BRUSSELS 13-14 Dec 2012 European Union leaders hold summit
External affairs are the main focus at the final summit of each EU presidency, and Syria and EU enlargement will occupy the EU leaders when they meet in December. The bloc is seeking consensus on an approach to the Syrian civil war, and the leaders will hear reports on the progress of EU-aspiring countries and on the state of the queue to join. Europe’s hard times and euro crisis are giving some aspirants – notably Turkey and Iceland – second thoughts. At the December summit, Serbia might get an answer on joining
STRASBOURG 12 Dec 2012 Two Iranians awarded Europe’s prestigious Sakharov Prize
The European Parliament will award its 2012 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to Iranians Nasrin Sotoudeh, an imprisoned human rights defender and lawyer, and Jafar Panahi, a film director who, through his work, has called attention to the hardships suffered by Iran’s poor. Sotoudeh and Panahi might be represented by two empty chairs at the European Parliament ceremony as neither will be in a position to attend. Their competition for the prize included the anti-Kremlin punk band Pussy Riot.
VIENNA 12 Dec 2012 OPEC holds 162nd Ordinary meeting
Members of OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) have been watching oil prices climb to record highs for some time. It’s a worry for the 12-member cartel because prolonged high prices sap economies, and weaker economies lead to weaker demand – while firing up talk in governments about tapping into national reserves. High prices also give impetus to non-OPEC producers to pump more. In December the ministers’ decision whether to hold to present levels of production will weigh a International Monetary Fund warning in May that suggests there could
OSLO/STOCKHOLM 10 Dec 2012 Nobel prizes presentedRead More
EGYPT/BERLIN 6 Dec 2012 100 years since discovery of Nefertiti bust
A German archeologist, Ludwig Borchard, unearthed a 3,300-year-old painted stone bust of Nefertiti in southern Egypt 100 years ago on 6 Dec and carried it off to Germany. The centenary will turn up the volume on Egypt’s demands for its return, and for the repatriation of other priceless antiquities discovered by foreign collectors and shipped out of the country. Before he was fired by Egypt’s new government, Egyptian antiquities minister Zahi Hawass campaigned unsuccessfully for the return of the Rosetta Stone from the British Museum and
NEW YORK 4 Dec 2012 Victoria’s Secret extravaganza – lingerie and starsRead More
LONDON 4-5 Dec 2012 Trust Women conference reaching globally to promote women’s rights
The Trust Woman conference wants action, not just words, aimed at empowering women and defending their rights. It plans to reach across the profit and non-profit sectors for the kind of networking that could produce action. The lineup of speakers from around the world and the global reach of the conference organizers — the International Herald Tribune and the Thompson Reuters Foundation – could facilitate the goal. The speakers include Jordan’s Queen Noor, Emma Bonino, Founder of No Peace without Justice and Vice President of the Italian Senate
THE HAGUE 3-14 Dec 2012 International Court hears Chile-Peru maritime dispute
The International Court of Justice (ICJ), the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, will hold public hearings on a maritime border dispute between Peru and Chile at the Peace Palace, the seat of the Court. Both Chilean President Sebastian Pinera and his Peruvian counterpart, President Ollanta Humala, have insisted their countries will fully respect the ruling, but history suggests the decision could compound the tensions. Bolivia is also reported to be considering taking a maritime claim against Chile to the ICJ.
According to the Peruvian Times, the
AUCKLAND 3 – 12 Dec 2012 New Zealand hosts Trans-Pacific Partnership meeting
Negotiators from Pacific Rim – and local protesters — will attend the 15th round in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade talks. The aim is to complete negotiations for the TPP, which would connect Pacific Rim countries into a free-trade agreement of unprecedented size and scope for the 21st Century. The original 2012 deadline is likely to be missed unless the December round, which will be joined by Mexico and Canada, produces surprises. An attraction of a TPP deal is its potential for helping members fight Chinese competition.
DUBAI 3-14 Dec UN agency considers controversial global telecoms treaty changes
The World Conference on International Telecommunications meets to update the only global treaty on telecommunications. A row is brewing: the United States sees efforts by some countries to expand the 1988 International Telecommunications Regulations to include the Internet as an attempt to grab control of it from the US-governed Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Washington is gearing up for a fight. President Barak Obama has named a special ambassador to head a large US delegation.
Proponents of including the Internet in the treaty — mainly China
One of the biggest chemical accidents in history occurred in Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh, on 2 Dec 1984. An estimated 30,000 people died from the toxic cloud that hung over the city after a gas leak at the chemical plant, then owned by Union Carbide.Read More
EGYPT 2 Dec 2012 Coptic Christian leaders elect popeRead More