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Of N. Korea Banging & German to Finnish Budget, PGA Ashe Opens, Seconded

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 3 -- As the UN General Debate ended on Tuesday, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea was banging on the table trying to get the attention of President of the General Assembly John Ashe.

  On Thursday Inner City Press asked Ashe about the incident, and about an unexpected series of rights of reply between Bolivia and Libya. Ashe said the rules provide for only two rounds of replies, first of ten minutes then of five. He said there was no way to predict which country might ask for a reply.

  One wonders: if a country is under attack from a group or gang of others, does it still only get two replies? The answer seems to be yes -- but it's two for each meeting. So the North Koreans could have gotten more.

  Inner City Press asked asked Ashe about the chair of the UN's Fifth (Budget) Committee going from Germany last year to Finland now -- what about the developing world? Ashe answered that since there are six committees to chair and only five regional groups, each year one of the groups of developing countries gets two chairs. But these can be exchanged.

  Since Ashe had mentioned openness, Inner City Press asked that he disclose which countries were paying which people in his office. He said is it not pay or sponsorship, but "secondment." Fine - but will each instance be disclosed?

The first question, by a so-called tradition that the new Free UN Coalition for Access contests due to censorship, politicization and even spying by the UN Correspondents Association's Executive Committee, went to UNCA -- not to 2013 president Pamela Falk of CBS or first vice president Louis Charbonneau of Reuters but their designee, previously of Reuters, who proceeded to chide Ashe for allowing so many meetings.

   Hey, if you don't want to cover them, don't. FUNCA by contrast told Ashe, the more meetings, the better. And the more disclosure. Watch this site.


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