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

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At UN, Economists Disagree With IMF & Geither on China, Bollinger Blind on Banks

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 5, updated -- While the International Monetary Fund and US officials like Timothy Geithner call for changes in what they call the under valuation of China's yuan, the UN on Thursday said that economic problems in the US and countries like it cannot be blamed on China, and defended valuation of currency and capital controls as sovereign rights.

  Inner City Press asked UN Deparment of Economic and Social Affairs official Jomo Sundaram about Geithner's and the IMF's charges, and to explain the UN's and IMF's differences on issues ranging from India's economic prospects to the place of capital controls.

  Jomo replied that the IMF has been ignoring Article Six of its Articles of Agreement, which he says gives states the right to manage their capital accounts. He said UN bodies like the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, are “closer to governments” that the IMF, which works from Washington.

  Certainly, ESCAP chief Noeleen Heyzer has made comments viewed as favorable to the still military dominated government of Myanmar, and Jomo on Thursday tossed seemingly gratuitous praise to Sri Lanka, just after a UN Panel of Experts described 40,000 civilians killed there.

Update of May 7: Jomo Sundaram has written in that "I only mentioned Sri Lanka to make the point that rapid growth in South Asia was not just an India story." Duly noted, although some might also note while it is the IMF's modus operendi to ignore human rights concerns, one expects has historically expected something a bit more nuanced from the UN.  But duly noted.

Geithner, Obama & Hillary Clinton & Chinese officials, UN & Bollinger not shown

  But ESCAP was not able to report much data about the Democratic People's Republic of Korea -- so they are not able to get close to ALL governments.

Also at the UN this week, Columbia University president Lee Bollinger told the press that there needs to be more journalism in China because “we don't know the condition of Chinese banks.” One wanted to ask him, what about the US banks whose dalliance in predatory mortgages led the whole world into economic meltdown? But the question was not taken. So it goes at the UN.

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Ready On Yemen “Once Situation Allows,” Saleh Test Unclear, Watching Syria

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 28 -- With Ali Abdullah Saleh still in power in Yemen, the International Monetary Fund has said it “would be ready to work with the Yemeni authorities including by looking at the means of financial assistance once the situation allows.”

On April 28, Inner City Press asked the IMF's David Hawley to “describe the IMF's interface with Syria and Yemen, and how the crackdowns there may impact that, and how they are viewed by the IMF.”

Hawley said that the IMF's program with Yemen are “on hold in the current situation,” and then referred to comments by IMF Middle East and Central Asia director Masood Ahmed -- who is the one who said, the previous day in Dubai, that the IMF is “ready to work with the Yemeni authorities... once the situation allows.”

Does that mean a reduction in violence -- which could be brought about, at least theoretically, by MORE repression rather than less -- or the exit of Saleh? The IMF didn't say.

  The World Bank has pulled staff out of Yemen, Robert Zoellick said in response to Inner City Press' question at the IMF & World Bank Spring Meetings two weeks ago, click here for that.

Saleh with UN S-G Ban, World Bank exit and IMF readiness not shown

  On Inner City Press' Syria question on April 28, Hawley said that the IMF “like other observers is following the situation closely” and “deplores the loss of life associated with unrest.”

In other answers, Hawley said Egypt has not yet made a proposal for money, despite reports of a $4 billion request. He declined to say if the IMF would consider “going it alone” and arranging its own bailout for Portugal if European participation were blocked by a veto.

Hawley dismissed the possibility of Greek debt restructuring and denied that Dominique Strauss-Kahn is going to Athens for meetings. We'll see.

Foonote: Inner City Press timely submitted another question on April 28 which Hawley neither answered nor even mentioned, and will be writing about it, but is first waiting to see how and if the IMF responds. Watch this site.

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

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

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.

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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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