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Offline knarf

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Biden Sides With Big Pharma Against Affordable Coronavirus Vaccine Plan
« Reply #16080 on: June 02, 2020, 05:59:42 PM »
Unlike Sanders and other Democrats, Joe Biden has not embraced a key executive authority: cutting the cost of a possible coronavirus vaccine and other pharmaceuticals developed with federal research dollars.

The pharmaceutical lobby scored a major win earlier this month when it stopped House Democrats from adding language to the emergency coronavirus funding bill that would have pressured drug companies to make coronavirus vaccines affordable. Instead, the industry secured language in the bill that prevents the government from taking any action to address vaccine prices that could delay their development.

There are, however, existing executive powers that could be used to keep coronavirus vaccine prices low. In 1980, when Congress passed the Bayh-Dole Act establishing procedures for private companies to patent inventions built upon government-funded research, it created a safety valve allowing the government to break such patents when companies fail to satisfy the health and safety needs of consumers.

The authority, known as “march-in rights,” lets the government seize patents in these cases and license the rights to responsible third parties. The authority could likely be used for vaccines like the one currently being developed by Moderna in partnership with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

It will be at least a year until a vaccine is ready, according to NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, and the question is whether whoever is president then will be willing to use this power against the drug companies.

Unlike many of the leading Democrats who ran in the presidential primary, former Vice President Joe Biden has not embraced the use of march-in rights against pharmaceutical companies. In October, The Hill surveyed Democratic presidential candidates on their willingness to use march-in rights and found that Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg either included the idea in their pharmaceutical policy platforms or told the reporters that they were supportive of it.

Biden does not call for using march-in rights in his campaign materials and he did not respond to The Hill’s questions on the matter. Sludge asked the Biden campaign on March 16 if Biden would be open to invoking march-in rights for coronavirus drugs built upon NIH research, but, like The Hill, did not receive a response.   

In not embracing march-in rights, Biden is aligned with the pharmaceutical industry, which launched a coalition led by two of its top lobbying groups, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), to push back against calls for using the authority.

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Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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Trump campaign demands story retractions on tear gas use
« Reply #16081 on: June 03, 2020, 01:14:26 PM »
Emails sent to news organisations admonish reporting that tear gas was fired at protesters to clear Trump's way.

Police dispersed hundreds of protesters outside the White House so the United States president could walk to a nearby church in Washington, DC

Donald Trump's 2020 campaign for the United States presidency sent emails to news organisations, including Al Jazeera, demanding corrections to articles describing security forces' use of tear gas on protesters to make room for the president so he could pose for photographs.

Police dispersed hundreds of demonstrators on Monday using gas and rubber-coated bullets in Lafayette Park, outside the White House, so Trump could walk to a nearby church and take pictures with a Bible.

As video and photos of the scene circulated on social media and caused outrage, the US Park Police sent a statement defending the action, saying officers used "smoke canisters" and "pepper balls" after "protesters became more combative".

It also said no tear gas was used in the incident.

"We now know through the US Park Police that neither they, nor any of their law enforcement partners, used tear gas to quell rising violence," Tim Murtaugh, the Trump 2020 campaign's communications director, said in a statement on Tuesday night.

"Every news organisation which reported the tear gas lie should immediately correct or retract its erroneous reporting."

Protesters are gassed as police disperse crowds near the White House on Monday

Despite the claim that no tear gas was fired, photographs taken by news organisations show clouds surrounding demonstrators.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, riot control agents often referred to as tear gas are "chemical compounds that temporarily make people unable to function by causing irritation to the eyes, mouth, throat, lungs, and skin".

Compounds from smoke canisters and pepper spray fall under this definition and have similar effects as tear gas, according to the CDC.

The most common symptoms of exposure to these chemical agents are burning eyes, blurred vision, a running nose, burning and irritation in the mouth, and chest tightness.
Excessive force

Protesters throughout the US are demanding all four police officers be charged in the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died last week in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Those protesting police brutality have at times been met with excessive force by authorities. Journalists have also been targeted by police, while officers have been injured in the demonstrations.

So far, only one policeman - white officer Derek Chauvin, who knelt on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes as he pleaded, "I can't breathe" - has been arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.

Medical examiners have ruled Floyd's death a homicide.

Police use gas to disperse protesters near the White House on Monday
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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Press passes and television cameras, once powerful symbols of neutrality that helped protect journalists working in combat zones, are providing little defence for reporters and crews covering the escalating urban conflict in the United States.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, an online project sponsored in part by the U.S. Freedom of the Press Foundation and the Committee to Protect Journalists, had documented more than 180 separate incidents since protests erupted late last week in Minneapolis before rapidly spreading to urban centres large and small across the country.

