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.

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.

Eyewitness to Nuke Explosion Challenges World Powers

When the Foreign Minister of Marshall Islands Tony de Brum addressed a nuclear review Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) meeting at the United Nations last month, he asked whether anyone in the room had witnessed a nuclear explosion.

Gaps Remain in U.N. WMD Resolution

The United Nations claims that a key Security Council resolution adopted unanimously back in 2004 has been instrumental in keeping weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) from the hands of terrorists and insurgent groups worldwide.

U.N.’s Post-2015 Agenda Skips the Right to Water and Sanitation

A U.N. working group mandated to formulate a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the post-2015 development agenda is being accused of bypassing water and sanitation as a basic human right: a right long affirmed in a General Assembly resolution adopted back in July 2010.

The Long Journey Toward Recognition of a Third Gender

The world is slowly, but painfully, moving towards the formal recognition of the existence of a third gender besides male and female.

U.S.-Dependent Pacific Island Defies Nuke Powers

The tiny Pacific nation state of Marshall Islands - which depends heavily on the United States for its economic survival, uses the U.S. dollar as its currency and predictably votes with Washington on all controversial political issues at the United Nations - is challenging the world's nuclear powers before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague.

U.S.-Russia Sabre Rattling May Undermine Nuke Meeting

The growing tension between the United States and Russia over Ukraine has threatened to unravel one of the primary peace initiatives of the United Nations: nuclear disarmament.

U.N. Denies Dragging Its Feet on U.S.-Iran Visa Dispute

After two long weeks of raging controversy over Washington's refusal to grant a U.S. visa to the Iranian envoy to the United Nations, the U.N.'s office of legal affairs is being accused of moving at the pace of a paralytic snail - only to seek more time while remaining non-committal on the dispute.

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).

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