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Report: Diarrhea, pneumonia killing millions of children each year

A new UNICEF report, entitled “Pneumonia and Diarrhea: Tackling the deadliest diseases for the world’s poorest children,” suggests that boosting commitment, attention and funding can help diminish child mortality worldwide.

The UNICEF report foreshadows the launch of  a major campaign on child survival in Washington, D.C. during the month of June. The UNICEF campaign will be launched by the Governments of Ethiopia, India and the United States as well as hundreds of leaders from private industry.

“We know what works against pneumonia and diarrhea – the two illnesses that hit the poorest hardest,” said Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director, in a press statement. “Scaling up simple interventions could overcome two of the biggest obstacles to increasing child survival, help give every child a fair chance to grow and thrive.”

The statistics on child deaths from pneumonia and diarrhea are sobering. The diseases account for nearly 33 percent of the deaths among children under five around the world. Most of the deaths from pneumonia and diarrhea take place in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

The UNICEF report says that one of the best ways to protect babies from disease is exclusive breastfeeding. However, less than 40 percent of babies in developing countires are exclusively breastfed.

The UNICEF reports also concludes that innovative ideas help reduce child mortality. Children, for example, are more likely to find child-friendly zinc and amoxicillin tablets easier to take than adult-oriented medicines. Mobile technology has also been used to help health workers reach remote communities that need greater attention.

“Innovation has helped save millions of lives; it can and will save many more,” said Mr. Lake.

The report suggests that more than 2 million of the world’s poorest children could be saved if access to and funding for vaccines and antibiotics is increased. Vaccines that combat the major causes of pneumonia and diarrhea are already available, but poorer countries need to introduce them into routine immunizations programs.

UNICEF hopes that the new campaign will bring needed attention to pneumonia and diarrhea. “Because these are such major killers of children we have to tackle these in a serious way. It’s important to bear one point in mind though, and that is unlike some of the other diseases that have risen to prominence, diarrhea and pneumonia are quite complicated to deal with,” said UNICEF’s Holly Newby, according to Voice of America.

UNICEF works hard to combat a number of issues around the globe. One of the organization’s major focuses is young child survival and development. UNICEF and its many partners spearhead global efforts to decrease child mortality by working together with governments and other organizations to support child survival.

 

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Rand Paul: Mitt Romney's my second pick

Republican Kentucky Senator Rand Paul endorsed former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney for the Republican presidential nomination Thursday night. The Kentucky senator, however, admitted that his father, Texas Congressman Ron Paul, is still his “first pick.”

“My first choice had always been my father. I campaigned for him when I was 11 years old. He’s still my first pick,” Mr. Paul told Fox News’ Sean Hannity. “But now that the nominating process is over, tonight I’m happy to announce that I’m going to be supporting Gov. Mitt Romney.”

Mr. Romney secured the Republican presidential nomination last Tuesday after winning the Texas primary. The Michigan native’s victory in the Texas primary gave him the 1,144 delegates he needed to clinch his party’s nomination.

Ron Paul is unlikely to be upset that his son endorsed his rival given that the former Air Force surgeon admitted Wednesday that he will not be the Republican presidential nominee. Despite the disappointing news, the Texas congressman had some good news to share with his supporters. “When it is all said and done, we will likely have as many as 500 supporters as delegates on the Convention floor,” the Texas congressman wrote in an email.

The younger Paul campaigned tirelessly for his father during the 2012 presidential race, but the Kentucky senator felt that the best way to “be respectful” (a message from his father to his supporters) was to stand behind the party’s presumptive nominee.

“I think we have a lot in common, a lot of things that we will be able to fight together on,” Senator Paul said. Mr. Romney, who has rarely clashed with Congressman Paul during the GOP race, said he is “grateful for Sen. Paul’s support and look forward to working with him to get America back on the right track.”

According to the Washington Examiner, Mr. Paul’s fans are angry at the younger Paul for endorsing the former Massachusetts governor. Paul supporters have slammed the senator’s Facebook page with thousands of comments attacking him for “selling out.”

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Ron Paul to speak about balancing the federal budget at Texas GOP convention

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, who suspended active campaigning in May, will speak about balancing the federal budget at the Texas GOP convention this week. Although Mr. Paul told supporters Thursday that he will not be able to win the Republican presidential nomination, the Texas congressman is confident that he will have a voice at the Republican national convention in August.

“When it is all said and done, we will likely have as many as 500 supporters as delegates on the Convention floor,” Mr. Paul said in email to his supporters. “That is just over 20 percent! And while this total is not enough to win the nomination, it puts us in a tremendous position to grow our movement and shape the future of the GOP!”

In a sign that the former Air Force surgeon’s importance to the Republican Party and Liberty is far from faded, the Texas Republican party has invited Mr. Paul to lead a session entitled “Uniting Republicans and Balancing the Federal Budget” at the Texas GOP convention.

Mr. Paul’s fellow Texan, Governor Rick Perry, spoke at the Texas GOP convention Thursday. “If America is to be America again, if we are to get off the mat and on our feet again, If we are to reclaim our birthright of freedom again, we need a president who believes in us again,” Mr. Perry said in support of the party’s nominee Mitt Romney.

