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Welcome to Overnight News Digest Sunday.  The OND crew consists of  regular editors jlms qkw, maggiejean, wader, Oke, rfall, and JML9999, alumni editors palantir, ScottyUrb, and BentLiberal, founder Magnifico, guest editor annetteboardman, and current editor-in-chief Neon Vincent. We post around midnight eastern every night, and endeavor to inform and entertain you with today's news.  We invite you to comment on any stories and share stories in your comments.  

International news tonight.  I look for some stories not from wire services, sources around the world, and stuff not covered on the NYT or the FP here.  

UN Press Release
UN Women Executive Director launches new initiative to spotlight national commitments to end violence against women

Launching COMMIT, a new initiative asking governments to make national commitments which will be showcased globally, Ms. Bachelet underlines that ending violence against women is possible. Today 125 countries have laws that penalize domestic violence, a huge step forward from just a decade ago. But she said this is not enough. Up to seven in ten women continue to be targeted for physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime and 603 million women live in countries where domestic violence is still not a crime.

“We all must do better to protect women and prevent this pervasive human rights violation. Governments and leaders must lead by example. Now is the time for governments to translate international promises into concrete national action,” says Ms. Bachelet in her message.

“We hope to see new and improved laws and national action plans that provide for safe houses, free hotline services and free health and legal aid to survivors. We count on education programmes that teach human rights, equality and mutual respect, and inspire young people to take leadership on ending violence against women and girls. We need increasing numbers of women in politics, law enforcement, and peacekeeping forces. We need equal economic opportunities and decent jobs for women,” she adds.

United Nations ‏@UN 603 million women live in countries where domestic violence is still not a crime --
End violence in general is my dream and hope forever . . .
And I'd like to take the pix of tweets.

BLATANT CONFLICT

nztroops
Corporal (CPL) Luke Tamatea, Lance Corporal (LCPL) Jacinda Baker, and Private (PTE) Richard Harris. Photo / Supplied
New Zealand Herald, APNZ
Taliban leader linked to Bamyan attacks killed

A senior Taliban leader thought to be behind a roadside bombing in which three New Zealand soldiers died has reportedly been killed by coalition forces.

Prime Minister John Key today confirmed Abdullah Kalta died in the Afghanistan airstrike.

New Zealand soldiers Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker, Private Richard Harris and Corporal Luke Tamatea were killed in August when their Humvee struck an improvised explosive device.

New Zealand personnel were not involved in the attack on Kalta but coalition forces could have used intelligence gathered by New Zealand SAS troops, Mr Key said on TVNZ's Breakfast show.

"We weren't physically involved but it was almost certainly intelligence that New Zealand people have been gathering over there.

DAWN.COM and Zahir Shah Sheraz
Blast near Ashura procession in DI Khan kills five
A bomb detonated near a Muharram procession in Commissionary Bazaar in Dera Ismail Khan’s Choglia area in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province early on Sunday, killing five people and injuring at least 70 others.

Tehrik-i-Taliban spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan while talking to Dawn.com’s correspondent claimed that the militant organisation was behind the attack, adding that it was a suicide bomber who struck the procession.

Ehsan added that no matter what steps the federal interior minister would take with regards to security arrangements, the Taliban would succeed in hitting their targets.

However, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Provincial Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain while talking to Dawn.com’s correspondent confirmed that five people were killed and about 70 were injured in the Dera Ismail Khan blast.

Hurriyet Daily News
Turkey ‘cannot agree’ with US Gaza rhetoric
Turkey cannot agree with the U.S. rhetoric over the deadly Gaza strikes but this does not signal a rift between Ankara and Washington, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said yesterday.

Ankara and Washington have different views on the recent Israeli operations in Gaza, Davutoğlu said.

“As children were massacred in Gaza, Turkey cannot agree [with U.S. President Barack] Obama’s saying that Israel was using its right of self defense,” Davutoğlu said in a televised interview with private channel CNNTürk. A global power like the U.S. should also reflect conscience, the minister said, adding that Washington did not act that way regarding the Gaza incident.

