News in the Humanosphere: Pope kicks off global goals summit at the U.N.

The summit for the Global Goals on Sustainable Development begins at the United Nations today. Countries will agree on the 17 goals that set out the global agenda for the next 15 years on issues like ending poverty, improving health and mitigating climate change. The first speaker will be the Pope, who spoke about inequality and climate change in Congress yesterday. President Obama will be one of the last speakers on Sunday. In between are more than 150 heads of state.

Follow correspondent Tom Murphy on Twitter for live updates from New York throughout the weekend. Here are some additional resources to help you follow along this weekend:

Good rundown of the Global Goals from Council on Foreign Relations:  http://on.cfr.org/1iz7Fm9

15-minute wonky podcast explainer on the Sustainable Development Goals.  (Global Dispatches Podcast http://bit.ly/1iz6inJ)

Tragedy in Saudi Arabia
At least 717 people taking part in the Hajj pilgrimage died in a stampede near the Islamic holy city of Mecca, officials in Saudi Arabia say. Another 863 people were injured in the incident at Mina, which occurred as 2 million pilgrims were taking part in the Hajj’s last major rite. It is the deadliest incident to occur during the pilgrimage in 25 years. King Salman has ordered an urgent review of this year’s Hajj plans “to improve the level of organization.” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of Iran, which lost at least 95 of its citizens in the crush, has criticized Saudi Arabia’s preparedness. It is the second disaster to strike Mecca in two weeks, after a crane collapsed at the Grand Mosque, killing 109 people. (BBC http://bbc.in/1iz87AQ)

Africa

People rejoiced in Burkina Faso’s capital Thursday, a day after the military restored power to a civilian regime, but uncertainty hung over the fate of the elite presidential guard that staged last week’s coup. (AFP http://bit.ly/1izaKTd)

Ugandan opposition parties said they have failed to unite behind a single presidential candidate for next year’s vote, potentially weakening their challenge to veteran leader Yoweri Museveni. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1jfFWYi)

The International Criminal Court unveiled Thursday 60 new war crimes charges against the deputy leader of Uganda’s brutal Lord’s Resistance Army, including using child soldiers and keeping sex slaves. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1PzcEyb)

An international rights group accused the Rwandan government Thursday of rounding up “undesirables,” including beggars and prostitutes, and holding them in a grim detention center to promote the capital’s clean image. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1Ky05ls)

Villagers in Zimbabwe are skipping meals and foraging for wild fruit as food stocks run out after a poor harvest blamed on drought and controversial land reforms. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1KxZXm5)

Whether it’s selling pensions, pasta or toothpicks, investors in Africa have been targeting the booming middle class. But a year of diving commodity prices has exposed how much the continent, and its consumers, still rely on exporting resources. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1gSIIkC)

The White House announced a further $41 million contribution to support Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad fight Boko Haram.

The Boko Haram insurgency has sent millions of Nigerians fleeing from the northeast, and despite recent military successes against the group, many say they have no plans to return home. (VOA http://bit.ly/1izavI0)

Why Africa is becoming more accessible to investors. (US News and World Report http://bit.ly/1izbbwN)

MENA

Bombings at a mosque killed at least 25 people  in Yemen on Thursday during prayers to commemorate the beginning of Eid al-Adha, a major Muslim holiday, Interior Ministry officials said. (NYT http://nyti.ms/1iz9G1P)

President Obama on Thursday accepted an invitation to meet Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, as a drive to revive efforts to resolve the Syrian conflict kicked into higher gear. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1PzcHds)

Iraq’s Yazidi minority – the target of brutal attacks by the Islamic State group – on Thursday urged the International Criminal Court to investigate the militants for allegations of genocide and sexual slavery. (AFP http://bit.ly/1iza9Rx)

An agreement was reached Thursday between the warring parties in Syria for a six-month truce in the rebel-held town of Zabadani and two Shiite towns in the northwest, a monitor said.  (AFP http://bit.ly/1izaeET)

