Mark Zuckerberg CEO of Facebook Speaks in Trusteeship Council Chambers During the Interactive Dialogues Of the SDG Summit on Fostering sustainable economic Growth, Transformation and Promoting sustainable consumption and production.

Chan-Zukerberg’s plan to end all diseases is not as audacious as it sounds

Think of it as a privately funded NIH. Some interesting analysis here. “In a world where tech billionaires have eponymous charities to cure allergies, cancer, and infectious diseases, Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan’s $3 billion announcement  [Wednesday] can seem like the endgame of one-upmanship. Oh, you’re going to cure some diseases? We at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative going to cure ALL diseases. By the end of the century, natch. The cynics among us are already eye rolling. But here’s another way to think about it: Zuckerberg and Chan aren’t trying to cure the hundreds of diseases out there—at least not in the way that charities focused on a single disease typically do. Rather than funding direct cures, the initiative will fund basic science research, asking questions like how cells divide or how proteins fold. Questions that are far removed from a hospital room but could eventually lead to fundamental breakthroughs.” (The Atlantic


Limited aid convoys resume in Syria…The United Nations resumed aid convoys to besieged communities in Syria on Thursday for the first time since a deadly attack on trucks loaded with supplies on Monday. A 25-truck convoy left Damascus with supplies for 40,000 people in Moadamiya, a suburb of the capital, according to Jan Egeland, a United Nations special adviser for humanitarian affairs. Officials later said that the convoy had arrived in the afternoon, after lengthy delays but without incident. The United Nations had trucks loaded and ready to leave for other besieged towns before the end of the week, including Madaya, Kfarya, Fouaa and Zabadani, Mr. Egeland told reporters in Geneva.” (NYT


A Peace Deal in Afghanistan…Negotiators in Afghanistan on Thursday signed a draft of a long-awaited peace agreement that would bring a notorious former warlord into the government fold while forgiving allegations that he was responsible for serious war crimes. The deal commits Gulbuddin Hekmatyar – a chameleon-like militia commander, former CIA asset, prime minister and ally of the Taliban and Osama bin Laden who has been involved in fighting in Afghanistan for four decades – to renounce violence, cut ties to extremist groups and respect the Afghan constitution.” (LAT  


Quote of the day: “It’s as if the planes are trying to compensate for all the days they didn’t drop bombs” during the ceasefire, Ammar al-Selmo, the head of the civil defense rescue service in opposition-held eastern Aleppo, describing last night’s airstrikes. (Reuters


Award of the day: A volunteer group that rescues civilians from bombed-out buildings in Syria on Thursday won the Right Livelihood Award, sometimes referred to as the “Alternative Nobel,” together with activists from Egypt and Russia and a Turkish newspaper. (AP




Nigeria’s president has called for the UN to mediate with militant Islamist group Boko Haram to secure the release of schoolgirls it is holding captive. (BBC


United States has hinted the possibility of recalling its current Ambassador to South Sudan over the ongoing “documented” atrocities committed by the leadership of South Sudan under her watch. (Sudan Tribune


Seven people were killed overnight in an attack in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo blamed on Ugandan rebel group the Allied Democratic Forces, the army said Thursday. (AFP


Gabon oil workers stayed at home from Thursday over concerns about potential violence when a court delivers a final verdict on the central African country’s disputed election result, their union said. (Reuters


The U.N. human rights chief strongly condemned this week’s fatal shooting of anti-government protesters in Democratic Republic of Congo and urged the government on Thursday to seek dialogue with the opposition. (Reuters


Cameroon is organizing group weddings for refugees who fled the Boko Haram conflict in Nigeria and intercommunal violence in the Central African Republic. (VOA


A coalition of human rights groups called on African Union leaders Thursday to abandon consideration of plans to urge withdrawal of its members from the International Criminal Court. (VOA


The European Investment Bank is set to lend Ethiopia $200 million to build two industry parks that will employ 30,000 refugees in a move aimed at curbing migration to Europe, the bank said. (VOA


Nigeria would welcome United Nations representatives as intermediaries in any talks with Boko Haram on the release of about 200 schoolgirls kidnapped from the northeastern village of Chibok in 2014, President Muhammadu Buhari said on Thursday.  (Reuters



Iraqi forces backed by air strikes from the U.S.-led coalition gained complete control of the northern district of Shirqat on Thursday, bringing the military a step closer to a main push on Mosul later this year. (Reuters


The death toll from an Arab coalition air strike which hit a house in a residential area in western Yemen has risen to 26 people, medics and residents in the Houthi-held area said on Thursday, and the alliance said it was looking into the report. (Reuters


President Bashar al-Assad said in an interview with AP News broadcast on Thursday that Syria’s war will “drag on” as long as it is part of a global conflict funded and interfered in by other countries. (Reuters


