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Resources updated between Monday, August 28, 2017 and Sunday, September 03, 2017

September 3, 2017

Kim Jong Un, center, examines a device

North Korea boasts it has conducted a sixth underground nuclear test Article

August 31, 2017

Kim Jong-un

Pyongyang has sentenced four South Korean journalists to death for book reviews that insulted the North, state media said Thursday.

The Chosun Ilbo and the Dong-A Ilbo, both of them conservative newspapers, reviewed the new Korean edition of "North Korea Confidential", a book by two Seoul-based British journalists first published in 2015.

The work details the growing role of the market in daily lives in the North, where South Korean television dramas are circulated on the black market, and fashion items and hairstyles from the South are copied.

Those caught in possession of DVDs or USBs containing South Korean TV dramas can bribe their way out of any trouble, it says.

For the Korean edition the book has been retitled "Capitalist Republic of Korea", in a play on the North's official designation as a democratic republic, and its cover replaces the red star in the North's coat of arms with a dollar sign.

By reviewing the book, newspapers "committed a hideous crime of seriously insulting the dignity of the DPRK" as part of a "sordid smear campaign", the North's Central Court said.

The papers had the "temerity" to carry a picture of the book cover, it added in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.

"They have reached the state of slandering and insulting even the inviolable name of our country and its national emblem," it said.

One journalist from each newspaper, and the presidents of both publications were sentenced to capital punishment, it said.

"The criminals hold no right to appeal and the execution will be carried out any moment and at any place without going through any additional procedures," it added.

No penalty was specified for the books' authors, former Economist correspondent Daniel Tudor, and James Pearson, who writes for the Reuters news agency.

Tudor has not been to North Korea since publication and is understood not to have plans to go again.

It is not the first time Pyongyang has declared a death sentence on South Korean citizens.

In June it said it was imposing the death penalty on the South's former president Park Geun-Hye and her former spy agency head Lee Byung-Ho, claiming its state security authorities had foiled a plot by US and South Korean spy agencies to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.

That came after Kim's estranged half-brother Kim Jong-Nam was murdered at Kuala Lumpur international airport in February, allegedly by two women using the banned nerve agent VX in a killing widely blamed on Pyongyang.

Pyongyang 'sentences' four South Korean journalists to death Document

The United Nations

It's an old UN game trotted out whenever Americans get fed up with throwing money down the UN drain or paying for a global platform used to trash the USA's best interests and spew anti-semitism. It goes by the name of "UN reform." And President Trump appears to have taken the bait -- hook, line and sinker.

One day ahead of the president's first appearance at the General Assembly on September 19, he will host a "UN Reform High Level Event" for the purpose of adopting a "UN Reform Political Declaration." The Declaration, with ten points, has just been released and its primary characteristic is vagueness the only kind of "reform" plan capable of garnering any support at the UN.

While America's Ambassador Nikki Haley is taking ownership of the initiative, there is no doubt that the reform mantra is a UN-contrived antidote to White House noises about slashing UN funding. UN expenditures have ballooned to about $48 billion a year, of which approximately $10 billion comes from U.S. pocketbooks.

It's more of an ocean than a swamp. With the Secretary-General headlining the "reform" event along with the president, and the Declaration proclaiming the Secretary-General will "lead organizational reform," the UN just bought itself a chunk of time.

The rationale for altering U.S. support for the UN is suggested by periodic measurements of our UN "successes." In mid-August of this year, the State Department delivered its Congressionally-mandated report on voting patterns at the UN. It is a tally of how American interests and values line up with UN outcomes and the votes of countries that enjoy taking foreign aid with no strings attached.

The new report makes the following computation: In 2016, counting all the final draft resolutions of the full plenary of the General Assembly that were adopted by a vote and on which the U.S. voted yes or no "coincidence of voting," or how often other countries voted the same way as the United States, was a mere 37 percent. The U.S. lost every one of 18 votes slamming Israel.

The State Department responded to this data, however, by reassuring Congress that most resolutions at the General Assembly are adopted by consensus and not by a vote. They neglected to mention how consensus at the UN works. It looks like this.

Step one: On December 24, 2016 the U.S. voted to defeat a resolution that funded a UN Human Rights Council Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign directed at Israel. The vote took place at the committee level and the loss was 151 against a proposal not to fund, 6 in favor (including the United States), and 6 abstentions.

Step two: Later that same day, the entire UN 2016-2017 budget came to a vote in the General Assembly plenary. Now the budget incorporated funding for the BDS campaign a program that includes the production of a blacklist of American companies doing business with Israel. And at this stage, the U.S. proceeded to "join consensus" having given up the fight.

