World News Headlines: 12-16-2018


Negotiators from nearly 200 countries strike deal over how to implement landmark Paris climate treaty; A global climate summit has ended in Poland with an agreement to govern how the 2015 Paris climate accord will be implemented. However, countries could not even agree to ‘welcome’ the findings of the IPCC report. Almost 200 countries on Saturday reached an agreement on implementing the Paris Climate Accord after two weeks of negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations. The result of the tortured negotiations in the Polish city of Katowice is a 156-page rulebook on how countries will report and monitor their national pledges to curb greenhouse gas emissions and update their emissions plans.
What was agreed
1.The document covers a wide gamut of topics, but some key points of the deal include:
a) An agreement on how countries should report their greenhouse gas emissions and the efforts they’re taking to reduce them.
b) An assurance of financial support for poor countries to help them cut emissions, adapt to inevitable climate changes and pay for damages that have already happened.

Germany: Three women attacked with knives in Nuremberg; Three women had to undergo emergency surgery in the Bavarian city after suffering severe knife wounds in separate attacks. Police later arrested a 38-year-old man. Three women suffered life-threatening injuries in separate attacks with what may have been an engraving tool in the southern German city of Nuremberg on Thursday evening. The attacks took place between 7.20 p.m. local time (1820 UTC) and midnight in the city’s St. Johannis district. All three women were walking home and taken by surprise. All three women — aged 56, 34 and 26 — underwent emergency surgery after being taken to nearby hospitals. They had all been injured on their upper bodies. Police said the victims had given slightly different descriptions of their attacker.

Nicaragua journalists attacked by police; At least seven journalists were hit and kicked by police after the offices of an opposition news site were ransacked. Authorities have tried to clamp down on dissent amidst fierce protests that have left hundreds dead.At least seven journalists were beaten by police in Nicaragua on Saturday as authorities ramped up a campaign of media suppression. Independent journalism has been suffering under a months-long crackdown due to escalating protests against President Daniel Ortega. Journalists led by the well-known editor Carlos Fernando Chamorro had gathered outside police headquarters in the capital Managua on Saturday, to demand answers over the ransacking of Chamorro’s offices. Chamorro is the editor of the Confidencial news site, which takes a confrontational approach towards the government. Photographs of Confidencial’s headquarters in Managua on Friday showed empty shelves, papers and folders strewn all over the floor. Chamorro claimed that officials had confiscated numerous computers. Buildings used by several civil society organizations banned by the government were also ransacked.

Thousands march against President Vucic in Serbia; Demonstrators blew whistles and horns in a nod to protests against former autocrat leader Slobodan Milosevic. President Vucic has rejected calls for fairer elections and free media.Thousands of Serbians took to the streets of the capital Belgrade on Saturday to voice their opposition to the creeping authoritarianism of President Aleksandar Vucic and his administration. Braving the bitter cold and snow, the crowds blew whistles and horns, echoing demonstrations against former strongman Slobodan Milosevic. “Vucic, thief!” protestors, including Belgrade’s mayor, Dragan Djilas, chanted. Vucic is a former hardline nationalist who has said he now wishes to reform Serbia and steer it towards membership in the European Union. But last week, when a similar protest marked Serbia’s first major show of defiance since Vucic’s 2017 election, the president declared that he would not meet opposition calls for fair elections and uncensored media “even if there were five million people in the street.” In response, many of Saturday’s protestors wore buttons declaring themselves, “1 of 5 million.” The European Union recently issued a report saying that if Serbia hopes to join the bloc, it must first “improve the situation regarding freedom of expression and freedom of the media.”

Ukrainian Orthodox leaders seal divorce from Russian church; The Ukrainian Orthodox council has elected a leader of the country’s newly-established independent Orthodox church. The decision to cut ties with Moscow has caused a split within the Ukrainian church hierarchy. Ukraine on Saturday formally created a new national Orthodox church, breaking away from Russia’s influence, as worsening political and military tensions between the two neighbors spills over to religion. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko confirmed the decision following a historic synod at Kyiv’s Saint Sophia Cathedral when the country’s Orthodox Council voted to establish the independent church. Poroshenko added that Metropolitan Epifany, of the Kiev Patriarchate church, was chosen as head of the new church: “This day will go down in history as the sacred day … the day of the final independence from Russia,” Poroshenko told a crowd awaiting the council’s decision in central Kiev. Several thousand people had rallied outside the cathedral ahead of the synod in support of the move, which the Ukrainian president pushed for as part of his 2019 re-election campaign.

Egypt unearths tomb of Fifth Dynasty priest Wahtye in Saqqara; The hieroglyphs and statues in the tomb of royal purification priest Wahtye are almost intact despite being 4,400 years old. Walls decorated with colorful scenes show the owner of the tomb with his family.The tomb belonging to Wahtye the priest was uncovered at the Sacred Animal Necropolis in Saqqara, south of Cairo, where the famous Step Pyramid is located.

Berlin Christmas market attacker Anis Amri did not act alone; The information, provided by Italian police, was apparently released just two weeks after the terror attack. It suggests Amri was part of a Salafist cell that helped him in the attack. German media reported Saturday that Anis Amri, the 2016 Berlin Christmas market attacker, was not a lone wolf and may have belonged to a terror cell. A 173-page police investigation report, which was apparently released to German authorities just two weeks after the December 2016 attack, and which has now been seen by various German media outlets, revealed the information about Amri. According to the police in the southern Italian city of Brindisi, the Tunisian perpetrator was likely supported in the attack by a “single terror cell” of Salafists linked to Berlin’s Fussilet mosque, which has since been closed down.

