The decision to grant permanent observer status to China and five other nations by the Arctic Council meeting in Sweden Wednesday reflects the heightened interest by some of the world’s most powerful economies in an area rich in oil, gas, minerals, fish and new transport possibilities.
For new observer nations China, Japan and South Korea, shorter shipping routes to Europe through Arctic waters could open up prospects of new energy supply options later this decade, such as liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Russia’s Yamal Peninsula in northwest Siberia.
It could also lessen China’s dependence on oil and gas shipped from the Middle East, which must pass through the Southeast Asian chokepoint of the Strait of Malacca. Allied to China’s interest of getting oil and gas delivered from new pipelines across Myanmar and Central Asia, the potential of the Arctic trade routes loom large in China’s strategic thinking.
Under mounting pressure to improve working conditions in Bangladesh’s garment factories, several of the world’s largest apparel companies agreed on Monday to a landmark plan to help pay for fire safety and building improvements after the collapse last month of the Rana Plaza factory complex, which killed more than 1,100 people.
The agreement, hailed by labor and consumer groups as a major breakthrough, came as the Bangladeshi government also took steps to respond to the April 24 disaster at Rana Plaza outside Dhaka, the Bangladeshi capital. In the last two days, the government has pledged to raise wages for garment workers and change labor laws to make it easier to form trade unions.
The parallel announcements by global brands and the Bangladeshi government were a significant shift: For years, Bangladesh has seen some of the worst practices in the global garment industry. Wages are the lowest in the world, starting at roughly $37 a month. Factory conditions are often unsafe. Yet global brands have often sought to deflect any direct responsibility for the problems, while the government has often been tepid in protecting worker rights.
Chris Cassidy and Tom Marshburn completed the work an hour ahead of schedule, reporting no further escape.
The crew had spotted particles of ammonia drifting away from the laboratory on Thursday.
Nasa said the crew were not at risk but managers wanted to solve the problem before Mr Marshburn left the station.
He is due to return to Earth early next week along with the space station’s Canadian commander Chris Hadfield and Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko, after six months in space.
Liquid ammonia is used to extract the heat that builds up in electronic systems, dumping that excess energy to space through an array of radiators.
Ammonia flows through radiators (white panels) to dump heat into space
“No leaks! We’re bringing Tom & Chris back inside,” Mr Hadfield wrote on his Twitter account, some four and a half hours into the spacewalk.
Authorities detained nine Turkish citizens believed to have links to the Syrian intelligence agency in connection with two car bombs that left 46 people dead in a Turkish border town, officials said Sunday, as Syria rejected allegations the country was behind the attack.
The bombings marked the biggest incident of cross-border violence since the start of Syria’s bloody civil war and have raised fear of Turkey being pulled deeper into the conflict. Harsh accusations from both sides signaled a sharp escalation of already high tensions between the two former allies.
“This incident was carried out by an organization which is in close contact to pro-regime groups in Syria and I say this very clearly, with the Syrian mukhabarat,” said Interior Minister Muammer Guler.
Carlos the Jackal, the flamboyant terrorist and self-proclaimed revolutionary who was once one of the Cold War’s most wanted men, is appealing his life sentence for orchestrating bombings in France two decades ago.
Carlos, whose real name is Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, is serving two life sentences in France for a triple murder in 1975 and for bombings in France in 1982 and 1983 that killed 11 people and injured more than 140. He’s been jailed since 1994 after French agents seized him in Sudan.
A little more than a year ago, Melinda Gates made a bold and controversial pledge to help women in the developing world get better access to contraception.
It was an unexpected declaration from the practicing Catholic and co-chair with husband Bill of a private philanthropy better known for promoting vaccines and working to improve education. She was sharply criticized by Catholic groups that argue that global health and development funds should go to other causes.
In her travels across sub-Saharan and South Asia over more than a decade, Ms. Gates says she had seen the same scene play out over and over. Women she met with to talk about vaccines would ask her how they could get birth control. “They would say to me, ‘But what about that shot I used to get?’ ” she said in an interview at the headquarters of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The women were referring to Depo-Provera, she explained, an injectable contraceptive that they told her they like and walk miles to get—only to find often out of stock.
Now, one year later, Ms. Gates appears well on her way toward her goal. At a summit last summer hosted by the Gates Foundation and the U.K. Department for International Development, donors pledged $2.6 billion—$300 million more than the hosts had hoped to raise—to bring voluntary family planning services to 120 million more women in the world’s poorest countries by 2020.
Pakistanis went to the polls for a historic election on Saturday, their excitement mingled with trepidation as the country marked a democratic milestone with a riveting electoral contest that was threatened by fresh violence from Taliban insurgents.
A bomb in the southern port of Karachi killed at least 11 people, doctors said, offering an ominous start to the day following Taliban threats to dispatch suicide bombers to selected targets across the country. At least 17 people have been killed in the violence, which included a gunfight and an attack on a polling station in the western province of Balochistan, and two explosions in the northwest, including Peshawar, that left several people injured.
The attack in Karachi appeared directed at a candidate from the Awami National Party, one of three secular-leaning parties that have borne the brunt of Taliban attacks in the last month that have killed at least 110 people.
According to ABC News, the government talking points on the situation in Benghazi went through eleven versions prior to their final release. We’ve created an interactive tool allowing you to walk through each individual change.
After the attack on the American embassy in that Libyan city on September 11, 2012, the CIA developed an initial outline describing what it knew about the situation, which is the initial draft you see below. That outline was then reviewed by the State Department, and went through a number of iterations before being distributed to members of Congress and used by the Susan Rice, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, in appearances on Sunday morning talk shows on September 16.
Where possible, we’ve included context describing why the change was made and who requested it, as reported by ABC. That context appears beneath each draft, in italics.
Truth has been the watchword of the Benghazi controversy. “The goal here is to get to the truth,” said House Speaker John Boehner said at a Thursday press conference. “Four Americans lost their lives. Their families want to know the truth. The American people want to know the truth. And I believe it is Congress’ obligation to get to the truth.” The truth may indeed be out there, but where it lies depends on who you ask.
For more mainstream Republicans and commentators, the Benghazi controversy is as obvious — the Obama Administration spun the attacks on Sunday talk shows in a way that would minimize political fallout in the middle of a presidential election — as it is tedious. With the release of all 12 drafts of talking points used for those Sunday shows (you can view how they evolved here), the heart of the scandal is whether bureaucrats talked about a tragedy properly. Did the State Department use the word “terrorists” behind the scenes? Is the word “extremists” close enough?