China’s big response to climate change just turned the tables on Obama’s foes in Congress Valerie Volcovici, Reuters Sep. 26, 2015, 5:02 AMWASHINGTON (Reuters) – Donald Trump was succinct last week when asked how the United States should respond to climate change.”It’s not a big problem at all,” the leader in opinion polls for the Republican presidential nomination told a radio talk show host. „If you look at China, they’re doing nothing about it.”This week, Chinese President Xi Jinping came to Washington and agreed to take new measures.Standing alongside President Barack Obama at the White House, the Chinese leader committed his country to a series of ambitious policies aimed at countering the rise in global temperatures.Xi said China would introduce a national cap-and-trade system in 2017 that would limit carbon emissions across major industrial sectors, from electricity to iron and steel production.He also pledged to match tougher U.S. fuel standards on heavy trucks planned for 2019, and committed $3.1 billion to help poor countries adapt to climate change.”President Xi has lifted the final political excuse of inaction in Washington,” said Li Shuo, a campaigner for environmental group Greenpeace.China’s aid money matches a similar pledge made last year by Obama, though the money has yet to be delivered to the UN-backed Green Climate Fund because of Republican refusal to appropriate the funds.U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) (L) adjusts a sign at the start of a news conference led by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) (3rd R, at lectern) to draw attention to climate change at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, January 14, 2014.Despite the joint announcement by Xi and Obama, some Republicans remained adamantly opposed to a climate deal.”If the president was serious about achieving a substantive climate agreement, he would spend more time working with Congress instead of developing press releases with the Chinese government,” said Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma. „These public pledges sound good but come with serious economic consequences for the United States.”For his part, Trump has not made any public comments about the agreement since it was announced. He did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment on Friday.U.S. President Barack Obama faces a joint news conference with Chinese President Xi Jinping in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington September 25, 2015.The pledges mean that the world’s two biggest carbon emitters have now aligned their climate diplomacy going into negotiations for a global accord in Paris this December. It marks a long evolution from the Kyoto climate talks in the 1990s, when China refused to sign any agreement that would limit carbon emissions. That position undermined support for the Kyoto agreement in the U.S. Congress, which refused to ratify it.That sentiment remains strong among Republican lawmakers and some Democrats, who oppose U.S. measures to limit carbon emissions because, in part, China has been reluctant to do the same.Buses and cars are clogged with heavy traffic on the roads shrouded with haze pollution in Beijing on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015.The result has been a standoff between Obama and Congress that hit a nadir in 2010 when the Senate balked at passing the administration’s attempt to enact a national carbon market. Now Xi says China will move ahead with just such a market.“The irony is rich: emissions trading is an American idea; now it’s become an American export,” said David Sandalow, a fellow at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy and former under secretary of energy for policy and international affairs.Author Malachy McCourt, 83, of New York, awaits the start of the People’s Climate March Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014 in New York.Other parts of the Chinese package reveal a similar change — in tone, at least.China’s financial pledge is a “watershed moment” for climate diplomacy, environmental groups say, because it shows a willingness to share the billions of dollars believed required to help poor countries shift to low-carbon economies and deal with the effects of a hotter planet.China has long seen itself as a developing nation that is expected to be on the receiving end of any international largesse.Jake Schmidt, international policy director of the Natural Resources Defense Council, said this change in attitude removes a common complaint about China from Congressional opponents.“China is not going to be the recipient of U.S. climate financing, which is how some of our friends on the Hill are painting it,” said Schmidt. “This is a better narrative.”In fact, Obama is the more likely leader who will be forced to show up in Paris without money. The first $500 million of the president’s $3 billion pledge is held up in thorny budget negotiations on Capitol Hill, where some Republican lawmakers have vowed to block any international climate funding.(Editing by Bruce Wallace and Ken Wills)Read the original article on Reuters. Copyright 2015. Follow Reuters on Twitter.MORE FROM REUTERS:
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The Latest: Pope Francis wraps up first day in Philadelphia 3 hours ago Associated Press Videos Pope Celebrates Religious Freedom, Immigrants News Pope Celebrates Religious Freedom, Immigrants PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Latest developments in Pope Francis’ visit to the United States. All times local: Related Stories
