The world at a glance ... Europe
Accused Nazi on trial: After years fighting extradition from the U.S., alleged former Nazi concentration camp guard John Demjanjuk went on trial in Germany this week for being an accessory to the deaths of nearly 28,000 people. Demjanjuk, 89, entered the courtroom in a wheelchair, gasping for breath, and was eventually put on a gurney. The Ukrainian-born Demjanjuk was employed as an autoworker in Ohio after the war when he was identified as the Treblinka guard known as “Ivan the Terrible.” He was put on trial in Israel and sentenced to death, but Israel’s Supreme Court overturned the conviction in 1993, ruling that though he was a camp guard, he was not Ivan the Terrible. German prosecutor Hans-Joachim Lutz said Demjanjuk was a guard at Sobibor death camp and that he “willingly participated in the killing of the Jews, because he wanted them dead for his own racist ideological reasons.”
Climate summit maneuvers: The U.S. and China unveiled dueling climate change proposals, ahead of next week’s major global warming summit in Copenhagen. President Obama announced that he would attend the summit and commit the U.S. to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions “in the range of” 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, and 83 percent by 2050. Given the recession, though, it’s far from certain that Congress will actually pass legislation to implement those cuts, which could impose considerable costs on American consumers and businesses. China offered a less substantial reduction by 2020, proposing to reduce “carbon intensity,” or the amount of carbon dioxide emitted per unit of economic output, by 40 percent to 45 percent compared with 2005 levels. Its overall greenhouse gas emissions would still increase—just at a slower rate.
Whites only? The town of Coccaglio, dominated by the far-right Northern League, is cracking down on illegal immigrants, just in time for the holidays. The police operation—which the city council has dubbed “White Christmas”—involves dozens of officers going door-to-door all month checking the residency permits of the 1,500 immigrants in the town of 7,000. Northern League party leader Umberto Bossi said the sweep was not racist, though he acknowledged that calling it “White Christmas” was unfortunate. “They should have called it ‘Christmas ID verification,’” he said.