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News in the Humanosphere: Nigerian state “close to famine” warns MSF

Children hawking rice and beans in Nigeria (Credit: Global Partnership for Education/flickr)

The statements from Doctors Without Borders (MSF) regarding Borno state, Nigeria are becoming more and more alarming. “Severely malnourished children are dying in large numbers in northeast Nigeria, the former stronghold of Boko Haram militants where food supplies are close to running out, Medecins Sans Frontieres said on Wednesday. …The medical charity, also known as Doctors Without Borders, urged the United Nations to set up emergency food transports to the area, where up to 800,000 civilians have been cut off for over a year, it said ‘The situation is a large-scale humanitarian disaster. …There is a vital need to have a food pipeline in place to save the population that can be saved,’ MSF general director Bruno Jochum told a news briefing. ‘We are talking at least about pockets of what is close to a famine.'” (Reuters

Report of the Day…Timor-Leste has been named as having the greatest percentage of children in the world who are stunted. The new report ‘Caught Short’, from international development charity WaterAid, reveals 58 percent of children under-five in Timor-Leste suffer from stunting, which affects a child’s physical development as well as their cognitive and emotional development. (WaterAid

Quote of the day… “I am not speaking of a war of religions. Religions don’t want war. The others want war,” Pope Francis. (AP


South Sudanese government soldiers raped dozens of ethnic Nuer women and girls last week just outside a United Nations camp where they had sought protection from renewed fighting, and at least two died from their injuries, witnesses and civilian leaders said. (VOA

The United Nations warned South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir on Tuesday that any political appointments must be consistent with a peace deal that ended nearly two years of civil war after Kiir replaced his vice president and rival Riek Machar. (Reuters

Congo’s veteran opposition chief Etienne Tshisekedi came home after a two-year convalescence Wednesday as the mineral-rich but unstable nation headed into fresh turbulence. (AFP

Young supporters of Burundi’s ruling CNDD-FDD party have raped women with perceived links to political opponents ever since unrest began to flare there in 2015, Human Rights Watch said Wednesday. (AFP

Malian forces arrested a regional leader of Islamist group Ansar Dine in central Mali, after it claimed an attack in the region that killed 17 soldiers, the army spokesman said. (Reuters

A former Somali MP who joined the al-Shabab group in 2010 was one of two suicide bombers who killed 13 people near a United Nations and African Union base, the militants announced Wednesday. (AFP

Two years after devastating floods, banana planters in Ivory Coast have staged a comeback, eyeing an increase in production and new markets for the popular fruit. (AFP

The people of the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan State are accustomed to hardship. Receiving little outside aid, they have managed to farm and survive despite the challenges of a protracted civil war with the Sudanese government. But that could be about to change. (IRIN

Industrialization in Africa is being driven by African leaders who realise that industries as diverse as horticulture and leather production can help add value to the primary resources they currently export. (IPS


Israeli forces fired anti-tank missiles at a house in the West Bank after a shootout overnight, killing a Hamas member accused of a deadly attack on a rabbi, authorities said Wednesday. (AFP

Egypt is in the “final stages” of negotiating an agreement with the International Monetary Fund to secure a $12 billion loan over three years, while targeting more loans totaling $7 billion annually, according to a Cabinet statement. (AP

The United Nations called for a humanitarian truce in the Yemeni province of Taiz after government forces captured a town from Iran-allied Houthi militia in heavy fighting that has spurred allegations of war crimes. (Reuters

A United Nations peacekeeping mission in disputed Western Sahara is still not fully functional, the U.N. Security Council president said on Tuesday, months after Morocco expelled dozens of civilian staff in anger at remarks by U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon. (Reuters


Severe floods in India have affected more than 1.6 million people, buried hundreds of villages and almost submerged a national park, forcing wildlife to seek refuge on roads, authorities said on Wednesday. (Reuters

Floods and landslides triggered by monsoon rains in Nepal have killed 54 people over the last two days, an official said Wednesday. (AP

Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo announced a new Cabinet on Wednesday that puts a retired general linked to human rights abuses in charge of security and returns a popular reformist to the finance ministry. (AP

Cambodia advised a grouping of Southeast Asian nations to avoid using words that “would escalate tension between China and the Philippines” in a weekend statement, the country’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday. (Reuters

The United Nations expressed alarm Wednesday at the looming execution of 14 drug convicts in Indonesia, urging Jakarta to put an end to the “unjust” practice of capital punishment. (AFP

The head of Thailand’s oldest political party on Wednesday joined a growing chorus of voices opposed to a new constitution proposed by the military government. (AP

The world’s largest oil, coal, cement and mining companies have been given 45 days to respond to a complaint that their greenhouse gas emissions have violated the human rights of millions of people living in the Philippines. (Guardian

Leaders of Myanmar rebel armies held talks in a war-hit border town Wednesday, state media reported, as they prepare for a major peace conference with a government desperate to end insurgencies that have plagued the country. (AFP

A southern Chinese court has sentenced four people, including at least two Hong Kong journalists, to prison on charges of running an illegal business after they reportedly sent copies of their sensitive political magazines to mainland China. (AP

The Americas

Some 50 animals have starved to death in the last six months at one of Venezuela’s main zoos, according to a union leader, due to chronic food shortages that have plagued the crisis-stricken South American nation. (Reuters

Venezuelan opposition leaders have called for a march on the National Electoral Council (CNE) headquarters in the capital, Caracas, on Wednesday. They want to pressure the CNE, which they say is stalling their attempts to hold a recall referendum to oust President Nicolas Maduro. (BBC

The United States is to start vetting would-be refugees from Central America in their home countries instead of on American soil, and offer those in imminent danger a temporary haven in Costa Rica, officials said. (AFP

…and the rest

Turkey ordered another 47 journalists detained on Wednesday, part of a large-scale crackdown on suspected supporters of U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, accused by Ankara of masterminding a failed military coup. (Reuters

Knife-wielding attackers interrupted a French church service, forced the priest to his knees and slit his throat on Tuesday, a murder made even more shocking as one of the assailants was a known would-be jihadist under supposedly tight surveillance. (Reuters

Pro-opposition gunmen locked in a protracted standoff with police in the Armenian capital Yerevan on Wednesday have taken four medics hostage, officials say, after a shootout left five people wounded. (AFP

Global trade is not the main cause for the loss of manufacturing jobs in places like the United States and needs to be defended from its critics, the chief of the World Trade Organization said Wednesday. (AP


Narrow National Interests Threaten Historic Refugee Agreement (IPS

If companies profit by doing good, why aren’t they all doing it? (Guardian

A look at the conflicts that have plagued India for decades (AP

Why Did President Sall Pardon a Rival Convicted of Embezzling Millions? (African Arguments

Confronting corruption: can Guadalajara become a model for transparency? (Guardian

Falling Short-Police Apathy to Rape in India (IPS

Debate, discord mark U.N. Conference on Trade and Development (Devex


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