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Bush Administration’s Views on UN Reform

Assistant Secretary of State Kim Holmes Speaks About the Bush Administration's Views on United Nations Reform: "I believe the United Nations works best when its member states and the United States work together. This requires U.S. leadership. Not all countries may agree with everything the U.S. espouses. But most would agree, I would maintain, that the UN can accomplish very important things when the United States and the member states of the United Nations act as partners." Full Text (PDF file)
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“In Larger Freedom”: Decision Time at the UN

By UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. From Foreign Affairs, May/June 2005: "Ask a New York investment banker who walks past Ground Zero every day on her way to work what today's biggest threat is. Then ask an illiterate 12-year-old orphan in Malawi who lost his parents to AIDS. You will get two very different answers. Invite an Indonesian fisherman mourning the loss of his entire family and the destruction of his village from the recent, devastating tsunami to tell you what he fears most. Then ask a villager in Darfur, stalked by murderous militias and fearful of bombing raids. Their answers, too, are likely to diverge. Different perceptions of what is a threat are often the biggest obstacles to international cooperation. But I believe that in the twenty-first century they should not be allowed to lead the world's governments to pursue very different priorities or to work at cross-purposes. Today's threats are deeply interconnected, and they feed off of one another." Full Article
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Bolton Nomination Update: Senate Vote Delayed

Financial Times: "The nomination of John Bolton for US ambassador to the United Nations appeared in jeopardy yesterday after a Senate committee unexpectedly decided to postpone a vote to allow more time to investigate allegations that he slanted intelligence and abused analysts who disagreed with his conclusions. The Senate foreign relations committee postponed the vote after George Voinovich, an Ohio Republican, stunned his Republican colleagues by expressing reservations about the appointment of Mr Bolton, the outgoing undersecretary of state for arms control. "I've heard enough today that I don't feel comfortable about voting for Mr Bolton," said Mr Voinovich."
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Counterpoint to Sen. Norm Coleman’s Criticisms of the UN

"A counterpoint to Sen. Norm Coleman's criticisms of the United Nations' leader will sound today at Macalester College and the University of Minnesota, where two prominent U.N. supporters will lead town hall meetings on the future of the world body. Former Ambassador Thomas Pickering said Monday that the Minnesota Republican's call for Secretary-General Kofi Annan's resignation is unwarranted. A final report is pending from an investigation into corruption in the U.N.'s oil-for-food program for Iraq, he said, and meanwhile "my strong feeling is that no decision should be made about this particular issue." Pickering, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. from 1989 to 1992, also said Coleman is wrong to assert that Annan's position as the U.N.'s effective CEO makes him responsible for any wrongdoing. The oil-for-food program was conceived, Pickering said, under a resolution giving responsibility to a Security Council committee. "Holding the CEO responsible for something the board takes out of his hands is a stretch," he said in a telephone interview.
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Girls in Developing Nations Denied Primary Education

"Millions of girls in developing nations are being denied a primary education even as the number of boys in school grows, according to a report by the United Nations Children's Fund, Unicef. The widest disparity between education received by boys and girls is in the Middle East and North Africa, West and Central Africa and South Asia, Unicef said today on its Web site in the Progress for Children report. In those regions, women often have less social prestige than men and are required to work from an early age, according to the report." LINK
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UN Reports No Security Improvement in Darfur

UN News Service: "Clashes between the Government and rebels in Sudan's western Darfur region, attacks against international aid workers, rape and the persecution of its victims, abuse of children, and torture by security forces, underscored a continuing dire situation, according to the latest United Nations report on the region released today. "The killing of civilians and combatants alike must stop and a genuine ceasefire must be observed," Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in the report for March, the latest in a monthly series mandated by the Security Council. He calls on all parties to abide by several agreements they have already signed."
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UN Video Game Encourages Kids to Feed, Not Kill

"The jungle territory that hides lurking rebel forces makes it look like a shoot-em-up adventure, but in this video game -- from the U.N.'s food aid agency -- the aim is to feed the masses rather than blow them away. The U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) hopes the game "Food Force," in which players direct aid workers trying to help the poor, will teach children about the problems of feeding the hungry, especially those trapped in war zones." Read the rest...
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UN Commission Calls for Intensified Fight Against HIV/AIDS

"The United Nations Commission on Population and Development has called on the international community to assist developing countries in fighting the HIV/AIDS pandemic by scaling up development aid. In a unanimously adopted resolution at the end of its thirty-eighth session yesterday, the Commission urged "the international community to complement and supplement, through increased international development assistance, efforts of the developing countries that commit increased national funds to fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic." It drew particular attention to the problematic situation "in Africa, especially sub-Saharan Africa, and the Caribbean, countries at high risk of expansion of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and countries in other affected regions whose resources for dealing with the epidemic are seriously limited." The Commission stressed that HIV/AIDS has been intensifying poverty in many countries, affecting individuals, families and communities, reducing human capital and having profound and long-lasting effects on a country's social and economic development." Full Story
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UN Rights Panel Censures North Korea

"The United Nations Commission on Human Rights censured North Korea on Thursday for "widespread and grave violations," including torture, executions and forced abortions.... The resolution, brought by the European Union and Japan, was adopted 30 to 9, with 14 abstentions, including South Korea. The measure expressed deep concern about torture, public executions, arbitrary detention, infanticide, imposition of the death penalty for political reasons, the existence of a "large number of prison camps" and extensive use of forced labor." More