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.

Sri Lanka Gets Temporary Reprieve Over U.N. Report on War Crimes Charges

The 47-member Human Rights Council (HRC), responding to a request by the newly-elected government in Colombo, has deferred the release of a key U.N. report on human rights violations and war crimes charges against the Sri Lankan armed forces and Tamil separatists who fought a devastating decades-long battle which ended in 2009.

Israel’s Obsession for Monopoly on Middle East Nuclear Power

As the Iranian nuclear talks hurtle towards a Mar. 24 deadline, there is renewed debate among activists about the blatant Western double standards underlying the politically-heated issue, and more importantly, the resurrection of a longstanding proposal for a Middle East free from weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

U.N. Touts 2015 as Milestone Year for World Body

The United Nations, in a sustained political hype, is touting 2015 as a likely breakthrough year for several key issues on its agenda - primarily development financing, climate change, sustainable development, disaster risk-reduction and nuclear non-proliferation.

Sri Lanka Seeks U.S.-U.N. Backing for Domestic Probe of War Crimes Charges

Sri Lanka’s newly-installed government, which has pledged to set up its own domestic tribunal to investigate war crimes charges, is seeking political and moral support both from the United States and the United Nations to stall a possible international investigation.

Battling Terrorism Shouldn’t Justify Torture, Spying or Hangings, Says U.N. Rights Chief

The United Nations, which is the legal guardian of scores of human rights treaties banning torture, unlawful imprisonment, degrading treatment of prisoners of war and enforced disappearances, is troubled that an increasing number of countries are justifying violations of U.N. conventions on grounds of fighting terrorism in conflict zones.

U.S. Ally Yemen in Danger of Splitting into Two – Again

When North and South Yemen merged into a single country under the banner Yemen Arab Republic back in May 1990, a British newspaper remarked with a tinge of sarcasm: "Two poor countries have now become one poor country."

After Nine Years of Foot-Dragging, U.N. Ready for Talks on High Seas Treaty

After four days of intense negotiations - preceded by nine years of dilly-dallying - the United Nations has agreed to convene an intergovernmental conference aimed at drafting a legally binding treaty to conserve marine life and govern the mostly lawless high seas beyond national jurisdiction.

U.S. May Soon Stand Alone Opposing Children’s Treaty

When the East African nation of Somalia, once described as a "lawless state", ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) early this week, it left two countries in splendid isolation from the rest of the world: South Sudan and the United States.

Final Push to Launch U.N. Negotiations on High Seas Treaty

The United Nations will make its third - and perhaps final - attempt at reaching an agreement to launch negotiations for an international biodiversity treaty governing the high seas.

U.N. Helpless as Saudi Flogging Flouts Torture Convention

Flogging a dead horse, as the old idiom goes, is far removed from flogging a live Saudi blogger.

U.N. Field Operations Deadlier Every Year

The widespread field operations of the United Nations – primarily in conflict zones in Africa, Asia and the Middle East – continue to be some of the world’s deadliest.

European Citizens Call for Increased Aid to Developing World

An overwhelming majority of citizens in the 28-member European Union (EU) - which has been hamstrung by a spreading economic recession, a fall in oil prices and a decline of its common currency, the Euro - has expressed strong support for development cooperation and increased aid to developing nations.

The Day CIA Failed to Un-beard Castro in His Own Den

The controversial low-brow Hollywood comedy, 'The Interview', portrays the story of two U.S. talk-show journalists on assignment to interview Kim Jong-un - and midway down the road are recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to poison the North Korean leader.

The Rise and Fall of the World’s Poorest Nations

The world's 48 Least Developed Countries (LDCs) - a special category of developing nations created by the General Assembly in 1971 but refused recognition by the World Bank - have long been described as "poorest of the poor" in need of special international assistance for their economic survival.

Oil Price Plunge Could Take a Bite from Arms Budgets

In a satirical piece titled 'An Unserious Look at the Year Ahead' in the Wall Street Journal last week, Hugo Rifkind predicts the price of a barrel of oil will fall so low that people across the world would start buying oil for the barrel - and throw the oil out.

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