Stories written by Thalif Deen
Thalif Deen, UN Bureau Chief and Regional Director IPS North America, has been covering the U.N. since the late 1970s. A former deputy news editor of the Sri Lanka Daily News, he was a senior editorial writer on the Hongkong daily, The Standard. He has been runner-up and cited twice for “excellence in U.N. reporting” at the annual awards presentation of the U.N. Correspondents Association (UNCA). In November 2012, he was part of an IPS team which who won the prestigious gold award for reporting on the global environment-- and in 2013, he shared the gold medal with the Associated Press for his reporting on the humanitarian and development work of the United Nations. A former information officer at the U.N. Secretariat, and a one-time member of the Sri Lanka delegation to the U.N. General Assembly sessions, Deen is currently editor in chief of the IPS U.N. Terra Viva daily electronic newsletter, published since March 1993. Since the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, he has covered virtually every single major U.N. conference: on population, human rights, the environment, social development, food security, water, energy and education. A former military editor Middle East/Africa at Jane’s Information Group in the U.S, a columnist for the Sri Lanka Sunday Times and a longtime U.N. correspondent for Asiaweek, Hongkong and Jane's Defence Weekly, London, he is a Fulbright scholar with a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University, New York.

The Day Anti-Castro Forces Tried to Bomb the U.N.

When the politically-charismatic Ernesto Che Guevera, once second-in-command to Cuban leader Fidel Castro, was at the United Nations to address the General Assembly sessions back in 1964, the U.N. headquarters came under attack - literally.

Russian Arms Producers Move Ahead of Western Rivals

The world's top 100 arms producing companies racked up 402 billion dollars in weapons sales and military services in 2013, according to the latest figures released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

U.S. Faulted for Undermining Torture Convention

The timing was inadvertently impeccable as two stinging reports on harsh interrogation techniques - by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the United States and former military regimes in Brazil - were released on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the U.N. Convention Against Torture.

Hiroshima, Nagasaki Cast Shadow Over Nuclear Conference in Vienna

When Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was at Harvard University early this week to pick up the 'Humanitarian of the Year' award, his thoughts transcended the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts, to the Austrian capital of Vienna which will be the venue of a key international conference on nuclear weapons next week.

U.N.’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals Remain Intact

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has refused to jettison any of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) proposed by an Open Working Group of member states: goals aimed at launching the U.N.'s new post-2015 development agenda through 2030.

U.N. Chief, Under Fire, Moves Closer to Gender Parity

When Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon named an international panel to review peacekeeping operations last October, the announcement was greeted with bitter criticism because it lacked even a semblance of gender balance: only three out of 14 members were women.

Led by INTERPOL, U.N. Tracks Environmental Criminals

A coalition of international organisations, led by INTERPOL and backed by the United Nations, is pursuing a growing new brand of criminals - primarily accused of serious environmental crimes - who have mostly escaped the long arm of the law.

Nuclear Weapons as Bargaining Chips in Global Politics

Has the world reached a stage where nuclear weapons may be used as bargaining chips in international politics?

U.N. Concerned Over Ebola Backlash

The United Nations, which is working on an emergency footing to battle the outbreak of Ebola, is worried about the potential for further isolation of the hardest-hit nations in West Africa.

Dhanapala to Receive IPS Award for Nuclear Disarmament

Jayantha Dhanapala, a former U.N. under-secretary-general for disarmament affairs (1998-2003) and a relentless advocate for a world free of nuclear weapons, will be the recipient of the 2014 International Achievement Award for Nuclear Disarmament sponsored by Inter Press Service (IPS) news agency.

U.N. Chief Eyes Upcoming Summits to Resolve Development Crisis

The continued widespread economic recession - aggravated by the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa - is threatening to undermine the U.N.'s highly-touted post-2015 development agenda.

Women Challenged by Rising Extremism and Militarism

Ongoing military conflicts in the strife-torn Middle East - specifically in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Palestine - have resulted in widespread civilian casualties, impacting heavily on the most vulnerable in besieged communities: women and children.

Another Women’s Treaty? Implement Existing One, Say NGOs

Can violence against women be prevented or eliminated with a new international treaty signed and ratified by the 193 member states of the United Nations?

U.S. Destroys Its Own Weapons in Enemy Hands

When the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) captured a treasure trove of U.S. weapons from fleeing Iraqi soldiers last month, one of the rebel leaders with a morbid sense of humour was quoted as saying rather sarcastically: "We hope the Americans would honour their agreements and service our helicopters."

Ebola Outbreak Threatens Food Crisis in West Africa

The widespread outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, which has resulted in over 4,500 deaths so far, is also threatening to trigger a food crisis in the three countries already plagued by poverty and hunger.

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