Posts Tagged ‘UN’

International Days of Ridiculousness

March 9, 2019

The entire concept of declaring special Days to commemorate something is unsound and faintly ridiculous. It is also counter-productive.  One special day for something inevitably implies 364 (or 365) other, less special days for that something. Every new Day that is declared dilutes and degrades all other special Days.

Yesterday was International Women’s Day. But the calendar is getting crowded.

Of course, the days declared by the UN to be International Days are generally well-meaning but end up being sanctimonious nonsense.

I find them irritating and the fact that a a “Day” has been declared, and especially by the UN, is sufficient to alienate me from the cause being promoted.

The United Nations designates specific days, weeks, years and decades as occasions to mark particular events or topics in order to promote, through awareness and action, the objectives of the Organization.

Some of the more ridiculous days are listed below. English, French, Russian, Spanish and Arabic have special Days. Swedish, German, Hindi and Tamil are not so honoured. Why? An International Day for every spoken language perhaps? Should one declared special day be more significant than any other?

More nonsense emanates from the UN than from any other body. Whether enough good comes from the UN to offset the nonsense is no longer very clear for me.

10 February World Pulses Day (A/RES/73/251)
13 February World Radio Day (A/RES/67/124)
21 February International Mother Language Day (A/RES/56/262)
20 March International Day of Happiness (A/RES/66/281)
20 March French Language Day (French)
21 March International Day of Nowruz (A/RES/64/253)
21 March International Day of Forests (A/RES/67/200)
23 March World Meteorological Day [WMO] (WMO/EC-XII/Res.6)
4 April International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action (A/RES/60/97)
20 April Chinese Language Day (Chinese)
22 April International Mother Earth Day (A/RES/63/278)
23 April English Language Day
23 April Spanish Language Day (Spanish)
26 April World Intellectual Property Day [WIPO]
30 April International Jazz Day (UNESCO 36 C/Resolution 39)
2 May World Tuna Day (A/RES/71/124)
16 May International Day of Living Together in Peace (A/RES/72/130)
16 May International Day of Light [UNESCO] (UNESCO 39 C/Resolution 16)
17 May “Vesak”, the Day of the Full Moon (A/RES/54/115)
1 June Global Day of Parents (A/RES/66/292)
3 June World Bicycle Day (A/RES/72/272)
6 June Russian Language Day (Russian)
7 June World Food Safety Day (A/RES/73/250)
8 June World Oceans Day (A/RES/63/111)
16 June International Day of Family Remittances (A/RES/72/281; GC 38/Resolution 189)
18 June Sustainable Gastronomy Day (A/RES/71/246)
21 June International Day of Yoga (A/RES/69/131)
25 June Day of the Seafarer [IMO] (STCW/CONF.2/DC.4)
29 June International Day of the Tropics (A/RES/70/267)
30 June International Asteroid Day (A/RES/71/90)
12 September United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation (A/RES/58/220)
16 September International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer (A/RES/49/114)
21 September International Day of Peace (A/RES/36/67) (A/RES/55/282)
27 September World Tourism Day
30 September International Translation Day (A/RES/71/288)
9 October World Post Day (UPU/1969/Res.C.11)
20 October (every five years, beginning in 2010) World Statistics Day (A/RES/69/282)
19 November World Toilet Day (A/RES/67/291)
21 November World Television Day (A/RES/51/205)
5 December World Soil Day (A/RES/68/232)
11 December International Mountain Day (A/RES/57/245)
12 December International Day of Neutrality (A/RES/71/275)
18 December Arabic Language Day (Arabic)


 

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Ban Ki-moon and the UN lose it as they try to hide sexual exploitation of children by UN troops

