By Megan Rowling BARCELONA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A lack of help for the poorest countries to adapt to climate change may be undermining their efforts to tackle poverty, researchers warned on Monday. A report from the London-based Overseas Development Institute (ODI) said some African states are having to divert a large share of their national budgets to tackle climate threats, due to a shortage of funding from donors. The think tank called on wealthy governments to adopt a "matched-funding approach", meaning they would provide climate funding equivalent to national spending in poor countries. "While richer countries invest heavily in flood-defense systems, coastal protection and other projects, poorer countries have no choice but to divert scarce resources, potentially reversing the progress made in tackling poverty," said Kevin Watkins, ODI's executive director. In Ethiopia, for example, which largely depends on rain for agriculture, the government is spending big sums on irrigation schemes. From 2008 to 2011, the East African nation allocated $440 million a year for climate action - equivalent to almost half its spending on primary education. Only $88 million of that climate spending came from international sources. In the same period, Uganda spent $25 million annually on climate change measures, including developing a national early warning system, with just $2 million coming from donors. According to the ODI's Neil Bird, international support to help sub-Saharan African states adapt to climate change averaged $130 million annually from 2008 to 2011 - far less than the $1.1 billion Britain spent on flood defenses three years ago. "International funds have been skewed towards helping mainly middle-income countries cut their carbon emissions, rather than helping the poorest countries adapt to the impacts of climate change," Bird, a research fellow, said in a statement. Tanzania has fared slightly better - it spent $383 million per year on climate measures, including forest protection, from 2009 to 2012, of which $237 million was internationally funded. The total equals almost two-thirds of the country's health spending, the ODI noted. 'SAFETY NET' Combining domestic and donor funds, the three African counties are still spending far less than the sums experts say they need to properly tackle climate shifts, the report said. In Ethiopia, climate spending amounts to only 6 percent of estimated need, and in Uganda 10 percent. For Tanzania, where more official development aid goes through the budget, the number is higher at 59 percent. Bird said if donors matched domestic spending that would provide a "safety net" for vulnerable countries like Uganda, which receive hardly anything from multilateral climate funds. The ODI research highlights how "government and household budgets in the poorest countries have been left to foot the bill for a threat that originates principally in richer countries," which have historically emitted the lion's share of planet-warming greenhouse gases. There are growing calls for countries to shoulder their "fair share" in tackling climate change - both in terms of finance to help poorer states adapt, and reducing emissions to limit temperature rise. This is a key area of negotiation on the road to a new global climate deal, due to be agreed in Paris late next year. A new online tool launched on Sunday enables users to explore what carbon cuts and climate aid nations might fairly contribute to provide a chance of limiting global warming to 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius, while also lifting people out of poverty, based on their historical use of a global carbon budget. Developed by Friends of the Earth, the Stockholm Environment Institute and Jubilee South, it proposes, for example, that Britain would need to make emissions cuts of 65 to 75 percent from 1990 levels by 2025, more than currently planned, while transferring up to $49 billion to developing countries. And China would ideally cut its emissions from today's levels by 27 to 37 percent by 2025. To achieve that, it would need support of up to $497 billion in the form of access to technology that could help it grow cleanly, the groups said. (Reporting by Megan Rowling; Editing by Ros Russell)
- Associated Press
President Joe Biden's first calls to foreign leaders went to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador at a strained moment for the U.S. relationship with its North American neighbors. Mexico's president said Saturday that Biden told him the U.S. would send $4 billion to help development in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala — nations whose hardships have spawned tides of migration through Mexico toward the United States.
- The Telegraph
Russian police detained Yulia Navalnaya, the wife of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, at a protest in Moscow on Saturday as demonstrations in support of the opposition leader swept across Russia. Authorities detained at least 1,600 people at unauthorised rallies in Moscow and dozens of cities across the country, with some reports of violent clashes between protesters and riot police. At least 10,000 people joined protests in Moscow, according to estimates, in a test to Vladimir Putin. Protests began in Russia’s Far East and Siberia on Saturday morning. Seven time zones east of Moscow, about 3,000 people marched across the city of Vladivostok on the Pacific Ocean, chanting “Navalny!” In Novosibirsk, chants “Putin is a thief” rang out in freezing minus 19 C temperatures as opposition supporters walked across the city to the main square.
