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April 2, 2013 | By Emily Alpert
A new United Nations pact to regulate the global weapons trade was cheered by human rights and humanitarian groups, but its power will depend on how stringently it is followed. Like many international agreements, the arms trade treaty does not have a strict system of enforcement. The three countries that opposed it - Iran, North Korea and Syria - will simply not follow it. Other countries may go on to sign and ratify the agreement, yet bend or break its rules. To put it into place, countries will also need to pass national laws to regulate and track weapons exports.
March 29, 2013 | By Emily Alpert
A groundbreaking pact to regulate the global weapons trade still has a chance of  success after Iran, North Korea and Syria blocked the draft treaty at the United Nations this week.  But even if the treaty passes, its power will hinge on how nations that flout it are held accountable. Under the draft agreement, countries must regulate the flow of weapons and their parts, something that many of them don't do now. Before sending arms abroad, a country would have to weigh whether the weapons could be used to violate human rights or international humanitarian laws, harm women and children, fuel terrorism or cause other kinds of abuses.
March 16, 2013 | By Paul Richter, Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - Secretary of State John F. Kerry signaled Friday that the Obama administration will take a cautious approach on negotiations that begin next week at the United Nations over a proposed international treaty that aims to more tightly control the $60-billion global trade in conventional arms. U.N. officials and human rights groups have called on the United States to help win support for the treaty, which advocates say could prevent an influx in arms from heightening violence in conflict zones such as Sudan and Syria.
January 15, 2013
Re "The killing drones on," Opinion, Jan. 10 As Michael Kinsley points out, there are thousands and thousands of pages of legal analysis, treaties, definitions and conventions regarding the rules of war. All of these are internationally accepted. But now, our government is attempting to justify its use of drones in other nations by defining the legal justification for doing so after the fact. That would be akin to an accused murderer drafting laws on homicide after committing the act. We may have the need to use drones, but that need does not give us the right under current international laws and treaties to do so. Jean-Claude Demirdjian Los Angeles ALSO: Letters: Shape up or else Letters: Act now to save the planet Letters: 'Silicon Beach' has enough money
December 16, 2012 | By Bob Pool, Los Angeles Times
When is Edgar likely to return to his Palmdale home to live out the remaining 25 or so years of his life? Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore. " At least that's what state and federal wildlife officials have told Debby Porter about the future of the black raven named after poet Edgar Allan Poe that she raised by hand at her Antelope Valley home. Wildlife officials say Porter violated the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 by keeping Edgar and 20 other blind or injured crows and ravens in elaborate aviaries inside and behind her house.
December 14, 2012 | By Emily Alpert
Sharp divisions over the future of the Internet were laid bare Friday as the United States and many of its allies spurned a United Nations telecommunications treaty over fears of government meddling with the Web. Getting involved with the Internet would mark a shift for the International Telecommunication Union, a U.N. agency first created to smooth the sending of telegraph messages from one country to another. With information already flowing freely over the Internet, Western countries and companies have questioned why the international agency should get involved.
December 6, 2012 | By Michael McGough
Paranoia strikes deep. That's the bottom-line explanation for the failure of the U.S. Senate to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. But it was more than a generic fear of black helicopters (or black wheelchairs) that impelled 38 Republican senators to disrespect Bob Dole and oppose the treaty, depriving it of the required two-thirds majority. To hear the opponents, the devil in this demonic instrument of world government was in the details. Such as the treay's imaginary attack on home schooling, an obsession for some social conservatives second only to their right to spank their children.
December 4, 2012 | By Morgan Little, This post has been updated, as indicated below.
The Senate rejected a United Nations treaty aimed at banning discrimination against individuals with disabilities Tuesday, falling five votes short of the two-thirds needed in a 61-38 vote. The U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities calls on participating countries to work to attain equality in access to education, healthcare and more, and was based largely on the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. It was negotiated by President George W. Bush's administration in 2006 and has since been signed by President Obama.
November 20, 2012 | By Jeffrey Fleishman and Reem Abdellatif, Los Angeles Times
CAIRO - The Gaza conflict has pressured Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on many fronts: Each rocket Hamas fired into Israel has been a test of Morsi's loyalty. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also been gauging how much damage he can inflict on Hamas before Morsi responds with more than public statements and diplomacy. And the United States and the West, the source of billions of dollars in aid and possible investment that Egypt desperately needs, are watching to see whether the Egyptian president emerges as a formidable and trusted regional voice.
October 1, 2012 | By Elaine Woo, Los Angeles Times
Barry Commoner, a scientist-activist whose ability to identify and explain complex ecological crises and advocate radical solutions made him a pillar of the environmental movement, died of natural causes Sunday in New York City. He was 95. His death was confirmed by his wife, Lisa Feiner. Commoner was a biologist and author whose seminal 1971 book, "The Closing Circle: Man, Nature and Technology," argued for the connectedness of humans and the natural world. It said environmental problems were related to technological advances and had a role in social and economic injustice.
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