Leaders Discuss Climate Change While Aid Trickles into Philippines
UN climate talks began with remarks from teary-eyed Filipino negotiator Naderev Saño, “It was barely 11 months ago in Doha when my delegation appealed to the world… to open our eyes to the stark reality that we face… as then we confronted a catastrophic storm that resulted in the costliest disaster in Philippine history. Less than a year hence, we cannot imagine that a disaster much bigger would come. With an apparent cruel twist of fate, my country is being tested by this hellstorm called Super Typhoon Haiyan, which has been described by experts as the strongest typhoon that has ever made landfall in the course of recorded human history.” The Doha talks Saño referenced concluded with little consensus other than the promise to resolve the issue by the end of today’s conference, perhaps due to developed countries balking at paying vulnerable countries for the costs of climate change.
Days after Haiyan destroyed swaths of the Filipino countryside and claimed the lives of at least 1,774, massive amounts of aid has been dedicated to relief efforts, but little has made its way into the hands and mouths of the affected. Aristone Balute, an 81-year-old Filipina who failed to get a flight out of Tacloban told the Washington Post, “We need help. Nothing is happening. We haven’t eaten since yesterday afternoon.”
South African Bus Crash Shocks Nation
Twenty-nine people were killed and 30 more were injured when a bus and a truck collided last night near the eastern South African town of Kwaggafontein. The Moloto Road, used by more than 50,000 people on their way to Pretoria everyday, has gained a reputation for its fatal collisions. But last night’s mayhem stunned even South African President Jacob Zuma, “This carnage must stop. It is completely unacceptable. The fact that this particular road has gained notoriety … means there’s something wrong that we need to address together.” A team has been assembled to investigate last night’s crash and suggest changes that might prevent such deadly crashes in the future.
Russia Demands Apology from Poland
Russian state media reports that Polish ambassador Wojciech Zajaczkowski was summoned to Moscow’s foreign ministry to account for the actions of right-wing nationalists in Poland on Polish Independence Day. Rioters targeted a number of left-wing symbols like a communal living space and a rainbow-colored arch symbolizing tolerance, but a number of masked people also threw explosives, rocks, and glass bottles at the Russian embassy. “The attention of the ambassador has been drawn to the passivity and lateness of the police, which resulted in an unbridled rampage by roughnecks,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Similarly, after the crowd had moved on from the progressive communal space, littered with burned debris and broken glass, one of the squatters accused the police of failing to hold back the conservative protesters. He said, “You have unleashed fascist dogs on us.”
Last Night, before Zajaczkowski was asked to appear, the Polish government had already expressed dismay over the Warsaw rampage that led to at least 72 arrests and 14 injuries. Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk read a statement saying, “The events of this evening are very sad for Poland. This was an unacceptable act of aggression against police guarding the Russian Embassy and toward the embassy itself. I express my sympathies.”
Urabeños boss Visaje, better known as Cipriam Manuel Palencia Gonzalez, has been arrested in Madrid, following an epic manhunt which saw Gonzalez flee police in Colombia, Venezuela, and Brazil.
According to police in Spain, Gonzalez was taken into custody Friday while planning new drug routes to Europe. He is currently wanted by Colombian authorities in connection to a litany of crimes including at least 52 murders and a 2009 prison break. Gonzales’ gang, the Urabeños, was established by the remnants of right-wing paramilitary groups in the late 1990′s and has proven particularly lethal in its quest to dominate Colombia’s lucrative drug smuggling corridors.