AuthorTopic: Knarf's Knewz Channel  (Read 1585630 times)

Offline knarf

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China’s data centres emit as much carbon as 21 million cars
« Reply #14025 on: September 12, 2019, 08:05:54 AM »


According to a new report from Greenpeace, and the North China Electric Power University, China’s data centres appear to pose a threat to global decarbonisation, by generating the equivalent of more than three-quarters of the total vehicle carbon emissions generated in the UK in 2018.

According to the report, China’s data centres generated 99 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, equivalent to environmental damage incurred by approximately 21 million cars, and consumed over  161 TWh of electricity during 2018 – more than the total electricity consumed by Australia in 2018.

China’s data centres sector is the second-largest in the world, and represents 8% of the global market, and is expected to grow by two-thirds by 2025, as the adoption of digital technologies increases, and is predicted to consume up to 260TWh of electricity every year until then.

The root cause? The racks of servers, or rather, the power required to run them, and the critical cooling measures that prevent potential damage to stored data, but consume up-to 80% of total consumption for the facility.

The report goes on to state that despite noted efforts by Chinese companies to improve energy efficiency, further action is needed to limit the country’s carbon emissions from coal-fired generation, which is expected to drop by 39% by 2050.

The report further calls on data centre companies to “set company-wide renewable energy targets and link them to internal key performance indicators” and support the transition by building “an internal renewable energy team to lead the transition toward renewable energy from within”.

https://www.smart-energy.com/industry-sectors/energy-grid-management/chinas-data-centres-emit-as-much-carbon-as-21-million-cars-report/
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Offline knarf

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450 miles of border wall by next year? In Arizona, it starts
« Reply #14026 on: September 12, 2019, 08:11:38 AM »


YUMA, Ariz. (AP) — On a dirt road past rows of date trees, just feet from a dry section of Colorado River, a small construction crew is putting up a towering border wall that the government hopes will reduce — for good — the flow of immigrants who cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally.

Cicadas buzz and heavy equipment rumbles and beeps before it lowers 30-foot-tall (9-meters-tall) sections of fence into the dirt. “Ahí está!” — “There it is!” — a Spanish-speaking member of the crew says as the men straighten the sections into the ground. Nearby, workers pull dates from palm trees, not far from the cotton fields that cars pass on the drive to the border.

South of Yuma, Arizona, the tall brown bollards rising against a cloudless desert sky will replace much shorter barriers that are meant to keep out cars, but not people.

This 5-mile (8-kilometer) section of fencing is where President Donald Trump’s most salient campaign promise — to build a wall along the entire southern border — is taking shape.

The president and his administration said this week that they plan on building between 450 and 500 miles (724 and 806 kilometers) of fencing along the nearly 2,000-mile (3,218-kilometer) border by the end of 2020, an ambitious undertaking funded by billions of defense dollars that had been earmarked for things like military base schools, target ranges and maintenance facilities.

Two other Pentagon-funded construction projects in New Mexico and Arizona are underway, but some are skeptical that so many miles of wall can be built in such a short amount of time. The government is up against last-minute construction hiccups, funding issues and legal challenges from environmentalists and property owners whose land sits on the border.

The Trump administration says the wall — along with more surveillance technology, agents and lighting — is key to keeping out people who cross illegally.

Critics say a wall is useless when most of those apprehended turn themselves in to Border Patrol agents in the hope they can be eventually released while their cases play out in immigration court.

In Yuma, the defense-funded section of tall fencing is replacing shorter barriers that U.S. officials say are less efficient.


A government contractor, surrounded by existing Normandy barriers that separate Mexico and the United States, pours a concrete footer in preparation for a section of Pentagon-funded border wall along the Colorado River, Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019 in Yuma, Ariz. A 30-foot high wall will replace the current five-mile section of border comprised of Normandy barriers and post-n-beam fencing. Construction began as federal officials revealed a list of Defense Department projects to be cut to pay for President Donald Trump's wall.

It comes amid a steep increase since last year in the number of migrant families who cross the border illegally in the Yuma area, often turning themselves in to Border Patrol agents. Many are fleeing extreme poverty and violence, and some are seeking asylum.

So far this year, Border Patrol agents in the Yuma sector have apprehended over 51,000 family units. That’s compared with just over 14,500 the year before — about a 250% increase.

The Yuma sector is the third busiest along the southern border, with officials building a temporary, 500-person tent facility in the parking lot of the Border Patrol’s Yuma headquarters in June.

It spent just under $15 million for the setup and services for four months, including meals, laundry and security, but officials are evaluating whether to keep it running past next month as the number of arrivals in Yuma and across the southern border have fallen sharply in recent months.

The drop is largely due to the Mexican government’s efforts to stop migrants from heading north after Trump threatened tariffs earlier this year to force Mexico to act.

The number of people apprehended along the southern border fell by 61 percent between this year’s high point in May and the end of August. In Yuma, it fell by 86 percent, according to government figures. Most people apprehended are either traveling as families or are unaccompanied children.

