Entries in United Nations (5)


NYPD Holds Five-Day Drill to Prepare for Dirty Bomb Attack

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The New York Police Department will begin a five-day drill Tuesday to test its preparedness against a dirty bomb attack on the city.

The drill will take place over five days, involve hundreds of personnel from 150 agencies, and will cost millions of dollars that the city and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security hope will help prevent a dirty bomb attack on New York by land or by sea.

The exercise will begin at the United Nations and spread into the Bronx, Long Island and parts of Connecticut and New Jersey.

Officials maintain that the drill is not the result of a specific threat.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Koran-Burning Pastor Reacts to the UN Staffers Killed in Afghanistan

Mario Tama/Getty Images(GAINESVILLE, Fla.) -- The following is a transcript from ABC News' Bill Weir's interview with Pastor Terry Jones on Jones' response to the United Nations saying their staffers were killed in Afghanistan during a violent protest over his Koran burning. This interview aired on ABC’s World News and Nightline on April 1, 2011.

Nightline anchor Bill Weir: Everyone from President Obama to Secretary Gates to General Petraeus implored you not to do this and you told us back in September that that actually helped change your mind and backed you off a bit. So why did you go through with this earlier this month? Why did you burn a Koran after all?

Pastor Terry Jones: Well, like you said, we did decide to cancel our "International Burn the Koran Day." We still wanted to make an awareness of the radical element of Islam. We wondered how could we do that. How could we give Islam a fair shake, give them an opportunity? As you realize "International Burn a Koran day," that was of course somewhat of a lopsided story. We had that the Koran was guilty, that we were going to burn the Koran as a protest against the radical element of Islam. After that was canceled, we still wanted to continue our campaign raising an awareness of this dangerous religion and this dangerous element. After this much though we came up with "International Judge the Koran Day." We decided we would put the Koran on trial. We had reps from the Muslim community, we had Imam here. We had people who converted from Islam to Christianity. We had a prosecuting attorney. A defense attorney. And the Koran was put on trial.

Weir: And who was the judge and jury in your trial?

Jones: I was the judge, but I did not determine the verdict. I was just a type of referee to make sure everybody got their fair time to defend the Koran or make a defense against the Koran.

Weir: And who was the jury? Who was the jury -- who condemned the Koran?

Jones: Individuals mainly from around Florida. The jury was open to Muslims, we did have no Muslims on the jury but what we did try to do--like a regular American jury--we did try to make sure the people were not already prejudice or against the Koran. They were to listen to the evidence, like I say we had on both sides of the fence. We had definite authorities concerning the Koran. If the Koran was found not guilty then I was to issue a public apology for our accusations and insults against the Koran. If the Koran was found guilty then there were four forms of punishment by which the people could choose. Those forms were burning, shredding, rounding and the Koran would face the firing squad. The one that the people chose was burning--that was why the Koran was burned after it was found guilty.

Weir: So just to be clear...your jury was made up of random Floridians or members of your congregations or people from your community?

Jones: Made of random people from around Florida -- yes. We put an invitation out to people who wanted to be on the jury, and these were the people who expressed a desire to do that.

When you got news of [Friday's] deadly riots there in Afghanistan, what was the first thought that went through your head?

Jones: Yeah, yeah of course we were very saddened and devastated by that. It is of course a terrible thing anytime anyone is killed. Anytime someone's life is cut short through murder or even accident. I think it definitely does prove that there is a radical element of Islam. I believe we need to take this evidence, we need to take this action and those people and those countries should be held accountable. I believe the U.S. needs to stand up. I believe the U.N. needs to stand up to countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Muslim-dominated countries. They have been persecuting, killing Christians for generations. I believe that it's time that we stand up and force them, encourage them to adapt human rights into their laws, into their constitution and that these types of actions should not be allowed.

Weir: Should you bear any responsibility for inciting [Friday's] horrific actions?

Jones: We do not feel responsible -- no. Um, we feel more that the Muslims and radical Islam uses that as an excuse. If they didn't use us as an excuse, they would use a different excuse--

Weir: But don't your actions just make it that much easier--Pastor Jones--for these radical Islamists to incite this sort of thing?

Jones: Do I think it made it easier?

Weir: Yeah, they have a specific incident of an American burning their most sacred text. Doesn't that make it easier for these radicals to incite and spread their murderous hate?

Jones: As I said I definitely believe that they use that as an excuse--

Weir: Then why do it? Why give them that excuse?

Jones: It's an excuse they can use, but it's also not a reason to back down and it's not the reason to point the finger at us. Just because we have done something that offends them. We live in the USA. If my neighbor does something that is offensive to me, no matter what he does, it does not give me to the right to enter into his house and kill him.

Jones: I believe that we definitely have to call these people and these countries into accountability.

Weir: Everybody has done that from the president to the U.N. Arrests have already been made for these particular people--Yes, nobody disagrees that they should be brought to justice. But the larger issue--your involvement in all of this come down to whether it is wise to incite even more anger and hatred. When you burn the text that 1.3 billion people consider holy, how does that raise awareness of the radical fringe?

Jones: Well, I think we see that very clearly with what they did. And I would strongly disagree that our government or any other government has done anything. They definitely have not--

Weir: It just happened, it just happened a few hours ago.

Jones: People for years and years and we have never forced them to adapt human rights, civil rights, freedom of speech, freedom of religion. People who live in those countries are fearful for their lives and we have not done nothing.

