Driving at UN, LaHood Dodges Mexican Trucks, Names Taiwan as a Country
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, May 19 -- In one of the stranger press stakeouts at the UN
of late, US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood appeared Wednesday to
talk about distracted driving. Even during a four second text
message, he said, a car travels the length of a football field.
asked LaHood about a controversy in the news, the US's refusal to
allow Mexican trucks into the country, contrary to NAFTA. LaHood
replied that "Mexican trucks have nothing to do with distracted
driving." Video here,
from Minute 21:16. But the issue is sure to arise during President
Calderon's state dinner with Barack Obama. And LaHood went on to praise
prohibiting truck drivers from texting.
Smith of Focus Driven had also denounced the use of "handsfree"
devices while driving, Inner City Press asked if Wednesday's call
also targeted this form of distraction. "All are distractions,"
General Ban Ki-moon, who did not stay to answer any questions, had
announced an Administrative Instruction prohibiting UN personnel from
texting while driving. But when Inner City Press later asked Ban's
spokesman how this would be enforced, what the penalties were, the
spokesman said the AI is not yet in place. Nor could he answer about
UN staff in Cyprus causing a crash that killed two Bulgarians.
reporters asked questions, more than a dozen were present, drawn by
the presence of US Ambassador Susan Rice and Russia's Vitaly Churkin,
hoping one or both might speak about Iran. She did not.
spoke of anti-texting legislation in "countries including...
Taiwan," Ambassador Rice reacted. In the UN, it's "Taiwan
Province of China." LaHood did not clarify. Video here.
fact, even a
question addressed to Ambassador Churkin, LaHood stepped in to
answer, touting the Obama administration's spending. Afterwards,
Churkin said that while LaHood had promoted Obama's agenda, he
Churkin would now speak for the international community.
day after the
sponsoring of a draft resolution to impose sanctions on Iran was
met by a Brazilian vow not to engage, and similar skepticism by
Turkey, the US's showing at the driving stakeout seemed, in a word,
UN's Ban and LaHood, Susan Rice, Vitaly Churkin
speakers waited for LaHood to arrive, and just after Inner City Press
had asked Ban Ki-moon about the report on
the UN's role in Sri Lankan
war crimes put out by the
International Crisis Group, Samantha Power
approached Mr. Ban to mention the various Sergio de
and to introduce her husband Cass Sunstein, the Obama
administration's regulatory guru. (His reaction to the proposed
Consumer Financial Protection Agency being weakened, and to the BP
oil spill, were not able to be inquired into.)
his hat to the couple in his remarks. But what does Ms. Power, who
literally wrote the book on genocide, have to say about the UN's and
US Mission's positions on Sri Lanka, compared to the ICG report?
While like Mexican trucks not related to distracted driving, these
are questions needing answers. Watch this site.
* * *
UN, Of Serbian Cell Phones in Kosovo and Transport Corruption,
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, May 17 -- "Kosovo cannot tolerate any longer so much
lawlessness, " Skender Hyseni, Foreign Minister of Kosovo, told
the Press on Monday. Inner City Press has asked Hyseni about this
government's move last month to disable the repeaters of Telekom and
Telenor, two Serbia-based cell phone companies, from providing
service south of the Ibar River.
which seeks a license will be duly considered and eventually
honored," Hyseni said. Video here,
from Minute 2:50.
cell service is a
politically charged issue. Currently, according to Hyseni, 68
countries recognize the unilateral declaration of independence of
Kosovo. He predicted the number will grow after the International
Court of Justice rules on Serbia's case, which he said will be soon.
that regulating telecommunications should still be the responsibility
of the UN, under Resolution 1244. After a Security Council meeting
Monday about Kosovo, Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin came out
smiling. "Resolution 1244," he told the Press as he passed.
asked Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic to, like Hyseni, take
questions at the stakeout. Jeremic shook his head. "It was a
good session," he said, gesturing back at the Council. Last Kosovo
debate in January, Boris Tadic similarly declined to take questions.
Hyseni on May 17, Zennier in background, cell phone
regulation not seen
on Monday might have been
asked about the mass grave recently found in Southern Serbia, or
whether Kovoso's participation in the upcoming EU - Wester Balkan
conference in Sarajevo connotes increased recognition of the UDI.
would have wanted to call for the ouster of Kosovo
transportation minister Fatmir Limoj, whose office was recently
raided by EULEX. Hyseni when asked by Inner City Press declined to
speak on this, saying that the judiciary in Kosovo is independent,
and that questions of corruption should be kept separate from
"projects." Video here,
from Minute 4:16.
But if the
alleged corruption was in the
procurement for the project, how can they be separate? Watch this