Monthly Archives: August 2005
Selected summary of United Nations related news and events
“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]
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.”
Selected summary of United Nations related news and events
“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]
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.
Middle East: During the last 48 hours of the continued ceasefire, humanitarian workers have delivered food to hundreds of thousands of people, repaired water and sanitation infrastructure, re-stocked medical supplies, and some of the 520,000 displaced Palestinians have returned to their homes. However, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator remarked the scale of needs remains “unprecedented in the Gaza Strip.”
Middle East: At today’s informal session of the General Assembly on Gaza the SG remarked that the most recent ceasefire has held since yesterday at 8 a.m. local time. He noted that a durable ceasefire is necessary and UN shelters must continue to remain safe zones. The SG thanked UN staff in Gaza and will fly the UN flag at half-mast tomorrow in memory of those who died in the conflict.
Middle East: The SG commended Israeli and Palestinian parties for committing to a 72-hour ceasefire that took place at 8 a.m. local time today. He urges all parties to abide by the ceasefire and commence peace talks in Cairo to address underlying issues and agree on a durable ceasefire to sustainably stop the violence. The UN lends its full support toward these efforts.
Middle East: The SG condemned yesterday’s shelling outside of an UNRWA school in Rafah that killed at least 10 Palestinian civilians. The SG stated that the attack violated international humanitarian law and UN shelters must continue to be safe zones and not combat zones.
SG: Last night the SG spoke at a joint press conference with the Foreign Minister of Costa Rica where he repeated his call for an unconditional and extendable humanitarian ceasefire. Speaking about yesterday’s shelling of a UN shelter he said: “Nothing – nothing – justifies such horror” and demanded “that all parties immediately respect UN premises”.
SG: The SG met with President Ortega yesterday in Nicaragua where he visited a wind farm and praised the country’s commitment to renewable energy. The SG arrived in Costa Rica today where he is expected to lecture about “Costa Rica and the United Nations: Challenges and Opportunities in the 21st Century”.