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Blog Roundup #40

A sampling of United Nations related blog commentaryChrenkoff: "Nearly half a million Iraqi children will benefit from upgraded sanitation facilities at schools across the country this year as a result of United Nations (UN) initiatives aimed at raising a new generation of educated Iraqis to help their country rebuild from war."Feministing: "According to a new report from UNICEF: "About 20 percent of children in Afghanistan die before their fifth birthday, girls being particularly vulnerable. Girls' enrollment in secondary schools is less than 10%. Female illiteracy rates as high as 85%. In some parts of Afghanistan, maternal death rates are as high as 6,000 per 100,000 women." These statistics have led UNICEF to declare a state of "acute emergency" for women and children living in Afghanistan."Booker Rising: "Haiti Election Doubts - Haiti's planned election timetable is looking increasingly doubtful as officials say there are problems with finance, and violent clashes between police and supporters of former President Jean Bertrand-Aristide continue. Despite a United Nations stabilizing force having been present for more than a year, violence continues. The UN's representative in Haiti fears that armed gangs could disrupt the election process."Coalition for Darfur: "Oxfam on the Genocide Agreement - I mentioned this yesterday, but I finally found the official Oxfam press release... The current draft wording on the 'responsibility to protect is below': 118. The international community should, as appropriate, encourage and help States to exercise this responsibility and support the efforts of the United Nations to establish an early-warning capability. The international community, through the United Nations, also has the obligation to use diplomatic, humanitarian and other peaceful means, including under Chapters VI and VIII of the Charter to help protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. 119. We invite the permanent members of the Security Council to refrain from using the veto in cases of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. 120. We support the implementation of the United Nations Action Plan to Prevent Genocide and the work of the Secretariat to this end."Crooks and Liars: "James Wolcott - "Roger L. Simon I don't consider a liberal hawk. Because he isn't. He isn't much of a liberal of any kind. Instead, he typifies a subset of bloggers who day-in, day-out bash the UN (particularly over the "oil-for-food" scandal") while saying damn near nothing about the billions of reconstruction money lost or stolen in Iraq and the sweetheart deals for companies like, yes, Halliburton; who dump scorn regularly on the ACLU and minimize the brutalities at Abu Ghraib..."Democracy Arsenal: "Responding to my post of yesterday, in which I made the point that France had intervened without UN authorisation in the civil war in Cote d'Ivoire, KB says that "when the French deployed in 2002 it did so at the request of the legitimate government of the IC and therefore didn't need UN say so."
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Americans at the UN

"Americans should seek to learn more about the broader mandate and work of the UN and its agencies beyond the very limited portrayal of the UN in the mainstream media. Americans should follow the important work of the UN through mechanisms such as the UN Wire, and should express their support and ideas for the UN by communicating these to their elected representatives and the President." - Andrew Hudson, Principal Technical Advisor, International Waters, at United Nations Development Program's Global Environment Facilityhudson.gifThere are thousands of Americans who work for the UN - over 1,800 in New York City alone. "Americans at the UN" is a project dedicated to telling their stories and celebrating the extraordinary work they do quietly every single day in countries all over the world.The Americans profiled on these pages come from very different backgrounds and work in extremely diverse settings. But whether they are from Los Angeles, St. Louis, or Boston, and whether they work from an office in New York City, a tent in a tiny village in Sri Lanka, or a battleground in the Congo, they are all committed to creating a better world.LEARN MORE
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‘Grave setback’ to Sri Lanka Peace

"Sri Lanka's government has declared a state of emergency hours after Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar was killed outside his home by sniper fire. The assassination is bound to further strain the shaky cease-fire agreement between Sri Lanka's government and the Tamil Tiger rebels. The truce, in place since February 2002, has been threatened by recent violence and the suspension of talks in 2003.World leaders, including U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, were quick to condemn the killing."Sri Lanka has lost a deeply respected statesman dedicated to peace and national unity," Annan's spokesman said in a statement. "The secretary-general hopes that this tragedy will not weaken the commitment of the people of Sri Lanka to achieve a durable peace in the country." [Read more]
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Niger: Therapeutic Milk is Saving Children’s Lives

ibc_niger_motherfeeding_10aug.jpg Hadjara with her 5-month-old son Lawali at a therapeutic feeding centre in Aguie, Niger."AGUIE, Niger, 10 August 2005 - "My son's name is Lawali," says 30-year old Hadjara. "He's five months old. He's still very weak, but I think he's getting better. His eyes follow me around now."Lawali is snuggled in his mother's lap in a colourful cloth wrap to keep his tiny body warm. Hadjara sits on a thin mat on the floor of a therapeutic feeding centre in Aguie village, in the Maradi region of Niger - hit hard by the current food crisis.Hadjara is spoon-feeding her son with nutritious therapeutic milk, supplied by UNICEF. Lawali swallows each spoonful of milk with a small gulp, and as with all babies, some of it trickles down his chin. Therapeutic milk is rich in nutrients and is easy to digest for children like Lawali." [Read more]
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Blog Roundup #39

