Goodbye to another landmark: Lord & Taylor sells Fifth Avenue store


Lord & Taylor is selling its landmark Fifth Avenue flagship store in Manhattan to WeWork for $850 million.

The flagship store is expected to continue to operate in the entire building through the 2018 holiday season, and then rent lower floors after that. The holiday displays will continue to go on this year and next year, a company spokeswoman said. The department store was the first to create Christmas windows for sheer entertainment, rather than for selling merchandise. It also pioneered the animated window display back in 1938.

The rest of the 676,000-square foot building will become WeWork’s headquarters and WeWork office space.

The rapidly growing $20-billion start-up is currently based in Chelsea. WeWork attracts millennials who are looking to share office space.
Lord & Taylor, which is owned by Hudson’s Bay, is the oldest luxury department store in the country dating back to 1826. The Fifth Avenue store between 38th and 39th streets has been home since February 24, 1914.

Hudson’s Bay, which also owns Saks Fifth Avenue, has been struggling as shoppers spend more online and less time in stores.

Gerald L. Storch, who has run company since January 2015, announced his resignation last Friday effective on November 1.

Americans Are Retiring Later, Dying Sooner and Sicker In-Between

Ben Steverman

The U.S. retirement age is rising, as the government pushes it higher and workers stay in careers longer.

But lifespans aren’t necessarily extending to offer equal time on the beach. Data released last week suggest Americans’ health is declining and millions of middle-age workers face the prospect of shorter, and less active, retirements than their parents enjoyed. Continue reading

Cities are getting paid to turn street lights into spying SmartNodes

Mass Private I


The future of privacy in big cities is bleak, cities are now getting paid to convert street lights into spying SmartNodes.

What are SmartNodes?

SmartNodes will soon replace street lights, because they are equipped with cameras, microphones, speakers etc., all-in-one light pole.

The city of Los Angeles, Calfornia is working with Phillips Lighting and ENE-HUB to turn 110,000 street lights into a one-of-a-kind citywide SmartNode surveillance network.

“The Los Angeles Bureau of Street Lighting and Philips Lighting have collaborated on a program that uses CityTouch connected street lighting management and connected sensors to obtain additional value from the public lighting system.”

Phillips SmartPoles are equipped with ‘environmental noise monitoring’ microphones. Phillips microphones are designed to spy on ‘raucous neighbors and loud music’.


Where could the music be coming from you ask?

Phillips doesn’t say, but you can bet they mean people, vehicles and homes. Which means, SmartPoles can listen to more than just noise.(Click here to watch Phillips Lighting admit SmartPoles are great data collecting conduits.)

Los Angeles wants 110,000 spying street lights
In the above video, Remco Muijs boasts that Phillips and the city of Los Angeles are working together to host third-party sensors that influence people’s behavior.

Because nothing says influencing people’s behavior, quite like 110,000 spying street lights.

Companies are paying cities to install spying SmartPoles
An article in PTC reveals that private companies are paying cities $1200 yearly, for each SmartPole they install.

“The streetlight-based cells will generate revenues by being leased to wireless providers. The City of Los Angeles will receive $1200 per year for each SmartPole. The installation of 100 IoT-connected streetlights is currently in process in Los Angeles. Philips and the city plan to expand the network to 600 streetlights by 2018. Philips, under a tech development pilot program, is also installing 50 SmartPoles in The City of San Jose.”

To translate that into dollar figures, if Los Angeles turns 110,000 light poles into SmartPole’s they would make approximately $13.2 million a year.

And with that much money at stake, it won’t be long before every city in America turns their street lights into money making, spying SmartPoles.

SmartNodes are all about surveillance
Last year, I warned everyone that DHS and the TSA are installing microphones on light posts to spy on commuters.

But ENE-HUB’s, SmartNode’s make those light posts, look like child’s play.

ENE-HUB’s brochure, reveals they are equipped with Wi-Fi detectorsmicrophonesCCTV camerasspeakers and travel card readers which I assume means transit car readers. (Click here to find out more.)

SmartNodes also come equipped with…

A recent article in KCRW reveals that ENE-HUB’s, SmartNode’s could also be equipped with ‘video streaming and gun shot sensors connected to police and fire stations’. One can assume that in the near future, SmartNode’s will also be equipped with E-ZPass readers and license plate readers.

