By Annika McGinnis WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday gave a preview of a summit he will hold with African leaders next week, saying African nations should look inward for solutions to economic woes and not make "excuses" based on a history of dependence and colonization. Speaking to 500 young Africans finishing a six-week Washington leadership fellowship, Obama said while it was important for developed countries to consider providing some targeted debt relief, it was time to end the notion that all of African nations' problems resulted from "onerous debt imposed by the West." "At some point, we have to stop looking somewhere else for solutions, and you have to start looking for solutions internally," Obama told the enthusiastic audience. “And as powerful as history is, and you need to know that history, at some point, you have to look to the future and say, ‘OK, we didn’t get a good deal then, but let’s make sure that we’re not making excuses for not going forward.’" Next week’s U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington will convene economic and political leaders from across Africa to discuss the continent’s development and the U.S. role in partnership and investment.
Egypt on Monday condemned Israel for using what it said was "excessive force" against civilians in the Gaza Strip. It also urged Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian movement that dominates the Gaza Strip, to abide by the "humanitarian truce" proposed by Cairo and backed by the United Nations to end the 21-day conflict.
President Barack Obama is getting updates on the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, an administration official said on Monday, noting U.S. agencies had increased their assistance in the past several weeks. The outbreak of the highly infectious disease has killed 672 people. The United States has been providing supplies including personal protective equipment, the administration official said. "We have been engaged on this outbreak since April, when the first cases were reported and have increased response significantly over the last several weeks as the outbreak deepened," the official said.
Washington and Kabul have failed to keep track of hundreds of thousands of weapons provided to Afghanistan, raising the risk that some could end up in the hands of insurgents, a US audit said Monday. The United States also had delivered more weapons than Afghan forces now needed, partly because Kabul officials had revised their requests over time, the report said. "Given the Afghan government’s limited ability to account for or properly dispose of weapons, there is a real potential for these weapons to fall into the hands of insurgents," the report said. Record-keeping and inventory efforts by Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) were "poor" and the inspector general's inspections at supply depots revealed missing weapons and other discrepancies, the report said.
South Africa will press the United States to extend a key trade pact for another 15 years at a meeting in Washington next week, the trade minister said Monday. The African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa), due to expire next year, provides preferential market access for some products from African countries deemed to be democratic and following good economic governance. "We believe that the Agoa has been a useful platform for cooperation between Africa and the US and we are calling for an extension for 15 years," Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies told a news conference. The total combined trade between South Africa and the US last year was around $12 billion (9 billion euros) and was reasonably balanced, Davies said.
Like other outside political groups, No Labels spends a large part of its budget maintaining and promoting its own organization. And though No Labels has positioned itself as a warrior against gridlock, in an internal document obtained by Yahoo News, the group is banking on more political dysfunction in an attempt to find “opportunity” and relevance for itself. The confidential document, distributed at No Labels’ May executive board meeting, outlines a “break through strategy” for the group, which despite raising millions and a buzzy-for-cable-news-talk launch, has struggled to find a foothold on the campaign trail or in the halls of Congress. The first point in that “break through strategy” is a “balance of power shift in the U.S. Senate,” a precarious position to outline, if not advocate, given No Labels’ aim of bipartisanship and that one of the group’s co-chairs, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, currently sits in the majority caucus.
Argentina admitted Monday it may default on some of its debts but downplayed the consequences, just two days before time expires in negotiations with hedge funds demanding full payment on their bonds. Officials are flying to New York on Monday to take a fresh stab at breaking the impasse with the so-called "holdout" hedge funds, who refused to join the restructuring of debt left by a 2001 default. A US judge has blocked payments on the restructured debt as long as Argentina refuses to pay the holdouts, which it brands "vultures".