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Reuters AlertNet 8/17/07

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At UN, Human Rights Photos Amid the Canapes, Stories of Watches on Display

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, October 29 -- Human trafficking was the theme was a photo exhibit that opened Monday night at the UN. The son of investor Warren Buffett, Howard, fresh from being named an Ambassador against Hunger by the UN World Food Program, squired the First Lady of the UN and its head of Drugs and Crime through a display of his photographs, including children chained to a tree in Senegal. Other photographs, by Kay Chernush, showed a Nepali mother trying to track down her trafficked daughter in India. Waiters offers salmon rolls and cakes with flags in them. A chamber music version of And I Love Her by the Beatles made played by a quartet from Julliard. "Classy event," remarked one wag, contrasting it with Friday evening's surreal and tacky display of IWC watches, in their own display cases, in the other end of the UN lobby, between IWC -- the International Watch Co. -- sponsored a book a photographs of Antarctica by fashion photograph Sebastian Copeland, whose intro speaks of traveling "with his cousin Orlando Bloom." The UN as name-dropping fashion show, ambassadorships given for money, watches on display.

UNEP NY chief Castano and photog Sebastian Copeland, flashy watches not shown

            The historical UN wag hearkened back to at least two watch incidents. In connection with the 50th anniversary of the UN, Swatch was a sponsor. At a luncheon in the Delegates' Dining Room, each invitee was supposed to get a watch. They were put at each table setting. But many disappeared, and then resurfaced in the UN bookstore, returned as if purchased for $85. Swatch sent a cartload of time pieces to children singing in the General Assembly. The cart was stopped halfway there, and half the watches disappears. Ah, corporate partnership.

UN-blind item: a successful candidate for General Assembly president, native of an occupied territory but occupied as Ambassador of a certain sandy kingdom, gave out watches in advance of the vote to elect him, also in the GA. And so it goes at the UN.

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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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UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540