AuthorTopic: Knarf's Knewz Channel  (Read 1614862 times)

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As a scientist investigating climate change, I’m embarrassed by the high carbon footprint I have when I travel to, and work in, Antarctica. Researchers based in the UK regularly take four or five flights to reach the continent and the stations we visit rely on electricity from fossil fuels. Our food is shipped in and our waste is returned by ship to South Africa, South America or New Zealand. When we venture further afield for research and set up a temporary camp, a portable generator is flown in with us, along with our snowmobiles.

Antarctica is the most remote and inhospitable place on Earth, so it’s no surprise that people based there have struggled to break out of convenient habits. It’s cold. There are 24 hours of darkness in winter. Icicles build up on solar panels operating during the summer months and the concrete foundations for wind turbines won’t set in the cold. It’s expensive to ship in renewable energy components and it’s difficult to find warm and dry places to keep large batteries for storing energy.

These challenges are real, and yet, I’ve seen how they can be overcome at Antarctica’s only zero-emission research base, the Princess Elisabeth Antarctica Research Station in East Antarctica. The base is staffed during the summer season from October to March, when the majority of scientists – like me – conduct their research.


The author overlooks Ketlers Glacier in eastern Antarctica. Kate Winter/International Polar Foundation, Author provided

Take the tour
Dreamt up by the Belgian explorer Alain Hubert during his transantarctic crossing of the continent by kite ski in 1998, and constructed by the International Polar Foundation and its many partners, the Princess Elisabeth station has welcomed researchers since its first 2008-2009 summer research season.

The glinting silver pod looks like something from a James Bond film. It’s anchored by raised pylons, hovering above the East Antarctic Ice Sheet on a narrow granite ridge. In Antarctica these other-worldly structures are somewhat the norm. Raised, aerodynamic research stations litter the edge of the continent, where researchers from around the world gather to measure ice flows, the atmosphere and natural biomes.

While these stations all have similar traits, the Princess Elisabeth stands out. I have never seen anything like it. Almost every inch is covered in solar panels – on the roof, on the walls, on the side of sleeping containers. They are even screwed to frames anchored to the ground.

Solar panels have to be mounted high above the snow-covered ground to capture the 24 hours of daylight during the austral summer. Wind turbines are drilled into the granite ridge beneath the snow and ice, removing the need for large concrete foundations. Their blades are maintained with carefully designed polar lubricants, but they can shut down production during intense storms. These renewable energy sources melt snow for water, which is filtered and reused on site to reduce waste.


Wind turbines line the approach to the base.

The whirl of nine wind turbines generates the reassuring sound of regular clean electricity on base. While other research stations have to use fossil fuels to keep station staff warm, fed and hydrated, the Princess Elisabeth station uses 100% renewable energy supplied by the sun, the wind, and plentiful frozen water.

There’s no need for conventional heating here either. Nine layers of cladding and insulation keep the biting Antarctic cold out, and the pleasant warmth of the station in. Every piece of electrical equipment runs on renewable energy. Even my hair dryer is powered by the almost constant Antarctic winds and summer daylight.

In order for the base to run as sustainably as possible, there’s a strict hierarchy for energy use on the base. Safety is the priority, so electricity for the doctor’s surgery, the base commander’s office, fire alarms, smoke detectors and satellite connections that can alert the need for outside help are maintained first. Basic human needs like food and water are a close second, while working facilities, like lights, microscopes and laptops come third.

Unnecessary luxuries like showering or laundry are at the bottom of the list for energy need priorities. We shower once or twice a week, using push-button showers to limit how much water we use. Everyone understands and respects these systems. We all come to Antarctica to experience one of the most enchanting natural environments on Earth, we don’t come here to pollute the environment.


Electric snowmobiles are due to be rolled out in January 2020.

When I asked Alain Hubert, the expedition leader, why he wanted to build a zero-emission base in Antarctica, he said that if we can do it here, we can show the world that it can be done anywhere. I hope life and work with no carbon emissions can become a reality for people everywhere. The Princess Elisabeth Antarctica Research Station shows us that these zero-emission lifestyles are within reach.

As the current holder of the prestigious Baillet Latour Antarctica Fellowship, I’ll be able to visit the station once more, in January 2020, to collect samples that will allow us to better understand the global carbon feedback cycle. By then, working there will become even more sustainable with new electric-powered snowmobiles. I can’t wait to try them out.

https://theconversation.com/antarcticas-first-zero-emission-research-station-shows-that-sustainable-living-is-possible-anywhere-113977
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Bolivia's former president Evo Morales accepts political asylum in Mexico
« Reply #14536 on: November 12, 2019, 05:57:06 AM »
Bolivia's former president Evo Morales departed for Mexico Monday after accepting an offer of political asylum in the wake of what he has described as a "coup" against him by the country's military and opposition.

Morales' departure came a day after his resignation as president -- a move which followed military intervention amid mass protests sparked by allegations of "serious irregularities" during last month's election.
Morales said in a tweet late Monday that he was leaving for Mexico, but will soon "return with more strength and energy."
"Sisters and brothers, I leave for Mexico, grateful for the detachment of the government of that brother town that gave us asylum to take care of our lives," he said. "It hurts to leave the country for political reasons, but I will always be alert."
Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard confirmed in a tweet Monday night that Morales had boarded a Mexican government plane and that it had departed.
"The Mexican Air Force plane with Evo Morales on board has already taken off. In line with existing international conventions he is under the protection of Mexico. His life and integrity are secure," Ebrard wrote.
The tweet included an image of Morales draped in a Mexican flag while seated on a plane.

