Claude Forthomme (Nougat):

So the cat is out of the bag, I did read an early draft of this book and I loved it! Can’t wait to see it published, I just know you’ll all love it as much as I did!

Originally posted on RectorWriter:

ShuttleLaunchFBOkay my new book is upright on the launch pad and centered so that the scorch marks from my previous launches are barely visible. I’d like to think of it as a gigantic NASA rocket surrounded by a gantry hundreds of feet high with clouds of liquid oxygen swirling around it. Anticipation is high as the countdown begins. In the control room the “ignition” button is flashing green. All systems go. Soon there will be a deafening roar and the very earth will tremble and off into the stratosphere and mesosphere and outta-here it goes. Next stop: infinity and beyond.

How’s that for dramatic flair?


In reality my book is more like a model rocket being launched from a couple of overturned cinder blocks in my backyard (look out birds!) and I’m kneeling beside it with a flaming match in my shaky hand trying to ignite the fuse, hoping that…

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Keeping families connected during Ebola quarantine

Claude Forthomme (Nougat):

The Internet overcoming quarantine, what a great story!

Originally posted on UNICEF Connect - UNICEF BLOG:

Grandma Gbla only allowed her 15-year-old granddaughter Adamseh to be taken from Ebola quarantine to hospital to give birth when she received promises that Adamseh would be well taken care of and that the two could keep in touch.

The family, and indeed the entire 500-strong village of Massesebe in Sierra Leone’s Tonkolili district, had just been put under 21-day quarantine following the death of an Ebola-infected man who had travelled back to the village from Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown. Sadly the case was not reported and his death was followed by a traditional burial without the appropriate safety procedures. The risk that this might result in further outbreaks necessitated the immediate isolation of the direct contacts.

But when quarantine hit, Adamseh was nine months pregnant. Given her young age, members of the Ebola response team decided it was best to take her to a health facility that could manage…

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Global Governance 2.0: insights from former Australian Premier

Claude Forthomme (Nougat):

An important read. A great insight into what makes the United Nations irreplaceable.

Originally posted on UNICEF Connect - UNICEF BLOG:

A young girl from Bangladesh smiles as her uncle picks her up. A young girl from Bangladesh smiles as her uncle picks her up. © UNICEF/UNI175476a/Noorani

Is there a future for the UN in a fast evolving landscape of new global challenges (as well as some old unsolved ones) and growing number of other multilateral institutions?

Yes, said Kevin Rudd, Chair of the Independent Commission on Multilateralism and former Prime Minister of Australia. The Honorable Kevin Rudd recently came to UNICEF to debate the future of multilateralism with UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake and a large audience, as part of UNICEF’s Conversations with Thought Leaders series.

UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake, with Kevin Rudd. UNICEF Executive Director, Anthony Lake, with Chair of the Independent Commission on Multilateralism, Kevin Rudd. (c) UNICEF/2015/Kania Azrina

Calling the UN “the Parliament of Humankind,” Kevin Rudd was clear: “we should remind ourselves of why the institution itself is inherently valuable. We should cherish what we have. We have been handed by those who have come…

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Let debtor nations leave euro, say German experts – FT.com

Claude Forthomme (Nougat):

I totally subscribe to the comments made by Dr. Alf. Very sound.

Originally posted on Dr Alf's Blog:

This is an important read from the FT, citing a report from Germany‘s Council of Economic Experts.

via Let debtor nations leave euro, say German experts – FT.com.

Whilst the FT’s article is a good read, it’s well worth reading the evidence from the German experts. You can rest assured that it is being avidly read by mainstream economists around the world.

