The NewsFuror

Monday, November 5, 2007

Most ready for 'green sacrifices'

Earth from space
The poll suggests the public are more ready than politicians
Most people say they are ready to make personal sacrifices to address climate change, according to a poll of 22,000 people in 21 countries.

Four out of five people say they are prepared to change their lifestyle, even in the US and China, the world's two biggest emitters of carbon dioxide.

Three quarters would back energy taxes if the cash was used to find new sources of energy, or boost efficiency.

Chinese respondents were more positive than any others about energy taxes.

Americans talk about how to address climate change

BBC environment reporter Matt McGrath says the poll suggests that in many countries people are more willing than their governments to contemplate serious changes to their lifestyles to combat global warming.

According to the survey, 83% of respondents throughout the world agree that individuals will definitely or probably have to make lifestyle changes to reduce the amount of climate-changing gases they produce.

The poll also suggests that a large majority of people in each individual country surveyed believe that sacrifices will be necessary.

In almost all countries in Europe, and in the US, most people believe the cost of fuels that contribute most to climate change will have to increase.

Graphs showing how many people think lifestyles need to change, and how many people think energy costs will have to increase

The only exceptions were Italy and Russia, where significant numbers of people believe that increases in the price of energy will not be necessary.

The pollsters suggest that high energy costs in both countries could have put people off the idea of increasing prices even further.

Attitudes to rising energy costs in Asia and Africa are more varied.

In China and Indonesia, large majorities believe that higher energy costs are necessary, but in South Korea and India majorities in favour of higher prices are much smaller.

And in Nigeria, 52% of the respondents did not believe that higher fuel costs would be necessary to combat global warming.

Green China?

Opinions are divided on proposals to increase taxes on fossil fuels.

Worldwide, only 50% are in favour and 44% are opposed.

The Chinese are the most enthusiastic when it comes to energy taxes: 85% of those polled are in favour, 24 percentage points more than in the next most-supportive countries.

In the rest of the world, only narrow majorities - and sometimes minorities - favour higher energy taxes.

However, when people opposed to energy taxes are asked whether their opinion would change if the revenue from the taxes were used to increase energy efficiency or develop cleaner fuel, large majorities are produced in every country in favour of higher taxes.

And when those opposed to higher taxes are asked whether they would change their minds if other taxes were reduced in order to keep their total tax burden the same, the survey again discovered large majorities in every country in favour of higher green taxes.

"This poll clearly shows that people are much more ready to endure their share of the burden than most politicians grant," said Doug Miller, director of Globescan, the polling company that conducted the survey on behalf of the BBC.

Globescan interviewed 22,182 people in the UK, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, the Philippines, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, and the United States. Interviews were conducted face-to-face or by telephone between 29 May 29 and 26 July 2007.

Graph showing support for lifestyle change broken down by country

Graph showing support for energy taxes broken down by country

Italy arrests senior mafia boss

Italian police have arrested the reputed new boss of the Sicilian Mafia.

Salvatore Lo Piccolo, who had been on the run for 20 years, was apprehended along with his son and two other men near the Sicilian capital, Palermo.

All four men were among Italy's top 30 most wanted mafia suspects, police said.

Mr Lo Piccolo, 65, is believed to have succeeded the Cosa Nostra mafia's "boss of bosses", Bernardo Provenzano, after he was arrested last year.

Mr Provenzano, who led the Cosa Nostra from the early 1990s, was arrested in April 2006 after being on the run for more than 40 years.

He is currently being held in isolation at a high security jail in Terni, central Italy.

After Mr Provenzano's arrest, Mr Lo Piccolo was believed to be among his most likely successors.

The others were another of Mr Provenzano's senior aides, Antonino Rotolo, and Matteo Messina Denaro, a younger mafia leader from the Sicilian province of Trapani.

Mr Rotolo was arrested in June 2006. Mr Denaro remains on the run.

