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March 1, 2011: Libya

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At UN for MDGs, It's 50 Cent But No Ban Ki-Moon, Hard Selling God's Work

By Matthew Russell Lee

NEW YORK CITY, September 20 -- Who showed up Tuesday for the Millennium Development Goals? Rapper turned vitamin water salesman Curtis Fifty Cent Jackson, for one. Jennifer Connelly for another, talking about her three children. Archbishop Desmond Tutu urged a fight against child marriage.

  Absent was Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, with apologies given by his deputy Asha-Rose Migiro. Ban's speechwriter Michael Myer was spotted in the crowd, as was his self-described "global goods" guru Robert Orr.

 But where was Ban himself? And why did his Spokesperson's Office nevertheless send out "Ban's" remarks to the event, at 7:30 pm?

  The master of ceremonies for "Every Woman, Every Child" was Ray Chambers, whom Margaret Chan said she met at a dinner thrown by George W. Bush. They handed the mike to person after person, the cast turning decidedly corporate with pitches by Merck and even Intel.

  In the crowd was USAID chief Rajiv Shah, introducing others to his sister Amy. There was a lot of talk of social media, with the new CEO of (RED) Deborah Dugan saying she'll make the MDGs "red hot" using FourSquare and "the vodka you're drinking."

  There didn't appear to be hard liquor, but a fellow slash journalist in a red dress knocked down twenty wine glasses. She explained to Inner City Press she is up from Atlanta at the UN on a fellowship paid by the UN Foundation. When largely discredited "MassiveGood" proponent Douste-Blazy spoke, she said loudly, "Love the comb over!" It was authentic, as was the testimony of a health worker, late in the program.

50 Cent for MDGs, Street King water sales not shown

  Thus it went, promoting God's work in the Hyatt Hotel on 42nd Street amid canapes and, finally, music by Youssou N'Dour. And tomorrow, the speech of Obama and his meetings with Netanyahu and Mahmud Abbas. Breathe deeply, said Deepak Chopra. Breathe deeply indeed.

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At UN, Deby On TNC's "Hypocrisy, " 400,000 Chadians "Blocked" in Libya, "No Prisoners in Chad"

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 19 -- Chad's President Idriss Deby told Inner City Press on Monday that there remain 400,000 Chadian's "blocked" inside Libya.

 He said the vast majority had gone to Libya to work. Some had been recruited to fight but by both sides, he insisted, Gaddafi and the National Transitional Council.

   He said that going forward the international community should help reconcile all Libyans, "including those who worked with Gaddafi." Video here, 1st part of interview.

  Deby accused the leaders of the "New Libya," the National Transitional Council, of hypocrisy as many of them previously worked with Gaddafi. He said there should be greater African Union involvement in the New Libya, and chafed at Inner City Press' statement that South Africa has led on that issue, and on that of African migrants.

  "There are other African countries on the Security Council," he said, naming Gabon and then Nigeria.

  Inner City Press asked Deby for his view of developments in Sudan. Deby spoke of Southern Kordofan and "Nil Bleu," Blue Nile, then said that much remains to be solved between North and South Sudan.

  On this, Inner City Press asked Deby to respond to reports that the publication N'Djamena Bi-Hebdo was told not to compare South Sudan to Southern Chad:

"In the October 14 to 17 edition of the local newspaper N'Djamena Bi-Hebdo, the publishers included an article comparing southern Sudan with southern Chad. The prime minister called the article 'dangerous' and asked the HCC to act on the matter. On October 19, the HCC met with journalists and warned N'Djamena Bi-Hebdo in particular and all media houses in general to "observe ethics rules" by not printing articles that risked inciting hatred, violence, or separatist sentiment."

  Deby said he didn't know about the case. He said "come to Chad" to see the freedom of the press, and also said that "there are no political prisons in Chad." Inner City Press began to ask of one example -- Ibni Oumar Mahamat Saleh -- but Deby didn't answer on it.

  The interview was over, and Inner City Press left the Plaza Hotel. Deby will speak before the General Assembly on Friday, after meeting with Ban Ki-moon the day before. "Mais vous savez de tout," Deby said. Not as much as we'd like to. Watch this site.

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Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

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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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