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Offline knarf

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Climate change is already damaging the health of the world's children and is set to shape the wellbeing of an entire generation unless the world meets Paris Agreement targets to limit warming to well below 2 degrees C, according to a major new report published in The Lancet. The Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change is a comprehensive yearly analysis tracking progress across 41 key indicators, demonstrating what action to meet Paris Agreement targets--or business as usual--means for human health. The project is a collaboration between 120 experts from 35 institutions including the World Health Organisation (WHO), World Bank, University College London, and Tsinghua University.
"This year, the accelerating impacts of climate change have become clearer than ever", says Professor Hugh Montgomery, Co-Chair of The Lancet Countdown and Director of the Institute for Human Health and Performance at University College London. "The highest recorded temperatures in Western Europe and wildfires in Siberia, Queensland, and California triggered asthma, respiratory infections and heat stroke. Sea levels are now rising at an ever concerning rate. Our children recognize this Climate Emergency and demand action to protect them. We must listen, and respond." [3]

For the world to meet its UN climate goals and protect the health of the next generation, the energy landscape will have to change drastically, and soon, the report warns. Nothing short of a 7.4% year-on-year cut in fossil CO2 emissions from 2019 to 2050 will limit global warming to the more ambitious goal of 1.5°C.

Lifelong health impacts of business as usual

If the world follows a business-as-usual pathway, with high carbon emissions and climate change continuing at the current rate, a child born today will face a world on average over 4?C warmer by their 71st birthday, threatening their health at every stage of their lives.

"Children are particularly vulnerable to the health risks of a changing climate. Their bodies and immune systems are still developing, leaving them more susceptible to disease and environmental pollutants", says Dr Nick Watts, Executive Director of The Lancet Countdown. "The damage done in early childhood is persistent and pervasive, with health consequences lasting for a lifetime. Without immediate action from all countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions, gains in wellbeing and life expectancy will be compromised, and climate change will come to define the health of an entire generation." [3]

Infants will be among the worst affected by crop failures

As temperatures rise, harvests will shrink--threatening food security and driving up food prices. When grain prices spiked in 2007-2008, for example, Egypt's bread prices rose 37%. Over the past 30 years, global yield potential of maize (-4%), winter wheat (-6%), soybean (-3%), and rice (-4%) has fallen. Infants and small children are among the worst affected by malnutrition and related health problems such as stunted growth, weak immune systems, and long-term developmental problems.

Children will be particularly susceptible to infectious disease outbreaks

Children will be particularly susceptible to infectious diseases that rising temperatures and changing rainfall patterns will leave in their wake. Over the past 30 years, the number of climatically suitable days for Vibrio bacteria (that cause much of diarrhoeal disease globally) have doubled. The threat is particularly high in the Baltic (with a record high of 107 suitable days in 2018) and in Northeast USA where the sea has been warming rapidly.

Similarly, changing weather patterns are creating favourable environments for Vibrio cholerae bacteria, with global suitability rising almost 10% since the early 1980s--increasing the likelihood of cholera outbreaks in countries where the disease does not regularly occur.

Spurred on by climate change, dengue is the most rapidly spreading mosquito-borne viral disease in the world. Nine of the 10 most hospitable years for dengue transmission have occurred since 2000, allowing mosquitoes to invade new territories across Europe. Around half of the world's population are now at risk.

Air quality will worsen--further damaging heart and lung health

Through adolescence and into adulthood, a child born today will be breathing more toxic air, driven by fossil fuels and made worse by rising temperatures. This is especially damaging to young people as their lungs are still developing, so polluted air takes a great toll, contributing to reduced lung function, worsening asthma, and increasing the risk of heart attacks and stroke.

As global CO2 emissions from fossil fuels continue to rise (up 2.6% from 2016-2018), energy supply from coal is increasing (up 1.7% from 2016-2018), reversing a previous downward trend, while premature deaths related to PM2.5 remain stagnant at 2.9 million worldwide. Coal contributed to over 440,000 premature deaths from PM 2.5 in 2016, and likely over 1 million deaths when all pollutants are considered.

This might only be the tip of the iceberg, researchers say. If Europe were to experience PM2.5 at 2016 levels over the lifetime of the current population, economic losses and health costs of air pollution-related disease and premature death could reach €129 billion a year.

Throughout their adult lives, extreme weather events will intensify

Later in life, a child born today will face increased risk from severe floods, prolonged droughts, and wildfires. 152 out of 196 countries have experienced an increase in people exposed to wildfires since 2001-2004--with a financial toll per person 48 times larger than flooding. India alone saw an increase of more than 21 million exposures, and China around 17 million, resulting in direct deaths and respiratory illness as well as loss of homes.

