Posts Tagged ‘Doha’

Al Jazeera Gets a US Voice

January 5th, 2013 01:59 admin View Comments

The Media

Hugh Pickens writes “The NY Times reports that Al Jazeera plans to start an English-language channel available in more than 40 million U.S. homes, with newscasts emanating from both New York and Doha, Qatar. They announced a deal to take over Current TV, the low-rated cable channel that was founded by Al Gore seven years ago. But the challenge will be persuading Americans to watch the award winning network with 71 bureaus around the world — an extremely tough proposition given the crowded television marketplace and the stereotypes about the channel that persist to this day. ‘There are still people who will not watch it, who will say that it’s a “terrorist network,”‘ says Philip Seib. ‘Al Jazeera has to override that by providing quality news.’ With a handful of exceptions, American cable and satellite distributors have mostly refused to carry Al Jazeera English since its inception in 2006. While the television sets of White House officials and lawmakers were tuned to the channel during the Arab Spring in 2011, ordinary Americans who wanted to watch had to find a live stream on the Internet. Al Jazeera’s Robert Wheelock said, We offer an alternative. It’s a broader coverage of news. It’s a broader spectrum into countries that aren’t traditionally covered.’”

Source: Al Jazeera Gets a US Voice

UN Summit Strikes Climate Deal Promising “Damage Aid” To Poor Nations

December 9th, 2012 12:20 admin View Comments


Hugh Pickens writes writes “BBC reports that UN climate talks in Doha have closed with a historic shift in principle agreed to by nearly 200 nations extending the Kyoto Protocol through 2020 and establishing for the first time that rich nations should move towards compensating poor nations for losses due to climate change. Until now rich nations have agreed to help developing countries to get clean energy and adapt to climate change, but they have stopped short of accepting responsibility for damage caused by climate change elsewhere. ‘It is a breakthrough,’ says Martin Khor of the South Center — an association of 52 developing nations. ‘The term Loss and Damage is in the text — this is a huge step in principle. Next comes the fight for cash.’ US negotiators made certain that neither the word ‘compensation,’ nor any other term connoting legal liability, was used, to avoid opening the floodgates to litigation – instead, the money will be judged as aid. Ronny Jumea, from the Seychelles, told rich nations earlier that discussion of compensation would not have been needed if they had cut emissions earlier. ‘We’re past the mitigation [emissions cuts] and adaptation eras. We’re now right into the era of loss and damage. What’s next after that? Destruction?’ While the United States has not adopted a comprehensive approach to climate change, the Obama administration has put in place a significant auto emissions reduction program and a plan to regulate carbon dioxide from new power plants. ‘What this meeting reinforced is that while this is an important forum, it is not the only one in which progress can and must be made,’ says Jennifer Haverkamp, director of the international climate programs at the Environmental Defense Fund. The disconnect between the level of ambition the parties are showing here and what needs to happen to avoid dangerous climate change is profound.’”

Source: UN Summit Strikes Climate Deal Promising “Damage Aid” To Poor Nations

Proposal to Regulate De-Finning of Sharks De-feated

March 24th, 2010 03:31 admin View Comments

Shark_finsIn a victory for East Asian nations that consume sharkfin soup, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) has shot down three of four proposals to protect sharks. Member nations of CITES who gathered in Doha, Qatar, rejected proposals that would have required countries to strictly regulate — but not ban — trade in several species of scalloped hammerhead, oceanic whitetip and spiny dogfish sharks [The New York Times]. Japan also lobbied against the protections, because it strongly opposes extending the convention’s protections to any marine species (including the bluefin tuna that is so beloved by Japan’s sushi connoisseurs).

The only proposal that managed to get through was a proposal from the European Union and the island nation of Palau to protect the porbeagle shark, which is prized for its meat. But even this victory is a shallow one, as the proposal passed by a margin of just one vote, and could be overturned at the conference’s final session on Thursday.

