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Harold Pollack Says, “Send a Net, Save a Life”

Over at the Huffington Post, the University if Chicago health care economist Harold Pollack gets into the spirit of World Malaria Day.

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One of the few brights spots these days is that millions of Americans finally realize the importance of global health. Today is world Malaria Day. If you’re reading this, you probably already know that this is a huge killer, particularly of kids in sub-Saharan Africa. I was hoping to party with Brad and Angelina to celebrate the occasion. That probably won’t happen since my daughter has soccer.

Instead, to honor the occasion I am buying bednets for some African kids. You should too. These cost maybe $7 each, and are among the most gloriously cost-effective things you can ever do to save lives and improve health. The charity link is [here.]

This is a great organization.

Oh, buy buy a mosquito net in honor of your actual or hoped-for significant other. The UN Foundation will send him/her a cool email. Your love object wil receive this missive, and believe you are way cooler than you actually are.

As my wife will attest, it works for me. You can see my picture. So this must be working.

Don’t sell yourself short, Harold! And thanks for plugging Nothing But Nets.

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Send a Net, Save a Life.

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A Building Made of States

In an interview with Campus Progress, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Samantha Power asks a very pertinent question — and provides an impressively on-the-mark answer that bears repetition:

What is the United Nations? The United Nations is going to reflect the priorities of those 192 [member] countries. We’ve got to get some number of those countries to take 21st century challenges seriously. Then you’ll see the United Nations as an organization follow suit.

It won’t work to start by saying, “Oh, the United Nations needs to take failing states, repression, and genocide seriously.” That’s like saying a building needs to take certain things seriously. The United Nations will start taking those thing seriously when the member states within it reallocate resources appropriately.

One of those member states, of course — and the one best positioned to provide resources for the UN’s ambitious endeavors — is the United States. Yet the U.S., instead of providing the support that would help the UN achieve its goals, deeply underfunds the world body and even chastises it for not taking stronger action on crises like Darfur.

If you haven’t read Power’s new book yet — which, as she describes it, is about not just the United Nations, but about how citizens and governments address complicated global challenges — then I strongly urge you to check it out.

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A Building Made of States

In an interview with Campus Progress, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Samantha Power asks a very pertinent question — and provides an impressively on-the-mark answer that bears repetition:

What is the United Nations? The United Nations is going to reflect the priorities of those 192 [member] countries. We’ve got to get some number of those countries to take 21st century challenges seriously. Then you’ll see the United Nations as an organization follow suit.

It won’t work to start by saying, “Oh, the United Nations needs to take failing states, repression, and genocide seriously.” That’s like saying a building needs to take certain things seriously. The United Nations will start taking those thing seriously when the member states within it reallocate resources appropriately.

One of those member states, of course — and the one best positioned to provide resources for the UN’s ambitious endeavors — is the United States. Yet the U.S., instead of providing the support that would help the UN achieve its goals, deeply underfunds the world body and even chastises it for not taking stronger action on crises like Darfur.

If you haven’t read Power’s new book yet — which, as she describes it, is about not just the United Nations, but about how citizens and governments address complicated global challenges — then I strongly urge you to check it out.

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Friday Morning Coffee

Today is World Malaria Day. Play the Deliver the Net game, and a life-saving bed net will be sent to Africa on your behalf.

Top Stories

>>China – The Chinese state news organization announced today that Chinese officials will meet with representatives of the Dalai Lama. A spokesman for the Lama said they had received no word of the meeting. The announcement comes as a surprise given the fact that China’s government denounces the Dalai Lama as a traitor and as an instigator of unrest, particularly the most recent. The Olympic torch, which has met with widespread protests — generally about the status of Tibet — in its world tour, will be brought into Tibet in May, where the relay will include a summitting of Mt. Everest, and into Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, in June.

>>Iraq – After a year-long boycott, Tawafiq, the largest Sunni bloc in Iraq’s government, has agreed to rejoin the cabinet of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. Representatives cited the recently passed amnesty legislation, which has already led to the release of some Sunni prisoners, and the government’s fighting of Shi’ite insurgents as reasons for the policy shift. “Details” reportedly have not been worked out, a designation that has, historically in Iraqi politics, represented a significant hurdle.

>>Nepal – The results are final from Nepal’s historic April 10 parliamentary election. The party respresenting former rebel Maoists has won 220 of 601 seats, twice as many as the second-place Nepali Congress party. The new assembly will craft a new constitution, and the Maoists have stated that they will end Nepal’s 240-year-old monarchy. The election caps the 2006 peace agreement, which ended a bloody 10-year civil war.

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Friday Morning Coffee

Today is World Malaria Day. Play the Deliver the Net game, and a life-saving bed net will be sent to Africa on your behalf.

Top Stories

>>China – The Chinese state news organization announced today that Chinese officials will meet with representatives of the Dalai Lama. A spokesman for the Lama said they had received no word of the meeting. The announcement comes as a surprise given the fact that China’s government denounces the Dalai Lama as a traitor and as an instigator of unrest, particularly the most recent. The Olympic torch, which has met with widespread protests — generally about the status of Tibet — in its world tour, will be brought into Tibet in May, where the relay will include a summitting of Mt. Everest, and into Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, in June.

>>Iraq – After a year-long boycott, Tawafiq, the largest Sunni bloc in Iraq’s government, has agreed to rejoin the cabinet of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. Representatives cited the recently passed amnesty legislation, which has already led to the release of some Sunni prisoners, and the government’s fighting of Shi’ite insurgents as reasons for the policy shift. “Details” reportedly have not been worked out, a designation that has, historically in Iraqi politics, represented a significant hurdle.

>>Nepal – The results are final from Nepal’s historic April 10 parliamentary election. The party respresenting former rebel Maoists has won 220 of 601 seats, twice as many as the second-place Nepali Congress party. The new assembly will craft a new constitution, and the Maoists have stated that they will end Nepal’s 240-year-old monarchy. The election caps the 2006 peace agreement, which ended a bloody 10-year civil war.

Yesterday in UN Dispatch

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Getting an Education for Afghan Girls

Via UN News Centre:

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Although over 6 million children returned to Afghanistan’s classrooms a month ago at the start of a new school year, United Nations agencies said today that half of the war-torn country’s young people are excluded from receiving an education, the bulk of them girls.

This is the case even though the enrolment of girls, who were barred from going to school under the repressive Taliban regime, has increased significantly in the past five years, according to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

‘We still have 1.2 million girls of school age who do not have access to schools,’ said Catherine Mbengue, UNICEF Country Representative in Afghanistan. ‘We have a lot of work to do to make sure all conditions are met so that schools are friendly to girls.’

UN agencies have been working with the government to build new schools, conduct teacher trainings (particularly female teachers), and talking to communities about the importance of education in attempts to fill this huge gap.

This week is actually Global Action Week for Education. Their “Education for All” goal has a large focus specifically on education for girls, whom are effected disproportionately throughout the world.

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