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Committee on Foreign Affairs Hosts Hearing on Approaches to Engage North Korea

On June 17, 2009, the Committee on Foreign Affairs hosted a hearing on North Korea's nuclear missile tests and the 6-Party Talks, along with an expert panel of witnesses to advise on the issue. North Korea's aggressive actions with regard to ignoring international calls for denuclearization and the arrest of two American journalists earlier this month have caused much stir in the political field.

White House Releases U.S. Report on Climate Change.

On June 15, 2009, the White House released a comprehensive report on climate change, explaining that its affects are already being felt. It desertification in the USacknowledged the role played by humans in causing the phenomenon, and warned that coastal U.S. waters are already suffering.

Panel on Healthy Solutions to Climate Change Hosted by the Wilson Center

On the 16th of June, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars hosted a panel to discuss healthy solutions to climate change with Dr. Paul Esptein and Dr. Amanda Staudt.

The first issue raised was the realization that the current development path exceeds worst-case scenario models that were previously projected. The developing world's emissions are growing faster than was expected, and the efficiency of carbon sinks (oceans and forests) is less than what was thought. At this rate, the south-west U.S. and other places are on track to become arid, and 50% of the world's wildlife species will be extinct in the next few years. Dr. Staudt warned that this was the critical moment to avoid many of the irreversible effects of climate change, and she called for solutions such as the provision of wildlife corridors to allow species to migrate when their habitats are threatened, and support for H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act.methane in Arctic ice

Swine Flu: The W.H.O. Declares a Pandemic:

The 2009 outbreak of swine flu has been caused by a new strain of subtype H1N1. On June 12th, 2009, the World Health Organization raised the threat level of the influenza to phase 6- its highest alert level- thereby declaring a global pandemic. This was prompted by the recent surge in cases across Europe, Chile, Australia and Japan. This is the first global pandemic we have faced in 41 years.

European Union - The Light at the End of a Long, Long Tunnel

"The European Union is the world's first and only multinational democracy.  This is nothing short of remarkable," proclaimed the EU ambassador to America, John Bruton.  Mr. Bruton, along with a diverse panel of scholars, met at the Brookings Institution on June 11, 2009 to offer their predictions on the future of the EU in the wake of the recent parliamentary elections and economic crisis.

Boutros Boutros-Ghali calls for a UN Parliamentary Assembly

Boutros Boutros-Ghali, former Secretary General of the United Nations and current president of the Egyptian National Council on Human Rights, has called for the creation of a direct, democratic relationship between citizens of the world and the world's international institutions through the establishment of a UN Parliamentary Assembly, a goal that has long advocated. He stated that such an assembly is necessary for the strength and expansion of democracy, saying that, in this era of globalization, "democracy within the state will diminish in importance if the process of democratization is not extended to the system of international governance as well.

He also expressed the urgency of this issue, noting the abundance of "problems which can only be solved effectively at the global level" and the threat they pose to democracy. He cited economic concerns at the top of the list.

"The last time an economic crisis of such magnitude occurred, it ... contributed to the rise of fascism, the outbreak of the Second World War, and genocide," Mr. Boutros-Ghali remarked. "During the current global economic crisis, we should not turn a blind eye to this lesson."

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Foreign Relations Authorization Bill Passed by House

The Foreign Relations Authorization Act for FY2010 was voted on yesterday (June 10) in the House of Representatives. The Bill passed successfully by a vote of 235 to 187. Through a mass "vote alert" to foreign policy staffers on the Hill, helped to successfully defeat an amendment aimed at limiting United States funding for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). This was not the only victory of the day as the House passed several amendments dealing with human and women's rights in Afghanistan, the elimination of the use of child soldiers, and the establishment of a Global Clean Energy Exchange Program.

This Bill is a huge step forward for the United States in terms of international diplomacy. In addition to the important language on repaying our dues to the United Nations and other international organizations, these extra amendments are steps forward for the United States' human rights and environmental policy agendas. applauds the House for passing this Bill, and hope to see this positive foreign policy trend continue in the Senate Authorization Bill that should be released soon.

Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq Speaks on Country's Future

On June 10th, 2009, the U.S. Institute of Peace hosted Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq, Dr. Rafe' Al-'Eissawi, in a discussion on Iraq's future following the

Deputy Prime Minister of Iraqphased withdrawal of U.S. troops by the end of 2011.

Open Letter to President Obama for World Ocean's Day: The Law of the Sea - Why Now?

Dear President Obama,

I write to you to urge you to inaugurate World Oceans Day on June 8th by taking leadership and speaking out in support of U.S. ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The first ever World Oceans Day will focus global attention on the challenges facing our oceans. This day provides you with the ideal moment both to demonstrate American environmental leadership and to promote our country's security and economic interests.

You have already indicated support for the Law of the Sea convention and your State Department has listed it on the Treaty Priority List for the 111th Congress. The question is not "if", but "when" you will urge the Senate to take action. At this moment we finally have the right Congress, certainly the right President, and broad support across all of the relevant sectors of our society. I believe now is the time for you to engage.

Joining the Law of the Sea convention, widely supported on both sides of the aisle, would, to use your words, advance "the long tradition of bipartisan foreign policy that has been the hallmark of America...." The United States has not joined a major multilateral treaty since the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1997. Ratification of the Law of the Sea will demonstrate U.S. commitment to working cooperatively with the international community and prepare the ground for ratification of other important treaties, including the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the Convention on Elimination of Discrimination in All Forms Against Women.

As you well know, the Law of the Sea convention has been endorsed by prominent leaders ranging from former President George W. Bush and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and by organizations ranging from the American Petroleum Institute to the World Wildlife Fund.