Tag Archives: UN

International Round Up

Russia admits Syrian Government is losing territorial control

Syrian men break the concrete of a residential building destroyed in a government airstrike. (Muhammed Muheisen/AP)
Syrian men break the concrete of a residential building destroyed in a government airstrike. (Muhammed Muheisen/AP)

The situation in Syria is aggravating for the local Government. An official from the Russian Government has said for the first time that opposition forces might defeat Syrian government. The opposition is gaining legitimacy after more than 100 countries signed a declaration yesterday in Morocco to give it a political lift. The United States formally recognises the opposite party as “the legitimate representative” of the people in that country.


North Korea launches rocket ignoring UN Security Council

A screen shows the Unha-3 rocket being launched from a launch pad at the West Sea Satellite Launch Site, at North Korea's satellite control centre in Cholsan county (AP)
A screen shows the Unha-3 rocket being launched from a launch pad at the West Sea Satellite Launch Site, at North Korea’s satellite control centre in Cholsan county (AP)

The UN Security Council has condemned North Korea for launching what they consider to be a long-range missile, while Pyongyang states that it was a satellite. The Council is going to have a meeting next Wednesday to consider an “appropriate response” to the threat.

In the meantime, the US has considered the action as “a highly provocative act that threatens regional security.”  In a statement released last Friday, they announced their intention was to send warships to the Asian country.


The Eurozone agrees rules towards banking union

The headquarters of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt (Johannes Eisele/AFP) Photo/Johannes Eisele)
The headquarters of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt (Johannes Eisele/AFP)

Economy and finance ministers have reached an agreement today on rules for supervising Eurozone banking. The biggest banks of the Union will be under the direct oversight of the European Central Bank.

The supervision will be made over the biggest banks, with assets over 30,000 millions or the 20% of the GDP. The main obstacle has been a disagreement over power distribution in terms of the supervisor. Germany wants to leave out regional banks, while France and Spain have asked the supervisor for an inspection of every bank, without exception.


Putin wants Russian couples to have at least 3 children

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a state-of-the nation address in Moscow, Russia (Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a state-of-the nation address in Moscow, Russia (Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP)

The Russian president Vladimir Putin called on Russians to have at least three children each. He added that he wants people who own luxury goods to pay higher taxes.

After the end of the Soviet Union, the standard of living decreased due to a growth in the mortality rate and a substantial reduction of births. “In order for Russia to be a strong and sovereign country, there must be more of us and we must be better in morality, in our competences, our work and our creativity”, the Russian leader said.


Oregon mall gunman identified

Police handout photo of suspect from Tuesday's shooting in Happy Valley, Oregon (Clackamas County Sheriff's Office)
Police handout photo of suspect from Tuesday’s shooting in Happy Valley, Oregon (Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office)

The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office have identified Jacob Tyler Roberts as the gunman who shot two people before killing himself in Oregon last Tuesday. According to Oregon law enforcement, he opened fire on a crowded Portland shopping mall and was shooting victims at random.

Roberts was armed with a stolen AR-15 semi-automatic rifle when he opened fire. Two victims were fatally shot, identified as Cindy Yuille, 54 and Steven Forsyth, 45. A third victim, 15 year-old Kristina Shevchenko, is still in serious condition at the Oregon Health and Science university Hospital, in Portland.


First Pope tweet in eight languages

Pope Benedict XVI sends his first tweet (EFE)
Pope Benedict XVI sends his first tweet (EFE)

The Pope has tweeted for the first time in eight languages in his eight Twitter accounts. “Dear friends,” he wrote, “I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart.”

He delivered it from a tablet computer at the end of a general audience in the Vatican, with a group of young people gathered round him and after an official announced: “And now the Pope will tweet!”. He has already reached over one million Twitter followers.


