came to Mali from Guinea with his parents, and his polio infection is genetically linked to one reported in Guinea last year. This particular strain of polio is vaccine-derived, which sometimes happens with oral vaccination. This type of vaccine uses weakened polio virus, which may sometimes mutate and make its way back into a community. Areas that are under-vaccinated are especially vulnerable. Still, circulating vaccine-derived polio is rare. According to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, there were 580 cases out of 10 billion oral vaccine doses between 2000 and 2011.” (

Yemen war sharply escalates
“Qatar has sent 1,000 ground troops to Yemen, Doha-based Al Jazeera television said, escalating Gulf Arab intervention in Yemen’s war ahead of a planned offensive against Iranian-backed Houthis holding the capital Sanaa. … The first reported involvement of Qatari ground forces in Yemen coincided with an intensification of the conflict a few days after a rocket strike in Marib that killed dozens of soldiers including Saudis and Emiratis. Saudi coalition forces on Sunday carried out repeated air raids on Houthi targets and allied troops loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh in apparent retaliation.  (AP


Judges at the International Criminal Court have asked South African authorities to explain why they failed to arrest Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir in June when he attended a conference. (Reuters

Nigerian authorities have deported at least 100 Togolese asylum seekers, many of them the children who have been refugees their whole lives, the U.N. refugee agency said Monday. (AP

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has set a deadline for ministries to start using approved government bank accounts to make payments – part of his drive to stamp out corruption – after some officials were slow to comply. (Reuters

Kenya plans to launch a military offensive against Islamist militants who have set up bases in a remote forest at the northern tip of its Indian Ocean coastline bordering Somalia, a police official said on Monday. (Reuters

Another woman has tested positive for Ebola in a village in northern Sierra Leone already under quarantine after the death of a 67-year-old woman a week ago, President Ernest Bai Koroma said. (AFP


The head of the International Rescue Committee is pressuring the United States to do more to ease the plight of Syrians refugees fleeing conflict and streaming into the European Union, whose overall response he criticized as “fumbling, feeble.” (VOA

France will on Tuesday begin reconnaissance flights over territory held by Islamic State (IS) in northern Syria, with a view to subsequent bombing raids, President François Hollande announced at a press conference on Monday. (Irish Times

Libya’s coast guard said it rescued more than 120 migrants Monday after the engine on their rubber dinghy broke down as they tried to reach Europe across the Mediterranean. (AFP

The United States is rethinking its strategy for battling the Islamic State in Syria, The New York Times reported on Monday, with the Pentagon looking into moving more fighters into safer zones, providing better intelligence and improving the skills of trained rebels. (Reuters

Egyptian authorities on Monday arrested the country’s agriculture minister over corruption allegations, security sources said, just after his resignation was announced. (Reuters

Some 13,000 Palestinian structures in the West Bank are currently under Israeli demolition orders, leaving residents and homes “in a state of chronic uncertainty and threat,” the U.N. said Monday. (AFP

Egypt signed an agreement with a Chinese company on building and financing part of a planned new administrative capital east of Cairo, the investment minister told Reuters on Monday. (Reuters


Sixty-one bodies have been recovered from an overloaded wooden boat which sank off Malaysia carrying dozens of Indonesian illegal immigrants, maritime officials said on Monday. (Reuters

The Supreme Court in Bangladesh has lifted a ban on the screening of a movie about a garment worker who was rescued from the rubble 17 days after a factory building collapsed in 2013, killing more than 1,000 people. (AP

A Rohingya refugee from Myanmar is preparing to go home three months after he arrived in Cambodia as part of a controversial resettlement deal with Australia. (VOA

At least 32 people have been killed following lightning strikes in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Orissa, reports say. (BBC

The Americas

Nearly 3 million Haitian children are returning to school Monday to face an educational system rife with exclusion and failure. But one minister is trying to turn the tide. (AFP

Beleaguered Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has acknowledged that her government may have made some errors but is pledging it will get past them. (AP

The United States came under more pressure on Sunday to help Europe find sanctuary for a flood of immigrants displaced by war and chaos, but Washington showed no signs of planning a dramatic increase in its intake of refugees. (Reuters

Guatemala was bound for a presidential election run-off after the three leading candidates split Sunday´s vote, prolonging political uncertainty just days after a graft scandal toppled the president. (Reuters

...and the rest

France’s president says that major U.N. climate talks in Paris could fail to produce a global deal in December, and is urging faster action. (AP

The EU announced Monday it will release 500 million euros to aid European farmers suffering plunging milk and meat prices partly blamed on a Russian embargo, as farmers staged a noisy protest in Brussels. (AFP

The world has lost forests the size of South Africa over the past 25 years, a decline of more than 3 percent, although the rate of forest loss has significantly slowed, a report by the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said on Monday. (Reuters

Doctors Without Borders says the world will run out of one of the most effective treatments for snakebites next year, putting the lives of tens of thousands of people at risk, mostly in developing countries. (AP

Refugee Crisis

The European Union executive is preparing for a new clash over refugees with national governments, especially in eastern Europe, after officials gave details on Monday of how many it would ask each of them to accommodate. (Reuters

Thousands more refugees were expected to arrive in Germany on Monday after 20,000 came in over the weekend, piling pressure on Chancellor Angela Merkel whose open-door policy has made the country a magnet for people fleeing civil war in Syria. (Reuters

Austria said on Sunday it planned to end emergency measures that have allowed thousands of refugees stranded in Hungary into Austria and Germany since Saturday and move step by step “towards normality.” (Reuters

Greece asked the European Union for aid on Monday to prevent it being overwhelmed by refugees, as a minister said arrivals on Lesbos had swollen to three times as many as the island could handle. (Reuters

New Zealand announced on Monday it will take 750 Syrian refugees over the next three years after coming under intense pressure to respond to the humanitarian crisis in Europe. (AFP


The U.S. would not respond better than Europe to the refugee crisis (Humanosphere

The Photo of the Drowned Syrian Boy is Social Media at its Most Impactful (UN Dispatch

Too Late (AidSpeak

The persistence of extreme poverty in the US (Rachel Strohm

What will it take to end the pornography of videoed torture? (Guaridan

How will Germany house all its refugees? (IRIN

Protecting Lives Must Come First in Law Enforcement (IPS

Justice and Development: the Post-2015 Agenda (Justice for All

Much work to be done: Donor funding remains integral to health (ReThink Aid

Sustainable development will hinge on the smooth union of private and public (Guardian


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]