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Reports from the Other New York: Bronx Ambulance Was Slow, and Chase to Close Four Branches in Low and Moderate Income Tracts

Byline: Matthew R. Lee

BRONX, NY, May 18 -- On the Bronx' Prospect Avenue just south of 183rd Street, near-riot conditions existed between 6:20 and 7 p.m. on Wednesday night. Shots rang out, and 16-year old Dominick Hanley was shot in the chest. A crowd formed; a police car came. Some ran toward the scene, and some ran away, north on Crotona Avenue. Dozens of teenagers gathered inside the jail-like fence that surrounds the housing project at 2311 Prospect Avenue. A police officer shouted at them to move back. A white t-shirted teen yelled back, "We have a right to be here!" Others in the crowd began to scream about the lack of an ambulance. Finally, officers were seen carrying the shot 16-year old to a squad car.

            In the day since, city officials including Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scopetta have stated that the ambulance arrived about seven or eight minutes after the call came in. This reporter was on the scene just after the shots rang out; well over eight minutes elapsed and still no ambulance came. More and more police cars came, speeding up Crotona Avenue with sirens wailing, and still no ambulance. The detailed questions being asked -- including here -- about the timing of calls for an ambulance, and its actual arrival, should be answered forthwith by the Fire and Police Departments. The mood on Prospect Avenue was raw, even before seven p.m. when Dominick Hanley was pronounced dead at St. Barnabas Hospital. But the events by the fence of 2311 Prospect are among the reasons for the rawness, and must be addressed.

            An architectural aside: why is there a tall, jail-like fence in front of this and other housing projects? It was part of the problem on Wednesday evening in The Bronx.

            Over the past weekend, 18-year old Samantha Guzman was shot and killed in front of 1240 Washington Avenue in The Bronx, a new housing development during the construction of which a workman fell to his death on the sidewalk below. In 2006 New York, Bronx life is too cheap...

Teens in better times (UN)

            In economic news, JPMorgan Chase has today for the first time specified that it has identified in low- and moderate-income census tracts four of the Bank of New York branches it seeks to acquire "which are located close to a JPMCB branch." This is essentially code language that these four low-income branches would be closed if the acquisition is approved. JPM Chase's statement, in a May 18 letter responding to Fair Finance Watch's April 17 and May 6 comments to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, declines to provide the addresses of these four branches and the 46 other branches, some surely adjacent to low-income tracts, which the letter projects would be closed.  Developing...

Sample reports from the  United Nations

Human Rights Council Has Its Own Hanging Chads; Cocky U.S. State Department Spins from SUVs

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee at the U.N.

UNITED NATIONS, May 9 -- For the new Human Rights Council, the voting went to a second then third run-off ballot. Denied a spot in the final run-off was Slovenia, whose president has spoken to near-empty rooms at the UN about his Darfur peace plan. Edging the Slovenes were Romania and Ukraine, despite its recent deportation of asylum-seeking from Uzbekistan. In better-known rights abuse news, many in the media focused on records of some of those elected -- Cuba, Russia, China, et al. -- while the UN true-believers pointed out that Sudan and Zimbabwe didn't run. 


            Inner City Press, which spent much of the day in a fruitless stake-out in front of the General Assembly entrance, focused on a more marginal storyline, literally at the bottom of the page like a footnote. In the Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary General -- which did not hold a noon press conference, apparently to prepare for the Condi-fest reported on below -- there was a hand out listing by region the countries elected and those which got less than the 96 votes required for inclusion. Several countries were listed as receiving a single vote: Spain and Colombia, Malvides and Qatar, Serbia-and-Montenegro, Tanzania, Madagascar and Egypt. What was the explanation? Would headlines ensue, Qatar excluded due to human rights abuse? In the alternative, were these stray votes a signal of protest? Or merely of negligence and inattention?

            We're betting on the latter. As pointed out to Inner City Press by Spain's Information Counselor Faustino Diaz, "Spain was not a candidate in today's vote. Therefore it must have been a mistake of a delegation to write its name in the ballot." Spain's Mr. Diaz added, "We are considering our candidacy for 2008." Bonne chance!

