A global climate change conference aiming to get 196 countries to agree to reduce man-made greenhouses gases that cause global warming opened here Monday.
Some 151 world leaders converged on the exhibition halls at Le Bourget Airport for the summit taking place just outside the French capital amid extraordinarily tight security. Opening the event on Monday, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that negotiators had only days to finalize an agreement. He said that when the conference ends on Dec. 11 he wants to be able to say “our mission is accomplished.”
United Nations climate chief Christina Figueres said in her opening remarks that “never before has a responsibility so great been in the hands of so few. The world is looking to you.”
President Obama arrived in Paris late Sunday night when he paid a surprise visit to the Bataclan theater where 90 people were killed in the attacks on Nov. 13. He placed a white rose at a memorial at the scene.
Republican presidential hopefuls including Donald Trump, Mike Huckabee, and Carly Fiorina have condemned Friday’s fatal shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado, while denying a link between the attack and pro-life rhetoric.
“Regardless of why [the gunman] did it, what he did is domestic terrorism,” Huckabee said on CNN’s State of the Union. “And what he is did is absolutely abominable, especially to those of us in the pro-life movement, because there’s nothing about any of us that would condone or in any way look the other way at something like this.” CNN, The Washington Post via The Week
A Saudi government press release on Sunday said Jeddah Economic Company and Saudi Arabia’s Alinma Investment had signed a financing deal for 8.4 billion Saudi riyals (or $2.2 billion) to build Jeddah City, including the sky-piercing Jeddah tower.
The project is currently built up to the 26th floor, it added. The 3,280-feet (1 kilometer) skyscraper is scheduled for completion in 2020. The Burj Khalifa, by comparison, stands at a meeker 2,716 feet, or 827 meters.
Dubai’s iconic Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, could be stripped of its Guinness title if Saudi Arabia succeeds the project- a prospect looking more likely as funds for the $1.23 billion project have been secured. CNN
Beijing and other parts of China experienced some of the worst smog of the year Monday, even as President Xi Jinping was preparing to meet with other world leaders in Paris to decide what do to about climate change.
The air quality in the Chinese capital was considered hazardous, reaching an orange-level pollution alert – the second highest designation. Residents were told to stay indoors if possible. Some industrial plants were closed, while certain types of vehicles were banned from the roads.
“In the past the air was so clear, you could see the clouds, so clear, but nowadays when can you see a clear sky or white clouds? Never. The air is truly horrible,” said Wang Shujun, a local resident. The concentration of airborne particles that can harm the lungs reached 20 times what the World Health Organizations considers the limit for daily exposure.
Visibility in the capital made the day look dreary with the tops of tall buildings barely visible from the ground. VOA
Pope Francis has told worshippers in a mosque in the Central African Republic that “Christians and Muslims are brothers and sisters”.
He was speaking to Muslims who had sought shelter in the capital Bangui after nearly three years of violence between Christians and Muslims. The mosque visit was seen as perhaps the most difficult part of his Africa tour, a BBC correspondent says. Pope Francis then held the final Mass of his Africa trip in Bangui.
More than 100,000 Muslims left the capital as a result of the fighting but 15,000 are left in an area called PK5, according to the campaign group Human Rights Watch. BBC
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