Blog Roundup #91

A sampling of United Nations related blog commentary

Daily Kos (DemFromCT): “Combining two favorite topics of mine (bird flu and polling), here’s a bird flu poll, courtesy of Harvard School of Public Health. Some of the interesting findings: “More than half of Americans (57%) report that they are concerned about the potential spread of bird flu in the United States (Figures available here in .ppt). However, only 15% are very concerned at the moment.” Meanwhile, H5N1 is becoming endemic in Europe. This means that the poultry may be exposed again and again to the virus, as has already happened in Hong Kong. The longer term approach may be a better vaccine for poultry and humans; short term, culling and other methods must be used. But senior flu researcher Robert Webster in this paper warns against killing migratory birds: “…culling migratory birds is not acceptable to any international authority (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations [FAO], the World Organization for Animal Health [OIE], the World Health Organization [WHO]). The idea of culling migratory birds must be strongly discouraged, for it could have unknown ecologic consequences.”Political Animal: “So why isn’t anyone interested in doing much about the Sudanese-sponsored genocide in Darfur? Well, China and Russia both want Sudan’s oil and the United States wants Sudan’s intelligence. And nobody’s much interested in sending their kids to Africa to die in someone else’s war. But will the U.S. do the right thing anyway, two years after Colin Powell admitted that the war in Darfur was genocide? UN ambassador John Bolton has been making the right noises lately, but Mark Leon Goldberg of the American Prospect says that the most immediate way to demonstrate seriousness on this issue is to support sanctions against Salah Abdala Gosh.”

TPM Cafe: “The U.S. just released this announcement, stating that it will vote against the resolution establishing the new Human Rights Council in the General Assembly. “We are very disappointed with the draft that was produced last Thursday. We don’t think it’s acceptable,” Bolton said. “We’ll be calling around today and we’re making it plain to delegations that we want to reopen the negotiations.” So the U.S. wants another do-over. The HRC as it stands now is a serious disappointment – there seems to be little disagreement over that – but Bolton has already wasted countless opportunities to make it right. Does the administration really think Bolton can save the day after eight straight months of diplomatic ineptitude?”

Congo Watch: “Press Release: United Nations via Scoop 23 February 2006: “Secretary-General Kofi Annan today welcomed the new Constitution and electoral laws of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where the United Nations is helping to organize one of the biggest polls in which it has ever participated. “These steps mark important milestones in the history of the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” Mr. Annan said in a statement released by his spokesman.”