The 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP26) takes place from October 31 to November 12, 2021, at the Scottish Event Campus, Glasgow, UK. It was postponed by a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Extreme climate events are becoming more numerous and intense and the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) Working Group One has just published an alarming report. This conference, organized together with Italy, marks a crucial step in the implementation of the Paris Agreement. What can we expect?
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For almost 25 years, the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has continued to make headlines for the large number of civilian victims and refugees. Today, the province of North Kivu has become the powder keg of Central Africa, trapped by a regional system of conflicts that has made Congo “the rape capital of the world.”
The fight against global warming is a race against time and yet the hypocritical world fails to lift a finger to end this ecological Armageddon. With fire, drought and floods striking at will, how much longer can the Earth hang in climatically? Life has become threatened on an alienated planet that is exploited merely to maximize profits for corporations with governments acting as facilitators while people are tied to the compliance culture, molded by the invisible hand of market forces.
Indian and Chinese soldiers will remain in forward areas on their disputed border after commander-level talks this week failed to end a 17-month standoff. The conflict has a long history of political ambitions and diplomatic complications. And the peace and stability of local people have become the obvious casualties.
The prime minister presides over a government with no identifiable ideology, which implements policies with inherent contradictions and which is derided by its own natural allies. Yet there is no credible opposition in sight. What is to explain the failure of Labour to cut into the Conservatives’ lead in the public opinion polls? And that despite the earlier Labour conference having also resulted in a positive outcome for the party leadership?
The tribal nature of the Afghan war joins a list of factors the U.S., NATO and many others failed to appreciate in 20 years of war. John Sopko, the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), in a report issued July 30, accused the U.S. political and military leaders of the failure to understand Afghanistan’s history and culture and of fashioning American solutions to fit an impoverished, landlocked country.
Knowing the history of Afghanistan is important because it helps us understand what happened. It gives us a clear picture of the ethnic diversity in the country – Pashtuns 42 percent, Tajiks 27 percent, Hazaras 9 percent, Turkic populations, such as Uzbeks, Kyrgyz, Turkmen, Kazakhs, 12 percent – and allows us to get to know the Hazaras (Shiites, unlike all the other inhabitants of Afghanistan), who have lived in these lands since the time of the Mongol conquest.
Over the centuries, religions have been dramatically reshaped by sudden climate shifts. As the world faces an unprecedented ecological crisis, a historian sees the possible emergence of new religious movements and new faiths. Climate change and global warming are now an inescapable feature of the headlines, and that presence will only increase as the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26, draws closer.
I’m writing these words an hour before sunset. At my back is a veteran oak tree whose immense girth suggests it’s about 300 years old. Below me, down a steep bank, lies an ancient badgers’ sett. I can see the great mounds of earth dug out by the tunnelling animals, and the fallen tree trunk on which their cubs play.
On Aug. 15, India enters its 75th year of independence. Seventy-five years is a long span in the life of an individual. But it’s not all that much in the life of a nation. The anniversary, however, invites us to take stock of ourselves as Indians and, like the jurist Nani Palkhiwala, to ask ourselves: Is self-rule always better than good rule? What have we gained in these last decades? What did we lose?