kim seeks denuclearization by end of trump presidency as North-South write to un


8 September 2018: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has told a South Korean delegation in Pyongyang that he wants denuclearization before the end of the Trump presidency.  The news is buried in a Kyodo News article about North and South Korea jointly asking the United Nations to circulate their leaders' accord on peace and security on the Korean Peninsula as an official document. Read story


south african writer fired for uighur article


7 September 2018: South African journalist Azad Essa posted the following on his Facebook page yesterday: 

"I have been writing a foreign affairs column for Independent Media for the past 2 years. I have focussed on neglected issues around the globe, zooming in on race, immigration, poverty, and prejudice.

This week I wrote about how Chinese authorities are holding more than 1 million Uyghur Muslims in internment camps in the Xinjiang province.

I was fully aware that China International Television Corporation (CITVC ) and China-Africa Development Fund (CADFUND) have a stake in Independent Media and that the column might ruffle feathers.

But the piece was published in print in newspapers around the country on Wednesday. When I enquired when the piece would go up online, I received a mail saying "a decision has been made not to publish it online".

When I asked for clarity from online editors, I received no response. This morning my weekly column was canceled. I was told the following: "With the redesign of our papers and the new system, there are changes regarding the columnists being used."

Is this the future of corporate censorship in South Africa? And is this where the continent's future relationship with China is headed?

 


uN Begins historic Talks to regulate high seas

Read the IPS story


reality Check on the New Yorker's bizarre view of kofi annan—and the revealing back-story   


31 August 2018: Hours after former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan died on 18 August, 
The New Yorker published a bizarre attack on him by staff writer Philip Gourevitch. As head of the UN’s peacekeeping department in the 1990s, said Gourevitch, Annan had “presided over the ignominious failures” of “missions in Somalia, Rwanda, and Bosnia,” and right until his death “had steadfastly refused to acknowledge any meaningful sense of personal or institutional responsibility for these debacles.”  Annan also was a “figure of preternatural calm” who “appeared, even to those who worked most closely with him, to be a man devoid of anger, who would never take things personally.”  Read More


Was Kofi Annan poisoned because he was about to call for decriminalization of all drugs?


20 August 2018: The government of Ghana should investigate if Kofi Annan's sudden death was caused by poison, and if he was about to issue a call for the decriminalization of all drugs.  It is possible that he might have been angered by a UN report to the Security Council saying that the terrorist organization Boko Haram was financed by ransom money paid by non-governmental organizations (NGOs).


Signed by British diplomat Edmund Fitton-Brown, coordinator of a Security Council analytical team, the report is nonsense, meant to muddy understanding of the situation in Nigeria and globally.


Boko Haram is one of the terrorist organizations created to protect the routes along which heroin from Afghanistan (where it is grown under Taliban supervision) flows to consuming countries. Drug money is thus its main systemic sustenance. Everything else is freelance crime.

British Smokescreen

The report is part of the smokescreen the British generate through the UN to hide their role in managing the global money laundering system that processes the hundreds of billions of dollars generated annually by drug trafficking.

In doing that they have a powerful network of allies, for the laundered money enters the "legal economy" through the $3 trillion "Hedge Fund" industry that has made the freemarket capitalist system one vast casino catering to the world's super rich.

This means the British are catering to the billionaire class throughout the world. Traditional differentiations of capitalism and socialism, of "Russian, European and American oligarchs," no longer make sense.

Unless people around the world see what is happening and mount an effort to end drug trafficking and the money laundering that supports it, we're headed for a world ruled by billionaire oligarchs for their own benefit.


The Threat of Decriminalization

If all drugs were decriminalized, it would destroy the market that allows Britain to generate huge profits from substances that are cheap and easily produced.  Without  the prohibition on drugs, it would not be profitable for criminals to produce them or promote their use. Drug abuse would become a public health problem overnight, not the $500 billion business that it is now.


With that end in view, there has been a growing call for the legalization of all drugs. In 2019  the United Nations General Assembly is holding a Special Session that could call for legalization. A call from Annan would have had a strong impact on public opinion worldwide. 


I was a UN staffer and knew Kofi for many years: read my brief note about that here.


Kofi Annan 1938--2018

The Kofi Annan Foundation announced the death of its founder on the morning of 18 August.


