Words fly at Non-Aligned Movement summit
On Wednesday, Al-Alam reported that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Tehran to take part in the 16th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement, despite outcry from the United States and from Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu over Iran taking over NAM leadership. However, Ban went on later in the week to sharply condemn Iran's denial of the Holocaust during WWII, as well as Israel's right to exist, in a speech at the summit.
Ban's comments were part of a number of verbal attacks at the meeting, which was heavily covered by Mosaic's broadcasters. BBC Arabic reported that the Syrian delegation left the summit's conference hall when Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi criticized the Syrian government during his speech, in which he affirmed his country's "full solidarity" with those seeking freedom and justice in Syria. Additionally, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused Western countries of fabricating crises around the world, and of monopolizing the UN Security Council.
Trouble brews for a shaky Yemen in transition
New protests have broken out in the Yemeni capital Sanaa to denounce the deteriorating security situation in the country, and to demand the dismissal of relatives of deposed President Ali Abdullah Saleh from their military positions. Al Jazeera reported that this comes after an assassination attempt targeted Yassin Saeed Noman, the most prominent leader of the Joint Meeting Parties opposition coalition.
In addition, Press TV reported another US drone strike in Yemen killed at least eight people in Hadhramaut Province, the second such attack in the region this week. Dubai TV reported the killing of three al-Qaeda members in an air raid in the Khashamir area of the Qatan district, but the source did not specify the origin of the plane that carried out the raid.
Yemen has been experiencing difficulty in restructuring the country's government after the fall of former president Saleh. Earlier this week, members of the Southern Movement in Yemen refused to participate in the national dialogue conference scheduled for the end of the year. They demand the south's secession from the north, which would mean a return to the country's pre-unification division.
More leaders express stance on Syrian Civil War
As the Syrian army's shelling intensified all across Syria this week, Press TV reported that President Bashar al-Assad sat down for an interview with Syrian channel Al-Dunya, saying more time is needed to end the insurgency in his country and that a buffer zone, the idea being championed by "hostile countries" and "Syria's enemies," is unrealistic.
Meanwhile, some leaders expressed their stance on the Syrian war during the NAM summit, most notably Egypt's President Morsi, Iran's President Ahmadinejad, and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who opposed any kind of military intervention, as well as criticized the ongoing flow of weapons to insurgents. The head of Russia's army also rejected media reports this week that Moscow was winding down its military presence in Syria, saying that it is not in the process of evacuating its naval base in the Syrian city of Tartus, which it has leased since Soviet times.
Image: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad talks to Egypt's President Mohamed Mursi (R) after his speech during the 16th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran, August 30, 2012. REUTERS/Majid Asgaripour/Mehr News Agency
(Al Jazeera English: 0726 PST, March 29, 2011) World leaders have met at a summit in London to discuss the ongoing conflict in Libya, and possible outlooks both for the military intervention, and humanitarian and development aid going forward.
Here are excerpts from comments made by David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, and Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary-General.
(ITN News: 0037 PST, March 29, 2011) President Obama appears on US television to defend the military action being taken in Libya.
(Associated Press: 1139 PST, March 11, 2011) World leaders on Friday sent condolences and offers of help to Japan after a tsunami spawned by one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded slammed the country's eastern coast, killing at least 300. Hundreds more are missing.
(Associated Press: 1003 PST, March 11, 2011) President Barack Obama says the earthquake and tsunami in Japan are a potentially 'catastrophic' disaster, and he says his thoughts and prayers are with the Japanese people.
There are indications that countries including the U.S. and UK are moving closer to possible military intervention in Libya, but reports differ on how close they are, or what action they might take.
(Euronews: 0536 PST, March 1, 2011) The United States is moving warships and aircraft carriers closer to Libya, although military analysts say intervention through force is unlikely. The British government meanwhile says it will work towards a no-fly zone over Libya.
On Monday the U.S. met with NATO partners and other foreign governments to discuss military options. President Barack Obama also met with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who expressed frustration with Gaddafi.
(Russia Today: 0248 PST, March 1, 2011) The U.S. has begun repositioning its ships in the Mediterranean, triggering speculation of a NATO invasion of Libya. British planes have reportedly been moved to an airbase in Cyprus for a possible operation. It comes as Libya's long-time leader Colonel Gaddafi remains besieged in the capital Tripoli, with opposition forces nearby. RT's correspondent Peter Oliver has more from neighbouring Egypt.
(Al Jazeera English: 0738 PST, March 1, 2011) Fighter jets, aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean, a no-fly zone over Libya, and arming the rebels are all options being weighed up by the United States and its allies in the European Union, as a defiant Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi continues to cling to power and is ordering airstrikes on towns and arms depots. There appear to be two main options: both would have to be blessed by the United Nations or NATO.
According to Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, here in Cancun, Mexico we are in the land of the ancient Mayan goddess Ixchel, who, along with reason and weaving, is the goddess of creativity. I believe that the latter of these three virtues, creativity, is certainly a key to success at these negotiations and beyond if we hope to solve the global climate crisis.
