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The US and China Just Announced a Huge Deal on Climate Change

via Mother Jones:

In a surprise announcement Tuesday night, the world’s two biggest economies and greenhouse gas emitters, United States and China, said they will partner closely on a broad-ranging package of plans to fight climate change, including new targets to reduce carbon pollution, according to a statement from the White House.

The announcement comes after President Obama met in Beijing with Chinese President Xi Jinping, and includes headline-grabbing undertakings from both countries which are sure to breathe new life into negotiations to reach a new climate treaty in Paris next year.

According to the plan, the United States will reduce carbon emissions 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, nearly twice the existing target—without imposing new restrictions on power plants or vehicles.

Tuesday’s announcement is equally remarkable for China’s commitment. For the first time, China has set a date at which it expects its emissions will “peak,” or finally begin to taper downwards: around 2030.

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China Daily reports that there are over 150 Chinese economic fugitives in U.S.

800px-Flag_of_the_People's_Republic_of_China.svg

via Bloomberg News:

More than 150 people suspected of economic crimes from China remain at large in the U.S., China Daily said yesterday, as officials pledge to step up efforts to hunt down those who take their ill-gotten gains abroad.

Most of those who fled to the U.S. are officials facing corruption charges at home, the China Daily reported, citing Liao Jinrong, director general of the International Cooperation Bureau of the Ministry of Public Security. The U.S. has become the top destination for so-called economic fugitives from China because the two countries don’t have an extradition treaty and lengthy legal procedures make it difficult to bring them back to China, the newspaper cited Liao as saying.

Chinese leaders have escalated a campaign against graft, announcing a probe into former security chief Zhou Yongkang last month. The anti-corruption campaign, begun after President Xi Jinping took over the Communist Party in 2012, won’t stop with Zhou, a commentary in the official People’s Daily newspaper said July 29.

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The Trouble With Too Much Democracy

US_Government_Accountability_Office_sealIs America’s bigger problem the economic decline or it’s political decay? Andrew Potter writes in Axis of Logic:

The most telling moment of the recent standoff over talks to raise the American government’s debt ceiling came on July 22, when President Barack Obama called a press conference to announce that House Speaker John Boehner had backed out of the negotiations. “I’ve been left at the altar twice now,” Obama pouted. In case the image of the President as a jilted lover was not clear to everyone watching, he added that he had spent the previous day waiting for Boehner to return his phone calls.

The whole affair has left a lot of Americans in a state of bipartisan disgust, with citizens from all points on the political compass cursing out their elected representatives. Yet it doesn’t seem to have occurred to many people that there is something structurally flawed with a system that allows the head of just one legislative house to treat the supposed leader of the free world as his last choice for the senior prom.

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LulzSec ‘Takes Down’ CIA Website

somehwat-mad-completely-mad-u-mad-MADADVia BBC News:
The hacker group Lulz Security has claimed it has brought down the public-facing website of the US Central Intelligence Agency. The alleged attack on CIA.gov occurred on the same day the group opened a telephone request line so its fans could suggest potential targets. On its Twitter feed, the group wrote: "Tango down - cia.gov - for the lulz". The CIA website was inaccessible at times on Wednesday but appeared to be back up on Thursday. It was unclear if the outage was due to the group's efforts or to the large number of internet users trying to check the site. The CIA would not confirm if it had been the victim of an attack. In a statement, a spokesperson told BBC News: "The CIA's public web site experienced technical issues that caused it to respond slowly for a short time yesterday evening. Those issues are now resolved."
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Last U.S. WWI Veteran Dies

Frank Buckles at age 16

Frank Buckles at age 16

Via BBC:

America’s last surviving veteran of World War I, Frank Buckles, has died aged 110.

Mr Buckles, who joined the US army in 1917, at the age of 16, lying about his age to get enlisted, died of natural causes at his home near Charles Town, West Virginia, on Sunday.

He was one of more than 4.7m Americans who signed up to fight in the Great War between 1917-18.

He served in England and France, as a driver and a warehouse clerk.

Mr Buckles was turned down by the marines and the navy for being too young to serve, but managed to convince an army recruiter he was 21.

“A knowledgeable old sergeant said if you want to get to France right away, go into the ambulance corps,” he said in a 2001 interview with the Library of Congress.

[Continues at BBC]

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