Global carbon emissions reach record, says IEA

31 05 2011

Energy-related carbon emissions reached a record level last year, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The watchdog says emissions rose again after a dip caused by the financial crisis in 2009, and ended 5% up from the previous record in 2008.

China and India account for most of the rise, though emissions have also grown in developed countries.

The increase raises doubts over whether planned curbs on greenhouse emissions will be achieved, the group says.


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People fight to stay in Manila slums

30 05 2011

(ALJAZEERA) – Filipinos flock to their capital to seek fortune but often end up in the city’s many slums, now at risk of eviction.

For many Filipinos, Manila is a city of dreams. Millions flock to seek their fortune but the city has not been able to cope with the influx, with many often ending up in one of the many slums.

After the slums’ recent fires, the government is ordering that the area be razed and thousands of “informal settlers” evicted.

Al Jazeera’s Marga Ortigas reports on those who feel less than welcome in the Philippine capital.

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Death toll rises to 3 in eastern China blasts

27 05 2011
By Steven Jiang, CNN
May 27, 2011 — Updated 0623 GMT (1423 HKT)

Beijing, China (CNN) — The death toll rose to three Friday following a series of explosions a day earlier at government facilities in the eastern Chinese city of Fuzhou, local officials told CNN.

“One body was found at one of the blast sites and two people died in the hospital,” said Zhang Baoyun, a spokesman for the government of Jiangxi province, where Fuzhou is located. Five people were wounded in the blasts, he said.

Among the dead was the man suspected of setting off the explosives, Zhang said. He was identified as Qian Mingpi, 52, an unemployed resident of the area, he said.

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Visit our Justice & Healing Project website!

26 05 2011

Our Justice & Healing project website is now up!

Please visit it today! 🙂

Holes feared in two Japan nuclear reactors

25 05 2011

Tokyo, Japan (CNN) — Two of the damaged reactors at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan may be riddled with holes, according to the facility’s owner.

The holes may be as big as 7 to 10 centimeters ( 2.8- 3.9 inches), Tokyo Electric Power Co. said in a 225-page document submitted to Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.

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Deaths in Malaysia orphanage landslide

24 05 2011

At least sixteen people have been killed in Malaysia after a landslide hit an orphanage, near Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, police said.

Fifteen boys and one adult were killed in the incident that took place at about 2:30pm (0630 GMT) on Saturday in the village of Hulu Langat in central Selangor state, just south of Kuala Lumpur.

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Caught in the upsweep: Why Syria needs intervention

20 05 2011

May 6, 2011

On the 15th of March, Bashar al-Assad’s regime saw a protest of about 150 people at Damascus, Syria’s capital. The demand was to release the regime’s political prisoners but the response was a violent dispersal of protesters. In classic irony, many were even detained. This would spark a series of well-attended demonstrations which has characterized the worsening political situation of the country for the past month.

 Considered “an armed insurrection” by the government, the wave of protests has been said to be the worst political challenge for the Ba’ath party’s rule since it took over Syria in 1963. According to reports, approximately 560 protesters had been killed and 1,000 arrested around the country, a situation far removed from the promises of political reform in 2000 when Bashar was sworn into presidency after his father’s death.

 Assad’s intolerance of dissent has gained much criticism in the world stage. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stated that the use of violence on demonstrators and their unlawful arrests are unacceptable. At the moment, the UN and the EU have only gone so far with intervention as sending a diplomatic envoy to Syria.  Also, given NATO’s miscalculations in the Libya military operations, doubts on the alleviation of the Syrian situation abound.

Attempts to appease demonstrators by lifting the niqab ban, repealing the emergency law and granting citizenship to Kurds have been deemed useless by protesters. As exiled former Syrian vice president, Abdel Halim Khaddam said, “it is not the state of emergency that fires on people”.

Dead bodies stored in a vegetable freezer and not returned to their families, protesters shot at by army snipers and shoot-outs during funerals are only few of the images that make up this gruesome picture.  Violence has increasingly intensified along with protests and countless human rights violations. Evidently, the situation necessitates intervention but the basis for it goes beyond what happens on the streets.

 Unlike Libya, Syria is a society of diverse culture, religion and ethnicity. Its population is composed of a majority of Alawite Shias and Arab Sunnis as well as Kurds, Armenians, Assyrians, Christians and Druze. This diversity is something the regime can capitalize on, posing the threat of secular violence to the already unstable country. Also, with Syria having close ties with Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Iran, both of which strongly oppose Israel, the instability may shaken the alliance and lead to a precarious situation for Lebanon, adding to the already volatile political situation in the Middle East. It is highly possible that a halt on oil production may occur, leading to higher prices in the world market.

 In the end, the Syria situation is a threat to worldwide security in several levels. Freezing assets and diplomatic negotiations can only do so much considering Assad’s reformist façade. This time, power struggles among NATO member states must be put aside, and a strategic intervention with the least damage on the lives of civilians must follow.

Note: Article was written before sanctions were imposed on Al-Assad and senior officials.