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Briefing :- 7/7/17

Here is CurrentHow’s Briefing™ for the 7th of July, 2017 :-

1. G-20 Leaders isolate Trump on climate, say Paris accord ‘irreversible’ :-

A draft of an official announcement to be made at the G-20 shows world leaders have isolated US President Donald Trump over his climate sceptic stance at the G-20 summit on Friday.

While taking note of President Trump’s decision to quit the Paris Climate Accord, the latest draft communique accessed by AFP underlines that the 2015 agreement is “irreversible” and affirms that other G-20 nations are committed to the deal.

The draft communique, however, removes a reference to a “global approach” mentioned in an earlier version that some countries felt could suggest there was a parallel track to Paris.

It also includes a new paragraph which says the United States will “work closely with other partners to help their access to and use of fossil fuels more cleanly and efficiently”, AFP reported.

Some experts were sceptical whether leaders would approve the reference to fossil fuels, which would be a clear nod to Washington.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is hosting the G-20 Summit, urged her counterparts to compromise at the start of talks on climate and trade.

“We all know the big global challenges and we know that time is pressing,” Merkel said in her address to G-20 leaders in a hall at the Hamburg convention centre.

“And so solutions can only be found if we are ready for compromise and move towards each other, but without – and I stress this – bending too much, because of course we can also state clearly when there are differences.”

Merkel, who is gearing up for a parliamentary election in September, faces the daunting task of steering the G-20 towards a consensus on trade, climate change and migration – all issues that have become more contentious since Trump entered the White House half a year ago promising an “America First” approach.

President Trump pulled the US out of the landmark agreement aimed at combating climate change last month.

Envoys have been working for weeks to bridge differences, and trying to come up with new language on the climate issue which would be put to the leaders for approval.

Earlier, leaders of the BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China – called on the G-20 to push for implementation of the Paris climate deal despite Trump’s decision to pull out.

2. Police clash with G20 protesters in Hamburg as world leaders arrive :-

Police fired water cannon and pepper spray at protesters who had gathered to demonstrate against the G20 summit in Hamburg on Thursday after a group of black-clad demonstrators threw bottles and other objects at riot police.

Nearly 75 police officers were injured throughout the evening, with three requiring treatment in hospital, police told Reuters.

“Police are still being attacked,” a police told AFP. He added hat most of the officers hurt sustained light injuries.

A Reuters eyewitness saw at least one protester with blood on his face being treated.

Several arrests were also made.

The protesters say the G20 has failed to solve many of the issues threatening world peace and were gathering for the demonstration dubbed “Welcome to Hell” by the anti-capitalist groups behind it.

The “Welcome to Hell” march has been called off but thousands of people remained on the streets as night fell intending to march, AFP reported.

German police expect around 100,000 protesters in Hamburg from around Europe, about 8,000 of whom are deemed by security forces to be ready to commit violence, Reuters reported.

The demonstrations have tarnished the outset of the meeting that German Chancellor Angela Merkel sees as crucial in seeking policy consensus ahead of the election in September.

3. Deadly floods sweep parts of southern Japan :-

Huge floods engulfing parts of southern Japan are reported to have killed at least six people and left hundreds stranded as the torrents swept away roads and houses and destroyed schools.

The Kyodo news agency reported on Thursday that six people had died, with around 20 people still missing after unprecedented torrential rain caused rivers to burst their banks swamping parts of Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan’s four main islands.

Hundreds of thousands of people were ordered to flee as soldiers and emergency services battled to reach people cut off by torrents of swirling water or threatened by landslides.

“We are in an extremely serious situation,” Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso said, warning of the danger of collapsing hillsides and adding “many people are still missing”.

More than 50 centimetres (20 inches) of rain fell over 12 hours on Wednesday, the meteorological agency said, with downpours expected to continue through Friday, as the region grapples with the aftermath of a typhoon that ravaged the country this week.

Authorities lifted “special” heavy rain warnings for the hardest hit prefectures of Fukuoka and Oita, although other warnings for rain, landslides and flooding remained in place.

Four people died in the city of Asakura in Fukuoka prefecture, Kyodo said, while a further two died in Hita in Oita prefecture. Hundreds were believed to be in areas cut off by damaged roads.

Japan is deploying 7,800 police, rescue personnel and troops in affected areas of Kyushu, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said, telling reporters that “there are about 20 people who are unaccounted for”.

Those included a child reportedly carried off by a fast-flowing river and a couple who had not been seen since their house was swept away.

