- - Tuesday, November 1, 2011

UNITED NATIONS

Palestinians aim to join 16 other U.N. agencies

GENEVA — It’s not just UNESCO: The Palestinians’ top envoy in Geneva said Tuesday he thinks joining the U.N. agency for culture, education and science will “open the door” to joining 16 other U.N. agencies within weeks.

Ibrahim Khraishi, the top Palestinian envoy at the U.N. in Geneva, told the Associated Press that Palestinian diplomats are planning to capitalize on Monday’s landslide vote to allow the Palestinians into UNESCO by preparing papers to join the other U.N. agencies and a variety of other international organizations.

“Now we are studying when we are going to move for full membership on the other U.N. agencies,” Mr. Khraishi said. “It’s our target for [us to join] the international organizations and the U.N. agencies.”

The Obama administration cut off funding to UNESCO after Monday’s vote, and U.S. officials warned of a “cascade” effect at other U.N. bodies that might follow UNESCO’s lead.

NEPAL

100 Tibetan protesters detained in Nepal

KATMANDU — Nepalese police on Tuesday detained more than 100 Tibetan exiles who had gathered to pray for nine Tibetans who had set themselves on fire to protest against Chinese rule.

About 400 Tibetans, including 150 monks, held a prayer meeting on the outskirts of Katmandu in honor of the monks, former monks and a nun who have immolated themselves since March in a restive Tibetan area of western China that is under martial-law-type police controls.

At least five died of their injuries, and the condition of the others is not known.

Nepalese police in riot gear entered the prayer meeting at the Tibetan Refugee Center and pulled down a banner of the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

This angered the Tibetans at the meeting, who poured into the streets to protest. They chanted anti-China slogans calling for a free Tibet and for China to “leave our home.”

More than 100 protesters were taken in trucks to detention centers, according to a police officer at the scene who did not want to be identified because he was not authorized to talk to reporters.

The monks were not among those detained.

SOMALIA

Government ousts officials over food aid theft

NAIROBI, Kenya — The Somali government has fired one official and suspended another over missing food aid meant for families fleeing the country’s worst famine in a generation.

Government spokesman Abdirahman Omar Osman said Tuesday the district commissioner of Mogadishu’s Hamar Jajab neighborhood was fired over missing aid.

The district commissioner in Karan was suspended following looting incidents and assaults on women collecting food.

Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali said more officials are under investigation and the government takes the problem seriously.

The Associated Press reported in August that about half of food aid delivered to Mogadishu that month had been stolen.

GREAT BRITAIN

Cathedral chooses talk over eviction for protest

LONDON — St. Paul’s Cathedral officials said Tuesday they have rejected legal moves to evict anti-capitalism protesters camping around the vast landmark and want to address the issues the protesters have raised.

The cathedral’s governing body said it had agreed unanimously not to join in legal action against the Occupy London camp after consultations with the bishop of London, Richard Chartres - reversing a Friday announcement that such a move had “regrettably become necessary.”

The two-week standoff over the scores of tents set up outside the iconic cathedral near the River Thames has been an embarrassment for the church but an attention-getting bonanza for protesters.

Canon Michael Colclough said the cathedral is committed “to engage constructively with the protest and the serious issues that have been raised, without the threat of legal action hanging over us.”

VENEZUELA

Third of Venezuelans seek housing aid

CARACAS — One-third of Venezuela’s population has signed up for housing subsidies under a plan launched this year by President Hugo Chavez, the state news agency AVN said.

Mr. Chavez, a leftist who plans to run for a third term next year despite a bout with cancer, has promised to build 2 million state-funded housing units in six years to eliminate a shortage.

Ricardo Mendez, the minister of science, technology and intermediate industries, told AVN that nearly 3.7 million families had signed up for the program since May, when it was launched.

That represents 10.8 million people, or more than a third of the country’s 28.8 million people, he said.

Of those, three-quarters want a home of their own, 17 percent want money for repairs, and 8.2 percent want an addition to an existing home.

The government plans to build 153,000 units of public housing this year.

From wire dispatches and staff reports