Top of the Morning: Gaza Conflict Widens; Big Changes at the Global Fund; Previewing Obama’s Asia Trip

Top stories from DAWNS Digest.

Gaza Conflict Widens. Hamas Targets Tel Aviv; Israel Readies Ground Assault; Egypt Tries To Intervene

At least 3 Israelis and 18 Palestinians have been killed so far in the violence, which is escalating rapidly and with no end in sight. The Egyptian prime minister visited Gaza in a bid to negotiate a truce, but to no avail. “Palestinian militants targeted densely populated Tel Aviv in Israel’s heartland with rockets for the first time Thursday, part of an unprecedented barrage that threatened to provoke an Israeli ground assault on Gaza. Three Israelis were killed. Air raid sirens wailed and panicked residents ran for cover in Tel Aviv, Israel’s commercial and cultural capital. Israel responded by moving troops and heavy weapons toward Gaza and authorizing the call-up of tens of thousands of reservists.” (AP

Big, Big Changes at the Global Fund

The Global Fund to Fight HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria had a rather momentous meeting today. Some highlights: 1) The board appointed the former US Global AIDS Coordinator Mark Dybul as the new Executive Director. 2) The former inspector general, an independent investigator looking into alleged improprieties, was fired. 3) The board endorsed brand new funding procedures to replaced the round-based grants that the fund has disbursed since its inception. 4) The Affordable Medicines Facility for Malaria will survive, albeit as a subsidiary of the global fund. Details of each of these decisions were posted to the Global Fund’s website late yesterday. (Global Fund

Previewing President Obama’s Historic Weekend Trip to South East Asia

President Obama sets sail for Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia this weekend in a very-big-deal trip for the region. Council on Foreign Relations Fellow Joshua Kurlantzick offers up a curtain raiser. “As President Barack Obama sets off this weekend for a historic trip to Southeast Asia, he arrives at a high point for himself —and a low point for the region. Obama, making his first trip since winning re-election at the polls, will be the first sitting American president to visit Myanmar. The country has undoubtedly embarked upon historic reforms, yet is also embroiled in brutal ethnic violence. Thailand, another stop on Obama’s trip, is bracing for what could be a hugely disruptive leadership succession fight. In Cambodia, he will attend the East Asia Summit, as well as the Summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), an organization in the throes of a crisis.” (CFR