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News in the Humanosphere: Colombia and rebels sign historic peace deal, with bullet pens

Protesters/demonstrators took to the street of Medellin with giant banners, voicing their outrage against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). (Photo Credit: xmascarol/flickr)

A conflict that lasted over five decades. An estimated 220,000 people killed. Five million displaced. These staggering figures will be on their way to being consigned to history as the Colombian government buries the hatchet with its long-time nemesis, the Marxist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia rebel group, better known by its Spanish acronym, FARC. In a symbolic gesture, the pens that will be used to sign the historic peace deal, years in the making, have been made from recycled bullets once used in the conflict. An inscription on the side of the pens reads: “Bullets wrote our past. Education, our future.” (CNN

Zika in the Philippines…The Philippines on Monday reported its first known case of a pregnant woman infected with the Zika virus that threatens unborn babies, as authorities warned people to avoid mosquitos. … Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial said 12 cases of Zika had been detected across the Philippines this month, including a 22-year-old woman from the central island of Cebu who is 19 weeks’ pregnant with her first child. (AFP

Latest UNSG straw poll: Former Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres continues to lead the race to become the next United Nations Secretary-General after a fifth U.N. Security Council secret ballot on Monday. (AFP

Unexpected celebrity visiting Syrian refugees of the day: Turkey’s state-run news agency says American actress Lindsay Lohan has visited Syrian refugees at an Istanbul hospital and the home of a refugee family from Aleppo. (AP


The Somali presidential election will now take place on Nov. 30, while parliamentary elections will be held from Oct. 23 to Nov. 10 for both the lower and upper houses. (UNSOM

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s chances of becoming the next leader of South Africa got a boost on Monday when a powerful mining union backed him to succeed President Jacob Zuma. (Reuters

Violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo topped the agenda as Pope Francis II on Monday met with president Joseph Kabila at the Vatican during a private audience. (AfricaNews


Protesters called on Monday for Jordan’s government to resign over its failure to prevent the murder of Christian writer Nahed Hattar outside an Amman court. (AFP

A Canadian-Iranian professor who was arrested by Iranian intelligence officers in June was released on Monday, the government news agency IRNA reported. (NYT

An Oman court on Monday ruled in favor of a government decision to shut down al-Zaman daily newspaper and jail three of its journalists, including its editor-in-chief, for reporting on alleged corruption within the judiciary. (AP

Libya’s prime minister called for a national reconciliation initiative to repair the divisions in a fragmented country reeling from the turbulence that has followed the fall of dictator Muammar Gaddafi. (Reuters

Turkey’s state-run news agency says British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has arrived near Turkey’s border with Syria where he is scheduled to visit a camp for Syrian refugees. (AP

Only 30 doctors remain in rebel-held eastern Aleppo, where they are in dire need of medical and surgical supplies to treat hundreds of wounded people among a trapped population of 300,000, Syrian doctors said on Monday. (Reuters

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said in a TV interview broadcast Monday that an internationally-brokered cease-fire for Syria is still viable, as rescue workers in Aleppo cleaned up from what they said were the worst airstrikes on rebel-held areas of the northern city in five years. (AP

Residents of Syria’s Aleppo faced worsening food and medical shortages on Monday as warplanes again pounded the city after Western powers at the U.N. accused Russia of war crimes. (AFP

President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi said on Monday that Egyptians must join hands with his government to prevent a repeat of the tragedy that struck last week when a Europe-bound boat carrying hundreds of migrants sank in the Mediterranean off the Egyptian coast, with the loss of at least 170 lives. (AP

A human rights group urged soccer’s governing body, FIFA, on Monday to move matches being played by Israeli teams in the occupied West Bank to Israel, saying that playing in Jewish settlements meant they were playing on stolen land. (Reuters


Human Rights Watch called for Pakistan to overhaul its Colonial-era police system, alleging it is filled with “disgruntled” and “corrupt” officers who commit abuses with impunity. (VOA

A United Nations rights rapporteur told AFP on Monday she intended to visit the Philippines to investigate President Rodrigo Duterte’s deadly war on crime, but was seeking security guarantees for people she planned to speak with. (AFP

An angry mob in India attacked a low-caste pregnant woman and her family for refusing to clear away a cow carcass because of a weeks-long strike against such work, police said Monday. (AFP

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday he would visit Russia and China this year to chart an independent foreign policy and “open alliances” with two powers with historic rivalries with the United States. (Reuters

The Americas

The EU is preparing to suspend sanctions against Colombia’s FARC rebel group as soon as it signs a historic peace deal with the government later Monday, European sources said. (AFP

Brazilian authorities have arrested a former finance minister who was part of the government of ex-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva as part of a wide-ranging corruption probe involving state oil giant Petrobras. (AP

Venezuela is in terrible shape. Two-thirds of voters say in polls they want President Nicolas Maduro gone amid worsening shortages and inflation. It seems like the job of the opposition would be easy. (AP

…and the rest

The EU warned Switzerland on Monday over a vote by one of its cantons backing curbs on migrants, an issue being closely watched in London as a possible template for Brexit negotiations. (AFP

Four British power generators have called on the government to maintain the country’s carbon tax until at least 2025, according to a letter seen by Reuters, putting them at odds with industrial groups who want it scrapped. (Reuters

Deals would put the majority of seeds, chemicals and GM traits in the hands of three companies, deepening poverty for small-scale farmers, argue campaigners. (Guardian

French President Francois Hollande said Monday the sprawling “Jungle” migrant camp in Calais would be dismantled by the end of this year under a plan to spread asylum seekers around the country. (AFP

Amid international criticism, proposed constitutional changes that would extend the president’s term and increase the office’s power have come before Azerbaijan’s voters in a referendum. (AP

The European Union was set on Monday to launch a $391 million aid project to help the most vulnerable refugees in Turkey – part of a landmark EU deal with Turkey aimed at curbing the flow of migrants to Europe. (AP

Ninety percent of carbon dioxide emissions by major advanced economies is not priced at a level that truly reflects the actual cost to the climate, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said in a report on Monday. (Reuters



This top US diplomat explains why UN week is like “speed dating for international relations” (Global Dispatches Podcast

Obama’s failed legacy on child soldiers (Washington Post

‘My father punched me and tore at my clothes’: confronting rape in Myanmar (Guardian

Colombia peace deal: key points (AFP

How Colombia’s conflict evolved over decades (AP

If Colombia is to realise its potential, its people must vote for peace (Guardian

Trans-Pacific Partnership in doubt, but does it matter? (The Interpreter


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