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World Isn’t Ready for a Flu Pandemic

Drudge links to this Financial Times piece: "The world is poorly prepared for a future influenza pandemic, with only a dozen countries purchasing significant quantities of antiviral drugs and just 50 with contingency plans on how to cope with such an outbreak. A Financial Times analysis on the eve of a World Health Organisation meeting on preparing for a pandemic shows widely differing approaches between countries that already have plans, and a sharp divide between richer countries and many poorer nations, creating splits that could hinder efforts to curb disease."
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Five-City Women and AIDS U.S. Tour

The Global Coalition on Women and AIDS is launching a five-city "Women and AIDS U.S. Tour: Empower Women, Save Lives." The Tour will emphasize that local and global communities must join forces to deliver prevention, care and treatment services that meet the needs of women and girls, while engaging men and boys as positive agents of change. More...
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Warren Hoge in NYT on UN’s Transformation

"No one at the United Nations doubts that big change is necessary for the institution to regain its footing and restore its name. Mark Malloch Brown, the new trouble-shooting chief of staff, speaks of the need for "another San Francisco moment," a reference to the founding conference of the United Nations in 1945.... Mr. [Edward] Luck, a former president of the United Nations Association of the United States of America, said it was just as customary for Washington to accommodate itself to the United Nations. He recalled that President Ronald Reagan came into office skeptical of the United Nations but left with an appreciation of its importance. "I think the same thing is happening with Bush," he said. "Like Reagan, they've found that they need to do business with the U.N." Read the rest...
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UN Agency Helps Organize Food Airdrops Over Afghanistan

"Responding to poor road conditions and heavy snow in Afghanistan, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is organizing relief airdrops over two remote areas in the centre of the country. Coalition forces aircraft dropped 40 tons of food provided by WFP over Tulak and Saghar districts in the central Ghor province. WFP's partner, Samander Development Programme, is working with local authorities and community leaders to distribute the food to 7,600 people there." Full Story
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Global Treaty to Dissuade Children From Smoking

CNN Health: "A global treaty aimed at dissuading children from smoking and helping adults kick the habit came into force on Sunday with the United Nations saying it could save millions of lives. The World Health Organisation (WHO) applauded the strong warnings on cigarette packages and the eventual ban on tobacco advertising and sponsorship laid down in the the world's first international public health treaty.... Tobacco, the second leading cause of preventable deaths globally after hypertension, kills 4.9 million people a year, the U.N. agency says."
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UN Commission on the Status of Women

"Ten years after the landmark United Nations women's conference in Beijing, hundreds of delegates and thousands of non-governmental organization (NGOs) representatives will meet at the United Nations for nearly two weeks to review the world's progress towards equality for women." Read More...
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9 U.N. Peacekeepers in Congo Killed

From today's NYT: "Unidentified militia fighters ambushed and killed nine United Nations peacekeepers on Friday in the volatile Ituri region of eastern Congo. It was the worst attack in the six years of the mission and a sign of continued instability ahead of planned nationwide elections.... The attack came as the peacekeepers had adopted a more aggressive posture in recent months, confronting and forcibly disarming militia groups that had been terrorizing the local population."
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Coast-to-Coast Polio Drive

"A mass polio immunization campaign began on Friday across Africa, targeting 100 million children, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) reported. The 22-nation synchronised campaign, dubbed the Coast-to-Coast Polio Drive, comes as reports from Ethiopia indicated that a child there had contracted polio, the first case in the country in four years." Learn More...