Deepening political crisis
Unrest continued in Bolivia on Monday with violent clashes and looting throughout the administrative capital La Paz. Three people have died since the protests began and hundreds have been injured.
On Monday, the head of the Bolivian Armed Forces, Gen. Williams Kaliman, announced in a televised address that the military will carry out "joint operations" with police in order to "avoid blood and grief."
Kaliman said the armed forces will use force "proportionally" against "vandal groups that cause terror in the population." He added that the military will "never open fire" on the Bolivian population.
Gen. Vladimir Calderón, the head of Bolivia's national police, said at the same press conference that the joint operation "will end when peace is established throughout the Bolivian people."
He said police units had "been burned and looted."
Former president Carlos Mesa, who was Morales' closest rival in the disputed election, expressed hope of forming a new government following the announcement of joint military-police operations.
He called on Bolivians to "not harass" security forces because "without them there is no new government" in a Monday interview with CNN en Español.

Protests mounted in the aftermath of the October 20 presidential election as the Bolivian opposition accused electoral authorities of manipulating the vote count in favor of the incumbent Morales -- the country's longtime socialist leader.
Morales denied the allegations and declared himself the winner over Mesa.

On Sunday, the Organization of American States (OAS) -- a Washington-based forum -- published a report alleging irregularities that impacted the official vote count. In the aftermath of the report, Morales initially promised new elections would be held and the country's electoral council replaced.
Analysis by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, another US-based think tank, has cast doubt on the OAS findings, and warned against what it called "the politicization of the electoral observation process."
Calls for Morales' removal continued to grow however over the weekend, culminating in police joining forces with anti-government protesters and Kaliman calling on the president to step down in order to restore stability and peace.
Morales claimed he'd been forced out in a coup -- a charge echoed by his allies in South America. Opposition figures said they were engaged in a struggle for "democracy and peace," though serious concerns remain about what role the military will play in the ongoing transition.
Prominent left-wing US politicians have also criticized his ouster, with Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders saying he was "very concerned about what appears to be a coup in Bolivia, where the military, after weeks of political unrest, intervened to remove President Evo Morales."
"The US must call for an end to violence and support Bolivia's democratic institutions," Sanders said.

Power vacuum
With Morales out of the picture for now, many questions still linger about who will be in charge.
Three officials next in the presidential line of succession, including Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera, all resigned Sunday.
The second vice president of Bolivia's senate, Jeanine Anez, said she is willing to become the president of the senate, which would make her next in line for the presidency.
It's still unclear if Anez, an opposition lawmaker, will be able to take that office or if new elections will be called, as Morales had suggested before being forced out.
Anez has called for lawmakers to meet Tuesday afternoon to discuss the resignations of the former president and former vice president.

https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/12/americas/bolivia-morales-mexico-asylum-intl-hnk/index.html
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Kenyans rage against police brutality after beating video
« Reply #14537 on: November 12, 2019, 06:02:45 AM »

The video, filmed from a high-rise building, shows officers beating a student

Kenyans have expressed outrage after a video of police officers beating a student was widely shared online.

Four policemen can be seen hitting him with a stick and stamping on his head, before he is led away.

The four have now been identified and suspended, police chief Hilary Mutyambai has said.

Kenya's police are often accused of brutality, although the authorities usually deny such charges, saying their officers are highly trained.

Human Rights Watch said that during the 2017 election campaign, police officers beat and killed opposition supporters.

The incident on Monday that was captured on video was filmed during a protest at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, close to the capital, Nairobi.

The police had been deployed there after students held a demonstration against rising insecurity.

The film of the beating has been widely shared on Twitter, with people using the hashtag #StopPoliceBrutality.

'Thanks for making it viral'
"We must condemn police brutality on students. I mean for God's sake this is just a student not a terrorist," Ispan Kimutai tweeted.

"We must also ask ourselves why university students have to be met with excessive force every time they come out to protest," Muthuri Kathure wrote.

Announcing the identification and suspension of the police officers involved, the police chief commended "the individual who had the presence of mind to record the incident and thank all Kenyans who made it go viral".

Earlier, Mr Mutyambai, described what happened as an "unfortunate incident".

All police officers had "been trained on the need to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms", he said.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-50388704
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Chinese man held after 51 children and three teachers burned in kindergarten attack
« Reply #14538 on: November 12, 2019, 06:17:40 AM »


More than 50 children were burned, two of them seriously, when a man scaled the wall of a kindergarten in southwestern China and sprayed caustic soda on them.

Police detained a 23-year-old man about 40 minutes after the attack in Kaiyuan, Yunnan province, adding that they believed he was acting alone.

In a statement, the Kaiyuan municipal government said that at about 15.35pm, a man, surnamed Kong, cut wires and climbed over a wall into Dongcheng Kindergarten and sprayed sodium hydroxide on children and staff.

It said 51 pupils and three teachers were sent to Kaiyuan People’s Hospital and PLA 926 Hospital for treatment. There were no life-threatening injuries, but two victims suffered serious burns, four had less serious burns and 48 sustained minor injuries.

