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Posted on on March 28th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (

United Nations, Nations Unies


UN to Observe Earth Hour to Focus Global Attention on Need for Climate Action.

New York, 27 March – The UN will participate in the 2014 edition of Earth Hour on Saturday 29 March. Coming in the lead-up to the Climate Summit this September, this global initiative aims to focus attention on the need for climate action.
Organized by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Earth Hour encourages individuals, companies, organizations and governments throughout the world to switch off their lights for one hour at 8:30 p.m., local time worldwide.
The initiative started as a lights-off event in Sydney, Australia in 2007. Since then it has grown to engage over 150 countries and hundreds of millions of people last year.
The date traditionally coincides with the Spring and Autumn equinoxes in the northern and southern hemispheres respectively, which allows for near coincidental sunset times in both hemispheres, thereby ensuring the greatest visual impact for a global “lights out” event.
All UN staff members around the world have been invited to take part both in their office and home in order to demonstrate the UN’s commitment to support action on climate change, one of the top priorities of the Organization.
For the last few years, the UN Headquarters in New York and many other UN offices around the world have been part of the many international landmarks participating in this initiative.
This year the UN is going the extra mile and turning off all non-essential lights within the UN complex in New York for three hours from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Geneva and many other UN offices worldwide will also participate.
Earth Hour recognizes that everyone’s involvement is needed in order to make a collective impact and take accountability for their ecological footprint.
For more information please visit:



Posted on on March 4th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (



UN’s musical chairs.


Richard Falk’s wife is top nominee for a post on the Human Rights Council



By Hillel Neuer
March 3, 2014


As UN chief Ban Ki-moon today joins foreign ministers from around the world in Geneva to inaugurate a month-long session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, he should tell the 47-nation body to stop a controversial appointment that will expose itself to ridicule.


The secretary-general is surely looking forward to the upcoming exit of Richard Falk, the council’s pro-Hamas investigator of “Israel’s violations of the principles and bases of international law.”


More than once, Ban had to take the extraordinary step of condemning one of his organization’s own human rights experts — Falk — for spreading “preposterous” 9/11 conspiracy theories. After six years, term limits finally require Falk to go.


Yet it turns out that Falk may not really be leaving after all: the Human Rights Council is set to appoint his wife and closest collaborator to a similar post at the end of the month, days after Falk makes his final presentation to the plenary.


According to a UN document circulated in Geneva, Hilal Elver — a Turkish academic on law and climate change who has been married to Falk for the past 18 years, co-authoring many of his articles — is rated first among three nominees to become the council’s next “Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food.”


The troubled history of this UN mandate suggests the practices Elver would likely follow.


Despite its lofty title, the position was created by Cuba in 2000 as a political tool to attack the West, one of several UNHRC mandates created by third world dictatorships to disguise themselves as victims of human rights violations committed by Western capitalism, imperialism and racism.


The first right-to-food expert was Swiss socialist politician Jean Ziegler, a long-time shill for Havana’s Castro regime, and the shameless co-founder (and 2002 recipient) of the Mummar Gaddafi Human Rights Prize.


Turning a blind eye to genuine starvation in places like Burundi, Ziegler spent much of his time finding imaginative pretexts to use his UN mandate on hunger to attack America and Israel. He condemned the Jewish state so often that journalists began to describe him, mistakenly, as the council’s investigator on Palestine.


Sadly, there are many reasons to suspect that Elver would follow in this politicized and prejudiced path.


First, although Elver and Falk own a million-dollar Santa Barbara home by the Pacific Ocean, she devotes much of her writing to condemning America, and the West.


Like Falk, Elver is explicitly acknowledged in the world’s leading 9/11 conspiracy book, “The New Pearl Harbor” by David Ray Griffin, for the help she provided the author.


In turn, Elver’s academic work cites to Griffin’s conspiracy book, which argues that the Bush Administration helped orchestrate the attacks on the World Trade Center to justify wars against Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan.


Elver’s words are more cautious, but hint in the same direction. In a 2012 law journal article citing to Griffin’s notorious conspiracy tract, Elver compares 9/11 to Pearl Harbor, saying that both incidents “gave permission to the government to unleash the war power” and “invade countries”, “create new hegemonies”, and “racially discriminate against and segregate the people inside the United States.”


According to Elver, the “American establishment” – she singles out the media and Hollywood — is guilty of “hostility towards Islam.”


Second, like her husband, Elver’s work is infused with dogmatism and tendentiousness, with sloppy attention to facts.


In June 2011, after the Economist advised Turkish voters to vote against the party of Recip Tayyip Erdogan, Elver and Falk published an article on the Al Jazeera website accusing the British magazine of a “Eurocentric virus,” because it “never did venture such an opinion on the eve of the election of such reactionary and militarist figures as George W. Bush, Stephen Harper, or Binyamin Netanyahu.”


The magazine, they wrote, revealed “a mentality that has not shaken itself free from the paternalism and entitlements of the bygone colonialist days.”


The only thing was that the Economist indeed had advised American, Canadian and Israeli citizens how to cast their votes.  “Don’t professors do any homework nowadays?” asked the magazine in response.


Similarly, Elver’s very application for the UN post underscores her unprofessionalism. Her form is replete with spelling mistakes, non-sequiturs, and even self-disqualifying answers. Asked if she satisfied the job’s conflict-of-interest rules, she replied “No.”


Third, there is every indication that Elver would, like Ziegler, twist the hunger post to go after Israel.


In 2007, Elver connected the Jewish state to “genocide” and Israelis to “Nazis.”


As UN food expert, we know exactly what her first charge will be. At a December conference in Qatar, she gave a lecture on Israel entitled “Water Apartheid.”


Like Erdogan, Elver is obsessed with what she calls in her Turkish articles the “Yahudi lobisini” — “the Jewish lobby.”


On the 10th anniversary of 9/11, Elver wrote that “the Jewish lobby” is “manipulating American politics” to ensure unlimited support for Israel.


In 2012, she warned about “the strong Zionist lobby” in the United States. Indeed, “many Muslim organizations are being controlled” in the American political arena by “pro-Israel lobbyist groups.”


Appointing Elver will be like appointing Falk. They travel, work and write together. She is not only his “constant companion,” says Falk, but also his “deepest collaborator.”


When in 2012 I urged Human Rights Watch director Ken Roth to finally remove Falk from one his organization’s influential committees, after he was condemned by the UK and other countries for anti-Semitism, they did so. Yet Falk’s wife remained on, allowing the couple to continue hosting HRW events in their home.


It seems like the UN is now trying to pull the same trick.

Hillel Neuer is the executive director of UN Watch.


Posted on on February 1st, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (



Kerala bags an United Nations award for sustainable tourism initiatives.

Published on : Friday, January 24, 2014

Kerala Backwaters      Kerala, God’s own country is recognized for its sustainable tourism policies by the United Nations. Kerala tourism is awarded by the United Nations for creating innovative initiatives in sustainable tourism.

This is the first ever UN award for any state in India.

The coveted award from the United Nations was mostly influenced by the sustainable  development initiative in the world famous backwater resort of Kumarakom. According to a press release from the Kerala tourism, they received the award at the UNWTO Awards for Excellence and Innovation in Tourism held in Madrid, Spain.



Kerala won the UNWTO Ulysses Award for Innovation in Public Policy and Governance, the highest honour given to the government bodies for shaping global tourism policies through innovative initiatives.

Kerala Tourism was chosen for the honour for its path-breaking ‘Responsible Tourism’ project in Kumarakom, which has successfully linked the local community with the Hospitality industry and government departments, thereby creating a model for empowerment and development of the people in the area while sustaining eco-friendly tourism.

The Kumarakom initiative had earlier won the National Award for Best Rural Tourism Project in March last year and also the PATA Grand Award for Environment.


Dr. Tej Vir Singh awarded the UNWTO Ulysses Prize for the Creation and Dissemination of Knowledge.

Dr. Tej Vir Singh, professor and Founding Director of the Centre for Tourism Research & Development (CTRD) in India, has been named winner of the 2013 UNWTO Ulysses Prize for Excellence in the Creation and Dissemination of Knowledge. The Award honors outstanding members of the academia for their significant contribution to the development of tourism education and research.

Dr. Singh, the Founding Editor of Tourism Recreation Research, the oldest and highly respected, international tourism journal in Asia, is a pioneer in introducing extensive tourism research in the region. A specialist in Himalayan tourism, Dr. Singh has produced several books on tourism and many papers on tourism development and its impacts.

“I would like to commend Dr. Singh´s lifelong dedication to tourism research and his pioneering the concept and practice of sustainability in the field of tourism. His work has inspired many other academicians to develop their own research in the field, contributing greatly to the advancement of tourism education and of the tourism sector as a whole,” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.

As the Founding Director of the Institute of Himalayan Studies and Regional Development at the University of Garhwal, Dr. Singh started the first Himalayan tourism training course. In 1976, he established the CTRD, a non-government organization devoted to the cause of tourism academics and research, with a special focus on India. Under his leadership, the Centre started an outreach programme that included education, training, research guidance, consultancy, curriculum design, and tourism programme initiation to several Indian universities, management institutions and colleges. Today, the CTRD is recognized for the generation and publication of valuable research on recreation and tourism, and is well-known as a leading organization for developing and disseminating scholarships in tourism in India.

The UNWTO Ulysses Prize for Excellence in the Creation and Dissemination of Knowledge will be presented during the UNWTO Awards Ceremony to be held on 22 January 2014, within the framework of the International Tourism Trade Fair (FITUR) in Madrid, Spain.


Volatile Bangkok turns out positive for Indian tourism.

