Saturday, May 31, 2008

UN Biodiversity Conference -- Protecting Ecosystems

German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel said the 12-day conference at Bonn (with 6,000 delegates from 191 countries) was set to be a "real success".

Hailed decisions could lead to the establishment of deep-sea nature preserves and a preliminary framework for establishing standards on biofuels and also to more funding for forest protection, the creation of new nature preserves, and a moratorium on fertilizing the ocean with chemicals to combat climate change.

Earlier in the week German Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged 500 million euros (785 million dollars) before 2013, and an equal amount annually thereafter, but other major economies have yet to follow suit.

Scientists say that species are becoming extinct at a dizzying rate -- between 100 and 1,000 times the natural pace of extinction. One in four mammals, one bird in eight, one third of all amphibians and 70 percent of plants are under threat. The lost of the benefits of biodiversity were put at 3.1 trillion dollars a year, or six percent of the planet's gross national product. AFP.GOOGLE

Sunday, May 25, 2008

GRAND PRIX - Eurovision Song Contest 2008 in Belgrade (Serbia)

Ukrainian Ani Lorak

Russian singer Dima Bilan won on May 24 in Belgrade with the song "Believe" in the first triumph for Russia in more than half a century of the competition. Ukraine placed second with Ani Lorak and the song "Shady Lady", and Greece was third with Kalomira's song "Secret Combination."

Belgrade, which hosted the largest-ever Eurovision Song Contest of 43 nations, was praised for flawless organization, both in the packed, 16,000-seat arena and in central Belgrade, where thousands of people watched the contest on a huge video screenDeutsche Welle


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Result of the EU-LAC Summit in Lima, Peru

The Lima Declaration of the EU-Latin America-Caribbean summit stipulated:

"We agree that immediate measures are needed to assist the most vulnerable countries and populations affected by high food prices."

"Overcoming poverty, inequality and exclusion is crucial for the attainment of social cohesion, for sustainable development and for the effectiveness of our bi-regional partnership.”

The final declaration stressed that "environmental degradation and climate change seriously affect" economic growth, "hitting the poor hardest and seriously threatening the prospects" for the world's future. … More at Deutsche Welle

Friday, May 9, 2008

Russian Tandem-Rulers “Medvedev & Putin”: Could They Clash?

President Dmitry Medvedev has spoken of working in tandem with the prime minister Vladimir Putin, who, he said, would play a key role in propelling Russia to global economic leadership by 2020.

The irony of the president's position is that the economy is the area where he might be expected to temper the corruption, statism and inefficiency of the Putin years. Yet, under the constitution, that is the purview of the prime minister, while the president oversees foreign and defence matters. Over the need to broaden the country's industrial base and enforce the rule of law in business transactions, the two men could clash.

As for foreign policy, there is nothing yet to indicate that Medvedev will deviate from his predecessor's line…

In due course, the Russian president may acquire the authority to act independently of his mentor. An early measure of his freedom of manoeuvre will be whether he can form his own inner circle within the Kremlin. Telegraph UK

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Angela Merkel -- Charlemagne Award for European Achievements

President Nicolas Sarkozy of France said on May 1 that he had a lot more affection for Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany than the media say, brushing aside suggestions that relations between the two leaders had worsened in recent months.

Paying tribute to Merkel at a prize-giving ceremony in the German city of Aachen, Sarkozy said France and Germany had faced conflicts like many other countries, but the two neighbors had always worked on finding a common solution...

Sarkozy praised Merkel's successful efforts to broker a deal on the European Union's Lisbon treaty, which was designed to ease decision-making and overhaul the bloc's institutions...

"France supported Germany in its presidency (in 2007) and I want to tell you that when France takes over the presidency, Germany will support France's work for the well-being of Europe," Merkel said in her speech. International Herald Tribune

Sarkozy’s EU presidency starts in July for the second half of this year.