- The New York Times
Rudy Giuliani, the personal lawyer to former President Donald Trump, conceded Friday night that an associate had sent an email to campaign officials asking that Giuliani be paid $20,000 a day for his work after the Nov. 3 election, but he insisted he was unaware of it at the time. Giuliani acknowledged in a brief phone interview that his associate, Maria Ryan, had sent the email shortly after Election Day. But he maintained that she consulted with another associate, Larry Levy, about what Giuliani should ask for from the campaign while Giuliani was out of town. A copy of the email, reviewed by The New York Times, showed that she sent it from a Giuliani Partners email account. Sign up for The Morning newsletter from the New York Times “Mr. Giuliani began working the case in the wee hours of the morning on November 4,” Ryan wrote. “He has a team in Washington working out of rented hotel rooms.” She wrote that the company was working on an engagement letter, and that instead of $2,000 an hour, “we will contract for $20,000 a day which will include all of the expenses for Mr. Giuliani and his staff.” The request was sent to at least three campaign officials at a time when the campaign was raising large sums of money for a legal fund to fight the election results. When the Times asked about the fee request in November, Giuliani denied it. He had maintained it was a “lie” that he requested such a fee from the president, even as recently as Friday afternoon on his radio show. “I did not do that,” he said. In the phone interview Friday night, after the Times asked his spokesperson about Ryan’s email, Giuliani said that he told the White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, and Trump, of the $20,000 amount, “It’s ridiculous, I don’t want to be paid.” Giuliani said he did not recall precisely when he had that conversation. And it was unclear whether he was aware that Ryan had sent the email when the Times first asked him about the fee request. “I never had a single expectation of being paid a penny,” Giuliani said, adding that he’s had a few expenses reimbursed but nothing more. He faulted Trump’s other advisers and blasted them as “incompetent” leading up to the election. “I feel extremely bad that I’m portrayed as some kind of money-grubbing ambulance chaser,” Giuliani said. “I represented him out of my sense of commitment,” he continued. “I didn’t see anything about this that was going to lead to great wealth. I did see a lot about this that was going to lead to great torture.” This article originally appeared in The New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Company
U.S. President Joe Biden's administration next week will release more policies it believes are needed to tackle climate change and is urging China to toughen one of its targets on greenhouse gas emissions, his top climate advisers said on Saturday. Gina McCarthy, the White House's national climate adviser, did not say what policies would be released. A memo seen by Reuters on Thursday showed Biden will unveil a second round of executive orders as soon as Jan. 27 that include an omnibus order to combat climate change domestically and elevate the issue as a national security priority.
- Associated Press
A 34-year-old grizzly bear captured in southwestern Wyoming has been confirmed as the oldest on record in the Yellowstone region, Wyoming wildlife officials said. Grizzly bear 168 was captured last summer after it preyed on calves in the Upper Green River Basin area. Biologists learned of the bear’s longevity after euthanizing the bruin, which had preyed on cattle and then finally, calves.
- The Telegraph
Israel will ban passenger flights in and out of the country from Monday for a week as it seeks to stop the spread of new coronavirus variants. "Other than rare exceptions, we are closing the sky hermetically to prevent the entry of the virus variants and also to ensure that we progress quickly with our vaccination campaign," said Benjamin Netanuahu, the Israeli prime minister. It came as a study in Israel reported a 60 per cent drop in over-60s being hospitalised with coronavirus three weeks after being vaccinated, in the latest sign that the jabs are effective. According to Maccabi, an Israeli healthcare provider, there was a significant decrease in hospitalisations from day 23 onwards, which was two days after patients received their second jab. Also on Sunday, Israel expanded its rapid vaccination drive to include 16-18 year-olds in an effort to get them back in schools to take their winter examinations. The winter matriculation certificate is a significant part of university and military admissions. At least one dose has been administered to around a quarter of Israel’s 9 million-strong population. The vaccine is generally available to over 40s or, with parental permission, those aged between 16 and 18. Israel struck a deal with Pfizer at the beginning of January that allowed them to expedite delivery of the vaccine, in return for sharing extensive data on their vaccination campaign with the rest of the world. Yuli Edelstein, the Israeli health minister, told The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday that the data from their vaccination programme suggests a first dose offered around 30 per cent protection from coronavirus.
- Yahoo News Video
It's a club Donald Trump was never really interested in joining and certainly not so soon: the cadre of former commanders in chief who revere the presidency enough to put aside often bitter political differences and even join together in common cause.
There was no distribution plan for the coronavirus vaccine set up by the Trump administration as the virus raged in its last months in office, new President Joe Biden's chief of staff, Ron Klain, said on Sunday. "The process to distribute the vaccine, particularly outside of nursing homes and hospitals out into the community as a whole, did not really exist when we came into the White House," Klain said on NBC's "Meet the Press." Biden, a Democrat who took over from Republican President Donald Trump on Wednesday, has promised a fierce fight against the pandemic that killed 400,000 people in the United States under Trump’s watch.
