Stories written by George Gao
George Gao covers the United Nations for IPS. He focuses on diplomatic negotiations, human rights and U.S. foreign policy. He also writes about environmental issues, public health and social movements in the greater New York area. George earned his B.A. from Vassar College in international politics and environmental studies.

When Poverty Quietly Morphs into Catastrophe

Wambui Karunyu, 72, and her seven-year-old grandson are the only surviving members of their immediate family.  Karunyu’s husband and five children all succumbed to the hardships of living in the semi-arid area of lower Mukurweini district in central Kenya.

Syria Diplomacy Helps Shuffle Global Order

When U.S. President Barack Obama tried to drum up momentum for airstrikes in Syria to punish and deter the use of chemical weapons, he failed to gain much of a following.

U.S., China Talk Peace but Still Frenemies

U.S. Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel welcomed Chinese Defence Minister Chang Wanquan to the Pentagon Monday as part of Chang’s four-day tour of U.S. defence compounds.

BOOKS: China’s March to “Wealth and Power”

The China pavilion is a red, inverted pyramid in Shanghai that was built for the city’s bustling 2010 World Expo. While the pavilion pays some homage to China’s ancient past, it mostly shows off China’s 21st century ambitions, with as much swagger as the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

U.N. Downplays Health Effects of Nuclear Radiation

The United Nations has come under criticism from medical experts and members of civil society for what these critics consider inaccurate statements about the effects of lingering radioactivity on local populations.

NSA Leaks Prompt Lawsuit and U.N. Action

Edward Snowden, 29, left behind a comfortable lifestyle in Hawaii as a private contractor for the Pentagon's National Security Agency (NSA) because he did not want to help create an "architecture for oppression" for fellow citizens.

U.S., China Seek Common Ground on North Korea

U.S. President Barack Obama is set to host his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Jun. 7-8 for their first bilateral meeting as heads of state. Figuring on their agenda is how to address a precarious North Korea, which is armed with a small nuclear arsenal and vying for a bigger one.

U.S.-Russia Nuclear Arsenals Cling to Bygone Era

In the late 19th century, Russian playwright Anton Chekhov famously touted one golden rule for dramatic productions: if you show your audience a loaded gun in the first act, that gun must go off by the last.

CIA Drone Strikes on Trial in Pakistan

Adding fuel to a long-simmering dispute between the U.S. and Pakistan, a Peshawar High Court declared CIA drone strikes illegal on Thursday, referring to such attacks in Pakistan’s tribal belt as “war crime(s)”.

U.N. Task Force Purges Stigmas on Sexual Rights

Ishita Chaudhry spent the past 36 hours listening to U.N. delegates discuss population growth and development. She noticed that on “controversial” topics, such as sexual and reproductive rights, young people’s voices often get lost.

Bipartisan Task Force on Torture Calls for U.S. Redemption

Former U.S. Republican Congressman Asa Hutchinson hopes his country can redeem itself after torturing an unknown but certainly large number of detainees.

New York Nuke Waste in Limbo as Concerns Rise

Over one million kgs of nuclear waste sit in limbo on the banks of the Hudson River, in dry cask storage units and spent fuel pools just 60 kms north of New York City, according to environmental organisations.  

U.N. Greenlights Long-Awaited Arms Trade Treaty

For many in the international community, the iconic sculpture outside the U.N. Visitors’ Centre appears more prominent today, as the majority of member states tightened its knot by adopting the first ever Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).

“Merchants of Death” Fly Under the Radar of U.N. Arms Trade Treaty

Viktor Bout earned a few monikers in his heyday: “Merchant of Death”, “Sanctions Buster” and “Lord of War”. He’s the poster boy for illicit arms brokers – a guild of shadowy intermediaries who link arms suppliers to their end users.

Conflicts of Interest Plague Arms Trade Treaty Talks

The U.N. organ tasked with maintaining international peace and security harbours a serious conflict at its core.

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