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News in the Humanosphere: Major peace breakthrough in Myanmar

Members of the Burmese government and ethnic armed groups attend peace talks, in March 2015. (Credit: U Aung/Xinhua Press/Corbis)

Myanmar’s government and eight armed ethnic groups signed a ceasefire agreement on Thursday, the culmination of more than two years of negotiations aimed at bringing an end to the majority of the country’s long-running conflicts. The deal was signed under heavy U.S. pressure and ahead of elections next month. It includes a ceasefire with the Karens, potentially ending a 70-year insurgency. The deal fell short of its nationwide billing, with seven of the 15 armed groups invited declining to sign due to disagreements over who the process should include and ongoing distrust of Myanmar’s semi-civilian government and its still-powerful military. (AFP

U.S. forces to remain in Afghanistan
President Obama announced that U.S. forces will remain in Afghanistan at their current levels throughout much of 2016, yet another delay in their scheduled withdrawal and an acknowledgment that America’s longest war won’t be concluded on his watch. (CNN

An in-depth look at Sub-Saharan Africa’s first light rail system
An in-depth look at a new metro system that opened in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, last month. It’s hydro-powered and built by the Chinese.  (CSM

Disappointing Ebola news
New research shows Ebola can remain in the semen of men for up to nine months. (NPR

The World Health Organization says it’s possible in rare instances for patients who survived Ebola to develop the lethal disease again, when the virus lingering in the body starts to replicate at high levels. (AP

A British nurse who recovered from Ebola several months ago has become critically ill (Guardian )

Quote of the day
“When we got the call we were really, really unsure if we would do anything for them and most of the artists I asked were totally saying no from the beginning, they had no interest in working for them. And that was the conclusion that we came to ourselves — until we got the idea we could insert our message into the show.”
—The artists who wrote subversive graffiti that appeared on a recent episode of
Homeland. (AP


U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday called for a rigorous investigation after nine civilians including an IOM staff member were shot to death in Burundi, reportedly at close range. (AFP

War in South Sudan is worsening despite a faltering peace deal, with thousands of women and girls raped, killed or abducted in recent months, a coalition of aid agencies said Thursday. (AFP

An opposition leader in Uganda who is running for president is under house arrest to prevent him from holding rallies that have been called illegal by the government, a police spokeswoman said. (AP

Niger imposed a state of emergency on the southeastern region of Diffa where at least 40 people have been killed in recent weeks in attacks blamed on the Islamist militant group Boko Haram. (Reuters

A new role is being contemplated for German forces in Mali. (DW )

Guinea’s main opposition leader Celloun Dalein Diallo withdrew from the presidential election, alleging fraud, and will not recognize the outcome, his campaign director said. (Reuters

Eritrea reserves some of its harshest criticism for Western nations and often has strained or hostile relationships with its neighbors. So it may come as a surprise that Eritrea is improving its ties with the European Union. (VOA

With increasingly erratic seasonal rainfall causing severe water shortages at Zambia’s hydropower plants, Zesco, the country’s sole power utility, says it has been forced to cut back on electricity supply to households and industries. (Reuters


The World Bank plans to talk to its member countries about compensating Syria’s neighbors for the substantial fiscal cost of hosting refugees for long periods, a World Bank official said in Geneva on Thursday. (Reuters

The United Nations is pushing for local ceasefires in three or four areas in Syria and thinks the escalation in the overall fighting could actually create a chance for political talks, U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said on Thursday. (Reuters

Scottish and U.S. investigators have identified two new Libyan suspects in the Lockerbie airline bombing almost 27 years ago which killed 270 people, authorities in the two countries said on Thursday. (Reuters


Nepal is planning high level talks with India to facilitate the delivery of much needed fuel that is stuck at the border. (ABC

Sri Lanka’s government pledged Thursday to quickly process hundreds of ethnic Tamils who have been detained without charges for years on suspicion of links to former Tamil Tiger rebels. (AP

American special operations analysts were gathering intelligence on an Afghan hospital days before it was destroyed by a U.S. military attack because they believed it was being used by a Pakistani operative to coordinate Taliban activity. (WaPo )

Pollution in nearly 80 percent of Chinese cities surveyed by Greenpeace “greatly exceeded” national standards over the first nine months of this year, the advocacy group said on Thursday. (AFP

The United States called on China to release human rights lawyer Zhang Kai and said it was concerned by reports that the son of another detained rights lawyer had been put under house arrest. (Reuters

Human teeth discovered in southern China provide evidence that our species left the African continent up to 70,000 years earlier than prevailing theories suggest, found a new study.

The Americas

Brazil’s lower house speaker Eduardo Cunha said on Thursday he had not made an agreement with President Dilma Rousseff’s government or opposition politicians regarding impeachment requests against the president. (Reuters

…and the rest

A woman, a young girl and a baby have died after a boat carrying migrants and refugees to the Greek island of Lesbos sank, the ministry of shipping said. (AFP

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday Europe had no chance of overcoming its biggest refugee crisis without cooperation with Turkey and called for a crackdown on human smuggling off its coast. (AFP


This card game will end poverty…by making fun of aid (Humanosphere

200 Days of War in Yemen (UN Dispatch

Nobel Prizes, Poverty Numbers, and Tales of Mythical Creatures (CGD

Amnesty International’s 8-Point Plan for Refugee Crises (Inter Press Service

Why it’s time to put gender into the inequality discussion (From Poverty to Power

How WhatsApp is fuelling a ‘sharing revolution’ in Sudan (Guardian

There’s no doubt Tunisians deserved the Nobel Prize. But will they keep the peace? (GlobalPost

How many refugee children can Sweden take? (IRIN

Leap of faith: why religious leaders have a moral duty to promote family planning (Guardian

Why Africa Is Lagging Behind in Child Vaccination (The Conversation

An Early Warning Ahead of High-Risk Elections (ISS

Just when you thought genocide could not get worse (Chris Blattman

Global Thinkers: What Are Africa’s New Missionaries Peddling? (Foreign Policy

Multidimensional empathy: A half-serious analytical framework (WhyDev


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