ENE-HUB’s ‘benefits’ section admits that governments can use multiple revenue streams to spy on their citizens for 25-30 years. (Click here to watch ENE-HUB’s smart city video.)

Unfortunately, Phillips Lighting and ENE-HUB aren’t the only ones trying to turn entire cities into giant surveillance networks.

Four months ago, I warned everyone that Siemens, GE, Cisco, LED lighting maker Acuity Brands and mall developer Simon Property Group are also installing spying SmartNodes across the country.

After writing numerous articles about Smart Cities, SmartPoles and SmartNodes one thing becomes crystal clear.

They are all about corporate/government surveillance.

Harvey floods left Houston water plant hours away from failure

CBS News

Hurricane Harvey left hundreds of communities in southeast Texas without safe drinking water. At least 45 water systems are shut down, and 171 areas have issued boil water notices. But Houston is not on that list, despite significant flooding at one of its water plants.

“The filters are the life blood of the plant. If you lose filtration, there’s nothing you can do,” said Drew Molly, the facility’s assistant director.

For the first time, Houston officials are revealing just how close they came to a potential drinking water crisis. Harvey flooded the northeast water purification plant last week. CBS News has learned the city’s drinking water system was hours away from failure. The machines that kept its water filters clean were themselves under water, reports CBS News’ Bianna Golodryga.

“At the peak of nervousness, were you more in the engineer mode, or in prayer mode?” Golodryga asked.

“I was in prayer mode. I was in survivor mode,” Molly said.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said the plant shutting down would have been a huge blow to a city already in crisis.

“You can’t notify people to boil your water and tell them at the same time – but the water is safe,” Turner said. “That doesn’t work. … For the city of Houston and for our region, this plant simply could not fail.”

To buy more time for the filters, Molly and his team slashed how much clean water the plant was pumping out. Contractor Peck Boswell then brought aqua barriers and pumps to get all the floodwater out.  Without them, Molly said they would have had to shut the plant down.

The plant is functioning normally again, helping to provide clean water to some 2.2 million customers. But not everyone in the Houston area gets drinking water from the city. Some like Leo Ramirez and Adriana Betancourt rely on private wells.

“I actually had somebody come out and drill the hole,” Ramirez said.

Their house was under three feet of flood water, a stew of countless toxins and pollutants. They allowed CBS News and the county health department to test their well water. Both results suggest the presence of fecal matter, with some form of E. coli and other bacteria.

“What does this tell you about going forward and rebuilding?” Golodryga asked.

“Well unfortunately, this is our house,” Ramirez said. “We’re going to rebuild, and try to keep moving forward.”

Starting Tuesday, Harris County health officials will be setting up locations where residents who rely on well water can bring in samples to be tested. With chronic flooding and major storms now the reality in Houston, Mayor Turner is encouraging all residents to get their drinking water from the city. 

Hurricane Irma strengthens into category 5 storm

Daniel Dahm
CBS 6 Orlando

ORLANDO, Fla. – Hurricane Irma, which has strengthened to a Category 5 storm packing winds of 175 mph, is expected to slam the Caribbean and possibly the U.S. mainland this week.

The increasingly menacing storm would continue churning west in the Atlantic Ocean on Tuesday, and meteorologists say Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands could begin to see its wrath by the end of the day, according to the National Hurricane Center.

As of 8 a.m. Tuesday, the “dangerous major hurricane,” was about 300 miles east of the Leeward Islands, the National Hurricane Center said. It is packing maximum sustained winds of 175 mph as it heads west at 14 mph.

Landfall is expected early Wednesday on the island of Anguilla, the hurricane center said.

“The current track brings Irma to South Florida by Saturday,” News 6 meteorologist Troy Bridges said. “Computer models want to take Irma on that sharp turn north through the end of the weekend and beginning of next week.”

There’s a large area of high pressure, as well as a trough, helping to steer Irma to the north in the coming days.

While Irma’s exact path is still uncertain, several islands in the Caribbean as well as Florida are bracing for the storm.

After declaring a state of emergency all across Florida, Gov. Rick Scott said President Donald Trump had “offered the full resources of the federal government as Floridians prepare for Hurricane Irma.”

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“In Florida, we always prepare for the worst and hope for the best, and while the exact path of Irma is not absolutely known at this time, we cannot afford to not be prepared,” Scott said in a statement.

