Big Elections in the Arab Spring’s Only Success Story

Tunisians voted in a presidential election on Sunday. Exit polls suggest that 88 year old Beji Caid Essebsi will be declared the winner. His party already controls parliament. “Essebsi created Nida Tunis, a collection of former regime officials, businessmen and trade unionists to oppose the Islamists and to restore the “prestige of state,” which he said had suffered in the wake of the revolution. There are fears that Essebsi’s domination over both the executive and legislative branches of the government could result in a return to the country’s old authoritarian ways — an argument [his opponant] Marzouki attempted to push during his campaign.” (NYT

Jordan Executes 11 Men, Ending Eight Year Death Penalty Moratorium…This news comes days after Pakistan ended a 6 year moratorium. ”The men were killed at dawn in a prison 45 miles from the capital Amman, interior ministry spokesman Ziyad Zoobi confirmed. The men, said to mostly be in their 40s, were convicted murderers with no links to politics or extremism, Jordanian authorities said. Jordan last carried out an execution in 2006, with 122 people sentenced to death since.” (Daily Mail


International Monetary Fund policies left healthcare systems in the African countries worst affected by Ebola underfunded and lacking doctors, and hampered a coordinated response to the outbreak, researchers said Monday. (AFP

A campaign is on to urge Sierra Leoneans to abandon traditional burial practices, such as relatives touching or washing the dead bodies, that are fueling the spread of Ebola in the West African country. (AP

The United Nations mission to fight Ebola should be wound down quickly once the battle is won, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Saturday during his first tour of countries stricken with the virus. (Reuters


Sudanese security agents raided the headquarters of a human rights monitor Sunday and seized computers, a member of the group said, nearly two weeks after one of its founders was arrested. (AFP

Thousands of members of Nigeria’s home-grown Islamic extremist Boko Haram group strike across the border in Cameroon, with coordinated attacks on border towns, a troop convoy and a major barracks. (AP

Mozambique police have rescued a wealthy businessman branded a “drug baron” by the US government who was kidnapped in Maputo more than a month ago, state media said Sunday. (AFP

Former Ivory Coast rebels whose support helped bring Alassane Ouattara to power are increasingly wreaking havoc, with the government seemingly unable to rein them in. (AFP

Hundreds of people placed brooms on the grave of the former Burkina Faso leader Thomas Sankara on Sunday in a symbolic gesture to demand justice for the revolutionary hero killed in a 1987 coup. (AFP


Kurdish and Yazidi fighters battled to take the strategic northern Iraqi town of Sinjar back from Islamic State on Sunday after breaking a months-long siege of the mountain above it. (Reuters

India may take a stronger pro-Israel tilt at the expense of supporting Palestinian causes at the United Nations. (The Hindu )

One of Egypt’s most prominent human rights groups announced Sunday that it will register under a restrictive law it and other organizations have decried as an attempt by the government to silence them. (AP

Egypt opened the Rafah border crossing on Sunday for incoming passengers from the Gaza Strip for the first time in almost two months, Palestinian and Egyptian officials said. (Reuters


North Korea has said US accusations that it was involved in a cyber attack on Sony Pictures were “groundless slander,” and that it wanted a joint investigation into the incident with the United States. (SMH

President Barack Obama says the United States is reviewing whether to put North Korea back on its list of state sponsors of terrorism as Washington decides how to respond to what he calls an “act of cybervandalism,” not one of war, against a movie company. (AP

The Taliban attacked a checkpoint in northern Afghanistan, killing at least seven policemen, an official said Sunday. In Kabul, a reporter wounded in an attack earlier this month on a French-run school died of his injuries. (AP

Pakistan’s Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan says the government has information that terrorists may be planning another attack like last week’s horror-filled bloodbath at a military school. (VOA

The Americas

Haitian Health Minister Florence Duperval Guillaume was named interim prime minister on Sunday to replace Laurent Lamothe, who resigned a week ago following several weeks of protests. (Reuters

President Barack Obama said his plan to normalize relations with Cuba gives the U.S. a chance to influence events at an important moment of change for the communist nation, and he brushed off critics who accuse him of kowtowing to dictators. (AP


Chagas disease is turning up in (un)likely places. Who is ready for it? (PLOS Public Health

Fifty shades of poor (Good Governance Africa

Are anthropologists better than you think? (Marginal Revolution

Sierra Leone’s hookworms (The Lancet Global Health Blog

The ICC’s Rough December (UN Dispatch

Africa is a Country recommends: Books of 2014 (Africa is a Country

The Peshawar school massacre united Pakistan – but cracks are already showing (The Guardian

The Boons and Banes: The Slippery Slope from Humanitarian Drones to Dehumanizing Drones (CIHA Blog

Report: Socio-Economic Impacts of the Ebola Virus Disease on Africa (Development Diaries