May 1, 2015

I find Ban Ki-moon embarrassing as the Secretary General of the UN. More often than not, I find his pronouncements generally lacking any indication of personal moral fibre. He parrots the prepared statements of his aides and advisors and his own values are invisible. Certainly the UN, and this Secretary General in particular, have little moral authority left. I find him an even sorrier figure than Kurt Waldheim – and Waldheim with his tacit support of Idi Amin’s applause for the Munich massacre – still leaves a bitter taste. In a sense, what else can we expect? The UN is not an organisation for the dissemination of best practices. Just like in the EU, it is the worst behaviour of a member state which becomes the common standard. The best of the UN, like that of the EU, can only be as good as that of its worst member state. When all UN personnel enjoy immunity from any liability for incompetence, gross negligence and even criminal acts, it is hardly surprising that the “bad apples” get away with it. Not everybody who serves on UN missions is a “bad apple” but there is no shortage of such people. Personnel on UN missions – be they scientists or doctors or peace-keeping troops or administrators – have no incentive from the UN to act responsibly. Nobody will be held accountable for introducing cholera to Haiti just as Dutch troops will not have to face any liability for the massacres in Srebrenica (and a Dutch court refused to act against the Dutch general just a few days ago).

And in the case of the sexual exploitation of children by French soldiers (and soldiers from Chad) in the Central African Republic, there will be many fine speeches from the UN and from the French government, but nobody will be held responsible or brought to account. But in this case where the abuse was known in July 2014 and covered up by the UN, the UN is throwing the book at the whistle-blower. Anders Kompass leaked the internal report on sexual abuses by French troops to French prosecutors. But Ban Ki-moon is talking about the procedural crimes of the Swedish whistle-blower rather than why the UN has kept this hidden for so long. Even the French PM has made a fine speech about pursuing wrong-doers but he has done nothing about this case which the French first knew about 9 months ago.

Expressen:

The Swedish Foreign Ministry’s legal chief Anders Rönquist and Swedish Ambassador Olof Skoog have both defended the whistle-blower Anders Kompass. 
But now the UN Secretary General has come out criticizing the Swede who leaked the report on sexual abuse. “Our preliminary assessment is that the behavior is not the same as whistle-blowing”, says Ban Ki-moon’s spokesperson.
Anders Kompass is still employed at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland on the OHCHR, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. But he will be absent from his job till 31st July.

Presumably he has been suspended by the UN. His suspension is with the knowledge – if not at the instigation – of the UN  high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein.

The Guardian:

The United Nations is guilty of “reckless disregard for serious allegations of wrongdoing” in its treatment of a whistleblower who disclosed details of alleged child abuse by French peacekeepers in Africa, according to a former staff member.

James Wasserstrom, a veteran US diplomat who was sacked and arrested by UN police when he exposed suspicions of corruption by senior officials in Kosovo, said the case of Anders Kompass revealed how the organisation turned on the whistleblower rather than dealing with the wrongdoing he had revealed.

Kompass, director of field operations at the office of the high commissioner for human rights in Geneva, has been suspended for passing to prosecutors in Paris an unredacted internal UN report detailing allegations of the sexual exploitation of boys in the Central African Republic by French peacekeepers.

When the Guardian revealed details of the allegations this week, the French authorities admitted publicly for the first time that they had begun an investigation after receiving the report last July. It details accounts from children as young as eight and nine of serious sexual abuse at a centre for internally displaced people in the capital Bangui.

At the time, the French troops stationed there were part of their country’s peacekeeping mission run independently of the new UN operation Minusca. The UN had commissioned the report following claims on the grounds of sexual misconduct. It was completed in June last year but not passed on until Kompass leaked it directly to the French.

On Thursday, the French president, François Hollande, vowed to pursue the allegations vigorously. “If some soldiers have behaved badly, I will show no mercy,” he said. French judicial authorities said more than a dozen soldiers were under investigation. ………. In France, the claims against more than a dozen soldiers who were part of the peacekeeping mission in CAR continue to cause shockwaves.

The report contains interviews with six children who disclose sexual abuse predominantly at the hands of French peacekeepers. Some children indicated that several of their friends were also being sexually exploited.

The interviews were carried out by an official from the OHCHR justice section and a member of Unicef between May and June last year. The children, who are aged between eight/nine and 15, disclosed abuse dating back to December 2013.

