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News in the Humanosphere: Burundi edges closer to becoming first country to leave ICC

Men carry away a dead body in the Nyakabiga neighborhood of Bujumbura, Burundi. File: Dec. 12, 2015. (Credit: AP Photo)

Lawmakers in Burundi overwhelmingly voted Wednesday in support of a plan to withdraw from the International Criminal Court, months after the ICC announced it would investigate the country’s ongoing violence. The decision escalates a bitter dispute with the international community over the human rights situation in the East African country, which has seen more than a year of deadly violence after President Pierre Nkurunziza made a controversial decision to pursue a third term. No state has withdrawn from the ICC, according to the Coalition for the International Criminal Court, a nonprofit that supports the court’s work. Some African countries have threatened a withdrawal from the Rome Statute, the treaty that created the ICC, accusing the court of disproportionately targeting the continent. Only Africans have been charged in the six cases that are ongoing or about to begin, though preliminary ICC investigations have been opened elsewhere in the world. (AP http://yhoo.it/2dkElR0)

King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand Dies at 88: King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, who took the throne of the kingdom once known as Siam shortly after World War II and held it for more than 70 years, establishing himself as a revered personification of Thai nationhood, died on Thursday in Bangkok. He was 88 and one of the longest-reigning monarchs in history. The royal palace said that he died at Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok, but it did not give a cause or further details. (NYT http://nyti.ms/2dZApV6)

Hero of the day: Two Syrian refugees should get medals for their bravery after capturing a fellow migrant suspected of planning to bomb a Berlin airport, German politicians said on Wednesday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/2dkFoAF)

Apology of the day: British singer Lily Allen has apologized for Britain’s handling of the migrant crisis on a visit to a slum-like camp in northern France. She said Wednesday she was sorry “on behalf of my country” after visiting refugees in Calais who are trying to enter Britain. (AP http://yhoo.it/2dKXB9W)

Africa

The U.N. warned Wednesday of increasing violence in parts of South Sudan, as the government was forced to publicly dismiss rumors of President Salva Kiir’s death to quell rising tensions. (AFP http://yhoo.it/2dWm1wH)

A wanted warlord in southeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo has surrendered, five years after he escaped from prison following his conviction for crimes against humanity, the provincial governor said on Wednesday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/2erT0eO)

Nigeria: About eight people were killed and 15 wounded when a car laden with explosives hit a taxi in northeastern Borno state’s capital of Maiduguri, birthplace of a seven-year-old Islamist insurgency, military and medical sources said. (Reuters http://bit.ly/2e1rfGL)

Ivory Coast’s parliament has approved changes to the constitution that ease a presidential eligibility requirement at the center of a political crisis that turned deadly. (AP http://yhoo.it/2e1rykS)

Although statistics are hard to come by, campaigners say the sale of newborns is widespread – and they fear the illegal trade is becoming more prevalent with Nigeria heading into recession this year amid ongoing political turbulence. (Reuters http://bit.ly/2dM88oF)

Mali mine workers will go on strike on Oct. 24 for five days, a union official said on Tuesday, to protest what he described as unfair treatment of union workers. (Reuters http://bit.ly/2dM9TCs)

Russia said on Tuesday that an arms embargo should not be placed on South Sudan despite U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon reporting that the government has done little to allow more peacekeepers to be deployed and to improve access for U.N. troops already there. (Reuters http://bit.ly/2e1sTrT)

MENA

An airstrike hit the biggest market on the rebel-held side of Syria’s Aleppo on Wednesday, killing at least 15 people and leveling buildings as rescuers were still sifting through the rubble from air raids that killed dozens the day before. (AP http://yhoo.it/2e1s7ex)

Forces loyal to Yemen’s exiled government clashed with Houthi fighters over a strategic town close to the border with Saudi Arabia on Wednesday in a sign a new front may be opening in the 19-month-old civil war. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/2e7w1BJ)

The top U.N. human rights official repeated his call on Wednesday for a dilution of big powers’ United Nations veto in cases of serious war crimes, but he gave little support to Syrian opposition hopes of strong-arming Russia over eastern Aleppo. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/2dkAuU7)