“Yet, it does not mean Turkey is in a crisis with the U.S.” Davutoğlu said Turkey would act in light of its principles. The minister cited the Israeli attack on Gaza in 2008 and said the Tel Aviv administration was repeating its offensive just after the U.S. elections and prior to the Israeli ones.

It's like a game of carefully balanced sticks in a tower . . . Except there are real bodies of real people who have little control over their lives in the debris.

The Telegraph: Reuters
Syrian rebels tighten the noose on Assad

An Internet video which activists said was filmed at the Marj al-Sultan base showed rebel fighters carrying AK-47 rifles touring the facility. An anti-aircraft gun could be seen positioned on top of an empty bunker and a rebel commander was shown next to a helicopter.

"With God's help, the Marj al-Sultan airbase in eastern Ghouta has been liberated," the commander said in the video. Eastern Ghouta, a mix of agricultural land and built-up urban areas, has been a rebel stronghold for months.

Activists said two helicopters were destroyed in the attack as well as a radar station, and that 15 personnel were taken prisoner.

AROUND THE WORLD

The Age, Melbourne, Australia: Katharine Murphy
Politics live: November 26, 2012

1.47pm: Ms Gillard is pressed why she didn't inform the AWU of the reform association.

The Prime Minister says she was taking instructions from two AWU officials, she didn't think she had to.

She's pressed by Sid Maher from The Australian. The establishment of this entity required a resolution. The Prime Minister doesn't think it did. Mr Maher persists.

Don't hector me Sid, she says.

Karen Middleton from SBS asks the question more simply: are you sure you didn't benefit from any of this alleged wrong doing?

Ms Gillard says she's done what she can to check the record. There were joint expenses in her relationship with Mr Wilson. Going out to dinner. Sometimes they split the bill.

The Australian PM, Julia Gillard, just finished a rather spicy news conference.  Apparently someone has brought up a 17yo union-related matter of shared dinners and other financial items.  This link and excerpt are to the liveblog.  Perhaps a more comprehensive story will be posted soon.  

ABC News, Australia: Simon Cullen
Smith delivers apology for Defence Force abuse

Defence Minister Stephen Smith has delivered a parliamentary apology to victims of abuse within the Australian Defence Force (ADF), describing the behaviour as unacceptable and a betrayal of trust.

In delivering the statement, Mr Smith paid tribute to the sacrifices ADF members were willing to make in service of their country, and expressed regret that some had suffered "shameful" treatment at the hands of their colleagues.

"To those men and women in the Australian Defence Force or the Department of Defence who have suffered sexual or other forms of abuse, on behalf of the Government I say sorry," Mr Smith told Parliament.

"You should never have experienced this abuse. Again, I say sorry.

"Our words today, and our actions and commitment into the future, will ensure that the apology given today in this house... will never have to be repeated."

Part of me is tired of the apologies.  Is it so hard to stop sexual assault in a limited group like the Armed Forces?  When will we teach men to NOT rape, instead of women to not get raped? Oh, it is International End Violence Against Women Day.  And I know the victims are not always women and the perpetrators are not always men.  

Hindustan Times: IANS
Where Hindus join Shias to mourn Imam Hussain

A group of upper caste Hindus joined Shia Muslims in Muzaffarpur today to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, saying it was part of their tradition. The martyrdom of the grandson of Prophet Mohammed, his family and followers marks the 10th day of the month of
Moharram.

These Hindus in Muzaffarpur, about 70 km from Patna, belong to the Bhumihar Brahmin Mahasabha and claim their lineage as the Hussaini Brahmin sect.

"We also mourn the martyrdom of Imam Hussain like Shia Muslims. It is part of a centuries-old tradition started by our ancestors," said Mahinder Singh, one of the dozens of Hindus who marched barefoot.

Like their Shia counterparts, they too beat their chests, constantly chanting 'Hussain, Hussain, Ya Hussain!'

Times of India: Prafulla Marpakwar
26/11 anniversary: Experts doubt netas’ claim of safe Mumbai
Senior police officers and politicians declared on Sunday that Mumbai is prepared to repel any attack of the magnitude of 26/11 but their words were met with disbelief and scepticism.

