Global News Journal
Beyond the World news headlines
(Updates to include U.N. statement on Ban in China)
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is gearing up for a campaign to retain his seat as the United Nations’ top official for another five years, U.N. diplomats say. This, rights advocates suggest, may be the reason he sidestepped the issue of human rights during his latest visit to China, his fourth in as many years. Ban did not raise the issue of Beijing’s alleged rights abuses during a meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao on Monday. Nor did he call on the Chinese government to release jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo, this year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner.
“It is correct he did not discuss human rights (in China),” Ban’s spokesman Martin Nesirky told reporters in New York, adding that he also did not raise the issue of Liu’s detention. He noted that the secretary-general’s Oct. 8 statement on the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize “still stands.”
Ban’s carefully worded statement on the award, which was criticized as “mealy-mouthed” by Foreign Policy magazine’s Turtle Bay blog, did not call for Liu’s release and offered only indirect praise of his work as a dissident. (In contrast to Ban, the Nobel Committee praised Liu for his “long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights” and reiterated its belief in a “close connection between human rights and peace.”) In the same statement the U.N. chief was full of praise for Beijing: “Over the past years, China has achieved remarkable economic advances, lifted millions out of poverty, broadened political participation and steadily joined the international mainstream in its adherence to recognized human rights instruments and practices,” he said. Beijing was infuriated by the decision to give Liu the award, describing it as ”an obscenity.”
It’s not as if human rights are off-limits for the secretary-general. Hardly a week goes by in which Ban doesn’t publicly call on the military junta of Myanmar to release Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. His latest appeal to the leaders of the former Burma was issued on Friday, when he urged the government to release all political prisoners ahead of the country’s first election in 20 years, scheduled for Nov. 7.
from Tales from the Trail:
When President Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize last October it caught most by surprise and sent his lawyers scurrying to quietly make sure that the president could receive the prestigious award without running afoul with the U.S. Constitution or federal law.
A provision in the Constitution, known as the Emoluments Clause, bars the receipt of any present, emolument, office or title of any kind from a "King, Prince or foreign State". When the Nobel prize was established more than a century ago, Alfred Nobel's will specified that the recipient of the peace award was to be chosen by a committee of five people elected by the Norwegian parliament known as the Storting.
Some say U.S. President Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace prize was at best premature, others say it should go to his speech writers and a number believe it’s groundless?
But what would Alfred Nobel think? That’s the question the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo seeks to answer in an exhibition due to open to the public on Saturday.
“The relation between Nobel’s testament and Barack Obama’s visions and actions has become a global debate and the theme for this exhibition,” the centre’s director Bente Erichsen told Reuters a day before Obama picks up his Nobel in Oslo.
The exhibit itself resembles a library, where Obama’s speeches and deeds are documented side-by-side the words and will of the Swedish dynamite inventor. It includes a number of pictures revealing “the person who is Barack Obama”.
from The Great Debate:
It is a timeline rich in irony. On Dec. 10, Barack Obama will star at a glittering ceremony in Oslo to receive the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. That's just nine days after he ordered 30,000 additional American troops into a war many of his fellow citizens think the U.S. can neither win nor afford.
from Environment Forum:
The surprise award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Barack Obama just nine months into his presidency on Friday may put pressure on him to visit a 190-nation meeting on a new U.N. climate treaty in Copenhagen.
The prize will be handed over in Oslo on Dec. 10, the anniversary of the 1896 death of the award's founder Alfred Nobel, and the U.N. talks will run in Copenhagen from Dec. 7-18. It takes about an hour to fly between the two Scandinavian capitals.
U.S. President Barack Obama has won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. The Norwegian Nobel Committee said Obama had been awarded the prize for his calls to reduce the world’s stockpiles of nuclear weapons and work towards restarting the stalled Middle East peace process.
The committee praised Obama for “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”