Weir: But here's the ironic part to your argument there [cross talk]. The timing of this comes at a time of unprecedented awakening across the Arab world--people are motivated by what you are talking about, democracy, freedom of speech, taking to the streets--not a religious movement, purely a democratic, populist movement, but now this incident--and the headlines will be that this is a result of your actions--may help derail that very thing that you're asking for. Doesn't that strike you as ironic timing?

Jones: I don't think it will do that. As I said, I believe that it is time to raise that awareness. it is time that moderate Muslims who desire to have freedom of speech, freedom of religion--that is truly going on in those countries. It is not an opportunity for the Muslim Brotherhood or some other radical group to take over. And we think that even moderate Muslims could stand up and they could speak out against Jihad, against Sharia, against the radical element of Islam.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


At UN, US Pushing for Broader Military Authorization Versus Gadhafi 

STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Though U.S. officials repeatedly have expressed ambivalence about how well a no-fly zone imposed over Libya might work, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations would vote for a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for one -- and more, officials tell ABC News.

During the eight-hours of the U.N. Security Council meeting Wednesday, the U.S. pushed for amendment after amendment that would broaden the military action authorized against Col. Moammar Gadhafi's forces well beyond just a no-fly zone, sources tell ABC News.

"The U.S. view is that we need to be prepared to contemplate steps that include, but perhaps go beyond, a no-fly zone at this point, as the situation on the ground has evolved and as a no-fly zone has inherent limitations in terms of protection of civilians at immediate risk," U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice told reporters Wednesday evening, saying consultations will continue Thursday, when she also hopes for a vote.

Since the U.S. is concerned that a no-fly zone would have limited impact because most of the attacks by Gadhafi's regime against the Libyan people are not by air, the U.S. also is pushing for the resolution to authorize international forces to stop attacks by Gadhafi's forces on its people conducted on land and by sea as well.

This could include, for example, allowing aircraft from the international coalition to bomb Libyan tanks. And the U.S. reportedly is insisting that Arab countries participate in any military action.

Other steps the U.S. wants to include in a resolution would include more sanctions against the Gadhafi regime, further mechanisms to enforce the arms embargo, and a push to allow the U.N. and member states into the country to provide humanitarian aid.

The Arab League endorsed the proposal for a no-fly zone over the weekend.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


Libyan-Americans Call For UN Intervention in Libya

File: United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Lynn Pascoe gives a press conference about the situation in Libya outside the UN Security Council at the United Nations. Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(FAIRFAX, Va.) -- A group of Libyan-Americans gathered in Fairfax, Virginia, Tuesday to express their support for the Libyan people and called for direct intervention from the United Nations.

“We are really concerned.  We are so concerned about the safety of our families in Libya,” Ashraf Tulty, an organizer for the group, said.  “We urge the international community to intervene through the U.N. to stop this bloodshed.”

Tulty’s second cousin died in Libya as a victim of the uprising earlier this week.  Nearly 500 Libyan-American families live in the D.C. area.  They have made intermittent contact with family and friends in Libya, but all expressed fear of the events that might unfold in the coming days.

“We hear news left and right, and that is creating a state of uncertainty to everybody,” Tulty said.  “But we do know that people are suffering, scared, worried, and they really live in the condition of uncertainty and fear.”

Adam Ahmed, a college student at George Mason University, is part of a group of about 25 students who have created a “situation room” in Maryland, designed to keep in constant contact with family and friends in Libya.  The “situation room” is set up in the living room of someone’s home, where young people sit camped out with laptops in their laps trying to communicate with Libyans via phone and Skype when Internet connectivity is strong enough.

Shortly after Gadahfi’s speech Tuesday afternoon, Ahmed spoke with family and friends in Libya who expressed fear and concern over escalating violence in a country that he described as remaining “in a state of fear of chaos.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


Ambassador Susan Rice Tries to Sell Main Street on the United Nations

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(PORTLAND, Ore.) -- Friday night, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice will deliver a speech in Portland, Oregon, the first in a series designed to sell Americans on the importance of the United Nations and American engagement with the world.

“Now more than ever, Americans’ security and wellbeing are inextricably linked to those of people everywhere. Now more than ever, we need common responses to global problems,” she’ll say, according to an advance copy of her remarks obtained by ABC News.

Rice’s comments come as the Obama administration is fighting Congress to maintain its foreign affairs budget in an era of budgetary pressure and concerns about the United States’ mounting debt.

On Thursday, Rep Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., challenged Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg about the utility of foreign aid.

“Borrowing more money from China in order to give it to other people in different countries is not something that I consider to be a positive option. It's crazy. It's insane,” he said during a House Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing.

While Rohrabacher’s remarks represent the view that America needs to address its own economic woes before sending money abroad, Rice will argue Friday night that it is imperative for the United States to engage with the rest of the world.

“In these tough economic times, we’re focused on getting our economy growing and providing jobs to Americans who’re hurting.  Yet even as we get our own house in order, we cannot afford to ignore problems beyond our borders,” she’ll say, citing the threat of nuclear proliferation, foreign conflict, terrorism, and disease.

“Main Street America needs the United Nations, and so do you and I, especially in these tough economic times. America can’t police every conflict, end every crisis, and shelter every refugee. The UN provides a real return on our tax dollars by bringing 192 countries together to share the cost of providing stability, vital aid, and hope in the world’s most broken places.  Because of the UN, the world doesn’t look to America to solve every problem alone,” Rice will say.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

ABC News Radio