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Old October 4th, 2010, 05:48 AM   #101
hkskyline
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A hollow session puts the 'un-' in U.N.
1 October 2010
The Washington Post

A colleague, walking by the 38-story United Nations headquarters last week during the 65th meeting of the General Assembly, looked up to see that the windows on several of the top floors appeared blown out, the wind whipping off the East River through the seemingly abandoned shell.

It was as if former U.S. ambassador John Bolton's fondest dream had come true!

"If the U.N. . . . building . . . lost 10 stories, it wouldn't make a bit of difference,'' Bolton famously said back in 1994. Asked this week about the building's appearance, Bolton e-mailed: "It's a start!"

Actually, the entire building has been gutted for a renovation project, scheduled for completion in three years or so, at best.

Maybe that's why last month's diplomatic gabfest just didn't have the same feel, the same excitement and side-splitting hilarity that these sessions generally have.

President Obama delivered a perfectly fine speech, nothing earth-shattering. And Iran's wacky president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, lamely tried to match prior ravings, but, aside from saying the United States orchestrated 9/11 to save the economy, his act seemed to have gotten a little stale and predictable.

Venezuela's Hugo Chavez perhaps feared he could never top that 2006 slam of President George W. Bush, when he called Bush "the devil" and said "you can still smell the sulfur" after Bush had spoken in the chamber. Chavez, who didn't fare all that well in Venezuelan elections this week, was a no-show this time.

Ditto Loop Favorite Moammar Gaddafi of Libya, with his elite virgin-female bodyguard detail and collapsible tent. His spectacular fashion shows and dazzling incoherence of past years - demanding $7.77 trillion in reparations for colonialism - were a perennial highlight.

France's Nicolas Sarkozy, always entertaining with his stunning wife, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, gave but a cameo appearance. Neither of the Castro brothers was there. (Fidel last made an appearance in 2000.)

There wasn't so much as a drop-by from Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir. That's probably because he faces international war crimes charges, accused of orchestrating a campaign of murder, torture and forced expulsions in Darfur, and would probably be arrested on the spot.

Speaking of the United Nations, Equatorial Guinea's foreign minister used the General Assembly meeting to call on the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to stop stalling and start giving out the life sciences award set up in the name of that country's dictator, Teodoro Obiang Nguema.

Loop Fans may recall that the award, endowed for five years by a $3 million gift from Obiang, was set up two years ago - over objections by Washington and the European Union - and then stalled over outrage from the human rights community.

The issue popped up again in June as Obiang, in power for 31 years, accused opponents who were trying to block the prize of being "colonialist, discriminatory, racist and prejudiced."

But Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu of South Africa told UNESCO, "a beacon for hope and development," not to allow "itself to burnish the unsavory reputation of a dictator" whose regime "has been marked by corruption and abuse."

UNESCO's executive board agreed to study the matter further, deferring the question again. Hard to imagine UNESCO would destroy once and for all its reputation for a lousy $3 million.

So, what's with all that digging on West Executive Drive between the West Wing and the Eisenhower Executive Office Building? The drilling and pounding, which started in May, are driving folks in nearby offices to distraction. A new bunker in the works?

Not so, says the General Services Administration. The official response: "The construction [is] to replace aged and service-interruption-prone heating, cooling, electrical, fire alarm equipment and systems serving the West Wing."

The GSA says it's "constantly working to mitigate as much as possible any impact on the day to day work at the White House." Sounded like the end of the world a couple of days ago.

When will this end - and, more important for some, when will the parking perks on the drive be restored? Ah, well, "looks like it will be more than a year," we were told.

Private sector, anyone?

The Agency for International Development, supposedly running the third prong of the Obama foreign policy of defense, diplomacy and development, didn't have an administrator for the first year of the administration - despite all the earnest talk about elevating the importance of development.

After Administrator Rajiv Shah was sworn in to run the place, his picture joined those of Obama, Vice President Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on the wall in the agency lobby.

But Shah's photo recently disappeared. AID folks, prone to Machiavellian thinking, wondered whether this was a sign, a la the Soviets erasing photos of Trotsky.

"Maybe they're trying to send a message that he's no higher than a deputy secretary so why should his picture hang there?" one employee speculated.

Not really. Seems the problem is that you can't drill into metal wall, so the pictures are hung with Velcro, and sometimes they fall down. "Part of elevating development will involve upgrading to industrial-strength Velcro," said spokeswoman Lynne Weil. A visit to Home Depot appears to be in order.

