Archive for the ‘funding’ Category

Massive Funding Failing to Curb AIDS Epidemic in Russia

November 21, 2008

Greater investment in combatting AIDS is failing to slow its spread in Russia, the director of the Russian federal AIDS centre Vadim Pokrovsky said Friday.

“The AIDS epidemic is currently rising in our country,” Pokrovsky told a press conference in Moscow.

“We have a large amount of funding that is going to increase still further — but the number of HIV-positive people is growing faster than our ability to care for them.”

Nearly 37,000 Russians have contracted the HIV virus that leads to AIDS since the beginning of 2008 — a figure that could increase to 50,000 by the end of the year, he said.

That would represent an 11.8 percent increase from 2007, when 44,713 new cases were recorded, according to official figures. In 2006 and 2005, the number of new cases totalled 39,589 and 35,861 respectively.

The increase comes despite the Russian government earmarking 7.1 billion rubles (206 million euros, 258 million dollars) to fight AIDS, Pokrovsky said.

Some 5.1 billion rubles has been allocated for anti-retroviral drugs to help 30,000 HIV cases, but Pokrovsky criticised the government’s “delay” in buying medication and “shortages” of drugs available.

A particular “weak point” of the government’s programme is the allocation of no more than 200 million rubles for AIDS prevention, he said.

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which since 2004 has helped 10,000 people, most of them migrants, with HIV in Russia, will stop operating in the country at the end of 2010.

“Russia is no longer considered one of the countries where its people earn low salaries, so it can no longer benefit from Global Fund money,” he said.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081121/hl_afp/
russiahealthaids_081121185007

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Obama Will Once Again Make America A Fully Supporting Abortion Nation

November 17, 2008

Among a slew of executive orders Barack Obama is said to be drafting, observers believe one may lift a ban on US funding for overseas family planning groups that even dare mention abortion.

by Karin Zeitvogel, AFP

Among a slew of executive orders Barack Obama, pictured in October ... 
Among a slew of executive orders Barack Obama, pictured in October 2008, is said to be drafting, observers believe one may lift a ban on US funding for overseas family planning groups that even dare mention abortion.(AFP/File/Emmanuel Dunand)

“I think there’s a very good likelihood that he will lift the ‘global gag rule,'” said Steven Mosher, head of the pro-life, non-profit Population Research Institute.

“The previous Democratic president Bill Clinton just a couple of days after being sworn in signed a whole series of executive orders which undid the policies of the previous two administrations,” Mosher said.

First introduced by Republican president Ronald Reagan in 1984, the “global gag rule” cuts off US funding to overseas family planning clinics which provide any abortion services whatsoever, from the operation itself to counselling, referrals or post-abortion services.

When President George W. Bush came into office in 2000, he immediately reversed Clinton’s orders once again freezing funds to many family planning groups.

US funds to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) have been blocked since 2002, with the State Department saying the UN agency supports China’s one-child policy, which is says amounts to coercive abortion.

A baby takes a drink as he waits outside a children's hospital ... 
A baby takes a drink as he waits outside a children’s hospital in Beijing in late September. China has a policy allowing parents to have only one child.  Some say this is coercive birth control and leads to forced abortions. AFP/File/Peter Parks

“The Bush administration has said the UNFPA supports coercive birth control methods and that’s why they’re blocking money to it,” said Tait Sye, a spokesman for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA).

“The problem is that UNFPA money goes towards things like family planning and contraception, too,” vital services in developing countries, he added.

A World Bank report published in July said women in developing countries, where access to contraception is poor, often turn to abortion as a means of birth control.

