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News in the Humanosphere: Soros announces $500 million investment in refugees and migrants

George Soros (Credit: Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung/flickr)

Billionaire George Soros is pledging to invest up to $500 million in startups, established companies, “social impact initiatives,” and businesses started by refugees and migrants. Soros, chairman of the Open Society Institute, made the announcement Tuesday, following the first-ever U.N. summit on migrants and refugees and ahead of a meeting led by President Obama to spur pledges to help the world’s 65.3 million displaced people. “Our goal is to harness the private sector for public good,” Soros said. “These investments are intended to be successful. But our primary focus is to create products and services that truly benefit migrants and host communities.” (AP

Today at the U.N. General Assembly … The international community will hold the first major global gathering to address the overuse of antibiotics and the rise of antimicrobial resistance. This is only the fourth time in history that UNGA has focused on a health issue and the outcome document from this meeting is intended to slow the overuse of antimicrobials in agriculture and human medicine and spur the development of new antibiotics. Meanwhile, earlier in the day several countries will formally ratify the Paris Climate Agreement in a ceremony. Follow it all:

Greek migrant fire…Authorities on the island of Lesbos called for the immediate evacuation Tuesday of thousands of refugees to the Greek mainland after fires started by rioting residents gutted a detention camp. But European Union officials appeared cool to the idea. (AP

Quote of the day: Powerful patrons that keep feeding the war machine in Syria have blood on their hands.” — Ban Ki-moon, during his final remarks to the General Assembly as Secretary General. (DW

Stat of the day: $4.5 billion – that’s how much new funding was raised for refugees during President Obama’s refugee summit at the U.N. yesterday. (UN Dispatch



The number of Somalis who do not have enough to eat has risen to 5 million, or more than four out of 10 people, due to poor rains, the United Nations said on Tuesday, with children at the greatest risk of ill-health and death. (Reuters

At least 44 people were killed in protests against Congolese President Joseph Kabila, including 37 killed by security forces and six police officers killed by demonstrators, Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday. (Reuters

Nine million people urgently need aid in northeast Nigeria and nearby countries, as political violence and mass migration have caused a humanitarian emergency, a United Nations official said on Friday. (Reuters

Somalia’s al-Shabab Islamist militant group has called on its followers to kill clan elders, officials and lawmakers taking part in the parliamentary election and to attack polling venues. (Reuters

A U.S. pastor who has made anti-gay comments is being deported, Botswana’s government announced Tuesday, shortly after he spoke on local radio and called the people killed in the June shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando “disgusting.” (AP

U.N. investigators looking into the alleged torture and murder of government opponents in Burundi have drawn up a list of suspects who should be prosecuted for crimes against humanity, they said on Tuesday. (Reuters

South African university students who want free education protested on several campuses Tuesday, clashing with police in Johannesburg and shutting down classes at some universities around the country. However, many students did not participate, reflecting divisions over whether to revive a powerful protest movement that challenged President Jacob Zuma last year. (AP

Niger, one of the world’s poorest countries, is shelling out more than 4.5 million euros every month for “non-existent” teachers, the state anti-corruption agency said Tuesday. (AFP


The U.N. humanitarian aid agency suspended all convoys in Syria on Tuesday following an overnight attack on aid trucks that the International Committee of the Red Cross said killed about 20 civilians, mostly truck drivers and Red Crescent workers. (AP

The leader of the Yemen’s Houthi rebels has called for donations after the government ordered the central bank relocated from the rebel-held capital to the southern port city of Aden. (AP

Israel’s defense industry faces layoffs, closures and a scramble to set up shop in the United States following the signing of a new U.S. military aid package that phases out Israel’s ability to spend a quarter of the funds on its own businesses. (Reuters

As many as 400 migrant staff working for an electrical company in Qatar have gone unpaid for up to four months, a leading figure in the Indian community said Tuesday. (AFP

Two Italian citizens have been kidnapped in Libya, Italy’s foreign ministry said. (Reuters

The governor of Homs said late on Monday the planned evacuation of several hundred Syrian rebels from their last foothold in the city would be postponed for several days because it was difficult to guarantee their safe passage. (Reuters

An Emirati woman has sought leave to have a sex change operation in what would be a first for the United Arab Emirates, newspapers reported on Tuesday. (AFP


Rights advocates in Myanmar are calling on Aung San Suu Kyi’s government to halt discrimination against women after its failure to include them in talks to end one of the world’s longest running civil wars. (Guardian

Convicted Philippine felons on Tuesday told a Congressional hearing they had bribed a former justice minister and fierce critic of President Rodrigo Duterte, dealing another blow to her efforts to investigate the country’s deadly war on drugs. (Reuters

A guilty verdict for a British activist in Thailand charged with defamation for alleging ill-treatment of migrant workers at a big fruit company sets an alarming precedent in the fight against labor exploitation, rights groups said on Tuesday. (Reuters

India launched its first internet hotline to encourage people to report online child pornography and curb a surge in photographs and videos on the internet showing children being sexually exploited, the founders of the initiative said. (VOA

A Thai court found a British labor activist guilty Tuesday of defaming a fruit canning company, and gave him a suspended prison sentence in a case that has raised serious concerns among human rights workers and free speech advocates. (AP

The Americas

Brazil’s new president Michel Temer told the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday that the impeachment of his predecessor Dilma Rousseff was conducted with “absolute respect” for the rule of law and that confidence was returning to the country’s battered economy. (Reuters

Donald Trump Jr. has posted a message on Twitter likening Syrian refugees to a bowl of poisoned Skittles. (AP

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Monday and stressed it was important for the United States to ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal that she opposes, Japanese officials said. (Reuters

…and the rest

Thousands of protesters marched through Brussels on Tuesday to demand the European Union abandon planned transatlantic free trade deals they say will worsen labor conditions and allow big business to challenge governments. (Reuters

Romania’s Constitutional Court on Tuesday again postponed ruling on a petition to recognize the same-sex marriage of a U.S. citizen and a Romanian man. (AP

Building work began Tuesday on a wall in the northern French city of Calais to clamp down on repeated attempts by migrants to stow away on trucks heading for Britain. (AFP

The European Union said Tuesday it will examine whether Bosnia has what it takes to become a member as the bloc continues with plans to expand just months after Britain decided to leave. (AP

At least 20 countries are expected to formally join the Paris Agreement on climate change this week, greatly improving the pact’s chances of coming into force just a year after it was negotiated in the French capital, U.N. officials say. (AP

Sweden’s center-left government said strong finances gave it room to boost spending by around 0.6 percent of GDP in 2017 on schools and welfare services struggling to cope with last year’s record numbers of asylum seekers. (Reuters


This is Obama’s response to Trump’s stupid skittles tweet. (UN Dispatch

Obama’s final  address to the UN was not really foreign policy speech. (UN Dispatch

If Africa Grows Its Universities Cleverly, Its Economies Will Flourish (The Conversation

Want to change the aid industry? Here’s how to do it (Guardian

Despite discrimination and backlash, this Somali in St. Cloud says, ‘I love my state’ (PRI’s The World

Women’s economic empowerment: enablers and constraints (ODI

No desks but lots of enthusiasm: what it’s like to teach in a refugee camp (Guardian

Notes on Donald Trump From a Gun Shop (On the Ground

Automation will end rapid economic growth for poorer countries (Guardian

4 takeaways from Social Good Summit 2016 (Devex

Political Developments in the DRC (Africanist Perspective

Put Globalization to Work for Democracies (New York Times

Forever Young? What Africa can learn from Southern Africa’s demographic transition (Africa Can End Poverty


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