US ConGen Karachi issues Warden Message on spreading violence in the city

According to CSMonitor, some 350 people have lost their lives to targeted killings this year in Karachi, with religious attacks against the city’s Shiite community accounting for a large portion of those deaths.  Over the weekend, the overall death toll comes to nearly 90 from a series of shootouts linked to a contested election.

US ConGen Karachi issued the following Warden Notice (No. 1/2010) on October 20, 2010:

This message is to notify U.S. citizens that violence is spreading in Karachi.  A curfew and police operations in certain parts of the city over the next few days are expected.  U.S. citizens are advised to monitor the local media for the latest information and obey curfews.

The Consulate advises all U.S. citizens to take appropriate measures to protect their safety and security at all times.  These measures include maintaining situational awareness, avoiding crowds and demonstrations and keeping a low profile.  U.S. citizens should vary times and routes for all travel and ensure that their travel documents and visas are valid.

Read the whole thing here.

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EEOC certifies class action against State Dept on behalf of disabled Foreign Service applicants

WaPo’s Joe Davidson has a recent piece asking “Should medical conditions prevent State Department applicants from joining the Foreign Service if they can’t serve in every single post in the world?” (For a Foreign Service officer with MS, what is ‘around the world’? | WaPo | Tuesday, October 19, 2010; 10:29 PM):

Doering Meyer is functional in Turkish, speaks some Arabic and has lived abroad, where she bolstered a strong interest in Islam and foreign affairs.

Despite that background, when she applied to be a Foreign Service officer, State said no because she has a history of multiple sclerosis. Meyer was able to secure a waiver that allows her to work in some places.

Waiver or not, Meyer says she thinks State’s practice results in an unfair bias against people with certain ailments and violates federal anti-discrimination laws that require employers to make reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities. That word alone exaggerates Meyer’s condition.

“The impact of the State Department’s failure to provide the required individualized consideration is profound,” said Bryan J. Schwartz, her Oakland, Calif., lawyer. “The State Department, virtually, without exception, does not hire FSOs with disabilities, records of disabilities and perceived disabilities.”
[…]
The State Department said it does hire people with disabilities into the Foreign Service and “has been doing so for years. In addition, the Department provides reasonable accommodations. When persons can serve worldwide with reasonable accommodation, they are eligible to be hired into the Foreign Service.”

For Meyer, her MS is more of a label than a reality. She said that she has had no symptoms for about 10 years and that her doctor gave her the green light to live abroad.

“I do not, at this point, see any reason why the patient could not work overseas,” Craig L. Hyser, a Saint Paul, Minn., neurologist wrote in a 2006 letter. “She has had a benign course of multiple sclerosis to date and does not have any significant disability.”

But that benign course was enough to block her application. With Schwartz’s help, Meyer was able to secure a waiver that allowed her to join the Foreign Service. The waiver, however, grants her a more restrictive Class 2 designation rather than a Class 1, which would allow her to be posted anywhere in the world.

In papers filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the department said Foreign Service officers must be available to serve everywhere. Against State’s wishes, the EEOC certified the case as a class action this month.

“The Agency has 267 diplomatic posts around the world,” State said in documents supplied by Schwartz. “Many of those posts lack U.S. quality medical resources and facilities. . . . Statutes mandate that Foreign Service personnel must be able to serve around the world.”
[…]
“What the State Department did was to discriminate against her based on her record of MS and their perceptions of her disability by making certain assumptions about her condition and then, based on those assumptions, ruling out certain State Department posts,” Schwartz said. “For example, even in a place that is humid, and even assuming Ms. Meyer was sensitive to humidity, she could likely be accommodated with air conditioning – but the State Department did not factor this into their decision.”

The important question, Schwartz said, is “why should Ms. Meyer be rejected from employment altogether just because there were certain posts which would not be a good fit for her? Under the Rehabilitation Act, people with disabilities are required to be given individualized consideration, which, in this case, required the State Department to look at particular posts where they wish to station Ms. Meyer and decide whether she could be stationed there, with or without a reasonable accommodation.”

Read the whole thing here.

Active links added above.  This case is not going away soon.  The EEOC certified the case as a class action this month in late September. See below:

Meyer, et al. v. Clinton (Department of State)
, The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has certified a class action brought on behalf of all disabled Foreign Service applicants against the U.S. State Department by San Francisco Bay Area attorney Bryan Schwartz. The Class Agent in the matter, Doering Meyer, is a woman with multiple sclerosis (MS) who qualified for a Foreign Service Officer position after a rigorous screening process – only to be denied employment because her multiple sclerosis automatically disqualified her, under the State Department guidelines challenged in the suit.”

