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Thursday Morning Coffee

French linguistic purists are waging a war in defense of the point-virgule (semi-colon), which they say is being driven to extinction by the lazy habits of English speakers.

Starting 5

>>China – China jailed 34-year-old Hu Jia, an outspoken rights activist, for three and a half years on Thursday. The sentence was relatively light for those similarly charged under the Chinese system. Hu Jia is the most prominent activist yet to be sentenced in the recent clampdown.

>>Zimbabwe – President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party has lost control of parliament for the first time since the nation’s independence, according to official results released by the Zimbabwe Elections Commisison. The final results from the presidential election have not yet been released, but it appears from the posturing of President Mugabe and the state-run media as if there will be a runoff between the president and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, whose Movement for Democratic Change contends that Tsvangirai has garnered the necessary votes to avoid a runoff. Meanwhile, the British are working on an unprecedented £1-billion-a-year aid and development package for Zimbabwe, to be coordinated by the UN, IMF, EU, and World Bank, which believe that Zimbabwe’s hyperinflation, as much as 100,000%, could be brought under control in as little as a year. President Mugabe has turned down similar packages in the past.

>>NATO – Yesterday NATO leaders did not grant a Membership Action Plan (MAP), the path to eventual membership, to Georgia or the Ukraine, whose candidacies were strongly supported by President Bush. They did, however, agree that the two nations would some day join NATO and to review their progress in December. Bush instead won NATO’s endorsement for the U.S.’s missile defense system, which coincided with the Czech Republic’s announcement that they would install a missile tracking site for the system. NATO also failed to offer Macedonia an invitation to join, due to Greece’s objection over the name issue.

>>Ireland – Prime Minister Bertie “Teflon Taoiseach” Ahern unexpectedly stepped down after 11 years in office amid corruption charges. Ahern denied the allegations, and supporters suggest that his political career is not over, floating the possibility of his taking the helm as the first permanent president of the European Union.

>>Cyprus – As Greek and Turkish Cypriots prepare for talks to end the island’s division, they tore down barricades and reopened Ledra street, which has symbolized the line of partition for decades.

Yesterday in UN Dispatch

The Rest of the Story


Africa

  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/263270031/idUSL0347924420080403">Kenya
    - Kenya power-sharing cabinet to be named Sunday: Odinga
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/africa/7328097.stm">Nigeria
    - Ex-leader in Lagos adultery case
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/africa/7327989.stm">Tanzania
    - Tanzania targets witchdoctors
  • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/03/world/africa/03mauritania.html?ex=1364875200&en=8110336b299e6b6f&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Mauritania
    - Accused Killer of Tourists Escapes in Mauritania
  • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/03/world/africa/03briefs-INVESTIGATOR_BRF.html?ex=1364875200&en=e775cc36f4d8a4f0&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Congo
    - Investigators in Congo Check Allegations That Peacekeepers Engaged in
    Torture
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/262842398/idUSN0238984820080402">Sudan
    - U.S. urges U.N. to speed up Darfur deployment

Americas

  • href="http://feeds.washingtonpost.com/%7Er/wp-dyn/rss/world/index_xml/%7E3/263338055/AR2008040300468.html">U.S.
    - US Sailor Arrested in Cab Driver Murder
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/7327738.stm">U.S.
    - US apologises over Japan murder
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/business/7327791.stm">Venezuela
    - Venezuela ‘to tax oil windfall’
  • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/03/business/worldbusiness/03chevron.html?ex=1364875200&en=669c692634ed6dd4&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Ecuador
    - Report Says Chevron Owes Billions for Ecuadorean Pollution
  • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/03/world/americas/03briefs-AMNESTYCHIDE_BRF.html?ex=1364875200&en=27c2c8ad4bad80e9&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Jamaica
    - Amnesty International Chides Jamaican Government
  • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/03/world/americas/03briefs-REPUTEDDRUGL_BRF.html?ex=1364875200&en=c700439816680844&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Brazil
    - Reputed Drug Lord Gets 30 Years
  • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/03/world/americas/03briefs-VOTEONUSMILI_BRF.html?ex=1364875200&en=3b04fa871e2257f2&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Ecuador
    - Ecuador’s New Constitution Would Ban U.S. Military Post
  • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/03/world/americas/03argent.html?ex=1364875200&en=89c039e42eac011c&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Argentina
    - Farmers’ Strike in Argentina Is Suspended for Negotiations
  • href="http://feeds.washingtonpost.com/%7Er/wp-dyn/rss/world/index_xml/%7E3/263100901/AR2008040203244.html">Brazil
    - Brazil’s Military Mobilizes Against Dengue
  • href="http://feeds.washingtonpost.com/%7Er/wp-dyn/rss/world/index_xml/%7E3/263100905/AR2008040203485.html">U.S.
    - Ex-Envoy Details Hussein Meeting
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/262895222/idUSN0228379120080402">Canada
    - U.S. attacks on NAFTA somewhat irrational: Canada
  • href="http://www.ft.com/cms/s/45fc326e-00ed-11dd-a0c5-000077b07658.html">Cuba
    - Cuban farmers embrace ministry reform
  • href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/02/colombia.france?gusrc=rss&feed=worldnews">Colombia
    - French mission to aid ailing jungle hostage
  • href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/02/georgebush.usa?gusrc=rss&feed=worldnews">U.S.
    - Oliver Stone’s new movie about the American president, W, goes beyond
    a warts-and-all portrayal of George Bush