“Historically this has been a huge crossing point for both vehicles as well as family units and unaccompanied alien children during the crisis that we’ve seen in the past couple of months,” Border Patrol spokesman Jose Garibay said. “They’ve just been pouring over the border due to the fact that we’ve only ever had vehicle bollards and barriers that by design only stop vehicles.”

Victor Manjarrez Jr., a former Border Patrol chief who’s now a professor at the University of Texas, El Paso, was an agent when the government put up the first stretch of barriers along the southern border — in San Diego.

He’s seen barriers evolve from easily collapsible landing mats installed by agents and the National Guard to the sophisticated, multibillion-dollar projects now being done by private contractors.

Manjarrez says tall border fencing is crucial in some areas and less helpful in others, like remote stretches of desert where shorter barriers and more technology like ground sensors would suffice.

“One form doesn’t fit in all areas, and so the fence itself is not the one solution. It’s a combination of many things,” Manjarrez said.

The ease of construction varies by place and depends on things like water, Manjarrez said, adding that just because a plot of land is flat “doesn’t mean it’s not complex.”

He said building 450 to 500 miles (724 and 806 kilometers) of fence by the end of next year would be tough if that figure doesn’t include sections of the wall that have been built recently.

“As it stands now, contractors are building pretty fast,” Manjarrez said. The real question is whether the government needs to build that much fencing, he said.

The Trump administration may face those issues along with lawsuits from landowners who aren’t giving up their property so easily and environmentalists who say the barriers stop animals from migrating and can cut off water resources.

The Tohono O’odham tribe in Arizona also has expressed opposition to more border fencing on its land, which stretches for nearly 75 miles (120 kilometers) along the border with Mexico.

Near Yuma, the Cocopah Indian Tribe’s reservation is near the latest fencing project, and leaders are concerned it will block the view to its sacred sites, spokesman Jonathan Athens said.

https://apnews.com/a619922781f441c9adaa494f47001429
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Offline knarf

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Most 20-year-olds might take on a part-time job when they need extra cash. But this Wisconsin man was a bit more criminally ambitious, police say.
Tyler Huffhines, 20, has been arrested after being accused of running an illegal vaping business, loading the cartridges with illegal cannabis-derived THC oil and selling the products for about $22 each, authorities said in a news conference Wednesday.
It wasn't just a side hustle.
Huffhines had been running the operation for almost two years, since January 2018, and he had about 10 people working for him, authorities said.

Reached by CNN, Huffhines' lawyer, Mark Richards, refused to comment.
Huffhines, who is not yet formally charged, faces multiple felony charges: manufacturing/delivering THC, possession with intent to sell, maintaining a drug trafficking place and misappropriation of personal identifying materials.

Thousands of cartridges per day

Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth described the operation as a sophisticated one.
Huffhines' employees even had time cards and were paid 30 cents per cartridge filled, Beth said. The employees are believed to have worked in an assembly line, filling empty vaping cartridges with THC oil from California, Beth said.
Authorities said the employees filled about 3,000 to 5,000 cartridges a day, according to CNN affiliate WITI.
Authorities said they found more than $300,000 worth of THC oil in the condominium where the operation was being held -- in an area that Beth called "a beautiful subdivision." Beth said he is unsure how much Huffhines actually made off the business.

The investigation continues

Police are investigating others who may have been involved, and the list "seems to keep growing each day," Beth said.
"I'm glad we caught it," he said. "If this one is out there, there's other ones out there."
The THC oil is currently being tested and police say they aren't sure whether the oil was cut with other drugs.
The arrest comes amid increasing scrutiny around vaping.
A Kansas woman died Tuesday from lung disease related to vaping, making her the sixth person in the United States to die of these causes in recent weeks.

Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported there are at least 450 possible cases of severe lung disease that could be caused by vaping, though officials aren't sure what, exactly, ties them together.
And Wednesday, President Donald Trump announced his administration would be moving to ban flavored e-cigarettes.

https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/12/us/wisconsin-huffhines-thc-oil-vaping-trnd/index.html
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Final body found in California boat fire, Coast Guard issues lithium battery warning
« Reply #14028 on: September 12, 2019, 08:24:15 AM »
Divers on Wednesday recovered the remains of the final victim of a California dive boat fire that killed 34 people, as the U.S. Coast Guard issued a safety bulletin focusing on emergency escape routes, crew training and the charging of lithium-ion batteries.

The 75-foot (23-meter) Conception erupted in flames at about 3:15 a.m. on Sept. 2 and sank off Santa Cruz Island. Only five crew members escaped. Recovery of the final body had been delayed by weather conditions that complicated dive operations.

“The Conception Incident Unified Command is relieved to report that search and recovery efforts today were successful in locating the last missing victim,” The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office said on Twitter.

“DNA testing is still being conducted to confirm identities of 7 of the 34 victims recovered,” the sheriff’s office said.

