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IOC Says Saudi Arabia, Qatar & Brunei Sent No Women to Olympics, Sochi Time Bomb?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 29 -- Three countries have never sent women athletes to the Olympics: Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Brunei. This emerged on Tuesday, when Anita DeFranz of the International Olympics told the Press there are 204 national Olympic Committees and only three have not sent women. “Which three?” asked Inner City Press. Ms. DeFranz named them.

The IOC has become an Observer at the UN. Since the UN has 192 members, how does the IOC have 205? Ms. DeFranz explained that for example Puerto Rico and Guam has organizing committees but are not countries for purposes of the UN. Inner City Press asked, “And Abkhazia?”

While there was laughter, by the 2014 Winter Olympics it may not be so funny. Those games were awarded to Russia, for its notably warm resort town of Sochi. Georgia call for a boycott, after its war with Russia for Abkhazia and South Ossetia. (Georgia's Ambassador recently traveled to the International Criminal Court conference on the Crime of Aggression, his Mission told Inner City Press, still beating the drum for “accountability” for that war.)

Ms. DeFranz took questions about rules on ambiguous gender and the IOC's reliance on national identification documents to resolve disputes about underage gymnasts. Ms. DeFranz is a lawyer, and her answers showed it.  Video here.

UN's Ban, Rogge & Olympics: S. Arabia, Qatar & Brunei not shown

  A loaded question about participation by countries “where women are brutalized,” Ms. DeFranz answered with her own question: “the United States?” She said the beach volley ball players are not required to wear such small swim suits, and that boxers have agreed to forgo beards, without it being formally required.

What the benefit for the IOC of becoming an Observer?” Inner City Press asked. “Now we can talk,” said Ms. DeFranz. She said the UN flag has flown over the Games since 1992 in Barcelona.

Footnote: in audience was another Olympic athlete, swimmer Donna de Varona who spoke to Inner City Press about the U.S. Title IX. More countries should have it, she said. When asked about a case in Connecticut where Quinnipiac is defending closing its women's volleyball program by saying that cheer leading is a sport, she shrugged. It is if they compete, she said. Follow the money: hiss boom bah.

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UN's Closure of Day Care Center Raises Questions of Hypocrisy, Gender Entity End Game

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, June 25 -- As at the UN talks on the “Gender Entity” resolution are convened today, and Secretary General Ban Ki-moon heads to the G-20 meeting to speak of the importance of women to the MDGs, the hypocrisy of closing the UN day care center on only two days notice to parents has not gone unnoticed.

  Earlier this week Inner City Press exclusively reported on the June 18 closure, which working parents using the center were informed of only on June 16.

  Inner City Press is now informed that the UN Department of Management run by Angela Kane has been asked about decision, how it was taken and even if it can be re-considered.

    The hypocrisy is just too obvious. The Department of Management's Office for Human Resources Management has as a stated goal “to support the development and implementation of policies and programmes concerning staff welfare and employee assistance..." and "(f) to develop and implement policies on work/life issues to assist staff in balancing professional and personal lives" (ST/SGB/2004/8).

   A Secretary-General's report on “Improvement of the status of women in the United Nations system” (A/63/364), for example, identified the existence of child care facilities as one of the most effective means of facilitating work/life balance in the workplace, and notes the small percentage of these facilities as a “notable gap” in the United Nations.

   What was already a gap was made a gapping hole by a unilateral decision by an out of touch bureaucracy which didn't even purport to consult with those impacted.

Angela Kane claps while DSG Migiro holds the scizzors, ASG Pollard on side

On June 24, Inner City Press asked the UN Spokesperson:

Inner City Press: Some staff members have raised concern that the UN day care that they’ve run here for 38 years, at least that’s the number that’s put on it, is now being discontinued on two days’ notice to the affected staff members. And they seem to think this is inconsistent with everything that’s been said about work-life balance and making it easier for women to work in the UN. What’s the reasoning, particularly for the limited notice given to the staff members using that day care center?

Spokesperson Martin Nesirky: What I can say, I can’t really address the question of notice. That’s something that we could seek further guidance on. But what I can say is that it’s clearly linked to the renovation that’s going on in this building and the lack of appropriate space for children to be looked after.

Inner City Press: These staff members have pointed to an unused, or virtually unused space in [building] DC-1, and said that it seems from the notice that was put on i-Seek that the only concern is that they’d have to have licenses and somehow be up to New York City standards if they held it off premises. Does this imply that for 38 years it was somehow sub-par? I guess they view there was no dialogue given and there seems to be space. I’m just wondering, I don’t know, you didn’t make a decision to close it, but I’m wondering…

Spokesperson Nesirky: That’s for sure, that’s for sure.

Question: Who did, actually? Who did make the decision?

Spokesperson: Let’s find out.

   While as of this writing some 22 hours after the question was posed Mr. Nesirky had not named the decision making official, Inner City Press has been informed that the Department of Management, run by Angela Kane and overseeing “power broker” Michael Adlerstein's Capital Master Plan, has been asked about decision, how it was taken and even if it can be re-considered.

Footnote: Ironically, at the same time as this reporting, Mr. Adlerstein and Ms. Kane sent threatening messages to Inner City Press related to the Capital Master Plan. So it goes at the UN. Watch this site.

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UN Closes Day Care on Two Day Notice, Offers Gender Entity Post to Rwandan

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 22 -- As the UN talks about establishing a new "Gender Entity," offering the top post first to Chile's Michelle Bachelet and now a Rwandan minister, Inner City Press is told, it has this month unceremoniously eliminated the after school day care it for years had offered to staff.

  "It's hypocrisy," says one impacted working mother. "They talk about work life balance and advancing women, then cut this program on only two days' notice."

  The day care, in the UN Secretariat building, was discontinued on June 18. The impacted parent only learned of it on June 16, too late to put up a fight. The rationale is that with the UN's renovation, the day care could only continue out in the "real" New York west of 1st Avenue, where permits would be required.

UN's Ban and Ms. Bachelet, closure of UN day care not shown

  On June 22 the UN posted this notice on its intranet:

After-school recreation and study programme for United Nations children Posted: Tuesday, 22 June 2010, New York | Author: Department of Management

Because the UN Secretariat building is currently a construction zone, it is not possible to house the After-school Recreation and Study Programme on the premises due to lack of available space. Therefore, we regret to announce, ST/IC/2010/17, that we are not in a position to offer the Programme as of the end of the 2009/2010 school year, and we regret any inconvenience that this will cause to parents.

If we were to move the Programme to a rented building, we would be subject to New York City laws and code compliance. In reality, this means that the children participating in the Programme would have to be housed preferably on the ground floor, but not above the third floor. The child care space would also have to meet a number of other code requirements including certain exit criteria and access to play areas. Such a space is not available at this time. In addition, the operator of this service would have to be fully licensed and certified.

  Several readers found the UN's admission that has been below code compliance, and less safe than certified, strange. They point out, for example, that in the UN's DC-1 building on 44th Street and 1st Avenue there is a barely used room next to the third floor cafeteria. "They just don't think this is important," the working mother said. "And yet they're naming a new Gender Entity." She laughed, but bitterly. 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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