Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Countries Begin Talks to Save Kyoto Protocol (ContributorNetwork)

According to Reuters, numerous countries will be meeting through Dec. 9 in Durban, South Africa, to try to save the Kyoto Protocol, a major agreement set to curb climate change. The ratifying countries will have to agree on a new set of targets before the first commitment period ends next year.

There is increasing tension over the Kyoto Protocol, especially since the U.S. has not ratified it and China refuses to commit unless the U.S. does. Similarly, Russia, Japan and Canada have stated that they will not commit to the second round of targets unless the biggest contributors also agree to. With this meeting under way, here are some facts about the Kyoto Protocol:

* The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change reported that the protocol was adopted in Kyoto, Japan, on Dec. 11, 1997, following numerous talks and meetings and was finally implemented on Feb. 16, 2005.

* The international agreement initially set binding targets for 37 industrialized countries in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, especially carbon dioxide, an average of five percent lower than the 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012.

* Although then Vice President Al Gore was a major supporter of the agreement, both the Clinton and Bush administrations failed in 1997 and again in 2001 to commit the U.S. to it, according to Associated Content.

* Opponents in the U.S. cited that the treaty could be detrimental to the American economy and that by China and India being exempt, it would not target two up and coming emitters.

* The Sydney Morning Herald noted that in 2007, Australia, another large holdout country, finally ratified the Kyoto Protocol right after Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was sworn into office and the country became a full member of the agreement in March 2008.

* Originally, Australia agreed to international treaty to slow global warming but then later refused to ratify it.

* As of November of this year, 192 countries have committed to the set targets and efforts to reduce their domestic greenhouse gas emissions.

* Other recent ratifying countries include Iraq, Brunei Darussalam, Tajikistan, Turkey, Zimbabwe, San Marino, Kazakhstan and Somalia.

* The Associated Press reported that at the treaty talks that began this Monday, the spotlight has been put on Canada, which has yet to confirm if it will formally pull out of the second round of agreements.

* Current environmental minister of Canada Peter Kent has continued to assert that Canada's commitment to Kyoto was a major mistake.

Rachel Bogart provides an in-depth look at current environmental issues and local Chicago news stories. As a college student from the Chicago suburbs pursuing two science degrees, she applies her knowledge and passion to both topics to garner further public awareness.


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Curiosity (talking-points-memo)

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Report claims cover up in Russian lawyer's death (AP)

MOSCOW ? A private investigation into the death of a Russian lawyer who had reported official corruption in his country concluded Monday that he was severely beaten and denied medical treatment in prison, and accused the government of failing to prosecute those responsible.

The lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, was arrested after accusing Interior Ministry officials of corruption. He died in custody in November 2009 and while also suffering from untreated pancreatitis, government officials have said. Two prison doctors have been charged with negligence.

Magnitsky, 37, had accused the Interior Ministry officials of using false tax documents to steal $230 million from the state, and it was those same officials who had the lawyer arrested.

"The Russian government knows exactly who tortured and killed Sergei Magnitsky, as well as who stole $230 million, but has refused to investigate and prosecute them," the report concluded.

It was compiled by William Browder, a U.S.-born investor who owned and ran Hermitage Capital Management, the investment fund Magnitsky had worked for before his arrest.

The report chronicled the developments in Magnitsky's case, starting from the alleged tax fraud he had exposed to his prison torment and death following a brutal beating by prison guards.

It also contained evidence of what it describes as an official cover up of Magnitsky's death, complete with pictures of dozens of Russian officials it claims were responsible. The report showed photos of luxury houses, expensive cars and other assets allegedly obtained by officials Magnitsky had accused of wrongdoing.

"All government bodies systematically denied Sergei Magnitsky any form of medical attention," the investigation said.

Browder, who has been barred from Russia by the government as a security risk, released his report on a website and by e-mailing it to journalists.

His report follows an investigation by members of the human rights council under Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. It concluded in July that Magnitsky's arrest and detention were unlawful, that he was beaten before his death, and that his prosecution by officers earlier implicated by him in corruption violated Russian law.

But Russia's Interior Ministry later denied any official wrongdoing, and the official probe into Magnitsky's death only led to the negligence charges against the two doctors.

At a news conference on Monday, prominent rights activist Valery Borshchev said he believes the beating of the inmate, not the untreated pancreatitis, led to his death.

Borshchev said a video recorded a few hours before Magnitsky died suggests that he wasn't then on the verge of death.

"He was in pain, but nevertheless he was moving on his own and he was carrying two heavy bags," Borshchev said. "Why he was dead after two hours is very hard to explain."

He accused officials of failing to fully investigate what happened.

"For two years, this has been kept silent," Borshchev he said.

The U.S. State Department reacted by deciding in July to ban entry to some 60 Russian officials, reportedly including senior figures in the Russian Interior Ministry, as well as judges, prosecutors and prison officials whom Magnitsky's colleagues had held responsible for his death.

Angered by the U.S. move, Russia last month banned entry to unidentified U.S. officials it claimed had been involved in killings and abductions.

On Monday, Russia's top investigative agency, the Investigative Committee, refused to comment on Browder's report.

The Prosecutor General's office, which in August reopened a criminal investigation against Magnitsky 20 months after his death, also denied comment.


