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The Latest Syria Ceasefire Plan

Joint Arab League/UN Syria envoy Lakhdar Brahimi has been on a feverish diplomatic mission to try and negotiate a ceasefire deal. He visited Iran and Saudi Arabia this past week, and is hoping for a ceasefire in honor of the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha. Alas, he seems to be hitting a brick wall. “Diplomatic sources familiar with Brahimi’s proposals said on condition of anonymity that neither the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad nor the fractious opposition has shown the slightest interest in halting the 19-month-long conflict that has killed an estimated 30,000 people. Nor is there is any sign that Saudi Arabia or Qatar, which Syria has accused along with Turkey of arming and financing the rebels, have warmed up to Brahimi’s idea about how to end Syria’s civil war. “As long as the Security Council remains deadlocked because of Russia and China protecting Assad, it’s hard to imagine Assad stopping, unless the rebels defeat his army, which isn’t going to happen anytime soon,” a Western diplomat said.” (Reuters http://reut.rs/QQzO4U)

India to Pledge Funds for Global Biodiversity

The world’s second largest country and first-largest democracy is committed to becoming a leader in the global campaign to promote biodiversity. This shows some great leadership from India. “India will be the first nation to contribute funds toward international targets aimed at protecting the world’s biodiversity, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Tuesday. The Indian government will earmark $50 million toward reaching the so-called Aichi targets, 20 goals set in Nagoya, Japan, two years ago to curb damage to the world’s ecosystems and the extinction of its plants and animals, the prime minister said, speaking at a United Nations conference on biodiversity in Hyderabad. A commitment to an international effort on the environment represents a shift for the country, which has refused to accept mandatory caps on greenhouse gas emissions. ‘In recent years, it has become increasingly more difficult to find common ground on environmental issues,’ Mr. Singh said. ‘This is, indeed, unfortunate given that there is today a much higher global awareness of environmental risks and concerns.’” (NYT http://nyti.ms/QQARC2)

NOTE: The World Health Organization is releasing its flagship Tuberculosis 2012 Report at 10 AM EST today. The report will be live at www.who.int/tb

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