It is with immense sadness that the Annan family and the Kofi Annan Foundation announce that Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations and Nobel Peace Laureate, passed away peacefully on Saturday 18th August after a short illness. His wife Nane and their children Ama, Kojo and Nina were by his side during his last days.

Kofi Annan was a global statesman and a deeply committed internationalist who fought throughout his life for a fairer and more peaceful world. During his distinguished career and leadership of the United Nations he was an ardent champion of peace, sustainable development, human rights and the rule of law.

After stepping down from the United Nations, he continued to work tirelessly in the cause of peace through his chairmanship of the Kofi Annan Foundation and as chair of The Elders, the group founded by Nelson Mandela. He was an inspiration to young and old alike.

Kofi Annan was a son of Ghana and felt a special responsibility towards Africa. He was particularly committed to African development and deeply engaged in many initiatives, including his chairmanship of the Africa Progress Panel and his early leadership of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

Wherever there was suffering or need, he reached out and touched many people with his deep compassion and empathy. He selflessly placed others first, radiating genuine kindness, warmth and brilliance in all he did. He will be greatly missed by so many around the world, as well as his staff at the Foundation and his many former colleagues in the United Nations system. He will remain in our hearts forever.

The family kindly requests privacy at this time of mourning. Arrangements to celebrate his remarkable life will be announced later.


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​India, China and Israel moon shots in 2018


India, China and Israel will all launch lunar rovers in 2018. The first two will be official, the third by a private group. Details here.


China plans Russia war games, spies on US navy


Disinvited from the US Navy's RIMPAC exercises in the Pacific, China has sent a spy ship to keep tabs on what's happening. Meanwhile, it is planning war games with with Russia. 


China busts $1.5 bn crypto betting ring


Record Afghan civilian deaths in 2018


Kate Clark writing in Afghanistan Analysts Network of 15 July reports that according to a mid-year assessment by the United Nations more civilians have been killed in the first six months of 2018 than in any year since 2009 when systematic monitoring began. In all,  1,692 people were killed and 3,430 injured.

She writes: "Every day in the first six months of 2018, an average of nine civilians, including two children, were killed in the conflict in Afghanistan. An average of 19 civilians, including five children, were injured every day.

"UNAMA in its mid-year report for 2018  found that these civilians were killed and injured in ground engagements (29% of the total), suicide and complex attacks (28%), by IEDs (17%), in targeted and deliberate killings (9%), in air attacks (7%) and by leftover unexploded munitions (5%). (1)

"They were most likely to have been killed or injured by insurgents (67 per cent of the total), although a fifth (20 per cent) were killed and injured by pro-government forces and ten per cent in fighting between the two. (2)

"UNAMA attributed 42 per cent of total civilian casualties to the Taleban, 18 per cent to the Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP), 17 per cent to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), two per cent to the international military and one per cent to pro-government armed groups. The remainder were not attributable to any single party.

Civilians in the provinces of Kabul, Nangarhar, Faryab, Helmand and Kandahar were the most likely to be killed or injured in the war.

The Eid ul-Fitr ceasefire (15-17 June) evidently did not decrease the toll on civilians. Only ISKIP, which increasingly targeted schools, refused to observe the ceasefire. It carried out two brutal attacks in Nangrahar province. On the second day of Eid, an ISKP suicide bomber blew himself up in the middle of a crowd of Taleban, Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and civilians in Rodat district. The following day, a bomb planted near the governor’s office killed and wounded people waiting for the end of a meeting between officials and visiting Taleban. Just those two attacks killed 48 civilians and injured 133 others.  


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UNDIPLOMATIC TIMES

INDEPENDENT NEWS AND COMMENT ON WORLD AFFAIRS

media watch

   our favorites



31 January 2018

  Today is a rare total eclipse of a Super Blood Blue

  Moon. It augurs transformative change and power-

  ful flows of psychic energy that bring to complet-

  ion a long karmic cycle.

  Watch it live.  



13 October 2017

On the occasion of the United States withdrawal

         from UNESCO we call attention to one of the 

        singular American initiatives with the agency,

the wonderfully engrossing World Digital Library 



19 June 2017

Scientists ​consider the case for an ancient postulate: a sentient universe


6 June 2017

         27 minute clip from Bob Dylan's shaggy dog 

     (but mesmerizing) Nobel Prize speech in 2016.

         Recorded  on 4 June 2017 in Los Angeles, CA.  





