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UN Budget Goes Into Christmas Eve on Salary Freeze, "Grinch" Who Squeezed Oman

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 24, updated below -- As it passed noon on Christmas Eve, still the UN budget resolutions had not been passed. The session for adoption had been scheduled for 10 am in the General Assembly Hall. But even two hours after that, the action was still in the UN's North Lawn Building.

  Representatives of the Group of 77 and China marched down to Conference Room 3, where formal meetings are held, meetings that US Ambassador Joe Torsella brags about televising and making transparent.

  Now, however, the US is not speaking out about its position. Others tell Inner City Press at issue is "Paragraph 124, a salary freeze." Others call this, more technically, freezing post-adjustment in New York, and ask how much US government employees by contrast make.

   There are still complaints about Torsella's "squeeze play" on Oman's budget representatives, and his complaint that Oman had dared share his "non-paper." Click here for Inner City Press' exclusive report.

  "It was a power play," a Deputy Permanent Representative told Inner City Press. Another called Torsella "the Grinch Who Stole Christmas."

   In the lull there was some talk of Inner City Press' December 23 expose of scam recruitments, cover-ups and buy-out packages, click here to view.

   Much had been agreed to, including the scales of assessment and Ban Ki-moon's mobility plan. Still Ban's close adviser Kim Won-soo worked the crowd on Christmas Eve.

   Budget committee chairman Miguel Berger ambled around with Algeria's Permanent Representative, the chair of the G77. "There's going to be a deal," a long time budget expert predicted. Christmas was approaching. Watch this site.

Update of 1:20 pm -- Inner City Press is told the deal involves a salary freeze until January 31, then increases continue "at rate of February, 68.4, 68.5" -- so the US can claim victory. The Vienna Cafe will close at 3 pm - but leave the coffee urns full. Watch this site.

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