But of course nobody will be held accountable.

And the behaviour of the UN and Ban Ki-moon is – once again – not very edifying.

Plastic in the oceans grossly exaggerated: How the UN spreads bad science

April 30, 2015

It is widely assumed that about 10% of annual plastic production ends up in the oceans. That would mean that about 30 million tonnes end up in our seas every year. But this is just a myth and has been spread by a UN mistake as reported by Nordic Science. The actual number is 2 – 4%. The UN knows it is a mistake but it serves their “political” goals to go slow with any correction. I would go so far as to say that the UN mistake (by a consultant – of course) was quite deliberate. Which advocacy group did that consultant come from – I wonder?

It is tempting to beat our largest drums when fighting pollution. … One of science’s cardinal virtues is accuracy. Despite that, scientists are contributing to the dissemination of numbers with rather nebulous sources.

When ScienceNordic’s Norwegian partner forskning.no recently wrote about new calculations quantifying the plastic debris in the sea, we wondered why the new figures were so much lower than previous findings.

A number of researchers stated that the new calculation methods were the best they had seen to date. So we tried to find out how other scientists had ended up with a much higher figure –ten percent of the world’s plastic output. This was no easy task. The one-tenth figure cropped up ubiquitously, but no one could say what research it was based on. Apparently it didn’t come from research at all.

Some still claim that ten percent of the plastic produced annually ends up in marine environments. In 2013 alone that would equate to 30 million tonnes. This is a staggering amount of plastic for the oceans of the world and the marine life in these seas to cope with.

The latest calculations decrease this share of plastic debris to two to four percent of annual output.

We started searching for the source of the ten-percent figure.

Each reference pointed to another, which in turn referred to another article or paper in an apparent endless chain. Where was the original source?

A UN document for a workshop of international experts on marine debris also referred to a scientific paper. But when we checked that paper there we found no trace of this ten percent estimate.

We contacted the Secretariat of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, which had commissioned the document from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). They would not put us in touch with the author of the document, but Jihyun Lee in the Secretariat sent us an e-mail:

“Our consultant quoted the reference in good faith as it was cited in a peer-reviewed paper as being the source of the information. A robust review of this paper by the consultant when he quoted this information could have avoided this mistake. Unfortunately he did not go back to the source reference in this case to double-check the original source.”

The UN document was a draft. The mistake had already been pointed out by a scientist at the workshop and checked out. Jihyun Lee explains that the number will now be deleted from the final report.

But the number had already spread internationally, including to Norway, where the expert on plastics Geir Wing Gabrielsen of the Norwegian Polar Institute quoted it in the media.

“When I read a scientific article or a UN report, I expect the references made to be correct and they should be possible to confirm. It is unfortunate when, as in this case, numbers are impossible to track down,” he writes in an e-mail.

Read the whole article

Forskning.no finally traced the 10% number through many a false citation to a non-peer-reviewed conference presentation by a Professor Richard Thompson of Plymouth University who now admits he had no basis for the number but says it was based on “grey” literature. Which advocacy group did his “respected source” come from?

“ It was from a respected source, it seemed credible and I believed it as did others,” he writes in an e-mail to forskning.no. But he doesn’t answer the question of why he neglected to investigate the reference which the number comes from.

Thompson writes that he relied on grey literature, in other words, information from the authorities, organisations or academics who have not been peer reviewed through formal scientific publications. Typically, this could be a report, a work note or a presentation. 

“On further digging there is no substance to them – they were guesses and I should not have used them. I have not used the quote again,” he writes.

No doubt the consultant and the grey literature were from some advocacy group, such as Greenpeace, who have no qualms about making up information when it suits their purpose. Lies are justified as necessary because their “ends are good”. I note that the UN bureaucracy believe that the end justifies the means and their means include disseminating “grey information” as if it was gospel. It is not so surprising then that the UN IPCC reports on climate are full of highly dubious grey literature.

