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• United Nations needs reform
United Nations needs reform
From The Guardian, London – January 5, 2005
Kofi Annan may not have intended to echo the Queen when he said that 2004 had been an “annus horribilis”. But the UN secretary-general has certainly been facing problems on a royal scale. He has now signalled a new start with the appointment of Mark Malloch Brown, a highly regarded British official, as his chief of staff. But the difficulties have not gone away. With the Asian tsunami disaster requiring the full and urgent attention of the world body, and its many critics sensing weakness, he cannot afford any more damaging distractions.
Annan was hailed as an experienced UN insider when he took over from Boutros Boutros-Ghali seven years ago, despite a patchy record as head of peacekeeping during the Bosnian and Rwandan crises. But in recent months the UN has faced damaging allegations of corruption in the Iraqi food-for-oil program (though this was largely the responsibility of the member states) – worsened by the fact that Annan’s son, Kojo, took payments from a firm involved. Then came staff complaints of sexual harassment and a prostitution scandal involving UN personnel in the Congo. …
Supporters of the UN, like this newspaper, are often accused of being too reverential. That is to misrepresent the reality of an organization that can only be as good as its members. The UN is far from perfect, but the only world body we have, still dominated by the victors of the second world war, and needs reform, not marginalization. Last month a blue chip panel recommended ways it could better meet the challenges of the 21st century.
Hilary Benn, the international development secretary, has some good ideas about improving poor aid delivery. Annan has begun what may be a wider shake-up at the top. He will be in Indonesia tomorrow at the tsunami donors conference. The world looks to him to take a confident lead commensurate with the noble ideals the UN embodies.
On the Net: www.guardian.co.uk/
The Tri-City Herald, Kennewick, Wash., on the U.S. reopening its borders to Canadian cows
It’s almost time to let the cows come home, the Bush administration has decided.
Canadian cows, that is. The decision by the U.S. government to reopen its borders in March to certain categories of Canadian cattle is a good move, backed with an abundance of caution.
The Bush administration is expected to proceed with lifting the ban even after Canada said that it had found a suspected new case of mad cow disease. No part of the 10-year-old dairy cow in question has entered human or animal food.
The ban, which sprang from a May 2003 case of mad cow disease in Alberta, has outlived its time.
It may have ended sooner, if it were not for the United States’ first case of mad cow, discovered in a Holstein from Mabton almost exactly one year ago.
The Mabton cow was traced back to a Canadian herd.
The U.S. government has repeatedly petitioned other governments to lift their bans on importing our beef. A reciprocal arrangement with Canada seems only fair. …
The Agriculture Department says effective measures are in place to prevent and detect bovine spongiform encephalopathy, the technical name for mad cow disease.
Part of those “effective measures” includes designation of Washington State University’s acclaimed School of Agriculture as one of seven institutions certified for testing for mad cow disease.
As we said when WSU was designated, testing is an important part of reassuring the American public and the country’s trading partners that the beef supply is safe. Since suspect beef must be held out of the food chain until tissue samples are cleared, quick and reliable testing is vital.
With these safeguards in place, it’s time to renew the traditional across-theborder cooperation of U.S. and Canadian cattle producers.
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