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Newsline: US ambassador to UN evacuated from volatile South Sudan camp

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, was evacuated from a U.N. camp for displaced people in South Sudan because of a demonstration against President Salva Kiir, witnesses said. Shortly after Haley left the camp, U.N. security guards fired tear gas to disperse the crowd of more than 100 residents who looted and destroyed the office of a charity operating there, an aid worker at the camp said. The aid worker spoke on condition of anonymity out of safety fears. Haley, in the middle of a three-country African visit, met earlier Wednesday with Kiir over the country’s long civil war. Speaking later to U.N. station Radio Miraya, Haley said she warned Kiir that the U.S. no longer trusted South Sudan’s government and was no longer prepared to wait for change. She did not give details. The United Nations confirmed the incident with Haley, saying camp residents “became upset that she was not able to meet with them, due to time constraint.” The U.S. Embassy did not comment on Haley’s evacuation.



Newsline: WHO boss ‘rethinking’ Mugabe goodwill ambassador post

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) has said he is “rethinking” his decision to name Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe a goodwill ambassador in the face of growing criticism over the move. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director general of the UN health agency, had this week asked Zimbabwe’s 93-year-old leader to serve in the role to help tackle non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like heart attacks, strokes and asthma across Africa. The decision triggered confusion and anger among key WHO member states and opposition figures in Zimbabwe who noted that the country’s healthcare system, like many of its public services, has been rife with problems under Mugabe’s decades-long leadership. “I’m listening. I hear your concerns. Rethinking the approach in light of WHO values. I will issue a statement as soon as possible”, Tedros, a former Ethiopian health minister, said on Twitter.


Newsline: UN lambasted after naming Robert Mugabe goodwill ambassador

The United Nations faced criticism on Friday after naming Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe a “goodwill ambassador” to promote health causes, despite the country’s dire health crisis under his rule. The UN World Health Organization asked Mugabe to serve in the role to help tackle non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as heart attacks, strokes and asthma across Africa. Mugabe, 93, was in Uruguay for the announcement by WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who said he was “honoured to announce that President Mugabe has agreed to serve as a goodwill ambassador on NCDs for Africa.” Tedros hailed Zimbabwe as “a country that places universal health coverage and health promotion at the centre of its policies to provide health care to all”. Zimbabwe’s healthcare system, like many of its public services, has collapsed under Mugabe’s authoritarian regime, with most hospitals out of stock of essential medicines and supplies, and nurses and doctors regularly left unpaid. The appointment angered international rights campaigners and opposition parties, who also accuse Mugabe of violent repression, election rigging and presiding over the country’s economic ruin.


Newsline: North Korea’s deputy UN ambassador warns nuclear war ‘may break out any moment’

North Korea’s deputy UN ambassador warned that the situation on the Korean peninsula “has reached the touch-and-go point and a nuclear war may break out any moment.” Kim In Ryong told the UN General Assembly’s disarmament committee that North Korea is the only country in the world that has been subjected to “such an extreme and direct nuclear threat” from the United States since the 1970s – and said the country has the right to possess nuclear weapons in self-defence. He pointed to large-scale military exercises every year using “nuclear assets” and said what is more dangerous is what he called a U.S. plan to stage a “secret operation aimed at the removal of our supreme leadership.” This year, Kim said, North Korea completed its “state nuclear force and thus became the full-fledged nuclear power which possesses the delivery means of various ranges, including the atomic bomb, H-bomb and intercontinental ballistic rockets.”


Newsline: Egyptian diplomat leads race to be UNESCO head

An Egyptian diplomat is among the favorites to be the next head of UNESCO, the UN’s cultural agency. Moushira Khattab, 73, a former minister of family and population and a leading activist for women’s and children’s rights, is one of four Arab candidates. The others are Vera El-Khoury from Lebanon, Saleh Mahdi Al-Hasnawi from Iraq and former Qatari Culture Minister Hamad bin Abdul Aziz Al-Kawari. If Khattab wins, she would be the first person from Africa to lead UNESCO in its 72-year history. She is a former assistant minister of foreign affairs and ambassador to South Africa, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.


Newsline: UN Ambassador Haley Reprimanded for Political Tweet

U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley has been reprimanded for violating a law limiting government employees’ political activity by voicing support for a South Carolina congressional candidate. Last week, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel notified Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, a watchdog group based in Washington, that it had issued a warning letter to Haley, a former South Carolina governor, but would pursue no further action. A spokeswoman for Haley didn’t immediately respond to a text message seeking comment. The watchdog group in June wrote to the Special Counsel, accusing Haley of violating the Hatch Act, a 1939 law that allows government officials to personally donate money to political committees or engage in a variety of partisan activities, as long as they do so on their personal time and don’t use government resources. The group said at the time that Haley should not have retweeted one of President Donald Trump’s messages that month in support of Ralph Norman, a Republican who went on to win a special election for the seat formerly occupied by Trump’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney. On June 19, the day before Norman faced off with Democrat Archie Parnell in South Carolina’s Fifth District, Trump sent several tweets praising Norman, a millionaire real estate developer, as someone who would be a help to him in Congress and urging voters to “#VoteRalphNorman tomorrow!” Later that day, according to CREW, Haley retweeted the first message from her verified Twitter account, which lists her as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. At the time, the group said, Haley had at least 356,000 followers, a number that has since grown to more than 516,000. Haley deleted the message after journalists questioned it on Twitter, but the group said Haley should still be investigated and disciplined. In its Sept. 28 letter to CREW, the Special Counsel said it had advised Haley on how to avoid further violations and would consider “such activity to be a willful and knowing violation of the law” if Haley did it again.


Newsline: UN ambassador Nikki Haley warned over Trump retweet

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley was warned on Tuesday that her retweet of a political message posted by President Donald Trump in June endorsing then-South Carolina congressional candidate Ralph Norman was a violation of the Hatch Act, according a letter posted by a Washington watchdog group. “The Office of Special Counsel issued Haley a warning letter noting that any future engagement in prohibited political activity will be considered ‘a willful and knowing violation of the law, which could result in further action,'” according to a press release from the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW), which filed the original complaint. The Hatch Act prohibits employees in the executive branch, except the President, vice president and some other high-level officials, from engaging in political activity. Haley did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment. CREW’s initial complaint stemmed from Haley’s retweet of a post by Trump that said: “Ralph Norman, who is running for Congress in SC’s 5th District, will be a fantastic help to me in cutting taxes.”