Friday, September 02, 2016
FLORIDA GETTING READY FOR POSSIBLE HURRICANE LAST NIGHT.
Tehran (AFP) - Iran will build two new nuclear power stations with assistance from Russia, the head of its Atomic Energy Organisation said."Operations to build two new nuclear power plants in Bushehr will start on 10 September and it will take 10 years for the power plants to be completed," Ali Akbar Salehi said, according to the state-run IRNA news agency."We will save 22 million barrels of oil per year by building these two power plants," said Salehi, who is also a vice-president, adding that the project would cost an estimated $10 billion.Salehi said there was a "cooperation contract" with Russia for building the plants, but did not give details of the partnership.
Pope to travel to Assisi for annual peace prayer-[Associated Press]-September 1, 2016-YAHOONEWS
VATICAN CITY (AP) — The world's top Christian leaders — Pope Francis, the archbishop of Canterbury and the spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians — will come together later this month to pray for peace alongside Jewish, Muslim and Buddhist representatives.The Vatican released the details of the Sept. 20 prayer day in the hilltop town of Assisi, the birthplace of St. Francis of Assisi, the peace-loving namesake of the pope.Francis has followed in the footsteps of his two predecessors in traveling to Assisi for the prayer event, which is organized each year by the Catholic charity Sant'Egidio alongside Assisi's Franciscan friars.The program calls for the religious leaders to have lunch together along with some victims of war, to pray separately and to sign a joint appeal for peace.
25 And there shall be signs in the sun,(HEATING UP-SOLAR ECLIPSES) and in the moon,(MAN ON MOON-LUNAR ECLIPSES) and in the stars;(ASTEROIDS ETC) and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity;(MASS CONFUSION) the sea and the waves roaring;(FIERCE WINDS)
26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear,(TORNADOES,HURRICANES,STORMS) and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth:(DESTRUCTION) for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.(FROM QUAKES,NUKES ETC)
Florida braces for first hurricane in a decade-[Reuters]-By Letitia Stein-September 1, 2016-yahoonews
TAMPA, Fla. (Reuters) - Florida prepared for what could be the first hurricane to strike the state in more than a decade as Tropical Storm Hermine picked up strength on Thursday, blasting its way toward the state's northern Gulf Coast.The storm, with winds gusting 70 mph (110 kph), was expected to reach hurricane force of more than 74 mph (119 kph) by the time it makes landfall, likely in northwest Florida overnight, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said.The last hurricane to strike Florida was Wilma in 2005, the hurricane center said.After battering coastal Florida, Hermine is expected to barrel across the northern part of the state into Georgia, then slam southern U.S. coastal regions on the Atlantic. Tropical storm warnings have been issued through parts of North Carolina.In Florida, forecasters warned of potentially life-threatening storm surge that could swell seas as high as 8 feet (2.4 meters), in some coastal areas. Shelters were open throughout the state.With as much as 20 inches (51 cm) of rain expected, many schools from Florida's central Gulf Coast to Tallahassee were closed on Thursday.Governor Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency in 51 of Florida's 67 counties in advance of the storm's arrival.Mandatory evacuations were ordered in parts of five counties in northwest Florida, and voluntary evacuations were in place in three more coastal counties, Scott told reporters."This is life threatening. We have not had a hurricane in years," Scott said, noting that 8,000 members of the Florida National Guard were prepared to be mobilized.As of 1 p.m. EDT, the storm was about 135 miles (220 km) southwest of Apalachicola, Florida in the Gulf of Mexico. A tropical storm warning was extended south of Tampa on the state's west coast and to the state's northeastern Atlantic Coast.On its current path, the storm also could dump as much as 10 inches (25 cm) of rain on coastal areas of Georgia, which was under a tropical storm watch, and the Carolinas.Georgia Governor Nathan Deal on Thursday signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency for 56 counties that extends through midnight on Saturday.Some U.S. oil and gas producers in the eastern parts of the Gulf of Mexico were returning workers to offshore facilities on Thursday and restarting operations shut as the system moves toward Florida.In the Pacific, a hurricane watch was issued for Hawaii and Maui counties as Hurricane Lester, currently a Category 2 storm, approaches the state. While expected to continue weakening, it could affect Hawaii during the weekend.Madeline, which has weakened from a hurricane to a tropical storm, was south of Hawaii's Big Island, where officials had opened shelters and shuttered offices and schools on Wednesday.Hawaii Governor David Ige signed an emergency proclamation freeing up state resources which runs through Sept. 9.The hurricane center also said in an advisory that another storm, Hurricane Gaston, will move near the Azores on Friday.(Additional reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee, Laila Kearney in New York and Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas; Editing by Bill Trott and Cynthia Osterman)
Some Gulf of Mexico oil platforms restart despite storm-[Reuters]-September 1, 2016-yahoonews
HOUSTON (Reuters) - Some U.S. oil and gas producers in the eastern parts of the Gulf of Mexico are returning workers to offshore facilities and restarting operations shut as Tropical Storm Hermine as the system moves towards Florida.Royal Dutch Shell and Enbridge Inc on Wednesday returned personnel to offshore assets as the storm moved away from its operations, and Anadarko on Thursday said it was returning non-essential personnel to its Marco Polo, Constitution and Heidelberg facilities. Non-essential staff will return to Anadarko's Independence facility on Friday, a company representative said.Shell's Coulomb field, which ties back to the Na Kika platform, will remain shut until downstream assets resume operations.BP said on Wednesday it had reopened its Atlantis platform, one of three it had idled on the storm threat.Operators who have pulled workers off platforms in the area include BP Plc , BHP Billiton Ltd and Hess Corp .Other companies have moved about half a dozen rigs and said they were monitoring the storm, which is expected to make landfall in Florida early Friday morning, according to the National Hurricane Center.The U.S. government said on Wednesday that so far operators have shut output equal to 312,280 barrels per day of oil equivalent and 360 million cubic feet per day of natural gas production in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico due the storm.The closures represent 19.5 percent of normal oil output and 10.6 percent of natural gas production in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) said. The government's estimate for oil outages was slightly higher on Tuesday.The shut-ins, while relatively small, represented the most significant weather-related outages for the offshore energy sector since at least 2013 in the United States.Based on data submitted to BSEE, personnel have been evacuated from 1.3 percent of the 750 manned platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.The Gulf of Mexico accounts for about 20 percent of U.S. oil production and around 5 percent of natural gas output, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.About 30 percent of U.S. natural gas processing plant capacity and 40 percent of the country's refining capacity is also on the Gulf Coast, mainly around Louisiana and Texas, the EIA has said.Below is a list of shut-ins confirmed by companies:-BP has shut two of its four operated platforms in the U.S. Gulf, which have the following design capacities:Thunder Horse, 250,000 b/d oil, 200 mmcf/d gas-Na Kika, 130,000 b/d oil, 500 mmcf/d gas--On Wednesday, BP said Atlantis was online after being idled. Its rated capacity is 200,000 b/d oil, 180 mmcf/d gas--Shell has shut in its Coulomb field, which ties back to the Na Kika platform.-The Destin Pipeline has evacuated all personnel from its MP260 platform, in the Gulf of Mexico as a precautionary measure against a tropical disturbance. All receipt points, including the Okeanos Gas Gathering System, Marlin and Horn Mountain are shut in. Delivery points, including VKGS are also shut in. Destin is majority-owned by BP with Enbridge Inc a minority partner.(Reporting By Terry Wade and Liz Hampton; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and Andrew Hay)
