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Nov 30 2015

Six In The Morning Monday November 30

COP21: Poor countries fear being ‘left behind’ in rush for deal

A critical UN conference aimed at agreeing a new global approach to climate change has begun in Paris.

Negotiators from 195 countries will try to reach a deal within two weeks aimed at reducing global carbon emissions.

Leaders from 147 nations will address the meeting, known as COP21, on Monday. Initiatives aimed at boosting clean technologies are due to be launched.

But the world’s poorest countries say they fear being “left behind” in the push for a new treaty.

The French government will officially take over the running of the talks during Monday’s opening ceremony.

COP21 live: The latest updates from Paris.

Police have locked down the conference centre in Le Bourget, closing roads amid strict security for the leaders’ visit.

Presidents and prime ministers will address the gathering with organisers hoping high-level appearances will boost the chances of reaching a deal to cut emissions.

Europe split over refugee deal as Germany leads breakaway coalition

Angela Merkel holds surprise mini-summit in Brussels with nine EU countries willing to take large numbers after meeting resistance to mandatory sharing scheme

 

Months of European efforts to come up with common policies on mass immigration unravelled on Sunday when Germany led a “coalition of the willing” of nine EU countries taking in most refugees from the Middle East, splitting the union formally on the issues of mandatory refugee-sharing and funding.

An unprecedented full EU summit with Turkey agreed a fragile pact aimed at stemming the flow of migrants to Europe via Turkey.

But the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, frustrated by the resistance in Europe to her policies, also convened a separate mini-summit with seven other leaders to push a fast-track deal with the Turks and to press ahead with a new policy of taking in and sharing hundreds of thousands of refugees a year directly from Turkey.

 

Sinjar: Three more mass graves discovered in northern town recently retaken from Isis

The latest exhumed graves are believed to contain between 80 and 100 bodies

Kurdish officials said Sunday three more mass graves have been found in the northern town of Sinjar, where Kurdish forces backed by heavy U.S.-led airstrikes drove out Isis militants earlier this month.

The discovery brings the total number of burial sites in the area to five and the total number of bodies uncovered to between 200 and 300, according to local officials.

While experts say proper excavation and identification of the bodies could take months, Sinjar residents are expressing frustration with the process so far, complaining that their requests from the Kurdish Regional Government for expert help have gone unanswered.

 

South Korean author of ‘comfort women’ book taken aback by indictment

SEOUL — South Korean author Park Yu-ha told the Mainichi Shimbun in an interview on Nov. 29 that her indictment on charges of libel in connection with her book “Teikoku no Ianfu” (Comfort women of the empire), took her by surprise.

South Korean prosecutors indicted Park, a professor at Sejong University in Seoul, without arrest. They accuse her of damaging the reputation of former “comfort women” through her book.

On Nov. 26, a group of 54 Japanese and U.S. politicians and experts including former Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama released a statement in protest against Park’s indictment. Her supporters in South Korea are expected to release a similar statement on Dec. 2.

 

Change hits Saudi Arabia: 900 women run for office

Updated 0836 GMT (1636 HKT) November 30, 2015

More than 900 women are campaigning for public office in Saudi Arabia — a first in the kingdom’s history.

The December 12 municipal election will be the first opportunity for Saudi women to exercise their vote since a 2011 order by the now deceased King Abdullah that granted women some opportunities for political participation in the ultra-conservative kingdom.

According to the State Department, Abdullah issued a royal decree in 2013 mandating the Consultative Council, a royally appointed body that advises the King, be at least 20% women.

Critics have described the change as anywhere from modest to inconsequential. Women will only participate in elections at the municipal level.

At least two women’s rights activists announced on Twitter that they had been disqualified as candidates.

In Arkansas, a growing population of ‘climate change refugees’

Rising sea levels have prompted thousands of natives from the Marshall Islands to flee their homes and relocate to Springdale, Arkansas.

Valentino Keimbar, a native of the Marshall Islands, moved 6,000 miles away from his home in the Pacific Ocean last year to Springdale, Arkansas because of climate change.

Located between Hawaii and Australia, the Marshall Islands are made up of 29 atolls and five islands with a population of about 70,000, all of whom live about six feet above sea level.

And another 10,000 Marshallese live in northwest Arkansas. The government of the Marshall Islands even has an official consular office in Springdale.

“Arkansas is the land of opportunity,” Josen Kaious, from the Marshall Islands town of Laura, told the Associated Press.