Eight children killed in knife attack at Chinese primary school
https://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/3025383/ten-pupils-injured-knife-attack-chinese-primary-school

The municipality said the suspect bought the substance online.

Initial inquiries indicated that the man was acting out of “revenge at society”, but the investigation was continuing, the government statement said.

Kindergartens and primary schools have become targets in the past couple of years.

In September, a 40-year-old man was detained after eight pupils were killed and two more were wounded in a knife attack at Chaoyangpo Primary School in Enshi, central Hubei province.

In March a kindergarten teacher in in Jiaozuo city, Henan, was arrested for allegedly poisoning pupils’ porridge, sending 23 of them to hospital.

In January, 20 pupils were wounded in a hammer attack by a former employee of Beijing No 1 Affiliated Elementary School at Xuanwu Normal School.

In October last year, a woman was detained for wounding 14 kindergarten children at a campus in Chongqing, southwestern China.

https://ph.news.yahoo.com/chinese-man-held-51-children-053602875.html
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Products from Israeli settlements must be labelled, EU court rules
« Reply #14539 on: November 12, 2019, 06:22:30 AM »
European court of justice says origin must be identified in decision likely to anger Israel


Construction work in the Israeli settlement of Givat Zeev in the occupied West Bank.

The European Union’s top court has ruled that EU countries must identify products made in Israeli settlements on their labels, in a decision welcomed by rights groups but likely to spark anger in Israel.

The European court of justice said: “Foodstuffs originating in the territories occupied by the state of Israel must bear the indication of their territory of origin.”

The Luxembourg-based court said the labelling of products from Israeli settlements must provide an “indication of that provenance” so consumers could make “informed choices” when they shopped.

The EU has consistently spoken out against Israeli settlement expansion, saying it undermines the hopes for a two-state solution by gobbling up lands claimed by the Palestinians. Israel says the labelling is unfair and discriminatory and that other countries involved in disputes over land are not treated the same way.

The EU wants any produce made in the settlements to be easily identifiable to shoppers and insists they should not carry the generic “Made in Israel” tag.

Israel captured the West Bank and East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war and began settling both areas shortly afterwards. The Palestinians claim both areas as parts of a future state, a position that has global support.

The international community opposes settlement construction and many countries consider them illegal. Their continued growth is seen to undermine the establishment of an independent Palestine alongside Israel. Today, nearly 700,000 Israelis – almost 10% of the country’s Jewish population– live in the two areas.

The ECJ underlined that settlements “give concrete expression to a policy of population transfer conducted by that state outside its territory, in violation of the rules of general international humanitarian law”.

It said any failure to identify the point of origin of produce meant that “consumers have no way of knowing, in the absence of any information capable of enlightening them in that respect, that a foodstuff comes from a locality or a set of localities constituting a settlement established in one of those territories in breach of the rules of international humanitarian law”.

Human Rights Watch welcomed the ruling. Lotte Leicht, the watchdog’s EU director, said it was “an important step toward EU member states upholding their duty not to participate in the fiction that illegal settlements are part of Israel. European consumers are entitled to be confident that the products they purchase are not linked to serious violations of international humanitarian law.”

In Israel, Prof Eugene Kontorovich, the director of international law at the Jerusalem-based Kohelet Policy Forum, said the European court was “approving putting a new kind of yellow star on Jewish-made products”.

“This blatant discrimination makes it more urgent than ever for the Trump administration to defy Brussels by making official what has long been US practice, to allow these products to be labelled ‘Made in Israel’,” said Kontorovich.

It is not entirely clear how the ruling will be enforced. European retailers would normally be expected to add the labelling, but the real origin of the produce is not always easy to identify, experts say.

The case came to court after an Israeli winery based in a settlement near Jerusalem contested France’s application of a previous ECJ court ruling on the labelling. That ruling backed the use of origin-identifying tags but did not make them legally binding.

The winery and Israel’s foreign ministry had no immediate comment on the ruling.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/nov/12/products-israeli-settlements-labelled-eu-court
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Thailand to ban single-use plastics in 2021
« Reply #14540 on: November 12, 2019, 06:31:18 AM »


n a bid to rid the country of four types of disposable plastics within two years, Thailand’s cabinet has endorsed a plan to make single-use plastics illegal just over 13 months from now.

Following the cabinet meeting today, Minister Warawut Silpa-archa of the environment ministry said the government had approved his proposed ban to come into effect on New Year’s Day of 2021.

Specific penalties for violating the planned ban were not specified. Warawut’s announcement comes in the wake of movement away from Thailand’s dependency on the convenience of river-choking and wildlife killing disposable plastic.

In recent weeks, dozens of shopping malls and department stores signed onto an agreement to stop providing plastic bags in January.

“The participating stores are all Thailand’s biggest names including 7-Eleven, Central, HomePro, Big C and more,” Warawut told Coconuts Bangkok last month.

https://coconuts.co/bangkok/news/thailand-to-ban-single-use-plastics-in-2021/
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Neil Young’s weed habit might stop him from voting in the US 2020 election
« Reply #14541 on: November 12, 2019, 06:39:49 AM »
Neil Young planned on voting in the 2020 US election but his application for citizenship has been delayed because of his honesty about marijuana use. The Canadian songwriter is now waiting to hear whether his citizenship will be denied, referring to a local policy enacted in April that states:

“An applicant who is involved in certain marijuana activities may lack GMC (good moral character) if found to have violated federal law, even if such activity is not unlawful under applicable state or foreign laws.”