Published on : Thursday, January 23, 2014

bangkok-shutdown        While Bangkok faces a tourism fall due to the ongoing political crisis, Indian tourism reaps the dividends. Thailand government’s decision to impose emergency in Bangkok is supposed to cause a loss of almost B10 billion for the Thailand tourism industry. On the contrary, foreign tourists are preferring to book a holiday in India.
According to the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), the volatile political condition in Bangkok has spurred a huge interest of international travelers seeking holiday escapades in Indian. Political volatility has been on the rise in Bangkok, especially in the past few days. A couple of bomb blasts took place in the capital amidst wide protests. Protesters have been trying for more than two months to bring down the government. The Indian embassy in Thailand too is continuously tracking the situation and coming up with updates.
The global tourism industry has seen such shift of choices due to political and violent condition in a particular destination. To site an example, Spain tourism had a major share of international travelers last year owing to the political strife in Egypt. While Bangkok is one of the most popular destinations in Asia, India enjoys the advantage of volatile currency and a plethora of destination choices. In fact, domestic tourism also got a boost as many Indians are also going for home holidays rather than opting for Bangkok as every year about 500,000 Indians visit Bangkok.




Tourism can foster sustainable development in Central America – UN General Assembly.


Published on : Friday, January 24, 2014


unwto GNSustainable tourism is an ally of poverty eradication in Central America and the three dimensions of sustainable development – social, economic and environmental – as reflected in the UN resolution on “Sustainable tourism and sustainable development in Central America”.

The 193-member UN General Assembly adopted the resolution unanimously during its 68th session. This represents an important step towards mainstreaming sustainable tourism in the international development agenda and the post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (New York, USA, 22 December 2013).


Emphasizing that sustainable tourism in Central America is a cross-cutting activity with close linkages to other sectors and thus generating trade opportunities, the UN General Assembly recognizes tourism as a fundamental pillar of regional integration and an engine of social and economic development, income, investment and hard currency in the region. The resolution further “encourages giving appropriate consideration to the issue of sustainable tourism in the elaboration of the post-2015 development agenda”, which will follow the deadline of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Against this backdrop, the UN General Assembly invites States and other stakeholders, as well as the World Tourism Organization, to continue to support the activities undertaken by the Central American countries for the promotion of responsible and sustainable tourism and extend the benefits of tourism to all sectors of society, in particular the most vulnerable and marginalized groups of the population.


International tourism in Central America grew significantly in recent years. In 2012, Central America received almost 9 million international tourists who generated US$ 8 billion in revenues, up from, respectively, 4.3 million arrivals and US$ 3 billion in 2000. Today, international tourism accounts for as much as 17% of all Central American exports.


The UN resolution was sponsored by 51 Member States: Argentina, Australia, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Canada, Cape Vert, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Finland, Georgia, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Maldives, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, United States of America, Ukraine and Uruguay.


Central America poised for tourism growth: SITCA

Published on : Sunday, September 15, 2013

centeral America          The Secretariat of Central American Tourism Integration (SITCA), along with the tourism authorities of the seven Central American countries – Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvado r, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama – have conducted a study on the evolution of the tourism sector in the region over the past 12 years and found a positive forecast of expected 6.1 per cent growth for this year.

       In the period between 2000 and 2012, tourism to Central America has grown by 122.8 per cent from 4.23 million visitors in 2000 to 9.39 visitors in 2012, an annual increase of seven per cent on average stated the study.

Domestic tourism from within the region accounts for 40 per cent while North America accounts for between 35 per cent and 40 per cent of visitors.
Costa Rica and Guatemala received the highest number of visitors, but Nicaragua and Panama have registered the biggest growth in the period covered by the study, moving from fifth and sixth position (in terms of the total number of visitors received) to fourth and third respectively.

The average spend by tourists has also grown considerably over the last 12 years, thanks to an increase in the amount of products consumed, moving from an average spend per person of US$700 in 2000 to US$1,016 in 2012.
Based on the results of the study, it is expected that the number of visitors will increase by 6.1 per cent this year compared to last year, with an expected total of 9.96 million visitors.

For 2013, the average spend per tourist is expected to reach US$1,016.63, compared to US$1,016.18 in 2012. Revenue from tourism revenue is expected to be highest in Panama and lowest in Nicaragua.
The data presented by SITCA shows that the tourism sector in Central America is becoming the main source of revenue for all seven countries and a true driver for the economic growth of the region.




International tourism exceeds expectations with arrivals up by 52 million in 2013.


International tourist arrivals grew by 5% in 2013, reaching a record 1,087 million arrivals, according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. Despite global economic challenges, international tourism results were well above expectations, with an additional 52 million international tourists travelling the world in 2013. For 2014, UNWTO forecasts 4% to 4.5% growth – again, above the long term projections.

Demand for international tourism was strongest for destinations in Asia and the Pacific (+6%), Africa (+6%) and Europe (+5%). The leading sub-regions were South-East Asia (+10%), Central and Eastern Europe (+7%), Southern and Mediterranean Europe (+6%) and North Africa (+6%).

“2013 was an excellent year for international tourism” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai. “The tourism sector has shown a remarkable capacity to adjust to the changing market conditions, fuelling growth and job creation around the world, despite the lingering economic and geopolitical challenges. Indeed, tourism has been among the few sectors generating positive news for many economies”, he added.

UNWTO forecasts international arrivals to increase by 4% to 4.5% in 2014, again above its long-term forecast of +3.8% per year between 2010 and 2020. The UNWTO Confidence Index, based on the feedback from over 300 experts worldwide, confirms this outlook with prospects for 2014 higher than in previous years

“The positive results of 2013, and the expected global economic improvement in 2014, set the scene for another positive year for international tourism. Against this backdrop, UNWTO calls upon national governments to increasingly set up national strategies that support the sector and to deliver on their commitment to fair and sustainable growth”, added Mr Rifai.

2014 regional prospects are strongest for Asia and the Pacific (+5% to +6%) and Africa (+4% to +6%), followed by Europe and the Americas (both +3% to +4%). In the Middle East (0% to +5%) prospects are positive yet volatile.


Europe welcomes most of the new arrivals

Europe led growth in absolute terms, welcoming an additional 29 million international tourist arrivals in 2013, raising the total to 563 million. Growth (+5%) exceeded the forecast for 2013 and is double the region’s average for the period 2005-2012 (+2.5% a year). This is particularly remarkable in view of the regional economic situation and as it follows an already robust 2011 and 2012. By sub-region, Central and Eastern Europe (+7%) and Southern Mediterranean Europe (+6%) experienced the best results.

In relative terms, growth was strongest in Asia and the Pacific (+6%), where the number of international tourists grew by 14 million to reach 248 million. South-East Asia (+10%) was the best performing sub-region, while growth was comparatively more moderate in South Asia (+5%), Oceania and North-East Asia (+4% each).

The Americas (+4%) saw an increase of six million arrivals, reaching a total of 169 million. Leading growth were destinations in North and Central America (+4% each), while South America (+2%) and the Caribbean (+1%) showed some slowdown as compared to 2012.

Africa (+6%) attracted three million additional arrivals, reaching a new record of 56 million, reflecting the on-going rebound in North Africa (+6%) and the sustained growth of Sub-Saharan destinations (+5%). Results in the Middle East (+0% at 52 million) were rather mixed and volatile.


Russia and China – leading in growth in 2013

Among the ten most important source markets in the world, Russia and China clearly stand out. China, which became the largest outbound market in 2012 with an expenditure of US$ 102 billion, saw an increase in expenditure of 28% in the first three quarters of 2013. The Russian Federation, the 5th largest outbound market, reported 26% growth through September.

The performance of key advanced economy source markets was comparatively more modest. France (+6%) recovered from a weak 2012 and the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia all grew at 3%. In contrast, Germany, Japan and Italy reported declines in outbound expenditure.

Emerging markets with substantial growth in outbound expenditure were Turkey (+24%), Qatar (+18%), Philippines (+18%), Kuwait (+15%), Indonesia (+15%), Ukraine (+15%) and Brazil (+14%).


Source: PATA


Posted on on January 30th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (


Ahead of the 20th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP20) to be held this year in Lima, Americas Society/Council of the Americas hosted UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres, the principal voice on the international climate change negotiations, on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

At the November 2013 UN Climate Change Conference in Warsaw, governments took a step toward a new, universal climate change agreement said Ms. Figueres in her presentation at AS/COA, Ms. Figueres  addressed the concrete steps that must be taken in 2014, which will pave the way for the 2015 conference in Paris, where a new global climate agreement for the post-2020 period is to be adopted.

With 195 Parties, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has near universal membership and is the parent treaty of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol has been ratified by 192 of the UNFCCC Parties and its ultimate objective is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system.

Christiana Figueres was appointed executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in 2010 and was reappointed for a second three year term in July 2013. Ms. Figueres has been involved in climate change negotiations since 1995.


Americas Society (AS) is the premier organization dedicated to education, debate and dialogue in the Americas. Established by David Rockefeller in 1965, our mission is to foster an understanding of the contemporary political, social and economic issues confronting Latin America, the Caribbean, and Canada, and to increase public awareness and appreciation of the diverse cultural heritage of the Americas and the importance of the inter-American relationship,” it says.

Council of the Americas (COA) is the premier international business organization whose members share a common commitment to economic and social development, open markets, the rule of law, and democracy throughout the Western Hemisphere.

Contacts to the outside:  Adriana La Rotta at or 1-212-277-8384
Kariela Almonte at

The following day – January 15, 2014, Ms. Christiana Figueres, participated at the UN Headquarters at the

Investor Summit on Climate Risk at UN Headquarters – 15 January 2014 – co-hosted by the UN Foundation, UN Office for Partnerships,and Ceres.

Complete agenda can be found at:

In that room were insurance company and re-insurance companies and other investors – and I was told that about $13 Trillion were represented there. The talk was that $1 Trillion will be invested in clean energy – this is an economics must.