“It’s one thing for reporters to get sort of caught in the crossfire, which happens to reporters in hot zones all the time,” said Roy Gutterman, a journalism professor and director of the Tully Center for Free Speech at New York’s Syracuse University.

On Monday night in Syracuse, a veteran photographer reported being shoved to the ground by an officer who went out of his way to confront him even though he was nowhere near the formation, Gutterman said.

“I think there’s been a little bit of a subtle indifference to avoiding shooting into crowds, or just avoiding sending the tear gas or the rubber bullets near where the reporters are huddled.”

The protests began in Minneapolis following the death in police custody of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who perished with his throat under the knee of a white police officer while being arrested for allegedly trying to use a counterfeit $20 bill. Derek Chauvin has been fired and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter, but activists want charges against three other officers involved.

One widely shared video clip from Monday night shows riot police using their shields and fists to lash out at an Australian television crew, cameras and microphones in full view, just outside the White House as the police cleared a path through Lafayette Square for President Donald Trump.

Moments later, Trump strolled through the park on his way to a photo-op outside St. John’s Episcopal Church, holding up a Bible.

Unlike the night before, the corner of 16th and H Street had a block-party feel before sunset Tuesday, with the smell of cannabis replacing the haze of tear gas and pepper spray.

Stockpiles of water, granola bars and milk, soothing to the eyes after a blast of pepper spray, dotted several street corners.

The anger, though, was unmistakable.

Protesters faced the White House on the other side of Lafayette Square, now ringed by a two-metre chain-link fence and guarded by soldiers, police, MPs and Park Police officers , and raised their hands and chanted, “Hands up, don’t shoot.”

Block captains armed with megaphones led the chants from perches halfway up the traffic lights next to the site of Trump’s memorable photo-op on Monday.

Police and soldiers set up traffic blockades at streets leading to the area, creating an eerie sense of calm around the heaving mass of bodies at the edge of the square.

At the edge of the square, a handful of protesters taunted and shouted at another formation of police, who largely tolerated the abuse until the agitators got too close, at which point a commander would edge forward to order them back a few steps.

As night fell, a handful of protesters flung water bottles over the fence at police while others yelled at them to stop.

Journalism scholars draw a direct line between the behaviour of police and the president’s frequent rhetorical attacks on the mainstream media. He’s fond of describing his most-hated media outlets as “the enemy of the people,” as recently as Sunday calling them “truly bad people with a sick agenda” who are trying to “foment hatred and anarchy.”

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland begged to disagree Tuesday.

“Journalists are not the enemy of the people; journalists serve the people,” said Freeland, a former journalist herself who admitted to having been preoccupied by the issue in recent days.

“I cannot say that every single question that I am asked by a journalist is welcome or easy to answer. But I am absolutely convinced that the fact that journalists are present to bear witness, the fact that journalists are present to hold governments to account, makes governments better,” she said.

“Freedom of the press is an essential human right and it is an essential element in making democracy strong.”

A country that has long portrayed itself as a beacon of democracy is now seized with fury and frustration, punctuated in some quarters by patrol cars and businesses set ablaze, store windows smashed, shops looted and rocks and bricks hurled at heavily armoured lines of riot police.

Police officers in Atlanta have been fired and charged for attacking two black college students in a car; the chief in Louisville, Ky., was fired after officers shot and killed a black restaurant owner with their body cameras off.

“I’ve never seen anything like it before, and I hope I never see anything like it again,” said Arthur Rizer, a former police officer, U.S. Army officer and self-described libertarian who now works for R Street Institute, a Washington think-tank.

The Press Freedom list begins with the dramatic live-on-TV arrest of CNN reporter Omar Jimenez and his crew in the early hours of Friday on the streets of Minneapolis, an incident that later prompted an abject apology and earnest defence of the importance of the press from Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz.

But the rest of the list, covering only five days, details clashes with journalists – some with police, others with protesters, some incidental but others earmarked as targeted attacks – that have left the victims bruised, bloodied and in at least one case blinded after being hit in the face with a pepper ball. Others have been arrested and even jailed overnight.

Police officers are identified in the Press Freedom report as the alleged perpetrators in 103 of the physical altercations reported to date, not including arrests.

Indiscriminate violence is what happens when urban police officers are allowed and encouraged to behave like army units, said Rizer.

