TIME

Time for Change on the Climate

Some of hundreds of thousands take part in the People's Climate March through Midtown, New York
Hundreds of thousands of people showed up for a march before a major U.N. summit on climate change in New York City Adrees Latif—Reuters

The public is agitating for action on global warming—but will politicians listen?

The hundreds of thousands of protesters who marched through New York City on Sept. 21 made one thing very clear: climate change is no longer just an environmental issue. The People’s Climate March was an effort to demonstrate that there is popular will to push for action on climate change, for practical reasons that go well beyond just saving the planet. “People are making the argument in the streets,” says Naomi Klein, a Canadian activist and author of the new book This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate.

That argument is finally reaching the ears of some world leaders. At the U.N. climate summit on Sept. 23, more than $200 billion was promised to support clean energy and climate resilience among developing countries. “Our citizens keep marching,” said President Barack Obama in a speech at the summit. “We cannot pretend we don’t hear them.”

There’s just one problem. The country whose actions will do the most to decide the future of the climate is the one country that is the least responsive to public will: China.

If preventing major climate change required only developed nations like the U.S. to cut carbon, we might be fine. Greenhouse-gas emissions in most rich nations have been falling in recent years, the product of slower economic growth and a shift to cleaner sources of energy.

(WATCH: Incredible Timelapse of The Earth Changing Over 3 Decades )

But the vast majority of carbon being emitted over the coming decades will originate in rapidly growing developing nations—and China most of all. Already China is responsible for 28% of global carbon dioxide emissions, more than the U.S. and the European Union combined. Sixty percent of the growth in global emissions since 2002 is due to China. And while the U.S. has still emitted the most carbon historically since the industrial era began, it won’t be long before China takes that title as well. The argument that Beijing has long used—that climate change is the sole responsibility of the West—will no longer hold water.

To its credit, China has made real efforts in recent years to slow the growth of its carbon emissions and clean up its energy supply. China is the largest producer of solar and wind power on the planet, and when you include hydropower, renewables make up 20% of its energy mix—higher than in the U.S.

But that progress is being more than offset by a single trend: growing consumption of coal. Coal-fired power plants are the single biggest contributor to man-made climate change, and in 2012, China consumed nearly 4 billion tons of coal—almost as much as the rest of the world combined. China is projected to add the equivalent of a new 500-MW coal-fired power plant every 10 days for the next decade, at a time when countries like the U.S. are moving to reduce coal consumption. If that happens, the world’s slim chance of averting potentially dangerous global warming will vanish.

So it wasn’t encouraging that Chinese President Xi Jinping chose not to attend the U.N. climate summit, sending Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli to address the international body instead. (The new Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi—whose country is also on a pace to significantly add to climate change—was also a no-show.) Zhang said that by 2020, China would aim to reduce its emissions of carbon per unit of GDP by 45% compared with 2005 levels, and that the country wanted to have its total emissions peak “as soon as possible.” But that won’t be enough.

Of course, the reality is that no country is truly doing enough to avert warming. Despite the growth of renewable-energy sources like wind and solar, global emissions of greenhouse gases jumped by 2.3% in 2013 to record levels. This summer—the months of June, July and August—was the hottest on record for the globe, and 2014 is on pace to become the hottest year overall. We’re losing the fight.

The protesters who came out to the People’s Climate March in New York—and to the thousands of other events held that day around the world—will keep pushing their leaders to do much more. In China, where something like the climate march could never have happened, citizens won’t have that opportunity. But Chinese leaders should still be listening. Like it or not, they have a growing responsibility to deal with one of the biggest challenges the world faces. As Obama said at the U.N.: “Nobody gets a pass.”

TIME Viewpoint

Modi’s Operandi

JAPAN-INDIA-DIPLOMACY-POLITICS
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hugs Modi upon his arrival at the state guesthouse in the Japanese city of Kyoto TORU YAMANAKA—AFP/Getty Images

Self-interest is at the heart of India’s new foreign policy—and that’s good for relations with the U.S.

When Barack Obama received an Indian Prime Minister at the White House for the first time in 2009, the greatest excitement came not from any chemistry between him and Manmohan Singh, nor even from the unstinting (if dutiful) affirmation of values shared by their two great nations.

