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Before Global Model UN, Financial Sponsors' Names Disappear, Malaysia on Refugees

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 4 -- As the UN promotes its upcoming Global Model United Nations, to be held in Malaysia, questions arose about previous corporate sponsorships of the event, and of some participants' travel. Inner City Press asked UN official Eric Falt about listed 2009 "sponsors" including Nestle and AIG affiliate C.V. Starr. Video here, from Minute 31:13.

  Falt said he thought the deal with Nestle had fallen through, and hadn't heard of "the other" sponsor, AIG's C.V. Starr. Later he sent the following explanation:

With regard to Nestle, we had been in discussion with them last year to possibly sponsor students from developing countries who could not afford to attend the first conference in Geneva. In this end, this did not happen but the information relating to their expected sponsorship somehow remained on the website. As an admittedly late update, Nestle's name has now been removed from the website as a sponsor.

Since students are responsible for paying their own expenses (i.e., travel and accommodations), we encouraged them to seek their own funding from local enterprises. The names of other sponsors you mentioned who were also listed as “SPONSORS who provided financial assistance to Global Model UN Delegates” were provided to us by the students themselves. The United Nations did not have any direct connection with any of these sponsors. In any case, I would agree that this is potentially confusing and we have therefore removed this list of "secondary" sponsors from the website as well.

  We're not sure that the solution to this "confusion" is to remove information about who is paying to fly delegates to the Global Model UN. If AIG (or Nestle) is paying, it should be known.

  During the press conference, Mr. Falt said that the UN reviews potential corporate sponsor under rules promulgated by the UN Global Compact -- it's not "anything goes," he said. But the Global Compact has as a member, for example, PetroChina which is under fire for its engagement with the Al Bashir government of Sudan. If there are standards, what are they? And is the solution removing the names of sponsors, even "secondary" sponsors, from the UN's website?

Malaysia's Ambassador on GMUN, some corporate sponsors no longer shown

  Inner City Press also asked Malaysia's Ambassador about human rights complaints against his country for treatment of refugees, and crackdowns on free press. He graciously responded that these must be seen in the "context of the country itself... we have three major groups, and many smaller." He said that although Malaysia has not joined the Refugee convention, it still implements. But there are stories of mistreatment of asylum seekers, for example from Myanmar, here.

  Will these type of issues -- UN engagement with corporations like Nestle, AIG or even PetroChina, and the host country's treatment of asylum seekers, for example from Myanmar -- be allowed to be debated at the 2010 Global Model UN? We'll see. Watch this site.

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As Russia Denies Paulson's "Dump Fannie Mae" Story, Chinese Tricks Explored

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 2 -- Buried in the just released memoir of former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is the allegation that in August 2008 Russia asked China to join with it in dumping on the market the securities of Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac.

  While Paulson does not draw the connection, it was in August 2008 that Russia's conflict with Georgia about the territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia flared up into a war. The U.S. Administration jumped to Georgia's defense, at least verbally, and according to Paulson, Russia try to lure China into a "dump the GSEs" campaign. As it turned out, Russia did sell its over $60 billion stake in the two mortgage giants.

  Inner City Press asked a senior Russian representative to the UN about Paulson's story on February 2, as the Security Council met about its program of work for February. "I don't think so," the diplomat said.

  Why then would Paulson tell the story? "We are getting closer with the U.S.," the diplomat said. "People get jealous." He went on, "We don't have a good relationship with China right now. The U.S. does not have a good relationship with China." He shrugged. "People don't want Russia and the U.S. to get along."

  Paulson sources his story in "On the Brink: Inside the Race to Stop the Collapse of the Global Financial System" to the Chinese, bragging perhaps that they hadn't gone along with Russia's urging. So, in this view, was China trying to drive a further wedge between Russia and the U.S.?

Paulson, China: Russia's "dump Fannie Mae" strategy not shown

  At the time of the South Ossetia and Abkhazia conflict, through which Russia recognized both territories as countries independent from Georgia, China expressed unease. What if Tibet or Taiwan, or even Uighur Xinjiang Autonomous Region, were similar recognized by another state?

  If Chinese officials did in fact pass dirt about Russia along to the U.S. Treasury Secretary, perhaps the disagreement about recognizing breakaway separatist states explains it. It's something that should be expected to be covered more in the media, as Paulson hawks his book. It is may arise further at the UN -- watch this site.

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

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