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About those Helicopters

Here on UN Dispatch we have been following the saga of the missing helicopters for UNAMID, the AU/UN Peacekeeping mission in Darfur. So far, for want of 24 helicopters, the mission has not been able to project the kind of force and agility needed to make the operation a success. The lack of helicopters–a critical component of any peacekeeping mission in a place as vast as Darfur– serves as a reminder that member states’ rhetoric about the urgency of the situation in Darfur stands in stark contrast to the actions they are willing to take to help solve the crisis.

Thankfully, Senators Biden and Lugar have co-sponsored a Senate resolution to urge their own government–and governments around the world–to support the deployment of helicopters to Darfur. Here’s how you can take action to support the Biden-Lugar resolution.

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Wednesday Morning Coffee

John McCain  href="http://www.ft.com/cms/s/013e85c6-cec7-11dc-877a-000077b07658.html">won
a close Florida primary last night, solidifying his
status as the frontrunner in the race to be the Republican nominee.
 Rumors suggest that Rudy Guiliani,  href="http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/us_elections/article3274579.ece">who
finished a distant third, will endorse McCain today in
advance of the last Republican debate in the Ronald Reagan Presidential
Library. And Russia, apparently, is beautiful from the hard court to
the barracks.

Top Stories

>>An internal report on Israeli leadership during the
2006 war in Lebanon  href="http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article3273355.ece">is
set to be released today, both threatening the government
of PM Olmert and putting Defense Minister Ehud Barak in a tight spot.
Barak has pledged to pull the Labor Party out of the government
coalition when the report is release, which would bring down the
government at a time when the right-wing Likud Party is riding high in
public opinion.  href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/middle_east/7216879.stm">

>>The IMF  href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/business/7215957.stm">has
lowered its global forecast for economic growth this year,
but stopped short of predicting a global recession. The forecast for
the U.S. is depressing, but for Africa — not too bad.  The
IMF also smirked at the idea of “de-coupling.”  Meanwhile the
House  href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/americas/7216662.stm">passed
the President’s stimulus plan, now on its way to the Senate.

>>Be careful what you post on YouTube. The White
House  href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/30/washington/30diplo.html?ex=1359349200&en=40ce8b1f075caf33&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">slapped
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Zalmay Khalilzad on the wrist today for
sitting next to Iran’s Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki at Davos.

The Rest of the Story
  • href="http://www.ft.com/cms/s/7d909f26-ce98-11dc-877a-000077b07658.html">UN’s
    Ethiopia-Eritrea force at risk
  • href="http://www.ft.com/cms/s/ef731d12-ce93-11dc-877a-000077b07658.html">Ahmadi-Nejad
    under fire over jobless
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/225374218/idUSL2953151220080129">Somalia
    is worst humanitarian crisis: UN official
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/south_asia/7215443.stm">Children
    die in S Lanka bus blast
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/europe/7215071.stm">Italy’s
    ex-PM urges snap election
  • href="http://www.ft.com/cms/s/a0837ada-ce61-11dc-877a-000077b07658.html">Syria
    arrests prominent dissident
  • href="http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,326606,00.html">Rising
    Costs Force Haiti’s Poor to Resort to Dirt as Food
  • href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120165403852427035.html?mod=fox_australian">Mukasey
    Is Mum on Waterboarding
  • href="http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-Venezuela-Bank-Hostages.html?ex=1359349200&en=532bb4c717bdc45f&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Gunmen
    Captured After Standoff in Venezuela
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/225767935/idUSJAK22579020080130">Strong
    East Timor quake triggers tsunami warning
  • href="http://www.ft.com/cms/s/128f7b24-cec1-11dc-877a-000077b07658.html">Spain’s
    voters wooed with tax cut pledges
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/south_asia/7216976.stm">Afghan
    blasphemy death backed
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/225821020/idUSCOL22725920080130">S.Lanka
    bombs rebel positions, army blamed for blast
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/225790616/idUSDAH02971620080130">Iran
    approaching nuclear “peak”: Ahmadinejad says
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/225817111/idUSL3048267720080130">Kosovo
    independence declaration possible in 10 days
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/south_asia/7216195.stm">‘Leading
    Pakistani militant’ held
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/americas/7216993.stm">Canada
    isotope plant ‘was unsafe’
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/africa/7217012.stm">Gaddafi
    warns Africa over unity

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PSA

Jonny Goldstein, proprietor of Jonny’s Par-tay, a live video webcast program, invited me to be his guest on tomorrow’s show. Jonny specializes in new media issues and he asked me to talk a bit about blogging about the UN, as well as some of UN Dispatch’s partners such as On Day One and Nothing But Nets. The format looks quite innovative as viewers have the opportunity to write in and ask questions during the show. Tune at 9 pm EST.