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum and Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan will also be speaking at the Lone Star State’s convention.

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Ron Paul admits defeat: We will not win

Texas Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul conceded defeat Thursday, saying he does not expect to have enough support to compete for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination later this year.

In an email sent to supporters early Thursday, the Texas Republican conceded that he will have close to 500 delegates on his side when the August convention in Tampa, Florida, kicks off.

“When it is all said and done, we will likely have as many as 500 supporters as delegates on the Convention floor,” the Texas Republican wrote. “That is just over 20 percent! And while this total is not enough to win the nomination, it puts us in a tremendous position to grow our movement and shape the future of the GOP!”

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, widely seen as the Republican nominee, surpassed the 1,144 delegate mark earlier this month, capturing the support of a number of delegates in Mr. Paul’s home state of Texas. The delegate mark is the number necessary to secure the Republican nomination.

Still, Mr. Paul, who announced last month that he would no longer campaign in opposition to Mr. Romney’s nomination, said he will continue to campaign for his cause ahead of the summer convention. The announcement came just days after Paul supporters alleged the Texas Republican was denied a fair chance of securing support from Louisiana delegates, saying Republican leaders in the state had illegally adopted rules.

A statement by Paul campaign manager John Tate said party officials “ignored the vast majority of duly elected delegates and attempted to use illegally adopted rules to deny Ron Paul supporters an opportunity to attend the Republican National Convention in Tampa.”

While the email to supporters likely means Mr. Paul will continue to court delegates, it all but signifies an end to a campaign that sought to promote a platform of “limited government,” which included ending the Federal Reserve and limiting U.S. involvement in foreign affairs, as well as lowering taxes and protecting American borders.

Mr. Paul currently represents the 14th congressional district in Texas, which includes Galveston. He is slated to retire in 2013.

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Condoleezza Rice endorses Mitt Romney

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice endorsed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney Wednesday, according to Bloomberg News. Speaking at an event in Hillsborough, California, Ms. Rice told an audience that Mr. Romney would make a great president.

“If America is going to rebuild its strength at home, rebuild its sense of who we are, it needs a leader that also understands how really exceptional the United States of America is, and is not afraid to lead on the basis of that exceptionalism,” the former national security adviser said. “The only thing that people dislike more than unilateral American leadership is no American leadership at all.”

Bloomberg News also reports that George Schultz, secretary of state under former President Ronald Reagan, endorsed Mr. Romney in California Wednesday. “What he has done at Bain Capital has been a major contribution to the American economy,” Mr. Schultz said.

The former Massachusetts governor continues to vet possible vice presidential candidates, but is not likely to ask Ms. Rice to become his running mate. Although the former secretary of state may not be interested in the vice presidency, a recent CNN/ORC International survey identified her as people’s top pick on the GOP’s vice presidential wish list.

According to the poll, Ms. Rice was the top pick of 26 percent of participants. Former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum finished in second place with 21 percent of the votes.

Mr. Romney secured the Republican presidential nomination Tuesday after winning the Texas primary. The Michigan native needed 1,144 delegates to earn the Republican Party’s nomination. According to AP data, Mr. Romney currently has 1,191 delegates.

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Science

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner looks for answers on H5N1 research

Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) today wrote to Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to find answers on the decision to reconsider the publication of the H5N1 bird flu virus study.

The National Science Advisory Board of Biosecurity (NSABB) initially recommended that journals refrain from publishing the details of the H5N1 research because it believed that the benefits were outweighed by the risk that terrorist groups could use it as a recipe to create a biological weapon. NIH asked that the NSABB reconvene to reexamine new versions of the two studies, and the NSABB reversed the decision and allowed for publication.

A leaked April 12, 2012 letter to NIH from Dr. Osterholm, who is a member of the NSABB, argues that the board’s final decision to publish the potentially dangerous research was based on a biased presentation of the evidence that was “more about how to get us out of this difficult situation” than hearing from disinterested experts in the field.

Sensenbrenner released his letter to NIH with this statement:

“It appears that the Administration was unprepared for the possibility that the NSABB might recommend against publication, and then, caught on its heels, sought to avoid the recommendation. If true, this response does little to prepare the United States government to better handle similar issues in the future. I am asking the NIH to clarify exactly where the new government policy guidelines came from and how they will be implemented.”

“The risks of misuse are not going away. The U.S. government needs to make sure we are better prepared to deal with potentially dangerous research.”

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Martin Heinrich generates support for satellite programs at KAFB

U.S. Representative Martin Heinrich (NM-1) continued his fight earlier this week to protect small satellite programs such as Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) and the Space Test Program (STP) at Kirtland Air Force Base, critical to national security and New Mexico’s economy. In a letter sent to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), Rep. Heinrich and a bipartisan group of colleagues urged that HASC leadership reject the Department of Defense’s proposal to repeal ORS and instead continue its long-standing support for ORS and STP.

“I will keep fighting for these space missions so that Kirtland remains a leader in cutting-edge research and development and that the jobs remain intact,” said Rep. Heinrich.

