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News in the Humanosphere: First-ever dengue vaccine approved

Dengue vaccine prequalification period Culture medium preparation zone Sanofi Pasteur site. (Credit: Sanofi Pasteur / Vincent Moncorgé)

The world’s first dengue vaccine won regulatory approval in Mexico on Wednesday, raising hopes that it could prevent more than 100 deaths there a year and eventually perhaps millions around the world. Globally, dengue is the fastest-growing mosquito-borne disease, with as many as 400 million people infected every year, according to the World Health Organization. The Dengvaxia vaccine is being manufactured by French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi. The company has requested regulatory approval in 20 countries across Asia and Latin America, but Mexico was the first to give it the green light. (AFP

New climate change draft outcome document drops. An elusive universal pact to save mankind from disastrous global warming is within reach, the French host of U.N. talks said Wednesday as he released a new blueprint just 48 hours before the deadline for a deal. (AFP

COP 21 troublemakers...India and Saudi Arabia have emerged as major opponents to the science behind a tougher global warming target that emerged over the weekend at the UN climate talks. (SciDevNet

Flooding in Kinshasa has political reverberations…Anger peaked in Kinshasa’s slums Wednesday as DR Congo’s poor grappled with little more than bare hands against torrential rains and flooding that have left 31 people dead and 20,000 families homeless in less than three weeks. (AFP

#RefugeeCrisis stat of the day: The U.N. refugee agency says nearly 770,000 asylum-seekers have entered Greece so far this year on their long trek toward a better life in wealthier European Union countries and said more than 200 have drowned en route. (AP

Person of the year…Angela Merkel is picked as Time’s person of the year for her courageous stand on refugees. Read this great New Yorker profile from one year ago of her unique rise to power in Germany.


The United Nations sought on Wednesday a record $2 billion for the Sahel in what a senior U.N. official says is necessary to tackle a triple crisis of poverty, insecurity and climate change that could lead to a new wave of migration. (Reuters

Democratic Republic of Congo loses up to $15 billion a year due to fraud, the president’s anti-corruption adviser said on Wednesday, an amount close to twice the central African country’s budget. (Reuters

Poland’s foreign minister has hinted that a ransom was paid to free five Polish seamen abducted from a cargo ship by pirates last month off the coast of Nigeria. (AP

Kenya and Britain signed a deal on Wednesday to allow British troops to continue military training in the East African nation for five more years, ending half a decade of protracted negotiations which tested their relations. (Reuters

Rwanda will hold a referendum next week on a constitutional amendment that could see veteran leader Paul Kagame rule until 2034. (AFP

Hundreds of thousands of civilians in Sudan prepare to plunge back into war. (Nuba Reports


More than 170,000 people have fled war-torn Yemen for the Horn of Africa and the Gulf, the UN said Wednesday, as they appealed for $94 million in aid. (AFP

Egypt plans to build 1 million homes for poorer people at a cost of almost $20 billion over the next five years, the housing minister said, to ease a crunch that has seen slums and unlicensed buildings spread since the 2011 revolt. (Reuters

Moroccan authorities have recovered the bodies of 11 African migrants whose boat sank apparently due to bad weather as they tried to cross to the Canary Islands, officials said on Wednesday. (Reuters

The United States’ new envoy to the coalition it leads against Islamic State said on Wednesday its priority was to seal the last strip of border between Turkey and territory held by the ultra-hardline group in Syria. (Reuters

Asian countries are aging faster than has been seen anywhere else in the world, and they need to urgently reform pension systems and encourage more women to enter the labor force, the World Bank said in a report Wednesday. (AP

Amnesty International said the arms used by Islamic State militants to carry out “a horrific campaign of abuse” were largely seized from Iraqi military stockpiles, showing the need for more scrutiny when sending arms to unstable regions. (VOA


A brazen Taliban assault on an air base outside the southern Afghan city of Kandahar triggered a 24-hour gunbattle that killed at least 37 people and was still underway late on Wednesday, according to the Defense Ministry in Kabul. (AP

An international judge at a tribunal in Cambodia charged a former Khmer Rouge cadre with genocide and crimes against humanity, despite government resistance to investigations into the brutal, ultra-Maoist former regime. (Reuters

A U.N. panel on torture says China has taken steps toward improving its record but laments reported crackdowns on lawyers and human rights groups and shortcomings in addressing complaints. (AP

Seven months after two devastating earthquakes, Nepal is facing “critical” shortages of life-saving medicines as political unrest along its border with India prevents imports of medical supplies and fuel. (IRIN

The Americas

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro is promising to protect the country’s socialist revolution from what he says are “bad guy” opposition leaders who will take control of Congress next month. (AP

Brazil’s Supreme Court has suspended impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff until it rules on a secret vote that stacked a congressional committee with opponents trying to oust her. (Reuters

Belize has rejected a plan to allow thousands of Cuban migrants stranded on the Costa Rican border with Nicaragua to pass through its territory on their way to the United States, Costa Rica’s foreign ministry said. (Reuters

…and the rest

Men’s self-image as strong, sexually active risk-takers means they are more likely to die from HIV/AIDS than are women, experts said on Wednesday, calling for more HIV workplace testing to reach men and greater efforts to change gender norms. (TRF

Switzerland’s main anti-immigration party secured a second seat in the federal government on Wednesday in a boost for isolationist forces as the country seeks to redraft treaties with the European Union to include curbs on immigration. (Reuters

Greater efforts to organise and fund local women’s groups are required to combat gender violence, according to ActionAid. (Guardian


Will Climate Refugees Be Included in the Outcome of the Paris Climate Talks? (UN Dispatch

U.S. wants to send $1 billion in aid to Central America – but would it go? (Humanosphere

Could US Legally Bar Muslims From Country? (VOA

Ebola Boost Masks Fall in Neglected Disease Funding (SciDevNet

Podcast: Is This Charity Any Good? (Tiny Spark

Climate change lights the touchpaper on terror – we must fight them together (Guardian

Why World Can’t Stand By As Burundi Becomes Failed State (The Conversation

How to transform the lives of ultra-poor women: new evidence from Brac in Bangladesh (Guardian

Three good reasons to invest in disaster resilience (ODI

Map: The countries that ban arrivals based only on religion (WaPo

Wanted: An authoritative and encompassing information source on climate change (The Interpreter

Non-Violence and the Political Marketplace (Reinventing Peace

Should Anticorruption Agencies Have the Power to Prosecute? (Global Anticorruption Blog


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