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Monthly Archives: July 2009

Obama in Ghana

This is pretty neat. The White House sent the following sms messages to the mobile phones of a thousands of Africans during the president’s speech today.   Full text of his speech here
We made sure that speech would be as accessible to as many Africans as possible on the radio, TV, and by SMS. These are the speech excerpts that we sent out to thousands of SMS subscribers in Africa and around the world.
 
  • It is an honor for me to be in Accra & to speak to the representatives of the people of Ghana. I am proud that this is my first visit to sub-Saharan Africa as President of the US.
  • The 21st century will be shaped by what happens not just in Rome or Moscow or Washington, but by what happens in Accra as well.
  • I will focus on four areas that are critical to the future of Africa and the entire developing world: democracy; opportunity; health; and the peaceful resolution of conflict.
  • Governments that respect the will of their own people are more prosperous, more stable, and more successful than governments that do not.
  • With better governance, I have no doubt that Africa holds the promise of a broader base for prosperity.
  • People must make responsible choices that prevent the spread of disease… promoting public health in their communities and countries.
  • America will support these efforts through a comprehensive, global health strategy.
  • Africa’s diversity should be a source of strength, not a cause for division
  • We must stand up to inhumanity in our midst. It is never justifiable to target innocents in the name of ideology.
  • I am speaking to the young people. You have the power to hold your leaders accountable, and to build institutions that serve the people.
  • I can promise you this: America will be with you. As a partner. As a friend. Freedom is your inheritance. Now, it is your responsibility to build upon freedom’s foundation.

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Message to Eritrea

From the UN Security Council: quit arming Islamist insurgents in Somalia.  Or else, face the possibility of sanctions.

Eritrea’s support for al-Shabab militants is not helping what is crystallizing as an all-too-painfully-obvious consensus: if the Somali government isn’t supported (though I’d hasten to add, not by another Ethiopian occupation), then it will collapse.

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Soccer vs. Malaria Saturday on Fox Soccer Channel

(by the UN Foundation’s Shannon Raybold)

This Saturday, the U.S. Soccer Men’s National Team takes on Haiti in a battle for glory in the CONCACAF Gold Cup! In addition to an intense game between two of the region’s top teams, the game will also highlight soccer’s leadership in the global fight to end malaria deaths through United Against Malaria.

United Against Malaria is a partnership of football stars, non-governmental organizations, foundations, governments, corporations, and the general public who have joined forces ahead of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa to unite in the fight against malaria.

Fox Soccer Channel is a leading partner in United Against Malaria.  Its “Every Goal Saves A Life” program sends a mosquito net to Africa for every goal scored on Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Sports en Español throughout the 2008-2009 season, ensuring that each goal on the field brings us one step closer to our shared goal of ending malaria deaths in Africa.

During the broadcast, campaign partner and Population Services International spokesperson Molly Sims will give a shout-out to United Against Malaria and how the soccer community is coming together as a team to defeat malaria for once and for all. She’ll be cheering on our fellow United Against Malaria team, US Soccer!

Be sure to tune in! The US will defend its Gold Cup title from Haiti from 7-9pm on Fox Soccer Channel.

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This is what climate change looks like (II)

flooding in Namibia

(Flooding in Namibia. Photo credit: potjie)

The Australian government recently issued their 2009 report on climate change, subtitled “Faster Change and More Serious Risks.” Australia is the developed country being hit hardest by climate change – currently in the form of prolonged drought – so they have a special interested in the topic. It’s a grim report.

You might have guessed from the subtitle – the major point of the report is that change is happening faster than predicted. While many uncertainties in the science remain, they all point to faster change. There is no hope that climate change will slow down, or even conform to previous models. We are also on the verge of irreversible long-term feedback loops, after which there will be nothing we can do to stop the changes. None of that is new, but they’ve got an impressive array of data backing up their conclusions. New to me was a genuinely terrifying graph demonstrating we can go back a thousand years and still never see average temperatures like what we’re seeing now.

As though to confirm the conclusions of the Australian report, we have three major flooding situations currently going on. In Benin, 20,000 people have been displaced by heavy flooding along the Southern coastline. Namibia’s cereal harvest is down by 60% because of flooding, and half a million people fled their homes in Assam, India, because of early onset of monsoon season. In every case, observers are reporting that the floods are earlier in the season and more severe than ever before.

Welcome to the future.

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What climate change looks like–Dengue Fever

Dengue fever is painful, unpleasant, and contagious. It used to be limited in its geographic area – a tropical disease. That is changing. We’ve seen a steady spread of dengue’s territory over the last 30 years, and dengue prevalence has increased by three thousand percent over the last fifty years.

The National Resources Defense Council just released a report on dengue fever’s spread in the United States. They found that “mosquitoes capable of transmitting dengue have spread into at least 28 US states, including Texas, Florida, Arizona, and even states as far north as New York and New Hampshire.” That’s right – a tropical disease in New Hampshire. Now might be a good time to buy stock in mosquito repellant and screen doors.

In case you were wondering: dengue is also known as breakbone fever, and it’s an infection spread by mosquitoes. (Not the same kind of mosquito that spreads malaria, because that would be too easy). Its death rate is not that high, but it spreads quickly. It is a very, very painful illness – thus the name “breakbone”. And some unlucky cases develop a complication called Dengue hemorrhagic fever, which has a death rate of 2.5%-10% and is just as unpleasant as it sounds.

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What Climate Change Looks Like – Dengue Fever

Dengue fever is painful, unpleasant, and contagious. It used to be limited in its geographic area – a tropical disease. That is changing. We’ve seen a steady spread of dengue’s territory over the last 30 years, and dengue prevalence has increased by three thousand percent over the last fifty years.

The National Resources Defense Council just released a report on dengue fever’s spread in the United States. They found that “mosquitoes capable of transmitting dengue have spread into at least 28 US states, including Texas, Florida, Arizona, and even states as far north as New York and New Hampshire.” That’s right – a tropical disease in New Hampshire. Now might be a good time to buy stock in mosquito repellant and screen doors.

In case you were wondering: dengue is also known as breakbone fever, and it’s an infection spread by mosquitoes. (Not the same kind of mosquito that spreads malaria, because that would be too easy). Its death rate is not that high, but it spreads quickly. It is a very, very painful illness – thus the name “breakbone”. And some unlucky cases develop a complication called Dengue hemorrhagic fever, which has a death rate of 2.5%-10% and is just as unpleasant as it sounds.

READ MORE

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