Mozambique peace accord ends civil war
GORONGOSA NATIONAL PARK, Mozambique (AP) — Mozambique’s president signed a peace accord Thursday with the country’s main opposition party Renamo to end decades of hostilities that followed a devastating 15-year civil war that killed an estimated 1 million people.
The ceremony, held in a national wildlife park that was a rebel stronghold and a center of the conflict, brought hope for a new era of peace and economic growth in one of the world’s poorest countries, where an estimated 70% of the population lives on less than $2 per day.
It came as more than 5,200 of the former rebel group’s fighters were disarming just weeks before a visit by Pope Francis and a national election that will test the resolve of the two parties to sustain the peace.
“We are living in a moment of hope. This is the moment of our reconciliation,” President Filipe Nyusi told a cheering, ululating crowd in Gorongosa National Park, which he said was chosen for the signing because it was where the conflict began and would now be a “sanctuary of peace and biodiversity.”
Renamo leader Ossufo Momade also pledged that the warring sides had put aside their hostilities.
“We are now brothers in peace,” he declared. “With this signing we are showing all Mozambicans and the world that we have buried our legacy of violence and now we are committed to dialogue to resolve our differences.”
The permanent cease-fire was the culmination of years of negotiations to end the fighting that has flared sporadically in the 27 years since the civil war ended in 1992.
After signing the accord, Nyusi and Momade shook hands and embraced at the foot of Mount Gorongosa, where the rebels maintained their military headquarters. Some 800 of the disarming fighters were to live in a tented demobilization camp next to the wildlife park.
The accord is to be followed by another agreement to be signed Tuesday in Mozambique’s capital, Maputo, pledging peaceful national elections in October. Previous elections have been marred by violence and Renamo allegations that the ruling Frelimo party rigged the results.
Greenland sees massive ice melt
BERLIN (AP) — The heat wave that smashed high temperature records in five European countries a week ago is now over Greenland, accelerating the melting of the island’s ice sheet and causing massive ice loss in the Arctic.
Greenland, the world’s largest island, is a semi-autonomous Danish territory between the Atlantic and Arctic oceans that has 82% of its surface covered in ice.
The area of the Greenland ice sheet that is showing indications of melt has been growing daily, and hit a record 56.5% for this year on Wednesday, said Ruth Mottram, a climate scientist with the Danish Meteorological Institute. She says that’s expected to expand and peak on Thursday before cooler temperatures slow the pace of the melt.
More than 11 billion U.S. tons of ice was lost to the oceans by surface melt on Wednesday alone, creating a net mass ice loss of some 217 billion U.S. tons from Greenland in July, she said.
“It looks like the peak will be today. But the long-term forecast is for continuing warm and sunny weather in Greenland, so that means the amount of the ice loss will continue,” she said Thursday in a telephone interview from Copenhagen.
The scope of Wednesday’s ice melt is a number difficult to grasp. To understand just how much ice is being lost, a mere 1 billion tons — or 1 gigaton — of ice loss is equivalent to about 400,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools, the Danish Meteorological Institute said. And 110 billion U.S. tons corresponds to a 0.01-inch rise in global sea levels.
Mottram said since June 1 — roughly the start of the ice-loss season — the Greenland ice sheet has lost 240 gigatons this year. That compares with 290 gigatons lost overall in the 2012 melt season, which usually goes through the end of August.
A June 2019 study by scientists in the U.S. and Denmark said melting ice in Greenland alone will add between 2 to 13 inches to rising global sea levels by the year 2100. If all the ice in Greenland melted — which would take centuries — the world’s oceans would rise by 23 feet, 7 inches, the study found.
NKorea conducts 3rd weapons test in 8 days
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea fired unidentified projectiles twice Friday into the sea off its eastern coast in its third round of weapons tests in just over a week, South Korea’s military said.
The increased testing activity is seen as brinkmanship aimed at increasing pressure on Seoul and Washington over the stalled nuclear negotiations. North Korea also has expressed frustration at planned U.S.-South Korea military exercises, and experts say its weapons displays could intensify in the coming months if progress on the nuclear negotiations isn’t made.
By test-firing weapons that directly threaten South Korea but not the U.S. mainland or its Pacific territories, North Korea also appears to be dialing up pressure on Seoul and testing how far Washington will tolerate its bellicosity without actually causing the nuclear negotiations to collapse, analysts say.
Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the launches were conducted at 2:59 a.m. and 3:23 a.m. from an eastern coastal area but did not immediately confirm how many projectiles were fired or how far they flew. An official from the JCS, who didn’t want to be named, citing office rules, said more analysis would be required to determine whether the projectiles were ballistic missiles or rocket artillery.
South Korea’s presidential office said chief national security adviser Chung Eui-yong held an emergency meeting with government ministers to discuss the latest launch. Japan’s Defense Ministry said it was analyzing the launch and that the projectiles did not reach Japanese territorial waters or its exclusive economic zone.
The North fired short-range ballistic missiles on July 25 and conducted what it described as a test firing of a new multiple rocket launcher system on Wednesday.
Amid the stalemate in nuclear negotiations with the United States, North Korea has significantly slowed diplomatic activity with the South while demanding Seoul turn away from Washington and proceed with joint economic projects that have been held back by U.S.-led sanctions against the North.
The North’s new launches came as the United Kingdom, France and Germany — following a closed U.N. Security Council briefing — condemned the North’s recent ballistic activity as violations of U.N. sanctions and urged Pyongyang to engage in “meaningful negotiations” with the United States on eliminating its nuclear weapons.