Thursday, 17 January 2008

Call to Canadian Government to Raise Child Soldier Issue in Khadr Proceedings at Guantanamo

Filed under: Human Rights,International Law: War,News Watch Blog — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 19:31 PDT

In an open letter to Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier released today, forty-seven law professors from around Canada called on the government to intervene in the case of Omar Khadr and raise issues of international law concerning child soldiers. This call comes as these and other Canadian law professors and a score of Canadian parliamentarians prepare to file their own intervention Friday on the child soldier issue in the trial of Omar Khadr at Guantanamo Bay. This letter is available here [pdf file].

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U.S. biofuels policy drives deforestation in Indonesia, the Amazon

Filed under: Environment,News Watch Blog — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 19:10 PDT

U.S. incentives for biofuel production are promoting deforestation in southeast Asia and the Amazon by driving up crop prices and displacing energy feedstock production, say researchers.

William Laurance, a senior scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, says that massive subsidies to promote American corn production for ethanol have shifted soy production to Brazil where large areas of cerrado grasslands are being torn up for soybean farms. The expansion of soy in the region is contributing to deforestation in the Amazon.

“Some forests are directly cleared for soy farms. Farmers also purchase large expanses of cattle pasture for soy production, effectively pushing the ranchers further into the Amazonian frontier or onto lands unsuitable for soy production,” said Laurance.

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U.S. wind power grew 45 percent in 2007: AWEA

Filed under: Environment,News Watch Blog — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 19:05 PDT

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – U.S. wind power grew by 45 percent in 2007, blowing away past annual growth marks, industry group American Wind Energy Association said Thursday.

Utilities seeking green alternatives, some in states requiring more renewable power, helped wind power account for $9 billion invested and 30 percent of all new U.S. power generation in 2007, the AWEA said in its annual year-end report.

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Human Rights Advocates Meet United Nations Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process

Filed under: News Watch Blog — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 19:01 PDT

On Tuesday, 15 January 2008, Mr. Issam Younis, Director of Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, Mr. Khalil Abu Shammaleh, Director of Ad Dameer Association for Human Rights, and Talal Oukal, journalist and political analyst, met with Mr. Robert Serry, the United Nations Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process. They met at the Office of the Special Coordinator of the United Nations in Gaza city.

Mr. Younis, Mr. Abu Shammaleh and Mr. Oukal talked with Mr. Serry about the humanitarian and human rights conditions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), particularly in the Gaza Strip. They pointed to the catastrophic consequences of the policy of siege imposed on the Gaza Strip and how it affects negatively all aspects of civilian life.

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Defence seeks dismissal on grounds Khadr was child soldier

Filed under: Human Rights,International Law: War,News Watch Blog — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 14:06 PDT

Lawyers for Canadian terror suspect Omar Khadr are asking a U.S. military judge to dismiss war crimes charges against their client on the grounds he was a child soldier whose prosecution breaks international law.

In a motion to be filed today with Col. Peter Brownback, Khadr’s military defence lawyers contend the Bush administration’s war crimes tribunals have no jurisdiction to try juveniles. They also argue any trial would violate United Nations conventions protecting children in armed conflict.

“If jurisdiction is exercised over Mr. Khadr, the military judge will be the first in western history to preside over the trial of alleged war crimes committed by a child,” says the motion to dismiss, obtained by Canwest News Service.

“No international criminal tribunal established under the laws of war, from Nuremberg forward, has ever prosecuted former child soldiers as war criminals.”

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Japanese aid snub to Burma: Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam get assistance

Filed under: Cambodia,Human Rights,Myanmar — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 07:30 PDT

TOKYO – Sanction-hit Burma got nothing yesterday as Japan pledged approximately US$20 million (Bt662 million) for development projects in the Mekong basin.

Burmese Foreign Minister Nyan Win together with his counterparts from the Mekong region – Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam – were in Tokyo for the first Mekong-Japan foreign ministers’ meeting.

Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Koumura signed a memorandum of understanding with his Laotian counterpart, Thongloun Sisoulith, Cambodia’s Hor Namhong and Vietnam’s Pham Gia Khiem. It provides financial assistance through the Japan-Asean Integration Fund to those countries.

Japan cancelled nearly $5 million in development assistance to junta-ruled Burma in October last year in response to the military crackdown on street protests in late September. At least 31 were killed, including Japanese news photographer Kenji Nagai.

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