On the eve of the fourth anniversary of the bloody assault, home minister R R Patil admitted that law-enforcement agencies were unequipped to fend off the 10 Pakistani terrorists who landed in Mumbai by sea on November 26, 2008, and wreaked terror on the city.

"We have learnt our lessons. In the past four years, we have stepped up security not only in Mumbai but also in entire Maharashtra. We now have state-of-the-art weapons and adequate manpower. I am confident that we are prepared to take on terror attacks of any magnitude," claimed the home minister.

Patil argued that the Democratic Front government had implemented in letter and spirit the recommendations of the Ram Pradhan committee, which was set up in the wake of the 26/11 attack to examine the preparedness of Mumbai police.

I hope the photo for this article is a bad photoshop.  There is an Anglo woman with a skeptical face in front of an big important Indian building with troops in front of it.  I wanted to share it here but I couldn't grab it for copy/paste.  It is the 4th anniversary of this horrible terrorist attack.

chinawaiting
Photo credit: China Daily
China Daily: Chen Xin in Beijing and Xu Junqian in Shanghai
Record number of hopefuls sit annual civil service exam

A record 1.12 million people took the annual national civil service exam on Sunday, a rebound after the number fell in 2010 and 2011.

Some 1.5 million people who registered for this year's exam passed the qualification assessment, and 1.12 million took the exam on Sunday, according to figures from the State Administration of Civil Service.

Record number of hopefuls sit annual civil service exam

They are competing for around 20,800 positions in more than 140 State-level government agencies and their affiliated public institutions and local branches.

The percentages seem low.  

Japan Today: Thomson Reuters wire service
Noda, LDP chief Abe clash over monetary policy

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said on Sunday that the opposition’s call for radical monetary easing to beat chronic deflation was “dangerous” and defended the independence of the central bank, countering arguments by the front runner in next month’s election.

Noda and the leader of the Liberal-Democratic Party (LDP), Shinzo Abe, differed sharply over monetary and foreign policy in separate television appearances ahead of the Dec 16 election which the opposition party is tipped to win in opinion polls.

Abe reiterated his call for setting a 2% inflation target, which is double the current goal of the Bank of Japan, to pull the world’s third-largest economy out of a long spell of deflation.

The LDP leader also called for revising the law governing the BOJ so that the central bank is held responsible not only for price stability but also for job creation and the health of the real economy.

This story is included firstly to illustrate that countries around the world have political battles over woolly, dull monetary policy.  Secondly, that they fail to have political battles over climate or energy policy.  

Hurriyet Daily News:  Doğan News Agency
Women protest violence amid ongoing murders

Family Minister Fatma Şahin say they consider violence as a violation of basic human rights as a man kills the new boyfriend of his former lover

In the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Turkish Family and Social Policies Minister Fatma Şahin said they considered violence as a violation of basic human rights, and to prevent that the ministry targeted a mentality change which could be possible by changing the legal framework concerning the issue.

“We turned fight against violence as a social mobilization and this signature campaign is a part of this plan,” Şahin said speaking at the ceremony yesterday.

Hotline help-center

Şahin said they started in the fight against domestic violence in 2002 with only a call center and a few workers, yet have strengthened their program into a 24 hour hotline, which is working with experts all around Turkey.

Mail & Guardian, South Africa, Nicholas Bauer
DA withdraws fracking resolution
Gas is seen by many, including South Africa's national planning commission, as a means to bridge the country's electricity supply shortages.

Critics fear the process of fracking will contaminate water supplies in an already dry area, and damage air quality.

Opportunities
Lorimer said the DA could not ignore the potential job creation and economic development that could be enjoyed through fracking.

"We cannot be seen to be against the prospect of massive job creation and economic opportunities for the people of South Africa," he said.

Lorimer also argued there was added pessimism directed towards fracking based on the current government's performance.

"This government has a terrible record of economic and environmental stewardship."

The excerpts are from the latter half of the article.  I'm not sure this is good news.  Or as good of news as the headline seems to make out.  

