Two of the most influential people in the world met today at the Vatican. According to a Vatican spokesperson, Pope Francis met with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan to discuss "how to use communications technology to alleviate poverty, encourage a culture of encounter, and to communicate a message of hope, especially to the most disadvantaged.”
Zuckerberg also presented the pope with his own drone, like the one the company is using to bring the internet to remote communities around the world. In a Facebook post, Zuckerberg explained,
Priscilla and I had the honor of meeting Pope Francis at the Vatican. We told him how much we admire his message of mercy and tenderness, and how he's found new ways to communicate with people of every faith around the world.
We also discussed the importance of connecting people, especially in parts of the world without internet access. We gave him a model of Aquila, our solar-powered aircraft that will beam internet connectivity to places that don't have it. And we shared our work with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to help people around the world.
It was a meeting we'll never forget. You can feel his warmth and kindness, and how deeply he cares about helping people.
Wednesday's 6.2 magnitude earthquake was followed by hundreds of aftershocks with magnitudes as high as 5.1 and 5.4 as the town attempts to begin rescue and recovery efforts—more than 4,000 rescuers are working to clear rubble using heavy machinery and their bare hands.
The worst-hit towns—Amatrice, Pescara del Tronto, Arquata del Tronto and Accumoli—were all summer vacation destinations, which makes the death toll even harder to track.
According to BBC, rescuers have urged journalists and other on-lookers to leave Amatrice—the town with the highest death toll—because the town is crumbing.
There have been small moments of celebration as rescuers have found a young girl alive in the rubble after being trapped for more than 17 hours and a dog being rescued as well. Discuss
Dozens of people have been killed in central Italy, after the area was struck by a 6.2-magnitude earthquake. The mayor of the town of Amatrice, which was at the epicenter of the quake, says that the village is completely destroyed. Rescuers, first responders and teams from the Red Cross have been making their way to the areas affected by the disaster, but in some cases, they have had difficulty reaching victims because of the remote locations of some areas.
Back in 2009, another large earthquake killed more than 300 people in central Italy. Following the large earthquake last night, more than 40 tremors and other earthquakes—including a 5.5-magnitude—took place over the next three hours.
Nonprofit and humanitarian organizations in the region are asking for blood donations, as rescuers continue to pull injured victims from the ruble. In a statement from the Vatican, Pope Francis said:
I cannot fail to express my heartfelt sorrow and spiritual closeness to all those present in the zones afflicted. I also express my condolences to those who have lost loved ones, and my spiritual support to those who are anxious and afraid. Hearing the mayor of Amatrice say that the town no longer exists, and learning that there are children among the dead, I am deeply saddened.
At least 54 people were killed and dozens were injured this weekend when a suicide bomber—who was reportedly just 12 - 14 years old—blew himself up at a Kurdish wedding party in the Turkish city of Gaziantep this weekend. According to the BBC, more than half of the victims were just children themselves.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said ISIS is responsible for the attack, and according to early investigations, the type of bomb used is similar to ones ISIS has used in previous attacks on Kurdish communities. ISIS has recently faced significant losses in territory in the region (the area around the Turkish and Syrian border) thanks to the military efforts of Kurdish forces. Discuss
Last year around this time, an image captured the world's attention: a child who was the victim of the ongoing war in Syria. It was Aylan Kurdi, a toddler whose body washed up on a Turkish shore after the boat his family tried to escape on capsized.
This year, another evocative image (and video) is reminding the world of the horrors of the war. It's of a young Syrian boy who is bloodied, wounded and dazed in the aftermath of an airstrike, released by Aleppo Media Center.
Omran Daqneesh was pulled from the rubble of his bombed home in Aleppo, Syria this week. He is no older than 5 years old—which means that the war in Syria is as old as he is. Video shows Omran sitting silently in an ambulance waiting for help after he's just been pulled from the rubble of his home.
According to reports by CNN, everyone in Omran's immediate family—his parents, a brother and sister—all survived.