Related:
Catholic Bishops Will Challenge Obama, Lawmakers, Nation on Abortion

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081116/hl_afp/uspolitics
obamaabortionhealth;_ylt=AjVVUaewlZBn_Chckuz_8h6s0NUE

New Secretary Faces Fixing Under-Resourced State Department

November 15, 2008
On news that president-elect Barack Obama is considering Hillary Clinton as his Secretary of state, Fox News brought out Democratic strategist Bob Bechel this morning who asked, “What does Hillary really want to do?  Get more post offices for the finger lakes region of New York or, as Secretary of state, visit European capitols and China?” In my opinion, this is one of the key problems with the State Department.  The Secretary of State often enjoys being “diplomat and traveler in chief” but often ignores his or her role as a key department head of the U.S. government charged with actually managing the Department of State.  During Condoleezza Rice’s time this came to a head when several of State’s diplomats refused to go to assignments in “hot spots” like Iraq.  These “public servants” were mostly coddled and cajoled while U.S. military volunteers, who take the same oath of service as State’s employees, face discipline when they refuse orders or assignments.  The point is that the next Secretary of State will have to deal with Russia, Iran, Iraq, China, Pakistan the Middle East and a host of other ‘hot spots.”  He or she will have to also get and keep the State Department at Foggy Bottom in line, on track, and in order — or it will become foggier still….

 
Seal of the United States Department of State

 

By Michael Abramowitz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, November 15, 2008; Page A04

The next secretary of state not only will face the challenge of repairing the nation’s tattered image and grappling with an array of global crises and hot spots, but also must solve a problem closer to home: reforming an under-resourced State Department to handle its growing duties, such as rebuilding war-torn societies, coping with worldwide pandemics and working with other countries to curb global warming.

“In the last eight years, we have significantly reinvented and transformed every national security agency except the Department of State,” said Philip D. Zelikow, who served as counselor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. “Our core Foreign Service officers and aid officers are not large enough to play the role that’s been cast for them, nor do we have the training establishment to prepare them for their roles.”

Speculation swirled yesterday that President-elect Barack Obama might be ready to offer the secretary of state post to an instantly recognizable star, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.). But other contenders apparently remain in the mix, including Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee; New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson; and retiring GOP Sen. Chuck Hagel (Neb.). And after watching a administration whose tenure was marked by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the world appears ready for the nation’s new top diplomat — whomever it may be — to lead the reinvigorated diplomacy Obama has pledged to deliver.

“The next president and the next secretary come into office at a time when our economy is in recession, our military is tied down and our reputation is tarnished,” said Richard N. Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations. “Diplomatic tools are arguably the one set of instruments that are available. It’s a natural moment for American diplomacy.”

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/11/14/AR2008111403505.html

Ministers must not resort to ‘cheap options’ on defence, says British Army chief

November 14, 2008

Ministers must not take “cheap options” when it comes to equipping the Armed Forces to fight the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the head of the British Army warns today.

By Con Coughlin
The Telegraph (London)
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In an exclusive interview with The Daily Telegraph, General Sir Richard Dannatt says the Government has an “absolute responsibility” to provide the best training and equipment for the British men and women serving on the front line.

“If you are committing young people to battle they have to be given the best, and when circumstances change they have to be given the best again,” he said.

Gen Sir Richard Dannatt warns ministers must not take

Gen Sir Richard Dannatt warns ministers must not take “cheap options” when it comes to equipping the Armed Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan

His comments came as the Ministry of Defence announced the death of two Royal Marines in southern Afghanistan, taking the British death toll in Iraq and Afghanistan to 300.

Gen Dannatt, who will retire from the Army next year, has been outspoken on defence issues since taking up his post in 2006.

In 2006, he warned that the Army could ‘break’ if British soldiers were kept too long in Iraq.

And in a leaked report last year, Gen Dannatt warned that years of Government under-funding and overstretch had left troops feeling “devalued, angry and suffering from Iraq fatigue.”

With Britain now preparing to withdraw its 4,000 troops from Iraq next year, pressure is mounting – from sources including Barack Obama, the US president-elect — for more British forces to be sent to Afghanistan.

But Gen Dannatt said that no more British troops should go to Afghanistan, insisting that the Army only has the manpower and resources to fight one foreign war at a time.

“The reason the Army has been under such pressure for the past three years is that we are committed to fighting two wars when we are only structured to fight one,” said Gen. Dannatt. “If we were to move troops from Iraq to Afghanistan we would simply replicate the problems.”

He said that many improvements had been made in equipping front line troops during the past two years, but serious consideration needed to be given as to whether it was sufficient that only 5 per cent of the government’s budget was devoted to defence spending.