In comes UN-reform to waylay disappointed donors.

Perhaps no one performed the routine better than former Secretary-General Kofi Annan. On the verge of being fired because of the "Oil-for-food" kick-back scheme that enriched his UN cronies, and involved his own son, Annan contrived a UN reform plan. The UN's top human rights body, the Commission on Human Rights, was a standing joke, particularly after Libya was elected to chair it. Annan championed...a change of name, and saved his job.

A few more tweaks were thrown into the metamorphosis of the Commission into a Human Rights Council, but the only proposed change that really mattered was the (American) idea of introducing criteria for membership. This true reform proposal went nowhere, and today, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, China and company are firmly ensconced as members and UN human rights authorities.

The "pre-reform" Commission had one agenda item dedicated to Israel-bashing at every session, and one item for considering all other states in the world. The "reformed" Council immediately replicated the double-standard. Ambassador Haley wants to reform the reform, and will pay the Council's bills in the meantime. Music to UN ears.

In short, UN reform is a mug's game.

The only leverage that registers at the UN is money, and the willingness of its number one funder the United States to use it.

Alas, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is working on a State Authorizations Bill that, for reasons unknown, says absolutely nothing about the UN. A draft appropriations bill in the House touches the UN, but most anticipate it will go nowhere and by the end of September only a continuing resolution extending April's omnibus appropriations bill will go forward. UN fans with a perverse stranglehold on a GOP-led Congress will decide to spend and the president will be left saying yes, sir orations about seriously cutting US-UN contributions notwithstanding.

Some existing funding provisos require the Secretary of State to certify UN action is in the national interest. They provide a little wiggle room if Secretary Tillerson is so inclined. And if the president quit the Human Rights Council today, we would no longer be paying for a boycott of our own businesses and attempting to destroy our ally Israel.

Instead, we're gearing up to bankroll a UN-led reform of the unreformable. Making America feeble again.

President Trump, don't take the bait on so-called 'UN Reform' Article

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Jordanian Zeid Raad al Hussein (File photo)

Trump accused of media 'incitement' by UN official from journo-jailing Jordan Article

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (C), accompanied by Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon (right of center) at the Gaza border

The UN can't define terrorism, but its Secretary-General lectures Israel on security Article

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terrorists (File photo)

Germany to permit Palestinian terror group to run for parliament Article

Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan

Israeli minister says Israel may cut UN funding over settlement 'blacklist' Article

August 30, 2017

A UNIFIL peacekeeper in front of a billboard showing Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah

The mandate for the U.N.'s peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon (UNIFIL) was renewed today by the Security Council with only minor changes despite UNIFIL's failure to prevent serious violations of prior UN resolutions by the terrorist organization Hizbollah. The resolution, renewing the mandate of UNIFIL for another year, was adopted unanimously. To make sure there was no misunderstanding, the Italian ambassador pointedly lectured colleagues that Italy and Indonesia were the top troop contributing countries to UNIFIL and the mandate was not being changed.

Despite strong words by U.S. ambassador Nikki Haley about the persistent failure of UNIFIL to prevent and report on the growing presence of Hizbollah weapons and fighters in prohibited areas, the mandate remained as it was at the end of the last Lebanon war in 2006. Since that time , UNIFIL has stood by and watched Hizbollah amass 100,000 rockets pointed at Israel, including in areas south of the Litani River.

The main difference from prior renewals of UNIFIL's mandate is that the new resolution requests the U.N. Secretary-General to "look at ways" to improve UNIFIL's "visible presence" and requests "prompt and detailed reports on violations".

The draft resolution says:

"14. Acting in support of a request from the Government of Lebanon to deploy an international force to assist it to exercise its authority throughout the territory, recalls its authorization to UNIFIL to take all necessary action in areas of deployment of its forces and as it deems within its capabilities, to ensure that its area of operations is not utilized for hostile activities of any kind, to resist attempts by forceful means to prevent it from discharging its duties under the mandate of the Security Council, and to protect United Nations personnel, facilities, installations and equipment, ensure the security and freedom of movement of United Nations personnel, humanitarian workers and, without prejudice to the responsibility of the Government of Lebanon, to protect civilians under imminent threat of physical violence;

15. Requests the Secretary General to look at ways to enhance UNIFIL's efforts as regards paragraph 12 of resolution 1701 (2006) and OP14 of this resolution, including ways to increase UNIFIL's visible presence, including through patrols and inspections, within its existing mandate and capabilities;

