Reuters blog archive
China on Thursday defended its treatment of Tibetan monks it says are undergoing re-education, responding to a U.N. inquiry about what exiled Tibetans have called the forced disappearance of hundreds of monks.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said the monks had not been detained illegally, and urged U.N. human rights investigators to act without prejudice. "It is legal to supervise religious affairs, and protect normal religious order. This issue of forced disappearance fundamentally does not exist," Hong told reporters at a regular press briefing.
U.N. human rights investigators called on China to reveal the "fate and whereabouts" of more than 300 monks who disappeared after being rounded up by security forces at a monastery in Aba prefecture of the southwestern province of Sichuan in April.
Western powers launched a second wave of air strikes on Libya on Monday after halting the advance of Muammar Gaddafi's forces on Benghazi and targeting air defenses to let their planes patrol the skies.
The U.N.-mandated intervention to protect civilians drew criticism from Arab League chief Amr Moussa, who questioned the need for a heavy bombardment, which he said had killed many civilians. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said the U.N. resolution resembled "medieval calls for crusades."
But the United States, carrying out the air strikes in a coalition with Britain, France, Italy and Canada among others, said the campaign was working.
The intervention is the biggest against an Arab country since the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
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from Afghan Journal:
The foreign minister of India took the floor at a UN Security Council meeting this week, but in a rather embarrassing faux pas he began reading out from the speech of his Portuguese counterpart instead of his own. Three minutes into the address, Indian diplomats realised that S. M.Krishna was reading off the wrong speech, and stopped him from proceeding further. He began again, this time with the right script.
It's not known what the Portuguese thought of the Indian official reading their address as his own. Thankfully, the Portuguese minister had spoken earlier, or else Krishna might have been accused of stealing his thunder !
from Environment Forum:
One pesky aspect of climate change is that rising temperatures and stronger storms may increase invasions of non-native species to places that have no natural defenses against them.
The issue is mostly being ignored at the annual U.N. climate talks in Cancun, Mexico, California's Agriculture Secretary A.G. Kawamura said.
from Reuters Investigates:
As scientists from around the world gather in Cancun for the latest U.N. conference on climate change, Stuart Grudgings reports from Caapiranga, in the heart of the Amazon rainforest, for his special report "Weird weather leaves Amazon thirsty."
This year's drought in the Amazon was the kind of thing experts call a "once in a century" event. Unfortunately, it was the second one in five years.
from Afghan Journal:
The United Nations said last week that Afghanistan is "without doubt" the worst place in the world for a child, especially a girl, to be born.
It has the highest infant mortality rate in the world, 70 percent of Afghans have no access to clean water and hundreds of schools, mostly girls' schools, have been attacked by Taliban or other insurgents.