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Friday, September 27, 2013

Humans Cause Global Warming, Says UN

A report issued by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on Friday has stated that scientists are 95 percent certain that humans are to blame for global warming. “Human influence has been detected in warming of the atmosphere and the ocean, in changes in the global water cycle, in reductions in snow and ice, in global mean sea level rise, and in changes in some climate extremes. It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century”, reads a section of the report. It also says some effects would persist for many centuries even if emissions of carbon dioxide stopped immediately. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the report was a call for governments to work towards an agreement to combat global warming. “The heat is on. Now we must act”, said the secretary general. EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said that it was time to heal the Earth’s climate. “If your doctor was 95 percent sure you had a serious disease, you would immediately start looking for the cure”, she said.

UN Hails Iran Nuclear Talks as ‘Very Constructive’

The UN’s nuclear energy watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has described its talks with Iran as “very constructive”, with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani stating he wanted a deal on the country’s nuclear programme within six months. It was the first time Iran’s new envoy, Reza Najafi, had met the IAEA’s new chief inspector, Tero Varjoranta. The news comes one day after US Secretary of State John Kerry said he was impressed by the “very different tone” of discussions with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif. The P5+1 negotiating group composed of the US, the UK, France, China, Russia and Germany has asked Iran to stop producing and stockpiling uranium enriched to 20 percent as well as to cease activities at its Fordo enrichment plant near the holy city of Qom.

New Attacks Investigated in Syria, Weapons Destruction Deadline Issued

UN chemical weapons inspectors have begun investigating seven alleged cases of chemical or biological weapons use, including three that occurred after the August 21 attack on the outskirts of Damascus. The UN said the inspectors had returned to Syria and expected to leave again by Monday, expecting to issue a report on the cases by late October. Separately, experts will begin going through Syria’s weapons stockpile as part of the deal struck between the US and Russia. It will have destroy its chemical weapons production facilities by November and completely dismantle its arsenal by the middle of next year. The Syrian government had already handed in an inventory of its weapons to inspectors last week, but was given another week to ensure the list was final and contained no significant oversights.

UK PM Rejects Debate Over Scottish Future

British Prime Minister David Cameron has not accepted an invitation by Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond to a televised debate over Scotland’s independence referendum. Instead, Cameron has suggested former Labour chancellor Alistair Darling, head of the campaign to keep Scotland as part of the UK, as a more suitable opponent. “I have already made clear – and will continue to do so – that it is not me you should be debating with head-to-head on TV, but Alistair Darling”, wrote the prime minister in a letter to Salmond. “It is entirely right for you to place yourself at the head of the Yes campaign, but not to decide who should lead for the No campaign too. It is a well understood and reasonable principle that you get to pick your own team’s captain, but not your opponent’s as well”, continued Cameron. Salmond replied that he believed the prime minister’s “refusal to debate Scotland’s future with me can be summed up in one word – fear”.

Weekend Read: We Have Come to Kill You

Two survivors of the Westgate siege in Nairobi describe their ordeal inside the shopping complex. “One announced in Somali-accented but good English: ‘Bismillah al rahman al rahim. We have come to kill you Christians and Kenyans because you have been killing our women and children in Somalia’.” In The Spectator.

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