No progress in fiscal cliff talks

US House Speaker John Boehner speaks to the media outside his office on Capitol Hill in Washington (Yuri Gripas/REUTERS)
US House Speaker John Boehner speaks to the media outside his office on Capitol Hill in Washington (Yuri Gripas/REUTERS)

Large differences remain between congressional Republicans and the White House to avert the “fiscal cliff” of steep tax hikes and budget cuts. House Speaker John Boehner called on President Barack Obama to produce a new offer. “I was born with a glass half full. I remain the most optimistic person in this town. But we’ve got some serious differences,” Boehner has told reporters at a news conference.


Worldwide Geminid meteor shower tonight

A massive Geminid fireball from 2009's shower, one of the brightest ever recorded (NASA)
A massive Geminid fireball from 2009’s shower, one of the brightest ever recorded (NASA)

The annual meteor shower will reach its peak later tonight and into the early hours of Friday morning. The meteors will appear to radiate from a point near the star Castor, in the constellation Gemini. The skies will thus be free of the moon’s glare, allowing viewers in rural areas to see perhaps 100 or more meteors per hour, experts say.


Edinburgh hosts Scotland’s largest school MUN Conference

One of Britain’s largest Model United Nations Conferences took place in Edinburgh this weekend.

Over 600 teenagers took part in the three-day conference at George Watson’s College. Now in its sixth year, it is the biggest school-based MUN in Scotland and attracts participants from as far afield as Egypt and Turkey.

Alexandra Wingate reports exclusively from the conference.

What is an MUN?

An MUN is a replica of the United Nations. As well as having a secretary general and a number of chairs, the conference consists of a variety of committees, a security council, a general assembly and an emergency debate.

Participants are assigned a member state which they then represent in various discussions. The challenge is for delegates to accurately portray the political policies and moral values of their assigned country, which usually differs in varying degrees to that of their own nation.

How does an MUN work?

As in the real United Nations, an MUN is primarily split into different committees which are attended by one delegate from each state. In George Watson’s case, these consist of economic, environment, health, human rights, media, and political, with as many as 48 countries represented in each committee.

After lobbying for support, delegates can put forward a formal resolution for discussion. The proposal is then debated with opportunities to add amendments before the final resolution is voted on by all members. This format is replicated throughout the conference, in both the smaller security council and the large general assembly attended by all delegates from all countries.

The debates are formal and procedures are carefully overseen by a number of chairs. Discussions are detailed and rigorous with a typical session lasting around one to two hours.

King's School in Chester won the award for Best Delegation
Image: Alexandra Wingate

Comment: George Watson’s College’s MUN Conference

UN authorizes military intervention in Libya

David Cameron making his speech in the British parliament

By Edoardo Zandona’

The U.N. Security Council approved a resolution last night endorsing military forces to intervene against Muammar Gaddafi in Libya. The decision was made in an emergency meeting, after Gaddafi warned rebels in Benghazi that loyalist forces will conduct an attack to the city with “no mercy and no pity”. Continue reading UN authorizes military intervention in Libya

Latest Tsunami Updates

  • More Tsunami warnings are coming in. Over 53 Countries  including the entire West Coast of the U.S. , Russia, Kenya, Canada, Indonesia, Central America are now on Tsunami Watch.
  • Although alerts have been lifted for some countries, including Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand.
  • The Tsunami has struck the Hawaiian Island of Honolulu and it set on a path of destruction.
  • President Barack Obama has sent condolences and has stated that the U.S. stand ready to help on his Twitter Page. He has instructed FEMA to be ready to assist Hawaii and the rest of the U.S. states & territories that could be affected.
  • The US State Oregon emergency management has advised coastal residents to evacuate before 7am PST due to tsunami risk.
    More than 200 dead and several hundred missing after Earthquake and Tsunami strikes Japan.
  • The UN Secretary General, has stated that the UN will do anything to Help Japan and that 30 International Rescue Teams are ready to be sent out.

Korea on brink of war

by Adam Smyth

Two more deaths have been confirmed today as a result of North Korea’s shelling of South korean territory yesterday.