The decision defined the class as:

“All applicants for career Foreign Service employment with a disability who have been or will be denied employment from October 7, 2006 untilt he present because the State Department’s Office of Medical Services denied them “Class 1 – Unlimited Clearance for Worldwide Assignment” type clearance.”

The September 30, 2010 certification decision by Administrative Judge, Mary Elizabeth Palmer is here.


 

 


 


 

George P. Schultz writes Ideas and Action: 10 Commandments of Negotiations

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We missed that PBS controversy over the airing of the Turmoil and Triumph series based on George Schultz’s 1993 book this past summer.  Michael Getler, the PBS ombudsman, wrote in a column on PBS.org that the series suffered from “at least the appearance of a conflict of interest” due to the financial contributions. From NYT Media Decoder:

“Even before the first installment of the series, “Turmoil and Triumph,” had its debut last Monday, it was knocked by television critics for being too long and for treating its subject with reverence. Mr. Getler said he thought the “deification of Shultz” was both unnecessary and distracting.”

Check out the website of Turmoil and Triumph: the George Schultz Years here.

Now, George P. Shultz, the 60th U.S. Secretary of State who served from 1982 to 1989 ( 6 years & 188 days, the longest tenure since Dean Rusk in the 1960s) has written a new book Ideas and Action: Featuring the 10 Commandments of Negotiations.

We have not read the book but his publicist sent us the book announcement excerpted in part below:

IDEAS & ACTION, Featuring the 10 Commandments of Negotiations, a new book by former Secretary of State George P. Shultz published by Free to Choose Press, is a fascinating, first-person account of lessons learned by one of America’s most unique and admired public servants.  In his long career in academia, business, and diplomacy, Shultz has spearheaded negotiations on labor disputes, arms control, and the release of political prisoners. Esteemed by Republicans and Democrats alike, Shultz served in the administrations of Presidents Eisenhower, Nixon, and Reagan.  He was a Marine in the South Pacific during World War II, earned a Ph.D. in industrial economics from MIT, and was Dean of the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business.  As he says in the introduction to IDEAS & ACTION, “We have grown accustomed to drawing a bright divide between the world of ideas, a world dominated by ivory towers, and the world of action, a world dominated by oval offices, market floors, and fields of battle.  My life and career, however, have known no such bright dividing line.”

Image from Amazon.com

The book includes sections on:

  • Keys to good management — Shultz shares insights gleaned from his vast experience as a labor negotiator, university president, and business leader, including the importance of letting employees know that their opinions matter and giving them a stake in outcomes, taking responsibility for decisions, and having a long-term strategy.
  • Civil rights — Shultz recalls his time as a labor negotiator in Texas in the early 1960s and as the chairman of a committee tasked by President Nixon with ending school segregation. 
  • Human rights — Shultz recounts the delicate negotiations with Soviet leaders to obtain the release of dissident Soviet Jews, one of his proudest achievements as Secretary of State.
  • Success in Negotiations: Ten Commandments — Shultz imparts wisdom that has practical applications for all readers as he outlines ten principles for negotiations in work, business, and diplomacy.  He illustrates each commandment with examples taken from his long career, from the Geneva and Reykjavik summits to the release of imprisoned American reporter Nicholas Daniloff, from the air-traffic controllers’ walkout in 1981 to the war in Grenada, and more.
  • A World Free of Nuclear Weapons — Shultz continues to be a leading figure on the international stage.  Along with Henry Kissinger, former senator Sam Nunn, and former Secretary of Defense William Perry, Shultz is a tireless advocate of nuclear disarmament.

Mr. Shultz’s publications include Putting Our House in Order: A Citizen’s Guide to Social Security and Health Care Reform, with John B. Shoven (2008), Turmoil and Triumph: My Years as Secretary of State (1993), Economic Policy Beyond the Headlines (1977), and many more.

The 3-hour DVD of T&T and the new book are available to purchase here.

 


Murder in London: No Diplomatic Immunity Pass for Saudi Prince

Via the Guardian UK:

Saud Abdulaziz bin Nasser al Saud, a grandson of the billionaire king of Saudi Arabia, was found guilty at the Old Bailey of killing Bandar Abdulaziz at their five-star hotel suite in central London.
[…]
When he was then taken to Paddington Green police station and arrested, Saudi officials tried to claim he had diplomatic immunity, but this was scotched by a check of Foreign Office records.