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Blog Roundup #42

A sampling of United Nations related blog commentary Oxblog: "A front-page story in the WaPo reports that "traces of bomb-grade uranium found two years ago in Iran came from contaminated Pakistani equipment and is not evidence of a clandestine nuclear weapons program, a group of U.S. government experts and other international scientists has determined." In the case of Iran ... is it simply nationalist pride that prevents cooperation with UN inspectors?" Open Democracy: "The UN and Baghdad: two years on - Kofi Annan pays tribute to the 22 people killed in the bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad on 19 August 2003. Among them was head of the UN mission, Sergio Vieira de Mello, and openDemocracy columnist Arthur Helton. Gil Loescher, Arthur's friend and co-columnist who was badly wounded in the attack, bears witness and looks ahead." First Draft: "Looks like our new ambassador to the UN has thrown a monkey wrench into the UN reform process at the last minute: "The United States has launched a last-minute drive to scrap much of a draft plan for comprehensive U.N. reform just weeks before it is to be adopted at a world summit, Western diplomats said on Wednesday." Global Voices Online: "Sub-Saharan Africa - Displaced people in the troubled Sudanese region of Darfur have written to the United Nations, calling on officials to prevent further delays in peace talks between government and rebel forces, writes aid-worker Sleepless in Sudan." Sudan Watch: "A BBC report today says Tony Blair has been urged to use his influence to increase support for an international deal to stop genocide: "The charity Oxfam has praised the UK's commitment to the deal but hopes the PM will persuade less willing states. The pact, which would oblige countries to intervene when there is evidence of genocide in another nation, is to be tabled at a UN Summit next month. Final negotiations over the agenda for the UN's meeting in New York - set to be the biggest ever summit of world leaders - will begin with Oxfam seeking to safeguard the proposals for international cooperation to respond to mass killings." TBogg: "So, how long before the 101st Fighting Keyboarders turn their, um, Keyboards of Rage, on Colin Powell: "A former top aide to Colin Powell says his involvement in the former secretary of state's presentation to the United Nations on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction was "the lowest point" in his life." TT Children: "On Front line of Niger's war against hunger, Unicef wields porridge and Syringe - UN News Service - On the front line of the global battle to stop starvation in drought-stricken Niger, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) stands armed with a life-saving porridge for undernourished children and syringes to vaccinate against killer diseases."
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Poor Countries to Miss 2015 Health Goals

"Most poor countries will miss global targets to reduce child mortality, improve maternal health and reverse the toll of AIDS and other diseases by 2015, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned on Monday. None of the poorest regions of the developing world is on track to meet the target of reducing by two-thirds the rate of child mortality, now around 11 million deaths each year, in the next decade, according to the United Nations agency." [More]
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UN Marks 2nd Anniversary of Baghdad Terror Attack

31936.jpg A partial view of the destroyed United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, that was was destroyed by a truck bomb on August 19, 2003. "From its Headquarters in New York to front-line missions in the field, from solemn minutes of silence to impassioned tribute to the fallen, the entire United Nations system marked the second anniversary of the deadly terrorist attack on UN headquarters in Baghdad, one of the darkest days in the world body's history. "Our fallen colleagues, taken from us in the prime of their lives, embodied our Organization's ideals," Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a message. The bombing killed 22 people, including the top UN envoy in Iraq and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Sergio Sergio Vieira de Mello, and injured hundreds. "They were courageous and unstinting in their devotion to helping people in impoverished and war-torn lands build better lives. Their commitment and achievements made all of us proud to work for the United Nations," he added. "The question of justice lingers, too, as no-one has been held to account for this crime, offering yet another appalling example of the impunity that so often follows assaults on United Nations personnel around the world, be they peacekeepers, humanitarian workers or others." [Read more]
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MTV Special to Follow Actress Jolie to Kenya

"MTV plans to chronicle a visit to poverty-stricken African villages by actress Angelina Jolie on Sept. 14, three months after co-star and off-screen companion Brad Pitt gained notice with a similar ABC special. The MTV documentary will follow Jolie as she accompanies United Nations adviser and economist Jeffrey Sachs on a trip to Sauri, a remote group of villages in western Kenya where his team is battling hunger and disease, the cable channel said this week. The 30-minute program, a special episode of MTV's long-running "Diary" series spotlighting celebrities, will coincide with the opening of a U.N. special summit on goals for improving living standards in developing nations. The actress, an Oscar winner for "Girl, Interrupted," has visited U.N. operations around the world as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations' High Commissioner on Refugees since 2001." [Read more]
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Blog Roundup #41

A sampling of United Nations related blog commentary Blogicus: "Mike Sackett, the World Food Programme's Regional Southern African director, has revealed that 8.6 million people in southern Africa need food aid up to harvest in April 2006. Over 4.3 million of these are in Zimbabwe." Mercury Rising: "The Next Time Somebody Mentions "The Oil-for-Food Scandal" we should make it a point to bring up this: "Both Republicans and Democrats appeared taken aback by the volume of cash sent to Iraq: nearly $12 billion over the course of the U.S. occupation from March 2003 to June 2004, said a report by Rep. Henry A. Waxman." Water Well: "Water shortages will leave world in dire straits - More than half of humanity will be living with water shortages, depleted fisheries and polluted coastlines within 50 years because of a worldwide water crisis, warns a United Nations report out Monday." Coalition for Darfur: "Kofi Annan to Visit Starving in Niger - From Reuters: "U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan will visit Niger next week to highlight the impact of food shortages affecting millions of people in the West African country, Niger government officials said on Wednesday." Gateway Pundit: "Zimbabwe is planning to resume the "Cleanup" of illegal vendors weeks after it stopped the controversial practice: Zimbabwe last month declared an end to its controversial demolitions of shantytowns, dubbed "Operation Restore Order," after a critical U.N. report said the operation had destroyed the homes or jobs of at least 700,000 people.... The government has asked for help from the international community including the United Nations to build new housing for thousands of homeless residents." News Nuclear: "UN convenes scientists to study nuclear power plant risks from natural disasters - Seeking to prevent nuclear power plant disasters from being unleashed by natural calamities, the United Nations atomic watchdog agency is organizing an international scientific workshop in India this month to re-examine risks from events such as last December's catastrophic tsunami in the Indian Ocean." Republic of T: "More on the growth of child prostitution in Iraq, which I posted about earlier: "A United Nations report has revealed that an alarming number of young teenage boys in Iraq are being forced into prostitution by street gangs or poverty due to the ongoing conflict in their country." Sudan Watch: "A report by the Press Association in this morning's Scotsman says UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has accused Sudanese rebels of increasing abductions, extortion and banditry in a "descent into lawlessness" that has intensified insecurity in Darfur."
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UN Urges Youth to Attain Millennium Development Goals

"Secretary-General Kofi Annan called on young people to hold political leaders to account for promoting development, an exhibition spotlighted the quest of youth for a better life and ceremonies were held around the world today as the United Nations system marked International Youth Day. "I know you will not accept a world where others die of hunger, remain illiterate and lack human dignity," Mr. Annan said in a message that stressed the importance of next month's General Assembly summit of world leaders for reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of targets for curing a host of socio-economic ills by 2015." [Read more]
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UN Views of the Oil-for-Food Scandal

Washington Post, Letter to the Editor By Mark Malloch Brown, Chief of Staff, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan "An Aug. 10 editorial, citing a news conference I gave recently, implied that the United Nations believes that the oil-for-food scandal was an "insignificant affair dreamed up by U.S. lawmakers and their friends in the media." It also said that I talked about an "extraordinary network" of people and companies who made the program such a "success." That mischaracterized the United Nations' views and my remarks.