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>>Zimbabwe – Yesterday the high court of Zimbabwe dismissed the opposition’s appeal for an immediate release of long-delayed results of the presidential election held late last month. In response, the Movement for Democratic Change called for a nationwide strike today, which is also when the high court is set to rule on the opposition’s objection to a government recount of votes controlling 23 seats in parliament.

>>Iraq – Richard Butler, the CBS photographer who was kidnapped two months ago in Iraq, was rescued yesterday in Basra in a raid by Iraqi soldiers. Moqtada al-Sadr claims to have negotiated his release. Iraqi reports of the incident are somewhat contradictory — one source claiming he was stumbled upon and another confirming that they acted on a tip. Bilal Hussein, an AP photographer who has been held by American forces for two years on suspicion of aiding insurgents, was also released yesterday.

>>Italy – Silvio Berlusconi’s center-right alliance won a resounding victory in parliamentary elections, according to results released yesterday. Berlusconi will become prime minister again after two years in opposition. Italy’s failing economy appears to have been the decisive factor in the election. Berlusconi owes his majority to an alliance with the right-wing Northern League that favors a federalist system and that brought down his first government in 1994. However, many small parties faired poorly in this election (the Communist Party, for the first time ever, didn’t claim a single seat), which bodes well for the stability of the government. This is Italy’s 62nd government since World War II.

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    Take the High Road

    The Guardian UK reported today on the failure of rich nations to lead in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In the article, Rajendra Pachauri, head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said, “Looking at the politics of the situation, I doubt whether any of the developing countries will make any commitments before they have seen the developed countries take a specific stand.”

    This is a big problem, especially considering that the United States has repeatedly refused to sign any international climate agreement that does not include developing nations. This decision does not rest solely in the hands of the President, however. When Bill Clinton signed on to the Kyoto protocol in 1997, the ratification was overwhelmingly voted down in the Senate because developing nations were not covered. There is a vicious cycle here that must be broken, and since we can’t control the policies of major developing emitters like India and China, it’s up to the U.S. to take the high road and step up to the challenge.

    Europe is already doing quite a bit, and the Guardian cites Germany and the U.K. as examples of positive change, but progress in these states doesn’t include emissions from aviation and shipping.

    Pointing fingers from either side gets us nowhere, but as long as developing countries can point to developed ones and talk about a lack of commitment to reducing emissions, the major changes that are needed to curb global warming are not going to happen. It is called global warming for a reason, and if we want to get everyone on board, we’re going to have to lead by example.

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    Take the High Road

    The Guardian UK reported today on the failure of rich nations to lead in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In the article, Rajendra Pachauri, head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said, “Looking at the politics of the situation, I doubt whether any of the developing countries will make any commitments before they have seen the developed countries take a specific stand.”

    This is a big problem, especially considering that the United States has repeatedly refused to sign any international climate agreement that does not include developing nations. This decision does not rest solely in the hands of the President, however. When Bill Clinton signed on to the Kyoto protocol in 1997, the ratification was overwhelmingly voted down in the Senate because developing nations were not covered. There is a vicious cycle here that must be broken, and since we can’t control the policies of major developing emitters like India and China, it’s up to the U.S. to take the high road and step up to the challenge.

    Europe is already doing quite a bit, and the Guardian cites Germany and the U.K. as examples of positive change, but progress in these states doesn’t include emissions from aviation and shipping.

    Pointing fingers from either side gets us nowhere, but as long as developing countries can point to developed ones and talk about a lack of commitment to reducing emissions, the major changes that are needed to curb global warming are not going to happen. It is called global warming for a reason, and if we want to get everyone on board, we’re going to have to lead by example.

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    Let Them Eat Cake!

    The Chicago Tribune reported Thursday on IPCC predictions that the impending climate crisis will have intense ramifications on water and food — reducing the availability and increasing the costs of each.  This is particularly disturbing, because these commodities are already in short supply in the parts of the world that are most vulnerable to the effects of warming.  There are already millions of people without access to sanitary water for drinking and cleaning, and food prices are already spiking and causing trouble for aid organizations like the UN’s World Food Program.  History has taught us that a scarcity of necessary resources leads to violent conflict.  Droughts are largely responsible for sparking violence in Darfur, and Ban Ki-Moon himself has implicated global warming in that case.  This is another in a long list of reasons why governments should take immediate action to quell the climate crisis.  After all, the price of bread has brought down more than one regime.

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    Let Them Eat Cake!

    The Chicago Tribune reported Thursday on IPCC predictions that the impending climate crisis will have intense ramifications on water and food — reducing the availability and increasing the costs of each.  This is particularly disturbing, because these commodities are already in short supply in the parts of the world that are most vulnerable to the effects of warming.  There are already millions of people without access to sanitary water for drinking and cleaning, and food prices are already spiking and causing trouble for aid organizations like the UN’s World Food Program.  History has taught us that a scarcity of necessary resources leads to violent conflict.  Droughts are largely responsible for sparking violence in Darfur, and Ban Ki-Moon himself has implicated global warming in that case.  This is another in a long list of reasons why governments should take immediate action to quell the climate crisis.  After all, the price of bread has brought down more than one regime.

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    In the Wake of Food Riots, A UN Police Officer Killed in Haiti

    From the UN News Center:

    The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Haiti has strongly condemned Saturday’s murder of a Nigerian police officer serving with its operation, which took place two days after another gun attack on UN blue helmets amid continuing violent unrest in the impoverished Caribbean country because of a recent spike in food prices.

    The officer, a 36-year-old father, was with three other members of his formed police unit (FPU) near the cathedral in the Bel-Air district of the capital, Port-au-Prince, when he was dragged from his car and shot dead execution-style, according to the mission (known as MINUSTAH). Last Thursday, three UN peacekeepers from Sri Lanka were shot while on patrol in the capital, but their injuries are not considered life-threatening.

    The attacks have occurred during a time of widespread public protests against the rising cost of living in Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

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