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Superbowl 2007 Flashback

The World Food Program commercial featuring Reggie Bush

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As Kenya Falls Apart, the Diaspora Responds

A conciliatory political leader in Kenya was shot to death in his driveway last night. The indispensable Jeffrey Gettleman reports from the scene

Mr. Were was an opposition politician who had resisted his party’s often belligerent talk. He had married a woman of another ethnic group, built bridges in the slums with his own money and sponsored teenage mothers to go to college. As Kenya slid into chaos this past month after a disputed election, he shuttled between leaders of different ethnic groups and was actually organizing a peace march the night before he died.

“Whoever did this,” said Elizabeth Mwangi, a friend, “has killed the dreams of many.”

As violence persists in Kenya, the diaspora here in the United States is taking action. Last week, we told you about Ushahidi, the interactive website that uses a google maps mash-up to let users report acts of violence in Kenya. Vuma Kenya, the group behind Ushahidi, is also raising money to help fill the $15 million gap faced by relief agencies such as the Kenya Red Cross Society as they respond to the emerging humanitarian crises.

You can help by donating to the Kenyan Red Cross Society. Readers in the Boston area should also head to The Roxy on Tremont Street, where Vuma Kenya is hosting a benefit concert.

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Tuesday Morning Coffee

President Bush delivered
his last State of the Union
last night, but most attention is
focused on today’s Republican primary in Florida.  A West
Virginia major  href="http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,326152,00.html">used
a magazine containing  his photo as an ID at airport
security, and a New Jersey cop  href="http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,325987,00.html">left
his fellow officers a few going away presents.

style="background-color: rgb(255, 179, 64); padding-top: 5px; padding-bottom: 5px; color: rgb(255, 230, 118); width: 100%; font-size: 1.15em; font-family: sans-serif;">  TOP
STORIES

china-police385_273451a.jpg
style="border: 2px solid rgb(200, 200, 200); padding: 3px; margin-top: 1px; margin-right: 5px; font-weight: 700; float: left;">>>

Public health workers in Europe  href="http://www.ft.com/cms/s/4e661694-cdf9-11dc-9e4e-000077b07658.html">have
found significant resistance to Tamiflu, as the number of
bird flu deaths in Indonesia  href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/7213561.stm">eclipses
100. Roche, the company that manufactures Tamiflu, has sold
220,000,000 treatments for stockpiles in 85 countries.

style="border: 2px solid rgb(200, 200, 200); padding: 3px; margin-top: 1px; margin-right: 5px; font-weight: 100; float: left;">>>

Gorbachev has openly criticized
the state of the Russian electoral system, while Putin’s chosen
successor, Medvedev, has  href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/225135580/idUSL2913356920080129">ruled
out TV debates with his remaining opponents. The Kremlin also
warned the U.S. and EU that it  href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/224676151/idUSL287999020080128">would
take unidentified measures if Kosovo declares independence.

style="border: 2px solid rgb(200, 200, 200); padding: 3px; margin-top: 1px; margin-right: 5px; font-weight: 700; float: left;">>>

The worst snowstorm in a half century  href="http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article3264827.ece">has
paralyzed large swaths of China as many are travelling for
the Lunar New Year celebration.  style="text-decoration: underline;"> href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/29/world/asia/29china.html?ex=1359262800&en=60f48f697bf1f658&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Twenty
four have died, and as many of 600,000 train passengers are
stranded in Guangzhou. href="http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article3264827.ece">
href="http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article3267178.ece">

style="border: 2px solid rgb(200, 200, 200); padding: 3px; margin-top: 1px; margin-right: 5px; font-weight: 700; float: left;">>>

An opposition MP, Melitus Were, href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/africa/7214558.stm">was
killed yesterday, sparking yet another wave of violence
through a Nairobi slum. Fighting continued in the Rift Valley.
 Reports suggest that href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/224986304/idUSWAL22103220080129">helicopters
firing rubber bullets, made an attempt to curb attacking
Kikuyu in Naivasha.
href="http://www.ft.com/cms/s/9be58058-cdcc-11dc-9e4e-000077b07658.html">

style="background-color: rgb(255, 179, 64); padding-top: 5px; padding-bottom: 5px; color: rgb(255, 230, 118); width: 100%; font-size: 1.15em; font-family: sans-serif;">  YESTERDAY IN UN DISPATCH

style="background-color: rgb(255, 179, 64); padding-top: 5px; padding-bottom: 5px; color: rgb(255, 230, 118); width: 100%; font-size: 1.15em; font-family: sans-serif;">  THE REST OF THE STORY

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