Powerful 7.1-magnitude quake off coast of New Zealand - USGS-[Reuters]-September 1, 2016-yahoonews
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A powerful earthquake of magnitude 7.1 struck off the coast of New Zealand early on Friday, the U.S. Geological Survey said, but there were no immediate reports of injury or damage.The quake hit 105 miles (169 km) northeast of Gisborne, New Zealand and had a depth of 19.1 miles (30 km), the USGS said.Twitter users in New Zealand's North Island reported being woken up by shaking. The quake did not pose any danger of a tsunami on the Pacific coast of Canada or the United States, the U.S. National Tsunami Warning Center said.The Chilean Navy also said it did not expect a tsunami on the coast of the South American nation.The USGS originally reported the quake as a 7.2 magnitude but later downgraded it to 7.1.(Reporting by Alistair Bell in Washington and Rosalba O'Brien in Santiago, editing by G Crosse and Dan Grebler)
16 When I shall send upon them the evil arrows of famine, which shall be for their destruction, and which I will send to destroy you: and I will increase the famine upon you, and will break your staff of bread:
5 And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand.
6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.(A DAYS WAGES FOR A LOAF OF BREAD)
U.N. worried La Nina will worsen 'dire' drought in Somalia-[Reuters]-By Katy Migiro-September 1, 2016-yahoonews
NAIROBI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The La Nina weather phenomenon is likely to worsen drought and hunger in Somalia, especially in the north where many people and their animals are migrating in search of water after four failed rainy seasons, the United Nations said on Thursday.La Nina, characterized by unusually cold temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, is predicted to bring further hardship to swathes of east and southern Africa already hit by the El Nino weather phenomenon.El Nino, a warming of the Pacific Ocean, brought severe drought to northern parts of Somalia, like Puntland and Somaliland, and floods to southern and central areas."The situation could further worsen in the likelihood of a La Niña event," the United Nations (U.N.) Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in its latest bulletin."The outlook for Puntland compounds an already dire situation with the food security situation for southern and central Somalia also increasingly worrying."Somalia's 2011 famine, in which 260,000 people died, was partly the result of a significant La Nina following El Nino.Four out of 10 Somalis -- some 4.7 million people -- already need humanitarian aid, the United Nations said, amid conflict between the Islamist militant group al Shabaab and the African Union-backed government.The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) predicts La Nina will last throughout Somalia's October to January short rainy season, known as the Deyr.This could increase hunger and migration, the United Nations said, as poor rains have already destroyed crops and reduced the opportunity for people to earn money as farm laborers.The August harvest is likely to be 30 percent to 50 percent below average in southern and central Somalia due to poor Gu rains between April and July, the United Nations said."The food security situation in southern and central and northeastern parts of Somalia is expected to deteriorate in the coming months with more people facing acute food insecurity," it said.(Reporting by Katy Migiro; Editing by Katie Nguyen.; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, property rights and climate change. Visit http://news.trust.org to see more stories.)
23 Thus he said, The fourth beast (EU,REVIVED ROME) shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth,(7TH WORLD EMPIRE) which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.(TRADING BLOCKS-10 WORLD REGIONS/TRADE BLOCS)
24 And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings(10 NATIONS-10 WORLD DIVISION WORLD GOVERNMENT) that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.(EITHER THE EUROPEAN UNION DICTATOR BOOTS 3 COUNTRIES FROM THE EU OR THE DICTATOR TAKES OVER THE WORLD ECONOMY BY CONTROLLING 3 WORLD TRADE BLOCS)
EU must find common objectives at summit, says Tusk By Eszter Zalan-sept 1,16-euobserver
BRUSSELS, Today, 15:34-EU Council chief Donald Tusk has urged member states to come up with common objectives at their meeting in Bratislava on 16 September."The only way to succeed in Bratislava is to be frank and not to avoid even the most controversial and difficult topics," Tusk said on Thursday (1 September) after a meeting with Luxembourg prime minister Xavier Bettel.Tusk has been on a diplomatic drive over the last few days to prepare for the Bratislava meeting, the first EU summit without the UK."We need to come up with a common diagnosis of the European Union after the vote in the UK," he said.Leaders needed to establish common objectives, he said, that would allow the bloc to "rebuild a sense of political unity" ahead of another summit in Rome in March next year, the 60th anniversary of the EU."We need that sense of political unity much more today, with the world around Europe bringing more threats than opportunities, than we did in the sunny days," Tusk said.He outlined some key policy areas based on the talk he had with leaders.The EU's priority should be taking back "full control in the field of internal security, and on our external borders," he said.Some leaders, like Hungarian PM Viktor Orban and Czech prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka have already said they would support the establishment of an EU army.Tusk said the key issue was still migration."Never again should we allow the chaos of 2015 to repeat in Europe," the EU council chief said, adding that the influx of migrants had been reduced significantly due to the common efforts.On terrorism, Tusk said member states must strengthen co-operation in the internal and external security area. He added that national security would remain a national responsibility, but that there was more to do at a European level to stop terrorists.-EU needs to protect itself from Brexit-Tusk reiterated that EU's position on Brexit has not changed: it will not start negotiations until London triggers the exit procedure.He warned that article 50 of the EU Treaty was there "to protect the interests of the members of the Union that want to stay together, not the one which decides to leave", so the EU should not give that up."We need to discuss what Brexit means politically for the European Union. We need to talk about ourselves," Tusk said about the forthcoming Bratislava summit.Tusk also highlighted the need to re-engage European citizens. He said leaders warned him about voters' growing fear of globalisation and the feeling of uncertainty about the economic future."We must help people to restore faith in the fact that the EU should serve them, guarantee their protection and share their emotions. All too often today, the European elites seem to be detached from reality," he said.Tusk has engaged in several meetings this week with EU leaders to lay the groundwork for the summit.He met French president Francois Hollande and Belgian PM Charles Michel on Wednesday, but gave no press statements. He also talked to Bulgarian PM Boyko Borissov and Croatian prime minister Tihomir Oreskovic.Earlier in the week he held telephone conversations with Portuguese PM Antonio Costa and Cyprus president Nikos Anastasiades.On Thursday he is scheduled to talk to Slovenian PM Miro Cerar. On Friday he will talk to Dutch PM Mark Rutte and Austrian chancellor Christian Kern before meeting Slovak prime minister Robert Fico, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the EU.Tusk will head for the G20 summit in China over the weekend.His diplomatic tour follows that of German chancellor Angela Merkel, who met 15 leaders at the end of August to prepare for the Bratislava summit.