Christiana Figueres – on a panel that included the relentless Timothy Worth who as maverick Senator was part of the US “B” (the Senate) delegation to the Rio 1992 Conference and now heads the UN Foundation that was created with a one Billion US Dollars by Ted Turner, and Mr. Orr representing the UN Secretariat. The agreed conclusion was that INVESTORS OUGHT TO MOVE OUT OF HIGH-CARBON ASSETS.

We posted at the time: “Costs to the economy – The amount of money invested into the 200 biggest fossil fuel companies through global financial markets is estimated at 5.5 trillion dollars. The costs to human and environmental health that is another matter. But luckily – fossil fuel consumption is already in decline — not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it makes economic sense. But do not count on it – the financial moghuls will not step aside easily.” – See more at:
 Financing Solutions for Clean Energy in Latin America,” which seems to be a – Microfinance Panel: Financing Solutions for Clean Energy in Latin America.

Why this enhanced interest of Latin America in Climate Change? Is this only because of Brazil that over-extended itself in these topics?

Brazil was host of the Rio 1992 Conference that introduced Environment and Development into the routine lingo of the UN as a double helix of Sustainable Development. They were hosts to creation of the high-level product AGENDA 21 and the three conventions – on  Biodiversity, Desertification, and Climate Change. But the majority of the Developing Countries were not ready for it yet – they just wanted DEVELOPMENT – read INDUSTRIALIZATION – and professed not to be the address for Global Sustainability.

The Developed/Industrialized States on the other hand thought that the whole concept was just a give-away to the poorer Nations – something that the established ethics thought to take care of with simple hand-outs of Foreign aid – not an issue of rights.Sustainable Development just did not work in practice.

Then we had the stale-birth of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, and the answer five years later – the Millennium Development Goals.

After another 10 years, at the Rio 2012 meeting, Brazil stepped into the breach again, and with excellent diplomacy, and got rid of the Sustainable Development Commission establishing a new debating platform that will channel its activities to a new Agenda – the post 2015 Global Agenda built on a set of Sustainable Development Goals. Part of this process is anchored in Paris at a COP21 meeting of the UNFCCC.

To get there we have the Lima, Peru, meeting of 2014 – and that is the last chance for Latin America to have an impact.

So, here we get to the Latin Year of which Costa Rican Chrstiana Figueres  wants to take advantage of, and she is lucky in many respects. The UN stars seem to line up in her direction.

The idea was to  have the 2014 UNFCCC meeting in Latin America and at first it was Venezuela that wanted to host the event. In parallel they also wanted to be at the UN – the G77 leaders this year. Bolivia decided to contest  both posts. Bolivia won the G77 position – but with the strong opposition from the US  to both original candidates – it was Peru that got to be the location of the COP with Venezuela hosting – as a consolation prize – the last preparatory meeting. That is how this year’s Latin UN stars are  Bolivia, Peru, and Venezuela.

Considering the central place of Bolivia in all of this – them speaking for the ALBA group – the micro-finance answer to the mega-finance of the UN makes sense as well and the Latin Year might turn out to be an ALBA year to be followed by a Developed & Already Emerged Economic States at the Paris Summit with the real power to lead.



Posted on on January 17th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (

An Algemeiner exclusive announces that The Arab League has twisted successfully UNESCO resulting in a last minute cancellation of an exhibit intended to  show there is a 3500 years relationship between Jews and the Land the Arabs claim as their own.  Just one more example how the Arab States turned the UN into a marshmallow that leaves  Arabs as main victims as there is no goodwill left to lift a finger to save Syrian or other Arab lives.

The exhibit was sponsored by Israel, Canada, and Montenegro, agreed upon with UNESCO, and undone by the Arab States recognized as a UN group under the Arab League flag.  Arab appointees work on UN payroll with a main task to turn the UN into an Arab partisan organization. Each UN office has such an Arab on its staff. Sure, this truth will be opposed – but how do you deny  reported occurrences? 

The result is clear, the Arabs won this battle but have long lost their war. With this attitude why should anyone care to help the slaughtered Syrians or other Arabs?



UNESCO's Director General Irina Bokova poses with the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Rabbi Marvin Hier and a poster for the exhibit on the Jewish people's 3,500 connection to the land of Israel which she subsequently cancelled. (photo credit: Courtesy Simon Wiesenthal Center)

UNESCO’s Director General Irina Bokova poses with the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Rabbi Marvin Hier and a poster for the exhibit on the Jewish people’s 3,500 connection to the land of Israel which she subsequently cancelled. (photo credit: Courtesy Simon Wiesenthal Center)
January 18, 2014,


EXCLUSIVE: UNESCO Pulls Jewish Exhibit After Last Minute Protest From Arab League

January 16, 2014 7:53 pm The Algemeiner,  41 comments

Author:     avatar Dovid Efune

The exhibit at UNESCO headquarters in Paris just needed to be installed.

UNESCO, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, has pulled a Jewish exhibit two years in the making, entitled “People, Book, Land – The 3,500 Year Relationship of the Jewish People and the Land of Israel,” after a zero hour protest from the Arab League, The Algemeiner has learned.

The exhibit, which was created by Los Angeles-based Jewish human rights group the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) together with UNESCO, was scheduled to open on January 20th, 2014, at UNESCO’s Paris headquarters. The invitations had already gone out, and the fully prepared exhibition material was already in place. The display was co-sponsored by Israel, Canada and Montenegro.

Rabbi Marvin Hier, Dean of the SWC, told The Algemeiner that the move was an “absolute outrage.” “The Arabs,” he said, “don’t want the world to know that the Jews have a 3,500-year relationship to the Land of Israel.”

Hier said that his organization, which is accredited by UNESCO as an NGO, worked in intimate co-operation with the international body on the project, which his center initiated after the Palestinian Authority was unilaterally accepted as a UNESCO member state in 2011.

“We made a clear attempt to work with them and the system, they can’t say they were blindsided, they commented on every sentence (in the exhibit’s materials) and still, in the end, the Arabs protested and they kicked us out,” he said.

“It is not supposed to be a place of censorship,” Hier said, “It is not supposed to deny one nation the right to their history.”

“The Arab world doesn’t know that Isaiah didn’t live in Portugal, Jeremiah didn’t roam France and Ezekiel wasn’t from Germany.”

UNESCO informed the SWC of the change on January 14th in a letter to the Center’s Shimon Samuels, asserting the Arab League’s claim that going ahead with the show “could create potential obstacles related to the peace process in the Middle East.”

In a letter to Irina Bokova, president of UNESCO, President of the Arab group within UNESCO, Abdulla al Neaimi, from the United Arab Emirates, expressed “deep worry and great disapproval” over the program showing the age old connection between Israel and the Jewish people.

“The subject of this exhibition is highly political though the appearance of the title seems to be  trivial. Most serious is the defense of this theme which is one of the reasons used by the opponents of peace within Israel,” the Arab League wrote. “The publicity that will accompany… the exhibit can only cause damage to the peace negotiations presently occurring, and the constant effort of Secretary of State John Kerry, and the neutrality and objectivity of UNESCO.”

“For all these reasons, for the major worry not to damage UNESCO in its… mission of support for peace, the Arab group within UNESCO is asking you to make the decision to cancel this exhibition,” Al Neaimi concluded.

Interestingly, 10 days prior to the suspension of the exhibit, the United States declined co-sponsorship on remarkably similar grounds.

“At this sensitive juncture in the ongoing Middle East peace process, and after thoughtful consideration with review at the highest levels, we have made the decision that the United States will not be able to co-sponsor the current exhibit during its display at UNESCO headquarters,” wrote Kelly O. Siekman, Director at the Office of UNESCO Affairs of the State Department, in an email seen by The Algemeiner.

SWC’s Hier told The Algemeiner that he was disappointed in the U.S. position on the issue, and said that he was sure the exhibition would not have been suspended has the U.S. aligned itself as a formal co-sponsor. “This is not the end of this story,” he said.

In its formal response to UNESCO’s Bokova after the suspension of the program, the SWC said, “we insist that you live up to your responsibilities and commitments as the co-organizer of this exhibition by overturning this naked political move that has no place in an institution whose mandate is defined by education, science, and culture — not politics.”

“Let’s be clear, the Arab Group’s protest is not over any particular content in the exhibition, but rather the very idea of it – that the Jewish people did not come to the Holy Land only after the Nazi Holocaust, but trace their historical and cultural roots in that land for three and a half millennia,” SWC wrote. “If anything will derail hopes for peace and reconciliation among the people of the Middle East, it will be by surrendering to the forces of extremism and torpedoing the opening of this exhibition — jointly vetted and co-organized by UNESCO and the Simon Wiesenthal Center.”

“Madame Director General, we hope you have the courage to do the right thing and we are still looking forward to cutting the ribbon on the exhibition with you next Monday night, January 20, at UNESCO headquarters,” SWC concluded.

In a letter seen by The Algemeiner written in response to the decision, Nimrod Barkan, Ambassador of Israel to International Organizations, recounted the degree to which the SWC co-operated with UNESCO on the project over two years, and blasted the decision.

“This unjust and outrageously last moment decision is biased and discriminative towards Israel. In the past UNESCO hosted numerous events and exhibitions accentuating the relations between Muslim and Christian religions with the Holy Land, and of course it holds and annual ‘Palestine Day,’” he wrote.

Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations in New York and UNESCO representatives in Paris could not immediately be reached by The Algemeiner for comment.


