08/08/2001

 

  • Controversy is brewing prior to the "World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance," to be held in Durban, South Africa, at the end of August. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights is under great political pressure regarding the shape of the agenda, and the Secretary-General had to address the issue during a gathering of the Urban Development League in Washington. The US is already threatening to boycott the conference on political grounds. Initially the expense was financial -it is the most expensive UN conference thus far; and the cost may extend from finances to politics as usual.

  • A much overlooked Year of Dialogue Among Cultures will suddenly be revived in a meeting in Salzburg, Austria on August 25th. It is an Austrian initiative to be attended by a number of international dignitaries, including former Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali in his Francophone capacity, as well as his successor Kofi Annan. Austrian experts in the social art of "Gemutlichkeit," which translates into something like "relaxation," claim that August is the best time to visit the year-round resort town of Salzburg.