The UN’s scientific panels are little better than advocacy groups. Accuracy and truth have just become collateral damage in the furthering of their political goals. And the IPCC leads all the rest.

WHO’s politically appointed country heads in Africa dropped the Ebola ball

October 18, 2014
Dr Louis Sambo

Dr Louis Sambo, WHO Regional Director Africa

Why are the WHO’s Regional Directors (for Africa, Dr. Luis Sambo) not answerable to the head of the WHO in Geneva?

The first indications that the Ebola ourbreak was getting out of control were raised in April by Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF).

BBC: Medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) warned in April that the outbreak was out of control – something disputed by the WHO at the time.

…… In the worst affected countries – Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone – the Ebola virus has now killed 4,546 people with cases of infection numbering 9,191, according to the latest WHO figures.

AP carries a damning story of the complacency of the African WHO representatives who seem to have been unwilling to even acknowledge that there was a problem on their turfs. That the country heads of the WHO are mainly political appointments is not perhaps so surprising, but even all the Regional Directors around the world are apparently not responsible or accountable to the WHO head in Geneva.  That does not seem to be an organisation very conducive to taking actions on medical reasons alone. Presumably the African Regional Director is himself a political appointee (from Angola in this case) and  was elected to his position in 2005. It would seem that the position of Regional Director primarily reflects some political balance rather than just competence for the job to be done.

The outbreak began at least in January and by April had already killed 69 just in Guinea (around 70% fatalities of those infected).

AP:

In a draft document, the World Health Organization has acknowledged that it botched attempts to stop the now-spiraling Ebola outbreak in West Africa, blaming factors including incompetent staff and a lack of information.

In the document obtained by The Associated Press, the agency wrote that experts should have realized that traditional infectious disease containment methods wouldn’t work in a region with porous borders and broken health systems.

“Nearly everyone involved in the outbreak response failed to see some fairly plain writing on the wall,” WHO said in the document. “A perfect storm was brewing, ready to burst open in full force.”

The U.N. health agency acknowledged that, at times, even its own bureaucracy was a problem. It noted that the heads of WHO country offices in Africa are “politically motivated appointments” made by the WHO regional director for Africa, Dr. Luis Sambo, who does not answer to the agency’s chief in Geneva, Dr. Margaret Chan.

 ….. The document — a timeline on the Ebola outbreak — was not issued publicly but the AP was told the health agency would be releasing it earlier this week. However, WHO officials said in an email Friday that the timeline would now probably not be released publicly. No official at the agency would comment Friday on the draft report.

Dr. Peter Piot, the co-discoverer of the Ebola virus, agreed in an interview Friday that WHO acted far too slowly, largely because of its Africa office.

“It’s the regional office in Africa that’s the front line,” he said at his office in London. “And they didn’t do anything. That office is really not competent.” 

WHO’s other regional directors — the Americas, Southeast Asia, Europe, Eastern Mediterranean and the Western Pacific — are also not accountable to Geneva and are all elected by their regions.

Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, also questioned why it took WHO five months and 1,000 deaths before the agency declared Ebola an international health emergency in August.

“I called for a state of emergency to be declared in July and for military operations to be deployed,” Piot said. But he said WHO might have been scarred by its experience during the 2009 swine flu pandemic, when it was slammed for hyping the situation.

In late April, during a teleconference on Ebola among infectious disease experts that included WHO officials, Doctors Without Borders and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, questions were raised about the performance of WHO experts, as not all of them bothered to send Ebola reports to WHO headquarters, according to the draft document.

In the timeline, WHO said it was “particularly alarming” that the head of its Guinea office refused to help get visas for an expert Ebola team to come in and that $500,000 in aid was being blocked by administrative hurdles. ….

In fact the outbreak dates back at least to the beginning of this year. In Guinea, 69 people had already died between January and April 21st of Ebola:

MedicalDaily: Apr 21, 2014

Sixty-nine people have died since January of Ebola in the West African country of Guinea with 109 cases now confirmed by the World Health Organization (WHO). … WHO’s Dr. Rene Zitsamele-Coddy said in a press release. “As soon as the outbreak was confirmed on March 21, we started to work with [Guinea officials] and other partners to implement necessary measures,” she said. ”It is the first time the country is facing an Ebola outbreak, so WHO expertise in the area is valuable.”

