Gayle Smith

Meet Your Next USAID Administrator?

President Obama nominated Gayle Smith to serve as the next administrator of USAID. Smith is a longtime Africa hand and co-founder of the Enough Project. She’s served as the top global development official on the national security council since the start of the Obama administration. She will need senate approval, but that probably will not be too much of a hurdle. “Ms. Smith should be able to match Dr. Shah’s success, said Liz Schrayer, president of theU.S. Global Leadership Coalition, a group of businesses and nonprofits that supports development, in part because she has backed the same initiatives. ‘Gayle supports prioritizing economic growth and making sure countries have skin in the game and are committed to real reform,’ Ms. Schrayer said. ‘That’s where I think Republicans who have been supportive of Raj will be supportive of Gayle.’” (NYT

Quote of the Day: Francois Hollande, referring to the fact that French soldiers are accused of sexually abusing young boys in the Central African Republic.  “If some soldiers have behaved badly, I will show no mercy.”  (AFP

Good news from Nepal: Crowds cheered Thursday as a teenage boy was pulled, dazed and dusty, from the wreckage of a seven-story Kathmandu building that collapsed around him five days ago when an enormous earthquake shook Nepal. (AP


At least nine protesters were hurt in Burundi’s capital Thursday in renewed clashes over a bid by the country’s president to stand for a third term, the Red Cross said. (AFP

UN rights experts on Thursday warned that Burundi could lapse into fresh conflict following the president’s move to extend his mandate in upcoming polls which has provoked deadly clashes. (AFP

The leader of a Ugandan rebel group with alleged links to Al-Qaeda has been arrested in Tanzania, state-owned Ugandan media reported Thursday. (AFP

Nigeria’s military said on Wednesday it had transported nearly 300 women and girls rescued from Boko Haram to the hilly border town of Gwoza, as it seeks clues to the whereabouts of other girls whose abduction last year provoked international outrage. (Reuters

Kenya’s interior minister on Thursday admitted that intelligence was ignored and the security response botched regarding the Islamist massacre of nearly 150 people at Garissa university in April. (AFP

Kenya will not forcibly repatriate some 336,000 Somalis living in one of the world’s largest refugee camps, but the government intends to continue with its plans to close the camp within three months for security reasons, a government official said. (TRF

Other African nations should stop their citizens from migrating to South Africa to prevent violence against foreigners, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. (Reuters

A day after the Nigerian army celebrated the rescue of 200 girls and 93 women in the forest stronghold of Boko Haram, the army’s spokesman said more women and children believed to have been abducted by the Islamic extremists were rescued as firefights broke out there. (AP

The risk of disease is rising in camps for people displaced by Boko Haram violence because of deteriorating sanitary conditions, relief workers in northeast Nigeria said Thursday. (AFP


Jordan’s overland trade has largely been paralyzed by recent border attacks from insurgents in neighboring Syria and Iraq — a spillover of regional turmoil threatening a close Western ally that has thus far succeeded in fending off Islamic militants. (AP

Norway said Thursday it would increase its financial aid to Syrian refugees to nearly $134 million and would send another vessel to help patrol the Mediterranean. (AFP

The head of the European Union’s humanitarian aid department warned on Thursday that the situation in Iraq is deteriorating rapidly while the world is preoccupied with crises elsewhere. (AP

The International Committee of the Red Cross says it is concerned about a rise in civilian casualties as the Taliban wage their spring offensive. (AP

Hardline Islamists fighting side-by-side with groups backed by the United States have made gains in northern Syria in recent weeks while showing rare unity, which some fear may be short-lived. (Reuters


The UN launched a $415 million appeal for survivors of Nepal’s massive earthquake as coordinators warned Thursday that it might take a five-day trek to deliver relief supplies to some of the worst-hit rural areas. (AFP

Relief efforts to help millions of Nepalis reeling from the aftermath of a massive earthquake must be scaled up, the United Nations said, launching a $415 million appeal on Wednesday as survivors grew frustrated at the slow delivery of aid. (TRF


A Pakistani court jailed 10 men for 25 years each on Thursday for involvement in the 2012 shooting of teenage activist Malala Yousafzai, targeted for her campaign against Taliban efforts to deny girls education. (Reuters

Beijing authorities have fined U.S.-based J.R. Simplot’s China processing unit, which supplies frozen french fries to McDonald’s Corp, $632,370 for water pollution, state media and Simplot said. (Reuters

Chinese solar companies, some already heavily indebted, will need to raise many billions of dollars this year to fund a big expansion in capacity, a major test of investor confidence in a sector hit hard by the global financial crisis. (Reuters

The Americas

Thousands demonstrated in US East Coast cities demanding equal treatment for all by police, after a young African American died of injuries sustained in custody in Baltimore. (AFP

More than 100 people were injured in violent clashes between protesters and police in the Brazilian city of Curitiba, where teachers were marching to oppose a change to state pensions, the city’s mayor said. (Reuters

Legislators in Puerto Rico struck down a key part of a plan to overhaul the island’s tax system early Thursday, raising concerns about the U.S. territory’s economic future and its ability to pay off a heavy public debt. (AP

President Barack Obama has failed to live up to a campaign promise to push through immigration legislation, but he has met a post-election pledge to slow deportations with or without approval from Congress. (AP

Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet is endorsing anti-corruption measures and launching a dialogue for a new constitution after a series of recent scandals. (AP

Guyana’s Health Minister Bheri Ramsaran was fired on Wednesday for threatening to slap and strip a female rights activist in an altercation caught on tape outside a court. (Reuters

…and the rest

To make development efforts more sustainable, businesses need incentives to invest in community-level climate change adaptation programs – but resistance to creating those incentives is still strong, climate change specialists said this week in Nairobi. (TRF

A new global deal on climate change, due to be agreed in Paris this year, must pave the way for an ambitious rise in funding for developing countries as their climate-related costs grow, the head of the U.N.’s key climate fund said. (TRF


Did Nepal Dodge a Bullet? Mark speaks with a top USAID Disaster Risk Reduction expert who explains how a combination of luck and preparedness might have kept the death toll lower than it otherwise could have been. (Global Dispatches Podcast

Can you hear me now? Why good communication is critical to the Nepal quake response (IRIN

Open Letter to The Media, re: Nepal Earthquake (Aid Speak

What’s at stake when Ethiopians vote next month (Africa is a Country

In Niger, Hunger Grows amid Regional Instability (Global Observatory

How can grassroots aid programmes influence the wider system? (From Poverty to Power

Nepal earthquake: a disaster that shows quakes don’t kill people, buildings do (Guardian

Typologies of (Anti-) Corruption — How Much More Boring Can It Get? Or Maybe Not… (Global Anticorruption Blog

How Western media would cover Baltimore if it happened elsewhere (Washington Post

Want a Steady Income? There’s an App for That (New York Times

Service Info: It’s like Yelp…but for refugees (Marketplace

Briefing: Is Mali’s peace process in peril? (IRIN