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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 21st, 2015
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

kulturen in bewegung <sindlhofer@vidc.org>

ÖSTERREICH-PREMIERE
Amadinda Uganda meets Uni Percussion Vienna

Außergewöhnliche Klänge – musikalische Dialoge
19. April 2015 um 19:30 im MuTh Wien

Einführung: Gerhard Kubik (Universität Wien, Musikwissenschaft)
Moderation: Albert Hosp (ORF, Ö1)

„Viele haben bereits über die Amadinda geschrieben, sie dokumentiert und erforscht – für mich persönlich ist es wichtiger, diese Kunstform erlebbar zu machen“, meint Lawrence Okello, musikalischer Leiter von Amadinda Uganda.
Einzigartige Klangerlebnisse und Dialoge verspricht das Zusammentreffen zweier Musikkulturen. Improvisationen aus dem ehemaligen Königreich der Buganda treten in Beziehung zu zeitgenössischen Kompositionen
von Philipp Tröstl, Miguel Kertsman und Julian Garmisch, die im Rahmen des Konzertes uraufgeführt werden.

Erstmals ist hier auch die Akadinda zu hören, ein drei Meter langes Xylophon, das von sechs Personen gleichzeitig gespielt wird.

Das Ensemble AMADINDA UGANDA versteht sich als Übermittler von Kompositionen aus der Zeit des vorkolonialen Königreichs Buganda, die trotz Verbot unter der Herrschaft von Idi Amin im Untergrund überlebt haben und bis heute in Uganda zu hören sind. Hauptinstrument ist die Akadinda, ein Xylophon mit zwölf Klangplatten. Jeweils drei Musiker mit zwei Schlägeln spielen gleichzeitig auf einem Instrument.

Durch die Verzahnung der Schlagmuster entstehen Klänge, die Hörer der nördlichen Hemisphäre in Staunen versetzen. Das Ensemble Amadinda Uganda tritt in dieser Formation erstmals in Europa auf. Klassische Hofmusik der Baganda wird in den Konzerten ebenso zu hören sein, wie zeitgenössische Kompositionen.

===============================

TRIBUTE TO NELSON MANDELA CONCERT

Mo 20. April 2015, 20.00 Uhr Wiener Konzerthaus, Grosser Saal

Pretty Yende Sopran
{started her international career when in 2010 was the first artist in the history of the Belvedere Competition to win First Prize in every category. She went on in 2011 to win the Placido Domingo Operalia Competition.}


KS Johan Botha Tenor
{KS stands for Austrian Kammersaenger – the highest distinction for a singer in this Opera-crazy Nation.}


Wiener KammerOrchester

Stefan Vladar Dirigent

Werke von Verdi, Donizetti, Bellini, Puccini, Lehar, J. Strauß

Dieses Konzert feiert Südafrikas zwanzigjähriges Jubiläum von Frei­heit und Demokratie und somit den Beginn des dritten Jahrzehnts. Es ist Südafrikas erstem demokratisch gewählten Präsidenten und weltweiter Ikone, Nelson Mandela, gewidmet. Der Erlös die­ses Konzertabends wird für die Errichtung des Nelson Mandela Kinderkrankenhaus in Johannesburg verwendet.

Es war Nelson Mandelas letzter Wunsch, ein Kinderkrankenhaus in Johannesburg zu errichten, die zweite medizinische Einrichtung dieser Art in Südafrika und die fünfte auf dem gesamten afrikanischen Kontinent.

Ein Benefizkonzert zugunsten des Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust veranstaltet von der Südafrikanischen Botschaft, Wien

=================================================================

I would like to stress here further that the two singers, besides being now the greatest musical Ambassadors of the 20 years young South Africa – the acclaimed tenor Bootha and the rising star Yende – are in their hopefully color-blind Nation a terrific pairing of a white star and a black star. Their music is in the best tradition of old Europe. Austria and the city of Vienna played an important role in the professional development of above two artists.

On the other hand, the musical group from Uganda performed in the the pre-colonial tradition of the now non-existing old Kingdom of Buganda where the King himself was a musician and composer. In the days of Idi Amin that tradition had to go underground hunted by that literally crazy black dictator who held back the development of independent Uganda. Now, the art of the Kingdom of Buganda is being studied at the school of ethnic musicology of the University of Vienna and the tour of the Amadinda was the occasion of joint performance of the percussionists from Uganda with fully developed local artists and students of the art of percussion from all over the world – including China – that work now in Vienna.

Significant as well was the naming last week of the square in front of the South African Embassy – Nelson Mandela Square.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 7th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

 

 

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 8th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

We find the following interesting for a different reason as well –
The use of these bulbs in relation to the introduction of decentralized solar and wind electricity. The bulb becoming its own battery!
(ST editor)

============================================

?UMEME Blackouts? No Worries with a Rechargeable Bulb.

GreenPower Uganda, March 5, 2013,
Rechargeable BULB that gives U light When UMEME Power Goes OFF– Only Ugsh. 15,000/=

Rechargeable LED Bulb with inbuilt Battery at 15,500/=

  1. 1.      Built in rechargeable battery, can last 4-6 hours when UMEME Power is off.
  2. 2. Screw the bulb into a bulb AC power holder for charging and at the same time as you use it for lighting the room.
  3. 3.      When UMEME Power goes off, the Bulb Automatically continues giving you light for another 6 hours.
  4. 4. It Can also be used as a torch when power goes off; a lamp, emergency light, camping lamp and all kinds of light source,
  5. 5.      Low power consumption- Only 3 watts compared to 100 Watts of Normal Bulbs.
  6. 6. LED super bright Technology with Built life of upto 100,000 hours- making it extremely durability.
  7. 7.      Excellent Energy-Saving Performance upto 95%.
  8. 8. Easy mounting: can be mounted directly into a normal Lamp holder.
  9. 9.      Remote Control: you can remotely turn on/off the bulb.

10. Simple to use, Convenient to carry


Available at:

Green Power Solutions
Shop F1-8 | Nalubwama Arcade
Plot 26/28 | Ben Kiwanuka Street
(Btn Old Taxi Park & Cooper Complex)
Ben Kiwanuka Street | Kampala | Uganda
Mob. +256-701-831 889 | +256-701-714488
Email: info@greenpower.ug
WebSite: www.greenpower.ug

Powered by Elmot Ltd.
——————————————————–

Elmot Ltd is a medium size company with 10 employees and looks forward to employing more dynamic and talented individuals as we grow towards our vision promoting the use and appreciation of ICTs in Uganda.     www.elmot.ug

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 11th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

The May/June issue of the Austrian Business Magazine for Economy, Environment and Corporate Social Responsibility “corporAID” stayed that11% of total monetary transactions by African Governments vanish in dark alleys towards foreign banking deposits. The paper knows because much of the money ends up in Austrian Banks. Further – the article states that by 2006  $700 t0 $800 Billions nave vanished this way.

The article mentioned names:

Champion was Hosni Mubarak of Egypt who stashed away in his family foreign accounts during his 30 years of Government Service – a neat amount of $70 Billion.
He is followed by the Gaddafis of Libya who needed all of 42 years in order to stash away only $60 Billion.

The list of the first 10 highest  Kleptomaniac African Heads of State is rounded up in the following order:

#3  – Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe                 — $10  Billion.

#4  –  Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan                         –    $9 Billion

#5  –  Mobutu Sese Seko of the DR of Congo – $5 Billion

#6  –  Sani Abacha of Nigeria                                    – $5 Billion

#7  –  Zine Ben Ali of Tunesia                                   – $5 Billion

#8  –  Yoweri Museveni of Uganda                      – $4 Billion

#9  –  Charles Taylor of Liberia                             –  $3 Billion

#10 –  Omar Bongo of Gabon                                   –  $2 Billion

These evaluations are backed by the British All Party Parliamentary Group and by the Washington Global Financial Integrity GFI Group.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 9th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

“We, the democratically elected representatives of the people, hereby declare Southern Sudan to be an independent and sovereign state,” speaker James Wani Igga said, reading the formal proclamation of independence.

That is how the 54th African State was born today – Saturday, July 9th, 2011.

In the south’s capital Juba, people on the corners of dirt streets waved flags and danced in the lights of car headlights, chanting “SPLM o-yei, South Sudan o-yei, freedom o-yei”.

———————————————————————————————

At the stroke of midnight the Republic of Sudan lost around three quarters of its oil reserves, which are sited in the south, and faced the future with insurgencies in its Darfur and Southern Kordofan regions.

But nevertheless – North Sudan’s Khartoum government was the first to recognize the new state, hours before the formal split took place, a move that smoothed the way to the division of what was, until Saturday, Africa’s largest country.

——————————————————————————————–

On Saturday, South Sudan become a free and independent country. It is a well-deserved victory for its people. Under a 2005 American-backed political accord that ended two decades of civil war, the people of the mainly Christian territory voted overwhelmingly in January to secede from the Arab Muslim north.

BUT PLEASE SEE ALSO:
www.opendemocracy.net/5050/fatin-abbas/sudan-secession-resolving-divisions?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzEmail&utm_content=201210&utm_campaign=Nightly_%272011-07-09%2005%3a30%3a00%27

and – www.nytimes.com/2011/07/01/world/…

and our own: www.sustainabilitank.info/2011/07…

Is Sudan secession: resolving divisions?

Actually South Sudan’s secession is a mixed blessing. While it gives
Southerners their long overdue right to self-determination, in the
north it leaves the centre-periphery dichotomy intact. This is
indicated in the wars that have erupted or are threatening to erupt in
that region. The unresolved conflict in Darfur gives the lie to the
notion that the north constitutes a homogeneous, unified entity, one
that will be at harmony after secession. Millions of Darfurians remain
displaced in camps in Sudan and in Chad, fearful of returning to their
homes amidst the genocidal violence that began in 2003. In eastern
Sudan, rebel groups continue to mount opposition to the Khartoum
government, demanding equal access to development and economic
redistribution for their region.

This year, one of the eastern rebel groups – the Federal Alliance of
Eastern Sudan – joined forces with the Justice and Equality Movement,
the largest rebel group in Darfur, to oppose the Khartoum government.

Furthermore, the violent clashes that have erupted in recent days
between the government and the Nuba people (many of whom sided with
the SPLM during the north-south civil war but who, under the new
borders, will fall under the jurisdiction of northern Sudan) also
suggest that these divisions are set to intensify.

The government is not likely to respond kindly to continuing
resistance from these northern groups, especially in the wake of
Southern secession. Smarting from the loss of the oil-rich South, and
fearful that other marginalized regions such as Darfur or the state of
South Kordofan (the Nuba’s homeland) will follow suit and demand
secession, the regime is consolidating its oppressive hold over the
north by violently quelling opposition and further curtailing
democratic rights. The atrocities now being committed by the
government in South Kordofan, not for the first time, are an ominous
indication of the lengths to which it will go to quash resistance.

then continue:

Still, celebrations in the capital, Juba, cannot obscure a sobering
truth: building a functional new country will take decades of hard
work. Responsibility falls primarily on South Sudan, but also on the
United States and the international community that shepherded it.

—-

Africa’s 54th state is at the bottom of the developing world. Most
people live on less than $1 a day. More than 10 percent of children do
not reach the age of 5. Some 75 percent of adults cannot read.

