Top of the Morning: Syria in Crisis; Money Quote from a Donor

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US Convening “Friends of Syria” Meeting Amid Another Deadly Day in the Siege of Homs

Scores more people were killed in Homs in yet another day of bombardment by Syrian forces. In the meantime, the USA is planning the next step in post-UN diplomatic action. “The Obama administration is working to help organize a so-called “friends of Syria” meeting as part of what the State Department says is a push to work “outside the U.N. system,” after the Security Council shot down a resolution against Syrian President Bashar Assad…The State Department said Thursday that its top Mideast envoy, Jeffrey Feltman, has been dispatched to Morocco, France and Bahrain to help put the “friends” meeting together and determine the group’s membership and mandate.  Arab League foreign ministers are due to meet Sunday in Cairo and could announce a date and venue for the meeting after that.” (FoxNews

Syria in Crisis (With so much going on, we thought to include a special section)

Two explosions targeted government compounds in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on Friday causing an unspecified number of casualties in a major city seen as key to President Bashar Assad’s grip on power.  (CBS

The US Ambassador to Syria (now recalled) posts to his Facebook page satellite imagery showing artillery sites in Homs. (Facebook

This excellent New York Times articles that shows the Syrian struggle through the eyes of refugees in Jordan. (NYT

Syrian officials suspected of committing or ordering crimes against humanity should face prosecution in the International Criminal Court, the United Nations human rights office said on Friday. (Reuters

Money Quote from a Donor. The Gates Foundation announced $7.7 million in 10 new grants for diagnosing TB in low-resource settings. “There is an urgent need to break through barriers in biomarker research in order to develop a highly-sensitive point-of-care diagnostic to improve identification of active TB cases,” said Chris Wilson, Director of Global Health Discovery at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “We hope these innovative ideas lead to effective and affordable TB diagnostics that can make an impact on one of the world’s deadliest infectious diseases.” (Gates Foundation