Spain still far from having a government By Eric Maurice-sept 1,16-euobserver
BRUSSELS, Today, 08:53-Spain is likely to face a third general election in little over a year after acting prime minister Mariano Rajoy failed to win parliamentary vote on Wednesday (31 August) that would have allowed him to form a government.Rajoy gathered the votes of 170 MPs, from his conservative Popular Party (PP), his new liberal ally Ciudadanos (Citizens) and a small party from the Canary Islands. He needed the backing of 176 MPs to form a government.A second vote will be held on Friday, where Rajoy will need only more yes votes that no votes.Radical left-wing Podemos and smaller regional parties have ruled out giving any support to Rajoy, even through abstaining.As a result, all eyes are on the Socialist Party (PSOE), the main opposition party. If the socialists abstain, Rajoy could form a minority government.Its leader Pedro Sanchez has faced calls to "show responsibility" and break the political deadlock that has rumbled on through inconclusive elections in December and June.But barring a dramatic change of heart from Sanchez, his 85 MPs will vote no again on Friday.He said on Wednesday that his party would "not give in" and would vote no again."You said you needed the socialists to govern and Ciudadanos for the investiture. That is a government without opposition and that would be a term of blackmail," he told Rajoy in speech in parliament."We cannot support your blackmail, but denounce it."On Tuesday, Rajoy had said that Spain needed a government "as fast as possible. If we don’t, things could turn bad and get worse".If he loses again on Friday, Rajoy will still have almost two months to try to form a government.Some PP officials hope that the Basque Nationalist Party, a Christian Democrat party with five MPs, might be willing to support Rajoy once the campaign for the Basque regional elections on 25 September is over.In that case Rajoy would still be short of one vote in parliament.Meanwhile, Podemos (We Can) along with smaller parties from Catalonia and Valencia are calling on Sanchez to form an alternative coalition. Together, PSOE and Podemos have 156 MPs and would need allies to get a majority.If no government is formed within two months, a new election will be called on Christmas Day, or just before if a special law is voted to change the election calendar.
Russia and Turkey restart talks on EU gas pipeline By Andrew Rettman-euobserver
BRUSSELS, 31. Aug, 09:29-Top executives from Russian energy firm Gazprom will in Turkey on Wednesday (31 August) resume work on a potentially divisive gas pipeline project to the EU.Alexander Medvedev, Gazprom’s deputy CEO, told Russia’s Tass news agency that he and the firm’s CEO, Alexei Miller, will take part in the delegation on the Turkish Stream pipeline."They [the talks] are actually under way. This process began at the [recent] meeting of the Turkish economy minister with Russia’s energy minister. They agreed on the resumption of the project”, Medvedev said.“Alexei Miller’s visit to Turkey and his meeting with his vis-a-vis are scheduled for tomorrow [Wednesday]. I'm also going there, the process is actually going on," he said.The Turkish Stream pipeline, which is to run under the Black Sea via Turkey to Greece, was designed to replace South Stream, a pipeline from Russia to Bulgaria.Russia scrapped South Stream because under EU competition law Gazprom would have had to split up its ownership of the project and let rival firms use the pipe.It then scrapped Turkish Stream after Turkey, last year, shot down a Russian jet which it said had crossed into its airspace from Syria. But the Turkish leader, in June, apologised to Russia’s Vladimir Putin, whom he met in Russia earlier this month to reset relations.Russia is also planning to build a new pipeline to Germany, Nord Stream 2, and has said that it would stop delivering gas to the EU via Ukraine from 2020, when the new pipes are in place.-EU divisions-Turkish Stream had earlier faced European Commission criticism because it would force EU states, such as Greece, to build new infrastructure to connect to Turkey, while abandoning existing transit pipelines to Ukraine.Nord Stream 2 has raised complaints from eastern EU states, such as Poland, who said it would help Russia to cut off supplies to their region and would harm Ukraine at a time when it was trying to align itself with the West.Bulgaria has also complained that if Turkish Stream was built it would make a mockery of its loss of South Stream in order to comply with EU law.Amid falling gas demand, low oil prices, and legal hurdles, it remains uncertain which, if any, of the projects will go ahead.But the promise of potential new gas income is helping Russia to win friends in the EU in its bid to end the sanctions regime over Ukraine, EU diplomats have said.-Putin’s promises-For his part, Bulgarian prime minister Boiko Borisov, a sanctions critic, earlier this month spoke with Putin by phone about reviving South Stream.Speaking to EUobserver last year, a Slovak diplomat compared the pipeline projects to Russia’s “disinformation” campaign on the Ukraine conflict.“Some EU leaders keep meeting Putin and keep believing what he says. But he says different things to each of them and his actions don’t match his words,” the diplomat said.
WORLD POWERS IN THE LAST DAYS (END OF AGE OF GRACE NOT THE WORLD)
EUROPEAN UNION-KING OF WEST-DAN 9:26-27,DAN 7:23-24,DAN 11:40,REV 13:1-10
EGYPT-KING OF THE SOUTH-DAN 11:40
RUSSIA-KING OF THE NORTH-EZEK 38:1-2,EZEK 39:1-3
CHINA-KING OF THE EAST-DAN 11:44,REV 9:16,18
VATICAN-RELIGIOUS LEADER-REV 13:11-18,REV 17:4-5,9,18
11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.(WORLD TERRORISM,MURDERS)(HAMAS IN HEBREW IS VIOLENCE)
12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.