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9:45 p.m.Pope Francis has wrapped up his first day in Philadelphia after celebrating Mass, giving a speech on religious freedom and attending an event for Catholic families.Francis left the stage of the World Meeting of Families on Saturday night after hearing stories from six families around the world. He called families a „factory of hope.”Before leaving, Francis asked everyone to attend Mass Sunday. Organizers estimate more than 1 million people will attend the Mass on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.Francis also painted the final stroke on a mural that will hang in Philadelphia in honor of the World Meeting of Families. The event was Francis’ original reason for coming to the U.S.He will alo speak to a group of clergy Sunday and visit a prison before ending a six-day visit to the U.S._9:30 p.m.Pope Francis says families are a „factory of hope” after he heard stories from families from around the world at a Philadelphia festival.Francis gave an off-the-cuff monologue in Spanish after hearing from six families from the U.S., Australia, Ukraine, Jordan, Nigeria, and his homeland of Argentina at the World Meeting of Families on Saturday.He called for families to be cared for and protected — particularly children and the elderly.The families told Francis about their joys and struggles, in between musical performances from acts including The Fray and Aretha Franklin.Francis will celebrate an outdoor Mass on Sunday, speak to a group of clergy and visit a prison before ending a six-day visit to the U.S._Pope Francis delivers his homily during a Mass at Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul, Saturda …Pope Francis makes his way to the Festival of Families along Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelph …8:45 p.m.Church officials say they don’t have an estimate of how many people turned out to see Pope Francis during the closing festival of the World Meeting of Families.The Secret Service had estimated the secured festival space on Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway could fit about a quarter-million people. But there were gaps along sidewalks at the height of attendance Saturday night. Some people, however, remained on side streets and outside the security area.Train ridership into Philadelphia was much lower than expected. The main commuter rail agency said only a little more than half of the 53,000 who bought passes used them.Church officials had estimated up to 750,000 could attend the festival. They have always predicted the biggest crowd, of a million or more, would attend the pope’s outdoor celebration of Mass on Sunday._8 p.m.Seated on stage, Pope Francis is hearing from families from around the world and listening to musical performances at a festival hosted by the worldwide Catholic gathering that brought him to Philadelphia.The pope is attending the World Meeting of Families festival Saturday, where he is meeting with families from the U.S., Australia, Ukraine, Jordan, Nigeria, and his homeland of Argentina.An engaged Australian couple, Camillus O’Kane and Kelly Walsh, told the pope they are concerned about divorce and the push to change the definition of legal marriage.The festival includes musical performances from Andrea Bocelli, Aretha Franklin and others. Actor Mark Wahlberg is the MC.Francis will celebrate an outdoor Mass on the parkway Sunday in ending his first-ever U.S. trip._7:10 p.m.Pope Francis is riding in his white Jeep Wrangler popemobile in a parade around Philadelphia’s City Hall and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.Francis is on his way to a World Meeting of Families festival Saturday.Thousands lined the parade route with crowds of five- to 10-spectators deep hoping to catch a glimpse of the pontiff.The World Meeting of Families festival is being hosted by actor Mark Wahlberg and includes musical performances from Andrea Bocelli, Aretha Franklin, the Philadelphia Orchestra and others.On Sunday, Francis will celebrate Mass for what organizers estimate will be more than 1 million people before ending his first-ever trip to the U.S. that included visits to Washington, D.C., and New York._6:25 p.m.Restaurant owners across Philadelphia are complaining that heavy security from Pope Francis’ visit scared off their customers.Stephen Starr operates more than 20 restaurants in the city. He told the Philadelphia Inquirer the slowdown has been so bad that „this affected business worse than Hurricane Sandy.”The website Open Table shows reservations are readily available at prime times Saturday at even the most popular spots.Organizers have long said the World Meeting of Families that drew the pope to Philadelphia would be an economic boon to the city. But as the event drew closer, city officials were criticized for issuing dire warnings of travel difficulties and service shutdowns.Schools and many businesses closed, and many residents left town in the days leading up to Francis’ arrival.Organizers still expect Saturday night’s concert headlined by Aretha Franklin to attract hundreds of thousands, and they say more than a million will watch Francis celebrate Mass on Sunday_6:10 p.m.Crowds along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway have begun to swell in advance of Pope Francis’ appearance at a Vatican-sponsored „Festival of Families” Saturday night.Pilgrims waited up to 45 minutes to clear security checkpoints late Saturday afternoon, but described the process as orderly. Crowds up to five deep lined the papal parade route.At 6:45 p.m., Francis is scheduled to travel the length of the Parkway from the Philadelphia Museum of Art and City Hall and back in his open-air popemobile, a 2-mile loop. The festival, featuring Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, „Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin and other entertainers, is set to start around 7:30 p.m.Two boys tossed a small green-and-black football. Another group of four children swatted a blowup ball, nearly hitting a nun who tipped it back to them.Jay Berryman was in a group of 160 from North Little Rock, Arkansas. He noticed a change