Marine biologists have long warned that hammerhead and whitefin sharks are being overfished, particularly by countries like China where sharkfin soup is a prestigious delicacy. Fishermen harvest the fins and typically throw the sharks back into the sea to die. The rate of species decline in some areas is an astounding 90 percent. Japan led opposition to the four measures, arguing that management of shark populations should be left to regional fisheries groups, not CITES [Sydney Morning Herald].

The current CITES meeting has been seen by some conservation experts as a dispiriting sign that the convention isn’t making its decisions about endangered species based on scientific findings, but is instead bowing to politics and economic interests. “It appears that science no longer matters,” said Elizabeth Griffin of wildlife conservation group Oceana, based in Washington. “CITES is not fulfilling its obligation to protect species threatened by international trade” [Sydney Morning Herald].

Stuart Beck, Palau’s ambassador to the United Nations, neatly summed up the anger felt by conservationists after the shark protections failed, saying in a statement: “I am sure that, properly prepared, bald eagle is delicious. But, as civilized people, we simply do not eat it” [The New York Times].

Image: Wikimedia

Source: Proposal to Regulate De-Finning of Sharks De-feated

Is Ivory Season Starting, Just as Tuna Season’s Ending?

March 15th, 2010 03:50 admin View Comments

bluefinSushi chefs in Japan are keeping a close eye on Doha, Qatar this week as delegates at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) debate the future of their beloved bluefin tuna. The fish, a delicacy in Japan that can sell for more than $100,000 apiece, is being overfished, and convention delegates aim to prevent the tuna from becoming extinct altogether. The proposal on the table: A complete ban on international trade of the fish to allow stocks to regenerate.

The bluefin tuna ban was proposed by Monaco, and the vote will probably come up next week. Japan has already dispatched a delegation to Doha with the message that Japan won’t comply with a total ban, and would instead prefer a fishing quota. But quotas have failed to help the depleted bluefin tuna stocks thus far. Japan last year pledged to help meet an accord to slash the total catch in the eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean by 40 percent, although environmental groups charge that such quotas are routinely exceeded [AFP].

The European Union and the United States have come out in support of a total ban, since decades of overfishing has caused the number of bluefin in the Atlantic and Mediterranean to crash by more than two-thirds. Japan, meanwhile, hopes to fend off the ban by enlisting the support of developing nations in Africa and Latin America. Tokyo said that even if a ban is implemented, it could use a treaty technicality to opt out of the agreement by expressing “reservations,” and would then continue to import from other countries.

Meanwhile, at the world’s largest fishing market in Tokyo’s Tsukiji district, bluefish tuna fishermen began collecting signatures to oppose the ban. They said measures to prevent overfishing of the tuna should be implemented instead [The Asahi Shimbun]. Traders also fear a steep price hike for the bluefin, known as “kuro maguro” or black tuna in Japan. A piece of “otoro” or fatty underbelly now costs 2,000 yen (22 dollars) at high-end Tokyo restaurants [AFP].

The other bitter battle being played out at the CITES meeting is Zambia’s and Tanzania’s proposal for a one-time sale of ivory, so that they may clean out their stockpiles of ivory–collected, they say, from elephants who died natural deaths. So far, the proposal has been resisted by countries like Kenya that argue that such sales give cover to poachers who engage in “ivory-laundering,” and would increase poaching in the region.

Zambia and Tanzania both insist that they will funnel the $18.5 million they expect to earn from the sale into conservation efforts, but that claim has been met with skepticism. A recent report in the journal Science revealed a sharp increase in poaching in recent years–with much of the ivory trafficking running through Zambia and Tanzania.

Kenya and its allies have proposed supporting a bluefin tuna ban in exchange for greater protection for the elephants. However, this horse trading is viewed as controversial: Conservationists argue that every proposal should rise or fall on the basic of scientific evidence detailing the possible extinction of individual species, not as part of a political deal [The New York Times].

Image: Wikimedia

Source: Is Ivory Season Starting, Just as Tuna Season’s Ending?