President Donald Trump lashed out in a series of tweets this morning, including one which called Democrats "human scum," as key witnesses prepared to testify. Russian expert Fiona Hill testified regarding the phone call between Trump and the Ukrainian President, with Hill criticizing the White House's "fictional narrative" regarding Ukrainian election interference.
Gordon Sondland, US ambassador to the EU and Trump ally, confirmed that there was a "quid pro quo" relationship in US-Ukrainian dealings and that it was widely known within the White House. Sondland also reported bringing up concerns to Vice President Mike Pence that a military assistance delay was directly related to "the issue of investigations."
The world's 10 largest coal, oil and gas producing countries are on track to generate more than double the amount of fossil fuels by 2030 than stipulated by the Paris climate agreement to constrain global temperature rise, according to a United Nations Environment Programme report. "Though many governments plan to decrease their emissions, they are signalling the opposite when it comes to fossil fuel production, with plans and projections for expansion," the report says.
Children of the past have emerged as today's leaders, and the rights of today's children must be respected so no child is left behind, said UNICEF executive director Henrietta Fore in an address marking World Children's Day today. "Children and young people are taking the lead and demanding urgent action on the issues they care about," she said, noting that world leaders should take this opportunity to listen to children and recommit to protecting their rights.
Escalating violence and instability in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger are driving a humanitarian crisis in the region, where 2.4 million people urgently need food aid and more than 1 million have been driven from their homes, officials from the World Food Programme say. The agency says the rise of militant groups in the area and a shortage in funding are hampering aid efforts.
Perpetrators of rape frequently go unpunished and only a small fraction of women and girls who are victims of rape seek professional help in dealing with this physically and emotionally traumatizing experience, writes Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, executive director of UN Women. Global leaders must explicitly criminalize all forms of rape, include more women in law enforcement and take action against gender bias in social and political institutions to end rape, Mlambo-Ngcuka suggests.
Fishing net entanglement has decimated the population of the rare vaquita porpoise in Mexico, and now fishing boats entering the porpoise's last habitat in violation of a global ban threaten the remaining population, believed to be as low as 30 animals, warns Ivonne Higuero, Secretary-General of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. Higuero says the vaquita's extinction would demonstrate a major failure of CITES.
Reports of the use of live ammunition against people protesting gas price increases in Iran as well as a significant number of protester deaths and arrests are cause for alarm, says the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The United Nations is urging authorities in Iran to end the national internet shutdown and show restraint when engaging with protesters, whose rights must be respected.
Entrepreneurs support philanthropy more fervently than non-business owners, with 8 out of 10 considering charity a priority, and men and women in the segment donate equal amounts of time and money even though they have different goals for their charitable giving, according to Fidelity Charitable. Two-thirds of female entrepreneurs want to support specific causes, compared to 33% of the men.
The Missouri Foundation for Health is rearranging its executive team, effective Dec. 1., to "enhance efficiency and assist in achieving Foundation goals" as it shifts its focus from grant-making to issues such as childhood obesity, access to health care coverage and the reduction of infant mortality. "The success of those efforts depends on us having the right mix of people with the appropriate skills and expertise to move it forward," says President and CEO Bob Hughes.
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