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.
Hypothesis: Controlling climate change is a human right. Also, the world needs human rights improvements.
CONFLICT & CLIMATE
Hurriyet Daily News, AFP
NATO to give go-ahead to Patriot deployment in Turkey
NATO foreign ministers meeting Tuesday and Wednesday in Brussels are expected to signal support for alliance member Turkey by giving the go-ahead to deploy Patriot missiles near its border with Syria, AFP reported.Hopefully, the deployment will either discourage the Syran government from attacking the towns on the border & refugee camps. Or, help protect them.
The 28-nation alliance is more than likely to agree to Turkey's November 21 request for cover from aerial attack, diplomatic sources said.
NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said Friday that a decision would be made "in the next few days." It may come Tuesday, on the first day of the NATO talks.
The human cost of Syria's war
Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, is predicting a surge in the number of Syrian refugees as the violence in the country reaches what he calls "new and appalling heights of brutality".Syria is on my mind, after the 3-day news blackout. I know there are other conflicts, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo.
"It is gone from bad to worse to verging on horrific. What civilians are going through is absolutely dramatic. Not only are they fleeing across borders by the thousands every day but they are also internally forced to flee and are seeking shelter in places that are not appropriate shelters."
- Melissa Fleming, from the UNHCR
He told the UN General Assembly that civilians are being massacred almost daily and that he expects the number of refugees to reach 700,000 by January.
The UN refugee agency, the UNHCR, estimates that there are more than 465,000 Syrians who have fled their homeland. This number takes into account registered refugees and those awaiting registration.
Over 123,000 Syrians have escaped to Turkey and are known to the authorities there.
In Jordan, almost 138,000 Syrians have refugee status or are in the process of obtaining it.
More than 133,000 refugees are known to have fled to Lebanon.
Another 60,000 refugees have registered in Iraq.
Almost 10,000 have registered with the UNHCR in North Africa.
The UN agency stresses that tens of thousands of others are also believed to have been forced to leave Syria, but have not registered for help. The organisation also says that they cannot help as many they would like and blames the lack of security and the limited number of aid agencies authorised to work in the country.
Taliban suicide bombers have killed four Afghan soldiers and wounded Nato troops in an attack on a joint US-Afghan airbase in eastern Afghanistan.South China Morning Post, via kos-friend RL Miller twitter.
A local police chief told the BBC that two civilians had been also killed in the attack on the base in Jalalabad.
Afghan intelligence officials said nine suicide attackers had been involved in the assault, and all had been killed.
Nato said the attackers had failed to penetrate the base. It is unclear how many of its troops were injured.
The BBC's Orla Guerin in Kabul said the attack appeared "co-ordinated and complex".
She added that this was not the first time the Taliban had targeted the air base, which is used by US and Nato forces. In February Taliban killed nine people in a similar attack.
China's top Doha negotiator attacks lack of climate control progress
China's top climate negotiator has taken a swipe at the Doha climate talks one week into negotiations, complaining of a lack of progress and underscoring concerns that no concrete deals to slow global warming will be reached this year.Reuters, from kos-friend RL Miller, via Twitter
A total of 190 nations are in the talks, and ministers began arriving at the weekend for the high-level portion of the meeting, which will begin tomorrow.
But after a week of lower-level meetings, Su Wei, China's chief climate negotiator, was less than optimistic. China News Service quoted him as saying: "It is not clear whether any breakthrough can be achieved."
Little progress has been made on so-called core issues, such as arrangements for a US$100 billion climate fund to help poor countries cut emissions and adapt to the effects of global warming, as well as an extension of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which set binding obligations on industrialised countries to limit their greenhouse gas emissions. The first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol ends on December 31, and a second commitment period has not been set.
Geo-engineering wins scant enthusiasm at U.N. climate talks
Cheap, short-cut ideas to cool the planet such as shading sunlight are failing to win support from U.N. delegates looking to improve on the slow progress made by existing technologies.Sydney Morning Herald, via Twitter
Many scientists say the proposed solutions, known as geo-engineering, are little understood and might have side effects more damaging than global warming, which is projected to cause more floods, heatwaves, droughts and rising sea levels.
"Let's first use what we know," said Christiana Figueres, head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat, dismissing suggestions that it was time to try geo-engineering to halt a rise in greenhouse gas emissions.