Puerto Rico

Hundreds of people rushed to the stores, emptying shelves of food and drinking water just as the governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló, declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard on Monday.

For hours, people also lined up outside hardware stores hoping to get plywood, batteries and power generators. If Irma knocks out power, Puerto Ricans said they are worried it would take weeks or months before the power is restored.

“It (power) is something absolutely necessary, especially due to Puerto Rico’s weather. We need to have the A/C or a fan on all night,” a woman told CNN affiliate WAPA.

Last month, the director of Puerto Rico’s power utility Ricardo Ramos Rodríguez, said several factors have made the island’s electric system “vulnerable and fragile,” WAPA reported.

One of those factors is the shortage of employees. Many workers recently retired or left their jobs for better prospects in the US mainland, Ramos Rodríguez said.

Public schools and officials at the University of Puerto Rico campuses have canceled classes, and many businesses remain closed.

Puerto Rico and a string of Caribbean islands are under hurricane warnings, including the British and US Virgin Islands, Antigua, Barbuda, Anguilla, Montserrat, St. Kitts, Nevis, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Martin/Sint Maarten and St. Barts, the hurricane center said.

The warnings are usually issued to areas that could see “tropical-storm-force winds” of up to 140 mph in about 36 hours after the alert goes into effect.

“Make a U-turn and die in the ocean, Irma. The Caribbean islands don’t need more problems!,” Twitter user mujertropical wrote about the storm.

‘Better safe than sorry’

By the weekend, it’s possible that Irma could start heading to the eastern coast of Florida and also farther up the East Coast, Javaheri said.

“Everyone wants to see this at least meander away from the United States. The strength, the positioning, the timing of that troughs coming in to the eastern coast line will dictate exactly where Irma ends up,” Javaheri said.

In Miami, supermarkets are already selling out on water and non-perishable food. People are trying to beat the rush in case Irma makes landfall in Florida.

“I’ve been through hurricanes and they’re like, ‘Oh, it’s going to hit right here’ and then it hits 30, 40 miles up the coast and it kind of changes the way everything goes so, better safe than sorry,” Florida resident Greg Andrews told News 6 partner WPLG-TV in Miami.

OneBlood calls for donations

With the threat of Irma, OneBlood is calling for immediate donations ahead of the storm.

For a list of places where you can donate, you can visit OneBlood’s website

Why Irma could be especially intense

Irma is a classic “Cape Verde hurricane,” meaning it formed in the far eastern Atlantic, near the Cape Verde Islands (now known as the Cabo Verde Islands), before tracking all the way across the Atlantic, CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller said.

And Cape Verde storms frequently become some of the largest and most intense hurricanes. Examples include Hurricane Hugo, Hurricane Floyd and Hurricane Ivan.

Wary of robots taking jobs, Hawaii toys with guaranteed pay

CBS News

HONOLULU — Driverless trucks. Factory robots. Delivery drones. Virtual personal assistants.

As technological innovations increasingly edge into the workplace, many people fear that robots and machines are destined to take jobs that human beings have held for decades–a trend that is already happening in stores and factories around the country. For many affected workers, retraining might be out of reach —unavailable, unaffordable or inadequate.

What then?

Enter the idea of a universal basic income, the notion that everyone should be able to receive a stream of income to live on, regardless of their employment or economic status.

It isn’t an idea that seems likely to gain traction nationally in the current political environment. But in some politically progressive corners of the country, including Hawaii and the San Francisco Bay area, the idea of distributing a guaranteed income has begun to gain support.

Over the past two decades, automation has reduced the need for workers, especially in such blue-collar sectors as manufacturing, warehousing and mining. Many of the jobs that remain demand higher education or advanced technological skills. It helps explain why just 55 percent of Americans with no more than a high school diploma are employed, down from 60 percent just before the Great Recession.

Hawaii state lawmakers have voted to explore the idea of a universal basic income in light of research suggesting that a majority of waiter, cook and building cleaning jobs — vital to Hawaii’s tourism-dependent economy — will eventually be replaced by machines. The crucial question of who would pay for the program has yet to be determined. But support for the idea has taken root.

“Our economy is changing far more rapidly than anybody’s expected,” said state Rep. Chris Lee, who introduced legislation to consider a guaranteed universal income.

Lee said he felt it’s important “to be sure that everybody will benefit from the technological revolution that we’re seeing to make sure no one’s left behind.”

Here are some questions and answers:

What is a universal basic income?