The Coast Guard did not identify a cause of the fire in its safety bulletin, and the incident remains under investigation by multiple local and federal law enforcement agencies.

But the document suggests that investigators may be looking into the possibility that the fire was ignited by passengers charging electronic devices in the below-decks sleeping quarters and could not escape once flames were raging in the cramped space.

“A Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation (MBI) has been convened and will conduct a thorough and comprehensive marine casualty investigation to determine the causal factors that contributed to this tragic incident,” the bulletin states.

It adds: “The Coast Guard and the maritime industry do not have to delay until the MBI has completed their investigation before taking immediate and positive action.
EXTENSION CORDS

Five crew members who were above deck when the fire broke out survived by leaping overboard, telling investigators the fierce blaze made it impossible to rescue the passengers. The victims are believed to have died of smoke inhalation.

The Coast Guard bulletin recommends that vessel owners “immediately” review crew training, make sure emergency escape routes are clearly identified and unobstructed and that required fire-fighting and live-saving equipment are on board.

The document also urges crews to “reduce potential fire hazards and consider limiting the unsupervised charging of lithium-ion batteries and extensive use of power strips and extension cords.”

The Los Angeles Times has reported that investigators had identified possible safety lapses on the Conception, including the lack of a night watchman and failure to properly train the crew for emergencies.

Truth Aquatics has filed a petition in federal court in Los Angeles seeking to avoid liability by invoking a 19th-century law that has been used in such disasters as the sinking of the Titanic in 1912.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-california-fire/final-body-found-in-california-boat-fire-coast-guard-issues-lithium-battery-warning-idUSKCN1VW2X1?feedType=RSS&feedName=domesticNews&utm_source=reddit.com
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Offline azozeo

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Re: 450 miles of border wall by next year? In Arizona, it starts
« Reply #14029 on: September 12, 2019, 11:02:39 AM »

The Tohono O’odham tribe in Arizona also has expressed opposition to more border fencing on its land, which stretches for nearly 75 miles (120 kilometers) along the border with Mexico.

Near Yuma, the Cocopah Indian Tribe’s reservation is near the latest fencing project, and leaders are concerned it will block the view to its sacred sites, spokesman Jonathan Athens said.

https://apnews.com/a619922781f441c9adaa494f47001429



Does 45 realize there is an underground coyote railroad in full operation ?

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/fdhM0oz5lKs&fs=1" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/fdhM0oz5lKs&fs=1</a>
I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world.
You don’t know what it is but its there, like a splinter in your mind

Offline knarf

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California bans private prisons – including Ice detention centers
« Reply #14030 on: September 12, 2019, 05:28:20 PM »
Bill removes profit motive from incarceration and marks latest clash in state’s battle with Trump over treatment of immigrants

The private prison industry is set to be upended after California lawmakers passed a bill on Wednesday banning the facilities from operating in the state. The move will probably also close down four large immigration detention facilities that can hold up to 4,500 people at a time.

The legislation is being hailed as a major victory for criminal justice reform because it removes the profit motive from incarceration. It also marks a dramatic departure from California’s past, when private prisons were relied on to reduce crowding in state-run facilities.

Private prison companies used to view California as one of their fastest-growing markets. As recently as 2016, private prisons locked up approximately 7,000 Californians, about 5% of the state’s total prison population, according to the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics. But in recent years, thousands of inmates have been transferred from private prisons back into state-run facilities. As of June, private prisons held 2,222 of California’s total inmate population.

The state’s governor, Gavin Newsom, must still sign AB32, but last year he signaled support for the ban and said during his inaugural speech in January that the state should “end the outrage of private prisons once and for all”.

Currently, one company, the Geo Group, operates four private prisons in California under contract with the California department of corrections and rehabilitation. The contracts for these four prisons expire in 2023 and cannot be renewed under AB32, except to comply with a federal court order to reduce crowding in state-run facilities.

In addition to signaling a major criminal justice reform, AB32 also has become a flashpoint in California’s fight with the Trump administration over the treatment of immigrants.

The bill’s author, the assemblymember Rob Bonta, originally wrote it only to apply to contracts between the state’s prison authority and private, for-profit prison companies. But in June, Bonta amended the bill to apply to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency’s four major California detention centers.

Bonta’s amendment, say immigrant rights advocates, appears to have caught Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (Ice) and the private prison companies at a moment when their current contracts are expiring. The result is that instead of slowly phasing out immigration detention centers as their existing contracts expire years down the road, most will face closure next year – unless Ice and its private prison contractors find a workaround.

“I think Geo Group is realizing their scheme to circumvent state law is putting them in a place where they could end up being be nailed,” said Hamid Yazdan Panah, an immigration attorney and the regional director for the Northern California Rapid Response & Immigrant Defense Network.

Two of Ice’s largest immigrant detention centers in California are operated by the Geo Group through complicated contracts that use cities as middlemen.

The city of Adelanto signed an agreement in 2011 with ICE to hold up to 1,300 immigrant detainees facing deportation. Adelanto then subcontracted the prison operations to Geo Group.

