Sunday news round-up: September 21th-27th

Top Story: Imminent danger as world set to warm by three degrees: The UN’s climate chief has warned that the world is heading for irreparable environmental disaster if carbon emissions are not immediately and drastically curbed, despite various international treaties being signed to do so. Christiana Figueres maintains that even if the upcoming Paris Treaty on emissions reduction is signed and implemented, the world is still on course to experience a three degree rise in global temperatures, which would push the planet beyond the brink of acceptable warmth. According to climatologists and scientists, a three degree warmer earth would result in regular deadly heatwaves, enormous drops in food production, and severe droughts across the globe. A warmer earth would also exacerbate already dramatic refugees crises as people would need to flee vulnerable parts of the globe to seek food and clean water.The Union of Concerned Scientists’ Jason Funk says that unless measures are immediately taken to switch to better energy methods, the devastation could be far higher than any humanitarian disaster ever witnessed in the modern age.

Victories for SYRIZA and neo-Nazis in snap Greek election: Supposed anti-austerity party SYRIZA won a continued mandate to rule in Greece this week, as voters headed to the polls for the second time in eight months. The party, which initially ran on an anti-austerity ticket but soon performed a U-turn once in office, managed to maintain its grip on power despite losing over 300,000 votes since January’s election. Supporters of SYRIZA flocked to the streets of Athens to celebrate the results, praising SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras for being honest with them and giving them hope in difficult times. The Neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party also managed to secure better results, and now occupies 18 of the Hellenic Parliament’s 300 seats, as well as being the third largest party in Greek politics. As Foreign Policy points out, Alexis Tsipras now has to implement the very same austerity he so passionately condemned before he was in power.

Israeli police now using sniper rifles against stone throwers: Israel again revealed its apartheidist and genocidal policies towards Palestinians this week, with the announcement that military personnel are now permitted to use sniper rifles against civil disobedients. Israeli force say that the Ruger .22-caliber rifles they will now be equipped with are non-lethal, despite killing scores of Palestinian children in the past, and claim that the measures are there to prevent criminal damage and the endangerment of civilian life. Human rights groups have lambasted the move, pointing out that stone throwing is a legal action of resistance to a brutal and deadly occupation that has been going on for decades, but so far UK and U.S. governments have remained silent about the move. While Israeli PM Netanyahu has preoccupied himself with dealing with stone throwers, the settler arsonists who recently burned a Palestinian family to death have not been charged with a crime and are having their identities protected.

Saudi-led airstrike in Yemeni capital massacres civilians: Medical officials have claimed that a Saudi airstrike in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa on Tuesday killed over twenty people, mostly civilians. The airstrike, part of an ongoing campaign to destabilize Yemen even more severely, was carried out against supposed Houthi militants, which the partially-exiled government is fighting with, but sources say the bombs falling are disproportionately resulting in the loss of civilian life. Not taking proper steps to avoid civilian casualties in times of war is a gross breach of international law, as is aggression against states or people who pose no threat to the aggressor. Saudi Arabia, with the help of Western governments, has routinely been policing the Gulf in recent years, stepping in for Washington when the American political climate forbids the use of direct military interventions. The UN estimates that nearly 5,000 people have died since the Saudi bombing campaign began, and the death toll is expected to rise even further due to the Saudi blockade on goods and services entering Yemen.

Volkswagen holds crisis talks amidst diesel manipulation scandal: The world’s largest car manufacturing group rocked the business world this week with a pollution control scandal that sent global markets into a panic. The group, which owns many subsidiaries including Porsche and Lamborghini, stands accused of manipulating the diesel engines to make them appear more efficient and environmentally-friendly than they actually are. The cars are fitted with sensors that detect when they are being “tested” for their efficiency and pollution output, deliberately changing their emissions to meet better standards and not reflecting its true output when on the road. The CEO of the Volkswagen group has resigned and the scandal is thought to affect over 11 million cars, not to mention affecting currency value and market confidence across the globe. Germany and France have since called for an EU-wide public investigation to assess the scale and depth of the scandal.


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