Talking points for 25 April

Good morning on World Malaria Day. It’s the top headline on the BBC – “It’s a disease we’ve learned that with just some modest steps, this is one we know we can beat,” says World Bank President Robert Zoellick. “How it can plague people for such a long time?” A good question.

There’s more chat about whether Obama or Clinton is best placed to take on McCain in the Big One…

Wesley Snipes has been sentenced to the maximum three years in jail for willfully failing to file tax returns. Has he been made an example of? Is that right? How does the judge’s sentence compare with the courts’ treatment of celebrities for other law-breaking?

Back to something I mentioned yesterday – US intelligence officials have detailed the fears that Syria was building a nuclear reactor before the site was bombed by Israel last year. North Korea is accused of being the brains behind the operation, and Syria has dismissed all the allegations. But why shouldn’t Syria (and any other country) have access to nuclear technology? What right does the rest of the world have to decide who goes nuclear?

After all, Israel and Syria may be moving towards peace. Although it will probably be a tough sell in Israel. Are you hopeful? Or does the aid situation in Gaza override positive signals? Yesterday in our meeting we wondered about asking “Is Israel’s blockade stopping the rocket attacks?” Which side will step back first?

More good news / bad news, this time in Iraq. Can Iraqi politicians bring the country together?

And the former bishop who’s been elected president of Paraguay says his sister will fulfill the role of first lady. Is the role essential? Why does a country need a first lady (or husband)?

5 Responses to “Talking points for 25 April”

  1. 1 Omunyaruguru
    April 25, 2008 at 08:43

    Is it possible that if malaria had plagued the developed world there would now be a vaccine? Are the approaches to fighting malaria too simplistic? Is the developed world not giving in its best in the fight against malaria? Just thinking wildly. Still bringing in more.

  2. 2 VictorK
    April 25, 2008 at 11:45

    Re malaria: the West is blasted by Africans for interfering in African affairs; and it’s blasted by Africans for…not interfering enough! Malaria continues to be a problem because the countries that suffer from it are invariably marked by political and administrative incompetence, as well as very little real concern for human life (hence the need for the West to save them).

    Unfortunately George Bush has reduced US credibility to a level with that of third world regimes. You instinctively sense that Major General X or Life President Y is lying to you when he gives reassurances that the reports of inter-ethnic conflict and massacre in his country are untrue and that all the different tribes are getting on like fire. WMDs? You lied shamelessly about that. You even concocted ‘evidence’ to persuade others. Who will ever believe you now, even when it comes to things that are probably true? The very fact that the Bush administration is making the claim is in itself reason to distrust it.. Consequences can be terrible things.

    Some countries are sufficiently responsible to have nuclear weapons: China, the US, France, the UK, Israel. Nuclear weapons should never be alowed to mentally ill (in the political sense) states like Iran. They shouldn’t be allowed to stable and sane states that are in danger of falling into the hands of lunatics (Pakistan). They shouldn’t be allowed to a state – however stable and sane – that doesn’t have the competence to manage them properly (South Africa).

  3. April 25, 2008 at 12:05

    Great strides have been made in many places in the fight against malaria, a disease that kills a million people, most of them children, every year. That’s what World Malaria Day is all about. It draws attention to the many successful ways the war against malaria is being waged, mainly through the distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets and other relatively low-tech preventive measures. Unfortunately, children in the Democratic Republic of Congo remain highly vulnerable.

    According to the World Health Organization, less than 1% of DRC children under five years of age sleep under protective nets. This results in most of them suffering six to ten malaria-related fever incidents per year. The disease also accounts for 45% of childhood mortality, which overall runs to 20%. In short, malaria kills nearly one in ten children in the Congo every year.

    In Heart of Diamonds, my novel of the Congo, I explore how continuous armed conflict in the country is responsible for many of these deaths. Medical supplies can’t be distributed when roads, railroads, and airstrips have been destroyed. Treatment can’t be delivered by medical personnel who have been chased from their clinics and hospitals. People driven from their homes, plagued by malnutrition, inadequate shelter, and lack of sanitary facilities are weak and less capable of warding off disease. War creates a breeding ground for death by malaria just as surely as swamps full of stagnant water breed anopheles mosquitoes.

    Although the intensity of conflict has decreased since the truce of 2003 and democratic elections of 2006, millions of displaced persons still struggle to survive and hot spots remain in the eastern and western provinces. Collapsed infrastructure has severely weakened the health system in the DRC, and the strengthening process is a slow one.

    The DRC, unfortunately, has little to celebrate this World Malaria Day.

  4. April 25, 2008 at 13:09

    A Talking Point suggestion woule be the lack of publicity for the Libertarian [lp.org] and Green Party [gp.org] in America.

  5. April 25, 2008 at 17:13

    A Talking Point suggestion woule be the lack of publicity for the Libertarian [lp.org] and Green Party [gp.org] in America.

    C’mon, the American public thrives on drama. The lp or gp can’t come anywhere close. Its like PBS or the Hallmark channel compared to HBO. A black man and a white woman duking it out to be each the first into the whitehouse their own regard, the smack-talk, the scandals, the lies… The lp and gp just can’t compete.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

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