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AP Examines Clinton’s Emphasis On Women’s Empowerment, Trip To PNG

As Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Rodham Clinton travels to Papua New Guinea Wednesday, the Associated Press examines how she will continue to press for “‘women empowerment,’ a signature issue of her nearly one-year tenure as top U.S. diplomat.'”

AP, IRIN Examine Lawsuit Challenging Plumpy’nut Patent

The Associated Press examines the decision by two U.S. nonprofit groups seeking to increase production of the ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF), Plumpy’nut, to file a lawsuit against the French organizations that hold the product’s U.S. patent.

Vilsack Promotes Agriculture Improvement In Afghanistan, Announces $20M In Aid

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has launched “a major drive to improve agriculture” in Afghanistan, McClatchy/Miami Herald reports. During an airborne tour of the country’s Helmand province on Tuesday, Vilsack delivered the “message: If you grow wheat, vegetables and pomegranates instead of poppies, the United States will help you reap the financial benefits.” Vilsack said, “This is by far the number one non-military priority here in Afghanistan” (Day, 1/12).

UNICEF Program Aimed At Curbing Deaths In West Africa Falls Short Of Goals, Study Finds

A $27 million UNICEF program that aims to decrease disease-related child deaths in West Africa did not meet its goal of reducing death rates by at least 25 percent at the conclusion of 2006, according to a Lancet study published on Tuesday, the Associated Press reports. “The U.N. children’s agency pursued strategies like vaccinating children, giving them vitamin A pills and distributing bednets to protect against malaria from 2001 to 2005 in parts of 11 countries,” according to the article.

ProPublica Examines USAID Efforts To Fund, Train Local Organizations In Pakistan

“As the United States prepares to drastically increase civilian aid in Pakistan, [USAID,] the agency in charge has asked for help training the local organizations that will spend that aid money, saying those organizations ‘do not meet the minimum standards for managing’ U.S. government funds,” ProPublica reports in a story that examines the challenges associated with channeling aid money for Pakistan away from American contractors and NGOs to Pakistani organizations.

Obama Administration Supports Cairo Conference Goals, Clinton Says

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Friday “reiterated the Obama administration’s support” for universal access to family planning and maternal health care, All Headline News reports. Clinton spoke at an event marking the 15th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development Action Plan held in Cairo, Egypt.

Economist Examines Innovative Mechanisms For Funding Global Health Programs

The Economist examines the “dramatic” change in funding for projects aimed at fighting diseases in the developing world. “In 1990 more than two-thirds of the $5.6 billion spent on global health assistance came from governments. … By 2007, when total funding for health reached nearly $22 billion, government spending still made up the lion’s share,” the magazine writes. “Look closer, though, and it emerges that the yeast which leavened this bread was ‘non-traditional’ financing. In 2007 private money from firms and charities like the Gates Foundation eclipsed the total from all sources spent in 1990.”

Shah Sworn In As USAID Administrator

On Thursday, Rajiv Shah was sworn in as USAID administrator at an official ceremony in Washington, D.C., Foreign Policy’s blog, “The Cable,” reports. “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed overwhelming praise and relief before swearing in Shah,” according to the blog, which noted that Clinton’s remarks provided some “insider details” about Shah.

Development To Be ‘Central Pillar’ Of U.S. Foreign Policy, Clinton Says

In a speech on Wednesday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said that it is time to “elevate development as a central pillar of all that we do in our foreign policy,” United Press International reports (1/6). According to Reuters, “U.S. security depends on a new approach to international aid, so Washington must consult more and dictate less as it dispenses billions of dollars in assistance, … Clinton said.”