Stories written by Thalif Deen
Thalif Deen, IPS UN Bureau Chief, has been covering the United Nations since the late 1970s. A former deputy news editor of the Sri Lanka Daily News, he was a senior editorial writer on the daily Hong Kong 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 on the IPS team which who won the prestigious gold award for reporting on the global environment-- and in 2013, for the second consecutive year, he shared the gold medal, this time with the Associated Press (AP), 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 General Assembly sessions, Deen is currently editor-in-chief of the IPS U.N. Terra Viva daily electronic newsletter, published since March 1993. Beginning with the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, he has covered virtually every major U.N. conference: on population, human rights, the environment, social and economic development, food security, humanitarian aid, nuclear disarmament, 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, Hong Kong and Jane's Defence Weekly, London, he is a Fulbright scholar with a Master’s Degree in journalism from Columbia University, New York.

Attacks on Medical Workers in War Zones under Fire

The growing number of indiscriminate bombings in three of the most devastating military conflicts currently underway -– in Syria, Afghanistan and Yemen – are taking a heavy toll on medical personnel serving with humanitarian organizations — along with thousands of civilians caught in the crossfire between government forces and rebel groups.

Rise of Middle Class Undermined in East Europe & Central Asia

The UN’s post-2015 development agenda, which was adopted by world leaders at a summit meeting last September, includes a highly ambitious goal: the eradication of extreme poverty by the year 2030.The decline in poverty, as reflected in the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which ended last December, had one positive fallout: the rise of a new middle class graduating largely from the ranks of the poor.

CTBTO’s Verification System Thwarts Nuclear Tests

The Vienna-based Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) – a 24-hour international watchdog body – is known never to miss a beat.The Organization’s international monitoring and verification system has been tracking all nuclear explosions -– in the atmosphere, underwater and underground –- including all four nuclear tests by the Democratic Republic of Korea (DPRK) – the only country in the world to test nuclear weapons in the 21st century.

UN Seeks Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation

The United Nations says it is determined to end female genital mutilation (FGM) – a ritual practiced mostly in Africa, the Middle East, parts of Asia and even among some migrant communities in Europe.And the world body’s determination is being backed with facts, figures -- and a global campaign by a Joint Programme against FGM initiated by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the UN children’s agency UNICEF.

After 20 Years, Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Still in Political Limbo

After nine years in office, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will step down in December perhaps without achieving one of his more ambitious and elusive political goals: ensuring the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).

UN Hails Myanmar’s Historic New Parliament

When U.Thant of Burma (now Myanmar) was elected UN Secretary-General back in November 1962, he was the first Asian to hold that post after Trygve Lie of Norway and Dag Hammarskjold of Sweden.The appointment was also a historic moment for Asia, which waited for 45 long years for the second Asian to hold that position: Ban Ki-moon of South Korea, the current UN Secretary-General, who was elected in January 2007.

Ebola Recovery Funds Impossible to Track, Says New Study

When the Ebola epidemic devastated three West African countries – Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea two years ago – the international community responded with pledges of over $5.8 billion in funds to fight the disease which has killed over 11,300 people.

UN Fighting Losing Battle Over Global Humanitarian Crises

As the global refugee crises continues to worsen by the hour, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is quick to point out that when he took office in January 2007, the international appeal for funds for humanitarian emergencies was only about 4.0 billion dollars annually.

Zero Hunger? UN Leads With Landfill Salad and Recycled Food

When the United Nations hosted a high-level lunch for visiting world leaders at the UN dining room during the General Assembly sessions last September, they were in for an unexpected surprise.

North Korea Momentarily Escapes Sanctions After Fourth Nuclear Test

When the UN Security Council (UNSC) adopted a resolution imposing sanctions on North Korea -- immediately following its first nuclear test back in 2006 -- Pyongyang described the punitive measure as “an act of war.”

Declining Oil Prices May Undermine Development and Humanitarian Aid

The sharp decline in oil prices in the world market -– the lowest in nearly 13 years –- is expected to have a devastating impact on both developed and developing nations.

Western Powers Protect Arms Markets Ignoring Civilian Killings

The West continues its strong political and military support to one of its longstanding allies in the Middle East – Saudi Arabia –- despite withering criticism of the kingdom’s battlefield excesses in the ongoing war in neighbouring Yemen.

2016 Potential Landmark Year for Women Leaders in US and UN

The United Nations is hoping 2016 will be a landmark year for gender empowerment – not only for the world body but also for the United States.

Military Conflicts Threaten to Undermine Battle Against Rural Poverty

The ongoing battle against rural poverty is in danger of being undermined by a growing number of insurgencies and political upheavals – mostly in Africa.

UN Sees Key Role for Women in Post-2015 Development Agenda

The United Nations, which has launched an intense world-wide campaign to ensure the full implementation of its post-2015 development agenda, is unequivocal in asserting that gender equality and women’s empowerment are indispensable to the realization of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by world leaders last September.

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