The buzz came, instead, from an audacious couple who hoodwinked the world’s tightest security cordon and gate-crashed the state banquet. Tareq and Michaele Salahi—remember them?—upstaged the official guests in the popular imagination. Somehow, it seemed entirely fitting that a Gatsbyesque businessman from Virginia and his gaudy blond wife should have saved us all from the ineffable dullness of Manmohan Singh.

Singh’s successor, by contrast, is not a dull man, nor one easily upstaged. When Narendra Modi visits the White House for the first time on Sept. 29, he will be a powerful magnet for attention. His is an awkward, even embarrassing, visit: the U.S. State Department had placed him on a visa blacklist in 2005, until his party waltzed to victory in India’s elections in May. The reason? Disquiet over his alleged role in the anti-Muslim riots that racked Gujarat in 2002, when he was chief minister of the western Indian state. And there was likely a belief in the State Department that it was safe to deny Modi entry since he would surely never amount to anything more than a regional politician.

Those riots and that visa denial are now history, for better or worse. Modi took India by storm, and in the months since he became Prime Minister, he has gone about reconstructing India’s foreign policy. Some would say he is revolutionizing it.

India was, until recently, a country with a rudderless foreign policy, rooted more in airy-fairy internationalism than in hard­headed national interest. A continuing fidelity to nonalignment—which, in effect, is simply nonalignment with the West—lived on in the country’s Foreign Ministry. For a while, when President George W. Bush was in the White House, India teetered on the edge of an alliance with Washington.

Certainly, Bush did everything he could to win India over to his side, concluding a nuclear deal with New Delhi that would have been unthinkable under any previous President. But the alliance has failed to mature under Obama, who, to be fair, has had little time for India, given the many crises that have bedeviled his Administration.

Under Modi, though, India is charting a policy of robust national self-interest, with Japan emerging as its central foreign partner. The new Prime Minister traveled to Tokyo in late August and pulled off one of the most successful state visits in Indian history. And on Sept. 17, Chinese President Xi Jinping came calling, vying for the favorable attention that Modi had just bestowed on Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe.

Japan and China are courting India with gusto. Tokyo, which feels cut adrift by an underconfident Washington, wants a partnership with India to keep China at bay. Beijing, disconcerted by a galloping Indo-Japanese alliance, wants to prise New Delhi away from Tokyo. India continues to be deeply suspicious of an expansionist China, even as it covets its investment. Just one day after Xi set foot in India, 1,000 Chinese soldiers made a distinctly undiplomatic incursion into Indian territory.

In India, meanwhile, illusions about a meaningful alliance with the U.S. have melted away. This is healthy for Indo-U.S. ties, which are better embedded in pragmatism than wishful thinking. It takes diplomatic pressure off the U.S., for whom forging a formal relationship with India is always going to be tricky. An India strengthened on its own terms is likely to be a better partner for the U.S. than a thin-skinned India that plays perpetual second fiddle, always sensitive to slights and disappointment.

The Modi who will visit Obama on Sept. 29 comes not as a supplicant. Obama’s focus is now firmly on the terrorists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) and the Middle East, not on the subcontinent. In any case, Modi’s primary interlocutors in the U.S. are not in the White House. They are in the American private sector. All he needs is a firm handshake from Obama. Oh, and that fulsome affirmation of shared democratic values.

Varadarajan is the Virginia Hobbs Carpenter Fellow in Journalism at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution

TIME France

Frenchman’s Beheading Raises Fears of Wider Fight Against ISIS

A portrait of mountain guide Frenchman Herve Gourdel hangs near a French flag outside the town hall in Saint-Martin-Vesubie, Sept. 25, 2014.
A portrait of Herve Gourdel hangs outside the town hall in Saint-Martin-Vesubie, France, Sept. 25, 2014. Patrice Masante—Reuters

French and other officials are wondering how widely they will need to fight in order to crush ISIS's growing influence

The videotaped killing of French tourist Hervé Gourdel in Algeria on Wednesday seemed at first yet another in a string of horrific beheadings of Westerners—the fourth since the chilling death last month of American journalist James Foley. Yet to Western officials, the killing bore another ominous signal too: That the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria, or ISIS, could become far more complicated as the terror group’s clout expands across a region already awash in weaponry and riven by violent upheaval.

