- - Sunday, November 25, 2012

DOHA, Qatar — As nearly 200 countries meet in oil-and-gas rich Qatar for annual talks starting Monday on slowing global warming, one of the main challenges will be raising climate aid for poor countries at a time when budgets are strained by financial turmoil.

Tim Gore of the British charity Oxfam said Sunday that developing countries, including island nations for whom the rise in sea levels poses an existential threat, stand before a “climate fiscal cliff.”

Existing commitments for climate aid expire this year, as does the only binding treaty to limit carbon emissions &mash; the Kyoto Protocol.

Negotiators in the Qatari capital of Doha will discuss renewing both, and will start work on a new global climate pact that is set to be adopted in 2015.

NIGERIA

11 dead in bombing at army church

KADUNA — At least 11 people were killed and about 30 injured when twin car bombs hit a Protestant church in a major military establishment in north-central Nigeria, officials said Sunday, a month after a deadly church bombing in the same state.

A bus laden with explosives first rammed into St. Andrew Military Protestant Church in the military barracks in Jaji in Kaduna state at about noon, said the director of army public relations Brig. Gen. Bola Koleoso.

A Toyota Camry parked just outside the church exploded 10 minutes later, as people fled the first blast, he said.

Jaji is a symbolic target as it is home to the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, one of the country’s most important military colleges, training Nigerian and foreign navy, air force and army officers.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Sunday’s attack, but a radical Islamist sect known as Boko Haram previously has targeted Nigerian military institutions in the past.

The attack came two days after a special military task force announced that it would be giving a total of $1.8 million in rewards for information that could lead to the arrest of top Boko Haram members.

The twin blasts also came a month after another church was attacked in the city of Kaduna, about 25 miles away from Jaji.

MEXICO

19 bodies found in northern border state

CIUDAD JUAREZ — Authorities in Mexico’s northern border state of Chihuahua said they have found 11 long-dead people in a mass grave and another eight who apparently were tortured and killed in recent days.

The state prosecutor’s office for missing people said 11 male bodies were found in Ejido Jesus Carranza, near the U.S. border about 25 miles southeast of Ciudad Juarez.

Officials said they apparently were buried two years ago, a time when the area was wracked with battles between drug gangs.

Officials said Sunday they also have found eight bodies tossed along a road near Rosales, about 120 miles southwest of Ojinaga, Texas. They had been shot in the head after being tortured, officials said. Some had been burned, beaten and had eyes carved out.

COLOMBIA

FARC accuses government of ‘staging’ battles

HAVANA — Colombia’s FARC rebels accused the Bogota government of staging fake battles as part of a “propaganda campaign” against the leftist insurgency, as both sides met for another day of peace talks Sunday.

The rebel group, which last week said it would unilaterally lay down its arms, accused the army of carrying out a “mock battle” last week to use as evidence of what the government calls FARC’s bad faith in the talks.

The rebel group on Sunday renewed its pledge to keep to its unilateral cease-fire, even though the government has not countered with a cease-fire plan of its own.

“We express our full compliance to unilateral cease offensive actions,” said FARC spokesman Ruben Zamora, as another day of negotiations got under way in Havana.

The FARC promised a unilateral two-month halt to military operations last Monday at the start of its latest negotiations with the government.

But independent experts have said it will prove impossible to verify whether FARC really adheres to the cease-fire without external monitoring.

The closely watched peace talks have raised hopes of ending Latin America’s longest-running insurgency.

MACEDONIA

Minority marks Albanian independence

SKOPJE — More than 1,000 ethnic Albanians marched Sunday in the capital of Macedonia to mark the 100th anniversary of Albania’s independence from the Ottoman Empire.

Some politicians have opposed such celebrations, saying they could stoke ethnic tensions in Macedonia.

The prime ministers of neighboring Albania and Kosovo, Sali Berisha and Hashim Thaci, were expected to attend the celebrations later Sunday at Skopje’s sports center.

The anniversary celebrations in Macedonia’s capital are scheduled to last for four days, and similar festivities will take place later this week in the capitals of Kosovo and Albania.

Ethnic Albanians make up about 25 percent of Macedonia’s population of 2.1 million, but tension with the country’s Slavic-speaking Macedonian majority has remained high since a six-month armed ethnic Albanian insurgency in 2001 to demand greater autonomy in minority areas.

For nearly five centuries, Albania was at the heart of the sprawling Ottoman Empire, but it declared independence in 1912, and is now a parliamentary democracy and member of the United Nations and NATO.

From wire dispatches and staff reports