Meanwhile, festering disputes between north and south are stoking
chaos in a land already bloodied by two million deaths in civil war.
Sudan on Friday became the first state to recognize South Sudan.
Sudan’s president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, author of the murderous war
in Darfur, said he would attend the festivities in Juba. But he also
said he would continue the fight that erupted last month against
forces loyal to the south in South Kordofan, an oil-rich region still
under Khartoum’s control. Mr. Bashir’s decision to order the United
Nations to withdraw peacekeepers from South Kordofan is deeply
worrisome.

Major elements of the 2005 peace agreement are unresolved — such as
which side will control the oil-rich region of Abyei, where fighting
has also broken out; citizenship protections for minorities; where
final borders will be set; how oil earnings will be shared (the south
has 70 percent of the reserves).

The two sides are dependent on each other. South Sudan needs the
north’s pipeline to get its oil to market. Sudan needs oil money to
help pay its bills. Both need foreign investment and the north needs
debt relief. They have a better chance of winning international
support if they are at peace.

As an incentive, the United States and its partners have offered to
convene an international conference in September for South Sudan. That
will allow South Sudan’s leaders to present their plans for
encouraging desperately needed private investment. Washington gave
Juba $300 million for education and housing and is promising more.
International assistance should go forward only if South Sudan works
constructively with Khartoum to bring stability to both countries.

The Obama administration, correctly, is not taking Sudan off its
terrorism list and normalizing relations until Khartoum fulfills the
peace deal and ends the conflict in Darfur. China, Sudan’s main oil
investor and arms supplier, should deliver a similar message to Mr.
Bashir, who is under war crimes indictment, instead of receiving him
with fanfare in Beijing and promising him new oil deals.

The international community must persuade the two sides to avoid war
and work to build a future for both Sudans.

———————————-

Speaking at the event in Juba, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also made a pointed reference to the fact that the Sudan agreement has not been fully implemented. He referred to the situation involving Abyei as well as the violence in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states where he said the “voices of the people” have not been heard. “Let differences be resolved around the negotiating table,” Mr. Ban said.

On the other hand President Omar el-Bashir reminded the UN that UNMIS has a mandate only till July 9th and he wants it to leave. It can be assumed that the UN Security Council will have now to pass new resolutions in light of continuing fighting in North Sudan’s border provinces with Southern Sudan, and in Abyei, that should be part of Southern Sudan. What is China’s position on this – we ask?

———————————

Appointment of Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Republic of South Sudan.

The British Foreign Secretary said in JUBA: “We congratulate the people of South Sudan on this historic achievement. It represents the triumph of peaceful negotiation over conflict and adversity, and is a moment of hope and optimism for the future.

In Britain we are proud to be among the first nations in the world to recognise the new Republic of South Sudan, and I thank His Excellency Salva Kiir Miyardit for his invitation to attend today. I offer you my heartfelt congratulations, Mr President, on behalf of my Prime Minister David Cameron and the whole of the British Government, as you become the first President of the Republic of South Sudan.

The Government of the United Kingdom stands with the people of South Sudan as they seek a future of stability and prosperity; one we hope of lasting peace with their neighbours, full integration into the region, and strong cooperation with Britain and other nations represented here today. We look forward to South Sudan taking its place as a full member of the United Nations.

We pay tribute to the enormous progress South Sudan has made since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement six and a half years ago. The 98% vote for secession in January’s referendum showed the unity of the people of South Sudan in their desire for self-government: today, that dream has become a reality.  And we remember all those who died or were bereaved during the conflict. Their sacrifices should redouble the determination of all of us to support a peaceful future for South Sudan.”

Dr Alastair McPhail OBE has been appointed Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Republic of South Sudan.  Dr McPhail has been serving as Her Majesty’s Consul General (HMCG) in the capital, Juba, since March 2011 and will take up this appointment on 9 July 2011 when South Sudan secedes from Sudan (North).

Dr McPhail studied modern languages, particularly Russian, at the University of Otago and then completed a PhD in Russian at Edinburgh University.  After teaching Russian at Nottingham University and then working in publishing, Dr McPhail joined the FCO in 1994.  He has worked in a wide range of FCO positions, with a focus on political/military work, security, development and peace processes, especially in northern Iraq and Sudan.  Most relevant to his current role was Dr McPhail’s work on Sudan from 2000-2005, first as Head of the Egypt, Libya and Sudan Section in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, then as Head of the Sudan Unit – the UK’s interdepartmental team charged with supporting the Sudan peace process – and finally as the UK Special Representative for Sudan. Dr McPhail attended every round of the negotiations on the Comprehensive Peace Agreement from the first session at Machakos to the final session at Naivasha.

On his appointment as Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Republic of South Sudan, Dr McPhail has said “I am delighted to have arrived in Juba to take up my post. This is an historic period for Southern Sudan and the United Kingdom is committed to supporting the peaceful and prosperous development of this new country. The upgrade of our mission to an Embassy is a key step in strengthening the relationship between our two nations. I look forward to the years ahead.”

CURRICULUM VITAE

Full name:                               Dr Alastair McPhail OBE

Married to:                               Jo McPhail

Children:                                  2 Sons, Angus and Callum

March 2011 – present            Juba, Consul General

April 2009 – Aug 2009            Bamako, UK Special Envoy to Mali and Head Crisis Management Team

Jan 2006 – Mar 2009             Rome, Minister and Deputy Head of Mission

April 2005 – Dec 2005            Full-time Language Training (Italian)

July 2004 – April 2005            UK Special Representative for Sudan

April 2002 – July 2004            FCO, Head of Sudan Unit

Sept 2000 – April 2002           FCO, Head of Egypt, Libya and Sudan Section, Near East and North Africa Department

Nov 1996 – Aug 2000             Ankara, First Secretary (Political/Military)

Sept 1995 – Nov 1996            Full-time Language Training (Arabic)

Sept 1994 – Sept 1995           FCO, Nuclear Weapons Desk Officer, Security Policy Department

—————

From the US we have the following but not yet an announcement of the appointment of an Ambassador.

WASHINGTON – Former Secretary of State Colin Powell will travel to Southern Sudan this week as part of the U.S. delegation attending ceremonies marking the independence of the world’s newest nation.

Susan Rice, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, will lead the delegation to Juba, capital of the newly formed state of Southern Sudan. Residents in the south voted in a January referendum to break away from the north and will officially celebrate their independence on Saturday.

Colin Powell, Secretary of State under former President George W. Bush, was instrumental in brokering the 2005 peace accord between the north and south that stopped a two-decade civil war in Sudan and paved the way for the independence vote.

The United States backed the south’s push for independence, and the Obama administration had long said it would recognize Southern Sudan formally.

In March, Obama named Princeton Lyman his new special envoy to Sudan, tasking him with helping oversee the creation of an independent Southern Sudan. Lyman also will be part of the U.S. delegation at the weekend ceremonies.

Southern Sudan will be born one of the poorest countries in the world. It has only a couple of dozen miles of pavement, and literacy levels are low. But the south does have oil, and those in control of government funds appear to be growing in prosperity.

Others who will represent the U.S. in Juba include:

—Democratic Rep. Donald Payne, senior Democrat on the House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights

—Brooke Anderson, deputy national security adviser and chief of staff for the National Security Council.

—Gen. Carter F. Ham, Commander, United States Africa Command.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 22nd, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

 

The Abayudaya Jews of Uganda  
92Y Recommends:
20 Years After Crown Heights: Blacks, Jews and Jews of Color
The Abayudaya Jews of UgandaMeet Rabbi Gershom Sizomu, leader of the Abayudaya Jews of eastern Uganda. Learn about the history of this unique Jewish community, its daily challenges and its relationships with its Muslim and Christian neighbors. Rabbi Sizomu also performs and teaches several original Abayudaya Jewish songs, featuring traditional Jewish liturgy set to African rhythms and melodies.

Part of the Upcoming Events of the Resource Center for Jewish Diversity.
Date & Time: Tue, May 3, 2011, 8:15pm
Location: Lexington Avenue at 92nd Street Directions
Code: T-RC5JD04-01
Price: $29.00

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on November 19th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)


The World Future Council (WFC)  www.worldfuturecouncil.org consists of up to 50 respected personalities from all five continents. They come from governments, parliaments, the arts, civil society, science and the business world. Together they form a voice for the rights of future generations. The World Future Council is a charitable foundation dependent on donations.

The World Future Council Foundation is a registered charity in Hamburg, Germany where its head office is located. Additionally,  staff is working in Brussels, London, Washington and Addis Ababa.

WFC works in close collaboration with civil society groups, members of parliament, governments, businesses and international organisations we research future just policies and legislation. We then advise political decision-makers, offer them tried and tested courses of action and support them in the concrete implementation of new policies. We make politicians aware that they have an ethical responsibility to assess every decision-making process on the basis of how it will affect future generations. As an independent non-profit organisation with no interest in short-term profit or prestige, autonomous from governmental and institutional interests, our organisation enjoys the highest level of credibility in its political advocacy. To identify holistic solutions on a wide range of issues and to enable the application of these solutions, the WFC has created the following programmes:

  • Future Justice
  • Climate and Energy
  • Sustainable Ecosystems
  • Sustainable Economies
  • Just Societies
  • Peace and Disarmament

What we want to achieve:

The lifestyle in industrialized countries has led to people using up natural resources at a threatening pace. Consequently, our environment is being destroyed and the unequal distribution of wealth and natural resources is increasing. Mankind today is living and consuming at the price of future generations. The World Future Council works to safeguard the rights of future generations. Our aim is to pass on a healthy planet and just societies to our children and grandchildren.

What makes us unique:

The lifestyle in industrialized countries has led to people using up natural resources at a threatening pace. Consequently, our environment is being destroyed and the unequal distribution of wealth and natural resources is increasing. Mankind today is living and consuming at the price of future generations. The World Future Council works to safeguard the rights of future generations. Our aim is to pass on a healthy planet and just societies to our children and grandchildren.

How we finance our international work:

The city of Hamburg and Hamburg entrepreneur Dr. Michael Otto provided initial funding for the period from 2007 to 2009. This has enabled the WFC to work effectively and professionally for the good of future generations. For us to continue our work in the years to come we are completely reliant on further donations by people who want to help us to protect the rights of future generations. We are committed to using donations conscientiously and utilize funds as efficiently as possible to realize our goal of creating a just and sustainable world.

More on organisation, council members and staff

Press release – Sustainability can be made a political reality.

WFC co-hosted in Lisbon a legal experts conference on intergenerational justice.

Lisbon, May 28, 2010. The international conference on “Ways to Legally Implement Intergenerational Justice“ brought international legal experts to Lisbon on May 27-28 in order to create anti-dotes to the political and economic short-termism that increasingly threatens our future living conditions.

The conference was co-hosted by the World Future Council and the Foundation for the Rights of Future Generations.

Its goal was to discuss policy concepts and concrete law changes that would help to finally make sustainability a reality: “The term sustainability can be found in almost every declaration and corporate report now, but policy advances to implement sustainable solutions are regularly watered down”, summarizes Dr. Maja Göpel, Director Future Justice of the World Future Council.

“Democracies have a strong tendency to favour present voters and lobbyists over future citizens that have no political or financial power. But the results of this myopic game are that we are rapidly closing the options for our children and grandchildren.”