in mood as the pope’s visit neared.”Everyone’s getting nervous,” he said.5:15 p.m.Pope Francis says that America’s immigrant community should not to be discouraged by hardships and should be responsible citizens.Francis delivered a speech on religious freedom and immigration in front of about 40,000 people at Independence Hall Saturday.He implored the immigrants in the crowd to be proud of their heritage and to never be ashamed of their traditions.Francis also said Americans should avoid repeating past mistakes and that people of all faiths should join together to call for respect and dignity of others.As he finished his speech, some among the many immigrant groups in the crowd shouted, „Francisco! Francisco! Francisco!”After a break, Francis will take part in a World Meeting of Families festival Saturday night._4:50 p.m.Pope Francis says that Americans need to remember history to avoid repeating past mistakes and that people of all faiths should join together to call for respect and dignity of others.Francis spoke in front of about 40,000 people Saturday in front of Independence Hall. He says visiting the area where the country was born was one of the highlights of his visit.He also says that religious liberty means people don’t have to leave their religious beliefs at home to be part of public life.After a break, Francis will take part in a World Meeting of Families festival Saturday night.He will celebrate an outdoor Mass on Sunday for what organizers estimate will be more than 1 million people.American singer Aretha Franklin sings as Pope Francis and others listen at the Festival of Families …__4:45 p.m.After emerging from Independence Hall to „Fanfare for the Common Man,” Pope Francis is giving a speech on religious freedom and immigration from the lectern used by President Abraham Lincoln when he delivered the Gettysburg Address.About 40,000 people are watching the speech Saturday on Independence Mall, many of whom have been waiting since early in the morning.Shouts of „il papa” erupted from the crowd. Thousands of others are watching the speech from large TV screens around the city.Francis arrived on the mall in his white Jeep Wrangler popemobile, waving to crowds and kissing babies as he drove.Following the speech, he will join a World Meeting of Families concert and on Sunday will celebrate Mass for what organizers estimate will be more than 1 million people._4:35 p.m.Pope Francis watches a performance by members of Marie Miller & Pennsylvania Ballet as he visits the …Pope Francis has blessed a 5-foot wooden cross that is especially important to Hispanics as he prepares to give a speech on religious freedom and immigration in Philadelphia.Francis blessed the Cross of the Encuentros Saturday afternoon after arriving at Independence Mall for the speech. A family of seven that came to the United States from Mexico presented the cross to Francis.Encuentros is the Spanish word for meetings or encounters. Catholic officials say the cross will be taken to dioceses across the country as a symbol of an ongoing national pastoral movement called Encuentro, which has spurred Hispanic ministry in the country.The movement includes a three-year process of missionary activity, consultation, leadership development and pastoral discernment._4:25 p.m.The crowd is erupting as Pope Francis arrives at Independence Mall in his white popemobile for a speech on religious freedom and immigration.Francis waved as he was driving along Market Street in Philadelphia in the open, converted Jeep Wrangler.Bodyguards passed one baby after another to Francis so he could kiss their foreheads. A police officer handed the pope a boy in a Batman shirt; another baby was wearing a tiny peaked hat similar to the pope’s iconic mitre.Pope Francis makes his way to the Festival of Families along Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelph …Francis will give the speech from the lectern used by President Abraham Lincoln when he delivered the Gettysburg Address.In a speech to Congress this week, Francis implored lawmakers to show compassion to immigrants._3:55 p.m.Pope Francis and his papal motorcade have left the suburban seminary where he is staying and is riding through the streets of Philadelphia toward Independence Hall.Francis is scheduled to give a speech late Saturday afternoon about religious freedom and immigration at the site where the Constitution and Declaration of Independence were signed. About 40,000 attendees are expected at the ticketed event.But first, Francis will return to the downtown cathedral where he celebrated Mass earlier in the day and transfer to the popemobile for the final 1 1/2 miles to the historic neighborhood.Following the speech, he will join the final event of the World Meeting of Families. It will be hosted by actor Mark Wahlberg and will include performances from Andrea Bocelli, Aretha Franklin, the Philadelphia Orchestra and others._3:30 p.m.Pennsylvania and New Jersey transit agencies say train ridership to see the pope in Philadelphia has been lower than expected.As a result, some schedules have been adjusted.The seven-lane Benjamin Franklin Bridge between New Jersey and Philadelphia is closed to all but pedestrians and emergency vehicles. But pedestrian traffic has been light.College student Christina Carabaho of Williamstown, New Jersey, and her family walked the nearly 2-mile bridge to save the expense of parking and taking a ferry. Her only complaint: She wore boots instead of sneakers.Heading into the papal weekend, there had been fears some visitors were scared away by all the security and travel restrictions._2:25 p.m.Pope Francis is resting up at the suburban seminary where he is staying before restarting a packed itinerary on his first day in Philadelphia.Pope Francis arrives in his popemobile to speak in front of Independence Hall, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2 …Francis is scheduled to return to the cathedral where he celebrated Mass Saturday morning and transfer to the popemobile for a mile-and-a-half journey through downtown.He will give a late-afternoon speech focusing on religious freedom and immigration at Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were signed.A festive night follows, with a concert featuring Aretha Franklin, Andrea Bocelli, the Philadelphia Orchestra and others. The event hosted by Mark Wahlberg caps the World Meeting of Families, which drew Francis to the United States for the first time.On Sunday, an estimated 1 million people are expected to attend a public Mass that Francis will celebrate._12:55 p.m.Pope Francis has been serenaded by a group of about 150 seminarians after arriving at the suburban seminary where he will stay while visiting Philadelphia.The seminarians also sang „Happy Birthday” to Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, who turned 71 Saturday.Francis will spend some time resting at the St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Lower Merion before giving a speech on religious freedom and immigration in front of Independence Hall.Pope Francis rides in the popemobile along Independence Mall before delivering a speech outside Inde …He will then be part of a parade along the parkway where a festival will be held for the final night of the World Meeting of Families.The final event will be hosted by actor Mark Wahlberg and include performances from Andrea Bocelli, Aretha Franklin, the Philadelphia Orchestra and others.On Sunday, Francis will celebrate Mass for what organizers estimate will be more than 1 million people._12:35 p.m.Fifty members of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas were on hand to hear Pope Francis call for the church to value the contribution of women.The nuns received tickets to Saturday’s Mass at the main cathedral in downtown Philadelphia.He celebrated Mass in front of about 1,600 people.Francis settled a controversy in April over a three-year Vatican investigation into the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which the sisters are part of.Pope Francis passes the crowd and kisses a baby in his pope mobile in Philadelphia on Saturday, Sept …The umbrella group for women’s religious orders had been accused of straying from church teaching.Francis’ progressive agenda parallels their views on helping the poor and immigrants, preserving life and ending the death penalty.Sister Catherine Darcy, of Merion, Pennsylvania, says this is a special moment for the Catholic church and that they have felt strong support from Francis._12:15 p.m.Pope Francis has finished celebrating a Mass, stopping to bless children in wheelchairs before leaving the cathedral in downtown Philadelphia.Francis walked through a chapel adjacent to the main room in the cathedral on Saturday to greet ill and disabled parishioners, along with other visitors. He blessed the children and gave them a kiss on the head.Francis delivered a homily in Spanish in front of about 1,600 people. He says the future of the church depends on an increased role for the laity and valuing the „immense contribution” of women.He will spend a few hours at a seminary just outside of the city before giving a speech Saturday afternoon on religious freedom and immigration.Pope Francis blesses a nun after arriving at Philadelphia International Airport in Philadelphia, Sat …_Noon The former Archbishop of Philadelphia who retired in 2011 amid a scandal over clergy sex abuse is celebrating Mass with Pope Francis.Cardinal Justin Rigali joined Francis and other bishops at the Mass Saturday on the pope’s first stop in Philadelphia.Rigali’s successor, Archbishop Charles Chaput, also was on the altar in front of about 1,600 people at the main cathedral in downtown Philadelphia.Rigali retired to the Diocese of Knoxville, Tennessee, months after a grand jury accused the Philadelphia archdiocese of sheltering more than three dozen credibly accused priests and lying about it to victims and others.Later Saturday, Francis will give a speech on religious freedom and immigration and then join in the final night of the World Meeting of Families._This story has been clarified to show that Rigali is the former archbishop, but remains a cardinal.The congregation listens as Pope Francis gives his homily during a Mass at Cathedral Basilica of Sts …_11:10 a.m.Pope Francis says the future of the church depends on an increased role for the laity and on valuing the „immense contribution” of women.Francis delivered a homily in Spanish Saturday while celebrating Mass in front of about 1,600 people at the main cathedral in downtown Philadelphia.Francis has repeatedly said women should have a greater role in church leadership, although he has rejected the idea of ordaining women.By touching on the issue, Francis seemed intent on healing one of the major rifts in American Catholicism that has alienated many from the church.Later Saturday, he will give a speech on religious freedom and immigration and then join in the final night of the World Meeting of Families.On Sunday, he will celebrate Mass for what organizers estimate will be more than 1 million people._10:45 a.m.Pope Francis is celebrating Mass in front of 1,600 people at Philadelphia’s main Catholic cathedral.Francis walked down the aisle of the church holding a large staff with a crucifix on top while a choir sang.Francis arrived at the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul Saturday morning in his black Fiat after landing in Philadelphia from New York.Pope John Paul II spoke at the cathedral in 1979, the only other papal visit to Philadelphia.Later Saturday, he will give a speech at Independence Hall and then join in the final night of the World Meeting of Families. On Sunday, he will celebrate Mass for an estimated 1 million people._10:20 