Posted on on January 12th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (



CTMD Upcoming Events


Center for Traditional Music and Dance & Verite sou Tanbou present

Verite Sou Tanbou   


A conversation about Vodou and the Environment

followed by a Vodou singing session








Sunday, Jan 19th, 6:30PM
138 South Oxford Street, 2nd Floor
Brooklyn, NY
(Kindly RSVP by January 18th to
Your RSVP will be confirmed via e-mail.)
The Center for Traditional Music and Dance and its Haitian Community Cultural Initiative, Verite sou Tanbou (formerly known as Ayiti Fasafas), invite you to “Vodou Is Nature,” an educational workshop on Haitian Vodou practice and performance in New York City. Oungan (Vodou priest) Dieudonné Jean-Jacques and Manbo (Vodou Priestess) Marie Carmel will lead a conversation discussing the roots of Haitian Vodou with respect to the environment, in its “four elements” (air, earth, fire, and water), and the Vodou spirits (lwa) which guard and represent the powerful forces and precious resources of the natural world.  The conversation will be translated into English and Kreyol and will be followed by a question-and-answer session, plus a performance of traditional Vodou songs on nature themes. Audience participation is encouraged!
WikiCommons Tree



Verite sou Tanbou image design by Kesler Pierre.

Roots/water photo by Pam Fray, 2007 (public domain via Wikimedia Commons).

Support for this program is provided to the Center for Traditional Music and Dance and Verite sou Tanbou by the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, Con Edison, the Emma A. Sheafer Charitable Trust, the Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, the Gilder Foundation, the Hearst Foundation, the Mertz Gilmore Foundation and the Scherman Foundation.

Find out more about CTMD!
For more information about upcoming events, what’s happening in New York City’s traditional music and dance scene, to join or to donate, go to CTMD’s website.  


Posted on on December 11th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (

Statement by Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on Human Rights Day, December 10, 2013
Samantha Power
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations 
New York, NY
December 10, 2013

In 1950, the United Nations General Assembly established Human Rights Day so as to honor the newly drafted Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and its new global standard of dignity for all people, in all nations, all around the world. On this Human Rights Day, let us remember what we created but also why we had to create it, why the UDHR was written and why the world came together to forever enshrine the words “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”

While we commemorate Human Rights Day and recall the terrible events that caused the world to come together to create it, we must also recognize that its solemn vows are broken every day. Human rights are the rights of girls in India not to be gang-raped, the rights of Syrians not to be attacked by snipers and SCUD missiles and the rights of people in Central African Republic not to be assaulted with machetes. They’re the rights of people in Chinese civil society to freely express themselves, Burmese political prisoners to voice their beliefs without threat of detention and the rights of all Americans, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity, to be treated as equals. And as we take this day to remember the injustices we face in today’s world, we cannot forget about those fighting against them, fighting for the promises enshrined in the UDHR. People like Biram Dah Abeid, a son of freed-slaves trying to eradicate the menace of human bondage in Mauritania; Liisa Kauppinen, who is standing up for the rights of the deaf and disabled in communities all over the world; and Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl we all now know well, who stood up to the Taliban and in doing so changed the world. These remarkable individuals were recognized today with the 2013 United Nations Human Rights Prize, but represent so many unheralded others who struggle to elevate human dignity every single day.

Today, sixty five years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we recommit ourselves to this vital cause.



Posted on on June 25th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (

from: Ricken Patel of

30 months to save the world

Dear Avaaz community,

This may be the most important email I’ve written to you. Scientists have found that vast areas of Arctic sea ice are disappearing, accelerating the destruction of our planet — it is a climate tipping point and we CAN stop it, if we act very fast, and all together. We have 30 months until the biggest climate summit ever. To win it, we need to blast out of the starting gate. Click below to make a donation and help us get there:
Donate now
This may be the most important email I’ve ever written to you.

Scientist Julienne Stroeve has studied Arctic ice for decades. Every summer she travels north to measure how much ice has melted. She knows that climate change is melting the ice fast, but on her last trip, she couldn’t believe what she saw. Vast areas of Arctic ice have disappeared, beyond our worst expectations.

This is what the experts warned us about. As the earth warms, it creates many “tipping points” that accelerate the warming out of control. Warming thaws the Arctic sea ice, destroying the giant white ‘mirror’ that reflects heat back into space, which massively heats up the ocean, and melts more ice, and so on. We spin out of control. Already this year — storms, temperatures — everything is off the charts.

We CAN stop this, if we act very fast, and all together. And out of this extinction nightmare, we can pull one of the most inspiring futures for our children and grandchildren. A clean, green future in balance with the earth that gave birth to us.

We have 30 months until the Paris Summit, the meeting that world leaders have decided will determine the fate of our efforts to fight climate change. It might seem like a long time – it’s not. We have 30 months to get the right leaders in power, get them to that meeting, give them a plan, and hold them accountable. And it’s us vs. the oil companies, and fatalism. We can win, we must, but we need to blast out of the starting gate with donations of just a few dollars/euros/pounds per week until the summit. For the world we dream of, let’s make it happen:…

Fatalism on climate change is not just futile, it’s also incompetent. The hour is late, but it is still absolutely within our power to stop this catastrophe, simply by shifting our economies from oil and coal to other sources of power. And doing so will bring the world together like never before, in a deep commitment and cooperation to protect our planetary home. It’s a beautiful possibility, and the kind of future Avaaz was born to create.

Facing this challenge will take heart, and hope, and also all the smarts we have. Here’s the plan:

1. Go Political: Elect Climate Leaders — 5 crucial countries have elections in the next 30 months. Let’s make sure the right people win, and with the right mandate. Avaaz is one of the only major global advocacy organizations that can be political. And since this fight will be won or lost politically, it could be at some points just us vs. the oil companies to decide who our politicians listen to.

2. Make Hollande a Hero — French President Francois Hollande will chair the Paris summit – a powerful position. We have to try every tactic and channel — his personal friends and family, his political constituency, his policy advisors — to make him the hero we need him to be to make the summit a success.

3. Take it to the Next Level — The scale of this crisis demands action that goes beyond regular campaigning. It’s time for powerful, direct, non-violent action, to capture imagination, convey moral urgency, and inspire people to act. Think Occupy.

?4. Out the Spoilers — Billionaires like the Koch brothers and their oil companies are the major spoilers in climate change – funding junk science to confuse us and spending millions on misleading PR, while buying politicians wholesale. With investigative journalism and more, we need to expose and counter their horrifically irresponsible actions.

5. Define the Deal — Even in the face of planetary catastrophe, 195 governments in a room can be just incompetent. We need to invest in top quality policy advice to develop ingenious strategies, mechanisms, and careful compromises so that when the summit arrives, a critical mass of leaders are already bought in to a large part of the deal, and no one can claim that good solutions don’t exist.

We need tens of thousands of us to make small donations to blast out of the starting gate on this plan. The amount doesn’t matter as much as the choice – to hope, and to act:…

At the last major climate summit in Copenhagen 2009, we played a pivotal role in German and Japanese ‘climate’ elections, in shifting Brazilian policy, and in helping win a major global deal on financing, with rich countries promising $100 billion per year to poor countries to help them address climate change. Back then, Avaaz was 3 million people. After Copenhagen, we reflected that we needed to be a lot bigger to meet the challenge posed by climate change. Now, we’re 23 million, and growing by 1 million per month.

Climate change is the ultimate global collective action problem, requiring cooperation from every government in the world. And Avaaz is the ultimate collective action solution, with millions of us united in common vision across every nation. This is our time, to build a world for our children that’s beauty matches our dreams. Let’s get started.

With hope and appreciation for this amazing community,

Ricken and the entire Avaaz team


With Arctic sea ice vulnerable, summer melt season begins briskly (The Christian Science Monitor)…

Arctic sea ice levels to reach record low within days (Guardian)…

Five Reasons We Need a New Global Agreement on Climate Change by 2015 (Switchboard NRDC)…

The Doha climate talks were a start, but 2015 will be the moment of truth (The Guardian)…

Arctic sea ice melt disrupts weather patterns (NBC News)…

The Arctic Ice “Death Spiral” (Slate)…

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Posted in Archives, Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, Copenhagen COP15, European Union, France, Germany, Japan, Korea, New York, Norway, Obama Styling, Paris, Real World's News, Reporting From the UN Headquarters in New York, Reporting from UNFCCC Meetings, Reporting from Washington DC, Russia, United Kingdom, Vienna


Posted on on June 14th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (




Transforming the Global Economic Paradigm ASAP.



Rachel’s Network “Green Leaves
Spring Newsletter 2013
Advisor Spotlight 


We all  know well the challenges facing us. From reversing ecological and economic collapses to meeting the development needs of seven billion (and growing) residents of our planet, we’ve got our work cut out for us.


But what can one person—or one organization—do?


A lot.


Join me on an adventure to transform the global economic paradigm.


Nations, companies, and NGOs are all seeking a new global agenda. Many of these groups are now coalescing around the United Nations’ work to replace the Millennium Development Goals—the targets set back in 2004 for poverty reduction—that expire in 2015.


I’ve been asked by the King of the tiny Kingdom of Bhutan to help the world shift its development model away from the current approach of increasing the throughput of stuff and money through the economy (as measured by gross national product) to an agenda of increasing human well-being, measured as “gross national happiness.” I’m part of an International Expert Working Group, convened by the King to set forth the intellectual architecture for this new paradigm.


Where do you come in? The Expert Group has created the Alliance for Sustainability and Prosperity, or ASAP for short, to convene the expertise needed to bring genuine prosperity and well-being to everyone on the planet.


ASAP seeks your ideas. The world needs help and its leaders are asking for your answers.


How do we encourage governments, companies, and an economy obsessed with measuring and growing gross national product to shift to maximizing total well-being? For example, a divorcing cancer patient who gets in a car wreck has added to the GNP. Is she any better off? Clearly not. If you stay home to care for your children you add nothing to the GNP, but have contributed significantly of your family’s welfare, and to a healthier society.


Humankind has all of the technologies needed to solve the crises facing us.