Among the delegates to the conference were personalities that have officially been given the role to defend such options. Dr. Sandor Fülöp, Ombudsman for Future Generations in Hungary, for example, pointed out that his mandate is to protect fundamental rights of every citizen when he is stopping projects destroying too much nature. “Every Hungarian has the right to life and to intact nature. We cannot irreversibly destroy natural wealth in order to realize high economic profit today. We determine the conditions for life tomorrow.”

While some speakers were more optimistic about the opportunities of technological revolution than others, consensus prevailed that we have to quickly change course to safeguard our environment and end poverty at the same time. Shlomo Shoham, former Commissioner for Future Generations in Israel, did not fall short from calling for changed future intelligence: “Humanity is facing a future in which change takes place at an ever-increasing speed. The unknown awaits us beyond the horizon and our ability to digest and deal with the sheer volume of change is diminishing. We need to find new paths, train ourselves to ‘let go’ of certain ideas, fears, and concerns and change not only our rules, but also the way we think and act. We need to create future intelligence – and use it.”

The World Future Council is currently launching a campaign on the promotion of such Guardians for Future Generations on the European and national governance level. In its most ambitious form these Guardians of the long view would not only speak up for long-term interests in decision-making, but also help develop the knowledge base we need to make sustainability a reality.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 27th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Remarks by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Austrian Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger at a Joint Press Availability at the United Nations.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary – can we ask you a question or two?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, let – I think both Michael and I have a short statement to make.

And first, let me thank the foreign minister for his crucial help in getting this event organized.  I believe very strongly that Austria’s leadership on behalf of this issue is essential because we need to form a strong global partnership to make clear that we are committed to bringing about peace, but in doing so, we want to empower women to not be victims, but agents of peace and ending conflict.

And I also want to wish Austria a very happy National Day.  I’m sorry that this Security Council meeting coincided with National Day and that the foreign minister had to be here, but from our perspective, we’re very glad he is, and his leadership and the excellent commitment that were – commitments that were made by the Austrian Government in the intervention by the foreign minister.  So I thank you very much for your leadership.

And I also want to say how pleased we are to have a strong, growing, even deeper relationship between the United States and Austria.  The foreign minister and I have worked closely together on several key issues, from the Balkans to Iran and so much else.  And we have a shared commitment to human rights and the rule of law and to nonproliferation.  And I am very grateful that I will be having a bilateral, thorough discussion with the foreign minister in Washington, D.C. on November 17th.

FOREIGN MINISTER SPINDELEGGER: Thank you very much, Madam Secretary, ladies and gentlemen.  For us, it’s a great pleasure to see how engaged Hillary Clinton is in this field – framework of 1325.  And this gives us hope and this inspires us to be more active in this way.  And of course, I think if you have a look, after all the events, we have to notice there is a lot of space for more engagement.  We have to double our efforts to make, for the future, a better world for women and, of course, if you have a more close look to all these areas of conflict, we should now have these indicators, these 26 indicators, that gives us more tools and more information about that – what we have to do in all these areas.

And I think it’s wonderful to cooperate.  Thank you very much for that.  And of course, as I said, we are now celebrating the 10th anniversary, but we also are celebrating the birthday of Hillary Clinton here today.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, dear.

FOREIGN MINISTER SPINDELEGGER: Twenty-fifth birthday.  (Laughter.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Coincides with National Austria Day.  I’m very excited about that. (Laughter.)

FOREIGN MINISTER SPINDELEGGER: So it’s really a wonderful story and I would like to thank you also for this cooperation between the United States and Austria.  We are very much happy with that and we would like to continue it in the future.  Thank you very much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much.

——-

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, you’ve talked very passionately about the women of Afghanistan and not leaving them behind.  I wonder if you had any comment on the comments by the president of Afghanistan, President Karzai, about the United States and it’s giving cash to him to run his office?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I do not.  I have a very strong opinion about the work that we’re doing, which I think is critical for our national security, the national security of Europe.  I work closely with our representatives in Afghanistan and with the Government of Afghanistan.  It’s a very challenging and quite complicated situation, but I think we’re making progress, and I am very, very pleased to have the opportunity to try to support the women of Afghanistan while we do so.

——-

QUESTION: Mrs. Secretary of State, the situation of women and also girls in many countries of the world, especially in Africa, but I would like to mention also Afghanistan, Iran, et cetera is very serious.  Do you really think that resolution discussed today can make a difference, can change something?  Or does this – it could be only done on the level of the government and the – on the politics?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think it’s both.  I think in my own lifetime – since it is my birthday, I can look back on it and see so much progress that has occurred.  It has occurred both on the international level in beginning to look at women’s rights as human rights and to create coalitions around change on behalf of women, and of course, it’s happened in my own country.

So the progress that women have made in the last 50 years is remarkable when you consider it against the backdrop of the prior history of humanity.  But as Michael and I have said, there is still much more to be done.  And certainly, those of us who are fortunate enough to live in countries like the United States and Austria where there have been great advances on behalf of women’s rights and opportunities, I believe have an obligation to try to do more to help women and girls in countries where those rights and opportunities are not respected.

So yes, we’ve made progress and shining a bright light of international concern on these issues gives heart to women and men working on behalf of this cause all over the world and helps to move the progress, the trajectory, a little bit further along.  So it’s all worth doing.

——

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, you have mentioned the special and growing relationship with Austria, and could you be more specific what has brought about this renewed friendship with Austria?  And could you specify the areas of cooperation where the friendship with a small country like Austria could really make a difference?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I can give you two examples based on my own experience with the foreign minister.  He and I spoke several times in depth on the necessity for sanctions on Iran’s nuclear weapons program.  He was very helpful in conveying the concerns not only of the United States but of the international community directly to representatives of the Iranian Government.  And certainly, with the IAEA headquartered in Vienna, I’ve spoken with the foreign minister on nonproliferation, which is a key goal of President Obama.  So those are two areas where Austria’s commitment and values, combined with its very strategic location, has been of benefit to our common cause.

Do you want to add anything to that, Michael?

FOREIGN MINISTER SPINDELEGGER: Yes, I think, of course, it was an area where we had to be in a close contact.  It was a very sensitive moment, I think.  And I only can give you back this was very good to have this close contact to inform each other what’s the next step forward, and I think we have reached a lot.  If you have looked today, maybe Iran is ready to come to the table back, this is one of the results of our (inaudible).

——-

QUESTION: You both mentioned Iran, though, and today the Iranians announced that they were going to restart refueling the reactor.  Is this something that —

SECRETARY CLINTON: But that – let’s not confuse – Iran is entitled to the peaceful use of civilian nuclear power.  They are not entitled to a nuclear weapons program.  What they are doing is starting a reactor that is, based on everything we know about it and everything that the Russians have informed us about it since they have worked with the Iranians over many years to build this reactor, strictly for peaceful purposes.  Our problem is not with their reactor at Bushehr.  Our problem is with their facilities at places like Natanz and their secret facility at Qom and other places where we believe they are conducting their weapons program.

So I know – I heard some of the news coverage that oh my goodness, the Iranians are starting the reactor.  That is not the issue.  They are entitled to peaceful civilian nuclear power.  They are not entitled to nuclear weapons.  There’s two different processes.  And so I’m glad you asked the question because I think it’s important to distinguish that.  And as Michael said, we’re hoping that the Iranians will come back to the table soon with the – what we call the P-5+1 or the E-3+3, headed by Cathy Ashton, to begin an in-depth negotiation over their nuclear arms program.

——————————–

Our own exclusive interview with Austrian Federal Minister for European and International Affair Mr. Michael Spindelegger, at the Austrian Consulate General in New York, during the reception on the occasion of the Austrian National Day 2010.

Q: Dear Minister, as the two years of Austria’s membership on the UN Security Council will end in two months, what could you tell me in a couple of sentences, for attribution, that were the main achievements of this membership from your point of view?
A: Specifically – our close relationship with the United States – I was just invited to Washington for November 17th for further policy discussions. Austria contributes to negotiations in South Europe – now with Serbia and Croatia- and on the Iran question.

Q: What will be the specifics?
A: In the Balkan it is the bringing in of Serbia and Croatia into the EU.

Q. On Iran is it about the sanctions, or a negotiated solution?
A. The Sanctions we have already, it is about the fact that Iran cannot go nuclear.

The reception was hosted by Consul General Mr. Ernst-Peter Brezovsky, and the Minister was accompanied by Austria’s Permanent REpresentative to the UN, Ambassador Thomas Mayr-Harting. Many Ambassadors from EU countries to the UN participated. The US flag was also displayed.

——————————–

The Security Council meeting was opened by the November UNSC President from Uganda with the initial presentations by:

– The UN Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-moon, by video from Southeast Asia where he went to attend the ASEAN Summit. The Deputy SG Ms. Dr. Asha-Rose Mgiro represented him at the UNSC. He remarked that 20 countries have adopted National Action Plans on Women’s participation in programs according to resolution 1325 (2000). The recent mass-rapes in Congo are just a reminder of what can go wromg.

– UN Under-Secretary-General for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women Ms. Michelle Bachelet of Chile.

– The President of the UN Economic and Social Council Mr. Hamidon Ali of Malaysia.

– The Special Representative of the SG on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Ms. Margot Wallstrom of Sweden.

– Civil Society Advisory to the UN on Women, Peace and Security Ms. Thelma Awori. a a Liberian/Ugandan.

Followed by the Ministers of UNSC Member States in the following order: Austria, the US, Japan, and Mexico, Bosnia and Herzegovina, France, Turkey, Nigeria, UK, Brazil, Gabon, Lebanon, Russia, China, and the Chair – The First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for East African Community Affairs of Uganda.

These were followed by another 65 speakers from interested Nations that included Ministers Foreign Affairs (Sweden, Slovenia), Defense (Norway), of International Cooperation (Canada), of Equal Opportunity (Italy), of Equity, Human Rights and Integration (Ireland), of Gender and Development (Liberia), the Interior (Finland), Social Development (South Africa), to Tourism and Culture (The Gambia) – and so on – including the EU, the AU, the Red Cross.

——-

Mr. Spinelegger, in his opening presentation, pointed out that in adopting the 1325 (2000) resolution 10 years ago, the UNSC recognized the equal participation of women in all aspects of peace-building and security and the protection of women from all sexual and all other violence in post-conflict situations.He pointed out that the resolution is not yet fully implemented to make a difference in conflict and post-conflict situations. The Council has the tools needed to hold accountable the transgressors he said.

He further said that the Arria meeting of October 19, 2010, cochaired by Austria, Mexico and the UK provided further tools – quantitative and qualitative – to judge deteriorating situations.

Austria offered the Austrian Diplomatic Academy in 2011 for training purpose and the services of his predecessor in the Foreign Ministry – Ms. Ambassador Dr. Ursula Plassnik as a Special envoy for International women issues, and an International network to promote Female Leadership in Intercultural and interreligious Dialogue” that first met in June 201o.

——–

Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, used her speech at the UN to declare unequivocally that he United States will not support a peace in Afghanistan or any conflict zone that sacrifices women’s rights. Her speech was a no-nonsense presentation and stood out when compared to any of the other 80 speeches – most of them frankly useless me-toos! It was her speech that gave some justification to this UNSC exercise – something that we cannot overstate.

The Security Council presidential statement vowed life-less “enhanced” efforts to bring to justice those who attack women and girls and appealed for greater numbers of women peacekeepers in international forces and called, in UN fashion, a new review meeting in five years time, which brought a new rebuke from Clinton: “Well we had better have more to report and we had better have accomplished more between now and then, otherwise there will be those who lose faith in our international capacity to respond to such an overwhelming need,” she said.

