Today’s Headlines

December 21, 2011 By Mac Stoddard

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Who’s In the News

Clinton-Bush Nonprofit Gives $1.5 Million To Haiti (Huffington Post)

The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund says it hopes $1.5 million in grants will help Haiti build its hotel, education and technology sectors.  The nonprofit created by former U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush said Tuesday it’s given a $264,000 grant to the Oasis Foundation that seeks to train potential hotel workers in hospitality services.  The group also issued a $914,000 grant to Quisqueya University to help build a new center that aims to groom business leaders.  A third grant for more than $285,000 will go to a for-profit enterprise named EducaTech for computer equipment, resources and training.

Smart Power

Obama: Women can make world more peaceful (Dave Boyer, The Washington Times)

The executive order directs the Defense and State departments and the U.S. Agency for International Development to “accelerate, institutionalize, and better coordinate our efforts to advance women’s inclusion in peace negotiations, peace-building activities, and conflict prevention.” The White House said the first report on these efforts will be due in 2015. Since 1992, the White House said, women have represented fewer than 3 percent of mediators and 8 percent of negotiators to major peace talks. Those numbers haven’t changed much in spite of the passage more than 10 years ago of a U.N. Security Council resolution that sought to increase women’s participation in international conflict resolution.

Africa’s year of living dangerously (Shanta Devarajan, The Guardian)

Sub-Saharan Africa’s economic gains came under threat this year, but public demands for good governance to address the continent’s problems holds promise for the future.

Politics/Foreign Policy 

More Talks Needed With North Korea on Food Aid, U.S. State Department Says (FoxNews)

Humanitarian groups expressed misgivings Tuesday that the suffering of malnourished North Koreans would deepen as the U.S. pushed back its long-awaited decision on providing food aid following the death of Kim Jong Il.  Despite constructive talks between U.S. and North Korean officials in Beijing last week, the State Department said further discussions were needed to assess food needs and on monitoring aid, which would be possible only after the 11-day official mourning period for Kim ends.

The End, for Now (Thomas Friedman, The New York Times)

With the withdrawal of the last U.S. troops from Iraq, we’re finally going to get the answer to the core question about that country: Was Iraq the way Iraq was because Saddam was the way Saddam was, or was Saddam the way Saddam was because Iraq is the way Iraq is — a collection of sects and tribes unable to live together except under an iron fist. Now we’re going to get the answer because both the internal iron fist that held Iraq together (Saddam Hussein) and the external iron fist (the U.S. armed forces) have been removed. Now we will see whether Iraqis can govern themselves in a decent manner that will enable their society to progress — or end up with a new iron fist. You have to hope for the best because so much is riding on it, but the early signs are worrying.