“What Ice does is they locate in these very poor and remote areas,” said Lizbeth Abeln, of the Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice. “The private prison comes in and lobbies and promises jobs, and tax money.”

According to a report by the California state auditor, this complicated subcontracting model allowed Ice and Adelanto to forgo competitive bidding for the center’s operations subcontract.

A similar process unfolded just north of Bakersfield in McFarland, where in 2015 the city agreed to serve as the middleman for the Geo Group, which operates the 400-bed Mesa Verde detention facility.

Geo Group expanded the Adelanto center in 2015 to 1,940 beds, making it the second-largest adult detention center in the country, and with the Trump administration’s crackdown against undocumented immigrants, another 1,000-bed expansion is planned.

Last year, Geo Group reportedly sought to purchase property in Bakersfield for a major expansion of Mesa Verde.

But these complicated contracts were outlawed last year. Under the state Dignity Not Detention Act, cities and counties, including Adelanto and McFarland, were barred from signing new agreements with Ice or amending existing contracts to permit expansion.

“To expand their detention center, Geo Group and Ice would have to cut their ties with the city of Adelanto,” said Jose Servin, the communications coordinator of the California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance.

Geo Group asked both cities to break off their Ice contracts and the cities agreed. Ice then provided Geo Group with temporary contracts to operate Adelanto and Mesa Verde. Both agreements expire next March, after AB32 is expected to go into effect.

“My understanding is AB32 would prevent new contracts for these facilities,” said Panah. “The fact they’re on a one-year bridge, it won’t allow them to move from the one-year contract to a longer-term contract.”

Ice declined to answer any questions about how AB32 affects its detention center contracts.

CoreCivic operates the Otay Mesa detention center in San Diego under a direct contract with Ice and is building a 512-bed expansion to house immigrant detainees, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings. But its Ice contract expires in June 2020.

“When California’s prison system capacity was at 200% and conditions were so challenging as to be deemed unconstitutional, companies like ours were one of the solutions the state turned to,” said Brandon Bissel, a CoreCivic spokesperson.

In recent years, contracts with California’s prison authority have amounted to as much as 12% of CoreCivic’s total revenue, more than any other state prison authority in the US, according to SEC filings.

CoreCivic and Geo Group spent $130,000 during the first six months of this year lobbying the legislature and governor against AB32.

On 6 September, AB32 was amended to allow Geo Group, CoreCivic and other for-profit prison companies to continue operating after 2020, but only to help the state comply with a court-ordered prison population cap.

Otherwise, the use of private prisons for state inmates is to be fully phased out by 2028.

Immigration advocates still worry that Ice and its contractors could find a way to circumvent the ban.

“This legislation is the most powerful we’ve had. It’s a very big step,” said Abeln about AB32. “But we know Geo Group and Ice work in secrecy, and they work to circumvent contract laws, so we’re still monitoring things.”

Servin said that while the new law was a significant victory, there was one other thing immigrants rights groups were concerned about. When several sheriffs’ departments canceled their contracts to house Ice detainees last year, instead of freeing the detainees, Ice moved many of them to prisons in Colorado and Hawaii.

“We have to worry about all the people who are detained right now,” said Servine. “Where will they end up?”

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/sep/12/california-private-prison-ban-immigration-ice
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Offline knarf

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U.S. budget deficit passes $1 trillion mark for fiscal 2019
« Reply #14031 on: September 12, 2019, 05:36:17 PM »
The U.S. government posted a $200 billion budget deficit in August, bringing the fiscal year-to-date deficit past $1 trillion, according to data released on Thursday by the Treasury Department.

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected a $195 billion deficit for the month.

The Treasury said federal spending in August was $428 billion, down 1% from the same month in 2018, while receipts were $228 billion, an increase of 4% compared with August 2018.

The deficit for the fiscal year to date was $1.067 trillion, compared with $898 billion in the comparable period the year earlier.

When adjusted for calendar effects, the deficit for August was $141 billion compared with an adjusted deficit of $146 billion in August 2018.

The adjusted fiscal year to date deficit was $1.017 trillion versus an adjusted $878 billion the prior period.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-economy-budget/u-s-budget-deficit-passes-1-trillion-mark-for-fiscal-2019-idUSKCN1VX2G2
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Offline knarf

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A popular French economist says billionaires are harmful to economic growth and would be effectively abolished under his tax plan, according to an interview.

Thomas Piketty, whose 2013 book on inequality, “Capital in the 21st Century,” became a global bestseller and bible for tax-the-rich progressives, just published a 1,200-page follow-up book called “Capital and Ideology.” It won’t be published in English until March. But in an interview with the French magazine L’Obs, Piketty called for a graduated wealth tax of 5% on those worth 2 million euros or more and up to 90% on those worth more than 2 billion euros.

