With the International AIDS Conference underway this week in the United States for the first time in 22 years-and in Washington, no less-activists are incensed that President Barack Obama has chosen not to attend. Further fueling their displeasure, the president's 2013 budget proposes to cut funding for the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which was started by former President George W. Bush, by 7 percent-even though recent studies have shown that more than 740,000 African lives were saved under the program between 2004 and 2008. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did speak at the event, along with former President Bill Clinton. Today Georgetown University hosts the Summit on the Role of the Christian Faith Community in Global Health and HIV/AIDS in conjunction with the AIDS conference. It begins at 11:45 a.m. EDT and will be livecast on its website.
Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney intends to take on Obama's foreign policy record, starting yesterday with a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Reno, Nev., and continuing this week with a high-profile trip to Israel. Romney's six-day tour includes stops in London and Warsaw, and he will be in Jerusalem on Sunday. The tour includes GOP fundraisers with overseas voters along the way.
Asian and African women who don't support the goals outlined earlier this month at the Family Planning Summit in London are speaking out in a slick video (see below) that challenges Melinda Gates' "No Controversy" campaign to spend $4 billion to provide contraceptives to 120 million poor women in developing countries. Their response: "We need justice, not drugs." The website, sponsored by Human Life International, is also full of helpful links to material showing why billions in public largesse to fund contraceptive giveaways can be a bad idea.
The eurocrisis is spreading, leading Moody's to downgrade this week to negative its outlook on Germany's triple-A rating. Moody's pointed to the vast liabilities Germany would incur in a bailout of Spain and Italy, as well as its banking system's "sizable exposures" to them. Moody's also shifted to negative its outlook on triple-A Netherlands and Luxembourg. Only Finland, more economically isolated than the other triple-A countries in Europe, now has a stable rating from Moody's. "People really have to run with their money because it is not about return on capital, it is about return of capital," said Humayun Shahryar, a Cyprus-based investor on why other countries are fleeing European investments.