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CGD Policy Blogs


How High the Ceiling? US Proposal on Agricultural Subsidies Would Make Caps Meaningless

While US negotiators continue to hammer on the European Union to improve its offer on agricultural market access in the Doha trade talks, US intransigience is holding up progress on agricultural subsidy cuts. One of the few achievements thus far in the negotiations is agreement that there should be caps on the amount of subsidy for specific commodities, such as cotton. US negotiators are insisting on using 1999-2001 as the base period for setting these caps, while other negotiators want to use a longer period average, for 1995-2000.

Liberia's President Sirleaf: A true African hero

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf addressed a Joint Session of Congress on March 15th. This is only the second time in the last decade that an African Head of State has addressed Congress – the first being South Africa’s Nelson Mandela. She was superb. The combination of humility, resolve, courage, strength of purpose, and vision, along with great communication skills, made it one of the best speeches I have seen on any topic in a long time.

The 2006 National Security Strategy: Democracy as the Key to Peace and Development?

The White House’s updated National Security Strategy, released yesterday, offers an unapologetic if rose-tinted defense of Bush administration policies since September 2002, when the previous NSS appeared. Although most of the chapter headings are the same (“Champion Aspirations for Human Dignity,” “Expand the Circle of Development,” etc.), the new version goes well beyond broad declarations of unassailable principles: it seeks to marshal evidence of administration success in achieving these goals.

Meningitis A Vaccine Successfully Completes Phase I Trials

The Meningitis Vaccine Project has completed the Phase I clinical trial of a new vaccine against serogroup A meningococcus. Meningitis, an infection of the the thin lining that surrounds the brain and spinal cord, is fatal in 10% of its victims and permanently disables another 20% - even if they have received antibiotic treatment.

Millennium Villages: Useful contribution to development or publicity stunt?

Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute of Columbia University, spoke yesterday at CGD (video clip available) to describe his Millennium Villages Project. Sachs’s argument is generally that countries like India developed not by ineffectual, small amounts of foreign aid – as he argues the US delivers today – but by creating a Green Revolution. Communities learned to work together, and with fertilizers donated in part by the United States, they became able to feed themselves and eventually to begin developing.

Kennedy on Thimerosal

Robert F Kennedy writes about the Thimerosal controversy, and says that the WHO has pushed the CDC to disguise the dangers.

After the Death of a Dictator

Slobodan MilosevicThe death Saturday of former Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic (see the BBC Online for one of the many obits) provides only cold comfort to the thousands of families shattered by his policies of ugly nationalism during the 1990s.

Salk and Sabin Honoured by US Stamps

The US Postal Service announced yesterday the issue of stamps to honor heroes of the vaccine world:

Two of the most esteemed scientists in the world, Dr. Jonas Salk and
Dr. Albert Sabin, were honored today with postage stamps as part of the
Distinguished Americans series. For their dedication to fighting polio
and other infectious diseases, Salk and Sabin received numerous awards,
including the Presidential Medal of Freedom (Salk in 1977, Sabin in