Pakistan police attack protesters

Pakistani policemen beat protesters in Lahore, 5/11/07
As many as 2,000 lawyers attracted the attention of police in Lahore
Police have used tear gas and batons to break up demonstrations by Pakistani lawyers against the country's state of emergency.

Lawyers said many colleagues were arrested as protests were dispersed in Lahore, Karachi and Rawalpindi.

The Islamic party Jamaat-e-Islami was also targeted, saying hundreds of its members were arrested overnight.

President Pervez Musharraf declared the emergency on Saturday, saying he was acting to curb extremism.

Critics, however, believe General Musharraf was acting to pre-empt a judgment by the Supreme Court on whether his re-election last month was legal.

'Merciless' attack

In Lahore an estimated 2,000 people congregated to stage a rally, but several were reported wounded when police waded in.


"Police lobbed more than a dozen tear gas shells at lawyers who had gathered in the High Court and then beat them with batons," Sheikh Faisal, a lawyer at the court, told the AFP news agency by telephone.

In Karachi police blocked off routes to the home of provincial Chief Justice Sabihuddin Ahmed, where protesting lawyers and judges had planned to gather before heading to the High Court.

He told the BBC he had not been formally put under house arrest, "but when I started for my office, they told me I couldn't leave my house".

When lawyers arrived at the court and started chanting anti-Musharraf slogans, police moved in, swinging batons and dragging protesters into police vans, says the BBC's Ilyas Khan in Karachi.

The registrar of the court said 43 lawyers were arrested inside the court premises, while another senior lawyer said more than 100 were being held.

Police also "mercilessly beat" half a dozen lawyers who were chanting anti-government slogans at a court in the city of Rawalpindi, lawyer Mudassir Saeed told AFP.

At least 200 lawyers were reported to have been arrested across the country. Lawyers' associations across the country said they were calling three days of protests and boycotts of courts.

Responding to reports of the crackdown on Jamaat-e-Islami, Information Minister Tariq Azim described the claim of hundreds of detentions as an exaggeration.

He told the BBC that it was up to protesters to remain calm, or deal with the consequences.

"If people take law into their [own] hands, obviously, they have to be dealt with," he told The World Today.

Pakistani TV news channels, which have huge audiences, are being prevented from broadcasting within the country, though newspapers appear to be ignoring government restrictions, correspondents say.

Among the rumours swirling during the broadcasting blackout was one that President Musharraf himself had been put under house arrest by subordinates, but this was strenuously denied by the government.

Concern abroad

The US has suspended defence co-operation talks with Pakistan set for this week, and says it will review its multi-billion dollar aid programme.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, on a visit to China, said events in Pakistan were "disturbing", and called for a return to "law-based, constitutional and democratic rule as soon as possible".

However, in reviewing its funding, the US would be "mindful not to do anything that would undermine ongoing counter-terrorism efforts... Pakistan is a country of great strategic importance to the United States and a key partner in the war on terror," Mr Gates said.

The UK, another major donor, says it is examining whether the emergency will affect its aid to Pakistan.

The government has suggested parliamentary polls scheduled for January could be delayed by up to a year.

Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said the emergency would last for "as long as is necessary".

'Decisive' opposition

Gen Musharraf said he declared the emergency to stop Pakistan "committing suicide", because the country was in a crisis caused by militant violence and an unruly judiciary.

Fears had been growing in the government that the Supreme Court could rule against Gen Musharraf over his eligibility to run for re-election.

Benazir Bhutto, a political rival who has been in power-sharing talks with the president, told US TV channel ABC News that many people believed the emergency was aimed at "stopping a court verdict that was coming against him".

Ms Bhutto was due to hold talks with a close aide of Gen Musharraf later on Monday.

The sacked chief justice, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, said Gen Musharraf's manoeuvre was "illegal, unconstitutional and against the orders of the Supreme Court".

India v Pakistan 1st ODI

India 242-5 (47 ovs) bt Pakistan 239-7 (50 ovs) by 5 wkts

Mahendra Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh hit half-centuries to inspire India to a five-wicket win over Pakistan in their opening one-day match in Guwahati.