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/jy4A3uFD6GI?list=PLvdVG7oER2eEDzmMm8RjiTfE-9Y7PPG9f&fs=1" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/jy4A3uFD6GI?list=PLvdVG7oER2eEDzmMm8RjiTfE-9Y7PPG9f&fs=1</a>

Young writes on his blog:

“I sincerely hope I have exhibited good moral character and will be able to vote my conscience on Donald J. Trump and his fellow American candidates, (as-yet unnamed).”

The 74-year-old rocker is a taxpaying resident in the United States, and he wants to become a US citizen to vote in the next presidential election. He recently applied for citizenship to the United States and he passed the test, he writes on his blog, which took the form of a conversation.

“I answered them truthfully and I passed,” he said. “Recently however, I have been told that I must do another test, due to my use of marijuana and how some people who smoke it have exhibited a problem.”

This is not Young’s first interaction with the Trump Administration. Young’s 1989 song, Rockin’ in the Free World, was played at the announcement of Trump’s political candidacy without Young’s permission, prompting the musician and his lawyers to send cease and desist letters to Trump’s campaign.

Young will announce the results of his citizenship inquiry via his blog soon.

https://happymag.tv/neil-youngs-weed-habit-might-stop-him-from-voting-in-the-us-2020-election/
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Wife of Mexico kingpin El Chapo to grace narco families TV show
« Reply #14542 on: November 12, 2019, 04:58:51 PM »
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The wife of convicted Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman will appear on the VH1 show “Cartel Crew” alongside other family members of drug traffickers who grapple with notorious legacies, the television network said on Tuesday.

Emma Coronel, a former beauty queen and mother of Guzman’s twin girls, attended nearly every day of his 11-week trial in New York, drawing attention for her elegant dress sense. In July, a federal judge sent the kingpin to prison for life.

In a video clip promoting the show, Coronel, 30, appears on the bow of a luxury yacht in a lacy white blouse and sunglasses, next to a table laid with flutes of Champagne. A man in dark clothing, who appears to be a bodyguard, stands nearby.

VH1 says “Cartel Crew” aims to offer an insider’s look into how sons and daughters of cartel members are wrestling with their family histories.

“This docuseries follows their journeys as they set out to live legit lives and make names for themselves outside of the drug world,” the show’s website says.

Guzman’s name carries heavy weight for Coronel.

Before his final capture in 2016 and extradition to the United States a year later, Guzman was the world’s most infamous drug trafficker, shipping tonnes of drugs around the world and twice breaking out of maximum security prisons in Mexico.

Coronel was watching in February when a jury in a federal court in Brooklyn found the boss of the Sinaloa Cartel guilty of drug smuggling and various other criminal charges.

Coronel has not been charged with any crimes.

However, a witness at the gang leader’s trial testified that Coronel played an important role in plotting Guzman’s 2015 escape from a Mexican prison and tried to help him break out again after he was recaptured the following January.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-mexico-el-chapo-wife/wife-of-mexico-kingpin-el-chapo-to-grace-narco-families-tv-show-idUSKBN1XM2XN?utm_source=reddit.com
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Greta Thunberg is ready to set sail.

An Australian couple will help Greta Thunberg attend COP25 in Madrid.

Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg will set sail across the Atlantic tomorrow to a major UN climate meeting in Spain thanks to two Australians.

On Wednesday, Ms Thunberg said on social media a group, including Australians Riley Whitelum and Elayna Carausu, offered to help her make the voyage.

"So happy to say that I'll hopefully make it to COP25 in Madrid," she said.

"I've been offered a ride from Virginia, USA, on the french 48ft sailing catamaran La Vagabonde. The two Australians Riley Whitelum, Elayna Carausu and Nikki Henderson from England will take me across the Atlantic Ocean.

"We sail for Europe tomorrow morning!"

The 16-year-old had been seeking an environmentally-friendly way to travel from the US back to Europe.

The COP25 climate meeting was due to be held in Chile but was moved to Spain at the last-minute after the South American nation was hit by protests.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/EvA-ciVB0XM&fs=1" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/EvA-ciVB0XM&fs=1</a>

According to a New York Times profile, Mr Whitelum and Ms Carausu have spent several years sailing the world, with a newborn son being a new addition.

"More than a million people subscribe to their channel, Sailing La Vagabonde [the name of their boat], which has chronicled their life aboard in endearing, instructive and sometimes terrifying videos," the profile says.

"[There have been] two Atlantic and one Pacific crossings; maggoty trash; broken equipment; storms and becalmings; scaldings and other injuries; the boredom of weeks offshore when you’ve read all your books; would-be pirates; and this year, a stowaway, their 10-month-old son, Lenny."

https://www.sbs.com.au/news/two-australians-have-offered-greta-thunberg-a-lift-across-the-atlantic-so-she-can-attend-cop25
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Trump 'so extreme' on climate he's waking people up, Greta Thunberg tells AFP
« Reply #14544 on: November 12, 2019, 05:12:33 PM »
Hampton (United States) (AFP) - Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg said Tuesday that US President Donald Trump's climate change denialism was "so extreme" that it had helped galvanize the movement to halt long term planetary warming.

