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Much more than 9,000 killed because begin of Ukraine conflict: UN

Posted December 09, 2015 22:32:12

An unexploded rocket in field near the village of Dmitrivka. Photo: An unexploded rocket in field near the village of Dmitrivka. (AFP: Dimitar Dilkoff)

More than 9,000 people have been killed since the conflict in Ukraine began, a United Nations report says, warning that even though fighting had abated, millions were in precarious situations.

The UN human rights office hailed “a sharp de-escalation of hostilities” in the conflict zones in eastern Ukraine since the warring sides signed a new truce on September 1, following a fragile truce agreed in Minsk in February.

In its latest report on Ukraine, the rights office said that between August 16 and November 15, 47 civilians were killed and 131 injured in the conflict zones of eastern Ukraine — sharply down from the previous three-month period.

But nonetheless, at least 9,098 people — including civilians, soldiers and militia members — have perished since the beginning of the conflict in mid-April 2014 until the middle of last month, with another 20,732 injured, the report said.

Fifty-two per cent of the casualties since August were caused by landmines and other explosive devices, the report said, underscoring “the urgent need for extensive mine clearance and mine awareness actions on both sides of the contact line”.

Ukraine’s emergencies ministry said that by last month it had cleared the separatist Donetsk and Lugansk regions in the former Soviet republic’s once-booming industrial heartland of more than 44,000 mines.

But the warring sides and foreign monitors are struggling to estimate how many unexploded devices remain.

“Mapping of the minefields is so far incomplete and inaccurate, and sign-posting is urgently required to warn the population about their presence,” the report said, cautioning that the arrival of snow would make the situation even more dangerous, since it would cover and even displace booby-traps.

Serious human rights concerns

The rights office meanwhile warned that “serious human rights concerns persist”, including “continuing impunity, torture and an absence of the rule of law in the east”.

The humanitarian situation also remained dire for many of the nearly three million living in the affected areas, as well as for the more than 1.5 million who have been displaced inside Ukraine.

“Civilians in the conflict-afflicted eastern parts of Ukraine end the year as they began it, in a very difficult humanitarian and human rights situation,” UN human rights chief Zeid Raad Al Hussein said in a statement.

A rescuer stands in a food storage unit in Ukraine. Photo: A rescuer stands in a food storage unit destroyed during shelling between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists. (AFP: Aleksey Filippov, file)

“Elderly people have no access to their life savings, people with disabilities have little assistance, and reduced access to healthcare has left many in dismal, precarious, even life-threatening situations,” he cautioned.

The report said civilians in areas controlled by armed groups in the rebel strongholds of Donetsk and Lugansk continued to face serious rights abuses, including killings, forced labour, and extortion, while the government forces were slammed for using arbitrary and secret detention.

Mr Al Hussein reminded all sides in the conflict that they can be held criminally accountable for the human rights abuses in territories under their control.

The report stressed that “amnesty cannot be provided for individuals responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity and grave human rights violations, including summary executions, torture or similar cruel inhuman or degrading treatment, and enforced disappearances”.

To reach a lasting peace, all sides must fully implement the Minsk Agreements, it said.

But it warned that the “continuing presence of foreign fighters”, including some identified as members of the Russian military, “as well as the reported influx of heavy and sophisticated weaponry from the Russian Federation and the lack of effective control by the government of Ukraine of the state border with the Russian Federation remain the major impediments to this solution”.

AFP

Topics: unrest-conflict-and-war, territorial-disputes, world-politics, ukraine

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NYT rounds on ‘gun epidemic’ in initial front web page editorial because 1920

Updated December 05, 2015 18:31:05

New York Times front page for December 5, 2015 Photo: The New York Instances front web page for December 5, which includes an editorial calling for stricter gun laws. (Supplied: New York Instances)
Associated Story: FBI declares California massacre ‘an act of terrorism’
Map: United States

The New York Occasions has published a front web page editorial for the 1st time because 1920, calling for an end to the gun violence that continues to plague the United States.