a.m.Pope Francis is set to celebrate Mass in front of 1,600 people at Philadelphia’s main Catholic cathedral.Pope Francis waves as Archbishop Charles Chaput, right, stands by, prior to celebrating Mass Saturda …Francis pulled up in front of the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul Saturday morning in his black Fiat after landing in Philadelphia from New York.He was greeted at the steps by former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett and his wife. Corbett originally invited Francis to Philadelphia.Before going inside, Francis twice turned around to wave to the hundreds of cheering people standing outside of the cathedral.Pope John Paul II spoke at the cathedral in 1979, the only other papal visit to Philadelphia.Later on Saturday, Francis will give a speech on religious freedom and immigration and then join in the final night of the World Meeting of Families._10 a.m.Pope Francis has left Philadelphia’s airport and is headed to its main Catholic cathedral to celebrate Mass for about 1,600 people.Among those greeting Francis Saturday was a former Philadelphia police officer wounded in the line of duty seven years ago and his family. Richard Bowes’ daughters presented flowers to Francis and he hugged the two girls and Bowes’ son.Pope Francis waves as he arrives for a mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul in Phil …Francis also got out of his black Fiat to bless a 10-year-old boy in a wheelchair on the tarmac, kissing him on the forehead.A local Catholic high school band played, including the theme song from the Philadelphia-set movie „Rocky.”Later on Saturday, he will give a speech at Independence Hall and then join in the final night of the World Meeting of Families. On Sunday, he will celebrate Mass for hundreds of thousands._This story has been corrected to show that Francis blessed a boy, not a man, at the airport._9:40 a.m.Pope Francis has arrived in Philadelphia to begin a visit that will include celebrating Mass for what organizers estimate will be more than 1 million people.His chartered American Airlines plane touched down Saturday morning after Francis spent four days in New York City and Washington.Pope Francis is greeted by Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey as he arrives at Philadel …He is being greeted by a Catholic high school band and local dignitaries.Francis is headed first for the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul, where he will celebrate Mass for about 1,200 people. He will later give a speech on religious freedom and immigration in front of Independence Hall and then join in the final night of the World Meeting of Families.He will also visit a prison while in Philadelphia, before celebrating a Sunday Mass on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway._9:05 a.m.Pope Francis has left New York City for Philadelphia, the last stop in his three-city visit to the United States.Before taking off, the pope greeted nuns at Kennedy Airport. With the wind whipping, he took a small stumble as he ascended the stairs to a waiting jet. He waved to the crowd as the airplane taxied.In Philadelphia, his itinerary includes Masses, prayer vigils and a visit to a prison. On Sunday, he’ll celebrate the closing Mass for the World Meeting of Families, which is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of people.In New York City, Francis spoke at the United Nations and celebrated Mass at Madison Square Garden.His first stop was Washington, where he was met by President Barack Obama and spoke to Congress. He heads back to Rome on Sunday night._8:30 a.m.Pope Francis has begun his trip to Philadelphia, the last stop on his U.S. trip.The pope left Manhattan on Saturday morning for Kennedy Airport in a helicopter. He will fly to Philadelphia after a brief farewell from worshippers waiting to see him off.Groups of Roman Catholic parishioners prayed together as they waited at JFK.”Our Father…” was heard above the rumble of the American Airlines jet engines warming up for the flight to Philadelphia.In keeping with Francis’ efforts to bring religions closer, New Yorkers who came to say farewell to Francis included a Sikh in a white turban as well as representatives of other faiths._7:30 a.m.Two Marine helicopters have taken off from New York’s Kennedy airport to pick up Pope Francis in Manhattan and take him to the airport.Francis is scheduled to leave New York for Philadelphia on Saturday morning.Roman Catholic worshippers and church officials have gathered for a brief farewell on the JFK airport tarmac.They include seven cloistered nuns from the Precious Blood Seminary in Brooklyn. Four of them are originally from Francis’ native Argentina.Francis arrived in New York on Thursday evening from Washington, D.C. His crowded New York itinerary included a speech to the United Nations General Assembly, a visit to the World Trade Center Memorial and Museum and a Mass at Madison Square Garden.It is the pope’s first visit to the United States._2:30 a.m.After speeches to Congress and the United Nations aimed at world leaders, Pope Francis will embark on the segment of his American journey expected to be the most centered on ordinary Catholics: a Vatican-organized rally for the family that will culminate in an outdoor Mass for a million people.Francis heads to Philadelphia on Saturday.He will speak at Independence Hall, where the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence and Constitution.As he has done in New York and Washington, he will give his attention to both the elite and the disadvantaged, this time visiting inmates in Philadelphia’s largest jail. On Saturday night, he will be serenaded by Aretha Franklin and others on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at a festival celebrating families. He will return there Sunday for the Mass, his last major event before leaving for Rome.