 

CO2 increasing + no increase of global temperature = idiot climate policies

September 9, 2014

The UN has a special summit on climate on 23rd September and the alarmist wind-up has started (though the leaders of India, China and Gernany will not attend). The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has kicked off on the hype with a bulletin pointing out that CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has reached 396 ppm(v/v) which is an increase of 3 ppm from the previous year. It is – they say – the fastest rate of increase since 1984.

The WMO is just another advocacy group and their conclusions seem to be based more on wishful thinking rather than on any knowledge.

(My comments in red)

Comment 1: If this rate of increase occurred also thirty years ago in 1984 when the world’s consumption of fossil fuels was an order of magnitude less than today then the increased use of fossil fuels is clearly not as great a contributor to CO2 concentration in the atmosphere than previously thought.

BBCA surge in atmospheric CO2 saw levels of greenhouse gases reach record levels in 2013, according to new figures. Concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere between 2012 and 2013 grew at their fastest rate since 1984. The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) says that it highlights the need for a global climate treaty. ….. 

According to the bulletin, the globally averaged amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached 396 parts per million (ppm) in 2013, an increase of almost 3ppm over the previous year. “The Greenhouse Gas Bulletin shows that, far from falling, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere actually increased last year at the fastest rate for nearly 30 years,” said Michel Jarraud, secretary general of the WMO. ….. However, global average temperatures have not risen in concert with the sustained growth in CO2, leading to many voices claiming that global warming has paused.

Comment 2: The logical conclusion is that CO2 concentration has little impact on global temperature. The undoubted “greenhouse” effect of CO2 is clearly being suppressed by other negative feedbacks.

“The climate system is not linear, it is not straightforward. It is not necessarily reflected in the temperature in the atmosphere, but if you look at the temperature profile in the ocean, the heat is going in the oceans,” said Oksana Tarasova, chief of the atmospheric research division at the WMO.

Comment 3: This is now “global warming” restricted by magic mechanisms to hiding in the deep oceans and which is no longer visible in the atmosphere!!!! “Climate science” is trying to rewrite the laws of thermodynamics and heat flows.

The bulletin suggests that in 2013, the increase in CO2 was due not only to increased emissions but also to a reduced carbon uptake by the Earth’s biosphere. The scientists at the WMO are puzzled by this development. That last time there was a reduction in the biosphere’s ability to absorb carbon was 1998, when there was extensive burning of biomass worldwide, coupled with El Nino conditions.

“In 2013 there are no obvious impacts on the biosphere so it is more worrying,” said Oksana Tarasova. “We don’t understand if this is temporary or if it is a permanent state, and we are a bit worried about that.”

“It could be that the biosphere is at its limit but we cannot tell that at the moment.” The WMO data indicates that between 1990 and 2013 there was an 34% increase in the warming impact on the climate because carbon dioxide and other gases like methane and nitrous oxide survive for such a long time in the atmosphere.

Comment 4: Fundamentally the WMO does not know very much about the biosphere and its impact on CO2, and even less about the impact of CO2 on global temperature. Why is the WMO then advocating action on parameters, the effects of which are unknown?

The only things that the WMO bulletin demonstrates are that the linkage between CO2 concentration and global temperature is unknown (if it is even significant), and that the linkage between fossil fuel combustion and atmospheric CO2 concentraion is uncertain.

Hardly a sound basis for the idiotic demonisation of fossil fuel combustion.

Ban Ki-Moon: Puppet without a string ….

January 22, 2014

The UN Secretary General is a puppet on many strings. And when the puppet tries to write the screen-play or to manipulate the puppeteers, the play usually suffers.

Ban Ki-Moon seemed to have forgotten that when he issued his invitation to Iran to the Geneva II talks about Syria last week and tried to write his own script for the talks. It didn’t take long before he had to backtrack.