As expected, Morgan Stanleyexecutive Tom Nides, formerly at Credit Suisse First Boston, Fannie Mae and the Bill Clinton-era U.S. trade rep's office, has been nominated as deputy secretary of state for management and resources. He would replace Jack Lew, whose nomination to run the Office of Management and Budget has been held by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) to protest the gulf oil-drilling moratorium.

Michael Vickers, now assistant secretary of defense for Special Operations/low-intensity conflict and interdependent capabilities (SOLIC&IC), has been picked to move up to undersecretary for intelligence.
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Old October 4th, 2010, 08:03 AM   #102
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
"Part of elevating development will involve upgrading to industrial-strength Velcro,"

So regal.
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Old October 4th, 2010, 10:09 AM   #103
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UN is most famous organization, i dont believe they have such building i agree they shopuld moved to some other country, London is a good suggestion
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Old October 4th, 2010, 10:21 AM   #104
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I think London is a good option, they shouldnt live in such bad condition they should move as soon as possible
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Old October 4th, 2010, 06:53 PM   #105
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They are not moving anywhere, but proceeding with the renovation.
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Old October 19th, 2010, 09:08 AM   #106
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U.N.: RENOVATION LEAVES SOME WORKERS HIGH AND DRY

UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 11, 2010 (IPS/GIN) - For more than two decades, he has served world leaders and diplomats who wined and dined here at United Nations headquarters in New York. Today, he is unsure how much longer he will be able to put food on his own table at home.

"We have been working here for so many years, but now they want to kick us out. This is not fair. We have families," said Syed Hussain, 54, who hails from Bangladesh and has worked at the delegates' dining room since 1988.

Hussain and his colleagues told IPS that all of them ű nearly 100 ű were worried about losing their jobs because Aramark, the private food company they work for, has decided to close down its operations at U.N. headquarters.

In May 2009, Aramark sent a letter to its employees indicating that it would no longer need their services after Aug. 10, 2010 when the U.N. started implementing its Capital Master Plan (CMP) to renovate the secretariat building, a landmark structure in midtown Manhattan, which was built between 1950 and 1952. It now appears that the workers will be laid off by the end of October.

The U.N. complex sits on more than 17 acres and includes six buildings totaling about 2.6 million square feet. The renovation work is due to be completed by 2013. Since last December, when the renovation started, some 6,000 UN employees have been relocated to other buildings.

The relocation has not only caused job losses for long-time workers like Hussain, but also made it hard for the staff and delegates to mingle with each other to exchange ideas about world affairs at lunch or dinner tables at a common and convenient place.

"It's no longer the United Nations. It's the dis-United Nations," remarked journalist Dogan Uluc. "It takes me more than 15 minutes from my office to walk all the way to a conference room in the new building. This is ridiculous. It's lousy planning."

Some critics have argued that the renovation is being used as a pretext to curb media access to delegates and Security Council members, and is also a veritable smokescreen to tighten restrictions on non-governmental organisations (NGOs) accredited to the world body.

In a hard-hitting letter to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in April, the NGO Working Group on U.N. Access complained that "the temporary arrangements, as part of the Capital Master Plan, are creating additional access problems and significantly reducing space for NGO participation."

In contrast, the plight of contract workers at the U.N., like those in the cafeteria, has been largely unnoticed.

Asked to explain why the architects of the so-called Capital Master Plan failed to take into consideration the negative impact on the professional and personal lives of the people who work at the U.N. compound, a CMP official referred IPS to Central Management Services (CMS), which signed the contract with Aramark. CMS officials did not respond to requests for comment on the loss of jobs for the delegates' dining room workers.

Jolio Mayata, who has worked there for more than 10 years, is worried. "The management is closing it down because they think they would lose business. But something must be done about it. For so many years, it has never been closed, not even during 9/11," he said.

Mir Wazid, a shop steward, added: "They (Aramark) say they are going to lose the business. Everybody is out of a job these days. If we are out of job, there will be no health insurance for us. The U.N. talks about human rights. Where are our human rights in this place?"

Manowar Khan, who has been working at the delegates' dining room since 1988, expressed similar concerns about U.N. officials' seeming inability to persuade Aramark to provide job security to its employees.

"The U.N. donates money all over the world, but here nobody cares for us. If they can't solve this internal problem, how can they claim to be solving the world's problems? The Fifth committee must take stern action to save our jobs. After all, we have served its members for so long," he said.

