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Annan Reaffirms UN Commitment to Peace in the Eastern DR Congo

"In the face of deadly clashes between United Nations peacekeepers and armed rebel groups in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Secretary-General Kofi Annan today reaffirmed the UN's determination to work closely with the Congolese authorities in restoring peace in the region." [More]
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UN Official Calls Iraq Election Credible

"A United Nations official said Wednesday that Iraq's recent parliamentary elections, which have given a strong lead to the Shiite religious bloc dominating the current government, were credible and that there was there was no justification in calls for a rerun." [Full Story]
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Darfur Still Scene of Rape and Banditry

UN News Service: "With both Sudanese Government and rebel troops violating the ceasefire agreement, the security situation in the Darfur provinces is volatile as banditry and looting are reported in the area, the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) said today."
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Annan Says Toughest Yet to Come After Tsunami

"The toughest time after last year's devastating tsunami may be yet to come, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said in a video message broadcast in Banda Aceh on Monday. "A year on, there has been tremendous progress in many areas. Children are back in school. Epidemics have been prevented. Tens of thousands of survivors are employed in cash-for-work activities," the secretary-general said. "And yet in some ways, the most challenging days lie ahead." "Breadwinners desperately need to regain secure livelihoods, hundreds of thousands of families need to re-establish themselves in permanent homes, and communities need to rebuild." [More]
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The Tsunami: One Year After the Disaster

tsunami2005_home4.jpg "Nearly one year has passed since the devastating waves of the Indian Ocean Tsunami destroyed the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people. However, through the combined of public and private sectors around the world, the United Nations in cooperation with national governments, NGOs and local communities was able to respond immediately and effectively to the disaster - assessing damages, rebuilding schools so children can resume their studies, preventing major outbreaks of diseases through sanitation projects and vaccination campaigns, and reconstructing shelters and permanent housing for the hundreds of thousands of homeless. The UN has effectively coordinated the immediate relief and rehabilitation efforts over the last 12 months, and will continue its work to work with to sustain and strengthen recovery efforts to "build back better" for many years to come." [Link] Also see: UNDP & Tsunami Recovery
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Blog Roundup #74

A sampling of United Nations related blog commentary Chicken Foot Stew: "The UN General Assembly and Security Council passed resolutions creating a Peacebuilding Commission to help insure that post-conflict societies do not slide back into conflict. Apparently, over half of the conflicts in the past 20 years have reignited after their initial cease-fires." Rose Colored News: "UN Launches $500 Million Emergency Relief Fund - "The U.N. General Assembly approved the establishment Thursday of a new $500 million emergency fund aimed at providing swift relief following natural disasters. The new Central Emergency Response Fund is 10 times larger than an existing standby relief fund of $50 million. U.N. officials hope the creation of a standing account will allow for relief to reach areas hit by disasters and famine quickly." Full Story: Environmental News Network." Agonist: "NYT - The General Assembly and Security Council passed resolutions on Tuesday founding a Peacebuilding Commission to help stabilize and rebuild societies emerging from war." Meat-Eating Leftist: "Bolivia is now yet another South American neighbor that officially rejects American imperialism and unregulated, free-trade capitalism. Evo Morales, a Che-styled leftist who denounced U.S. influence in his country, and vowed to fight the same imperialist forces that have ensnared his people into poverty, looks to be the winner in the country's presidential election: "Mr Morales' win has raised eyebrows in the US, after he expressed his admiration for the Cuban leader Fidel Castro and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. He has also pledged to fight to remove the coca plant from the United Nations list of poisonous plants..." Opinio Juris: "Secretary General Kofi Annan today announced the adoption of a whistleblower protection policy for the U.N. The policy, which goes into effect next month, is intended to protect U.N. employees who report misconduct and/or who cooperate with investigations. This is welcome news for the project of creating genuine accountability at the U.N. and should help promote the kind of cooperation and good citizenship necessary to effective internal audits and investigations. It sets a standard higher than those available to government employees of many -- if not most -- member states." Shanghai Daily: "FOUR people died last night in a fire in a seven-storey building in the famous Hanzheng Street ... one of the longest and most renowned commercial thoroughfares in China. It acts as the largest small commodity distribution place and wholesale market in central China. The street is also the sister street of Fifth Avenue in New York, according to an agreement signed in September between the management bodies of the two streets. The United Nations Refugee Agency also set up its procurement information center on the street in September. The center is in charge of direct purchases, releasing the UN's needed items list and showing samples from Geneva, headquarters of the UN refugee agency."
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Annan: UN Reform Among Top Priorities for 2006

sg-news-focus.jpg "Outlining his major priorities for 2006, his last year as United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan said today that alongside efforts to promote peace and security and combat poverty and disease he was determined to follow through on his wide-ranging agenda of reform and renewal of the world body. "If there's one thing I would like to hand over to my successor when I leave office next year, is that it should be a UN that is fit for the many varied tasks and challenges we are asked to take on today," Mr. Annan told an end-of-year press conference at UN Headquarters in New York, stressing that a strong programme to do that was already embraced by Member States at the 2005 World Summit." [Read more]
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