What’s New January 2006

This page lists changes to this site for January 2006.

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December 2005 saw the eleventh session of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (or, COP11 for short). At the same time, the first Meeting of the Parties of the Protocol (MOP 1) took place. These meetings attempted to advance discussions on the future emission reductions and ways to help developing countries. The US walked out at one point of the meeting, but were eventually convinced to come back to the conference. The result, some felt, was a slightly weakened text, but something to build upon for the future. Developing countries were also discussed, but issues of climate justice and equity seemed to be missing once again.

While described as a success by some ministers from leading countries, developing countries seemed less satisfied with the WTO meeting in Hong Kong. Poor countries appeared to make many concessions for rich countries, who in return offered very little. Why the diverging views and what was actually agreed?

Reporters Sans Frontiers (Reporters Without Borders) issues a worldwide press freedom index for 2005. As should be predicted, democracies rank the best, whilst totalitarian regimes are at the bottom. As with their previous index, major countries like USA, France, UK, Spain, Italy and Canada ranked quite low, some slipping to even lower rankings this year.

A number of articles have been reposted, including Harold Pinter’s Nobel Prize speech, an article looking at the Pentagon’s plan to plant pro-American stories in foreign media without attributing the source, another on the Pentagon spying on Americans including peace and anti-war activists, and another on the US’s campaign to influence not only Muslim societies, but Islam itself.

While there are international conventions and treaties covering various weapons of mass destruction, there are none for conventional small arms and light weapons. Since 2001 an Arms Trade Treaty has been proposed and together with regional codes of conduct, is gaining some momentum. However, the codes of conduct have not been as useful as hoped, due to divergent standards, interpretations, and even weaknesses, dilutions and loopholes that have allowed nations to sell or transfer arms on to human rights violators. An Arms Trade Treaty attempts to consolidate existing obligations that states have already undertaken. The experiences of existing codes of conduct could therefore help make such a treaty more likely to work. Additional information has been added in this area.

Related Issues:

The about page on the global issues web site has been updated and more content has been added. The original page has been split into pages that look more at who I am and why I am doing this web site. I also attempt to answer a number of common question I get, as well as provide a little bit more information about how the site is constructed as a number of people have been interested to find out.

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