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UN Parties, From Genital Mutilation to Fergie's Army of Mothers, Still No Bar

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 5 -- The UN is full of good intentions, literally, this week. There is the Commission on the Status of Women, on the sidelines of which on Wednesday night an event was held on female genital mutilation. Amid a spread of cheese cubes and wine, a speaker from Mauritania urged the half-filled Delegates Dining Room to make the UN General Assembly "outlaw FGM."

  That the General Assembly can't outlaw anything was not mentioned. Nor was the UN's invocation of immunity to defend against sexual harassment suits, and failure to discipline its own peacekeepers even when charged with rape.

  Speakers from Uganda described President Museveni canceling a trip out of the country in order to campaign against FGM in Karamoja. But his government is accused of killing civilians in the region, bombing them from the air.

  Then incongruously at a press conference about the Chile, Sarah Ferguson showed up, promoting an idea she said she had just had, of an Army of Mothers of which she would be General. It may be a good idea, but it would be better to get it off the ground before chasing off the UN press room stage an organization like Equality Now, which was not even left enough time to answer questions, for example questions from Inner City Press about anti-women laws in the United States and Kenya. We'll have more on both press conferences.

UN's Ban and Fergie, Army of Mothers and results not shown

  Friday evening saw a film screening sponsored by the Greek Mission to the UN, set in village in post coup 1968. A group of boys raise funds to buy a television set to watch the Apollo 11 moon landing, while preparing for pre-resignation Spiro Agnew to come for a visit. The audience laughed, with nary a comment about the budget cut protests in Athens, the government's new threat to turn to the IMF.

The re-opening of the UN Delegates' Lounge, promised for the first Friday in March, did not happen. Sources blamed it on the Department for Management. "The joyless reign of Ban Ki-moon," one correspondent cursed.

But in the lobby of the General Assembly there was Latin music from a band called Coco Mama, and drinks for $5, plates of food for $10. It was to benefit Haiti. There were good intentions everywhere.

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UN Powder was Non Dairy Creamer Brought In, Sources Say, UN Bar to Re-Open in 2 Weeks, Reception Review

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 22 -- With the UN's cafeteria re-opened on February 22 after a two day scare caused by the find of an "unidentified powder" on the conveyor belt to the dish washing room, Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Martin Nesirky what the powder was. Nesirky said he didn't know.

A well placed source tells Inner City Press that the powder was, in fact, non dairy creamer, shaken out into an envelope. Since the UN's cafeteria does not serve non dairy creamer, this means a person brought the powder in. The source surmises this more likely makes the incident intentional.

UN's Ban in cafeteria, non dairy creamer not shown

In other UN food or beverage news, Inner City Press is informed that the re-opening of the UN's Delegates' Lounge bar may be in as little as two weeks. The physical bar has been ordered. It will be on the second floor of the North Lawn Temporary Building, facing the river.

  On February 19, beer was for the first time served in the new building. The occasion was a Japanese comedy put on by Japan's mission to the UN. Afterwards, there were noodles and chicken and shrimp, and more Saporo beer than anyone could drink.

  In fact, some who had attended another event, a film about endangered languages, venture down to the first floor for the Saporo spread. Anyone in the UN could go. Good relations for Japan, to be sure.

 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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