A sampling of United Nations related blog commentaryWashington Note: "Perhaps John Bolton is modeling himself on Andrei Gromyko, the famous "Mr. Nyet" who said 'No' more often than anything else starting in 1946 when he went as the Soviet Ambassador to the U.N. followed by nearly three decades as the USSR's Foreign Minister."Suburban Guerrilla: "Unimaginable - So sad: "What little food they had ran out a long time ago and if they were "looking well fed" as their president has said, it was on leaves and plants. But yesterday the dispossessed of Guidamonji were the first to benefit from the start of the long-awaited UN aid distribution in Niger."Hidden Nook: "With the United States delegating the potential Persian nuclear crisis over to Europe, Iran it seems has disregarded the world's viewpoint over it's nuclear activities. Europe, realizing that they are losing control over the situation are threatening to bring Iran before the United Nations. But with nothing more than paper and words backing the their threats, Iran is calling the world's bluff by publicly insisting that it's nuclear activity is only for "peaceful" means."Coalition for Darfur: "From IRIN: "Heavy rainfall and ongoing insecurity are slowing down the delivery of humanitarian assistance to many parts of the strife-torn western Sudanese region of Darfur, aid workers warned on Wednesday. "It is a nightmare to move food; the rains are much worse than last year," Diego Fernandez, head of the UN World Food Programme (WFP) field office in Kabkabiya, in the west of North Darfur State, told IRIN."Media Network Weblog: "Representatives from fourteen national broadcast companies from across the Asia-Pacific region gathered at UNDP Regional Centre in Bangkok today to launch a co-production initiative to raise awareness about the impact of HIV/AIDS global health risk through the creation of media content. The initiative was organised through a cooperative arrangement involving the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU), UNDP's Asia-Pacific Development Information Programme (UNDP-APDIP), UNAIDS, UNICEF, UNDP Regional HIV Programme, MTV International and the Kaiser Family Foundation. This innovative and timely partnership will produce a series of made for television programmes to raise awareness of the global HIV/AIDS pandemic."MoJo Blog: "Darfur Won't Go Away - The ICG's John Pendergast - who was interviewed a while back here at Mother Jones-had an important op-ed on Darfur yesterday that kicks down the idea that the genocide will somehow just go away on its own: "The crisis in Darfur is deepening, not abating. New numbers from the United Nations reveal that 3.5 million Darfurians are in need of emergency aid, a sharp increase over what the misguided optimists expected. Mass rapes continue; lifesaving humanitarian aid is frequently blocked; and impunity for those responsible remains intact." (Via Coalition for Darfur, which is also essential reading for the ongoing crises in Congo and Niger.)"
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Blog Roundup #38

A sampling of United Nations related blog commentaryBaghdad Dweller: "Iraqi news agency launches - Iraq is to get its first independent news agency run and staffed by Iraqi journalists and backed by Reuters and the United Nations. The launch of the agency is aimed at providing breaking news to local, regional and international media and is expected to help strengthen professional journalism, facilitate social dialogue and promote democracy in the war-torn country."Chrenkoff: "Good news from Afghanistan, part 15 - Long forgotten - or worse still, destroyed - historical heritage of Afghanistan is finally being preserved and looked after. For example, "experts from the United Nations cultural agency, UNESCO, are back on the ground in western Afghanistan. They're working with local authorities on a $1 million project to preserve the crumbling, centuries-old minarets in Herat and Jam, which are in danger of collapse." And this: "The Government of Japan and the United Nations (UN) decided to extend assistance of a total of 3,660,415 US dollars (approximately 402.64 million yen) through the Trust Fund for Human Security for the project "Improving Human Security by Rebuilding Urban Communities" to be implemented by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) in Afghanistan..."Doug Ireland: "A growing number of Iraqi boys are being forced to join the commercial sex trade -- many forced to do so by criminal gangs through threats and violence, intimidation, and blackmail in a country where "honor killings" of youths who engage in same-sex relations by their families is encouraged by Sharia law and religious fanaticism; and some out of poverty in a country where official government figures for youth unemployment at 48 % (although the real figure is undoubtedly much higher). All this is confirmed by a new report from the UN Office of Humanitarian Affairs' Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN)."Hit and Run: "InstaPundit guestblogger Michael Totten offers some odd political advice to the Democrats: "As far as I'm concerned, social liberalism is the best thing the Democratic Party has going for it. They should keep that and drop the pacifism and isolationism instead..." The strange thing is the use of the word "isolationism." Just last year the warbloggers were warning that Kerry would submit America's foreign policy to a nefarious "global test." The man and his party were damned for their excessive faith in the United Nations, multilateralism, and the power of the well-crafted treaty. And now they're supposed to be isolationists?"Matthew Good: "There is little doubt in my mind that a conservative element within the Canadian Armed Forces is attempting to seize on the ambiguity provided by The War On Terror to reverse Canadian military priorities.... Being that Canada is not in Afghanistan under the banner of the United Nations, such a commitment would make Afghanistan one of the longest of its kind in Canadian military history. And with that commitment will come the usual - increased military spending and an intensified recruiting campaign. In short, the national, and positive, promotion of militarism."Syamak Moattari: "World Water Week 2005 - Experts from 100 countries will present innovative water sanitation and development solutions in advance of the United Nations' five-year review of progress toward meeting the Millennium Development Goals. Delegates will present examples of how problems of poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation and gender inequality can be solved with water and sanitation as the key entry points.'Washington Note: "Now that John Bolton has his Credentials... TWN is thinking of asking for an interview with him. We will probably get rejected, but I would like to discuss with him -- in a serious way -- what his vision is for the United Nations and how it converges or diverges from those in America who despise the institution. They are the ones -- on the whole -- who supported him. Is he going to abandon his base?"