Sunday, October 4, 2015

6 Things That Happened At The U.N. This Week That Weren’t About Syria

bBy Hannah Allam, McClatchy Washington Bureau (TNS)

UNITED NATIONS — From afar, the annual United Nations General Assembly might seem excruciatingly boring, with dark-suited world leaders reading hours upon hours of speeches extolling their own nations’ achievements and paying lip service to crises that defy easy resolution.

Up close, that’s still true.

Only half-kidding. The so-called UNGA — nicknamed “FUN”-GA for its lack thereof — might not bring the high drama of a reality TV show, but there are still plenty of breakups, blowups, walkouts, grandstanding and other moments when protocol goes by the wayside.

Here are a few of the controversial moments from this year’s General Assembly:


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Are Cities And States Prepared To Host More Refugees?

By Sophie Quinton, (TNS)

WASHINGTON — The U.S. plans to increase the number of refugees it takes from 70,000 to 100,000 over the next two years. New York, Los Angeles and 16 other cities have urged President Barack Obama to accept even more refugees from Syria.

But is the country — along with the aid groups that help in resettlement and local communities that receive refugees — ready for an increase in arrivals? And where will the new arrivals go?

The increase could strain America’s sprawling refugee admissions program, a partnership between the federal government, international organizations like the United Nations, nine national nonprofits and their hundreds of local affiliates.…

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Syria And Ukraine: Two Fronts In Russian War For Influence

By Robin Emmott and Phil Stewart

BRUSSELS/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Russia’s air strikes in Syria are in part designed to extract concessions from the West over Ukraine by making Moscow a key player in any attempts by world powers to hammer out a post-conflict settlement in Damascus, some Western officials believe.

While the Syrian capital lies 1,800 miles (3,000 km) south of Kiev, for Russian President Vladimir Putin they are two fronts in the same war that is aimed at blocking Ukraine’s European integration, some EU, U.S. and NATO officials say.

Publicly no officials will make such a link, saying it is too speculative and French diplomats hosting a high-level meeting with Putin in Paris on Friday are reluctant to draw any conclusions.…

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