7:02 AM, Apr 11, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
While crises continue in Ukraine, Syria, Iran, and the Central African Republic, the United Nations turned its attention to a different kind of crisis on Thursday: the "global road safety crisis." The U.N. General Assembly held a session on Improving Global Road Safety in which the United States cosponsored a resolution "which calls for laws to fight texting and driving."
Ambassador Samantha Power tweeted the following:
Proud to cosponsor UN Resolution on #RoadSafety, which calls for laws to fight texting and driving. My remarks: http://t.co/XKQTH3vjz2
— Samantha Power (@AmbassadorPower) April 10, 2014
In her remarks at the session, Power noted that although "improvements in road design, traffic management, safety equipment, and emergency response" could help reduce the 1.2 million annual worldwide traffic fatalities, "Most important, however, is driver behavior." She continued:
Excessive speed and a failure to obey traffic rules are both killers. The role of alcohol in traffic fatalities is also well documented and should never be understated. In recent years, however, we have faced a new and deadly threat in the form of driving while texting or talking on the phone. Research shows that cell phone users are over 5 times more likely to get in an accident than undistracted drivers. And that texting while driving can delay a driver’s reactions as much as a 0.08 blood-alcohol level, the same as a drunk driver. Already, in the United States, more teenagers are killed while texting than because they have been drinking. But the problem is neither confined to teenagers nor to highly-industrialized countries; it is spreading as fast as technology.
It is unclear how the push for such bans will fare, particularly in less developed countries where drivers routinely take shortcuts on sidewalks, and red lights and stop signs often seem optional. However, Power cited a new law just passed in Maryland that was named for Jake Owen, a five-year-old who was killed when a distracted driver rammed the boy's family's car. The law increases penalties for drivers found responsible for causing an accident while talking on a cell phone or texting.
12:59 PM, Apr 1, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The non-military measures taken against Russia for its actions in Crimea and against its threatened invasion of Ukraine has not, as yet, had any discernible military effect. Reuters reports that NATO’s Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen
12:41 PM, Feb 21, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg met with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at United Nations headquarters today for Bloomberg's new role as United Nations special envoy for cities and climate change. At the photo op, the secretary general was effusive in his praise of Bloomberg, even crediting him for transforming New York City into a "carbon-free city" [emphasis added]:
1:33 PM, Aug 28, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
Even as United Nations personnel are in Syria trying to investigate chemical weapons claims that have further exacerbated that country's bloody civil war, U.N. secretary general Ban Ki-moon was incongruously tasked with the celebration of the centennial of the Peace Palace in The Hague.
7:01 AM, Aug 22, 2013 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
At 5:09 pm on August 21, Samantha Power, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, tweeted this:
12:51 PM, Aug 13, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
In a report to the United Nations Committee Against Torture, the Obama administration unequivocally denies the existence of secret detention facilities operated by any part of the U.S. government.
1:22 PM, Jul 25, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution to mark "World Toilet Day." The day will be celebrated November 19.
"The amusement and laughter likely to follow the designation of 19 November as 'World Toilet Day' would all be worthwhile if people’s attention was drawn to the fact that 2.5 billion people lacked proper sanitation and 1.1 billion were forced to defecate in the open, the General Assembly heard today," a U.N. press release reads.
2:24 PM, Dec 13, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
The United States announced today that it “cannot sign” a proposed treaty that would cede some control of the Internet to the United Nations. The details of the treaty have been the subject of more than a weeklong conference in Dubai.
10:48 PM, Dec 12, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
In the middle of the night at a U.N. conference in Dubai, the presiding chairman of the International Telecommunication Union conference surveyed the assembled countries to see whether there was interest in having greater involvement in the U.N. governing the Internet. A majority of countries gave their approval.
5:44 PM, Nov 29, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
America's ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, stated that today's resolution on the status of Palestine as an observer state "does not establish that Palestine is a state."
2:48 PM, Nov 26, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
Next week the United Nations' International Telecommunications Union will meet in Dubai to figure out how to control the Internet. Representatives from 193 nations will attend the nearly two week long meeting, according to news reports.
12:54 PM, Nov 19, 2012 • By ILANA DECKER
After a year and a half of conflict, and despite some 40,000 deaths, the world still stands impotent to end the bloodshed in Syria.
Susan Rice praises council for "increasingly proving its value."3:01 PM, Nov 12, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
The United States and Venezuela will now serve together on the United Nations Human Rights Council, after both countries won elections today to serve together. Venezuela received 154 votes and is in the Latin American group, while the U.S. received 131 and is in the Western group.
How we learned to stop worrying and love Bibi's bomb chart.11:59 AM, Sep 28, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN
During his address to the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu used a drawing of a bomb to illustrate the threat of Iran's nuclear program. Several media types pooh-poohed Netanyahu's chart, including the Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg. "It is precisely because Iran's nuclear program is such a threat to Israel that turning to cartoon bombs to explain the issue is a lousy idea," Goldberg tweeted yesterday.