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04 Dec

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

The Guardian

Chemical weapons experts

Syria’s chemical weapons to be shipped in delicate US-Danish operation

Hazardous cargo of nerve agents and sarin could set sail at the beginning of 2104, but final destination is still unknown

A Danish cargo vessel is due to load Syria‘s chemical arms stockpile and transfer it to a specially adapted US ship in a delicate and unprecedented operation early in the new year, according to the world’s chemical weapons watchdog’s current plans.

The plans being drawn up by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) have not been finalised. It is not yet clear, for example, whether the transfer between the two ships of about 500 tonnes of lethal chemicals, including nerve agents, will be done on sea or when both vessels are docked………………..

Jeb Bush, Alec

Ex-Florida governor Jeb Bush speaks at Alec’s 40th annual meeting in August. Alec has identified more than 40 lapsed corporate members. Photo: M Spencer Green/AP

ALEC facing funding crisis from donor exodus in wake of Trayvon Martin row

• Rightwing lobby group appealing to major donors to return
Internal documents reveal so-called ‘Prodigal Son Project’
• Network lost almost 400 state legislators over past two years

An influential US lobbying network of Republican politicians and big businesses is seeking to avert a looming funding crisis by appealing to major donors that have abandoned it over the past two years following criticism of its on gun laws.

The Guardian has learned that the American Legislative Exchange Council (Alec), which shapes and promotes legislation at state level across the US, has identified more than 40 lapsed corporate members it wants to attract back into the fold under a scheme referred to in its documents as the “Prodigal Son Project”.

The target firms include commercial giants such as Amazon, Coca-Cola, General Electric, Kraft, McDonald’s and Walmart, all of which cut ties with the group following the furore over the killing of the unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida in February 2012……………………………

John Kerry and Binyamin Netanyahu

John Kerry (r) and Binyamin Netanyahu: the US will present Israel with security plans, Haaretz says. Photograph: Reuters

John Kerry in fresh push to unblock Israel-Palestine talks

4 Dec 2013: US move comes as EU considers cutting funding to Palestinian Authority and taking action on Israeli settlement goods

John Kerry is to make yet another personal push for movement in the stagnating peace talks between Israel and Palestine amid indications that the EU is considering cutting funding to the Palestinian Authority (PA) if there is no breakthrough.The US secretary of state is due to arrive in the region late on Wednesday for separate discussions with the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, in Jerusalem and the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, in Ramallah on Thursday. The talks are widely acknowledged to have made almost no progress since opening, in July.Mohammed Shtayyeh, who left the the Palestinian negotiating team last month in protest at Israel’s continued settlement expansion, said wide gaps between the two sides were “block[ing] any possibility of a peace deal”, and that he believed Israel wanted to annex swaths of the West Bank………………………………

Joe Biden has arrived in China for talks

Joe Biden has arrived in China for talks. Photograph: Ng Han Guan/AP

Joe Biden arrives in China amid air zone tensions

US vice-president lands in middle of dispute between Beijing and Tokyo over skies above disputed Senkaku-Diaoyu islands

The US vice-president, Joe Biden, has arrived in Beijing to meet senior leaders and attempt to reduce regional frictions sparked by China‘s new air defence zone.

Following an official welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People, he will meet vice-president Li Yuanchao and then the president, Xi Jinping. He will meet the premier, Li Keqiang, on Thursday, in what was originally supposed to be a trip focusing on economic issues before flying on to Seoul…………………….

Global warming and sea levels : Ruins of a house near Saint louis, Northern coast of Senegal

A house on the beach of Doun Baba Dieye, northern Senegal, lies in ruins after sea level rise. Photograph: Seyllou/AFP/Getty Images

UN’s 2C target will fail to avoid a climate disaster, scientists warn

Global warming limit agreed is too late and dangerous as a 1C rise in temperature will trigger catastrophic events, study says

The limit of 2C of global warming agreed by the world’s governments is a “dangerous target”, “foolhardy” and will not avoid the most disastrous consequences of climate change, new research from a panel of eminent climate scientists warned on Tuesday.

In a new paper, the climate scientist Professor James Hansen and a team of international experts found the most dangerous effects of a warming climate – sea level rise, Arctic ice melt, extreme weather – would begin kicking in with a global temperature rise of 1C.

ALJ org logo pst

Detroit, pensions, bankruptcy, protests, Kevyn Orr, judge

Protesters outside the federal courthouse in Detroit on Tuesday. Many employees and retirees fear their pensions and benefits will be cut.

Rebecca Cook/Reuters

Fears for the future after Detroit bankruptcy ruling

Employees gather in front of courthouse: ‘Pension is all we got, and now they want to cut that’

DETROIT — David Meadows is a 20-year veteran of the police force here, but Tuesday morning he was part of a crowd of more than 70 demonstrators circling the street in front of the federal courthouse, where a judge had just ruled that the city is eligible for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection.

Many of those gathered toted placards or chanted in support of city employees, whose fears about the future were confirmed with the news. “Bail out people, not banks!” read one sign, while another proclaimed, “Stop to banks that destroyed Detroit.”

“Pension is all we got, and now they want to cut that,” said Meadows, 42, after pointing out that neither police officers nor firefighters pay into Social Security………………..

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Detroit

Bankruptcy

Pension

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