Hunger in SeychellesJames A. Michel, the former president of Seychelles, attended a General Assembly for the United Nations in September of 2008 to discuss hunger in Seychelles as one of the enemies the Seychellois face daily.

According to the U.N., he also addressed the poverty and inequality of the global trading system that causes hunger in Seychelles. Alluding to the morality of the citizens in the Assembly Hall, Michel set clear commitments to resolve the climate, energy and food crises, among others.

The U.N. also clarified that his concepts suggest that industrialized countries should remove subsidies given to their farmers and provide the global South with urgently-needed resources to improve its infrastructure.

With about 90,000 inhabitants off the eastern coast of Africa and northeast of Madagascar, the Republic of Seychelles has the smallest population of all African countries.

While it is a naturalist’s playground and widely celebrated for its ecotourism on the mainland, inhabitants continue to look to global organizations such as Global Citizen, Save The Children, UNICEF and UNDP for support related to hunger in Seychelles. Part of this global support was the founding of a Global Island Partnership to get all small islands and nations with islands to give part of their natural resources to conservation sustainability.

The Food and Agriculture Organization reported that the islands live with several inconvenient circumstances, such as expensive food from remote markets. Another issue is the spread of aggressive creepers that have carried destructive diseases to some of the major forest lands during the last 40 years. One factor that limits agricultural production is the current forest laws that ban development on about half of the country’s land. This ultimately results in more hunger in Seychelles.

“Of the total value of tuna – our ‘blue gold’ – caught and transhipped in our waters by foreign fishing vessels every year, the Seychelles receives only 7 percent in revenue, comprising license and transhipment fees. This to my mind is unacceptable,” Michel announced to the Assembly. He suggested a restored United Nations to lessen foreign manipulation by investors for the country’s natural resources.

Correspondingly, the FAO monitored progress towards reducing hunger in Seychelles. The data displayed that of the total population from 2006-2008, over 83,000 people were undernourished.

One must remember that the slightest efforts have an impact on the mission to end world hunger. People should do what they can to help advocate for and support the less fortunate, as these affairs have the possibility to have a constructive outcome communally.

The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) aims to give all people, especially those in vulnerable situations, access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round. They also intend to double the agricultural productivity and the incomes of small-scale food producers by the year 2030.

To get involved, consider occupying your time collaboratively by joining the global conversation using the hashtag #sey4sdg in support of the SDG 2: NO HUNGER.

Jalil Perry

Photo: Flickr

How Are Presidents Impeached

Impeaching a president is one of the ultimate forms of checks and balances within the United States government. Article two, section four of the U.S. Constitution states the president can be impeached on conviction of “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” This raises an important question: how are presidents impeached?

Impeachment can remove an unfit president from the highest office in the nation, with no chance for an appeal. The serious, multi-step process of impeachment  involves specific roles for each party involved.

How are presidents impeached?

  1. The House of Representatives brings impeachment charges. This process begins when representatives introduce impeachment resolutions just like they would with regular bills.
  2. The Committee on the Judiciary decides whether to pursue the impeachment. A special committee investigates if impeachment charges are needed based on the president’s actions. If a majority of the committee finds grounds with the impeachment, it reports back to the House.
  3. The House then votes to impeach. The House technically impeaches the president if an impeachment article gets a majority vote. If that happens, the House then appoints a team to oversee the following trial on its behalf. These so-called managers are usually members of the Judiciary Committee.
  4. The House gets the Senate involved. After the House decides to impeach, it adopts a resolution to tell the Senate of its decision. The Senate then adopts an order saying it is ready to hear from the managers.
    The managers will appear before the Senate bar to explain the impeachment articles against the president. The managers present back to the House afterward.
  5. The president is summoned. The constitution gives the Senate the sole power to try all impeachments. The Senate begins this by calling the president to appear in court on a chosen date to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. If the president or the president’s consul does not show up, the Senate assumes a not guilty plea. It then sets a trial date.
  6. The Senate holds trial. An impeachment trial is similar to a criminal trial. The House managers act as prosecutors, and the president has defense lawyers. Witnesses are subpoenaed to give testimony and answer questions, and evidence is presented.
  7. The senators take over the role of jurors, and the Chief Justice of the United States presides over the trial, sometimes ruling on procedural questions. If at least two-thirds of senators find the president guilty, he or she is formally convicted.
  8. The president is removed, and the vice president becomes president. When the Senate finds a president guilty, it can also vote on whether the president should be disqualified from holding office again. A majority vote decides this.

