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News in the Humanosphere: Air pollution brings China to a grinding halt

Smog envelops the Olympic Stadium in Beijing, August 2007. (rytc/flickr)

Half of Beijing’s private cars were ordered off the streets Tuesday and many construction sites and schools closed after authorities in China’s smog-shrouded capital responded to scathing public criticism with their first-ever red alert for pollution. (AFP

Slower CO2 emissions…Growth in global carbon dioxide emissions is expected to slow for a second year running in 2015, in spite of economic growth, after typically rising by around 2 to 3 percent since the turn of the century, according to research. (Reuters

Quote of the day: U.N. hits back at Trump and anti-Muslim rhetoric in U.S. “What (Trump) was speaking of was an entire population but this also impacts the refugee program,” said Melissa Fleming, UNHCR spokesperson. “Because our refugee program is religion-blind. Our resettlement program selects the people who are the most in need.”

Checkmate…World Chess Federation president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov said Tuesday he would seek $50 billion from the United States over his addition to a blacklist for alleged ties to the Syrian regime. (AFP

U.S. primary campaign goes to Africa…Ben Carson announced he will visit Nigeria, Zambia and Kenya.


Gunfire erupted on Tuesday in the Central African Republic’s capital Bangui, where protesters erected barricades after an announcement that ex-president Francois Bozize was barred from running for election. (AFP

At least 20 people were killed, 120 wounded and over 90,000 forced to flee days of rival militia battles in central Somalia, although the situation has now calmed, the UN said Tuesday. (AFP

Former child soldiers in South Sudan said they took up arms to defend themselves after being beaten and almost drowned by government soldiers, and they might return to the battlefield if their lives do not improve, a UNICEF ambassador said. (TRF

More than 10 million Ethiopians will need food aid in 2016, up from 8.2 million this year, due to the worst drought in decades, the charity Save the Children has said. (Reuters

A crackdown on political dissent in Democratic Republic of Congo, including summary executions and arbitrary detentions, is likely to undermine the credibility of upcoming elections, the United Nations said on Tuesday. (Reuters

Many families in Burundi’s capital have moved across town for fear of being caught in clashes between armed youth and security forces, as the political violence there enters its eighth month. Those who have fled, however, say life is no easier. (VOA

Nearly 100 Burundian protesters who opposed President Pierre Nkurunziza during months of violence in the capital Bujumbura have been released from prison, officials said on Tuesday, as the government held aid talks with European Union officials. (Reuters

Up to 50 women in Zanzibar have been divorced for taking part in the recent Tanzanian elections against the wishes of their husbands, according to lawyers and women’s rights campaigners. (Reuters

Four French soldiers were questioned on Tuesday in Paris as part of the investigation into the rape of children in the Central African Republic, a source close to the investigation said. (AFP


Syrian opposition groups are gathering in Riyadh for the first meeting to choose their representatives for international talks on a political transition in Syria. (VOA

The United Nations urged Jordan on Tuesday to allow in 12,000 Syrian refugees stranded at the border in deteriorating humanitarian conditions and offered to help reinforce security at registration points. (Reuters

The number of foreign fighters in Iraq and Syria has more than doubled since last year to at least 27,000, a report by an intelligence consultancy said on Tuesday, highlighting the global dimension of the conflict. (AFP

The United Nations urged Libyan lawmakers who signed a separate peace proposal to back a U.N.-sponsored deal between the country’s warring factions, saying remaining differences could be worked out after the accord. (Reuters

Russia is “seriously concerned” by Syrian reports that a coalition led by the United States launched airstrikes on Syrian government forces in the Deir al-Zor area, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday. (Reuters

Saudi authorities have agreed to retry a Sri Lankan housemaid sentenced to death by stoning for adultery, her country’s deputy foreign minister said on Tuesday. (AFP


A suspected member of a banned Islamist group has confessed he fatally shot a Japanese agriculture researcher in northern Bangladesh in October, police said Tuesday. (AP

Hundreds of poor lower-caste families who lost their homes and jobs after devastating floods swept southern India have been neglected by government relief efforts, a survey conducted by two charities has found. (Reuters

India’s main opposition Congress party disrupted a parliament session and accused the government of pursuing a “vendetta” against the Gandhi family on Tuesday in a blow to hopes of passing a crucial tax reform. (Reuters

The U.S. Army’s commander in Asia said on Tuesday he was eager for closer ties to the military in Myanmar after elections that the pro-democracy opposition won by a landslide, but this would have to wait for a policy decision by the U.S. government. (Reuters

The Americas

Syrian families have been settled in Texas and in Indiana, the groups helping them said Tuesday, defying efforts by the conservative states’ governors to stop their arrival. (AP

A 34-year-old Peruvian farmer and mountain guide is suing one of Europe’s largest energy companies, RWE of Germany, for what he says is its role in causing global warming – and putting his hometown and his farm at risk. (AFP

…and the rest

A British couple have been jailed for six years each for keeping a Nigerian immigrant as a slave for more than two decades, a London court clerk said. (TRF

The number of malaria cases worldwide has dropped in recent years but the countries with the biggest outbreaks have made the least progress, according to a new report Tuesday by the World Health Organization. (AP

As a global climate change agreement reaches its final stage at COP21, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and international partners have released a new report outlining strategies for climate financing in cities. (IPS

U.S. food companies are mounting an aggressive year-end push to head off mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods. (AP

Brazilian Vice President Michel Temer sent a personal letter to President Dilma Rousseff regarding her government’s distrust of him and his fractious Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, according to a statement from his office on Twitter. (Reuters

The U.S. Supreme Court is treading gingerly on a question of immense importance to the nation’s growing Latino population: whether states must count all residents, or only eligible voters, in drawing electoral districts. (AP

The U.S. House of Representatives is preparing to tighten controls on visa-free travel to the U.S. following the Paris terror attacks. (AP


Address Development and Climate Crises Together (IPS

Microloans Don’t Solve Poverty (FiveThirtyEight

So the SDGs are agreed – what now? (ODI

When China gives aid to African governments, they become more violent (Washington Post

Two years after his death, are Venezuelans finally giving up on Hugo Chavez? (GlobalPost

Is education Boko Haram’s biggest victim? (IRIN

Nine charts that show why the UN’s humanitarian appeal costs $20bn (Guardian

Getting to zero poverty by 2030 (ODI

Once a fixture, climate skeptics say they are being stifled in Paris (Reuters

Can old faces bring true change after Burkina Faso polls? (AFP

Exclusion, not unemployment, explains ISIS recruitment? (Chris Blattman

White parents need to start talking about racial violence against African-Americans (Chicago Tribune


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