As the global market for electric and hybrid cars expands, Germany is also betting on another alternative power source.
LIMA, Peru — United Nations climate experts have published a new report warning that time is rapidly running out to avert global catastrophe.
The study, which the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released Sunday to guide the climate and energy policies of nearly 200 countries, makes for scary reading.
But it also offers hope: Tough action now to slash greenhouse gases doesn’t need to derail the global economy. Here, GlobalPost takes a look at some key climate change numbers.
Photos by AFP/Getty Images
MEXICO CITY — The rise of thousands of vigilantes bearing assault rifles to rout a drug cartel in western Mexico’s Michoacan state has presented the administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto with a policy nightmare.
Attacking the vigilantes is unpopular and morally questionable. But tolerating these gun-wielding militias, who are manning checkpoints, detaining suspects and swarming on towns, shows a breakdown of the basic rule of law.
However, the government and vigilantes may have found a way out of this conundrum.
Photos by AFP/Getty Images
SYDNEY — Scientists here in Australia say they’ve discovered their foe: Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
Since he came to power in September, some of Australia’s finest researchers point out that their budgets have been slashed. They say their expertise is being ignored in favor of the views of skeptics with a dubious commitment to the facts.
Now the science community is speaking out over fears that the government’s first annual budget could see a raft of further cuts at world-class research facilities, leading Australia to lose its reputation for cutting edge science and medical research.
They’re portable, economical, and helping more than 800 million Indians cast ballots in this year’s election.
Read more. [Image: Sivaram V/Reuters]
Have you met Ashol-Pan? The 13-year-old eagle huntress in Mongolia was photographed by Asher Svidensky, who spoke to BBC World Service about his trip to western Mongolia
"The generation that will decide what will happen with every tradition that Mongolia contains is this generation," says Svidensky, who showed Ashol-Pan’s family the photographs on his laptop.
“Everything there is going to change and is going to be redefined - and the possibilities are amazing.
CUERNAVACA, Mexico — Once the plutocrats’ plague, kidnapping for ransom in Mexico has gone decidedly mass market.
Shopkeepers and family physicians, carpenters and taxi drivers: All have been targeted in recent years as minions of young criminals enter a trade long run by guerrillas and gangland bosses. That puts Mexico, along with Colombia andVenezuela, among the world’s most kidnap-prone countries.
President Enrique Peña Nieto, 16 months into a six-year term, has struggled to meet his promises to dramatically lessen the crime. Both abductions and extortion continue to soar even as his government’s campaign against crime syndicates impacts drug profits and gang discipline weakens as kingpins are killed or captured.
Many wealthy Mexicans have long hired bodyguards and taken other security precautions, making them harder to get. The typical profile of kidnappers, meanwhile, is becoming younger and less sophisticated — more willing to favor quick paydays over substantial ones.
That’s making Mexico’s middle class, and even the working poor, the criminals’ targets of choice.
Photo by AFP/Getty Images
CAIRO, Egypt — Essam Bashary no longer goes to demonstrations. A liberal, he’s too disappointed by the way the Arab Spring has degenerated into a fight between military and Islamists in Egypt.
But the 26-year-old Tahrir Square veteran has found a new cause to occupy his time — fighting sexual harassment.
Egyptian women have been complaining about high levels of harassment for years, and a recent UN survey concluded that 99 percent of women in the country have either experienced unwanted physical advances or been verbally harassed. Despite this, convictions of perpetrators are rare.
A number of activist groups and NGOs are working to combat the problem, encouraging women to report incidents and calling for an end to the practice’s social acceptability.
Bashary has taken a different approach: Along with a group of friends — like him, former revolutionaries who previously supported Mohamed ElBaradei and his Constitution Party — he founded a social media initiative called “Tie up the Harasser.”
Photo by AFP/Getty Images
CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts — Long after saturation media coverage is over, disaster survivors carry on, with or without outside help, often with the kind of inspiring courage and resilience that we see in the Boston Marathon bombing survivors.
We also see this courage and resilience in survivors elsewhere, like in my country, Pakistan, where such violence is all too frequent. In Pakistan, however, there is no long-term institutional support, no organized follow-up for bomb blast survivors.
