Ebola. Over

The World Health Organization declares the current outbreak over. At long last!  But the WHO also warns that vigilance is required as the disease can persist in semen of some men previously sick. “The World Health Organisation has declared the end of the Ebola epidemic in west Africa, with all known chains of transmission of the virus stopped. The announcement comes two years after the first case in a small rural village in Guinea, 42 days after the last patient tested negative in Liberia and almost two months after the last case in Sierra Leone. The virus, which can kill within five days of infection, devastated the region’s economies and ripped through communities, killing more than 11,000 people and infecting more than 28,500.” (Guardian http://bit.ly/1SQN0Jb)

Don’t forget the Ebola orphans…According to the United Nations, more than 22,000 children lost at least one parent to the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history whose epicentre lay in the west African countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1ZmQWRC)

And the stigma for survivors…They may have conquered Ebola but survivors of the fever and the heroic workers who saved them face a new struggle: acceptance by communities after the end of the deadly epidemic. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1ZmQXF4)

Quote of the day: “Significant challenges remain. We can anticipate future flare-ups of Ebola in the coming year…Sometimes when a challenge moves out of a crisis phase, the world tends to move on. Sometimes it even forgets. Let us pledge to maintain our vigilance, our commitment and our solidarity for the people of West Africa and our world.” – Ban Ki-moon (AP http://bit.ly/1nl5AwW)

Jakarta bombing…At least two civilians and five attackers were killed in a suicide attack in Jakarta. ISIS has claimed responsibility. The latest.(BBC  http://bbc.in/1SQNiQd


Sending United Nations peacekeepers to Burundi if violence worsens would be a “last resort” because the world body was not equipped to deal with an intense ethnic conflict, said a U.N. memo. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1ZxJhp5)

Nigeria’s president Muhammadu Buhari has ordered a new investigation into the kidnapping of 219 schoolgirls by Islamist group Boko Haram in April 2014 from the town of Chibok, the presidency said on Thursday. (Reuters http://reut.rs/1SQO0No)

UNICEF says South Sudan is home to the highest proportion of out-of-school children, with more than half of primary and lower secondary age children not getting education. (VOA http://bit.ly/1ZmR03T)

Mothers queue for nut paste to feed not just their babies but their whole families, as conflict and inflation stop food reaching parts of South Sudan. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1ZxHalc)

Gambia’s government says it has lifted a recent directive stating that all female staff with the government must cover their hair during office hours. (AP http://yhoo.it/1ZxH8cQ)

Britain welcomed the decision to pull hundreds of Congolese troops out of the U.N. peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic, saying that it sends a clear message that sexual abuse by peacekeepers will not be tolerated. (AP http://yhoo.it/1Q0sJ0Z)

South Africa suffered its driest year on record in 2015, the national weather service said on Thursday, as a drought that has threatened the vital maize crop and hit economic growth showed no sign of abating. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1ZxH9xo)

Traditional practices in Malawi that had disappeared such as ‘fish for sex’ are gradually resurfacing, much to the alarm of those working on the national HIV response. (Key Correspondents http://bit.ly/1mYomtw)



The United Nations warned Syria’s warring parties on Thursday that starvation sieges were a war crime as it pushed for an easing of the dire humanitarian crisis ahead of peace talks, just 11 days away. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1SQNv5L)

Implementation Day is Near! Anyday now, international sanctions will be lifted on Iran as the nuclear deal goes into effect.  (NPR http://n.pr/1SQMgDP)

Members of the U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State will meet in Paris next week to reinforce efforts against the group, France’s defense minister said on Thursday, adding that the militants were clearly retreating in Iraq. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1n2gdFa)


Indonesia’s central bank cut its benchmark interest rate on Thursday for the first time in nearly a year to help shore up the weak economy, which has decelerated to its slowest pace since 2009. (AP http://yhoo.it/1ZmOLxz)

Though the Indian state of Karnataka counts for a higher Human Development Index of 0.478 against the national average of 0.472 in the subcontinent, the continued deficit in water and sanitation continues and the children there are bearing the brunt of the lack of infrastructure. (IPS http://bit.ly/1nlj3oq)

While the U.S. Congress is pushing ahead on legislation that seeks to increase sanctions on North Korea for its purported nuclear test last week, experts say strong economic sanctions are key to the effort. (VOA http://bit.ly/1ZmQV05)

The Americas

A U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to dismiss a lawsuit seeking to hold Nestle, the world’s largest food maker, accountable for using child slaves to harvest cocoa in Africa looks set to be a landmark battle over labor used overseas, lawyers said. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1mYpA81)

A former top Peruvian drug trafficker has waded into presidential politics after being released from prison. (AP http://yhoo.it/1ZmQRNX)

An Iraqi refugee who is facing charges he tried to help the Islamic State group wanted to set off bombs at two Houston malls and was learning to make electronic transmitters that could be used to detonate explosive devices, a federal agent testified Wednesday. (AP http://yhoo.it/1Q0fUnx)

A Maryland man who prosecutors say traveled to Somalia to join the Islamist militant group al Shabaab and fought against Kenyan soldiers pleaded not guilty to U.S. terrorism charges. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1mYpywS)

…and the rest

The European Union’s top migration official on Thursday said efforts to manage the refugee emergency are failing as more countries tighten border security, a trend he says could unravel unity in the bloc. (AP http://yhoo.it/1ZxH6lp)

A small German town Thursday sent a bus with scores of Syrian refugees on board on the road to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office, in a protest against her migrant policy. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1mYot8v)

Britain has “a long way to go” to ensure full equality for transgender people and needs to update the law to give them the same opportunities as everyone else, a parliamentary committee said on Thursday. (TRF http://yhoo.it/1ZxImow)

The world’s largest food and drink companies still have a long way to go to participate fully in the global fight against the twin scourges of obesity and undernutrition, a new report claims. (Guardian http://bit.ly/231vIgF)


Rwanda is on a VERY dangerous path. (Global Dispatches Podcast http://bit.ly/1P2R3SK)

Climate Change is bringing this deadly bacterial disease to the USA (UN Dispatch http://bit.ly/1mYyna1)

The Role of SDGs in Achieving Zero Hunger (IPS http://bit.ly/1la9o2e)

10 things to know about progress in international development (ODI http://bit.ly/1ZxRMQP)

President Nkurunziza of Burundi still has a choice: war criminal or peace bringer? (The Conversation http://bit.ly/1ZxTC4r)

Of Death Stars and Development (Open The Echo Chamber http://bit.ly/1Q0ExjG)

The Farmer And Fisherman Who Lost His Sight To River Blindness (NPR http://n.pr/1ZmOPgC)

Spread of internet has not conquered ‘digital divide’ between rich and poor (Guardian http://bit.ly/1nlunRq)

Q&A: The Obama administration’s recent immigration raids (AP http://yhoo.it/1ZxJd8C)

The aid system is broken – how can we fix it? (Guardian http://bit.ly/1n2ARVv)

What the left and right got wrong about crime in 2015 (Marshall Project http://bit.ly/1n2B0IE)

Privilege, Reduction, and a New Paradigm of Development (Medium http://bit.ly/1Zn3Uin)

Watch Trailers for the Oscars’ 5 Foreign-Film Nominees (Foreign Policy http://atfp.co/1mYA0Vi)