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.

U.N. Visa Denials Appendage of U.S. Foreign Policy

The United States has rarely, if ever, denied a visa to a head of state seeking to visit the United Nations to address the 193-member General Assembly, the highest policy making body in the organisation.

Emerging Nations Opt for Arms Spending Over Development

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who has relentlessly advocated drastic cuts in global military spending in favour of sustainable development, will be sorely disappointed by the latest findings in a report released Monday by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

Developing Nations Seek U.N. Retaliation on Bank Cancellations

The 132-member Group of 77, the largest single coalition of developing nations, has urged Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to provide, "as soon as possible...alternative options for banking services" in New York City following the mass cancellation of bank accounts of U.N. missions and foreign diplomats.

U.N. Non-Committal over U.S. Visa Refusal to Iranian Envoy

When New York City was picked as the location for the United Nations many moons ago, the politically-important decision was followed by the 1947 U.S.-U.N. Headquarters Agreement which obligated Washington to facilitate - not hinder - the smooth functioning of the world body.

Criminal Court a U.S.-Israeli “Red Line” for Palestinians

When Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas decided to defy the United States and Israel over stalled peace negotiations, he formally indicated to the United Nations last week that Palestine will join 15 international conventions relating mostly to the protection of human rights and treaties governing conflicts and prisoners of war.

U.N. Aims at Treaty to Protect Marine Biodiversity

At a political level, when the United Nations speaks of a "high seas alliance", it is probably a coalition of countries battling modern piracy in the Indian Ocean.

Russia Expelled From G8, but G20? Not So Fast

When Western powers, led by the United States, decided to throw Russia out of the Group of 8 (G8) industrial nations, it was aimed at punishing and "isolating" President Vladimir Putin for his intervention in Ukraine and "annexation" of Crimea.

Non-Nuclear Ukraine Haunts Security Summit in The Hague

The two-day, much-ballyhooed Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in the Netherlands, which concluded Tuesday, was politically haunted by the upheaval in Ukraine - the former Soviet republic that renounced some 1,800 of its nuclear weapons in one of the world's most successful disarmament exercises back in 1994.

U.N. Diplomats, Cut Off from Banks, Seek Haven in Mattresses

Addressing a closed-door meeting of the Group of 77 (G77) developing countries last week, a visibly angry Latin American delegate recounted the growing new hostility towards foreign diplomats in New York city.

Women Seek Stand-Alone Goal for Gender in Post-2015 Agenda

The 45-member U.N. Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) concluded its annual 10-day session Saturday with several key pronouncements, including on reproductive health, women's rights, sexual violence, female genital mutilation (FGM) and the role of women in implementing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Ukraine Coup Lawful, Crimea Referendum Unlawful

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, conscious of the stark ineffectiveness of the Security Council over the upheaval in Ukraine, is engaged in a round of shuttle diplomacy with Russian and Ukrainian leaders to help resolve the crisis in that region.

Middle East Sustains Appetite for Arms

The Middle East continues to be one of the world's most lucrative arms markets, with two Gulf nations - Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) - taking the lead, according to a new study released Monday by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

U.S.-Russia Bickering May Trigger Nuclear Fallout

The U.S.-Russian confrontation over Ukraine, which is threatening to undermine current bilateral talks on North Korea, Iran, Syria and Palestine, is also in danger of triggering a nuclear fallout.

Split over Ukraine Could Undermine Peace in Syria

As the protracted Syrian conflict enters its fourth year, there seems to be little or no hope of a resolution to the devastating crisis.

Legislators Seek Rightful Place at U.N. Talkfests

When the United Nations hosts one of its mega conferences - whether on population, human rights, food security or sustainable development - there is always a demand for full and active participation of often-marginalised groups, including women, civil society, indigenous peoples and youth.

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