In a state or nation with universal basic income, every adult would receive a uniform fixed amount that would be deemed enough to meet basic needs. The idea gained some currency in the 1960s and 1970s, with proponents ranging from Martin Luther King Jr. to President Richard Nixon, who proposed a “negative income tax” similar to basic income. It failed to pass Congress.

Recently, some technology leaders have been breathing new life — and money — into the idea. Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk and others have promoted the idea as a way to address the potential loss of many transportation, manufacturing, retail and customer service jobs to automation and artificial intelligence.

Even some economists who welcome technological change to make workplaces more efficient note that the pace of innovation in coming years is likely to accelerate. Community colleges and retraining centers could find it difficult to keep up. Supporters of a universal basic income say the money would cushion the economic pain for the affected workers.

Where would the money come from?

In the long run, that would likely be decided by political leaders. For now, philanthropic organizations founded by technology entrepreneurs have begun putting money into pilot programs to provide basic income. The Economic Security Project, co-led by Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes and others, committed $10 million over two years to basic income projects.

A trial program in Kenya, led by the U.S. group GiveDirectly, is funded mainly funded by Google; the Omidyar Network started by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar; and GoodVentures, co-led by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz.

Providing a basic income in expensive countries like the United States would, of course, be far costlier.

Tom Yamachika, president of the Tax Foundation of Hawaii, a nonprofit dedicated to limited taxes and fairness, has estimated that if all Hawaii residents were given $10,000 annually, it would cost about $10 billion a year, which he says Hawaii can’t afford given its $20 billion in unfunded pension liabilities.

“Basic income is such a broad subject, it could encompass hundreds of different kinds of mechanisms to help families,” Lee said. “You don’t have to enact the entire thing in one massive program. You can take bits and pieces that make sense.”

Karl Widerquist, co-founder of the U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network, an informal group that promotes the idea of a basic income, suggests that Hawaii could collect a property tax from hotels, businesses and residents that could be redistributed to residents.

“If people in Alaska deserve an oil dividend, why don’t the people of Hawaii deserve a beach dividend?” he asked.

Other proponents suggest replacing part of the nation’s web of social support programs with a universal basic income. In places like Finland, this possibility has gained the opposition of the country’s powerful trade unions.

Some, like Natalie Foster, co-chairwoman of the Economic Security Project, say they think that if universal income took off in the U.S., it would begin incrementally — perhaps by taxing carbon emissions and distributing the money as basic income, an idea explored in California and Washington D.C.

A study by the Roosevelt Institute, a left-leaning think tank, found that distributing a universal income by increasing the federal debt would expand the economy because of the stimulating effects of the additional cash.

Where does universal basic income exist now?

Not on a large scale in the United States. But the idea is being pursued in small trials overseas. The program that New York-based GiveDirectly has established in Kenya is distributing $22 a month to residents of a village for the next 12 years — roughly what residents need to buy essentials.

The group says one goal is to assess whether people will change their behavior if they know they will enjoy a guaranteed income for an extended time. GiveDirectly is distributing money to 100 people and plans to expand to 26,000 recipients once the group reaches its $30 million funding goal, said Paul Niehaus, a co-founder.

“We had someone say, ‘I used to work this job in Nairobi as a security guard because it was the only way I could pay for my kids’ education, but now that I have this basic income I can afford to move back and actually live with my family again,’ ” he said.

In Oakland, California, Y Combinator, a startup incubator, is giving about $1,500 a month to a handful of people selected randomly and will soon expand distribution to 100 recipients. It eventually plans to provide $1,000 monthly to 1,000 people and study how recipients spend their time and how their financial health and well-being are affected.

Finland is distributing money to 2,000 randomly selected people. It hopes to learn how it might adapt its social security system to a changing workplace, incentivize people to work and simplify the bureaucracy of benefits. Canada’s province of Ontario earlier this year launched a project to study the effects of universal basic income in three cities.

In India, which is also considering distributing a universal basic income, the transportation minister has said the country would ban driverless cars because they would imperil people’s jobs.

What about in the United States?

Republican-leaning Alaska has long distributed revenue from oil extraction to its residents in payments ranging from about $1,000 to $2,000 annually.

A study commissioned by the Economic Security Project  found that 72 percent of Alaskans saved the money for essentials, emergencies, debt payments, retirement or education. Just 1 percent said that receiving the oil dividend had made them likely to work less.

