From the tropics to the poles, from small islands to large continents, and from the poorest countries to the wealthiest, the ominous signs of climate change are profoundly visible, said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, calling for transformative collective action to tackle the phenomenon now – on all fronts– before it is too late.*
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon travelled to Greenland at the end of March 2014 to see first-hand the impacts of climate change. UN Photo/Mark Garten
“My objective has been to impress on Member States, the world of business and the public at large that climate change is an obstacle to the future security, prosperity and sustainable development of humankind,” Ban on 3 April 2014 told the Friends of Europe Policy Spotlight, held in Brussels, where he has been much of this week holding talks with European Union (EU) officials on a host of pressing global issues.
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The United Nations confirmed on 2 April 2014 that Palestinian Authority officials have presented letters for accession to 15 international conventions and treaties.*
The Palestinian flag | Author: Orionist, previous versions by Makaristos, Mysid, etc.| Wikimedia Commons
UN spokesperson Farhan Haq told reporters that the documents had been presented to Robert Serry, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process.
“Once we receive the letters at Headquarters, we will be reviewing them to consider the appropriate next steps.”
Haq added that the Palestinian leadership, including President Mahmoud Abbas upon signing the accession letters on Monday night, has repeatedly emphasized that it wants to continue the negotiations with Israel that resumed in July 2013 under United States auspices.
“We hope that a way can be found to see negotiations through until the scheduled end of the nine-month timeframe set to expire on 29 April. The goal remains to arrive at a substantive basis for negotiations towards a comprehensive peace agreement on all final status issues.”
Haq went on to say that the UN is in contact with the sides to emphasize the need to manage current developments responsibly and act with restraint. In that regard, Serry met with the chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Riyad Malki, this morning. He also met with Israeli negotiator and Minister of Justice Tzipi Livni.
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The effects of climate change are already occurring in all continents and across the oceans, and the world, for the most part, is ill-prepared for their risks, says a United Nations report issued on 31 March 2014, which also warns that while action can be taken, managing the phenomenon’s impacts will be difficult on a rapidly warming planet.* “Nobody will be untouched.”
The melting of ice sheets is accelerating in Greenland. UN Photo/Mark Garten
The report, Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability, from Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), details the impacts of climate change to date, the future risks from a changing climate, and the opportunities for effective action to reduce risks.
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Domestic and sexual violence, sexual bullying and harassment, forced and early marriages, and female genital mutilation – all these issues and more will be on the docket as the United Nations expert tasked with monitoring violence against women launched her first mission in the United Kingdom.*
**Photo credit: Sherkashmiri | Wikimedia Commons.
United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, Rashida Manjoo, 31 March 2014 began a two week investigative mission to the United Kingdom to study the manifestations of violence perpetrated in the family and in the community.
“Violence against women continues to be one of the most pervasive human rights violations globally, affecting every country in the world,” Manjoo said.*
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By Prof. James Petras - TRANSCEND* – Protest, dissent and terrorist wars are obviously very distinct forms of expressing opposition and bringing about change.
The Obama-Kerry regime claim that the opposition in Venezuela is a “protest movement” a “peaceful democratic opposition” expressing discontent with economic conditions and that the democratically elected Maduro Administration is an ‘authoritarian regime’ violently repressing dissent.
Washington claims to play no part in the action of the opposition and that its pronouncements are directed at furthering democratic freedoms.
**John Kerry departs the U.S. Embassy in Kabul in a U.S. military Blackhawk helicopter on March 26, 2013. [State Department Photo/Public Domain]
The overwhelming evidence speaks to the contrary. By every measure, the opposition has engaged in prolonged and extensive violent activity, including terrorist acts, assassinations, arson, destruction of public property including the murder of military officials and civilian supporters of the government.
Widely circulated photographs, even in media outlets backing Washington, show opposition activists throwing Molotov cocktails and building barracades for street warfare.
The Obama-Kerry Administration is in total denial of each and every violent act by the opposition; it unconditionally defends the opposition; it forcibly attacks and demonizes each and every effort by the Government to defend the rights of its citizens, uphold the Constitution and enforce law and order.
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By Baher Kamal*
Cairo, 26 March 2014 – “If you cannot win them, join them” seems to be the old British political principle that Washington has been applying to its plans to re-design the Arab region, always under the recurrent public pretext of the “war on terrorism.”
World War I Uncle Sam recruiting poster | Date: 1916-1917 |
Source: Library of Congress | Author: James Montgomery Flagg | Wikimedia Commons: No known restrictions on publication. No renewal in Copyright Office.
Specifically, since the U.S has failed to defeat “terrorism” through massive military and intelligence operations carried out after the September 11 attacks (see Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, among others), the American strategy has shifted towards engaging with what it considers as “moderate” Islamist movements, such as the Muslim Brotherhood.
For this purpose, Washington has been relying on two key “agents” in the region: Qatar and Turkey.
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By Human Rights Watch*, 25 March 2014 – The Ethiopian government is using foreign technology to bolster its widespread telecom surveillance of opposition activists and journalists both in Ethiopia and abroad.
Source: Flickr: Meles Zenawi, Prime Minister of Ethiopia – World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2012 | Author: World Economic Forum | Wikimedia Commons
The 100-page report, “‘They Know Everything We Do’: Telecom and Internet Surveillance in Ethiopia,” details the technologies the Ethiopian government has acquired from several countries and uses to facilitate surveillance of perceived political opponents inside the country and among the diaspora.
The government’s surveillance practices violate the rights to freedom of expression, association, and access to information.
The government’s monopoly over all mobile and Internet services through its sole, state-owned telecom operator, Ethio Telecom, facilitates abuse of surveillance powers.
“The Ethiopian government is using control of its telecom system as a tool to silence dissenting voices,” said Arvind Ganesan, business and human rights director at Human Rights Watch.
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By Baher Kamal
Cairo, 25 March 2014 — “If we, the Spanish people, spoke only of what we know, an immense silence would be generated”. This statement was made by Manuel Azaña, Spanish politician and writer who served as prime minister of his country (1931-1933 , 1936) and, later on, as president of the Second Spanish Republic (1936-1939).
Wall art in France depicting [ousted] President Mohamed Morsi
Abode of Chaos/flickr | IFEX
The statement applies to the very subject of this report as it transcends the borders of a given country and a single historical moment.
That a politician says and does what he or she is mandated to do and say, is really a worrying fact, though this seems to be business as usual now-a-days. But that a journalist sitting in a South American capital analyses what happens 10,358 kilometres away in a country that he or she probably has never visited, is really a very serious matter.
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By Roberto Savio*
San Salvador, Bahamas, March 2014 — It is now generally accepted that the North-South divide created at the end of the colonial era and the coalition of New Countries against the powerful North of the world ended with the arrival of globalization. There are now areas of the Third World inside the North, and areas of the North inside the South.
“You should hope that this game will be over soon.” The Third Estate carrying the Clergy and the Nobility on its back. Date: 1789. Source: Bibliothèque national de France. Author: M. P. Permission: This image is in the public domain, with some restrictions**.
The world is no longer bipolar, with the two big powers creating the other divide, the East-West divide. We now inhabit a multilateral world, where a plethora of acronyms (such as BRICS, G20 and TTP) show how it is now fragmented into multiple layers.
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