It's the end of the world as we know it
THE world is on track to see "an unrecognisable planet" that is between 4 and 6 degrees hotter by the end of this century, according to new data on greenhouse gas emissions.INTERNATIONAL
As United Nations climate negotiations enter their second week in Doha, Qatar, an Australian-based international research effort that tracks greenhouse gas output will release its annual findings on Monday, showing emissions climbing too quickly to stave off the effects of dangerous climate change.
The new forecast does not include recent revelations about the effects of thawing permafrost, which is starting to release large amounts of methane from the Arctic. This process makes cutting human emissions of fossil fuels even more urgent, scientists say.
As ties between China and Japan plunge to their lowest in decades over territorial dispute, an amendment passed by the US Senate to make the Diaoyu Islands covered by a US-Japan security pact will boomerang.Do the people of the surrounding countries have rights to those islands? And it's the natural resource & fossil fuel resources that China probably wants, not the tiny islands. And I love the translated headline.
The US Senate approved the amendment on Thursday to acknowledge application of a US-Japan security treaty to the Diaoyu Islands. The measure was interpreted by Japan's Kyodo News as "intended to keep China's moves to assert its claim in check."
Although the measure, attached to the national defense authorization bill for 2013, has yet to be approved by the US House and signed by President Barack Obama, it could embolden the Japanese rightists to continue defying the international order established after World War II.
The amendment is sending a disturbing message to the world that the US Senate does not want the row over the Diaoyu Islands to subside. Instead, it is seeking an escalation of the territorial dispute in the coming year, and heralding a downward spiral of the China-Japanese relations.
New Zealand Herald
Maori, Pacific offenders high on three-strikes watch
The law, drafted by disgraced former Act MP David Garrett, provides that anyone convicted three times on any of 40 violent or sexual offences must receive the maximum penalty for the third offence, with no parole allowed.New human right: To let all people who live in a country contribute to the law-making. To have a society that does everything it can to prevent people from choosing lives that lead toward crime. Remember, New Zealand is a country where the original inhabitants (Pacific Islanders) won, or tied, the British forces.
So far no one has been convicted of such offences three times.
Where gender was recorded, 92 per cent of those who received first warnings so far were male and 59 per cent were under 30.
Where ethnicity was recorded, half (49.6 per cent) were Maori - much more than the Maori share of New Zealand's population (15.3 per cent), but in line with their share of existing prisoners (50.4 per cent).
Reuters, via a twitter link.
Vatican disciplines Austrian dissident priest
Schueller is head of the group "Call to Disobedience", which has broad public backing in opinion polls and says it represents about 10 percent of the Austrian clergy.New human right: For overwhelming religions in any region of the world to not protect criminals. Why can't the Vatican "discipline" criminal and abusive priests as easily?
Nearly 150,000 Austrians left the Church in 2011-2012, many in reaction to sexual abuse scandals.
The group wants Church rules changed so that priests can marry and women can become priests. It has said it will break Church rules by giving communion to Protestants and divorced Catholics who remarry.
Schueller told Austrian media that the Vatican decision had not shaken his principles.
Circle of Blue blog, via other blog entry via twitter.
The Stream, November 30: Shifting Rainfall Patterns Linked to Migrations
Seasonal migrations of poor, rural communities due to shifting rainfall patterns, droughts and floods are increasing, according to a new study by CARE International and the United Nations University, AlertNet reported. The study warns that the migrations could become more frequent and permanent unless action is taken to mitigate climate change or adjust agriculture to new climatic conditions.New (or old?) human right: Not only the right to air, water, & food, but also the right to know about the resources in our world.
Plaintiffs from Ecuador asked a Canadian court yesterday to seize Chevron Corp.’s assets in the country as part of an effort to collect the $US 19 billion in environmental damages awarded to them by an Ecuador court ruling last year, Bloomberg News reported. The damages are meant to compensate communities in the Amazon, where a company acquired by Chevron in 2001 released wastewater that caused water and soil pollution, but Chevron insists the ruling was corrupt and fraudulent.
Two new-to-me water/climate issues blogs:
Circle of Blue
New Zealand Herald
Mum's grisly discovery in murder bags
"I had a look and everything inside the box was still done up in paper evidence bags. The first one was the jewellery that Karen had on at the time she died. It was all damaged and skew-whiff. Then I found some of her jewellery boxes and they had big circles drawn all over them surrounding the splatters of blood that were still there. It must have been Karen's blood."New human right: To not be re-traumatized by the evidence of a crime committed against a loved one.
Mrs Watson was horrified at what police had given her back, but the worst was in the next bag.