30 May 2017

                          Mad Magazine has aserendipitous cover 

                     with Jared Kushner as its "What, me worry"

                                                          mascot Alfred E Newman



 


28 May 2017

 Women in politics 2017 map (Download)
The women in politics 2017 map, created by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and UN Women, depicts global rankings for women in the executive and parliamentary branches of government as of 1 January 2017. It shows slow progress towards gender equality in these areas at regional and national levels, but with a slight drop (from 19 to 17), of countries with a woman Head of State and/or Head of Government. However, if we look back to 2005 when IPU first compiled the statistics on women heads of State or government, there has been a significant rise, from 8 to 17.


12May 2017

The World Meteorological Organization came into existence in the 19th Century to facilitate the telegraphic sharing of newly systematized weather observation to improve safety of ships at sea. At the WMO web site today there is aCloud Atlas worth looking at.  On 15 May, WMO launches the Year of Polar Prediction with a Press briefing at the UN in New York. It will be webcast.  

 

10 May 2017

From The Atlantic:

"Happy 29th birthday to Rose, who was born around the time a NASA scientist told the Senate that global warming had started. And happy 49th birthday to Amy, who’s never lived in a world without the Super Bowl. From Curt, happy 52nd birthday to Harriet; the two of them got married about half her lifetime ago, the same year the World Wide Web was born. Philip, a numerologist, wishes a happy and especially auspicious birthday to Sally, who was born on 05/10/51 and is now turning 66 (a little younger than credit cards). And happy birthday to Ryan, who’s twice as old as the euro, one-fifth the age of The Atlantic, and is Rachel’s “witty, brilliant husband and dorky best friend.”


2 May 2017

Illicit financial flows from poor countries large, persistent (download GFI report)


1 May 2017

Watch reindeer migrate in Norway and listen to catchy Sami Boy music


16 April 2017

Video + Text:The remarkable impact of releasing 14 wolves in Yellowstone Park 


15 April 2017

Video: New perspectives on Americanand Indian national anthems. And Mojo's Euro-weighted "Top Ten" national anthems  


10 April 2017

On 176th anniversary of Karl Marx's doctorate: a letter about qualifications of UN SGs


8 April 2017

How Science Fiction depicts lawyers


4 April 2017

Terms and conditions: the graphic novel


3 April 2017

Video: UN Ambassasdor Nikki Haley speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations


31 March 2017

Ronald Reagan and the Black List  podcast


​26 March 2017

Daesh destruction of Mosul shrine reveals much older temple


19 March 2017

Groundhog Day to be Play


18 March 2017

Read this to understand why Europe has no vision. Jean-Louis Guigou, president of the Mediterranean World Economic Foresight Institute and Miguel Angel Moratinos, a former Spanish foreign minister offer a long term vision for Europe that admits no European responsibility for the current state of Africa and the Middle East. None so blind as those who will not see.


New Yorker on the death of Derek Walcott and Walcott reads at the Library of Congress

Video from NYT: Declassified pix of US nuclear tests 


16 March 2017

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And at length:

On 13 March 2017 the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs opened its 60th session  in Vienna. This is the first meeting of the Commission, a subsidiary of ECOSOC, since the UN General Assembly special session on the world drug problem in April 2016. That session marked an attempt to steer drug policy away from the prohibitionist model set more than a century ago by the 1912 Opium Convention. Our coverage here 

Secretary-General António Guterres in a video message called the reoriented policy framework “rich and forward-looking” and urged Governments to “build on the momentum with joint action to honor commitments.”

The Commission has drawn some 1,500 delegates from Member States, inter-governmental organizations, and civil society. 
Yury Fedotov, the Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), presented his agency's activities in a developmental and security context. UNODC was helping to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and promote peace and security through alternative development in the countries most affected by illicit crop cultivation. 


He said the next UNODC World Drug Report, set to be issued this summer would focus on the nexus between the drug problem and transnational organized crime, corruption, illicit financial and arms flows and terrorism, which are of increasing concern to the Security Council and the entire international community.

Among the participants at the opening of the Commission was Margaret Chan, the Director-General of the UN World Health Organization (WHO). UNODC and WHO have recently signed a new agreement to promote health and science-based and rights-based approach to drug challenges.​​

​​​​​​​​​interesting developments


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World Digital Library

The Global Terrorism Database provides a 45-year review. 

Aurangzeb at Golconda