Why aren’t we using them? How do we overcome the gridlock of governments, and inspire the best of the private sector to take more of a leadership role?


Explore the ASAP site at The “Articles” section provides pieces written by ASAP members. See, in particular, “Building a Sustainable and Desirable Economy-in-Society-in-Nature,” with lead author Robert Costanza.


The “Public Forum” invites your best thinking. ASAP experts have been  working on this for over three decades.


But the state of the world today is a testament to the fact that we can’t do it alone. The radical utopian forecast is that we can sustain business as usual. It’s not going to be like that.


What sort of future do you want to see for the world? How do you think we can achieve it? What is already working that should be replicated more broadly? That has to be fixed? And what’s the purpose of the economy that we’re all a part of? Do we exist to serve it, or can we transform it, instead, to serve us?


If you have a good idea, but no clue how to achieve it, submit it—maybe another of you has the answer you’re seeking.
ALL of us are smarter than any of us.


We believe that it is possible to transform the global economy into one that delivers greater human well-being and happiness, while nestling gracefully into the larger ecosystem that sustains all life. Indeed, doing this is key to ending the global economic crisis. We can’t achieve one without doing the other.


Posted on on May 15th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (


The problem at hand are the major interests of the agri-industry’s corn-growers and the chemical industry. 

In Europe – it all started  with corn-borers advancing from East Europe into Central Europe and attacking the roots of corn plants. The corn-growers got help from the chemical industry pesticide-producers. The side effect is that this pesticide kills more then just the corn borers – in effect it kills bees and butterflies as well and without the pollen-transfer by the bees, there
is no agriculture period. Now genetic engineering provides the seeds to the corn-monoculture big-business that goes under the “farmers” name and this industry can survive without the bees, and seemingly are in a position to get benefits from what is the misery to anyone else.  A Minister whose terrain was concieved with great fanfare as LIFE MINISTRY because it combines Agriculture and the Environment, sided with the agri-business interests, but when the uproar from the environmentalists became deafening, he decided to offer compensation to the BEE-KEEPERS for their losses – thus adding further insult to the environmentalists and to the dying bees.


Small Family farms were the backbone of  a Nation and the large oil-based monoculture industry is the anti-thesis to  that past. We would like to believe that the whole political spectrum will turn around and churn out ways to save bees and humans as well.


Posted on on May 5th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (



Canada’s Israel Support Draws Ire From Arab Nations at UN.

May 3, 2013 3:04 pm 3 comments



World headquarters of the International Civil Aviation Organization in Montreal, Canada. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Some Arab nations are making an effort to isolate Canada at the United Nations in retaliation for the Canadian government’s pro-Israel stance.

Qatar is working to gather votes from 115 countries to relocate the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which determines global rules for airplane transportation, from Montreal to the Middle East by 2016. In addition, Arab UN ambassadors met in New York on April 23 to discuss Palestinian issues, and discussed ways to rally support against the Canadian government among international organizations.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government is known for his staunch support of Israel and maintains a close relationship with the Israeli government. In April, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird stoked Arab anger by meeting Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni in eastern Jerusalem, an area where the Palestinians dispute Israeli jurisdiction.

Joseph Lavoie, a spokesman for Baird, said Canada will “fight tooth and nail” to keep the ICAO in Montreal. “Canada will not apologize for promoting a principled foreign policy,” Lavoie said, according to the Daily Globe and Mail.


Comment from Mel

The United Nations headquarters and its overfed diplomats have earned deportation to the Middle East.

The enemies of Western Civilization have not earned the right to enjoy its benefits.

New York and Montreal are too good for them.

Let’s find out how they like eating and swimming in sand!


Posted on on April 12th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (

from:   Maya VALCHEVA

Introduction to a Green Economy:
Concepts and Applications
E-Learning Course, 3rd Edition

27 May – 19 July 2013


In order to provide interested stakeholders from government, business, civil society and academia with an introduction to the green economy concept UNITAR in partnership with UNEP, ILO and UNIDO is delivering the e-learning course “Introduction to a Green Economy: Concepts and Applications”, 27 May to 19 July 2013. Participants will learn about different concepts and facets of the green economy, including its contribution to addressing climate change. Special attention is given to global, national and sector-specific challenges and opportunities to advance low-carbon, climate resilient and socially inclusive development. Additionally, participants will begin to acquire basic skills for applying the green economy concept in an economic, policy-making and personal context.

The ability of national actors to act on the green economy is key for effective policy making and achieving tangible results. To address this challenge UNITAR is working closely with UNEP, ILO and UNIDO in a new Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE), focusing on national capacity development.


Comprehensive information and registration details are available at:

Registration is open until 17 May 2013.

Please feel free to disseminate information about this course through your networks, and don’t hesitate to contact us ( should you need any further information.


The UNITAR Environmental Governance Programme Team




The concept of a green economy is receiving increasing international attention, as countries explore new patterns of development that take into account economic, social and environmental sustainability considerations. The recent UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), June 2012, reaffirmed the role of a green economy in achieving sustainable development. The ability of national actors to act on the green economy is key for effective policy making and achieving tangible results. To address this challenge, United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) is working closely with UNEP, ILO and UNIDO in a new Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE), with a focus on national capacity development.

In order to provide interested stakeholders from government, business, civil society and academia with an introduction to the green economy concept UNITAR, together with PAGE partners, is delivering an interactive e-learning course from 27 May to 19 July 2013.



The course targets groups and individuals that are interested in obtaining a general understanding about the green economy concept and latest developments. They include:

•    Civil servants in national Ministries, provincial departments and local authorities

•    Diplomats from Permanent Missions and Ministries of Foreign Affairs

•    Environmental managers in private sector and civil society organizations

•    Faculty, researchers and students

•    Interested citizens



Participants will learn about different concepts and facets of the green economy, as well as global, national and sector-specific challenges and opportunities to advance low-carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive development. Additionally, participants will begin to develop basic skills for applying the green economy concept in a real world economic, policy and/or personal context.

After completing the course, participants will be able to:

  • Define the concept of a green economy and explain its value
  • Identify enabling conditions for greening national economies
  • Identify principal challenges and opportunities for greening key economic sectors
  • Describe national planning processes in support of a green transformation
  • Recognize international and regional initiatives and support services to foster green development
  • Apply the green economy concept to a real world economic, policy and/or personal context 


The course pedagogy is adapted to professionals in full-time work. Participants are provided with the opportunity to learn through various experiences: absorb (read); do (activity); interact (socialize); and reflect (relate to one’s own reality). The total number of learning hours is 40 over an 8 week period. During weeks 1-5 the reading of an e-book is complemented by a range of learning activities and experiences that include interactive exercises, discussion forums, and an applied case study. Weeks 6-8 are reserved for wrap-up and completing course assignments.


Testimonials from Previous Editions<br /><br />
“Everyone who wants to understand how to foster a green transition empowering the poor must study this course.”</p><br />
<p>“I appreciated the extremely flexible course format. The materials, quizzes, and other elements enabled very efficient learning.”<br /><br />
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<p class= 

COURSE FEE AND REGISTRATION: The course participation fee is 600 USD. For details please contact the
UNITAR Environmental Governance Programme at


Register at:

Registration deadline: 17 May 2013.



United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR)

Palais des Nations, CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland



Posted on on April 10th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (

On Rwanda Genocide, UN Silent on Its Own Role, So ICP Asks, Duhozanye Answers


By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 9 — When the UN invited two Rwanda genocide survivors to speak on April 9, commemorating 19 years after UN peacekeepers left in the face of mass murder, one expected the “lessons learned” to also be about the UN.

  But the formal presentation asked Daphrose Mukarutamu, founder of the Duhozanye organization, and her fellow survivor only about reconciliation in the country. The UN Women panelist, Nahla Valji, spoke about the gacaca courts.

  But in terms of “Never Again,” what of the UN’s own performance, its abandonment of the victim, even helping the genocidaires to escape into Eastern Congo?

  As we have noted, current chief of UN Peacekeeping Herve Ladsous in 1994 as Deputy Permanent Representative of France advocated for and facilitated this rescue of genocidaires, through “Operation Turquiose.”

Ladsous refused to answer Inner City Press questions about his role, then refused to answer ANY questions from Inner City Press, including about rapes by the Congolese Army, his partners.Video at  On Tuesday night, the UN did not ask about these issues either. So Inner City Press did. YouTube video as above.

  Daphrose Mukarutamu replied with dignity that members of Duhozanye have testified in Arusha against those who committed the genocide, and the government is trying to track more down.

  But what of, for example, Callitxe Mbarushimana, who while working for UNDP in 1994 used UN vehicles and radios to kill at least three dozen Tutsis, including Florence Ngirumpatse, the director of personnel at UNDP’s office in Kigali?

  The UN let him keep working for them, in Angola where he was not even language qualified, until he was outed in 2001 working for the UN in Kosovo. Even then, he was paid an additional $35,000.

  After Inner City Press’ question, and Daphrose Mukarutamu’s answer, a participant hissed to Inner City Press, do you think that question elevated the discussion?

  It had to be asked. It should have been in the introduction. It should have been in Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s canned statement over the weekend. And it will continued to be asked.

  Duhozanye is composed of, and cares for, genocide survivors, now focusing on those who are aging without family members to take care of them. They want to start a retirement community. The event was strangely lacking in contact information for them. But we suggest an Internet search: Duhozanye. And check out, as well, Callitxe Mbarushimana and the history of Herve Ladsous, while you’re at it.

Footnote: the UN Department of Public Information, the evening’s host, does some good programs, and surely will do more. But they should have included some mention of the UN’s own role.

 And, just within UN Headquarters itself, they should be more forthright about how and why they raided the office of Inner City Press without consent or even notice on March 18, and how photographs they took were leaked to on March 21. The Rwandan mission is aware of what DPI did, even referred to it on UNTV earlier this month. Accountability, high and low. Or impunity?


