The rapid talking down of expectations for Copenhagen signals a lack of commitment on the part of industrialised countries. In place of divide and rule tactics, a fundamental change of direction is needed.
The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) new drug-driving laws have come under fire after a senior public servant who ate a breakfast muesli containing hemp seeds was dragged through a nine-month court battle. The 2011 laws raised immediate concerns from lawyers and civil libertarians for their zero-tolerance approach, which criminalises even the smallest trace of drugs found in a driver's system. Fears were raised that the laws, designed for road safety, ignored the actual impairment level of a driver and threatened to snare Canberrans who had accidentally or innocently ingested drugs.
Yet another parliamentary group has pronounced in favour of drugs decriminalisation. It still won’t happen. What is baffling is the intransigence of British politicians on the subject. Plenty are individually reasonable. Some three-quarters of MPs agree individually. They read the surveys, reports and opinion polls — all unanswerable. Yet the mere mention of the subject sends most politicians screaming down the road with bags over their heads.
These are crucial days for TTIP. The US-EU trade deal, which would legally enforce the privatisation of the NHS, is facing extraordinary levels of public protest on both sides of the Atlantic. But while opponents focus on the battle at hand, a separate Canadian trade deal could allow TTIP's worst abuses by the backdoor.
During most of his two years of exile here, after his release from imprisonment on an island near the southern tip of Chile, Orlando Letelier lived a quiet life, studying how the world's wealth could be more equitably distributed.
Violent political change has been under way in Chile for six years now, with the violence increasingly spreading beyond the borders of this South American country into the western capitals to which exiles from those opposing the present military government had moved.