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Worldwide climate talks stumble close to finish line, Fabius optimistic

PARIS Efforts to craft a international accord to combat climate modify stumbled on Friday with China and many other nations refusing to yield ground, forcing host France to extend the U.N. summit by a day to overcome stubborn divisions.

Regardless of the delay, several expressed hope the 195 nations meeting in Paris would grasp the strongest agreement however to bind each rich and poor to curb increasing greenhouse gas emissions at the climax of four years of negotiations.

“There are nevertheless a couple of very difficult issues that we’re working on,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters, saying there had been progress in overnight talks.

Fraught discussions overnight exposed deep divisions on problems such as a proposed objective to phase out net greenhouse gas emissions in the second half of the century.

China was among a lot of nations laying out difficult demands, resisting calls for early critiques of its plans to curb increasing emissions.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius conceded the two-week summit would not end on Friday as planned.

He mentioned a final text, meant to chart a way to far wider use of greener energy such as wind and solar energy, would now be presented to nearly 200 nations for overview only on Saturday, a day later than planned.

“We are practically there. I’m optimistic,” Fabius told reporters in the early afternoon, flanked by U.N. Secretary-Common Ban Ki-moon. “I will present a text tomorrow at 0900 (0300 ET) to the parties that I’m confident will be adopted.”

Ban referred to as a 27-page draft text currently on the table “a good basis” for a deal to help avert more potent storms, droughts, and desertification and rising sea levels. “I appeal to all parties to take a final choice for humanity.”

RESISTING Reviews

Delegates said China opposed calls led by the United States and the European Union for all nations to assessment and update their national plans for curbing greenhouse gas emissions each five years.

President Xi Jinping has already promised that carbon dioxide emissions from China’s swiftly establishing economy will start off falling from about 2030, and does not want to revisit the target. Delegates mentioned China had also reasserted demands that developed nations do far much more to curb greenhouse gas emissions, largely the result of burning coal, gas and oil.

Gao Feng, the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s particular representative on climate alter, played down differences in between China and the United States, saying: “There are no special differences … A deal is receiving closer.”

“In truth, we have been pushing all sorts of countries, no matter whether it is the EU or other folks. We want they can all be more ambitious,” he stated.

Several other countries had been also holding their ground.

Saudi Arabia stated it would resist language in the draft calling for a rise in global temperatures to be limited to “well below” two degrees Celsius (three.six Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels. It fears that could jeopardize oil production.

The draft text, released on Thursday evening, also proposes a target of “greenhouse gas emissions neutrality in the second half of the century”.

A number of climate scientists said the text ought to focus more clearly on phasing out carbon dioxide, the major greenhouse gas. They also noted the newest draft did not explicitly mention fossil fuels, the major man-made source of carbon dioxide.

RED LINES

“Major countries have entrenched behind their red lines alternatively of advancing on compromise,” said Matthieu Orphelin, spokesman for the Nicolas Hulot Foundation. Hulot is French President Francois Hollande’s envoy on climate change.

Delegates stated the talks have been also split on who need to spend for establishing nations to move to low-carbon economies and to mitigate the effects of international warming on the climate, agriculture, human habitation and the earth’s flora and fauna.

One supply stated the “evening was quite difficult”.

U.N. climate talks almost often run into overtime at the weekend and 1 senior European official praised Fabius.

“Everybody’s to blame – there are no good guys or undesirable guys. It’s going well. The French are enabling everyone to have their say,” he mentioned.

Xi spoke with U.S. President Barack Obama by telephone on Friday and said that their countries, the best emitters of greenhouse gases, must step up efforts to attain a climate modify deal, Chinese state media reported..

Xi stated the two nations “must strengthen coordination with all parties and operate with each other to make sure the Paris climate summit reaches an accord as scheduled”, according to state television.