She spoke in an interview with AFP on the eve of her departure from North America where she has spent almost three months.

"He's so extreme and he says so extreme things, so I think people wake up by that in a way," the 16-year-old said from on board a sailboat preparing to depart from the East Coast town of Hampton, Virginia for Europe early Wednesday.

"I thought when he got elected, now people will finally, now people must finally wake up," she continued.

"Because it feels like if we just continue like now, nothing's going to happen. So maybe he is helping."

A young Australian couple have volunteered to aid her in her return journey.

Elayna Carausu, 26, and Riley Whitelum 35, live on their catamaran with their 11-month-old boy and document their adventures on social media, and responded to Greta's appeal for help with an environmentally friendly return trip to Europe.

They had originally planned to spend the winter in the United States but will now carry Greta and her father Svante Thunberg on their 14-meter (45 feet) catamaran, "La Vagabonde."

After months of campaigning in the US and Canada, including an appearance at a key UN climate summit in September, which was the reason for her visit, she offered a lukewarm assessment on the impact.

"It depends," she said, in her usual matter-of-fact way of speaking.

"In one way, lots of things have changed, and lots of things have moved in the right direction, but also in a sense we have, we have gone a few more months without real action being taken and without people realizing the emergency we are in," said the high-schooler, who will return to her education next year.

The trip itself should last two to three weeks, depending on weather conditions. The young couple and their son Lenny (who has his own Instagram account) and the Thunbergs will be joined by professional British sailor Nikki Henderson who was called to lend a hand.

Their destination is Portugal, some 5,500 kilometers (3,400 miles) away, in order to participate in the COP 25 UN climate summit in Madrid, Spain from December 2 to December 13.

The venue was originally in Chile but was shifted because of political unrest, forcing Greta to change her travel plans.

"If I get to the COP 25 in time, then I will participate in that, because I have received an invitation to do so," she said, wearing a windbreaker emblazoned with the words "Unite for Science."

"And then I will go home, I think."

https://www.yahoo.com/news/trump-extreme-climate-hes-waking-people-greta-thunberg-235532504.html
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Russian official mocks Trump for wanting to go back to Syria for the oil
« Reply #14545 on: November 12, 2019, 05:17:19 PM »
President Donald Trump withdrew from Syria abruptly and against the advice of those on the ground in the region. It left American Kurdish allies high-and-dry as Turkey began a bombing campaign against them.

Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov mocked Trump for the move and then his bizarre decision to go back into Syria “for the oil.”

“We’re keeping the oil — remember that,” Trump told a group of Chicago police officers last month. “I’ve always said that: ‘Keep the oil.’ We want to keep the oil. Forty-five million dollars a month? Keep the oil.”

Trump was ultimately schooled by his Pentagon officials who explained that any money from the oil would go to the Syrian Democratic Forces.

“They tried to negotiate and then said, ‘Okay we cannot reach the deal so Kurds you are on our own. We are leaving,'” Lavrov said of Trump’s negotiations. “Then after they left the Kurds and left Syria, they said, ‘Okay, we don’t have any more obligations in front of the Kurds. But we are coming back for oil.’ Not for the Kurds. It’s an interesting zigzagging, you know.”

https://www.rawstory.com/2019/11/russian-official-mocks-trump-for-wanting-to-go-back-to-syria-for-the-oil/
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US Navy Sends Missile Cruiser Through Taiwan Strait In Reminder To China
« Reply #14546 on: November 12, 2019, 05:29:04 PM »
 A U.S. warship cruised the Strait of Taiwan in defiance of earlier protests by China, which views Taiwan as a breakaway province and treats the surrounding area accordingly. The transit by USS Chancellorsville, a guided-missile cruiser, is the ninth by the U.S. Navy in the Taiwan Strait this year, including one in September.

Every time a U.S. ship transits the Taiwan Strait, China becomes upset.

USS Chancellorsville transited the strait in what the Navy described as a direct show to China that they are committed to a free and open Indo Pacific Ocean. "This demonstrates that the US Navy will continue to fly sail and operate anywhere that international law allows," Commander Reann Mommsen, spokesperson for the US 7th Fleet, was quoted as saying by Fox News.

The commander also said that all interactions between Chinese ships and aircraft were professional and routine during the transit. The United States and China are not openly involved in conflict but they don't see eye-to-eye on very many things. The United States  has accused China of spying and  stealing state secrets and technology to bolster their massive military. The two countries are quite capable of getting along well with each other when working towards a common goal.


The Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) arrives at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to participate Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2010 exercises.

USS Chancellorsville is no stranger to the media spotlight. On June 7, it came very close to a collision with a Russian destroyer in the Philippine Sea. There was some debate as to where the actual incident took place.

The Russian Navy stated that USS Chancellorsville suddenly changed its course and almost collided with the Russian ship. However, the U.S. Navy said the Russians made an "unsafe maneuver" putting the safety of the ship and the crew at risk.

https://www.ibtimes.com/us-navy-sends-missile-cruiser-through-taiwan-strait-reminder-china-2864819
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Offline knarf

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Sweden’s recycling is so revolutionary, the country has run out of rubbish
« Reply #14547 on: November 12, 2019, 05:36:15 PM »
Sweden’s recycling is so revolutionary, the country has to import rubbish from other countries to keep its recycling plants going. What lessons can we learn, asks Hazel Sheffield

Sweden is so good at recycling that, for several years, it has imported rubbish from other countries to keep its recycling plants going. Less than 1 per cent of Swedish household waste was sent to landfill last year or any year since 2011.

