A Massacre in Kenya

At least 147 people were killed when al Shebaab militants attacked a college campus in the Kenyan town of Garissa, not far from the border with Somalia. This is the single worst terrorist incident in Kenya since the 1998 embassy bombings. “Masked men burst into the Garissa University College in the early morning raid and reportedly singled out Christian students, separating them from Muslim peers before murdering them. Hours after the assualt began, security forces stormed the campus building in a bid to rescue the remaining hostages. After the raid, Kenya’s National Disaster Operations Centre tweeted: “The operation at Garissa University College has ended, with all four terrorists killed.” It said 147 fatalities had been confirmed in the attack. The center later added that 587 students had been evacuated, 79 with injuries. “All students have been accounted for,” the Disaster Operations Centre tweeted.” (Al Jazeera

Diplomacy, FTW…A nuclear deal has been struck!  Iran and the world powers said here Thursday that they had reached a surprisingly specific and comprehensive general understanding about the next steps in limiting Tehran’s nuclear program, though Western officials said many details needed to be resolved before a final agreement in June. There was no mistaking the upbeat mood surrounding the announcement, following eight days of intense debate between Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif. “We have stopped a cycle that is not in the interest of anybody,” an exuberant Mr. Zarif said at a news conference after the announcement. Speaking from the White House, President Obama made a strong case for the deal, saying that it “cuts off every pathway” for Iran to develop a nuclear weapon and that it establishes the most intrusive inspections system in history. “If Iran cheats,” he said, “the world will know it.” (NYT

Plus: IAEA weapons inspections are the lynchpin of this deal. Mark speaks with a former nuclear inspector who offers a grounds-eye view of how these inspections actually work. (Global Dispatches Podcast


Members of a UN police unit in the West African country of Mali used “unauthorized and excessive force” in fatally shooting three civilians and wounding four others during a protest in January, the UN announced Thursday. (AP 

Amnesty International says Gambia has sentenced three soldiers to death after a secret trial in which they were convicted of participating in an attempted coup. (AP

The Malian government and a U.N. agency plan to try to revive farming in the desert northern region, which has been badly hit by drought and conflict, and have pledged $5 million for the first phase of the scheme, U.N. officials said. (Reuters

An experimental Ebola vaccine tested on humans in Europe and Africa sparks the production of the antibodies needed to neutralise the deadly virus, a Geneva hospital said Wednesday. (AFP

The West African nations of Sierra Leone and Liberia both appear to be on a steady path to ending the epidemic — the wild card is Guinea, where Ebola hasn’t burned as hot but remains stubbornly entrenched. (AP

The expiry of Congolese President Joseph Kabila’s second mandate next year, a crucial test of governance, risks exposing the limitations of Western donors trying to promote democracy and transparency in return for the billions they have spent on aid. (Reuters

A curfew imposed in Nigeria’s southern Rivers state to contain unrest after the opposition disputed results from the weekend’s general elections was lifted on Thursday, an official said. (AFP

Technology played a decisive role in helping Muhammadu Buhari become the first Nigerian to oust a sitting president at the ballot box, from social media campaigning to biometric machines preventing the widespread rigging that marred past polls. (Reuters

In the face of a growing threat from extreme weather, Tanzania’s parliament has adopted a law to help authorities cope with emergencies and shield vulnerable communities from disaster risks. (TRF


As the conflict in Yemen escalates further, the situation of children affected by grave child rights violations has considerably deteriorated with many children either maimed or killed. (UNICEF

Women traveling to join Islamic State militants are no longer just seeking to become “jihadi brides” but are taking on new roles, on the frontline in logistics and intelligence and as medics, according to military and expert sources. (TRF

Syrian rebels and fighters from the al-Qaida-affiliated Nusra Front have captured the only functioning border crossing with Jordan and three nearby military posts, prompting intense government bombing raids of the area, activists said Thursday. (AP

Washington is planning to increase the number of Syrian refugees allowed to resettle in the United States, mostly for vulnerable cases, a U.S. official said Thursday. (AP


Residents in storm wrecked areas of Micronesia appealed for help Thursday as a clean up began on the worst affected islands after Super Typhoon Maysak swept through the region on its way towards the Philippines. (AFP

Under the new constitution being drawn up by a committee appointed by Thailand’s junta and tasked with protecting the country from “parliamentary dictatorship”, the architects of last year’s military coup would enjoy immunity from prosecution. (Reuters

The United Nations joined international rights groups Thursday in criticizing a decision by Thailand’s military government to invoke a law that gives the junta chief near-absolute authority without any accountability. (AP

North Korea has expelled the country director of one of the few foreign aid groups to operate in its territory. (Guardian

The Americas

More than 750 plaintiffs are suing the Johns Hopkins Hospital System Corp. over its role in a series of medical experiments in Guatemala in the 1940s and 1950s during which subjects were infected with venereal diseases. (AP

A helicopter taking part in the emergency relief effort in flood-hit northern Chile has crashed, killing all four people on board, the air force said Thursday. (AFP

The death toll from floods devastating northern Chile has risen by one to at least 24, officials said Wednesday, as President Michelle Bachelet cancelled a trip to a regional summit to cope with the crisis. (AFP

Officials say Brazil’s biggest city had its rainiest March since 2008, but it’s still suffering effects of the worst drought in more than 80 years. Reservoir levels remain critically low and water experts fear the onset of the dry season means Sao Paulo may have to impose strict water rationing. (AP

From clandestine meetings to guerrilla-style broadcasts, an amorphous and quixotic “resistance” movement has emerged across Venezuela aspiring to force President Nicolas Maduro from power and end 16 years of socialist rule in the OPEC nation. (Reuters

…and the rest

The World Bank must “completely overhaul” a funding model built on heavy investment in financial companies that leaves the organisation with little control over where its money ends up, a group of NGOs has warned. (Guardian

The SDGs fail to address one of the planet’s most urgent environmental problems: changes in soil nitrogen and phosphorous cycles, a meeting on the goals has heard. (SciDevNet

An estimated 53 million people – the vast majority of them women – are employed as domestic workers around the world. These workers are an increasingly powerful economic force: worldwide, they account for nearly 4% of all wage employment and 7.5% of female employees. (Guardian

A self-styled ‘ultrasensitive’ malaria test could lead to more accurate identification of the potentially significant pool of people who carry the disease without showing any symptoms, a paper has found. (SciDevNet


The Kids Brainwashed By Boko Haram Were Silent For Good Reason (NPR

Can Nigeria’s election inspire wave of African democracy? (AFP

Curbing Tobacco Use – One Step Forward, Two Steps Back (Inter Press Service

Africa’s Youth – We All Have a Role to Play in the Ebola Response (Ebola Deeply

Where Does Nigeria Go From Here? (Inter Press Service

Who would lead Africa’s data revolution? (Ghana Business News

The Audacity of ‘Somali Studies’ (Africa is a Country

Not Free Vaccines, Mr. Gates, Just Sustainably-priced Ones (Policy Innovations