How are presidents impeached? The House of Representatives brings impeachment charges based on a president’s misconduct, and the Senate determines his or her fate.

Two presidents have been formally impeached, but neither of them were convicted or removed from office. President Andrew Johnson was impeached, but his conviction failed by one vote in the Senate. Bill Clinton was impeached, but the Senate found him not guilty. President Richard Nixon came close to being impeached. He had pending impeachment charges against him in the House, but he resigned before the process could start.

Kristen Reesor

Photo: Google

Current Ugandan President, Yoweri Musevini, announced a new plan to reduce the number of people suffering from AIDS.

On June 6, 2017 in Kampa, Uganda, Musevini introduced the President Fast-Track Initiative on Ending AIDS as a public health threat in Uganda by 2030.

The President Fast-Track initiative has been dubbed “Kisanja hakno mchezo” (no playing games) highlighting the focus and devotion that President Musevini possesses for the program. It includes a five point plan for focused action against the spread of HIV and AIDS in the country.

President Musevini’s five point plan for the President Fast-Track Initiative:

  1. Accelerate steps to remove the propensity of new HIV infections (particularly among girls and young women and their partners.)
  2.  Eliminate the transmission of HIV from mother to child.
  3. Accelerate “Test and Treat” programs, bringing them up to 90-90-90 targets (obtaining a 90 percent for treatment, care and support by 2020).
  4.  Guarantee financial sustainability for HIV and AIDS programs.
  5.  Reinforce institutional effectiveness for a multi-sectoral response.

President Musevini took personal interest in the program and will receive reports in order to improve plans as they unfold. The Uganda AIDS Commission, along with leadership from President Musevini, will coordinate the initiative. UNAIDS, a leading UN agency in coordinating the HIV response, will have key leadership in the initiative.

Michel Sidibe, UNAIDS executive director, was in attendance during the announcement of the President Fast-Track Initiative: “For the millions of people who are not here today, they will be happy that their President is back in the driving seat of the HIV response, launching the first President Fast-Track Initiative. Once again, Uganda is leading Africa and the world to demonstrate that we can end the AIDS epidemic,” Sidibe said. “Under his leadership, Uganda is moving from breaking the conspiracy of silence to breaking the conspiracy of complacency.”

An estimated 1.5 million people suffered from HIV and 28,000 died from HIV and AIDS related illnesses in 2015. An estimated 40 percent of adults are still not on treatment due to mitigating factors, including access to medication, stigma and discrimination, an issue the President Fast-Track Initiative hopes to take care of.

Steps have already been put in place to reduce the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Uganda. According to UNAIDS reports, infections dropped to 83,000 in 2015, far lower than the 2009 estimated 130,000 people per year.

Drew Hazzard

Photo: Flickr

A U.S. global initiative has made significant strides in helping with the HIV/AIDS epidemic in South Africa. The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, has provided substantial support programs to the African nation including clinical services, HIV counseling and testing and various programs emphasizing treatment to adolescent girls and young women.

The PEPFAR initiative came into effect during the Bush administration, providing the president with declarative powers to help fight HIV/AIDS and other diseases. The program was renewed and expanded in 2008, and its funding was tripled.

In an article published by the Christian Science Monitor, Sharonann Lynch, the HIV and TB policy advisor for Doctors Without Borders, notes PEPFAR as one of the most significant AIDS relief programs in the region.

“It’s not every day in global health where a program gets to essentially say they’ve turned the tide on an epidemic, and that’s what PEPFAR has done,” Lynch said.

Lynch believes that PEPFAR is integral in bringing awareness to the disease and to the possibility of its future eradication across the globe.

“When PEPFAR was announced, you didn’t have anyone talking about ending AIDS – and now that’s exactly what the US and other governments have committed to. They can see it in sight,” Lynch said.

According to a report published on the PEPFAR website, seven million people of all ages were living with HIV in 2015. Approximately 180,000 deaths were attributed to AIDS the same year.

In 2016, the plan and various other partners and organizations contributed HIV testing and counseling to more than 10.4 million people. These programs have also been integral to providing life-saving antiretroviral treatment to more than 3.4 million people.

