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Blog Roundup #83

A sampling of United Nations related blog commentaryPublic Diplomacy Watch: "Travel Weekly has a good story about Tim Wirth and Ted Turner's UN Foundation, and its efforts to enlist the travel industry in protecting places designated as "World Heritage" sites by the UN."Sudan Watch: "A new detailed UN report warns that killings, rapes and indiscriminate attacks are still forcing tens of thousands of people from their homes in Darfur. Excerpt from Scotsman January 28, 2006: "A 42-page report said those carrying out the violence included soldiers who fired at civilians from helicopter gunships. The report criticised the government of coup leader Omar el-Bashir, saying promises to end centuries of discrimination and marginalisation of black African minorities were marked by "token gestures" while murder and torture went unpunished." UN News Centre January 27, 2006 reports that while noting some progress since peace accords were signed last year, such as the lifting emergency law in certain areas, the OHCHR report says other initiatives have been inadequate, especially in Darfur, where any positive political measures were "overshadowed by an ineffective judiciary, an ongoing conflict, and widespread human rights abuses."Draconian Observations: "The battle over who will replace Kofi Annan as the next Secretary General of the UN is on: Annan's term expires at the end of the year, and several candidates either have or are perceived to have joined the ranks of contenders for one of the most influential and definitely important posts in the world. Financial Times has an interesting piece on the subject coming out of the World Economic Forum summit in Davos. As FT's people aptly summarize, the next UNSG faces several tough challenges."
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NYT: China and Russia Support Sending Iran Case to UN

"The United States and Europe, after hours of negotiations on Iran, won support from Russia and China early Tuesday to refer Iran's nuclear activities to the United Nations Security Council this week, but with a promise that the Council would not act on the question for at least a month." [Full story]
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Climate Poses Increased Threat, Admits Blair

"Tony Blair has admitted that the risks of climate change may be more serious than previously thought. The Prime Minister's concern is revealed today in a book that contains compelling evidence from some of the world's leading scientists of the growing threat to the planet.Reassessments of major risks to the Earth, such as the melting of the great land-based ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica, which would raise sea levels disastrously, or the slowing down of the Gulf Stream, which would plunge Britain into a new ice age, show that they may be triggered by temperature rises well within those already predicted for the coming century.The fresh appraisals indicate that the situation is far more dangerous than that set out in the last report of the main scientific body monitoring global warming, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). That study, the IPCC's third assessment report, known to scientists as the TAR, said there was "new and stronger evidence" that much of the warming already observed in recent decades had been caused by human activities, such as the emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases from power stations and motor vehicles." [Read more]corals_mangroves.jpgAlso see:Corals and Mangroves in the Front LineFloods and Drought Boost Global DisastersGlobal Warming Study: Polar Ice Sheets Could Start to Melt this Century
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Annan’s Top Iraq Envoy Condemns Coordinated Atacks Near Churches

"The senior United Nations envoy to Iraq today condemned a series of deadly explosions carried out in coordinated sequence in the vicinity of churches in Baghdad and Kirkuk.The attacks, which caused the death and injury of many innocent Iraqis, constituted "a reprehensible act that can only exacerbate sectarian violence," Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative, Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, said in a statement issued in the Iraqi capital." [More]
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Blog Roundup #82