Far different from the three Westerners ISIS has beheaded in Syria – Foley, American journalist Steven Sotloff and British aid worker David Haines–Gourdel, 55, was hundreds of miles from any lethal battlefront and seemed to have no expectation that he was headed into potential danger. A mountain guide from a small village near Nice, he arrived in Algeria last Saturday to hike in the rugged area of the country’s northeast Tizi Ouzu region. He was kidnapped one day later by a new group calling itself Jund al-Khalifa. The organization had broken away from al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) just earlier this month and sworn allegiance to ISIS. It threatened to kill Gourdel unless France stopped its airstrikes on ISIS in Iraq, which began on September 19. A second, grisly video appeared on the Internet Wednesday, showing men with their faces concealed standing over Gourdel, one announcing they were executing him as a “message of blood for the French government.” The final shot shows one of the men apparently holding Gourdel’s severed head.

In the shocked aftermath, French and other officials were left wondering how widely they will need to fight in order to crush ISIS’s growing influence—and whether they might be drawn into another war less than two years after France fought a major air and ground assault against al-Qaeda to force them out of northern Mali. In an impassioned speech to the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday just hours after Gourdel’s murder, a somber French President François Hollande made it clear that he would not call off France’s bombing raids on ISIS, saying, “It is not weakness that should be the response to terrorism but force.”

What kind of force might succeed is unclear, however. Just 16 months ago, Hollande declared France’s Mali war a success, saying his forces had effectively crushed AQIM and its allies. But in recent weeks, North African officials and journalists have said that ISIS’ rise in Syria, and its sweep across Iraq, could reenergize remnant fighters from France’s fight, many of whom slipped across Mali’s remote desert border with Algeria as French troops closed in. They said lethal battles might begin as different jihadist organizations vy for primacy in the region—perhaps by proving their lethality against Westerners.

“We will witness an internal war within the Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb,” the Algerian newspaper L’Expression wrote earlier this month, citing “very well-informed sources,” and said that as groups compete to become the main jihadist organization in the region, ISIS-aligned organizations could begin assassinating those still affiliated to al-Qaeda who “could hamper the emergence of ISIS in North Africa.”

As it was, the first public assassination was Gourdel, a totally innocent Frenchmen—signaling that Westerners, even far from Syria, are now potential targets. On Wednesday, the SITE Intelligence Group, a U.S. terrorism monitoring organization, warned that Gourdel’s murder could be the start of a new pattern. “As the Islamic State has instructed its supporters all over the world to execute attacks, the beheading of this French hostage may not be the last demonstration of this nature,” SITE director Rita Katz said in an online commentary after Gourdel’s killing.

For France, there are compelling reasons to fight ISIS’ rise in North Africa. Millions of North Africans live in France, which has Europe’s biggest Muslim population, and Algeria, for example, is a cheap two-hour flight from Paris. French officials estimate that more than 900 French citizens have joined ISIS’ ranks in Syria and Iraq, many just this year, and are increasingly worried that some might return to mount attacks at home. The United Nations Security Council unanimously passed a resolution Wednesday to stop foreign fighters from traveling to join ISIS, and from blocking them from returning back home.

But while Hollande strongly supported that resolution, French officials have shown how difficult it could be to enforce those measures.

On Tuesday—as Gourdel’s life hung in the balance—three French citizens known to have traveled to Syria boarded a flight from Turkey to Marseille without French officials’ knowledge, even though all three were well-known Islamic militants. One pilot in Turkey blocked the group from boarding his plane, fearing they were a potential threat to the flight. Turkish officials then put the three on a plane to Marseille. French officials, who had dispatched police to Paris’ Orly Airport to arrest the three, claim Turkey did not inform them of the change of destination until the group had disembarked in the southern French city and walked through passport control without notice. On Wednesday French Defense Minister Yves le Drian admitted in a radio interview that this week’s incident was “a huge foul-up” caused by muddled communications between Turkey and France.

