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Evacuations in East Timor

To Ed Lasky, the Secretary General's decision to evacuate non-essential U.N. personnel from East Timor is proof positive of the U.N.'s inherent fecklessness: "Meant to protect civilians, UN staff have run away from the capital of East Timor after an outbreak of violence... If someone says "boo" to them, they turn tail." Lasky, however, does not bother to mention that those workers who were evacuated from East Timor last week were civil servants who perform important (but in a conflict zone, non-essential) tasks such as HIV/Aids education, civil society training, legal work, and more.
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UNAIDS Head: World Is Losing HIV Fight

AP: "The world continues to lose an ugly battle to HIV/AIDS that shows no sign of letting up after 25 million people have died a quarter-century into the epidemic, the head of the U.N.'s HIV/AIDS joint program said.
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International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers

Memoriam.jpg Memorial Day (May 29) was also the International Day of UN Peacekeepers. Here's an excerpt of a message by the President of the General Assembly: "The General Assembly first designated 29 May as the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers four years ago. On this day, we pay tribute to the professionalism, dedication and courage of all the men and women serving in United Nations peacekeeping operations, and honour the memory of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace."
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Race Against Time in Java Quake

ind_quake.jpg "The United Nations has warned that the task of helping survivors of Saturday's earthquake on the Indonesian island of Java is "a race against the clock". Emergency workers and supplies are arriving at the scene, but the UN's top relief co-ordinator Jan Egeland told the BBC the task was "enormous". Driving rain has made conditions worse for survivors of the quake, which killed at least 4,900 and hurt 20,000. And activity at nearby erupting volcano Mount Merapi is said to have increased. United Nations aid agencies are holding talks in Geneva to plan humanitarian relief. The agencies, including Unicef, the World Food Programme, the World Health Organization and the International Red Cross, have already begun distributing some relief supplies but say much more will be needed." [Read more] See also: What the UN is Doing
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BBC: Search for Java Quake Survivors

"A frantic search for survivors is continuing after a strong earthquake struck the Indonesian island of Java, killing more than 4,200 people.... Unicef said it was sending emergency supplies including 2,000 tents, 9,000 tarpaulins and hygiene kits." [More]
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Blair on UN Reform

09-14kofiworldsummit.jpg "The United Nations must become more effective in tackling global terrorism, Tony Blair has said. He said that new worldwide threats mean that the international community must act "earlier and more effectively", and that a UN debate is needed on how that can happen. "The whole point about the international community today is that these problems are urgent, they need to be tackled. If they're not tackled, the consequences are very quickly felt around the world. And you have got to have institutions that are capable of taking them on and tackling them and getting action taken."
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Zimbabwe Rejects UN Initiative

FT: "Zimbabwe on Thursday rejected a fledgling initiative by Kofi Annan, UN secretary general, to broker a solution to the country's economic and political crisis. George Charamba, spokesman for president Robert Mugabe, told the state-owned Herald newspaper that Zimbabwe was "not a UN issue", and described a previous invitation to Mr Annan, issued during its controversial slum clearance operation, as "stale". He said the Harare government was "unaware of any UN intervention on Zimbabwe", and that the UN should instead be challenging "illegal sanctions imposed on it".
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Natural Disasters: Early Warning & Mitigation – UN

"Some 90 experts in early warning systems and natural disaster risk management met at a United Nations symposium in Geneva today to strengthen global mechanisms, especially for less developed countries, that have already helped to reduce the number of fatalities by nearly two-thirds at a time when such catastrophes have increased four-fold.