Crucial points

  • New York Times publishes front web page editorial calling for end to gun violence
  • First time the paper has published an editorial on the front web page since 1920
  • More than 300 mass shootings in America in 2015, tracking site says
  • More than 12,000 deaths due to gun violence

The editorial said laws that allowed the legal buy of higher-powered assault weapons in the nation have been a “moral outrage and a national disgrace”.

“America’s elected leaders offer you prayers for gun victims and then, callously and without fear of consequence, reject the most standard restrictions on weapons of mass killing,” the editorial said.

“They distract us with arguments about the word terrorism. Let’s be clear: These spree killings are all, in their own ways, acts of terrorism.”

The editorial’s publication came after the mass shooting at a social services agency in San Bernardino, California, on Thursday, which the FBI has since declared an “act of terrorism”.

The shooters, Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and his wife Tashfeen Malik, 27, had been armed with assault weapons and semi-automatic handguns when they burst into an auditorium rented out for a Christmas celebration at the Inland Regional Centre.

The pair shot dead 14 men and women and left 17 other individuals injured.

US investigators mentioned they have been evaluating proof that Malik, a Pakistani native who had been living in Saudi Arabia when she married Farook, had pledged allegiance to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

“There is a quantity of pieces of evidence that has primarily pushed us off the cliff to say we are now investigating this as an act of terrorism,” FBI assistant director David Bowdich said.

A Los Angeles Times report citing a federal law enforcement officer stated Farook had speak to with men and women from Al Nusra Front, an Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria.

The official also stated Farook had produced “some type” of contact with the radical Al Shabaab group in Somalia. It is unclear what variety of contact or with whom, the newspaper mentioned.

US government officials stated whilst there was proof the pair could have been inspired by Islamic State militants, there was no sign they had been directed by the group.

Two assault-style rifles, two semi-automatic handguns, six,100 rounds of ammunition and 12 pipe bombs were identified in the couple’s house or with them when they were killed, officials stated.

Publisher wanted ‘strong and visible’ statement

Arthur Sulzberger, Jr, the Times’ publisher, stated the editorial was intended “to deliver a strong and visible statement of frustration and anguish about our country’s inability to come to terms with the scourge of guns”.

External Hyperlink: Tweet from New York Occasions Communications

“It has been numerous decades because The Occasions ran an editorial on Page One particular,” he said in a statement.

“Even in this digital age, the front page remains an incredibly powerful and powerful way to surface problems that demand focus. And, what concern is more critical than our nation’s failure to defend its citizens?”

The Instances editorial mentioned the US Constitution’s Second Amendment — which protects the appropriate of US citizens to bear arms — ought to not be immune from “affordable regulation”.

“Certain sorts of weapons, like the slightly modified combat rifles employed in California, and particular types of ammunition, need to be outlawed for civilian ownership,” the editorial said.

“It is feasible to define those guns in a clear and effective way and, yes, it would need Americans who own these sorts of weapons to give them up for the good of their fellow citizens.”

More than 300 mass shootings in the US this year: monitor

Mourners visit memorial for California attack victims Photo: Angala Cariou (R) and her daughter Brittany Cariou visit a makeshift memorial close to the Inland Regional Centre (AFP: Justin Sullivan)

There have been 353 mass shootings in America in 2015, according to Mass Shooting Tracker, a internet site which records data of shootings in the United States.

The website defines a mass shooting as when “four or far more folks are shot in an event, or associated series of events, probably without having a cooling off period”.

There have been 12,281 deaths and 24,803 injuries due to gun violence in the United States this year according to the Gun Violence Archive, a not-for-profit organisation that publishes information about gun violence.

Last month, a gunman stormed a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, killing three men and women and wounding nine others.

In October, gunman Chris Harper-Mercer shot dead ten folks and wounded seven other individuals at Umpqua Community College campus in Roseburg, Oregon.

At the time, US president Barack Obama stated: “We’ve turn out to be numb to this … I can imagine the press releases becoming cranked out — we need far more guns, they will argue. Fewer gun security laws. Does anyone actually believe that?”

