Author Archives: Peter Daou
A sampling of United Nations related blog commentary
Daily Sophist: “I just wish Katrina had only hit the United Nations building, nothing else, just had flooded them out. And I wouldn’t have rescued them.” – Bill O’Reilly on the September 14th edition of the O’Reilly Factor. O’Reilly’s words flew back in his face when Media Matters for America notified the UN of the crude and hateful comment. He still refuses to apologize but now on his show has added Media Matters for America to his list of people for his viewers to hate.”
Lilac Phonograph: “Today is the United Nations International Day of Peace. It was originally established in 1981 but not fixed to a specific date until – ironically – the morning of 11 September 2001, largely thanks to the work of Jeremy Gilley from Peace One Day. Please take a moment to read Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Message and reflect on the number of people who will be maimed, killed or made to suffer today because of conflict.”
Powerpundit: “Epidemic” in Indonesia: “JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia called an outbreak of bird flu in its teeming capital an epidemic on Wednesday as health and agricultural experts from around the world converged on Jakarta to help control the virus. The U.N. World Health Organization last week warned bird flu was moving toward a form that could be passed between human beings and the world had no time to waste to prevent a pandemic, an outbreak that spreads far more widely than an epidemic.” And if it strikes here, we’re not even close to being ready to deal with it.”
Two Peas, no Pod: “Bill O’Reilly, host of Talking Point and The Radio Factor, commented on his radio program that he wished hurricane Katrina had hit the UN Headquarters in New York, rather than New Orleans. This on the day the World Summit opened. Nice work Bill. The UN Foundation has called for an apology and retraction. I hope they’re not holding their breath.”
Selected summary of United Nations related news and events
A sampling of United Nations related blog commentary
Secular Blasphemy: “Its credibility bruised by the false intelligence on Iraq’s WMD programmes, the US was unable to fully convince its allies that Iran had nuclear ambitions. Luckily, we should almost say, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to the US’ aid by making thinly veiled threats to the UN General Assembly.”
The Pen: “I liked “The Interpreter” not only because Nicole Kidman looked pretty hot. Given all the problems dogging the United Nations, I still believe in the place and what it can do. I’m an optimist and an idealist.”
Bump in the Beltway: “Amid Warnings, Richer Nations Seek Protection From Bird Flu – As World Health Organization officials repeat warnings about the potential for a deadly bird flu pandemic, wealthier countries are redoubling efforts to buy an experimental vaccine and antiviral drugs in the hopes of protecting their citizens from infection. At the United Nations on Wednesday, President Bush proposed an “international partnership” to combat the disease, and the United States announced last week that it had placed orders for $100 million worth of a promising but technically unlicensed vaccine that is under development by the French drug maker Sanofi-Aventis. “We cannot afford to face the pandemic unprepared,” Lee Jong Wook, the director of the World Health Organization, said Thursday at the United Nations.” This isn’t a bad round-up article. Finally, the American media are beginning to pay attention.”
Democracy Arsenal: “After an embarrassing fizzle of a global summit intended to tackle UN reform, the U.S. and the world organization need to figure out what’s next. Ideas are proliferating: Ivo Daalder at Americans Abroad suggests replacing the global body with a comparable forum whose membership would be limited to longstanding democracies. The Wall Street Journal editorial page wants to put Turtle Bay in trusteeship to be run by Former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker. Before drowning UN HQ into the East River, its worth keeping in mind the many things the UN does well (here’s a list of 10 important ones). But it’s also time for some new thinking on the UN’s shortcomings and what might be done to tackle them. Here are 10 ideas – some serious, some slightly fanciful…”
Informed Comment: “Patrick Cockburn of the Independent now confirms that report based on his own sources, saying that actually between one and two billion dollars were embezzled from the Iraqi ministry of defense under Defense Minister Hazem Shaalan. It was always mysterious where Shaalan came from. He is said to have been a former member of the Baath Party from Hillah in the Shiite south. Ahmad Chalabi alleged that he was a double agent for Saddam in the late 1990s, spying on the dissidents. He then went to the UK. When the US and the UN installed Iyad Allawi as interim “prime minister” on June 28, 2004, Shaalan became minister of defense.”
Left Coaster: “Congratulations to the Bush Administration, and those inside the administration who argued continuously for negotiations with North Korea, against the hard line thinking of Dick Cheney and John Bolton, on the good news that an agreement was reached late today on a comprehensive preliminary agreement that appears to end Pyongyang’s pursuit of a nuclear weapons program. Now perhaps the administration can see from this victory the fruits of multilateral pressure, rather than war, and cobble together an international wall of opposition to the saber-rattling from the new nutcases in Iran about their nuclear aims.”
Watchdog316: “Between the years of 1962 and 2000, a 38 year period: Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa; has seen a reduction in glacier content of fifty-five percent. COMPACT, the Community Management of Protected Areas Conservation project, put forth by the United Nations Development Program is entering its second phase in efforts to save this natural wonder.”
“While the focus of the summit that ended Friday was largely on efforts to overhaul the U.N. management and human rights machinery, the original thrust of the event was to take stock of progress made toward achieving a series of goals set in 2000: To cut poverty by half, ensure universal primary education and stem the AIDS pandemic, all by 2015.” [More]
Washington, D.C.-United Nations Foundation President, Timothy E. Wirth, today called for Fox News to withdraw and publicly apologize for remarks made by the network’s Bill O’Reilly. O’Reilly said he “wished” that Hurricane Katrina had hit the United Nations building in New York City.
Mr. O’Reilly’s comments were made during his radio program, The Radio Factor, on the day that hundreds of world leaders, including President Bush, were gathered at the UN for the opening of the 59th UN General Assembly meeting.
“Calls for bold action against poverty, steadfast steps against terrorism and a determined push for United Nations reform rang through the General Assembly Hall today as presidents, prime ministers and a king took the podium on the third and final day of the 2005 World Summit.” [Full Story]
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”.