Tag Archives: Philippines

Copenhagen Accord is Weak Progress

  • A deal, to be known as the Copenhagen Accord, has been reached at the UN Copenhagen Climate Change Summit, but it is much weaker than anticipated when the summit began two weeks ago. The Accord is an “agreement” between 193 nations which means it will not be legally binding and it merely recognizes that rising global temperatures are a concern rather than fixes targets for limiting temperature increase. Key points, BBC News.
  • NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (Wise) launched on Monday. The probe will use infrared light to see objects in space in a way that’s never been possible before, BBC News. Wise will survey the entire sky, CNN.
  • A new planet, GJ1214b, has been discovered 40 lightyears from Earth. It is 6 times bigger than Earth and scientists think it may be covered with water and ice, Register.
  • The regulations in the U.S.’s Safe Water Drinking Act are woefully out of date and only regulate 91 contaminants even though 60,000 chemicals are used regularly in the United States, New York Times.
  • Residents of the area near the Mayon volcano in the Philippines may be facing months away from their homes after they were evacuated earlier this week when the volcano began to show signs it may erupt, AFP.
  • Amazing video shot 4,000 feet below the surface of the ocean shows an underwater volcano erupting from the ocean floor, Times Online.
  • A 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit the island of Taiwan this morning, Reuters.
  • Fish oil supplements often come from the menhaden, an algae-eating fish that may be endangered, New York Times.

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President of UN Climate Change Talks Replaced

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.

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Poor Nations Stage Walk-out of Climate Talks

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.

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Amid War, Obama Picks Up Nobel Peace Prize

In a formal ceremony at the Olso City Hall in Norway, U.S. President Barack Obama picked up his Nobel Peace Prize. Defending his involvement in the war in Afghanistan, Obama said, “the instruments of war have a role to play in preserving peace,” AFP. Transcript of Obama’s speech, Associated Press. In pictures, BBC News.

Dozens of villagers are being held hostage in the village of San Martin in Agusan del Sur province in the southern Philippines. The gunmen responsible are former members of a government-sponsored militia who are wanted by police for their involvement in violence related to feuds between local family clans. All children initially taken as hostages, as well as an elderly woman, were released last night. Negotiations resumed this morning for the remaining hostages. The gunmen are seeking to have their arrest warrants overturned,  Associated Press.

After several days of violent protests, India has 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.

Today is Human Rights Day, a day that urges people to get involved in stopping discrimination and raising awareness about human rights, Voice of America.  Today, December 10, is the 61st anniversary of the adoption of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. How to get involved, UN. A look back at human rights in 2009 from Human Rights Watch, Al Jazeera.

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H1N1 Fears Keep Hajj Turnout Low

The Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca that Muslims make at least once in their lifetimes, began today amid heavy rains, BBC News. Pilgrims from Egypt were required to receive the H1N1 swine flu vaccine before beginning the journey, Voice of America. Complete coverage from CNN.

The Bariyapur festival, a celebration of Gadhimai, a Hindu goddess of power that is held every 5 years, has begun in Nepal. Over 200,000 animal sacrifices will be conducted during the festival. The festival has grown in recent years in Nepal because many of its neighboring countries have banned animal sacrifice, Associated Press.

The death toll from the pre-election massacre in the Philippines has risen to 57. A group was going to register file election paperwork for the office of governor of Maguindanao for  Ismael “Toto” Mangudadatu. Mangudadatu’s wife and sisters were among the group as well at least 12 journalists. Mangudadatu had been warned not to file the papers himself, CNN.

U.S. President Barack Obama will give a speech on Tuesday, December 1 about U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan. Obama is expected to announce that he will send more American troops to Afghanistan, Reuters.

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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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Hostages Killed in Philippines Ahead of Next Year’s Election

21 journalists and civilians are dead after being abducted on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines where the politicians were filing papers to register for next year’s election. The group was going to file papers for Ismael Mangudadatu for his candidacy for governor of Maguindanao province. Mangudadatu was not among the group which included lawyers, journalists, aides, and his wife. The murders were conducted on behalf of local clan leader Datu Andal Ampatuan whom Mangudadatu will be challenging for office, BBC News.  More on the clan linked to the killings, BBC News. Statement from Reporters without Borders.

A vote in the Iraqi parliament has paved the way for elections in 2010. The law still must go to the presidential council where it may be vetoed by Sunni Arab Vice-President Tareq al-Hashemi. Elections were originally scheduled for January 2010 but have been held up due to a previous veto by al-Hashemi, Reuters.

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Philippines Typhoon Victims Still Need More Help

The Senate Finance Committee voted 14-9 today to approve the Democratic sponsored healthcare plan. The bill, which will cost an estimated $829 billion, seeks to provide insurance to 29 million uninsured Americans. Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine was the lone Republican to vote in favor of the plan, Chicago Tribune.

Israeli President Shimon Peres has warned that Hezbollah has turned Lebanon into a “powder keg.” His accusation comes after an explosion at the home of a member of Hezbollah. One person was wounded in the explosion, but the UN is investigating whether the home was being used to store weapons. In 2006, a 34-day conflict between the two countries left 1,200 Lebanese dead, mostly citizens, as well as 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers, BBC News.

The UN says they have only raised a quarter of the donations needed to aid typhoon and landslide victims in the Philippines. The group had appealed for $74 million, but have so far raised only $19 million. At least 650 people were killed last week during the storms. The UN also stated that there is a risk of disease because of the large amounts of standing water still in damaged areas, BBC News.

Hot Topic: In New Orleans, Uneven Recovery Awaits Obama.

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