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News in the Humanosphere: Mexican president cancels U.S. visit over border wall dispute

Mexico's President Peña Nieto and his administration introduced nationwide education reforms in 2013. (Credit: Presidencia de la República Mexicana/Flickr)

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on Thursday canceled a planned Jan. 31 meeting with President Donald Trump, hours after Trump tweeted that the meeting should be scrapped if Mexico won’t pay for a border wall. Pena Nieto’s message on Twitter ended days of uncertainty about how he would respond to Trump’s aggressive stance toward the country, and illustrated the challenges world leaders are likely to face in dealing with Trump’s voluble, Twitter-based diplomacy. It also signaled a remarkable souring of relations between the U.S. and its immediate southern neighbor, one of America’s largest trading partners and a country with which it shares a nearly 2,000-mile border. (AP

Meanwhile… According to the White House pool report, President Trump wants to impose a 20 percent tax on all imports from Mexico.

The new president arrives…Jubilant Gambians on Thursday welcomed home their new President Adama Barrow, who was elected almost two months ago but forced to flee to Senegal when his predecessor refused to step aside. (AFP

Top State Department officials resign…“Tillerson was actually inside the State Department’s headquarters in Foggy Bottom on Wednesday, taking meetings and getting the lay of the land. I reported Wednesday morning that the Trump team was narrowing its search for his No. 2, and that it was looking to replace the State Department’s long-serving undersecretary for management, Patrick Kennedy. Kennedy, who has been in that job for nine years, was actively involved in the transition and was angling to keep that job under Tillerson, three State Department officials told me. Then suddenly on Wednesday afternoon, Kennedy and three of his top officials resigned unexpectedly, four State Department officials confirmed. Assistant Secretary of State for Administration Joyce Anne Barr, Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Michele Bond and Ambassador Gentry O. Smith, director of the Office of Foreign Missions, followed him out the door. All are career foreign service officers who have served under both Republican and Democratic administrations.” (WaPo

Top Stories

Millions of children in northeast Nigeria, where Boko Haram is waging an insurgency, have been vaccinated against measles in recent weeks but many others could not be reached due to the threat posed by the Islamist militants, the United Nations said on Thursday. (VOA

EU interior ministers will consider plans on Thursday to finance camps in Africa where the U.N. refugee agency and aid groups would process migrants to prevent them trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe. (Reuters

Already suffering grievously under nearly two years of civil war, many thousands of Yemeni state workers now face destitution as their salaries have gone largely unpaid for months. (Reuters

Israeli officials gave final approval Thursday to 153 east Jerusalem settler homes, the deputy mayor said, adding to a sharp increase in such projects since US President Donald Trump took office. (AFP

Pakistan on Thursday took a TV host off the air over incitement, after he said five human rights activists who recently went missing and other liberal Pakistanis should be killed for blasphemy and sedition, officials said. (AP

Indonesia’s anti-corruption agency has detained a Constitutional Court judge in connection with a graft investigation, the court’s chief justice said on Thursday. (Reuters

Women’s health advocates across Asia have said Donald Trump’s decision to reinstate and beef up the “global gag rule” will result in hundreds of thousands of unwanted pregnancies and imperil programs aimed at improving sanitation, treating Aids and protecting LGBT activists. (Guardian

Flames from one of Chile’s worst wildfires completely consumed the town of Santa Olga as the death toll from the blazes since November rose to nine, officials said Thursday. (AP

Turkey on Thursday said it would watch closely new US President Donald Trump’s reported interest in setting up safe zones in Syria to house refugees, an idea that Ankara has pushed for months. (AFP


Trump Just Re-Instated the “Global Gag Rule.” Here’s what that means.  (Global Dispatches podcast

“People’s science”: How West African communities fought the Ebola epidemic and won (IRIN

Who Will Rule Trump Foreign Policy? (IPS

Mexico or US? (BBC

Trump’s plan to build a bigger border wall has plenty of critics (PRI

FAQ: coal, poverty and the environment (ODI

Refugees are not “political resources” (IRIN

Equatorial Guinea: Why Poverty Plagues a High-Income Nation (allAfrica

Can Africa Slay Its Financial Hydra? (IPS

Want accurate data on people with disabilities? Ask them (Guardian


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