TIME Smartphones

The iPhone 6 Lines Weren’t Actually Filled With the ‘Chinese Mafia’

iPhone 6 Becomes Available In Hong Kong
People buying and reselling newly purchased iPhone 6 units during the launch of the new Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus on September 19, 2014 in Hong Kong. Lam Yik Fei—Getty Images

Chinese mobile tech experts say many ordinary people just wanted some extra cash

A video posted on YouTube Saturday showed what it claimed was the “Chinese mafia” camped outside Manhattan’s Apple Stores in anticipation of the first day of iPhone 6 sales on Sept. 19. Most of the front-of-line dwellers were old, spoke little English and declined to comment. Some slept on cardboard boxes. Others waited patiently on lawn chairs. One woman was even shown being arrested.

Since then, the footage has amassed nearly 2.5 million views, raising concerns about the foreign buyers, many of whom resold the iPhones at exorbitant prices in China, where the iPhone 6 is not yet on the market. The Chinese have “learned capitalism the wrong way,” according to one YouTube commenter. Or in the words of another commenter, those in line will “ship the phones back to China and make huge profits.”

There’s no disputing that there’s an underground market for iPhones, analysts who study China’s wireless market told TIME. But for most first-in-line buyers, the iPhone 6 gray market, while expansive, is far from what’s implied by a “Chinese mafia.” In reality, the process both stateside and overseas is much less of a structured, profitable operation.

In the U.S., many Chinese buyers crowding Apple Stores were likely from poor areas of major Chinatown areas, especially in New York and San Francisco, according to Linda Sui, an analyst at Strategy Analytics. “They need money. Most of them are low-income people,” Sui said.

Analysts agreed that in reality the U.S.-China iPhone 6 grey market trade was rather fragmented. Those who purchased the iPhone 6 in the U.S. often did not sell it directly to a customer. Rather, they connected through word of mouth with scalpers who were transporting the devices to China. These scalpers would then sell the iPhone units in China for a third time: a buy, resell and re-resell.

“In Chinatown, there are small circles, so many people know each other,” Sui said.

Carl Howe, an analyst with 451 Research LLC, estimated that these first-in-line buyers—many who waited days for the iPhone 6 to go on sale—will make “whatever the market will pay.” That’s only a few hundred dollars of profit after selling an iPhone 6 in the U.S. for about $1,000. Sui estimated that the maximum profit was only around $300 to $400 for the hours spent camping outside.

But once the phones arrive in China, where Apple has still not confirmed a release date for the iPhone 6, they could be sold for up to nearly $3,000 due to high demand, according to several reports. “I have around 200 pre-orders with 60 to 70% of these from mainland Chinese customers,” phone reseller Gary Yiu told AFP days before the iPhone 6 launched. Yiu said the 128GB gold iPhone 6 Plus could be resold for over $2,580 immediately after release.

“Nowadays I think it’s a lucrative enough business that there are literally gray market wholesalers,” Howe said.

Unlike stateside first-in-line buyers who just wanted a bit of quick cash, many Asian wholesalers had decidedly less innocent motives. iPhone wholesalers tend to be small businesses, and they hire or transport people to wait in line in Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and Australia—countries in the first batch to receive the iPhone 6—before illegally smuggling them into mainland China to avoid import taxes, according to Bryan Wang, a Beijing-based analyst at Forrester Research.

“In Singapore, what [organized groups] do is they hire people to queue up for the whole night,” Wang said. “These folks got $130 in cash for being there overnight.”

Still, while there’s certainly a small-scale, organized iPhone trade, the buzz in the U.S. and Asia has obscured the fact that transactions in the underground market aren’t as fluid or clear-cut as they seem, analysts said. Getting the iPhones back to China, for example, isn’t as simple as making a cash payment. The South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported Tuesday that authorities seized 600 iPhone 6 units from people attempting to smuggle the phones from Hong Kong to the neighboring Chinese city of Shenzhen to avoid paying electronics duties of up to 50%. Forrester Research estimated that two years ago, 70% of iPhones sold in Hong Kong were trafficked to China. Border security in Hong Kong has tightened up, according to the SCMP, which also published images of concealed iPhones.

There are also technical issues with using a foreign-bought iPhone 6 in China, according to analysts. They suspect the iPhone 6’s initial launch precluded China because Apple and China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology were sorting out discrepancies between China’s network and foreign networks. As it stands, some foreign-bought iPhone 6 models will either work at slow speeds or not at all in China, a fact that may have eluded Chinese buyers of resold iPhones.

