Diplomatic Briefing

Your exclusive news aggregator handpicked daily!

Archive for December 14, 2009

Newsline: Canadian diplomat in spitting row recalled

Canada has recalled its embassy official who recently spat on a policeman and a journalist. A statement issued in Dar es Salaam said the Canadian High Commissioner to Tanzania, Mr Robert Orr, has regretted that the incident took place. “In the best interest of all involved parties, the Canadian official will be leaving Tanzania at the earliest possible time and will return to Canada,” said the statement. Last week, the Foreign ministry summoned the Canadian High Commissioner over the incident. A ministry statement issued later condemned the incident, saying that the government was considering whether to expel the diplomat concerned. Media reports said that ‘angered’ by a traffic jam, the Canadian diplomat opened his car window and spat at the policeman on duty. The incident reportedly occurred when the diplomat was driving a Toyota Land Cruiser, belonging to the high commission. The journalist was allegedly spat on after he went to the Central Police Station where the diplomat was taken after being arrested. After interrogation, the diplomat was freed because he had diplomatic immunity.



Newsline: Diabetic gains diplomatic career in civil rights lawsuit

Anna Balogh became interested in pursuing a career as a diplomat in 1990, when she lived in Hungary the summer after her freshman year at Wellesley College. Thirteen years later, the Lincoln woman applied for a highly competitive job as a Foreign Service officer and received an offer in November 2003. But her excitement soon gave way to crushing disappointment when the State Department withdrew the offer for a reason she found unfathomable: Balogh is an insulin-dependent diabetic. The government denied her medical clearance because she had to be fit to work at any of about 270 posts worldwide, including some in remote locales. This week, days before Balogh’s civil rights lawsuit against the State Department was to go to trial in US District Court in Boston, the 38-year-old and the government settled the dispute out of court. Balogh will be appointed as a Foreign Service officer for a three-year trial period, she said, and hopes it will become permanent. The government also agreed to pay her a sum, which she declined to disclose, for wages lost when she was not hired. “This was not a typical path for a Foreign Service officer,’’ said Balogh.


Newsline: Saudi consulate will pay legal fees of man accused of killing Binghamton University professor

Officials at the Saudi Arabia consulate weren’t aware that accused killer Abdulsalam S. Al-Zahrani was in the United States. They were also surprised to learn he is 46 years old. Still, the government of Saudi Arabia will pay Al-Zahrani’s legal fees. The Saudis became aware of Al-Zahrani after reading media accounts of his alleged crime. Al-Zahrani is charged with second-degree murder in the stabbing death a week ago of Binghamton University anthropology professor emeritus Richard Antoun. Al-Zahrani, a cultural anthropology graduate student at BU, knew Antoun through his doctoral work within the department. It’s Saudi policy that citizens facing incarceration are supplied with an attorney.


Commentary: Climate Change

The midpoint of a conference on climate change in which tremendous hope has been invested; unsurprising then that demonstrations of popular desire for decisive action against global warming took place around the world. Candlelight vigils were held in 139 countries Saturday, halfway through the Conference of Parties (COP15) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. In Copenhagen itself, in Halmtorvet near the site of a parallel conference organised by civil society, Friends of the Earth International (FoEI) held the Flood for Climate Justice. Some 5,000 people, many clad in blue plastic ponchos, surged through the streets bearing signs calling for “Climate Justice Now” before merging with a march of 100,000 people. Protesters praised Tuvalu, the South Pacific island state for proposing the stiffer 1.5 degree target so many believe will be necessary to avoid ecological and social catastrophe.


Commentary: CAMBIO CLIMÁTICO: Retratos de una manifestación

Decenas de miles de personas desafiaron el sábado el frío danés para poner presión sobre los negociadores de un acuerdo internacional que salve al planeta de un cambio climático abrupto e irreversible. He aquí tres ejemplos. La chilena Alicia Muñoz, integrante de La Vía Campesina, el movimiento mundial de pequeños y medianos agricultores, trabajadores y mujeres rurales y pueblos indígenas, lleva una semana en Copenhague participando en diferentes actividades del Klimaforum, la reunión de la sociedad civil paralela a la COP-15 (15 Conferencia de las Partes de la Convención Marco de las Naciones Unidas para el Cambio Climático).


Commentary: MUDANÇA CLIMÁTICA: Indígenas levantam a voz em Copenhague

As negociações sobre mudança climática que acontecem até dia 18 em Copenhague devem levar em conta as reclamações dos povos indígenas, os mais prejudicados – e os menos responsáveis – pelo aquecimento do planeta, afirmam ativistas. “Temos direito à nossas terras e ao nosso meio ambiente”, disse Malia Nóbrega, do Fórum Internacional de Povos Indígenas sobre a Mudança Climática (IIPFC), presente na capital dinamarquesa. “Esta crise climática ameaça a própria sobrevivência dos povos indígenas, em particular dos que dependem das florestas e dos gelos, e dos pequenos Estados insulares e comunidades locais”, disse o IIPFCC em um texto proposto para as negociações em Copenhague, que vão até o próximo dia 18. A 15ª Conferencia das Partes da Convenção Marco das Nações Unidas Sobre a Mudança Climática (COP-15) tentar chegar a um novo tratado para a redução de emissões de gases contaminantes, responsáveis pelo aquecimento global. O texto deverá dar continuidade ao Protocolo de Kyoto, cujas metas expiram em 2012.


Commentary: KLIMA: Tuvalu fordert Klimaziele für den Süden

Auf dem Weltklimagipfel in Kopenhagen wurde Tuvalu im Pazifik mit dem von Nichtregierungsorganisationen vergebenen ‘Lichtstrahl des Tages’ ausgezeichnet. Der Preis geht an Vertragsstaaten der UN-Klimakonvention (UNFCCC), die einen herausragenden Beitrag für das Vorankommen der laufenden Klimaverhandlungen leisten.