We can only dream of such an effective system in the UK, which is why we end up paying expensive transport costs to send rubbish to be recycled overseas rather than paying fines to send it to landfill under The Landfill Tax of 1996.

The UK has made strides in the proportion of waste recycled under an EU target of 50 per cent by 2020. This has underpinned hundreds of millions of pounds of investment into recycling facilities and energy recovery plants in the UK, creating many jobs. We’re not quite at that target yet. Recycling in the UK peaked at around 45 per cent of all waste in 2014.

Since then, provisional figures from the ONS have shown that figure has dropped to 44 per cent as austerity has resulted in budget cuts. The decision to leave the EU could be about to make this situation worse. While Europe is aiming for a 65 per cent recycling target by 2030, the UK may be about to fall even further behind its green neighbours.

Why are we sending waste to Sweden? Their system is so far ahead because of a culture of looking after the environment. Sweden was one of the first countries to implement a heavy tax on fossil fuels in 1991 and now sources almost half its electricity from renewables.


Sweden is a top performer when it comes to sorting and recycling its waste and is in the rare situation of lacking garbage at its incineration centres, which produce enough electricity to supply 250,000 homes and heating for 950,000 homes

“Swedish people are quite keen on being out in nature and they are aware of what we need do on nature and environmental issues. We worked on communications for a long time to make people aware not to throw things outdoors so that we can recycle and reuse,” says Anna-Carin Gripwall, director of communications for Avfall Sverige, the Swedish Waste Management’s recycling association.

Over time, Sweden has implemented a cohesive national recycling policy so that even though private companies undertake most of the business of importing and burning waste, the energy goes into a national heating network to heat homes through the freezing Swedish winter. “That’s a key reason that we have this district network, so we can make use of the heating from the waste plants. In the southern part of Europe they don’t make use of the heating from the waste, it just goes out the chimney. Here we use it as a substitute for fossil fuel,” Ms Gripwell says.

Sweden’s heating network is not without its detractors. They argue that the country is dodging real recycling by sending waste to be incinerated. Paper plant managers say that wood fibre can be used up to six times before it becomes dust. If Sweden burns paper before that point it is exhausting the potential for true recycling and replacing used paper with fresh raw material.

Ms Gripwall says the aim in Sweden is still to stop people sending waste to recycling in the first place. A national campaign called the “Miljönär-vänlig” movement has for several years promoted the notion that there is much to be gained through repairing, sharing and reusing.

She describes Sweden’s policy of importing waste to recycle from other countries as a temporary situation. “There’s a ban on landfill in EU countries, so instead of paying the fine they send it to us as a service. They should and will build their own plants, to reduce their own waste, as we are working hard to do in Sweden,” Ms Gripwall says.

“Hopefully there will be less waste and the waste that has to go to incineration should be incinerated in each country. But to use recycling for heating you have to have district heating or cooling systems, so you have to build the infrastructure for that, and that takes time,” she adds.

Swedish municipalities are individually investing in futuristic waste collection techniques, like automated vacuum systems in residential blocks, removing the need for collection transport, and underground container systems that free up road space and get rid of any smells.

In the UK, each local authority has its own system, making it difficult for residents to be confident about what they can recycle and where. “We need more of a coherent national strategy in England to the collection of recyclable materials, rather than the current approach, whereby it is largely left to individual local authorities to determine their own collection policies,” says Angus Evers, partner at Shoosmiths and a convenor of the UK Environmental Law Association’s Waste Working Party.

Local authorities will often start by recycling the highest volume materials because they are measured according to the proportion of waste recycled, so bigger items count for more. “Whatever we end up with in the UK, we need a system which collects all recyclable materials rather than cherry-picking the easiest and cheapest,” says Richard Hands, chief executive of ACE UK, the drink carton industry’s trade association.

Mr Hands points to his own drinks carton industry, which includes Tetra Pak, SIG Combibloc and Elopak. Through ACE UK, these brands have driven up carton recycling, more than doubling the number of local authorities collecting cartons from 31 per cent in 2011 to 65 per cent in 2016.

He says that the UK needs to build infrastructure around recycling plants so that it can stop sending waste overseas. Some local authorities already have a “no export” policy to achieve this. “Growing the UK waste industry will create jobs and generate UK-based revenue for the economy,” Mr Hands says.

Angus Evers says a better domestic recycling system should be a part of our strategy for leaving the EU. “The materials we currently export represent a huge drain of valuable resources going out of the UK that could be used in the UK economy to make new products and reduce our imports of raw materials. If we have aspirations to be less dependent on Europe, then we need to be more self-sufficient and recycle more,” Mr Evers says.

And what will Sweden do if we stop sending it rubbish to feed its heating system? Ms Gripwall says the Swedes will not freeze – they have biofuels ready to substitute for our exported waste.

https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/sweden-s-recycling-is-so-revolutionary-the-country-has-run-out-of-rubbish-a7462976.html?utm_source=reddit.com
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India is trying to build the world's biggest facial recognition system
« Reply #14548 on: November 12, 2019, 05:43:14 PM »
In July, Bhuwan Ribhu received some very good news.

