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At UN climate talks, a crack in rich-poor barrier

December 15, 2014 • World NewsComments Off on At UN climate talks, a crack in rich-poor barrier

Activists perform as heads of state, from left, President Barack Obama, Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper, China’s President Xi Jinping, India’s Narendra Modi, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during the Climate Change Conference COP20 in...

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Hamas stages military rally to mark anniversary

December 15, 2014 • World NewsComments Off on Hamas stages military rally to mark anniversary

Palestinian Hamas masked gunmen march in a rally to commemorate the 27th anniversary of the Hamas militant group, in Gaza City, Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra) GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — The Islamic militant group Hamas displayed rockets...

20 dead, 88 missing in central Indonesia mudslide

December 14, 2014 • World NewsComments Off on 20 dead, 88 missing in central Indonesia mudslide

Rescuers remove the body of a victim of landslides that swept away houses in Jemblung village, Central Java, Indonesia, Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014. Scores of people died and more than 100 are missing following landslides caused by heavy rain in central Indonesia...

December 14, 2014 • World NewsComments Off on

In this photo taken Monday, Dec. 8, 2014, a Nigerian woman, Halima Ibrahim and her children sit at a camp for displaced people in Gagamiri, Niger, after her husband was killed by an Islamic extremist in Damassak. With a military escort instead of the usual...

Higher prices, shortages create pressure for IS

December 13, 2014 • World NewsComments Off on Higher prices, shortages create pressure for IS

FILE – This file image posted on a militant website on Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, shows renderings of a 1 gold dinar, a new coin that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State...

Cuba: Rappers targeted by USAID program ‘victims’

December 13, 2014 • World NewsComments Off on Cuba: Rappers targeted by USAID program ‘victims’

In this April 23, 2010 photo, members of Los Aldeanos, Aldo Rodriguez, left, and Bian Rodriguez, center, perform in concert at the Acapulco Theater in Havana, Cuba. Documents obtained by The Associated Press show that a U.S. agency infiltrated Cuba’s...

Traffic resumes after Hong Kong clears protesters

December 12, 2014 • World NewsComments Off on Traffic resumes after Hong Kong clears protesters

Workers check the main road after police removed and cleared the occupied area outside government headquarters in Hong Kong Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014. Hong Kong police on Thursday took away demonstrators who refused to leave the main pro-democracy protest camp...

Nuts! Korean flight delayed by first-class spat

December 10, 2014 • World NewsComments Off on Nuts! Korean flight delayed by first-class spat

In this Sept. 2014 photo, Cho Hyun-ah, Korean Air’s vice president responsible for cabin service and the oldest child of Korean Air chairman Cho Yang-ho, answers reporters’ question during a news conference in Incheon, west of Seoul, South Korea....

