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WHO Spotlights Role of Health Professionals in Tobacco Control

UN News Service: "On "World No Tobacco Day", the UN World Health Organization (WHO) is urging health professionals to be more proactive in minimizing the problems caused by tobacco addiction, consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke. "Tobacco continues to be a leading global killer, with nearly five million deaths a year", notes Dr Lee Jong-wook, WHO Director-General, and "Health professionals are on the frontline. They need the skills to help people stop smoking, and they need to lead by example, and quit tobacco use themselves."
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Memorial Day

Every day, in field operations around the world, men and women serve under the flag of the United Nations to build and maintain peace, to relieve human suffering, and to promote human rights and sustainable development. Link (pdf) There are 66,000 military and 15,000 civilian peacekeepers. 115 members of those missions paid the highest price for their dedication to peace in 2004, with 39 more already killed during 2005. Learn More
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Death Threats Force UNICEF out of Somali Town

Alertnet: "The closure of the UNICEF office in Bossaso after several death threats against staff underscores the difficulty and danger faced by the handful of aid workers who venture into the anarchic country ravaged by nearly 14 years of militia fighting."
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Clinton Backs Tsunami Aid Deal With S.Lanka Rebels

"Former U.S. president Bill Clinton said on Saturday he supported a tsunami aid-sharing deal between the Sri Lankan government and Tamil Tiger rebels, saying it could lead to a lasting peace. Clinton, the U.N. envoy for tsunami relief, also told a news conference at the end of a one-day visit he had seen much progress in recovery efforts since his last trip in February." Full Story
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UN Human Rights Office Calls for Strengthened Role

"With human rights observance being one of the central goals of the United Nations, Human Rights High Commissioner Louise Arbour today outlined a strategic vision for the future and called for tools to increase her office's global leadership and its engagement with individual countries. "Our objective must be to help bridge the gap between the lofty rhetoric of human rights in the halls of the United Nations and its sobering realities on the ground," Ms. Arbour says in a report to Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who transmitted it to the General Assembly." Read more...
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Oil for Food Facts

If you haven't checked out the Oil-for-Food Facts site recently, there's lots of new material posted, including a link to this Philadelphia Daily News letter: Letters | What Rosett left out WHILE disparaging the U.N., Secretary-General Kofi Annan and reform efforts initiated by him, Claudia Rosett (op-ed, May 3, "Just some more stale Kofi") focuses primarily on corruption in the Oil-for-Food relief program. From 1996 until 2003, the Oil-for-Food Program let the Iraqi government sell oil to pay for food, infrastructure, medicine and humanitarian goods. It addressed the humanitarian impact of the sanctions on the Hussein regime while maintaining the sanctions to keep Saddam from acquiring weapons of mass destruction. It was successful in both respects. Despite U.S. allegations, weapons of mass destruction were not found in Iraq; the caloric intake of Iraqis increased 83 percent during that period; malnutrition rates in 2002 in the central and southern part of the country were half those in 1996 among children under 5; in the three northern governorates, chronic malnutrition decreased 56 percent. The program also contributed to vaccination campaigns that helped reduce child mortality and eradicated polio. Ms. Rosett fails to point out that most of the money pocketed by Saddam through illegal oil sales came through smuggling outside the framework of the program. Nor does she acknowledge that the U.N. raised concerns about potential wrongdoing on multiple occasions. Also missing is the fact that the U.S. was aware of the corruption taking place by Security Council members China, Russia and France, and to a lesser extent by U.S. companies, and chose to look the other way. Nor is selective silence unique to this program. In the last few days, the White House has declined to comment as an uprising against the repressive government of President Karimov of Uzbekistan turned fatal as government forces fired on its citizens, killing at least 500. Similarly, it is withholding support to the people of Kazakhstan against the corrupt regime of President Nazarbayev. The U.S. has military alliances with both of these countries. Norma VanDyke, President United Nations Association Greater Philadelphia Chapter
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Blog Roundup #17

A sampling of United Nations related blog commentary CAPTAIN'S QUARTERS: "Voinovich's continued offensive against Bolton will rankle the base, especially in light of fellow Ohioan Mike DeWine's participation in the confirmation agreement. Now with all of the shenanigans going on in the Senate, the last thing the GOP caucus needs is another "maverick" showing up the leadership and the White House." LOADED MOUTH: "As I've reported before, the UN World Food Program (WFP) is runing extremely low on funds, and for the people of Darfur, this is the worst possible time for a WFP budget crisis because Sudan's rainy season starts in a month, which will make the transportation of rations nearly impossible. But even I'm surprised at how far in the hole WFP is. There's still time to donate. Hint hint." WASHINGTON NOTE: "Doug Jehl captured the rarity of a Senator like Voinovich breaking not only once with his party -- but essentially THREE TIMES -- given his "Dear Colleagues" letter on Bolton."