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- Putin to attend Paris climate summit
Russian President Vladimir Putin will attend the November 30 opening of a UN summit in Paris tasked with producing a climate rescue pact, France’s top diplomat said Sunday, November 8. More than 100 heads of state and government have confirmed they will attend, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told journalists. Aside from Putin, the attendees include US President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China. Russia, a major oil producer, is seen as a deal-maker or breaker in the years-long attempt to negotiate the world’s first truly universal pact to rein in global warming by curbing climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions. In March, Moscow pledged a possible cut of 25-30% in emissions by 2030 from 1990 levels – but made it conditional on the outcome of the negotiations and on the pledges of other “major emitters”. Fabius, who will preside over the Paris summit, warned of looming planetary “catastrophe” if negotiations fail. “It is life on our planet itself which is at stake,” Fabius told journalists. “There is absolute urgency,” said Fabius, to achieve the UN goal of limiting global warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-Industrial Revolution levels. The UN’s climate science panel has warned of an average temperature rise of “four, five, six degrees, if we do not act extremely quickly,” he said.
- Politics at Yolanda’s 2nd anniversary
In Manila, Palace Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Sunday that the sluggish rehabilitation program in areas affected by Yolanda is due to the unprecedented magnitude of the storm that devastated most of the Visayas in November 2013. Lacierda cited the United Nations (UN), which praised the Philippines for rehabilitation work that is “faster” than in other disaster-stricken countries. In Tacloban City, the anniversary of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) became a rallying force that united opposition figures. Vice-President Jejomar Binay, Senator Bongbong Marcos, Senator Gringo Honasan and Leyte Representative Martin Romualdez came together to criticize the Aquino administration for what they call a second disaster for Yolanda survivors – the supposedly slow and disorganized rehabilitation program. Binay blasted what he calls disastrous management, but also faces questions on the gap in permanent shelter and his role as former housing czar.
Palace Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda on the slow Yolanda rehabilitation efforts.
- Global warming could push 100M more into poverty
Global warming could elevate disease, ravage crops and push 100 million more people into poverty without action to prevent it, the World Bank warned in a disturbing new report Sunday, November 8. The report, “Shock Waves: Managing the Impacts of Climate Change on Poverty,” sounded an alarm for the need for tough action at the COP21 Paris global summit on climate change. The problem of climate change is already hampering efforts to reduce poverty, the Bank said, and the poorest people are already suffering more than others from lower rainfall and extreme weather tied to warming. “Without rapid, inclusive and climate-smart development, together with emissions-reductions efforts that protect the poor, there could be more than 100 million additional people in poverty by 2030,” the Bank said.
Read about the World Bank’s report on how global warming affects the poor.
- Surging sea levels to hit megacities
Even if the upcoming climate summit limits global warming to 2ºC, scientists reported Sunday, November 8, that large swathes of Shanghai, Mumbai, New York and other cities, including those in the Philippines, will still slip under the waves. A 2ºC (3.6ºF) spike in Earth’s temperature would submerge land currently occupied by 280 million people, while an increase of 4ºC (7.2ºF) – humanity’s current trajectory – would cover areas lived on by more than 600 million, the study said. Sea level rises corresponding to these 2ºC or 4ºC scenarios could unfold in two hundred years, but would more likely happen over many centuries, perhaps as long as 2,000 years, according to the research, published by Climate Central. Capping the rise in Earth’s temperatures to 2ºC above pre-industrial levels is the core goal of the 195-nation UN climate summit in Paris from November 30 to December 11. The most effective way to slow global warming is to slash the output of the greenhouse gases which drive it. But even if emissions reduction pledges – many of them conditioned on financial aid – submitted by 150 nations ahead of the Paris summit are fulfilled, it would still put us on a pathway for a 3ºC (4.8ºF) world, the United Nations has warned. Achieving the two-degree goal remains a serious challenge.
More about the impact of climate change on the world’s cities.
- Are the Romualdezes supporting Binay in 2016?
Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez and cousin Leyte Representative Martin Romualdez welcomed Vice President Jejomar Binay here on the eve of the second anniversary of the typhoon. Binay and his senatorial candidates joined the unveiling of the Anibong Memorial Marker, giving political color to the commemoration of the disaster. While Mayor Romualdez did not endorse Binay’s candidacy during the event on Saturday evening, November 7, he and his wife, Cristina Gonzales-Romualdez, and Representative Romualdez posed with the Vice President for photos, and toured the now iconic ship. The Tacloban City mayor also said that among all the candidates for president, they are “very close” to the Vice President. Binay, for his part, repeatedly highlighted that he was among the first politicians to visit Tacloban in the aftermath of the disaster. When Yolanda devastated the Visayas on November 8, 2013, politics marred disaster response, with Mayor Romualdez figuring into a controversial meeting with Roxas recorded on video. In the clip, Romualdez clashed with Roxas, who insisted that the mayor sign an ordinance for the national government to take over functions of the local government.
Read statements by Vice President Jejomar Binay and Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez at the Haiyan anniversary.
- Napoles asks anti-graft court to reconsider bail petition
In a 26-page motion for reconsideration, businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles urged the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan to let her post bail in a P172-million ($3.65-million) plunder case tagged as the biggest corruption scandal in recent Philippine history. Napoles said prosecutors failed to present enough evidence against her. She said prosecutors, in particular, failed to prove a conspiracy between her and public officials such as Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile. The case involves the priority development assistance fund (PDAF) or pork barrel scam allegedy masterminded by Napoles. The Sandiganbayan Third Division earlier denied Napoles’ petition to post bail in a resolution dated October 16. The anti-graft court ruled that the prosecution has presented enough evidence to support the plunder charge against Napoles.
Read about Napoles’ appeal.
- Suu Kyi fans hope for victory as Myanmar counts ballots
A sea of red flooded the streets around Aung San Suu Kyi’s party headquarters in Yangon late Sunday, November 8, as supporters erupted in cheers while watching the trickle of results from Myanmar’s landmark elections on a big screen. The busy downtown street was taken over by thousands of National League for Democracy (NLD) supporters. Although it was too early to call the result, loyalists wearing the party color of red or waving its peacock emblem flags, sang and danced to blaring NLD pop tracks composed for the vote. In scenes that would have been unheard of before the country began to emerge from the choking repression of military rule in 2011, supporters chanted “Amay Suu must win, NLD must win!” Amay means mother in Burmese. The polls are the freest elections Myanmar has held in a generation. If the NLD wins an outright majority it can form a government, a huge stride towards ending the military’s domination of the Southeast Asian nation.
More about the Myanmar elections.
- Treason for Nepal footballers accused of losing World Cup on purpose
Nepal’s former national football captain and goalkeeper are among 5 players charged with treason over alleged match-fixing in World Cup qualifiers in 2011, a court official in Kathmandu said Sunday. Skipper Sagar Thapa and goalkeeper Ritesh Thapa were among 5 players taken into custody last month as part of a coordinated series of arrests in the capital. Detectives said the arrests came after investigations found significant sums of money deposited in the players’ bank accounts from suspected match-fixers based in Southeast Asia. “The footballers were found involved in match-fixing… accepting money to lose matches,” Bhadrakali Pokharel, Registrar at the Special Court in Kathmandu, which is hearing the case, told AFP. The government, according to Pokharel, sought a life sentence as punishment for the erring athletes.
Read about the Nepal footballers charged with treason.
- Catching the bus healthier than walking to work?
Which is healthier: taking the bus or walking to work? This might seem counterintuitive, but a study published by the American Heart Association on Sunday, November 8, found that people who take public transport are healthier than those who walk or bike to work. Authors of the study suggest that one explanation could be that commuters actually walked farther to and from the train or bus station than people who biked or walked to and from work. The study, which was conducted in Japan, also found that compared to drivers, public transport riders were 44% less likely to be overweight, 27% less likely to have high blood pressure and 34% less likely to have diabetes.
Read about the new health study.
- Why Filipinos love to spend on the Starbucks planner
Should you aim to get the new Starbucks planner? A financial planner does the math, analyzes why the promotion is so popular and gives options on getting similar values without spending too much.
Read: Why Filipinos spend so much to get the Starbucks planner.