LIMA, Peru (AP) — The current U.N. climate talks will be the first to neutralize all the greenhouse gas pollution they generate, offset by host country Peru’s protection of forest reserves, organizers say. Now the bad news: The Lima conference is expected to have the biggest carbon footprint of any U.N. climate meeting measured to date. At more than 50,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide, the negotiations’ burden on global warming will be about 1 1/2 times the norm, said Jorge Alvarez, project coordinator for the U.N. Development Program. The venue is one big reason. It had to be built. Eleven football fields of temporary structures arose for the 13-day negotiations from what three months ago was an empty field behind Peru’s army’s headquarters. Concrete was laid, plumbing installed, components flown in from as far as France and Brazil. Standing in the midday sun here can get downright uncomfortable, but the Lima sun is not reliable. That’s one reason solar panels were not used. For electricity, the talks are relying exclusively on diesel generators. Organizers had planned to draw power from Peru’s grid, which is about 52 percent fed by non-polluting hydroelectric power. “We worked to upgrade transformers and generators but for some reason it didn’t work,” said Alvarez. Peru’s hydroelectric power could be in danger by mid-century, anyway. Much of that water comes from glaciers that are melting at an accelerated pace. Peru is hardly on a green trajectory. Though it emits in a year the greenhouse gases that China spews in three days, it has doubled its carbon output in the past decade. Nor is there a guarantee that the 580 square miles (1,500 square kilometers) of forest, whose conservation Alvarez said would offset the talks’ carbon pollution, won’t someday be gone. The Houston, Texas-sized area — in four different forest preserves — must lie unperturbed for a half century in order to neutralize carbon emitted at the conference, Alvarez said. Environmental economist John M. Reilly of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology called that accounting peculiar. “If this forest is cut down in 50 or 100 years, all of the saved carbon will end up back in the atmosphere,” he said. Reilly called the “wasted efforts” to build makeshift quarters disturbing — unless the talks “were actually successful in halting future emissions.” This is the 20th round of talks and so far there is little sign of serious progress. Alvarez itemized the talks’ carbon footprint: —Construction, nearly 20 percent of the footprint. —Jet fuel burned by the estimated 11,000 delegates and observers who flew in from abroad, about 30 percent. —Local transportation. Organizers hired more than 300 buses since there are no public transit services to the venue. All burn fossil fuels. About 15-20 percent. —Electricity, solid waste treatment, water, paper, food, disposable plates and cups, keeping 40,000 police on high alert, for the balance. The 50,000 tons the conference emits is what China as a country emits in three minutes, the U.S. does in five minutes and Peru does in six hours and 40 minutes. It is more than eight times as much carbon as the 2009 Copenhagen talks and twice that of the 2010 conference in Cancun, Mexico, according to the U.N. A more accurate carbon footprint will be published after the conference and certified by the Spanish company Aenor, organizers say. U.N. volunteers have been polling delegates on their air travel in search of precision. The conference’s green components are meager. Peruvian Environment Minister Manuel Pulgar-Vidal asked for a bicycle parking lot. He got it, but only about 40 people use it daily. Most delegates spend about an hour in traffic traveling less than 6 miles (10 kilometers) from their hotels. Blame that, in part, on the army. It initially balked on letting in bikes even though only the credentialed can enter the base known as “El Pentagonito.” “It took them three days to sort it out,” said Andrew Marquard, an adviser to South Africa delegation and an avid cyclist who was interviewed after arriving at the talks on two wheels, skin shiny with sweat. Blame the dearth of bikes also on Lima, one of the world’s least friendly cities for cyclists. The city’s few cyclists so fear drivers that they tend to prefer to compete with pedestrians for sidewalk space. “There are quiet (leafy) areas around the convention center for riding bikes,” said Alvarez. “But getting here is a problem.” No hybrid or electric vehicles have been seen at the event. Japan donated 121 electric and hybrid vehicles, chiefly for dignitaries. “Unfortunately, most didn’t arrive,” Alvarez said. He blamed shipping bureaucracy. Some energy savings were applied inside the white temporary structures where delegates wrangle, journalists toil and testy closed-door sessions take place. “We did not put in strong air conditioning. It is (designed) only to fight the heat in the structures,” said Maxime Rosenwald of GL Events, the Lyon, France-based company that built and runs the physical plant. The air conditioning is often losing that fight as the sun regularly burns away Lima’s low coastal clouds, the Southern Hemisphere summer being nigh. On Monday, U.N. organizers announced that “in view of the high temperatures expected to continue and intensify,” delegates were invited to adjust “by wearing business casual attire” to most events. ___ Associated Press Science Writer Seth Borenstein in Washington contributed to this report. __