A report on displacement and violence in the Lake Chad region. (UNHCR http://bit.ly/1izazr1)

Asia

Nepal’s top political parties on Thursday reached out to protesters angry about the country’s new constitution, after violence in the region bordering India halted more than 1,000 oil tankers and trucks with essential supplies from entering Nepal. (AP http://yhoo.it/1Ky05lu)

Myanmar has defended a decision barring 800,000 ethnic minority people from voting in November elections by saying that green card holders can’t vote in U.S. elections either. (AP http://yhoo.it/1LASMLW)

Myanmar: A 12-year-old child was killed and several elderly residents were injured on Wednesday when the embankment of a tailing pond at a mine site collapsed, triggering a landslide and flooding in the nearby village of Kanbauk, Tenasserim Division, some 77 kilometres north of the region’s capital Dawei. (Democratic Voice of Burma http://bit.ly/1izaBiB)

Seeking to warm bilateral ties and project a sunny climate for U.S. business, Chinese President Xi Jinping vowed on Wednesday to cut restrictions on foreign investment, while his chief Internet regulator appeared to lay the groundwork for a basic agreement later this week on cyber warfare. (Reuters http://reut.rs/1izbGqT)

India will confirm plans next week for a fivefold increase in renewable energy production by 2020, the environment minister said Thursday. But it will continue to champion poor countries in demanding that industrialized nations assume the brunt of responsibility for decades of climate-warming emissions. (AP http://yhoo.it/1jfHUYW)

The Americas

Peace deal in Colombia
Following the historic peace dialogue between Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and the leader of the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), ‘Timoshenko,’ reactions range from strong criticism to guarded optimism. (NBC http://nbcnews.to/1iz8HPh)

Pope Francis met for lunch with 200 people who are homeless or living in poverty in Washington on Thursday and told them there was no social or moral justification for homelessness. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1Vcfosb)

A looming federal budget confrontation and Republican hostility to U.N. global-warming talks threaten a U.S. down payment into a key climate-aid fund, money considered vital to a climate deal in Paris this December. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1NXujlT)

Here’s the text of Pope Francis’ speech to Congress. (CNN  http://cnn.it/1iz9bVk)

...and the rest

Austria has sent back more than 5,000 migrants to EU countries that they had crossed on their way to Austria, its interior minister said on Thursday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1JswohH)

European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans said on Thursday that unless the migrant crisis in Europe was addressed properly there would be a surge of right-wing extremism across the continent. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1jfHJwD)

David Beckham is urging world leaders to put children at the center of the ambitious set of global initiatives that will be adopted Friday at the United Nations. (AP http://yhoo.it/1Ky05C7)

Opinion/Blogs

Can the SDGs be achieved by 2030? (ODI http://bit.ly/1iz8Thc)

You Can’t Fight Poverty With a Concert (The Nation http://bit.ly/1JsGH5o)

What is China’s Online Future? (The World http://bit.ly/1iz9saM)

The UK government must act now, to end world poverty by 2030 (Guardian http://bit.ly/1Jsxt98)

Farming the Way Out of Poverty in Honduras (Inter Press Service http://bit.ly/1Ky07tw)

Why We Need A Sustainable Development Goal for Forced Human Displacement (HuffPo http://huff.to/1iz9PCi)

9 Lessons from 9 Secretary-Generals (Medium http://bit.ly/1iza6oN )

Emergency aid: Obstacles to Going Local (IRIN http://bit.ly/1izasfc)

Fifteen Years and Forever (IPS http://bit.ly/1OxcJoI)

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About Author

Tom Murphy

Tom Murphy is a New Hampshire-based reporter for Humanosphere. Before joining Humanosphere, Tom founded and edited the aid blog A View From the Cave. His work has appeared in Foreign Policy, the Huffington Post, the Guardian, GlobalPost and Christian Science Monitor. He tweets at @viewfromthecave. Contact him at tmurphy[at]humanosphere.org.