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News in the Humanosphere: U.N. makes it official, elects Antonio Guterres as next leader

Antonio Gutterres

The votes are in…The U.N. General Assembly elected Antonio Guterres on Thursday as the next secretary-general of the United Nations, a post he will take over on Jan. 1 at a time of global turmoil. The 193 U.N. member states elected Guterres, a former Portuguese prime minister, by acclamation. Assembly President Peter Thompson introduced the resolution to elect Guterres, said members wanted it adopted by acclamation, and banged his gavel in approval as diplomats broke into applause. Guterres “embodies the highest standards of competence, integrity and leadership,” Thompson said. (AP

Every action has its consequence…The U.S. military launched cruise missile strikes on three coastal radar sites in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen, retaliating after failed missile attacks this week on a U.S. Navy destroyer, U.S. officials said on Wednesday. (Reuters

Quote of the day: “Yes, and how many times must the cannonballs fly / Before they’re forever banned? / The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind” — newly minted Nobel Prize winner Bob Dylan. Some more of his best lyrics:


Fighters from Central African Republic’s largely Muslim Seleka militia attacked refugees in the country’s remote north on Wednesday, stabbing or hacking to death 13 people before U.N. peacekeepers repelled them, killing at least 10, officials said. (Reuters

The world will not forgive leaders gathered in Rwanda this week if they fail to back a proposed agreement to cut greenhouse gases, a top U.N. official said on Thursday, calling the deal an easy one to achieve. (Reuters

South Africa will experience water rationing if consumers do not heed calls to cut consumption to avoid a collapse of the water system as dam levels fall after a drought, an official in the country’s water department said on Thursday. (Reuters

The United Kingdom said on Thursday it backs targeted European Union sanctions against officials in Democratic Republic of the Congo to end government repression and encourage a peaceful transition of power. (Reuters

This week, the U.N. children’s fund, UNICEF, launched an emergency vaccination drive in 18 states in northern Nigeria and neighboring Chad, Niger, Cameroon and Central African Republic, to immunize more than 41 million children. (Guardian

When German Chancellor Angela Merkel toured three African nations this week for talks on curbing migration to Europe, the leader of the world’s poorest country, Niger, suggested it would take a “Marshall Plan” of massive aid to stop people coming. (Reuters

South Africa has failed to protect residents affected by pollution from contaminated water and mine dumps over more than 130 years of gold mining near Johannesburg, an independent investigation by the Harvard Law School said. (Reuters

Ivory Coast’s government adopted a set of power sector decrees on Wednesday meant to open it up to competition and address shortfalls in the electricity supply to Francophone West Africa’s biggest economy, its spokesman said. (Reuters

South African President Jacob Zuma moved on Thursday to block a watchdog’s potentially explosive report into graft allegations against him, in his latest legal bid to protect his battered reputation. (AFP


The Syrian government has partially approved a United Nations aid plan for October but not its request to deliver urgently needed supplies to the rebel-held part of Aleppo, diplomats and a U.N. official said on Thursday. (Reuters

Human rights groups are criticizing the United Arab Emirates for its month long detention and prosecution of a local human rights activist. (AP

Renewed bombing of rebel-held eastern Aleppo has killed more than 150 people this week, rescue workers said on Thursday, as the Syrian government steps up its Russian-backed offensive to take the whole city. (Reuters

A video of an enraged tuk-tuk driver unloading on the state of Egypt’s flagging economy went viral on Thursday, underlining growing popular discontent in the country over shortages of food staples and broader business malaise. (AP

Britain is looking at its military options in Syria but any action would need to be part of a coalition involving the United States and is not likely to happen soon, foreign minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday. (Reuters


Philippine police have said nearly 2,300 people have died in President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs since July, down from an earlier estimate of 3,600, after investigations into the near-daily killings. (Reuters

Afghan government forces have largely regained control of the provincial capital of Kunduz from the Taliban, and the U.N. now expects the almost 40,000 residents who fled during the past week of fighting to begin returning home. (IRIN

Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte has issued an administrative order to create a presidential task force to protect journalists and investigate attacks on media, in what is one of the world’s most dangerous countries for the press. (Reuters

A leading human rights group is warning that the Malaysian government is increasingly taking a tougher line to limit free speech amid a growing “climate of fear” in public debate, including focusing on ordinary citizens on social media. (VOA

The Americas

International judges will take evidence from 30 witnesses and “victims” of U.S. agri-business Monsanto in an attempt by hundreds of grassroots groups to hold the company accountable for what they allege are human rights violations, crimes against humanity, and “ecocide,” or widespread environmental damage. (Guardian

…and the rest

A group of charities has asked a court to block the imminent closure of the “Jungle” migrant camp in northern France where thousands of refugees are living in squalid conditions, many of them desperate to reach Britain. (Reuters

The fate of up to 1,000 children living without families in the “Jungle” migrant camp that is set for demolition within days remains uncertain with some seeking smugglers to take them to Britain, according to residents and charity groups. (Reuters

Serbia’s prime minister warned on Thursday that support for European Union integration is crumbling in the Balkan country in favor of stronger ties with traditional Slavic ally Russia. (AP

Germany, Austria and Sweden said on Thursday that emergency border checks inside Europe’s free-travel zone should remain in place after a mid-November expiry as the EU continues to argue over how to deal with an influx of refugees and migrants. (Reuters


Beware the Global Superbug (UN Dispatch

A Trump win would be ‘dangerous’ internationally, says U.N. human rights commissioner (Humanosphere

I dream of a utopian Lagos – but here’s what African cities really need to prosper (Guardian

What Happens When a Small Farmer Migrates? (IPS

Can global climate cash keep Senegal’s salt collectors afloat? (TRF

Why aren’t we designing cities that work for women, not just men? (Guardian

Yemen’s stalemate war threatens to entangle US (AP

Trump, Clinton, Obama and the TPP (IPS

Why do rich countries think development should be only one way? (Guardian

Why disasters last longer than you think (TRF

How Cloud Technology Can Transform It in Africa (African Media Agency

Conflicts of interest mar scheme to help poor countries curb tax loss, claim NGOs (Guardian

10 facts about Boko Haram and Nigeria’s kidnapped Chibok girls (Reuters

Four priorities for the new UN Secretary-General (ODI


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