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Darfur Rebel Leaders Sign Agreement

CNN: "The two main rebel movements in Sudan's conflict-ridden western Darfur region have signed an agreement to stop all acts of enmities and friction between their supporters to maintain unity in the strife-torn province.The United Nations has called Darfur the world's worst humanitarian crisis and said it has claimed 70,000 lives and 1.5 million people are now homeless after having fled their homes since February 2003."
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UN Investigates Everest Threat

BBC NEWS: "The United Nations is to set up a task force to investigate the effects of climate change on regions like the Himalayas.The decision came at the annual meeting of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's (Unesco) World Heritage Committee, which declared that climate change does pose a threat to natural and cultural heritage sites."
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Blog Roundup #31

A sampling of United Nations related blog commentaryMove The UN: "The US House has decided to reduce and withold (House Backs Withholding Dues to Spur U.N. Changes By Mike Allen and Colum Lynch, Washington Post Staff Writers, Saturday, June 18, 2005) its funding till the UN is reformed. And today's headline in the BBC News website is US opposes UN Council reform plan. US is calling for just 2 new permanent seats, one being Japan, but with no veto powers. The G4 proposal put forward by Brazil, Germany, India and Japan, which is to add the G4 proposers with 2 additional members from the African continent, is what the US is rejecting!! Hypocrisy is at its height here."Moderate Voice: "It sounds like John Bolton is indeed destined to be a recess appointment after all. What continues to be fascinating is this implicit argument that John Bolton is the ONLY PERSON in the GOP who can fill that slot and achieve the administration's goals. In the huge pool of GOP talent - diplomats, law professors, political scientists, and businessmen - only John Bolton will do? Even though some in the GOP itself don't want John Bolton, it MUST be John Bolton?"Outside the Beltway: "Embattled UN Ambassador nominee John Bolton may take a recess appointment after all.... Unless the White House calculates that there is no getting around acrimony over the Supreme Court nomination(s), stoking the flames over what will, in the long run, be an insignificant appointment makes little sense. The Supreme Court picks the president makes may serve a quarter century or more; his UN Ambassador will be forgotten before his successor finishes his oath."Washington Note: "Officials in the White House, the State Department and in the Senate close to the Senate-White House fight over Bolton's nomination to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations report to TWN that they were caught off guard by the Washington Post article by Charles Babington and Dafna Linzer suggesting both that Bolton would accept a recess appointment -- and that if the Senate failed to confirm him the President would give Bolton such an appointment. Most officials on the Democratic side of the equation think that not only Bolton's confirmation -- but his actual nomination -- are dead. Republican voices close to this battle think that Bolton's nomination is withering badly and in critical condition, barely surviving on life support."Textually: "The United Nations is working toward a world agreement on the scrapping of metal-intensive mobile phones that could impact the cost of making them, reports Reuters: "The U.N., the scrap industry and mobile phone makers and operators, such as Nokia and Vodafone, are working together as part of the U.N. Basel Convention on the control and disposal of waste. It could expand agreements already in place in Europe, North America and Japan in the lead up to a key conference in Africa next year."Unpaid Punditry Corps: "Easy question, should President Bush recess appoint John Bolton as the Ambassador to the United Nations? It would be an appointment good through the end of 2006. In the past I have been pretty clear that I believe John Bolton is the right guy at the right time. Personally, I would love to see this happen, the Senate has stalled on this long enough."
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Nelson Mandela Joins Ranks of UNESCO Goodwill Ambassadors

Nelson_Mandela.jpg"Former South African President Nelson Mandela was named Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in recognition of his "outstanding leadership" in the fight against racial discrimination and his "unfailing commitment" to democracy.UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura made the designation at a ceremony at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg, South Africa.According to the citation, Mr. Mandela was awarded the title "in recognition of his outstanding leadership in the fight against apartheid and racial discrimination, in his country and worldwide; for his dedication to reconciliation between different communities; his unfailing commitment to democracy, equality and learning; his support for all the oppressed of the Earth; and his exemplary contribution to international peace and understanding."As one of UNESCO's Goodwill Ambassadors, Mr. Mandela joins an outstanding group of celebrity advocates who have generously agreed to use their talent and status to promote UNESCO's work and ideals. They include President Valdas Adamkus of Lithuania, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg, Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand, and 1992 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Rigoberta Menchu Tum of Guatemala." [Link]
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One in Four Niger children Die Before the Age of 5

niger_children.jpgNIAMEY/GENEVA - 12 July 2005 - Acute malnutrition rates have risen to 13.4 per cent in southern Niger Maradi and Zinder Regions, with 2.5 per cent of this group identified as severely malnourished children under age five, says UNICEF quoting recent nutrition surveys by the UN and several NGOs.The food shortage impacts some 3.3 million people - including 800,000 children under age five - in some 3,815 villages. Officials estimate cereal deficits at 223,448 tons and livestock feed deficits at 4,642,219 tons.At UNICEF-supported therapeutic feeding centres, admissions are rising exponentially. They are at least twice as high as those registered last year for the same period." [Read more]
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Hope and Generosity Can Triumph Over Hate

Jeffrey Sachs: "When world leaders gather at the United Nations summit in September, they can build quickly on the Gleneagles achievements. They should insist that donor countries that still lack a timetable to 0.7 per cent announce one in order to complete the financing package for Africa and other poor regions; that the IMF, World Bank, and other international organisations set their work plans according to the Millennium Development Goals; and that the new donor commitments to double aid start now. The leaders should be guided by the spirit of London that was on display last week, which showed that hope and generosity are the greatest bulwarks against terror and hate."