Battlestar Galactica Landing at the UN

battlestar_un

via Trans Racial

In between rescuing Darfur and finding a way to crate peace in the Middle East, diplomats over at the United Nations will welcome some very unusual panelists on March 17th — the team behind the hit TV series Battlestar Galactica. According to reports, the creators and stars of the hit show will appear at the UN for a retrospective of the show’s four seasons as well as a panel discussion on how the series contends with topics such as “human rights, children and armed conflict, terrorism, human rights and reconciliation and dialogue among civilizations and faith.”

Interesting!

“Battlestar” stars such as Mary McDonnell (who plays president Laura Roslin on the show) and Edward James Olmos (Admiral William Adama) will be in attendance along with executive producers Ronald D. Moore and David Eick.

Panelists from the UN will include Radhika Coomaraswamy, special representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict; Craig Mokhiber, deputy director of the New York office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights; and Robert Orr, assistant secretary-general for policy planning, executive office of the Secretary-General.

Moderating the entire showcase will be hard-core Battlestar fan Whoopi Goldberg.

The event is an invitation-only affair — bowing three day’s before the series’ finale in the UN’s Economic and Social Council Chamber. Luckily for Battlestar devotees, the Sci-Fi Network is taping the entire affair and transcripts will be released.

What a relief!

[UPDATE]: US Won’t Attend UN Racism Conference

us_un142

via MSNBC

UNITED NATIONS – The United States won’t
participate in a U.N. conference on racism in April unless the final
document is changed to drop all references to Israel and criticism of
religion, a senior U.S. official said Friday.

The
conference is a follow-up to the contentious 2001 conference in the
South African city of Durban, which was dominated by clashes over the
Middle East and the legacy of slavery. The U.S. and Israel walked out
midway through that eight-day meeting over a draft resolution that
singled out Israel for criticism and likened Zionism — the movement to
establish and maintain a Jewish state — to racism.

Israel
and Canada have already announced that they will boycott the upcoming
World Conference Against Racism in Geneva from April 20-25, known as
Durban II, but President Barack Obama’s administration decided to
assess the negotiations before making a decision on U.S. participation.

Last week, the State Department sent two U.S.
representatives to Geneva, where the final document to be issued by
conference participants at the end of the conference is being
negotiated, the U.S. officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity
because an official announcement has not yet been made.

The
representatives — Betty King, a former U.S. ambassador to the U.N.
Economic and Social Council, and Felice Gaer, the chair of the U.S.
Commission on International Religious Freedom — held 30 meetings with
representatives of different countries and attended the negotiations,
the U.S. official said.

Drawing the line
While the U.S. presence was warmly welcomed, the U.S. official said that in the negotiations, a bad document got worse.

The
United States has decided that it will not participate in further
negotiations on the outcome document and will not participate in the
conference itself on the basis of the latest text, the U.S. official
said.

The Obama
administration would reconsider its position if the document improves
in a number of areas including dropping references to any specific
country, references to defamation of religion which the U.S. views as a
free speech issue, and language on reparations for slavery. It also
wants a shorter text and does not want the final document for Durban II
to reaffirm the final document from the 2001 Durban conference, the
U.S. official said.

Further details on the issues in question were
not available as the latest version of the final document being
negotiated in Geneva has not been released.

European
nations have expressed hope that the conference can go ahead with a
final text that is acceptable. But they have also drawn lines they say
may not be crossed.

French
diplomat Daniel Vosgien said in December that his country was firmly
opposed to the idea of banning criticism of religion. Dutch Foreign
Minister Maxime Verhagen said at the time that the Netherlands would
walk out unless anti-Israel statements were scrapped.

US to Help Plan UN Racism Conference

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via AP

Let’s keep our fingers crossed, last time they had one of these, somebody knocked down the Towers a few days later, so ironically the developments of that meeting never made the news

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration said late Saturday it would participate in planning for a U.N. conference on racism despite concerns the meeting will be used by Arab nations and others to criticize Israel.

The U.S. will decide later whether to participate in the conference.

The State Department said it would send diplomats next week to participate in preparatory meetings for the World Conference Against Racism, which is set to be held in Geneva, Switzerland in April and which some countries including Israel have already decided to boycott.

During the Bush administration the United States and Israel walked out the first U.N. conference on racism in Durban, South Africa in 2001 over efforts to pass a resolution comparing Zionism — the movement to establish and maintain a Jewish state — to racism.

Those efforts failed but there are signs the resolution may be reintroduced at the so-called “Durban 2” meeting in Geneva and Israel has been actively lobbying the United States and European countries to stay away from this year’s meeting. Continue reading

UN & Google Earth Team Up To Save the Globe

Google Me??

The UN is teaming up with Google Earth to bring a face to the displaced and pinpoint every place of suffering around the globe with hopes to help those in need. Remember those late night commercials urging you to donate $0.50 to save someones’s life? Well, just so you can be certain that the UN means business they want to use Google Earth to show you these places in real time. Ingenious. Or to track the Tibetans, or to track the Olympic flame as it makes it journey to China. Is the crisis in Darfur tugging at your heart and you’re thikning of loosening up the purse strings? Well, thanks to Google Earth you can take a visit to a refuge camp to see the atrocities for yourself and probably make your mind up. Check it:

Click on the United Nations’ “visit a camp” button in Google Earth, for example, and an online depiction of the globe spins and zeroes in on a satellite view of a refugee camp in Chad. There, visitors learn about the refugees who have fled to that country from western Sudan’s Darfur region. Click on a button and users can find out how much money it costs to install, say, a new water source at the camp. Click again and users can donate that amount.

CLICK HERE for the full rundown