U.N. complex in New York gets $2 billion facelift

By ANITA SNOW – Associated Press – March 5, 2012

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The whirr of saws and buzz of drills flood buildings better accustomed to the speeches of world leaders as the United Nations’ iconic headquarters in New York gets a makeover. Gone are the pneumatic tubes and the toxic asbestos.

And blast-proof panes are replacing the original windows — addressing terrorism concerns in a post-9/11 world.

The first major renovation of the 60-year-old headquarters has been slowed by extra security measures, said New York architect Michael Adlerstein, the project’s executive director and a U.N. assistant secretary-general. The final cost will be nearly $2 billion — about 4 percent over the original budget.

Terrorists have increasingly targeted U.N. compounds, with 12 staff members fatally injured in August by a car bomb at the compound in Abuja, Nigeria. Top envoy Sergio Vieira del Mello was among 21 people killed in a 2003 attack on the organization’s Baghdad complex.

UN seeks to sweep away last traces of colonial age

By ANITA SNOW – Associated Press – August 14, 2011

UNITED NATIONS — One was Napoleon’s last place of exile. Another became home to survivors of the mutiny-stricken HMS Bounty. They are St. Helena and the Pitcairn Islands, flecks of real estate set in vast oceans, each occupying a special place in history.

These and 14 other territories — some would call them colonies — are listed by the U.N. as relics of a vanished age when Europeans ruled large chunks of the globe. The U.N. guided many colonies to independence, and what’s left of the former empires are territories, defined by the U.N. Special Committee on Decolonization as “non-self-governing,” entitled in many cases to elect local officials but all under the ultimate authority of a distant capital.

The committee is one of the few forums in which colonialism’s last remaining subjects can make themselves heard. Its latest annual meeting, in June, featured voices as disparate as lawmakers from Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands, a headman from a cluster of New Zealand-ruled islets, and a spokesman for a Saharan territory that has been fighting for independence for 35 years.

UN slaps sanctions on Gaddafi

By ANITA SNOW – Associated Press – February 27, 2011

NEW YORK – The UN Security Council moved as a powerful bloc on Saturday to try to halt Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi’s deadly crackdown on protesters, slapping sanctions on him, his children and top associates.

Voting 15-0 after daylong discussions interrupted with breaks to consult with capitals back home, the council imposed an arms embargo and urged UN member countries to freeze the assets of Gaddafi, four of his sons and a daughter. The council also backed a travel ban on the Gaddafi family and close associates, including leaders of the revolutionary committees accused of much of the violence against opponents.

Council members additionally agreed to refer the Gaddafi regime’s deadly crackdown on people protesting his rule to a permanent war crimes tribunal for an investigation of possible crimes against humanity.

U.N. Promotes Health Campaign for Women, Children

By ANITA SNOW – Associated Press – September 22, 2010

UNITED NATIONS (AP) – A global campaign that aims to save the lives of 16 million mothers and children over the next five years was being launched by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday with as much as $40 billion in commitments from world governments and private aid groups.

The so-called Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health was being announced at the end of a three-day summit to review efforts to implement anti-poverty goals adopted at a summit in 2000. These include cutting extreme poverty by half, ensuring universal primary education, halting and reversing the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and cutting child and maternal mortality.

“Women and children play a crucial role in development,” Ban said in a statement prepared for the event that was released by his office. “Investing in their health is not only the right thing to do — it also builds stable, peaceful and productive societies. “