Iran has insisted all along that it would only attend if it was without conditions. The US has long held that Iran could attend only if they accepted the results of Geneva I (where Iran was not present). So why Ban Ki-Moon tried act independently is not very clear. Presumably he was persuaded to by his staff who believe that the UN has some legitimacy beyond what is provided by the puppeteers.

(Also inviting Australia and Mexico and Korea and Luxembourg leaves me mystified.)

I have decided to issue some additional invitations to the one-day gathering in Montreux. They are: Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Greece, the Holy See, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, the Republic of Korea, and Iran. I believe the expanded international presence on that day will be an important and useful show of solidarity in advance of the hard work that the Syrian Government and opposition delegations will begin two days later in Geneva.

As I have said repeatedly, I believe strongly that Iran needs to be part of the solution to the Syrian crisis.

I have spoken at length in recent days with Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mr. Javad Zarif.  He has assured me that, like all the other countries invited to the opening day discussions in Montreux, Iran understands that the basis of the talks is the full implementation of the 30 June 2012 Geneva Communique, including the Action Plan.

Foreign Minister Zarif and I agree that the goal of the negotiations is to establish, by mutual consent, a transitional governing body with full executive powers.  It was on that basis that Foreign Minister Zarif pledged that Iran would play a positive and constructive role in Montreux.

Therefore, as convenor and host of the conference, I have decided to issue an invitation to Iran to participate.

It didn’t take very long before the US made it impossible for his invitation to remain valid:

NY TimesMr. Ban announced the Iran invitation on Sunday a little before 6 p.m. Eastern time. By that time, it was the middle of the night in Tehran — way too late for government officials to respond, but early enough for Washington to do so. …. 

Less than two hours after Mr. Ban’s briefing, the State Department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, said in a statement: “The United States views the U.N. secretary general’s invitation to Iran to attend the upcoming Geneva conference as conditioned on Iran’s explicit and public support for the full implementation of the Geneva Communiqué, including the establishment of a transitional governing body by mutual consent with full executive authorities.”

As the New York Times puts it “But in diplomacy, there are no dress rehearsals. Mr. Ban’s choreography went awry, forcing him into a corner. Less than a day after issuing the invitation, the secretary general reversed course. Iran could not attend the talks, he said, because it had not affirmed the ground rules as he said he had been assured.”

It could be that even Ban Ki-Moon’s perception of his own independence was manipulated. Whether the invitation and its withdrawal were orchestrated by the US State Department, and whether the US was reacting to the fears of the Sunnis in the Middle East is unclear. (The report published with great fanfare yesterday about the human rights violations, detentions and executions by the Assad Government yesterday was apparently commissioned by the Government of Qatar. The timing of the publication of this report was also dictated by Sunni interests). I believe that the invitation and its withdrawal – paradoxically – strengthens Iran’s hand since they are conspicuous by not being present – and through no fault of their own.

The barbarism in Syria continues. I have no great expectations of Geneva II but it is part of a necessary process. If Al Qaida is to be kept in check, I think the involvement of Iran is both necessary and unavoidable. Without Iran not all of the Syrian opposition groups will be represented. And without Iran the Al Qaida factions could dominate the opposition.

A puppet with a broken string does not gain an extra degree of freedom. The UN Secretary General cannot entertain any delusions of grandeur or any thought that he can act independently of his puppeteers.

“It should be warm but it’s cold so it must be global warming” – UN delegate

June 13, 2013

The perspicacity of our delegates to the UN  and their level of argumentation leaves more than a little to be desired.

This interview with the delegate of the Cook Islands to the UN Bonn climate conference (scuppered thankfully by the Russians)  comes courtesy of CFACT. 