“Entrepreneurs will have millions or tens of millions,” he said. “But beyond that, those who have hundreds of millions or billions will have to share with shareholders, who could be employees. So no, there won’t be billionaires anymore. How can we justify that their existence is necessary for the common good? Contrary to what is often said, their enrichment was obtained thanks to these collective goods, which are the public knowledge, the infrastructures, the laboratories of research.”

Piketty added that the notion that billionaires create jobs and boost growth is false.

He said per capita income growth was 2.2% a year in the U.S. between 1950 and 1990. But when the number of billionaires exploded in the 1990s and 2000s — growing from about 100 in 1990 to around 600 today — per capita income growth fell to 1.1%.

“We cannot spend our time denouncing ‘populism,’ while relying on fake news, as rude,” Piketty said.

While Piketty’s plans have been popular in academia and the far left, none of his plans has been implemented by politicians. Even France abolished its wealth tax in 2017, saying it discouraged investment.

Piketty said he has gained hope from the presidential campaigns of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Warren has proposed a 2% wealth tax on those worth $50 million or more, while Sanders has proposed boosting estate taxes.

“Things are starting to move,” Piketty told the magazine. “Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and the young elected Democrats are resuming the theme of redistribution.”

While avoiding the label “socialist,” Piketty said that the type of free-market capitalism that has dominated the U.S. since Ronald Reagan needs to be reformed.

“Reaganism has begun to justify any concentration of wealth, as if the billionaires were our saviors,” he said. “Reaganism has shown its limits: Growth has been halved, inequalities have doubled. It is time to break out of this phase of sacredness of property. To overcome capitalism.”

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/09/12/billionaires-should-be-taxed-out-of-existence-says-thomas-piketty.html
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Offline knarf

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Trump’s New Asylum Ban Will Have an ‘Enormous’ Human Impact
« Reply #14033 on: September 12, 2019, 05:53:16 PM »
“The ban turns the border into a virtually asylum-free zone. In that way, its scope and impact could be even more largely felt than the Muslim ban.”



 On Wednesday, the Supreme Court ruled that the Trump Administration may implement a policy barring the majority of asylum-seekers from Central America—even though the rule is still making its way through the courts.

The policy requires migrants who pass through other countries before reaching the U.S. to apply for asylum in those countries. Only if they are denied in each of these countries will the U.S. hear their argument for asylum. Since the Supreme Court ruling, which reversed a previous ruling by a lower court blocking the ban, human rights groups have come out unanimously condemning the decision. “When it comes to the American Dream, Trump and his Republican allies are saying ‘Latinos need not apply,” said Jess Morales Rocketto, Chair of Families Belong Together, of the new rule.

 The rule is strikingly similar to the Trump Administration’s travel ban targeting Muslim-majority nations, known as the Muslim ban, one of the administration’s first attempts to block migrants from a region with large populations of refugees and asylum seekers. “Both bans are grounded in an ideology of xenophobia, hate, and exclusion and an utter disregard for human rights,” said Charanya Krishnaswami, Advocacy Director for the Americas at Amnesty International USA. “Both have harmed and will harm people in need of protection.”

The new asylum ban targeting Central Americans, however, has the potential to become even more harmful than the Muslim ban, which is already in place. “The ban turns the border into a virtually asylum-free zone. In that way, its scope and impact could be even more largely felt than the Muslim ban,” said Krishnaswami.

The policy affects all migrants in Central America, but won’t affect Mexicans, who do not need to pass through another country to reach the U.S. It also targets the populations most likely to seek asylum at the border: this fiscal year, Border Patrol has arrested 419,831 migrants from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, compared to 4,312 migrants from Mexico. According to Amnesty International, the Northern Triangle of Central America, a region comprised of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, is “one of the most dangerous places on earth.” In recent years, the UN has referred to conditions in the region as a “humanitarian crisis.”

 Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor did not agree with the decision to enact the rule before it has finished making its way through the courts, issuing a dissent on Wednesday. “Although this Nation has long kept its doors open to refugees—and although the stakes for asylum seekers could not be higher—the Government implemented its rule without first providing the public notice and inviting the public input generally required by law,” wrote Sotomayor.

The rule will likely make its way to the Supreme Court again—but that will take months. In the meantime, the effective rule will prevent thousands from finding a safe place to live.

“The human impact of the ban will be enormous,” said Krishnaswami.

https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/bjwvx5/trumps-new-asylum-ban-has-the-same-cruel-intent-as-the-muslim-ban
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Offline knarf

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PG&E reaches $11 billion settlement relating to wildfire claims
« Reply #14034 on: September 13, 2019, 06:55:02 AM »
The utility company was blamed for downed power lines that killed dozens and destroyed thousands of homes.


CalFire firefighter Scott Wit surveys burnt out vehicles near a fallen power line on the side of the road after the Camp fire tore through the area in Paradise, Calif., on Nov. 10, 2018.

Utility company PG&E said on Friday it has reached an $11 billion settlement agreement with entities representing about 85 percent of insurance subrogation claims relating to 2017 and 2018 wildfires.

