This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.
December 11 is the 345th day of the year (346th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 20 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day in 1946, In the aftermath of World War II, the General Assembly of the United Nations votes to establish the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), an organization to help provide relief and support to children living in countries devastated by the war.
After the food and medical crisis of the late 1940s passed, UNICEF continued its role as a relief organization for the children of troubled nations and during the 1970s grew into a vocal advocate of children’s rights. During the 1980s, UNICEF assisted the U.N. Commission on Human Rights in the drafting of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. After its introduction to the U.N. General Assembly in 1989, the Convention on the Rights of the Child became the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history, and UNICEF played a key role in ensuring its enforcement.
Of the 184 member states of the United Nations, only two countries have failed to ratify the treaty–Somalia and the United States. Somalia does not currently have an internationally recognized government, so ratification is impossible, and the United States, which was one of the original signatories of the convention, has failed to ratify the treaty because of concerns about its potential impact on national sovereignty and the parent-child relationship.
In 1953, UNICEF became a permanent part of the United Nations System and its name was shortened from the original United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund but it has continued to be known by the popular acronym based on this old name. Headquartered in New York City, UNICEF provides long-term humanitarian and developmental assistance to children and mothers in developing countries.
UNICEF relies on contributions from governments and private donors and UNICEF’s total income for 2006 was $2,781,000,000. Governments contribute two thirds of the organization’s resources; private groups and some 6 million individuals contribute the rest through the National Committees. UNICEF’s programs emphasize developing community-level services to promote the health and well-being of children. UNICEF was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1965 and the Prince of Asturias Award of Concord in 2006.
Most of UNICEF’s work is in the field, with staff in over 190 countries and territories. More than 200 country offices carry out UNICEF’s mission through a program developed with host governments. Seven regional offices provide technical assistance to country offices as needed.
Overall management and administration of the organization takes place at its headquarters in New York. UNICEF’s Supply Division is based in Copenhagen and serves as the primary point of distribution for such essential items as vaccines, antiretroviral medicines for children and mothers with HIV, nutritional supplements, emergency shelters, educational supplies, among others. A 36-member Executive Board establishes policies, approves programs and oversees administrative and financial plans. The Executive Board is made up of government representatives who are elected by the United Nations Economic and Social Council, usually for three-year terms.
Following the reaching of term limits by Executive Director of UNICEF Carol Bellamy, former United States Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman became executive director of the organization in May 2005 with an agenda to increase the organization’s focus on the Millennium Development Goals. She was succeeded in May 2010 by Anthony Lake.
UNICEF is an inter-governmental organization and thus is accountable to governments.
361 – Julian the Apostate becomes sole Emperor of the Roman Empire, he rules from Constantinople and tries to restore paganism.
969 – Byzatine Emperor Nikephoros II is assassinated by his wife Theofano and her lover, the later Emperor John I Tzimiskes.
1282 – Llywelyn the Last, the last native Prince of Wales, is killed at Cilmeri, near Builth Wells, south Wales.
1602 – A surprise attack by forces under the command of the Duke of Savoy and his brother-in-law, Philip III of Spain, is repelled by the citizens of Geneva.
1789 – The University of North Carolina is chartered by the North Carolina General Assembly.
1792 – French Revolution: King Louis XVI of France is put on trial for treason by the National Convention.
1815 – the U.S. Senate created a select committee on finance and a uniform national currency, predecessor of the United States Senate Committee on Finance.
1816 – Indiana becomes the 19th U.S. state.
1905 – A workers’ uprising occurs in Kiev and establishes the Shuliavka Republic.
1907 – The New Zealand Parliament Buildings are almost completely destroyed by fire.
1917 – British General Edmund Allenby enters Jerusalem on foot and declares martial law.
1917 – Lithuania declares its independence from Russia.
1925 – Roman Catholic papal encyclical Quas Primas introduces the Feast of Christ the King.
1927 – Guangzhou Uprising: Communist militia and worker Red Guards launch an uprising in the Chinese city of Guangzhou, taking over most of the city and announcing the formation of a Guangzhou Soviet.
1931 – The British Parliament enacts the Statute of Westminster 1931, establishing legislative equality between the self-governing dominions of the Commonwealth of Australia, the Dominion of Canada, the Irish Free State, Dominion of Newfoundland, the Dominion of New Zealand, and the Union of South Africa.
1934 – Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, takes his last drink and enters treatment for the last time.
1936 – Abdication Crisis: Edward VIII’s abdication as King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the British Dominions beyond the Seas, and Emperor of India becomes effective.
1937 – Second Italo-Abyssinian War: Italy leaves the League of Nations.
1941 – World War II: Germany and Italy declare war on the United States, following the Americans’ declaration of war on Japan in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The United States, in turn, declares war on Germany and Italy.
1946 – The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) is established.
1948 – The United Nations passes General Assembly Resolution 194, which established and defined the role of the United Nations Conciliation Commission as an organization to facilitate peace in the British Mandate for Palestine.
1958 – French Upper Volta gains self-government from France, becomes the Republic of Upper Volta, and joins the French Community.
1960 – French forces crack down in a violent clash with protesters in French Algeria during a visit by French president Charles de Gaulle.
1962 – Arthur Lucas, convicted of murder, is the last person to be executed in Canada.
1964 – Che Guevara speaks at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. An unknown terrorist fires a mortar shell at the building during the speech.
1968 – The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus
1972 – Apollo 17 becomes the sixth and last Apollo mission to land on the Moon.
1980 – The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, also known as CERCLA or Superfund, is enacted by the U.S. Congress.
1981 – El Mozote massacre: Armed forces in El Salvador kill an estimated 900 civilians in an anti-guerrilla campaign during the Salvadoran Civil War.
1993 – Forty-eight people are killed when a block of the Highland Towers collapses near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
1994 – First Chechen War: Russian President Boris Yeltsin orders Russian troops into Chechnya.
1994 – A bomb explodes on Philippine Airlines Flight 434, en route from Manila to Tokyo, killing one. The captain was able to safely land the plane.
1997 – The Kyoto Protocol opens for signature.
1998 – Thai Airways Flight 261 crashes near Surat Thani Airport, killing 101. The pilot flying the Thai Airways Airbus A310-300 is thought to have suffered spatial disorientation.
2001 – The People’s Republic of China joins the World Trade Organization.
2005 – The Buncefield Oil Depot catches fire in Hemel Hempstead, England.
2005 – Cronulla riots: Thousands of White Australians demonstrate against ethnic violence resulting in a riot against anyone thought to be Lebanese (and many who were not) in Cronulla Sydney. These are followed up by retaliatory ethnic attacks on Cronulla.
2006 – The International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust is opened in Tehran, Iran by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad; Nations such as Israel and the United States express concern.
2007 – Two car bombs explode at the Constitutional Court building in Algiers and the United Nations office. An estimated 45 people are killed in the bombings.
2008 – Bernard Madoff is arrested and charged with securities fraud in a $50 billion Ponzi scheme.
2010 – Two explosions occur in a busy shopping district of Stockholm, Sweden, killing one and injuring two others. Officials say the incident is being treated as a terrorist attack.
* Christian Feast Day:
* Indiana Day (United States)
* Pampanga Day (Pampanga
Province, the Philippines)
* Remembrance Day of Llywelyn II (Wales)