December 10, 2014 • World NewsComments Off on LIMA, Peru (AP) — The current U.N. climate talks will be the first to neutralize all the greenhouse gas pollution they generate, offset by host country Peru’s protection of forest reserves, organizers say. Now the bad news: The Lima conference is expected to have the biggest carbon footprint of any U.N. climate meeting measured to date. At more than 50,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide, the negotiations’ burden on global warming will be about 1 1/2 times the norm, said Jorge Alvarez, project coordinator for the U.N. Development Program. The venue is one big reason. It had to be built. Eleven football fields of temporary structures arose for the 13-day negotiations from what three months ago was an empty field behind Peru’s army’s headquarters. Concrete was laid, plumbing installed, components flown in from as far as France and Brazil. Standing in the midday sun here can get downright uncomfortable, but the Lima sun is not reliable. That’s one reason solar panels were not used. For electricity, the talks are relying exclusively on diesel generators. Organizers had planned to draw power from Peru’s grid, which is about 52 percent fed by non-polluting hydroelectric power. “We worked to upgrade transformers and generators but for some reason it didn’t work,” said Alvarez. Peru’s hydroelectric power could be in danger by mid-century, anyway. Much of that water comes from glaciers that are melting at an accelerated pace. Peru is hardly on a green trajectory. Though it emits in a year the greenhouse gases that China spews in three days, it has doubled its carbon output in the past decade. Nor is there a guarantee that the 580 square miles (1,500 square kilometers) of forest, whose conservation Alvarez said would offset the talks’ carbon pollution, won’t someday be gone. The Houston, Texas-sized area — in four different forest preserves — must lie unperturbed for a half century in order to neutralize carbon emitted at the conference, Alvarez said. Environmental economist John M. Reilly of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology called that accounting peculiar. “If this forest is cut down in 50 or 100 years, all of the saved carbon will end up back in the atmosphere,” he said. Reilly called the “wasted efforts” to build makeshift quarters disturbing — unless the talks “were actually successful in halting future emissions.” This is the 20th round of talks and so far there is little sign of serious progress. Alvarez itemized the talks’ carbon footprint: —Construction, nearly 20 percent of the footprint. —Jet fuel burned by the estimated 11,000 delegates and observers who flew in from abroad, about 30 percent. —Local transportation. Organizers hired more than 300 buses since there are no public transit services to the venue. All burn fossil fuels. About 15-20 percent. —Electricity, solid waste treatment, water, paper, food, disposable plates and cups, keeping 40,000 police on high alert, for the balance. The 50,000 tons the conference emits is what China as a country emits in three minutes, the U.S. does in five minutes and Peru does in six hours and 40 minutes. It is more than eight times as much carbon as the 2009 Copenhagen talks and twice that of the 2010 conference in Cancun, Mexico, according to the U.N. A more accurate carbon footprint will be published after the conference and certified by the Spanish company Aenor, organizers say. U.N. volunteers have been polling delegates on their air travel in search of precision. The conference’s green components are meager. Peruvian Environment Minister Manuel Pulgar-Vidal asked for a bicycle parking lot. He got it, but only about 40 people use it daily. Most delegates spend about an hour in traffic traveling less than 6 miles (10 kilometers) from their hotels. Blame that, in part, on the army. It initially balked on letting in bikes even though only the credentialed can enter the base known as “El Pentagonito.” “It took them three days to sort it out,” said Andrew Marquard, an adviser to South Africa delegation and an avid cyclist who was interviewed after arriving at the talks on two wheels, skin shiny with sweat. Blame the dearth of bikes also on Lima, one of the world’s least friendly cities for cyclists. The city’s few cyclists so fear drivers that they tend to prefer to compete with pedestrians for sidewalk space. “There are quiet (leafy) areas around the convention center for riding bikes,” said Alvarez. “But getting here is a problem.” No hybrid or electric vehicles have been seen at the event. Japan donated 121 electric and hybrid vehicles, chiefly for dignitaries. “Unfortunately, most didn’t arrive,” Alvarez said. He blamed shipping bureaucracy. Some energy savings were applied inside the white temporary structures where delegates wrangle, journalists toil and testy closed-door sessions take place. “We did not put in strong air conditioning. It is (designed) only to fight the heat in the structures,” said Maxime Rosenwald of GL Events, the Lyon, France-based company that built and runs the physical plant. The air conditioning is often losing that fight as the sun regularly burns away Lima’s low coastal clouds, the Southern Hemisphere summer being nigh. On Monday, U.N. organizers announced that “in view of the high temperatures expected to continue and intensify,” delegates were invited to adjust “by wearing business casual attire” to most events. ___ Associated Press Science Writer Seth Borenstein in Washington contributed to this report. __

A dancer walks before a performance at the Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru, Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014. Delegates from more than 190 countries are meeting in Lima, to work on drafts for a global climate deal that is supposed to be adopted next year in...

Hong Kong democracy protest camp shutdown looms

December 9, 2014 • World NewsComments Off on Hong Kong democracy protest camp shutdown looms

A man walks past a barricade which was set up by pro-democracy protesters at the occupied area outside government headquarters in Hong Kong Monday, Dec. 8, 2014. Leaders the Hong Kong Federation of Students, representing those studying at colleges, said last...