George W. Bush
Former President George W. Bush is pushing Congress to keep his PEPFAR program alive. (Courtesy of

In a recent op-ed published in The Washington Post, former U.S. President George W. Bush pleaded with the Trump administration to continue funding his 2003 President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program for the continent of Africa.

In the stirring and lengthy letter, Bush stated why Congress should keep the program alive:

“In the past six years, more than 370,000 women have been screened for cervical cancer and 24,000 for breast cancer through Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon. More than 119,000 girls have been vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV), which can lead to cervical and other cancers.” he wrote. “Nearly 1,000 health workers have been trained. With the proper resources and international commitment, we could end cervical cancer deaths on the continent in 30 years.”

Bush said that tax dollars should not go to programs that don’t work either at home or abroad, but to programs that have proven to be “efficient, effective and results-oriented.”

“Saving nearly 12 million lives is proof that PEPFAR works, and I urge our government to fully fund it,” he wrote.

U.N. Accuses East African Country of Violating Arms Embargo

For the third year in a row, the United Nations has listed Eritrea as an arms-embargo violator, for reportedly buying weapons and military material and receiving training from North Korea.

The United States has subsequently moved to ban all equipment sales or interactions with Eritrea’s navy, under nonproliferation legislation that targets Iran, Syria and North Korea.

In July, the U.N. panel found that Eritrea had imported 45 boxes of encrypted military radios and accessories, including GPS antennas, microphones and clone cables. Though the equipment was intercepted before reaching its destination, officials said that the equipment was sold by Glocom, a reported Malaysian front company, selling North Korean goods in an attempt to avoid detection.

Eritrea’s Ministry of Information denounced the new U.S. sanctions as “inexplicable and unwarranted” and said they followed a pattern established years ago.

“The pattern is sadly the same,” a ministry statement said. “Fallacious reports are first floated and illicit measures subsequently announced by the same architects who act as the plaintiff, prosecutor and judge.”

Five People Dead in Mali Jihadi Attack

One week after a national peace summit, five Tuareg Mali fighters were reportedly killed by an Islamist militant group.

The attack took place Saturday, April 8 in Gargando, a small town in central Mali located about 170 km to the west of Timbuktu.

“Our base in Gargando was attacked early Saturday by Islamist terrorists,” said Oumar Ag Keling, a member of the Tuareg-led Congress for Justice in Azawad (CJA), Agence France-Presse reported. “They killed four of our fighters, as well as the village chief.”

The jihadi rebels were “of many nationalities, according to the documents found at the scene.” Keling said.

A Malian military official blamed Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb for the attack, which the official said was partly an attempt to weaken the increasingly influential CJA, a peace organization formed in 2016 for the benefit of the Tuareg ethnic community.

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Lauren M. Poteat

Lauren Poteat is a versatile writer with a strong background in communications and media experience with an additional background in education and development.

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