PG&E was blamed for igniting several wildfires caused by downed power lines that killed dozens and destroyed thousands of homes.

The company said these claims were based on payments made by insurance companies to individuals and businesses with insurance coverage for wildfire damages.

PG&E filed for bankruptcy earlier this year citing billions of dollars in expected losses, mostly from lawsuits filed by individual fire victims, businesses and insurance companies.

Shares in PG&E were up 10 percent in premarket trading on Friday.

https://www.nbcnews.com/business/business-news/pg-e-reaches-11-billion-settlement-relating-wildfire-claims-n1054081
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There's a Full Moon Due on Friday the 13th for Most of the U.S....
« Reply #14035 on: September 13, 2019, 07:06:52 AM »
The Next One Isn't for Another 30 Years

The next full moon is set to make an appearance on the most ominous date on the calendar this month.

A September full moon, also known as a “Harvest Moon,” will be visible to many Americans this Friday the 13th.

According to NASA, the moon will be full early Saturday morning, Sept. 14, at 12:33 a.m. EST, but for those who live in the Central, Mountain and Pacific time zones, the full moon will be visible shortly before midnight on Friday the 13th.

NASA says that the moon will appear full for about three days centered around this time — from Thursday night through Sunday morning.

A full moon on Friday the 13th is an extremely rare occurrence, according to the Farmers’ Almanac. It reports that this will be the first full moon visible across the U.S. on Friday the 13th since Oct. 13, 2000.

The next one isn’t expected to happen again for another 30 years—on Aug. 13, 2049.

On average, the Farmers’ Almanac says a Friday the 13th full moon is a 20-year occurrence.

As you might expect, September’s full moon is called the “Harvest Moon” because it comes at the peak of harvest season.

According to NASA, this moon has historically been especially helpful to farmers who relied on moonlight during harvest season. Although the moon traditionally rises about 50 minutes later each night leading up to a full moon, in the days leading up to September’s full moon it generally rises just 25 to 30 minutes later across the northern U.S., and only 10 to 20 minutes later for much of Canada and Europe.

The moon will also appear about 14% smaller because of its distance from Earth, which led to the September full moon’s additional nickname: “Micro Moon,” according to the Almanac.

“Micro Moon” is a sort of opposite phenomenon to a “Supermoon,” which makes the Moon appear larger in the night sky because it is orbiting especially close to Earth.

September’s full moon nearly lines up with the point when the moon’s orbit is farthest from Earth—a point known as “apogee,” which the Almanac says is a distance of about 252,100 miles away.

https://time.com/5673236/full-harvest-moon-friday-13th/?utm_source=reddit.com
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Offline knarf

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The recent rash of vaping-related illnesses and deaths could represent a crisis for the legal cannabis industry, which relies on vaping for an estimated quarter of its business in some states.
But, some people in the industry believe, the problem could also represent an opportunity, to both help people and push toward wider legalization in the United States.
On Wednesday, the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) put out a call to Congress: To deal with vaping-related illnesses, legalize cannabis and regulate us.
Cannabis' status as a federally illegal substance fuels illicit products, hinders research and limits the ability to develop consistent regulations, the head of the cannabis trade association said Wednesday.

"These unfortunate illnesses and deaths are yet another terrible, and largely avoidable, consequence of failed prohibition policies," Aaron Smith, the NCIA's executive director, said in a statement.

Federal and state health officials are scrambling to identify the causes of a multi-state outbreak of pulmonary diseases associated with recent use of e-cigarettes and vaping devices. More than 450 people have been sickened and six people have died, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
No businesses or products have been implicated in the outbreak, but some of the products in question have contained cannabis compounds, notably the psychoactive THC, according to the CDC. Suspicion has fallen on illicit or bootleg THC vaping devices as well as additives, and many of the illnesses and deaths reported have been in states that don't have regulated recreational cannabis programs.
"We are still in a bathtub-gin era with cannabis where there are a whole lot of people without access [to legal cannabis] and people who are not in the regulated market take advantage of this, and people who are new to the market take advantage of this," said AC Braddock, CEO of Seattle-based Eden Labs, a 25-year-old manufacturer of equipment that extracts plant oils.
Even if the issue is rooted in the black market, the situation could become a serious threat for the legal cannabis industry as more authorities warn against vaping or move to crack down on it. Through July, vape products accounted for 25% of licensed cannabis sales in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada and Oregon, according to cannabis research firm BDS Analytics.

"This is, I think, a wake-up call to the industry and also to consumers about the fact that a very safe product can be rendered unsafe if the people processing it are not being held to account," said Taylor West, former deputy director of the NCIA who is a founding partner of strategic communications firm Heart + Mind Media.
But it's not entirely clear that THC products being sold by legal businesses are blameless.
In Oregon, one of the deaths involved a person who had recently purchased a vape product at a licensed dispensary, said Delia Hernandez, a spokesperson for the Oregon Health Authority. The investigation is ongoing and on Wednesday health officials asked stores to review their inventory.
Some industry members aren't waiting to take action. At Urban Farmacy dispensary in Portland, Oregon, owner Margo Amala said she pulled products with any additives or unknown ingredients.
"We've definitely scrutinized all the products on our shelves," she said, adding she's considering pulling more.
Jonathan P. Caulkins, a drug policy researcher and professor at Carnegie Mellon University, said this outbreak hopefully could spur the US Food and Drug Administration to regulate cannabis and its derivatives as drugs and vape pens as drug delivery devices.

