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News in the Humanosphere: South Sudanese forces shot at American diplomatic convoy, report

A government soldier mans a vehicle-mounted machine gun in the oil-rich town of Malakal, South Sudan. (AP Photo/Jacob Zocherman)

On the night of July 7, seven American diplomats in Juba left a farewell dinner early and were headed back to the U.S. Embassy, anxious to avoid the city’s deepening chaos, when their two-car convoy was ambushed by the South Sudanese presidential guard of Salva Kiir. South Sudanese troops fired between 50 and 100 rounds at the two armored SUVs as soon as they passed the presidential palace. No one in either vehicle, which included James Donegan, the second-highest ranking U.S. official in South Sudan, was hurt or killed in the attack, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying: Three separate clusters of South Sudanese soldiers unloaded on the unarmed diplomats’ vehicles. Eventually, a U.S. Marine rapid response team from the embassy had to fetch three of the waylaid Americans and their South Sudanese driver. (Foreign Policy

100,000 displaced in 8 Days…Intense fighting between Syrian government troops and insurgents in Syria’s central Hama province displaced some 100,000 people over eight days between late August and early September, the U.N. humanitarian agency said. Earlier this month, insurgents pushed northward in Hama province, surprising government troops and dislodging them from areas they controlled around the provincial capital, also called Hama, including a military base and towns and villages near the highway to Damascus. (US News and World Report

Stat of the day: Some 28 million children around the globe have been driven from their homes by violent conflict, with nearly as many abandoning their homes in search of a better life, UNICEF said in a report. (AP


Zimbabwe’s High Court struck down on Wednesday a two-week ban on public protests issued by the police, a ruling hailed as a brave stand by the courts in the face of threats to the judiciary from President Robert Mugabe. (Reuters

For many small-scale and subsistence farmers in Zambia, longer spells of drought and increasingly erratic rains are becoming far more frequent. The changing climate, combined with costly fertilizer and seeds, means agriculture is becoming less attractive for many. (Reuters

President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party has prevented opposition supporters receiving emergency food aid in Zimbabwe, a rights body said Wednesday, as the country reels under severe shortages. (AFP

President Omar al-Bashir on Wednesday declared that peace had returned to Sudan’s war-torn Darfur despite a deadlock in African Union-brokered ceasefire talks and persistent fighting that has driven thousands from their homes this year. (AFP

The U.S. military conducted two strikes in southern Somalia early this week that killed four al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab militants involved in attacks on Somali government troops, a U.S. military spokeswoman said on Wednesday. (Reuters

Spanish authorities said on Tuesday they had rescued 177 migrants from sub-Saharan Africa on six boats off the southern Mediterranean coast. (Reuters


Syrian opposition leaders are set to unveil plans for a political transition ahead of a Friends of Syria meeting in London. (AP

An Iraqi Shiite militia said on Wednesday it had dispatched more than 1,000 fighters to the frontline in neighboring Syria, escalating foreign involvement in the battle for Aleppo, the biggest prize in five years of relentless civil war. (Reuters

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday the situation in the civil war in Syria was atrocious and urged the United States and Russia to press for a ceasefire agreement. (Reuters

War-torn Syria’s water supplies are deteriorating fast, triggering migration and disease and stoking a pollution crisis in neighboring Lebanon, hydrologists and humanitarian groups have warned. (Guardian


Members of Myanmar’s Muslim Rohingya minority expressed hope Wednesday that a visiting panel led by former U.N. chief Kofi Annan will help end the discrimination and violence they face at the hands of the country’s Buddhist majority. (AP

The Obama administration is acknowledging its transfer of $1.7 billion to Iran earlier this year was made entirely in cash, using non-U.S. currency, as Republican critics of the transaction continued to denounce the payments. (AP

Malaysia is reporting the country’s first case of a pregnant woman infected with the mosquito-borne Zika virus. (VOA

Global news agency AFP has opened a bureau in North Korea, becoming one of only a handful of foreign media organizations to have a permanent presence in the one of the world’s most isolated states. (AFP

The Americas

Venezuela’s opposition mounted fresh nationwide protests Wednesday to push for a vote on driving President Nicolas Maduro from power in the crisis-stricken country. (AFP

President Enrique Peña Nieto on Wednesday replaced his finance minister, widely seen as the architect of Donald Trump’s trip to Mexico, after the U.S. candidate’s visit caused a firestorm of protest here. (WaPo

An American man who threw a Molotov cocktail through the window of a Somali restaurant in North Dakota was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Tuesday over what federal prosecutors said was an act of “hate violence.” (Reuters

Former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff vacated the presidential palace for her last time Tuesday, just six days after the country’s senate voted to impeach her. (VOA

Transgender Bolivians have been celebrating getting identity cards that reflect their new identities. (BBC

…and the rest

Turkey said Wednesday it expelled 73 more personnel from its armed forces as part of an ongoing effort to rid the military of what it says are followers of the alleged mastermind of the failed July 15 coup. (AP

Austria’s interior minister threatened on Wednesday to sue Hungary if it refused to take back migrants crossing their shared border, in an escalation of tensions over immigration ahead of next month’s presidential election. (Reuters

Turkish authorities detained journalists, a politician and a pollster on Wednesday and issued arrest warrants for another 105 people over suspected links to a U.S.-based Islamic cleric blamed for a failed coup on July 15. (Reuters

The U.N. refugee agency said Wednesday Austria is in danger of breaking a decades-old tradition of helping those in need, after Vienna moved a step closer to potentially shutting its borders to migrants. (AFP

The Danish government said on Wednesday it would pay an anonymous source for leaked data from the Panama Papers on hundreds of Danish taxpayers. (AFP

A new digital technology has been trialled to track fish from trawler to the supermarket in a breakthrough that could help stop human rights abuses and illegal fishing. (Guardian


Are South Sudanese Forces Deliberately Targeting Americans? Is the UN next? (UN Dispatch

Meet America’s foremost Zika Fighter. Dr. Peter Hotez wants to change how we think of so-called “Neglected Tropical Diseases. (Global Dispatches podcast

Zika Originated in Africa. Why Are We So Sure It’s Harmless There? (Slate

Why does the women’s rights movement marginalise women with disabilities? (Guardian

Why Africa Should Be Keen On the Tripartite Free Trade Area (New Times

Observers: Africa’s Moment of Truth at G-20 Fell Short of Expectations (VOA

Kofi Annan: We Can End Global Hunger (allAfrica

War disproportionately affects women, so why so few female peacekeepers? (Guardian


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