World leaders spoke at the UN Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen today, BBC News. Text of U.S. President Barack Obama’s speech, New York Times. The outcome of the summit is seriously in doubt as many leaders fear that a binding agreement will not be reached. Leaders from the U.S., U.K., and Australia urged delegates to sign a 3-page declaration, draft text [pdf], BBC News.
The sole surviving suspect in the deadly 2008 Mumbai terror attacks that killed 166 people has retracted his confession, Al Jazeera.
A British court has blocked the planned strike of British Airways employees that would have disrupted holiday travel over a 12-day period over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, CNN.
Talks at the UN Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen, Denmark have stalled and some leaders are warning that an agreement may not be reached until next year’s meeting. U.S. Secretary of State of Hillary Clinton spoke at the summit today where she pledged that the U.S. would contribute to a fund to help less developed nations pay for their efforts to combat climate change. U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to attend the summit’s last day tomorrow, New York Times. Q & A Copenhagen Summit, BBC News.
Pakistan’s Supreme Court ended an amnesty deal that had been keeping public officials from being investigated from corruption and other crimes. Pakistan’s anti-corruption agency has reopened investigations of graft by current President Asif Ali Zardari, Bloomberg. Zardari profile, Al Jazeera.
Danish Prime Minister Lars Rasmussen has replaced his climate minister Connie Hedegaard as President of the UN Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen. Hedegaard has been criticized by African nations for favoring richer countries in the agreement negotiations. However, Hedegaard described the move as “procedural” as the talks head into their final days, BBC News. Heads of state will arrive in Copenhagen soon to carry out final negotiations but there is currently not even a preliminary draft proposal t0 be debated. Key areas of the agreement under dispute, Al Jazeera.
Police used tear gas to push protesters away from the conference center in Copenhagen where climate change talks are being held. About 250 people were arrested. A group of delegates who sought to meet with protesters were also pushed back by police, New York Times.
The PLO has extended Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas’ term after negotiations to hold new elections as scheduled in January stalled. The militant political group Hamas which controls Gaza vowed to not accept new elections. Abbas’ group Fatah controls the West Bank, Al Jazeera.
50,000 people have been evacuated in the Philippines from the area surrounding the Mayon volcano. The volcano is expected to erupt in the next few days or weeks, CNN.
Complaining that developed countries aren’t doing enough to cut their own emissions, delegates from poor nations walked out on talks at the climate change summit in Copenhagen today, AFP. At issue is whether the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which required wealthy nations to cut their emissions but was not signed by the United States, will be continued or ignored.
More than 100,000 people protested in the streets of Copenhagen over the weekend as the talks entered their second week, New York Times.
The 22nd anniversary of the political/militant group Hamas is being celebrated in Gaza City today with massive rallies, Al Jazeera. Who are Hamas?, BBC News.
Gunmen in the Philippines releases 47 hostages after securing promises from the government that they would not be arrested for the hostage-taking or for previous crimes, Al Jazeera.
Britain’s former director of public prosecutions, Ken Macdonald, issued a scathing condemnation of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair for his role in convincing the British people to accept joining the United States to invade Iraq in 2003, CNN. Macdonald’s editorial, Times Online.
Democrat Annise Parker, a Houston city controller who is also openly gay, defeated Republican Gene Locke in a run-off election to be mayor of Houston, Houston Chronicle. Analysis of the race, including how Parker’s sexual orientation was not much of an idea, 538.
- Negotiations for an agreement for action on the problem of global climate change began as a UN-led summit opened in Copenhagen, Denmark this week. The summit will continue until December 18. At issue is how much financial support wealthy developed countries should give to developing nations to aid their efforts and what the target reduction of greenhouse emissions should be. Summit homepage.
- Debate continued in the U.S. Senate over a healthcare reform bill. Opponents of healthcare reform tried to insert a provision that would prevent public funds from being used for pregnancy termination but it was defeated, Christian Science Monitor. The Senate will continue debate as they try to get a bill that can be passed. The Senate bill will need to be reconciled with the bill from the House of Representatives and then that bill must be signed by President Barack Obama to be put into law.