Clinton  said the mass rape of hundreds of women in Democratic Republic of Congo earlier this year was a “tragic rebuke” of international efforts to help women caught in conflict zones.

Women’s involvement in peacemaking efforts is now a “necessary global security imperative,” the US Secretary of State told the UN Security Council.

Clinton — to many observers the world’s most powerful woman — highlighted US efforts to reinforce women’s representation in Afghanistan, where US-led international forces are battling the Taliban militia which repressed women when in power. “We believe the potential for sustainable peace will be subverted if women are silenced or marginalized,” Clinton said.



###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 13th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

The article was posted October 12th, the UPDATE id from October 13th and is posted at the end.

——-

Actor and Sudan activist George Clooney visited President Obama in the Oval Office on Tuesday afternoon to discuss his recent trip to south Sudan in advance of a referendum in January on partition.

Clooney hopes to call attention to the increasingly unstable relationships between the northern and southern regions.

Sudan President Omar Al Bashir, who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for genocide in the country’s Darfur region, is expected to fight to keep South Sudan from seceding because it has more than 75 percent of the country’s oil.

Clooney visited Darfur refugee camps in Chad, just across the Sudan border, and came to the White House early in 2009 to press for the appointment of a high-level envoy to the region.

Afterward, Obama, in March, 2009, tapped retired Major Gen. Scott Gration to the special envoy spot. When the president was an Illinois senator, Gration accompanied him to Chad in 2006 to visit a refugee camp populated with people from Darfur who had fled widespread killing and raids there.

In recent weeks the Obama administration has taken a much more active stance on Sudan. At the U.N. General Assembly last month, Obama spoke at a ministerial meeting where he called for governments of both North and South Sudan to ensure a peaceful, fair and transparent referendum in January.

Clooney and Obama started working on Sudan issues in 2006 — before Obama’s trip to Africa. In April of that year, Clooney, then-Sen. Obama and former Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) spoke at the National Press Club about the ongoing violence in Darfur and drew attention to an upcoming “Save Darfur” rally on the National Mall to urge the world to move faster to stop the slaughter, rape, and forced displacement in the region.

Now George Clooney covered by CNN’s Ann Curry  upstaged the 4 day trip to Sudan by US Ambassador Susan Rice and most of the Ambassadors on the UN Security Council who went on their own fact finding mission. Best report from the UN trip can be found at www.innercitypress.com/unsc1sudan… from Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press who surprisingly was allowed by the UN to participate with the officials. He continues his coverage back at the UN – www.innercitypress.com/ban2sudan1…

Also along were Ambassadors Lyall Grant of the UK, Vitaly Churkin of Russia, Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti of Brazil, Ertugrul Apakan of Turkey, Claude Heller of Mexico, Tsuneo Nishida of Japan …. in total there were 11 countries out of the 15 UNSC members represented there by their main UN representative, including from Mexico, Japan, Turkey, Uganda who are leaving the UNSC at the end of 2010.    Countries  not sending their Permanent Representatives, or Number 1 Ambassadors, were Austria, France, Gabon and Nigeria. France sent #2 and Austria is leaving the UNSC at the end of this year – but the only continuing African members of the UNSC are Gabon and Nigeria – both did not make their top hats available for this fact-finding mission to Africa – in this context it is inexcusable in our opinion for them not to have gone on the trip.

As expected, this trip has seemingly achieved nothing and the courage to deal with the humanitarian problem of Sudan is missing – but as Matthew Lee points out – some may believe that dividing the oil revenue may be making progress in practice.

=-=-=-=-=-=-

With Sudan in Crisis, UN Dodges Questions, UNMIS Ignores Them, DC Follies.

From Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press, who was on the Sudan trip:

UNITED NATIONS, October 13 — While the UN speaks about how important Sudan is to it, it refuses to answer basic questions, both in its New York headquarters and in Sudan.

On October 11, having returned from the Security Council trip to Sudan during which, among other things, UN Humanitarian Coordinator Georg Charpentier neglected to tell the Council about the village of Sora in Darfur being entirely destroyed the previously week, and the internally displaced people who spoke with the Council were subsequently interrogated and intimidated by Sudanese authorities, Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesman Martin Nesirky about both of these issues.

On both issues on October 11, Nesirky said “let’s find out.” When asked again about Sora at the UN noon briefing on October 12, Nesirky said “I can assure you that something is in the works. I don’t have anything for you right now. Something is in the works.

Thirty hours after that, 54 hours after the Sora question was asked, nothing, no response at all.

And so early on October 13, Inner City Press directed three questions to the Spokesperson for the UN Mission in Sudan, including these two:

Please provide the response of UNMIS / the UN to the “The Southern Sudanese Drivers and Mechanics Association… cit[ing] UNDP, UNMIS and Kenya Commercial Bank among the organisations that continue to employ foreigners in positions that many unemployed indigenousould hold, rendering local drivers redundant.    www.borglobe.com/25.html?m7:post=…

Please provide by email asap what UNMIS put out about the incident with the Sudanese journalist(s) on the tarmac in Juba in the Security Council delegation’s plane.

Eleven hours later (and counting) there had been no response, not even an acknowledgment of receipt to questions directed to the spokesperson’s email address listed on the UNMIS website.

The Q&A with the UN Spokesman is transcribed below.

But in Washington DC George Clooney, with whom the UN Security Council met with for longer than they met with IDPs, was reported to be asking for Congressional action. What action?

One media outlet said he was raising issues of Darfur, which he didn’t visit. How seriously is South Sudan, much less Darfur, being taken?

From the UN’s October 11 then October 12 noon briefings:

Inner City Press: On Sudan, following the Council’s visit to the Abu Shouk internally displaced persons camp, I guess that was on Friday, there have been reports that the people they spoke with had been interrogated by Sudanese authorities, and in some cases, arrested. I am wondering if UNAMID is aware of that or the UN, I mean the UN system more broadly, and what they intend to do about it?

Spokesperson Martin Nesirky: Let’s find out.


Protest in Khartoum, UN and Clooney not shown (c) MRLee

Inner City Press: The other, as we left there, some, Mr. [Georg] Charpentier had provided a document that seems to indicate that, in the week before the Council’s visit, a village called Sora in eastern Jebel Marra was “entirely, completely burned down”. I know that Mr. Charpentier briefed the Council members, but none of them on the way back seemed to… this wasn’t mentioned to them. I am wondering… what does UNAMID and Mr. Charpentier do when a village is entirely destroyed? Is it an important thing? Is it the kind of thing that they should brief the Council about?

Spokesperson: Can you roll back and tell me again, because it is sort of confusing.

Inner City Press: Okay. Among documents that Mr. Charpentier provided at the end of the trip…

Spokesperson: To whom?

Inner City Press: He gave it into the press bus, saying that this would just verify things that he’d said about things not being a problem in Jebel Marra. But deep in the document, it says that a village named Sora was completely burned down. It doesn’t say whether it was by ground fighting or an aerial attack. But if it’s aerial, it seems it would be the Government. None of the Security Council ambassadors on the way back had been aware of this or had been briefed on this. So, I guess my question, it’s a twofold one, factually it would be is it possible to discover from Mr. Charpentier, whose document this is, whether the village of Sora was destroyed from the air or by ground? And maybe some statement on why, in the briefing that he gave to the Council, this destruction was not raised?

Spokesperson: I am assuming you didn’t raise it with him yourself, because it was passed into the bus, and then you read it after the bus pulled away?

Inner City Press: I read it actually on the way back, yes, yes.

Spokesperson: Right. Okay, well let’s relay that back whence you just came.

A full 24 hours later, noon briefing of October 12:

Inner City Press: I wanted to ask a couple of questions about Sudan. One is, there has been, I guess in the last 24 hours, there have been a couple of developments. One is a quote by President [Omer Hassan] al-Bashir that he will not accept any alternative to unity, which many people say is basically a threat not to accept the “yes” vote if the vote is in fact held 9 January. So I am wondering, there was a statement made on 24 September, but this statement by al-Bashir seems to be totally contradictory to it. So, I am just wondering, what’s the process for either UNMIS [United Nations Mission in Sudan] or the Secretariat to… What did they think of that statement? And also there was an arrest made on Saturday, as it turns out, of these pro-secession people in Khartoum as part of the demonstration. They were not only beaten, but it turns out they were arrested. So the SPLM [Sudan People’s Liberation Movement] has said that’s a bad move and violates the CPA [Comprehensive Peace Agreement] that they are not allowed to campaign for secession. Does the UN have any response to that?

Spokesperson Nesirky: On that second question, I’ll see what we can get you on that. I don’t have anything right now. On the first question, I would indeed refer back to the statement, the communiqué, that was issued. I don’t think we will be commenting on every twist and turn. The basic principles of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement are well-known, and the communiqué speaks very clearly about the need to stay on track.

Inner City Press: Did you get anything back on this issue of this village of Sora that was listed as being…?

Spokesperson: I can assure you that something is in the works. I don’t have anything for you right now. Something is in the works.

But 30 hours later, nothing. Watch this site.

Footnote: while Nesirky held a noon briefing on October 13, he had only just begun to take questions when he stopped, to present guests who had spent three hours working toward a future report. When they were done, so was Nesirky: he didn’t ask if there were many more questions. But there were…

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on September 21st, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Overcoming rural poverty depends on a healthy environment, where local people can find sustainable solutions to their challenges. The Equator Initiative was launched in 2002 by UNDP’s Jim McNeil in order to help the search for sustainability by safeguarding biodiversity resources.

Every two years, the Equator Initiative partnership awards prizes to the 25 outstanding community efforts each of which receives $5,000 with five selected for special recognition and an additional $15,000 each. The recipients come from three groups:

AFRICA, ASIA-PACIFIC, and LATIN AMERICA – CARIBBEAN regions.

The announcement was “After an extensive process of evaluation, the Equator Initiative’s Technical Advisory Committee has selected an exceptional subset of 25 winning initiatives, from a total pool of nearly 300 nominations from 66 different countries.”

Africa:

Asia & the Pacific:

Latin America & the Caribbean:

Obviously, we have no problem with the choices, nor with the fact that the large countries of Kenya, Indonesia, Philippines, Brazil, and Mexico got two prizes each, nor that the two Mega-States got next to nothing – China nothing and India one – but we do wonder how it is that the Independent Pacific Island States, and the Independent Caribbean Island States, coincidentally both groups, got absolutely nothing. Does this mean that the rebelious SIDS and AOSIS, as groups, are in UN disfavor? They happen to be in the Tropics and quite a few are biodiversity very rich!

