Stand out:

Celebrity gossip can dominate the Republican presidential primary, from Fred Thompson’s acting to Rudy Giuliani’s marriages, so it’s a challenge to be Senator Sam Brownback, conservative candidate from Kansas, taking a thoughtful stand on the important but unpopular issue of Africa. “I believe that we’re at an Africa-centric moment,” Brownback said in an interview. He made a case that, for its own self-interest, the US should pay more attention to Africa’s people and politics, and to its growing economic relationship with China.

Charles Stith, former ambassador to Tanzania and the director of Boston University’s African presidential centre argues engaging Africa is a chance to better connect to its Muslim community — to show the world the war in Iraq is not a war on Islam. He also adds that the US should invest more in Africa’s infrastructure, in its teachers, telecommunications, and healthcare. Acting with similar concerns, Brownback championed a “neglected diseases” amendment that has become law. It encourages pharmaceutical companies to develop drugs for sleeping sickness, river blindness, and other illnesses that afflict Africa. Low in the polls, Brownback may not come close to winning his party’s nomination. Instead, his victory may be in prompting the US to modernise its Africa policy. — The Boston Globe