I read the executive summary from the German experts and many of the points are sound from a Germanic view of Europe. However, there are some fundamental weaknesses. Firstly, every international mainstream economist has been arguing for years for Germany to reflate, create some controlled inflation, to give the rest of Europe some breathing room. Secondly, the obsession with fiscal balancing ignores export imbalances (see Bernancke’s argument) – it also fails to address the economic case for top quality…

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Working to survive: Yasmeen’s story

Claude Forthomme (Nougat):

A heart-breaking story – this should never happen to anyone…

Originally posted on UNICEF Connect - UNICEF BLOG:

Entering the Ghazieh collective shelter in south Lebanon, I was struck by the conditions: women, men, the elderly, children, babies were all packed into small rooms rented for US$300 a month. They live in horrendous conditions – with no access to cooking facilities or decent sanitation.

I was in one of the many locations across Lebanon where Syrian refugee families have moved into empty buildings, garages and other structures under construction to seek shelter. I was there to talk to Syrian children about their daily lives as refugees. A young girl caught my attention, but, as I approached her, she ran towards the neighbours’ room. A few minutes later she came back and stared at me, but she didn’t want to speak, so I started talking with some of the women present.

Half an hour later, the girl – whose name turned out to be Yasmeen* – came to me…

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I am closing down this blog…

No, I haven’t abandoned you, my dear readers! I continue to publish posts on my other blog site here:


For a while, I experimented with publishing on this blog site here, using it as a “mirror” blog for those who don’t like Google and don’t wish to post comments there. But, as I am working hard on my new book about the United Nations, I have less and less time to duplicate posts. So please forgive me, you’ll find my new posts (I publish once a week) on my Blogspot address, and if you don’t like to leave comments there, you can contact me directly on my email or on Twitter and Facebook. I’ll be happy to read you and answer!

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Sometimes You Just Have to Let Yourself Go…

Sometimes you have to leave behind the pains of the world, the pressure of work, your responsibilities to all your loved ones and… take a walk! Breathe deeply, take a few steps outdoors and then some more, and yet more, for an hour or two, until, for a few heady moments, you feel FREE…

That’s exactly what I did a few days ago, it was a cool spring day on Lake Trasimeno, in the heart of Italy – a lake that straddles Tuscany and Umbria. It wasn’t at sunset (like on the cover of my book “Crimson Clouds”), it was midday. A cold wind was blowing but the sun shone bright, the birds sang, and horses happily grazed in the fields. Here are some of the images I took on my smart phone that I want to share with you, starting with the lake:

This is Isola Polvese – an island that is a natural reserve – and the shot is taken from high up. In fact, we had driven up to the small, medieval village of San Savino, with its characteristic tower:

You can glimpse the lake in the back, to the right. The tower dates back to the 12th Century and is part of a fortress – not a place you can actually visit, people still live in it. Here it is:

The castle was restored – or rather rebuilt – in the 14th Century. You can learn more about San Savino here, and if you want to spend sometime in the village, you can even rent small flats with great views – but be warned, the place is so small that there are no shops, no restaurants or cafés and that, in Italy, is very rare. Most villages have at least a café. But you’re very close to the Lake and the pleasant little town of San Feliciano, from where you can take a ferryboat to Isola Polvese.

We took a walk around the back of San Savino, going beyond the nice, old cemetery and found this jolly horse:

He quickly noticed us and came up:

After that encounter, we felt ready for lunch and drove back towards Perugia  – ten minutes – to the Osteria dell’Olmo, a Seventeenth Century villa turned restaurant. The setting is a pleasure, the dining room with a fireplace is particularly nice in winter:

Overtime, the food has had its ups and downs but now they have a new chef and we ate very well, a superb steak and fried spring potatoes with the skin on, very tasty. But more complex menus are available:

And they have a delightful coffee machine dating back to the 1920s (don’t worry, it’s not in use!):

Yes, the person in the mirror is me, bent on taking this picture…

In summer, you can eat outdoors, not the case that day (much too cold). But when we looked outside for the restaurant owner who had disappeared in the course of our meal, we found him busy taking care of a herb garden he had recently laid out on the terrace in neat white boxes:

Gardening is an Italian passion!

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