The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a
report integrating its three previous ones and drawing deeper conclusions
on what its scientists say will be, according to Elisabeth Rosenthal in
Saturday's New York Times, inevitable meltdown of ice sheets and the
elimination of many species.  This news from the U.N. is marked "urgent."

One would have thought that conservatives who are always hysterical about
eroding phenomena would instinctively grasp the significance of these
disappearances.  But, since this connotes government intervention in the
economies of nations and in acquired habits of advanced human communities,
they dig in their heels and "just say no." The Bush administration is one
of these recalcitrants.  Another is China.  What a pair!

Anyway, don't expect any urgent action on anything from the U.N.

Warren Hoge has another important article in this morning's Times
about the General Assembly muddling a resolution against rape "used by
government and armed groups to achieve political and military
objectives."  We know that this is a widespread phenomena in parts of
Africa, even an epidemic, and common in other parts of the world.  But it
was left to South Africa and Angola, "acting on behalf of the African
Group, a 43-nation coalition" making its power felt in international
organizations, to blunt the sharpness of the initial resolution.  Of
course, it was South Africa's ambassador to the U.N. who did the dirty
work: "The original U.S. draft appeared to concentrate on condemning rape
when perpetrated for political and military purposes only.  We felt
strongly that this would have created two categories of rape, that is, rape
by military and rape by civilians."  He wanted to make "certain that there
was no politicization of rape."

The fact is that South Africa, drawing on and besmirching its moral capital
of having defeated apartheid, is now the ally of tyrannies even more cruel,
if less efficient, than the old regime.  The behavior of South Africa is a
moral scandal.  This hypocritical act is just a sign, but a noxious sign,
that it cares not for the suffering of its fellow Africans.