House Republicans Try to Gut UN Funding, But Face Resistance from Hillary Clinton.
The Republican dominated House Foreign Affairs Committee is poised to approve a radical UN funding bill that would impose dramatic cuts to American financial contributions to the United Nations. The bill is championed by Chairwoman Ileana Ros Lehtinen and would shift the way the United States pays the UN from a dues payment system to a system of voluntary funding in which the U.S. picks and chooses the programs for which it will pay. It also prohibits American funding to any UN body that lets Palestine join as a member. If a voluntary funding system is not imposed, the legislation forces the United States to reduce its funding for the UN by 50% (from about $500 million a year to $250 million a year). But, not so fast! says Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In a rare move ahead of Thursday’s Congressional vote, Clinton circulated a letter to Ros Lehtinen saying she would recommend that the president Obama veto the legislation if it passes. The drama, such as it is, will unfold Thursday morning on Capitol Hill. (Washington Post http://wapo.st/pKDlYx)
One third of Thailand has been declared a “Disaster Area”
There’s epic flooding underway in Thailand — and Bankok is about to hit very, very hard. “Thailand on Wednesday declared a third of its provinces to be disaster zones, as auto giant Toyota called a halt to work after production was affected by the country’s worst flooding in decades. The government’s move aims to speed up relief operations, as the floods have left at least 281 people dead and damaged millions of homes and livelihoods in more than two months. ‘The government has announced that all provinces affected by the floods are critical disaster areas, allowing governors to exercise more authority to issue materials and manage budgets,’ deputy premier Yongyuth Wichaidit said. Currently 26 out of 77 provinces are affected, while the capital Bangkok is bracing for a large amount of run-off water to reach the city in mid-October, when high tides will make it harder for the flood waters to flow out to sea.” (Channel Asia News http://bit.ly/oBAs0f)
Nearly Half a Million People Still Displaced in Cote D’Ivoire
A new report from Oxfam, CARE and the Danish Refugee Council, “Towards Durable Solutions for Displaced Ivorians” finds a shockingly high number of people remained displaced in Cote D’Ivoire and surrounding countries six months after the end of the conflict. “To date, an estimated 500,000 people have returned to their place of originsince the end of the conflict in April, while approximately 450,000 Ivoirians remain displaced inside Cote d’Ivoire and in neighboring countries. Yet despite this continued need for large-scale humanitarian support, the UN’s international emergency appeal remains just 29% funded. The report shows that significant humanitarian needs remain. Amongst those interviewed, food is the overwhelming priority, with 77% of returnees and 83% of displaced people saying they do not have enough to eat. Shelter is another major challenge hindering sustainable returns. Half the displaced people who expressed their intention not to return cited the destruction of their house as the main reason. Security fears and a lack of means to pay for transport were also commonly cited.” (Oxfam http://bit.ly/nldG8g)