The child labor activist, who works for Indian NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan, had launched a pilot program 15 months prior to match a police database containing photos of all of India's missing children with another one comprising shots of all the minors living in the country's child care institutions.
He had just found out the results. "We were able to match 10,561 missing children with those living in institutions," he told CNN. "They are currently in the process of being reunited with their families." Most of them were victims of trafficking, forced to work in the fields, in garment factories or in brothels, according to Ribhu.
This momentous undertaking was made possible by facial recognition technology provided by New Delhi's police. "There are over 300,000 missing children in India and over 100,000 living in institutions," he explained. "We couldn't possibly have matched them all manually."
Locating thousands of missing children is just one of the challenges faced by India's overstretched police force in a nation of 1.37 billion people.
India has just 144 police officers for every 100,000 citizens, compared to 318 per 100,000 citizens in the European Union. In recent years, authorities have turned to facial recognition technology to make up for the shortfall.
New Delhi's law enforcement agencies adopted the technology in 2018, and it's also being used to police large events and fight crime in a handful of other states, including Andhra Pradesh and Punjab.
But India's government now has a much more ambitious plan. It wants to construct one of the world's largest facial recognition systems. The project envisions a future in which police from across the country's 29 states and seven union territories would have access to a single, centralized database.
National database
The daunting scope of the proposed network is laid out in a detailed 172-page document published by the National Crime Records Bureau, which requests bids from companies to build the project. Interested parties had until October 11 to submit their proposal.
Currently unnamed, the project would match images from the country's growing network of CCTV cameras against a database encompassing mug shots of criminals, passport photos and images collected by agencies such as the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
The platform would also enable searches based on photos uploaded from newspapers, images sent in by the public or artist sketches of suspected criminals. It would also recognize faces on closed-circuit cameras and "generate alerts if a blacklist match is found," according to the tender document.
Security forces would be equipped with hand-held mobile devices enabling them to capture a face in the field and search it instantly against the national database, through a dedicated app.
The new facial recognition platform "can play a very vital role in improving outcomes" when it comes to identifying criminals, missing persons and bodies, according to the document published by the National Crime Records Bureau. It will also help police forces "detect crime patterns" and aid in crime prevention, it adds.
India's crime rate is high, particularly within the poor areas dotting urban centers. In 2016, there were 709.1 offenses per 100,000 people in 19 big cities, compared to the national average of 379.3, according to the most recent official figures.


An Indian technician checks the CCTV camera at the roadside near the Presidential Palace as preparations for the nation's Republic Day parade take place in New Delhi.

A foreign company
It is not known how many companies have submitted bids to install India's national facial recognition system, nor how long the government will take to consider their applications.
About 80 representatives of vendors took part in a pre-bid meeting, which took place in the National Crime Records Bureau's Delhi office at the end of July, according to minutes of the meeting seen by CNN. They discussed how the national database would be integrated with local police platforms and whether it should be able to identify people who have had plastic surgery.
"To be eligible to bid, a company has to have completed at least three facial recognition projects globally," explains Apar Gupta of the Internet Freedom Foundation, an NGO which has put forward a legal notice to cancel the call for bids. "This disqualifies most Indian companies."
The successful bidder will most likely be a consortium made up of a foreign company and a local partner — another requirement featured is for at least one of the bidding parties to be based in India.
IBM (IBM), Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE) and Accenture (ACN) have all shown interest, according to Sivarama Krishnan, who leads cybersecurity at PricewaterhouseCoopers India. CNN reached out to all three companies, but none of them were willing to comment.
Having a foreign company set up such a critical part of India's security apparatus could raise "national security issues," worries Gupta.
In 2018, a controversy erupted when Ajay Maken, an opposition politician in New Delhi, accused the local government of having awarded a contract, through an Indian company, to provide nearly half of the CCTV cameras it plans to install in the capital to Prama Hikvision, a joint venture between Chinese company Hikvision and Indian company Prama Technologies, citing the risk for espionage.
Ashish P. Dhakan, Prama Hikvision's CEO, confirmed that the company was supplying more than 140,000 CCTV cameras to New Delhi and has started installing them earlier this year.
"There is no evidence anywhere in the world, including India, to indicate that Hikvision's products are used for unauthorized collection of information," he told CNN. Hikvision has never conducted, nor will it conduct, any espionage-related activities for any government in the world."
It is not the company's only project in India. In 2018, Hikvision completed a network of surveillance cameras and command and control centers in Deesa City, Gujarat, according to a press release. In early October, it inaugurated India's largest CCTV factory near Mumbai, with more than 2,000 employees. It describes itself a "market leader" in India for video surveillance solutions.
Hikvision has come under increasing scrutiny in the United States. In early October, it was included on a blacklist of 28 Chinese companies and government offices essentially barred from buying US products or importing American technology over their alleged role in facilitating human rights abuses in China's Xinjiang region.
'Technologically challenging'
Experts doubt whether India can carry off such an ambitious project in such a short time. The system is expected to go live less than eight months after the contract is signed, according to the call for bids.
"A more realistic time frame would be 12 to 18 months," says Krishnan, who describes the project as "technologically challenging."
Creating the centralized platform will not be the hardest part. "India already has a national database with photos of all the criminals prosecuted in the country, which is regularly updated by law enforcement agencies in the states," he explains. "It will just need to be linked up to the country's CCTV system." A pilot project carried out in New Delhi proved this was feasible, Krishnan says.
Blanketing the country with enough surveillance cameras — especially advanced ones equipped with facial recognition technology — will be a much bigger challenge, he believes. India lags behind other countries in terms of installed security cameras.
New Delhi has 10 CCTV cameras per 1,000 people, compared with 113 in Shanghai and 68 in London, according to data compiled by consumer website Comparitech. The figure is far lower in India's rural areas, home to 66% of the country's population.
"Many villages in the countryside don't have a single surveillance camera," says Krishnan.


