Stories written by Aprille Muscara
Aprille Muscara is based in Washington, D.C. and is IPS’s online content and community manager. Prior to this position, she was the deputy bureau chief in Washington, D.C., covering global issues and United States foreign policy. She joined IPS in 2010 as a United Nations correspondent in New York covering the U.N. Security Council, international development and human rights. She is also co-coordinator of IPS’s North America intern programme. Aprille’s work has been published by IPS, Al Jazeera English, Truthout, Reuters AlertNet, Asia Times, Lobelog.com and The Electronic Intifida, among other outlets and translated into multiple languages worldwide.

Twenty Years to Save Coral Reefs

In less than two decades, all of the world's coral reefs will be threatened if global climate change and local pressures like overfishing and pollution remain unaddressed, disproportionately impacting the livelihoods of some of the world's most impoverished people, a report warned Wednesday.

U.S. House Pushes Through Deep Aid Cuts

With a 2015 deadline fast approaching to meet a collective global promise to tackle poverty and improve education, health and environmental sustainability around the world, development and humanitarian advocates are up in arms over conservative lawmakers' proposals to slash and burn entire chunks of the United States' foreign aid budget.

Mideast Crackdown Puts U.S. Democracy Line to the Test

As popular protests escalated in some restive Arab countries Friday, U.S. President Barack Obama criticised the regime- sanctioned blood- letting of innocent demonstrators mobilising against government corruption and repression.

Axe Descends on U.S. Overseas Aid

With U.S. President Barack Obama's release of his Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 foreign affairs budget Monday and a proposal currently in the U.S. House of Representatives for massive cuts in FY 2011 international spending, the fight to sustain U.S. aid abroad is intensifying.

All Eyes on Egypt’s High Command

After 30 years in power, a handful of assassination attempts, the historical backing of five United States presidencies, 68 billion dollars in U.S. aid and 18 consecutive days of massive, pro-democracy demonstrations, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak finally ceded power Friday, leaving observers in Washington wondering what happens next.

U.S.: Military Intervention Trumping Humanitarian Aid

In the midst of a belt-tightening political climate in which pledges by prominent lawmakers to slash the United States' foreign affairs budget will likely soon be realised, some rights groups and experts are concerned about the increasingly blurry distinction between security and development in the face of shrinking resources.

SUDAN: Rights Groups Fear Quid Pro Quo for Peaceful Transition

Amid renewed pockets of unrest throughout Sudan and continuing violence in Darfur, government officials in Khartoum announced Monday that a whopping 98.83 percent of southern voters – numbering more than 3.8 million in a country of over 42.3 million – cast their ballots in favour of secession during last month's highly anticipated referendum.

Rising Food Prices May Not Signal New Crisis

As food prices rose for the seventh month in a row in January, contributing to recent popular unrest in the Middle East and a spike in commodities purchases by developing countries last week, some analysts are quick to make comparisons to the dry years of 2007-2008.

EGYPT-U.S.: Obama Pressed to Pressurise Military

On the eve of massive planned protests dubbed "Day of Departure" in Egypt, continuing attacks by pro-government conspirators on anti-government protestors and roundups of human rights activists and foreign journalists are contributing to pressures on the administration of President Barack Obama to take a tougher line, including withholding military aid, toward the regime of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

MIDEAST: A Region in Flux, But Will Reforms Stick?

As the world watched nine days of largely peaceful demonstrations in Egypt degenerate into bedlam fueled by confrontational pro-government hoodlums wielding Molotov cocktails Wednesday, observers are tracking the regional contagion of popular, reform-driven uprisings and wondering whether they are enough to usher in real change.

EGYPT: A Revolution, Unplugged

Despite the Hosni Mubarak regime's attempts at muzzling communication and dissent, and the reportedly government- sanctioned shutdown of Egypt's last standing Internet service provider to individual users Monday, Egyptians are still managing to get their voices heard and mobilise - both through advanced technical workarounds and older, traditional technologies.

U.S.: Spate of Trade Deals Move Toward Passage

On the heels of U.S. President Barack Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday in which he focused squarely on resuscitating the economy, pressure is mounting in the nation's capital to move forward with free trade agreements (FTAs) whose passage would promote exports and create jobs.

U.S.: Republican “Budget Hawks” Zero in on Foreign Aid

With the U.S. national debt standing at 14 trillion dollars, the Barack Obama administration pledging to tackle the monstrous deficit and a Republican-led House of Representatives pushing for a "Cut-and-Grow" Congress, budget hawks are zeroing in on international affairs spending - from diplomacy to development.

Report Condemns Widespread Tolerance for Torturers

The international community - from Western authorities to Southern powers - lacks courage and hides behind "soft diplomacy" in confronting human rights abusers, a leading rights group accuses in a 649-page world report released Monday.

A coalition of protest groups dutifully filled the sidewalks outside each of Hu's stops in Washington. Credit: Courtesy of Students for a Free Tibet

Three-Day Summit Cements US-China Frenemy Status

On the tail end of Chinese leader Hu Jintao's three-day visit to the U.S. capital, observers are cautiously pleased with what they see as a constructive summit between the two nation's leaders, but eager to see whether this week's promises will translate into tangible results.

Pressure Builds to End Stalemate in Cote d’Ivoire

Ten days before the two-month deadline for a negotiated solution to Cote d'Ivoire's presidential deadlock comes due, pressure is mounting to end the stalemate in Abidjan, as observers pin the outcome of the power struggle on the future of the region as a whole.

Clinton Raises Curtain for Upcoming Hu-Obama Summit

Ahead of a key bilateral summit between U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese leader Hu Jintao, which begins here Tuesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a sweeping China-U.S. policy speech Friday, setting the tone for next week's meet.

Wikileak Cables Reveal China’s Modernising Military Might

A Wikileaked January 2009 diplomatic cable from the United States' Beijing embassy forecasting the next three decades of U.S.-China relations warned of the Asian giant's "rapid military modernisation".

Defence Contractors Insulated from Budget Cuts

In one of U.S. president Dwight D. Eisenhower's most remembered speeches, he warned against "the acquisition of unwarranted influence" resulting from the close brotherhood between the country's defence agencies, Capitol Hill and private business interests.

CHILE: Women Sterilised Over HIV Status

When Francisca arrived at the historic Curicó Hospital – a staple in the Chilean central valley for nearly one and a half centuries – for the birth of her first child, she didn't know it would be her only one.

Funding Falls Short for Global Fight Against AIDS

The 11.7 billion dollars pledged Tuesday to replenish the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria for the coming three years falls significantly short of the 20 billion dollars hoped for, threatening to undo the progress made in the fight against these diseases - the three largest infectious killers in the world.

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