Archive for November 16th, 2012


It’s Arithmetic: $4.5 Billion Is Small Change for BP

Human Wrongs Watch

By Mark Floegel, Greenpeace*, 16 November 2012 — Let me apologise in advance for all the numbers that follow, but they’re important.

Eleven men died on Deepwater Horizon the night BP’s Macondo well blew out in April 2010.  It’s one number we shouldn’t forget and no number can be placed on the loss their families and communities suffered and continue to suffer.

The number announced on Thursday – US$4.5 billion – represents BP’s criminal settlement with the US government and a victory for the giant oil corporation.

How’s that a victory?  It’s a victory because BP’s stock price rose and since stock price is the only number that means anything to people who run oil companies, it tells us today’s settlement was a reward, rather than a punishment, for BP.

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Burma — Plight of 800,000 Muslim Rohingya Worsened

Human Wrongs Watch

Bangkok, 16 November 2012, (IRIN*) – Five months after communal violence erupted in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, the plight of the 800,000 Muslim Rohingya there has worsened: Renewed violence in late October left more than 100,000 displaced, according to the government.

Photo: OCHA Myanmar. More than 100,000 Rohingya have been displaced

Clashes between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims in June 2012 razed homes and places of worship in northern parts of the state, killed an estimated 80 and displaced tens of thousands more.

The government imposed a night-time curfew and declared a state of emergency in six townships, including Maungdaw and Buthidaung near the border with Bangladesh.

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Time Capsule: Not to Be Opened Before Philosophy Day 2062!

“It’s you who will come and open these, not us,” Director-General Irina Bokova told an excited group of primary school children from the Paris region, during the “burial” of the UNESCO* capsule for Future Generations”. The event was one of the highlights of 10th World Philosophy Day celebrations on 15 November at the Organization’s Headquarters.

© UNESCO/Isabelle Simon

The two metal cylinders are not to be opened before the same date in 2062.

They contain some 280 messages received from young people around the world, many of them expressing fear and fascination over technological developments, questions on the place of money in societies of the future, food, environmental concerns and values such as peace and equality.

They also contain various objects symbolizing the day’s communication tools. These include a mobile telephone, photos, videos and a USB key with a song written and sung by children from the Andre Malraux and Jean Vassal de Crépy-en-Valois schools (France), two of the five that took part in the event.

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Ocean Life – Up to One Million Marine Species?

Human Wrongs Watch

Paris, 15 November 2012 — About 226,000 marine species have been identified and described so far. These are but a small portion of the total: researchers estimate that the ocean may be home to 700,000 marine species, and likely not more than a million, according to a new study*.

The study –which was published online in Current Biology today and coordinated by Ward Appeltans of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO — draws its conclusions from the World

© WoRMS Photo Gallery / Fransen, Charles, 2012. Hymenocera picta Dana on a large fungid coral, Indonesia

Well-known marine animals, such as whales or dolphins represent a tiny fraction of marine biodiversity.

Fish species only represent two to three per cent of all living things in the ocean.

While many species have yet to be discovered, the knowledge base is expanding faster than ever before and researchers estimate that the vast majority of unknown species may be found and documented by the end of this century.

More marine species have been discovered in the past decade than ever before with an average of 2,000 discoveries per year.

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What Do an Egyptian Journalist, a Spanish ‘Indignado’, and a Palestinian Feminist Have in Common?

A total of 75 activists, bloggers, academics, journalists, and social leaders from Morocco, Egypt, Kuwait, Iran, Syria, Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, Jordan, Bahrain, Yemen, Romania, Italy, and Spain held a dialogue in Tunis about democratic transition in the region.

**Image source: Foundation for the Future

What do an Egyptian journalist, a Palestinian feminist, a Tunisian blogger, a Syrian activist, and a Spanish quincemayista have in common?

Furthermore, what do the religious and secular, men and women, young and old within a particular country have in common?

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Washington Weighs Moving Climate Politics Beyond United Nations

Exclusive, by EurActiv*, 16 Novermber 2012 — The US is considering a funnel of substantive elements of the Doha Climate Summit away from the UN framework and into the Major Economies Forum (MEF), a platform of the world’s largest CO2 emitters, EurActiv has learned.

Source: EurActiv

Since 1992, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has provided an umbrella for talks to curb global greenhouse gas emissions, and on 26 November, will host the COP18 Climate Summit in Qatar.

But it has been confirmed to EurActiv that Washington is increasingly looking to shift policy action to the MEF whose members account for some 85% of global emissions, and which the US views as a more comfortable venue for agreeing climate goals.

If the idea gains traction, it could demote the UNFCCC to a forum for discussing the monitoring, reporting and verification of emissions reductions projects, sources say.

Michael Starbæk Christensen, the deputy head of cabinet for EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard, said he expected the US to convene another MIF forum soon which could be fruitful for discussing raised climate ambitions.

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