By Gwynne Dyer
All the countries whose troops fought in Normandy 60 years ago-the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, and Poland-are sending their leaders there on June 6 for the last big commemoration of D-Day. The soldiers who fought there and survived are entering their eighties now, and not many will be left in another decade. But it feels like the last time for a lot of other things as well.
From The Times
June 05, 2004
NEW YORK: Three United Nations fieldworkers are publishing details of sex, drugs and corruption inside UN missions despite an attempt to block their book.
Emergency Sex and Other Desperate Measures: A True Story from Hell on Earth chronicles the experiences of a doctor, a human rights official and a secretary in UN operations in Cambodia, Somalia, Haiti, Rwanda, Liberia and Bosnia.
The controversial volume, due out next week, charges that some UN officials demanded that 15 per cent of their local staffs’ salaries go directly to them instead; that Bulgaria sent freed criminals to serve as peacekeepers; and that incompetent UN security had cost lives.
Their first-person account of a decade in UN service also includes candid details of drug use – particularly a marijuana cocktail called The Space Shuttle — and casual sex. It says UN staff in Cambodia resembled “the jet set on vacation”.
“Almost a million civilians (whom) our peacekeepers were supposed to protect died in two genocides,” Andrew Thomson, one of the authors, said.
“We didn’t set out to write a scandalous book about the UN but this is a matter of historical record. Did the UN really think that none of us would come home angry and write about it?”
A majority of people in 19 key countries are pessimistic about the world’s direction, says a new survey, which also points to a belief that US influence is increasingly negative. Europe, meanwhile, emerges as the world’s most pessimistic region. – Jim Lobe
Peace Institute Says Global Military Spending Soars During 2003
STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) – Worldwide military spending rose dramatically in 2003, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said Wednesday, citing the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq as the main cause.
Unity Show Masks Deep Discord
By MARTIN CRUTSINGER
Jun 10, 2004, 00:44
President Bush and European leaders are pledging a united effort to promote democracy and prosperity across the larger Middle East, but the rare show of unity masks lingering discord on both that plan and, more urgently, on ways to support Iraq. (AP via Capital Hill Blue)
Cyprus represented for first time at secret Bilderberg meeting
When the list of participants is viewed, and taking into account the strict media ban and hush-hush agenda, it’s not hard to see why Bilderberg is shrouded in mystery, or why conspiracy theorists suspect a big-moneyed elite are shaping world policy behind the scenes to further their own interests.
Bush’s big idea: save the world
By Ian Mather
IT WAS, asserted President George Bush, the biggest accomplishment of last week’s summit of world leaders at Sea Island, Georgia. Nothing to do with Iraq or the war on terrorism, but something called the “Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiative”.
The authors are a group of hawkish senior officials, led by Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy secretary of defence, who have believed for a long time that the removal of Saddam could be the catalyst for a dramatic change for the better throughout the whole of the Arab Middle East.
U.N. humanitarian appeal falls far short of goal
UNITED NATIONS | 15 Jun 2004 20:02:37 GMT
(Reuters) – Governments are falling far short of the $2.95 billion sought by the United Nations this year to ease humanitarian crises afffecting around 50 million people worldwide, U.N. officials said on Tuesday.
Just $697 million, or 24 percent of the $2.95 billion requested by the world body last November, has been donated to date, leaving a shortfall of $2.25 billion, the officials said.
Outside View: Dead men rising above living
Youssef M. Ibrahim | DUBAI, UAE|6/15/2004 2:44 PM
(UPI-Outside View)With all the fireworks in Iraq and Saudi Arabia and the failed Arab and G-8 summit meetings of mighty leaders, these past two weeks belonged to two dead men. Ronald Wilson Reagan and Ray Charles got more attention lying in their coffins than two-dozen world leaders holding conferences, summits and yapping about what they promised to do.
Report criticizes the way UN fights corruption
Warren Hoge NYT | United Nations NY | June 16
(IHT) A new survey of internal perceptions of the integrity of United Nations officials shows that while structures for reporting and combating corruption exist, most staff members are either unaware of how to use them or afraid to do so for fear of high-level retaliation.
“The UN has a ‘phone book’ of rules and regulations which are totally useless as they are never practiced,” a staff member is quoted as saying in the report.
“Senior leaders caught in serious breaches of ethics should be punished, not promoted as usual,” another says.
Mideast status quo ‘unacceptable’, efforts ‘unsatisfactory’: Kofi Annan
beijung | June 16, 2004
(Channelnewsasia) United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan called the status quo in the Middle East “unacceptable,” slamming efforts to implement a roadmap for peace as “deeply unsatisfactory.”
Annan: Poor Nations Can Help Themselves
Andrew Hay | Sao Paulo, brazil | June 16
(Moscow Times)– Poor nations can benefit from boosting trade among themselves at the same time as they fight for greater access to developed countries and broader worldwide trade, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Monday.
Opening a 180-nation UN trade and development summit in Brazil, Annan told poor nations to increase pressure on wealthy states for access to farm markets and slash tariff barriers to combat what he called “discrimination” in global trade.
Annan to open anti-Semitism talks in New York next week
Shlomo Shamir | New York |June 16
(Haaretz)- United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan will deliver the opening address at an international conference on anti-Semitism at UN headquarters in New York on June 21.
UN staff fear whistleblowers will suffer internal reprisals
Edith M Lederer | June 17
(The Independent) – United Nations staff are afraid to report unprofessional conduct for fear of reprisals and do not view the organisation’s leaders as role models for integrity, according to a global survey of employees.
[ed. title and first paragraphs deceptive of articles point]
Meanwhile: Why only 7 of the G-8 took off their ties
Kenneth Dreyfack IHT
Wednesday, June 16, 2004
Thanks to my musically tuned-in daughter, I recently discovered Moloko, a funky, inventive trip-hop band. One of my favorites on their album is “Party Weirdo,” which talks about confused outcasts. At the meeting of the heads of state of the Group of Eight countries on Sea Island, Georgia, last week, President Jacques Chirac of France was the party weirdo.
Global refugee numbers fall
Sarah Left | June 17 0745 edt
(Guardian) – The world’s refugee population fell last year to its lowest level in a decade, led by returnees to Afghanistan and Angola, the UN’s refugee agency announced today.
Bacon triptych emerges from Tehran storeroom
Charlotte Higgins, arts correspondent
Friday June 18, 2004
A major triptych by Francis Bacon is about to see the light after languishing for more than 30 years in the store of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art.