UN expects new record in global climate deal
BARCELONA • The United Nations expects a record-breaking number of countries to sign the Paris climate change agreement on April 22 in New York.
It is likely to exceed the record for the number of countries signing up to an international accord on the day it opens, a UN official said on Wednesday.
The number of nations inking the global deal, agreed by some 195 countries in December, is likely to exceed the record of 119 countries that signed the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on Dec 10, 1982, said Mr Selwin Hart, director of the UN secretary-general's climate change support team.
In the deal, countries agreed to limit global temperature rise to "well below" 2 deg C above pre-industrial times and pursue efforts to keep it to 1.5 deg C.
France's 1st case of mad cow disease since 2011
PARIS • France has found an "isolated" case of mad cow disease, its first occurrence since 2011, the Agriculture Ministry said yesterday.
The case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy was detected in the north-eastern region of the Ardennes, near the Belgian border. The suspected case, detected in a five-year-old cow which died prematurely, was confirmed on Wednesday by the European Union reference laboratory.
Kerry urges Lavrov to 'respect his elders'
MOSCOW • US Secretary of State John Kerry wished his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov a happy birthday yesterday, and jokingly urged him to respect his elders, as diplomacy's odd couple limbered up to spar over Syria.
As the pair met in Moscow for a day of high-stakes talks on Ukraine and the Middle East, Mr Kerry noted Mr Lavrov turned 66 on Monday and added: "I hope it will bring you extra wisdom in our conversation."
The Russian Foreign Minister responded in kind: "Thank you. But if wisdom is measured by the number of birthdays, I can't catch up with you."
To which Mr Kerry, 72, retorted: "As long as you respect your elders."
Lloyd's makes Brexit contingency plans
LONDON • Lloyd's of London, the centuries-old insurance market, argued on Wednesday that Britain's continued European Union membership would be the "better outcome" for the group in the looming June referendum, adding that it was making contingency plans for a so-called Brexit.