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First UN Resolution on Wildlife Trafficking ‘Historic Step Forward’, Chief of UN Environment Programme Says

United Nations Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner released the following statement after the UN General Assembly adopted its first-ever resolution on wildlife trafficking:

“This General Assembly resolution is an historic step forward, and one I believe will spark the firm and concerted international action needed to combat poaching and those who profit from it.

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CO2 removal cannot save the oceans – if we pursue business as usual

Greenhouse-gas emissions from human activities do not only cause rapid warming of the seas, but also ocean acidification at an unprecedented rate. Artificial carbon dioxide removal (CDR) from the atmosphere has been proposed to reduce both risks to marine life. A new study based on computer calculations now shows that this strategy would not work if applied too late. CDR cannot compensate for soaring business-as-usual emissions throughout the century and beyond, even if the atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration would be restored to pre-industrial levels at some point in the future. This is due to the tremendous inertia of the ocean system. Thus, CDR cannot substitute timely emissions reductions, yet may play a role as a supporting actor in the climate drama.

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'Catastrophic' floods in Myanmar hit the most vulnerable, including children - UN agencies

Myanmar suffers heavy rain, winds and flooding since Cyclone Komen made landfall in Bangladesh on 30 July, causing landslides and damages in different parts of the country, warn United Nations agencies.

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Villagers in Chingola, Zambia, tell of blighted lives and a looming catastrophe near Africa's biggest copper mine
Full story: The Guardian UK


World on the verge of an effective Ebola vaccine

Results from an interim analysis of the Guinea Phase III efficacy vaccine trial show that VSV-EBOV (Merck, Sharp & Dohme) is highly effective against Ebola. The independent body of international experts - the Data and Safety Monitoring Board – that conducted the review, advised that the trial should continue. Preliminary results from analyses of these interim data are published today in the British journal The Lancet.

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B'Tselem: A burned infant was only a matter of time in view of policy to not enforce law on violent Israeli settlers

The killing of a one and a half year old infant, 'Ali Sa'ed Dawabshe, and the serious injury of his mother Riham and toddler brother 'Ahmed, after a suspected arson attack by Israeli civilians burned their home, was only a matter of time. This, due to the authorities' policy to avoid enforcing the law on Israelis who harm Palestinians and their property. This policy creates impunity for hate crimes, and encourages assailants to continue, leading to this morning's horrific result.

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Mapped - the world's conflicts (INTERACTIVE MAP)

The news is dominated by wars and unrest in places like Syria, Iraq and Ukraine, but there are dozens of other conflicts around the globe just as devastating that get far less media attention.

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Investigation looks at devastating environmental and debilitating health effects a Thai gold mine is having on a village in Loei
Full story: Geographical Society


UN experts urge Israel to halt legalization of force-feeding of hunger-strikers in detention

Two United Nations human rights experts today reiterated their call on the Israeli authorities to stop the process of legalizing force-feeding and medical treatment of prisoners and detainees on hunger strike against their will.

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'Paralyzing' funding gap forces shutdown of 80 per cent of frontline health services in war-torn Iraq - UN

The top United Nations humanitarian official in Iraq today declared as “devastating” the “inexplicable” closures of life-saving services in Iraq for people in need, citing the most recent shut-downs of basic health care will directly impact more than one million people, including some 500,000 children who now will not be immunized, spreading risk of a measles outbreak and resumption of polio.

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Blockade and violence in Yemen pushing an additional 25,000 people into hunger daily

Since the start of the conflict, nearly 25,000 additional people are going hungry each day in Yemen as the blockade and fighting restrict food, fuel and other vital supplies, Oxfam warned today.

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Over 250 Pilot Whales Die in Just One Day in Faroes Hunt

It has emerged that over 250 pilot whales have been slaughtered in just one day in the Faroes. The two hunts (or grinds) took place in the killing cove of Bøur, where 111 pilot whales were slaughtered, and one just a few hours later in Tórshavn, where 142 pilot whales were killed. The total killed in this year’s hunts in the Faroes is already up to 429.

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Crisis-torn Iraq still needs 'continuous and massive' international support, Security Council told

With Iraq facing “one of the most difficult phases in its modern history,” the Government, its leadership and, most of all, Iraqis themselves, will need “continuous and massive” support and assistance from the international community, the top United Nations official in the country told the Security Council today.

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Good Riddance Infinito Gold, A Long Overdue Farewell to Costa Rica

Canadian, US and other international civil society organizations welcome Infinito Gold’s announcement that it is calling it quits on its tortuous quest to open the Crucitas mine in Costa Rica in spite of the determined opposition of the Costa Rican people and repeated court decisions against it.

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European Court Rules Same-Sex Partnership a Right

Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, hailed the historic ruling by the European Court on Human Rights that all signatories to the European Convention of Human Rights - including countries like Turkey and Russia, where discrimination and violence against LGBT people has recently made headlines - should recognize same-sex partnerships. This ruling, which could impact 47 countries, and 800 million people, is a major step in granting greater rights and equality to LGBT people across Europe, and around the world.

