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Another United Nations Earth Summit is under way this week with 195 countries in Durban, South Africa.  Will they save the Kyoto protocol, or allow it to expire even as the impacts of climate change are being felt all over the world? Also, fraying diplomatic ties between Iran and Britain, and Western makers of high-tech surveillance equipment sell to their own governments — and to foreign countries as well. How much goes for "lawful intercept" and how much to violate privacy and human rights?

Banner image: A resident wades through neck-high floodwaters in Rangsit district, in the outskirts of Bangkok, on November 16, 2011. Such extreme weather is increasingly said to be the by-product of global warming. Photo credit should read Saeed Khan/AFP/Getty Images

Making News Fraying Diplomatic Ties between Iran and Britain 7 MIN, 39 SEC

After its embassy in Tehran was vandalized this week, Britain withdrew its ambassador to Iran and reduced ties to what's being called "the lowest level of diplomacy." Other European nations have followed suit. Today in Brussels, EU finance ministers met to discuss intensifying sanctions against Iran's nuclear program. John Burns is London Bureau Chief for the New York Times.

John Burns, New York Times

Main Topic Climate Change and Low Expectations 35 MIN, 53 SEC

The UN's Conference of Parties on Climate Change has been meeting for 17 years. In 1997, it produced the Kyoto Protocol, supposedly to hold industrial nations accountable for the impact of greenhouse emissions. But two years ago in Copenhagen, heads of state, including President Obama, could only produce a two-page, nonbinding agreement to help poor nations cope with climate change, and details are still being debated. The Kyoto pact will expire at the end of next year. This week, the latest so-called Earth Summit is underway in Durban, South Africa.

Fiona Harvey, The Guardian (@fionaharvey)
Jennifer Morgan, World Resources Institute (@climatemorgan)
Bjørn Lomborg, Copenhagen Consensus Center (@bjornlomborg)
Bill McKibben, environmentalist and author (@billmckibben)

Reporter's Notebook US-made Spying Technology Used in Syria and Iran 6 MIN, 55 SEC

Eavesdropping has gone from peeking in windows to a $5 billion business. Western companies make sophisticated technology for what they call "lawful intercept." Is it also used for human rights abuses overseas and invasions of privacy at home? Thirty-five US government agencies and 43 countries attended the latest US trade fare for high-tech surveillance, one of five events held annually across the world and called "The Wiretappers' Ball." That's according to Sari Horwitz, investigative reporter for the Washington Post.

Sari Horwitz, Washington Post (@SariHorwitz)


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