Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson floats his "war room" idea Monday at the United Nations. With him on the podium are actress Daryl Hannah and U.N. General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim./ Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Atlantic stands under a model of a spaceship unveiled at a news conference January 23, 2008 in New York City. Branson hopes the spaceship will be the first to ferry paying passengers into space on a regular schedule. Branson's Virgin Galactic is one of several commercial enterprises currently competing to offer flights to space. Looking to commence the program latter this year, about 200 people have already signed up for the rides, which cost about $200,000 per person.
Michael R. Bloomberg (R), New York City Mayor, speaks with Pamela Flaherty (L), Senior Vice President for Global Community Relations at Citigroup before the opening session of the United Nations climate change debate on February 11, 2008 at UN headquarters in New York.
Branson outlined the idea at a press conference Monday with U.N. General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim and actress Daryl Hannah, and then again at a luncheon for the delegates attending the two-day debate.
The need for developing nations and the world's cities to take over the lead on the fight against global warming was a common refrain among diplomats, mayors and business leaders — though they recognized it will take the inclusion of the United States and China, the world's biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, to fix the problem. The General Assembly is trying to shape overall U.N. policy on climate change, including how nations can adapt to a warmer world, and to generate support for the U.N.-led negotiations that are intended to craft a new climate treaty by 2009.
Cities are ready to lead the change with national governments and international organizations, said Letizia Moratti, the mayor of Milan, Italy."It's time for all national leaders to stand up, and be honest and responsible about the cost of climate change for future generations and for ourselves," Moratti said. Nearly 100 countries have signed up to speak at the debate, and 20 were sending ministers. "Climate is interwoven into every aspect of development," said Tim Wirth, president of the U.N. Foundation, a private group that supports the world body's work....participants — including the European Union and the United Nations — praised what they saw as a new willingness by the United States to discuss possible solutions.Link(http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23129533/)
at the same time we read: "SPAIN WILL BE HOME TO THE
INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE OF THE ALLIANCE OF CIVILIZATIONS.
• "The Institute is one of the proposals included in the National Plan for the Alliance of Civilizations and will be created under the auspices of the United Nations University.
Eleventh of February, 2008. Today, Representatives of the Spanish government and the United Nations University addressed the creation of the International Institute of the Alliance of Civilizations for the occasion of Mr. Konrad Osterwalder´s visit to Madrid.
Mr. Osterwalder is the Rector of the United Nations University. This International Institute will act as a Center for investigation and research for the development of a project focused around four central areas: education as an instrument for promoting democratic values; youth and youth movements; migration issues and the different strategies presented on a regional, national and international level; and the media and understanding of the global reality.
The Institute is currently embarking on its final phase of development. It will be located in Spain and will be integrated into the network of Centers of the United Nations University. In January, Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, presented a National Plan during the Alliance of Civilizations Forum. With the aforementioned Plan, the government proposes to incorporate the Institute’s goals on a national level and incorporate them into both foreign policies and domestic policies....The Alliance of Civilizations is currently comprised of 85 countries and international organizations, continuously furthering its global presence.link
"VELTRONI: WITH UN AND POPE FOR 'UNITED RELIGION'
(AGI) - Rome, Feb. 14 - A place where religions can meet and talk. The idea is of Walter Veltroni and the place of course Rome. Veltroni talked about this idea in the Palladium Theatre in his goodbye to the press. "I have discussed the idea to make Rome a place where a building could be constructed that would be called 'United Religion' with the Secretary-general of the UN and the Pope; it would be a place for all religions in the world. I would like to see this idea carried out and to see this place of exchange between several religions".
Surpise, surpise mayor Veltroni and the AoC have not just good connections and is good friend with Zapatero, he sits also on the socalled "Support committee" of the "Europe book prize", - together with AoC-chief Sampaio, -the group which decides which books have a chance for the prize:
"Europe Book Prize seeks to promote European values, and to contribute to European citizens' better understanding of the European Union as a cultural entity. For its first edition, this award will constitute the final touch of the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome celebrations in 2007. The European Book Prize intends to reward the work that best conveys a vision of the Europe of tomorrow."
The European Book Prize has a Support Committee which has the responsibility to guarantee the moral authority of the Prize. This committee is responsible for producing a short-list of candidate books and works while the final decision is made by a Jury. The president of the Support Committee also presides over the Jury. The supporting committee comprises distinguished personalities who has proven commitment to the construction of a unified Europe. The President of the Supporting Committee for 2007 was Jacques DELORS, former President of the European Commission.
The eleven members of the Committee:
(a) Mr. Jean DANIEL, founding director of the Nouvel Observateur (France),
(b) Etienne DAVIGNON, former Vice-President of the European Commission (Belgium),
(c) Dimitris DIMITRIADIS, President of the Economic and Social Council of Europe (Greece),
(d) Paavo Tapio LIPPONEN, Prime Minister of Finland, 1995 to 2003 (Finland),
(e) Denis MAC SHANE, Minister of European Affairs, 2002 to 2005, Member of the House of Commons (UK),
(f) Pierre MAUROY, former Prime Minister, Member of the Consulting Board of the city of Lille since 2001 (France),
(g) Hans-Gert POTTERING, President of the European Parliament (Germany),
(h) Jorge Sampaio, former President of the Republic of Portugal (Portugal),
(i) Peter D. SUTHERLAND, President of the European Policy Center, Chairman of Goldman Sachs International, former European Commissioner, and former Director-General of the WTO and of the GATT (Ireland),
(j) Walter VELTRONI , Mayor of Rome since 1996 (Italy),
(k) Vaira VIKE FREIBERGA, President of the Republic of Latvia from 1999 to July 2007.
The first new Europe Book Prize was awarded t Belgium's caretaker prime minister Guy Verhofstad for his short book 'United States of Europe'. The prize money is 20 000 Euro. The short book is a summing up of the condition the EU 'idea' consequent to the 'No votes' on the European Constitution , in referendums held in 2005 in France and the Netherlands. In this book the author enunciates his case forcefully for a stronger federal approach to the economic and political challenges the EU member states will face in the future.