“Remember, the motto of the police across the country, across the world and in Canada is to protect and serve; that’s what they’re supposed to be doing,” Rizer said. “The motto of the soldier, across the world, is to engage the enemy in close combat and destroy them. And I think when you start blurring those fundamentals together, you end up in a very bad place.”

Simple confusion could also be a factor.

“Maybe it’s a subconscious trickling down from the ‘enemy of the people’ lines and some of the other rhetoric,” Gutterman said.

“Then again, you know, I’ve never been a riot police officer. I could only imagine the chaos and emotion that the police are facing, and I’m not sure that the human brain is making the distinction between a group of protesters – who are all holding cameras now – and a group of reporters.”

Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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Greek demonstrators hurl firebombs towards U.S. embassy in Athens
« Reply #16083 on: June 03, 2020, 01:32:17 PM »
Riot police walk past flames as they clash with protesters, during a demonstration against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, outside the U.S. embassy in Athens, Greece, June 3, 2020.

ATHENS (Reuters) - Demonstrators hurled firebombs in a march towards the U.S. Embassy compound in Athens on Wednesday in a protest over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Reuters journalists saw demonstrators throwing several flaming objects which erupted into flames on the street towards the heavily-guarded embassy in central Athens and police responding with rounds of teargas.

The embassy itself was cordoned off with rows of blue police buses.

Demonstrators were holding banners and placards reading “Black lives matter” and “I can’t breathe”.

Police sources estimated the number of protesters at more than 3,000.
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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A Massive Oil Spill in the Arctic Has Turned a River Red
« Reply #16084 on: June 04, 2020, 11:43:34 AM »
Russia declared a state of emergency after a power plant spilled 20,000 metric tons of oil and diesel fuel into a river in the Arctic Circle. The possible cause: melting permafrost due to climate change.

 A catastrophic diesel spill has dumped 20,000 metric tons of fuel into the area surrounding the Russian Arctic city of Norilsk, causing rivers to run red. In a video posted by a Russian news outlet, a person scoops up some of the discolored water and easily lights it ablaze.

For comparison, this spill volume is about half as large as the Exxon Valdez disaster, which released at least 35,000 metric tons of crude oil into Alaskan waters more than 30 years ago. Though crude oil molecules are larger and take much longer to circulate out of an environment, diesel fuel is a more toxic form of pollution.

In response to the disaster, President Vladimir Putin declared a national emergency on Wednesday in an attempt to secure funds and resources to begin the clean-up process. Though the spill occurred in a sparsely populated area, it has spread through the region’s water system, likely causing ecological damage and risks to public health.

    The Siberian Times @siberian_times

    A satellite view at what rivers Ambarnaya and Daldykan outside Norilsk look now after the spill of more than 20,000 tonnes of diesel fuel
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 The spill began last Friday when a fuel tank at a remote power plant owned by Norilsk Nickel, a nickel and palladium mining company, collapsed and ruptured into the Daldykan and Ambarnaya rivers. The cause of the spill is currently being investigated. In a statement, Norilsk Nickel said that the spill may have been ground instability caused by melting permafrost, which is a layer of soil common in polar regions that typically remains frozen all year.

"What we can suggest is that as a result of the abnormally mild temperatures, a melting of the permafrost could have happened that led to the partial subsiding of the support on which the tank sits," Sergey Dyachenko, Norilsk Nickel’s vice president, said in a statement reported by ABC News.

Rising global temperatures, caused by human activity, are thawing permafrost at an accelerated rate. This trend has already damaged infrastructure in the Russian Arctic, and elsewhere. Norilsk Nickel claimed in a statement that permafrost thaw caused a “sudden subsidence of supports,” according to the Siberian Times.

Though the exact role that permafrost thaw played in the Norilsk spill is still unclear at this point—which is further muddied by initial claims of a car running into a fuel tank, as reported by ABC News—experts predict that more of these catastrophes are bound to occur as permafrost is lost at high-latitudes, which could have devastating consequences for Arctic communities.

“In my opinion, these types of environmental disasters will most likely become more common as climate change continues to accelerate permafrost thaw,” said Boris Biskaborn, a geoscientist at the Alfred Wegener Institute’s Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, in an email.

“Permafrost degradation is also affecting any other infrastructure such as air ports, pipe lines, streets and buildings,” he added.

Russian authorities have also indicated that criminal negligence may have played a role in the disaster, in addition to the reported effects of climate change in sparking the spill. Alexander Uss, the governor of the Krasnoyarsk territory where Norilsk is located, claims he was only alerted to the spill when social media posts about it started going viral on Sunday, according to ABC News.

