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Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan Pledge $3 Billion to Fighting Disease

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Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan, last year said they would give 99 percent of their Facebook shares to charitable causes. Now they are putting a large chunk of that money to work.

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the limited liability company into which Mr. Zuckerberg and Dr. Chan put their Facebook shares, on Wednesday said it would invest at least $3 billion over the next decade toward preventing, curing or managing all diseases by the end of the century.

While the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative has already made investments in charter schools and education start-ups, the money toward curing diseases represents the group’s first major initiative in science. The announcement was also a coming out of sorts for Dr. Chan, who has a big interest in health and was trained in pediatrics.

In a speech to introduce the health initiative at an event in San Francisco on Wednesday, Dr. Chan said the work to cure disease was in keeping with her organization’s mission to advance human potential and promote equality. She gave an emotional preamble, describing how a high-quality education helped her succeed as the daughter of Chinese and Vietnamese immigrants.

“We want to dramatically improve every life in Max’s generation and make sure we don’t miss a single soul,” Dr. Chan said, referring to her and Mr. Zuckerberg’s infant daughter, Maxima. “We’ll be investing in basic science research with the goal of curing disease.”

The event was attended by Mayor Ed Lee of San Francisco; Janet Napolitano, the president of the University of California and former secretary of homeland security; and investors including Yuri Milner, who backed Facebook before it went public. About 63,000 people watched the event on Facebook Live and there were about 450 attending.

Several of Mr. Zuckerberg’s Facebook co-founders or early executives have also pledged money to charity or specifically toward health initiatives. Dustin Moskovitz, a Facebook co-founder, is part of the Giving Pledge, through which the world’s wealthiest individuals and families have dedicated a majority of their wealth to philanthropy. Sean Parker, who was president of Facebook when the company was still a start-up, earlier this year said he would give $250 million to six cancer centers nationwide.

Other tech billionaires have also given to public health, including Bill Gates, Microsoft’s co-founder. His Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation gave $10.2 billion through 2014 to global health initiatives like fighting AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

Mr. Zuckerberg and Dr. Chan, who are also part of the Giving Pledge and have looked up to Mr. Gates, announced the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative at the end of last year. At the time, their Facebook holdings were valued at around $45 billion.

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s structure as a limited liability company gives it freedom to also spend on for-profit companies and political donations. Some traditional philanthropies, which have spending restrictions and targets they must meet, disapprove of the L.L.C. structure.

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s science work will be led by Cori Bargmann, a neuroscientist at Rockefeller University in New York. The first project will be the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, an independent research center in San Francisco that will bring together engineers, computer scientists, biologists, chemists and others. Formed in partnership with Stanford, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of California, San Francisco, it will receive initial funding of $600 million over 10 years.

At the event Wednesday, Mr. Zuckerberg said that if his organization’s plan to cure or manage all disease worked, it should increase human life expectancy to 100 years.

“That doesn’t mean no one will ever get sick,” he said. “But they should be able to treat it and manage it.”

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Gold

Gold Steadies After Initial Gains on Reports of Israel’s Strikes in Iran

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Gold, often viewed as a haven during times of geopolitical uncertainty, exhibited a characteristic surge in response to reports of Israel’s alleged strikes in Iran, only to stabilize later as tensions simmered.

The yellow metal’s initial rally came on the heels of escalating tensions in the Middle East, with concerns mounting over a potential wider conflict.

Spot gold soared as much as 1.6% in early trading as news circulated regarding Israel’s purported strikes on targets in Iran.

This surge, reaching a high of $2,400 a ton, reflected the nervousness pervading global markets amidst the saber-rattling between the two nations.

However, as the day progressed, media reports from both countries appeared to downplay the impact and severity of the alleged strikes, contributing to a moderation in gold’s gains.

Analysts noted that while the initial spike was fueled by fears of heightened conflict, subsequent assessments suggesting a less severe outcome helped calm investor nerves, leading to a stabilization in gold prices.

Traders had been bracing for a potential Israeli response following Iran’s missile and drone attack over the weekend, raising concerns about a retaliatory spiral between the two adversaries.

