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18 Jun

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

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Pope’s climate change encyclical tells rich nations: ‘pay your debt to the poor’

Pontiff’s 180-page intervention in climate change debate casts blame for ‘ecological crisis’ at the indifference of the powerful

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Pope Francis: ‘Developing countries … continue to fuel the development of richer countries at the cost of their own present and future.’ Photograph: NurPhoto/Rex Shutterstock

Pope Francis has called on the world’s rich nations to begin paying their “grave social debt” to the poor and take concrete steps on climate change, saying failure to do so presents an undeniable risk to humanity.

The pope’s 180-page encyclical on the environment is not only a moral call for action on phasing out the use of fossil fuels, as was expected. It is also a document infused with an activist anger and concern for the poor, casting blame at the indifference of the powerful.

“The foreign debt of poor countries has become a way of controlling them, yet this is not the case where ecological debt is concerned,” Francis wrote. “In different ways, developing countries, where the most important reserves of the biosphere are found, continue to fuel the development of richer countries at the cost of their own present and future.

“The developed countries ought to help pay this debt by significantly limiting their consumption of non-renewable energy and by assisting poorer countries to support policies and programmes of sustainable development.”

In a press conference on Thursday in Vatican City to mark the release of Francis’s encyclical, Cardinal Peter Turkson, who wrote a draft and is the pope’s point-man on social justice issues, said it was imperative for “practical proposals not to be developed in an ideological, superficial or reductionist way”.

“For this, dialogue is essential,” he said.

For a church with a history of clashes with science, the encyclical – or statement of papal teaching – includes a section devoted to the latest scientific findings to describe what he calls an “ecological crisis”.

The encyclical argues that climate change is not just a “global problem with serious implications”, but has an impact felt disproportionately by the world’s poorest people.

Francis writes: “Those who possess more resources and economic or political power seem mostly to be concerned with masking the problems or concealing their symptoms”. The failure to respond, he says, points to the loss of a “sense of responsibility for our fellow men and women upon which all civil society is founded”……………..

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Charleston church shooting: police release image of suspect – latest updates

Mullen also urged members of the public not to approach the suspect. He repeated that the police are treating the mass shooting as a “hate crime”.

He confirmed that the FBI is involved in the search. He said: “This is a all-hands-on-deck effort with the community as well as law enforcement. I think with that effort we will find this person quickly.”

The main new information at the press conference was the release of the image of the suspect and his car. Chief Mullen said: “We just wanted to get this out as quickly as we could.” He appealed to the public to help arrest the suspect “before he hurts someone else, either in the city or in the general area.”

The main new information at the press conference was the release of the image of the suspect and his car. Chief Mullen said: “We just wanted to get this out as quickly as we could.” He appealed to the public to help arrest the suspect “before he hurts someone else, either in the city or in the general area.”

He gave this description:

“He is a younger white male, we are estimating between 21 and 25 years old. He is approximately 5 ft 9 inches in height. He has on a very distinctive sweatshirt. The vehicle has a very distinctive front licence plate. Hopefully these things will help us to identify this individual.”

Charleston police chief and mayor speak after gun attack at Emanuel AME church in South Carolina

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Amnesty International report describes ‘shocking lack of fundamental respect for the sanctity of human life’ as nine states have no laws to deal with police force

A police officer patrols in Ferguson, Missouri, during protests over the shooting death of Michael Brown.

Police response to protests across the country in the wake of several high-profile police shootings point to a need for better use of standards, says Amnesty. Photograph: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Every state in the US fails to comply with international standards on the lethal use of force by law enforcement officers, according to a report by Amnesty International USA, which also says 13 US states fall beneath even lower legal standards enshrined in US constitutional law and that nine states currently have no laws at all to deal with the issue.

The stinging review comes amid a national debate over police violence and widespread protest following the high-profile deaths of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri; 43-year-old Eric Garner in New York; 50-year-old Walter Scott in South Carolina; and 25-year-old Freddie Gray in Baltimore – all unarmed black men killed by police within the past 11 months.

Amnesty USA executive director Steven Hawkins told the Guardian the findings represented a “shocking lack of fundamental respect for the sanctity of human life”.

“While law enforcement in the United States is given the authority to use lethal force, there is no equal obligation to respect and preserve human life. It’s shocking that while we give law enforcement this extraordinary power, so many states either have no regulation on their books or nothing that complies with international standards,” Hawkins said.

The analysis, which Hawkins said he believed was the first of its kind, compared state statutes on law enforcement’s use of lethal force with international legislation, including the enshrinement of the right to life, as well as United Nations principles limiting lethal use of force to “unavoidable” instances “in order to protect life” after “less extreme means” have failed. Further UN guidelines state that officers should attempt to identify themselves and give warning of intent to use lethal force.

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Slavery abolitionist Harriet Tubman the apparent front runner as ‘historic decision’ is made to honour a woman in permanent design of currency

Alexander Hamilton on the US $10 note.

Alexander Hamilton on the US $10 note. Photograph: Erin McCann for the Guardian

A woman will soon feature on US bank notes for the first time in 150 years after a successful campaign to celebrate the centenary of female suffrage. But the surprise decision comes with a catch: whoever is chosen will have to share the honour with a man……………….

 

Goodbye Alexander Hamilton and hello mystery woman. The US treasury is going to put a woman a banknote – meet a selection of the candidates

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