 Human Rights Council vote

 In the driveway of UN Headquarters, a fleet of black SUVs announced the visit of Condoleezza Rice. She came to confer with the so-called Quartet, on how and if to allow any funding to the West Bank and Gaza. There followed a five p.m. press conference, from which the Russian foreign minister left early. In the aftermath Javier Solana was surrounded by reporter, and the UN's Alvaro de Soto, channeling not his economist brother Hernando but rather ex-NYSE Dick Grasso, briefed reporters by the doorway.  Further inside, a self-described senior U.S. State Department official (henceforth the "SUSSDO") talked cocky about the effect of barring all dealings with the Palestinian Authority.

   Asked by Inner City Press whether the new funding mechanism sketched by the press release read out by Kofi Annan would involve or require any amendment to the U.S. Treasury Department's block-order, SUSSDO smirked and acknowledged that there are some "overseas" concerned that is they touch any funds to or from the Palestinian Authority, they'll run afoul of U.S. banking laws. "But you have to remember," said SUSSDO. "We have these sanctions for a reason." SUSSDO continue on to estimate that only 20 to 30 percent of the employees of the Palestinian Authority actually show up to work, "especially among those added on in the last month." Alvaro de Soto estimated that the Palestinian authority has from 140,000 to 170,000 employees, security making up 70,000 of these. Mr. de Soto declined to answer Inner City Press' questions about U.S. Treasury Department regulations, saying "I'd have to check with my lawyer."  Famous last words...

Footnote, 9 p.m. -- an unscientific poll of United Nations late-night cleaning workers elicited frustration that the day's Condi-hoopla centered not on Darfur. An articulate 5-to-12 cleaner who is from the Sudan opined that UN blue helmets are neither wanted nor needed in Darfur; "they'll only lead to more problems," he said. There were tales of the freight elevator which carried up and down Ms. Condi Rice's paraphenalia from her meeting with Annan. The SUVs and armed guards gone, the UN building's graveyard shift proceeded...

Child Labor and Cargill and Nestle; Iran, Darfur and WHO's on First with Bird Flu

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee at the U.N.

UNITED NATIONS, May 4 -- As the level of threats regarding Iran continues to rise, at UN Headquarters many issues fall to the side. Child labor, for example. At a ten a.m. press conference attended by precisely one journalist [full disclosure deemed unnecessary], Maria Arteta of the International Labor Organization released a report documenting among other things that the raw number of child laborers in Africa rose in the past four years. In sub-Saharan Africa, over 26% of children ages five to 14 are at work.

    The lone attending reporter inquired into an African specific: the use of child labor in cocoa plantations in Ivory Coast and Ghana, and the alleged involvement of Archer Daniels Midland, Nestle and Cargill. Teenagers from Mali have sued the three companies, asserting that they were trafficked to harvest cocoa for or to the benefit of the three named companies (the last two of which are members of the United Nations Global Compact).

            Ms. Arteta responded among other things that these companies

"need to think about how do they establish controls of their supply chain...

They do need to respond to this accusation

They do need to investigate

They do need to find out

And they do need to have steps to put these controls in place... [so that their] supply chain is free from child labor and other exploitation."

            Immediately following the ILO briefing, Inner City Press posed written questions to two officials at the Global Compact, asking for a response by mid-afternoon:

"what comment does the Global Compact have on the allegations and lawsuit against Global Compact members Cargill and Nestle and the idea that these companies, and other Global Compact members facing child labor-related allegations, need to address the issues and that the Global Compact should provide guidance, and provide transparency into what both it and its members are doing in this regard?"

Ms. Arteta answers on Nestle

            This was also raised by Inner City Press at the OSSG noon briefing. At 4 p.m. the Global Compact's always-polite media relations officer said "we're still working on some answers." Inner City Press asked for some by five or even six o'clock, but no response from the Global Compact was forthcoming by six-fifteen. An inquiry thereafter by the OSSG was followed, at 6:35, by the following response, which in fairness we quote here in full:

"All Global Compact participants are expected, within their sphere of influence, to work towards the implementation of GC principle five, namely the effective elimination of child labour. The ILO and UNICEF, among others, are very active in this field and have guidance materials and other efforts aimed at achieving this goal. Some information about what companies can do is also available on the Global Compact's website.The Global Compact advocates use of a performance model, which is designed to provide practical guidance to companies on how to improve their performance with respect to all ten principles. As a voluntary initiative, it is neither our practice nor within our power to express opinions about the situation of individual companies, including with respect to lawsuits that they may be facing. Nevertheless,transparency is a core value of the Global Compact, and we use the means available to us in order to increase the quantity and quality of information for stakeholders on companies' progress in implementing the Global Compact principles. To this end, the Global Compact requires that participants communicate annually to their stakeholders on progress made in implementing all ten principles, including principle five on child labour. Links to these communications can be found on the Global Compact website. Moreover, in the spirit of the Global Compact's emphasis on dialogue and learning, we encourage and promote dialogue between Global Compact participants and those who raise matters relating to their implementation of the Compact's principles. We therefore hope that the parties concerned will engage in constructive dialogue to resolve this matter as early as possible."

