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UPDATE 1: Blows for Obama as key lawmakers come out against Iran deal

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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UPDATE 1: Blows for Obama as key lawmakers come out against Iran deal | The Thaiger
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UPDATE 1-Blows for Obama as key lawmakers come out against Iran deal
Phuket Gazette / Reuters


PHUKET: U.S. President Barack Obama’s hopes of preserving the nuclear deal between Iran and world
powers were dealt a setback on Thursday when Chuck Schumer, one of the top Democrats in the U.S. Senate, said he would oppose the agreement.

Schumer’s opposition, announced in a lengthy statement, could pave the way for more of Obama’s fellow Democrats to come, out against the nuclear pact announced on July 1 between the United States, five other world powers and Iran.

The New York senator is among the most influential Jewish lawmakers in the United States. He was the first Senate Democrat to announce his opposition to the agreement.

Another influential Jewish lawmaker, U.S. Representative Eliot Engel, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, also said on Thursday he would oppose the nuclear pact in a statement obtained by Reuters.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been pushing lawmakers to oppose the nuclear agreement, which he considers a threat to his country’s survival. Some pro-Israel groups have
also been spending millions of dollars on an advertising campaign to push members of Congress to vote no.

Obama has been engaged in his own lobbying effort, including a combative speech on Wednesday in which he said abandoning the agreement would open up the prospect of war.

The U.S. Congress has until Sept. 17 to consider a resolution of disapproval of the Iran deal, which would eliminate Obama’s ability to waive all sanctions on Iran imposed by the U.S. Congress, a key component of the agreement.

Lawmakers will begin debating whether to reject the deal when they return from their August recess on Sept. 8.

Schumer insisted he was not influenced by party or politics and had not been pressured.

“Advocates on both sides have strong cases for their point of view that cannot simply be dismissed. This has made evaluating the agreement a difficult and deliberate endeavor, and after deep study, careful thought and considerable soul-searching, I have decided I must oppose the agreement and will vote yes on a motion of disapproval,” he said.

Obama has promised a veto if the resolution is passed by the House and Senate.

Republicans would need at least 13 Democrats in the Senate and 44 in the House to vote against Obama to muster the two-thirds majorities in both chambers needed to override a veto. So, while Thursday’s announcements are a blow to the president, opponents of the deal still face an uphill battle to enact a disapproval resolution.

OTHER DEMOCRATS IN FAVOR

Several Democrats in both the House and Senate have already come out in favor of the nuclear deal, including Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader. Schumer’s colleague from New York, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, announced her support on Thursday.

A handful of House Democrats in addition to Engel have said they oppose the deal, including Representative Steve Israel, a member of the chamber’s Democratic leadership.

Schumer said lawmakers would come to their own conclusions but he would try to persuade other senators to vote against the Iran deal. Schumer is currently the number three Democrat in the
Senate and is in line to succeed Harry Reid as the party’s leader in the chamber when Reid retires in early 2017.

A congressional aide said Engel would vote for a resolution of disapproval and also vote to override an Obama veto if the resolution passed Congress. However, Engel did not say he would lobby against the deal among other lawmakers.

Schumer’s opposition was first reported by the Huffington Post. He said in his statement he opposed the nuclear deal because he believed Iran would not change and that the deal would let it eliminate sanctions while retaining “nuclear and non-nuclear power.”

“Better to keep U.S. sanctions in place, strengthen them, enforce secondary sanctions on other nations, and pursue the hard-trodden path of diplomacy once more, difficult as it may be,” Schumer said.

The White House had no immediate comment on Schumer’s announcement, which was distributed by the Senate Republican leadership after it was released by his office.

The liberal group MoveOn.org said its 8 million members would organize a “donor strike” to withhold campaign contributions from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee as well as “any Democratic candidate who succeeds in undermining the president’s diplomacy with Iran.”

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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World

Richest 1% responsible for twice the amount of carbon emissions than the poorest 50%

Caitlin Ashworth

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Richest 1% responsible for twice the amount of carbon emissions than the poorest 50% | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Unsplash: Alexander Popov

The richest people in the world, who make up just 1% of the population, are responsible for a significant amount of carbon emissions. A study shows that the “1 percenters” make up twice as much carbon pollution than the poorest half of the world. Some say the poor are the least responsible for climate change, but have to deal with most of the negative consequences.

In a 25 year study led by Oxfam, researchers at the Stockholm Environment Institute found that wealthy countries were responsible for using up nearly a third of the Earth’s carbon budget. The study was conducted from 1990 to 2015, when annual emissions grew by 60%.

