16 May 2016   Leave a comment

Twenty-five countries have decided to provide arms to the new unity government in Libya so that it can defend itself against attacks from extremists.  The country has been wracked by violence since the overthrow of its former leader, Muammar Gaddaffi, who was killed in 2011.  The current government, led by Prime Minister Fayez Serraj, only arrived in Libya six weeks ago (by boat) and there are other groups who claim to be the government of Libya.  One hopeful sign is that all five permanent members of the UN Security Council have signed the pledge, which has yet to be formally ratified by the Security Council, which indicates that there will be no great power dispute over the legitimacy of the new government.  The move also suggests the importance of the participation of Libya in solving the refugee crisis in Europe.

Yet again the past month has set a new record for global temperature.  April averaged 1.11° C warmer than the average for the period 1951-80.  The record surpasses the records set in January, February, and March, marking the 4th consecutive month of temperatures that have averaged more than 1° C higher.  Andy Pitman, director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science at the University of New South Wales in Australia, noted that these temperatures cast doubt on the effectiveness of the recent Paris agreements on carbon emissions:

“The 1.5C target, it’s wishful thinking. I don’t know if you’d get 1.5 C if you stopped emissions today. There’s inertia in the system. It’s putting intense pressure on 2 C.”

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Cultural Revolution in China a ten-year period in Chinese history instigated by Mao Zedong in order to purify the Communist state.  The current President Xi Jinping’s father, Xi Zhongxun, was imprisoned for 16 years and Xi himself was sent to the countryside to perform hard labor.   Groups of young people, known as the Red Guard, conducted purges of people who were considered unreliable or dangerous and there was virtually no accountability of their behavior.  To this day, it is unclear how many people died as a result of the savage treatment, but the most likely numbers are in the millions.  The current government talks little about the Cultural Revolution. 

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Posted May 16, 2016 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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