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New July 2013

Nato suspends Russia co-operation

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Nato suspends all practical civilian and military co-operation with Russia over the annexation of Crimea, describing it as a grave threat to European security.

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U.N. climate report offers lots of bummer news plus a few dollops of encouragement

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Climate change has broken down the floodgates, pervading every corner of the globe and affecting every inhabitant. That was perhaps the clearest message from the newest report of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — the latest in a conga line of warnings about the need to radically and immediately reduce our use of fossil fuels. Published Sunday, it’s the second installment of the IPCC’s fifth climate report. The first installment was released last September; the third comes out next month. (If you’re wondering WTF the IPCC even is, here’s an explainer.) This latest installment catalogues climate impacts that are already being felt around the world, including floods, heat waves, rising seas, and a slowing in the growth of crop yields: IPCCClick to embiggen.As we reported when a draft of key parts of the document was leaked in November, the IPCC says current risks will only worsen – risks such as food crises and starvation, extinctions, heat waves, floods, droughts, violent protests, and wars. Natural Resources Defense Council President Frances Beinecke called the report an “S.O.S. to the world,” reminding us that failure to “sharply curb carbon pollution” will mean more “punishing rainfall, heat waves, scorching drought, and fierce storm surges,” and that the “toll on our health and economy will skyrocket.” But the report doesn’t just focus on climate change’s risks and threats – it looks at ways in which national and local governments, communities, and the private sector can work to reduce those threats. And some of the news on climate adaptation is actually, gasp, slightly encouraging! “Adaptation to climate change is transitioning from a phase of awareness to the construction of actual strategies and plans,” chapter 15 says. “The combined efforts of a broad range of international organizations, scientific reports, and media coverage have raised awareness of the importance of adaptation to climate change, fostering a growing number of adaptation responses in developed and developing countries.” Farmers are adjusting their growing times as they adapt to changing local climates, for example. Wetlands and sand dunes are being restored to protect against storm surges and flooding, drought early-warning systems are being established, and governments are turning to the traditional knowledge held by their indigenous communities for clues on how best to cope with the increasingly hostile weather. But the report highlights a depressingly unjust fissure between the world’s rich, who have caused most of the global warming but can afford to adapt to some of it, and the world’s poorest countries and communities, where countless lives can be ruined en masse by a single unseasonably powerful storm or drought. “Climate change is expected to have a relatively greater impact on the poor as a consequence of their lack of financial resources, poor quality of shelter, reliance on local ecosystem services, exposure to the elements, and limited provision of basic services and their limited resources to recover from an increasing frequency of losses through climate events,” chapter 14 says. And the report highlights the yawning gap between the amount of money that needs to be spent on climate adaptation and how much is actually being spent. Chapter 17 cites a World Bank estimate that it will cost the world $70 billion to $100 billion a year to adapt to the changing climate by 2050 (but notes that these figures are “highly preliminary”). Yet actual spending in 2012 was estimated to be around $400 million. Those high adaptation costs will be out of reach for many of the world’s poorest countries — something that IPCC delegates from the U.S. and other Western countries don’t want you to think about. The New York Times reports that the World Bank’s $100 billion figure was scrubbed from the report’s 44-page summary at the last minute under pressure from rich countries, which have been spooked by poor countries’ calls during recent negotiations for climate compensation and far-reaching adaptation assistance.Filed under: Article, Climate & Energy, Food, Politics

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Pakistan’s Pervez Musharraf pleads not guilty to 5 counts of treason

<!– google_ad_section_start –> Former president Pervez Musharraf yesterday pleaded not guilty to five counts of treason, in the latest chapter of a long-running drama between the country’s increasingly assertive judiciary and its former military ruler. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Sergey Karaganov: The man behind Putin’s pugnacity

Prescient foreign-policy specialist fears the West and Kiev don’t realize the hell they are unleashing in the former Soviet empire

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Turkey awaits results of local elections

Counting begins across Turkey as polls test Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s popularity after a string of scandals.

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Egypt’s presidential election to be held in late May

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Date set for crucial vote widely expected to be won by the country’s former military chief, Abdel Fattah al-SisiEgypt’s presidential election will be held in late May, the electoral commission announced on Sunday, finally setting dates for the crucial vote widely expected to be won by the country’s former military chief who ousted an elected president last year.The election commission said the results are expected by 5 June, and if a second round is necessary it will be held by mid-month, with results announced no later than 26 June.

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Nigerian prisoners killed in Abuja jailbreak

At least 21 detainees shot dead during attempted escape from the cells of the secret police headquarters in Abuja.

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Turkish prime minister: ‘Our people will tell the truth today’

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers withering assessment of opposition parties after casting his vote in local electionsThe Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, voted in nationwide local elections on Sunday, and said he was confident that “our people will tell the truth today”.More than 52 million people are eligible to vote in the elections, which are the first popular test for Erdogan since last summer’s large anti-government protests and allegations of massive corruption inside the Turkish government. The votes in Istanbul and Turkey’s capital, Ankara, in particular, are expected to be a test of the prime minister’s style of ruling.

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Ukraine’s ‘Chocolate King’ could edge new-look Yulia for president

Petro Poroshenko, a 48-year-old billionaire, emerges as leadership favourite

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More than 100,000 protesters rally in Taiwan against trade pact with China

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Protesters say deal was rushed through and could leave Taiwan beholden to China’s Communist party leadersMore than 100,000 protesters took to the streets of Taiwan’s capital on Sunday as a two-week-long campaign against a trade pact with China gathered steam, piling further pressure on the island’s leader.The rally in Taipei where many were dressed in black and some clutched sunflowers to symbolise hope was one of the largest in recent years in Taiwan, an island that split from China over six decades ago after a civil war.

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Saturday Night Live Recap: Louis C.K. Is a Glorious Weirdo

If you want to see the every-schlub persona Louis C.K. has perfected, watch his Saturday Night Live monologue. Twice now, he’s turned his opening salvo into a 10-minute stand-up set that foretells where his new hour is heading. (This time: toward children’s plays, the plight of women, and mankind’s complicated … More »

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Egypt presidential poll set for late May

Field Marshal Abdel Fattah el-Sisi widely expected to win the election in the first round, to be held on May 26 and 27.

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