  While that's a bit much to unpack at press time, the raising of these matters has been not only in litigation, and in a shareholders' resolution this Spring at the chocolate company Hershey's, but now (full circle) at the ILO's briefing on May 4 (here in UN summary; here in Real Media) --  this is an ongoing beat.

Other Inner City Press reports are archived on

The Silence of the Congo and Naomi Watts; Between Bolivia and the World Bank

Human Rights Council Has Its Own Hanging Chads; Cocky U.S. State Department Spins from SUVs

Child Labor and Cargill and Nestle; Iran, Darfur and WHO's on First with Bird Flu

Press Freedom? Editor Arrested by Congo-Brazzaville, As It Presides Over Security Council

The Place of the Cost-Cut UN in Europe's Torn-Up Heart;
Deafness to Consumers, Even by the Greens

Background Checks at the UN, But Not the Global Compact; Teaching Statistics from Turkmenbashi's Single Book

Ripped Off Worse in the Big Apple, by Citigroup and Chase: High Cost Mortgages Spread in Outer Boroughs in 2005, Study Finds

Burundi: Chaos at Camp for Congolese Refugees, Silence from UNHCR, While Reform's Debated by Forty Until 4 AM

In Liberia, From Nightmare to Challenge; Lack of Generosity to Egeland's CERF, Which China's Asked About

The Chadian Mirage: Beyond French Bombs, Is Exxon In the Cast? Asylum and the Uzbeks, Shadows of Stories to Come

Through the UN's One-Way Mirror, Sustainable Development To Be Discussed by Corporations, Even Nuclear Areva

Racial Disparities Grew Worse in 2005 at Citigroup, HSBC and Other Large Banks

Mine Your Own Business: Explosive Remnants of War and the Great Powers, Amid the Paparazzi

Human Rights Are Lost in the Mail: DR Congo Got the Letter, But the Process is Still Murky

Iraq's Oil to be Metered by Shell, While Basrah Project Remains Less than Clear

At the UN, Dues Threats and Presidents-Elect, Unanswered Greek Mission Questions

Kofi, Kony, Kagame and Coltan: This Moment in the Congo and Kampala

As Operation Swarmer Begins, UN's Qazi Denies It's Civil War and Has No Answers if Iraq's Oil is Being Metered

Cash Crop: In Nepal, Bhutanese Refugees Prohibited from Income Generation Even in their Camps

The Shorted and Shorting in Humanitarian Aid: From Davos to Darfur, the Numbers Don't Add Up

UN Reform: Transparency Later, Not Now -- At Least Not for AXA - WFP Insurance Contract

In Congolese Chaos, Shots Fired at U.N. Helicopter Gunship

In the Sudanese Crisis, Oil Revenue Goes Missing, UN Says

Empty Words on Money Laundering and Narcotics, from the UN and Georgia

What is the Sound of Eleven Uzbeks Disappearing? A Lack of Seats in Tashkent, a Turf War at UN

Kosovo: Of Collective Punishment and Electricity; Lights Out on Privatization of Ferronikeli Mines

Abkhazia: Cleansing and (Money) Laundering, Says Georgia

Post-Tsunami Human Rights Abuses, including by UNDP in the Maldives

Who Pays for the Global Bird Flu Fight? Not the Corporations, So Far - UN

Citigroup Dissembles at United Nations Environmental Conference

Other Inner City Press reports are archived on

For reporting about banks, predatory lending, consumer protection, money laundering, mergers or the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), click here for Inner City Press's weekly CRA Report. Inner City Press also reports weekly concerning the Federal Reserve, environmental justice, global inner cities, and more recently on the United Nations, where Inner City Press is accredited media. Follow those links for more of Inner City Press's reporting, or, click here for five ways to contact us, with or for more information.

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