A goal of regulation could be to help ensure products have consistent quality and properties, he said.
"I don't really see this as reversing legalization overall," he said. "I hope that this nudges us a little bit toward a more careful legalization. The amount of naivete the country has had about legalization is completely distressing."

https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/13/business/cannabis-vaping-deaths-legalization-regulation/index.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+rss%2Fcnn_latest+%28RSS%3A+CNN+-+Most+Recent%29
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Extinction Rebellion protestors have covered themselves in fake blood and staged a "die-in" at the opening of London Fashion Week (LFW).

Activists arrived at the venue on London's Strand early this morning, flooding its entrance with red liquid and lying down for press photographers, as the high-profile event got under way.

Participants were led away by police shouting: "You choose profit over planet, profit over people, profit over our future."

The group said in a press release that the dramatic action signalled the "blood on the hands" of the industry due to its environmental record.


A child passes a food to an Extinction Rebellion climate change activist during London Fashion Week

It warned today's protests mark the beginning of five days of action against the fashion industry, which it describes as "one of the most polluting in the world with a carbon footprint more than international flights and shipping combined".

The groups planned protests will include a non-disruptive rally in Lyric Square, Hammersmith, on Saturday and "swarming actions" to block major roads near Fashion Week venues on Sunday and Monday - though the locations have yet to be chosen.

Extinction Rebellion spokeswoman Sara Arnold, 31, said the main event will be held on Tuesday for the last day of LFW, as activists take part in a funeral procession from Trafalgar Square to the event's central venue 180 Strand.

"This will be the biggest action, a funeral procession to mark the end of Fashion Week, called 'London Fashion Week: Rest in Peace'," Ms Arnold confirmed.

"It will be a funeral for London Fashion Week but also commemorating the lives that have been lost due to climate change and ecological collapse.

"Obviously the fashion industry has had a big impact on the crisis."

On July 26, the group, also known as XR, sent a letter to the British Fashion Council, challenging them to follow in the footsteps of Stockholm and cancel Fashion Week.

Ms Arnold, who founded her own fashion rental company, said a more sustainable alternative to the event should be pursued.

She said: “Instead of the fashion industry exploiting sustainability to sustain business as usual it should use its influence and creativity to sustain life on earth.

“The industry is set to grow by 63 per cent between now and 2030. It is time for it to admit that it has failed to make itself sustainable.

“The fashion industry’s footprint grows season after season. It has now run out of time. We must act now.”

It comes after an offshoot of XR, failed its planned disruption of flights at Heathrow on Friday morning.

Technical issues hampered attempts to use drones and police arrested two climate change protesters at the airport in the early hours.

The Heathrow Pause group planned to ground flights by illegally flying drones near the airport in a bid to force the Government to take bigger steps to reduce carbon emissions.

But, a live stream at 3am showed the protesters fumbling in the dark with the remote-controlled device as they realised a signal jammer was being used to stop the protest.

The varied protests come ahead of a so-called "International Rebellion" starting on October 7, which will see cities across the globe call for immediate action on the climate and ecological crisis.

On the dedicated Facebook group, XR urges its followers to "rebel", writing: "You can’t look to us or Greta for this. You have to look inside yourself and rebel".

It goes on: "Together, we will peacefully occupy the centres of power and shut them down until Governments act on the Climate and Ecological Emergency.

"Leave your desk. Invite your boss. Walk out of school. Switch off the TV. Put down your phone. Get on the streets. And bring everybody.

"You are called on. If you do one thing with your life, do this. Not later, now."

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/extinction-rebellion-protesters-cover-themselves-in-fake-blood-and-stage-diein-at-london-fashion-a4235691.html
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Macron pension reform: Paris paralysed by massive strike
« Reply #14038 on: September 13, 2019, 08:18:29 AM »
The French capital is seeing huge jams and massive crowds on the few metro lines running as transport workers strike against planned pension reform.

Ten of Paris's 16 lines were shut and service on the others was disrupted.

Many workers cycled, walked or stayed at home, while free rides were on offer on transport operator RATP's e-moped and Uber's e-bike and scooter networks.

The strike, the biggest since 2007, is the first big act against President Macron's plan for a universal pension.

It would replace dozens of different pension schemes for different professions.

Members of other professions including lawyers, airline staff and medical workers have called for more strikes starting on Monday.
What is the situation in Paris?

There were 235km (145 miles) of traffic jams in the Paris region, officials said, more than double normal levels.