Taking greater role, China leader pledges $2 bln to poor By Shaun Tandon6 hours ago Reuters Videos China pledges $2 bln to help development of poor countriesNews China pledges $2 bln to help development of poor countries Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday pledged $2 billion for a new development fund for poor countries on a UN visit showcasing Beijing’s growing global role.Related Stories
Xi’s announcement, made in his first address to the United Nations, follows longstanding criticism from the United States and other developed countries that China has not taken responsibilities in line with its aspirations for a greater global role.The speech is the latest high-profile move for Xi on a trip that has included a White House state visit and will see him chair a UN forum on women’s rights on Sunday.Addressing a UN summit on development, Xi said China would act „by putting justice before interests and joining other countries in a concerted effort to realize the post-2015 agenda.”Xi said that China would launch an assistance fund for developing countries with an initial investment of $2 billion.The Chinese leader said that his country would step up investment in the least developed countries — which are mostly in Africa — by at least $12 billion by 2030.Australia’s Treasurer Joe Hockey (C) holds up his pen as he becomes the first to sign articles o …China has been an increasingly active investor around the world, although it has generally focused on seeking resources rather than broader humanitarian goals.Xi said that China would also relieve debts owed by least developed countries this year. He did not provide a figure on the debts or say which countries would be affected.The United Nations on Friday set a goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030, an effort that the global body says could require up to $5 trillion a year.- Send tourists -After his speech, the Chinese president hosted a meeting on South-South cooperation attended by more than a dozen leaders eager to present their wish lists.Xi Jinping, President of China, speaks at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit during t …Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni urged Xi to encourage Chinese companies to invest in Africa and to open up the Chinese market to African goods as the best way to promote economic development.He then added a third, concrete request.”Tourists. If you could send me just two million of those, I’ll be very happy,” said the Ugandan leader, drawing applause.In January, Xi promised $250 billion in investment over 10 years in Latin America, which the United States has long considered its sphere of influence.China’s economy has soared over the past 15 years to become the world’s second largest after the United States, although concerns have been rising in recent months over the country’s financial markets and long-term growth.A cyclist wears a mask in Beijing, covered by heavy smog, June 23, 2015 (AFP Photo/)China has increasingly taken an assertive role in the world, especially in myriad disputes with its neighbors, but retains little stake in the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.With a reform plan for the Washington-based institutions blocked by US Republican lawmakers, China has set up its own lender, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.The bank, which Xi reaffirmed would open soon, has widely been seen as a way for China to dilute the influence of the United States and Japan, the most prominent holdouts from the new lender.”It is important to improve global economic governance, increase the representation and voice of developing countries and give all countries equal right to participating in international rule-making,” Xi said.- Easing concerns -China’s aid commitment remains far below levels of Western countries.The United States in 2013 provided more than $30 billion, and Britain, France, Germany and Japan all gave more than $11 billion, according to the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.Xi called on developed countries to remain „the main channel” for assistance to poor nations.The pledge nonetheless marks the second day in a row in which China has addressed one of many concerns of Western countries.On his visit Friday to Washington, Xi pledged action on climate change. China is the largest emitter of carbon blamed for the world’s rising temperatures.China promised $3.1 billion to help developing countries adapt to climate change and said it would set up a „cap-and-trade” system to limit emissions.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks at the United Nations in New York City on Friday. (Justin Lane / EPA)
After a rocky start at Utah in the season’s first week, Michigan fans had some trepidation about the possibilites of coach Jim Harbaugh’s first season with the team.Now, after the fourth game of the season and a game against another team from Utah, that trepidation has been replaced with optimism. The Wolverines throttled BYU 31-0 to move to 3-1 before Big Ten play begins.All 31 of those points came in the first half. A touchdown run by quarterback Jake Rudock in the first quarter opened the scoring and the Wolverines scored 24 points in the second quarter. The final touchdown was a 17-yard run for Rudock, who simply turned the corner as he ran across the line of scrimmage and had nothing in his way towards the end zone.BYU, playing its third Power Five opponent on the road in four weeks and a week removed from a 24-23 loss to UCLA, looked a step slow the entire game. The defense was chasing Michigan’s offense around during the entire first half and the offense was abysmal. The pass game contributed absolutely nothing. Quarterback Tanner Mangum finished 11-of-27 for 51 yards. The offense had 101 total yards.It was the first time that BYU had been shut out since 2003. And Michigan’s first shutout since 2012.If there was a downside to the win for Michigan, it was when running back De’Veon Smith limped off the field with a right ankle injury. His ankle got twisted awkwardly as he was tackled in the third quarter and he was later taken to the locker room on a cart. Smith finished with 16 carries for 125 yards and a touchdown. The score came on a 60-yard run.Smith being out for an extended period of time would slow the Michigan offense. While Rudock played well on Saturday, his effectiveness is maximized by a strong run game. Smith had nearly half of Michigan’s total rushing yardage against BYU.But even without him, Michigan’s path to a 10-win season doesn’t seem as daunting as it might have three weeks ago. The defense has continued to be stellar and the three ranked teams on Michigan’s schedule – Northwestern, Michigan State and Ohio State – all are at home. While many people expected Michigan to be playing spoiler to the latter two teams’ title hopes in 2015, the Wolverines could be doing so while being in the top 25 themselves.For more BYU news, visit CougarNation.com.For more Michigan news, visit TheWolverine.com.– Nick Bromberg is the assistant editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him email@example.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @NickBromberg
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In a telephone conversation at Russia’s behest, the two men „exchanged views on regional security matters, first and foremost, in the context of finding ways to settle the conflict in Syria”, a statement posted to the Kremlin’s website said.They also discussed „building more effective international cooperation in the fight against the so-called Islamic State and other terrorist groups”, it said.A decades-long backer of the Damascus regime, Moscow has steadfastly supported President Bashar al-Assad throughout four-and-a-half years of war which have killed more than 240,000 people.Saudi Arabia is part of a US-led coalition that began an air campaign against IS in Syria last September, and insists it will never cooperate with the Assad regime.On Monday, Putin will address the General Assembly in New York to outline his plan for Syria, notably the idea of expanding a coalition, which would include Assad’s army, to fight Islamic State.He will also meet US President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the gathering, their first formal talk in two years.Russia has lately boosted its military presence in Syria, deploying more troops and warplanes to an air base along with new arms deliveries to Assad’s forces. Last week, the Syrian army used Russian drones against the jihadists for the first time.On Saturday, a Syrian military source told AFP that at least 15 Russian cargo planes transporting „equipment and personnel” had landed at the Hmeimim military base in western Syria in the past two weeks.Moscow’s military build-up comes with Washington’s own policy for fighting IS in Syria in increasing disarray.The US has a $500-million programme to train and equip vetted moderates recruited from among the rebels fighting Assad, but it has faced repeated setbacks.Washington and its allies have up until now insisted that Assad has no future in Syria, but there have been recent signs of a change, perhaps allowing him an interim role until a new government is formed.On Friday, a Russian diplomat raised the possibility of Moscow joining the Washington-led coalition against IS provided the UN Security Council gave a legal framework for its action.”It is in theory possible that all those involved join the coalition if it receives the approval of the UN Security Council,” Ilya Rogatchev, head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Department for New Challenges and Threats, told AFP.