In contrast, it is inspiring to see young people doggedly supporting survivors that were on a bus targeted last Jan. 21.
The bus was full of families returning to Quetta, Balochistan from a pilgrimage in Iran, when it was hit at Mastung, a border town in western Pakistan. The attack immediately killed 22 of the bus’ 51 passengers. Others died later.
Those who survived, like the Boston Marathon survivors, live with bereavement and permanent injuries, including loss of limbs.
On a scorching August day in 2011, in the city of Homs, the Syrian conflict nearly swallowed Monzer Darwish. The 23-year-old graphic designer, who grew up in nearby Hama, had stopped at a cafe with his fiancée, only to take cover in the establishment at the sound of screaming outside. When they finally ventured into the street, they heard a pop—pop, pop, and someone fell. Then everyone ran. “The whole street was literally on fire,” he recalled.
Fleeing the violence, Darwish wrestled with the kinds of questions many face during war. What do you do if you don’t want to take a side? If you don’t want to take up arms? If you want to keep your community from being torn apart? If you can’t escape? Many of his friends found themselves in a similar situation, and they sought emotional refuge through music, even live heavy-metal concerts near the frontlines. Reconnecting with these peers, Darwish decided to film how this alternative community—musicians and fans alike—was surviving amid the country’s three-year civil war.
Heavy metal, with its macabre poetry, thundering elegies, and violent moshing, has often resonated with young people and helped them express solidarity with one another during periods of political and social tension. But Darwish wanted to show how Syria’s “metal heads” and alternative youth, like their peers in Iraq and Afghanistan, are turning to the music not only as a way to cope with mass trauma, but also as a means of conducting a brutally honest dialogue about how to survive war and reform society.
The result: a rockumentary called Syrian Metal Is War. For much of the last year, Darwish has crisscrossed the country to film every metal musician he can find. He’s uploaded a trailer to YouTube, and he hopes to screen a rough cut of the full film in Beirut by late spring.
Read more. [Image: Daniel J. Gerstle]
This Week in War. A Friday round-up of what happened and what’s been written in the world of war and military/security affairs this week. It’s a mix of news reports, policy briefs, blog posts and longform journalism. Subscribe here to receive this round-up by email.
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- The UN unanimously approved a 12,000-strong UN peacekeeping force in the Central African Republic.
- It’s now been 20 years since the genocide in Rwanda — here, Tutsi survivors pose with Hutus who victimized them, and with whom they’ve since reconciled.
- Colum Lynch reports a three-part series on the UN peacekeeping failure in Darfur: 1, 2, 3.
- Doctors Without Borders accused the UN of ignoring horrible living conditions of 21,000 South Sudanese using part of the peacekeeping base in Juba as a refugee camp.
- Clashes in Nigeria between Fulani cattle rustlers and Hausa vigilantes left 72 dead last Monday.
- Two anti-piracy consultants for the UN were shot and killed in Galkayo, Somalia.
- Abdel-Rahman Shaheen is the latest Al Jazeera journalist to be arrested in Egypt.
- Infighting among Islamic rebel groups in Syria leaves 51 dead.
- Drought looms in Syria.
- American anti-tank weaponry shows up in Syrian rebel hands.
- Dutch Jesuit priest Frans van der Lugt, who refused to evacuate Syria, where he lived for decades, was assassinated by a gunman outside his home in Homs.
- Netanyahu ordered his cabinet to cut communications with their Palestinian counterparts after Palestine requested to sign on to 15 international conventions.
- Iran’s Revolutionary Guard say they have captured a number of foreign agents entering from Iraq with intentions to carry out bombings and assassinations.
- Iran named Hamid Aboutalebi as its UN envoy — a provocative choice because Aboutalebi was a member of the student group who held Americans hostage in 1979 (although he was not himself directly involved in the event).
- As last weekend’s votes in Afghanistan continue to be tallied, Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah appear to be competing for the lead. A record number — 7 million people — turned out to vote.
- The Afghan government has begun an investigation into why a security officer, now in custody, killed AP photographer Anja Niedringhaus and wounded reporter Kathy Gannon.
