All posts by Yaël Ossowski

The World Health Organization Is A Mess: Will Trump Fix It?

World leaders are putting the World Health Organization on notice if they don’t shape up. President Trump is threatening to cut 40 percent of U.S. funding from international organizations, while the United Kingdom released a report this week  in which they say WHO must reform quickly or it “will result in decreased U.K. funding.”

Even with public health focus on threats such as the Zika and Ebola viruses, vaccines, and mental health, critics have accused the WHO of mission creep, putting resources into too many issues and not focusing enough on the important ones.

The journal Nature even took the unprecedented step of issuing an editorial demanding reform at the WHO, which they see as too bloated to tackle essential global health issues.

“Making matters worse, the agency is lumbered with a cumbersome and expensive organizational structure comprising a headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, and six semi-autonomous regional offices,” they wrote this week. “This has resulted in a complex, bureaucratic and ineffective management structure. It is a body that is ripe for root-and-branch reform.”

Fears that nations will cut funding has already affected the race for the next director-general of the World Health Organization, now narrowed down to just three candidates from the U.K., Ethiopia and Pakistan.

“I don’t think that if we (make reforms) we will necessarily be cut off from money,” said David Nabarro, a special advisor to the UN and the British candidate to head the WHO, to Agence France-Presse. He was appointed as special envoy to address the spread of cholera in Haiti by UN peacekeepers back in 2010, which led to the country’s largest epidemic.

Continue reading at The American Spectator.

Don’t kick out the Dreamers, Mr. Trump

As a man fond of deals, President-elect Donald Trump can appreciate that he controls the fate of one of the largest political deals in recent history. Once he assumes office on Jan. 20, he’s expected to address the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, issued by President Obama in June 2012.

That executive action directed the Department of Homeland Security to defer deporting illegal immigrants under 30 who came to the U.S. before the age of 16, had not been convicted of a crime and were enrolled in school or the military.

If he wants to be the ultimate deal-maker, Trump should keep the action in place and signal to investors that the American economy is ready for a new boom.

Why would someone seen as an immigration hard-liner ever consider keeping this action in place?

As an employer of tens of thousands of people, Trump understands the economics of mass deportation and the value of the people who’ve been in the country as illegal immigrants.

“They got brought here at a very young age, they’ve worked here, they’ve gone to school here. Some were good students. Some have wonderful jobs. And they’re in never-never land because they don’t know what’s going to happen,” he told Time magazine.

Continue reading at The Charlotte Observer.

A Viral Video Helped This Afghan Refugee Find A New Home

It’s a story full of hope among a sea of despair, one involving one of Europe’s smallest yet proudest countries.

With thousands of refugees currently awaiting their fate at the periphery of Europe’s borders, hoping to reach Germany, the United Kingdom or Sweden, at least one man was setting his sights on the Baltic nation of Lithuania.

Last week, American journalist Josh Friedman of the Freeman Post took a trip to the Greece-Macedonian border to interview refugees and collect stories of those stuck there.

It was outside Idomeni, Greece that he met an Afghan refugee named Basir Yousofy, who had been in the camp for over a month. What made Basir’s story unlike so many others was his surprisingly well-spoken Lithuanian he learned in his native land.

Read the rest on The Huffington Post, here.

Meet the Quebec Libertarian Who Could Beat Prime Minister Trudeau

His name is Maxime Bernier and he has all the great qualities of a small-town politician.

He makes a point of visiting every part of his constituency while he’s in office. He saves resources by not printing up posters at election time, and he gets elected with higher and higher margins each time, even if his party is losing on the vote nationwide. He even put out a 60s-style jingle to entice voters in his riding of Beauce, Quebec.
He’s no ordinary small-town politician, though.

Bernier is also a principled Conservative with a penchant for a political philosophy that favors small government, lower taxes and more individual freedom.

He quotes free market economists like Frédéric Bastiat and Friedrich Hayek in Parliament, and never shies from offering lessons in economics to the NDP and Liberals.

And he’s not just all talk.

Read the rest on the PanAm Post, here.

Erie consultant breaks the bad news: ‘The city is broke’

The city of Erie is in desperate times, and a consultant hired to map a positive future isn’t optimistic.

“The plan I am trying to write is a plan to get the city out of the hole it is in,” Charles Buki told Watchdog.org.

An urban architect — and miracle worker of sorts — Buki and his colleagues from the urban planning firm CZB are brought into cities with stressed finances and lackluster infrastructure. They’ve had big contracts with the Fannie Mae Foundation, the Metropolitan Planning Council of Chicago, the Federal Reserve Bank, Bowling Green, Ohio, and Stockton, California, one of the first American cities to declare bankruptcy.

When asked about the priority of mitigating climate change, which was mentioned in the background analysis on the city written by another firm, Buki laughed.

“Climate change? Seriously? Absolutely not. The city is broke,” he said.

For a contract of more than $100,000, the city hired the firm in February to craft a 10-year comprehensive plan to address the vital issues it must address to stay afloat.

“There’s about a million pressing items of some urgency in Erie, as is the case in all such post industrial basket cases,” he said, mentioning Detroit, Buffalo and Cleveland, which have struggled to regain their former glory as urban powerhouses that attracted industry and jobs.

As in those cities, Erie has struggled with a diminished industrial base, lower population and a strained tax base.

Read the full article at Watchdog.org.