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Talking HIV in Jamaica

The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting launched a new, amazingly interactive site LiveHopeLove that brings together poetry, essays, documentaries, short video interviews, music, and photography to explore the AIDS crisis in the Caribbean. In the video below, poet and writer Kwame Dawes who returns to the country of his youth to speak with Jamaicans about the impact HIV has had on them and their country.

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Kai in Bucharest: Backs Up Ban

Echoing the assurances that his boss, the Secretary-General, gave at the NATO summit in Bucharest yesterday, the new UN Envoy to Afghanistan, Norwegian diplomat Kai Eide, affirmed the importance of continuing and expanding the UN’s vital role there.

The United Nations should take a bigger role in Afghanistan and work harder with NATO to boost efforts to stabilize the country, new U.N. envoy Kai Eide said Thursday.

“There is a desire for a stronger U.N. and for more U.N., and we will certainly try to live up to that,” Eide told The Associated Press in one of his first media interviews since taking office three days ago.

“I would certainly like to have more U.N. people on the ground than we have today,” he said on the sidelines of a NATO summit.

UN officials are not the only ones pressing for a larger role for their organization in Afghanistan. From the op-ed page of the The New York Times, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Zalmay Khalilzad has extolled the benefits that increased UN involvement brings to Afghanistan. NATO’s military presence obviously remains the crux of stabilization efforts in Afghanistan, but consensus seems to dictate that the UN political mission is bridging a crucial gap.

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Kai in Bucharest: Backs Up Ban

Echoing the assurances that his boss, the Secretary-General, gave at the NATO summit in Bucharest yesterday, the new UN Envoy to Afghanistan, Norwegian diplomat Kai Eide, affirmed the importance of continuing and expanding the UN’s vital role there.

The United Nations should take a bigger role in Afghanistan and work harder with NATO to boost efforts to stabilize the country, new U.N. envoy Kai Eide said Thursday.

“There is a desire for a stronger U.N. and for more U.N., and we will certainly try to live up to that,” Eide told The Associated Press in one of his first media interviews since taking office three days ago.

“I would certainly like to have more U.N. people on the ground than we have today,” he said on the sidelines of a NATO summit.

UN officials are not the only ones pressing for a larger role for their organization in Afghanistan. From the op-ed page of the The New York Times, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Zalmay Khalilzad has extolled the benefits that increased UN involvement brings to Afghanistan. NATO’s military presence obviously remains the crux of stabilization efforts in Afghanistan, but consensus seems to dictate that the UN political mission is bridging a crucial gap.

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Friday Morning Coffee

Top Stories

>>NATO – Russian President Putin sat down for the first time with leaders at the NATO summit yesterday, although Russian concerns have been heavily considered throughout the three-day meeting. Putin expressed new concerns about the U.S. missile defense shield, but also agreed to let NATO ship non-lethal supplies through Russia to Afghanistan. All told, over the course of the summit, NATO nations and candidates offered 2,000 new troops for efforts in Afghanistan.

>>Zimbabwe – Police in Harare have raided the offices of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change and arrested two foreign journalists, including New York Times Pulitzer-prize winning correspondent Barry Bearak. Meanwhile, Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party met in an emergency session to discuss whether Mugabe would contest a runoff election. There are reports that he will cede power if there is a guarantee that he will not be prosecuted. However, conflicting posturing by ZANU-PF seems to imply that the party has begun to facture and may not be acting as a united entity. It has also rendered news reporting out of Zimbabwe incomplete if not contradictory.

>>Colombia – Efforts to free ailing FARC hostage Ingrid Betancourt, a former Colombia presidential candidate who also has French citizenship, have grown more frantic as French President Sarkozy has said that he is ready to travel to the Colombian border with Hugo Chavez if it will hasten her release. FARC has said that it will only free Betancourt through a prisoner exchange of hundreds of jailed FARC rebels, including Nayibe Rojas and Ricardo Palmera who are both held in U.S. prison.

>>Iraq – Over 1,000 Iraqi soldiers, including some senior commanders, either refused to fight or deserted the army during the assault on Basra’s Shiite militias last week.

Yesterday in UN Dispatch

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Friday Morning Coffee

Top Stories

>>NATO – Russian President Putin sat down for the first time with leaders at the NATO summit yesterday, although Russian concerns have been heavily considered throughout the three-day meeting. Putin expressed new concerns about the U.S. missile defense shield, but also agreed to let NATO ship non-lethal supplies through Russia to Afghanistan. All told, over the course of the summit, NATO nations and candidates offered 2,000 new troops for efforts in Afghanistan.

>>Zimbabwe – Police in Harare have raided the offices of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change and arrested two foreign journalists, including New York Times Pulitzer-prize winning correspondent Barry Bearak. Meanwhile, Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party met in an emergency session to discuss whether Mugabe would contest a runoff election. There are reports that he will cede power if there is a guarantee that he will not be prosecuted. However, conflicting posturing by ZANU-PF seems to imply that the party has begun to facture and may not be acting as a united entity. It has also rendered news reporting out of Zimbabwe incomplete if not contradictory.

>>Colombia – Efforts to free ailing FARC hostage Ingrid Betancourt, a former Colombia presidential candidate who also has French citizenship, have grown more frantic as French President Sarkozy has said that he is ready to travel to the Colombian border with Hugo Chavez if it will hasten her release. FARC has said that it will only free Betancourt through a prisoner exchange of hundreds of jailed FARC rebels, including Nayibe Rojas and Ricardo Palmera who are both held in U.S. prison.

>>Iraq – Over 1,000 Iraqi soldiers, including some senior commanders, either refused to fight or deserted the army during the assault on Basra’s Shiite militias last week.

Yesterday in UN Dispatch

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Ban in Bucharest: “Stay the Course in Afghanistan”

From the UN News Center:

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today pledged the commitment of the United Nations to stay the course in Afghanistan to ensure peace, security and development in the strife-torn nation. “We shall not leave Afghanistan as long as we are needed by the Afghan people,” Mr. Ban told a high-level international meeting convened in Bucharest, Romania, as part of the summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

He noted the achievements of recent years such as economic growth, lower infant and maternal mortality rates and an increase in school enrollment. “But these welcome indicators of progress must not obscure the obstacles that we still face,” he added, citing the threat posed by the continuing violence and militancy in various parts of the country and the growing drug economy.

Mr. Ban acknowledged that the UN has not been as effective as it needs to be in coordinating the international community, adding that the new Security Council mandate will allow the world body to take a more assertive role in coordination.

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