Washington DC - Sequestration hits the US federal budget on Friday. The Washington Post features a countdown to Friday on the front page each day. News reports and the talk around town radiates a certainty that the across the board budget cuts will go through on Friday.
That fact is not dissuading global health activists from warning of the harm caused by budget losses. A group of activists descended upon the US capital to meet with lawmakers and issue a congressional briefing on the setback to global health research that the cuts pose.
Among those pushing lawmakers to maintain the US’ leadership in the global fight against the diseases poverty is the Global Health Technologies Coalition (GHTC), which issued a report outlining the ways that the US can continue to be a global health research leader. The group is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and housed within Seattle-based PATH, an organization that specializes in finding technological solutions to health problems in poor countries. Continue reading →
The long journey through the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of Section 1502 in the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act has come to an end. A 3-2 vote adopted the provision that will force mining companies to detail their operations in conflict regions.
For consumers, this means that large electronics companies will be put on the spot to show that they are sourcing their minerals from conflict-free sources. The section has elicited a very strong debate and neither side was very happy with the final decision on Wednesday.
Supporters of the bill say it is a way to reduce the power of armed militias in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. If companies are unable to trade in conflict regions the areas will be forces to make changes in order to enjoy the benefits of international mineral trade. The decline in power will provide more safety for the people who have been brutalized for years.
The US Department of State compiled a map showing the location and number of aid worker victims since 2001. It is careful to mark the important point that the majority of these workers are national staff members. When the headlines report kidnapped or killed staff they often lead with the Westerners. That makes sense given that these headlines are coming from western media outlets appealing to a western audience.
What is disconcerting is to see the steady rise in the number of victims from 90 in 2001 to 308 in 2011. Part of this is attributable to the war in Afghanistan and the genocide and ensuing humanitarian crisis in Darfur. Regardless, it is a depressing trend to observe.