Saturday, June 4, 2011
Friday, June 3, 2011
THE Obama administration will boycott a world conference against racism being held at UN headquarters in September because of concerns about anti-Semitism.
The UN summit in September marks the 10-year commemoration of the 2001 World Conference Against Racism that was held in the South African city of Durban.
The US and Israel walked out of that meeting over a draft resolution that criticised Israel and equated Zionism with racism.
The United States will not participate in the upcoming conference because the Durban process "included ugly displays of intolerance and anti-Semitism", Joseph E. Macmanus, acting US assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs, wrote in a letter to Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today.
Sen Gillibrand welcomed the administration's decision.
"It is an insult to America that the United Nations has decided to hold the Durban III conference in New York just days from the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks," the New York senator said.
"We all witnessed how extreme anti-Semitic and anti-American voices took over" the original gathering in South Africa and a follow up conference, the senator wrote.
The administration's move was also lauded by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, an umbrella of 52 groups including B'nai B'rith International, the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee and Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America.
The US and at least seven other countries also boycotted a 2009 follow up event that the UN held in Geneva, citing concerns that Islamic countries would demand a denunciation of Israel and insist that all criticism of Islam be banned.
The theater, film and television actress was 93.
Cosby Show and Sesame Street actress Clarice Taylor has died. She was 93. Taylor succumbed to heart failure and was surrounded by family when she passed, according to People.
Taylor played Bill Cosby's TV mother Anna Huxtable on the long-running comedy. Her performance earned her an Emmy nomination in 1986 for outstanding guest performer in a comedy series.
Taylor was also well known for playing the character Harriet on Sesame Street for 14 years.
Taylor's other credits include Clint Eastwood's Play Misty for Me, Sommersby, Wayne Wang's Smoke and an episode of Sanford and Son. She was also appeared in the original Broadway production of The Wiz and won an Obie award in 1987 for Moms, a play about comedian Jackie "Moms" Mabley.
The actress, along with her Cosby Show co-star Phylicia Rashad, was also a member of the Negro Ensemble Company, which presents shows by and about black people to a culturally diverse, and traditionally underserved, audiences.