Meningitis A Nearly Eliminated in Africa

Vaccines, FTW! ”Five years after the introduction of an affordable conjugate meningitis A vaccine, immunization has led to the control and near elimination of deadly meningitis A disease in the African “meningitis belt.” In 2013, only four laboratory-confirmed cases of meningitis A were reported by the 26 countries in the meningitis belt. The findings are part of a special collection of 29 articles in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases…The vaccine was developed in response to a plea for help from ministers of health in sub-Saharan Africa after an outbreak of meningitis A in 1996 that infected over 250,000 people and killed over 25,000 in just a few months. The vaccine costs less than USD$0.50 a dose. (GAVI


Sobering El Nino news of the day:  An estimated 11 million children are at risk from hunger, disease and lack of water in eastern and southern Africa as a result of a strengthening El Niño, which is also causing droughts and floods in parts of Asia, the Pacific and Latin America.  (UNICEF

Stat of the Day: Some 4,000 Malian refugees have crossed the border since October, bringing the total number of registered refugees in Niger to 54,000, with a further 3,000 awaiting registration, according to the U.N. refugee agency. (Channel News Asia


Quote of the day: “We are more poorly positioned to respond to the warning signs today than we were in 1994,” Scott Campbell, central and west Africa chief at the UN human rights office, referring to the worsening situation in Burundi. (CBC )




Police fired tear gas at hundreds of people armed with sticks and shovels protesting the arrest of several youth leaders in Congo’s second largest city of Lubumbashi on Tuesday, a witness said. (Reuters


An Ethiopian official says the country’s more than 730,000 refugees could go hungry if $55 million in food aid is not raised by the end of the year. (Reuters


USAID announced it is providing nearly $97 million in additional food assistance to assist vulnerable populations in Ethiopia, including those severely affected by the impacts of El Niño. (USAID


Boko Haram violence in the drought and flood-stricken swamplands of Lake Chad, which has destroyed livelihoods, torn communities apart and forced millions to flee their homes, could worsen Europe’s migration crisis, a United Nations official has warned. (AlertNet )


Somalia has transformed itself from a “failed to recovering state” in recent years, but any cutbacks in support for it could spark a new exodus of refugees from the conflict-torn Horn of Africa nation, the U.N. Somalia envoy said. (Reuters


The U.S. government is offering new rewards for information on the whereabouts of six leaders of the Somali militant group al-Shabab. (VOA


Investigators in South Sudan have found the two black boxes from a Soviet-era Antonov plane which crashed last week killing at least 36 people, state radio said Tuesday. (AFP


Senegal’s President Macky Sall has called for African countries to promote a “tolerant Islam” and share intelligence to combat jihadist groups, while acknowledging recent arrests of preachers. (AFP


Fervent Roman Catholics in the Central African Republic, faced with almost daily killings, are counting on Pope Francis to help save their battered nation when he is scheduled to visit late in November. (AFP




The U.S. State Department on Tuesday U.S. citizen John Hamen, one of two contractors who had been detained by Iran-backed Houthi militia in Yemen, has died. (Reuters


Winds and rain from the second rare cyclone to hit Yemen in two weeks have killed 13 people, including three children, on Yemen’s Socotra island, the fisheries minister said on Tuesday. (Reuters


Syrian soldiers fought their way into an airbase in northern Syria on Tuesday, state television said, breaking a nearly two-year siege by Islamic State insurgents at the facility and freeing military personnel holed up inside. (Reuters


Egypt’s military on Tuesday freed prominent rights defender and reporter Hossam Bahgat, a day after his detention sparked calls for his release from the United Nations. (AFP


Germany’s foreign minister said Tuesday that Vienna talks on Syria are a first “serious attempt to break the spiral of increasing violence and chaos”, but dampened hopes for quick solutions. (AFP


Turkey will respond by air and land to any threats emerging from neighboring Syria, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Tuesday, without naming potential sources for any such threats. (Reuters


Two of the last Jews in Syria have been spirited out of the country in a dramatic operation, but a third woman has returned to the war-torn nation after Israel rejected her visa, the rescue organiser said Tuesday. (AFP


