Coastal erosion on COP26 agenda
Coastal erosion is tipped to be on the agenda at the COP26 climate conference today. In Europe sea levels could reach 37cm by 2080, causing land loss that threatens infrastructure, livelihoods and heritage sites. As climate change causes sea levels to rise around the world, coastal erosion is a global problem but it poses a unique risk in Europe due to the continent’s high ratio of shoreline to land. The delegations at COP26 will also push for agreement today on how to help vulnerable countries deal with global warming.
800 migrants disembark in Italy
More than 800 migrants who were plucked to safety in the Mediterranean disembarked off the Sea Eye 4 rescue vessel in Sicily, with most set to be transferred to two waiting quarantine ships. Red Cross workers helped the migrants – some wrapped in blankets, many barefoot – off the Sea Eye 4, which had begged Italy to allow it to dock after carrying out multiple rescue operations. The Ocean Viking, a vessel run by SOS Mediterranee, was meanwhile still looking for a port after rescuing more than 300 people. Nearly 55,000 migrants have disembarked in Italy this year, compared with just under 30,000 last year.
Xinhua lauds Xi ahead of Communist Party meeting
China’s state news agency Xinhua has lauded President Xi Jinping as “a tireless, selfless and scholarly servant of the people”, ahead of a key meeting of the ruling Communist Party that is expected to further cement his authority. The party’s 300-plus member Central Committee, meeting Monday through Thursday, is expected to pave the way for Xi to secure an unprecedented third five-year term as president at the 20th Party Congress next year.
Iraqi PM chairs security meeting
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, who escaped unharmed in an assassination attempt by armed drones in Baghdad, appeared in a video footage published by his office on Sunday chairing a meeting with top security commanders to discuss the attack. Three drones were used in the attack, including two that were downed by security forces while a third one hit the residence.
Counting of votes begins in Nicaragua
Votes are being counted in Nicaragua’s presidential election, where Daniel Ortega is bidding for a fourth consecutive term in office. The elections were dismissed as a “sham” by the international community, with all viable challengers to long-term leader Ortega locked up or in exile. President Biden said Ortega and his wife and vice president Rosario Murillo had orchestrated a pantomime election “that was not free, fair or democratic”. President Alvarado of Costa Rica announced via Twitter that he did not want to recognise the elections in Nicaragua “due to the lack of democratic conditions and guarantees”. But Dmitry Novikov, head of the Russian team of observers said that “the voting process has ended successfully.
Sharp jump in number of people facing famine
The UN’s food agency said on Monday the number of people on the edge of famine in 43 countries had risen to 45 million, as acute hunger spikes around the world. The jump from 42 million people earlier in the year was largely down to a food security assessment that found another three million people facing famine in Afghanistan. Increased fuel, food and fertilizer costs are exacerbating the situation.
More migrants head for US-Mexico border
Emboldened by news that the United States and Mexico will reopen shared land-border crossings, hundreds of migrants have arrived at Mexican border cities like Tijuana, hoping the reset will make it easier to cross and seek US asylum. The nearly 3,200km border will be open again today to non-essential travel after a 20-month closure aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19.
‘Houston, we have a problem with the toilets’
NASA astronauts leaving the International Space Station tomorrow will have to wear diapers on the return trip due to a broken toilet in their SpaceX capsule. NASA astronaut Megan McArthur described the situation as “manageable”. The return of the Crew Dragon spacecraft was postponed to Tuesday due to “violent winds expected in the ditching area”. The Crew Dragon – US astronauts Shane Kimbrough and McArthur, Japanese Akihiko Hoshide and Frenchman Thomas Pesquet –will detach from the ISS at 8pm Malta time today with ditching scheduled for Tuesday at 4:33 am. The launch of the Crew Dragon 3 mission will follow, not earlier than Wednesday, with three American astronauts and one German on board.
Amy Winehouse dress sells for $243,200
The dress Amy Winehouse wore on her last concert was sold at auction in Los Angeles for $243,200, sixteen times the estimated value. The singer wore the green and black bamboo print dress in her last performance, which was held in Belgrade in June 2011. A month later, on July 23, Winehouse died aged 27 from acute alcohol poisoning. The dress was the centerpiece of a collection of 800 personal items of the star auctioned at the behest of her parents, Mitch and Janis.