They put on 105, the aggressive Dhoni hitting eight fours in his 63, while Yuvraj fired six fours and a six in 58.

Both fell near the end but India got to their 240 target with 18 balls left.

Salman Butt gave Pakistan a good start with 50 from 57 balls and Mohammad Yousuf, dropped on nine, hit eight fours in a battling unbeaten 83.

Given the talent of India's batsmen, a target of 240 initially seemed somewhat insufficient, particularly as there were no floodlights to encourage movement for the bowlers.

After Sachin Tendulkar was lbw to a Shoaib Akhtar slower ball in the third over, it quickly became evident that it would not be so straightforward.

Gambhir twice edged a noticeably portly Shoaib - who left an advertising hoarding in need of repair when colliding with it in the field - between keeper and slip to the boundary early in his innings.

But the two left-handers slowly came to terms with the slow surface, Ganguly recording the 50 with a lofted straight drive for six as Umar Gul tried a slower ball.

They were progressing serenely until Ganguly was sent back and the throw from backward square-leg saw him short of his ground by the narrowest of margins.

Four overs later Gambhir missed a straight one from Shahid Afridi that bowled him around his legs and 127 were still needed.

But Dhoni signalled his intentions by flashing at his first ball, which fizzed off the outside edge to the boundary, and the batting side were soon firmly in command again.

Salman Butt
Butt was needlessly run out having completed a fine fifty

Yuvraj, who survived a confident lbw appeal from spinner Abdur Rehman, wafted the next ball effortlessly over mid-wicket for six to keep his team well ahead of the rate.

He was first of the pair to fifty, from 66 balls, Dhoni following suit in the next over, and the searing boundaries continued as the 100 stand came up in 129 balls.

With 22 needed from 42 balls, Yuvraj top-edged a sweep to fine-leg and the requirement was 15 from 35 when Dhoni was smartly caught behind off the persistent Shoaib.

There were a couple more moments of anxiety before Robin Uthappa thumped Shoaib down the ground for four and advanced down the pitch to slice the winning runs in style with a six over third man.

When Shoaib Malik elected to have first use of the pitch, Butt played some fluent strokes with the field up for the powerplay overs, taken in one bundle by India captain Dhoni.

Kamran Akmal was not able to score as freely and succumbed playing an ungainly stroke across the line, although replays suggested that umpire Ian Gould, resplendent in old school colonial-style panama hat, was incorrect as the ball pitched outside leg-stump.

After the drinks break, spin was introduced in the form of Harbhajan Singh and he made the breakthrough, although not with any magical delivery.

Having completed his fifty from 56 balls, Butt miscued to mid-off but set off for a perfectly realistic single, only to find Younus Khan rooted to the non-striker's end.

Butt was unable to scramble back as Yuvraj Singh whistled the ball back to Dhoni and with slow left-armer Murali Kartik in operation from the other end the scoring slowed, 16 overs passing by without a boundary.

Yousuf was reprieved when he got a leading edge playing against the spin of Kartik but Ganguly, running back towards mid-off, could not cling on to the chance.

Younus also felt the urgency to accelerate the scoring but succumbed, lofting to long-off.

It took until 35th over for the first six of the innings, a brutal heave over long-on from Afridi as Pathan dropped short, but when spin returned problems mounted for Pakistan.

Having butchered another boundary, Afridi was hopelessly deceived in the flight by Tendulkar and was almost nearer the bowler's end than the crease as Dhoni took off the bails.

Worse was to follow as Malik, wearing eye-catchingly luminous green pads, fell to an eye-catchingly bad shot, hoiking a full toss from Sachin Tendulkar straight to the fielder on the mid-wicket boundary.

Yousuf grinded out a 68-ball half-century, the 200 coming up in the 46th over, but the lack of significant support from his middle-order colleagues proved decisive.