PEPFAR focuses heavily on women and children affected by HIV/AIDS. The organization provided antiretroviral treatment to 220,626 expectant mothers to reduce the risk of mother-to-child HIV transmission in 2016. The plan has also provided care and support for 407,056 orphans and vulnerable children affected by HIV/AIDS by providing funding to the health and social welfare systems of South Africa.

According to a report published by the CDC, approximately 52 percent of deaths in South Africa were caused by HIV/AIDS in 2006. With the help of programs such as PEPFAR, the number of fatalities has dropped significantly, from roughly one-half to one-third, in South Africa.

Drew Hazzard

Photo: Flickr

How Presidents are ImpeachedThe U.S. Constitution created the standard of impeachment to ensure that an official of the judicial or executive branch may be removed from office if they meet the grounds of treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors. How presidents are impeached is an extensive process.

It begins in the House of Representatives, which reserves the sole power of impeachment. This means that for an impeachment trial to begin, it must be initiated in a declaration by a member of the House. In promoting such a declaration, though, the process can be encouraged by the judicial conference of the U.S., an independent counsel, the president, a state or territorial legislature, a grand jury or a petition.

The House examines all charges of impeachment before putting it to vote, usually by the House Committee on the Judiciary. That committee then needs a majority vote confirming allegations of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors for the impeachment to be proposed to the full House.

If it is brought to the full House, the committee presents all specific allegations to be voted on. The House can vote on each article of misdemeanor separately, or the overall accusation, and if the majority votes for impeachment then managers are selected to bring the case to Senate.

There is no set definition for what these allegations should include, which can make it difficult to determine how presidents are impeached, but it is widely accepted that impeachment should only be considered in cases of a clear disregard for duty, whether criminal or otherwise.

Any formal accusation, by majority vote, is considered impeachment. This often-overlooked definition means that in the notable case of Bill Clinton, for instance, he never was convicted but he was impeached in 1998 when the Republican-controlled House voted to bring the allegations against him to the Senate.

By contrast, Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 before he could be impeached by the House, let alone convicted by the Senate.

The sole power to try all impeachments is held by the U.S. Senate, and the proceedings are similar to a case held in court. The managers are chosen by the House present evidence to either the full Senate or a chosen subcommittee on a set trial date, providing witnesses and opening and closing arguments.

Each article of impeachment is voted on separately by the Senate as a whole, and one or more must obtain a two-thirds vote for conviction. Any convicted officer will be removed from office, but the Senate can vote on whether they are barred from holding any other office of public trust under the United States (in which case they only require a majority vote).

This is how presidents are impeached, and if it is a different official being removed from office, the president does not have the ability to pardon them.

Brooke Clayton

Photo: Flickr

On May 7, Emmanuel Macron, a former investment banker and political newcomer, became president of France. The French election was divisive, but among the strongest supporters of President Macron’s centrist policies were those living in poverty across the globe and those hoping to help them.

Macron has vowed to increase France’s foreign aid budget to 0.7 percent of the country’s GDP. Three years ago that budget was 0.36 percent, which translated to $10 billion. With the budget doubled, many impoverished people can expect to see increased aid from France.

In his own words, Macron envisions a newly open relationship with Africa, “without any false post-colonial coyness.” The history of French intervention in Africa will not be brushed under the rug with his administration, rather it will be rectified by investing in the developing continent.

As a former investment banker, Macron sees how investing in Africa’s development now will help his country in the long run. Of World Finance’s five fastest growing economies in 2017, three are African countries: Ethiopia, Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire. Further, Macron will hold France to the economic partnership made between the EU and the Southern Africa Development Community last year.

Macron has also committed to the U.N.’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which states one of its direct goals is “to end poverty and hunger.” In June, he’s agreed to lobby the G20 Summit to invest in Africa’s economic development as well.

Amid threats of terrorism and corruption in many African countries, President Emmanuel Macron emphasizes solidifying safety and autonomy abroad more than anything else. Dictatorships threatening democracy were supposedly strengthened by French leaders for years, serving their own interests in place of the African people. This system, referred to as the “francafrique,” is one of the imperial remnants that Macron intends to completely do away with as he builds a fresh relationship with Africa.

In an election dominated by domestic affairs, President Emmanuel Macron dedicated himself to being an ally to the world’s poor. Time will tell the benefits that his election brings.

