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And now for an Update on the International Climate Talks that Everyone is Ignoring

You wouldn’t know it from scanning the front pages of mainstream news outlets, but there is a terribly important round of international climate negotiations ongoing in Durban. In fairness to the MSM, you haven’t seen many headlines because, well, not much will actually happen. The BIG Three Will See to That: “Economic crisis and the top three polluters China, the United States and India, loomed as obstacles to a new global deal at the start of a second make-or-break week of U.N. climate talks in the South African city of Durban. After a first week of preliminary discussion, serious doubt hangs over the future of the Kyoto Protocol whose first commitment period on tackling climate change expires at the end of next year. The other major issue for debate is how to drum up finance to help poorer nations adapt to a warmer planet, while the developed world wrestles with sovereign debt problems.” (Reuters http://reut.rs/sX1d0d)

What To Watch For: Major Food Crisis in the Sahel

The Horn of Africa crisis may move westward. The EU’s humanitarian commissioner Kristalina Georgieva says the Sahel region may face food shortages next year. “Seven million people are already facing shortages in Niger, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria and Burkina Faso, with major shortfalls in food production in many areas. The figures point to a massive problem of food availability next year, according to the European commission. The commission last month increased humanitarian funding to the Sahel by 10m euros, on top of the 45m euros it has given to the region this year. Niger and Mauritania have already declared a crisis, prepared national action plans, and appealed for international help. Most of the population in the Sahel is heavily dependent on rain-fed agriculture and livestock for survival. The poor 2011/12 growing season in the region, which has experienced erratic rainfall followed by localised dry spells, has caused alarm. Increased world market prices for rice are expected to have a negative impact on rice import levels and on prices in west Africa. As a consequence, the EU fears many of the poorest households will be unable to get their hands on enough food. Georgieva expressed her frustration with the international community’s inability to respond in timely fashion to crises. ‘Too often the massive response comes when the crisis is already deepening and on the six o’clock news,” she said. “We have to be ready to act independently of the news cycle.’” (The Guardian http://bit.ly/tbosU1)

More Fallout from the Ashura Bombings

As if things could not get any worse between Pakistan and Afghanistan, president Hamid Karzai is now blaming a Pakistani group for hatching the plot that killed 58 shi’ite worshipers this week. “Ties between Afghanistan and Pakistan were already frayed when President Hamid Karzai on Wednesday blamed a Pakistan-based extremist group for the bombing at the shrine. Pakistan challenged Karzai to provide hard evidence. The evidence, Karzai suggested, was that a man claiming to be from Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al-Alami, a Pakistan-based splinter group of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi that has carried out attacks against Shiite Muslims in Pakistan, called various media outlets Tuesday to claim responsibility for the Kabul bombing and a nearly simultaneous attack that killed four Shiites in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-e-Sharif… Karzai began to sharpen his criticism of Pakistan several months ago after a suicide bomber, pretending to be a peace emissary from the Taliban, assassinated former President Burhanuddin Rabbani, who was leading Afghan efforts to broker a deal with the insurgency. Afghan officials said the Sept. 20 assassination was planned on the southern outskirts of Quetta, the Pakistani city where key Taliban leaders are based.” (Reuters http://bit.ly/tfWCnv)

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