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Worldwide Pressure on the International Seabed Authority for a Moratorium on Deep Sea Mining: No deep sea mining without civil society consent

Citizens from all around the world have joined civil society, non government organisations and scientists in calling on the International Seabed Authority (ISA) to halt issuing further exploration licences and to establish a moratorium on deep sea mining.

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Israel: Security Forces Abuse Palestinian Children

Israeli security forces have used unnecessary force to arrest or detain Palestinian children as young as 11. Security forces have choked children, thrown stun grenades at them, beaten them in custody, threatened and interrogated them without the presence of parents or lawyers, and failed to let their parents know their whereabouts.

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International report confirms: 2014 was Earth’s warmest year on record

In 2014, the most essential indicators of Earth’s changing climate continued to reflect trends of a warming planet, with several markers such as rising land and ocean temperature, sea levels and greenhouse gases ─ setting new records. These key findings and others can be found in the State of the Climate in 2014 report released online today by the American Meteorological Society (AMS).

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ICC jurisdiction cannot be denied based on Israel's façade of investigation, says B'Tselem

In response to the publication in Israeli daily Ha’aretz that Israel would be entering into a dialogue with the prosecutor at the International Criminal Court in the Hague (ICC) in order to clarify its position, B'Tselem states: Israel’s contention that the ICC has no jurisdiction over alleged breaches of the laws of war, partly because “the Israeli judicial system is independent and can handle complaints on the matter of alleged war crimes” is incorrect. Past experience shows that the opposite is true and that Israeli authorities have demonstrated that they are incapable of investigating allegations of Israeli breaches of humanitarian law in the Gaza Strip.

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Global NGO's Urge UN Human Rights Committee to Reaffirm the Right to Life Begins at Birth

More than 50 NGOs are calling upon the U.N. Human Rights Committee (U.N. HRC) to reinforce and elaborate on the measures states must take to guarantee women’s right to life on the basis of equality and nondiscrimination, including by eradicating preventable maternal mortalities and morbidities and guaranteeing access to safe and legal abortion.

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“Not at the cost of human rights” – UN expert warns against more austerity measures for Greece

The United Nations Independent Expert on foreign debt and human rights, Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky, today urged the European institutions, the International Monetary Fund and the Greek Government to fully assess the impact on human rights of possible new austerity measures to ensure that they do not come as a cost to human rights.

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Muslim scholars say climate change poses dire threat

Human beings could cause the ending of life on the planet, says a group of Islamic scholars − and countries round the world, particularly the rich ones, must face up to their responsibilities.

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Chinese troops open fire, beat Tibetan protestors after death of revered lama in prison

The Chinese authorities responded to peaceful protests yesterday following the death of Tibetan lama Tenzin Delek Rinpoche by deploying armed police to fire tear-gas and use physical violence against Tibetans.

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Lack of fuel could soon cause more deaths than ongoing violence in Yemen: Oxfam

Lack of fuel in Yemen caused by the continuing conflict and restrictions of imports could ultimately be responsible for even more deaths than the fighting in the country, Oxfam warned today.

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UN human rights expert hails nuclear deal with Iran, and calls for the immediate lifting of sanctions

The new United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights and international sanctions, Idriss Jazairy, welcomed the nuclear agreement reached between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the group of P5+1 (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany) announced today, and called for the various sanctions and unilateral coercive measures in force against Iran to be promptly lifted.

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Pope Francis Calls for Global Bankruptcy Process

Pope Francis called for an international bankruptcy process in a news conference as he left Latin America on Monday. According to the Associated Press, when asked about the Greek debt crisis, Francis stated, "if a company can declare bankruptcy, why can't a country do so and we go to the aid of others?" Francis offered further comments noting that too many countries are struggling with high debts and he suggested a United Nations bankruptcy proposal could be the solution.‎

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Report: China's two-track passport system severely restricts travel for Tibetans and others

Chinese authorities’ use of a two-track system for issuing passports has severely restricted the freedom of movement for virtually all residents of areas populated mainly by religious minorities, Human Rights Watch said in a new report today. China’s discriminatory double-tiered passport system requires residents of those areas to provide far more extensive documentation than other citizens. Additional restrictions in place in the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) since 2012 have led to a near-total ban on any foreign travel by residents of that region, except those on government business.

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Climate change brings ill winds for airline industry

Global warming may already be taking its toll of air miles. As jet planes burn fuel and release carbon dioxide, the atmosphere warms and causes head winds to build up. Tail winds do too, but round trip journey times are nevertheless creeping up − and so are fuel costs.

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UN experts: Corporations must contribute to sustainable development by respecting human rights

The United Nations Working Group on business and human rights today urged Governments across the world to ensure that corporations do not undermine sustainable development, and called for greater transparency and accountability for how businesses address human rights risks and impacts.

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The Elders welcome Iranian nuclear agreement as boost to Middle East peace

The Elders warmly congratulate all the parties to the nuclear talks on the successful conclusion of these marathon negotiations.

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