As the fourth hottest year on record, 2018 saw a record-breaking 220 million more over 65s exposed to heatwaves than in 2000 (63 million more than in 2017)--with older city dwellers with chronic health conditions in Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean most vulnerable to heat-related illness such as stroke and kidney disease. Last year, Japan had 32 million heatwave exposures, equivalent to almost every person over 65 experiencing a heatwave.

More frequent and longer heatwaves will redefine global labour capacity, the report warns. In 2018, a potential 45 billion additional hours of work were lost due to extreme heat globally compared to 2000. Amid last year's prolonged heatwaves, outdoor agricultural and construction workers in southern parts of the USA lost as much as 20% of potential daylight hours during the hottest month.

Urgent action needed to protect the health of the next generation

Dr Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet, called on clinical and global health communities to mobilise: "The climate crisis is one of the greatest threats to the health of humanity today, but the world has yet to see a response from governments that matches the unprecedented scale of the challenge facing the next generation. With the full force of the Paris Agreement due to be implemented in 2020, we can't afford this level of disengagement. The clinical, global health and research community needs to come together now and challenge our international leaders to protect the imminent threat to childhood and lifelong health." [3]

If the world's actions match the ambition of the Paris Agreement pathway, that limits global warming to well below 2 degrees C, a child born in the UK today could see an end to coal use by their 6th birthday, with the growth of solar and wind energy resulting in cleaner air across the country.

In France, the last petrol and diesel cars will be sold by the time they turn 21, with cycle ways and green spaces supporting healthier more liveable cities. By their 31st birthday, a child born today could see the world reach net-zero emissions, ensuring a healthier future for coming generations from cleaner air, safer drinking water, and more nutritious food.

Despite the scale of the challenge, the report offers some reason for cautious optimism--growth in renewables accounted for 45% of total growth in power generation in 2018 (27% from wind and solar power); while use of electricity as a fuel for road transport grew by almost 21% globally from 2015 to 2016; and low-carbon electricity accounted for a third of total electricity generation in 2016.

The Lancet Countdown authors call for bold action to turn the tide on the enormous health impact of climate change in four key areas:

1) Delivering rapid, urgent, and complete phase-out of coal-fired power worldwide.
2) Ensuring high-income countries meet international climate finance commitments of US$100 billion a year by 2020 to help low-income countries.

3) Increasing accessible, affordable, efficient public and active transport systems, particularly walking and cycling, such as the creation of cycle lanes and cycle hire or purchase schemes.

4) Making major investments in health system adaptation to ensure health damage of climate change doesn't overwhelm the capacity of emergency and health services to treat patients.

"The path that the world chooses today will irreversibly mark our children's futures", says co-author Dr Stella Hartinger from Cayetano Heredia University, Peru. "We must listen to the millions of young people who have led the wave of school strikes for urgent action. It will take the work of 7.5 billion people currently alive to ensure that the health of a child born today isn't defined by a changing climate."

https://eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-11/tl-pss111119.php
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Offline knarf

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Witchcraft and black magic contribute to increase in child abuse
« Reply #14566 on: November 14, 2019, 07:21:26 AM »
Child protection cases based on faith or belief are up by a third in the last year in England

Witchcraft and black magic are increasingly factors in the abuse of children, councils have warned, with official data showing child protection cases based on faith or belief are up by a third in the last year in England to almost 2,000.

Lancashire, Bradford and Leeds recorded the highest number of cases in 2018/19 but social workers across the country logged increasing numbers of incidents on the previous year including 71 in Nottingham, 35 in Bristol and 34 in Southwark.

It means councils are now dealing with the equivalent of 38 such cases a week, said the Local Government Association, which is calling for more resources to tackle the problem. Cases based on faith or belief include abuse under the guise of witchcraft, treating spirit possession and through black magic. The data, published by the Department for Education, was received by campaigners as evidence that social workers are getting better at identifying often hidden and culturally complex factors in abuse.

But there was also alarm that the numbers are rising so long after the high profile deaths of Victoria Climbié, eight, who was killed as a result of ritual abuse by her guardian in 2000, Khyra Ishaq, seven, who was starved to death in 2008 in Birmingham by her mother and her partner who had a strong belief in spirits and Kristy Bamu, 15, in 2010 killed by his sister and her partner in an exorcism in their east London flat.

The data also showed the number of children identified by councils through a social work assessment as either having or being at risk of female genital mutilation has reached a record high – with 1,000 such cases in 2018/19, up 6% on the previous year.

“Rising cases of FGM and child abuse linked to faith or belief are extremely worrying and are destroying the lives of children and young people in communities across the country,” said Cllr Anita Lower, the Local Government Association’s lead on FGM. “Social workers have become better at identifying the signs of FGM and belief-related abuse, but the true incidence rate is likely to be higher as these crimes are under-reported.”

