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SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS FOR ‘NEW MULTILATERALISM’ IN NITZE SCHOOL COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS, URGING STUDENTS TO BECOME PART OF SOMETHING LARGER THAN THEMSELVES
A financial crisis has shaken the foundations of the global economy ‑‑ its rules, its credibility, its values. Climate change threatens our way of life. Planet Earth is warming much faster than everybody may think. Every day, it seems, scientists find that their worst-case scenarios have become more likely scenarios ‑‑ and the timeline for action grows shorter. As the current flu epidemic proves, “transnational threats” are no longer problems for classroom discussion. They are challenges of the here and now. So far, today’s H1N1 outbreak has been relatively mild. Fortunately. Next time, it could be worse. Meanwhile, old problems are very much with us ‑‑ problems of human rights, war and peace, deep poverty and humanitarian need, from Gaza and Sri Lanka to Somalia and Sudan.
The world has changed. Ties of commerce, communication and migration bind us ever closer. Threats spill across borders. Just as the world’s people have become more interdependent, so have the issues. No nation can deal with them alone. This new world demands a special brand of leadership ‑‑ I’m now talking to you, the next generation ‑‑ global leadership.
We need new vision, bold action, powerful partnerships for enduring peace and prosperity. That is why I call for a new multilateralism. A multilateralism focused on delivering global goods: freedom from hunger, health and education and security from terror or the threat of Armageddon. A multilateralism whose instruments ‑‑ the United Nations above all ‑‑ have the authority and the resources to do what is asked of them. A multilateralism that couples power with pragmatic principle, recognizing that in our interconnected world the well-being of any one nation depends, to an increasing degree, upon the well-being of all.
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Mood on Jekyll Island A Beacon Of Hope For Sustained Recovery -- Update
5/13/2009 10:54 AM ET
(RTTNews) - Surely the idyllic Jekyll Island Club may have had something to do with it, but there was a profound sense of calm among the Federal Reserve officials and economists gathered in coastal Georgia for the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta's 'Financial Innovation and Crises' conference this week.
With few reporters or politicians on the scene, the conference took on an academic tenor, as policymakers and economists discussed measuring, managing, and regulating risk in the face of continual development of innovative financial instruments.
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Obama’s Preventive Detention Problem: Breaking It Down
May 22, 2009 3:38 pm EDT
Part of the legal puzzle has to do with trying to apply traditional laws of war to the "novel" type of conflict that is terrorism, says Harvey Rishikof, professor of law and national security studies at the National War College. It's just harder to tell who's a combatant – and therefore detainable as a POW – and who's a criminal suspect due for trial, because terrorists are "stateless actors" eschewing uniforms and avoiding battlefields.
Attorney General Eric Holder hinted at the complexity of the "battlefield" question as it applies to terrorist combatants at his confirmation hearing. "There are physical battlefields, certainly, in Afghanistan," he said. "But there are battlefields, potentially, you know, in our nation. There are cyber battlefields." He went on, "There's a battlefield, if you want to call it that, with regard to the hearts and minds of the people in the Islamic world."
Major General Altenburg said, "I personally think the battlefield has to be beyond the ground of an Afghanistan, because al-Qaida is everywhere. Now, there's no [court] holding anywhere that says that is the law of war, because again, this is unprecedented."
How would preventive detention of terrorism suspects work?
The closest the public has gotten to a legislative blueprint for preventive detention of terrorism suspects appeared in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed by Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham and John McCain. They called for a "uniform set of standards and procedures administered by a civilian judge," who would decide the challenges to the legality of detention that the Supreme Court has said are a detainee's right, and "an annual interagency review" to determine whether a detainee continues to threaten national security and should be held. The senators are expected to be influential voices as any new policy develops.
But before looking at the procedures, policymakers will have to decide who will face detention. The Bush administration initially claimed that it could indefinitely detain anyone the executive branch deemed an "enemy combatant." The courts trimmed back that sweeping view, saying that the authority was shared with Congress and subject to judicial review.
