Stories written by Samuel Oakford
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A Complicated Calculus in South Sudan

Hours after forces ostensibly under Riek Machar’s command claimed victory in the strategic South Sudanese city of Bor, the former vice-president and once again rebel commander announced he would – after a week of postponement – send an envoy to upcoming peace dialogues in Addis Ababa with regional leaders and representatives of his one-time superior and comrade, President Salva Kiir.

In the Philippines, a Vortex of Climate Change and Debt

Since Typhoon Yolanda made landfall in the Philippines on Nov. 8, the country has sent holders of its debt close to one billion dollars, surpassing, in less than two months, the 800 million dollars the U.N. has asked of international donors to help rebuild the ravaged central region of the archipelago.

More U.N. States Quietly Say No to Drug War

An internal United Nations draft document leaked last weekend has offered outsiders a rare look at longstanding disagreements between member states over the course of U.N. drug policy.

U.N. Stays on Sidelines of Central African Chaos

The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously Thursday to authorise the deployment of thousands of French and African Union troops in the Central African Republic but stopped short of approving a full U.N. peacekeeping force in the country.

Pressure Mounting, Security Council to Vote for Peacekeepers for Central African Republic

The Security Council is expected to vote this week on a draft resolution introduced by France to create a UN peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic.

HIV-Positive Adolescents Falling Through the Cracks

Programmes targeting mother-to-child HIV transmission helped reduce new infections among children under 15 by 35 percent globally between 2009 and 2012, according to a new UNICEF report.

Ending AIDS in the City Where It Began

Four hundred Eighth Avenue, home to the largest welfare centre for people with AIDS in New York, is the kind of grey, drab city building that seems like it was dragged, scowling, into the 21st  Century.

“Climate of Fear” Pervades Guinea-Bissau as Elections are Again Postponed

Elections in Guinea-Bissau, already pushed back to March of next year, are threatened by “continued human rights violations and impunity” and “the climate of fear caused by the unlawful behavior of the defense and security forces,” UN envoy José Manuel Ramos-Horta told the Security Council Tuesday.

Calls Mount for U.N. Force in Central African Republic

France has said it will circulate a Security Council draft resolution Monday night that would create a U.N. peacekeeping force in the Central African Republic, as violence in its former colony threatens to morph into an ethnic conflict.

Jobless Growth, the 21st Century Condition

The world’s poorest countries are rethinking economic policies that - even during periods of breakneck growth - have failed to provide quality employment capable of matching a demographic boom.

Déjà Vu All Over Again for Indebted Caribbean

On May 23, shortly after wrapping up negotiations on the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) 958- million-dollar loan - its second in three years - to keep Jamaica out of default, the fund’s mission chief in the country, Jan Kees Martijn, set out to visit Croydon, a former plantation settlement in the mountainous northwest of the island.

Mayor Who Let Them Eat Cake Now Eating Crow

When Michael Bloomberg was elected mayor of this city only weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, few imagined that by the time he left office a new building would have risen in the shadow of the Twin Towers.

Waiting for the Next Superstorm

One year ago, Hurricane Sandy ravaged the Northeast United States, causing an estimated 68 billion dollars in damage and paralysing the world’s financial nerve centre.

Genocide Replaces Separatism in Tamil Diaspora Vocabulary

Sri Lankan Tamil hopes for a separate state – Tamil Eelam – in the north and east of the island were dashed when the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were summarily defeated in May 2009 by government forces.

Four Years after a Tamil Defeat, the Diaspora Regroups

Seated at a desk piled high with court documents and yellowed newspapers, Visvanathan Rudrakumaran remembers leaving Sri Lanka and coming to New York for the first time, three decades ago.

Chevron Fights Amazon Pollution Verdict in U.S. Court

Two years after they were awarded 18 billion dollars by an Ecuadorian court for environmental damage caused by Chevron in the Amazonian rainforest, a group of indigenous villagers and their U.S. lawyer went on trial Tuesday in New York, accused by the oil company of bribery and racketeering.

U.S. Govt Shutdown Dashes Immigrant Dreams

Early on the morning of Oct. 1, Tapia* left her home in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, took the subway into Manhattan and headed to the federal courthouse on Varick Street.

For Journalists, A Confounding War in Syria

The fractured nature of Syria’s civil war leaves the media searching for narratives that may not clearly exist, said journalists and members of civil society at a panel discussion, “Syria from the Ground Up,” held at Columbia University on Wednesday.

For the Disabled, Progress Unearths More Questions

When U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened a recent high-level meeting on disability and development that promised a place for the issue in the post-2015 agenda, he cited three examples of incapacity.

Disabled Make Do with Scraps from the Aid Table

Amidst the incomprehensible suffering that followed the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, international aid agencies rushed to provide services to the displaced and injured.

Foreign Aid Study Posits Path to Ending Extreme Poverty

The number of people living in extreme poverty, subsisting on 1.25 dollars a day or less, has fallen from 43 percent of the world’s population in 1990 to 21% percent today. A new report on foreign aid and investment makes the case for a figure of zero by 2030.

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