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.

Women’s Alliance Plans to Counter Violent Extremism

When the Security Council recently hosted a meeting of world leaders to discuss the growing threats from violent extremism, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that any success in battling intolerance will be predicated on a “unified response.”

U.N. Continues Condemnation of Civilian Casualties in Yemen

The Saudi coalition, which continues its air strikes against rebels in strife-torn Yemen, is fast gaining notoriety as “the gang that couldn’t shoot straight” – largely because of its misses than its hits.

U.S. 100th Member State to Join Nuke Terrorism Treaty

A 1997 movie titled “The Peacemaker” –partly shot outside the United Nations – dramatised the story of a Yugoslav terrorist who acquires a backpack-sized nuclear weapon, gone missing after a train wreck in rural Russia, and brings it to New York to detonate it outside U.N. headquarters.

Africa Must Depend Less on Development Aid, Says New Study

As the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) reach their targeted date by the end of December, one of the lingering questions has long remained unanswered – at least, until now.

‘Why is it Easier to Find Money to Destroy People than Protect Them?’ Asks U.N. Chief

Speaking at the opening session of the high-level debate of the U.N. General Assembly Monday, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said a politically troubled world is suffering from a lack of empathy.

U.N.’s New Development Goals Need Funds, Political Commitment for Success

The U.N.’s much-ballyhooed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), unanimously adopted by over 150 world leaders at a three-day summit meeting, which concluded Sep. 27, has been touted as the biggest single contribution to humanity since the invention of sliced bread.

Pope’s Outspoken Views Rattle U.S. Conservatives but Not U.N.

Pope Francis’ outspoken views on some of the politically-charged hot button issues – including refugees, migration, human rights, climate change, Iran’s nuclear deal, U.S.-Cuban relations and the global arms trade – have touched a raw nerve in the United States.

U.S., Russian Arms Supplies to Iraq, Syria a Blessing to Rebel Groups

The United States and Russia are escalating arms sales to two of their major allies in the Middle East – Iraq and Syria – despite fears that some of these weapons may ultimately wind up, ironically, in the hands of armed rebel groups battling government forces.

U.N. Manipulated by Transnational Corporations, New Study Charges

The United Nations, which is commemorating its 70th anniversary next week punctuated by a summit meeting of world leaders, is facing charges of being politically manipulated by big business and transnational corporations (TNCs) – some openly violating labour rights and environmental standards the world body so vociferously advocates.

Pope? Yes, Dalai Lama? No

When the United States established diplomatic relations with the Holy See back in January 1984, a televangelist asked rather sarcastically: when will Mecca send its own ambassador to Washington DC?

Pope, World Leaders Turn U.N. into Veritable War Zone

The visit to the United Nations by Pope Francis during a General Assembly session, described as a historic first in the ageing 70-year-old organisation, has created a security nightmare both for the world body and New York city police.

U.N.’s 8.3 Billion Dollar Peacekeeping Operations Under Scrutiny

As the United Nations commemorates its 70th anniversary, the world body is re-assessing and re-evaluating its 16 peacekeeping missions costing a staggering 8.3 billion dollars in 2015-2016 – even as military conflicts and domestic insurgencies continue to spread, mostly in Africa, including the Central African Republic, Mali, South Sudan, Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Nuke Test Ban Treaty Still in Limbo, U.N. Complains

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), which was adopted by the U.N. General Assembly back in 1996, has still not come into force for one primary reason: eight key countries have either refused to sign or have held back their ratifications.

U.N. to Host Meeting of World Leaders on Refugee Crisis

The 28-member European Union (EU), which was sharply divided over the Greek bailout financial crisis last year, is facing its biggest test of unity over the growing refugee crisis unfolding in European borders.

Western Double Standards on Deadly Cluster Bombs

The 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) banned the use of these deadly weapons for two primary reasons: they release small bomblets over a wide area, posing extended risks beyond war zones, and they leave behind unexploded ordnance which have killed civilians, including women and children, long after conflicts have ended.

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