“Motives do not matter to the dead in California, nor did they in Colorado, Oregon, South Carolina, Virginia, Connecticut and far as well a lot of other places,” the Instances editorial stated.

The last time the Occasions ran a front web page editorial was on June 13, 1920, when Warren Harding was nominated as the Republican presidential candidate.

The New York Times editorial in complete:

All decent people feel sorrow and righteous fury about the newest slaughter of innocents, in California. Law enforcement and intelligence agencies are looking for motivations, like the vital question of how the murderers may well have been connected to international terrorism. That is appropriate and correct.

But motives do not matter to the dead in California, nor did they in Colorado, Oregon, South Carolina, Virginia, Connecticut and far too many other places. The consideration and anger of Americans must also be directed at the elected leaders whose job is to maintain us secure but who place a greater premium on the cash and political power of an sector committed to profiting from the unfettered spread of ever far more strong firearms.

It is a moral outrage and a national disgrace that civilians can legally buy weapons made specifically to kill individuals with brutal speed and efficiency. These are weapons of war, barely modified and deliberately marketed as tools of macho vigilantism and even insurrection. America’s elected leaders offer you prayers for gun victims and then, callously and without having fear of consequence, reject the most basic restrictions on weapons of mass killing, as they did on Thursday. They distract us with arguments about the word terrorism. Let’s be clear: These spree killings are all, in their personal methods, acts of terrorism.

Opponents of gun manage are saying, as they do following each and every killing, that no law can unfailingly forestall a certain criminal. That is accurate. They are talking, many with sincerity, about the constitutional challenges to successful gun regulation. These challenges exist. They point out that determined killers obtained weapons illegally in locations like France, England and Norway that have strict gun laws. Yes, they did.

But at least those nations are attempting. The United States is not. Worse, politicians abet would-be killers by producing gun markets for them, and voters permit these politicians to keep their jobs. It is previous time to quit talking about halting the spread of firearms, and instead to decrease their number drastically – eliminating some massive categories of weapons and ammunition.

It is not necessary to debate the peculiar wording of the Second Amendment. No correct is unlimited and immune from affordable regulation.

Specific kinds of weapons, like the slightly modified combat rifles used in California, and specific kinds of ammunition, must be outlawed for civilian ownership. It is possible to define those guns in a clear and powerful way and, yes, it would need Americans who own those kinds of weapons to give them up for the excellent of their fellow citizens.

What greater time than during a presidential election to show, at extended final, that our nation has retained its sense of decency?

Much more on this story:

Topics: government-and-politics, terrorism, murder-and-manslaughter, crime, law-crime-and-justice, united-states

First posted December 05, 2015 16:31:41

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$US2.2 trillion in fossil fuel projects ‘unviable because of climate change’

Updated November 25, 2015 22:28:17

A former investment banker turned climate modify adviser says planet risks constructing trillions of dollars worth of uneconomic fossil fuel projects over the subsequent ten years because of measures to limit international warming.

Analysis analyst Mark Fulton is the lead author of a report by London based environmental consider tank Carbon Tracker, which has warned there are $ US2.2 trillion in potentially unviable coal, gas and oil projects around the globe.

The report said the US had the greatest exposure to the fossil fuels market with $ US412 billion in unnecessary future projects whilst Australia’s potentially uneconomic developments have been worth $ US103 billion.

Mr Fulton came up with the $ 2.2 trillion figure by conducting stress tests on planned fossil fuel projects with a situation exactly where global warming is restricted to two degrees Celsius, the threshold above which the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimated that international warming becomes critical and extreme.

“It really is about $ US1.eight trillion for oil and gas and a couple of hundred billion for coal. Typically these are just the numbers that the sector is estimating to get these issues up and going at a reasonable return our return takes place to be at 15 per cent,” Mr Fulton told The Planet These days.

Mr Fulton said Australia risked an oversupply of liquefied natural gas projects and he singled out planned coal mines in Queensland’s Galilee Basin as a waste of income.