Mor Dioum, director of the Victoria Climbié Foundation, a charity campaigning for improvements in child protection policies, said: “It is encouraging to see practitioners identifying harmful practices that can lead to serious injuries or child deaths. However, we need further examination of census data to understand the prevalence of these abuses, and to effectively engage with communities if we are to prevent child abuse linked to faith or belief, including the eventual eradication of FGM.”

The Metropolitan police stressed that only a minority of people who believe in witchcraft or spirit possession go on to abuse children. In a briefing it said belief in evil spirits that can “possess” children is often accompanied by a belief that a possessed child can infect others through sharing food, or simply being in their presence. Rebelliousness, nightmares or falling ill can be taken as symptoms of “possession” while sometimes children are scapegoated for financial difficulties, divorce, infidelity, illness or death.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/nov/14/witchcraft-and-black-magic-contribute-to-increase-in-child-abuse
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Pope Francis with the Pachamama statuette

An international group of Catholic priests and scholars have called on Pope Francis to issue a public apology for holding a ritual on Vatican grounds which included the worship of a pagan fertility goddess.
The petition, signed by 100 clergy, scholars and influential members of the Church, demanded that the pontiff “repent publicly and unambiguously” for participating in the worship of Pachamama, a pagan fertility goddess, during the Amazon Synod at the Vatican last month. The group noted that “all participation in any form of the veneration of idols is… an objectively grave sin that only God can judge.”

A video of an October 4 ceremony, held in the Vatican Gardens, shows Francis blessing a statue of the naked, pregnant goddess before receiving it as a gift from Amazonian clergy.

A few days later, the Pope prayed in front of the Pachamama statue at St. Peter's Cathedral, and then accompanied it in procession into the synod hall.

The ceremonies caused an uproar in the Catholic world. Replicas of the Pachamama statue were later seized from a church near St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome and thrown into the Tiber River. The deed was committed by a man who described the statues as false idols that violated Catholic teachings. In response to the incident, Francis asked for “pardon of the people who were offended by this act.”

On Tuesday, Francis issued a cryptic statement warning about the dangers of “jealousy, envy [and] rivalry.”

In what has been interpreted as a rebuke to his critics, the pontiff said: “When you talk badly about someone you destroy them. The tongue is a fearsome weapon – gossip kills, slander kills, but the jealousy and the envy of the one destroyed the other.”

https://www.rt.com/news/473383-francis-amazon-petition-catholic-repent/
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Offline azozeo

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Re: Witchcraft and black magic contribute to increase in child abuse
« Reply #14568 on: November 14, 2019, 07:38:01 AM »
Child protection cases based on faith or belief are up by a third in the last year in England

Witchcraft and black magic are increasingly factors in the abuse of children, councils have warned, with official data showing child protection cases based on faith or belief are up by a third in the last year in England to almost 2,000.

Lancashire, Bradford and Leeds recorded the highest number of cases in 2018/19 but social workers across the country logged increasing numbers of incidents on the previous year including 71 in Nottingham, 35 in Bristol and 34 in Southwark.

It means councils are now dealing with the equivalent of 38 such cases a week, said the Local Government Association, which is calling for more resources to tackle the problem. Cases based on faith or belief include abuse under the guise of witchcraft, treating spirit possession and through black magic. The data, published by the Department for Education, was received by campaigners as evidence that social workers are getting better at identifying often hidden and culturally complex factors in abuse.

But there was also alarm that the numbers are rising so long after the high profile deaths of Victoria Climbié, eight, who was killed as a result of ritual abuse by her guardian in 2000, Khyra Ishaq, seven, who was starved to death in 2008 in Birmingham by her mother and her partner who had a strong belief in spirits and Kristy Bamu, 15, in 2010 killed by his sister and her partner in an exorcism in their east London flat.

The data also showed the number of children identified by councils through a social work assessment as either having or being at risk of female genital mutilation has reached a record high – with 1,000 such cases in 2018/19, up 6% on the previous year.

“Rising cases of FGM and child abuse linked to faith or belief are extremely worrying and are destroying the lives of children and young people in communities across the country,” said Cllr Anita Lower, the Local Government Association’s lead on FGM. “Social workers have become better at identifying the signs of FGM and belief-related abuse, but the true incidence rate is likely to be higher as these crimes are under-reported.”

Mor Dioum, director of the Victoria Climbié Foundation, a charity campaigning for improvements in child protection policies, said: “It is encouraging to see practitioners identifying harmful practices that can lead to serious injuries or child deaths. However, we need further examination of census data to understand the prevalence of these abuses, and to effectively engage with communities if we are to prevent child abuse linked to faith or belief, including the eventual eradication of FGM.”

