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UNITED NATIONS: The "Doha Climate Gateway" agreement

  • In typical international climate summit fashion, the COP18 meetings ended in a last–minute marathon session complete with frustration, accusation, acrimony and a halting step forward in what is called the "Doha Climate Gateway" agreement
  • The agreement contains an 8-year extension of the Kyoto Protocol until 2020 limited in scope to only 15% of the global carbon dioxide emissions due to the lack of participation of Canada, Japan, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, New Zealand and the United States and due to the fact that developing countries like China (the world's largest emitter), India and Brazil are not subject to any emissions reductions under the Kyoto Protocol
  • Ultimately steps were taken with the hope that by 2015, only 3 years hence, a global agreement can be forged  Doha 2012 on climate

Doha, Dec. 14.─ The 2012 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP18) wrapped up last week. Negotiations ran a day overschedule, but concluded with an agreement on the "Doha Climate Gateway". According to information published by the conference website, the deal marks the beginning of discussion on a universal, legally-binding international agreement on greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions. COP18 materials specify that such an agreement could be ratified as soon as 2015, and come into force by 2020. A primary goal of the initiatives is to restrict climate increase to less than 2 degrees Celsius.


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US to become the world's top energy producer

World Energy Outlook 2012The US will overtake Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the world's largest global oil producer by the second half of this decade, according to the International Energy Agency, as the shale revolution redraws the global energy landscape

Nov. 15.─ The agency's latest World Energy Outlook said the US could be almost self-sufficient in energy by 2035, marking "a dramatic reversal of the trend seen in most other energy-importing countries". It said the US would overtake Russia as the largest gas producer by 2015.

The resurgence in US oil and gas production, it said, was spurring economic activity "with less expensive gas and electricity prices giving [US] industry a competitive edge". Last week, a Germany industry lobby group warned that US companies are enjoying a rising advantage in energy costs.

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Relevant US Supreme Court arguments on Obamacare's judgement and other related issues

  • The Supreme Court upheld the vast majority of the health law on June 28th
  • The Medicaid portion of the ruling does not interfere with the enactment of most of the law

Washington, July 4 (─ In 2010, Congress enacted the Patient Protection and Affordable CareAct in order to increase the number of Americans covered by health insurance and decrease the cost of health care. One key provision is the individual mandate, which requires most Americans to maintain "minimum essential" health insurance coverage. (26 U. S. C. §5000A).

For individuals who are not exempt, and who do not receive health insurance through an employer or government program, the means of satisfying the requirement is to purchase insurance from a private company.

US Supreme Court

On June 28, 2012, Chief Justice Roberts announced the judgement of the Court and delivered the opinion of the Court on these terms:

"Today we resolve constitutional challenges to two provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010: the individual mandate, which requires individuals to purchase a health insurance policy providing a minimum level of coverage; and the Medicaid expansion, which gives funds to the States on the condition that they provide specified health care to all citizens whose income falls below a certain threshold. We do not consider whether the Act embodies sound policies. That judgment is entrusted to the Nation's elected leaders. We ask only whether Congress has the power under the Constitution to enactthe challenged provisions."


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Was Palestinian Leader Yasser Arafat poisoned?

Polonium was found to have caused the death of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko in London (2006) two years after Arafat died

Yasser ArafatBern, July 4.─ Scientists in Switzerland claim to have found traces of polonium in the effects of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

Test results presented in a television documentary for Al Jazeera showed his clothes, toothbrush and headscarf exhibited surprisingly high levels of the poisonous element.


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EGYPT: Hosni Mubarak resigns

  • Steps down after 18 days of demonstrations Egyptians celebrate Mubarak's fall
    VicePresident Suleiman reads on TV short statement on resignation

Cairo, Feb.11.─ Hosni Mubarak stepped down as president of Egypt and handed power to the military, bowing to the demands of protesters who have occupied central Cairo for the past three weeks demanding an end to his 30-year rule. Vice President Omar Suleiman made the announcement in a statement on state television today. Bloomberg's Margaret Brennan and Lara Setrakian report on Video.

The 30-second statement on state television was read by Vice President Omar Suleiman at 6:02 p.m. local time:

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