COP 21 Down to the Wire

At time of writing, delegates in Paris were racing the clock a head of a deadline of midnight tonight to secure the final outcome document of the climate talks.  Here’s helpful analysis of the last minute issues that need to be resolved and some potential outcomes. “The key crunch issues remain the same: differentiation (as a cross cutting issue), mitigation (particularly economy-wide reduction targets for all countries); transparency (flexibility for reporting requirements needed); and finance (and its credibility). The good news is that within the current text there are arguably landing zones for all key issues. The question is whether ministers can deliver outcomes that maintain the highest level of ambition. For developed countries this will mean giving ground on differentiation so that it is clear that as Parties, they will continue to take the lead in tackling climate change. In return, however, developing countries will need to move away from the binary and fixed definition of countries established by the UNFCCC in 1992.” (The Climate Group )

Quote of the Moment: “It’s clear that the real negotiations have finally begun. There has been significant progress on many issues with carefully balanced text. But key provisions are still in play. In the coming hours, negotiators need to work constructively and find common ground to ensure that the text progresses along an ambitious and balanced path.” — World Resources Institute’s Jennifer on the eve of the last day of talks

Live Updates from Paris. (The Guardian


Efforts to resolve Burundi’s political crisis remain stalled, five months after President Pierre Nkurunziza won a controversial re-election. Meanwhile, residents of the capital continue to wake up to fresh bodies on the streets in the mornings. (VOA

One of nine top fugitive Rwandan genocide suspects, a former mayor accused of slaughtering thousands of people and organising mass rapes in 1994, has been arrested, the United Nations said. (AFP

A rise in ethnically charged “hate speech” threatens the electoral process in Kenya, but the country still plans to hold the 2017 presidential and parliamentary elections on Aug. 8, the electoral commission said on Thursday. (Reuters

A Census Analysis Mortality Report from 1992-2012 revealed that despite progress in fighting the virus, HIV and AIDS had claimed the lives of thousands of Zimbabwean children under five. (Reuters

Burundi’s foreign minister said his government will implement swift, positive measures to end the crisis that has beleaguered the country since April this year when President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to seek a third term. (VOA

An association of doctors in Nigeria said the government must do more to improve access and affordability of health care in Africa’s most populous country. (VOA

The United States has offered tactical war equipment to support Cameroon in its fight against Boko Haram. (VOA

A South African company is being sued by 150 of its former employees who say they were exploited under the guise of “black economic empowerment” policies. (Guardian

Nigerians protested at the National Assembly against a bill they say would punish those who criticize officials and politicians on social media. (VOA



A powerful Syrian insurgent faction pulled out of an opposition conference held in Saudi Arabia on Thursday in protest at the role given to groups it said are close to the Syrian government. (AP

The growing civilian death toll after eight months of war in Yemen —and the coalition’s unwillingness to investigate and report on the damage caused by its strikes— have drawn the scrutiny of the U.N. and human-rights activists, who are questioning the targeting strategy of Saudi Arabia’s air campaign. (WSJ

Israel catches a break. Donald Trump just canceled a planned visit to the Holy Land. (CNN


Police in Nepal detained about 50 activists protesting outside the Indian Embassy on Thursday to demand an end to a monthslong blockade of supplies from India. (AP

Thailand’s most senior police investigator into human trafficking is seeking political asylum in Australia, saying he fears for his life because influential figures in the Thai government, military and police are implicated in trafficking and want him killed. (Guardian

An outbreak of swine flu in Iran has claimed 42 lives since mid-November, including in a province neighbouring Tehran, Health Minister Hassan Hashemi said Thursday. (AFP

About 100 colleagues and family members protested outside Colombo’s main railway station on Thursday to urge the Sri Lankan government to conduct a new investigation into the fate of two activists who disappeared four years ago. (AP

Embattled Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has vowed he will not retreat nor surrender amid pressure for him to resign over a $700 million financial scandal. (AP

Australia agreed on Thursday to help the Philippines improve its surveillance, intelligence and forensic investigation to prevent Paris-style attacks by Islamist militants in Southeast Asia. (Reuters

China’s state planning commission urged better enforcement of a ban on dirty coal, calling for violators to be more vigorously punished, as the world’s largest energy consumer continues to grapple with rampant air pollution. (Reuters

The Asian Development Bank has agreed to loan China $430 million to support government efforts to reduce coal use and tackle the choking smog that regularly envelops the capital and other major cities, it said on Thursday. (Reuters

The Americas

Venezuela’s ruling socialist party is set to rush through a series of appointments before the opposition takes over congress next month with promises to revive what it calls a moribund institution. (AP

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has left the Argentine presidency, but is refusing to attend a ceremony to hand over to her successor Mauricio Macri. The outgoing left-wing leader and the centre-right president-elect disagree over where the ceremony should be held. (BBC

…and the rest

Rising sea levels and tidal waves are washing away coastlines on many of the 196 inhabited islands of the Maldives, and there is no insurance policy to cover the costs. (Reuters

A U.S. government weather forecaster on Thursday said the El Nino weather phenomenon that is underway is expected to remain strong through the Northern Hemisphere winter 2015-16, before tapering off during the late spring or early summer. (Reuters

A new system to collect data on attacks against health workers has been developed and will be available in 2016, the World Health Organisation announced. (IPS

As Germany faces a record influx of one million asylum-seekers this year, its capital Berlin has come under attack for allowing chaos to reign in overwhelmed refugee offices and shelters. (AFP


Why are so many Eritreans fleeing their country? (Global Dispatches Podcast

The WHO Tells Us What We Don’t Want to Hear About Sexually Transmitted Infections (UN Dispatch

Kiran Bedi: India’s top cop and anti-corruption crusader (Humanosphere

Dear U.N., Why Is It Mainly A Man’s World At The Climate Conference? (Goats and Soda

The global humanitarian crisis ‘can’t depend on a continuous increase in funding’ (Guardian

From FIFA to Sudan, Let’s Make the World Unsafe for Kleptocracy (Daily Beast

Why Paris must succeed – a brilliant video message from space (From Poverty to Power

Only You Can Prevent Islamophobia (Foreign Policy

Adaptation Is Key If Africa Is to Tackle Climate Change (The Conversation

The six key road blocks at the UN climate talks in Paris (Guardian

As fuel shortages hit Nepal, is renewable energy an alternative? (TRF

The 2015 #DevelopmentDictonary translates aid-speak for the masses (A View From the Cave