Reports of an explosion in Iran’s central city of Isfahan further added to the atmosphere of uncertainty, prompting flight suspensions and exacerbating market jitters.

In addition to geopolitical tensions, gold’s rally in recent months has been underpinned by other factors, including expectations of US interest rate cuts, sustained central bank buying, and robust consumer demand, particularly in China.

Despite the initial surge followed by stabilization, gold remains sensitive to developments in the Middle East and broader geopolitical dynamics.

Investors continue to monitor the situation closely for any signs of escalation or de-escalation, recognizing gold’s role as a traditional safe haven in times of uncertainty.

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Commodities

Global Cocoa Prices Surge to Record Levels, Processing Remains Steady

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Cocoa futures in New York have reached a historic pinnacle with the most-active contract hitting an all-time high of $11,578 a metric ton in early trading on Friday.

This surge comes amidst a backdrop of challenges in the cocoa industry, including supply chain disruptions, adverse weather conditions, and rising production costs.

Despite these hurdles, the pace of processing in chocolate factories has remained constant, providing a glimmer of hope for chocolate lovers worldwide.

Data released after market close on Thursday revealed that cocoa processing, known as “grinds,” was up in North America during the first quarter, appreciating by 4% compared to the same period last year.

Meanwhile, processing in Europe only saw a modest decline of about 2%, and Asia experienced a slight decrease.

These processing figures are particularly noteworthy given the current landscape of cocoa prices. Since the beginning of 2024, cocoa futures have more than doubled, reflecting the immense pressure on the cocoa market.

Yet, despite these soaring prices, chocolate manufacturers have managed to maintain their production levels, indicating resilience in the face of adversity.

The surge in cocoa prices can be attributed to a variety of factors, including supply shortages caused by adverse weather conditions in key cocoa-producing regions such as West Africa.

Also, rising demand for chocolate products, particularly premium and artisanal varieties, has contributed to the upward pressure on prices.

While the spike in cocoa prices presents challenges for chocolate manufacturers and consumers alike, industry experts remain cautiously optimistic about the resilience of the cocoa market.

Despite the record-breaking prices, the steady pace of cocoa processing suggests that chocolate lovers can still expect to indulge in their favorite treats, albeit at a higher cost.

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Crude Oil

Dangote Refinery Leverages Cheaper US Oil Imports to Boost Production

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The Dangote Petroleum Refinery is capitalizing on the availability of cheaper oil imports from the United States.

Recent reports indicate that the refinery with a capacity of 650,000 barrels per day has begun leveraging US-grade oil to power its operations in Nigeria.

According to insights from industry analysts, the refinery has commenced shipping various products, including jet fuel, gasoil, and naphtha, as it gradually ramps up its production capacity.

The utilization of US oil imports, particularly the WTI Midland grade, has provided Dangote Refinery with a cost-effective solution for its feedstock requirements.

Experts anticipate that the refinery’s gasoline-focused units, expected to come online in the summer months will further bolster its influence in the Atlantic Basin gasoline markets.

Alan Gelder, Vice President of Refining, Chemicals, and Oil Markets at Wood Mackenzie, noted that Dangote’s entry into the gasoline market is poised to reshape the West African gasoline supply dynamics.

Despite operating at approximately half its nameplate capacity, Dangote Refinery’s impact on regional fuel markets is already being felt. The refinery’s recent announcement of a reduction in diesel prices from N1,200/litre to N1,000/litre has generated excitement within Nigeria’s downstream oil sector.

This move is expected to positively affect various sectors of the economy and contribute to reducing the country’s high inflation rate.

Furthermore, the refinery’s utilization of US oil imports shows its commitment to exploring cost-effective solutions while striving to meet Nigeria’s domestic fuel demand. As the refinery continues to optimize its production processes, it is poised to play a pivotal role in Nigeria’s energy landscape and contribute to the country’s quest for self-sufficiency in refined petroleum products.

Moreover, the Nigerian government’s recent directive to compel oil producers to prioritize domestic refineries for crude supply aligns with Dangote Refinery’s objectives of reducing reliance on imported refined products.

With the flexibility to purchase crude using either the local currency or the US dollar, the refinery is well-positioned to capitalize on these policy reforms and further enhance its operational efficiency.

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