A Turkish media rights group says Turkey’s government is not allowing Turkish opposition media organizations to cover an upcoming G-20 summit. (WaPo


Latin America shows the way for Arab nations wracked by instability, United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon told a summit of leaders from the two regions Tuesday. (AFP




Dozens of people arrested in Thailand’s human trafficking crackdown, including a senior general, appeared in court Tuesday, days after the police officer in charge of the investigation tendered his resignation saying he feared for his life. (AFP


A machete-wielding man on Tuesday injured a military policeman in an attack at an army check post in the Bangladesh capital, police said, the second law enforcement official to be targeted in a week. (Reuters


Chinese authorities expect that easing the country’s one-child policy will add more than 30 million people to the country’s labor force by 2050, a senior official said Tuesday. (AP


Australia’s refugee policies were condemned during a review by the United Nations Human Rights Council. (VOA


Afghanistan’s spy agency freed eight people who were among a large group of ethnic minority Hazaras kidnapped earlier this year, the agency said on Tuesday. (AP


The Americas


Protesters angered by attempts to cut their jobs have trapped an Argentine mayor in his town hall. (AP


The head of Colombia’s FARC rebels said Tuesday he has ordered the guerrilla army to stop buying weapons, as a goodwill gesture to accelerate peace talks with the government. (AFP


HRW: Ecuadorian security forces used excessive force to disperse anti-government protests in August 2015 (HRW


Indians on Honduras’ Caribbean coast are suffering invasions of their lands by squatters, loggers, palm-oil planters and drug traffickers, a U.N. official said Tuesday. (AP


Venezuela’s opposition is seeking to oust President Nicolas Maduro by mid-2016, jailed dissident Leopoldo Lopez said Tuesday as the country headed toward legislative elections that the ruling socialists risk losing. (AFP


The Organization of American States’ chief questioned Tuesday whether legislative elections next month in Venezuela will be transparent and fair. (AFP


Independent truckers in Brazil started an indefinite strike on Monday, blocking traffic in a few states in the agricultural powerhouse as they asked for President Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment, according to federal highway police. (VOA


A Mexican businessman accused of financing the jailbreak of Mexico’s most notorious drug lord has been sent to prison pending trial. Prosecutors think Manuel Trillo helped Joaquin “Shorty” Guzman break out of the Altiplano jail in July. (BBC


…and the rest


An ambitious agreement on limiting global warming is within reach, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Tuesday after a meeting of ministers ahead of the U.N. climate summit in Paris in December. (Reuters


Greenhouse gas emissions per capita are falling in 11 of the Group of 20 major economies, a turning point for tackling climate change, a study showed on Tuesday. (Reuters


Riot police and migrants camped near the French port of Calais have clashed in overnight violence that aid workers said reflects the growing frustration of refugees’ inability to smuggle themselves aboard trucks and trains bound for England. (AP


German Chancellor Angela Merkel will push for joint solutions to Europe’s refugee crisis at a Group of 20 summit in Antalya, Turkey, on Nov. 15-16, a senior German official said on Tuesday. (Reuters


Germany faces costs of over $22.58 billion this year to house, feed and educate hundreds of thousands of refugees, the Munich-based Ifo institute said on Tuesday. (Reuters


Italy arrested 41 people on Tuesday after uncovering a criminal ring that charged people thousands of euros for illegal entry to the country to work in circuses. (Reuters




Everyone says Burundi is on the verge of Genocide. So Why can’t anyone stop it? (UN Dispatch


Bye Bye Ebola! The feel-good video of the year (Daily Maverick


Secret aid worker: two years after Haiyan, the aid economy is flourishing (Guardian


The Volunteer Effect (IRIN


The Oral Polio Vaccine Can Go ‘Feral,’ But WHO Vows to Tame It (Goats and Soda


Refugee Crisis – Diverting Funds From Civil Society is a Bad Idea (Inter Press Service


How to end poverty: the impact of equal growth (ODI


For Some Teen Girls, Surviving A Rape Can Mean Losing An Education (Goats and Soda


Myanmar election: What we know so far (AFP