Archive for the ‘United Nations’ Category

Zimbabwe: Riot Police Charge into Doctors and Nurses Protesting Health System

December 3, 2008

Humanity seems turned upside down when riot police attack doctors and nurses during a cholera outbreak…But this is Zimbabwe today….

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Riot police charged into a group of doctors and nurses protesting Zimbabwe‘s deepening economic and health crisis, eyewitnesses said Wednesday as deaths rose sharply from a cholera epidemic blamed on collapsing infrastructure.

The witnesses said officers in downtown Harare ran into a march of doctors and nurses — some in uniform — who fled the police charge. A few blocks away, police stopped teachers trying to join the same protest and at least six people were taken away in police trucks, according to the witnesses, who declined to give their names for fear of official retribution.

The unions are joining a mass movement to press the government to respond to the worsening crises.

Men in the blue uniforms of paramilitary police armed with rifles were seen positioned atop several high-rise bank headquarters Wednesday.

On Monday, soldiers went on a rampage after they were unable to withdraw wages from banks, which have been short of cash as a result of Zimbabwe’s economic meltdown.

Zimbabwe’s state newspaper said quoted defense minister Sydney Sekeramayi as saying that rogue elements in the country were trying to incite violence against the government.

He said the coincidence of Monday’s incident and the call for protests by unions and civil rights organizations “raises a lot of questions” and that any unlawful demonstrations would not be tolerated.

The United Nations said that deaths from the cholera epidemic had risen to 565, with 12,546 people infected. The government had been reporting 473 cholera deaths since August, and a total of 11,700 people infected as of Monday.

The nationwide outbreak of the waterborne disease is blamed on collapsing water treatment plants and broken sewage pipes.

Zimbabwe has been paralyzed since disputed elections in March. President Robert Mugabe and the opposition are wrangling over a power-sharing deal.

The country is suffering from the world’s highest inflation and Zimbabweans face daily shortages of food and other basic goods. Many hospitals and clinics have been forced to shut their doors because of a lack of drugs and medicines.

On Wednesday, water supplies were restored to parts of Harare after authorities turned off the taps for three days after saying they had run out of purifying chemicals.

Zimbabwe’s government is cooperating with aid agencies to try to stem the spread of cholera but has stopped short of declaring the epidemic a national emergency.

The European Commission said it was providing more than $12 million for drugs and clean water while the International Red Cross was also releasing more funds to deal with the epidemic.

“Cholera is a disease of destitution that used to be almost unknown in Zimbabwe,” Louis Michel, the European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid said.

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U.S. Is Child’s Play: Obama Can Rule The World; Hillary Can Be Manliest Guy In Cabinet

December 2, 2008

Another Barack Obama came in from the cold Monday. The man who gave us the unexpected in his team to resurrect the economy introduced his team to reorganize the world of which he sees himself as president-elect. The new message is clear – being president merely of the United States is for bush-leaguers.

Hillary Clinton, who suggested she has the equipment to be the manliest member of the entire Obama administration, invoked the campaign mantra right away, cheering an uneasy cult after those earlier appointments. She’s not only for change, but “positive” change. She promised to work with the toy countries of the world to resolve global crises.

By Wesley Pruden
The Washington Times

President-elect Barack Obama announces that U.S. Sen. Hillary ... 
President-elect Barack Obama announces that U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) will be his choice for U.S. Secretary of State during a news conference in Chicago December 1, 2008.(Jeff Haynes/Reuters) 

“The American people have demanded not just a new direction at home, but a new effort to renew America’s standing in the world as a force for positive change,” she said. She vowed to “reach out to the world again,” to give the thirsty world a Coke after the drought of the Bush years.

The president-elect said the appointment of Mrs. Clinton, who once mocked Mr. Obama’s cut-and-run strategy for Iraq and derided him as a naive amateur for promising to talk to global troublemakers without first determining whether they were serious about making nice, is “a sign to friend and foe of the seriousness of my commitment to renew American diplomacy and restore our alliances.”