Posted on on April 5th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (

Search Results

  1. News for Did a Saudi judge order paralysis ?

    1. Saudi judge orders man surgically paralyzed to pay for childhood stabbing

      New York Daily News ?- 1 day ago
      A Saudi court has ordered that 24-year-old Ali Al-Khawahir be surgically I think about my son’s fate and that he will have to be paralyzed.”
  2. Saudi court orders man to be paralyzed as an Islamic punishment…/17601030-saudi-court-orders-m...

    1 day ago – A young Saudi man faces being forcibly paralyzed as a punishment under she did not have even a fraction of this money, meaning the court

  3. Saudi Arabian court orders man to be surgically paralysed in ‘eye for

    Robert Williams
    by Robert Williams – in 25 Google+ circles – More by Robert Williams

    2 days ago – A Saudi Arabian court has ruled that a man should be paralysed as punishment for but your IP address will be logged to prevent abuse of this feature. Amnesty claims that the paralysis sentence would contravene the UN

  4. Saudi court orders criminal to be surgically paralyzed – The Globe

    2 days ago – Saudi court orders criminal to be surgically paralyzed Add to . A government-approved Saudi human rights group did not respond to requests

  5. Saudi judge orders man surgically paralyzed to pay – Mixed Martial

    1 day ago – A Saudi court has ordered that 24-year-old Ali Al-Khawahir be surgically paralyzed as A decade later and he will now be paralyzed for life.

  6. Surgical Paralysis Ordered in Saudi Arabia as Punishment for

    Steven Nelson
    by Steven Nelson – in 59 Google+ circles – More by Steven Nelson

    1 day ago – Surgical Paralysis Ordered in Saudi Arabia as Punishment for Ali Al-Khawahir, 24, is awaiting court-ordered surgical paralysis in Saudi Arabia for an and said the defendants did not have legal representation during court

  7. Saudi court sentences man to paralysis…/20130404_Saudis_sentence_man_to_paral
    1 day ago – Unless he can quickly raise $270,000, a Saudi man will soon face court-ordered surgical paralysis from the waist down, Amnesty International
  8. Britain ‘concerned’ after Saudi Arabia ‘orders man to be paralysed

    1 day ago – Saudi Arabian courtorders man to be paralysed’ has sentenced a man to be paralysed in retribution for causing the paralysis of a friend when he was fourteen years old. John Kerry: US will ‘empower’ Syria opposition

  9. Saudi judge orders man surgically paralyzed to – Contacto Latino…/saudi-judge-orders-man-surgically-para

    Saudi judge orders man surgically paralyzed to pay for childhood stabbing. By NY Daily News Latino | Published: 2013-04-04 19:47:21 UTC | Read more, click

  10. Saudi judge orders man surgically paralyzed to – One News Page

    1 day ago – Saudi judge orders man surgically paralyzed to pay for childhood his friend in the back and paralyzing him will be surgically paralyzed

Reports of Saudi Paralysis Sentence (Taken Question)

Taken Question

Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
April 5, 2013

Question: What is the U.S. response to reports that a Saudi judge gave a court order for a prisoner to be surgically paralyzed?

Answer: If these reports are true, they would be incredibly disturbing. We expect the Saudi Government to respect international human rights norms. We regularly make this point as part of our bilateral dialogue.

PRN: 2013/0374


Texas Refinery Is Saudi Foothold in U.S. Market.


The Motiva refinery in Port Arthur, the largest in the United States, ensures a bigger market for Saudi crude and a stronger global voice for the kingdom.




This can now be seen in context!


Jewish Times // The Times of Israel

‘Shell to dump energy firm over its ties to Israel’

Australia’s Woodside Petroleum has a 30-percent interest in Israel’s Leviathan natural gas field

April 5, 2013, 3:28 pm 2


THE HAGUE (JTA) – Royal Dutch Shell declined to comment on reports that it will divest its stake in an Australian energy firm because of that firm’s investment in Israel’s gas fields.

According to the RTL Dutch television network, a spokesperson for Shell said on Wednesday that he had no comment on a report by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia which said Shell would likely dump its 23.1-percent stake in Australia’s Woodside Petroleum.

The report said Shell planned the move to avoid the risk of boycott by Arab countries following Woodside’s agreement to purchase a 30-percent interest in Israel’s Leviathan natural gas field. RTL reported that Shell’s stake in Woodside is worth more then $7 billion.

Last year, Shell said that involvement with Woodside was “incompatible” with Shell’s “long-term plans.”


Posted on on April 4th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (


On Mali at Columbia, Nameless Discussion of Colonialism & Other Big Issues


By Matthew Russell Lee 

UNITED NATIONS, April 2 — On Mali there was an event at Columbia University Tuesday night, advertised as “free and open to the public, but please register by writing.” So Inner City Press did, identifying itself as the Press, listing its office at the UN.

  Columbia’s Stephen Wertheim, the last name you’ll see in this piece, wrote back, “You are now registered for the talk, which starts at 7:30 pm. We look forward to seeing you there.”

  After that, notice of the event was further publicized on the website of the Free UN Coalition for Access, as still is another event at the UN this Thursday.

  After a final story about the day’s Arms Trade Treaty vote in the UN General Assembly, Inner City Press arrived at the event. There were twenty to twenty five people, of all ages — and all nameless here.

  After a lengthy speech and two social media missives, as the question and answer began, the moderator suddenly said — and we’ll paraphrase and not quote here — that he should have said so from the beginning, this would be under Chatham House rules, you can use the idea but no quote.

  And so what were the ideas?

That the media focuses too much on the military offensive, which one participant called the kinetic aspect.

That there is a lot of corruption even in the south of Mali.

That the Malian military commits human rights violations, and that the UN does not have the resources to have a crew of human rights observers ready to go there.

That the UN will soon name a Special Representative of the Secretary General.

That the Malian press is reporting rumors of relations of Nicolas Sarkozy and the MNLA. (Inner City Press has been more focused on Sarkozy’s hardly concealed try out to help invest Qatar’s money, with his contacts in the center-right government in Spain.)

That the Security Council implicitly endorsed the French approach.

Inner City Press, which is surely free to report its own questions but apparently not the answers, asked if the envisioned “parallel force” would be under UN control; if coup leader Amadou Sanogo will continue to play a role in the Malian military, and how the fast action to defend Bamako differed from the decision to let Bagui in the Central African Republic fall.

  There was a response to each question, but how to report the answers under the spirit of the Chatham House rules is not clear.

 As Inner City Press left it was told, despite the language of the invitation and its RSVP as the Press, that it is somehow understood that events in the university are under Chatham House rules.

  No, that is not automatically understood. People give on the record speeches at universities. In fact, since students have Facebook pages and blogs and, yes, Twitter accounts, it is entirely unclear what restriction on a class or seminar would look like, or how they could work.

  Nevertheless, Inner City Press has complied with the belatedly announced Chatham House rules. Who is served? The Security Council hears Wednesday on Mali. Watch this site.

Footnote: the UN office that Inner City Press listed on its RSVP has, as we’ve noted, been raided by the UN and others on March 18.



Posted on on March 29th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (


Prehistoric phallus among ancient findings in northern Israel

Stone Age artifacts uncovered on the route of a planned rail line show a developed culture 9,000 years ago

By March 28, 2013, In the Times of Israel.

A prehistoric stone fertility object in the shape of a phallus, found on the route of a planned rail line in northern Israel (photo credit: Courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority)

Archaeologists have uncovered remnants of a Stone Age culture on the route of a planned rail line in northern Israel, including obsidian arrowheads and fertility objects like a stone phallus and a carved depiction of female genitalia.

The oldest ruins at the site date to 9,000 years ago, the Israel Antiquities Authority said, but it was still inhabited thousands of years later. The location was excavated in a salvage dig ahead of the construction of new train tracks from Haifa to Carmiel.

The findings include the most complete buildings from that time discovered so far in Israel, and some of the oldest evidence of organized legume agriculture in the Middle East, archaeologists Yitzhak Paz and Yaakov Vardi said in a statement.

The objects discovered at the site also show that residents traded with faraway cultures, they said.

“The large number of tools made from obsidian, which is not found in Israel, shows trade ties with Turkey, Georgia and other areas as long ago as this period,” read the statement, released earlier this month.

The fertility objects, like the small stone phallus, “also represented the fertility of the land,” they said. The archaeologists link those findings to a civilization that existed in what is now Israel between 5500 and 4500 BCE.

The civilization, known as the Wadi Rabbah culture, was named for the first site at which it was discovered northeast of Tel Aviv in the 1950s.


Posted on on February 22nd, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (


this information says:

On March 5, 2013 the Permanent Mission of Israel to the UN will host a special event in the UN General Assembly hall – a concert by the Israeli-Iranian singer Rita. Among the attendees will be Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, General Assembly President Vuk Jeremic, ambassadors, celebrities, and Jewish and Iranian community leaders.

Rita will sing some of her greatest hits in Persian, Hebrew and English, and songs from her childhood in Tehran. Her Persian album, My Joys, was an international smash hit, and created a large fan base for Rita in her native Iran.


Our comment: Please note that the concert happens at a time that Iran and Israel are in the news, US Secretary of State John Kerry and then US President Barack Obama go to the Middle East, an important attempt at finding a solution of conflict with Iran goes on in Kazakhstan, and elections for a new President of Iran are in the works as well. In Israel the time is running out for the formation of a new government. Rather then insults – what will be heard at the General Assembly Great Hall at the UN will be music of love at a time of spring and renewal.