———-

The judges were:
Her Royal Highness Princess Basma Bint Talal of Jordan
Robert Edward “ted” Turner III, The father of it all and benefactor of The UN Foundation
Victoria Tauli-Corpuz of the Third World Tebtebba Foundation
M.S. Swaminathan, Chairman of the MSSRF Resarch Foundation
Steven J.McCormick, President, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
Dr. Gro Brubdtland, Former Prime Minister of Norway and mother of it all
Professor Elinor Ostrom, Nobel Laureate.
————–
The two specially honored NGO individuals:
Philippe Cousteau, third generation to the famous family,
Julia Marton-Lefevre, Director General of IUCN.
————-
The three specially honored communities:
Mavis Hatlane for Makuleke Community of Pafuri Camp, South Africa,
Maria Alejandra Velasco for Consejo Regional Tsimane’ Mosetene of Pilon Lajas, Bolivia,
Diep Thi My Hanh for Bambu Village of Phu An, Viet Nam.
====================================
To increase our “puzzlement” – here the announcement how the UN General Assembly intends to treat this year the Small Island States in their deliberations – this was the only time we found a notion for their special problems:
Saturday, 25 September:
From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Round table 2 — Enhancing international support for small island developing States.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on September 10th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

{This just on the Congo Story – But What about Sudan/Darfur and the UN itself? What about the UN not being ready to tackle misdeeds by Sudan and ITS OWN PEACEKEEPING FORCES? What is the future of the UN itself under these circumstances? Can one show “understanding” in such cases?}

  • AFRICA NEWS
  • The Wall Street Journal, SEPTEMBER 8, 2010

 online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424…

U.N. Report Faults Peacekeepers.

By JOE LAURIA

UNITED NATIONS—A United Nations official told the Security Council on Tuesday that U.N. peacekeepers charged with protecting civilians failed to prevent armed rebels from raping 242 victims in several eastern Congo villages five weeks ago.

“While the primary responsibility for protection of civilians lies with the state, its national army and police force, clearly we have also failed,” said Atul Khare, deputy head of United Nations peacekeeping operations. “Our actions were not adequate, resulting in unacceptable brutalization of the population of the villages in the area.”

Mr. Khare briefed the council in a public session after a recent fact-finding mission to the region.

Marc Hoffer/AFP/Getty ImagesA soldier posted in the village of Luvungi on Sunday in northeastern Democratic Republic Congo that was attacked on July 30 by Hutu rebels. .

Mr. Khare said when he was in Congo investigating the 242 rapes, he came across evidence of 267 additional sexual attacks in villages in North and South Kivu provinces. Ten were committed by Congolese army soldiers and the rest by rebels, he said.

The U.N. peacekeeping force in Congo, known by its acronym Monusco, has drawn criticism from human-rights groups and some governments for its failure to respond sooner to the rapes, which were carried out from July 30 to Aug. 2 by two rebel groups in the villages in mineral-rich North Kivu province.

The 242 victims were primarily women, but included a handful of men and children, Mr. Khare said.

“I feel personally guilty for the people who have suffered … and I trust that all of us can do better next time,” he said.

To deter more attacks, Mr. Khare called for targeted sanctions against rebel leaders. Mr. Khare also said the terrain made travel and mobile communications difficult but recommended that the U.N. increase financing to build up a cellphone network so that peacekeepers can be warned early by locals of impending attacks. He said Monusco would begin conducting evening and night patrols.

Over the past decade, more than five million people have been killed and more than 200,000 women raped, during the war between rebel groups and the government in eastern Congo, according to the International Rescue Committee, a New York-based group. The rebels are largely financed by illegal mining and use rape to intimidate local populations, the U.N. says.

To protect civilians, the U.N. has deployed the largest peacekeeping force in its history to Congo. The force, which costs more than $1 billion a year,, comprisesing nearly 20,000 troops.

Eighty peacekeepers were deployed in a base about 20 miles from the scene of the rapes, patrolling an area of about 115 square miles. Mr. Khare said U.N. humanitarian officials in the area received unconfirmed reports of a rebel attack, including a rape, in the villages on July 30.

A Monusco patrol didn’t enter one of the villages until three days later, when mass rapes were under way. The troops spoke to the locals through an interpreter but departed after they saw no evidence of attacks and weren’t told of anything amiss, Mr. Khare said. Three days after the sexual attacks ended the peacekeepers received reports that 15 rape victims had sought medical attention.

Roger Meece, an American diplomat who heads the U.N. mission in Congo, told reporters two weeks ago he was unaware of the rapes until Aug. 12, a full week after peacekeepers learned of them.

Margot Wallström, the special U.N. representative on ending conflict-zone sexual violence, said she knew nothing about the attacks until reading about them in media reports on Aug. 21.

On Tuesday Ms. Wallström told the Security Council that women in the villages described being hunted down by half-a-dozen rebels and gang-raped in their homes. She said rebels searched for gold in the women’s genitals.

“The women of Congo are tired of wondering when their time will come to be robbed, tortured and raped,” Ms. Wallström said. Many had concluded that being gang-raped was “normal for a woman,” she said.

Write to Joe Lauria at newseditor@wsj.com

————————————————————————————————————————

For the full postings of the following – please go to www.InnerCityPress.com :

On Sudan, UN Ban Admits Limits on Peacekeepers, Gambari Summoned, Change Pledged.

In Darfur, As UN Is Blocked from Tabarat Killing Site, It Claims It Resists Sudan Restrictions.

In Central Asia, UN Office Ignores Human Rights While Presiding Over Car Bombs.

UNICEF Dodges Questions of Congo Mass Rape and Rwanda MDG Irony.

On Darfur, UN Admits 50 Dead in Tabarat, Khare Says Sudan Shouldn’t Restrict Movement
.

At UN, Council To Discuss Darfur, As UN Confirms It Awaited Approval Before Helping.

On Congo Rape Scandal, Khare Spins July 30 E-mail, Congo Army Rapes

At UN, Darfur Deaths Dismissed By Security Council Members, Inaction Like UNAMID.

After Darfur Killings, Calls for Gambari to Resign, No Responses, UN Speaks to Itself.

As Darfuris Lay Dying, UN Leak Shows Failure to Respond, Stonewalling, UNSC Soon?

Amid Death in Darfur, UN Silent, Awaiting Permission 15 Miles from Killing.

In Sudan, As Complaints of UN Inaction on Rights Mount, No Comment for 2 Days.

In Congo, July 30 UN E-mail Spoke of FDLR & Rape, 22 Rapes Reported to UN Aug 6.

On Congo Rapes, UN Admits 240 Victims, Dodges Meece Inaccuracies, Wallstrom Inaction.

In Sudan, UN Rebuffs Rights Complaints, Vets Statements With Bashir Government.

On Congo Rapes, UN Inaction & Dissembling Stretches to Wallstrom, Meece, Higher.

=====================================================

USUN PRESS RELEASE #173                                                                    September 7, 2010
AS DELIVERED

Remarks by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on the situation in the Congo and Darfur, at a Security Council Stakeout, September 7, 2010

Ambassador Rice: I want to begin by thanking Assistant Secretary General Khare and SRSG Wallstrom for what was both in the chamber and in our consultations a very frank, comprehensive and we think illuminating briefing on the tragic events that transpired over the last several weeks in Eastern DRC.  The rapes, the sexual violence are outrageous and the United States and the Council have condemned them in the most forceful terms.  But today, we got additional information which shed more light on what transpired, how and why.  Many of the questions that we had been asked I feel have been well answered, and we had the opportunity in consultations to really delve into such issues as why was it that when the UN patrols went through the areas subsequently they were not informed of the rapes that had occurred by the villagers.  We were able to learn better about the communications infrastructure and what might be done to improve it.  We were able to understand better some of the delays in information flowing up the chain from the field all the way through to the Security Council.  It was a very helpful and constructive discussion.

At the United States’ request we will receive, in detail, the recommendations that were made in the open Council and any others that the Secretariat feels worthy of discussion and consideration with the Security Council.  We have asked for, and there will now be, a subsequent session of the Council in which we discuss these recommendations and the way forward, such that protection of civilians in Congo, and in particular protection of women and children against rape and sexual violence can be improved and enhanced in a sustainable way.  And we’ll also look at whether the lessons learned in Congo can be applied elsewhere where sexual violence and violence against civilians is of grave concern and where protection of civilians is core to the mandate of the United Nations.  So we look forward to pursuing this with vigor.  As Ambassador Apakan said, the Council is going to be very active in following this up in partnership with the Secretariat, and with MONUSCO officials on the ground.  From the United States’ point of view, we will take up the mantle of leadership, as we have to date, in this and other contexts, on ensuring that the perpetrators of the violence are held accountable, including through our efforts in the Sanctions Committee to add them to the lists that exist and to ensure that they are sanctioned.

Finally, I want to underscore an important point, that SRSG Wallstrom made.  And that is, it is absolutely right and appropriate and necessary for the United Nations to ask what went wrong, and to take responsibility for its failings, and all of us as member states in that process.  But the United Nations did not perpetrate these crimes.  The FDLR and the Mayi-Mayi did, and it is they who ought to be held accountable and responsible.  It is they who deserve the scrutiny and the spotlight of the international community, as well as those that are there to protect innocents.  And the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has its responsibilities, and I think as we heard, they have some distance still to go in meeting them.  So with that, I will take a few questions.

——
Reporter: Given what you’ve come to a better understanding of what happened, do you feel like there are any flaws in what the UN did that need to be corrected there, and secondly, some names came up in the briefing, and is there going to be anything targeted at them, I mean two or three commanders names came up, is there going to be something—request to take sanctions or actions against them.

Ambassador Rice: First of all absolutely, as we heard from the Secretariat, there were flaws and failings in the UN’s response, and I will leave it to Assistant Secretary General Khare to characterize those as he did in the full Council.  But there’s no doubt that things could have been done differently and better and the aim will be to ensure that this is done differently and better in the future.  With respect to the individuals named, obviously we have now information that we didn’t have previously as to who might be responsible for these atrocities and rapes.  That’s information that the United States will want to look into further and take seriously as we determine who are the appropriate individuals to be subject to potential sanctions.

——-
Reporter:
Ambassador Rice, there was—SRSG Wallstrom spoke of the systematic and organized approach to this rape, that it was organized by individuals—these people have been named.  How clear is it that there is some sort of strategy behind all of this?  It has been going on for quite awhile, what is the U.S. sense, what is your intelligence on this, what’s going on there?

Ambassador Rice: That is very difficult frankly, to state with certainty, we have nothing to suggest that there isn’t a systematic aspect to this, but I think that given the prevalence and the frequency of sexual violence as a tool of conflict throughout the Congo, we also have to assume that while some of it, and perhaps this set of instances is systematic, others just seem to be random and frightenly routine and perpetrated by various different parties of this conflict, obviously most egregiously and most frequently by the FDLR and the Mayi-Mayi and the like, but not exclusively. So, these are among the deeper questions that in our view still remain to be asked and answered. I felt today that we learned a lot more about what transpired and what particular instances that we were most concerned about of late and that the Council focused on, but the underlying causes and motivation is something that we all, I think, need to understand better, and we are grateful to SRSG Wallstrom for her efforts to investigate and illuminate that long term aspect of it and the Council will want to follow up and not only immediate mechanisms, to prevent violence and to protect civilians, but also to understand the root causes.

——
Reporter:
The, Mr. Khare mentioned at least 10 rapes by the FARDC, by the Congolese Army in (inaudible) and South Kivu, I wonder if that, since MONUSCO works with the Government, is it easier to make sure that these perpetrators are in fact prosecuted and what steps is the Council going to take? And also, we understand that France called for some kind of consultation at the end on Darfur and the killings. Can you say what information was transmitted and the what the US thinks of the events in Zalingei Camp and also in Jebel Marra where the janjaweed apparently killed 50 people over the weekend?