13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence (TERRORISM)(HAMAS) through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.
11 And the angel of the LORD said unto her,(HAGAR) Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael;(FATHER OF THE ARAB/MUSLIMS) because the LORD hath heard thy affliction.
12 And he (ISHMAEL-FATHER OF THE ARAB-MUSLIMS) will be a wild (DONKEY-JACKASS) man;(ISLAM IS A FAKE AND DANGEROUS SEX FOR MURDER CULT) his hand will be against every man,(ISLAM HATES EVERYONE) and every man's hand against him;(PROTECTING THEMSELVES FROM BEING BEHEADED) and he (ISHMAEL ARAB/MUSLIM) shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.(LITERAL-THE ARABS LIVE WITH THEIR BRETHERN JEWS)
12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer,(SATAN) son of the morning!(HEBREW-CRECENT MOON-ISLAM) how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
14 I (SATAN HAS EYE TROUBLES) will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.(AND 1/3RD OF THE ANGELS OF HEAVEN FELL WITH SATAN AND BECAME DEMONS)
2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.(ISLAM MURDERS IN THE NAME OF MOON GOD ALLAH OF ISLAM)
After sweeping into northern Syria, Turkey faces hard choices-[Reuters]-By David Dolan-September 1, 2016-yahoonews
JARABLUS, Syria (Reuters) - Flashing victory signs and firing in the air, the young rebels who took this Syrian town from Islamic State a week ago may be jubilant, but their ability to hold territory will hinge on Turkey's appetite for keeping its forces inside Syria.Sweeping in to Jarablus may have been the easy part. Backed by Turkish tanks, jets and special forces, Arab and Turkmen fighters under the loose banner of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) drove out Islamic State in a matter of hours last Wednesday.It could prove more difficult for the rebels, who number only around 1,500 fighters, to push west and secure the 90 km (56-mile) stretch of Islamic State-held border territory that Ankara has touted as a potential buffer zone.They face not only the challenge of displacing the ultra-hardline Islamist group but of preventing Kurdish militia fighters, backed by the United States but viewed as a hostile force by Turkey, from filling the void."Daesh and the Kurds are the same. Both of them brought these people to hunger," said Fikret Ismail, a rebel fighter in his late 20s, using an Arabic name for Islamic State."We will fight for our land with our last blood," he said, as he patrolled a street near the Jarablus town centre, brandishing a rifle and surrounded by a group of small children.Turkey has revealed little about the strategy behind its first major incursion into Syria, beyond saying it wants to drive Islamic State and Kurdish fighters away from the border."Operation Euphrates Shield" has drawn criticism from NATO ally Washington, which has called on Turkey to avoid confrontation with Kurdish-aligned forces and stay focused instead on the joint battle against Islamic State.The United States sees the Syrian Kurdish YPG as its strongest ally against the Sunni radicals. Turkey views them as a terrorist group and is worried that their advance in northern Syria will embolden a Kurdish insurgency at home. It has said no one can tell it which terrorist group it should fight.On Thursday, the Turkish military said it had taken three more villages around 20 km (12 miles) west of Jarablus and hit 15 militant targets with howitzers and four more in air strikes. It gave no details on the targets, but the villages were in an area still held by Islamic State.The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group, confirmed the takeover of 3 villages near the border.-COHERENT FORCE-Jarablus had been under Islamic State rule for three years and its black and white murals can still be seen on the walls. The town is slowly coming back to life. Women walk the streets, their faces uncovered. One man told Reuters one of his first acts when the group fled was to trim his beard.A week after it helped drive out the jihadists, there is no sign of the Turkish military in Jarablus itself. Instead, the town was filled with the scruffy young rebels Ankara is backing, some driving their Toyota trucks, machine guns mounted in the back, at high speed through the streets.Turkey's aim is to turn the fractured Free Syrian Army into a coherent force as a counterweight to the Kurdish YPG, said Metin Gurcan, a former major in the Turkish military and an analyst for the Al Monitor journal. Which group gained control of al-Bab, a town to the south, would be critical, he said.Al-Bab, held by Islamic State, lies on the southern edge of what Ankara sees as its potential buffer zone. Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, one of the ultra-hardline Islamist group's most prominent leaders, is thought to have been killed in a U.S. air strike there this week."You have two forces who are very eager, highly motivated, to capture al-Bab. At the end of the day, this serves the strategic interests of the U.S., which is prioritising the fight against ISIS," Gurcan said.Turkish-backed forces have also been advancing towards Manbij, a city around 30 km (20 miles) south of Jarablus that was captured last month from Islamic State by a U.S.-backed coalition that includes the YPG.Ankara, which accuses the YPG of "ethnic cleansing" in northern Syria, has demanded that Kurdish fighters return to the east of the Euphrates river. Manbij, like Jarablus, is west of the river. Turkey has long said that a Kurdish presence west of the Euphrates is a "red line" it cannot abide.Mohammed, a 16-year-old rebel in Jarablus who had been fighting with the FSA for just a month, told Reuters he was from Manbij and had no desire to fight the Kurds."Everything is destroyed in Manbij now," he said, blaming the ruin on Islamic State.-BUFFER ZONE-Turkey has repeatedly lobbied for the creation of a "buffer zone" just inside Syria to help secure its border and create a protected area for displaced civilians. But the idea has failed to resonate with NATO allies, who see such a move as requiring a prolonged intervention and whose focus is on Islamic State.Turkey has taken in nearly 3 million Syrian refugees since the start of its neighbor's five-year war, and is under pressure from Europe to stem the flow of migrants trying to travel onwards illegally from its shores.Ankara has been providing aid to tens of thousands of displaced civilians just inside Syria, effectively a step towards creating a de facto safe zone."In order to create a 'buffer zone,' Turkey would have to keep a significant force on the Syrian side of the border," said James Stavridis, former NATO supreme commander and dean at the Fletcher School at Tufts University.Such a strategy appeared immediately unlikely, he said, but added it could not be ruled out in the longer term."Turkey will have a set of unpalatable choices ahead of it having entered into serious military operations in Syria."Colonel Ahmad Osman, head of the Sultan Murad forces, one of the main Turkish-backed rebel groups, told Reuters last week that the priority was now to advance some 70 km westward to the town of Marea, long a frontline with Islamic State.The next phase of their operation could take weeks or months, he said, and could require an increase in the number of rebel fighters from their current level of 1,200-1,500.While they did not wish to fight Kurdish forces, they would do so if necessary, Osman said.For Turkey, which has long called for the ouster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, containing advances by the Kurdish militia appears to have eclipsed all other concerns."The fundamental Turkish red line is not Assad," Stavridis, the former NATO commander, said. "It is against the formation of a Kurdish state."(Additional reporting by Edmund Blair in Istanbul, Tom Perry and John Davison in Beirut; Writing by David Dolan and Nick Tattersall; editing by Anna Willard)
EU in Turkey charm offensive By Nikolaj Nielsen-sept 1,16-euobserver
BRUSSELS, Today, 18:10-The EU dispatched senior officials to Ankara in an effort to salvage a migrant swap deal and restore strained diplomatic relations.Both European Parliament president Martin Schulz and EU migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos are meeting Turkish counterparts in Ankara, including president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.Avramopoulos and Turkey's minister for EU affairs Omer Celik on Thursday (1 September) issued statements in a joint press conference followed by two questions from one reporter.Avramopoulos, for his part, made no mention of human rights abuse or Turkey's widespread crackdown on people with suspected links to exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen.The cleric has been blamed for orchestrating a military coup against Erdogan, a charge he has denied.Turkish prosecutors also issued earlier this week arrest warrants for 35 reporters. The names were released today on the Turkish news website Bianet.Instead, Avramopoulos said the failed military coup on 15 July had represented an "attack against Turkish society, its freedom, and its democracy.""The European Union stands, and continues to stand with Turkey," he said.The diplomatic niceties follows sharp criticism from Turkey that the EU has failed to demonstrate sufficient support for the government and the people in the wake of the coup.Plans to lift short-stay visas on Turks also remain open.The commissioner said he hoped to soon see Turkish citizens travel without visas to Europe."I also as a friend of Turkey have a dream to visit this beautiful country without a passport," said Avramopoulos.Turkey wants the restrictions lifted as part of a migrant swap deal with the EU signed off in March. But lawmakers in Ankara have refused to amend its broad definition of terrorism at the EU's request.The issue has risked up-ending the migrant deal, which prevents people from crossing the Aegean to seek asylum in Greece.The deal has witnessed an increase in the number of people entering Greece since the 15 July.Vincent Cochetel, Europe's director of the UN refugee agency, told the Guardian newspaper that some aspects of the deal of have already suspended.He said Turkish liaison officers on the Greek islands have been withdrawn, making deportations impossible.People working for the Turkish coastguard have also not been spared from the Gulen purge, he noted.
UK seeks 'unique' EU relations, migrant controls By Andrew Rettman-sept 1,16-euobserver
BRUSSELS, Today, 09:25-The British government has said it would not accept free movement of EU workers after Brexit, but still wanted “unique” access to the single market.A spokeswoman for British prime minister Theresa May outlined the position after May’s cabinet met for post-summer talks at her official retreat, Chequers, in London on Wednesday (31 August).“Several cabinet members made it clear that we are leaving the EU but not leaving Europe, with a decisive view that the model we are seeking is one unique to the United Kingdom and not an off-the-shelf solution,” the spokeswoman said.“This must mean controls on the numbers of people who come to Britain from Europe but also a positive outcome for those who wish to trade goods and services”.The PM herself said there was no question of undoing the EU referendum.“We must continue to be very clear that ‘Brexit means Brexit’, that we’re going to make a success of it. That means there’s no second referendum; no attempts to sort of stay in the EU by the back door; that we’re actually going to deliver on this”, she said at Chequers.“We’ll also be looking at the opportunities that are now open to us as we forge a new role for the UK in the world”, she added.The hard line on EU migrants was matched by an equally hard line against Brexit opponents at home.The PM’s office ruled out holding a vote on leaving the EU in parliament, where many MPs oppose the move, and said that Northern Ireland and Scotland, which had voted to remain, would not be able to veto the process.“There was a strong emphasis on pushing ahead to article 50 to lead Britain successfully out of the European Union - with no need for a parliamentary vote,” May’s spokeswoman said, referring to the EU treaty clause that governs the procedure.“Cabinet members were clear that it is the United Kingdom’s government’s decision to establish its terms and on when to trigger article 50”, she added.-EU red lines-Top EU officials and some EU leaders, such as French president Francois Hollande, have said the UK cannot block free movement of people and keep full market access.But the European Commission’s vice-president, Frans Timmermans, said in an interview with the AFP news agency also on Wednesday that the EU wanted an amicable outcome.“The United Kingdom is not going anywhere. It’s going to be geographically where it is now. The Channel is not going to get any broader,” he said.“So, in that sense, the UK will remain a European country even if it’s not a member of the European Union and that should be the basis, I believe, for the negotiations.”The British opposition reacted angrily to May’s decision on the parliamentary vote-“It is sheer, high-handed arrogance for them to say they will take all the decisions themselves, with no consultation of parliament or the public, with the devolved administrations consulted but not listened to,” the opposition Labour Party’s shadow foreign minister, Emily Thornberry, said.But the Labour party’s power to hold the government to account has weakened amid internal wrangling over its own leadership.A new ICM/Guardian poll on Wednesday put May’s Tory party on 41 percent, with Labour slipping one point to 27 percent.--’Existential issue’-Timmermans did voice frustration that the UK, two months after the referendum, still had no detailed Brexit plan.“They should … get their act together and tell us what they really want out of this”, he said. “The onus is on the country that decides to leave to tell us how they want to leave”.He also warned that the British vote to “take back control” risked tearing the EU apart as other member states pondered what they want from Europe.“This is an existential issue for the whole of Europe, not just for the UK”, he said.The Dutch politician, who oversees issues relating to justice and EU values, said the nature of the Brexit campaign, which had compared the EU to Nazi Germany, had created a difficult “dynamic in British society”.His comments came after the murder in Harlow, in southeast England, of Arkadiusz Jozwik, a Polish immigrant, earlier this week in what police are investigating as a potential hate crime.The killing came amid a sharp increase in hate speech against Polish nationals and vandalism of Polish shops in the wake of the EU referendum.“Some people in the Polish community are frightened about what happened”, Ivona Schulz-Nalepka, the director of a Polish school in Harlow, told the BBC.