(Reporting By Emmanuel Jarry, Alister Doyle, Nina Chestney, Barbara Lewis and David Stanway Writing by Alister Doyle and Jonathan Leff Editing by Tom Heneghan)

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Jamaica activist challenges anti-gay law in bid to finish violence, discrimination

KINGSTON, Jamaica (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Three years ago, gay rights activist Maurice Tomlinson fled his native Jamaica for Canada, fearing for his safety after news of his marriage to a man instigated death threats.

But he arrived back in Jamaica this week to challenge the constitutionality of the country’s Sodomy Law, that dates back a lot more than 150 years, on the grounds that the law infringes on his human rights by making it illegal to be gay.

According to the law from the British colonial era, consensual sex among two males is illegal, carrying a jail term of up to ten years with difficult labor. Jamaica is one particular of about 75 nations globally exactly where homosexuality is illegal.

Gay rights activists say the law is utilised as pretext for harassment by police, discrimination, and violence that has at times been fatal. The U.S. State Department said in a 2012 report that homophobia in Jamaica was “widespread” and perpetuated by the country’s popular culture.

“It is clear from many persons in Jamaica, we are un-apprehended criminals,” Tomlinson, 44, an lawyer and law lecturer, mentioned in a phone interview with the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “(This) is about protecting my own life.”

Tomlinson is filing a claim in the Supreme Court of Judicature difficult the constitutionality of the Sodomy Law.

Violence against gay men is commonplace with the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All Sexuals, and Gays in 2012 receiving 68 reports of sexually motivated harassment or abuse, which includes 53 circumstances of attempted or actual assault and two killings.

The founder of J-FLAG, Brian Williamson, was stabbed to death in his residence in 2004.

But in addition to threats of violence, Jamaican law has contributed to high prices of HIV amongst men who have sex with men, according to the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and AIDS-Cost-free Planet, who are supporting Tomlinson’s challenge.

Jamaican males who have sex with males have the highest HIV prevalence price in the western hemisphere at 33 %, national figures show.

“A gay man looking for HIV testing or going to the doctor for a health verify-up is most likely to be asked if he is sexually active. If he answers truthfully, he has just confessed to a crime,” according to a factsheet put out by the two organizations.

Little POLITICAL WILL

Although Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller had promised to assessment the law in the course of her 2011 election campaign, she has but to do so practically four years into her tenure, with an additional election looming subsequent year.

“It is clear that this is not higher on the political agenda … we felt that the only way we can strike down this law is employing the courts,” said Tomlinson.

This is not the 1st time Tomlinson has challenged the law, He filed a case against Jamaica at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in February 2012. No hearing date has been set.

The challenge to the law comes against the backdrop of a culture where hostility to gays is higher.

Two years ago, one more gay man filed a related challenge to the constitutionality of Jamaica’s anti-gay law but abandoned his efforts following he and his loved ones received death threats.

Anti-gay rhetoric has a stronghold in Jamaican well-known culture, probably most infamously in dancehall star Buju Banton’s “Boom Boom Bye Bye,” in which he sings about shooting gay guys in the head.

Gay rights activists also face opposition from many churches in Jamaica.

The Jamaica Council of Churches’ position paper on homosexuality from 2013 reads: “The practice of homosexuality should in no way be promoted as a standard and all-natural way of life and on par with heterosexual lifestyle.”

The Council opposes gay marriage, but says that homosexuals ought to also be protected by Jamaica’s Constitution.

Tomlinson himself was part of a church that believed you could “pray the gay away” and married a woman with whom he has a son, but that marriage ended after 4 years. He’s since married a man and is nonetheless a church-goer.

He acknowledges that the challenge to the law possibly will not alter public opinion.

“We’re not claiming that acquiring rid of the law is going to eradicate homophobia. What it will do is give us the space in which we can, by means of well-liked culture, start off addressing homophobia,” Tomlinson said.

“If we are considered a criminal neighborhood, then we’re in no way able to do that, so nothing at all will adjust. It’s a like a catch-22.”

(Editing by Belinda Goldsmith Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, corruption and climate alter. Visit www.trust.org)

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