“Given the increasingly competitive environment in space and the high cost of procuring traditional, multi-billion dollar satellites, we fear these cuts are penny-wise and pound-foolish,” wrote Rep. Heinrich in the letter. “We must cut federal spending but spending cuts should not come at the expense of proven technologies that are also intended to lower costs.”

In a March 2012 Strategic Forces Subcommittee hearing, Rep. Heinrich questioned Air Force officials about the proposals, and sent a letter opposing the cuts to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta on February 14, 2012.

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Ron Paul fan funds 'The Road to REVOLution' video game with Kickstarter

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul has become the inspiration for “The Road to REVOLution” video game,  according to Kickstarter. Daniel Williams, the programmer and co-founder of RonPaulSwag.com, recently turned to Kickstarter to help fund his video game idea.

With 12 days to go before the project is funded, Mr. Williams has already raised $6,739 (his goal was $5,000). So far, 103 people have backed the video game with contributions ranging from $1 to $150 or more. Backers will receive various levels of rewards depending on how much they contribute. Anyone who contributes $150 or more will receive a signed, hand-drawn picture of the Texas Republican’s character as well as a number of other prizes.

“As far as I know, there’s nothing out there like it,” Mr. Williams said in a video posted to YouTube. “I got to work almost within minutes. You couldn’t keep me away from the keyboard, but if there’s a game about Ron it’s got to be awesome.”

“The Road to REVOLution” will have 50 plus levels of game play and will feature Mr. Paul as the central character. Players will try to grab as much gold and as many delegates as they can. The game will have an old-school look, much like Super Mario Brothers.

Mr. Williams says that the dailypaul.com helped drive interest to his Kickstart project. “Completely took me off guard, and I am eternally grateful,” the programmer wrote about the support he has received.

“The Road to REVOLution” is still in the development stages and Mr. Williams is always open to suggestions. “I feel like it’s a big responsibility to represent Ron in a video game, and I definitely don’t want to misrepresent or trivialize the liberty movement.

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John McCain: China can exert influence over North Korea

Arizona Senator John McCain, a Vietnam War veteran, slammed North Korea’s Friday rocket launch Sunday. “For twenty years now we’ve been going through this Groundhog Day exercise,” Mr. McCain said during an appearance on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

“Confrontation, followed by negotiations, followed by aid, followed by confrontation. I mean, it is remarkable how many times we have seen this movie.”

North Korea’s long-range missile technology failed to put a satellite in orbit to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il-Sung. The North American Aerospace Defense Command confirmed the unsuccessful launch of the North Korean Taepo Dong-2 missile.

Mr. McCain told Bob Schieffer that China still has the ability to bring North Korea to the negotiating table. “China is the only country that can really exert influence over North Korea,” the Arizona Republican said.

China is likely to have some interest in helping North Korea conform to international norms, as a refugee crisis in the event of war with South Korea would threaten the sovereignty of China’s border with North Korea.

“In the Bush administration we lifted restrictions against them in hope that they would be coming back to the table. This is a failed policy by numerous administrations. And again, what would we suggest? Make sure China understands that this is a key issue in our relationship with China,” Mr. McCain added.

The Arizona senator was not the only public figure to take umbrage at the North Korea rocket launch. The White House and the U.N. Security Council also condemned the rocket launch.

“Despite the failure of its attempted missile launch, North Korea’s provocative action threatens regional security, violates international law and contravenes its own recent commitments,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a press statement.

During a meeting Monday morning, the U.N. Security Council called the rocket launch “a serious violation” of U.N. sanctions, according to the AP.

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Sarah Palin wants Allen West to be Republican VP nominee

Fox News contributor Sarah Palin thinks that Representative Allen West (R-FL) should be the Republican Party’s vice presidential nominee. “Top of my list is Allen West, ” Ms. Palin told Fox News’s Sean Hannity Tuesday. Ms. Palin was Senator John McCain’s (R-AZ) running mate during the 2008 presidential race.

The former Alaska governor cited Mr. West’s military experience as her primary reason for selecting the Florida Republican. “He is a public servant willing to serve for the right reasons, ” Ms. Palin said. “He understands the Constitution. He understands our national foreign policy issues that must be addressed.”

Speculation over the eventual nominee’s selection for running mate has increased in recent days as it looks more and more likely that former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney will win the Republican presidential nomination. Following his victories in Maryland, DC and Wisconsin, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum’s chances of grabbing the nomination have grown very slim.

Ms. Palin offered the eventual nominee some advice. “What I want to do is encourage the GOP nominee to not think that they have to go with somebody necessarily safe,” she opined.

The reality TV star warned that a “safe” pick would be “clobbered” by the media. “The media will make things up about them and their record and their reputations and their families.” Ms. Palin’s family struggles, including her unwed daughter’s pregnancy, became the subject of media inquiries during the 2008 presidential race.

“So no matter who it is, so they might as well get someone who is passionate and strong, as I say, like about Allen West, understands the Constitution and wants to put government back on the side of the people,” Ms. Palin argued.

There has been talk of a Romney-Ryan ticket as Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Mitt Romney campaigned together in the Badger State.