Brooke Clayton

Photo: Flickr

Malaria — a disease caused by plasmodium parasites and transmitted by a mosquito bite — kills about 429,000 infected people every year. Though it can be treated easily for those who readily have access to healthcare, those who do not are often left to suffer. Unfortunately, sub-Saharan Africa is home to warm climates that attract the principal malaria mosquito, Anopheles gambiae. This leaves the citizens vulnerable to infection.

Malaria often cripples adults and children, forcing those infected to cease working or attending school. People disperse to less economically stable areas due to the fear of being infected; it even scares off potential investors and tourists. The money that the government and its citizens have to set aside for medical costs takes an enormous toll on the economic growth of the affected regions. Direct costs (illness, treatment, premature death) have been estimated to be at least $12 billion per year.

The U.S. recognized the devastating effects of malaria in Africa and decided to take action. In 2005, the Bush administration launched the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), which strives to reduce malaria-related mortality by 50 percent across sub-Saharan Africa.

At the end of April 2015, the PMI released its eleventh annual report to the U.S. Congress detailing the initiative strategy for 2015-2020. The report outlines how the President’s Malaria Initiative will work with national malaria control programs to accomplish the following by 2020:

  • Reduce malaria mortality by one-third, achieving more than 80 percent reduction from PMI’s original 2000 baseline levels.
  • Reduce malaria morbidity by 40 percent in PMI-supported countries.
  • Assist five PMI-supported countries to meet the World Health Organization’s criteria for national or sub-national pre-elimination.

To achieve these objectives, PMI will approach five areas:

  1. Mitigating risk against the current malaria control gains.
  2. Building capacity of health systems.
  3. Improving capacity to collect and use information.
  4. Sustaining scale of proven interventions.
  5. Adapting to epidemiology and incorporating new tools.

The PMI aims for the gradual eradication of malaria by 2040-2050. With the help and continued funding of the PMI, malaria will be on the road to eradication in sub-Saharan Africa — along with the social and economic losses caused by the disease.

Vicente Vera

Photo: Flickr

Foreign Aid Quotes
The Trump administration’s proposed cuts to the International Affairs Budget would slash U.S. foreign aid to levels not seen since the ’70s and ’90s. Foreshadowing these proposed cuts, President Trump remarked during his campaign that America should “stop sending foreign aid to countries that hate us.”

In a March 2016 interview, Trump also commented on the purported futility of foreign aid as he spoke about building schools in Iraq: “I watched as we built schools in Iraq, and they’d be blown up. And we’d build another one, and it would get blown up… And yet we can’t build a school in Brooklyn… at what point do you say, hey, we have to take care of ourselves.”

How does President Trump’s position on overseas assistance compare with other U.S. presidents? Here are five quotes from former presidents on foreign aid:

  1. George W. Bush, NPR interview, April 2017 — “When you have an entire generation of people being wiped out, and the free world turns its back, it provides a convenient opportunity for people to spread extremism.”
  2. Barack Obama, Vox interview, Feb. 2015 — “If you look at our foreign assistance as a tool in our national security portfolio as opposed to charity, and you combined our defense budget overall with our diplomatic budget and our foreign assistance budget, then in that mix, there is a lot more we should be doing.”
  3. Ronald Reagan, White House remarks, Oct. 1987 –“You know the excuses: We can’t afford foreign aid anymore, or we’re wasting money pouring it into these poor countries, or we can’t buy friends—other countries just take the money and dislike us for giving it. Well, all these excuses are just that, excuses—and they’re dead wrong.”
  4. John F. Kennedy, Remarks upon signing the Foreign Assistance Act of 1962, Aug. 1962 –“The amount of money that is involved in the nonmilitary areas are a fraction of what we spend on our national defense every year, and yet this is very much related to our national security and is as important dollar for dollar as any expenditure for national defense itself.”
  5. Harry S. Truman, Statement upon signing the Foreign Assistance Act of 1948, Apr. 1948 — “Our program of foreign aid is perhaps the greatest venture in constructive statesmanship that any nation has undertaken. It is an outstanding example of cooperative endeavor for the common good.”

These quotes from former presidents on foreign aid highlight the longstanding history of American engagement overseas. Here are two examples of these sentiments in action: firstly, the Foreign Assistance Act of 1948, otherwise known as the Marshall Plan, played a vital role in helping to rebuild Europe after WWII. Consequently, the European Union is now the largest trading partner of the U.S. Secondly, George W. Bush’s investment in the PEPFAR initiative continues to save countless lives from the scourge of HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa and is widely acknowledged as a remarkable success.

