World Briefs

The Indypendent Jul 24, 2006

37 protesters were arrested July 15 outside the G8 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia as the leaders of the world’s seven wealthiest nations plus Russia discussed “market-based responses” to threats facing global energy supplies. The plans of G8 leaders emphasize continued reliance on oil, gas, coal and nuclear power. Meanwhile, the environmental consequences of the greenhouse gas emissions caused by fossil fuel usage continue to grow.
>> The first six months of 2006 were the sixthwarmest to date, with global land- and ocean-surface temperatures .90 degrees F above average. The month of June proved to be the second-warmest since records began in 1880, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA).
>> The unprecedented drought that hit the Amazon basin last summer is threatening a repeat appearance this year. Brazil’s Acre region recently went 40 days in June and July without rain, the (UK) Guardian reported. Last year’s drought, fueled by higher Atlantic sea temperatures and massive deforestation, was the worst in a century and dried out large portions of the usually lush basin, causing Brazil to declare a state of emergency. This year, forests are so dry that they are under threat of wildfires.
>> The larger and more damaging wildfires that have been occurring in the western United States over the past two decades are directly linked to global warming, according to a report published July 6 in the online edition of the journal Science. Higher summer temperatures and the earlier arrival of spring caused by global warming have helped create drier forests that are more susceptible to wildfires. When burned, the trees release large amounts of carbon dioxide into the air, further fueling global warming.

Thousands of supporters of former Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide marched to Haiti’s National Palace on July 15 to demand his return. Aristide, a champion of the poor, was Haiti’s first democratically elected president. He was ousted in a U.S.-backed coup in February 2004 and has spent the past two years in exile in South Africa. Haiti, the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, has been occupied by U.N. troops since Aristide’s ouster. Former Aristide ally Rene Preval was elected president in February and has remained noncommittal about Aristide’s future. The U.S. is vehemently opposed to Aristide’s return.

As The Indypendent goes to press, FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association), is set to summon Zinedine Zidane to a disciplinary hearing about his headbutt on Marco Materazzi in the waning moments of the World Cup final between France and Italy. Hailed as the symbol of a newfound French multiculturalism after leading the country to the World Cup in 1998, Zidane, of Algerian descent, says he “regrets nothing” after attacking his opponent for allegedly slurring his mother and sister. According to a poll in Le Parisien, 61 percent of the French already forgive their idol, an attitude that sharply contrasts with the public outrage towards protests by French of immigrant descent last fall.

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