India reports 25 percent rise in human trafficking cases in 2015-[Reuters]-By Nita Bhalla-September 1, 2016-yahoonews
NEW DELHI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Reports of human trafficking in India increased by 25 percent in 2015 compared to the previous year, with more than 40 percent of cases involving children being bought, sold and exploited as modern day slaves, government crime data showed.The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) said there were 6,877 cases related to human trafficking last year against 5,466 in 2014, with the highest number of cases reported in the northeast state of Assam, followed by the eastern state of West Bengal.The data released on Tuesday showed 43 percent of the 9,127 victims were below the age of 18. Crimes included inducing a minor girl with intent of sexual intercourse, buying or selling a minor girl for prostitution, and keeping a person as a slave.Activists attributed the rise in reported cases to greater public awareness as well as increased police training, resulting in better enforcement of anti-human trafficking laws.However they said the real number of cases could be much higher because many victims, especially those from poor, rural backgrounds, remain unaware of the crime."We all know the numbers are very high and we expect the numbers to increase over the years," said Supreme Court lawyer Ravi Kant and founder of Shakti Vahini, a Delhi-based anti-human trafficking charity."Increased cases means that law enforcement agencies are now treating the issue of human trafficking seriously."South Asia, with India at its centre, is one of the fastest-growing regions for human trafficking in the world.Gangs sell thousands of victims into bonded labour every year or hire them out to exploitative bosses. Many women and girls are sold into brothels.India, alone is home to 40 percent of the world's estimated 45.8 million slaves, according to a 2016 global slavery index published by the Australia-based Walk Free Foundation.-17,600 CASES AWAITING TRIAL-New Delhi police on Tuesday arrested a couple and charged them with trafficking and organised criminal activity, accusing them of trafficking hundreds of young women and girls over many years and selling them to brothels in Delhi's red-light area.Police said the man, 50, and his wife, 45, had lured the victims, from poor regions such as West Bengal, Jharkhand and Assam as well as neighbouring Nepal, with the promise of good jobs before selling them to brothels for 100,000 rupees each (1,132.67 pounds).The NCRB data showed there were 19,717 cases related to human trafficking awaiting trial in 2015, of which 15,144 were cases from the previous year.Only 2,075 trials were completed -- resulting in 1,251 acquittals and 824 convictions. Over 17,600 cases were still pending trial at the end of 2015, the figures showed.Activists say although the government response to human trafficking has improved in recent years, justice and support still eludes many victims, especially children.India has far too few courts, judges and prosecutors for its 1.3 billion people and there is a backlog of million of cases pending before the courts.The government has introduced an online platform to find missing children, signed bilateral anti-human trafficking pacts with nations such as Bangladesh and Bahrain and authorities are now working with charities to train law enforcement officers.Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government also plans to unveil India's first comprehensive law on human trafficking.The Trafficking of Persons Bill, which aims to unify existing laws, prioritise survivors' needs and provide for special courts to expedite cases is expected to be brought before parliament for approval by the end of the year.(Reporting by Nita Bhalla. Editing by Katie Nguyen. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit news.trust.org)
U.S. troops in Iraq increasingly active as Mosul battle nears-[Reuters]-By Stephen Kalin-September 1, 2016-yahoonews
GREAT ZAB RIVER, Iraq (Reuters) - Kurdish Peshmerga forces retook a swath of northern Iraq late last month from Islamic State and days later American forces appeared in the area, the latest sign of increasing U.S. military activity in the country.The U.S. troops, numbering about a dozen, were still there this week and spent Wednesday supervising Iraqi army engineers repairing a bridge to help local forces cross the Great Zab river in their push towards Mosul, the militants' de facto capital in Iraq which Baghdad wants to retake this year."We move around a lot. We've been all over the country," one of the U.S. servicemen told Reuters on the bridge, about 45 km (28 miles) southeast of Mosul. He said the Iraqis were making quick progress in repairing the span, and that the American troops would leave the area within days.Loath to become mired in another conflict overseas, the White House has insisted there will be no American "boots on the ground" in Iraq, but current troop levels are approaching 5,000.That is still a fraction of the 170,000 deployed at the height of the nine-year occupation that toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003, sparking an al Qaeda-backed insurgency and throwing the country into a sectarian civil war.President Barack Obama withdrew U.S. troops from Iraq but they returned in 2014 after the Iraqi army fled Islamic State's advance through a third of the country despite billions of dollars in U.S. aid and training.The United States is conducting an extensive air campaign over Iraq and also covert special forces raids against the jihadists behind their frontlines.But Washington says the focus of its troops in the country is to train, advise and equip local forces - Iraqi military and police, Kurdish Peshmerga and Sunni tribal militias, which are both battling Islamic State - and that U.S. servicemen there have no combat role.Advisers from the United States and other countries from an international coalition fighting Islamic State were initially confined to a few military bases across Iraq, but as the campaign progressed and Mosul comes into focus, Americans have inched closer to the action.-ROCKET ATTACK-A Reuters correspondent saw coalition soldiers in May outside the northern Iraqi village of Hassan Shami, a few miles east of the frontline at the time. They spoke English but their nationality was not clear. [nL8N18Q044}-While the U.S. military advisers and the soldiers who protect them do not have a combat mission, circumstances have at least occasionally blurred their role and brought them into contact with Islamic State militants.Such encounters have only been made public three times.Last October, Master Sergeant Joshua Wheeler was killed in a raid in Hawija where the military said U.S. special forces acting as advisers were sucked into battle when Kurdish fighters came under fire.Then in April, a rocket attack by Islamic State killed Marine Staff Sergeant Louis Cardin at an American base near Makhmour used for protecting U.S. advisers.A few weeks later, Petty Officer First Class Charles Keating was killed in the village of Tel Asqof where the U.S. military says he was called in as part of a "quick reaction force" to help advisers who had got caught up in a firefight.The U.S. military, which tightly controls media access to its bases and no longer embeds reporters with troops like it did during the occupation, has tried to keep attention away from its activities in Iraq.The soldiers who Reuters encountered on the bridge quickly turned their backs to cameras, and a Reuters request to visit Qayyara airbase, where the Pentagon is sending several hundred troops to help set up a logistics hub for the Mosul operation, was recently denied.A military convoy heading on Monday towards the base, which was heavily damaged by fleeing Islamic State militants, contained sophisticated engineering vehicles and heavily armored transport vehicles.(Reporting by Stephen Kalin; Editing by Pravin Char)
