Humanosphere is on hiatus. Many thanks to our web design, development and hosting partner Culture Foundry for keeping the site active while we plan our next move. Culture Foundry builds, evolves and supports next-level websites and applications for clients you know, and you couldn’t ask for a better partner to help you thrive in digital. If you’re considering an ambitious website design or development project, we encourage you to make them your very first call.

News in the Humanosphere: WHO says Zika virus is ‘spreading explosively’ in Latin America

Anopheles Mosquito

Officials from the World Health Organization said on Thursday that the Zika virus is “spreading explosively” in the Americas and announced that they would convene an emergency meeting on Monday to decide whether to declare a public health emergency. “The level of alarm is extremely high,” said Margaret Chan, the director general of the WHO, in a speech in Geneva. (NY Times

Zika reaches more European countries…Denmark and Switzerland on Wednesday joined a growing number of European countries to report Zika infections among travelers returning from Latin America, where the mosquito-borne virus has been blamed for a surge in birth defects. (AFP

Stat of the day: More than 6 billion people live in countries where serious levels of public sector corruption are fueling inequality and exploitation and locking millions of men, women and children into poverty, according to the annual index of perceived corruption. (Guardian


South Sudan rebel leader Riek Machar is taking his campaign against President Salva Kiir’s plan to create 28 states to the African Union today. (VOA

Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir has ordered the opening of his country’s border with South Sudan for the first time since the latter seceded in 2011. (BBC )

Three youths were seriously injured in clashes with police in Sierra Leone after authorities ordered village traders to shut up shop while they hunted for people who may have had contact with an Ebola victim, witnesses said. (AFP

African states are trying to push President Pierre Nkurunziza to accept peacekeeping troops at a summit this week to prevent Burundi sliding back into ethnic conflict but there is little hope that he will agree, officials said. (Reuters

Cameroon closed most of its northern markets on the border with Nigeria after a series of bomb attacks Monday left at least 35 people dead and 70 wounded in the town of Bodo. (VOA

With El Niño affecting countries in southern Africa, threatening agricultural production due to a massive heat wave, the World Food Program has urged the international community to support the upscaling of climate smart agricultural technology for resilience. (IPS

Namibia is currently experiencing chronic food insecurity as a result of drought. Assessments indicate it is the worst crop performance in 80 years. An estimated 578,480 people have been affected with at least 16 percent of the population in need of urgent food support, now and through the next harvest in April. (ICRC

As the humanitarian system debates how to reshape the way aid is delivered, Dadaab offers some practical examples of how camp-based communities can play a positive role in the management of their own affairs. (IRIN

South African comedian Trevor Noah, the host of America’s “The Daily Show,” will release a book about being the child of an illegal mixed race relationship under apartheid, his publishers said Wednesday. (AFP


Italy’s coast guard said on Tuesday it had coordinated the rescue of 1,271 migrants from rubber and wooden boats in several operations off the coast of Libya. (Reuters

A U.N. panel is asking the Security Council to set up an inquiry into alleged violations of international law by all sides in Yemen. (VOA

With new peace talks set to begin this week, humanitarian agencies called Tuesday for unimpeded access to millions of besieged people in Syria and for the funds needed to support lifesaving operations there. (VOA


The United Nations launched an appeal on Wednesday for $393 million in humanitarian aid to Afghanistan to help millions of vulnerable people this year. (AP

Amnesty International says scores of youths in Iran are languishing on death row for crimes committed under the age of 18, under laws that permit girls as young as 9 and boys as young as 15 to be executed. (VOA

As worsening levels of air pollution in the Indian capital impact the health of citizens, New Delhi has begun taking steps to tackle the menace. But experts are urging long-term action to clean up what the World Health Organization said is the world’s dirtiest air. (VOA

The head of the bureau that gathers China’s economic data is under investigation by the anti-graft agency in a possible expansion of an anticorruption campaign that has shaken state companies and securities firms. (AP

The Americas

Brazil’s Federal Police on Wednesday launched the latest stage of a sweeping investigation into corruption at state-controlled firms, with six arrest and 15 search warrants issued in the states of São Paulo and Santa Catarina. (Reuters

U.S. President Obama will propose in his 2017 budget next month that families who qualify for subsidized school meals be given a special electronic benefits card that will allow them to buy an additional $45 in groceries per child each month when school is out. (NPR

The outbreak of Zika virus in Brazil and other countries has raised concern that the pathogen could start spreading widely in the United States, as well. But federal health officials and other infectious disease specialists say so far that seems unlikely. (NPR

The rapid spread of the Zika virus has raised interest in a British company that has developed a genetically modified mosquito. Oxitec has produced a genetically engineered line of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the mosquito that carries dengue fever and chikungunya. (NPR

…and the rest

More aggressive tactics by authoritarian regimes, an upsurge in terrorist attacks and a global economic downturn have contributed to a disturbing decline in global freedom in 2015, according to a U.S.-based international human rights group. (VOA


The World is Ever Shrinking for Syrians. And Not Just for Refugees. (UN Dispatch

Focus On Poverty – Could Half-Built Homes End Slums? (SciDevNet

Analysis: US student arrest renews scrutiny of NKorean tours (AP

Is it time to redefine ODA? (Devex

Fighting ISIS on social media: Why swing back when we can swing first? (The Interpreter

Introducing the Australian Aid Tracker (DevPolicy

Secret aid worker: ‘I was the obscure African girl in a room full of white faces’ (Guardian

What’s really going on with Zimbabwe? (Cherokee Gothic

More Phony Numbers–This Time on the Anticorruption Impact of Open Data (Global Anticorruption Blog

Seven ideas on how to finance the SDGs (Guardian


About Author