“People are very supportive of the dividend,” Foster said. “They don’t see it as a handout; they see it as their right as an Alaskan to receive the income from the oil royalties.”

In Hawaii, a group of politicians, economists, social services providers, business and union representatives will meet in the fall to begin gathering data. They’ll examine Hawaii’s economy and its exposure to disruption and automation and how those trends could affect social safety nets, Lee said. After that, they’ll explore whether it makes sense to offer full or partial universal income.

“It could very well mean that it would be significantly cheaper to look at other options rather than let our existing services be overwhelmed by a changing economy,” Lee said.

What do critics say?

Aside from the cost, some detractors say they fear that distributing free money could diminish some people’s work ethic and productivity.

In Hawaii, which has one of the nation’s highest homelessness rates, some worry that basic income would attract unemployed people to move to the island.

“A lot of poor people move here anyway, because they don’t freeze,” Yamachika said. “This won’t help.”

Palm Beach County residents stock up on supplies as Hurricane Irma heads west

Amy Lipman
NBC5 West Palm Beach

“There was nothing at Walmart,” said Bianca Rodriguez of Palm Beach Gardens. “Not even like one thing of water.”

Emergency officials recommend people have one gallon of water per person, per day for at least five days in the event of a hurricane.

Rodriguez found cases of bottled water at a Winn-Dixie on Military Trail in Palm Beach Gardens Sunday night.

“I lucked out. There’s only a couple left, but at least there was enough for me,” said Rodriguez.

A Home Depot in Royal Palm Beach on Monday morning posted a sign that said they were short of some hurricane supplies.

Public officials took to Twitter Sunday to tell people to get prepared.

Boynton Beach Police Chief Jeffrey S. Katz‏ wrote: “We’re keeping a watchful eye on #irma & we’ll be ready if needed. No need to panic – just be prepared. Worst case: @BBPD has you covered!”

Gov. Rick Scott posted several tweets Sunday:  “Disaster preparedness should be a priority for every Florida family. Visit to get a plan today.”

“As we continue to monitor Hurricane Irma, families should make sure their Disaster Supply Kits are ready today.

“FL knows how important it is to be prepared. Encourage your loved ones to have a plan ahead of any potential storm.

Palm Beach County School District tweeted: “We are watching Irma. This is a great weekend to check your hurricane supplies.”

Hurricane Irma could strike New York on 9/11 with 116mph winds, projection claims

Vincent Woods
London Express

The US is still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Harvey, which has killed at least 45 people and caused flooding and destruction across Texas.

Now with the Atlantic hurricane season continuing, one projection has claimed there is a risk Hurricane Irma could make landfall in the US on September 10, causing devastation to the city as the storm continues to rage into the following day.

Some current projections show the storm landing as a category 3 hurricane, capable of ripping roofs from houses and causing huge waves and storm surges.

But as Hurricane Irma gains in strength there is no guarantee the storm will strike the continental US at all.

The US National Hurricane Centre (NHC) has said it is “still far too early to discuss impacts on mainland US”.

In a statement the NHC went on to urge residents in potentially affected areas to check with local officials on plans to remain safe.

The projected 116mph winds would make it stronger than Hurricane Sandy, the deadliest and most destructive storm of 2012 – and the second costliest in US history.

Sandy, which went on to whip up devastating floods in Haiti, caused an estimated £55.1billion ($71.4billion) of property damage in the US alone and led to the deaths of 49 New Yorkers.

It comes as the city prepares to mark the day of the 9/11 terror strike which shook the world.

The day of memorial for both New York City and the world is marked by the “tribute in light” – with two clear beams being projected into the sky from Ground Zero to signify the fallen towers.

The light, believed to be the most powerful ever produced on Earth, reaches four miles into the sky and can be seen for 60 miles around lower Manhattan.

The tribute has gone ahead every year since the horrendous terror attack which claimed the lives of 2,996 people and left 6,000 wounded.

It is currently unclear how the 16th anniversary of the tragic day would be affected by the potential threat of Hurricane Irma.

On Friday the Queen sent a heartfelt message to the victims of Hurricane Harvey, which has flooded hundreds of thousands of homes in Texas.

She said: “I was deeply saddened to learn of the loss of life and the devastation following the recent terrible floods caused by Hurricane Harvey.