"I opened it and it had a number of knives in it, from the set that Karen had in the house. They still had blood all over and they were numbered. They were the actual knives he used when he killed her."
Times of India, AP
Gunmen assassinate peasant movement leader Vidal Vega in Paraguay
Gunmen murdered one of the surviving leaders of a peasant movement whose land dispute with a powerful politician prompted the end of Fernando Lugo's presidency last June.Tricky human right: If you are standing up for your human rights, you should not be murdered.
Vidal Vega, 48, was hit four times early Saturday by bullets from a 12-gauge shotgun and a .38-caliber revolver fired by two unidentified men who sped away on a motorcycle, according to an official report prepared at the police headquarters in the provincial capital of Curuguaty.
A friend, Mario Espinola, told The Associated Press that Vega was shot down when he stepped outside to feed his farm animals.
Vega was among the public faces of a commission of landless peasants from the settlement of Yby Pyta, which means Red Dirt in their native Guarani language.
Mail & Guardian, SAPA-AFP
UN watchdog lifts tight monitoring on Zim diamonds
Zimbabwe's diamond industry has been tarnished by allegations of human rights abuses since 2008 when Harare deployed security forces to drive away small-scale miners from the Marange fields.I sincerely hope this is good news, and the human rights & economic rights of the miners are being respected.
Rights activists said 200 miners were killed in the operation, and the country was suspended from the so-called 80-member Kimberley Process (KP), which certifies global sales of "conflict-free diamonds."
In 2011, Zimbabwe was allowed to start selling diamonds from the Marange mines again but under a strict monitoring process imposed for a year by the global watchdog, set up to combat "blood diamonds."
"Over the course of that year, Zimbabwe put in a significant good faith effort. It did, in the opinion of the monitors who went on repeated occasions to Zimbabwe… achieve most of the things that they needed to achieve, and in some cases did better than what one might have hoped," said Gillian Milovanovic, the body's current chairperson.
The church hall in central London was standing-room only, the atmosphere charged. In a room draped in banners carrying the slogan "Workers' Rights are Human Rights", a union rep summed up the mood: "We are here and we are pissed off." These were not the disgruntled workers of a large corporation, but the staff of Amnesty International, their anger not focused on human rights abuse, but on their own management.Yes, the premiere human rights organization is having an admin and organizational battle.
The battle between Amnesty staff and management has intensified in recent months following proposals to restructure the organisation. Strikes have been held at both the UK branch and the international secretariat headquarters in London and picket lines have formed in solidarity outside offices around the world. Staff have given management a vote of no confidence and – in response to more than 100 members expressing concern about changes taking place in the organisation – an extraordinary general meeting has been called for January.
The core of the dispute lies in the decision, led by the secretary general, Salil Shetty, to take the organisation "closer to the ground", opening 10 new regional "hubs" in hotspots where human rights violations occur. Some of Amnesty's 500 staff in London will be moved abroad, and those affected argue that the shift is under-planned, ill-judged and risks muddying the purpose of the organisation. For them this is not an industrial dispute over job cuts, but a battle for the organisation's soul.
The latest stage of the fight against corruption is illustrated by Russian state television with footage from the Côte d'Azur, images of wild parties with black caviar and diamond-encrusted Kalashnikovs. Then the correspondent approaches Hollywood star George Clooney's villa in a helicopter before more villas come into view. Here is where "Moscow's government officials go to be pampered," the show intones.My thoughts: Putin apparently does not own a mirror, and at least he's not bombing a neighboring country or something to improve his poll numbers. I wonder if Mr. Putin is working on human rights in his country, or in Syria.
The station devoted 70 minutes to portraying the country's chronically corrupt and notorious civil servants. They are a "force in gray jackets who can sabotage reforms and are boycotting laws," moderator Arkady Mamontov says.
Usually Mamontov devotes himself to adversaries of the Russian state. He's made a film about Russian human rights activists who supposedly worked with British spies, and has already done three shows about the punk band Pussy Riot, in which he suggested the activists were the paid handmaids of the United States.