On the web:


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Nintendo looks to keep you warm, bundled even, with two more 3DS packages

So you've got a few folks on your holiday shopping list that just aren't Zelda fans. You can still spring for some Nintendo hardware with two more bundles due out December 4th. Inside, you'll find a pink Nintendo 3DS paired with your choice of nintendogs + cats: French Bulldog and New Friends or nintendogs + cats: Toy Poodle and New Friends. Both of the aforementioned bundles will set you back $169.99 -- the same cost of a lonely 3DS system purchased solo. If a pink handheld just isn't what you're after, you may opt for one of The Big N's other bundles already on shelves, including the Midnight Blue DSi XL. In need of a quick refresher before hitting the mall? Check out the PR below for a complete list of Nintendo's holiday package offerings.

Continue reading Nintendo looks to keep you warm, bundled even, with two more 3DS packages

Nintendo looks to keep you warm, bundled even, with two more 3DS packages originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 29 Nov 2011 01:13:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Canon EOS 1000D washes ashore in BC, Canada, SD card reveals it was lost at sea for over a year

What you're looking at was once a fully functional Canon EOS 1000D, now merely a relic of the sea (the Pacific Ocean, to be exact), which was recently posted on Google+. User Marcus Thompson, found the DSLR washed up near a wharf while on a diving job in Deep Bay British Columbia, Canada and decided to take it home to find out what could be salvaged. After removing and cleaning the SanDisk Extreme III SD card inside of it, he was successfully able to recover about 50 photos with EXIF data from August 2010, showcasing what's described to be a firefighter and his family on vacation. While he hasn't located the owner of the shooter turned coffee table decoration just yet, Marcus is currently asking the "Google+ hive mind" to help get the two reunited. If you're from BC area and want to help out -- or just curious to see this DSLR from more angles -- you'll find some pictures from the SD card and more information about the camera at the source link below.

Canon EOS 1000D washes ashore in BC, Canada, SD card reveals it was lost at sea for over a year originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 27 Nov 2011 15:28:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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OCZ Octane SSD benchmarked, new Indilinx controller holds its ground

Maybe it's just interference from our seasonal goggles, but isn't there something quite cheery about SSD reviews? In the case of OCZ's Octane drive, our good spirits derive from the sturdy performance of its freshly-conceived Indilinx Everest controller, which ought to keep big players like SandForce and Samsung on their toes. HotHardware just reviewed the $369 $879 512GB variant and found that it delivered fast boot-up times, strong read speeds and writes that were just shy of enthusiast-class drives. Follow the source link for the full and possibly festive benchmarks.

Update: Sorry about the optimistic price error. Guess we got carried away with all the holiday discounts. As many of y'all spotted, it's the 256GB version that goes for $369.

OCZ Octane SSD benchmarked, new Indilinx controller holds its ground originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 25 Nov 2011 08:40:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Video: Where is D.B. Cooper?

>>> the 40th anniversary of his disappearance, dozens of amateur sleuths have made it their personal crusade to find out what happened to d.b. cooper .

>> could have landed anywhere in there. see the kind of terrain he to come down?

>> jerry thomas has been hunting for cooper 25 years, deep in the woods in washington state .

>> you get a general idea in here what he has to negotiate.

>> the army veteran believes the thick, rugged terrain could have played a role in the hijacker's fate.

>> bottom line, not experienced enough or prepared for the terrain in which he jumped in.

>> thomas doesn't think cooper survived.

>> very good reasons to believe he lived, because we've never found a body in 40 years.

>> i feel he -- he very much survived it.

>> over the years, dozens who have tried to crack the case and now on the 40th anniversary, these amateur sleuths are comparing notes.

>> if he's out there, no way he can't come to this event.

>> on saturday, jeffrey gray, author of "skyjack" held the first ever cooper s eer symposium in portland.

>> all because a guy passed a note that said, miss, i have a bomb. i'd like you to sit by me.

>> reporter: the hijacker took over the flight from portland to seattle. his demand? $200,000 and a means to escape.

>> four parachutes, two backups, two primaries.

>> reporter: his demands met, the hijacker, who bought the ticket under dan cooper , freed passengers and instructed the flight to take off and fly south. the entire crew was in the cockpit. he the cabin to himself. at one point, they get a warning light to tell them that the rear exit had been opened. cooper walks down these stairs, opens up the lower ramp, jumps out of the airplane and into history.

>> reporter: he jumped into a cold rainy night into the washington/oregon border. not until some of this money was found eight years later was there any sign of cooper. since 1971 , there have been thousands of tips from those claiming to be or know where d.b. cooper is. another made public on saturday.

>> well, we believe we know who d.b. cooper is. a friend we met back in 1977 . i flew for a whole year before she told us she used to be a man.

>> new theories continue to emerge about the case. reports resurfaced indicating cooper may have been canadian and got the idea from a comic book .

>> dan cooper is a character in a comic book .

>> reporter: this man has been investigating the lead and the possibility that he had access to a rare metal . traces of titanium on a rare neck tie.

>> he probably had a military history , worked in the titanium industry.

>> reporter: as far as motive, cooper's own words are most telling.

>> one fortunate things i found in the files deals direct well this motive. it's right here. it's not because i have a grudge against your airline. it's just because i have a grudge. dan cooper likely was extreme loner, depressed, i believe suicidal.

>> reporter: ralph himlesbach, one of the first fbi agents assigned to the case, believes it's highly unlikely he survived the jump.

>> he jumped out of an airline going almost 10,000 feet, with the air temperature outside the plane 7 degrees below zero . i think of him as being just another sleazy rotten criminal.

>> reporter: regardless of what you believe, 40 years later, these cooper sleuths are determined to solve the mystery.

>> becoming part of the story is what you have to do in order to solve the case.

>> it is a great american mystery. it's like the x-prize. when you throw out a challenge to the public, the public will pick it up and do a good job of trying to solve it.

>> i have a feeling they will try to solve it.


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