Foreign aid serves many purposes: ensuring national security, promoting humanitarian values and advancing U.S. economic interests overseas. Disengaging and ceding our leadership in this regard is not in our nation’s best interest. The above quotes from former presidents on foreign aid present a different vision for U.S. leadership overseas than from the isolationist approach outlined by President Trump.

Thankfully, with Trump’s proposal “dead on arrival,” it appears many members of Congress concur with these former presidents on the value of foreign aid and the vital role it plays in pursuit of the national interest.

Michael Farquharson

Photo: Flickr

Foreign Aid Budget
More than 120 retired generals and admirals have come together in opposition to President Trump’s intended foreign aid budget cuts.

Recently, Trump proposed to raise the U.S. military’s budget by 10 percent, or $54 billion. Although no specifics have been reported as to what this increase will fund, Trump has expressed a desire to increase warships, warplanes and the number of ground troops. He also aims to update America’s nuclear weapons. In order to increase this budget, funding for foreign aid may suffer consequences and undergo severe reductions. Some projections predict State Department budget cuts will reach as high as 30 percent.

The retired generals and admirals joined together with business executives and foreign policy experts through the U.S. Global Leader Coalition. They addressed a letter to lawmakers to express their opposition and quoted secretary of defense James Mattis, who said while commander of U.S. Central Command, “If you don’t fully fund the State Department, then I need to buy more ammunition.”

The State Department and foreign aid are categorized under the International Affairs Budget, which is separate from the military. Programs vary from pandemic prevention to embassy security to refugee aid, all of which costs about $58.8 billion. While this is a large number at first glance, it accounts for less than one percent of the federal budget. The federal budget currently allocates $600 billion to the U.S. military.

The retired military leaders wrote in the letter, “The military will lead the fight against terrorism on the battlefield, but it needs strong civilian partners in the battle against the drivers of extremism — lack of opportunity, insecurity and hopelessness.”

In an era where war is no longer fought with air forces or navies alone, tools such as humanitarian relief and foreign aid must not be severed, the letter argues. The partnership between America and nations such as Afghanistan and Pakistan must remain.

The letter advocating for the protection of the foreign aid budget was addressed to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and several others.

Brenna Yowell

Photo: Flickr

mexican slums mexico city shanty towns
It’s no secret that President Trump has some choice words associated with Mexico, “wall” being one of the most frequently used. The President’s plans to complicate American ties with Mexico could have devastating effects on Mexico’s poor. Cutting back on economic ties with our southern neighbor could mean speeding up the economic degradation of Mexico’s poorest communities, exacerbating the issue of Mexican slums.

Top 5 Facts About Mexican Slums

  1. Mexican slums become breeding grounds for drug dealing and gang activity. Despite being among the richest nations in the world, Mexico’s poorest citizens live on less than $13 a day. The economic degradation leads many who live in Mexican slums to turn to drug dealing to support themselves and their families.
  2. One of the most commonly dealt drugs in Mexican slums is methamphetamine, a highly addictive stimulant drug that produces a high when inhaled or smoked. Desperate and impoverished, many residents of Mexican slums turn to dealing meth because it is a synthetic drug that can be made cheaply and sold for a high profit. The ease with which someone could make more money dealing drugs than working a real job is a telltale symptom of the depth of poverty present.
  3. The striking difference between affluent members of Mexican society and those who live in Mexican slums is most pronounced in photographs of Mexico City. Photographer Johnny Miller’s aerial photographs of Mexico City include brand new middle-class homes built right next to a rundown “barrio.”
  4. Approximately eight million people around the world live in slums, and in Mexico, most of those people are concentrated on the outskirts of the Mexican capital. Many rural residents travel to Mexico City in search of a better life only to wind up in shanty towns bordering the capital. However, many residents still believe that they and their families stand a better chance at finding a more dignified lifestyle in Mexico City than elsewhere. Al Jazeera reports on the Garduno family, who moved into Mexico City and lived with extended family in a small hut. Now, the Gardunos have their own home and are preparing to open a taco shop.
  5. Nezo-Chalco-Itza is the world’s largest slum, with about four million impoverished people living in it. The residents of this Mexican slum account for almost 10 percent of the population of Mexico City.

Mary Grace Costa

Photo: Flickr