President-elect Barack Obama announces that Sen. Hillary Clinton ...
President-elect Barack Obama announces that Sen. Hillary Clinton will be his choice for Secretary of State during a news conference in Chicago December 1, 2008.(John Gress/Reuters)

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/dec/02/in-from-the-cold-a-familiar-obama/

Zimbabwe Cholera Deaths Near 500; Deathly Sick Spilling Across Borders

December 2, 2008

A cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe has killed at least 484 people since August, according to the UN.

More than 11,700 cases of cholera have been recorded over the same period, an update from the UN office for humanitarian affairs said.

The cholera outbreak has affected most of Zimbabwe’s regions.

Its spread has been aided by the collapse of Zimbabwe’s health and sanitation systems amid a prolonged economic and political crisis.

Previously it had been reported that 425 people had died from cholera, which is spread by contaminated water.

The disease is endemic in Zimbabwe but this is the worst outbreak since 2000.

BBC

State media has reported that much of the capital, Harare, has been left without water because of a shortage of purification chemicals.

Read the rest:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7760088.stm

Obama Unveils His National Security Team

December 1, 2008

President-elect Barack Obama called for “a new dawn of American leadership” on Monday as he formally introduced his national security team, led by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton as his nominee for secretary of state.

“We will strengthen our capacity to defeat our enemies and support our friends,” Mr. Obama said in Chicago. “We will renew old alliances and forge new and enduring partnerships.”

By David Stoud
The New York Times

The new president said he was sticking to his goal of removing American combat troops from Iraq within 16 months, which he called “the right time frame,” and that this would be accomplished with safety for the troops and security for the Iraqi people.

He introduced his team one by one, starting with Senator Clinton, his former bitter rival for the Democratic presidential nomination; then Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, who will stay on, at least for a time, in the new administration; Gen. James L. Jones, the former NATO commander, to be national security adviser; Gov. Janet Napolitano of Arizona to be secretary of homeland security: Susan E. Rice to be ambassador to the United Nations, and Eric H. Holder Jr. to be attorney general.

Jim Wilson/The New York Times

President-elect Barack Obama presented his national security team at a news conference in Chicago on Monday.

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/02/us/politics/02obama.html?_r=1&hp

Ethiopia to withdraw from Somalia by end of year

November 28, 2008

Ethiopia announced Friday that it will withdraw its forces from Somalia by the end of the year, leaving this country’s weak and fractured government to face an increasingly powerful Islamic insurgency.

Ethiopia — the region’s military powerhouse — has sent thousands of troops to support Somalia’s U.N.-backed government, which has failed to assert control over the country. The decision adds urgency to the Somali government’s long-standing request for international peacekeepers to deploy here.

Mohamed Olad Hassan, Associated Press Writer

“Regardless of what happens, we have decided to withdraw our troops from Somalia at the end of year,” Ethiopian Foreign Ministry spokesman Wahide Bellay said Friday in a telephone interview from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf has asked for a U.N. peacekeeping force to replace a small African Union force that has largely been confined to its bases in the capital because of the violence. AU peacekeepers have struggled to maintain security, with only 2,600 of the mission’s approved 8,000 troops on the ground.

The U.N. Security Council has said that, if Somalia can improve security and political reconciliation, it would consider sending U.N. peacekeepers to replace AU forces.

On Friday, Wahide urged the international community to send peacekeepers, but said Ethiopia would not wait any longer for such a force to be assembled.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081128/ap_on_re_af/af_ethiopia_somalia_
withdrawal;_ylt=AurEvISxqnISTTXTDjyuyxus0NUE

Iran Now Said to Have Enough Nuclear Material For Bomb

November 20, 2008

Iran has now produced roughly enough nuclear material to make, with added purification, a single atom bomb, according to nuclear experts analyzing the latest report from global atomic inspectors.

The figures detailing Iran’s progress were contained in a routine update on Wednesday from the International Atomic Energy Agency, which has been conducting inspections of the country’s main nuclear plant at Natanz. The report concluded that as of early this month, Iran had made 630 kilograms, or about 1,390 pounds, of low-enriched uranium.

Several experts said that was enough for a bomb, but they cautioned that the milestone was mostly symbolic, because Iran would have to take additional steps. Not only would it have to breach its international agreements and kick out the inspectors, but it would also have to further purify the fuel and put it into a warhead design — a technical advance that Western experts are unsure Iran has yet achieved.

