Parents of underweight babies must be given more information on reducing the risk of cot death, says a charity.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has told parliament that the hunger strike by anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare is "totally misconceived".
Nigeria has successfully launched two Earth observation satellites which could be used to monitor weather in a region seasonally ravaged by disasters.
Experts at Kew's Millennium Seed Bank have begun a project to create seed stocks to help restore native plants to the UK countryside.
British spy tale Page Eight, starring Bill Nighy and Rachel Weisz, will close next month's Toronto International Film Festival, it has been announced.
Wednesday, 20 March 2013
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Saturday, 23 June 2012
Environment and development charities say the Rio+20 agreement is too weak to tackle social and environmental crises.
Gro Harlem Brundtland, author of a major UN sustainable development report 25 years ago, said corporate power was one reason for lack of progress.
Nations will spend three years drawing up sustainable development goals.
They will also work towards better protection for marine life on the high seas.
But moves to eliminate subsidies on fossil fuels - recommended in a number of authoritative reports as likely to boost economies and curb CO2 emissions - came to naught.
Plans to enshrine the right of poor people to have clean water, adequate food and modern forms of energy also foundered or were seriously weakened during the six days of preparatory talks.
And many governments were bitter that text enshrining women's reproductive rights was removed from the declaration over opposition from the Vatican backed by Russia and nations from the Middle East and Latin America.
The UN had billed the summit as a "once in a generation chance" to turn the global economy onto a sustainable track.
"We had the leaders of the world here, but they really did not take decisions that will take us forward," she told the BBC.
"It was a real lack of action that is very worrying, because we know how difficult the situation is in much of the world in terms of environment and poverty, and they did not show the leadership we needed them to bring."
The president of the most impoverished country in the western hemisphere, Haiti's President Michel Martelly, said the summit could have delivered more.
"I feel like these poor countries, these countries that are always being hit by catastrophe - things have not changed much," he told the BBC.
"So on this summit I will say that much more effort needs to be done so we can correctly and precisely come out with resolutions that will have an impact on the lives of people being affected."
Developing countries had argued that they needed financial assistance in order to meet the costs of switching onto a green development path.
But with the US in an election year and the EU deep in eurozone mire, any mention of specific sums was blocked.
As a consequence, developing countries refused to let the declaration endorse green economics as the definitive sustainable development path.
Prof Jeffrey Sachs, the Columbia University economist and special adviser to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said support was needed.
"And it does not do any good to cite large ambitious promises many years out, and then behind the scenes to say 'we're not going to talk about how they're going to be fulfilled."
But Lisa Jackson, Administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and deputy head of the US delegation here, said the US was fully behind the "green economy" - and that the summit could help deliver the vision.
"The negotiated document, which is really the first time we have a multilateral document that talks about the green economy that has broad-based support - that is a big push," she said.
"But probably more important are the connections that are being made between businesses large and small, civil society, academia and of course governments at the national and sub-national level - all those things are pushing the green economy forwards."
"Obviously when you look back 25 years now, less than one would have expected has happened - that's clear - but you can't think you can turn the world round in 25 years," she said.
She said there were "complex reasons" why governments had been unable to take the vision further - including the power of corporations.
"I think [the allegation] is justified - it's not the whole truth but it certainly is a big part of it," she said.
"In our political system, corporations, businesses and people who have economic power influence political decision-makers - that's a fact, and so it's part of the analysis."
The next key date on the sustainable development journey is 2015.
The sustainable development goals should be decided and declared by then; also, the UN climate convention will have what some, with trepidation, are calling its "next Copenhagen" - the summit that should in theory usher in a new global agreement with some legal force to tackle global warming.
Tuesday, 8 November 2011
Northern League leader Umberto Bossi is a volatile ally who brought down Mr Berlusconi's first government in 1994.
Mr Berlusconi's majority has crumbled ahead of the vote, with several MPs defecting or saying they will rebel.
Until now he has insisted he has enough support to be able to continue to govern and has denied he will resign.
While Italy's deficit is relatively low, investors are concerned that the combination of Italy's low growth rate and 1.9tn euro (£1.63tn; $2.6tn) debt could make it the next country to fall in the eurozone debt crisis.
Meanwhile Milan's blue-chip FTSE MIB stock index rose 2.5% on the news of Mr Bossi's statement. Markets had rallied in the morning on incorrect reports that Mr Berlusconi was stepping down.
Test of strength
"We asked the prime minister to stand aside," Mr Bossi told reporters on the margins of parliament, adding that the former justice minister and personal protege of Mr Berlusconi, Angelino Alfano, should take over.
The Northern League is the second largest party in the coalition, with about 60 seats.
One of Berlusconi's closest allies, MP Francesco Cicchitto, told reporters that leaders of the coalition would wait to see the result of the vote.
"One thing at a time. First the vote, let's let it happen. Then we'll reflect on the vote," Mr Cicchitto said.
Mr Berlusconi spent the morning attempting to shore up his support with those MPs who had threatened to abandon him ahead of the vote, which has now been delayed until 16:00 GMT.
Borrowing costs spike
Last month, the same budget measure was defeated in parliament by a single vote. Mr Berlusconi is reported to be short of the 316 votes - more than than half of the 630-member chamber - needed to prove that he still has a majority.
But analysts say Mr Berlusconi may still win as the centre-left may abstain, allowing the essential measure to pass.
Members of the opposition have said they will be present in the chamber, but will not vote, La Repubblica reports.
"Our message to the coalition is, 'be counted'," Pier Luigi Bersani, secretary of the centre-left Democratic Party said, according to the paper.
But this crisis is different as it goes beyond Italian politics, our correspondent says.
The international money markets are now forcing Italy to pay interest rates that could eventually ruin it, which means the pressure on Mr Berlusconi is extraordinary, he adds.
Doubt about Italy's governance and its ability to repay its debts have sent the markets seesawing over the past two days.
On Tuesday, the cost of government borrowing spiked at a new record of 6.74% because of the crisis, just short of the 7% threshold at which Portugal and Ireland were forced to accept bailouts.