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.

Amid Scepticism, U.N. Trumpets Successes in Cutting Poverty

With 17 months before the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) reach their targets by the December 2015 deadline, the United Nations is trumpeting its limited successes - but with guarded optimism.

U.N. Chief Urges Sri Lanka to Protect Muslims Under Attack

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on the Sri Lankan government to "take necessary measures" to prevent any further attacks against minority Muslims in the country.

Gun Lobbyists, Minus Weapons, Gather at World Body

When the United Nations hosted its biennial review meeting on the illicit trade in small arms last month, the conference room was overflowing both with pro-gun and anti-gun lobbyists.

After Losing Vote, U.S.-EU Threaten to Undermine Treaty

The United States and the 28-member European Union (EU) have assiduously promoted - and vigourously preached - one of the basic tenets of Western multi-party democracy: majority rules.

EU Aims to Scuttle Treaty on Human Rights Abuses

When the United Nations began negotiating a Code of Conduct for Transnational Corporations (TNCs) back in the 1970s, the proposal never got off the ground because of vigourous opposition both from the powerful business community and its Western allies.

Water Cut-off in U.S. City Violates Human Rights, Say Activists

When the United Nations reaches out to resolve a water or sanitation crisis, it is largely across urban slums and remote villages in Asia, Africa or Latin America and the Caribbean.

U.N. Releases Guidelines on Reparations for Victims of Sexual Violence

When sexual violence - whether against men, women or children - takes place in United Nations peacekeeping missions worldwide, the world body has been quick to single out the perpetrators and expel them back to their home countries.

U.N.’s Energy Funding Falls Short of Target by Billions

When the United Nations inaugurated the first-ever global forum on renewable energy last week, it provided a laundry list of financial pledges aimed at achieving one of the world body's most ambitious goals: sustainable energy for all (SE4ALL) by 2030.

Israel in Political Isolation Over New Palestinian Government

The United States' decision to "work with" the new Palestinian government has virtually isolated Israel: the only country so far to have publicly rejected the political alliance between Fatah and Hamas.

Let There Be Light, Implores U.N. Chief

When night falls, there are over 1.3 billion people, mostly in the developing world, who live in virtual darkness because they have no access to electricity.

Bill De Blasio, Paris Mayor Share Goals, Progressive Mindsets

When New York city Mayor Bill de Blasio met the first female Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo on Friday, they realized they share a common political streak:  a progressive mindset.

U.N. Development Programme Plans Lay-Offs, Salary Cuts and Demotions

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), one of the largest U.N. agencies with an estimated average annual budget of more than five billion dollars, is undergoing major structural changes - triggering large-scale staff layoffs, demotions, salary reductions and downgrading and abolition of existing senior-level jobs.

U.N. Vows to Eliminate Open Defecation by 2025

At the height of his election campaign last October, Narendra Modi, India's Hindu nationalist leader, briefly set aside his spiritual aspirations when he told a surprised audience that economic development should take precedence over religion.

U.N. Reaches Dead End in Resolving Syrian Crisis

The United Nations has reached a virtual dead end trying to resolve the civil war in Syria - primarily as a result of the stalemate in peace talks and the continued deadlock in the Security Council.

U.N. Decries Water as Weapon of War in Military Conflicts

The United Nations, which is trying to help resolve the widespread shortage of water in the developing world, is faced with a growing new problem: the use of water as a weapon of war in ongoing conflicts.

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