Annan urges early agreement on new human rights council

After a year of significant commitments, this year must be a year of visible results, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today, calling on the “Group of 77” developing countries and China to pay particular attention to forging an early agreement on the new Human Rights Council.“I call on you to redouble your efforts for an early agreement on the new Human Rights Council mandated at the World Summit,” he said as the chairmanship of the Group of 77 and China passed from Jamaica to South Africa.He said the decline in the credibility of the existing Commission on Human Rights was casting a shadow over the entire UN and urged the 132 developing country members of the G77 to act quickly to ensure a seamless transition between the Commission and the Council during the Commission’s final session this March.“With your initiative, we can ensure that human rights are restored to the prominence accorded to them in the Charter,” he said.A stronger renewed United Nations, while important for all Member States, remains most important to the people of the developing world, he added.General Assembly President Jan Eliasson said according to Jamaican Foreign Minister K. D. Knight’s words during last year’s handover from Qatar, “we see that the development agenda, resource flows and disaster management were three of Jamaica’s stated priorities. I believe that the whole of the General Assembly will look back on Jamaica’s Chairmanship of the G77 and China as one in which important and very real progress was made.”A key feature of the work this year would be the need to build bridges, he said, since so many of the issues of development and poverty reduction, communicable diseases, peacebuilding, human rights, the environment, organized crime, terrorism are areas in which the whole world has a common interest.“All Member States, be they North or South, large, medium or small, need effective international cooperation and good multilateralism. We have to prove that ‘together’ is better and more effective than ‘alone’,” Mr. Eliasson said. read more

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British Manly Exercises guidebook shows how gentlemen stayed trim in Georgian England

first_imgThe 1834 volume of British Manly Exercises  St John's College, Cambridge A guide to balancing  While the working classes spent most of their even shorter lives engaged in backbreaking manual labour in either field or factory, many members of higher classes suffered health problems due to inactivity.Walker aims to persuade readers that exercise had the potential to “prolong life and improve its happiness” and could combat and prevent ailments; “nay, it supersedes medicine by banishing disease”.Popular 19th century medicines often contained poisons and opiates and the poor, unable to afford these treatments, relied heavily on quack cures.Walker is keen to set his manual apart from this, stating that “All exhibitionary and quackish preparatory exercises, as they are termed, are here excluded … no tick-tack, cross-touch, kissing the ground, goats jump, spectre’s march etc”.And it notes that to improve the nation’s health, “education must be divided into two parts – physical and mental”. According to the manual to achieve ‘the highest condition’ gentleman should drink cold beer and cider exclusively, avoiding all other liquids save for a half pint of red wine after dinner.The author appropriates the diet to a Captain Barclay, while noting that it has received glowing user reviews and comes recommended by ‘professional men’. A man swims Avoiding vegetables and only drinking cider, beer and wine, may not seem the obvious way to stay trim, but in Georgian England it was the ultimate dietary regime for the ‘manly gentleman.’Researchers at St John’s College, Cambridge University, have unearthed an 1834 fitness manual which aimed to help the middle and upper classes – whose sedentary lives and fatty diets could lead to obesity and gout – to get in shape.The guide, entitled British Manly Exercises was written by Donald Walker and gives instructions on a range of physical activities deemed suitable for young gentlemen, from leaping and vaulting to skating and wrestling.But while it reveals that pre-Victorians knew much about the benefits of regular exercise, there is other more questionable advice. St John’s College, Cambridge A man swimscenter_img Whenever the gymnast feels tired, or falls behind his usual mark, he should resume his clothes and walk home.Donald Walker A spokesman for St John’s College, Cambridge said: “Little is known about Donald Walker other than the fact that he penned several other books including Exercises for Ladies and Literary Composition.“British Manly Exercises was donated to the Library by Hugh Gatty who was appointed college lecturer in history in 1936 and who left several valuable manuscripts to the Library and over five hundred early printed books.“It gives clear instructions on the art of adopting a healthier lifestyle and offers a fascinating insight into 19th century attitudes to exercise.” A guide to balancing  The guidebook, which claims to be the first to describe the procedures of rowing and sailing as exercise, gives instructions on how to exercise “with a direct, immediate and obvious purpose”.It was forward-thinking at a time when infectious disease was rife and, on average, a middle-class man could not expect to live past the grand old age of 45. As part of the regime a gentleman must gradually increase his level of exercise to 20 to 24 miles of walking and running a day, his diet should consist of lean meat, stale bread and biscuits – no other vegetable matter is permitted and “everything inducing flatulency must be carefully avoided”.It also stresses the importance of gentle and consistent training to avoid injury and recommends that: “No exertion should be carried to excess, and whenever the gymnast feels tired, or falls behind his usual mark, he should resume his clothes and walk home.” The 1834 volume of British Manly Exercises  Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

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