The Single Deadliest Attack in the Ignoble History of the Pakistani Taliban

The scene was gruesome. 145 school children were killed. The outpouring of support and outrage is the one bright spot of this awful attack. “During an eight-hour rampage at the Army Public School and Degree College, a team of nine Taliban gunmen stormed through the corridors and assembly hall, firing at random and throwing grenades. Some of the 1,100 students at the school on Tuesday were lined up and slaughtered with shots to the head. Others were gunned down as they cowered under their desks, or forced to watch as their teachers were riddled with bullets.” (NYT

In Much Better News… The US Will Pass Legislation to improve sanitation and access to clean water…“Sen. Thomas Coburn, R-Okla., lifted his hold on the Water for the World Act late last night to clear the way for the Senate to pass the bill. It comes roughly a week after the House of Representatives passed the same bill, putting it only a President Obama signature away from becoming law. It was a last-minute victory for water activists as Congress heads into its holiday recess. “The Water for the World Act shows that the U.S. is serious about giving effective aid targeted at enabling the most vulnerable to lift themselves out of poverty. Water for the World focuses U.S. efforts on water and sanitation investments where they’re most needed, all without costing more money,” said Simon Moss, managing director for the advocacy group The Global Poverty Project, in an interview with Humanosphere. (Humanosphere )


Mali has released from quarantine the last 13 people being monitored for Ebola, and the country could be declared free of the virus next month if no further cases are recorded, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday. (Reuters

New diagnostic tests to more rapidly and simply detect Ebola could be available for use in the West Africa epidemic in the next few months, the World Health Organization and partner agencies say. (VOA

Sierra Leone is planning a house-to-house search for hidden Ebola cases in the capital and surrounding areas, which currently account for more than half of the country’s new infections. (AP

Speed. That’s key to ending the Ebola epidemic, says the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (NPR


Scores of Congo’s M23 rebels fled the Ugandan camp where they were being held ahead of repatriation to Congo, their leader and a Ugandan military official said Tuesday. (AP

Kenya on Tuesday closed over 500 non-governmental organisations, including 15 for alleged fundraising for terrorism, as part of a security crackdown following repeated attacks. (Guardian

Uganda began sending home over a thousand fighters of a Democratic Republic of Congo rebel group on Tuesday after Kinshasa pressured it to return the refugees so they do not regroup to fight again. (Reuters

France will step in to help coordinate a regional taskforce against Nigeria’s Islamist group Boko Haram, amid signs of mistrust among West African neighbours, Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Tuesday. (Reuters

Falling oil prices are happy news for American car owners but disastrous news for Africa which was recently celebrating an “oil boom” around the continent. (Global Information Network

The president of Nigeria’s National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers Union said their strike, which began Monday, will continue until the government meets their demands. (VOA

A joint United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur is unlikely to bow to Sudan’s request to leave the region when the situation there appears to be worsening, the head of the U.N. peacekeeping forces said. (Reuters

Burkina Faso’s transitional government suspended the party of deposed president Blaise Compaore and two allied political groups which had supported his attempt to cling to power. (Reuters

The International Criminal Court’s decision to shelve an inquiry into war crimes in Sudan’s Darfur region is likely to embolden hardliners in Khartoum and contribute to more violence, opposition and rebel leaders said. (Reuters

Sudanese government forces are gang raping teenage girls and women in government-held areas of Blue Nile state in a pattern of terror against civilians, a rights group said. (Reuters

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. (VOA


The beheading of journalists by Islamist militants in Syria this year showed that reporters face a dangerous new threat, media freedom organization Reporters Without Borders said on Tuesday. (Reuters

A senior World Bank official on Monday called on Egypt to implement promised legal and bureaucratic reforms ahead of an international conference in March where the government hopes to attract more than $12 billion in investments. (Reuters

Libya’s rival parliament is open to U.N.-sponsored talks to end the country’s conflict if the venue of the next round is changed and certain conditions are met, a parliamentary spokesman said on Tuesday. (Reuters


India on Tuesday declared a ban on Islamic State, days after having detained an engineer for running a popular Twitter account extolling the militant group’s military campaign. (Reuters

Hundreds of families in western Thailand are suffering from lead poisoning near a polluted creek that the government has failed to clean up despite a court order two years ago, Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday. (TRF

Timor-Leste’s efforts to reduce the prevalence of domestic gender-based violence through criminalization and prosecution, already hampered by a general lack of trust in the formal court system, have suffered a fresh setback with the enforced departure of 11 foreign judicial staff who had played a key role in delivering justice in rural areas. (IRIN

The world is better prepared to face past calamities like the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami but it’s not ready for the extreme weather of the future, the U.N.’s top natural disaster official said Tuesday. (AP

The Americas

The Haitian prime minister who resigned under pressure over the weekend said Monday that the country has made significant progress during his tenure even as the political standoff that led to his ouster continues. (AP


8 ways Tony Abbott has made Australia unsafe for refugees (GlobalPost 

Time for re-think on humanitarian funding? (IRIN

Sierra Leone’s Ebola orphans are the forgotten victims of the crisis (The Guardian

Weigh in: UNICEF’s South Sudan campaign and videogamers (A view from the cave

Rich and poor nations should link up to recycle e-waste (SciDevNet

Delivering development through case studies (KM on a dollar a day

The new World Development Report (on mind, society and behavior): lots to like, but a big fail on power, politics and religion (From Poverty to Power

When Do Food Prices Cause Social Unrest? (Marc Bellemare

Why Sierra Leone Literally Had to Cancel Christmas (UN Dispatch

Crisis Group report on upcoming Nigerian elections (Shelby Grossman


The lives of new mothers and babies are being put at risk by an unreliable supply of safe water, lack of good hygiene and an inadequate number of toilets, according to a report published by a group of health organisations. (Guardian