OUR ORIGINAL POSTING OF FEBRUARY 4th READ: “RITA – the Iranian-Israeli cultural treasure to appear at the UN in the run-up to Nowruz 1392 (2013); if the UN is ready to gather courage this could melt Middle East ice. As the media gets these news – there will be many updates.”

Last November we wrote with enthusiasm about RITA’s performance at the New York City Town Hall. Now,  from Matthew Russell Lee at the UN we learned that in March she will appear at the UN – in the great Assembly Hall of the UN General Assembly. I can already see with the eyes of my mind how people will dance in their seats, and if possible all over the sides of the Hall.

‘Nowruz’, “New Day” in Persian, is the name of the Iranian New Year; it marks the beginning of the corresponding traditional celebrations in Iranian calendars. An Iranian Spring that this year will coincide with the start of the election process of a new Iranian President that will replace Mr. Ahmadi-Nejad.

A beginning of a new year,  marked by the first day of spring that comes with the equinox! It is celebrated by the different Iranian peoples and the related cultural continent. These celebrations have also spread to many other parts of the world, including parts of Central Asia, South Asia, Northwestern China, the Crimea and some groups in the Balkans.

In 2009, Norwuz was registered on the UNESCO List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity – here we start talking real politics wrapping up our best hopes. Also, important to remember that UNESCO has its Palestinian Statehood difficulties and here a chance to show a positive side.

Nowruz 2013 – Islamic year 1392 – this year’s celebration falls on Thursday, 21 March 2013 – or just 45 days from now. It seems that the Israelis and the UN will set March 5th as the date for RITA’s appearance at the UN – whatever – this will be clearly in the run-up to Nowruz.

Would it not be nice to see in this an Iranian Spring at the UN or if you wish an Iranian-Israeli love fest? My mind starts swirling like that of a Derwish. Will the UN for once step up to its goals?

Rita, who came with her parents from Tehran in Iran to Ashkelon in Israel – is bi-cultural and while an openly declared treasure in Israel – surely as well a hidden treasure in Iran. Will the UN have the courage needed to have her build bridges with her appearance on the UN stage?


Matthew writes:  Israel Plans UN Concert by Iranian-Born Singer Rita, March 5, 2013 Showdown

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, February 1, 2013 — With the UN on edge over Israel’s air strike on Syria and possible reactions not only from Damascus but Tehran, Inner City Press has learned of a planned Israeli-sponsored concert slated for March 5, by Iranian-born singer Rita Jahanforuz.

The concert, sources tell Inner City Press, has already occasioned controversy in the UN. The concerns only grew when the Viva Vox choir, invited to perform a concert at the UN by General Assembly President Vuk Jeremic, ended with the controversial song “March on the Drina.”

Then, Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesman Martin Nesirky if the Secretariat had provided any financial support. The first day the answer was “no.” The next day at least $26,000 for “technical support” was disclosed (that is for the Serbian event I assume).

Sources tell Inner City Press that while the UN Department of Public Information will now assist with Israel’s Rita concert, initially it was suggested to the Israeli Mission that they try for sponsorship from UNESCO.

While some laughed at this — since Palestine was voted in as a member of UNESCO, the US cut its funding — others saw it as potentially savvy, a way for UNESCO to change its image.

Be that as it may, the concert is now slated with some DPI support for March 5; preparation and coordination meetings have begun.

It would be difficult to postpone it, as the General Assembly Hall where it is to be held will be closing down in April for renovation.

How will Iran, Syria and others react?


We think that bringing it closer to March 21st would have made the timing pinpointed, but having it ahead of the spring revival is just OK and the event will be a multi-level eye-opener nevertheless. Thank you Matthew for bringing this to our attention.

Please see our previous article about RITA:

Posted on on November 14th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (



Unlikely Coupling: Iranian-Israeli Rita to Perform at UN (VIDEO)

February 5, 2013 10:35 pm on
Rita performs in Jerusalem, 2009. Photo: Wikipedia.

Rita, the Israeli-Iranian singer who has been a cultural bridge between the otherwise diametrically opposed nations, will be appearing at the UN on March, 5. The show will be titled “Tunes for Peace” and seeks to “build bridges, foster inner-cultural dialogue, and connect people to people,” according to a flier for the event. The performance will take place in the General Assembly Hall.

In an interview published by The Algemeiner last year Rita explained what she sees as her role in being a cultural ambassador:

“I believe that it’s up to us, the simple folks, to do all we can to break through barriers. I know the people of Iran, I grew up there. They are the most human-loving people there are, so modest and family oriented. It makes me want to show the world the ‘other’ Iran – It’s there. The extreme regime is not the people at all. People kept asking what made me sing in the language of Ahmadinejad, and I answered that his role is so minimal in such an astonishing culture and rich history, he’s just passing through.”

Watch a video of Rita’s “Shah Doomad” at:…



Invitation to a concert at the General Assembly hall.

On March 5, 2013 the Permanent Mission of Israel to the UN will host a special event in the UN General Assembly hall – a concert by the Israeli-Iranian singer Rita. Among the attendees will be Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, General Assembly President Vuk Jeremic, ambassadors, celebrities, and Jewish and Iranian community leaders.

Rita will sing some of her greatest hits in Persian, Hebrew and English, and songs from her childhood in Tehran. Her Persian album, My Joys, was an international smash hit, and created a large fan base for Rita in her native Iran.

Please find attached a press release:


Rita, Cultural Ambassador, and Ron Prosor, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Partner for “Tunes for Peace” Concert.

The Israeli Mission to the UN announces a first-of-its-kind event to be held in the UN General Assembly Hall: a concert by world-renowned Israeli musical artist Rita. The performance, titled “Tunes for Peace,” will take place on March 5, 2013 at 7:00 PM.  Among the attendees will be UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, President of the UN General Assembly Vuk Jeremic, ambassadors, diplomats, and leaders of the Jewish and Iranian communities.

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor: “In the General Assembly, the voices that we hear are usually those of condemnation and criticism towards Israel.

Rita’s concert will allow the world to hear different voices – those of peace, hope, and multiculturalism.

These are the true voices of Israel. Rita’s beautiful melodies will echo from the chambers of the UN General Assembly to the hearts and minds of Iranians and Israelis, fostering better understanding between our two peoples.”

Rita and her nine-piece band will perform her popular hits in both Hebrew and English, as well as songs in Persian from Rita’s latest album, My Joys. The album, which has received widespread international acclaim, interweaves the Iranian melodies of Rita’s childhood with the rich tapestry of contemporary Israeli music. My Joys achieved gold status within a month of its release and created a new legion of Rita fans in her native Iran.

Rita’s UN concert, “Tunes for Peace,” seeks to build bridges, foster inter-cultural dialogue, and connect people to people – the very foundations upon which the United Nations was established.

Rita: “Our country has a strained relationship with the Iranian leadership.  I stress the leadership – not the people. I was amazed at how enthusiastically the new album was embraced by the people of Iran. Its success drew the attention of the media, which began referring to the album as a symbol of hope and connection”.

Known to the world simply as “Rita,” Rita Yahan-Farouz, emigrated from Iran at the age of eight. Over the course of her 25-year career, Rita has sold over a million albums, and currently serves as Israel’s most prominent and prolific pop voice. She recently completed a concert tour in the United States.


from: Karean Peretz, Spokesperson
Permanent Mission of Israel to the UN



TO THE UNITED NATIONS ?? ????? ?????? ????????

Rita, Cultural Ambassador, and Ron Prosor, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Partner for “Tunes for Peace” Concert

New York, NY: The Israeli Mission to the UN announces a first-of-its-kind event to be held in the UN General Assembly Hall: a concert by world-renowned Israeli musical artist Rita. The performance, titled “Tunes for Peace,” will take place on March 5, 2013 at 7:00 PM. Among the attendees will be UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, President of the UN General Assembly Vuk Jeremic, ambassadors, diplomats, and leaders of the Jewish and Iranian communities.
Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor: “In the General Assembly, the voices that we hear are usually those of condemnation and criticism towards Israel. Rita’s concert will allow the world to hear different voices – those of peace, hope, and multiculturalism. These are the true voices of Israel. Rita’s beautiful melodies will echo from the chambers of the UN General Assembly to the hearts and minds of Iranians and Israelis, fostering better understanding between our two peoples.”
Rita and her nine-piece band will perform her popular hits in both Hebrew and English, as well as songs in Persian from Rita’s latest album, My Joys. The album, which has received widespread international acclaim, interweaves the Iranian melodies of Rita’s childhood with the rich tapestry of contemporary Israeli music. My Joys achieved gold status within a month of its release and created a new legion of Rita fans in her native Iran.
Rita’s UN concert, “Tunes for Peace,” seeks to build bridges, foster inter-cultural dialogue, and connect people to people – the very foundations upon which the United Nations was established.
Rita: “Our country has a strained relationship with the Iranian leadership. I stress the leadership – not the people. I was amazed at how enthusiastically the new album was embraced by the people of Iran. Its success drew the attention of the media, which began referring to the album as a symbol of hope and connection”.
Known to the world simply as “Rita,” Rita Yahan-Farouz, emigrated from Iran at the age of eight. Over the course of her 25-year career, Rita has sold over a million albums, and currently serves as Israel’s most prominent and prolific pop voice. She recently completed a concert tour in the United States.


Posted on on February 22nd, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (


Te Mängai o Aotearoa






15 FEBRUARY 2013

I thank Pakistan and the United Kingdom for refocusing the Security Council on this important issue.

In 2011 New Zealand supported the group of countries from the South Pacific and elsewhere who were calling on the Security Council to recognize the security implications of climate change. The fact that the Council adopted PPRST 2011/15 was a welcome step. But it was only a very modest beginning. A more intensive examination is now required.

