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The United Nations …whose primary mandate is international peace and security, enjoyed some of its lighter moments when the “glass house by the east river” was occasionally rattled – with loud laughter. Did Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev bang his shoe on his desk to attract the General Assembly president’s attention during the October 1960 session? And, as rumor would have it, was the bottom of his shoe full of visible holes? Mobutu Sese Seko, president of then Zaire, was singled out as one of “the world’s most corrupt leaders”. Asked at a press conference whether he was the second wealthiest political leader, a seemingly outraged Mobutu shouted back: “It’s a lie. It’s a lie,” and then added with a straight face, “I am only the fourth richest.” Recorded in this book’s pages is a motley collection of political anecdotes picked mostly from the corridors, committee rooms and the UN’s watering hole, the delegate’s lounge, by veteran journalist Thalif Deen, who has devoted most of his professional life ‘Reporting from the United Nations’.

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