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Spain Gants Asylum to Battered Woman

"MADRID, Spain, (UNHCR) - In a precedent-setting decision, the Spanish Inter-ministerial Asylum Commission has given refuge to a 38-year-old woman, who could not find protection from decades of suffering at the hands of her husband whom she had been forced to marry.
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Doctor Works to Revolutionize AIDS Battle

"Ernest Darkoh saw early what was wrong with Africa. In Kenya, where he spent his teenage years, he watched as government mismanagement and corruption sometimes left his parents, both university professors, without paychecks for a month or more. Neighbors lived in abject poverty, and crime was a constant worry. When Darkoh was 19, a friend his age died at a local hospital because doctors, worried the boy might have AIDS, refused to treat him." Read More
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Blog Roundup #25

A sampling of United Nations related blog commentary Next Left: "Found these Harper's Index factoids quite humbling: "Annual cost of all sixteen U.N. peacekeeping missions currently underway: $3,870,000,000 [United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations (N.Y.C.)]; Monthly cost of the U.S. occupation of Iraq: $4,100,000,000." That is annual vs. monthly cost." Radio News America: "The "United Nations Reform Act of 2005" masquerades as a bill that will cut U.S. dues to the United Nations by 50 percent if that organization does not complete a list of 39 reforms. On the surface, any measure that threatens to cut funding to the United Nations seems very attractive, but do not be fooled: in this case, reform "success" will be worse than failure." Stygius: "Steve Clemons is back from the McCain-Frist press conference. Mainly, it was just a political gambit to try and get the nomination moving, even though Frist won't say when he'll bring it to a vote. But there was nothing that was new in and of itself. Frist's line, supposedly bolstered by having McCain at his side, is that Democrats keep "moving the goal posts" on the information requests, which is stalling the vote. This is nonsense, of course; Democrats have actually been conceding territory over the past few weeks." Talking Points Memo: "Given the central role of Ahmed Chalabi in 'unearthing' documents which triggered the UN oil-for-food scandal, can someone tell me why the New York Times still has Judith Miller covering the story? I'd actually like to follow what's happening in these investigations. But if you know any of the history of the last five years it's simply impossible to read Miller's articles on this subject and have any confidence that what you're reading is anything that, by any measure, can be considered the straight story."
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Fact Sheet: Key Points About UN Reform Act of 2005

Key Points to Remember about UN Reform Act of 2005:
  • Would automatically stop payment of our annual dues to the United Nations
  • At the inception of the United Nations, the U.S. made a legally binding promise to pay our share of UN dues.
  • The U.S. is the biggest financial contributor to the United Nations, paying about 22 percent of the annual $2 billion general budget. Withholding dues would be a major roadblock to important UN reform programs.
  • Bush Administration officials have voiced opposition to this legislation (see below)
If passed, the UN Reform Act of 2005 would:
  • Break our promise to other nations of the world and to the UN.
  • Limit the ability of our diplomats to achieve changes within the UN because it would undercut U.S. credibility.
  • Lead to a huge debt to the UN and inhibit our ability to lead within the institution.
If passed, the UN Reform Act of 2005 would endanger UN peacekeeping efforts by:
  • Reinstating a 25 percent cap on U.S. contributions to UN peacekeeping missions despite the fact that Congress has voted since 2001 to pay our currently assessed share, which is now at 27.1 percent.
  • Instituting a shortfall in funds needed to sustain troops on the ground
  • Jeopardizing the newly authorized peacekeeping mission in Darfur, Sudan.
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Ambassadors: Don’t Link U.N. Dues to Reforms

"Eight former U.S. ambassadors to the United Nations sent a letter on Tuesday urging congressional leaders to reject a bill that would link reform of the world body to payment of American dues, warning that the legislation could actually strengthen opponents of reform." More...
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How the U.S. can Help Fix the United Nations

The Brookings Institution, June 14, 2005 Ann Florini, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy Studies "The extraordinary energy Congress has put into the fight over whether John Bolton should become the US ambassador to the United Nations may be wasted if a bill now before the House becomes law. The UN Reform Act of 2005, drafted by House International Relations Committee chair Henry Hyde, could ensure that neither Bolton nor any other US ambassador could do much to make the UN an effective instrument for US interests." Read the Editorial