“Prince Philip and I send our sincere condolences to the victims of this disaster, to those who have lost loved ones, and to those who have seen their homes and property destroyed.

“My thoughts and prayers are with those affected.”

Trump attends church service on National Day of Prayer


President Donald Trump declared Sunday a National Day of Prayer for Harvey victims and recovery efforts in Texas and Louisiana. In his official proclamation he called on “Americans of all faiths and religious traditions and backgrounds to offer prayers today for all those harmed by Hurricane Harvey.” 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Donald Trump is attending a church service on a National Day of Prayer for Harvey victims.

Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrived at St. John’s Church, an Episcopal church near the White House, on Sunday morning.

Trump had declared Sunday a National Day of Prayer for Harvey victims and recovery efforts in Texas and Louisiana. In his official proclamation he called on “Americans of all faiths and religious traditions and backgrounds to offer prayers today for all those harmed by Hurricane Harvey.

“The entire Nation grieves with Texas and Louisiana.  We are deeply grateful for those performing acts of service, and we pray for healing and comfort for those in need,” the September 1 statement reads.

“When we look across Texas and Louisiana, we see the American spirit of service embodied by countless men and women.  Brave first responders have rescued those stranded in drowning cars and rising water.  Families have given food and shelter to those in need,” it continues.

In his proclamation Trump noted that houses of worship have organized efforts to clean up communities and repair damaged homes, and that individuals of every background are working to aid and comfort people facing devastating losses.

Trump made a second visit on Saturday to communities devastated by Harvey, traveling to Houston and Lake Charles, Louisiana.

An upbeat and optimistic president visited a Houston mega-shelter housing hundreds of displaced people and briefly walked streets lined with soggy, discarded possessions.

Trump met the scene with positivity, congratulating officials on an emergency response still in progress and telling reporters that he’d seen “a lot of love” and “a lot of happiness” in the devastation the storm left behind.

Joined by his wife Melania, Trump brought coloring books and crayons and sat with families that had been displaced. Trump lifted one little girl into his arms and gave her a kiss. He signed his name on the cement wall by the children’s artwork.

With a wide smile and quick banter, Trump served food in the lunch line – at one point joking about his hands being too big for the sanitary gloves – and then moved on to First Church in the Houston suburb of Pearland. There Trump greeted a group of volunteers and lavished praise on Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for his state’s response.

“I want to congratulate the governor,” he said. “I want to congratulate everybody that’s worked so hard. It’s been an incredible five days, six days. It seems like it’s been much longer than that, but actually it’s going so well that it’s going fast, in a certain sense.”

The Trumps then helped load small boxes and bottles of water into pickup trucks and minivans.

“I like doing this,” Trump told one of the volunteer coordinators. “I like it.”

As Trump visited, the Houston area was still burying its dead and trying to contain the mess. Nearby Beaumont, Texas, population 120,000, was struggling to restore its drinking water. Firefighters in Crosby, outside of Houston, were warily eyeing the Arkema chemical plant, twice the scene of explosions. Floodwaters have inundated at least seven highly contaminated toxic waste sites in the Houston area, raising concerns about creeping pollution.

Harvey is blamed for at least 44 deaths and believed to have damaged at least 156,000 dwellings in Harris County. The American Red Cross said more than 17,000 people have sought refuge in Texas shelters such as the one Trump visited.

The White House has asked Congress to approve $7.9 billion for initial relief efforts when lawmakers return to Washington on Tuesday.

Trump at UN to push world leaders to back reform


United Nations (United States) (AFP) – US President Donald Trump will host a meeting of world leaders at the United Nations this month to push for reform of the global body that he once dismissed as a “club” for people “to have a good time.”

World leaders at the September 18 event will be asked to support a 10-point political declaration that backs UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “in making concrete changes to the United Nations,” according to the document obtained by AFP on Friday.

Attending his first UN gathering of world leaders, Trump is scheduled to address the General Assembly on September 19, on the first day of the six-day debate.

His speech will likely to be the most closely watched as Washington’s allies and foes grapple with the implications of his “America-First” approach to foreign policy.

Trump has described the United Nations as an “underperformer” but stressed that it has “huge potential” to address the long list of world crises that will be at the center of this year’s UN debate.

The United States is the UN’s number one financial contributor, paying 28.5 per cent of the $7.3 billion peacekeeping budget and 22 per cent of the core budget of $5.4 billion. Continue reading