The Fifth Committee of the U.N. General Assembly is responsible for the world body's administration and budgetary matters.

Farhan Haq, a spokesperson for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said U.N. officials fully support the rights of the dining room staff. "It's Aramark which makes decisions [about hiring and firing]. We don't. But we are trying to tell them that they should keep their staff," he said.

Like Haq, an official of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which is part of the U.N. system, expressed sympathy for the workers, but requested that his name not be used.

"We hope the catering company would follow the ILO rules," he said in response to a question about whether or not the ILO rules apply to workers who serve U.N. staff members and diplomats. "We would like to see the contracts between the U.N. and the catering company to be honoured."

When approached by this correspondent, the company's general manager, Ron Beck, first agreed to an interview in person, but later backtracked, saying: "I am not allowed to speak to you."

However, he confirmed that his company was ready to lay off its workers by the end of this month.
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Old November 5th, 2010, 08:33 AM   #107
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NY bedbug epidemic spreads to the United Nations
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20101027/...s_un_bedbugs_3

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - New York City's bedbug epidemic has spread to yet another landmark in the city that never sleeps - the United Nations, officials at the world organization said on Wednesday.

The pests appeared at places like the Empire State Building and Bloomingdale's before reaching the city's center of international diplomacy on the East Side of Manhattan.

The U.N. press office said a bedbug-sniffing dog had confirmed the presence of bedbugs in furniture in the basement of the Dag Hammarskjold Library, where the offices of the team overseeing the U.N. headquarter's $1.9 billion renovation project are housed.

"This furniture has been moved to a part of the building not occupied by staff to facilitate fumigation," it said.

The library is a three-story annex to the main building.

"Bedbug infestations have been found in many public and commercial buildings throughout New York City indicating a worsening problem," the U.N. statement said.

In August, the pest extermination company Terminex said that New York is the most bedbug-infested urban center in the United States. Other cities in the top five were Philadelphia, Detroit, Cincinnati and Chicago.
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Old January 21st, 2012, 05:09 PM   #108
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thanks for this post.
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Old January 21st, 2012, 05:25 PM   #109
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All I can say is the cladding on this building is 10x better than the hideous green-ish glass.

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Old January 22nd, 2012, 06:25 PM   #110
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Did they cleaned the windows for 1,2 billion dollars?
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Old January 24th, 2012, 05:02 AM   #111
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Quote:
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Did they cleaned the windows for 1,2 billion dollars?
It's all new, not cleaned.

This is how it used to look like... hideous


http://wirednewyork.com/un.htm
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Old January 24th, 2012, 02:47 PM   #112
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They also upgraded the M&E services inside, removed the abestos.
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Old January 26th, 2012, 12:27 PM   #113
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Here is the website on the renovation plan and current status :
http://www.un.org/cmp/uncmp/english/index.asp
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Old January 27th, 2012, 08:29 AM   #114
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Quote:
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Stupid idea, in my opinion.
Perhaps, the word you were looking for is sarcastic.
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Old February 1st, 2012, 11:31 PM   #115
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarcasticity View Post
It's all new, not cleaned.

This is how it used to look like... hideous


http://wirednewyork.com/un.htm
To me it looked about ten times better with the old cladding. Its a shame they put on the new cladding and made it look so bland.
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Old February 1st, 2012, 11:52 PM   #116
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To me it looked about ten times better with the old cladding. Its a shame they put on the new cladding and made it look so bland.
Agreed. Just because we didn't like it doesn 't mean they won 't like it in the future either. If our ancestors did what we do now we would have very limited examples of previous architectural styles like Gothic, Baroque etc....
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Old February 2nd, 2012, 12:15 AM   #117
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It does look too generic now. Might be more visually appealing but it has lost its unique character.
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Old February 2nd, 2012, 05:39 AM   #118
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I agree. It's ugly cladding look was kind of its signature. Now its just another tower.
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Old February 3rd, 2012, 03:45 PM   #119
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I agree. It's ugly cladding look was kind of its signature. Now its just another tower.

Its ability to look absolutely hideous one day, and quite beautiful on another, all due to that cladding, was what made it great in the skyline.
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Old February 3rd, 2012, 06:36 PM   #120
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The cladding always looked ugly to me, but I do see what you guys mean. It does look very generic now. But I'm still quite happy it went under renovation though.
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