Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the Inner City to Wall Street to the United Nations

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

  Search Search WWW (censored?)

In Other Media-eg Nigeria, Zim, Georgia, Nepal, Somalia, Azerbaijan, Gambia Click here to contact us     .


Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


Follow us on TWITTER

Subscribe to RSS feed

Video (new)

Reuters AlertNet 8/17/07

Reuters AlertNet 7/14/07

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

As UN Bar Re-Opens, Delegate Lounge Tech Help to Close, First Beer

By Matthew Russell Lee

.UNITED NATIONS, March 25 -- Four hours after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon answered two Press questions about Myanmar on the second story of the UN's new building, just down the hall the UN Delegates Lounge bar belatedly re-opened.

Three months ago, the long time Delegates Lounge mimicked in the Alfred Hitchcock movie North by Northwest was closed. At first, no replacement was planned. The UN Management official scoffed that there are many bars out on Second Avenue.

  But delegates and ambassadors as well as this publication complained. As one denizen put it, many diplomatic problems were solved over drinks, in a setting that no Second Avenue bar could reproduce. You just go to the Delegates Lounge, he said, and find everyone you need to speak with.

  Well, not everyone. But in the spirit of the moment, Inner City Press came to witness the re-opening. A Corona, the first, was offered on the house. And we're back.

New UN bar on March 25, 2010, Ulysses at the helm

Back reporting too. Right next to the new Delegates Lounge is the ICT Resource Center, a booth where lower tech Ambassadors could use computers and even borrow laptops. It is now slated to be closed, next Wednesday, under the direct supervision of a cost cutting UN official named Frank Moser.

And if member states complain? Watch this site

UN Slated to Re-Open Delegates' Bar on March 25, of UN Elitist Venues, Events

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 24 -- Tomorrow, after a UN day featuring the Group of Friends of the Secretary General on Myanmar meeting, the Delegates' Lounge will belatedly re-open. The longstanding "UN bar," in the two tiered Conference Building North Lounge, closed just before Christmas 2009. After months of procrastination and moralism driving delays, it will reopen in a smaller space in the UN's Temporary North Lawn Conference Building, sometimes called UN-KIA.

  While the Inner City Press review of its re-opening must wait a day or two, it's worth reflecting on why the Delegates Lounge was different, and in ways better, than the usual UN reception circuit. Just in the past week, there have been events for World Water Day, sponsored by Tajikistan, in the new Delegates Dining Room beside the staff cafeteria, and celebrations of the national days of Namibia and Pakistan.

  But these are for diplomats and gate crashers, not for UN staff. At the Tajikistan event, the stratification of UN culture was apparent. General Assembly President Ali Treki sat in the raised up space in the center, with his body guards. Then Lynn Pascoe paid homage to the Tajiks at another raised up table. It was like diplomatic theater.

  Inner City Press is informed, in another UN classic, that several Ambassadors have complained that their Delegates Dining Room lunch spot is so close to "the regular people," lowly UN staff. For now, it is divided from the cafeteria only by a curtain which, it's been snarked to Inner City Press, makes it appear like a funeral parlor. These high minded Ambassadors have asked to move their elite lunch room to the new building, "far from the maddening crowd."

Tajik prime minister on World Water Day- and not a drop to drink

Tuesday night in the old -- and better -- Delegates Dining Room, Namibia celebrated its national day. Many Permanent Representatives were there, including those of Congo, Spain, Austria, Ghana and others. A military man from Saudi Arabia was there, and diplomats from Nicaragua, one of them a Delegates Lounge activist. One gleaned that the Vatican is carbon neutral, and that India's candidate to replace Yvo de Boer won't be officially named until March 31 -- this from a diplomat very democratically offering to divide a piece of cake with the Fourth Estate. Still, it was too fancy.

Even more so later Tuesday at Pakistan's Permanent Representative's house or "residence" on the Upper East Side. The food was great, the Permanent Representative's white chemise was flowing, but few UN staff. That's what the Delegates Lounge is about, hearing what is up. Here's hoping.

Footnote: Today is the last day in the "old" Security Council, by the monthly schedule of the Gabonese presidency. Between now and April, all will move down to the basement of Conference Room 4, including the horseshoe table. Inner City Press asked if a chainsaw would do it. "Chainsaws are not used here at the UN," was the reply. Maybe they should be?

* * *

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.

 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.

* * *

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

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

  Search  Search WWW (censored?)

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

            Copyright 2006-08 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] -