MONTREAL: Hundreds of thousands of young people skipped school across the globe on Friday to march through the streets for an international day of student protests aimed at pushing world leaders into action on climate change.
Classrooms in capitals from Bangkok to Berlin and Lagos to London emptied as organizers of the student strike called demonstrations in more than 100 countries.
Students flooded into the streets across Europe, North and South America, and Asia carrying placards reading: “There is no planet B”, “You’re destroying our future” and “If you don’t act like adults, we will.”
Despite three decades of warnings, carbon dioxide emissions hit record levels in 2017 and again last year.
Loading the atmosphere with greenhouse gases at current rates will eventually lead to an uninhabitable planet, scientists say.
In Stockholm, Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg — who inspired the protests — warned that time was running out.
“We are living through an existential crisis that has been ignored for decades and if we do not act now it may be too late,” the 16-year-old, a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, told Swedish public television station SVT.
Across the world, their placards formed a mosaic:
“Like the ocean, we will rise” (Sydney)
“Our future in your hands” (Berlin)
“System Change not Climate Change” (Vienna)
“Don’t be a Trump” (Hong Kong)
“The Titanic would have NO problem in 2019” (Elmshorn, Germany)
And everywhere, “There is no planet B.”
Montreal drew among the largest crowds, estimated by organizers at nearly 150,000. In the United States, protests were more low-key, with events held in New York, Washington, Chicago, Portland, Oregon, and St. Paul, Minnesota, where one sign read: “So bad even introverts are here!”
Seoul ranks as 7th most expensive city in the world: survey
SEOUL: South Korea’s capital city, Seoul, ranks as the seventh most expensive city in the world to live in this year, a survey showed Saturday.
The Worldwide Cost of Living (WCL) Survey, conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), measures the prices of more than 150 items in 133 cities across the globe, with the index for New York set as a benchmark of 100.
According to the latest WCL poll, Seoul ranked seventh, on a par with New York, down one notch from the previous survey.
Singapore, Paris and Hong Kong are the joint most expensive cities in the world with an index of 107, followed by Zurich of Switzerland with 106, and its sister Geneva and Japan’s Osaka coming next with 101 each.
Tokyo is 4 percent cheaper than New York and Seoul to live in, while Shanghai is the most expensive city in mainland China, ranking 25th on the global chart with an index of 85.
“Seoul continues to be one of the most expensive cities in the world to top up a shopping basket,” the EIU said in the press release.
UN agrees to promote sustainable development through better cooperation
BUENOS AIRES: The United Nations (UN) agreed to promote cooperation to achieve sustainable development goals at the Second High-level UN Conference on South-South Cooperation concluded here Friday.
The conference issued a political declaration to advance cooperation to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
“The conference has brought the necessary momentum and provided us with a roadmap for South-South and triangular cooperation,” said Achim Steiner, administrator of the UN Development Programme and secretary-general of the conference.
“We have forged new partnerships for current and future concerted efforts and seen the spectrum of opportunities available to us,” said Steiner.
The outcome document recognized that South-South and triangular cooperation contribute to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the globally-agreed blueprint for peace and prosperity for humans and the planet.
South-South cooperation is a term historically used by policy-makers and academics to describe the exchange of resources, technology, and knowledge between developing countries, also known as countries of the Global South.
According to the UN, the triangular cooperation is the collaboration in which traditional donor countries and multilateral organizations facilitate South-South initiatives through the provision of funding, training, management and technological systems, as well as other forms of support.
Maria Fernanda Espinosa, president of the UN General Assembly, underscored the positive role of multilateralism in achieving “outstanding results” through cooperation during the closing ceremony of the conference.
“The final document reflects the evolution of South-South cooperation and constitutes a path into the future. It opens up a range of possibilities to further expand the horizons of solidarity collaboration, also with other developed countries and other central actors,” she said.
Espinosa highlighted that South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation help accelerate the implementation of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development by eradicating poverty and hunger, ensuring more health services, quality education, promoting environmental protection and by stopping discrimination and violence against women, among other goals.
Jorge Chediek, director and envoy of the secretary-general on South-South Cooperation, said the outcome document brings countries together to commit to a broader scope of collaboration that goes beyond the technical aspects to address global issues.
According to UN reports, about 160 delegations from member states and almost 4,000 participants from non-governmental organizations, UN agencies and civil society participated in the three-day conference.
US deserves a leader as good as New Zealand prime minister: NYT
NEW YORK: A leading American newspaper Friday applauded New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s leadership in the wake of last week’s tragic attack on two mosques in Christchurch.
The world has watched as issues such as national grief, gun control, social media streaming and religious freedom have been navigated by the world’s youngest female head of government, it was pointed out.
The New York Time, in the editorial published Friday titled ‘America Deserves a Leader as Good as Jacinda Ardern’, commends the 38-year-old for her stunning capacity to carry a nation through what she called New Zealand’s ‘darkest hour.
In particular, it noted the stark contrast between the responses of New Zealand and the United States to mass shootings.
“In New Zealand, it took one mass shooting to awaken the government. In the United States, even a string of mass killings — 26 dead in a school in Newtown, Connecticut; 49 in a nightclub in Orlando; 58 at a concert in Las Vegas; 17 in a school in Parkland, Florida — has not been enough. Nor has the fact that 73 percent of Americans say that more needs to be done to curb gun violence, according to recent polling,” it said.
And it was not just the gun control issue that impressed.
“In lieu of trite messages, she donned a black head scarf and led a group of politicians to visit victims’ families; speaking without a script to a school some of the victims attended, she urged the pupils to “let New Zealand be a place where there is no tolerance for racism. Ever.”
She told grieving families, “We cannot know your grief, but we can walk with you at every stage.”
And in a striking gesture, she refused to utter the name of the suspected killer. “He may have sought notoriety, but we in New Zealand will give him nothing,” she said. “Not even his name,” the editorial said.
The article continued, “After this and any such atrocity, the world’s leaders should unite in clearly condemning racism, sharing in the grief of the victims and stripping the haters of their weapons.
” Ms Ardern has shown the way.”
The Christchurch shooting, reportedly carried out by a white supremacist from Australia, has revived the debate over US gun laws and over remarks President Donald Trump made after a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, when he said there were “very fine people on both sides.”
The suspected gunman in a manifesto said he supported Trump as a “symbol of renewed white identity.”
The president’s critics have accused him of stoking white nationalist sentiment, a claim the White House denies.
Trump on Monday blasted the media, saying they were trying to blame him for the New Zealand shooting.
“The Fake News Media is working overtime to blame me for the horrible attack in New Zealand,” Trump tweeted. “They will have to work very hard to prove that one. So Ridiculous!”