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Exclusive: UN responds to ProPublica story about alleged corruption of UN Afghan funds

T. Christian Miller and Dafna Linzer write in ProPublica that the United Nations cannot account for "tens of millions of dollars provided to the troubled Afghan election commission." They cite two audits and interviews with current and former UNAMA staff to back up these claims. 

These are clearly troubling accusations.  Exclusive to UN Dispatch, UN Development Program spokesperson Stephane Dujarric sent the following letter to ProPublica last night:  

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If Iran deal falters, then what?

Spencer Ackerman says:

there’s no doubt that diplomatic outreach to Iran on the nuclear question suffers tremendously if Iran rejects the Vienna deal. Desired strategies have to bow to emergent realities, in the final analysis, and Iran just doesn’t appear like it will accept an eminently reasonable deal that would buy time for a diplomatic thaw. If this is indeed Iran’s formal response to Vienna, than sanctions look more likely now, and, frankly, appropriate.

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United States joins General Assembly in vote on small arms trade

The General Assembly today will endorse a landmark agreement to fight the illegal and irresponsible trade of small arms and conventional weapons.  Now, the General Assembly resolution is not an agreement itself, but it does set out a timetable for negotiations on an agreement on ways to curb arms sales to insurgent groups, volatile regions, or irresponsible governments.  The vote tomorrow is very significant, however, for the fact that for the first time

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India Can Provide Excellent Maternal Care – But Not to Everyone

A new article at The Daily Beast highlights the risks of motherhood in India in a striking way. Every year, half a million women die as a result of pregnancy. And for every death, there are 20-30 cases of maternal injury. At the same time, high-end private clinics support surrogate mothers bearing children for infertile couple from the wealthy world. It’s an ugly dichotomy, and it points to financial inequalities and health sector weakness.


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Mir Hussein Moussavi coming out against the IAEA nuclear deal

The saga of the potential Iranian low-enriched uranium export deal continues.  The New York Times reports that Iran is preparing a counter-offer, which may or may not include sending partial shipments of its low-enriched-uranium outside the country for further processing.  This sort of back and forth is to be expected. But what caught my eye was this:

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U.N. official deported from Zimbabwe

The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Manfred Nowak was deported from the airport in Harare yesterday.  Prime Minister (and Robert Mugabe's top political rival) Morgan Tsvangirai invited Nowak to his office in Harare yesterday. But upon arriving at the airport, Nowak was detained by immigration officials and forced on the next plane back to South Africa. 

Here is the story, as told from Nowak's point of view:

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Susan Rice on Cuba vote: “Here we go again.”

Each year for as far back as I can remember, the General Assembly passes a resolution condemning the American embargo on Cuba.  The resolution typically passes with only three no votes: The US, Israel, and the Palau.  This year was no exception, despite the fact that the Obama administration has been inching ever closer toward a rapprochement with Cuba.  Steve Clemons wanted the U.S. to abstain.

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General Assembly to take up Goldstone Report next week

The General Assembly will discuss the Goldstone Report next week, and in all likelihood the Assembly will pass a resolution recommending that the Security Council seize itself of the matter.  I dare say, though, that this will likely be the end of the line for the report.  The United States' objections to the report are well known.  Also, China and Russia are unlikely to set a precedent in which their human rights record might someday be examined.

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Deadly suicide attack against the UN in Afghanistan: UPDATE, UPDATE II

More terrible news from Afghanistan.  A Taliban suicide attack on a compound housing UN employees and other international staff has killed nine people, six of whom worked for the UN mission in Afghanistan.  According to the BBC, "the Taliban spokesman said they had threatened to target anyone working on the Afghan run-off presidential election between incumbent Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah."