In the United Kingdom today is the final day of COP26 - the 26th United Nations Climate Change conference. Yesterday the United States and China - the two biggest contributors to global warming - said that they would work together on climate action over the next decade. A joint declaration said that the US and China are both strongly committed to maintain the 1.5 degrees temperature rise that was agreed in Paris in 2015. Scientists say that keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial level will stop the worst impacts of climate change. UN chief Antonio Guterres said that the agreement between China and the US was very important..
“I would say that is the reason why the agreement between the United states and China was so important. First of all because facing a threat to the survival of humankind and the planet, like climate change, it doesn’t make any sense to have the two major economies of the world at odds with each other.... and second because this agreement is addressing the key question we face at the present moment - the need to reduce emissions in the next decade. Until the last moment, hope should be maintained.”
On the border between Poland and Belarus there are still thousands of refugees trapped in freezing cold temperatures. Reuters news agency has interviewed some of the refugees who sucessfully crossed the border into Poland. One man described how he legally flew to Russia where he paid traffickers to take him to the Polish border. Another man described being kicked in the face by a Belarussian soldier. A Syrian man, described how a Belarussian soldier cut the border fence and told him to run into Poland. Yesterday the Belarussian government threatened to stop the delivery of gas to the EU. President Alexander Lukashenko said “We are heating Europe, and they are threatening us”. Much of Europe’s natural gas travels from Russia, through Belarus into the EU.
Iran s still sending refugees back to Afghanistan, despite the terrible conditions there, according to aid agencies. This report from Khadija Tahir...
Iran's government is deporting thousands of Afghan refugees. According to the International Organization for Migration, almost one million Afghans have been sent back to Afghanistan this year, including 28,000 in October. Iran saw a large influx of refugees from Afghanistan after the Taliban took control of Kabul in August. Now, the refugees are being sent back to Afghanistan, which is facing a drought and food shortages due to disruptions in international aid. The United Nations has declared that Afghanistan is on the brink of one of the world's worst humanitarian crises.
In Hong Kong a protester has been sentenced to more than 5 years in prison for protesting for the independence of Hong Kong. Ma Chun-Man was convicted of chanting pro-independence slogans and for comments he made to reporters. Under a security law introduced last year, calling for Hong Kong’s independence from China is illegal. Ma said that he did not regret what he had done.
In the United States, President Joe Biden has said that his government will fight against high prices. Consumer prices have risen more than 6% since November last year - which fastest rise since 1990. High inflation has been blamed on supply problems resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, and a lack of workers. Biden said yesterday that he had been speaking to companies to try to reduce price rises...
“Yesterday I spoke to the CEOS, personally I spoke to the CEOs of the major retailers- Walmart, Target and the leading freight movers - FedEx and UPS.... they’re getting more of their containers off the ports quicker than ever before...”
Cuba has accused the United States of trying to destabilise it. The banned Cuban opposition has said that it will hold protests next week, and the Cuban government has said that the US has been supporting these protests.
Sudan’s civilian coalition has rejected talking to military leaders. Last month, the Sudanese military, led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan took complete control of Sudan, and removed Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdock. Protests against the military are continuing in the capital, Khartoum.
The Ethiopian government has set conditions for a ceasefire with Tigrayan forces. The Ethiopian government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, has been at war with the local government of the Tigray region for a year, and recently Tigrayan soldiers have taken towns in other regions of Ethiopia. Dina Mufti, from the Ethiopian foreign ministry, said yesterday that the only way that the government would start talks with Tigrayan forces, is if they leave other states, and if they recognize the legitimacy of the Ethiopian government.
And in South Africa, former president Frederik Willem de Klerk has died aged 85. De Klerk was South Africa’s last white president and has been praised for helping the transition to a black-led government in 1994. In 1993 he jointly won the Nobel peace prize with Nelson Mandela for their work in removing the apartheid system, that seperated whites and blacks. In the 1994 election - the first election that allowed black people to vote - De Klerk’s National party came second, and he became Deputy President under Nelson Mandela.
That’s your world news for this week. A huge thank you to Antonio from Spain and Luigi from Italy who have become the first ever contributors to SEND7. This podcast and its transcripts are free, but if you find it valuable, then please give the amount that you would pay for a cup of coffee just once a month, at send7.org/support. I’m Stephen Devincenzi. Have a great weekend and I will see you on Monday.