Merkel, Hollande worried about Ukraine conflict ahead of meeting with Putin--[Reuters]-September 1, 2016-yahoonews
BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany and France are "extremely concerned" about the situation in eastern Ukraine, especially along the line of contact between pro-Russian separatists and government forces, the two countries' leaders said on Thursday.German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande spoke ahead of an expected meeting next week with Russian President Vladimir Putin.In a joint statement, Merkel and Hollande strongly endorsed a ceasefire deal to take effect at the start of the new school year that was brokered by the trilateral contact group. The group is made up of Ukraine, Russia and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.Merkel and Hollande said the accord should lead to a lasting stop to the fighting that began in 2014.Merkel, Hollande and Putin agreed earlier to meet to discuss the situation in Ukraine on Sept. 4-5 in China on the sidelines of the G20 summit, the Kremlin said last week.A recent surge in fighting in eastern Ukraine and fresh tension in Crimea, the Ukrainian region annexed by Russia in 2014, have raised concern that a much violated truce agreed in Minsk in February 2015 could collapse irretrievably.The 12-point Minsk peace deal was engineered by Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France. Its aim was to end a conflict that the U.N. rights office said on Wednesday had killed more than 9,550 people, including soldiers, civilians and members of armed groups, since April 2014.Conditions including a complete cessation of fighting, a pullback of heavy weapons from front lines and release of prisoners of war have not yet been fulfilled, raising concerns the Minsk truce pact will not survive.(Reporting by Erik Kirschbaum; editing by Mark Heinrich)
Venezuelan opposition floods Caracas in vast anti-Maduro protest-[Reuters]-By Diego Oré and Brian Ellsworth-September 1, 2016-yahoonews
CARACAS (Reuters) - Dressed in white and chanting "this government will fall," hundreds of thousands of opposition supporters flooded Venezuela's capital on Thursday to press for an end to President Nicolas Maduro's rule.In probably the biggest mass demonstration against the ruling socialists in more than a decade, protesters streamed into Caracas from the Amazon jungle to the western Andes.The opposition Democratic Unity coalition estimated at least 1 million people took part in the rallies to demand a recall referendum against Maduro and decry the deep economic crisis."We are going to bring down Maduro!" said Naty Gutierrez, 53, whose 75-mile (120 km) drive from Maracay into Caracas took three times longer than usual due to soldiers' roadblocks."We are going to defeat hunger, crime, inflation and corruption. They've done nothing in 17 years. Their time is finished," she said, surrounded by thousands of people waving banners and national flags at one gathering point.The opposition hoped the protests would prove they are the majority and heap pressure on Maduro and the national election board to allow a plebiscite on his rule as allowed by the constitution half-way through a presidential term.But with the election board dragging its feet over the process and the government swearing the referendum will not happen this year, the opposition has no way to force it no matter how many people it brings onto the streets.The timing is all-important because should there be a plebiscite in 2017 and Maduro loses, his handpicked vice president would take over for the ruling Socialist Party, rather than triggering a new presidential election.In power since Hugo Chavez's presidency from 1999, the socialists have hit a low ebb as falling oil prices and a failing state-led economy have left the OPEC nation in turmoil.Triple-digit inflation, a third year of recession, shortages of basics, and long lines at shops have exasperated many of Venezuela's 30 million people. The frustration led to a resounding opposition win in a December legislative vote.-"READY FOR EVERYTHING"-Maduro, 53, says the opposition-dubbed "Takeover of Caracas" on Thursday was a front for coup plans, akin to a short-lived 2002 putsch against his mentor Chavez, who died of cancer three years ago. Maduro has failed to replicate his charismatic predecessor's popular appeal, and his ratings in opinion polls have halved to just over 20 percent."I'm ready for everything ... we will not allow a coup," Maduro told supporters late on Wednesday.At least a dozen opposition activists have been arrested this week, accused of planning violence around Thursday's events, according to rights groups and opposition parties.Extra police and troops were positioned around Caracas, and there were roadblocks on most major routes into the capital from the provinces, with buses being blocked and traffic crawling.Security forces fired tear gas on one highway where buses were stopped but people tried to continue on foot, pro-opposition broadcaster VivoPlay said. Authorities also used tear gas to block a group of protesters in Caracas who tried to break onto a motorway, witnesses said."All they are interested in is staying in power," said construction worker Luis Palacios, 59, from the poor Caracas neighborhood of Petare. "We want change, we are hungry."Dozens of indigenous people marched hundreds of miles from their home state of Amazonas.Fearing violence, especially given 43 deaths around anti-Maduro protests in 2014, many businesses in the capital closed.Swearing loyalty to Chavez's legacy and calling opposition leaders a wealthy elite intent on controlling Venezuela's oil, thousands of red-shirted government supporters gathered for counter-rallies."The opposition want to topple the president, but they won't be able to," said lawyer and civil servant Adriana Jimenez, 44, at a government rally of thousands close to a huge inflatable puppet of Chavez in downtown Caracas.Like other "Chavista" loyalists, she blamed Venezuela's ailing economy on an "economic war" by businessmen hiking prices and hoarding goods.Maduro joined his supporters in the afternoon, singing on stage and pumping his fist in the air.(Additional reporting by Daniel Kai, Andrew Cawthorne and Corina Pons; Writing by Andrew Cawthorne; Editing by Frances Kerry and Tom Brown)
1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.
2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
THERES NO DOUBT TO ME THE WORLD WILL BE SCAMMING EVERYBODY WITH A WORLD CARBON TAX SCAM.
