It's time to consult the crystal snow globe for a look at both the likely and unexpected events which will shape the New Year. Serious strife both in the Middle East, and Africa to a lesser extent, have expanded leading to a culture of conflict with the ensuing reverberations of refugees which have swamped into neighboring countries and deeper into Europe.
Calling 2015 a year which has brought "both breakthrough and horror," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon presented a global report card of sorts on a "pivotal year" in which the world organization marked its 70th anniversary as well as helped achieve what he outlined as a sustainable development agenda as well as the Paris climate change agreement.
Mainland Chinese leader Xi Jinping visited southern Africa both to build upon booming business relations and improve cozy political ties between mainland China and key regional states. Beijing is already the African continent's top trade partner with US$222 billion in commerce; moreover China is weaving a vast web of infrastructural, road and rail projects that will help speed a flow of natural resources to China's industries. China's trade with Africa exceeds declining American commerce with Africa by a factor of three to one.
More than 30 years ago, back in the summer of 1985, the world came together to help famine stricken Ethiopia. The Live Aid concerts in London and Philadelphia, raised both public awareness and impressive final assistance for the starving masses in the East African country. The anthem "We Are the World" resounded and people and governments helped with humanitarian aid.
In a stern and sweeping rebuke to North Korea's human rights abuses, a U.N. committee has slammed the repressive communist regime in an annual report on "The Situation of Human Rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea." In a vote of 112 in favor, and 19 against, with 50 abstentions, the Third Committee (political) passed a resolution that once again keeps international pressure on Pyongyang in the midst of an impending visit to the reclusive country by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
U.S. President Barack Obama has cancelled the Keystone XL, ending a seven-year saga in which the pipeline from Alberta would have provided 800,000 barrels of oil to the U.S. on a daily basis. By scuttling the controversial deal, which has been part of an on again/off again political drama in both Washington and Ottawa, Obama cited environmental concerns and basically threw in the fact that America is awash with more affordable oil, so why do we need Keystone anyway?
The human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran remains grim and dire despite a number of diplomatic breakthroughs and an overall thaw in relations between the Tehran regime and the West. ....
Elections and selections among candidates to the U.N. Human Rights Council have again highlighted a glaring flaw in a system where politically authoritarian regimes such as Ecuador, Ethiopia, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela won seats, and with it, an unjustified political legitimacy.
The sweeping electoral victory of Canada's Liberal Party under Justin Trudeau after ten years of Conservative Party government sets a new agenda and political template for Canada.
In its annual selection process, the full General Assembly has picked five countries to serve as non-permanent members on the U.N. Security Council. Importantly, Egypt, Japan and Ukraine as well as Senegal and Uruguay were chosen as the new members who will serve two year terms on the powerful 15-member Security Council.