Ambassador Rice: Well, we just heard a brief summary of what information is available to the Secretariat on the violence that occurred over the last several days in Darfur. Obviously we are gravely concerned about it, we are awaiting further information and so there is still much that is unknown. I will let Assistant Secretary General Khare, since he is here, give you any more detail. With respect to the FARDC, this has been an issue that the Council has been seized with for years and during our visit to Congo in 2009 we, the Council and the United States and others, focused on particular commanders who have been identified as perpetrators of violence against civilians. And we have been pressing the Government of Congo to take them out of command and hold them accountable, with some mixed results. Some of the five have been removed, some of them held, some of them under house arrest, and others have escaped. Focusing on the FARDC is not new, and indeed the conditions that the Secretariat and the Security Council have put on cooperation by MONUSCO and previously MONUC with the FARDC are designed to ensure that any units that have engaged in violence against civilians are not the beneficiaries of support and cooperation from MONUSCO.

——
Reporter:
Bosco still a part of the government, of the Government? He was one of the names indicted by the ICC?

Ambassador: No, not to my knowledge.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 24th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Fareed Zakaria discusses CC with Jeff Sachs (Columbia), Pat Michaels (Cato, ex-UVA) & NASA’s Gavin Schmidt.
bit.ly/cCQO4Y

Pat Michaels says he is 40% funded by Petroleum Industry. There is no need to fight global warming.

Gavin Schmidt says he thinks we’re too sane not to do something about global warming.

Jeffrey Sachs says – if we do not act we will end up with a catastrophic planet.

Is it clear?

===============

Fareed Zakaria talks to Hirsi Ali who rejected Islam and Irshad Manji who wants to reform Islam.

Hirsi Ali, African Black, born in Mogadisho, Somalia and immigrated to Holland where she went to university and after 9/11 left Islam to become an atheist that says if you need a God take Christ. Her family says she risks hell for leaving Islam.

She says don’t lock 1.57 billion Muslims in a book written in the 7th century. She wrote “Nomad” about her leaving Islam.

She worked with Teo Van Gogh on a movie “Submission” about women in Islam, when he was killed. She was a member of the Netherlands Parliament, and now lives with security in the US and is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

She says that most Americans are unaware of Saudi Funded proselytizing in America.

Irshad Manji
, with Pakistani African complexion, born in Uganda, with her family escaped to safety the US in Idi Amin’s days. She heads project Ifthihad at the Moral Courage Institute at NYU. She wants to reform Islam. Good popular cause backed by a good university, but who listens? She tells about a group of young boys in Detroit listening to her mother.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 30th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Be’chol Lashon is the Hebrew for “In Every Tongue” and it advocates for the Growth & Diversity of the Jewish People. Today Jews come indeed in every color and every stripes and some leaders do the outreach to embrace them all. Just look at Dr. Lewis Gordon of the Center for Afro-Jewish Studies at Temple University in Philadelphia, Mr. Romiel Daniel of Queens, New York, The head of Jews of India in our region, Dr. Ephraim Isaac, of the institute for Semitic Studies. They do not look like your stereotype Jew. I met them and was impressed – the latter actually for the first time as we both visited Addis Ababa at the time of the delayed Ethiopian Millennium. Then Rabbi Hailu Paris with his communities in Brooklyn and the Bronx, Ethiopian born and graduae of Yeshiva University, and his Assistant Monica Wiggan (www.blackjews.org/Essays/RabbiParisEthiopianTrip.html), and Rabbi Gershom Sizomu of the Abayudaya Jews of Uganda from whom I got a very distinctive kippah with the menorah – of the old temple worked in. Then Dr. Rabson Wuriga of the Hamisi Lemba clan in South Africa and Zimbabwe and so on – in Nigeria, in Peru, in India, in China.

And who has not heard by now of the present White House Rabbi – Cappers Funnye – the cousin of Michelle Obama – and associate director of Bechol Lashon and spiritual leader of Beth Shalom B’nei Zaken Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation of Chicago?

The New York regional director of DiverseJews.org is Lacey Schwartz who is also National Outreach Director of BecholLashon.org, assisted by Collier Meyerson and to top it all Davi Cheng, Director of the Los Angeles region is Jewish, Chinese, and Lesbian. As I said it is all a new image of the Jew.

Last night, at the Gallery Bar, 120 Orchard St., NYC there was a Shemspeed Summer Music Festival event.

The two further upcoming events in New York will be on:

Monday, August 2nd – the Shemspeed Hip Hop Fest at Le Poisson Rouge – 158 Bleeker Street NYC Featuring Tes Uno, Ted King & guest Geng Grizlee and others with CD Release parties for “A Tribe Called Tes” and “Move On.”

Thursday, August 5th – Shemspeed Jewish Punk Fest at Pianos, 158 Ludlow Street, NYC Featuring Moshiach Oil & The Groggers.

info on each event above and at shemspeed.com/fest

—————————————————–

Mona Eltahawy
A Jewish Woman Living in Ethiopia


Rethinking How U.S. Jews Fund Communities Around the World.

The Forward
Published: May 27, 2010

For more than half a century, North America’s Jewish federation system has divided its overseas allocations between the Jewish Agency for Israel and the American Joint Distribution Committee. The Jewish Agency has been dedicated to building up Israel and encouraging aliyah, while the Joint has focused on aiding Jewish communities in need around the globe.

Today, both agencies are working to assert their continued relevance in a changing Jewish world. With aliyah slowing, the Jewish Agency is moving toward embracing a new agenda: promoting the concept of Jewish peoplehood. The JDC, meanwhile, has sought to claim a larger share of the communal pie, which had long been split 75%-25% in the Jewish Agency’s favor.

After a recent round of sniping over the funding issue, the two sides are now stepping back from their public confrontation and recommitting to negotiations over the future of the collective funding arrangement. Underlying this fight, however, is a more fundamental tension over communal funding priorities: Should overseas aid be focused on helping needy Jews and assisting communities that have few resources of their own, or should it be used to bolster Jewish identity?

With this debate raging, the Forward asked a diverse group of Jewish thinkers and communal activists from around the world to weigh in and address the following question: How should North America’s Jewish community be thinking about its priorities and purposes in funding Jewish needs abroad?

New Century, New Priorities

By Yossi Beilin

During the 20th century, the challenges facing world Jewry were the following: rescue of Jews who encountered existential danger, assistance to Israel, helping with the absorption of those who immigrated to new countries and opening the gates for those who were denied the right to emigrate. In the 21st century, ensuring Jewish continuity is the greatest challenge facing the Jewish people.

Yet too often Jewish organizations in the United States and elsewhere remain focused on the challenges of the previous century. (Indeed, Jewish groups were not very receptive when I first proposed the idea for Birthright Israel 17 years ago.)

Ensuring the existence of Jewish life (religious and secular) throughout the world via Jewish education, encounters between young Israeli and Diaspora Jews, creating a virtual Jewish community using new technologies — these must be at the top of the global Jewish agenda. This requires American Jewish philanthropy and leadership, which in turn requires discerning between past and present priorities.

Yossi Beilin, a former justice minister of Israel, is president of the international consulting firm Beilink.

Reviving Polish Jewry

By Konstanty Gebert

The rebirth of Central European Jewish communities after 1989, though numerically not very impressive, remains significant for moral and historical reasons. It is also crucial for Jewish self-understanding. An enormous proportion of American Jews can trace their origins to what used to be Poland alone. This is where much of Diaspora history happened.

Alongside the courage and determination of local Jews, the far-sighted support of several American Jewish organizations and philanthropies made this rebirth possible. In Poland the Joint Distribution Committee, the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation and the Taube Foundation played key roles. Their support has translated not only into Jewish schools and festivals in places once believed to be Jewish-ly dead, but also in most cases into changed relations between local Jewish communities and their fellow citizens as well as clear support for Israel on the part of these countries’ governments.

Yet for all this progress, Central European Jewish communities might never become self-financing. The support given them by American Jewry remains a vital Jewish interest. It must be strengthened.

Konstanty Gebert, a former underground journalist, is a columnist at the Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza and founder of the Polish-language Jewish monthly Midrasz.

What We Give Ourselves

By Lisa Leff

More than any Jewish community in history, postwar American Jews have used our prosperity to help Jewish communities around the world. On one level, the greatest beneficiaries of this support have been Jews abroad. But we should also recognize that these philanthropic efforts have shaped our communal values and identity.

Through our international aid, we have dedicated ourselves to universalist and cosmopolitan ideas like tikkun olam and solidarity across borders. In helping disadvantaged and oppressed Jews abroad, we have also deepened our community’s commitments to democracy, human rights and economic justice for all. It’s only natural that Jewish groups pitch in on Haitian earthquake relief and advocate on behalf of oppressed people of all backgrounds.

Whatever the outcome of the federations’ deliberations over how to divide allocations between the Jewish Agency and the Joint Distribution Committee, it is imperative that American Jewry maintain its commitment to our values through supporting international philanthropy.

Lisa Leff is an associate professor of history at American University and the author of “Sacred Bonds of Solidarity: The Rise of Jewish Internationalism in Nineteenth-Century France” (Stanford University Press, 2006).

Putting Identity First

By Jonathan S. Tobin

The choices we face are not between good causes and bad or even indifferent ones but between vital Jewish obligations. But since the decline in giving to Jewish causes means that we must make tough decisions, programs that reinforce Jewish identity and support Zionism both in the Diaspora and in Israel must be accorded a higher priority.

At this point in our history, with assimilation thinning the ranks of Diaspora Jewry and with continuity problems arising even in Israel, the need to instill a sense of membership in the Jewish people is an imperative that cannot be pushed aside. Under the current circumstances, absent an effort that will make Jewish and Zionist education the keynote of our communal life, the notion that Jewish philanthropies or support for Israel can be adequately sustained in the future is simply a fantasy.

Jonathan S. Tobin is executive editor of Commentary magazine.

Collective Responsibility

By Richard Wexler

One cannot have a meaningful discussion about framing the national Jewish community’s priorities and purposes in funding Jewish needs abroad without first asking the question: Is there actually a collective “North American Jewish community” today?

Collective responsibility has been and remains the foundation upon which the federation system and, therefore, the national Jewish community are built. It is what distinguishes the federations from all other charities. It is embodied in our participation in the adventure of building Israel and in meeting overseas needs through the Jewish Agency and the Joint Distribution Committee, in the dues that federations pay to the Jewish Federations of North America and so much more. But today, federations “bowl alone.”

Collective responsibility gives meaning to kol Yisrael arevim zeh l’zeh — all Jews are responsible for one another. Until federations understand once again that Jewish needs extend beyond the borders of any one community, we cannot have a meaningful priority-setting process for funding Jewish needs abroad.

Richard Wexler is a former chairman of the United Israel Appeal.

Originally published here: www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/rethinking-how-u-s-jews-fund-communities-around-the-world-1.292527

—————————————————————————–

Avi Rosenblum
Rabbi Gershom Sizomu and Be’chol Lashon director Diane Tobin at the opening of the Health Center.


Gary Tobin’s Legacy Lives on in New Ugandan Health Center

By Amanda Pazornik

The J Weekly
Published: July 22, 2010

On the day of the grand opening of the Tobin Health Center in Mbale, Uganda, health professionals were already hard at work treating patients inside.

The center was open for business, but that didn’t slow down the lively June 18 celebration, which featured song and dance performances and speakers. About 3,000 people gathered at the center’s grounds to mark the occasion.

Seated under colorful tents was Diane Tobin, director of S.F.-based Be’chol Lashon and wife of the late Gary Tobin, for whom the center is named, along with three of their children, Aryeh, Mia and Jonah.

