Egypt Independent: World-Main news en Germany eyes capping coal use to meet emissions target <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>Germany aims to limit coal use in electricity production to meet the country&#39;s target in cutting Earth-warming carbon emissions, according to a document seen by AFP Monday.</p><p>Sigmar Gabriel, minister for the economy and energy, will propose that electricity producers reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by 4.4 million tonnes a year between 2016 and 2020.</p><p>Germany, which generates 46 percent of its electricity from coal, aims by 2020 to curb its carbon emissions by 40 percent from three decades earlier.</p><p>Until last week, Gabriel had argued that Germany could not limit its coal use while also phasing out nuclear power following a groundbreaking decision taken after Japan&#39;s 2011 Fukushima disaster.</p><p>His view had put him at odds with Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks, who has said that if Europe&#39;s largest economy does not reduce its coal use it has no chance of meeting the 2020 target.</p><p>Chancellor Angela Merkel&#39;s cabinet plans to consider the left-right coalition government&#39;s climate action plan on December 3.</p><p>By mid-century Germany aims to meet 80 percent of its power needs with renewables such as wind, solar and biogas, which now generate around a quarter.</p><p>But an unintended consequence of the &quot;Energiewende&quot;, or energy transition, has been a rise in the use of coal.</p> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 20:13:00 +0000 AFP 2440423 at sites/default/files/photo/2014/11/24/499612/coal_use.jpg War-weary Darfuris see grim future with or without UN peacekeepers <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>&nbsp;Caught in a forgotten war between rebels and government forces and beset by bandits who roam the lawless roads, villagers in Darfur say their lives can scarcely get any worse if Sudan insists on international peacekeepers leaving their region.</p><p>UNAMID, the joint United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur, was deployed seven years ago to stem violence against civilians during a civil war in which the Sudanese government was accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.</p><p>With fighting still dragging on, UNAMID&#39;s shortcomings have drawn criticism from the very people it was deployed to protect and Sudan has told it to devise an exit strategy.</p><p>Khartoum&#39;s move elicited indifference rather than opposition in northern Darfur, where much of the violence now rages.</p><p>&quot;We won&#39;t be affected if UNAMID leaves because it doesn&#39;t play a significant role in protecting civilians,&quot; said Mohamed Abdullah, a local civilian. &quot;We only hear about UNAMID submitting reports. We don&#39;t know what they do for us.&quot;</p><p>A rare visit by journalists to the remote northern Darfur village of Tabit -- site of recent allegations of mass rape -- showed how, despite the presence of one of the world&#39;s largest peacekeeping missions, violence still blights people&#39;s lives.</p><p>&quot;Our lives are very difficult since the war began. We cannot grow crops except in a very small area because rebels and gangs come and loot our fields,&quot; said Mohamed Ismail, a resident.</p><p>Pointing to nearby mountains, Ismail added: &quot;Just six kilometres from here, rebels and bandits dominate the region.&quot;</p><p>The Darfur conflict, which erupted in 2003 when mainly African tribes took up arms against the Arab-led government in Khartoum, has killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced over two million, according to the United Nations.</p><p>Tabit was under rebel control for eight years of the war, with the government reasserting its authority in 2010.</p><p>But much of that authority is nominal, with gunmen stalking dirt roads to attack military and civilian vehicles alike, preventing villagers from travelling even for healthcare.</p><p>Tabit&#39;s clinic, which catered to 22 villages, was destroyed in the fighting.</p><p>&quot;There are no vaccines ... here,&quot; said Maha Adam, 26, cradling a baby. &quot;We cannot move outside the village perimeter to collect firewood and we wait for hours every day to buy water at the only well ... We live in fear.&quot;</p><p><strong>Mass rape</strong></p><p><span style="font-size: 1em; line-height: 1.5em;">With officials standing by during the government-organised press trip, it was difficult to speak freely about the alleged rape of 200 women and girls by Khartoum&#39;s forces in Tabit, highlighting the hurdles faced by UNAMID investigators.</span></p><p>Australia&#39;s U.N. envoy said on Nov. 10 Sudan&#39;s heavy military presence during UNAMID&#39;s interviews of the alleged rape victims had raised serious concerns.</p><p>UNAMID&#39;s conclusion that there was &quot;no evidence&quot; of the rapes triggered an outcry from rights activists. Khartoum had delayed UNAMID&#39;s first visit to the area in early November and denied it permission to visit a second time.</p><p>&quot;All indicators confirm that the mass rape occurred in the Tabit area. We and human rights organisations have irrefutable evidence and testimony to prove the crime by government forces,&quot; said Jibril Bilal of the Justice and Equality Movement, one of the main Darfur rebel groups.</p><p>Sudan denies its forces were involved in any such incident.</p><p>Last month, an internal U.N. review said UNAMID had failed to provide U.N. headquarters with full reports on attacks against civilians and peacekeepers.</p><p>The review was ordered after media reports alleged that UNAMID had covered up details of deadly attacks to avoid provoking the government.</p><p>&quot;UNAMID is something of a lost cause,&quot; said a Sudan analyst with a conflict-monitoring organisation, asking not to be named.</p><p>Despite UNAMID&#39;s shortcomings, however, some observers say a neutral force that offers some oversight is better than nothing.</p><p>&quot;Even now, in the presence of UNAMID, we are scared... So how will it be if UNAMID leaves Darfur completely?&quot; a displaced Darfuri said. &quot;UNAMID leaving would mean that the world has abandoned the people of Darfur and left them to die.&quot;</p> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 15:27:00 +0000 Reuters 2440413 at sites/default/files/photo/2012/08/01/15904/darfur.jpg Hagel resigns as U.S. Defense secretary, official says <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has resigned, a U.S. defence official said on Monday, adding that President Barack Obama had accepted his resignation.</p><p>Hagel will remain in the Pentagon&#39;s top post until a successor is named, the official said.</p> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 14:42:00 +0000 Reuters 2440410 at sites/default/files/photo/2013/04/24/15904/us_secretary_of_defense_chuck_hagel.jpg Tunisia's Essebsi's party says he's ahead in presidential vote count <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>Tunisian presidential candidate Beji Caid Essebsi&#39;s campaign manager told reporters he was ahead in Sunday&#39;s election by at least 10 points, according to his own party&#39;s initial results.</p><p>Official results have yet to be released by electoral authorities. But Essebsi and rival Moncef Markouzi, the incumbent, were expected to be frontrunners in the first free presidential election since Tunisia&#39;s 2011 uprising.</p><p>Political parties have observers at polling stations who act as witnesses to oversee preliminary counts, which allows them to tally results unofficially for their party.</p> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 12:24:00 +0000 Reuters 2440400 at sites/default/files/photo/2014/10/27/484151/tunisia_vote.jpg