Putin admonished Uss as well as the leadership of the power plant for the delay in reporting the spill, and the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation has launched a criminal investigation into the disaster. Three criminal charges have been laid and the head of the plant workshop was also detained as a suspect, according to Russian state news agency TASS. Vyacheslav Starostin, director of the power plant, has also been arrested and detained but has not been charged with a crime at this time, reports the BBC. Norilsk Nickel was previously fined for a much smaller pollutant spill in the region’s rivers in 2016, which also tinted the water red.

Cleanup crews are currently working around Norilsk, but it may take years and over a billion dollars to complete the process. While the local emergency response is important, Arctic ecosystems and communities are already under major stress due to warming temperatures, and it will require global cooperation to protect them from the escalating threats of the climate crisis.

“Climate change is causing permafrost thaw, which is not only causing infrastructure damage but also leading to further emission of greenhouse gases and thus further warming,” Biskaborn said. “To prevent such damage, we need to work on the impact of our industry and lifestyle to the global climate system.”
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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Investigation uncovers ties between financial institutions and three Brazilian firms connected to environmental destruction

 Forest fires in the Amazon reached a record high in 2019.

British-based banks and finance houses have provided more than $2bn (£1.5bn) in financial backing in recent years to Brazilian beef companies which have been linked to Amazon deforestation, according to new research.

 Thousands of hectares of Amazon are being felled every year to graze cattle and provide meat for world markets.

As well as providing financial backing for Minerva, Brazil’s second largest beef exporter, and Marfrig, its second largest meat processing company, UK-based financial institutions held tens of millions of dollars worth of shares in JBS, the world’s largest meat company.

All three meat companies have been linked to deforestation in their supply chains, though they say they are working to monitor their suppliers and mitigate risks.

Marfrig, a Brazilian meat company that has supplied fast-food chains around the world, was found to have bought cattle from a farm that had been using deforested land last year.

JBS remains unable to monitor a significant proportion of its suppliers despite operating deep in the Amazon, while last year Marfrig admitted that more than half of the cattle it slaughtered originated from indirect suppliers that it could not monitor.

According to a joint investigation by the Guardian, Unearthed and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, financial data between January 2013 and May 2019 shows that HSBC underwrote $1.1bn of bonds for Marfrig and $917m for Minerva. They also held nearly $3m in JBS shares.

Schroders held $14m in Marfrig bonds and $12m in Minerva bonds, while Standard Life Aberdeen held $10m in Marfrig bonds and $3m in JBS shares. Prudential UK had $23m in JBS shares and $5m in Minerva bonds.

Banks frequently hold bonds and shares on behalf of clients who invest through their asset management funds.

Other European-based institutions provided an additional $2.1bn of backing. Santander underwrote $1.4bn worth of bonds across the three companies. Deutsche Bank underwrote $69m worth of Marfrig bonds and loaned JBS $57m.

European institutions also held significant shares in JBS: Crédit Agricole, Deutsche Bank and Santander invested $37m, $12m and $7m respectively. All data was correct as of May 2019.

The European Commission is considering new financial reporting rules in light of the coronavirus crisis that would require banks, insurance firms and listed companies to disclose their exposure to biodiversity loss and pandemic risk. Scientists have warned that deforestation is increasing the risk of new diseases emerging.

Some of the financial institutions told the Guardian they were engaging with the three companies over deforestation, and could reconsider their support if they saw insufficient progress.

The three meat companies say they are confident that the farms their slaughterhouses directly purchase cattle from are not involved in deforestation, but they also accept they cannot know the origin of some animals that have passed through other farms beforehand.

In a statement, JBS said it had blocked thousands of direct suppliers for breaking rules concerning deforestation and was working with the Brazilian government and industry on solutions for monitoring indirect suppliers.

Minerva said there was “no accessible and reliable data and statistics on the complete cattle traceability chain” in Brazil and that it was evaluating a new tool developed by the National Wildlife Federation and University of Wisconsin to monitor indirect suppliers. Marfrig said it was developing a tool to combat the risk of buying from indirect suppliers which it cannot monitor.

“No UK financial institution should be profiting from the destruction of rainforest or other precious habitats in Brazil or elsewhere. If the government’s claims to global leadership on climate are to have any meaning at all, it must stop turning blind eye to the links between UK banks and deforestation, by introducing strong regulation, harsh penalties and strict provisions on full public transparency of environmental and social impacts of all investment portfolios,” said Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion.