Audio: New report says US$ two.two trillion in fossil fuel projects unviable because of climate adjust (The Planet Today)

“It is the projects like the Galilee Basin, the Carmichael mine, they are just not necessary economically in our view,” Mr Fulton mentioned.

“There is just so considerably coal out there, that does Australia as soon as once again, all these companies, want to bet on a extremely volatile, extremely tough-to-study market place and make the world’s biggest coal mine, which by the way, even if I’m just an economist now, all you happen to be undertaking is risking a collapse in the coal price tag.”

Last month, a United Nations report identified the private sector was escalating its investment in much less polluting industries and it named on governments and policy makers to do the exact same.

Mr Fulton has been an UN climate modify adviser and was a senior economist and market place strategist at investment banks, Citigroup and Deutsche Bank.

Projects are viable due to consumers in Asia: Minerals Council

The Minerals Council of Australia disagrees with the report’s assertion that $ US100 billion worth of future coal, oil and gas projects are unviable.

The council’s executive director of coal Greg Evans mentioned demand for planned coal projects in Queensland’s Galilee Basin would stay strong more than the next few decades.

“Our main customers are these clients in Asia exactly where financial expansion will be taking spot,” he said.

“India, South-East Asia, and certainly, North Asia. So they will demand all the energy they can get.”

Mr Evans mentioned the International Power Agency was forecasting that Australian coal exports are most likely to boost by 37 per cent by 2040.

Next week, the United Nation’s climate modify conference begins in Paris with the aim of getting the world to sign up to a new agreement to limit international warming.

Mr Fulton stated it was time for investors to decrease their exposure to fossil fuel projects.

“I appear at this in terms of provide demand and financial break-even. I can only inform you what the data says, so I am not an advocate,” he said.

“I come about to have run a two degree anxiety test due to the fact I feel that is what companies should be seeking at.

“If you’re a firm you have got to see the down side right here, you’ve got to look at what the downside may be.”

Topics: coal, climate-modify, oil-and-gas, enterprise-economics-and-finance, pollution, australia

Initial posted November 25, 2015 22:26:47

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Tesla proactively recalling 90,000 cars because of a single fault

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Rear three-quarters view, highlighting that high-priced carbon-fiber spoiler. (credit: Steven Michael)

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has often mentioned that his company is on a mission to modify the car business. Tesla is challenging the entrenched model of US auto sales by carrying out away with traditional dealerships, and it has a refreshingly open attitude toward licensing its intellectual home. That spirit was on display when Tesla issued a recall for all 90,000 Model S electric autos (EVs) primarily based on the report of a single faulty auto in Europe.

Tesla told Ars (and Model S owners) that it “lately located a Model S in Europe with a front seat belt that was not correctly connected to the outboard lap pretensioner. This automobile was not involved in a crash and there had been no injuries.” However, the company has decided to ask all Model S owners to bring their cars in for a rapid verify to make confident there are no other instances of this issue. Checks of more than three,000 other Model S EVs have not revealed another faulty seat belt.

This type of corporate behavior is notable in an market where OEMs frequently have to be pressured into issuing safety recalls after a series of higher-profile troubles or lawsuits.

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Tomatoes taste good because we slowed down their internal clocks

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Tomatoes were most likely 1st domesticated in the Andean region of Peru and Ecuador. From there, cultivation spread to Mexico, exactly where conquistadors located them, returning with them to Europe in the seventeenth century.

In the years considering that, we have bred them to create bigger fruit, to resist ailments, and to retain their shape and colour in neat supermarket pyramids. But the initial domestication event also chosen an agriculturally advantageous trait—it slowed down the plant’s circadian clock so it could thrive in the lengthy sunny days of the new latitudes it found itself in.

Circadian clocks are present in all kingdoms of life. They function to coordinate organisms’ metabolic and other activities with the external environment, notably the 24-hour light-dark cycle. Circadian clocks are known to regulate plant physiology and development and therefore nearly certainly influence the agricultural fitness of crops shockingly, they have not but been intentionally manipulated.

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