Facebook accused of silencing critical Vietnamese bloggers; Facebook is being used to silence bloggers critical of Vietnam’s government, according to Reporters Without Borders. The campaigners said there were 26 imprisoned media workers in the Southeast Asian nation. The media campaigners Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said Vietnamese bloggers living in exile were being censored because of the misuse of a safety feature on Facebook. RSF said the social network deleted posts and blocked accounts because of alleged violations of community standards. “Our research shows that the Vietnamese government is apparently abusing digital space to suppress critical voices abroad as well,” said RSF managing director Christian Mihr. “Those responsible must stop these attacks and respect the freedom of the press. Bui Thanh Hieu, a Vietnamese blogger granted political asylum in Germany, was one of those concerned, according to RSF. He writes about social ills in his home country and his Facebook-distributed writings are hugely popular in Vietnam, but he has been repeatedly banned since January. Hieu was banned from Facebook in October as a “repeat offender” after images from his account were copied and uploaded to other accounts. Those account holders then accused Hieu of copyright infringements.


Sri Lanka’s Rajapaksa resigns as PM; Sri Lanka’s former president Mahinda Rajapaksa has announced that he is resigning as prime minister, in an effort to end the political turmoil that has gripped the country for nearly 2 months. In October, President Maithripala Sirisena dismissed pro-India Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe suddenly and replaced him with Rajapaksa, a former president who is close to China. Wickremesinghe claimed that his dismissal was unconstitutional and refused to step down. The situation has left the country without a functioning government, as the prime minister’s post is effectively vacant. On Saturday, Rajapaksa said in a statement that he will resign as prime minister and clear the way for the president to form a new government. The president has not yet issued an official statement. But local media outlets have reported that he is likely to reappoint Wickremesinghe as prime minster. However, the president and Wickremesinghe are said to have very different views on politics and economic policy. It is unclear if the nearly 2-month impasse will come to an end anytime soon.

Former detainee: harsh conditions in China; A Canadian man who was detained in China with his wife 4 years ago spoke about the harsh conditions he was forced to live under for 19 months. Kevin Garratt told Canada’s public broadcaster CBC in a radio interview on Thursday that he was put in a small room with 14 other people. He said the only time he was allowed to leave the room was when he met an official from the Canadian embassy for 30 minutes once a month. Garratt said everything had to be done in the room which had a shower booth covered with glass, and that detainees were constantly being monitored with surveillance cameras. The Canadian authorities had arrested a Chinese man on suspicion of stealing US military’s confidential information a month before Garratt was detained. Recently, two Canadian nationals were detained in China after Canadian authorities arrested Meng Wanzhou, the CFO of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei. Garratt says China’s recent arrests of Canadian nationals are similar to his detainment 4 years ago.

China-France JV launches nuclear reactor; A new type of nuclear reactor has been put into commercial operation in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong by a China-France joint venture company. French energy giant EDF entered into a joint venture with Chinese state-run firms years ago. On Friday, representatives of the joint venture company announced that the No.1 reactor at the Taishan power station had started operating. They said the European Pressurized Reactor, or EPR, is being used at the site. The representatives added that this is the first time the EPR has been used anywhere in the world. China’s state-run Xinhua news agency reports that the nuclear plant can generate 1.75 million kilowatts, which is more than any other single-reactor facility in the world. Xinhua praised the plant’s launch and described it as a significant achievement in the field of energy for the two countries. After the accident at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in 2011, China temporarily suspended the process of approving the construction of new nuclear power plants. However, the country is now actively promoting nuclear power generation, while some other countries are moving away from nuclear power.

Ghosn’s side takes files, cash from Rio apartment;Nissan Motor officials say representatives of its ousted chairman Carlos Ghosn have retrieved documents and cash from a corporate apartment in Rio de Janeiro. The officials say Ghosn’s representatives entered the apartment on Friday with permission from a Brazilian court. Nissan’s representatives oversaw them in the apartment. Nissan has changed the locks to the apartment since Ghosn was arrested. The carmaker cited risks of evidence of wrongdoing being removed or destroyed. Nissan officials visited the apartment on November 30th and found 3 safes. The carmaker is seeking permission from a court in Brazil to open them, saying part of assets Ghosn inappropriately obtained might be stored in the safes. But Nissan’s representatives said they were not allowed to open them on Friday. The property was bought in 2012 by a company registered in the British Virgin Islands. A Nissan subsidiary is believed to have been involved in founding the company.Ghosn stayed at the apartment with his family a few times a year.

Japan offers to help Qatar resolve conflict; Japan has offered to help Qatar restore ties with Saudi Arabia and several other countries. Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono made the offer when he met with his Qatari counterpart Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani on Saturday in Qatar’s capital, Doha.
Qatar has been under an economic blockade since Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and other countries severed diplomatic relations with Qatar in June, 2017. The countries claim that Qatar provides support for terrorists. Kono said Japan hopes ties between the countries can be restored peacefully. He added that Japan maintains friendly relations with all the countries involved and is ready to do whatever it can to serve as a bridge between Qatar and other countries.

More protests held in France; Anti-government protesters have taken to the streets again across France. Massive protests against President Emmanuel Macron’s reform efforts have been held every weekend since mid-November. The administration announced several days ago that it will raise the minimum wage. However, the interior ministry said that at 6 PM on Saturday 66,000 people were taking part in the protests. That is nearly half the number of people who participated last weekend. In Paris, people wearing the signature yellow vests gathered at the Champs-Elysees and 2 other locations. Some of them became violent, prompting security forces to respond by using water cannons and tear gas. Paris is normally full of shoppers and tourists during the weeks leading up to Christmas. But this year, the unrest has forced many stores to close, and that has had a dramatic effect on the local economy. It appears that many people are still angry about Macron’s attempts to slash fiscal spending. They also seem to be displeased that they have been asked to shoulder the burden.


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