“Is the amount the government spends on defence the right proportion?” he asked. “There are no cheap options on defence.”

Read the rest:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/
defence/3454085/Ministers-must-not-resort-to-
cheap-options-on-defence-says-British-Army-chief.html

Commentary: Say no to the auto bailout

November 13, 2008

General Motors, Ford, Chrysler and the United Auto Workers union are pouring millions of dollars into a lobbying campaign for a taxpayer bailout.

The money devoted to influence peddling in Washington would be better spent on improving quality and finding ways to reduce a bloated cost structure, but both management and UAW have decided that fleecing taxpayers is a better option.

A taxpayer bailout would be a terrible mistake. It would subsidize the shoddy management practices of the corporate bureaucrats at General Motors, Ford and Chrysler, and it would reward the intransigent union bosses who have made the synonymous with inflexible and anti-competitive work rules.

Perhaps most important, though, is that a bailout would be bad for the long-term health of the American auto industry. It would discriminate against the 113,000 Americans who have highly-coveted jobs building cars for Nissan, BMW and other auto companies that happen to be headquartered in other nations.

These companies demonstrate that it is possible to build cars in America and make money. Putting them at a competitive disadvantage with handouts for the U.S.-headquartered companies would be highly unjust.

A bailout also would be bad for General Motors, Ford and Chrysler. The so-called Big Three desperately need to fundamentally restructure their practices. More specifically, the car companies need to endure some short-term pain in order to restore long-term viability. But that won’t happen if politicians raid the treasury.

From CNN

Read the rest:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/11/13/mitchell.
auto/index.html

Goldman suspends GM rating, Chrysler urges aid

November 13, 2008

Goldman Sachs suspended its rating on General Motors Corp on Thursday and said the automaker needs at least $22 billion in federal aid, while Chrysler said it would be “very difficult to survive” without government support.

By Soyoung Kim, Reuters

Chrysler LLC Chief Executive Bob Nardelli said Chrysler was losing money due to a decline in U.S. auto sales to 25-year lows, and said Chrysler would seek federal money for its liquidity and restructuring needs.

In one of his few appearances since merger talks between GM and Chrysler broke off, Nardelli said Chrysler must have broader ties with U.S. automakers or alliances with overseas competitors to ride out the industry downturn.

The auto industry has stepped up lobbying efforts for government support and the heads of the three U.S.-based automakers are expected to testify next week before a congressional committee considering aid for the industry.

The Bush administration said the government could quickly disburse $25 billion in loans already approved by Congress. However, the administration has responded coolly to an aid plan being shaped by Democrats, which includes using part of the $700 billion financial rescue package to provide additional liquidity for the auto industry.

U.S. President-elect Barack Obama is considering appointing someone to lead efforts to help the auto industry return to health, an Obama aide said on Thursday.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20081113/bs_nm/us_autos;_
ylt=AoxQlVWmKP6w17NQ.n2SVOWs0NUE

Catholic Church cuts off ACORN funding

November 13, 2008

The Roman Catholic Church is cutting off funds to the community organizing group ACORN, citing complaints over its voter registration drives in the November 4 election as part of the reason.

By Drew Griffin and Kathleen Johnston
CNN Special Investigations Unit
.

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development froze its contributions to the group in June amid allegations that Dale Rathke, the brother of ACORN founder Wade Rathke, had embezzled nearly $1 million.

This week, as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops met in Baltimore, Maryland, the campaign’s chairman said it was cutting all ties with the group.

Authorities raid a Las Vegas, Nevada, ACORN office after allegations of voter fraud.

Above: Authorities raid a Las Vegas, Nevada, ACORN office after allegations of voter fraud.

“We simply had too many questions and concerns to permit further CCHD funding of ACORN groups,” Roger Morin, the auxiliary bishop of New Orleans, Louisiana, told his colleagues in a letter to the conference.

The CCHD has donated more than $7.3 million to ACORN-related projects over the past decade, including $40,000 to an ACORN chapter in Las Vegas, Nevada, that was raided before the election in an investigation into fraudulent voter registration forms. Among other questionable documents, the ACORN chapter submitted registration forms for members of the Dallas Cowboys football team.

