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News in the Humanosphere: Russia accused of war crimes in Syria

Syrians hold photos of Assad and Putin during a pro-regime protest in front of the Russian embassy in Damascus, Syria, Sunday, March 4, 2012. (Freedom House/flickr)

Holiday Edition

Russia’s bombing of Syria has killed many civilians and may amount to a war crime, Amnesty International said on Wednesday, presenting what it said was evidence that Moscow’s actions had violated humanitarian law. “Russian air strikes in Syria have killed hundreds of civilians and caused massive destruction in residential areas, striking homes, a mosque and a busy market, as well as medical facilities, in…attacks that show evidence of violations of international humanitarian law,” Amnesty said in a report. (Reuters

Delusions of an authoritarian regime…Thailand’s military-ruled government says 99 percent of the country’s people are happy with its performance since it took power in a coup last year. (AP

Uplifting survival story of the day: Squeezed into a narrow room under piles of debris for 67 hours, a young man was saved by a door that trapped his foot but gave him space to survive. Rescuers on Wednesday pulled him from the massive mudslide that hit part of a major manufacturing city in southern China. (AP

Do they know it’s Christmas time at all? The government of Somalia has issued a ban on Christmas and New Year’s celebrations in the Muslim country, saying the festivities “have nothing to do with Islam.”

Other news you should know


Burundi has rejected a 5,000 member peacekeeping mission the African Union said last week it would send to the country amid fears it is sliding back towards civil war. (VOA

At least 13 people including seven children, drowned when their overloaded boat capsized in the Aegean, police said Wednesday, the latest tragedy involving migrants seeking a better life in Europe. (AFP

More than two-thirds of Syrian refugees in Lebanon live in extreme poverty, according to a United Nations study published Wednesday, up nearly 50 percent from last year. (AFP

Suspected Boko Haram militants killed five people in an overnight raid in Niger in the third suspected attack by the group in less than 24 hours, security sources said on Wednesday. (Reuters

Afghanistan rushed military reinforcements to Helmand Wednesday after the Taliban captured large swathes of a strategic opium-producing district, prompting the first British troop deployment to the troubled province in 14 months. (AFP

Rwanda will not contribute troops to a peacekeeping mission in neighboring Burundi, President Paul Kagame said, as he rejected claims his country was arming refugees as rebels. (AFP

A rebel leader in Central African Republic, who declared an autonomous state in territory under his control this month, said he has dropped his opposition to pivotal elections set for this weekend. (Reuters

Southern Africa faces food shortages as drought, exacerbated by the El Nino weather pattern, delays planting and stunts crops across the region, the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization said in an alert. (Reuters

India will launch a new farm crop insurance scheme early next year and use drones and other technologies to assess crop damage, the agriculture minister said on Wednesday, in what could be Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first major move to address rural hardship. (Reuters

An El Niño-related drought and frost have triggered severe food and water shortages in Papua New Guinea’s highlands, prompting the European Commission to more than double its assistance to the Pacific island nation. (TRF

A human rights organization in Seoul that has been documenting the harsh conditions imposed on North Korean migrant laborers appealed Wednesday to host countries to intervene to protect the worker’s rights. (VOA

South Korea announced on Wednesday the official end to a deadly outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome that killed 36 people and sparked widespread panic in Asia’s fourth-largest economy. (AFP

French forces in Mali “neutralized” around 10 fighters in a weekend operation against the al Mourabitoun Islamist group, which claimed responsibility for an attack on a luxury hotel in the capital last month, France’s defence ministry said. (Reuters

A five-member commission has been installed to evaluate Haiti’s electoral process and recommend ways out of an impasse that has postponed presidential and legislative runoffs. (AP

The Philippines has secured a $500 million credit line from the World Bank to support efforts to manage risks posed by natural disasters. (Reuters

The UK will provide an extra £30 million in aid for Ethiopia, where a prolonged drought means that more than 18 million people will need urgent relief in the next year, according to the Department for International Development. (Guardian

After a decade on the advance, the left in South America is in retreat. (AP


Will AU’s Plan End Burundi Crisis? (Citizen

Did 2015 pass the five tests for development success? (ODI

Pill Prices Are Hiked Up All The Time In The Low-Income World (Goats and Soda

The 3 most entertaining humanitarian hashtags of 2015 (Devex

Towards Human Rights and Good Governance in Liberia (Development Diaries

Making Big Bets for Social Change (Policy Innovations

Why Do Billions of Charitable Dollars Sit in Banks? (Tiny Spark

Schrodinger’s Immigrant (Africanist Perspective

Furthering Cross-Border Cooperation to Fight Corruption (Global Antipoverty Blog

Africa’s Dictators Must Have Enjoyed Brazil’s Shutdown of WhatsApp (Nation


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