In response to the findings, a spokesperson for Aberdeen Standard Investments said: “There are definitely shortcomings in supply chain monitoring for the entire beef industry in Brazil, but these practices are improving across the industry and investor activism plays an important role in this development ... At present, we remain invested but this may change depending on a number of factors.”

Schroders said it was in dialogue with both Minerva and Marfrig and that, “if we did not see these signs of progress, we would certainly consider changing our recommendations for these companies.”

Deutsche Bank said it did not finance activities where there is clear and known evidence on clearing of primary forests, areas of high conservation value or peat lands, illegal logging or uncontrolled and/or illegal use of fire. Crédit Agricole said it did not finance projects on deforested land with high biodiversity value.

Prudential UK said it was actively engaging with companies operating in the Amazon region to find solutions. HSBC said it conducted reviews of clients for their commitment to sustainable business practices. Santander said it conducted annual reviews of more than 2,000 clients in Brazil, including those that are large soy producers, soy traders and meatpackers, especially about their supply chain.
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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Brazil is easing restrictions despite logging record numbers of daily coronavirus fatalities, with President Jair Bolsonaro saying death is "everyone's destiny."

On Wednesday, Brazil recorded the highest number of deaths from the coronavirus in a single day. The 1,349 new fatalities beat the previous record of 1,262 deaths, which was set the day before, according to data from the country's health ministry.

The country's total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases also surpassed 500,000 this week. Only the US has more.

Striking images published late last month showed row upon row of mass graves, laying bare the state of the country's crisis.

Gravediggers bury the coffin of a person who died from COVID-19 in São Paulo, Brazil, on May 22, 2020.

Yet on Tuesday, a number of non-essential businesses and venues in the major cities of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro opened their doors for the first time in months.

They include beaches, churches, car showrooms, and furniture stores, according to CNN.

On Monday, Marcelo Crivella, the mayor of Rio de Janeiro, said that "if all parameters are followed — wearing masks and avoiding crowds — we will return to normal life, to the new normal, in August."

Paulo Lotufo, an epidemiologist at the University of São Paulo, told The Guardian: "What is happening is an absurdity. The outlook is awful."

Regardless Bolsonaro, who in March called the virus a "little flu," said on Tuesday: "We are sorry for all the dead, but that's everyone's destiny."

In May, two health ministers left their posts in the space of a month after clashing with Bolsonaro over the use of the hydroxychloroquine as a coronavirus treatment.

Whether the malaria drug helps combat COVID-19 remains unknown.

The ministers' old jobs remain unfilled.

The governor of northeastern Maranhão​ state, Flávio Dino, blamed the country's high death toll on the president.

"I have no doubt that Bolsonaro is in great measure responsible for this terrible rate that is going to continue growing for several months," he said, according to The Guardian.

Latin America is currently the world's latest hotspot for the virus.
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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Re: Knarf's Knewz Channel
« Reply #16087 on: June 04, 2020, 05:15:17 PM »
Hey. The logic is flawless. Everyone will die, therefore why not expedite the process in order to serve the will of Nature Herself?

Nihilism is beautiful in the morning, or any time of the day or night!
My "avatar" graphic is Japanese calligraphy (shodō) forming the word shoshin, meaning "beginner's mind". -- -- It is with shoshin that I am now and always "meeting my breath" for the first time. Try it!

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CO2 levels hit record high despite emissions dip from coronavirus
« Reply #16088 on: June 05, 2020, 01:16:22 PM »
Lockdowns and economic slowdowns during the coronavirus pandemic have had no visible impact on the amount of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere, according to new data which shows levels of the greenhouse gas hit record highs last month.

Atmospheric concentrations of CO2 have been marching upwards for decades due to humanity’s activities. Figures published today by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, California, show a new monthly high of 417 parts per million (ppm) on average in May, up from 414.8 ppm a year before.

Monthly concentrations only breached the symbolic 400 ppm milestone six years ago, and growth has accelerated in the past decade. While the covid-19 crisis is expected to cut global emissions by the biggest amount since the second world war, that fall is likely to have little effect on the atmospheric CO2 that is driving climate change.

Richard Betts at the UK Met Office says: “It’s not surprising. The analogy I use is filling a bath from a tap. The water from the tap is the emissions and the water level in the bath is the concentrations. We’re still putting CO2 into the atmosphere, it’s just building up slightly less fast than before. What we need to do is turn the tap off.”

In a statement, the Scripps team said the fall in emissions from the pandemic wasn’t big enough to stand out against natural variations in atmospheric concentrations of CO2 caused by changes in soil, plants and the weather. Although CO2 emissions dropped by 17 per cent in early April, even bigger drops of 20 to 30 per cent would need to be sustained for a year to slow the growth of atmospheric CO2 concentrations, said the team.

