JULY 15, 2019



Known for decades as Mister UN Beekeeping, Sir Brian Urquhart commemorated his 100th birthday at his residence in New York City. Secretary General Antonio Guterres issued the statement indicating how Sir Brian helped to define the scope of action in addressing armed conflicts and other global challenges. Adding that "Across the decades, in service to several of my predecessors, he was at the center of formative global events, from the Congo to the Middle East." Sir Brian has been an inspirational figure for many UN staff.


It is actually someone's name who seems to be doing fairly well in chasing situations. Parfait Onanga-Anyanga started as Assistant of the President of the UN General Assembly from his country Gabon, transferred to the office of the first African female Deputy Secretary-General from Tanzania. Under Ban Ki-moon he was Special Representative to the Central Africa Republic. Secretary General Guterres just appointed him as Special Envoy for the horn of Africa. Horn?


Once the Major Daily newspaper in Beirut, Al-Hayat moved to London during the Lebanese civil war, was bought by Saudi Prince Khalid bin Sultan, survived in competition with the other major Daily issued by Gulf countries which diverted the direction of the Arabic media narrative. It was recently sold again, left London, the editorial staff were released and still waiting for payment. The new buyer was supposed to be identified at some time while puzzled creative un-rewarded editors and columnists are waiting an uncertain future. Only one person seems to be taking advantage and he hardly works.


Several restaurants and shops around UN are closing down and some being re-opened under another name. Sido Middle Eastern food started by a Chef from Jordan, on 2nd Ave and 46th St, was closed down due to high unaffordable rent. Korean store and restaurant, on 2nd Ave and 50th St, also closed. A French restaurant on 55th St, La Mangeoire, also closed recently. Matisse on the corner of 2nd Ave and 49th St closed their doors and re-opened under a new name Chateau 49, which seems to have gained a popular clientele and is run by a charismatic French African woman who had worked at Matisse. Mexican restaurant Dos Caminos closed down on 5 de Maio.


While traveling to different countries in the Caribbean, New Zealand, Australia and Africa, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres seems to be adapting to changing climates by wearing suitable shirts of many colors. It made him look closer to the indigenes populations while feeling comfortable. While neck ties and suits are usually required at UN Headquarters, even during hot summer, traveling in casual and appropriate outfits gives him an informal communicative edge.


On Thursday, June 27th, a number of bishops and cardinals at St Patricks Cathedral in Manhattan commemorated the anniversary of saint and priest Josemaría Escrivá, who launched the Opus Dei, which means "Work of God." Everyone called upon the example of his dedicated life. The current Prelate is Monsignor Fernando Ocáriz Braña, annointed since July 2017. Opus Dei's membership includes government officials, media and social personalities.


On 14 Juillet, France National Day, some New Yorkers of French descent had fun getting together in all boroughs to play "Petanque," a sport of throwing boules at a narrow target. They could have made a point of taking a boat around the Statue of Liberty which was offered by Marquis de Lafayette at the entrance of New York harbor.


Five new members were elected to the Security Council for two years: Vietnam, (Asia), Niger (Africa), Tunisia (Africa-Arab countries, replacing Kuwait of Asia), St. Vincent & Grenadines (Caribbean) and Estonia (Eastern Europe). They will take over by 1 January 2020.


The annual Nadia Younes Memorial lecture this year was given at the American University in Cairo by Dame Minouche Shafik, Director.London School of Economics and Political Science. Under a general subject of Global Leadership in a Changing World, Dr. Shafik shared reflections from her career spanning global finance, development economics and academia.


A new indication that the U.N. is paying more serious attention to the situation in Syria is the designation of Khawla Matar, formerly Deputy Executive Secretary of UN/ESCWA (Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia), as Deputy Special Envoy to Syria. It followed an equally indicative appointment of Gere Pedersen, an experienced perceptive former U.N. Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Ambassador of Norway to the U.N. and China to replace a useless photo seeker who had stayed mainly in the comfort of Geneva. In addition to her solid U.N. connection and reliable performance, Ms. Matar, a citizen of Bahrain, is the first woman to take such a mediating role in such an area of conflict.


"One Hundred Years of Solitude," one of the widest selling novels of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, known in the literary political world as Gabo, will be turned into film for the first time since it was published in 1967. The winner of a Nobel Peace Award in Literature refused many tempting offers, preferring to maintain its authentic Columbian Spanish flavor, recounting lives of a family founded by a fictitious Joe Arcadio Buendia over a century. The author's sons, Rodrigo Garcia and Gonzalo, will have a direct role in the production.