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As Sandy Silences UN Worldwide, Bloomberg Chats with Geithner, Disses Bronx

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 29 -- As Hurricane Sandy was bearing down on New York on Monday afternoon, the United Nations was closed shut. A few staff members and diplomats moved cars in the UN's underground garage. The East River rose; on First Avenue tourists stared forlornly in at the bent-up gun meant to symbolize the UN's work for peace.

  The actual work wasn't going so well. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was out of town in South Korea, from which he expressed belated disappointment on the immediate breakdown of a much hyped ceasefire in Syria.

  The UN told Inner City Press it had nothing new on Myanmar since four days previous, despite ethnic cleansing and murder of stateless Rohingya. There was no word of filings about bombings in (and by) Sudan.

  As of 6:40 pm on Monday, no daily "highlights" or statements of any kind had been posted on the UN Spokesperson's website. One wag wondered, has the whole world stopped? Various countries' mission to the UN announced their staff would be working, from home.

  In Moscow, Syria envoy Ladkhar Brahimi assured reporters that the UN was not sending peacekeepers, only making plans through its Under Secretary General Herve Ladsous, who closed down the first UNSMIS mission and refuses to answer any Press questions about safeguards.

  On 48th Street a tree fell down. The UN announced it would be closed for a second day on Tuesday. Cancellations included a Security Council session about Somalia, and press conference on the right to water on "human rights and transnational corporations."

  New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg appeared at a press conference and reflexively defended the construction conglomerate Bovis, despite its 57th Street crane collapsing and its involvement in the Deutsche Bank building scandal.

  Bloomberg recounted that he had spoken not only with President Barack Obama but also Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. One wondered, why Geither and not for example Ben Bernanke of the Federal Reserve? Geithner's name has been floated after he leaves government "service "as moving to Citigroup, a post once held by "Sandy" Weill.

  In comments echoing previous Mayor's dismissal of New York City's outer boroughs, Bloomberg said the City's system is getting too many 911 calls from Queens.

  Meanwhile in at the Kingsbridge Armory in The Bronx, National Guardsmen were mobilized to help people in, yes, Manhattan. And so it goes. Watch this site.

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Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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