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News in the Humanosphere: U.N. criticized for video showing observers dancing with Colombian rebels

Protesters/demonstrators took to the street of Medellin with giant banners, voicing their outrage against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). (Photo Credit: xmascarol/flickr)

United Nations observers are in hot water in Colombia over a video showing them dancing with leftist rebels while deployed to watch over the guerrillas as part of a peace deal. The short video was shot by Spanish news agency EFE from inside a jungle camp in northern Colombia during a New Year’s Eve party. It shows two men wearing blue vests with U.N. insignia dancing hip-to-hip with female guerrillas. The images, dismissed by some as a folkish display of Colombians’ love for revelry in even the most adverse circumstances, drew sharp rebuke from opponents of the peace deal between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. (CBS )

India, the clean energy innovation capital…Two world-leading clean energy projects have opened in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. A £3m industrial plant is capturing the CO2 emissions from a coal boiler and using the CO2 to make valuable chemicals. It is a world first. And just 100km away is the world’s biggest solar farm, making power for 150,000 homes on a 10 sq km site. The industrial plant appears especially significant as it offers a breakthrough by capturing CO2 without subsidy. (BBC

Quote of the Day: “When one looks at the global mega-trends of population growth, climate change, and  other aspects that are interlinked, we see that we live in a world where problems became global and there is no way they can be solved on a country by country basis. And so this is the moment in which we have to assert the value of multilateralism. This is the moment in which we need to recognize that only global solutions can address global problems and the UN is the cornerstone of that multilateral approach.” — Antonio Guterres, addressing UN staff on his first day in office as Secretary General. (UN News Center

Top Stories

Gambia’s electoral commission chairman fled the country because he received threats after declaring President Yahya Jammeh the loser of a Dec. 1 election, a family member and a colleague said on Tuesday. (Reuters

More than 13,000 people fled Mosul in the five days since Dec. 29, as the second phase of military operations to retake the Iraqi city from Islamic State terrorists has apparently begun, a United Nations spokesperson said today. (UN News Center

Rebels in Mozambique announced Tuesday a two-month extension to a truce with the government, raising hopes for peace after a spike in violence last year that claimed scores of lives. (AFP

Some 2 million pastoralists in Ethiopia need emergency food aid. (OCHA

Residents of Damascus are scrambling for clean water after the government attacked rebels holding the city’s main source in a nearby valley, leading to an accidental outage that has stretched on for nearly two weeks. (VOA

Violence claimed the lives of at least 6,878 civilian Iraqis last year, the United Nations said on Monday, as the Iraqi government struggles to maintain security nationwide and to dislodge Islamic State group militants from areas under their control. (AP

An Indian minister has received widespread criticism for suggesting that “western clothes” were responsible for a slew of sexual assaults which took place in the city of Bangalore on New Year’s Eve. (VOA

El Salvador’s national police director says murders dropped more than 20 percent in 2016, though the rate of 81.2 for every 100,000 residents keeps the tiny Central American country among the world’s deadliest. (AP

Mexico detains most unaccompanied migrant children in jail-like facilities, even though the country’s laws forbid it. (PRI

Turkey’s parliament on Tuesday approved a government-backed motion to extend by another three months the state of emergency imposed in the wake of the July 15 failed coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (AFP

Italian police early Tuesday quelled a protest by occupants of a migrant center near Venice that left fearful workers at the center barricaded inside offices. (AP


PODCAST: Here are the stories, crises and provocations that will drive the agenda at the UN in 2017. (Global Dispatches

How to engage Silicon Valley in global development. (Devex

Brazil’s deadly prison riot is just one piece of a bigger drug gang war (PRI

Why we should stick to the trade route out of poverty (Devex

The roots and risks of Myanmar’s new Rohingya insurgency (IRIN

This is why politicians fear cash transfer programs (Chris Blattman

Gambia: Yahya Jammeh’s Conditions? (Sahel Blog

These 4 hashtags kept you informed on global development in 2016 (Devex


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