Gates Foundation’s International Malaria Forum Kicks off in Seattle. With a Bang.
There will be several grand announcements from the Gates Foundation’s malaria confab this week. This includes the results of a much anticipated malaria vaccine trial which will be released on Tuesday afternoon in Seattle. To whet our appetites, Roll Back Malaria released its progress report on Monday with some excellent news.“Nearly a third of all countries affected by malaria are on course to eliminate the mosquito-borne disease over the next 10 years, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Monday. In a progress report published by the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) partnership at the start of an international Malaria Forum conference in Seattle, the United Nations health body said ‘remarkable progress’ had been made. Up to a third of the 108 countries and territories across the world where malaria is endemic are moving towards being able to wipe out the disease within their borders, it said. ‘Better diagnostic testing and surveillance has provided a clearer picture of where we are on the ground — and has shown that there are countries eliminating malaria in all endemic regions of the world,’ Robert Newman, director of the WHO’s Global Malaria Programme, told the conference.” (Reuters http://reut.rs/n75w0Lz)
Israeli – Palestinian Prisoner Exchange Begins
The deal worked out between Hamas and the Israeli government for the release of the captured IDF soldier Gilad Shalit and 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody is under way. “After five years as a captive of Hamas militants, Israeli Staff Sgt. Gilad Schalit returned to his homeland Tuesday in exchange for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners. Schalit landed at Tel Nof air base on board a military helicopter Tuesday, where he would be reunited with his family, who led an emotional campaign to win their son’s release during his captivity. Ahead of the reunion, Schalit switched out of civilian clothes given to him by Hamas and into an Israeli military uniform. Earlier, Schalit gave a brief interview to Egyptian TV. Looking thin, weary and dazed, he said he was ‘very excited to taste freedom’ and that he had missed his family and friends. He said he feared he would remain in captivity ‘many more years’ and worried since being told of the deal last week that last-minute hitches might cause it to collapse. (CBS http://bit.ly/oykbdJ)
Hillary Clinton Lands in Tripoli With Promise of Aid
The Secretary of State became the highest ranking American official to set foot in Libya since the fall of the Gaddhafi regime. And she came bearing gifts. “The administration has already pledged $135 million in assistance to Libya’s rebel leaders, including humanitarian aid and military equipment, though not weapons, and Mrs. Clinton came promising more, including medical equipment and treatment in the United States for some of the wounded fighters, English courses and a project with Oberlin College in Ohio to help preserve ancient ruins at Cyrene. The relatively small amount of assistance reflected fiscal austerity at home in the United States, when foreign aid faces deep cuts as part of the fight to reduce the budget, but also, a senior administration official said, the fact that oil-rich Libya needs expertise more than cash to revive its rebuild its society and economy after four decades under Colonel Qaddafi. One of the largest amounts of that aid— at nearly $40 million — involves an expanding effort by American and others to search for mobile rocket launchers from Libya’s looted arsenals that could end up in the hands of terrorists. The United States has already sent 14 officials to join the transitional government in the hunt, and officials said more would arrive soon.” (NYT http://nyti.ms/qpi5F9)
Uganda’s Walk to Work Protesters Are Back on their Feet
It would seem that the protest movement in Uganda has not been beaten into submission. “Teargas and gunshots yesterday rocked Kampala as police clashed with protesters who turned up for the second phase of the Walk-to-Work demonstrations. Organised by pressure group Activists for Change (A4C), the protests, whose first phase began on April 11 leaving several people dead, maimed or detained by the security forces, are aimed at shedding light on the plight of Ugandans suffering due to high fuel and food prices and rising cost of living. On Friday, the police chief, Maj. Gen. Kale Kayihura, warned A4C that any form of civil disobedience would not be tolerated, especially because students would be beginning their exams yesterday. By press time, A4C said they had recorded 44 arrests of suspected protestors across the country although Police Deputy spokesperson Vicent Ssekate said only 29 people were in police custody.” (Daily Monitor http://bit.ly/o4kK9r)