Television footage showed rolling waves from swollen rivers hitting residential areas, tearing up roads and inundating farmland.

Asakura was among the hardest hit with footage showing floodwaters surging through the streets.

Ryoichi Nishioka, who grows flowers in the city, said he tried to save them from damage amid fast rising waters the night before.

“I tried to protect them by covering them up but couldn’t make it,” he told AFP. “Then the swirling water flooded this area and swept away the greenhouses.”

Nishioka, 67, also described helping a man who clung to an electric pole as muddy waters rampaged through the area on Wednesday night.

“We had a blackout, so I used a flashlight from the second floor and shined light for him,” he said. “I was calling out to encourage him for three hours from 9pm to midnight.

“I shouted: ‘Hang in there!'” The man was ultimately rescued, Nishioka said.

An elderly man in the hard-hit Haki district of Asakura told NHK how furniture bobbed in the flood waters that inundated his home.

“I dodged them and escaped in a gush of water,” he said.

A railroad bridge has been destroyed by the raging Kagetsu river, disrupting train services, a railway spokesman said.

Several other train lines were also forced to delay or stop operations due to heavy rains, while local officials called off classes at primary and middle schools.

4. At least 28 inmates killed in Mexico prison fight :-

At least 28 inmates were killed in a brutal prison fight on Thursday in the Mexican Pacific resort of Acapulco, in one of the worst outbreaks of violence in the country’s troubled penal system in recent years.

Acapulco is the biggest city in Guerrero, one of Mexico’s most lawless states and a centre of opium poppy production that has been a major concern to US officials.

The prison carnage was particularly embarrassing to Mexico as it came the same day US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly was visiting Guerrero, which lies in the southwest of the country.

Guerrero state security official Roberto Alvarez told reporters that the fight broke out between rival gangs in the maximum security wing of the prison.

Authorities discovered bodies throughout the wing, including inside and just outside the kitchen, as well as the area for conjugal visits, he said.

A law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters that four of them had been decapitated.

Kelly, one of the main links between the Mexican government and the Trump administration on migration and security cooperation, arrived in Mexico on Wednesday and has held meetings with top officials including President Enrique Pena Nieto.

Two Mexican officials said Kelly would be able to observe Mexico’s efforts to eradicate poppies during his visit and two other officials said he had gone to Guerrero on Thursday.

A US embassy official could not provide details about the Homeland Security chief’s activities on Thursday.

The killings in Acapulco are the latest example of an upsurge in violent crime that has turned 2017 into one of the bloodiest years in the country’s modern history.

Acapulco, one of Mexico’s most famous beach resorts, was once a playground for Hollywood stars. However, in recent years it has been roiled by vicious gang warfare, and is now ranked one of the most murderous cities in the world.

Early last year, 49 people died in a battle between members of the feared Zetas drug cartel and rivals at a prison in the northern industrial city of Monterrey.

5. India severely jeopardising Bhutan’s diplomatic sovereignty: Chinese state media :-

Amid the ongoing standoff at the Sino-India border, Chinese state media accused New Delhi of jeopardising Bhutan’s “diplomatic sovereignty” and “bullying” tiny Himalayan countries.

An editorial in the Global Times, which is affiliated to the Communist Party of China (CPC) mouthpiece, People’s Daily, said India has startling control over Bhutan.

“India has startling control and oppression over Bhutan, and as a result, Bhutan has not established diplomatic ties with its neighbor China or any other permanent member of the UN Security Council. Through unequal treaties, India has severely jeopardized Bhutan’s diplomatic sovereignty and controls its national defense,” the editorial reads.

It also called for the international community to “prevent India from oppressing” Bhutan.

On the issue of Sikkim, the editorial accused India of manipulating the country’s parliament into a referendum to make Sikkim an Indian state.

“The small neighbor’s revolts over sovereignty in the 1960s and 1970s were brutally cracked down on by the Indian military. New Delhi deposed the king of Sikkim in 1975 and manipulated the country’s parliament into a referendum to make Sikkim a state of India,” it said.

The piece also reiterated China’s claims that Indian troops crossed over to the Chinese side of the border to disrupt the construction of a road in the Doka La area.

“China’s construction site is near India’s Siliguri Corridor, a vital path to the country’s turbulent northeast area. Suspicious of the potential threats the road construction poses to the corridor, Indian troops crossed the border to the China side and obstructed our road construction.”

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