Venezuela, Guyana set to meet on UN sidelines on disputeBy RICARDO ZUNIGA6 hours agoNEW YORK (AP) — Guyana’s president said Saturday he’s willing to meet with Venezuela’s leader on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly — and the U.N. chief has arranged just that. Ban Ki-moon’s Sunday schedule now shows a joint meeting with the two leaders embroiled in a border dispute.Related Stories
But in an interview with The Associated Press, Guyana’s President David Granger also reiterated his belief that the International Court of Justice is the only answer to the countries’ territorial squabble.Granger said the U.N. court in the Netherlands should mediate the matter. Any attempt by him and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to negotiate the matter on their own would be „useless,” he said.”We cannot reopen a matter that was settled by international arbitration, and we’ve never committed to reopening the matter,” Granger said, referring to an 1899 decision that drew the current border between the two countries.Venezuela has disputed that line for more than a half century and says the current altercation should be resolved by a U.N. mediator.Venezuela has long claimed about 40 percent of Guyana’s territory that is rich in gold, bauxite, diamonds and other natural resources. It extended its maritime claims recently after a subsidiary of Exxon Mobil Corp. announced it made a significant oil discovery off Guyana’s coast.Granger said he plans to talk with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during the current gathering of world leaders in New York and will meet with Maduro if Ban proposes it. But he wasn’t optimistic that much would be accomplished.David Arthur Granger, President of Guyana, addresses the 2015 Sustainable Development Summit, Friday …”The controversy has persisted for 50 years, Venezuela has not introduced any new evidence, and I’m not interested in a photo opportunity,” Granger said. „I’m interested in (the) Venezuelan removal of its claim I have not seen any indication from Mr. Maduro, have not received any invitation from Mr. Maduro, that he’s formed new evidence to validate his claim to our territory.”There was no immediate response from the Venezuelan government to Granger’s comments.Tensions between the two nations have increased in the last week.Guyana held military exercises around the country Saturday, but Granger said the move was not aimed at inflaming the situation.”It’s impossible for Guyana to attack Venezuela,” he said. „Venezuela has armed forces of over 112,000, compared with Guyana’s 3,000.”More than 1,000 soldiers marched through the capital of Guyana and elsewhere in the South American country Saturday.The chief of staff for Guyana’s military, Brig. Gen Mark Phillips, said some marches took place in the western Essequibo region that Venezuela claims. He said the 6-mile (10-kilometer) marches began at dawn.”We are ready to ensure that we have peace throughout Guyana,” he told troops at the end of the main parade in the capital. „We are defining aggression on our frontier because we want to have peace in our country.”Guyana showed off its military days after it accused Venezuela of deploying troops to the border. Venezuelan officials have said only that troops were conducting exercises in the country’s east.Granger did not mention Venezuela or directly refer to the dispute during a speech Friday at the U.N. General Assembly. In his speech, he said friendship and understanding should prevail in relations between states.”Guyana calls on all nations to eschew recourse to the threat, or use, of force in the resolution of controversies,” he said._Associated Press writers Bert Wilkinson in Georgetown, Guyana, and Cara Anna at the United Nations contributed to this report.