By the end of the year, the Met Office expects concentrations to be up 2.48 ppm on 2019 levels, not that different to the 2.8 ppm expected before the virus outbreak. “It’s certainly not large enough to affect the climate,” says Betts.
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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Trudeau joins anti-racism march in Ottawa
« Reply #16089 on: June 05, 2020, 01:22:12 PM »
Thousands are marching in downtown Ottawa on Friday in a show of solidarity against anti-Black racism and police brutality.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who declined to say Friday morning whether he would attend, arrived on Parliament Hill in mid-afternoon with security guards, wearing a black cloth mask.

The prime minister knelt on the ground at one point in solidarity with the anti-racism demonstrators gathered on Parliament Hill.

David Akin 🇨🇦


Thousands kneel in protest on Parliament Hill

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He also clapped and nodded his head when a speaker said that everyone must choose to be either “a racist or an anti-racist.”

It’s one of multiple events in Canada today, following days of demonstrations against racism and police brutality in numerous American cities.

The No Peace Until Justice Coalition (NPJC), which organized the march, describes the demonstration in Instagram posts as a peaceful event meant to show solidarity with Black Canadians and “countless other Black individuals killed by police brutality.”

Ottawa’s march comes amid protests across the United States, where anger has erupted over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died in Minneapolis after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nine minutes.

Organizers posted a route for the demonstration Friday morning that began at Parliament Hill before heading east on Wellington Street to the Senate of Canada building and turning back down Elgin Street. But the march instead followed an earlier plan to turn left to Sussex Drive and demonstrate in front of the U.S. Embassy.

    Abigail Bimman

    Crowd getting louder outside US embassy. You can see businesses boarded up in the background, which colleagues who have been here longer than I say they’ve never seen in Ottawa before.
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The event has been criticized by other Black community leaders for a lack of organization, giving rise to fears of safety for participants amid the novel coronavirus pandemic and an expected police presence.

Mayor Jim Watson was also criticized by Black activists for announcing his intention to participate.

Despite statements from the mayor, Ottawa police and organizers expecting a peaceful event, some businesses in the nearby ByWard Market added boarding to the front of their buildings ahead of Friday’s march.

Global News is on-scene Friday and will be providing updates on the march here.
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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Dramatic Video Shows Landslide in Northern Norway Sweeping 8 Homes Into Sea
« Reply #16090 on: June 05, 2020, 01:31:40 PM »

(COPENHAGEN, Denmark) — Jan Egil Bakkedal had just prepared himself a sandwich when he heard a huge noise and realized that it was a landslide after which he ran out and filmed it from a nearby hill in Arctic Norway.

Bakkedal told The Associated Press on Thursday that he filmed Wednesday afternoon’s powerful landslide near the town of Alta that swept eight houses into the sea off northern Norway.

    Jan Fredrik Drabløs @JanFredrikD

    Just now in Alta, Norway: Huge mudslide dragging several houses into the sea.
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Bakkedal said he “ran for my life” into surrounding hills, and saw that one of the houses — which he owns — was washed away in the landslide.

Local police told Norwegian news agency NTB that the landslide was between 650 meters and 800 meters (2,145-2,640 feet) wide and up to 40 meters (132 feet) high.

Police spokesman Torfinn Halvari said a car was swept away in the landslide, but no one was injured. A dog that ended up in the sea was able to swim back to land and is safe, he said.

Several minor landslides followed, and nearby houses were temporarily evacuated.

The far end of the cape where the landslide occurred was Thursday closed off with Alta mayor Monica Nielsen saying that “the extent of the damage is considerable, and there’s a lot of debris.” Work was underway to ensure that the rubble doesn’t end up in shipping lanes.
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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UK halts trial of hydroxychloroquine as 'useless' for COVID-19 patients
« Reply #16091 on: June 05, 2020, 01:38:21 PM »
LONDON (Reuters) - British scientists halted a major drug trial on Friday after it found that the anti-malarial hydroxychloroquine, touted by U.S. President Donald Trump as a potential “game changer” in the pandemic, was “useless” at treating COVID-19 patients.

“This is not a treatment for COVID-19. It doesn’t work,” Martin Landray, an Oxford University professor who is co-leading the RECOVERY trial, told reporters.

“This result should change medical practice worldwide. We can now stop using a drug that is useless.”

