Archive for August 23rd, 2012


Ending Deadlocked Middle East Peace Process, Urgent — UN

Human Wrongs Watch

Ongoing developments in the Middle East have increased the urgency of resolving the stalemate in the Arab-Israeli peace process, the United Nations political chief said, while also noting that the prospects of regional peace were fading.

West Bank Israeli settlement of Har Gilo, located near Jerusalem. Photo: IRIN/Erica Silverman

“We are concerned that we have not yet seen the progress required for sustained negotiations that could lead to successful outcomes,” the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, told the Security Council on 22 August during its regular monthly meeting on the Middle East.

“While prospects for peace seem to grow dimmer, we – as the United Nations – continue to hope that leaders on both sides will recognize and seize the historic opportunity that is now before them to start seriously working toward the goal of reaching a peace agreement that meets the legitimate aspirations and fulfils the rights of the people on both sides,” Feltman stated.

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Two in Three Japanese Want Complete Eradication of Nuclear Power By 2030

By Christine McCann* — In spite of dire predictions of blackouts from power companies and some government officials, Japan has experienced no power loss this summer, even during the heaviest period of usage on August 3.

Photo: Greenpeace

Analysts say that electricity sales to households fell by 12.4% from last year, after voluntary power saving advisories were established.

In addition, predictions by the Japanese Institute of Energy Economics earlier this year that the nation’s economy would shrink or remain the same have fallen flat. The country’s gross domestic product (GDP) actually grew by 5.5% in the first quarter of this year and by 1.1% during the second quarter.

Japan has begun posting select comments from the public on the government’s pending decision about how much nuclear energy the country should use by 2030: 0%, 15%, or 20-25%. Over 90,000 comments were received.

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Ban Ki Moon Goes to Tehran Despite US, Israel ‘Objections’

Human Wrongs Watch

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will visit Iran at the end of the month to take part in the 16th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), according to his spokesperson.

Ban with President Ahmadinejad of Iran, April 2011 | Photo: UN

“The Secretary-General looks forward to the Summit as an opportunity to work with the participating Heads of State and Government, including the host country, towards solutions on issues that are central to the global agenda including follow-up to the Rio+20 Conference on sustainable development, disarmament, conflict prevention, and support for countries in Transition,” his spokesperson told reporters on 22 August.

Taking place in the capital, Tehran, and under the chairmanship of Iran, the NAM Summit will be held on 26-31 August, and is expected to draw representatives from its 120 members, as well as from various associated observer countries.

Over recent days, there have been media reports of calls, from Israel and the US, for Ban to boycott the meeting, the UN reports.

Ban’s spokesperson said that the UN chief takes “seriously” his responsibility and that of the United Nations to pursue diplomatic engagement with all of the world body’s Member States, in the interest of peacefully addressing vital matters of peace and security.

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