- A bomb on a stationary train in western Pakistan killed 14 on Tuesday.
- 22 were killed in a blast in Islamabad on Wednesday.
- Pakistan plans to release 13 Taliban prisoners as part of peace negotiations.
- A new art project in Pakistan gives a face to civilian drone strike victims.
- The Pakistani Taliban launched a website (link is to a news report, not to the actual website).
- A Marine shot and killed another Marine at Camp Lejeune on Tuesday afternoon at the base’s main gate.
- Mexican self-defense groups refuse to disarm.
- Pro-Russian violence leaks into Eastern Ukraine.
- An infographic on Eastern Ukrainian separatist movements.
- The Washington Post on the special relationship between special operations and the FBI.
- Britain is increasing exercising its power to strip citizenship from suspected terrorists without prior court involvement — and then, of course, some of them end up getting killed in drone strikes.
- The US is three years behind in the reports it is by law supposed to issue on potential sanctions violators.
- FBI investigation shows that Russia failed to provide some critical intelligence to the US about Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
- Lawyers for Guantánamo prisoner Shaker Aamer are seeking his release on the grounds of failing health.
- Alan Gross, the US contractor imprisoned in Cuba for the past four years, has gone on hunger strike.
- According to further Snowden leaks, the US spied on groups like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International (not particularly surprising, given historical record here).
- Popular Mechanics rounds up a couple of military escalations you haven’t been hearing about.
- Roughly 5% ($500m) of the US defense budget will be spent developing electronic warfare systems.
- A Microsoft researcher makes the case that increased use of encryption inside intelligence agencies could rein in surveillance.
- What you need to know about Heartbleed.
- Hayden, the former CIA director, gets a bit sexist in his/the agency’s feud with Sen. Feinstein.
- A really awesome new invention for plugging battlefield wounds extra effectively gets FDA approval.
- The Secret Service implements some internal clean-up efforts.
- Any NYC veterans reading the round-up: here are some events for free legal assistance at the end of April/beginning of May.
- Some of things you shouldn’t say to returning veterans — and some of the things you should.
- Alex Horton eloquently rejects the post-traumatic stress narrative in the second Fort Hood shooting.
Photo: Zawa, Central African Republic. Anti-balaka military patrol. Goran Tomasevic/Reuters.
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — With simmering protests, a surge in violence and less than three months to go till the World Cup, Rio de Janeiro police have introduced a host of new tactics that seem right out of science fiction.
Each hosting city has spent about $90 million on surveillance drones, explosive-detecting robots, camera glasses and other equipment.
But is it making the city safer?
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — On a warm night in January, frontman Touch Seang Tana was especially nervous as he walked up onto the stage and checked his mic. “My voice was gone after all the practicing,” he said later that night. “I had to drink a lot of water to try and loosen it up.” Nevertheless, he finished his mic check, “One, two three, four,” and hammered out a power chord. The band he fronted, Drakkar, had only played together once since they split up 41 years ago.
The drums kicked in, and as the other instruments synced with his guitar, he could hear that his band was with him, playing nearly as tightly as they had four decades before, and his nerves began to give way.
No wonder he was nervous. Along with the reformed Apsara Band, Drakkar were about to play at the world premiere of a film that documents the story of Cambodia’s “lost rock ‘n’ roll,” as it is known here. A joint American and Cambodian production directed by American John Pirozzi, “Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten”recalls a very distinct form of music that flourished in Cambodia in the late 1960s and early 1970s, only to be eliminated by the Khmer Rouge.
The armed pro-Russian protesters who stormed regional government buildings over the weekend in eastern Ukraine were given an ultimatum on Wednesday.
The country’s interior minister said the situation would be brought under control, either through political negotiation or force, within 48 hours.
As the deadline approached, negotiations were underway in Donetsk — one of the two cities with occupied buildings — with the governor expressing hope in reaching an agreement.
GlobalPost’s Ronny Roman Rozenberg was on the scene and captured these pictures of both the building occupiers and locals who supported them.
Photos by Ronny Roman Rozenberg