Blog Roundup #64

A sampling of United Nations related blog commentary

Textually: “Millions of SMS have been sent as part of a global campaign by UNICEF to raise awareness of the enormous impact of HIV/AIDS on children around the world, reports Mike Grenville for “The launch of Unite for Children. Unite against AIDS took place on 25 October 2005 in 50 countries around the world and in two countries SMS has been used to back up the poster campaign. Uzbekistan: Nearly a million cell-phone subscribers in Tashkent received an intriguing ‘wake-up call’ on 25th October through an SMS message to launch the campaign in Uzbekistan. The message asked “Why are so many young people contracting HIV?” Each SMS message had a link to the UNICEF website where everyone interested was able find more detailed information about the campaign…”

Bump in the Beltway: “Survivors of the Pakistani earthquake left to die of cold. Thousands have no shelter with the first snows of winter only days away. By Justin Huggler in Bagh, Kashmir: “At least 500,000 earthquake survivors in Pakistan still have no shelter with the fierce Himalayan winter just days away, international relief agencies have warned. Aid agencies say they are doing what they can but governments have not put up enough money. The United Nations has received only $133m towards an emergency appeal for $550m. It urgently needs $42m just to keep the current aid effort going.” Can someone tell me why the victims of the tsunami are somehow more worthy of aid?”

Eccentric Star: “Reconstruction Chief Challenged by Iraqis – [Reuters] Iraqi perceptions that not enough is being done to rebuild the country after the U.S.-led invasion are simply a case of bad public relations, Washington’s new reconstruction chief said on Sunday. Challenged by Iraqi reporters at his first news conference since he arrived in Baghdad to head the U.S. embassy’s Iraq Reconstruction Management Office, Dan Speckhart listed a string of U.S.-funded projects covering health, education, transport, water and electricity generation… Another Iraqi reporter asked him about a recommendation by a UN watchdog agency that Washington should repay $208 million in apparent overcharges paid to a Halliburton Co. subsidiary.”

Harowo: “Discontent Simmering in Horn of Africa – [VOA] The UN peacekeeping mission along Ethiopia-Eritrea border region has cost one billion dollars since the 2000 peace accord. The border region between Ethiopia and Eritrea is mostly barren and sparsely populated. According to most observers, it is hardly a region worth fighting for. Yet, Eritrea and Ethiopia fought a two-year war over it, between 1998 and 2000, in which an estimated 70-thousand people lost their lives. Robert Rotberg, Director of Harvard University’s Program on Interstate Conflict says despite the 2000 peace agreement, the border dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea remains unresolved.”

Politburo Dikat: “Annan pays first visit to Iraq since start of war / He calls for factions to come together for Dec. 15 elections: “U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan visited Iraq on Saturday for the first time since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq 2 1/2 years ago … The United Nations, which pulled out of Iraq in October 2003 after a bombing at its Baghdad headquarters, is slowly re-establishing its presence in the country. The attack killed 22 people, including the top U.N. envoy to Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello.”

PSD: “Kenyan Nobel Peace laureate Wangari Maathai on the importance of Africa’s SME’s and diaspora: “I commend the African diaspora for believing in small and medium-sized enterprises, which are key to enabling Africans to fulfill their aspirations for jobs and economic security. The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (Unido) reports that 90% of all businesses in Africa are small and medium-sized. We must support this sector and ensure that it thrives.” Via Africa Unchained.”

True Blue Liberal: “From The Standard China: Iran has dismissed fresh US allegations about its atomic ambitions as a bid to blight a crucial meeting of the United Nations nuclear watchdog later this month. US officials said new evidence suggested Iran had made significant progress in what they call its secret pursuit of nuclear weapons, and that this strengthened the case for more international pressure on Teheran to end the program. Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi rejected the allegations as an attempt to ratchet up pressure on Teheran.”