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Developed nations to deliver climate fund 3 years late, hope to rebuild trust

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October 25, 2021

By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Developed nations are set to be three years late meeting a pledge to commit a total of $500 billion to help poorer countries tackle climate change and realize this has damaged mutual trust, Alok Sharma, the president of the upcoming COP26 climate conference, said on Monday.

Rich nations vowed in 2009 to deliver $100 billion a year for five years, starting in 2020. But a plan on how to do so, prepared by Canada and Germany ahead of the United Nations COP26 summit in Scotland, said the annual target would now not be met until 2023.

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Climate finance is a crucial issue for the summit, which is aiming for more ambitious country commitments to limit warming. Failure to meet the target is a symbol of broken past promises that complicate efforts to set goals for ramping up climate aid.

“Understandably, this has been a source of deep frustration for developing countries,” Sharma told a televised news conference. “The aim of putting this plan together has been to rebuild trust … countries will need to deliver on this.”

Canada and Germany said they expected significant progress to be made in 2022 and were confident the $100 billion goal would be met in 2023.

“The data also gives us confidence that we will likely

be able to mobilize more than US$100 billion per year thereafter,” said the 12-page plan.

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Environmental groups say this is not nearly enough. African nations believe the financing should be scaled up more than tenfold to $1.3 trillion per year by 2030, a key African climate negotiator told Reuters this month.

Teresa Anderson, climate policy coordinator at ActionAid International, said meeting the goal was the “bare minimum needed to build trust” in the climate talks.

“World leaders must recognize and address the glaring gap between the current $100 billion a year target and the trillions needed to tackle the scale and urgency of the crisis,” she said in a statement.

Germany’s junior environment minister Jochen Flasbarth said it was “extremely unfortunate” the goal had not been reached by 2020 as planned.

“(We) really pushed developed countries during the last weeks very hard, and not all of our conversations were very easy, to be polite,” he said.

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The COP26 summit begins on Oct. 31 in the Scottish city of Glasgow.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Paul Simao and Mike Harrison)

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Russian court remands mine director, inspectors in custody after deadly accident

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November 27, 2021

MOSCOW (Reuters) – A court in Siberia on Saturday remanded five people in custody for two months to face charges related to a mining accident that killed more than 50 people this week.

Three managers of the Listvyazhnaya mine, including its director, were ordered to remain in custody until late January for flouting industrial safety standards, a spokesperson for the regional prosecutor’s office said.

The court also ordered two safety inspectors, who had issued a certificate for the mine this month but had not actually checked the facility, to remain in custody until late January.

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The accident, which regional authorities say was likely caused by a methane explosion, claimed the lives of 51 people, including five rescuers who were sent to bring out dozens of men stuck deep underground.

The health ministry said on Saturday that 60 people were being treated in hospital for injuries sustained at the mine, TASS news agency reported.

The accident at the mine, located some 3,500 km (2,200 miles) east of Moscow in the Kemerovo region, was Russia’s worst since 2010 when explosions killed 91 people at the Raspadskaya mine in the same region.

(Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Christina Fincher)

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Russia spy chief says Ukraine invasion plan ‘malicious’ U.S. propaganda

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November 27, 2021

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia has no plans to invade Ukraine and suggestions to the contrary are malicious U.S. propaganda, Moscow’s foreign intelligence chief said on Saturday.

U.S., NATO and Ukrainian officials have raised the alarm in recent weeks over what they say are unusual Russian troop movements near the border with Ukraine, suggesting that Moscow may be poised to launch an attack.

Russia has repeatedly said it is free to move its troops on its own territory and that such movements should not be a cause for concern.

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“I need to reassure everyone. Nothing like this is going to happen,” Sergei Naryshkin, head of Russia’s foreign intelligence agency, said in an interview broadcast on state television, referring to comments on Russia’s alleged invasion plans.

“Everything that is happening around this topic right now is of course malicious propaganda by the U.S. State Department.”

Naryshkin spoke a day after the State Department’s top U.S. diplomat for European affairs said all options were on the table in how to respond to Russia’s troop buildup near Ukraine’s border and that NATO would decide on the next move after consultations next week.

While U.S. officials have voiced concerns about a possible Russian attack on Ukraine, Moscow has accused Washington, Kyiv and NATO of provocative and irresponsible behaviour near its borders.

(Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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Spanish police march in Madrid to protest against ‘Gag Law’ reform

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November 27, 2021

By Miguel Gutierrez and Marco Trujillo

MADRID (Reuters) – Thousands of Spanish police officers marched through Madrid on Saturday to protest against a proposed reform of a security law which they say will hamper their ability to do their work.

Politicians from Spain’s three main conservative parties joined police officers in the protest against proposed changes to the 2015 Citizens Security Law, which critics say violates the right to protest and limits free expression.

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Dubbed the “Gag Law” by those who oppose it, the legislation allows authorities to fine media organisations for distributing unauthorised images of police, strictly limits demonstrations and imposes heavy fines for offenders.

Spain’s leftist government has proposed reforms including no longer classifying the taking of photographs or making of recordings of police at demonstrations as a serious offence.

Under the changes, police will also have to use less harmful materials at protests after a number of people were seriously injured by rubber bullets fired by officers.

The time that suspects who are arrested at protests can be held in custody will be cut from six hours to two and fines will be proportional to how much offenders earn.

“They should either leave the current law as it is or make it better for the police and for the citizens,” Civil Guard officer Vanessa Gonzalez told Reuters.

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Ivan Espinosa de los Monteros, of the far-right Vox party, said: “There is strong opposition against (the reform) of this law. It is against our police and we will not let it happen.”

However, Isa Serra, spokeswoman for the far-left Unidas Podemos party, said at a rally in Cantabria in northern Spain that the law had done a “lot of damage to Spanish democracy”.

Organisers said 150,000 people took part in the Madrid demonstration but the government put the figure at 20,000.

(Reporting by Graham Keeley, Miguel Gutierrez and Marco Trujillo; Editing by Alexander Smith)

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