Interactive by John Burn-Murdoch

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This week scientists, policymakers and leaders meet in Stockholm to finalise The Physical Science Basis – the first part of the long-awaited fifth assessment report (known as AR5) by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This, essentially, sets out the latest state of thinking on the impact of climate change and is the fifth of its kind in 25 years.

This report’s projections, like those of its predecessors, will be heavily scrutinised in keeping with the controversies that surround this field of science.

Here, we show how the projections for temperature and sea level rise set out in the fourth Assessment Report in 2007 compare with actual measurements. We can see that global average temperatures have not accelerated at the rate predicted in some scenarios but sea levels have risen at the upper end of predicted ranges.

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Ahead of the meeting between Barack Obama and Xi Jinping in California, now dubbed the “shirt-sleeves summit”, here is a sample of what’s being talked about in the press.

♦ Sunnylands, the 200-acre estate close to Palm Springs, has played host to quite a line up of leaders, including the likes of Nixon, Reagan, Thatcher and Kissinger. It seemed the ideal spot for the ‘getting-to-know-you’ summit, with both its long ties to Hollywood and its renowned collection of Chinese enamelled metalwork dating from the Ming dynasty.
History looms larger for those who lost, writes David Pilling, contrasting the two centuries of optimism since the American revolution with the period of imperial collapse that followed China’s rebellion. A sense of boiling injustice mixed with certainty about one’s position in the global hierarchy makes for a potent brew ahead of the meeting.
♦ The summit could define US-China relations for years to come, says the Washington Post. A principal goal of the meeting will be to build individual trust where strategic distrust exists between the two countries.
♦ But Xi is not ready for a touchy-feely meeting, says Foreign Policy. Surely the US is rewarding China when it should be censuring it?
♦ Washington Wire have done a jaunty précis of Lawrence Summers’ proposed agenda for the Summit, including tackling China’s trade surplus, China’s somewhat anti-competitive business practices and a rethink of the global financial system.
♦ Russell Leigh-Moses at the Wall Street Journal warns of the potential pitfalls looming in Sunnylands: “Xi needs to maintain his approachability for the US while being mindful of those in China who think that now is the moment to press Washington on a whole host of issues, especially where China’s military rise is concerned. Xi’s been more forceful than nuanced here in China; he will need to be precisely the opposite in California.” Read more

'Getting to Gnome you' (Getty)

The Chelsea Flower show, that quintessentially British annual event where celebrities, business leaders, and horticulturalists rub shoulders with royalty, is in full bloom. This year it has generated a number of unusual talking points.

The chatter started with the Gnome controversy. This year the organisers, the Royal Horticultural Society, announced (well ahead of the show so Gnome collecting could begin in earnest) that they were lifting their ban on the love-them-or-hate-them ornaments. A plethora of photoshoots have now been held of the humble figures, displayed liberally around the show. Debate’s raged over whether they were tacky, somewhat lowering the tone of this highly polished event that kicks of the British social ‘season’, or whether it signified a welcome abandonment of snobbery and class discrimination. Read more

Election campaign posters are pictured along a busy road ahead of Pakistan's general election on April 15, 2013 (FAROOQ NAEEM/AFP/Getty Images)

(FAROOQ NAEEM/AFP/Getty Images)

Pakistan is preparing for its first constitutional democratic handover since partition as it heads to the parliamentary polls on May 11.

The campaign period has been marred by outbursts of violence, especially attacks by the attacks by the Taliban on candidates, rallies and offices of the country’s smaller, secular and liberal parties.

What’s at stake?

There are 342 seats available. Voters elect 272 members on a first-past-the-post basis. The 70 remaining (60 reserved for women and ten for non-Muslim minorities) are allocated to parties on the basis of their showing in the contests for the directly elected seats.

The outcome of this election may also determine which way the wind will blow for President Asif Ali Zardari when his five-year term ends in September. Zardari is widely considered an ineffectual president who has nevertheless proved oddly effective at clinging to power. And although he was forced to step down as co-chair of the Pakistan People’s party, he is definitely considered to be its standard bearer.

Who are the runners and riders for the role of prime minister?

It really boils down to three key players.

The Favourite Nawaz Sharif, leader of the opposition Pakistan Muslim League, is a front runner.

Former Pakistani premier Nawaz Sharif attends a meeting of traders during his election campaign in Islamabad on May 1, 2013 (AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images)

(Aamir Qureshi/AFP/Getty)

A force in Pakistani politics for some time, he was ousted during his second stint as PM by former General Pervez Musharraf in a military coup in 1999. A victory in the forthcoming election would herald a third return to power. But is this a Shinzo Abe-style comeback – or more of a Silvio Berlusconi?

The Economist charts a favourable track record that may hint at the former:

“In Lahore alone, a bus system set up last year was opened in January; officials nearly eradicated dengue in 2012; and Mr Sharif built a motorway to Islamabad, the capital, in the 1990s. Such tangible schemes are popular.”

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Peng Liyuan performs in 2007 (Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty)

Peng Liyuan performs in 2007 (Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty)

The talking point of the Chinese leadership transition has so far centred on the President-elect and his austerity drive on gift-giving. But today his celebrity folk singer wife – Peng Liyuan – swept to centre stage, following the revelation that she will not only be accompanying him on his first foreign tour, but also giving a speech.

The move is a departure from the treatment afforded to the wife of the outgoing President, Hu Jintao. It would seem that, rather than the silent companion of yore, Xi Jinping is keen for his wife to play a key ambassadorial role.

A cursory look at pictures of her performing across China show an array of brightly coloured outfits – her repertoire of different looks could rival those of Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, the wife of the former French President. Another link between the two women is that both were independently famous as singers before marrying their politician-husbands. Read more