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North Korea Launches Missiles, US Holds UN Talks

"North Korea launched at least six missiles on Wednesday, including a long-range Taepodong-2, a move the United States called provocative and in defiance of the international community. The United States said it was urgently consulting other U.N. Security Council members after the launches, which came despite repeated warnings from the reclusive Stalinist country's neighbors and from Washington." [Full story]
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Egeland: Ensure Better Protection for Civilians in Armed Conflict

"There are too many times when we still do not come to the defence of civilian populations in need," Jan Egeland, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, said at the outset of the [Security] Council's open debate. "When our response is weak, we appear to wash our hands of our humanitarian responsibilities to protect lives. The world is a safer place for most of us, but it is still a death trap for too many defenceless civilians, men, women and children."
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Funds Needed to Prevent Afghans From Drifting to Armed Groups

29-06afghan.jpg "With tens of thousands of illiterate and unskilled former child soldiers in Afghanistan providing a tempting target for recruitment by one of the war-torn country's numerous armed groups, United Nations agencies need additional funds to continue training projects to reintegrate them as members of a peaceful society." [More]
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Turning Point in East Timor

The New York Times reported yesterday that the Prime Minister of East Timor, Mari Alkatiri, "who has been accused of arming hit squads in recent battles within the country's security forces" and instructing them "to eliminate opponents of the government and of Mr. Alkatiri's political party," has resigned, an action that many see as the turning point in the recent crisis. As the Times points out, it is unclear how long it will take East Timor to fully recover, but it will undoubtedly be accelerated due the presence of the United Nations, which is already on the ground providing vital security and humanitarian assistance.
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In Perspective

Warren Buffett is a generous man. His gift of over $30 billion in stock to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will nearly double the size of the country's largest charitable organization. As media coverage of the gift has noted, $60 billion is roughly five times the annual budget of the United Nations and its agencies. And as Slate points out, the Foundation's future $1.7 billion annual disbursement requirement is roughly equivalent to UNICEF's annual budget.
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Seizing the Moment in Darfur

"To seize the moment of opportunity that the Abuja peace deal offers for ending the suffering in Sudan's Darfur region, African peacekeeping must immediately be bolstered in anticipation of a "substantial" United Nations force and dialogue must start quickly between the local parties, the world body's top peacekeeping official said today.