Dallas Morning News blog, via twitter
Heresy in Texas! The era of big oil is almost over
It sounds like heresy but there’s a discouraging word coming out of energy-rich Texas: the days of booming oil production are almost over. A group of scientists, scholars and energy activists is meeting this week at the University of Texas to discuss what they see as an impending global decline in oil production. That would mean higher prices, more conservation, an emphasis on alternatives and lots of lifestyle changes. That’s not something people want to hear – or that politicians are inclined to talk about, which has made it difficult to advance their message.UTAH
It’s a big debate. Optimists say, no problem, there’s plenty of oil underground — so much so that the U.S. will soon overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s biggest producer. That’s the prediction from the International Energy Agency. On the other side are the peak oil advocates who arrived on the UT campus this week with facts, figures, scholarly papers and a dire warning – the end is near, like it or not.
“Why do smart people believe we have an infinite amount of energy?” Houston geologist Arthur Berman asked at Thursday’s opening of a conference sponsored by the Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas. Berman cautioned against predictions about capturing trillions of barrels of untouched crude and new technologies that will make the U.S. energy independent. “Preposterous,” he said. Berman is a leading critic of rosy shale predictions about production from “fracking” — injecting water and chemicals deep underground to force out pockets of gas. There’s a fracking boom in Texas, including in the Barnett Shale near Fort Worth, but Berman warned it will be short-lived. “The economics don’t work,” he said, in part because unlike traditional oil production, fracking requires continual drilling even as reservoirs of gas are depleted. There are environmental issues and questions about how much water it uses. But shale supporters point to jobs and the immediate economic boost it provides.
Salt Lake Tribune
Teen who took his own life ‘shielded’ family from bullying
"David was an outstanding son but he shielded his parents from the horror and negative experiences he was facing at Bennion Junior High," Thanh-Tung Than-Trong, a cousin of Phan and family spokeswoman, said at an impromptu press conference on Sunday. "The last few days have been an absolute living nightmare to learn that he was bullied in school where he was supposed to be in a safe learning environment. … Let us not deny the numerous accounts that David was a victim of serious bullying at school."This is the latest news in this tragic story, with the side story of the school district spokesdude blaming the kid's family and issues for the suicide. Thanksfully, many of the comments I have seen have been supportive of David, his family, and friends, and critical of the school and its spokesdude. Pat Bagley has graced all of us with an illustration.
The family spokeswoman also called for Bennion staff to be trained to create an "effective anti-discrimination safe zone."
"We don’t want David’s life to be tarnished as a bullied kid who was pushed to the limit," Than-Trong said Sunday afternoon in front of the Kearns Library, next door to the church where family members gathered for the boy’s viewing.
Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune.
TV Channel 13, Fox affiliate.
Dixie State considers name change
Dixie State College of Utah is expected to soon become a university and, with it, a name change.Local reporter Ben Winslow tweeted the public comments. Sometimes I felt like I was in Mississippi in 1950. Where are our human rights if we try to glorify this past injustice by saying "but our ancestors planted cotton!"?
But whether that name includes “Dixie” is the subject of intense debate here, as dozens packed a meeting on Thursday night to argue the value of it. Some believe it is deeply tied to Utah’s pioneer history, when Mormon settlers came here to plant cotton.
“In order to honor our founders, we need to keep the name ‘Dixie,’” a woman told the crowd to applause.
Others say it is a tired relic of the past with roots in slavery, racism and the Civil War confederacy.
The school has gone through many name changes, from St. George Stake Academy in 1911 to the Dixie Normal College in 1913; Dixie Junior Academy in 1923; Dixie College in 1970; and finally Dixie State College of Utah in 2000.
The school has also faced some controversy over its name and one of the school’s mascots, Rodney Rebel, an old Confederate-style soldier that it abandoned in 2009 in favor of “The Red Storm.”
The National Democratic Party visited Park City. Given the above bad news stories, I am not overly encouraged by this either. So they think they did "something" in Utah. What about the 35% of non-Mormons unrepresented at the congressional level? When Jim Matheson is the most liberal of your delegation, there are problems. I wonder how Idaho and Oklahoma measure in comparison. I believe that Texas can turn blue. I believe it could happen in Utah, but I don't know how.
Book review, at Yahoo, from kos-friend plf515
Book Review: Louis D. Brandeis: A Life by Melvin Urofsky
Brandeis is most famous as a Supreme Court Justice, but he was also a very successful lawyer, a fighter for many progressive causes and an organizer of American Zionism. He transformed how law firms are run and greatly increased the importance of pro bono work.5 Ways to Eat Persimmons Food link of the week. Also, there were some in my co-op food box.
Deforestation in Amazon hits record low <-- Good News Link
I wish wealth redistribution only bankrupted the public treasury but it also corrupts the American soul— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) December 3, 2012