Yemeni rebels and their allies on Thursday accused an American detained in the capital of providing target coordinates for air strikes by their foes in a Saudi-led coalition. (AFP


The United Nations said it was possible that countries backing the Syria peace process would agree on Thursday to salvage a collapsed ceasefire, and that it was still working to restart peace talks within weeks. (Reuters


A Bahraini appeals court on Thursday upheld an order dissolving the country’s main Shiite opposition group despite international criticism of the Sunni-ruled Gulf kingdom’s intensified crackdown on dissent. (AFP


Rescuers brought more bodies ashore Thursday after a boat crowded with migrants capsized off the Egyptian coast, leaving at least 55 people dead and dozens missing. (AFP




Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen declared a political “ceasefire” on Thursday following a wave of prosecutions of opposition members that government critics say is politically motivated in the run-up to elections that Hun Sen fears losing. (Reuters


Authorities in Indian-controlled Kashmir have charged a leading human rights activist under a controversial security law after immediately taking him back into custody when a local court ordered him freed from police detention. (AP


An ambitious plan by the Sri Lankan government to outfit 100,000 homes with solar panels, to turn them into power producers for the national grid, may be too expensive for many families to afford, experts warn. (Reuters


A court in Hanoi rejected an appeal by a prominent Vietnamese blogger on Thursday and upheld his five-year prison sentence for anti-state writings. (AP


Facing international pressure for failing to stop human trafficking in the seafood trade, Thailand promised almost a year ago to compensate victims of slavery and industry leaders vowed to bring all shrimp processing in-house. (AP


Afghanistan’s government signed a draft peace deal on Thursday with a designated “global terrorist” after lengthy negotiations that could pave the way for a similar accord with the Taliban, who have been waging war on Kabul for 15 years. (AP


The Americas


Hundreds of National Guard troops and police reinforcements converged on Charlotte Thursday to help keep the peace, officials said, after a second night of violent protests over the police shooting of a black man. (AP


Foes of President Nicolas Maduro vowed protests and accused Venezuela’s election authority on Thursday of ignoring voters by dashing hopes for a referendum this year on recalling the unpopular socialist leader. (Reuters


Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet said during a United Nations General Assembly panel on LGBT rights on Wednesday that she would send a bill legalizing gay marriage to Congress in the first half of 2017. (VOA


Venezuelans struggling to feed their families, let alone their pets, during the country’s deep economic crisis are increasingly abandoning emaciated dogs in streets, public parks and makeshift shelters because they no longer can afford to care for them. (VOA


Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Wednesday warned leftist rebels that their illicit fortune would be seized and used to pay reparations to war victims should voters approve a peace agreement in an Oct. 2 plebiscite. (VOA


Power was slowly being restored in Puerto Rico on Thursday, nearly 24 hours after a blackout swept across the island when a fire at a power plant set off a cascade of problems that knocked out the aging utility grid. (AP


Bus drivers in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, paralysed the city for eight hours on Wednesday by blocking the streets with their vehicles to protest against the country’s economic crisis. (BBC


The United States unveiled plans on Thursday to ramp up efforts to end female genital mutilation after figures showed more than half of million women and girls were living at risk. (Reuters


…and the rest


Most of the roughly 60,000 refugees and other migrants stranded in Greece are living in “appalling conditions” and face “immense and avoidable suffering,” rights group Amnesty International said in a report Thursday slamming Europe’s response to the refugee crisis. (AP


Serbia has arrested 16 people suspected of trafficking refugees from the Middle East, Asia and Africa, as part of increased efforts to stem the flow of illegal migrants trying to reach Western Europe, the interior ministry said on Thursday. (Reuters


Britain has raised concerns with Hungary over a description of areas of London, Paris and Brussels as “no-go” areas dominated by illegal immigrants who increase the risk of militant attacks. (Reuters


The planet could pass a key target on world temperature rise in about a decade, prompting accelerating loss of glaciers, steep declines in water availability, worsening land conflicts and deepening poverty, scientists said this week. (Reuters




A rare thing happened at the UN this week: Leaders agreed to fix a problem BEFORE it becomes a full blown crisis. (UN Dispatch


Africa: Why Western Economists Get It Wrong (Africa is a Country


The Best News You Don’t Know (NY Times


Celebrating James Barnor – the first photographer to shoot Ghana in color (Guardian


Why are these newborns in cardboard boxes? (CNN


Julia Gillard: ‘We’ve made progress in education and gender equality – but more must be done’ (Guardian


Fees Must Fall’: Anatomy of the Student Protests in South Africa (NY Times


Public health: Beating Ebola (Nature


Aid and Afghanistan’s future (Devpolicy Blog


Breast-feeding should be a global priority (Devex