The Telegraph: John Kerry threatens to bore the world to death with excruciating first speech as Secretary of State – Former Senator John Kerry’s first speech as Secretary of State was delivered at the University of Virginia and has already been dubbed “one of the dullest lectures on record by a senior U.S. official.” Kerry reminded the audience that “foreign assistance is not a giveaway. It is not charity. It is an investment in a strong America and free world.” (Nile Gardiner)
Guardian: Poor urban services found to increase risk of violence against women – Poor quality and underfunded public services are “exacerbating the ‘constant’ violence, harassment and intimidation that millions of women face in cities and urban centers across the world.” Lack of access to services such as transport, decent housing, sanitation, water and street lighting leaves poor women and girls vulnerable and exposed. (Annie Kelly)
VOA: Malians Warned of Unsafe Conditions – Despite recent military success against Islamist groups in northern Mali, displaced civilians are being warned not to return home too soon. In some regions, there is simply no food for the returning populations due to the Sahel’s “severe and chronic food crisis,” which has been exacerbated by the recent conflict. The Internal Displacement Monitoring Center warns that any “premature and uncoordinated return of civilians would leave thousands at risk of being displaced again.” (Joe DeCapua)
Reuters: At 89, Mugabe Sees ‘Divine’ Mission to Rule Zimbabwe – Robert Mugabe says that he has a “divine task” to lead Zimbabwe, despite health concerns, as he prepares for what could be one of the closest election battles since he gained power in 1980. Zimbabwe, once an African success story, is “in a decade-long economic slump worsened by Western sanctions, and more than four fifths of the population is unemployed.” Mugabe maintains that Zimbabwe’s difficulties stem from a “Western plot to recolonize it,” while his critics claim that Mugabe’s rule has “delayed economic recovery by discouraging foreign investment.”
ABC News: Secretary Kerry Makes Case for Foreign Aid – In his first major foreign policy speech as Secretary of State, John Kerry stated that America cannot afford to treat foreign policy as foreign. Kerry mentioned that foreign aid is an investment in America’s national security and economic prosperity. The secretary highlighted that programs combating AIDS in Africa, like PEPFAR, are changing lives and providing investment opportunities for Americans. Kerry also implored Congress to get budget deal passed since now is not the time for America to retreat from the world, but to become even more engaged.