The United Nations kicked off the long-delayed renovation of its landmark headquarters complex Monday led by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon wearing a hard hat and wielding a shovel to break ground for a temporary conference building.
Ban was joined by 16 others with shovels who represented the U.N.’s many constituencies for the ceremony on the U.N.’s north lawn.
The temporary building, which will be erected on the north lawn in the coming weeks, will be the first piece of a $1.9 billion project to overhaul the 56-year-old complex designed by many leading architects of the late 1940s and early 1950s, including Switzerland’s Le Corbusier and Brazil’s Oscar Niemeyer.
The glass-and-steel headquarters overlooking the East River has not had a major overhaul since the buildings opened in 1952 and now violates several key New York safety and fire codes.
Taiwan official to quit over scandal
Taiwan’s vice premier announced Monday he would quit his job and resign from the ruling party, taking responsibility for a widening scandal in which $30 million worth of secret diplomatic funds have gone missing.
Chiou I-jen’s resignation followed his disclosure late last week that he helped transfer the money to a Taiwanese middleman as part of an attempt to convince Papua New Guinea to drop its official recognition of China in favor of Taiwan.
Since then, the middleman and the money have disappeared.
“I feel deeply ashamed in the face of my country and people,” Chiou said in a brief statement Monday. Prosecutors have blocked the presidential aide from leaving Taiwan pending a corruption investigation.