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Yearly Archives: 2006

UN Lays Out Path to Ivory Coast Vote

“The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously on Wednesday to shift power from Ivory Coast’s president to its prime minister to guide the volatile West African nation to long-delayed elections within a year.” More READ MORE

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Venezuela and Guatemala End Fight for UN Security Council Seat

NYT: “Venezuela and Guatemala agreed Wednesday to withdraw from their race for a seat on the United Nations Security Council and to support Panama as a candidate.” READ MORE

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Nothing But Nets

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It’s not often that a story in Sports Illustrated can have a direct impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in sub-Saharan Africa. But with an 815 word column in April, writer Rick Reilly kicked off a grassroots campaign to do just that.

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North Korea Confirms Return to Nuclear Talks

“North Korea said Wednesday that it was returning to nuclear disarmament talks to get access to its frozen overseas bank accounts, a vital source of hard currency…. In Washington, Bush cautiously welcomed Tuesday’s deal and thanked the Chinese for brokering it. But he said the agreement would not sidetrack U.S. efforts to enforce sanctions adopted by the U.N. Security Council to punish Pyongyang for the nuclear test. Those measures ban the North’s weapons trade and other items such as luxury goods.” More READ MORE

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FAO: World Hunger Increasing

Faologo.gif “Ten years after the 1996 World Food Summit (WFS) in Rome, which promised to reduce the number of undernourished people by half by 2015, there were more hungry people in the developing countries today – 820 million – than there were in 1996…. The report listed a series of steps which, it said, was needed to eradicate hunger in the years ahead. They included: focussing programmes and investments on “hotspots” of poverty and undernourishment; enhancing the productivity of smallholder agriculture; creating the right conditions for private investment, including transparency and good governance; making world trade work for the poor, with safety nets put in place for vulnerable groups; and a rapid increase in the level of Official Development Assistance (ODA) to 0.7 percent of GDP, as promised.” More READ MORE

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The Pitfalls of Purchasing Power Parity

The next installment of UNF Insights explores some problems associated with using what economists call “Purchasing Power Parity” (PPP) to assess what each member state must pay in dues to the United Nations. Readers of The Economist might recognize the term from the magazine’s periodic “Big Mac Index,” which uses the price of a McDonalds hamburger to compare economies around the world. In short, PPP is a way to measure comparative standards of living by comparing the price of a “basket of goods” in one place (i.e. a Big Mac in Bengal) to the same “basket of goods” elsewhere (i.e. a Big Mac in Bologna.)

When applied to the price of a hamburger, PPP gives harmless anecdotal evidence about the relative strength of economies. But if used to calculate UN dues – as some key member states have argued – it would have debilitating consequences for UN operations. To find out why, click here for my short essay on the topic.
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