G20 states must take harder line on carbon emissions: NGOs-[AFP]-September 1, 2016-YAHOONEWS
Paris (AFP) - G20 states must work harder to ensure a swifter transition to a low carbon economy, NGOs urged Thursday, notably deploring continued EU finance for fossil fuel-powered projects.Major powers should revise upwards by a factor of six greenhouse gas reduction targets by 2030 to meet their commitments of limiting temperature rises to two Celsius under last year's Paris Accord on climate change, Climate Transparency said."Our report shows that while global emissions growth may be coming to an end, there is not yet the necessary dynamic to transform the 'brown' fossil-fuel based economy and into the 'green', said Climate Transparency, a grouping of international research centres, in a report released ahead of a weekend G20 summit in China.- Brown to green -"The G20 is responsible for 75 percent of global emissions, and its energy-related greenhouse gas emissions increased by 56 percent from 1990-2013," the report said."While the positive news is that this growth has now stalled, the negative is that there is still more brown than green on the Climate Transparency G20 scorecard," the report said, highlighting a 2009 pledge by G20 states to end fossil fuel subsidies.Climate Transparency co-president Peter Eigen nonetheless praised summit host China for "taking more action than many countries."Climate leadership from China at the G20 Summit could help set the world on the right path to a future safe from the worst ravages of climate change," said Eigen as the report rated China, India, France, Germany, the United States and Britain best "in terms of investment attractiveness" while urging Russia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey to do better.The Hangzhou summit will push for the early entry into force of last year's Paris Agreement.The global NGO group Climate Action Network expressed concern that the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development had assigned some 12 billion euros ($13 billion) to fossil fuel projects between 2013 and 2015 and that Brussels had earmarked some 1.6 billion euros for fossil fuel infrastructure from 2014 to 2020.CAN Europe coordinator Maeve McLynn said EU policies such as the Emission Trading Scheme were also supporting controversial fossil fuel projects."The EU proudly stipulates that it has been a leading voice in advocating for strong climate action internationally. It has also pledged to phase out environmentally harmful subsidies, including fossil fuel subsidies by 2020," said McLynn.- EU 'way off track' -But she said the evidence suggested "the EU is way off track to achieve this goal" while "its public funding is out of sync with the Paris Agreement."The Hangzhou summit is (therefore) an opportunity for all G20 leaders to pave the way for a smooth and prosperous transition to zero carbon economies," McLynn said-Last week, organisations including Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth wrote to US President Barack Obama to express their concern that the mooted Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership could pose a threat to environmental protection standards.
U.S. and China to lead push on climate change at G20 summit-[Reuters]-By Laurie Goering-September 1, 2016-yahoonews
LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - China and the United States are expected to give the Paris climate change agreement a big push forward as the world's largest economies gather for the G20 summit this weekend, including potentially jointly announcing their ratification of the deal and action to curb fossil fuel subsidies, experts say.With China – which has shown growing international leadership on climate change – hosting the summit for the first time, "we can expect climate and energy to be front and center", said Joanna Lewis, a specialist at Georgetown University on energy and environmental issues in China.The Sept. 4-5 summit is also the last for U.S. President Barack Obama, who hopes to cement action on climate change as one of his legacy issues, experts say.China and the United States, the world’s two biggest contributors to climate change, have made a joint political push to drive action on the problem since 2014, when they made their targets for the Paris agreement public at the same time."The U.S. and China are poised to lead the way in the G20 (on climate action) so other countries will follow,” Lewis told journalists by telephone.But with China still accounting for more than half of the world’s coal use, and G20 countries so far committed to only a sixth of the emissions cuts needed to hold global temperature to “well below 2 degrees Celsius”, as agreed in Paris, much more needs to be done, said Lutz Weischer, head of international climate policy at Germanwatch, an advocacy group that tracks climate action.In particular, planned new coal-fired power plants within the G20 would nearly double coal capacity if built, and would make it "virtually impossible" to keep warming even to 2 degrees, said a report issued Thursday by the Climate Transparency consortium.“In the real world, there is still a long way to go, particularly for the G20, and they need to reflect that in a more serious way,” Weischer told journalists.Li Shuo, a climate and energy specialist with Greenpeace East Asia, said China in particular should commit to more ambitious carbon-cutting goals under the Paris agreement, as the country’s progress suggests it could start decreasing its emissions by 2020 rather than 2030, its current goal.Climate change will be far from the only issue on the G20’s plate at talks on Sunday and Monday. Other challenges - from the slowing world economy to terrorism, refugees and political uncertainty in members such as Britain, the European Union and Brazil – will likely be at the forefront.But with China expected to meet its Paris climate commitment to peak emissions ahead of schedule, as it slowly reduces its use of coal and pushes hard on renewable energy investment, experts say it is likely to use the summit as a way to highlight its successes and pressure others.-PARIS MOMENTUM-G20 countries produce about 80 percent of climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions, with China and the United States alone responsible for 38 percent, noted Andrew Steer, president of the World Resources Institute (WRI).Getting more G20 members to ratify the Paris climate deal could boost momentum for it to take effect early, perhaps even by the end of this year or early next, he added.That is considered increasingly important as the world continues to break temperature records on an almost monthly basis and struggles with more extreme weather, worsening coral bleaching, and other impacts that suggest climate change is advancing faster than anticipated.For the milestone Paris climate agreement to come into effect, 55 countries representing 55 percent of the world’s emissions must ratify it.So far 23 countries have done so, but 55 nations accounting for 58 percent of emissions have indicated they will approve the deal by the end of the year, said Andrew Light, a senior fellow at WRI and a former U.S. State Department climate adviser.“The U.S., China and others have said they will meet this timeline. The question is whether all G20 countries will make a similar commitment,” he said.Countries such as Brazil and Ukraine are now going through domestic steps toward ratification, he said, though getting the deal approved in the European Union will be more complex, as every member state needs to agree first.-SUBSIDIES DEADLINE?-G20 countries – which represent 82 percent of the world’s GDP - are also facing pressure to declare a deadline to phase out the fossil fuel subsidies they provide, which critics say hurt investment in clean energy and slow efforts to reduce the use of fossil fuels.In recent days, investors managing $13 trillion and insurers handling more than $1.2 trillion in assets have called for G20 countries to announce a deadline to end the subsidies.“Climate change... represents the mother of all risks – to business and to society as a whole,” warned Mark Wilson, CEO of insurer Aviva, in a statement. “And that risk is magnified by the way in which fossil fuel subsidies distort the energy market.”Leaders in the G20 agreed in 2009 to phase out fossil fuels, but are yet to set a firm date, although G7 leaders have said they would do so by 2025, as part of a broader agreement announced last year to decarbonize the global economy.Some 30 countries around the world have taken steps to cut subsidies in the last three years, from India, which eliminated diesel subsidies in 2014, to Germany, which aims to remove coal subsidies by 2018, said Helen Mountford, programme director for the New Climate Economy initiative and a WRI economist.China is also expected to push at the summit for broader action on “green finance”, to help ensure that more of the anticipated $90 trillion-worth of new infrastructure to be built by 2030 is low-carbon, Steer said.“If we’re to move from today’s high-carbon, low-efficiency world economy to tomorrow’s high-efficiency, low-carbon world economy, quite a lot needs to shift,” he said.(Reporting by Laurie Goering; editing by Megan Rowling; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, climate change, women's rights, trafficking and property rights. Visit http://news.trust.org/climate)
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