Global leaders approve landmark climate change deal
The world’s nations took the boldest steps yet to stem climate change, adopting an historic package of measures to limit fossil-fuel pollution and establish a mechanism to step up the reductions for decades.
After two weeks of intense negotiations overseen by the United Nations, envoys from 195 nations in Paris on Saturday endorsed a program that also set an ambitious goal to curb temperature increases and set up ways to measure and verify emissions everywhere.
French President Francois Hollande hailed the deal as the “first universal agreement in the history of climate negotiations” and “a major leap for mankind.” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who spent days in Paris negotiating, said it the deal sends “a critical message to the global marketplace.” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon called it a “monumental triumph.”
The landmark program applies to all nations, rich and poor. It’s broader than the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which limits greenhouse gas emissions in 37 mostly European nations. Environmentalists said that while the Paris package is a step forward, more action is required to contain temperatures that are on track to set a record in 2015.
The 31-page accord also heals a rift between industrial and developing nations over how to act on climate change that erupted in 2009 when the last big push for a deal dissolved in finger pointing over who should take the first step. Bloomberg
Former NY Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos found guilty of corruption
Former New York state Senate Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos, 67, and his son, Adam Skelos, 33, were found guilty on all eight counts of bribery, extortion, and conspiracy brought against them Friday.
According to prosecutors, the elder Skelos used his position to direct consulting payments to his son, ultimately amounting to roughly $300,000. The ruling, coupled with the November conviction of former New York state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver on corruption charges, is a gut punch to the state government in Albany. Both father and son could face up to 130 years in prison when they are sentenced next year.
Skelos graduated from Washington College with a B.A. in History in 1970, and earned a J.D. from Fordham University School of Law in 1975. Skelos first won elective office on November 4, 1980. Running on the Republican, Conservative, and Right-to-Life party lines. Daily News
Saudi Arabia: First woman councilor elected
A woman has won a seat on a municipal council for the first time in Saudi Arabia, after the kingdom lifted its bar on women taking part in elections. Salma bint Hizab al-Oteibi won a seat in Mecca province in Saturday’s vote. Women have also won in several other regions in the country, including Jeddah and Qatif, reports suggest.
The election was the first where women were allowed to vote and stand as candidates, and is being viewed as a landmark in the conservative kingdom. Saudi women still face many curbs in public life, including driving.
A total of 978 women registered as candidates, alongside 5,938 men. Officials said about 130,000 women had registered to vote in Saturday’s poll, compared with 1.35 million men. BBC
Japan, India strengthen ties with series of deals
Japan and India on Saturday sealed their warming ties with a deal for Tokyo to build India’s first high-speed train, defense pacts that will clear the way for Japan to sell weapons to India, and progress on a civil nuclear agreement.
The deals were announced following a meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. The two nationalist leaders share a close rapport, and the economic and security partnership between the two countries has received a major boost since Modi came to power last year.
Abe, who is on a three-day visit to India, described the agreements as heralding a new era of cooperation between the two countries. “Strong India is for the good of Japan and strong Japan is good for India, this is my basic tenet,” he said. VOA
US: Births and abortions hit all-time lows
U.S. pregnancy and abortion rates have both hit record lows, according to a new report using 20 years of data through 2010. Pregnancies fell to 6.155 million in 2010, the lowest number since 1986, according to researchers.
“The pregnancy rate for women in the United States continued to decline in 2010, to 98.7 per 1,000 women aged 15-44, a record low for the 1976-2010 period. This level was 15 percent below the 1990 peak,” said Sally Curtin and Joyce Abma of the National Center for Health Statistics, or NCHS, and Kathryn Kost of the Guttmacher Institute.
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