What food crisis? Global food prices drop 7% while UK study says half of all food is wasted

January 10, 2013

Back in July the World Food and Agriculture Organsiation was warning about run-away food prices and a potential world food crisis. Yet two reports today would suggest that alarmism about food is just as unreal as that about man-made global warming:

1. Economic TimesGlobal food prices fell by 7.0 per cent in 2012 from the level the previous year, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation said on Thursday, assuaging worries a few months ago that the world could be heading for a food crisis. 
The FAO added that prices had fallen in December for the third month in a row. 
The Rome-based FAO’s Food Price Index averaged 212 points in 2012, a drop of 7.0 per cent owing largely to falls in the prices of sugar, dairy products and oil. 
According to the FAO’s index, a monthly measure of changes in a basket of food commodities, prices dropped in December by 1.1 per cent to 209 points, down for the third month from the 263 points registered in August. 
“The result marks a reversal from the situation last July, when sharply rising prices prompted fears of a new food crisis,” said Jomo Sundaram from FAO’s Economic and Social Development Department. 

2. BBCAs much as half of the world’s food, amounting to two billion tonnes worth, is wasted, a UK-based report has claimed.

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers said the waste was being caused by poor storage, strict sell-by dates, bulk offers and consumer fussiness. The study also found that up to 30% of vegetables in the UK were not harvested because of their physical appearance. The institution’s Dr Tim Fox said the level of waste was “staggering”.

The report said that between 30% and 50% of the four billion tonnes of food produced around the world each year went to waste. It suggested that half the food bought in Europe and the US was thrown away. Dr Fox, head of energy and environment at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said: “The amount of food wasted and lost around the world is staggering. This is food that could be used to feed the world’s growing population – as well as those in hunger today. …..

It only reinforces the view that the world will be well able to feed its 9 billion + people by 2050. But being able to will not ensure that everybody is fed. There will no doubt be distribution issues and food supplies may not be equitably available to all the world’s population. There will still be cases of starvation and malnourished children even if more people  than ever before will be adequately fed and clothed. But there will be no catastrophic global food crisis.

OAS/CARICOM accept Haiti election results: Was voting necessary?

November 30, 2010

To have a result – of any kind and whether valid or not – seems to be more important than having a proper election result for OAS and CARICOM (Organisation of American States and the Caribbean Community).

Haiti Libre asks plaintively:

But we must remember that in these elections, Haiti did not have much to say. It is decided internationally what is good or what is not for us!

Sometimes we wonder why our citizens have been voting at all?

Election scrutineers are let in to the Santa Ana de Cité Soleil polling station in Port-au-Prince on 29th November. image The Independant

The BBC reports that

Haiti’s general election on Sunday was valid despite “serious irregularities”, international observers have said. The joint mission from the Organisation of American States and the Caribbean regional grouping, Caricom, said delays at some polling stations were not reason enough to cancel the election. Polling day on Sunday was marred by disorganisation and some violence, as well as allegations of fraud in favour of the governing party candidate, Jude Celestin.

The election was characterised by mismanagement and incidents of fraud, our correspondent says. There were multiple reports of would-be voters turning up at polling stations to find they were not registered to vote – and of others having the right papers but no idea where to vote. Some polling stations opened hours late, there were allegations that some people were voting multiple times, and thugs ransacked some polling stations.

Hopefully the cholera outbreak will not get a boost from the enhanced human contact during the campaigning and polling process. But the death toll has passed 2,000. The UN especially has displayed organisational incompetence.

Cancun kicks off with the Alarmist creed

November 29, 2010

The Cancun jamboree kicked-off today and started by reiterating the Global Warming Alarmist creed. Drastic – should we say Draconian? – measures would be needed. Some of the suggestions :

  • Stop economic growth in rich countries within 20 years
  • Introduce food rationing
  • Change lifestyles (reduce heating)
  • limit electricity usage
  • food transport be limited (to save on carbon footprint one understands!)
  • people compelled to use public transport

The usual dire warnings of rising sea levels, droughts in river basins and mass migrations were not left out.

It sounds remarkably like the rantings of Pentti Linkola and his ecofascism.

The Telegraph has the whole story but it requires a strong stomach to read it all in one sitting!

Cancun climate change summit: scientists call for rationing in developed world



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