U.S. Policy Update for Friday, 29 April 2016

This map shows countries receiving aid from the President’s Malaria Initiative.

Today’s topics:     Embassy Closure /  Airstrike on hospital in Syria / Vietnam War symposium / Malaria / Holocaust museum


UK Bank Holiday Closures

We are closed

The U.S. Embassy in London and our Consulates General Belfast and Edinburgh, will be closed, on Monday, 2nd May 2016, for the UK Bank holiday.  Offices will re-open  on Tuesday, 3rd May.
U.S. citizens requiring assistance over the holiday period can always contact the Embassy and Consulates as follows:


Airstrike on hospital in Syria

28 April 2016 Kerry on Attack on al-Quds Hospital in Aleppo, Syria We are outraged by yesterday’s airstrikes in Aleppo on the al-Quds hospital supported by both Doctors Without Borders and the International Committee of the Red Cross, which killed dozens of people, including children, patients, and medical personnel.

While we are still trying to gather the facts surrounding the circumstances of this attack, it appears to have been a deliberate strike on a known medical facility and follows the Assad regime’s appalling record of striking such facilities and first responders. These strikes have killed hundreds of innocent Syrians.

The United Nations today assessed the situation in Aleppo to be catastrophic, and the regime’s most recent offensive actions there – despite the cessation of hostilities – compound the violence and undermine the cessation of hostilities.



28 April 2016 Malaria initiative closes in on a child killer   Approximately 4.3 million people — most of them African children — are alive today because they didn’t get, or didn’t succumb to, malaria.   For more than 10 years, a campaign against this parasitic disease saved those lives with money, work and commitment. Now the international partners who delivered those results have set a higher goal: End malaria by 2050.

Infographic showing countries receiving from the US
This map shows countries receiving aid from the President’s Malaria Initiative.

To battle roughly 200 million cases annually, goals for the next five years include reducing malaria deaths by one-third from the current level (about 600,000 each year) and reducing malaria occurrence by 40 percent in PMI’s 19 targeted African countries and the Greater Mekong area. If those short-term goals can be met, malaria could be eradicated by 2050.

The parasite that causes malaria is building a resistance to the artemisinin family of drugs that have been effective in saving lives. Another hazard is the wide availability of substandard and counterfeit malaria treatments, which promote further resistance in the parasite.


Holocaust Museum

28 April 2016 Holocaust Museum teaches warning signs of genocide   The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum has a dual mission: to remember the millions of Jews and other victims of Nazi genocide and to confront hatred and prevent genocides today.

Interview view of the Holocaust Museum in Washington
Holocaust Museum, Washington (AP Images)

Its staff includes international human rights lawyers and scholars who have long studied how Adolf Hitler came to power and harnessed the machinery of the state to commit murder on a massive scale.
Civic and religious leaders, elected officials, members of the military, educators and journalists from scores of countries take part in seminars and peer-to-peer discussions on recognizing early warning signs of genocide. Many attend through the State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program.


Vietnam War Symposium

People standing in atrium of LBJ Presidential Library lookin gup at ranks of bookshelves
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry looks at the banks of official papers stored in the atrium of the LBJ Presidential Library at the University of Texas at Austin on April 27, 2016, during a visit to the campus to participate in a Vietnam War symposium. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

28 April 2016 Remarks at the Vietnam War Summit and Conversation With Ken Burns.
Photos from the event are on Flickr.


White House News

28 April 2016 President Obama Nominates Eight to Serve on United States District Courts President Obama nominated Judge Patricia D. Barksdale, Judge Todd E. Edelman, William F. Jung, Judge Philip R. Lammens, Judge Florence Y. Pan, Regina M. Rodriguez, Justice Patricia Timmons-Goodson, and Anne Rachel Traum to serve on the United States District Courts.


State Department

28 April 2016 U.S. Senate’s Confirmation of Roberta S. Jacobson as U.S. Ambassador to Mexico

28 April 2016 Kerry on China’s Passage of the Law on the Management of Foreign NGO Activities Inside Mainland China   “I am deeply concerned that China’s new Law on the Management of Foreign NGO Activities inside Mainland China will negatively impact important people-to-people ties between our two countries and the development of civil society in China. The engagement of U.S. civil society organizations with the people of China has enriched our bilateral relationship.

I have discussed these issues routinely with my Chinese counterparts over the past year since the first version of the law was released to the public. The final version of the new law contains certain improvements from the original draft. It also creates a highly uncertain and potentially hostile environment for foreign non-profit, non-governmental organizations and their Chinese partners that will no doubt discourage activities and initiatives.”

28 April 2016 State’s Blinken on Obama Administration Policy in the Asia-Pacific   (Testimony by Antony J. Blinken, Deputy Secretary of State, Before the House Foreign Affairs Committee)