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UNEP Calderon Presser Allows No Nuclear Power Questions, Germans Everywhere

By Matthew Russell Lee

NEW YORK CITY, May 10 -- When Mexican President Felipe Calderon came to New York days after nationwide demonstrations against his bloody war on drugs, he did not go to the United Nations on Manhattan's East Side, where on Tuesday the Security Council was meeting about protection of civilians.

Rather he came to get an award from the UN Environment Program, and take no questions, at the Museum of Natural History on the West Side. He shared the podium, and UNEP award, with Chinese businessman Zhang Yue, in a ceremony sponsored by South Korean's LG Electronics.

Inner City Press tried to ask Calderon, after the questionless UNEP press conference, about his use of nuclear power, and secondarily of dams.

  But there were no answers.

   The press was shepherded to the large hall of the museum, where under the lit up replica whale another award winner, Angelique Kidjo, performed with drums, guitar and bass.

Master of ceremonies Don Cheadle was a no-show, replaced by a representative of the MTV music television network.

UNEP chief Achim Steiner chatted with fellow German UN official Franz Baumann. Another German, Under Secretary General Angela Kane, delivered the message of the missing Ban Ki-moon.

It is known that Germany would like UNEP to be replaced by a more powerful agency, tentatively named World Environment Organization or UNEO, and believes the UN systems environmental oversight to be subpar.

But the UN is giving its “premiere” environmental award to a president enamored with nuclear power, sponsored by an electronics company.

With UN's Ban & Zuma, Calderon previously celebrates, UNEP & protests not shown

On the other hand, Louis Palmer of Solar Taxi fame, with whom Inner City Press previously spoke at the UN two years ago, was on hand to get an “inspiration and action” award. Afterward Inner City Press asked him if President Obama is going enough. “No,” he said, calling the administration a disappointment.

A Swiss correspondent asked Palmer how he would respond to villagers and architects who decry the installation of solar panels. This is a crisis, Palmer answered, not a beauty contest for villages. Hear, hear.

* * *

As UNEP Prepares Award for Calderon, Drug War Protests, LG Pollution

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 5 -- When the UN Environment Program teased its May 10 “Champions of the Earth” ceremony by saying that an unnamed “Head of State from the Latin American region” would be given its “flagship environmental award,” many assumed that it would be Evo Morales of Bolivia, loud proponent of La Madre Tierra, Pachamama or Mother Earth.

  But inquiries by Inner City Press have found that UNEP's mystery guest will be Felipe Calderon Hinojosa of Mexico. The New York ceremony will come days after a protest of Calderon's drug war in Mexico. While the streets run red with blood, quipped one skeptic, Calderon drapes himself in green and UN blue.

  UNEP's event is sponsored by South Korea based LG Group, which is charged for business in China with Changzhou Hongdu Electronics Co. and heavy metal pollution.

  To be fair, particularly since it is Cinco de Mayo, some of Mexico's pollution has been reduced under Calderon. Click here for Inner City Press coverage of Cancun.

  But even on the environment, “critics suggest that the Mexican president and the Congress are not doing enough to promote renewable energy. A strong effort is important, they say, because Mexico is far behind other countries in implementing the technologies that will make a major difference in reducing pollution and ensuring Mexico’s energy security.”

  Another telltale sign, beyond Inner City Press' first hand reporting, that he is UNEP's May 10 awardee is the announcement that he will appear in Washington DC on May 11 for yet another award.

(At the UN, Mexico's departure from the Security Council is felt, on protection of civilians and, as the most recent example, the unqualified celebration of the killing of Osama bin Laden in a Presidential Statement on May 2. Mexico might, probably would, have voted for it, but would probably have asked for some changes.)

In any event, for this event, fleeing protests in Mexico, Calderon comes to the UN in New York. Many embattled leaders have done it. But sometimes their sojourn at the UN has hurt rather than helped them. How will it be for Calderon? Watch this site.

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

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

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