A roundup of what’s been written, shared, and happening in humanitarian crises, situations, and the sector recently. 


I spent 16 hours a day wandering around several square blocks in pursuit of a solitary goal, trying to visually translate the resolve evident all around me. After last week’s actions, in which I saw dozens of protesters armed with nothing more than clubs and flimsy metal shields shot by police snipers, it’s small comfort that those deaths appear, for now, not to be in vain. 

Photojournalist Brendan Hoffman instagrammed a revolution.

This a new weekly roundup of humanitarian and development stories from around the web.

Above, the BBC’s Mary Harper reports on how aid agencies are working in Somalia, large parts of which are controlled by Al Shabaab.

The Independent in the UK published a scathing article claiming Save the Children refused to campaign against fuel poverty due to its donor ties with big oil - following a BBC documentary and whistleblower’s claims.

Save the Children has responded denying the claims and saying they try to harness “the power of the private sector.

The World Bank reports "policy bottlenecks" in Nigeria have led to gaps and inequalities in education. They recommend addressing these policies using a SABER tool developed by their experts.  

As the humanitarian sector is utilizing data gathering more and more to follow emergencies and help establish aid in crises, a new “crowd sources scenario planning” organization called FutureScaper has been created by MIT students. 

ECHO has reported IDPs in Central African Republic have reached 160,000 amidst new violence. And MSF’s General Director has said the aid community has failed in the region. 

If Syrians weren’t already having a rough last couple of years, refugees are now facing one of the worst blizzards in a decade to hit the region. Blizzard Alexa is hitting Lebanon and Syria, including at refugee camps at the border.

In an effort to clean up the government after 200 anti-government protesters were killed in September, Sudanese president, Omar al-Bashir, has reshuffled his cabinet. However, The Economist reports this has done more to remove cabinet who’ve gained influence and power in the country with closer allies to the president than to improve the country. 

The aid community has begun its first conferences to discuss the post-2015 development goals

Health care workers have been at the brunt of many recent attacks in conflict zones in the last few years. More data from the ICRC, among others, quantifies what this really looks like, raising awareness of the dangers faced by medical staff, which are some of the only aid workers in many conflict zones.


Lizzie Widdicombe gets an inside look at Bustle.com, the controversial new women’s Web site: http://nyr.kr/17DFrgh

Photograph by Pari Dukovic.

My new favorite “for-women” site. Clearly, this start-up is doing something right. 

He was in the process of raising an unusually large amount of pre-launch money—$6.5 million—from investors such as Time Warner Investments and 500 Startups. 

(Source: newyorker.com)

The information the NSA is collecting is metadata, not content (like a wiretap), and not account names. Uncovering personally identifiable information would require separate warrants to do so. This was a pattern analysis, not really mass surveillance as we traditionally understand it. Anyone who calls this a “wiretap” is probably stupid or didn’t read the order.

A Giant Hospital Chain Is Blazing a Profit Trail

Profits at the health care industry giant HCA, which controls 163 hospitals from New Hampshire to California, have soared, far outpacing those of most of its competitors.

The big winners have been three private equity firms — including Bain Capital, co-founded by Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate — that bought HCA in late 2006.

HCA’s robust profit growth has raised the value of the firms’ holdings to nearly three and a half times their initial investment in the $33 billion deal.

The financial performance has been so impressive that HCA has become a model for the industry. Its success inspired 35 buyouts of hospitals or chains of facilities in the last two and a half years by private equity firms eager to repeat that windfall.

HCA’s emergence as a powerful leader in the hospital industry is all the more remarkable because only a decade ago the company was badly shaken by a wide-ranging Medicare fraud investigation that it eventually settled for more than $1.7 billion.

Among the secrets to HCA’s success: It figured out how to get more revenue from private insurance companies, patients and Medicare by billing much more aggressively for its services than ever before; it found ways to reduce emergency room overcrowding and expenses; and it experimented with new ways to reduce the cost of its medical staff, a move that sometimes led to conflicts with doctors and nurses over concerns about patient care.

In late 2008, for instance, HCA changed the billing codes it assigned to sick and injured patients who came into the emergency rooms. Almost overnight, the numbers of patients who HCA said needed more care, which would be paid for at significantly higher levels by Medicare, surged.

(Source: The New York Times)