Asia

  • href="http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-Afghanistan.html?ex=1364875200&en=d2700f33fe2c4238&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Afghan
    - Air Strike Kills 3 Insurgents in Afghanistan
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/263225391/idUSDEL10251920080403">Nepal
    - Nepal Maoists to respect poll result, threat remains
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/business/7328000.stm">China
    - China pay row pilots ‘turn back’
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/south_asia/7327755.stm">India
    - India and Burma in transport deal
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/south_asia/7327856.stm">India
    - ‘Top’ Kashmir militant arrested
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/263186254/idUST9590620080403">Myanmar
    - North Korea sells rocket launchers to Myanmar: report
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/7327848.stm">Korea
    - Spat between Koreas escalates
  • href="http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article3669872.ece#cid=OTC-RSS&attr=797093">Afghan
    - The Times blamed for derailing Paddy Ashdown posting to Afghanistan

Europe

  • href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/03/nato.ukraine?gusrc=rss&feed=worldnews">Macedonia
    - Macedonia walks out of Nato talks
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/europe/7327940.stm">France
    - France sets date on Nato decision
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/europe/7327944.stm">France
    - Nato debates Afghanistan strategy
  • href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/03/nato.france?gusrc=rss&feed=worldnews">France
    - Sarkozy signals return to Nato military command
  • href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/03/usa.nato?gusrc=rss&feed=worldnews">Czech
    Republic
    – US strikes missile deal with Czechs
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/business/7327762.stm">France
    - Alitalia calls emergency meeting
  • href="http://feeds.washingtonpost.com/%7Er/wp-dyn/rss/world/index_xml/%7E3/262595074/AR2008040200678.html">Croatia
    - Alliance Invites In Croatia, Albania
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/business/7326320.stm">France
    - Alitalia boss quits as talks end

Middle East

  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/263315673/idUSL0391092020080403">Israel
    - Israel says removed 50 W.Bank dirt roadblocks
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/263245942/idUSL0228881320080403">Iraq
    - U.S., Iraqi troops face test at battle of Creek Road
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/middle_east/7328584.stm">Yemen
    - Yemen rioter ‘dies from wounds’
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/7327578.stm">Bahrain
    - Mosley will not attend Bahrain GP
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/263225390/idUSL2423186320080403">Iraq
    - U.S. air strikes return in southern Iraq
  • href="http://feeds.washingtonpost.com/%7Er/wp-dyn/rss/world/index_xml/%7E3/263100904/AR2008040203322.html">Iraq
    - Cease-Fire Largely Calms Basra; U.S. Says Offensive Targeted Gangs
  • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/03/world/middleeast/03mideast.html?ex=1364875200&en=23a7de14de5e25fa&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Israel
    - Israel Slow to Admit Gaza Patients, U.N. Says
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/middle_east/7326964.stm">Iraq
    - ‘US allies’ killed in Iraq ambush
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Live From Bucharest: Will Kharzai Accept the new SRSG for Afghanistan?

Sameer Lalwani, live blogging from the NATO summit in Bucharest, sets the scene for a meeting today with Afghan President Hamid Kharzai:

Afghanistan is perhaps the centerpiece of the NATO summit (though expansion rates a close second) as it is the first intensive out-of-theater deployment for NATO in its 59 year history. And it has not been easy. One of the reasons for regress and a resurgent Taliban that has been cited by many during this NATO summit in Bucharest is the lack of a coordinating mechanism or actor to harmonize tactical operations with civilian efforts at reconstruction through the [provincial reconstruction teams] and the morass of development aid that is tethered to different national objectives and time lines.

