A large and strategically important Nigerian city came under heavy assault by Boko Haram fighters as John Kerry met with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan in Lagos. If Maiduguri falls to Boko Haram, it could portend a massive humanitarian emergency.  “People in Maiduguri woke up to the sound of explosions and heavy gunfire as Boko Haram launched a pre-dawn attack on this strategic city. Ground troops, air strikes and local vigilantes managed to stop the jihadists from penetrating the city. Much of the fighting was around a barracks. In a separate attack the town of Monguno was captured – the latest to be seized by the group. With the insurgents gaining more and more territory Maiduguri is increasingly vulnerable. It is home to tens of thousands of people who have fled their homes because of the conflict.” (BBC http://bbc.in/1zLyn1J)

Post-Ebola Reforms Coming to the WHO?

The World Health Organization held a major meeting on Sunday that took a sharp look at the failures of the WHO’s response to the ebola outbreak. Member states proposed new measures to prevent a repeat of this disaster. “In a resolution adopted by WHO’s executive board, nearly 60 countries called on the agency to take “immediately necessary steps” to enact measures including the creation of an emergency fund to respond to health crises. Britain’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Sally Davies, announced the U.K. would donate $10 million to the proposed fund. The resolution also called for the establishment of a reserve of health workers to battle epidemics, but didn’t specify how large this workforce would be. WHO conceded that, despite public expectations that it can respond quickly to health emergencies, it simply is not designed to do that.” (AP http://yhoo.it/1JHE6FL)

Africa

South African authorities have re-established order — for now — in Soweto and other Johannesburg townships, after a week of looting of foreign-owned shops and violence in which four people were killed. (AP http://yhoo.it/1JHFdFt)

Around 1,500 people including the prime minister marched Saturday in Senegal against caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed in the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1JHFPL8)

Democratic Republic of Congo’s lawmakers will remove part of an electoral reform bill that the opposition says was aimed at keeping President Joseph Kabila in power, the head of the national assembly said on Sunday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1JHFJDj)

Zambia’s defence minister Edgar Lungu, of the ruling Patriotic Front, has narrowly won the country’s presidential race, the electoral commission announced after an election marred by delays. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1tdo2cu)

Nigerian Sunni jihadist group Boko Haram released about 190 captives, who returned to their community in the northeast state of Yobe between Friday and Saturday, while other people were still being held, local and state officials said. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/15I0KRW)

A steep fall in Ebola cases in Liberia will make it hard to prove whether experimental vaccines work in a major clinical trial about to start in the country, the head of the U.S. National Institutes of Health said. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1utDxsf)

Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete announced a cabinet reshuffle on Saturday, after two ministers and the attorney general lost their jobs over an energy scandal that caused Western donors to delay aid. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1utDw7H)

This month marks the first anniversary at the helm of the Central African Republic for interim President Catherine Samba-Panza. Elected as sectarian violence raged across the country, she has a Herculean task: to end the civil war and put the country back on the right track. (VOA http://bit.ly/1Bq0fGG)

MENA

A woman protester was shot dead in central Cairo on Saturday, security sources said, one day before the anniversary of the popular uprising that ousted autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1tdo3gD)

The Syrian ambassador to the United Nations, Bashar Jaafari, will head the government team in peace talks due to open in Moscow on Monday, a pro-government newspaper reported. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1tdnJyq)

Asia

Nepal’s ruling coalition on Sunday took a step toward drafting a new constitution, angering the opposition and pushing the Himalayan country further into political turmoil. (AP http://yhoo.it/1JHDYGi)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said a climate deal between the United States and China does not put pressure on India, but that global warming itself was reason to take action. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1JHELXR)

More than 30 police commandos were killed in a clash with Muslim insurgents Sunday in the southern Philippines in the biggest single-day combat loss for Filipino forces in many years, officials said. (AP http://yhoo.it/1JHF4lv)

The Americas

U.N. officials are encouraging Haiti to hold transparent and inclusive elections as they praise the government for trying to stabilize the country’s political situation. (AP http://yhoo.it/1JHFB70)

Venezuela: Thousands of opponents of President Nicolas Maduro marched in the capital Saturday to denounce the socialist government for a deepening economic crisis marked by widespread shortages and galloping inflation. (AP http://yhoo.it/1tdo1VV)

A journalist credited with being the first to report the gunshot death of federal prosecutor Alberto Nisman has left Argentina because of fear for his safety. (AP http://yhoo.it/1BpZjlF)

Opinion/Blogs

On deflated balls and public attention (Humanosphere http://bit.ly/1upKEls)

The Potential Impact Of Big Data On Medicine (NPR http://n.pr/1utDJaM)

State-building and local autonomy in South Sudan (Rachel Strohm http://bit.ly/1zaLCtd)

Leveraging Tech Innovations in Development (CFR http://on.cfr.org/1JpZWzb)

Justice for the Central African Republic? (UN Dispatch http://bit.ly/1Jq02aj)

Technology and structural discrimination: thoughts on a recent discussion (Find What Works http://bit.ly/1zaLSbx)

Grading the 2015 Bill and Melinda Gates letter on poverty alleviation (The Washington Post http://wapo.st/1Jq0aGP)

Why the gender employment gap hampers prosperity (The Guardian http://bit.ly/1EJ54vK)

The great Ethiopian media crackdown – and why this affects all Africans (Daily Maverick http://bit.ly/1EJ59zx)

The Pledge (Owen abroad http://bit.ly/1zaLgmb)

Discussion

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