Poland to summon Russian envoy as diplomatic spat drags on 14 hours ago. View photoPoland’s Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna looks on as he listens questions during news conference …WARSAW (Reuters) – Poland said on Saturday it would summon Russia’s envoy after he said Warsaw was partly to blame for the outbreak of World War Two, continuing a spat which has seen the Polish ambassador in Moscow summoned twice in just over a week.Relations between the two countries have been extremely fragile due to Russia’s support for separatists fighting in eastern Ukraine. Warsaw has been one of the most vocal critics of Russia’s actions – which Moscow denies – and a strong proponent of upholding economic sanctions against it.In an interview aired by private broadcaster TVN24 on Friday evening, Russian ambassador to Poland Sergey Andreyev said Poland was partly responsible for Nazi Germany invading in 1939 because it had repeatedly blocked the formation of a coalition against Berlin in the run-up to the conflict.Andreyev also said Polish-Russian relations were currently at their worst since 1945 because Poland had chosen to freeze political and cultural contacts.”The Russian ambassador will be summoned to the foreign ministry on Monday so that this issue is clarified to him by a foreign ministry representative” Schetyna told reporters.Earlier on Saturday, the Polish foreign ministry issued a statement expressing „surprise and concern” over Andreyev’s remarks.”The narrative presented by the highest official representative of the Russian state in Poland undermines historical truth and refers to the most mendacious interpretation of events, familiar from Stalinist and Communist times,” it said.SOVIET GRAVESHours before the interview with Andreyev was aired, Moscow had summoned Poland’s ambassador to Russia, Katarzyna Pelczynska-Nalecz after gravestones were vandalized in a Soviet cemetery in a Polish town 20 kilometers from the Belarusian border.Fifty-seven graves were discovered vandalized on Wednesday at a cemetery in Milejczyce in north-eastern Poland where 1,615 Russian soldiers are buried.The Polish foreign ministry condemned the incident on Friday, and police and a government council are investigating.A Reuters cameraman at the cemetery on Saturday said most of the graves, each containing several dozen soldiers, had been damaged, with shattered red stone Soviet stars and wreaths with Polish writing on them scattered across the ground.A number of Poles had come to the graveyard to clear up, including one 60-year-old man who gave his name as Wlodzimierz.”These young boys were fighting not for their homeland, they were fighting for Poland, they were freeing this place, and they died here in this region. And now to come and do something like this? I’ve been coming here for two days, and when I look at it I’m shaking,” Wlodzimierz said.A week before the incident at the graveyard a Soviet-era statue was removed in another Polish town, which also led to the Polish ambassador being summoned by Russia’s foreign ministry.”One gets the impression that the desecration of our memorial places has been raised in Poland to the rank of a state policy,” the Russian ministry said in a statement demanding exhaustive measures to find and bring the vandals to justice.(Reporting by Wiktor Szary; Additional reporting by Karol Witenberg; Editing by Dominic Evans and Hugh Lawson)
Why Catalonia matters to Spain: the numbers 1 hour agoCatalonia accounted for 19 percent of Spain’s GDP last year, or nearly 200 billion euros, making it the country’s richest region (AFP Photo/Jorge Guerrero)Madrid (AFP) – Catalonia, which on Sunday holds a regional election focused on independence, is one of Spain’s most economically important regions.Related Stories
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This is why: IT IS SPAIN’S SECOND-BIGGEST REGION Catalonia is home to 7.5 million of Spain’s nearly 47 million people, making it the second biggest region after Andalusia in the south with 8.4 million. Nearly 73 percent of Catalonia’s inhabitants speak Catalan and around 15 percent are foreigners.IT IS RICH Catalonia accounted for 19 percent of Spain’s gross domestic product (GDP) last year, or nearly 200 billion euros ($224 billion), making it the country’s richest region.Its GDP per capita has fallen slightly since the economic crisis erupted in 2008, but remains higher than the national average: just under 27,000 euros last year, according to the National Statistics Institute.IT HAS BIG BUSINESSES Over 586,000 companies are based in Catalonia, most of them small and medium-sized businesses. It is home to nearly 2,150 bigger firms employing more than 200 people, such as clothes giant Mango and Gas Natural. Volkswagen has a factory in the region where it makes vehicles under its Seat brand.IT GETS MASSES OF TOURISTSWith its capital Barcelona and Mediterranean beaches, Catalonia draws more foreign tourists than any other Spanish region. Just over 16.8 million foreigners visited last year, one quarter of Spain’s total.IT EXPORTS AND DRAWS INVESTMENT Catalonia accounted for 25 percent of all Spanish exports last year, according to the economy ministry. Since 2011 it has exported more products abroad than to the rest of Spain.It received 17 percent of total foreign investment in Spain last year, some 2.9 billion euros. That figure was down by nearly 16 percent from 2013 but picked up again in the first half of 2015.IT HAS BIG DEBTS Catalonia is the third most indebted of Spain’s 17 semi-autonomous regions. Its debt in the second quarter of 2015 was equivalent to nearly a third of its GDP, according to the Bank of Spain.IT HAS RELATIVELY LOW UNEMPLOYMENT The unemployment rate in Catalonia in the second quarter of 2015 stood at 19.1 percent, extremely high but below Spain’s national average of 22.4 percent.IT HAS MAJOR INFRASTRUCTURE Catalonia’s capital Barcelona is home to Spain’s second busiest airport, with 37.6 million passengers last year, second only to Madrid.Its port is the nation’s third busiest after Algeciras and Valencia, according to the World Shipping Council.IT HAS POWERFUL SEPARATIST PARTIES The „Together for a Yes” joint list, uniting regional president Artur Mas’s conservative CDC party with left-wing and civil groups, could win over half the seats in the 135-seat Catalan parliament if it joins forces with the separatist anti-capitalist party CUP, according to polls.