Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

Sarkozy’s tough message on climate – did it get through?

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CLIMATE-COPENHAGEN/After one and a half days of mostly uninspired and often irrelevant speeches by world leaders, French President Nicolas Sarkozy walked to the podium at UN climate talks in Copenhagen and produced a seven minute rallying cry – focused, energetic and packed with more punch than the rest put together.

Jabbing his finger, he berated leaders from Africa, Asia, Europe and the United States to own up to their responsibilities and make compromises. Point by point he delivered his challenges, each starting with: ‘Who would dare..’ (implied answer, no one)

Who in the developed world would deny his historic responsibility for global warming (a reference to the United States?), who in Africa would venture to tear up a deal that seeks to benefit African states (a reference to those who want more financing), who would have the nerve to reject the notion that emissions cuts must be transparent (a reference to China?).

He finished by telling leaders to sit down and negotiate hard over the next 24 hours. “We need to change track or we are heading for disaster,” he said, then strode from the stage.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Comparing Pakistan’s Islamists to India’s Maoists

chhattisgarhOne of the more controversial arguments doing the rounds is the question of whether you can compare Pakistan's Islamist militants to Maoist insurgents in India. Both claim to champion the cause of social justice and have been able to exploit local grievances against poor governance to win support, and both use violence against the state to try to achieve their aims.

The differences are obvious:  the Islamist militants come from the religious right; the Maoists from the far-left. In Pakistan, the militants have become powerful enough to strike at the heart of the country's major cities. In India, the Maoists remain largely confined to the country's interiors, although their influence is spreading through large parts of its rural hinterland.

from UK News:

Clashes and queues raise temperature in Copenhagen

climate talks protest

With the clock ticking for world leaders to clinch a climate deal in Copenhagen, the last place you want to be is stuck at the back of a long queue.

But for thousands of delegates meeting in the Danish capital, that is exactly where they have spent endless hours this week.

Reporter’s Notebook — Memories of the Aceh tsunami never fade

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    By Dean Yates
    I wonder if Adnan Ibrahim ever found his son or Munawar Jamaluddin ever located his daughter. As much as I hope they did, I doubt it. Both men were part of the drama that unfolded in Indonesia’s Aceh province on Dec. 26, 2004, when a 9.15 magnitude earthquake triggered a massive tsunami that killed 226,000 people  in a dozen countries. In Aceh, where a succession of waves surged inland for up to several kilometres, the death toll alone was 166,000.
QUAKE INDONESIA    I met Adnan, 62, a week after the tsunami. He was scouring a refugee camp in the provincial capital Banda Aceh for information about his son, Syawaluddin, 17. As he broke into sobs, Adnan kept talking about how well his son was doing at school.
    “The boy is very smart. He is good with computers,” he said.
    Six months later, I went back to Aceh to report on how people were coping. Looking through Aceh’s main newspaper, my colleague Beawiharta, a Reuters photographer, saw notices placed by parents still seeking information about their missing children. We telephoned one of the parents, Munawar Jamaluddin, to see if he would talk about his search for his daughter. He invited us to his home, where he told his heartbreaking story.
    Just before Munawar’s pregnant wife died from injuries a day after the tsunami, she pleaded with him to find their daughter, not quite three years old, who she saw running away from the black wall of water before it reached their home. Munawar had been looking for six months.
    “In my heart, I know my child is alive,” Munawar said, trying to hold back tears.
    What do you say to people like Munawar? How can you give them comfort? Beawiharta and I — both of us fathers of young children — felt so inadequate. All we could say was that we were sorry.
    Five years has passed, but it does not dim the memories of reporting on this enormous catastrophe. The distraught parents who lost their children. The children who were orphaned.
    I am still haunted by the face of a child who had been badly burned in a fire following the earthquake. The child, lying on a cot in scorching heat, had been flown by helicopter to Banda Aceh airport to be airlifted to a better hospital outside the province. For some reason the child reminded me of my four-year-old son Patrick, an Indonesian boy my wife and I had adopted a few years earlier in Jakarta. It was too much. Before I could ask aid workers about the child, tears welled in my eyes. I had to walk away.
    Earlier this year while searching the Reuters pictures database for a photograph to illustrate a blog on the elections in Indonesia, the same face suddenly stared out at me.QUAKE INDONESIA
    Beawiharta had photographed the very same child, who happened to be a girl. I was struck cold, instantly taken back to that moment when I first saw her, but at the time not knowing whether the child was a boy or a girl because of her burns. Did she survive? I will never know.
    Everyone who went to Aceh after the tsunami was affected in some way. It did not matter whether you were a reporter, an aid worker or a government official.
    “I have been in war and I have been through a number of hurricanes, tornadoes and other relief operations, but I have never seen anything like this,” said former soldier Colin Powell, then the U.S. secretary of state, after seeing a stretch of the devastation.
    The coastline had been stripped bare for hundreds of kilometres. Some towns and villages ceased to exist. All that was left were marks in the ground where foundations once stood.
    A month after the tsunami struck, I went to Leupung. The town was a mere 40 km (25 miles) south of Banda Aceh, but had only just become reachable by road after a collapsed bridge was repaired. Once home to 10,000 people, not a single house or building remained standing.
QUAKE INDONESIA TOWN    Several dozen men dragged decomposed bodies out of rubble and twisted trees before lowering them into graves dug with farming hoes. With few shovels, gloves or face masks, they had decided to stay and bury the dead. Other survivors had left on foot for refugee camps in Banda Aceh.
    “There are still many more bodies. We are using our own hands,” said Armanizar, 27, a driver, as he dug a tiny grave for a child.
    Throughout it all I saw great acts of kindness and generosity. Indonesian volunteers from all over the country descended on Aceh, wanting to help in any way they could.
    In that first week in Banda Aceh, there was virtually no transport because of petrol shortages. But those who had a working car or motorbike would often stop for a reporter gesturing for a ride. Most refused to accept money. I remember one young man on a motorbike saying he could
not take the money I offered because the world needed to see what the tsunami had done to Aceh. That was what mattered, he said.