Vocal support from Trump raised expectations for the decades-old drug that experts said could have been a cheap and widely available tool, if proven to work, in fighting the pandemic, which has infected more than 6.4 million people and killed nearly 400,000 worldwide.

Controversy surrounding the drug grew after a study published in medical journal The Lancet last month raised safety concerns and led several COVID-19 studies of it to be halted. The Lancet study was then retracted on Thursday after its authors said they were unsure about its data.

Landray, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at Oxford University, noted the “huge speculation” about the drug as a treatment for COVID-19 but said there had been until now “an absence of reliable information from large randomised trials”.

He said the preliminary results from RECOVERY, which was a randomised trial, were now quite clear: hydroxychloroquine does not reduce the risk of death among hospitalised patients with COVID-19.

“If you’re admitted to hospital, don’t take hydroxychloroquine,” he said.

The RECOVERY trial of hydroxychloroquine had randomly assigned 1,542 COVID-19 patients to hydroxychloroquine and compared them with 3,132 COVID-19 patients randomly assigned to standard care without the drug.

Results showed no significant difference in death rates after 28 days, in length of stay in hospital or in other outcomes, the researchers said.

Earlier this week, a University of Minnesota randomised trial found that the drug was ineffective in preventing infection in people exposed to the coronavirus.

Dozens of trials trying various permutations of use of the drug continue.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday the RECOVERY results would not change its plan to resume tests of hydroxychloroquine as part of its ‘Solidarity’ trials. It had briefly stopped giving it to new patients in light of the Lancet paper.

Parastou Donyai, director of Pharmacy Practice at the University of Reading in England, said the drug was “propelled onto the world stage by President Trump”, adding he had praised it without solid evidence.

“This news, although not positive, is a welcome relief to thousands of scientists, doctors and academics who have been crying out for proper proof of whether hydroxychloroquine works in COVID-19 or not.” she added, calling the conclusion that it does not “definitive”.
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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3 Mexican police officers arrested for alleged beating death
« Reply #16092 on: June 05, 2020, 01:43:09 PM »
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Authorities in western Mexico arrested three police officers, including the commissioner, and took over their local police department Friday in connection with the alleged beating death of a man in police custody.

The killing of Giovanni López in Ixtlahuacan de los Membrillos, Jalisco last month spurred violent protests in Guadalajara Thursday evening.

Jalisco Gov. Enrique Alfaro called the killing an “atrocity” and promised to clear up the case, but also asserted that the sudden backlash was politically motivated.

A video circulated on social media this week shows a man being wrestled into a police vehicle while onlookers shout at police that he had done nothing wrong. One of the witnesses asked police if it was because he wasn’t wearing a mask — a requirement under the state’s pandemic measures.

Alfaro said the initial investigation showed the arrest was not about López not wearing a mask.

“This invention, this story that they wanted to construct with political ends to create more indignation that Giovanni was murdered for not wearing a mask is a lie,” Alfaro said.

He said López was detained May 4 in the town south of Guadalajara for a misdemeanor equivalent to disturbing the peace or resisting arrest. Hours later he was taken from his cell for medical attention and died.

The governor also made clear who he thinks “they” were. Alfaro blamed President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s people. The governor and president — political opponents — have taken shots at each other since the start of the epidemic. Alfaro has pushed for stricter social distancing rules — required masks — something López Obrador’s interior minister suggested contributed to López’s death.

López Obrador responded Friday morning that he had nothing to do with it and that it was a state and local matter. He warned Alfaro to “watch your words.”

Such police brutality is common in Mexico, where under-resourced departments breed corruption and often have links to organized crime. Extrajudicial killings are rarely punished. The strong reaction to López’s death appeared to be propelled at least partly by international condemnation of the killing of George Floyd, a black man suffocated by a white police officer in Minneapolis, whose agonizing death was video recorded by witnesses.

Hundreds of protesters marched in Guadalajara Thursday, demanding justice for López. Six police officers were injured, including one who was burned and several police vehicles were set on fire. Police made 28 arrests.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights condemned the killing and called on authorities to “send a clear and unequivocal message that human rights violations in the implementation of emergency measures during the pandemic will not be tolerated.”

Jalisco state prosecutor Gerardo Solís said Friday that his office was investigating whether police had arrested López that night with the intention of handing him over to organized crime. He noted there were a lot of problems with that police department, including keeping a number of police on the payroll who had not passed screenings. He also said there was an open investigation against the town’s mayor, which he did not detail.

Solía noted that López had a criminal history with state and federal charges, which he did not explain. He said that would not make any difference in how the state investigated his death.