“There’s actually 18-20 different iPhone 6 models built to satisfy different requirements,” Howe said. “I doubt there’s a whole lot of full disclosure [in the market].”

Perhaps the most surprising look into China’s underground iPhone 6 market is that many of its participants—even on the reselling side—are ordinary individuals hoping to score some pocket money, not organized groups.

Wang said he has friends with stable jobs who still participate in iPhone buying and reselling just to make some extra money. His nephew, a student in Sydney, Australia, queued up for over 12 hours to obtain an iPhone 6, like many other Chinese students studying abroad in countries selling Apple’s newest smartphones, and then immediately sold it. Young students also participated as smugglers, and many were caught at China’s border, according to the SCMP.

The gray market will continue insofar as the demand remains, analysts said, especially as Apple has established itself as a premium, luxury brand, even if it’s not China’s best selling smartphone. “In Chinese, we call [the buyers of re-sold iPhones] tuhao, which means less educated, newly rich people,” Wang said. “Basically, they just want to be the first one get the devices.”

“If you look at the legitimate market, which model is selling well?” Sui said. “Then you’re going to find it in the smuggled market as well.”

 

TIME United Kingdom

U.K. Counter-Terrorism Police Arrest 9 Men in London

File photograph shows Muslim preacher Choudary addressing members of the media during a protest supporting Shari'ah Law in north London
Muslim preacher Anjem Choudary addressing media during a protest supporting Shari'ah Law in north London in 2009. Tal Cohen—Reuters

British police arrested nine men in London on Thursday morning on suspicion of encouraging terrorism and being members of and supporting banned organizations.

The men arrested range in age from 22 to 51 and are all in police custody in London. One of the men identified is Anjem Choudary, one of the most high-profile radical Muslim preachers in Britain. Choudary, 47, was previously the head of Islamist group al-Muhajiroun or Islam4UK, which was banned in 2010. Choudary is well-known for organizing demonstrations against Western military action in the Middle East and for publicly expressing support for the Sept.11 attacks on the U.S. and the July 7 bombings in London.

London’s Metropolitan Police said in a statement that 18 residential, business and community premises are being searched in London, along with one residential property over 150 miles away in Stoke-on-Trent. Police added that the arrests and searches were not a response to any immediate risk to public safety, but were part of an ongoing investigation into Islamist-related terrorism.

[BBC]

TIME Vietnam

Top Vietnamese Minister Says It’s Time for the U.S. to Drop the Arms Embargo

China suggests six steps to boost ASEAN ties
Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh delivers a speech at the opening ceremony of the 11th China-ASEAN Expo and the 11th China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit in Nanning, China, on Sept.16, 2014 Peng Huan—Imaginechina

Washington looks like it might agree

Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh has said that Hanoi would welcome the U.S. dropping a decades-old arms embargo against his country.

“Nearly 20 years ago, we normalized the relations with the United States and in 2013 we set up the comprehensive partnership with the United States,” he said during a talk at the Asia Society in New York City on Wednesday. “So the relation is normal and the ban on [selling] lethal weapons to Vietnam is abnormal.”

Minh’s pronouncement came a day after Reuters published a story citing an unidentified American official and two senior executives in the U.S. weapons industry who stated that Washington was on the verge of lifting the 30-year-old ban targeting its erstwhile enemy.

The assessment follows similar comments made earlier in the summer by Ted Osius, who is currently awaiting confirmation of his appointment as the next U.S. ambassador to Vietnam. During a hearing with a Senate panel in June, the veteran diplomat said it might be “time to begin exploring the possibility of lifting the ban.”

“I think dropping of the embargo would represent a significant change in the relationship in a variety of important respects,” says Jonathan London, a professor and Vietnamese scholar at Hong Kong’s City University, and the author of Politics in Contemporary Vietnam: Party, State, and Authority Relations.

“Not only would Vietnam be able to acquire arms and equipment, which it sorely needs particularly with respect to maritime capabilities, but it would also imply opportunities to deepen military-to-military ties between the countries and I think arguably that’s at least as significant as the ability to acquire arms.”