Oxfam is a confederation of 20 independent charitable organisations focusing on the alleviation of global poverty, founded in 1942 and led by Oxfam International. It is a major nonprofit group with an extensive collection of operations.

63 million people made up the richest 1% of the world. Since 1990, they have been responsible for 9% of the ‘carbon budget’. The carbon budget is the maximum amount of greenhouse gases that can go into the air before temperature rises to catastrophic levels. 3.1 billion people make up the poorest half of the world’s population. The carbon emissions growth rate of the rich 1% was 3 times more than the poorest half of the world.

There’s not just an economic inequality between the rich and the poor, according to the head of policy, advocacy and research, Tim Gore. He told AFP the research shows the world’s “carbon inequality.”

“It’s not just that extreme economic inequality is divisive in our societies, it’s not just that it slows the rate of poverty reduction …But there is also a third cost which is that it depletes the carbon budget solely for the purpose of the already affluent growing their consumption … And that of course has the worse impacts on the poorest and least responsible.”

Carbon emissions have decreased since the pandemic. But just a few months doesn’t take away the damage that has been done for years. Temperatures are still on track to rise several degrees this century. Although the 2015 Paris climate deal was set to keep the global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius above pre industrial levels, emissions have continued to increase.

“It’s clear that the carbon intensive and highly unequal model of economic growth over the last 20-30 years has not benefited the poorest half of humanity… It’s a false dichotomy to suggest that we have to choose between economic growth and fixing the climate crisis.”

Some say the global economy needs to prioritise “green growth.” If not, the decrease in pollution during the pandemic will have a very small and insignificant overall impact on climate change. Some say carbon emissions affect the poorest nations the most who don’t have enough resources to fight natural disasters possibly brought on by the rising temperatures, like wildfires and droughts.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post | AFP

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England’s self-quarantine rule breakers will receive up to a 10,000 pound fine

The Thaiger & The Nation

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England’s self-quarantine rule breakers will receive up to a 10,000 pound fine | The Thaiger

England’s self-quarantine rule breakers are receiving up to a 10,000 pound fine, starting September 28, according to British PM Boris Johnson. The fine will be handed down to anyone who tests positive for the virus or has been in contact with someone who has the virus and dodges the rules for self-quarantine.

For the first offence, rule breakers will receive a 1,000 pound fine and from there it will rise up to 10,000 pounds for those who repeatedly break the rules. Employers who threaten to fire staff over choosing to self-isolate instead of going to work will receive the maximum fine amount of 10,000 pounds. For those lower income workers, Johnson says they will receive a 500 pound support payment in addition to other benefits in which they may qualify.

Despite current British Covid-19 quarantine guidelines matching those of the rest of the world, there has reportedly been little enforcement of self-quarantine rules. Now, Britain is seeing a fast influx of Covid cases prompting the government to get the police involved in compliance checks.

Johnson has come under scrutiny after repeatedly being called to issue a lockdown nationwide with reports coming in that he is planning to reject calls from advisors to issue a 2 week lockdown to slow the virus’ spread.

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Thailand

US accuses Chinese companies of exploitation along the Mekong River

The Thaiger & The Nation

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US accuses Chinese companies of exploitation along the Mekong River | The Thaiger

The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is accusing Chinese companies of “exploitative practices” in the Mekong River region after a new partnership has been launched to combat “transnational crimes”. Pompeo named the China Communications Construction Company as one of the big offenders and says the Chinese Communist Party is responsible for the increase in human, wildlife and drug trafficking in the region.

He says the new partnership will also strengthen water security for partner countries where China has added to a drought in the region as an upstream damming by China has been carried out in “a completely non-transparent and non-consultative way.”

“We encourage countries of the Mekong region to hold the CCP accountable to its pledge to share its water data. That data should be public. It should be released year-round. It should include water and water-related data, as well as land use, and dam construction and operation data.”

“We stand with our ASEAN partners as we insist on the rule of law and respect for sovereignty in the South China Sea, where Beijing has pursued aggressive campaigns of coercion and environmental devastation.”

Pompeo also said such companies associated with the CCP are linked to human and narcotics trafficking but he did not provide evidence to support the accusation.

Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam and Thailand all share resources of the Mekong delta and Pompeo reiterated that they “deserve good partners”. The US has reportedly pledged a total of US$156.4 million for multiple initiatives under the new US-Mekong Partnership.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

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