First of all lets tackle something that i usually don't write about. That is the HIV/AIDS Pandemic. Current estimates place
80% of the World's Cases of HIV/AIDS in the Third World. Sub-Saharan Africa has borne the brunt of this Epidemic.
In his FY 09 Budget Proposal sent to Congress President Bush asked for $30 Billion over the Next Five Years for Pepfar
(President's Emergency Funds for AIDS Relief.) The Advocacy Group Physicians for Human Rights states that a more Adequate
funding request to fight this Horrible Disease is $ 96 Billion.
There is an Alternative Bill currently making its way around the Hill. This Bill was to add an additional $ 20 Billion
to raise the total to $ 50 Billion. Action on this bill is expected anytime now.
African Issues are Once again in the Forefront in Washington, D.C.
The Second Piece of Legislation deals with Kenya. It is believed that over a 1,000 people have perished in the Ruthlessly
Planned and Orchestrated Violence that occurred after the Dec. 27th Presidential Elections.
During the week of Feb. 2 both the US House of Representatives and the Senate held hearings over this seemingly rapidly
unfolding crisis. Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) has even introduced a Bill that will not only issue a travel ban on both the
Senior Leaders of both the Government and the Main Opposition but would also curtail all Assistance from the United States
to Food and Medicine.
It should be noted that the Vice-President of Kenya traveled to Washington to Personally Plead with Senator Feingold not
to have the sanctions take effect. There are reports that the US Embassy in Nairobi has sent letters to 10 people telling
them that they cannot travel to the United States as a Result of the Violence in Kenya.
Lastly lets go off the Radar and discuss Somaliland. This area of Somalia is probably the only part of the Country that actually
has a working Government. And this part of the Country has launched a charm offensive for the World to let it take its place
among the Nations of the World.
Currently there is some angst in Washington over how to deal with this Autonomous "State". The Pentagon in Particular
the Horn of Africa Combined Joint Task Force and the CIA want to establish some contacts with Somaliland. Meanwhile the State
Department wants to wait until the African Union deems for the region to be an Independent Country.
There was some movement on Capitol Hill regarding this issue. There is a group call the Somaliland Peace and Reconstruction
Institute. It is based in Los Angeles and has drafted a bill seeking an Independent Somaliland. At this time there is no specific
Information on the bill other than the fact it was sent to the Hill in Late January.