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  • Written by World and Media

Where now for US Africa policy?

Barack Obama and George W Bush Obama meet in the Oval Office. President Bush gave African health and development a high priority relative to his predecessors, raising expectations for President Obama. Photo: US public doesn't seem to think their president is doing a particularly good job about anything, according to a recent poll. Taken shortly before the mid-terms elections delivered a more concrete verdict, the poll found that more people disapproved than approved of Barack Obama's performance across each of a wide range of policies.

Approximately 55% thought Barack Obama at least as responsible as George W Bush for the state of the US economy even though, according to The Economist, the Republicans "oversaw the tax cuts, the entry into two wars and the financial collapse that are the source of most of America’s gigantic deficit".

Disaffection has also spread to the development sector.

  • Written by Panos

Eritrea ranked bottom of 2010 Press Freedom Index

Map of Eritrea.Global media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) released its 2010 Press Freedom Index on Wednesday. The report highlights a group of ten countries at the bottom of its index where persecution of the media and lack of news and information is widespread. These are Rwanda, Yemen, China, Sudan, Syria, Burma, Iran, Turkmenistan, North Korea and finally Eritrea, at the very bottom. Press freedom is worsening in these ten countries and it is difficult to determine in which one journalists face more challenges, according to RSF. The index also described the situation in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Mexico as one of "permanent chaos" in which the press has become a main target.

Source: Panos

  • Written by Daniel C Giacopelli

Regional military force established to crack down on Lord’s Resistance Army

16-year-old Alfred Lokolia from Lakuare village stands by Ugandan Defence Force soldiers. Alfred was mutilated during an attack in his village by LRA rebels in 2004. Photo: Manoocher Deghati/IRIN, Oromi in Kitgum District, northern Uganda, 2007.The military campaign against the central African rebel group intensifies, writes Daniel C Giacopelli for openSecurity.

A number of central African countries overwhelmed by the brutal attacks and mounting regional destabilization caused by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) have established a comprehensive plan to combat the rebel group. Ministers from Uganda, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Central African Republic agreed Friday in a meeting in Bangui, the capital of the latter, to create a joint military task force, centre of operations, and border patrol capacity, all to be supervised by a representative from the African Union.

The ministers also arranged to modify the official status of the LRA from a rebel group to a ‘terrorist’ organization, a move intended to increase the level of shared funds allocated for the offensive and to raise the level of judicial cooperation among the four countries.

  • Written by IRIN jk/he

Africa: Political will can solve malnutrition

Screening has revealed thousands of children are severely malnourished in Madagascar’s parched south. Photo: Tomas de Mul/IRIN.[KAMPALA] "Children don't vote," said Dr Robert Mwadime, of Uganda Action for Nutrition, at a session on the subject before the three-day African Union (AU) meeting opened in Kampala, Uganda. This means that political leaders in Africa often pay scant attention to the millions of children who die every year of malnutrition-related causes. Most of the audience nodded in agreement; many clapped.

I was moderating a technical session on nutrition at the invitation of Boitshepo "Bibi" Giyose, Food and Nutrition Security Advisor to the African Union's New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), which ran the event on 24 July, a day ahead of the AU meeting.

  • Written by IRIN pt/he

Africa: Diabetes cases to double by 2030

More will need medication to fight diabetes in sub-Saharan Africa in coming decades. Photo: Phuong Tran/IRIN.

DAKAR, 28 June 2010 (IRIN) - Without a major breakthrough in preventing and treating diabetes, the number of cases in sub-Saharan Africa is projected to double, reaching 24 million by 2030, according to the Brussels-based International Diabetes Federation (IDF).

A recent study, Diabetes in sub-Saharan Africa, led by the University of Yaoundé in Cameroon and published in the British medical journal, The Lancet, said inadequate donor attention and national prevention programmes were creating a global "public health and socioeconomic time bomb".

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