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We Must Disarm

The United Nations launched a new campaign in advance of the international day of peace on September 21.  This date, incidentally, comes just a few days before President Obama will chair a Security Council meeting on nuclear non-proliferation. 

There are a number of ways to join the movement. You can follow updates on twitter, which offer daily reasons why "we must disarm."  Sample entry: "because nuke weapons have made 104 million m³ of radioactive waste - US Dept of Energy." 

Join the facebook cause and sign the petition.  

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World Bank and UN reclaim funds from Haitian Kleptocrat

A Swiss court last week ordered some $6 million of assets allegedly plundered by former Haitian President Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier be directed toward  development efforts in Haiti. 

The decision was achieved through the efforts of a joint World Bank and UN Office on Drugs and Crime program called the Stolen Assets Recovery initiative.   Duvalier's family has time to appeal, but this decision clearly gives notice to would-be kleptocrats that their stolen assets are not beyond the reach of international law.   

So, who else should look out? Here is a list of top kleptocrats from the initiative's action plan:


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They may not be Nobel Prizes…

...but the UNESCO Literacy Prizes have certainly gone to deserving winners, which were this year awarded on the theme of "Literacy and Empowerment."  To wit:

The second award of the UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize goes to the NGO Nirantar’s project "Khabar Lahariya" - "news waves" - in Uttar Pradesh, northern India. It has created a rural fortnightly newspaper entirely produced and marketed by “low caste” women, distributed to more than 20,000 newly literate readers. Its well-structured method of training newly literate women as journalists and democratizing information production provides an easily replicated model of transformative education.

Without making a vulgar comparison, this kind of effort reminds me of Washington, D.C.'s own Street Sense, which has always struck me as an innovative and productive way to take on poverty and homelessness.  That such an initiative is thriving with "low caste" women in India is incredibly heartening.

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Soccer vs. Malaria Saturday on Fox Soccer Channel

(by the UN Foundation's Shannon Raybold)

This Saturday, the U.S. Soccer Men’s National Team takes on Haiti in a battle for glory in the CONCACAF Gold Cup! In addition to an intense game between two of the region’s top teams, the game will also highlight soccer’s leadership in the global fight to end malaria deaths through United Against Malaria.

United Against Malaria is a partnership of football stars, non-governmental organizations, foundations, governments, corporations, and the general public who have joined forces ahead of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa to unite in the fight against malaria.

Fox Soccer Channel is a leading partner in United Against Malaria.  Its “Every Goal Saves A Life” program sends a mosquito net to Africa for every goal scored on Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Sports en Español throughout the 2008-2009 season, ensuring that each goal on the field brings us one step closer to our shared goal of ending malaria deaths in Africa.

During the broadcast, campaign partner and Population Services International spokesperson Molly Sims will give a shout-out to United Against Malaria and how the soccer community is coming together as a team to defeat malaria for once and for all. She’ll be cheering on our fellow United Against Malaria team, US Soccer!

Be sure to tune in! The US will defend its Gold Cup title from Haiti from 7-9pm on Fox Soccer Channel.

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Scenes from Abyei

The World Food Program posts a video with some powerful images from Abyei, which is an oil-rich border region between South Sudan, Darfur and Sudan proper. Despite a peace accord between Souther Sudanese rebels and the central Government four years ago, Abyei remains a persistent flash point. The Enough Project call's the region "Sudan's Kashmir" and has published some important work highlighting the centrality of peace in Abyei to peace throughout Sudan.