Pope Francis on Wednesday called for an immediate cease-fire in Syria. Speaking at his weekly general audience at the Vatican, the pope said a halt in fighting should be put in place long enough for civilians, particularly children, to escape areas subject to bombings. (VOA http://bit.ly/2e1rFwE)

The United States is seeing growing indications that Iran-allied Houthi rebels, despite denials, were responsible for Sunday’s attack on a Navy destroyer off the Yemen coast, U.S. officials said. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/2dkFo3s)

Asia

Pakistan appears to be defying domestic and international calls for immediate removal of a controversial travel ban on one of its leading journalists, insisting the move is meant to bring “an early closure” to the inquiry into his “concocted” story on a secret national security meeting. (VOA http://bit.ly/2dWn7Zn)

China expressed anger on Wednesday after the United Nations human rights chief spoke at an award ceremony for a prominent Chinese academic jailed for life two years ago for campaigning for the rights of the Muslim Uighur people. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/2e1qddT)

Farmers in Timor-Leste call the months from November to February “the hungry season,” and this year could be even worse than usual thanks to poor harvests related to the weather phenomena El Niño and La Niña. (IRIN http://bit.ly/2dM6kfl)

Teachers and government workers fled northern border districts of Myanmar on Wednesday after clashes in Rakhine state left a dozen dead, fearing worsening violence in a region long-scarred by sectarian unrest. (AFP http://yhoo.it/2dkFLLx)

The United States and the European Union have called on the Vietnamese government to release a popular blogger arrested earlier this week for alleged anti-state writing. (AP http://yhoo.it/2dkFnwq)

The Americas

Haitian interim President Jocelerme Privert on Tuesday played down the international aid response to Hurricane Matthew, saying some promised foreign aid had yet to materialize and that the devastated country was mostly funding its own recovery. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/2e7AzrW)

…and the rest

Eastern states that continue to refuse to take in refugees to help frontline countries in Europe’s migration crisis should have their EU funding cut, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said on Wednesday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/2e7xyI3)

Some 213,000 asylum-seekers have arrived in Germany this year, keeping it on course for a far lower total than last year’s 890,000 entrants, the country’s interior minister said Wednesday. (AP http://yhoo.it/2dM7t6C)

France’s top administrative court on Wednesday approved the authorities’ plans to shut down unlicensed cafes and stalls in the Calais “Jungle” migrant camp, which is set to be razed within weeks. (AFP http://yhoo.it/2dkDgsD)

Poor coordination and a failure to prosecute traffickers is undermining progress in Britain’s fight against modern slavery, even as groundbreaking legislation starts to bite, the U.K.’s anti-slavery tsar said. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/2dWlUkO)

Turkey is determined to prevent a planned operation to push out Islamic State from the Iraqi city of Mosul from causing “blood and fire” in the region due to sectarian conflict, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/2dM5gbC)

Opinion/Blogs

The Crisis in South Sudan is Sending 2,000 Refugees to Uganda. Every Day. (UN Dispatch http://bit.ly/2dY4nKQ)

Somalia’s female presidential candidate: ‘If loving my land means I die, so be it’ (Guardian http://bit.ly/2dM5yPE)

When the Juice Isn’t Worth the Squeeze: NGOs refuse to participate in a beneficiary feedback experiment (Development Impact http://buff.ly/2dkFYOt)

Bankrupting Kleptocracies is a Dangerously Bad Idea (Reinventing Peace http://buff.ly/2d7vhAJ)

A renegotiated TPP may not be in our interest (The Interpreter http://buff.ly/2d7wbgu)

Advocacy gets too professional? (From Poverty to Power http://buff.ly/2dKZCmj)

Why the Central Emergency Response Fund is asking for $1B (Devex http://buff.ly/2d7uhMI)

How much of a jerk do you have to be oppose aid? (Roving Bandit http://buff.ly/2dL0yr2)

Apparently, I love Africa. I’ve been told this by people who hardly know me. (Africa is a Country http://buff.ly/2d7ukIt)

The rise of empirical econ, in one chart (Aid Thoughts http://buff.ly/2dKZaoc)

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