Mercopress: Lord Hunt & Terry Townshend
Why the Qatar Summit could bring new direction for action on climate change

At Copenhagen and Cancun, in 2009 and 2010 respectively, negotiators, to the surprise of many, abandoned ‘Plan A’ for an international emission control agreement in favour of ‘Plan B’ (of the Danish Prime Minister) including 2020 ‘pledges’ and an information exchange agreement between countries about emissions.

The unanticipated may also be in store this year with Qatar, as host, probably looking for a big initiative to underline its credentials on the world stage.

The summit, which begins on November 26, represents an unparalleled opportunity to engage Gulf States. With their fossil fuel-wealth and growing technological and research strengths, Gulf States could transform the international climate change strategy. Yet, as a group, they have been largely ignored.

So what might a ‘game changing’ contribution from Gulf States to the climate negotiations look like?

BBC
Colombia Farc rebels blow up pylons after truce
Members of Colombia's largest guerrilla group, the Farc, say they blew up two electricity pylons on Tuesday because they had not been informed of a unilateral truce their leaders had declared at peace talks a day earlier.

They said the order to halt operations had not reached them in time.

They blamed the media for not reporting the truce more widely.

Farc leaders are currently holding peace talks with the Colombian government in Cuba.

Al Jazeera: Wire Services
Spain rejects ETA call for negotiations
Spain's government has rejected calls by armed Basque separatists ETA to negotiate its disarmament and dissolution  and instead demanded the group dissolve itself without conditions.

"The only statement we can expect and demand is for its unconditional dissolution," Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz told reporters on Sunday.

"They know we have not negotiated and won't negotiate at all with a terrorist organisation."

ETA said in a statement published in Basque media on the weekend it wanted to enter talks with Spain and France to negotiate a definitive end to military operations.

Spain has issues in Catalonia and Basque region.  Was the Franco strongman holding the country together?  The Catalonian voting went for the separatists.  

Der Spiegel:  Stefan Kaiser
nevitability of Debt: The Faustian Bargain between States and Banks

Brimming with Bonds

This government-bank bargain is somewhat of a Faustian pact: States need the help of credit institutions if they want to take on more debt. But, in doing so, they place their fate in the hands of the financial markets. Indeed, the European Central Bank (ECB) estimates that European banks now hold some €1.6 trillion ($2.1 trillion) in sovereign bonds.

What's happening in Greece right now provides a dramatic example of how a state can make itself dependent on banks. The country is de facto insolvent and can no longer secure any loans on the financial markets. Nevertheless, it continues to be able to secure fresh funds by issuing short-term bonds, primarily to Greek banks, as it has recently to make up for a lack of liquidity as euro-zone member states continue to delay the release of the next tranche of emergency aid. Greek banks, for their part, finance their ailing country not only because the bonds have high yields, but also because they can deposit the bonds as collateral at Greece's central bank in return for fresh cash infusions of their own.

The books of many Spanish and Italian banks are also brimming with sovereign bonds issued by their home countries. They have taken out huge amounts of cheap loans at the ECB and reinvested most of the money in sovereign bonds. The business logic behind this strategy is clear: While the ECB only charges 1 percent interest on its loans, the sovereign bonds have yields of up to 6 percent.

Guardian: Steven Morris, Leo Hickman and Matthew Weaver   
More flood alerts issued as heavy rain continues to cause havoc in Britain
The Environment Agency produced a map showing the properties that its flood defences were protecting, including almost 2,000 in Gloucestershire and Worcestershire, which were the most badly hit by the floods five years ago and 6,000 in Cornwall.

It said the flooding had been created by the exceptional conditions. The Met Office said in parts of the south-west around 150mm of rain – more than an average November – had fallen since Thursday on to ground and into rivers already swollen by a miserable summer and autumn.

Cameron said in a tweet: "Shocking scenes of flooding in Cornwall and around the country. Govt will help ensure everything is being done to help."

Richard Benyon, the floods minister, said the success of many of the defences showed "the importance of continuing to spend capital on flood defences".

More extreme weather events.  

OTHER

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