Local media showed photos of crammed platforms on four metro lines, where some trains were running.

Le Parisien newspaper said a legal requirement to maintain a minimum level of service - in place following a big strike in 2007, which was also against a pension overhaul - was not being fulfilled.

Three of the city's five regional rail lines, run by national rail operator SNCF, were running as normal but the two other lines were offering a reduced rush hour service and no trains at all during the rest of the day.

Travellers reported a surge in prices on ride-hailing services, with one journalist posting a screenshot showing a ride across the city costing €100 (£90), about three times the usual fare.

However Uber was also offering two free 15-minute rides on its Jump electric bikes and scooters in the city. RATP meanwhile was offering free 30-minute rides on the Cityscoot network of electric mopeds.

Paris has about 20,000 electric scooters available for hire.
Why is the pension reform controversial?

RATP's three main unions have called the strike a "shot across the bow" for Mr Macron's reform plans.

Metro workers say the new universal pension would force them to work longer by taking away their right to retire early, negotiated decades ago to compensate for having to work long hours underground.

On average, Metro workers retire at 55 while most French workers retire at 63.

The move to a universal points-based pension system would also remove the most advantageous pensions for a range of jobs ranging from sailors to notaries and including Paris opera workers.

Meanwhile those retiring before 64 would receive a lower pension. For example someone retiring at 63 would receive five percent less.

On Thursday French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe insisted the reforms would be fair for everyone.

"We're going to construct a truly universal system where every euro paid in will provide the same rights for everyone, whether a labourer, a shop owner, a researcher, a farmer, a civil servant, a doctor or an entrepreneur," he said.

The French government wants parliament to vote on the plans early next year.

Last year lawmakers overwhelmingly voted in favour of overhauling rail operator SNCF, which saw employees lose generous job and pension guarantees. That followed months of rolling strikes by SNCF workers.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-49686818
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Scientists say the newly discovered species had a wingspan of up to 33 feet.


Cryodrakon boreas was a flying reptile that lived during the Cretaceous period around 77 million years ago.

Scientists say they’ve discovered one of the largest flying animals to have ever lived — a huge, fearsome reptile that ruled the skies more than 70 million years ago during the Cretaceous period.

Dubbed Cryodrakon boreas, which translates roughly to "frozen dragon of the north wind," the now-extinct predator had a wingspan of up to 10 meters, or about 33 feet. That’s roughly three times the size of the world’s biggest bird now alive, the wandering albatross, and about as wide as an F-16 fighter jet.

One of several species of extinct flying reptiles known as pterosaurs, this was one odd-looking animal.

“They’re kind of built like a giraffe,” said David Hone, director of the biology program at Queen Mary University of London and the lead author of a paper about the discovery published Sept. 9 in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. “If you stood next to a giraffe at a zoo and stretched its face about twice as long and bolted extra finger joints to its front legs, you’ve basically got it. They had huge heads, huge necks and long, wispy bodies” covered in fine downy plumage like that seen on baby birds.

Cryodrakon is believed to have weighed in excess of 200 kilograms, or more than 440 pounds. Little is known about its coloration, though an illustration shows a white animal with a red splotch on its back that looks a bit like a maple leaf.

The splotch's color and shape were picked in part to acknowledge that the fossils used to identify the species were found in Canada, but Hone called the fanciful-looking color scheme "perfectly plausible" for Cryodrakon.

Hone said Cryodrakon probably lived much of its life on the ground, walking around like a modern-day egret or heron and feeding on lizards, small mammals and baby dinosaurs — “just about anything small enough to fit down its throat.”

But it was also a skilled flyer, possibly able to use its membranous wings to soar vast distances. “A journey of a few hundred or even thousands of miles shouldn’t have been a big deal,” Hone said. “I would not be at all surprised if this thing had a range across a huge chunk of North America.”

The fossilized remains used to make the discovery were found decades ago in Alberta. Scientists had long believed that the fossils belonged to another giant pterosaur species known as Quetzalcoatlus.

n a process that he described as extremely laborious, Hone and his collaborators took a close look at the fossils and others collected over the years and determined that they were different enough from Quetzalcoatlus to represent an entirely different species.

Not everyone is convinced that the new research is especially significant. "It describes some new material and names a species, but does not significantly alter our understanding of pterosaur evolution or diversity," S. Christopher Bennett, a professor of biological sciences at Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas, and an expert on pterosaurs, said in an email.

But Brent Breithaupt, a paleontologist with the Bureau of Land Management in Cheyenne, Wyoming, offered a different assessment. The new discovery "provides additional information about the prehistoric past and allows us to better understand the life and times of the animals that lived with the dinosaurs, especially those that flew in the skies," he said in an email.

"One has to wonder what other unique, scientifically important specimens remain to be found in museum collections and in outcrops around the world," he added. "There is always something new to be discovered in paleontology."

https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/science/millions-years-ago-frozen-dragon-flying-reptile-big-fighter-jet-ncna1052476
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