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The plight of the HIV/AIDS epidemic was poignantly summarized by UNAIDS in its recent update: forty million people infected, 3 million annual deaths, and 5 million new infections this year. Is the war on AIDS being lost? It looks that way.
Congressman Jim Kolbe’s surprise pre-Thanksgiving announcement that he will not seek re-election in 2006 represents a real loss for those of us who work to improve U.S. policies towards developing countries.
According to this Reuters article, “Quake-stricken Pakistan heaved a sigh of relief” when donors offered Islamabad some $6 billion in aid pledges this weekend. If anyone is heaving sighs of relief, it’s likely to be the donors, who have finally reinvigorated a global response that Kofi Annan has called “weak and tardy” (Seattle Times).
The board of the Millennium Challenge Corp. – the Bush administration’s flagship foreign aid initiative – met on Tuesday to decide which countries had been selected for participation in the program. Of the 34 countries that passed the performance indicators, the Board chose to add only 6 new countries to its current list of 17 eligible for MCC funding. Two of the six - El Salvador and Namibia - are lower middle income countries, with average incomes much higher than the countries previously covered by the program.