Ixtlahuacan de los Membrillos lies within territory controlled by the Jalisco New Generation cartel, one of the country’s most powerful and violent.
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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U.S. forces conduct airstrikes on Taliban in Afghanistan
« Reply #16093 on: June 05, 2020, 01:47:45 PM »
KABUL (Reuters) - American forces conducted two airstrikes on Taliban fighters to foil the militant group’s plan to launch attacks on Afghan security forces, a U.S. military spokesman said on Friday, in a move that could hurt the peace process.

The airstrikes, conducted in two different provinces, were the first since the start of the Eid ceasefire declared by the Taliban and Afghan forces last month.

Sonny Leggett, a U.S. military spokesman based in Afghanistan, said in a tweet that an airstrike was carried out against 25 armed Taliban fighters executing a coordinated attack on an Afghan force checkpoint in Farah province in the west. He said a second attack was conducted in Kandahar in the south.

He did not give casualty figures, and a Taliban spokesman refused to comment on the airstrikes, which were conducted at a time when the United States is steadily pulling its troops out of Afghanistan.

U.S. President Donald Trump in recent weeks has restated his desire for a full military withdrawal from Afghanistan but has not set a target date, amid speculation he might make ending America’s longest war part of his re-election campaign.

But Afghan security officials and European diplomats said the fighting had yet to ebb despite all parties working towards finding a political settlement to end the Afghan war.

At least 10 Afghan security forces members were killed on Friday morning in an ambush by the Taliban in southern Zabul province, Afghan officials said.

The Taliban has not claimed responsibility for the attack.
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We Won't Accept Parts of Trump's Plan, Israeli Minister Says
« Reply #16094 on: June 05, 2020, 02:50:29 PM »

Outgoing Education Minister Rafi Peretz at a press conference on the coronavirus, Jerusalem, March 12, 2020

Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Minister Rafi Peretz said Friday that U.S. President Donald Trump's peace plan has "clauses we cannot accept."

"We will not accept the establishment of a Palestinian state in my homeland. I will oppose any mention of recognition of a Palestinian state in the legislation to come,” Peretz wrote in a Facebook post. “We will not accept a construction freeze [on settlements]. The State of Israel has sent the settlers [to the settlements] and it is impossible to accept a situation in which we cut off these communities."

Peretz conceded that Trump is a "true friend of the State of Israel" and that he was sure his intentions were in Israel's best interests. He said this was proven by recognition of the Golan Heights and Jerusalem and the transfer of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.

"There is no doubt that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's great friendship with President Trump have brought us to a state of international recognition with Judea and Samaria," he added.

Peretz called Trump's Middle East plan a "golden opportunity that must be siezed," but warned that in accepting the plan decision-makers will do long-term damage to the country and "our values."

"We will support the application of sovereignty and push for it with all force. And we will oppose the steps that will promote the establishment of another state between the Jordan River and the sea," he said.

On Thursday, President Reuven Rivlin called for an end to what he called “attempts to silence” the conversation around Israel's plans to annex parts of the West Bank, a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanayhu condemned statements by a prominent settler leader criticizing Trump’s plan.

“The conversation about critical questions, like annexation, must take place,” Rivlin said in a video uploaded to his Facebook page. “This is the lifeblood of democracy. We must fear those who silence this discourse.” Questions, doubts and criticism from all sides of the political spectrum must be heard, the president said, adding that “verbal abuse, labeling, scorn and disdain must end.

In recent weeks, settler leaders have been criticizing aspects of the plan, namely a freeze on settlement expansion and the leaving some 15 isolated settlements inside territories of a future Palestinian state, which they also oppose the establishment of.

David Elhayani, chairman of the Yesha Council umbrella group of settlement councils, drew criticism from Netanyahu after saying that Trump and his senior adviser Jared Kushner "have proven in their plans that they are not friends of the State of Israel" and "do not have Israel's security and settlement interests in mind. All they care about in this outline is promoting their own interests ahead of the upcoming election, [in a way that would] help Trump."

As he "fiercely condemned" Elyahani's comments, Netanyahu praised Trump's Israel policies: "He has led historic processes for the good of the State of Israel, among them recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capitol, moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and recognizing the legality of the settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria."

Trump's plan, Netanyahu added, "includes recognizing Israel as a Jewish state, Israeli security control of all territory west of the Jordan River, a united Jerusalem, disarming Hamas, preventing [Palestinian] refugees from entering Israel and more. Sadly," he added, "instead of recognizing the good, there are those who deny this friendship."
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'