“They clearly have enough material for a bomb,” said Richard L. Garwin, a top nuclear physicist who helped invent the hydrogen bomb and has advised Washington for decades. “They know how to do the enrichment. Whether they know how to design a bomb, well, that’s another matter.”

Iranian Shahab-2 (L) and Shahab-3 missiles stand on display ... 
Iranian Shahab-2 (L) and Shahab-3 missiles stand on display in front of a large portrait of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in a square in south Tehran in September 2008. Many experts believe Iran now has enough nuclear material for at least one bomb and has delivery options with missiles.(AFP/File/Atta Kenare)

Related:
Israel Scared, Wants U.S. More Engagement on Iran
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Iran increases stockpile of uranium

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/20/
world/middleeast/20nuke.html?_r=1&hp

Iran increases stockpile of uranium

November 19, 2008

Iran is forging ahead with its nuclear programme, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog reported on Wednesday, deepening the dilemma facing US president-elect Barack Obama over his campaign promise to engage with Tehran.

The latest report by the International Atomic Energy Agency reveals that Iran is rapidly increasing its stockpile of enriched uranium, which could be rendered into weapons-grade material should Tehran decide to develop a nuclear device.

By Daniel Dombey in Washington and James Blitz in London
FT, London

The agency says that, as of this month, Tehran had amassed 630kg of low enriched uranium hexafluoride, up from 480kg in late August. Analysts say Iran is enriching uranium at such a pace that, by early next year, it could reach break-out capacity – one step away from producing enough fissile material for a crude nuclear bomb.

An Iranian technician works at the Uranium Conversion Facilities ...
An Iranian technician works at the Uranium Conversion Facilities in Isfahan. The International Atomic Energy Agency, despite six years of intensive investigation, is no closer to determining whether Iran’s disputed nuclear drive is entirely peaceful as Tehran claims, the watchdog said in a new report Wednesday.(AFP/File/Behrouz Mehri)

“They are moving forward, they are not making diplomatic overtures, they are accumulating low enriched uranium,” said Cliff Kupchan, an analyst at the Eurasia Group, a risk consultancy in Washington. “These guys are committed to their nuclear programme: if we didn’t know that, they just told us again.”

The IAEA report also says there has been a breakdown of communication between the agency and Iran over alleged research on an atomic weapon. “The Iranians are making good progress on enrichment but there is absolute stone-walling on past military activities,” said Mark Fitzpatrick of the International institute for Strategic Studies. “It’s very disappointing.”

The progress chalked up by Iran increases the difficulties for Mr Obama, who campaigned on promises of talking to America’s enemies, although during the election he scaled down his initial vow to meet Iran’s leaders to a more general commitment to consider doing so if it advanced US interests.

“Obama faces a real dilemma,” said the Eurasia Group’s Mr Kupchan. “He must decide whether to pursue diplomacy quickly in light of rapid Iranian progress or whether to wait in the hope of a more moderate Iranian leadership after Iran’s June presidential election.”

Read the rest:
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/4eeacd78-b663-1
1dd-89dd-0000779fd18c.html

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AFP

The White House accused Iran Wednesday of an “unfortunate and disappointing” failure to cooperate with the UN nuclear watchdog agency and effectively rejecting a US offer for high-level talks.

“The Iranian government’s failure to comply with the IAEA and UN is unfortunate and disappointing,” spokesman Gordon Johndroe said after the latest International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on Tehran.

The agency cited scant progress in its investigation of Tehran’s suspect nuclear program and said the Islamic republic was defying UN demands to freeze uranium enrichment, which can be a key step to building atomic weapons.

Johndroe noted that Iranian compliance could unlock a package of economic and diplomatic incentives — including an offer for talks between US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her counterpart.

“The door is open if Iran will suspend its enrichment activity, but they don’t seem to want to walk through it,” he said in a brief statement.

An Israeli F-16I fighter plane takes off from Ramon Air Base ... 
An Israeli F-16I fighter plane takes off from Ramon Air Base in southern Israel November 19, 2008.REUTERS/Gil Cohen Magen

Israel says will boycott U.N. forum on racism

November 19, 2008

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said on Wednesday that Israel had made a final decision not to participate in a U.N. forum on racism and urged other countries to boycott what she termed an “anti-Israel tribunal.”

