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Ahead of Sandy, Leader Out of Town, UN Cancels Human Rights, Debate?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 28, updated -- With New York Governor Andrew Cuomo shutting down mass transit as of Sunday night, as impact the UN a slew of events Monday and probably after stand to be postponed.

  Already Bolivian President Evo Morales canceled his 9 am press conference about the international year of the quinoa grain; Amnesty International postponed its reception Monday evening.

   Planned in the Security Council has been a "debate" -- really, a series of dozens of countries' speeches -- on Women, Peace and Security.

  The French Mission to the UN already bragged that its Minister for Women Najat Vallaud-Belkacem is in town. Other countries have representatives flying in through the JFK and Newark airports, slated to remain open. But it if all gets canceled? Oh, le shopping!

  Inexplicable to some, after hyping up his mere four day proposed ceasefire, UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi has has nothing to say as it was broken down amid car bombs and bombardment. Inner City Press has asked the UN if might have something to say on that - and on the worsening plight of the Rohingya in Myanmar.

  Facing silence by the storm are the UN system Special Rapporteurs on housing and on freedom of expression, Frank La Rue.

  La Rue has reported in the past on intimidation in South Korea, where as it happened UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has headed until Wednesday, to receive in person the Seoul peace prize -- as much of a surprise as many of the endorsements this week in the US presidential election.

  How storm-related changes will impact the November 6 election is in question, with campaign swings to Virginia canceled. Even some political talking-heads television shows were preempted on Sunday morning, at least in New York, to await another Mike Bloomberg press conference to which the Mayor was late.

  When he arrived, he ordered schools closed on Monday, and some evacutations near the harbor and rivers. And the UN on the East River?  This time, Mayor Mike is in town, and the UN's Ban Ki-moon is not.

So who at the UN will make the call on closures? Watch this site.

Update of 1:55 pm -- Manhattan's Borough President, Council members, even Norway's Mission to the UN, have all spoken on the impending storm: but nothing from the UN at this hour.

Update: These answers came back just after 2 pm:

From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at]
Date: Sun, Oct 28, 2012 at 2:04 PM
Subject: Questions
To: Matthew.Lee [at] innercitypress [dot] com

With respect to the questions you asked,

1) when we have a decision on the UN's operations during Hurricane Sandy, we will let the media know;

2) Mr.Brahimi has not yet made any comments about the observance of the cease-fire. If or when we have anything we will share it with journalists.

3) On Thursday we issued a statement on Myanmar. That continues to stand.

Update of 3:50 pm: Later, this was sent out:

Due to the impact of Hurricane Sandy, United Nations offices in New York will be closed on Monday, 29 October 2012. All meetings at Headquarters have been cancelled. The closure may be extended to Tuesday, 30 October 2012. We will let you know tomorrow afternoon or evening.

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