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UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has announced that he is ending the appointment of American diplomat Peter Galbraith as his deputy special representative to the UN mission in Afghanistan…The decision was taken after U.S. and other NATO members decided last week in meetings in New York that after a small 10% sample of the vote, they would probably endorse Hamid Karzai’s reelection to a new five year term as Afghanistan’s president.
Galbraith had feuded with his boss, Norwegian diplomat Kai Eide, over how the UN should react to widespread alleged vote fraud in Afghanistan’s August presidential elections…
“The mission is in shambles,” a U.S. diplomat familiar with the UN Afghanistan operation said on condition of anonymity. “The staff is in open rebellion. It is pretty weird that at the United Nations, if you were running around pinching derrieres of female staff, or embezzling funds, it would take months before you were fired,” the diplomat continued. “Or if you were merely incompetent, it could take a year or more. But if you happen to say something is wrong about massive fraud in an election, you’d be gone in a week.”
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”