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August, 29, 2016

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Commentary > China Post > John Metzler
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.
 
The almost biblical scenes of mass humanity surging through Europe from the Balkans to the Baltic have created jarring images as we see a mass movement of displaced Syrians and Iraqis flooding into what they see as a Promised Land, the European Union. Thus as civil conflicts rage between secular regimes and Islamic radicals, destroying ancient lands with contemporary barbarism, the human "collateral damage" is measured in both the dead and the displaced.
 
Among the 193 presidential and ministerial speeches being made during the U.N. General Assembly debate, most will present politically pedantic and often droning restatements of the obvious; that war, terrorism, poverty and the refugee crisis lapping at Europe's shores and hinterland are among the absolute ills affecting the international community. The new and revamped sustainable development goals are then placed on the altar of global diplomacy as the penultimate offering to save the world.
 
Both Pope Francis and mainland Chinese leader Xi Jingping are visiting the United States at the same time. Two men whose paths will nearly intersect, both not touch, in New York at the United Nations are each leaders of 1.2 billion people; the pope of the Roman Catholic Church, and comrade Xi Jinping, the People's Republic of China. Pope Francis arrived amid White House pomp and circumstance ceremonies rather improbably in a tiny black Fiat. Xi goes around in black limos as one would expect.
 
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