While the global climate has always been variable, human-induced climate change is occurring at an unprecedented rate. It is not only small island states in the Pacific, the Indian Ocean and the Caribbean that are threatened, but climate change is also having an impact on security in regions such as Africa where decreased rainfall is increasing competition for scarce water and food. It is now beyond argument that international security depends on our collective ability to manage climate impacts in a shorter timescale. Globally, there is a tremendous body of scientific knowledge:  we have a good idea of what is going to happen and what we might be able to do about it. And the Security Council needs to be a part of the process of raising awareness.

We agree with the Secretary General’s report that the best way to avoid climate change impacts is through comprehensive adaptation and global mitigation action.  In the UNFCCC, New Zealand is therefore committed to developing a comprehensive legally binding climate change agreement, whose design ensures the participation of all major emitters and an ambitious outcome.  A rules-based system with bounded flexibility – and differentiation on a continuum of commitments – will support both of these essential goals.

But climate change is an issue that must also be addressed across most of the international agenda. While it is not the Security Council’s role to be the author of a new rules-based system, it can and should add its weight to the case for an effective global response.

Moreover the Council must step up its efforts for preventive diplomacy and conflict avoidance.  Internationally, and especially here in the United Nations, we already have mechanisms that address the kind of security challenges posed by climate change, whether competition for scarce resources including land and water, food security or disaster response. Existing mechanisms, including the Security Council, must recognise the threat multiplier that is climate change.

Security threats can be most effectively mitigated where climate change is “mainstreamed” in sustainable development planning to build confident, resilient communities, who have choices about whether to relocate or remain.  At a national level, building adaptive capacity allows countries to better cope with climate-related events before they spiral into major security challenges.  Work under way in the UNFCCC to consider arrangements on loss and damage from the adverse effects of climate change in developing countries will be an important part of that.


In 2011 New Zealand had the privilege of chairing the Pacific Islands Forum – a regional body that represents some of the smallest and most vulnerable states on this planet.

We share the fundamental concern of Pacific Island countries, and other particularly vulnerable countries, about the impacts of climate change – including stresses on food, fresh water, and energy supplies, as well as an increase in extreme weather events.  And we share the concern that the impacts threaten the viability of some communities and raise questions about relocation. Pacific Islands Forum Leaders have recognized the desire to continue to live in their own countries, which is vital to retaining the Pacific’s social and cultural identity.  It is time to think hard, and quickly, about how solutions to climate change can reflect the desire of people to continue to live in their own countries.

It was for these reasons New Zealand stood alongside our Pacific neighbours in co-sponsoring the UN General Assembly Resolution on Climate Change and its possible security implications in 2009 and New Zealand now in 2013 calls on the Security Council to take up this issue again this year.


Both climate change and the responses to it will have far-reaching impacts over the decades ahead.  We ask the Council to listen to the voices of those countries that face the most difficult transitions, and do all within its purview to ensure that the path to a climate-resilient future is stable and secure.


Posted on on February 11th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (

After the briefing at the US Mission to the UN I crossed the street to the UN proper and found out that the UN had two extraordinary activities that day:

(1) The Launching of an International Year of Water Cooperation in the morning followed by a Press Conference at the Dag Hammarskjold Library Auditorium.

(2) The Launching of the United Nations Children’s Tour in the Visitor’s Lobby – to which all accredited Journalists and media affiliates were invited.

The second event was easy to reject – this because of the fact that the invitation sounded exclusive and then because we always thought that the UN was established in order to do serious business and we never liked the idea that it is being turned by its leaders into a tourist trap.

Oh well! This left the first activity which looked suspicious as well. What is it WATER COOPERATION?

As I was looking for a particular journalist I found my way to the Water Cooperation Press Conference and watched three presentation by three people – The UN Ambasssador from Hungary, Mr. Csaba Korosi, a science specialist for UNESCO Ms. Ana Persic, and Mr. Paul D. Egerton the World Meteorological Organization (Headquartered in Geneva) Representative in New York.

I understood that the UN General Assembly proclaimed 2013 as International Year for Water Cooperation in 2010 following a request by Tadjikistan that is short of water and has disputes with its neighbor Uzbekistan. Instead of looking at the political dispute and at the shortage of water in that dry part of central Asia, the UN gave the lead to the issue to UNESCO which is running UN Water – a project that looks at the importance of water in general. So what we got was a scientific presentation of climate change, droughts and tsunamis. Instead of having an Ambassador from n Asian dryland we got the Ambassador from Hungary and presentations on the importance of water for poverty reduction. We heard of Climate Security and catastrophic weather, of migration and water vulnerability – BUT WHAT ABOUT COOPERATION BETWEEN THE UZBEKS and the TADJIKS? What about international water-sharing laws and agreements?

Yes, from our experience we know that WMD does terrific scientific work as they did when we needed them to prepare information on climate change for the IPCC – but they are not a political organization – not even UNESCO can push for COOPERATION between governments, so what was this event about.

I decided to bring up what I learned just last week from the Brahmah Chellaney presentation at the Asia Society, and which I posted as:

Asia is poorer in water then Africa, and China’s Tibetan Plateau dominates Asia water supply and could impact all other States. Professor Brahma Chellaney of New Delhi publicizes these problems in his books. Posted on on February 9th, 2013

My question was about the Water-Hegemony of China because of the fact that most of the rivers originate on the Tibetan Plateau and China does not care to make water agreements with its neighbors. India is a victim of such disputes with China and the development of the whole region will stop because of lack of water and of agreements to share the water.

The answer came crystal clear – the studies will be prepared by scientists and not political people – that will be up to the governments. Let us say that if the UN is not ready to accept the task of getting countries together there is no sense in talking of cooperation – just another example that the UN cannot step up to the plate.


And The Revealing Inner City Press Report: UN’s Water Year Is All Wet, Distinguishing Science & Politics, Tajik Sponsors

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 11 – The year of 2013 is the year of many things, but according to the UN General Assembly it is the International Year of Water Cooperation, credited to a request by Tajikistan in 2010. Inner City Press covered that 2010 hoopla, here.

At the UN on Monday Inner City Press asked at the inevitable UN press conference about the Tajik – Uzbekistan water and dam dispute, and if the press conference panel’s singling out of Tajikistan for praise didn’t constitute taking sides in this dispute. Video here, from Minute 22:13.

The World Meteorological Organization’s Paul Egerton replied that WMO and UNESCO, whose Ana Persic was also on the panel, are both scientific organizations. “The starting point is to focus on scientific and environmental issues,” he said. “There may be discussions at the high political level, in the UN Security Council or other venues, of the political issues.”

But water cooperation is, of course, a “political” issue.

Witness the Nile Basin and an agreement signed by seven countries but not by Egypt or Sudan. Can UNESCO solve this? The Security Council seems unlikely to get involved on the Nile, much less the Uzbek – Tajik conflict.

Inner City Press began by thanking the panelists on behalf of the Free UN Coalition for Access. Also on the panel was Hungary’s Permanent Representative Csaba Korosi, who told Inner City Press that “we as member states cannot decide on behalf of other member states to sort out their bilateral problems.”

But that is precisely what the Security Council under Chapter VII of the UN Charter purports to do. Sudan, North Korea, Eritrea and others would like what Csaba Korosi said to be true. But it is not.

Csaba Korosi went on to say that the International Year of Water Cooperation is also “to raise awareness of solutions” and is about the “SDGs and the post 2015 development agenda.”

But isn’t everything?

Still, his answer at least acknowledged that these are political problems, and not only scientific. Now who will solve them? Watch this site.


Posted on on January 31st, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (

For Israel, droughts go down the drain.

Water Authority credits desalination advances, more than this year’s remarkably wet winter weather, for country’s new water wealth

By January 31, 2013, Times of Israel
Visitors top up their glasses with treated sea water at a desalination plant near Hadera (photo credit: Shay Levy/Flash90)
Visitors top up their glasses with treated sea water at a desalination plant near Hadera (photo credit: Shay Levy/Flash90)

After years of constantly being urged to conserve water, the National Water Authority announced Tuesday that Israelis no longer need to fear droughts and that the country’s water worries are essentially over.

The solution for the longstanding problem comes not from the clouds, which have provided generous amounts of rainfall this winter, but primarily from the sea — and the desalination technology that enables transforming its waters into something you can drink.

“Already we are desalinating 25 percent of our consumable water with the aid of three active plants. And with two more in the works, we will increase that amount to 50%. The drought that has plagued us in recent years is definitely over,” said Avner Hermoni, CEO of Derech Hayam desalination.

A man swims in the Sea of Galilee, Feb 2012. (photo credit: Yaakov Nahumi/Flash90)

A man swims in the Sea of Galilee, Feb 2012. (photo credit: Yaakov Nahumi/Flash90)

“Sea of Galillee water levels are no longer an issue,” added Danny Sofer, a regional director for the national Mekorot water company. He said that water from the northern lake now makes up only 10% of Israel’s sources.

The Sea of Galilee — Lake Kinneret — has already collected enough water to reach its average yearly total, with over 330 days left to round out the total.

Thanks to the heaviest winter rains Israel has seen in decades earlier this month, the lake hit the 1.57 meter mark late last week — the average yearly intake — raising it to 210.84 meters below sea level, the highest it’s been since 2006, and only two meters below the level at which water would have to be let out.

The technological advances, together with the wet weather, have led the Water Authority to nix its water conservation campaign after running it for years.

“You can now shower alone,” Sofer joked, though he added that wise use of water is always sound policy.

Unfortunately for the public, being wealthy in water hasn’t yet translated to cheaper prices. Desalination is expensive, and on January 1 the price of water increased by 3 percent for the first 3.5 cubic meters per person in the household, bringing it to NIS 9.09 ($2.43).

Beyond the allocated 3.5 cubic meters, water costs NIS 14.60 per cubic meter. The price increases adds up to a total 36% increase since 2010.