Tag Archives: Global Climate Change

Climate Talks Stall in Copenhagen

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.

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Week in Review

  • 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.

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UK to Tax Bank Bonuses at 50%

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.

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Climate Change Summit Opens in Copenhagen

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.

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Thousands March for Climate Change Progress in London

20,000 people have marched in support of progress on global climate change in London ahead of the Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen next week, BBC News. Stop Climate Chaos Coalition. Join #TheWave on Twitter to show your support.

The White House has expanded the CIA’s unmanned drone program in Pakistan. The drones target Taliban militants, but have been criticized for also striking civilians, CNN.

Sekouba Konate, Guinea’s Vice President, has returned from a trip abroad to take control of the government in the wake of an assassination attempt on President Moussa Dadis Camara who is receiving medical treatment in Morocco. Camara took power in Guinea after a military coup last December. The ruling military junta has been divided since 157 opposition supporters were killed in September, BBC News.

A colleague of Dr. George Tiller, the Kansas physician who preformed late-term abortions and who was killed by an anti-abortion activist last May, has expanded his clinic to provide late-term abortions. Dr. LeRoy H. Carhart of Nebraska has also hired some of Dr. Tiller’s staff members. Late-term abortions are controversial in the United States, New York Times.

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2 Executed in China over Tainted Milk

2 people were executed yesterday in China for their involvement in the processing of milk that was tainted with melamine that killed 6 babies and sickened 300,000 last year, CNN. Timeline of the scandal, Wikipedia.

A new study of 51 U.S. homes indicates that some homes built between 2005 and 2007 using drywall from China may be emitting poisonous toxins, CNN.

2.1 million cribs manufactured by Stork Craft Manufacturing of Canada have been recalled after 4 infants were suffocated in the cribs, Associated Press.

The total number of people killed in a dispute among clans ahead of next year’s elections in Maguindanao province in the Philippines has risen to 46, BBC News. Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has declared a state of emergency for the southern regions of Mindanao island where the killings took place, Christian Science Monitor. More on the two clans involved, Inquirer.

Hackers released emails from climate scientists at the Climatic Research Unit at East Anglia University in the United Kingdom that, critics say, indicate the scientists tried to limit discussion of dissenting views on climate change, Wall St. Journal. Expect this issue to be raised ahead of next month’s UN climate change talks in Copenhagen, Financial Times. Official summit site, COP15.

Rom Houben, a Belgian man injured in a car crash who was presumed to be in a coma for 23 years, was actually conscious but unable to move or speak the entire time, CNN International.

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Afghan Pres. Karzai Sworn in for Second Term

Afghan President Hamid Karzai was sworn in for his second term today. Karzai was declared the winner of the August 20 vote despite widespread fraud. A run-off was set to occur between Karzai and his nearest vote-getting opponent, but his opponent dropped out because it would have been too dangerous for voters to go to the polls again, CNN. Corruption in Afghanistan is still a major problem, BBC News.

A U.S. federal court has ruled that the Army Corps of Engineers, which is responsible for overseeing physical infrastructure in many areas in the U.S., was responsible for the levy breach that occurred during New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The ruling is important because many homeowners found after the storm that their homeowner’s insurance would not cover the damages because the levy breach was a man-made disaster, CNN.

The U.N. says that women in the developing world will be particularly affected by global climate change because they are the primary caregivers of often large families. The Africa director of the U.N. Population Fund called for more availability of family planning resources for African women, Voice of America.

Controversy has erupted over the qualifying match between France and Ireland for a spot at the 2010 World Cup. France won the match after a handball helped the team score a goal in the final seconds. The referee did not call the handball and the score was allowed to stand, sending France to the World Cup, Associated Press.  Calls have been made in recent years for football to add an instant replay option on close calls, but the current organizer of the 2010 World Cup opposes the practice, USA Today. The World Cup will be held in South Africa next year, FIFA official website.

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Pakistan Militants Carry Out Coordinated Attacks

Pakistan was hard hit by 4 coordinated militant attacks yesterday on the Federal Investigation Agency in Lahore and 3 police training centers, 2 in Lahore and 1 in northwestern Pakistan. 37 people died in the attacks, including military personnel, militants, and civilians. The attacks cast doubt on whether security forces can protect the country from militants, especially since it appears that previously unrelated militant groups are increasingly working together, Washington Post.  More on the attack on Pakistan’s military headquarters on October 12, BBC News.

South Korea and the European Union signed a free trade deal that will end or phrase out more than 96% of tariffs on foreign goods between the two. The agreement is expected to boost the South Korean economy, Yonhap.

Christopher Savoie, an American in the midst of a custody dispute case, was released in Japan without being charged with kidnapping. Savoie, who is a naturalized citizen of Japan, took the children from their mother as she walked them to school in late September. Savoie attempted to enter the American consulate to obtain passports for the children, but was arrested while still on Japanese soil. Savoie’s ex-wife had previously broken a custody agreement by fleeing to Japan from the U.S. with the children in August after the couple divorced, CNN.

A new report by the the Catlin Arctic Survey, based on a expedition led by Pen Hadow, says that the Arctic Ocean could be ice free during the summer in as little as 10 years, BBC News.

Pen Hadow said he was shocked by the image of how “in my lifetime we’re looking at changing how the planet looks from space.”

He also described how polar explorers were having to change their methods from the days when sledges could be pulled by dogs over the ice.

“Dogs can swim but they can’t tow a sledge through water which is what’s needed now.”

“Now we have to wear immersion suits and swim and we need sledges that can float. I can foresee needing sledges that are more like canoes that you also pull over the ice.”

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