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  EU Environment Commissioner Coming to TownFebruary 26, 2008 08:32 Environment commissioner Stavros Dimas is flying to the United States today (26 February) for discussions with his American counterparts on a possible binding international agreement to tackle greenhouse gas emissions.

A commission spokesperson made the announcement following Monday's statement in Paris by a high-level US official that Washington is now willing to sign onto a global framework addressing climate change.

"Commissioner Dimas is on his way to the United States for discussions with US authorities on the details of a possible agreement ... on an international accord after 2012," said the spokesperson, according to AFP.

"The US is prepared to enter into binding international obligations to reduce greenhouse gases as part of a global agreement in which all major economies similarly undertake binding international obligations," said Daniel Price, US President George W. Bush's deputy national security adviser for international economic affairs.

Mr Price was in Paris to make arrangements for an upcoming April meeting of the world's leading economies, that produce 80 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

The ad-hoc group, which includes China and India as well as the G8 and the EU, is an initiative of Mr Bush, having met last September and again in January, both times in the United States.

The official said that any commitment on the part of the US could only be made however, if all large economies, both developed and developing, made similar commitments. Washington has consistently refused to sign on to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol because it did not include greenhouse gas emissions cuts from developing countries.

  Africa: Bush'S Exit Will Better U.S. Foreign Policy Towards Continent (Page 1 Of 1)February 20, 2008 09:24 PERSPECTIVE OF A UGANDAN IN CANADA

US President George Bush is making his last hooray lap in Africa, swinging through five countries - Benin, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana and Liberia - promoting economic development and fighting HIV/AIDS.

This likely being the last visit to Africa as leader of the most powerful nation on earth, Bush is keen to be remembered as the president who cared about Africa, who stood with the African people in the hour of need. On balance, he did more than his predecessor Bill Clinton in highlighting the fight against HIV/AIDS, by giving billions of dollars towards treatment and advancing the research on the illness in sub-Sahara Africa. The US has spent $15b (about sh25trillion) fighting HIV/AIDS since 2003, and President Bush has pushed US Congress to increase the allocation of dollars. Today, thanks to Bush's unwavering focus on fighting HIV/AIDS, more than one million people in sub-Saharan Africa have life-saving anti-retroviral drugs.

However, elsewhere on the continent, especially on the issue of democracy, security and stability, President Bush slept at the helm, slumbering on while Africa burned. It should be noted that the visit that ends tomorrow, did not include those countries currently experiencing the most turmoil. Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Chad, and recently, Kenya, do not feature on the President's itinerary. It was pathetic, almost comic to hear Bush stumble on his words trying to explain why, after naming the genocide in Darfur, Sudan, America then stood idly by while more people died. The explanation that it was not advisable to send American troops to "another Muslim country" was at best a slap in the face of the people of Darfur, at worse, at a time when others are asked to join America's war on terror, a naked hypocrisy that blatantly says: "Your life is not worth the life of an American."

The reality is simply that the Bush government could not afford to move into Sudan because it was simply too afraid to upset the government of Sudan which was busy courting China to carry out oil exploration in the country.
  Venezuela Minister Ready To Halt Oil ExportsFebruary 12, 2008 07:26 Venezuela is "ready" to cut off oil supplies to the United States, Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez was reported as saying in a newspaper interview published on Tuesday.

His comments came after President Hugo Chavez threatened to stop sending oil to America over a dispute with Exxon Mobil Corp.