- Associated Press
A Chinese city has brought 2,600 temporary treatment rooms online as the country’s north battles new clusters of coronavirus. The single-occupancy rooms in the city of Nangong in Hebei province just outside Beijing are each equipped with their own heaters, toilets, showers and other amenities, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. Special attention has been paid to Hebei because of its proximity to the capital and the province has locked down large areas to prevent further spread of the virus.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), incoming chair of the Senate Budget Committee who caucuses with the Democrats, told CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday that Democrats plan to push a coronavirus relief package through the chamber with a simple majority vote. Why it matters: "Budget reconciliation" would allow Democrats to forgo the Senate's 60-vote requirement and could potentially speed-up the next relief package for millions of unemployed Americans. Democrats hold the the 50-50 split in the Senate with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as the tie-breaking vote.Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.What he's saying: "What we cannot do is wait weeks and weeks and months to go forward. We have got to act now," Sanders said. * "We're going to use reconciliation — that's 50 votes in the Senate, plus the vice president — to pass legislation desperately needed by working families in this country right now." * When asked if he wants a relief bill passed before former President Trump's impeachment trial begins the week of Feb. 8, he said: "We've got to do everything. This is not — you don't have the time to sit around, weeks on impeachment and not get vaccines into the arms of people."Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America.
- NBC News
The Biden administration aims for 100 million vaccinations within his first 100 days as president.
- Associated Press
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said Israel will be closing its international airport to nearly all flights, while Israeli police clashed with ultra-Orthodox protesters in several major cities and the government raced to bring a raging coronavirus outbreak under control. The entry of highly contagious variants of the virus, coupled with poor enforcement of safety rules in ultra-Orthodox communities, has contributed to one of the world's highest rates of infections. It also has threatened to undercut Israel's highly successful campaign to vaccinate its population against the virus.
President Vladimir Putin would respond in kind if the new U.S. administration showed willingness to talk, a Kremlin spokesman said on Sunday, while also accusing Washington of meddling in mass protests in support of detained opposition leader Alexei Navalny. The Kremlin also downplayed the scale of Saturday's demonstrations, which saw police detain more than 3,000 people and use force to break up rallies across Russia. Prior to the protests, the U.S. Embassy in Moscow had issued a "Demonstration Alert", warning U.S. citizens to avoid the protests and naming the venues in Russian cities where protesters planned to gather.
- NBC News
Samuel Camargo faces four charges including civil disorder, knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority.
- Associated Press
Four Zimbabwean Cabinet ministers have died of COVID-19, three within the past two weeks, highlighting a resurgence of the disease that is sweeping through this southern African country. President Emmerson Mnangagwa said the coronavirus is reaping a “grim harvest” in the country. Then came the death of the transport minister.
Eight Chinese bomber planes and four fighter jets entered the southwestern corner of Taiwan's air defence identification zone on Saturday, and Taiwan's air force deployed missiles to "monitor" the incursion, the island's defence ministry said. China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory, has conducted almost daily flights over the waters between the southern part of Taiwan and the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands in the South China Sea in recent months.
- The Telegraph
A missing Australian man has been found alive after surviving on wild mushrooms and dam water for three weeks. Robert Weber, 58, was last seen on January 6, leaving the Kilkivan Hotel Motel in Queensland in his car with his dog. Search efforts were called off earlier this week, but he was discovered by a local politician and his wife on Sunday morning. Police reported that Mr Weber was safe and well, despite “suffering exposure to the elements”. He had become disorientated in the heat, but managed to stay close to a dam. “He left on foot and became lost and remained at a dam where he survived by sleeping on the ground, drinking dam water and eating mushrooms,” Queensland police said in a statement. Mr Weber ran into trouble when his white Ford Falcon became bogged down on an unfamiliar road. Mr Weber waited in his car for three days, but was forced to abandon the vehicle when water ran out. The car was found by search and rescue teams on January 17, but Mr Weber and his dog had long since moved on. Mr Weber was discovered 3km away from his vehicle by the local MP for Gympie Tony Perrett and his wife, who told the Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC): “We'd been past this dam on numerous occasions over the last week and when we saw him there it was just quite extraordinary.” Mr Perrett had decided to continue searching for Mr Weber, despite police calling off the extensive ground and air hunt a few days prior. “He said he was trying to get to Caboolture and he got disorientated … he became lost and didn't know where he was,” Mr Perrett added. Mr Weber became separated from his dog at an unknown point and the canine has yet to be found.
- The Independent
Priest who attended pro-Trump rally ahead of Capitol insurrection is suspended from post and may be defrocked
Reverend Mark Hodges described event as ‘joyful, positive and orderly’
- Business Insider
Barely any time has passed since President Biden's inauguration, and Republicans have already returned to their bag of shenanigans.
- Associated Press
Indonesian authorities said that they seized an Iranian tanker and Panamanian tanker suspected of carrying out the illegal transfer of oil in their country's waters Sunday. The tankers — the Iranian-flagged MT Horse and the Panamanian-flagged MT Frea — were seized in waters off Indonesia's West Kalimantan province, said Wisnu Pramadita, a spokesman for the Indonesian Maritime Security Agency.