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International News: January

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January 13, 2004

International News: January

Climate Change Could Wipe Out One Million Species: Study

Monarch butterflies are among thousands of species that scientists say could be endangered by climate change.
Between 15 and 37 per cent of the earth's life forms - over one million species - could be wiped out by climate change by 2050. This, according to the most comprehensive study to date on the effects of climate change on animal and plant life.

The results of the study, headed up by researchers at the University of Leeds in England, were published in the most recent issue of Nature. Scientists examined the habitats of more than 1,100 species, in light of changes in global temperature as predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The range of results leaves room for the possibility that some species could migrate to follow temperature changes or adapt to new conditions. But scientists also warn that climate change can interact with human-caused habitat destruction in unpredictable ways.

    » Independent: Revealed: how global warming will cause extinction of a million species

    » Nature Magazine: Feeling the heat: Climate change and biodiversity loss

* * *

British Whistleblower Faces Trial

In early 2003 the UN Security Council was debating a resolution sought by the US and UK to authorize the use of force on Iraq. On March 2nd the British Observer reported on a US-UK "dirty tricks" surveillance campaign aimed at six non-committed UN Security Council members.

British intelligence employee Katherine Gun admits that she was the person responsible for leaking the memo on the surveillance plot. She claims to have acted according to her conscience and now faces imprisonment on charges of contravening the Official Secrets Act.

Said Gun, "I intend to plead not guilty to the charge that I face under the Official Secrets Act. I will defend the charge against me on the basis that my actions were necessary to prevent an illegal war in which thousands of Iraqi civilians and British soldiers would be killed or maimed."

The UN Security Council resolution approving the use of force on Iraq was abandoned.

Kim Petersen

* * *

China Restricts TV Advertising

The Chinese government instated new rules released yesterday which prohibit more than nine minutes of commercials per hour during prime time, according to the Los Angeles Times. Many television viewers and producers are positive about the change. Advertising industry representatives, however, are concerned that the rules may hamper market development.

"Too many restrictions could hurt society," Ye Lingyun of the Beijing Qianhuo Advertising Agency told the Times. "People do more than sit around watching television. They need to consume things. And without ads, they won't know what to buy."

    » The New Standard: Advertisers Complain, Viewers Rejoice as China Restrains Ad Airtime

Germany Refuses to Apologize for Namibian "Genocide"; UK Compensates Families of Dead Iraqis

The Society of Threatened Peoples, a Berlin-based human rights group, has called on the German government to officially apologize for the "genocide" dating to the German colonization of Namibia. Between 1904 and 1907, an estimated 75,000 members of the 120,000-strong Herero tribe were killed during an uprising against the German colonial forces.

Berlin has repeated refused to officially apologize for its occupation of Namibia, which began in 1884 and ended in 1915. The Herero tribe has filed a lawsuit in the United States, in an attempt to gain reparations from the German government and from companies that allegedly benefited from the occupation.

The British Ministry of Defense (MoD) has paid thousands of pounds in compensation to the families of Iraqis allegedly killed by British troops, and is considering 13 other cases. The MoD has said that the payments are "ex gratia," meaning a favour not compelled by the legal right of the victims. "We do not accept admission of guilt. That is the policy," said a MoD spokesperson.

Adam Price, a Member of Parliament, was quoted as saying that "it is simply not acceptable for the military to be investigating themselves and deciding on an ad hoc basis whether or not to award ex gratia payments to the families of the deceased."

"We need an independent and fully impartial investigation into all of these allegations," said Price.

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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