By Roberto Savio*
Rome, November 2014 (IPS) Less than a week after everybody celebrated the historical agreement on Nov. 17 between the United States and China on reduction of CO2 emissions, a very cold shower has come from India.
Photo credit: Greenpeace
Indian Power Minister Piyush Goyal has declared: “India’s development imperatives cannot be sacrificed at the altar of potential climate change many years in the future. The West will have to recognise we have the needs of the poor”.
This is also a blow to the Asia policy of U.S. President Barack Obama, who came back home from signing the CO2 emissions agreement in Beijing, touting his success on establishing U.S. policy in the region.
But, more importantly, will give plenty of ammunition to the Republican Congress, which has been fighting climate control on the grounds that the United States cannot engage on climate control unless other major polluters make similar commitments.
This was always directed to China, which had refuse to make any such commitment until President Xi, to the surprise of everybody, did so by signing an agreement with Obama. Continue reading
By Uri Avnery*, 21 November 2014
**Dome of the Rock viewed through Cotton Gate | Source: en:Image:TempmtS.jpg | Author: en:User:Gilabrand | Wikimedia Commons
IN ITS long and checkered history, Jerusalem has been occupied by dozens of conquerors.
Babylonians and Persians, Greeks and Romans, Mamluks and Turks, Britons and Jordanians – to mention just a few.
The latest occupier is Israel, which conquered and annexed Jerusalem in 1967.
(I could have written “East Jerusalem” – but all of historical Jerusalem is in today’s East Jerusalem. All the other parts were built in the last 200 years by Zionist settlers, or are surrounding Arab villages which were arbitrarily joined to the huge area that is now called Jerusalem after its occupation.)
This week, Jerusalem was in flames – again. Two youngsters from Jabel Mukaber, one of the Arab villages annexed to Jerusalem, entered a synagogue in the west of the city during morning prayers and killed four devout Jews, before themselves being killed by police.
Jerusalem is called “the City of Peace”. This is a linguistic mistake. True, in antiquity it was called Salem, which sounds like peace, but Salem was in fact the name of the local deity.
It is also a historical mistake. No city in the world has seen as many wars, massacres and as much bloodshed as this one.
All in the name of some God or other.
World military expenditure in 2013 is estimated to have been $1747 billion, representing 2.4 per cent of global gross domestic product or $248 for each person alive today, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research (SIPRI)‘s Yearbook 2014, Armaments, Disarmament and International Security*, issued earlier this month.
**The Apotheosis of War (1871) by Vasily Vereshchagin | Artist: Vasily Vereshchagin (1842–1904) Link back to Creator infobox template wikidata:Q127017 | Current location: Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow Link back to Institution infobox template wikidata:Q183334 | Wikimedia Commons
The total is about 1.9 per cent lower in real terms than in 2012. The pattern of increases and decreases in military spending in 2012 continued in 2013, with falls in Western countries (North America, Western and Central Europe, and Oceania) and increases in the rest of the world.
There were particularly large increases in Africa and the Middle East, while the impact of austerity policies continued to be felt in Europe.
The United States remained the largest military spender in 2013, followed at some distance by China and Russia.
21 November 2014 – Every year, household air pollution from cooking kills over four million people and sickens millions more, the United Nations spotlighted at a New York conference on cookstoves, as it urged Governments to take action to accelerate the adoption of clean cooking solutions.
In many parts of rural Nepal, women spend on average of five hours a day in smoke-filled kitchens such as these, underming their health. Photo: IRIN/Naresh Newar
The first-ever Cookstoves Future Summit, “Fueling Markets, Catalyzing Action, Changing Lives,” is intending through the financial and political commitments of Member States to improve the health of women living in poverty, who are disproportionately burdened with poor health and unpaid care work in the absence of goods and services such as clean cookstoves.
As it stands now, nearly three billion people worldwide continue to rely on solid fuels to cook, causing serious environmental and health impacts, “according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
An estimated 4.3 million people die each year from indoor pollution. They die from strokes, and heart and pulmonary diseases, such as childhood pneumonia and lung cancer.
By Martin L., Joris T., Leon V. and Faiza O.*, 21 November, 2014 — Once upon a time fossil fuel exploration took place far away, out of sight and out of mind. But as oil and gas giants become ever more desperate for new reserves they’re prepared to drill in places that were previously unthinkable. This isn’t just about the Arctic. If you live in the UK, they’ve secured the right to frack for gas under your house.
Photo credit: Greenpeace
In Spain, the inhabitants of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura have been learning this to their cost. Their stunning coastline is now threatened by oil company Repsol, who plan to begin drilling on the coast. The risks to the environment and the livelihood of the inhabitants are great, but despite the opposition of the local population and the regional President the Spanish government in Madrid are backing the oil company.
Human Wrongs Watch
By RT*, 21 November 2014 – The US anti-ISIS policy only helps them recruit more people, while the only way to fight ISIS is to secure borders and re-examine immigration policies both in America and Europe, retired US Army Colonel Douglas MacGregor told RT.
**Collage of 2014 military intervention against ISIS | Author: ZiaLater | Wikimedia Commons
President Obama is under increasing pressure from the military to send troops to fight against the Islamic State. It has also been reported that the Pentagon doesn’t have enough drones to use against extremists.
RT: Do you think President Obama’s policy in fighting the Islamic State is working?
Douglas MacGregor: Of course not, it is completely unsuccessful from the standpoint of destroying ISIS, but it’s an enormous success story for ISIS. It is actually helping the Sunni Islamists recruit new people – more than a thousand every month from across Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.
The 2014 Don’t Bank on the Bomb report was launched earlier this month. The International Campaign against Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)* spoke with co-author of the report, Susi Snyder from PAX, about the impact of the report, and how you can take action to stop nuclear weapons financing. Act now and tell your bank not to invest in nuclear weapons.
There is increased awareness among the public about the way financial institutions behave, and how they invest their money. How do you see this report contributing to increasing understanding about nuclear weapon investments?
Susi Snyder: The great thing about the Don’t Bank on the Bomb report is that it gives every person with a bank account (and that’s most of us!) an easy way to do something about nuclear weapons.
You don’t need to have a background in physics or international relations or high finance to say loud and clear “these weapons are unacceptable, and I don’t want to pay for them!” This report is unique in the world because there is no other single place to find all of this information.