A sampling of United Nations related blog commentaryEm Asomba: "The pioneering $100 laptop program, designed to give children in developing countries access to knowledge and educational tools, came a step closer to realization today with the signing of a partnership agreement in Davos between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and One Laptop per Child (OLPC)."Coalition for Darfur: "Uganda: Ready to Attack Rebels in Congo - From Reuters: "The Ugandan military is ready to "deal with" rebels in neighbouring Congo who killed eight U.N. soldiers this week, President Yoweri Museveni said on Thursday. "We told the U.N. they should allow us to go and deal with them in Congo, because we know how to fight those criminals," Museveni said during celebrations at an airfield marking two decades since his National Resistance Movement seized power."Science Blog: "The head of the UN effort to combat the spread of the deadly bird flu virus today warmly welcomed donor pledges of $1.9 billion to fight the disease made at an international conference in China. "Quite extraordinary," was how David Nabarro, the UN System's Coordinator for Avian and Human Influenza, described an amount that was much more than the $1.4 billion he had previously said was needed to combat the spread of a disease that in humans has already led to 79 deaths globally."Five Environment: "As a week of activities for United Nations World Environment Day approaches, Bayview Hunters Point continues its fight for environmental justice. In the midst of feel-good, look-good events at posh venues like the Metreon Theater in San Francisco, grassroots organizations and residents are gearing up for the largest environmental justice rally in San Francisco's history."Woodshavings: "U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan pleads for international intervention by the U.N. Security Council in Darfur in a WaPo editorial [Wednesday]. There have been positive developments. The African Union (AU) has sent a small sized contingent of about 5,000 troops to patrol Texas-sized territory amid peace talks between the Sudanese government and the rebel movement moderated by the AU. The UN Security Council has also referred Darfur to the International Criminal Court. Yet, enough hasn't been done. Annan elaborates: "I wish I could report that all these efforts had borne fruit -- that Darfur was at peace and on the road to recovery. Alas, the opposite is true. People in many parts of Darfur continue to be killed, raped and driven from their homes by the thousands." While international intervention seems legitimate and warranted in Darfur, the inevitable question arises: Are we already too late?"
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Darfur Descending

No Time for Apathy on SudanBy KOFI A. ANNAN, Secretary-General of the United Nations"People in many parts of Darfur continue to be killed, raped and driven from their homes by the thousands. The number displaced has reached 2 million, while 3 million (half the total population of Darfur) are dependent on international relief for food and other basics. Many parts of Darfur are becoming too dangerous for relief workers to reach. The peace talks are far from reaching a conclusion. And fighting now threatens to spread into neighboring Chad, which has accused Sudan of arming rebels on its territory.
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Life and Death of Children in the Holocaust Remembered at UN

holocaust.jpg"Patched-together dolls, drawings, poems and other personal effects give a glimpse of childhood turned unthinkable during the horrors of the Holocaust in an exhibition which opened today at the United Nations as part of a week of remembrance there.No Child's Play, a travelling exhibit produced by Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority in Jerusalem, is part of a series of activities leading up to 27 January, which has been designated by the General Assembly as an annual International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of genocide.
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Blog Roundup #81

A sampling of United Nations related blog commentarySerendipity: "The latest State of the World's Children report by UNICEF has been released. Below is the press release from last month. (You can find previous years' reports at here.): "Abused and Neglected, Millions of Children Have Become Virtually Invisible - Hundreds of millions of children are suffering from severe exploitation and discrimination and have become virtually invisible to the world, UNICEF said today in a major report that explores the causes of exclusion and the abuses children experience."Brenna: "Take a look at these pictures. Be aware of the graphic nature. When have you personally ever seen this? I have never in my entire life seen the UN Peacekeepers rolling down my street in a tank. This picture is from Haiti as they prepare for an election. The UN is present to stop the violence that is occurring as the election draws near. I have never gone to vote and seen armed Peacekeepers patrolling the area to ensure that the election is kept fair. The Haiti election was postponed three times because the violence was too much. And it is looking at these pictures that I find myself disgusted with the low voter turnout here is Canada, and the people that have told me that they are not voting. These men and women are risking their lives to protect democracy and bring a fair election to the people of Haiti. Many Peacekeepers have been killed in the process."ArmsControlWonk: "An Iranian bomb is not, yet, a foregone conclusion. The degree to which Iran's nuclear program has become an element of the country's domestic politics suggests that fissures exist within Iranian elites that create space for negotiations. Those fissures might be quite severe, as suggested by a curious incident recently when Iranian delegates didn't show up for a meeting with IAEA DG ElBaradei. If I had to guess, the Iranians missed the meeting because they were probably riven internally and couldn't."