A couple weeks ago, U.S. Ambasador to the UN Zalmay Khalilzad wrote an op-ed throwing strong U.S. support behind the United Nations to take on that role of coordination in Afghanistan.


There is only one way to end the confusion: the United Nations must take on the primary coordination role, and donors must show a willingness to be coordinated. The new resolution allows this to happen in a number of ways.

First, Mr. Eide will need to oversee the coordination of civilian assistance with military efforts of the two military organizations operating in Afghanistan, NATO and the International Security Assistance Force. While it’s promising that those two organizations are meeting in Bucharest, Romania, next month to discuss better integrating their efforts, success against the insurgency will require efforts to ensure that military actions to secure areas from the enemy are coordinated with civilian efforts to establish good governance and economic development.

Second, Mr. Eide must coordinate the efforts of the international community to support the Afghanistan Compact, a five-year plan agreed upon in 2006 by the government of Afghanistan, the United Nations and the international community that requires Afghan leaders to take steps in reform and institution-building in exchange for commitments of sustained support. The United Nations must have a stronger role in overseeing the increasing capacity of Afghan ministries and their anti-corruption efforts.

Third, the new United Nations special representative should help the leaders and people of key donor countries understand achievements and challenges. This is the only way that the friends of Afghanistan can fully appreciate the return on their investments.

Last, Mr. Eide will have a mandate to engage Afghanistan’s neighbors to help stabilize the country. In the aftermath of 9/11, regional powers came together to support the so-called Bonn agreement, which enabled Afghans to freely choose their own government. Reclaiming the spirit of Bonn must be a priority.

The United States is fully behind the United Nations in the mission. Afghanistan is important not only because it was the origin of the attacks of 9/11 but also because it is the keystone of the geopolitical stability of Central and South Asia. Moreover, success in Afghanistan will be a major step in helping to create security, stability and progress in the broader Middle East, which is the defining challenge of our time.

Initially Paddy Ashdown had been nominated but was vetoed by President Karzai, some suggested because Karzai believed Ashdown’s presence might impinge on his governing autonomy and discretion. So now Kai Eide is being slated as the man for the job. I suspect Karzai will comment on how this coordinating mechanism/agent interacts with Afghan sovereignty.

Read more of Sameer’s dispatches on the Young Atlantacist blog.

| Leave a comment

Live From Bucharest: Will Kharzai Accept the new SRSG for Afghanistan?

Sameer Lalwani, live blogging from the NATO summit in Bucharest, sets the scene for a meeting today with Afghan President Hamid Kharzai:

Afghanistan is perhaps the centerpiece of the NATO summit (though expansion rates a close second) as it is the first intensive out-of-theater deployment for NATO in its 59 year history. And it has not been easy. One of the reasons for regress and a resurgent Taliban that has been cited by many during this NATO summit in Bucharest is the lack of a coordinating mechanism or actor to harmonize tactical operations with civilian efforts at reconstruction through the [provincial reconstruction teams] and the morass of development aid that is tethered to different national objectives and time lines.

A couple weeks ago, U.S. Ambasador to the UN Zalmay Khalilzad wrote an op-ed throwing strong U.S. support behind the United Nations to take on that role of coordination in Afghanistan.


There is only one way to end the confusion: the United Nations must take on the primary coordination role, and donors must show a willingness to be coordinated. The new resolution allows this to happen in a number of ways.

First, Mr. Eide will need to oversee the coordination of civilian assistance with military efforts of the two military organizations operating in Afghanistan, NATO and the International Security Assistance Force. While it’s promising that those two organizations are meeting in Bucharest, Romania, next month to discuss better integrating their efforts, success against the insurgency will require efforts to ensure that military actions to secure areas from the enemy are coordinated with civilian efforts to establish good governance and economic development.

Second, Mr. Eide must coordinate the efforts of the international community to support the Afghanistan Compact, a five-year plan agreed upon in 2006 by the government of Afghanistan, the United Nations and the international community that requires Afghan leaders to take steps in reform and institution-building in exchange for commitments of sustained support. The United Nations must have a stronger role in overseeing the increasing capacity of Afghan ministries and their anti-corruption efforts.

