Five Republican members of Congress penned a letter to Ugandan President Yoweri Mouseveni urging him to do everything within his constitutional authority to stop legislation that would criminalize homosexuality, sometimes under the penalty of death, from being enacted in Uganda. The signatories, Representatives Chris Smith, Frank Wolf, Joe Pitts, Trent Franks and Anh “Joseph” Cao are conservative, members of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and self-proclaimed “men of faith.”
The Ugandan government is currently debating a new law against homosexuality. Regular homosexuality is punishable by seven years in prison. Being HIV positive and having gay sex – even with a condom – would be punishable by death. I don’t think it is culturally insensitive to say that this is a very bad law.
The New York Times reported yesterday that Nigeria has eliminated Guinea worm. It’s been an entire year since a worm was seen. This is a big deal. Guinea worm is a horrifying monster of a parasite; the worms can grow to three feet long and come busting out of human skin through an open sore. There is no medication for someone infected with a guinea worm.
The WHO just launched a major tobacco control program in Africa. It’s funded with ten million dollars from the Gates Foundation, and it’s going to focus on building the ability of African governments to enforce controls against tobacco use.
After the Obama administration rolled out its much anticipated Sudan Policy Review in mid-October, activists praised the content of the review, but adopted a “wait-and-see” attitude as to whether or not the policy recommendations would be implemented. Well, they’ve waited. And after yesterday’s Congressional testimony from U.S. Sudan Envoy Gen. Scott Gration, they are not too happy with what they have seen.
Hillary Clinton says that the United States government is formulating a response the recent flare up of violence in Guinea in which government forces shot and raped hundreds of demonstrators gathered at a soccer stadium.
Iraq: The SG met with Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki in Baghdad today as well as Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani to review the ongoing security crisis. The SG congratulated Fouad Massoum on his election as Iraq’s new President and remarked that a new government “will strengthen the unity of the country, fight effectively against terrorism and ISIS, as well as uproot the seeds of sectarianism and division.”
SG: The SG met with Israeli President Peres in Jerusalem today to encourage dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians. Speaking to the press with President Peres, he again underlined the need to stop violence and begin dialogue that addresses the root causes of the conflict.
SG: The SG briefed the SC today from Ramallah where he reiterated his message from today’s earlier press conference in Tel Aviv with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to: “Stop fighting. Start talking. And take on the root causes of the conflict.” The SG will continue travelling this week to Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
SG: The SG arrived in Cairo today where he will meet with the Foreign Minister, President el-Sisi and US Secretary of State Kerry to promote the Egypt-initiated ceasefire in the Middle East. Spokesman Dujarric told reporters today that “the overriding messages that [the SG] brings is, first, that the violence must stop, and needs to stop now.”
Middle East: The SG welcomed the humanitarian pause negotiated by Special Coordinator Serry to allow civilians in Gaza to begin repairs on electrical and water infrastructure. WFP used the five-hour pause to deliver emergency food assistance to Gaza. The SG hopes the pause will lead to peace and a sustainable ceasefire.