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News in the Humanosphere: U.N. agency cuts 173 jobs following scathing independent report

Stephen O'Brien, United Nations, under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator (OCHA) during of the Launch of the Global Humanitarian Appeal 2016 to support people affected by disasters and conflicts. (Credit: U.N. Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré)

The U.N.’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs will reduce spending by at least $20 million in 2017. The 10 percent cuts, including at least 173 staff layoffs, come along with an internal reform process sparked by a damning independent review. … In the short term, OCHA will close offices in Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire and Mauritania. It will reduce its presence in Colombia, Haiti, Myanmar, Pakistan and the Philippines. It will trim spending on Ethiopia, Iraq, Nigeria, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen, but scale up in Cameroon and Libya. Large offices in Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia and Sudan will be reduced, and a Central Asia regional office will close. Some positions in New York and Geneva will also face the axe. (IRIN

Stat of the day: 8 human beings… Shocking new data reveals an “obscene” level of global wealth inequality, far worse than previously thought: Only eight men hold as much wealth as the poorest half of humanity – more than 3.6 billion people. The finding is among other equally jarring numbers in Oxfam’s latest report, released today as political and business leaders gather for the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this week. “It’s almost hard to physically imagine how big [global inequality]is,” Gawain Kripke, director of policy at Oxfam America. (Humanosphere

Save the date: The European Union wants to host a conference on the future of Syria this spring and is hoping that it can focus on rebuilding the war-torn country. (AP

Top Stories

At least four people were killed and 15 others injured in a suicide bomb attack on a university campus in northeast Nigeria, police said. (Al Jazeera

At least two dozen people, most of them women, have been killed over the past week in ethnic violence between Bantus and Pygmies in southeastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a U.N. human rights official said on Monday. (Reuters

A Bangladesh court on Monday sentenced 26 people, including a politician and three officials of an elite security battalion, to death in the grisly, politically motivated killings of seven people in 2014. (AP

The United Nations’ humanitarian aid official in Yemen said Monday that the civilian death toll in the nearly two-year conflict has reached 10,000, with 40,000 others wounded. (AP

Mozambique, caught between a scandal over hidden debt that has prompted an aid cut-off and a commodity price slump, said Monday it would miss a $60 million interest payment. (AFP

Bahrain officials said a city hall was set ablaze during a night of clashes between police and protesters, following the execution of three men convicted of a deadly bombing targeting police. (Al Jazeera

Gambia’s president filed an injunction aimed at preventing the president-elect’s inauguration on Jan. 19 and also barring any party from swearing in the president-elect. (VOA

Former child soldier-turned-warlord Dominic Ongwen was back in the dock Monday as the first witness appeared in the trial of the Ugandan ex-commander of the Lord’s Resistance Army due to last several years. (AFP

Fuel from Qatar arrived in the Gaza Strip on Monday, helping ease a crippling power shortage that has sparked rare demonstrations against the territory’s Hamas rulers who responded with a crackdown on protesters. (AP

South Sudan: For women who routinely run the gauntlet of harassment and sexual violence, Malakal protection of civilians camp has roundly failed to live up to its name. (Guardian


Karen Greenberg studies the intersection of terrorism, national security and civil liberties. She has some advice for Donald Trump. (Global Dispatches Podcast

Just when you thought the Trump ethics disaster couldn’t get worse, it did (WaPo

Eight men own more than 3.6 billion people do: our economics is broken (Guardian

Why Institutions Are so Important for Growth (The Daily Star

What the development community can expect from Davos (Devex

Human Development Could be the Recipe for Olympic Success (WhyDev

8 men now own the same as the poorest half of the world: the Davos killer fact just got more deadly (From Poverty to Power

Aid Contractors: What should DFID do? (Aid Leap


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