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Of $100 Charge to Hear Kane on Syria, UN Says Only She Won't Keep the Money

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 30 -- Does the UN under Secretary General Ban Ki-moon now allow admission fees of up to $100 to be charged to hear a UN official speak, in the UN, about their work? Apparently yes.

  Inner City Press on Monday asked Ban's spokesperson Martin Nesirky about an invitation or solicitation sent out that morning by the Global Security Institute, founded by Alan Cranston, to hear UN official Angela Kane speak in the "elegant Delegates' Dining Room" at the UN in late October -- for $100.

  In the past, for example when the Korea Society charged $10 to hear Ban's official Robert Orr speak, Nesirky's office said that only minimal facilities charges could be passed on.

 This was repeated to the Free UN Coalition for Access @FUNCA_info by the UN Development Program when people, even children, were charged $5 to hear UNDP Administrator Helen Clark speak in New Zealand.

   But $100? For Ban's negotiator with Syria? Is this inflation? Or decay? Nesirky didn't say the change was any problem, rather tried to turn the question on Inner City Press and say the question might imply that Kane was keeping the $100 per person.

  Other UN audits exclusively obtained and reported by Inner City Press might raise questions -- but that wasn't, and isn't, the question Inner City Press asked on Monday.

  At the same noon briefing, Nesirky confirmed that while his office solicited expression of interest from journalists to cover the UN Security Council's trip to Africa's Great Lakes region, France was allowed to hand-pick which journalists would go.

Then Nesirky cut off and did not allow Inner City Press' follow up question on the legitimacy of this, saying others didn't want to hear about Inner City Press' travel plans. (He later refused without explanation to take an Inner City Press question about the Democratic Republic of the Congo.)

There's more to say, but this is Ban's UN. Watch this site.


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