Read the rest:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/11/13/acorn.
catholics/index.html

Al Qaeda Won’t Feel Effects of Global Economic Trouble

October 16, 2008

CAIRO, Egypt (AP)  —  Al Qaeda, which gets its money from the drug trade in Afghanistan and sympathizers in the oil-rich Gulf states, is likely to escape the effects of the global financial crisis.

One reason is that Al Qaeda and other Islamic terrorists have been forced to avoid using banks, relying instead on less-efficient ways to move their cash around the world, analysts said.

Those methods include hand-carrying money and using informal transfer networks called hawalas.

US military spokesman Rear Admiral Patrick Driscoll speaks during ...
US military spokesman Rear Admiral Patrick Driscoll speaks during a news conference at the Green Zone area in Baghdad, Iraq. The US military said on Wednesday that a foreign insurgent killed in the main northern Iraqi city of Mosul this month has been identified as Abu Qaswarah, Al-Qaeda’s number two in Iraq.(AFP/POOL/Ali Abbas)

While escaping official scrutiny, those networks also are slower and less efficient — and thus could hamper efforts to finance attacks.

“It would be inconceivable that large amounts of [terror-linked] money would transit through the formal financial system, because of all the controls,” said Ibrahim Warde, an expert on terrorist financing at The Fletcher School at Tufts University.

The question of where Al Qaeda and its sympathizers get their money has long been crucial to efforts to prevent terrorist attacks. A 2004 U.S. investigation found that banks in the United Arab Emirates had unwittingly handled most of the $400,000 spent on the Sept. 11 attacks.

Read the rest:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,439382,00.html

Corporate Cash Behind ’08 Presidential Debates

September 26, 2008

By Jennifer Haberkorn
The Washington Times
.
The presidential debates, one of the most potentially significant events of the 2008 campaign, are being brought to you, in part, by the very companies that the participants say they want to keep out of politics.

Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama have spent much of their time railing against the control of Washington by special interest groups and lobbyists, but some of those same groups are now spending millions of dollars to bring the presidential face-off to the public.

Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc., the International Bottled Water Association and Hewlett-Packard-owned Electronic Data Systems are among the private firms and organizations sponsoring the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), which hosts the forums every four years.

The CPD, which the candidates say they have no control over, declined to disclose how much its sponsors have contributed.

This year, the CPD planned to host three debates between the presidential candidates and one with the vice-presidential candidates. But the first presidential debate, scheduled for Friday night, is in serious doubt because of the flurry of congressional activity on the economic crisis. The debates are to be held in Oxford, Miss.; St. Louis; Nashville, Tenn.; and Hempstead, N.Y.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/
sep/26/corporate-cash-behind-08-debates/

Blogger outreach boosts McCain

March 31, 2008

By Stephen Dinan
The Washington Times
March 31, 2008

Even as talk radio was brutalizing Sen. John McCain in the Republican presidential primaries, conservative bloggers reached a respectful truce with the Arizona senator over touchy issues and gave him what the campaign called a “tremendous positive psychological” boost.
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The main reason: Mr. McCain’s blogger outreach, the most extensive of any presidential campaign in either party, helped keep him afloat in the dark days last summer when the major press was sizing up his campaign grave. During those times, Mr. McCain got attention and digital ink from the bloggers he invited to biweekly conference calls, and got a chance to talk policy.
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“During the unpleasantness, whenever Senator McCain put himself in front of reporters, the question was always, ‘How much did you raise today, when are you dropping out,’ ” said Patrick Hynes, a conservative blogger who Mr. McCain hired in 2006. “And then we’d put him on the phone with bloggers, and they’d want to talk about Iraq, and pork and chasing down al Qaeda.”
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For the campaign, it came down to deploying the campaign’s best asset — Mr. McCain himself — in a forum where he can excel.
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Mr. Hynes said the back-and-forth with bloggers took “a great deal of sting out of the criticisms” over immigration, Mr. McCain’s push for campaign-finance changes and other areas where conservatives have registered their discontent with the senator, who has secured enough delegates to win the Republican Party’s presidential nomination.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080331/NATION/499689152/1001