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World population to keep growing this century, hit 11 billion by 2100

Using modern statistical tools, a new study led by the University of Washington and the United Nations finds that world population is likely to keep growing throughout the 21st century. The number of people on Earth is likely to reach 11 billion by 2100, the study concludes, about 2 billion higher than widely cited previous estimates.

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Ban Ki-moon urged to champion public funds for climate finance

Ahead of next week's U.N. General Assembly and Climate Summit, 118 groups from 37 countries urged U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to ensure that private finance is not counted as international climate finance, as well as ensure that the green bond market is truly green. The Secretary General, this week, named green bonds as one of a handful of areas in which the summit is expected to deliver major outcomes.

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Europe: National Courts Extend Reach of Justice for War Crimes

Governments wanting to limit impunity for the most serious international crimes should look to the examples of three European countries showing leadership in this area, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Specialized war crimes units composed of police, prosecutors, and immigration officials have the means to bring those responsible for atrocity crimes worldwide to justice and to ensure that war criminals don't find safe haven when they flee their own country.

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New Study Finds That 40% of Pregnancies Worldwide Are Unintended

Of the 213 million pregnancies that occurred worldwide in 2012, 40%—about 85 million—were unintended, about the same proportion as in 2008, when 42% of all pregnancies globally were unintended. The new study, "Intended and Unintended Pregnancies Worldwide in 2012 and Recent Trends," by Gilda Sedgh et al. of the Guttmacher Institute, found that the proportion of pregnancies that are unintended varied considerably by region. The highest proportions were in Latin America and the Caribbean (56%) and North America (51%), and the lowest were in Africa (35%), Oceania (37%) and Asia (38%); Europe's proportion was the closest to the global average (45%).

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Global shift away from cars saves US$100 trillion, eliminates 1,700 MT of CO2 pollution

More than $100 trillion in cumulative public and private spending, and 1,700 megatons of annual carbon dioxide (CO2)—a 40 percent reduction of urban passenger transport emissions—could be eliminated by 2050 if the world expands public transportation, walking and cycling in cities, according to a new report released by the University of California, Davis, and the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP).

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UN reports one million children still die on first day of life from preventable causes - UNICEF

While child survival rates have increased dramatically since 1990, one million babies each year do not see their second day of life, many succumbing to complications during labour and delivery that could be easily prevented with simple, cost effective interventions, according to a report released today by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

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Experts call for massive global response to tackle Ebola

The current Ebola outbreak now requires a "rapid response at a massive global scale", according to experts at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

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As climate change debate heats up, UN experts warn 'we are running out of time'

The United Nations weather agency today voiced concerns over the surge of carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere, which has reached a new record high in 2013, amid worrying sings that oceans and biosphere seem unable to soak up emissions as quickly as they used to.

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WMO: Record Greenhouse Gas Levels Impact Atmosphere and Oceans

The amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached a new record high in 2013, propelled by a surge in levels of carbon dioxide. This is according to the World Meteorological Organization's annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin, which injected even greater urgency into the need for concerted international action against accelerating and potentially devastating climate change.

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UN rights experts urge Saudi Arabia to halt continuous stream of executions, many by beheading

The United Nations independent experts on summary executions and torture have renewed their call on Saudi Arabia to implement an immediate moratorium on the use of the death penalty amid a reported increase in executions, many of them by beheading.

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The future of our crops is at risk in Middle East conflict zones, say Birmingham scientists

Wild species related to our crops which are crucial as potential future food resources have been identified by University of Birmingham scientists, however, a significant proportion are found in conflict zones in the Middle East, where their conservation is increasingly comprised.

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On International Day, UNESCO chief says literacy not only improves lives, it saves them

With one in four young people – 175 million adolescents – unable to read a single sentence, International Literacy Day is an opportunity to remember one simple truth: literacy not only changes lives, it saves them, said the head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

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Botswana government lies exposed as diamond mine opens on Bushman land

A $4.9bn diamond mine will open on September 5 in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, the ancestral land of Africa's last hunting Bushmen, exactly ten years after the Botswana government claimed there were "no plans to mine anywhere inside the reserve."

