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Nation & World Briefs


Tuesday, December 12, 2017
World leaders, high security at Paris climate summit

PARIS — More than 50 world leaders are joining bankers, energy magnates and others Tuesday in Paris for a summit that President Emmanuel Macron hopes will give new momentum to the fight against global warming — despite U.S. President Donald Trump’s rejection of the Paris climate accord.

Sean Penn, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Gates and Elon Musk are among prominent figures joining the world leaders at the summit, where participants are expected to announce billions of dollars’ worth of projects to help poor countries and industries reduce emissions.

Activists kept up pressure with a protest in the shadow of the domed Pantheon monument calling for an end to all investment in oil, gas and resource mining.

That wasn’t far from the message from top officials opening the summit: They agreed that the global financial system isn’t shifting fast enough away from carbon emissions and toward energy and business projects that don’t aggravate climate change.

Some of Facebook’s early friends now its sharpest critics

NEW YORK — Some of Facebook’s former friends are starting to express some serious doubts about the social network they helped create.

Facebook exploits a “vulnerability in human psychology” to addict its users, Sean Parker, the company’s first president, said in a public forum last month. Chamath Palihapitiya, a former Facebook vice president who joined the company in 2007, recently told an audience at Stanford that the company is “ripping apart the social fabric of how society works.”

And Roger McNamee, a venture capitalist and early investor in both Facebook and Google, wrote that both companies “threaten public health and democracy” in an August USA Today op-ed .

It has been a rough year for the tech industry, especially social media companies. It opened with concerns about fake news and “filter bubbles” that can shield people from contrary beliefs, segued into pressure on Facebook and Twitter to clamp down on trolling and online harassment, and culminated with congressional hearings into Russian agents’ alleged use of their platforms to meddle with the 2016 presidential election.

Iceland closes gender gap but violence against women remains

REYKJAVIK, Iceland — For nine years in a row, the World Economic Forum has ranked Iceland as having the world’s smallest gender-equality gap, and for about as long gender studies professor Gyda Margret Petursdottir has been asked how the Nordic island nation became such a paradise for women.

Her reply: “It isn’t.”

Iceland has a female prime minister and some of the world’s strongest laws on workplace equality and equal pay.

It also has one of Europe’s highest per-capita levels of reported rapes, according to statistics agency Eurostat, although legal definitions differ from country to country, complicating comparisons.

A 2010 University of Iceland study found that 30 percent of Icelandic women aged 18 to 80 reported having been physically attacked by a man at least once, including 13 percent who reported suffering rape or attempted rape.

Ex-US deserter to NKorea who married Japan abductee dies

TOKYO — Charles Jenkins, a U.S Army deserter to North Korea who married a Japanese abductee and lived in Japan after their release, has died. He was 77.

Jenkins was found collapsed outside his home in Sado, northern Japan, on Monday and rushed to a hospital and later pronounced dead.

Jenkins, of Rich Square, North Carolina, disappeared in January 1965 while on patrol along the Demilitarized Zone dividing North and South Korea. He later called his desertion a mistake that led to decades of deprivation and hardship.

Jenkins met his wife Hitomi Soga, who was kidnapped by Pyeongyang in 1978, in North Korea and the couple had two daughters, Mika and Blinda.

From Associated Press