The question is especially acute for terrorism detention, says Harvard law professor and former Bush official Jack Goldsmith, who with Neal Katyal – then a Georgetown law professor, now Obama's principal deputy solicitor general – was one of the earliest proponents of a new legal regime for terrorism suspects. Because this enemy doesn't wear a uniform and, to the contrary, takes pains to blend with civilians, identifying candidates for military detention is harder. But since the end of this conflict may similarly be hard to know, there's a risk that wrong decisions could harm innocent people for a very long time, Goldsmith warns.
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Emerging economies face acute disaster risks: U.N.
Sat May 16, 2009 8:06pm EDT
"Disaster risk is rising in an alarming way, threatening development gains, economic stability and global security," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, introducing the 200-page report launched in Bahrain.
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WHO chief warns of danger, unpredicability of A/H1N1 virus
The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday again warned governments of the danger and unpredictability of the A/H1N1 influenza virus, and called on them to adjust their countermeasures according to the changing patterns of the disease.
"This is a very contagious virus. We expect it to continue to spread to new countries and continue to spread within countries already affected," said Dr. Margaret Chan in closing remarks to the 62nd World Health Assembly (WHA).
"In cases where the H1N1 virus is widespread and circulating within the general community, countries must expect to see more cases of severe and fatal infections," she said.
We need new vision, bold action, powerful partnerships for enduring peace and prosperity. That is why I call for a new multilateralism. A multilateralism focused on delivering global goods: freedom from hunger, health and education and security from terror or the threat of Armageddon.
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California faces its day of fiscal reckoning
Sat May 23, 2:20 am ET
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The day of reckoning that California has been warned about for years has arrived. The longest recession in generations and the defeat this week of a package of budget-balancing ballot measures are expected to lead to state spending cuts so deep and so painful that they could rewrite the social contract between California and its citizens. They could also force a fundamental rethinking of the proper role of government in the Golden State.
"The voters are getting what they asked for, but I'm not sure at the end of the day they're going to like what they asked for," said Jim Earp, executive director of the California Alliance for Jobs, which represents the hard-hit construction industry. "I think we've crossed a threshold in many ways."
California is looking at a budget deficit projected at more than $24 billion when the new fiscal year starts in July. That is more than one-quarter of the state's general fund.
This week, voters said they no longer want the Legislature to balance budgets with higher taxes, complicated transfer schemes or borrowing that pushes California's financial problems off into the distant future. In light of that, Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has made it clear he intends to close the gap almost entirely through drastic spending cuts.
Farther back in the line, marked by orange tape and monitored by police, locals like David Curtis seethed. "This is the worst job I have ever applied for," said the 31-year-old welder, who had already failed to find work at a convenience store, a pen factory and a Pizza Hut.
Eyeing those ahead of him, he added: "I'm very annoyed foreigners are taking jobs that Americans need."
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UN chief urges nations to back promises
1 day ago
WASHINGTON (AFP) — UN chief Ban Ki-moon called Thursday for a new era of multilateralism but said nations must back up words with resources, pointing to the ongoing Darfur bloodshed as a key failure.
Delivering the commencement address at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, the UN secretary-general said the global economic crisis showed a new interdependence among nations.
"We need new vision -- bold action. Powerful partnerships for enduring peace and prosperity. That is why I call for a new multilateralism," Ban said.
"A multilateralism whose instruments -- the United Nations, above all -- have the authority and the resources to do what is asked of them," he said.
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The Obama doctrine: how much change?
May 22, 9:23 PM
It was very clear with the results of the 2008 presidential election that Americans wanted a significant departure from 8 years of Republican foreign policy with the victory of Barrack Obama. Pennsylvania proved not to be the battleground state that many believed it was as Obama beat McCain, 55% to 44% in the state popular vote. But how much has there been since Obama assumed the presidency in the January 2009? And, more importantly, how much change can we realistically expect with the unfolding and evolving Obama Doctrine?