The warming of ties between Hanoi and Washington follows an exceptionally rocky period in relations between Vietnam and Beijing.

In May, Vietnam’s smoldering distrust of its northern neighbor erupted after a billion-dollar drilling platform belonging to a Chinese state-owned company dropped anchor in the middle of fiercely contested waters near the disputed Paracel archipelago in the South China Sea.

The presence of the drilling unit set off riots across Vietnam and led to months of maritime clashes as Vietnamese cutters tangled with Chinese coast guard vessels, until the rig was withdrawn from the contentious site in July.

Despite increased tensions with Beijing, experts say Vietnam’s leadership remains pragmatic and unlikely to abruptly give up its relationship with China for the sake of closer ties with Washington.

“Vietnam is a long way from joining any alliance with the U.S. — it doesn’t even participate in the CARAT [Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training] naval cooperation exercises with the U.S. that almost every other ASEAN country does,” Bill Hayton, author of The South China Sea: The Struggle for the Power in Asia, tells TIME.

“However, it is hedging its bets and warning China to moderate its actions in the South China Sea, particularly.”

During the question-and-answer session at the Asia Society, Foreign Minister Minh brushed off the suggestion by the society’s moderator that the potential sale of U.S. hardware to Vietnam would irritate Beijing.

“If we do not buy weapons from the United States, we will still buy weapons from other countries,” said Minh.

TIME Australia

Australian Plan to Resettle Refugees in Impoverished Cambodia Sparks Concern

Australia Edges Closer To Cambodia Refugee Transfer Deal
A lotus-flower seller stands underneath the Australian flag along the riverside in Phnom Penh on Aug. 13, 2014. After months of negotiations Australia and Cambodia look set to agree on a deal that will see 1,000 refugees transferred from Australia to Cambodia Omar Havana—Getty Images

Poor and repressive, Cambodia is better known for generating refugees than accepting them, but under a pact with Canberra that will soon change

Australia is to ink a deal on Friday to resettle refugees in Cambodia, despite the Southeast Asian nation’s poverty and appalling rights record.

The forthcoming pact comes just months after Canberra scolded Cambodia at the U.N. for a litany of human-rights abuses including the killing of peaceful protesters, the crushing of political opposition and use of extrajudicial detentions.

The controversial arrangement — thought to be for the initial permanent resettlement of 1,000 people, although there is apparently no upper cap — will be signed in Phnom Penh between Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison and Cambodian Interior Minister Sar Kheng.

“We are world renowned for what we do on refugee resettlement so, who better is placed than Australia to work with a country such as Cambodia to help them develop that capability to do the job as well,” Morrison told Australia’s National Press Club earlier this month.

There are unconfirmed reports that Australia will pay the Cambodian government $40 million to seal the deal; requests to Canberra from TIME for clarification went unanswered.

The UNHCR has raised “strong concerns” as the plan “goes against the whole idea of the international asylum system,” says Bangkok-based spokeswoman Vivian Tan. “We have asked both sides to reconsider, but it looks like it is going ahead.”

Australia’s new Conservative Prime Minister Tony Abbott was elected partly on the back of promises to stem the flood of asylum seekers arriving by boat on his nation’s shores.

Fetid and overcrowded immigration detention centers in Papua New Guinea, and the nearby island nation of Nauru, established by the preceding Labour government, are used to house new arrivals.

Of the 1,233 asylum seekers currently detained in Nauru, 250 status determinations have been carried out, leading to 206 declarations of genuine refugee status, according to Human Rights Watch.

“In Nauru, they were identified as refugees and not just irregular migrants trying to find work,” says Tan. “These are people with a demonstrated need for international protection.”

Authoritarian Cambodia is listed as “not free” by advocacy group Freedom House, and, after decades of poverty owing to civil war, genocide and Vietnamese occupation, is better known for generating refugees than accepting them.

Even today, a sizable proportion of Cambodia’s 15 million population is driven to neighboring countries like Thailand in search of work.

According to Ou Virak, president of the Cambodia Center for Human Rights, “Everybody knows we are not well equipped to accept refugees,” pointing to the fact that “no refugees themselves are coming to Cambodia.”