“Everyone was amazing, friendly and so generous of spirit,” said Tobin, who was visiting Uganda and its Abayudaya Jewish community for the first time. “They were so appreciative of having the center and demonstrated a tremendous willingness to work together. It’s a great model for the rest of the world.”

Andrew Esensten, Be’chol Lashon program coordinator, and Rabbi Gershom Sizomu, spiritual leader of the Abayudaya Jews and the first chief rabbi of Uganda, joined them, in addition to government and medical officials, and representatives from Jewish, Muslim and Christian communities.

The Tobin Health Center is named for Gary Tobin, the founder of the S.F.-based Institute for Jewish and Community Research, of which Be’chol Lashon (“In Every Tongue”) is an initiative. Tobin died one year ago after a long battle with cancer. He was 59.

“He really has left a legacy,” said Debra Weinberg of Baltimore, who attended the opening with her husband, Joe, and their 14-year-old son, Ben. The couple also helped fund the project. “I think he would feel deeply comforted to know it’s improving the lives of people.”

The 4,000-square-foot facility is a major component of the ongoing Abayudaya Community Health and Development Project undertaken by the Abayudaya Executive Council and Be’chol Lashon, a nonprofit that reaches out to Jews of color and helps educate the mainstream community about Jewish diversity.

It cost approximately $250,000 to erect the two-story center, using donations collected over five years. While patients pay for their services, continuous fundraising is a necessity, Tobin said.

Construction began in July 2009, enabling more than 50 Africans from diverse ethnic backgrounds to earn a living.

Stars of David are featured in the window grids, ceilings and floors of the health center, a “lovely expression of their Judaism,” Tobin said. Private rooms make up most of the top floor, with patient wards on the ground floor. A mezuzah is affixed to every door.

A large portrait of Gary Tobin hangs in the lobby.

“It’s so heartwarming,” Diane Tobin said of the visual tribute. “Gary would be so honored to have this health center in the middle of Africa named after him.”

Prior to the opening of the Tobin Health Center, the nearest medical facility to the Abayudaya Jews was Mbale Hospital, an overcrowded and understaffed institution not accessible to all the residents of the region. Tobin said there are other clinics in the area, but they lack the preventive health care measures necessary to respond to the community’s needs.

The Tobin Health Center is licensed by the Ministry of Health and is certified to operate a pharmacy and laboratory. It serves all who seek basic medical care in the region, providing life-saving health services and simultaneously creating jobs.

“The goal is to raise the standard of medical care,” Tobin said.

In addition, rental units on the bottom and top floors of the center will provide more job opportunities for locals. The first business recently opened — a hardware store that sells bags of cement, plumbing equipment and sheet metal — with a beauty salon and video rental outlet in the works.

The center “is rewarding on a number of levels,” said Steven Edwards of Laguna Beach, who, along with his wife, Jill, has been involved with the Abayudaya for six years. “The most obvious is to see this beautiful, clean building. On top of that, local dignitaries noted how lucky Mbale is to have the Jewish community and how much they contribute to the larger community by bringing jobs.”

The Abayudaya Jews comprise a growing, 100-year-old community of more than 1,000 Jews living among 10,000 Christians and Muslims. They live in scattered villages in the rolling, green hills of eastern Uganda. The largest Abayudaya village, Nabagoye, is near Mbale, the seventh-largest city in Uganda and the location of the center.

Research conducted by Be’chol Lashon in 2006 showed that contaminated water and malaria-carrying mosquitoes pose the biggest health risks to the community. A year later, the organization launched the Abayudaya Community Health and Development Project with the drilling of the first well in Nabagoye.

Since then, nearly 1,000 mosquito nets have been purchased and distributed throughout the community.

“Our goal is to respond to the needs of communities,” Tobin said. “If there are other communities that need health centers, we will be there.”

Originally published here: www.jweekly.com/article/full/58727/s.f.-researchers-legacy-lives-on-in-new-ugandan-health-center/

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 28th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

The following are examples from today’s publication of the UN’s best friend – the $1 Billion UN Foundation’s UN Wire.

I see [Saddam Hussein] like Nebuchadnezzar, the emperor of Mesopotamia — an utterly ruthless, brutal man who sat with a revolver in his pocket and could use it to shoot you.”
Former UN weapons inspector Hans Blix. Read the full story – www.nytimes.com/2010/07/28/world/…

Blix faults U.S., British over pre-Iraq war intel
Former United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission chief Hans Blix testified Monday at a British inquiry that British and American intelligence officials gave too much credence to assertions of Iraqi defectors on weapons of mass destruction ahead of the 2003 war. Blix said U.S. and British authorities ignored recommendations and findings from the commission and should have allowed more time for investigations. The Independent (London) (7/28) , The New York Times (free registration) (7/27)

 www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/pol…

 www.nytimes.com/2010/07/28/world/…

—–
U.S. audit blasts Iraq reconstruction funds process
An audit by the U.S. Special Investigator for Iraq Reconstruction reports that 95% of the $9.1 billion in Iraqi oil and gas funds earmarked by the U.S. Defense Department for reconstruction cannot be accounted for. The audit report indicates sloppy record keeping and a lack of clear process leaves the Defense Department unable to detail the use of funds. The Globe and Mail (Toronto)/The Associated Press (7/28)

 www.theglobeandmail.com/news/worl…

==================

Security Council mulls future of Darfur mission:
The security situation has deteriorated in Darfur and United Nations agencies are no longer able to gain access to many areas, the Security Council heard Tuesday. The council is expected to decide on an extension of a joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping mission this week. CNN (7/28)

 edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/africa…

Kidnapped German, American aid workers in Darfur speak out:
Kidnappers in Darfur released two German aid workers Tuesday after more than a month in captivity. The two said they were well treated. Another kidnapped aid worker — an American woman — was able to speak with a journalist Tuesday and reported food, water and shelter to be scarce. The kidnappers have demanded ransom from the Sudanese government for her release. AlertNet.org (7/27) , AlertNet.org (7/27

 www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk…

 www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk…

International terror networks taking root in DR Congo?
Intelligence analysts fear the conflict-ravaged Democratic Republic of Congo may have a new security concern to contend with — international terrorism. Ugandan investigators believe Congolese group ADF-NALU was involved in the July 11 Kampala bombings alongside al-Qaida-linked Al Shabaab militants from Somalia. Interviews with recent defectors have provided evidence of foreigners visiting ADF-NALU camps on the mountains of eastern DR Congo. The Christian Science Monitor/Africa Monitor blog (7/28

 www.csmonitor.com/World/Africa/Af…

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on June 4th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)


Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune was down in the Gulf again this week. He said that if we all saw what he saw — pelicans struggling to fly under the weight of globs of oil, dolphins swimming through oil slicks — we’d be storming Washington D.C. calling for leadership and action.

And that’s exactly what we’re going to do — we’re launching a bold new campaign to move our nation Beyond Oil.

Watching the largest environmental disaster in our nation’s history unfold has been infuriating — it’s clear that there is no quick fix to clean up this mess. We need to make sure this type of disaster never happens again.

Are you fed up? Sickened by what you’re seeing in the Gulf? This is the time to join together and help break our nation free from Big Oil’s stranglehold.

The Sierra Club will be holding rallies and events, running ads, and engaging people all across the country to generate a movement to move Beyond Oil. We have never needed President Obama’s visionary leadership more than we do right now — it’s time to stop letting the oil industry call the shots, and to start embracing clean energy, he said.


But nay, this is not the attitude of everyone, not even from among those most afflicted by the disaster.

We just saw on CNN the lady President of Lafourche Parish of Louisiana defending the drilling for oil because 60% of the people there are employed by the oil industry and 60 years there was no major problem she said.

The Nation must understand that we need to continue drilling she said. If you put on a hold on drilling the rigs may move to West Africa and never come back here. This will only cause more foreign oil that will be coming here.

That also echoes what I heard the other night from a US Department of State official. State is actively out after a list of over ten countries that are being encouraged to look for oil and start develop their resources. This is not a matter of foreign aid – but of security he said, though I wondered if we speak the same language – if we both understand the same thing when uttering security.

The countries mentioned are: Papua New Guinea, Timor L’Este, Uganda, Suriname, Guiana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Mozambique, Sri Lanka, Vietnam.

I remarked that except for Vietnam all of theses countries are countries in conflict and thought to myself that an influx of oil money will surely re-inflame civil strife and government suppression. That is what you get for having oil!

This seems the sequel to our posting – www.sustainabilitank.info/#15735

(Ligeti’s “Le Grand Macabre” of gluttonous Breughelland, explains the Louisiana suffering and Washington’s long standing lack of care. Amazing indeed!)

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 10th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

From: Alice Jay – Avaaz.org <avaaz@avaaz.org>
Date: Tue, Feb 9, 2010
Subject: Save Frank’s life
To: “PJ@SustainabiliTank.com” <PJ@sustainabilitank.com>

Dear friends,


Uganda’s parliament is set to pass a law that makes being gay punishable by prison or death — let’s raise 1 million signatures to stop this brutal bill:

Uganda’s parliament is preparing to pass a brutal new law that would punish gay people with prison — even death.

Initial international criticism drove the President to call for a review. But after a well-funded and vicious lobbying effort by extremists, the bill looks set to be passed — threatening hundreds of thousands of lives.

Opposition to the bill is rising, including from the Anglican church. Ugandan gay rights advocate Frank Mugisha writes, This law will put us in serious danger. Please, sign the petition and tell others to stand with us – if there’s a huge global response, our government will see that Uganda will be internationally isolated by the proposed law, and strike it down.

With the decision expected in days, only an irresistible wave of worldwide pressure will be enough to save Frank’s life and many others. Let’s raise 1 million signatures to stop the gay death law — click here to take action, then forward this email:

 www.avaaz.org/en/uganda_for_toler…

The petition will be delivered to President Museveni, members of the review committee and Ugandan embassies worldwide this week before it’s too late, as well as to key donor governments.

The bill proposes life imprisonment for anyone convicted of having same-sex relations and imposes the death penalty for “serial offenders”. NGOs working to prevent the spread of HIV could be imprisoned for up to 7 years for “promoting homosexuality”. Even members of the public face up to three years in jail if they fail to report homosexual activity to the police within 24 hours!

The bill’s advocates claim that it defends national culture, but its strongest critics come from within Uganda. The Reverend Canon Gideon Byamugisha is one of many who’s written to us – he says,

It is violating our cultures, traditions and religious values that teach against intolerance, injustice, hatred and violence. We need laws to protect people — not ones that will humiliate, ridicule, persecute and kill them en masse.

By rejecting this dangerous bill and supporting the breadth of opposition to it, we can help set a crucial precedent. Let’s raise 1 million signatures for Uganda’s human rights defenders, and save lives by stopping this bill — sign now here, then tell friends and family:

 www.avaaz.org/en/uganda_for_toler…

With hope and determination,

Alice, Ricken, Ben, Paul, Benjamin, Pascal, Raluca, Graziela and the whole Avaaz team

SOURCES

African letter to Ugandan President to throw out Anti-Homosexual Bill:
 www.africafiles.org/article.asp?I…

Ugandan church leader brands anti-gay bill ‘genocide’:
 www.guardian.co.uk/katine/2009/de…

Human Rights Impact Assessment of Uganda’s Anti-homosexuality Bill By Sylvia Tamale, The Dean of Law at Uganda’s Makerere University:
 www.zeleza.com/blogging/african-a…

To contact Avaaz, please do not reply to this email. Instead, write to us at www.avaaz.org or call us at +1-888-922-8229 (US) or +55 21 2509 0368 (Brazil).