In his first several months as president, Barack Obama concentrated much of his time and energy on addressing the declining the American economy. On foreign policy, Obama has resisted the temptation to depart from George W. Bush, although he has altered the tone of America’s strategic foreign policy objectives. On the whole, Obama appears to be shifting the tone away from Bush-style unilateralism, hegemony, and preventive force toward a renewed emphasis on multilateralism, cooperation, and diplomacy. For example, the U.S. war against al-Qaeda will continue, however, without the bullying that seemed to alienate America’s allies. Even though Obama has set a schedule for American withdrawal from Iraq, it will take roughly 16 months and will also leave a sizable contingent force of American soldiers. In Afghanistan, Obama has announced his intention to escalate the American military presence by sending more troops and authorizing military strikes inside Pakistan. Challenges such as these has force Obama to confront a mixed set of expectations. Perhaps the most far-reaching expectation is that Obama would overturn a number of foreign policy objectives set by the Bush administration. Whereas Bush often was portrayed as a unilateralist “cowboy,” constantly confronting perceived enemies and ignoring allies, there are high hopes that Obama would remake America into a nation that uses military power as a last resort.
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EU, China pledge new ties on trade, climate
Wed May 20, 2009 2:23pm EDT
PRAGUE, May 20 (Reuters) - The European Union and China patched up differences at a summit on Wednesday, pledging to create a new global order to combat the financial crisis, dwindling world trade and climate change.
"During the summit we exchanged views on how to tackle the international financial crisis ... we both recognize that it is important for us to work together, to ride out the storm and make our contribution to an early world economic recovery," Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao told a news conference.
"It is impossible for a couple of countries or group of big powers to resolve all global issues. Multipolarity or multilateralism represent the larger trend. Some say that world affairs will be managed solely by China and the United States. I think that view is baseless and wrong."
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'WE'RE OUT OF MONEY'
Sat May 23 2009 10:32:18 ET
In a sobering holiday interview with C-SPAN, President Obama boldly told Americans: "We are out of money."
C-SPAN host Steve Scully broke from a meek Washington press corps with probing questions for the new president.
SCULLY: You know the numbers, $1.7 trillion debt, a national deficit of $11 trillion. At what point do we run out of money?
OBAMA: Well, we are out of money now. We are operating in deep deficits, not caused by any decisions we've made on health care so far. This is a consequence of the crisis that we've seen and in fact our failure to make some good decisions on health care over the last several decades.
Threat of social crisis
May 24, 2009
MADRID - WORLD economic recovery will be slow and rising unemployment could bring the threat of social crisis and protectionism, World Bank President Robert Zoellick said in an interview with Spanish Sunday newspaper El Pais.
'What began as a great financial crisis and became a great economic crisis is now becoming a great crisis of unemployment, and if we don't take measures there is a risk of a great human and social crisis, with major political implications,' he said.
'That's a good breeding ground for populist, protectionist policies,' he added.
'The finance ministers of the G7 and the G20 are displaying a certain relief because the contraction has slowed. Although we could still have low or negative growth, the situation is less bad,' he said.
'But economists and industrialists are conscious that the recovery will be slow coming and weaker than expected.'
Dangers remain in the US financial system and in vulnerable emerging markets, Mr Zoellick said.
'Maybe the key thing that has to be cleaned up is the financial system. The USA has taken steps in the right direction, but there are still banks with serious difficulties related to consumer finance, credit cards and real estate.
'On top of that, the United States depends more than Europe on the mortgage securitisation market, and that market has yet to recover,' he said.
He said there were risks in Africa, parts of Latin America and in Eastern Europe.
'China could surprise on the upside, it has obtained good results from its stimulus plan. For countries like Mexico and Brazil, the main threat is losing access to finance,' Mr Zoellick said. -- REUTERS