Ecuador: Annan hails new Court of Justice ending threat to judicial independence

Welcoming the appointment of a new Court of Justice in Ecuador, formally ending what a United Nations expert called a crisis that could irreversibly affect the independence of the judiciary, Secretary-General Kofi Annan today voiced hope for the strengthened rule of law and protection of human rights in the small Andean country.

UN comptroller says partial budget approval scheme might hobble operations

Proposals to partially fund the United Nations to postpone battles over reform of the organization might leave it in serious financial straights in early 2006, the UN comptroller said, as he provided an update on budget negotiations in the General Assembly committee charged with the task.

UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti welcomes new dates for elections

The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Haiti has welcomed the official new dates set by the Caribbean country’s Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) for elections, saying informal proposals for previous dates had failed to take into account the technical requirements.

UN-organized elections workshop in Haiti allows candidates to air views

More than 30 representatives of political parties, including a dozen women, took part today in a pre-electoral seminar organized by the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) aimed at fostering a frank exchange of views.

UN food agency joins forces with Brazil to plan global meeting on agrarian reform

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today announced plans to join forces with the Government of Brazil in organizing an international conference to review agrarian reform and rural development issues worldwide next March.

‘Deeply regretting’ US terms, UN rights experts turn down visit to Guantanamo

Five independent United Nations human rights experts today rejected a United States invitation to visit its detention base in Guantanamo, Cuba, because the US Government did not accept standard terms for a “credible, objective and fair assessment,” including the ability to conduct private interviews with detainees.

Haiti: UN peacekeepers mount new anti-gang operation in capital

Continuing their anti-gang operations in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, United Nations peacekeepers launched another raid in the Cité Militaire area yesterday after intense firing during the night sowed panic among residents.

Jamaican trade expert to head UN agency aiding developing countries’ exports

A veteran Jamaican trade expert, Patricia Francis, has been named new Executive Director of the International Trade Centre (ITC), a United Nations technical cooperation agency whose mission is to help to promote exports of developing countries and countries in transition.

Annan calls on Assembly to quickly approve $1.6 billion Headquarters renovation

With the United Nations landmark Headquarters on New York's East River failing fire code, security, environmental and hazardous materials standards, Secretary-General Kofi Annan today called on the General Assembly to approve without delay a nearly $1.6 billion plan to renovate the whole complex by late 2013.

Haiti: UN peacekeepers kill four, arrest 33 in new anti-gang operation in capital

In their latest anti-gang operation in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, 200 United Nations peacekeepers waged an eight-hour gun battle yesterday with heavily armed men who attacked them when they were checking a barricade under construction, killing four of the assailants.