Frankly, I’m sick of hearing “it’s the economy, stupid,” both the medium and the message. Yes, it was a catchy Carville phrase 18 years ago, but, in the meantime, it’s lost its luster being uttered by every talking head and tucked into every blog post each time any elected official shows any sign of being politically confused. I get it. It’s no longer a fresh idea; it’s a crutch used to embody a stale philosophy when one’s got nothing new to say.
Senator Chris Dodd announced today that he will not be running for re-election as U.S. Senator from Connecticut. Dodd was first elected to the Senate in 1980, and in during his 30 year career on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee he emerged as one of the more thoughtful voices of constructive U.S.
Five Republican members of Congress penned a letter to Ugandan President Yoweri Mouseveni urging him to do everything within his constitutional authority to stop legislation that would criminalize homosexuality, sometimes under the penalty of death, from being enacted in Uganda. The signatories, Representatives Chris Smith, Frank Wolf, Joe Pitts, Trent Franks and Anh “Joseph” Cao are conservative, members of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and self-proclaimed “men of faith.”
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is holding its nomination hearing on USAID Administrator-designate Rajiv Shah today. You can watch it live, online, on the newly redesigned website of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (welcome out of the 1990s, guys!) In all seriousness, this is the first opportunity for an in-depth query of someone who is a relatively unknown entity.
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”.