- - Sunday, November 27, 2011


U.N. conference opens on climate control

DURBAN — The U.N.’s top climate official said Sunday she expects governments to make a long-delayed decision on whether industrial countries should make further commitments to reduce emissions of climate-changing greenhouse gases.

Amid fresh warnings of climate-related disasters in the future, delegates from about 190 countries were gathering in Durban for a two-week conference beginning Monday. They hope to break deadlocks on how to curb emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants.

Christiana Figueres, head of the U.N. climate secretariat, said the stakes for the negotiations are high, underscored by new scientific studies.

Under discussion was “nothing short of the most compelling energy, industrial, behavioral revolution that humanity has ever seen,” she said.


Mobs burn Obama effigy, slam U.S. and NATO

KARACHI — Hundreds of enraged Pakistanis took to the streets across the country Sunday, burning an effigy of President Obama and setting fire to U.S. flags after 24 soldiers died in NATO airstrikes.

The rallies were organized by opposition and right-wing Islamist groups in major cities of the nuclear-armed country of 187 million people, where opposition to the government’s U.S. alliance is rampant.

In Karachi, the port city used by the United States to ship supplies to troops fighting in Afghanistan, more than 700 people gathered outside the U.S. consulate, an Agence France-Presse photographer said.

They shouted: “Down with America! Stay away Americans! Pakistan is ours, we stand shoulder to shoulder with our army!” while Pakistani riot police were deployed near the consulate.

Outside the press club in Karachi, dozens of political activists burned an effigy of Mr. Obama, an Agence France-Presse photographer added.

In the central city of Multan, more than 300 activists loyal to former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, as well as local traders, took to the streets, burning U.S. and NATO flags.


Palestinian leader: Sanctions starting to bite

RAMALLAH — Palestinian officials said Sunday they won’t be able to pay upcoming public-sector salaries that support nearly one-third of Palestinian families in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the clearest sign yet that Israeli economic sanctions are starting to bite.

Last month, Israel stopped the transfer of tax revenues and other funds it collects on behalf of the Palestinians, retaliation for the Palestinians’ successful bid for admission to the United Nations‘ cultural agency UNESCO, which was part of a larger effort to gain admission as a state in the world body.

Israel says a Palestinian state should be established through negotiations, and it accuses the Palestinians of acting unilaterally to bypass peace talks.

The monthly transfers of about $100 million, along with hundreds of millions of dollars a year in foreign aid, are crucial for keeping the government of Western-backed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas afloat.

Mr. Abbas’ prime minister, Salam Fayyad, said Sunday that he won’t be able to pay upcoming salaries, which come the first week of December.

He said the continued suspension of the tax transfers “has both an immediate impact on the lives of all employees and their dependents, some 1 million people … [and] has a devastating indirect impact throughout the whole economy.”

The Palestinian Authority is the biggest employer in the Palestinian areas, with tens of thousands of civil servants and security forces.


Opposition to defy ban ahead of vote

KINSHASA — Four bodies were recovered Sunday after clashes in Congo’s capital ahead of a critical national poll, a police official said Sunday, as the top opposition leader vowed to hold a public meeting in defiance of a ban imposed after the violence.

The European Union’s election observation mission Sunday criticized police for their actions during Saturday’s clashes.

Violence erupted at and near Kinshasa’s main airport, as rival political supporters gathered there to see their candidate before Monday’s vote.

Main opposition candidate Etienne Tshisekedi later arrived; the president did not pass through as expected.

At the airport, security forces fired tear gas and live ammunition into the burgeoning crowd.

Scuffles erupted on the road to the airport, and two dead bodies were seen on that road.

Police Inspector General Charles Bisengimana said four bodies were taken to a Kinshasa morgue Sunday. It was not known if the two men seen on the road were among the four at the morgue.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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