World’s top news stories for today from Washingtonian post (April 23, 2016)
World leaders sign climate change accord
World leaders from 175 countries signed the historic Paris climate accord Friday, using Earth Day as a backdrop for the ceremonial inking of a long-fought deal that aims to slow the rise of harmful greenhouse gases.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry signed the document while holding his young granddaughter. She was one of 197 children at the event to represent the parties that adopted the agreement, Ban said.
The non-binding treaty, approved in Paris in December after years of U.N. climate negotiations, aims to slow the rise of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, blamed for putting Earth on a dangerous warming path.
The deal sets a target of limiting global warming by 2100 to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees F), as compared to pre-industrial levels. To accomplish that, each nation sets its own target for reducing emissions and updates that mark each year. USA Today
Obama pushes Britain to remain in EU
President Obama joined British Prime Minister David Cameron in a London press conference on Friday, and urged Britons to vote against leaving the EU in the upcoming June 23 “Brexit” referendum. “Part of being friends is to be honest and to let you know what I think,” Obama said.
“It affects our prospect as well. The United States wants a strong United Kingdom as a partner.” Obama warned that exiting the EU would put the UK “in the back of the queue” for a new free trade deal with the US However, he conceded, it is “something that the British voters have to decide for themselves.” Associated Press, CNN via The Week
US will buy nuclear components from Iran
The United States is poised to buy heavy water, a component of nuclear reactors, from Iran for $8.6 million, according to reports credited to an unnamed senior White House official. The purchase of 32 metric tons of heavy water will help the United States’ goal of getting the material out of Iran, CNN reported, citing the official. The Department of Energy will likely sell it to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, among other lab and commercial facilities.
The United States cannot make heavy water domestically, the official told CNN. A chief component of the Iran nuclear deal stipulates that Iran reduce its stockpile of nuclear weapons. The deal, reached last year, allows for Iran to reach billions of dollars in sanctions relief in exchange for curbing its atomic program.
EU leaders to meet in Turkey for migrants deal
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other EU officials will travel to Turkey this weekend to try to smooth over tensions that have arisen since the two sides signed a deal last month to curb the number of migrants pouring into Europe. Under the month-old, nearly $7 billion deal, migrants arriving on the shores of Greece would be returned to Turkey and in exchange, Turks would, among other things, be allowed to travel to Europe without acquiring a visa.
The deal, which went into effect three weeks ago, initially served to slow the number of migrants entering Greece illegally. But recently boats have started arriving in Greece with about 150 people per day.
Diplomatic relations have wavered after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan‘s warning that his country would break the deal if the EU did not keep up its end of the bargain by allowing visa-free travel for Turkish citizens. Merkel and other diplomats promised to present a visa recommendation next, but only if Turkey keeps up its side of the agreement and provides safe asylum for refugees.
Human rights groups, including Amnesty International, have accused the Turkish military of illegally shooting at Syrian refugees and sending them back to their war-torn country. VOA
US Presidential election
What they believe on climate change: The White House says the United States is leading global efforts in addressing climate change. NBC News reported that Republican candidates Donald Trump and Senator Ted Cruz have said they do not believe in climate change. While Ohio Governor John Kasich said humans contribute to it. Meanwhile on the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders both agree that climate change is a challenge.
Trump said “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” Cruz justified his position by saying that data collected does not show significant temperature changes for the past 18 years. But US scientists said government data, which they said is more reliable than satellites, show that 15 of the 17 years after 1997 have been warmer than 1997 and 2015 was the hottest year on record. Sanders said climate change is “the single greatest threat facing our planet.” Clinton said it is “an urgent threat and a defining challenge.” VOA
Why Kasich woos delegates: Hoping the GOP nomination will come down to a convention fight, John Kasich’s campaign is asking the 66 Ohio delegates who support him to start courting their counterparts from other states. At a contested convention, no one gains a majority of votes on the first ballot. In that case, states gradually free their delegates to vote for whomever they want, not necessarily for the candidate who won their state or district. So campaigns are working to get people sympathetic to their cause selected to go to the convention. USA Today
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