CCTV footage showing a North Korean shell exploding in Yeonpyeong. Credit: Reuters

Adding to yesterday’s revelations that two South Korean marines were killed as a result of the North Korean artillery attack on South Korea’s Yeonpyeong island, which lies in the disputed Korean Yellow sea border, the burnt bodies of two South Korean civilians bodies were found today. The civilians were believed to be construction workers and in their 60s. The rising death toll comes amidst reports of at least 18 people injured in the bombardment in which dozens of shells exploded on the island. As well as a South Korean military base bearing the brunt of the damage in the attack,  TV pictures show civilian shops and homes burnt and destroyed also.

South Korea returned fire and scrambled fighter jets into the air as a warning to the North. It has also suspended flood aid to the North and threatened missile strikes if there were “further provocations”.

  In response to South Korea’s retaliatory fire against it, North Korea has repeated claims that Seoul provoked the artillery attack by firing into the North’s territory. It has also accused Seoul of driving the Korean peninsula to “the brink of war” with “reckless military provocation” and by postponing humanitarian aid according to the North’s official KCNA news agency.

  UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon called the developing events the “gravest incidents” since the end of the Korean War which ended on 27th July 1953 with a ceasefire, leaving the two countries technically still at war.

Amongst widespread international condemnation of North Korea’s actions, The US President has pledged to stand shoulder to shoulder with South Korea. As well as having 28,000 US troops stationed in South Korea, the USS George Washington left from south of Tokyo on Wednesday now bound for Korean waters.

The BBC’S John Sudworth in Seoul said a deterrent effect may be limited as the same aircraft carrier was in Korean waters just a few months ago as part of a show strength that appears to have done nothing to temper North Korea’s actions.

The KCNA which is North Korea’s official news agency said “the US is the arch criminal threatening the peace and stability of the region”.

News in Brief

By Charlotte Morgenthal and Carla Simpson


Baby P doctor suspended. The doctor who failed to notice Baby P’s broken back and ribs has been suspended from practising.  The General Medical Council said Dr Sabah al-Zayyat, who examined the 17 month old two days before he died, had spotted bruises on his body but did not carry out a full examination. Related Links: BBC

Scottish Water Strike. Employees of Scottish Water will start a 24 hour strike over pay at midday.  Around 802 union members are expected to walk out.  Related Links: BBC Scotland

Glasgow Council to cut 400 jobs. Scotland’s largest council is aiming to cut up to 400 jobs in the next year in a bid to save almost £23m. Related Links: BBC Scotland

House prices falling. A survey showed today that house prices fell by 0.4 percent in November. The decline is easing but house prices are still 13.9 percent lower than have been a year ago. Related Links: Reuters BBC

Cameron to address UUP. Tory leader David Cameron will address the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) at the annual conference next week. The move comes after the two parties agreed to form an elecoral pact which will see them as joint candidates in general elections. Related Links: PA

Publicans campaign against beer duty. The pub industry has launched a campaign to axe the rise in alcohol taxes.  The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) claims the recent tax increases, which adds 3p to a pint of beer and 13p to a bottle of wine, will threaten the already struggling pub industry. Related Links: PA


Bangkok second airport taken by protesters. Thousands of tourists will be flown out of Thailand within the next 48 hours from military bases, and other national airports according to the country’s Tourism Minister.  Anti Government protesters shut down the second, national airport in Bangkok today to stop officials trying to see Thailand’s PM Somchai Wongsawat. Related Links: BBC – Video BBC Reuters

Suicide bomb in Kabul. A suspected suicide bomber has attacked the US embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. At least one civillian was killed, and police say more have died. The attack happened during a Thanksgiving celebration at the embassy. Related Links: BBC

Zimbabwe education crisis. The number of Zimbabwean children going to school has fallen dramatically from 90% to just 20%, according to a senior UN relief offcial.  Catherine Bragg, speaking at a New York news conference, said teachers were not being paid and called for ‘massive’ international assistance. Related Links: BBC

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