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News in the Humanosphere: More than 150,000 people still in Mosul as final military assault begins

A Peshmerga convoy drives towards a frontline on Monday, Oct. 17, 2016. The Iraqi military and the country’s Kurdish forces say they launched operations to the south and east of militant-held Mosul early Monday morning. (AP Photo/Bram Janssen)

Iraqi forces on Sunday began penetrating the narrow streets and warrens of Mosul’s heavily populated old city, in the last phase of a months-long battle against the Islamic State militants that American commanders have described as one of the toughest in urban warfare since World War II. Humanitarian groups warned for weeks about the perils to civilians in the old city, where the United Nations believes up to 150,000 people are trapped, running low on food and water and held by Islamic State fighters as human shields in the face of advancing security forces. (NYT

Massive amount of food aid “diverted” in northeast Nigeria…At least half of Nigerian government food aid sent northeast for hungry people driven from their homes by Boko Haram has been “diverted” and never reached them, a government official said. Some 1.5 million people are on the brink of famine in the northeast, where the jihadist group has killed more than 20,000 people and forced 2.7 million to flee during its eight-year uprising to create an Islamic caliphate. A program was launched on June 8 by Yemi Osinbajo, acting president while President Muhammadu Buhari is in Britain on medical leave, to distribute grain to 1.8 million people still displaced by the insurgency, many of whom live in camps. (Reuters

Top Stories

Four gunmen stormed a camping resort outside Mali’s capital on Sunday, killing two people before escaping in a shootout with soldiers from an antiterrorism unit, a security ministry official said. (NY Times

A convoy delivering aid to a besieged opposition area outside Syria’s capital has come under attack, seriously wounding a driver of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and thwarting the first such mission to the area in eight months, aid groups said Sunday. (AP

A homemade bomb placed in a women’s bathroom rocked one of the busiest shopping centers in Colombia’s capital Saturday, killing three people, including a French woman, and wounding nine others. (CBS

Britain’s foreign aid minister, Priti Patel, said she is fed up with the myth that all she does is sit at her desk “writing cheques to North Korea”, in her most robust response yet to critics of the foreign aid budget. (Guardian

The US navy has ended its search for seven sailors who went missing after their destroyer collided with a container ship near Japan, suggesting that all of the crew members’ bodies have been recovered. (Guardian

Since she moved to Kenya, she’s lost her husband and son. Now she’s been shot by tribesmen determined to take her land. But Kuki Gallmann’s going nowhere. (Guardian

Israel’s prime minister says he has revoked visitation rights for Palestinians that were approved for the holy month of Ramadan following a deadly attack on an Israeli servicewoman. (VOA

With hundreds of millions of people around the globe directly affected by desertification – the degradation of land ecosystems due to unsustainable farming or mining practices, or climate change – United Nations agencies have called for better management of land so that it can provide a place where individuals and communities “can build a future.” (UN News


BRICS to Lead World’s Efforts to Eradicate Hunger, Poverty by 2030 (IPS

US, Central America work toward common ground at security conference (CSM

South Sudan: Will local concerns sink the National Dialogue? (African Arguments

10 policy priorities to transform manufacturing and create jobs in Kenya (ODI

Cholera Ravages Yemen (NPR Goats and Soda

‘Midwifery is a calling, not just a profession’: childbirth stories around the world (Guardian

One year on, World Humanitarian Summit scorecards are due (IRIN

Housing Refugees of the Middle East Conflicts: Where Will They Go? (IPS

Brazil’s corruption scandals: an update (CSM


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