One of the most important outcomes from last year’s negotiations in Copenhagen was that developed countries pledged to provide “new and additional resources” to fast track and long-term climate financing in support of mitigation and adaptation, approaching $30 billion by 2012 and $100 billion by 2020. Obviously, it is not easy to raise these large amounts of money, but a new report shows that while challenging, it is feasible to raise $100 billion, if not more, by 2020.
In his welcoming remarks at a December 8th press briefing about the findings of his high-level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing, Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon stated that, “climate change financing is not about charity… but ultimately an investment in a safer, more stable, more prosperous world for us all.”
The advisory group was tasked with identifing additional sources of funding to meet the goal of $100 billion by 2020, and a creative inventory of financing mechanisms was the result. The group did not look at the delivery of the mechanisms in detail-- that is for the countries to determine-- nor did they suggest what the balance of public vs. private funding might look like. Their intention was not to make policy decisions but rather, “to provide a toolbox for the decision making process,” said panel member Ernesto Cordero Arroyo, Mexican Minister of Finance.
According to panel co-chair Jens Stoltenberg, Prime Minister of Norway, the report findings are, “a kind of menu where we as decision makers and governments can choose.” There is not one single solution to generate these funds, rather, it will need to come from a variety of sources, and private funding will need to be combined with traditional and new public funding.
Instruments in the report include auctioning emission allowance (a not-so-new idea, which could raise $30 billion), C02 taxation for international transport (aviation and shipping industries, coming in at $10 billion), and the redirection of funds allocated for subsidizing fossil fuels (raising a possible $10 billion).
Carbon pricing appears to be an important item on the panel’s menu of financing options. Panel co-chair Meles Zenawi, Prime Minister of Ethiopia, began by noting that it would be difficult to generate these funds in an environment where the cost of carbon is too low, and Stoltenberg reminded that carbon pricing will not only raise revenue, but also give the right incentives to the developed world to reduce emissions.
While the long list of financial instruments offered by the panel is impressive, also worth noting is that such a varied group was able to come to agreement. Aside from the fact that so few women were involved (not a minor oversight as pointed out by Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland, during the Q&A), the 21-person panel included members from the developed and developing countries, and the private and public sectors.
This brings me to the second key to success: flexibility. Several comments at the briefing alluded to the challenges that this diverse group faced while coming to agreement on the report’s findings. But while each member may not have been 100% satisfied with every detail, they exercised flexibility and respected the views of other members ultimately coming to an agreement. Those at the press briefing were openly pleased with the final report and proud that such a diverse group had produced it.
Informal hallway conversations with conference attendees today provided a mixed review regarding which countries have been flexible vs. which have not. Many shared the opinion that the U.S., China, and Japan were among the least willing to compromise, and others noted that Bolivia, Chile and India showed willingness to negotiate outside their comfort zone. With the 16th Conference of the Parties formally closing tomorrow evening, time will soon tell what countries have or have not acknowledged creative new ideas and found the flexibility to reach around political obstacles. After all, as the Secretary-General has reminded, “Nature isn’t waiting while we negotiate.”
Watch an interview from OneClimate.net with UN Fair Play's Charlie Young on the inequalities of negotiations:
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on Israel to halt what he called "provocative" actions after another Palestinian family in East Jerusalem was evicted from their home, the latest in a series of similar incidents.
Jewish settlers have forced their way into a house in east Jerusalem, using hired guards to evict an elderly Palestinian woman and throwing out other residents' belongings. The settlers displayed what they said was a court order granting them ownership of the single-story building. Human rights groups said the takeover was part of a push by Jewish settlers to expand their presence in the traditionally Arab sector.
Shortly after the Six Day War in 1967, Israeli settlers forcefully took over several homes in Hebron and other areas in the West Bank; on many occasions under the watchful eyes of Israeli soldiers. In 1994, Baruch Goldstein, a doctor who had emigrated from the U.S., machine-gunned 29 Palestinians to death as they prayed in Hebron's Ibrahimi Mosque during the holy month of Ramadan. In 2005, I worked on the documentary Occupied Minds and witnessed first hand the plight of a Palestinian family living in fear under the continuous harassment of the zealot settlers who were determined to drive them away from their ancestral home.
This week, Israeli police filed terrorism charges against Jack Teitel, a 37-year-old Florida-born West Bank settler, which include the murders of two Palestinians and attacks wounding three other people over the past 12 years.The first attack of which Teitel is accused was the murder of Samir Billbisi, a Palestinian taxi driver who was found shot dead in his cab in East Jerusalem in June 1997. Two months later, allege the police, Teitel shot dead Isaa Mousa'af Mahamada, 57, a Bedouin shepherd near the Carmel settlement in the south Hebron hills.
Micky Rosenfeld, an Israeli police spokesman, described Teitel as a "Jewish terrorist", adding: "He was deeply involved in terrorism in all different levels."
Below is a video report which aired on Al Arabiya TV detailing the eviction of Um Nabil, who lost her home to Israeli settlers. In the video one of the settlers sends a message to the entire world, "You know, we are God's chosen people," he says.