- Students used the occasion of a scheduled state-sponsored day of demonstration to protest the current government on college campuses in Iran on Monday. The protests are usually brief, but they show that support for he reform movement is still strong, Times Online.
- Iraq’s government moved to go forward on planning elections for 2010. Opponents of the current government, staged a massive attack on Tuesday, using car bombs to strike 5 sites in Baghdad, including government and military buildings. 127 people died in the bombings and hundreds were injured. Lieutenant General Abboud Qanbar, Baghdad’s security chief, was removed from his position after the attack, Times Online. Who is counting the bodies in Baghdad?, BBC News.
- In a small bit of uplifting news, the story of a dog that survived Tuesday’s attack despite being chained to the roof of one of the buildings that was bombed, Daily Mail.
- U.S. President Barack Obama picked up his Nobel Peace Prize on Thursday, despite criticism that he had not done enough to earn it. Obama accepted the prize with “humility” and used the occasion to defend war as an instrument in the pursuit of peace. Transcript of Obama’s speech, Associated Press.
- Thursday, December 10, was Human Rights Day, a day that marked the 61st anniversary of the adoption of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A look back at human rights in 2009 from Human Rights Watch, Al Jazeera.
- After violent protests, India announced that it will separate part of the southern state of Andhra Pradesh into a new state to be called Telangana. Calls for Telangana to become its own state date back 50 years, BBC News.
Oil field contracts are currently being auctioned off in Iraq to international companies. 3 of the world’s largest oil fields are located in Iraq. This is the second auction since 2003 when the United States led an invasion to overthrow the regime of Saddam Hussein, Al Jazeera.
Just prior to the first anniversary of his death, grave robbers dug up the corpse of former Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos, Associated Press.
A draft of the Copenhagen climate change summit has been released to the public. The draft calls for developed countries to increase aid to developing countries, BBC News.
The environmental group WWF says that the green energy industry will grow to become the third largest industry, after automobiles and electronics, by 2020, AFP.
The United Kingdom will institute an additional 50% tax on any bonuses above 25,000 British pounds this year. The tax is intended to recoup taxpayer support to help the banks when they were failing earlier this year, BBC News. Bankers say the tax may make them consider leaving London, Bloomberg.
A split has emerged between smaller, developing countries and larger, developed countries at the Copenhagen climate change summit. Small island nations and poor countries in Africa are likely to be most affected by climate change and want stringent legal measures added to the agreement, BBC News. China is the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, but grassroots movements are trying to green the country, al Jazeera. Climate change is growing China’s Gobi desert, al Jazeera.The first decade of the 21st century, 2000-2009, was the hottest decade in recorded history, ABC News.
A tentative agreement in the U.S. Senate would drop a government-run healthcare plan from the Senate’s version of the healthcare reform bill and instead expand Medicare coverage, the government’s healthcare program for the elderly, to those over 55. The bill still needs to be reconciled with the healthcare bill from the U.S. House of Representatives and then signed by President Barack Obama, Wall Street Journal.
The highly anticipated world climate change summit opened in Copenhagen, Denmark today. The goal of the summit is for participating countries to agree to targets for emission reduction and to decide how reaching those targets will be paid for, New York Times. Summit Q & A, BBC News. The summit in pictures, BBC News. Obstacles to an agreement, ABC. Timeline of the history of the politics of climate change starting in 1820, New York Times.
Students in Iran clashed with police on college campuses today. Today is a state holiday in Iran commemorating the deaths of 3 students killed under the Shah of Iran in 1953. Protesters of the current government, while heavily restricted most of the time, use state sponsored marches and holidays as opportunities to briefly show support for the movement for reform, Times Online. Find more information on CDB’s Iran page.
Somali protesters marched in the capital city of Mogadishu today to show their anger at terrorist attacks by the militant group al-Shabab that controls much of the country, BBC News.