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Climate Summit Begins, Pope Visits African Mosque, U.S. Loves Adele

Climate Summit Begins, Pope Visits African Mosque, U.S. Loves Adele

COP21 SUMMIT BEGINS

Photo: 1heart1tree via Instagram

French President François Hollande arrived this morning at Le Bourget airport to welcome nearly 150 world leaders, who have traveled to Paris for the much-anticipated global climate conference dubbed COP21. No summit in history has brought together this many heads of state in the interest of reaching meaningful commitments to curb global warming. The two-week conference will be held under very high security, just over two weeks after the Nov. 13 terrorists attacks that killed 130 in Paris. After landing in the French capital late late night, U.S. President Barack Obama joined Hollande in front of the Batalan concert hall to pay tribute to the victims of the Paris attacks.

  • More than 300 people were arrested yesterday,Le Figaro reports, after far-left and pro-environment activists clashed with the police during a protest opposing the state of emergency (under which demonstrations are banned) imposed after the terror attacks in Paris. The protesters vandalized the memorial site on Place de la République and reportedly tried to torch French flags. Hollande described the violence as "scandalous."
  • "Climate, hope of a deal," French daily La Croix's front page reads today, with a photo of the top of the Eiffel Tower piercing a ceiling of clouds and pollution. Read more from Le Blog.

VERBATIM

"Christians and Muslims are brothers and sisters," Pope Francis said during his much-anticipated visit to a mosque in the Central African Republic's capital of Bangui, where deadly fights between people of the two faiths have been ongoing for three years. Speaking on the last day of his visit to Africa, the pontiff urged worshippers to "say no to hatred, to revenge and to violence, particularly that violence which is perpetrated in the name of a religion or of God himself. God is peace, salam," he added, using an Arabic word for peace.


RUSSIA SANCTIONS TURKEY ...

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree imposing economic sanctions against Turkey in retaliation for its shooting down a Russian warplane over Syria last week, news agency Tass reports. The decree bans the extension of work contracts for Turkish citizens in Russia starting Jan. 1, imports of certain goods, as well as selling tours or trips to Turkey. The government was also asked to ban all Russian charter flights to Turkey, which critics say could isolate Russia even further.

  • A prominent Turkish human rights lawyer was shot dead during a press conference in southeast Turkey on Saturday, in an unclaimed attack that also wounded two police officers and a journalist, The Guardianreports. Kurd Tahir Elci was facing criminal charges for saying on live television that the Kurdistan Workers' Party, which has been fighting for independence from Turkey for years, was not a terrorist organization.

… WHILE EU SIGNS DEAL WITH ANKARA

European and Turkish leaders signed a deal Sunday for the 28-nation bloc to give Turkey 3 billion euros ($3.2 billion) — in addition to an easier visa process and new talks on Turkey joining the union — in exchange for its help to stem the flow of migrants to Europe, Reuters reports. But the agreement faces intense criticism, especially in Germany, where refugee organization Pro Asyl characterized it as "a dirty deal at the expense of human rights."


WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

The Quirimbas islands in northwestern Mozambique is the front line in the war on overfishing, Emanuele Bompan reports for La Stampa. "The Quirimbas National Park, where fishing is banned, boasts spectacular white sand beaches and a virtually untouched environment, with an extensive coral reef and marine wildlife, including dugongs, dolphins, sea turtles, whales, sharks and over 375 different species of fish," Bompan writes. "The islands' bewildering biodiversity is the reason why illegal fishing here is so popular, both among locals — who use traditional fishing practices aboard dhows, the outrigger canoes common in East Africa — and large commercial trawlers, who rarely show respect for marine sanctuaries."

Read the full article, In Mozambique, A Stunning Archipelago Bets On Conservation


HAMBURG SAYS NO TO OLYMPICS

Voters in Hamburg have rejected the German city's bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics, with 51.6% voting against it amid terrorism and cost-related fears, Hamburger Morgenpost reports. Los Angeles, Paris, Rome and Budapest are still in the running. The decision is expected in September 2017.


MY GRAND-PÈRE'S WORLD



IMF TO ADD RMB TO RESERVE CURRENCIES

The International Monetary Fund is expected to add the Chinese RMB currency (or yuan) to its international group of reserve currencies, alongside the dollar, the euro, the British pound and the Japanese yen, The Wall Street Journal reports. According to the newspaper, this will put Chinese pledges to loosen its grip on its currency under more scrutiny. But observers quoted in the Financial Times say the IMF is bending its own rules to admit the yuan.


ON THIS DAY


Let Barbados and Billy Idol wish you a nice start of the week in today's 57-second shot of history.


FREDDIE GRAY TRIALS BEGIN

The trials against six Baltimore police officers charged in the death of 25-year-old black man Freddie Gray will begin today, almost seven months after he was killed in police custody, The Baltimore Sun reports. William Porter, 26, is expected in court later today. He is accused of manslaughter and misconduct, charges to which he's pleaded not guilty.


HELLO, NEW RECORD

Breaking a 15-year-old record held by boy band NSync, British singer Adele sold a breathtaking 3.38 million copies of her latest album 25 in its first week in the U.S. It's also the biggest-selling album of the year.

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Geopolitics

Iranians Can Only Topple The Dictatorship With Help From The West

Inside Iran, people are risking their lives to fight the oppressive Islamic Republic. Now, they need support from compatriots abroad and Western democracies to bring an end to this decades-long fight for democracy.

Photo of protersters in Munich, Germany, in November, after the killing of Mahsa Amini. One protester carries a sign that reads "do something for Iran".

November protest in Munich, Germany, in the wake of the killing of Mahsa Amini

Elahe Boghrat

-OpEd-

For years now, the fate of Iran has been a concern for many Iranians living abroad as migrants or exiles, regardless of their political views or socio-cultural origins.

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