==============================================

To be taken seriously by the civilized world, Africa must find a way to police its own States from doing things that are far from modern times wisdom. I know that we like the idea of allowing for different cultures to behave differently, but at a time that we cannot accept the killing of whales or seals for reasons of “culture” or “tradition” – how much more that we should express as repugnant the killing of the “different” as it becomes obvious from this Ugandan proposal as law. Now, one could say that democracy itself might be strange to some cultures, but using the pretence of democracy in order to push for archaic tradition is even worse.

The basic law of the UN, if sovereignty is to be respected, is THE RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT ONE’S OWN CITIZENS. Killing the gays in one’s midst is a clear example of what should be anathema to all peoples.

——————————————-

Uganda’s parliament is set to pass a law that makes being gay punishable by prison or death — let’s raise 1 million signatures to stop this brutal bill.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 1st, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Foreign Drillers Rush at Uganda’s Promising Oil Reserves.

By GUY CHAZAN in London And NICHOLAS BARIYO in Kampala, Uganda

 online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424…

A skirmish over an oil field on the shores of Africa’s Lake Albert highlights Big Oil’s intense interest in Uganda—a rising star of African energy. Tullow Oil is competing with Eni, Total and Cnooc to secure an oilfield stake owned by partner Heritage.

The battle centers on the Ugandan assets of Heritage Oil PLC, a small U.K.-based explorer, which is selling its stakes in the much-coveted Lake Albert Rift Basin. The area has yielded some of sub-Saharan Africa’s largest onshore oil discoveries of recent years.

Big energy companies like Italy’s Eni SpA, France’s Total SA and China National Offshore Oil Co. all are vying for access to Uganda’s oil wealth. Uganda’s onshore oil is particularly appealing because it is relatively inexpensive to produce. That sets it apart from other frontier provinces, like the deep waters off Brazil’s coast and the Arctic Ocean, where the majors require an oil price of around $60 a barrel just to break even.

Initially, Eni looked to be the likely winner, announcing in November that it was buying Heritage’s stakes for $1.5 billion in cash and assets. But Tullow Oil PLC, Heritage’s partner in the oil field, exercised its contractual right to block the sale and acquire the stakes itself at the same price. Tullow’s purchase, however, is subject to approval by the Ugandan government. The initial reaction was negative, with the country’s energy minister saying the government didn’t want one company to end up with control of the whole oil field and would prevent the sale if necessary. Heritage and Tullow share ownership of two blocks in the oil field, while Tullow owns all of a third. Acquiring Heritage’s stakes would give Tullow full ownership of all three blocks, covering 10,000 square kilometers—about one-third the size of Belgium.

The government’s position appeared to soften after Tullow Chief Executive Aidan Heavey met with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni in Kampala recently. Tullow said that once in full possession of the oil field it would sell half to either Cnooc or Total to help finance the construction of a refinery and a 1,300-kilometer pipeline that would carry Uganda’s oil to world markets.

Such an arrangement would allow Tullow to control who it works with as well as concentrate on its core activities—exploring for and pumping oil, rather than refining and transporting it to market.

Tullow also announced plans last Wednesday to raise around $1.6 billion in a rights issue to help it develop Uganda’s oil.

Tullow now is the favorite to take the Heritage stakes, with Cnooc edging out Total as Tullow’s most-likely partner, a person familiar with the matter said. Mr. Museveni met with Cnooc executives in Kampala last week and is expected to meet them again this week to finalize details, the person said. Cnooc and Total declined to comment.

Eni hasn’t given up, however, and last week sweetened its package. The company’s CEO, Paolo Scaroni, said in a newspaper interview that Eni would not only develop the Lake Albert field and build a refinery and pipeline to the Indian Ocean, but also would construct an electricity plant in Uganda and upgrade a railway line from Kampala to the Kenyan port of Mombasa. He said Eni would invest $13 billion in the “integrated development plan.” Eni declined to comment for this article.

Tullow declined to comment on Eni’s new offer.

What has attracted companies like Eni to Uganda is the one billion barrels of crude already discovered in the Lake Albert Rift Basin, a vast, oil-rich area close to Uganda’s border with Congo to the west, and the huge untapped potential of the region. Tullow estimates that about 1.5 billion barrels, roughly the same amount as Yemen’s oil reserves, remain to be discovered in the basin.

Uganda also is seen as more stable politically than many of its neighbors, though the north of the country is wracked by armed conflict between the army and a rebel group, the Lord’s Resistance Army, that has displaced hundreds of thousands of people.

Some of the most promising prospects are in Lake Albert itself, however, and will require offshore drilling using floating platforms. Industry experts have said there could be large amounts of oil on the Congo side of the lake, which remains largely unexplored.

Uganda plans to produce around 150,000 barrels of oil a day in four to six years, most of which will be exported. For comparison, that is slightly less than the output of Brunei. The steady revenue stream from oil could radically change the fortunes of the east African country, one of the world’s poorest.

“It doesn’t move the needle in terms of global oil supply, but it’s one of the few countries that will see growth in the coming years in a world of shrinking opportunity,” said Bob McKnight, an oil expert at consulting firm PFC Energy.

Tullow and Heritage have had an almost unbroken run of successes since they started drilling for oil in the Lake Albert area five years ago, with most of their wells encountering crude. Tullow’s share price nearly doubled last year on the back of the discoveries.

Write to Guy Chazan at  guy.chazan at wsj.com and Nicholas Bariyoat  nicholas.bariyo at dowjones.com

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 25th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Date: Mon, Jan 25, 2010
Subject: Win $1000 – Be’chol Lashon Media Awards

Media awards
Be’chol Lashon
PO Box 591107
San Francisco, CA 94159

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 26th, 2009
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

The US Chamber of Commerce has commissioned from Baird’s Communications Management Consultants (Baird’s CMC) in partnership with the Africa Business Initiative, an “inside-the-boardroom survey of attitudes toward corporate investment in Africa among leading U.S. corporations.” The information was gathered between January and November 2008 in a series of closed door interviews with senior officers of 30 American Fortune 100 corporations.

The report can be found at:   www.usafricainvestment.com

Among the conclusions I found:

“USA Inc. is more interested in Africa than before, because the African market appears increasingly attractive, but Africa has tough competition and high hurdles for US investment. Education is at the top of the US corporate wish list for Africa; ‘educate your people so that we can employ them.’

The African countries that hold most interest are South Africa and some countries in the North, like Egypt; there are also some pockets of interest in West Africa, most notably Ghana, Nigeria and to some extent Angola; while some in the South (Botswana and Mozambique) and East (Uganda and Kenya), are also being watched.”

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The report is in two parts:

Part One: Understand how US corporations view Africa as an investment destination and what their requirements are for investing in Africa on the same scale as their investments in the rest of the developing world.

Part Two: The response of African political and government leaders to these private sector views will be telling; what is the conversation about FDI behind government’s closed doors, when policy is made?

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Why has Africa not attracted more interest from the U.S. business community?

Rule of law — The rule of law does not prevail to the degree required to make Africa an attractive investment destination. This applies to corporate, societal, and criminal law

Attraction — While the enormous natural resources are an attraction, Africa does not offer a sufficiently large middle class of consumers or show consistent economic growth that could promise a future market. Most African countries are small and have poor markets, and there are barriers to regional markets–such as taxes and the freedom of movement of people and goods

Risks versus rewards— Given the currently perceived risks in Africa, the rewards have to be very high to make it worthwhile to invest. Presently, U.S. corporations say that there are very few visible promises of future returns high enough to justify significant interest in investing

Supportive business framework–Transportation and communications infrastructure, trained or trainable human resources, and equitable trade and employment practices are insufficient to support corporate investment

A welcoming environment— African countries are not doing a sufficient job of providing education and health services to the potential workforce, which makes the potential hire-able local insufficient to support investment.

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From the www.SustainabiliTank.info   angle we found the most important comment to be:  

“Africa may want to consider the benefits of encouraging US Corporations whose stated desire is to employ Africans, unlike others who merely exploit African mineral resources without contributing to local employment. Africa may also benefit in the long term from the US approach of skills transfer and technology development, provided that its intellectual property is protected.” This obviously requires African leaders to help educate their people which might then also lead to the obvious requirement to allow in new spirits such as more democratic stiles of government and distribution of wealth produced from this more intimate interaction with the outside world and we hope that this can be agreed upon for a true benefit of Africa.

If this study could open African eyes to such potentialities, then the study might indeed provide the positive basis for moving Africa away from the present dead point where the export of commodities such as oil, minerals, and diamonds, are the one way connections that masquerades as business relations between African governments and US corporations. On the other hand, the US public will have to allow also the opening of the US market to goods manufactured in Africa.All of this while US corporations become also investors in the creation of a more developed African internal market.

The report was brought to our attention by   Fabiane Dal-Ri   –  fabianedalri at usafricainvestment.com

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on November 24th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

“INNOVATION AFRICA”

The volume (405 pages) was edited by Pascal C.Sanginga, Ann Walter-Bayer, Susan Kaaria, Jemimah Njuki, and Chesha Wetlasinha.

Earthscan, is a publishing house for a sustainable future, based in Dunstan House, 14a St. Cross st., London EC1N 8XA, UK – with a branch at 22883 Quicksilver Derive, Sterling, VA, USA.

www.earthscan.co.uk

The project, meeting and book, were sponsored jointly by the Rockefeller Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation under the roof of the “Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). The goal is tp promote African agricultural development through capacity-building, research and pilot testing of interventions.

At the Kampala meeting participated 140 practitioners and the best 24 articles appear in the 5 parts of this volume.

The conclusions led to five observations,   and I will mention here just the fifth – that says that real innovation emerges by encouraging creativity, and that is not achieved by over-engineering a multiple level of bureaucracy that poses the risk of stifling real discovery. So, it is better to create enabling conditions and incentive structures that encourage information exchange, cooperation and policy changes that unleash bottom-up or lateral innovation.

The first article is of 26 pages on “Conceptual and Methodological Developments in Innovation,” presented by Niels Roeling.

I found interesting his use of “innovation” as a noun – denoting a technology or even a product i.e. hybrid maize. Then he talks about the “diffusion curve” of introducing this innovation for gain by the users. That was the way the subject was taught in the American Mid-West. Eventually he mentions that his thinking was affected by the observation from Landcare in Australia, that “erosion, salination, desiccation and other environmental problems” resulted from the introduction of European farming practices to a continent to which they were not suited. Thus we reach out to grassroots innovation in Sub-Saharan Africa, and the book presents many ways of organizing this sort of development of agricultural knowledge and information systems.

The book ends up presenting many conceptual and methodological developments in promoting innovation by showcasing on-the-ground experiences in Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Rwanda, Malawi, South Africa, Nigeria.

The volume mentions the changes in global agriculture, the use of biofuels, the increase in meat consumption, droughts and extreme weather caused by climate change, and the resulting increase in the price of food, and asks if those events will make African smallholders competitive in African urban markets. The author is nevertheless not over optimistic. It is the global “treadmill” that prevents African farmers from contributing to global food security and African countries from gaining food sovereignty. The imports of food haveinterfered with the marketting of the local produce beyond the subsistence level.

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