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News Roundup #65

Selected summary of United Nations related news and events

UN Summit Seeks Climate Solutions

UN AIDS Envoy Says Private Sector Must Help Cash-strapped Global Fund

Baby Becomes First Victim of Cold as Winter Hits Kashmir Survivors

Culling Wild Birds Ineffective Against Flu

Experts ‘Weep’ Over Shrinking Lake Victoria

90M Girls Worldwide Missing Primary School Education Because of Pregnancy,
HIV/AIDS, Other Factors, UNICEF Report Says

The Long Road Home to South Sudan After a Lifetime in Exile READ MORE

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Blog Roundup #67

A sampling of United Nations related blog commentary

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Overthrow: “Montreal Climate Summit, the first United Nations climate conference since the Kyoto agreement came to legal force in Feb. 16, 2005, is taking place against a backdrop of increasing concern about the speed of the changes to the global climate and its consequences.”

Treehugger: “Today in Montreal the United Nations Climate Change Conference begins, and it will end on December 9th. This event will bring together more than 10,000 people including delegates, official observers from government, industry, business, the scientific community, and other non-governmental organisations (NGOs) interested in figuring out what to do for the post-Kyoto era. This thing will be big! Stay tuned this week for more, including the expected statement by the US that they aren’t changing their position and that doing something about greenhouse gas emissions and efficiency is “bad for the economy.”

Politics in the Zeros: “Pay up to save rainforests: “A bloc of developing countries plans to make a radical proposal this week at the United Nations summit on climate change in Montreal: pay us, and we will preserve our rainforests. The group of 10 countries, led by Papua New Guinea and Costa Rica, argues that the rest of the world is benefiting from the rainforests’ natural wealth without sharing the cost.” They do have a point.”

Mojo Blog: “Sam Rosenfeld has a very good TAPPED post about aid to Africa, noting that while turning poor African countries into democracies with 10 percent GDP growth a year is very hard, spending a bit of money to provide them with bed nets for malaria is not. That’s right. I think, though, he’s attacking a straw man here. Very few “aid critics,” even William Easterly, think that modest steps like sending malaria nets to Africa are useless. Easterly would probably laud it as the sort of thing we should be doing. But that’s not what people like Jeffrey Sachs are proposing. Sachs argues that you can’t solve one poverty problem without solving a whole host of others, and wants to send nations not just malaria nets but trees that replenish nitrogen in the soil, rainwater harvesting, better health clinics, etc. etc. The UN Millenium Project is very broad, and as such, is open to the usual criticisms. In fact, critics of Jeffrey Sachs sometimes cite the Gates Foundation’s malaria net work as their preferred, more modest alternative.”

Stygius: “While I agree with John Bolton that — theoretically — unilateralism is not isolationism, an isolated unilateralist makes the two a distinction without a difference. Via Steve Clemons, it looks like Bolton’s tactics at the United Nations are managing to alienate America’s most steadfast partner. The Telegraph: “Britain has rebuffed a Bolton move to join him in refusing to pass the organisation’s 2006 budget until member states approve wide-ranging management reforms.” READ MORE

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Sixteen Days of Activism: Sixteen Days of Hope

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“Gender-based violence is one of the most pervasive of human rights abuses. It covers a range of injustices – from gender abuse to systematic rape and from pre-birth sex selection to female genital mutilation – that affect as many as one in three women. Ending gender violence will take action on many fronts every day of the year. But 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence is a start…” [Read more] READ MORE

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Global Warming ‘Equals WMDs’

“The impact of spiralling pollution on the planet poses a threat to civilisation just as catastrophic as much-vaunted weapons of mass destruction, Britain’s top scientist warned today.

Lord Robert May, president of the country’s leading scientific body, the Royal Society, issued the warning as a 12-day conference was set to get underway today in Montreal to decide the fate of the Kyoto Protocol, the United Nations’ troubled treaty for curbing greenhouse gases.

“The impacts of global warming are many and serious: sea-level rise … changes in availability of fresh water … and the increasing incidence of extreme events — floods, droughts, and hurricanes – the serious consequences of which are rising to levels which invite comparison with weapons of mass destruction,” Lord May said in an advance copy of a speech released today to coincide with the start of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change on the same day.

The Montreal meeting is the first by the convention since the UN’s pollution-cutting Kyoto Protocol, signed by 156 countries, took effect on January 16.

But a notable non-signatory of the pact committing industrialised nations to reducing or offsetting emissions of carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases is the planet’s heaviest polluter: the US.” [Read more] READ MORE

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UN Confirms Agreement with Syria on Hariri Probe

“Detlev Mehlis, who heads the investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, has reached an agreement with the Syrian authorities on the United Nations office in Vienna as a venue for the questioning of five Syrian officials in the case, a UN spokesperson confirmed…” [More] READ MORE

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Some Will Be Hungry This Thanksgiving

A thoughtful post from Carol Gee at South by Southwest:

“How does it feel to be hungry, really hungry? It is not the kind of hunger that comes with having missed a meal. It is also not the kind of hunger one feels when doing a very purposeful “cleansing fast,” or fasting on Fridays, in the old days of an observed liturgical holy week.

This hunger is that which comes from not getting anything to eat, or very little to eat, on a regular basis for days, weeks, months or years at a time…. There are entire nations starving or desperately endangered today; right now. And there far too many people in these United States that are also hungry. This week, this coming Thanksgiving Day, the weekend following, millions are hungry. For many of the rest of us, we will be trying to figure out what to do with all our leftovers. A recent Reuters story focused on the just published United Nations report on hunger in the world which states that 6 million children a year die from hunger related causes.”

Read the rest, it’s a great post. We’ll see you on Monday… READ MORE

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