Third, the new United Nations special representative should help the leaders and people of key donor countries understand achievements and challenges. This is the only way that the friends of Afghanistan can fully appreciate the return on their investments.

Last, Mr. Eide will have a mandate to engage Afghanistan’s neighbors to help stabilize the country. In the aftermath of 9/11, regional powers came together to support the so-called Bonn agreement, which enabled Afghans to freely choose their own government. Reclaiming the spirit of Bonn must be a priority.

The United States is fully behind the United Nations in the mission. Afghanistan is important not only because it was the origin of the attacks of 9/11 but also because it is the keystone of the geopolitical stability of Central and South Asia. Moreover, success in Afghanistan will be a major step in helping to create security, stability and progress in the broader Middle East, which is the defining challenge of our time.

Initially Paddy Ashdown had been nominated but was vetoed by President Karzai, some suggested because Karzai believed Ashdown’s presence might impinge on his governing autonomy and discretion. So now Kai Eide is being slated as the man for the job. I suspect Karzai will comment on how this coordinating mechanism/agent interacts with Afghan sovereignty.

Read more of Sameer’s dispatches on the Young Atlantacist blog.

| Leave a comment

Back to School in Southern Sudan

04-02-unicef-school.jpg

Three years after the signing of a peace deal that ended the decades of civil war that ravaged much of Southern Sudan, UNICEF has achieved a major success in improving education in the region. The UN News Centre reports:

Some 1.3 million children in southern Sudan are expected to start classes this year, compared to just 340,000 in 2005, thanks to an initiative supported by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to boost school enrollment and strengthen the education system.

[skip]

A major milestone has been the increase in the number of girls in school — some 34 per cent of the 1.3 million children now in school. During the civil war less than 1 per cent of girls completed their primary education.

Along with promoting enrolment, UNICEF has also been supporting the Government of Southern Sudan in building over 200 new permanent classrooms, rehabilitating nearly 300 existing classrooms, and providing 400 emergency classroom tents while construction gets under way. A 2006 survey showed that only 16 per cent of the nearly 3,000 schools in the region had permanent buildings.

Read the full article here.

| Leave a comment

Back to School in Southern Sudan

04-02-unicef-school.jpg

Three years after the signing of a peace deal that ended the decades of civil war that ravaged much of Southern Sudan, UNICEF has achieved a major success in improving education in the region. The UN News Centre reports:

Some 1.3 million children in southern Sudan are expected to start classes this year, compared to just 340,000 in 2005, thanks to an initiative supported by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to boost school enrollment and strengthen the education system.

[skip]

A major milestone has been the increase in the number of girls in school — some 34 per cent of the 1.3 million children now in school. During the civil war less than 1 per cent of girls completed their primary education.

Along with promoting enrolment, UNICEF has also been supporting the Government of Southern Sudan in building over 200 new permanent classrooms, rehabilitating nearly 300 existing classrooms, and providing 400 emergency classroom tents while construction gets under way. A 2006 survey showed that only 16 per cent of the nearly 3,000 schools in the region had permanent buildings.

Read the full article here.

| Leave a comment

Zoe’s Ark and Interpol

ICPOLogoWeb.gif

A reader points me to this Reuters dispatch reporting that Sudan will issue arrest warrants for six French aid workers who were released from custody in Chad after being pardoned by Chadian President Idris Deby for abducting 103 children. (In case you missed the story when it came out, the short version is that a French humanitarian group tried to “rescue” Darfuri orphans from refugee camps in Chad and deliver them to adopting families in France. It turned out that many of the children were not orphans, nor from Darfur.) The Reuters article notes that Sudan will ask interpol to issue the warrants, so the exasperated reader remarks, “It would be laughable if it weren’t so infuriating. The idea of Interpol arresting “criminal” aid workers at the behest of the Sudanese regime boggles the mind.”

Just one point of fact. Presumably, Sudan is asking Interpol–the international criminal police organization–to issue what it calls a “Red Notice” for the six aid workers. In many cases, the Red Notice is a functional equivalent to an international arrest warrant because many countries have bi-lateral extradition treaties with each other. But in this case, I sincerely doubt that Interpol will issue a Red Notice at all because the organization’s charter prohibits it from issuing Red Notices for people targeted for arrest for anything that smells like political reasons. It would be one thing if these were car thieves, but becausel’affair Zoe’s Arkis so wrapped in political controversy, it’s hard to imagine any red notices being issued on these aid workers.

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