There is an unavoidable catch-22, he adds, as not providing refugees with basic support would be a “gross violation” of their rights, but fulfilling their needs will enrage impoverished Khmers, many of whom struggle to survive. Already, violent attacks against Cambodia’s Vietnamese community, measuring around 5% of the total population, are relatively common.

“They will be in a state of limbo for many years, if they can integrate at all,” says Ou Virak, adding that there are huge questions over how long Canberra will keep providing financial assistance. “Giving food to refugees and sustaining their calorie needs is not enough.”

TIME Japan

Japan’s Annual Dolphin Hunt Has Resumed

Fishermen in wetsuits hunt dolphins at a cove in Taiji
Fishermen hunt dolphins at a cove in Taiji, western Japan, on Jan. 20, 2014 Adrian Mylne—Reuters

The slaughter made infamous in the Oscar-winning 2009 documentary The Cove is still happening

The Japanese coastal village of Taiji has begun its annual dolphin hunt again this month, CNN reports.

The hunt, which runs from September to March, has long been the focus of outrage among environmental activists and was even made into an Oscar-winning documentary in 2009 called The Cove.

However, locals in Taiji, a town in Wakayama prefecture with a population of 3,500, say that hunting dolphins and whales is crucial to the region’s economy.

They appear to have the support of the Wakayama prefectural government, which declined CNN’s request for an interview but referred them to a statement on its website that calls dolphins and whales a legitimate marine resource.

“Located far away from the centers of economic activity, the town has a 400-year history as the cradle of whaling, and has flourished over the years thanks to whaling and the dolphin fishery,” the statement says.

Environmental organizations like Sea Shepherd, which has been broadcasting a live feed of the hunts for the past five years and running a robust social-media campaign against them, say the dolphins are tortured and treated inhumanely before they are killed.

The dolphins are captured and killed using a method known as “drive hunting,” which involves boatmen banging metal poles to cause deafness and disorientation in the dolphins, who then swim away from the boats and straight into the killing cove.

“Once netted into the cove, the dolphins are literally wrangled and tethered, often sustaining bloody wounds … The dolphin hunters use large metal rods to penetrate the spinal cord,” said Melissa Sehgal, Sea Shepherd’s campaign coordinator for the Taiji project.

Sehgal said the dolphins do not die immediately but are left to bleed out or drown in their own blood, a practice she described as “barbaric.”

Although most of the marine mammals are killed and sold for meat, a few choice specimens are captured. Captive dolphins can reportedly fetch over $100,000 from aquariums.

Sea Shepherd estimates that over the past three hunting seasons, there have been nearly 2,600 dolphins killed and a little under 500 taken captive.

[CNN]

TIME Ukraine

Ukraine’s Prime Minister Tells U.N. That Moscow Must Stop Arming Rebels

"We are the country that needs peace and it's difficult to hammer out any kind of peace deal at the barrel of a gun, made in Russia"

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk on Wednesday demanded that Russia pull its forces out of Ukraine and stops the supply of arms to pro-Kremlin rebels.

Speaking at the U.N. General Assembly in New York City, Yatsenyuk said Moscow must start real peace talks with Ukraine.

“We urge Russia to pull back its forces, to pull back its artillery, to stop the supply of Russian-led terrorists, to restore the control over Ukrainian-Russian border and to start real talks — peace talks,” he said.

Yatsenyuk also urged Western nations not to lift sanctions against Russia until Ukraine regained control of all of its territory, the BBC reports.

In March, Russia annexed Ukraine’s southern peninsular of Crimea, sparking clashes between the Kiev-aligned military and pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country.

Yatsenyuk insisted that he intended to reclaim all lost territory. “Crimea was, is and will be a part of Ukraine,” he said.

Russia denies equipping the rebels or sending forces into Ukraine.

On Wednesday, U.S. President Barack Obama said he would consider lifting sanctions on Russia if the government abides by a cease-fire signed on Sept. 5. Despite the agreement, fighting has continued in the rebel-held eastern city of Donetsk.

The U.N. says the number of people killed in Ukraine since the conflict began in April has topped 3,000.

“We are the country that needs peace and it’s difficult to hammer out any kind of peace deal at the barrel of a gun, made in Russia,” Yatsenyuk said.

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