THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL
The United Nations Security Council has a mandate under the 1945 United Nations Charter to maintain international peace and security. The Council held its first meeting in London in January 1946, and has been in continuous session ever since( a representative of each of the member nations is present at the UN's headquarters at all times). The Council has five permanent members: China, France, the Russian Federation, the UK, and the US. Alongside these serve ten nonpermanent members, who are elected for two-year terms by the UN General Assembly. In 2007-08, the nonpermanent members were: Belgium, Congo, Ghana, Indonesia, Italy, ,Panama, Peru, Qatar, Slovakia, and South Africa. The one-month presidency of the Security Council rotates among members of the Council according to the English alphabetical order of the country names. Each Council member may cast one vote. For a resolution to be passed, at least nine of the fifteen must vote yes. All permanent members of the Council must vote in teh affirmative for substantive matters to pass, giving each one a veto. The United Nations Charter states that all members are obliged to accept and enforce decisions made by the Security Council--it is the only UN body that has such powers.
Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)