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New Analysis Finds Over 100 Million Hectares of Intact Forest Area Degraded Since 2000

New analysis and maps released today reveal the alarming speed at which the world's largest expanses of forest wilderness are being degraded. More than 104 million hectares—an area three times the size of Germany—of the world's remaining Intact Forest Landscapes were degraded from 2000 to 2013.

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The Lancet: International health systems fund could have averted Ebola outbreak

The Ebola crisis in west Africa could have been averted if governments and health agencies had acted on the recommendations of a 2011 World Health Organisation (WHO) Commission on global health emergencies, according to a new Comment, published in The Lancet.

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Mount Polley mine tailings spill nearly 70 per cent bigger than first estimated
Full story: Vancouver Sun


Great Barrier Reef: Abbot Point Dumping Backflip Welcome but Won't Fix Threat of Mega Ports on Reef

The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) has today welcomed reports of a backdown from port proponents Adani and GVK to avoid dumping dredge spoil in the Great Barrier Reef's waters but said that there is a long way to go before the Reef is protected from port expansions.

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Corruption, mistrust of Liberian government spur ebola spread

Decades of corruption, deep-rooted mistrust of government and weak public services in Liberia have hastened the spread of the Ebola virus, and much more needs to be done to bridge a communication gap between government and citizens, say civil society groups and analysts.

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Killing of Steven Sotloff is 'tip of the iceberg' of IS war crimes in Syria and Iraq

The beheading of US journalist Steven Sotloff by Islamic State militants is the latest in a series of war crimes being committed by the armed group across Syria and Iraq, Amnesty International said today.


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Doors open at Ban Ki-moon's 'Last Chance Saloon'

It is widely acknowledged that the planet's political leaders and its people are currently failing to take enough action to prevent catastrophic climate change.

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New Analysis Finds 38% of World's Shale Resources Face Water Stress

Governments and businesses using hydraulic fracturing to develop shale gas could face intense water competition in the world's largest reserves, according to a new report by the World Resources Institute (WRI). Global Shale Gas Development: Water Availability & Business Risk is the first publicly available analysis of water availability across all potential commercial shale gas and tight oil resources worldwide. The report finds 38 percent of the world's shale resources face high to extremely high water stress or arid conditions.

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Gaza blockade - no signs of loosening

Nearly a week after a ceasefire agreement that was believed to include the partially lifting of the blockade on Gaza, no restrictions have been eased, say humanitarians and border guards.

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Thailand: Migrant Children Locked Up

Thailand holds thousands of migrant children in detention each year, causing them physical and emotional harm, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Child migrants and asylum seekers are unnecessarily held in squalid immigration facilities and police lock-ups due to their immigration status or that of their parents.

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Turkey: Internet Freedom, Rights in Sharp Decline

Turkey, the host of a UN-sponsored Internet forum September 2-5, 2014 in Istanbul, has an abysmal record of protecting free expression online. In recent months, the Turkish government has expanded its powers to censor online content and to monitor Internet activity without independent oversight.

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Gruesome evidence of ethnic cleansing in northern Iraq as Islamic State moves to wipe out minorities

Fresh evidence uncovered by Amnesty International indicates that members of the armed group calling itself the Islamic State (IS) have launched a systematic campaign of ethnic cleansing in northern Iraq, carrying out war crimes, including mass summary killings and abductions, against ethnic and religious minorities.

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German Supermarket Giants Demand Return to GMO-Free Fed Poultry

Germany's top supermarkets, the powerhouses of Europe when it comes to retail, have delivered a blow to the biotech industry by forcing the German poultry industry to return to the use of non-GMO feed.

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Chernobyl legacy: Radioactive wild boars roaming the forests of Germany
Full story: The Telegraph UK


EU-US trade deal: slicing and dicing food safety

Friends of the Earth Europe have written to EU Trade Commissioner De Gucht, to warn that fair, sustainable and safe food could permanently be damaged by the transatlantic trade deal currently being negotiated.

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Pillay alarmed by killing of civilians in Ukraine

Intense fighting, including the use of heavy weaponry by both sides, in densely populated areas of eastern Ukraine, has increased the loss of civilian life, with an average of around 36 people being killed every day, says a new report issued on Friday by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

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Oxfam calls on Western governments to offer haven as number of registered Syrian refugees reaches 3 million

Western and other rich countries should step up their efforts to resettle Syrian refugees, Oxfam said today after the number registered with UNHCR reached 3 million.

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