Saturday, June 28, 2008

Bush Says Zimbabwe Election a Sham



Bush: U.S. pushing for Zimbabwe sanctions - Zimbabwe-


HARARE, Zimbabwe - The United States is developing penalties against the government of Zimbabwe, President Bush said Saturday, in response to the country's widely-condemned runoff election.


Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe is accused of using violence to coerce people to vote for him in Friday's runoff, which was held after opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out of the running amid cries of intimidation.


Bush, who called the election a "sham", said he is instructing his secretaries of state and treasury to develop penalties against Zimbabwe's government and its supporters.



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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Devastation in Ethiopia: Hunger Crisis

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While we are eating our meals everyday, please be aware of how grateful you should be to have that advantage. Unfornately, this is very uncommon in Ethiopia.

Today, over 4.6 million Ethiopian children are suffering from starvation due to the lack of food, water, and poor health care. Also, an estimate of 1.6 million are affected by the HIV virus. These poor conditions have led a large portion of the population to die from malnutrion. The UN children's agency reported that these children urgently need emergency food aid because starvation will continue to spread from famine and drought. Late seasonal rains have caused dramatic food shortage, which is very critical because 80 percent of the people live off of agricultural consumption. For the past ten years, domestic production has fallen and is affecting 85 percent of all exports.

Poor health conditions have caused dramatic defects in growth. About 47% of Ethiopian children five years of age or younger are moderately to severely underweight, and 52% suffer from stunted growth. The life expentacy rate is 46 years old. (United States is 77 years old).

In 2003, the United Nations launched a food relief program that helped up to 14 million people. At that time, Ethiopia experienced one of worst famines in the world. The Ethiopian government claimed that they were unable to provide relief to the people but still work to appeal to international donors. Currently, an estimated 300 million in emergency aid is reported to be required to overcome the problem which has now spread to all corners of the country. The UK has also offered 19.5 million in aid.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

In South Africa, Chinese is the New Black

It turns out that Chinese in South Africa are going to be reclassified as "black", allowing them to take advantage of government programs designed for black people in the country.

The article is here.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Happy International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers

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On May 29, the UN honors its 60th Annual International Peacekeeping Mission Day, which was established by the General Assembly under resolution 57/159. International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers recognizes “ all men and women who have served and continue to serve in UN Peacekeeping Operations. For their high level of professionalism and dedicated and courage, and to honor the memory of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace.“ Currently, there are over 110,000 men and women that are serving in more than 20 Peacekeeping Missions. At the United Nations headquarters, wreathes were laid in memory of fallen peacekeepers who lost their lives while serving in United Nations peace keeping mission around the world. This year, 2,486 have been killed while on line of duty.

According to UN- Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s Special Message, he recognized Peacekeeping Operations for their significant progress in the past five decades. Since 1948, International Peacekeeping Operations established 63 Peacekeeping Operations. More than 130 countries have participated in Peacekeeping deployments, mainly from Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Jordan, Ghana, Uruguay, Italy, Nigeria, France, Senegal, Ethiopia, China, Morocco, Benin, Brazil, South Africa, Spain, Kenya, and Indonesia. UN Peacekeeping Forces consist of military observers, policeman, and civilian personnel. The Department of Peacekeeping Operations recruit civilians with various backgrounds since peacekeeping operations are responsible of restoring political systems, reforming judicial systems, and re-training the law enforcement.

Many countries have financially contributed to Peacekeeping Operations. Since the cold war, the Peacekeeping Costs have dramatically risen. Security Council members and additional UN members-states, Japan and Germany have maintained major financial contributions. Compared to other international peacekeeping forces, the UN Peacekeeping Operations is the largest multinational coalition, but maintains the cheapest budget. Last fiscal year, the UN spent up to 5.6% billion dollars.

Since the UN Peacekeeping has receive significant progress in participation and financial growth, peacekeeping operations has evolved into a stronger instrument in maintaining international peace and security. Most importantly, five decades of significant growth enable the UN to recruit more peacekeepers that are willing to sacrifice their lives. As a result, peacekeepers have been more equipped in meeting many challenges, such as maintaining ceasefires and border security, disarming former combatants, fostering reconciliation, facilitating the delivery of humanitarian assistance, helping refugees, and displacing people to return home and ensuring conditions for democratic elections, the rule of law, and reconstruction of economic recovery.