16. Recalls the decision that UNIFIL shall assist the government of Lebanon, at its request, as set out in paragraph 14 of resolution 1701 (2006) and within its capabilities, to implement resolution 1701 (2006);
18. Requests the Secretary-General to continue to report to the Council on the implementation of resolution 1701 (2006), every four months, or at any time as he deems appropriate, and to include in his reporting a prompt and detailed breakdown of all resolution 1701 (2006) violations, prompt and detailed reports on violations of the sovereignty of Lebanon, prompt and detailed reports on the restrictions to UNIFIL's freedom of movement, reports on specific areas where UNIFIL does not access and on the reasons behind these restrictions, potential risks to the cessation of hostilities and UNIFIL's response as well as reports on the implementation of the recommendations of the 2016-2017 Strategic review and on additional identified efficiencies to most appropriately fulfil its mandated tasks; requests the Secretary-General to further develop a reporting mechanism in order to provide concrete and detailed information on the aforementioned issues to the Council;"

U.N. Renews Lebanese "Peacekeeping" Mission that has Failed to Halt Hizbollah Prepping for War Development

UNIFIL peacekeepers drive past flags, including that of Hizbollah

"Today (30 August), the Security Council is scheduled to vote on a resolution renewing for another year the mandate of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which expires on 31 August. The draft to be voted on was put in blue last night following several days of difficult negotiations and bilateral discussions, with a final revision this morning.However, at press time it was still unclear how some members might vote.

The negotiating process has been contentious. In recent weeks the US and Israel have ramped up criticism of UNIFIL's work and leadership and called for a strengthening of its mandate that would allow it to more proactively confront Hezbollah, which the US asserts is illegally stockpiling weapons in the mission's area of operations. The US has pushed to augment the mission's mandate against the wishes of other members, in particular those contributing troops to UNIFIL...

On 23 August, US Permanent Representative Nikki Haley issued a statement calling on members of the Council to join the US "in taking real action to make UNIFIL a stronger peacekeeping mission and to stand up against forces of terror in Lebanon and around the region." Ann Gueguen, the Deputy Permanent Representative of France, which holds the pen on Lebanon, told reporters that it "is of paramount importance for the stability of Lebanon and the region, and in the best interest of all, that UNIFIL keeps its mandate and is in a position to fulfil it, with the full backing and confidence of the Security Council." The Russian Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia also addressed the press that day, saying he believed the mandate should be renewed without changes.

Following the consultations, France circulated a draft resolution that contained language pertaining to US concerns. It appears that France and the US had been in discussions over the draft text for weeks; however, Council members only met as a whole to negotiate the draft for the first time on 24 August and then held a second round of negotiations on the morning of 28 August..."

UN Security Council poised to renew UN force in Lebanon's mandate. Question remains whether it will finally get serious about Hizbollah threat Article

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon, August 29, 2017

'The UN has a real obsession against Israel' Article

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (L) with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah (R), Ramallah, August 29, 2017

'UN Chief should apologize to terror victims' families' Article

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (L) with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah (R), Ramallah, August 29, 2017

UN chief meets families of Palestinian terrorists in Ramallah Article

Iranian flag at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna

How to Get Out of the Iran Nuclear Deal Article

August 29, 2017

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Jerusalem, August 28, 2017

Hezbollah Storing Arms in Civilian's Homes for Use Against Israel, Israeli Defense Minister Tells UN Chief Article

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (second from right) meets with families of Hamas captives

UN chief visits families of Hamas captives Article

The funeral of an IDF soldier (File photo)

'UN money is paving the way for the next murder' Article

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad Al Hussein

Upcoming UN 'blacklist' of companies tied to Israel invokes anti-Semitism, experts say Article

Left to right: Daniel Atar, Danny Danon, and Antonio Guterres

JNF to UN Chief: I hope you put an end to UN's hatred of Israel Article

August 28, 2017

Hamas terrorists (File photo)

Hamas and the UN: Connect the dots Article

UNIFIL members beside a banner for Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah in south Lebanon (Reuters)

Haley demands UNIFIL changes, levels harsh criticism against commander Article

A protester against the UN in Haiti

Court Dismisses Remaining Lawsuit Against U.N. on Haiti Cholera Article

Palestinian refugees in Damascus, Syria, 2014

UN spends 4 times more per person on Palestinian refugees than other refugees Article

Scene after police shoot a man wielding a machete in Brussels

Machete-wielding man shot dead in Brussels terror attack after attacking soldiers Document

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, August 28, 2017

Greeting UN chief, Netanyahu rips international body's treatment of Israel Article

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (File photo)

End bias or else, Israel warns UN ahead of chief's visit Article