A passenger stands as she registers her personal details at a facial recognition counter at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad, on July 26, 2019.

But the country is catching up fast. New Delhi is about to have 330,000 new cameras installed, said the deputy chief minister of the capital, Manish Sisodia, in July as he kickstarted the process. The project has been touted as a way to improve women's safety in India's largest city, which in recent years has been the site of a number of high profile sexual attacks.
Facial recognition cameras were recently introduced in Bangalore airport and are being trialed in Hyderabad airport, according to Reuters. New Delhi airport also recently started using the technology to speed up security checks.
"A dozen of India's largest cities are now pretty extensively covered, and 24 more are in the process of expanding their CCTV capabilities," says Krishnan. He adds that most railway stations are now also equipped with surveillance cameras, and the government plans to have them all covered by 2021.
"This is meaningful in India: most citizens will at some point in their life walk through a railway station," he said.
No legal safeguards
For privacy advocates, this is worrying. "India does not have a data protection law," says Gupta. "It is also not planning to adopt a specific legal framework for the new facial recognition system, which means it will essentially be devoid of safeguards."
He worries India's facial recognition system could become a tool of social policing, used to punish petty offenses such as public littering or to control the whereabouts of ethnic minorities.
Further down the line, it might even be linked up to Aadhaar, India's vast biometric database, which contains the personal details of 1.2 billion Indian citizens, enabling India to set up "a total, permanent surveillance state," he adds.
CNN reached out to the National Crime Records Bureau but did not receive a response.
India has a history of privacy issues. In 2017, India's Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling, decreeing that a right to privacy is part of the fundamental rights enshrined in the country's constitution.
The ruling paved the way for the draft Personal Data Protection Bill, which was presented to government last year but hasn't been introduced to Parliament yet.
Rights activists had argued that fingerprints and retinal scans collected under Aadhaar violated an individual's right to privacy.
Their fears about an invasion of privacy appeared to be confirmed in early 2018 when Aadhaar suffered an alleged breach after reporters said they were able to buy access to citizens' personal details for as little as $8.
Seeking to temper criticism of its prized new program, the government added new security measures. Later that year, in a separate ruling, the Supreme Court found the database did not violate the right to privacy.
The court did, however, introduce new restrictions on how Aadhaar information could be used, including measures preventing corporate bodies from demanding data.
Caught between the need to improve its policing outcomes and to protect its citizen's privacy, India will be walking a tightrope when it comes to building its national facial recognition database.

https://edition.cnn.com/2019/10/17/tech/india-facial-recognition-intl-hnk/index.html
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Swaziland Political Parties Unite in Bid to End Absolute King's Power
« Reply #14549 on: November 12, 2019, 05:58:01 PM »
Political parties in Swaziland - some of them outlawed - have joined together to try to force an end to the rule of absolute monarch, King Mswati III.

Their leaders intend to march on Wednesday (13 November 2019) to deliver a petition to Swazi Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini. They will also petition the South African High Commission to Swaziland, saying it is the accomplice and beneficiary of the 'royal dictatorship'.

This will be followed on Saturday by a public gathering in Manzini.

The political parties include the Ngwane National Liberation Congress (NNLC), the Communist Party of Swaziland (CPS), the Swazi Democratic Party (SDP) and the People's United Democratic Party (PUDEMO). They have formed a grouping called the Political Parties Assembly (PPA).

In Swaziland, political groups advocating for democracy are banned under the Suppression of Terrorism Act.

All political parties are banned from taking part in elections and the King appoints the government.

In a statement the PPA said it wanted to end the kingdom's form of government, known as Tinkhundla, or monarchical democracy. They want power returned to the people.

PPA stated, 'We unanimously observed that the royal project Tinkhundla has reached a point of no return in dragging down our dignity and stretching beyond limits our patience as a people.'

The announcement came days after it was revealed the King had taken delivery of at least 15 Rolls-Royce cars for his wives and family and 79 luxury BMW cars worth US$6 million for 'escort duties'.

PPA said, 'Brazen looting and plunder of national resources by the monarchy have reached levels unmatched in history, plunging our people into unbearable conditions as witnessed through escalating cost of living, crisis in education and health, high unemployment as well as poor general service delivery.'

In a statement, Mduduzi Gina, Secretary General of the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA), said, 'A petition should be delivered to the office of the Prime Minister and other Ministries by the PPA lead coalition on Wednesday November 13 in Mbabane. A Mass Meeting of every concerned organizations and persons shall be convened on Saturday 16th, November at the SNAT Center starting at 0900hrs. A long-term program of action will be taken for implementation in the mass meeting envisaged. Any changes if any, will be communicated in due as we receive direction from the PPA.'

https://allafrica.com/stories/201911120553.html
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