    Reuters and the Red Cross have produced a multimedia web documentary entitled “Surviving the Tsunami: Stories of Hope”.  The production combines interviews with survivors, imagery by award-winning Reuters photographers and interactive graphics showing the impact of the tsunami across 13 countries.  To see the documentary go to http://tsunami.trust.org.

On the rickety, smokey track to Sarajevo

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By Ivana Sekularac  – Aboard the Belgrade-Sarajevo train

trainJust after 8 a.m. on Sunday, I was one of two dozen journalists at Belgrade’s central station to board the first train to Sarajevo for 18 years, since the wars in Bosnia and Croatia slashed
through the fabric of what used to be my country.

I am a bit of an anomaly, a Serb who moved to Sarajevo for a time in 1998 after the war ended and as Bosnia was trying to get back on its feet.

from Blogs Dashboard:

X-factor strikes surreal note in Taliban heartland

Gordon BrownAdrian Croft reports on a trip to southern Afghanistan with the British prime minister.

 In a dusty lounge at Kandahar airbase, Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Afghan President Hamid Karzai were in the middle of a sombre news conference on how to turn around the situation in Afghanistan, where British forces face mounting casualties in their fight against Taliban insurgents. Brown and Karzai offered heartfelt sympathies to the families of the 100 British soldiers killed this year but then a TV reporter chipped in with the burning issue of the day. "Who did the prime minister think would win the X-Factor final," the hit talent show on British TV.

Russia’s security proposals – about much more than security

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medvedevWestern responses to President Dmitry Medvedev’s proposal for a new European-Atlantic security body that stretches from Vancouver to Vladivostok have ranged from dismissive to lukewarm. None have been enthusiastic.

But some inside and outside Russia argue it would be unwise for Europe and the United States to reject the proposal out of hand, not least because, as one Russian official put it, this is one of the few occasions where Russia isn’t disagreeing but coming up with something constructive.

How did the tsunami affect you?

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Tsunami damage

It’s been almost five years since the tsunami tore across the Indian Ocean, killing 226,000 people in 13 countries and sparking an unprecedented outpouring of global giving.

Ahead of the anniversary, a major new multimedia documentary tells the stories of survivors whose lives were transformed by the tragedy. “Surviving the Tsunami: Stories of Hope” is a joint production by Thomson Reuters Foundation and the Red Cross. Click here to view.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Can China help stabilise Pakistan?

forbidden cityWhen President Barack Obama suggested in Beijing last month that China and the United States could cooperate on bringing stability to Afghanistan and Pakistan, and indeed to "all of South Asia", much of the attention was diverted to India, where the media saw it as inviting unwarranted Chinese interference in the region.

But what about asking a different question? Can China help stabilise the region?

Nobel notebook: Dancing queens and rule breakers

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The author in full regalia

The author in full regalia

The sight of Nobel laureates and the great and good of Sweden dancing to big-band renditions of “The Theme from Rocky” or the music of Earth, Wind and Fire has to be among the more surreal experiences I’ve had in Stockholm. Decked out in evening wear, with their medals and sashes, they twirled, shimmied and occasionally bumped-and-grinded in the ballroom above the banquet hall, where the King of Sweden had recently toasted to the memory of Alfred Nobel.

Welcome to the glittering Nobel banquet, the grand finale of the Nobel Week festivities that celebrate achievements in the arts and sciences.

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