The United Nations said it regretted the decision.

Israel's Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni speaks to the media after ... 
Israel’s Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni speaks to the media after her meeting with President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem, October 26, 2008.(Ronen Zvulun/Reuters)

The World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, to be held in Geneva in April, is a follow-up to a 2001 summit in Durban, South Africa on the same issues.

Israel and the United States walked out of the first conference in protest over draft texts branding Israel as a racist and apartheid state — language that was later dropped.

In a speech to visiting U.S. Jewish leaders, Livni said she announced last February that Israel would not participate in the 2009 meeting unless it was clear it would not be used “as a platform for further anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic” activity.

She said documents prepared for next year’s forum showed it was “turning once again into an anti-Israeli tribunal, singling out and delegitimizing the State of Israel.”

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20081119/ts_nm/us_israel_conference;_
ylt=Av7maFbmBMM_JfVVnngZ.e6s0NUE

Bolivia’s Morales seeks better ties with Obama; Continues to reject U.S. DEA

November 18, 2008

Bolivia’s left-wing President Evo Morales said on Monday he wanted improved ties with the incoming U.S. administration of Barack Obama but ruled out having U.S. anti-drug agents resume work under his rule.

“My interest is how to improve relations with the new president,” Morales told a news conference after addressing the U.N. General Assembly. “I think we could have a lot of things in common.

By Patrick Worsnip

Bolivian president Evo Morales participates in a news conference ... 
Bolivian president Evo Morales participates in a news conference after he addressed the U.N. General Assembly, at United Nations Headquarters, in New York, November 17, 2008.REUTERS/Chip East

“If we talk about change I have some experience now,” he said, referring to the Obama presidential campaign‘s slogans based on the need for change. “I think it would be good to share experiences with the new president-elect.”

Morales, the first Indian to become Bolivian president, compared himself with Obama as the first black to win the U.S. presidency. He said better relations had to be based on “respect from one government to another.”

He also ruled out reversing his November 1 move barring U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents from fighting cocaine traffickers in his country. Morales had accused them of spying and maintaining ties with anti-government groups that staged violent protests in September. Washington denied the charge.

“The DEA will not return whilst I am still president,” Morales said, speaking in Spanish through an interpreter.

Read the rest from reuters:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20081117/wl_nm/us_bolivia_morales_un_1

Israel Urges “Greater Force” On Iran’s Nuclear Work, “Devious Goals”

November 17, 2008

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called on Sunday for a stronger international campaign against Iran‘s nuclear programme to “thwart it with greater force.”

“We must increase our measures to prevent Iran from achieving its devious goals,” Olmert said in a speech to Jewish leaders in Jerusalem. “Iran cannot become nuclear. Israel cannot afford it … the free world must not accept it.

Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert attends the weekly cabinet ... 
Olmert (Gali Tibbon/Pool/Reuters)

“We must unite our forces as part of the international community, led by the United States of America. We must confront Iran’s malevolent diligence and thwart it with greater force.”

Israel and the West fear Iran may be using its nuclear programme to develop a nuclear weapon, which the Jewish state sees as a potential threat to its existence. Iran says its atomic programme is solely for energy purposes.

Israel is widely believed to have the Middle East’s only nuclear arsenal, although it has never confirmed nor denied it.

Israel has backed Western economic sanctions against Iran but has said it is keeping all options on the table in its bid to halt Iran’s nuclear programme.

Israeli leaders have voiced concern about U.S. President-elect Barack Obama’s stated readiness to seek dialogue either alongside or instead of sanctions as a method of persuading Iran to change its policies.

“Iran has not terminated its pursuit of nuclear weapons,” Olmert said.

He also accused the Islamic Republic of continuing to fund Palestinian militants and gunmen in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.

Olmert called for further sanctions against Iran, saying: “It must become more costly to Iran to pursue nuclear weapons than to give it up.”

Olmert resigned as prime minister in September in the heat of a corruption investigation, but is staying on as caretaker prime minister until a new Israeli government can be formed after a February 10 election.

(Writing by Allyn Fisher-Ilan; Editing by Janet Lawrence of Reuters)