The Metropolitan police stressed that only a minority of people who believe in witchcraft or spirit possession go on to abuse children. In a briefing it said belief in evil spirits that can “possess” children is often accompanied by a belief that a possessed child can infect others through sharing food, or simply being in their presence. Rebelliousness, nightmares or falling ill can be taken as symptoms of “possession” while sometimes children are scapegoated for financial difficulties, divorce, infidelity, illness or death.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/nov/14/witchcraft-and-black-magic-contribute-to-increase-in-child-abuse


Magic is magic, black or white, doesn't matter. It just is.
I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world.
You don’t know what it is but its there, like a splinter in your mind

Offline knarf

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U.S. Shale Will Soon Produce More Oil Than All Of Russia
« Reply #14569 on: November 14, 2019, 07:43:31 AM »
Crude oil and natural gas production from the U.S. shale patch will top Russia’s combined oil and gas output by 2025, the International Energy Agency said in the 2019 edition of its World Energy Outlook.

Under its Stated Policy Scenario, the IEA said, the U.S. will account for the overwhelming bulk of global oil production growth, at 85 percent, by 2030. It will also account for 30 percent of the global natural gas production growth in that period.

With all this happening, it’s no wonder the United States will undermine OPEC’s and Russia’s share of the global oil and gas market, according to the IEA. The agency said that it expected growing U.S. production to bring down OPEC’s and Russia’s combined share of the oil market to 47 percent in 2030 from 55 percent in 2005.

The IEA also expects global energy demand to grow at the modest rate of 1 percent annually through 2040. About 50 percent of this growth will be satisfied by renewable energy sources, the agency said, chief among them solar power. A third of this growing demand will be satisfied by natural gas. Oil demand, according to the IEA, will plateau in the 2030s.

The IEA also envisages a Sustainable Development Scenario, in which renewables growth will be stronger and emission cuts deeper, which will affect demand for both oil and gas.

Related: Iran Admits: Tanking Oil Revenue Cripples Country

Interestingly enough, despite its stated unconditional support for climate change goals, the IEA has recently come under fire from environmentalist groups that include investors, scientists, and even former UN diplomats, Reuters reported this week.

“The IEA is effectively creating its own reality. They project ever-increasing demand for fossil fuels, which in turn justifies greater investments in supply, making it harder for the energy system to change,” said Andrew Logan, an executive with a U.S. nonprofit, Ceres.

In response, the IEA’s Fatih Birol said, “If they criticize us, the only option that comes to my mind is that they don’t know exactly what we are doing. They must be misunderstanding, or they must have been misled.”

https://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/US-Shale-Will-Soon-Produce-More-Oil-Than-All-Of-Russia.html#
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Bolivia’s lithium and the urgency of a coup
« Reply #14570 on: November 14, 2019, 12:33:16 PM »
Indian historian Vijay Prashad writes about what could be behind the overthrowing of Bolivian president Evo Morales


People demonstrate in support of Evo Morales, holding a banner that reads 'It's not a resignation, It's a coup', in Mexico City on Nov. 11

Bolivia’s President Evo Morales was overthrown in a military coup on November 10. He is now in Mexico. Before he left office, Morales had been involved in a long project to bring economic and social democracy to his long-exploited country. It is important to recall that Bolivia has suffered a series of coups, often conducted by the military and the oligarchy on behalf of trans-national mining companies. Initially, these were tin firms, but tin is no longer the main target in Bolivia. The main target is its massive deposits of lithium, crucial for the electric car.

Over the past thirteen years, Morales has tried to build a different relationship between his country and its resources. He has not wanted the resources to benefit the transnational mining firms, but to benefit his own population. Part of that promise was met as Bolivia’s poverty rate has declined, and as Bolivia’s population was able to improve its social indicators. Nationalization of resources combined with the use of its income to fund social development has played a role. The attitude of the Morales government towards the trans-national firms produced a harsh response from them, many of them taking Bolivia to court.

Over the course of the past few years Bolivia has struggled to raise investment to develop the lithium reserves in a way that brings the wealth back into the country for its people. Morales’ vice president Álvaro García Linera had said that lithium would be the "fuel that feeds the world." Bolivia was unable to make deals with Western trans-national firms; it decided to partner with Chinese firms. This made the Morales government vulnerable. It had walked into the new Cold War between the West and China. The coup against Morales cannot be understood without a glance at this clash.

Clash with the Trans-National Firms

When Evo Morales and the Movement Toward Socialism took power in 2006, the government immediately sought to undo decades of theft by trans-national mining firms. Morales’ government seized several of the mining operations of the most powerful firms, such as Glencore, Jindal Steel, Anglo-Argentinian Pan American Energy, and South American Silver (now TriMetals Mining). It sent a message that business as usual was not going to continue.

Nonetheless, these large firms continued their operations – based on older contracts – in some areas of the country. For example, the Canadian transnational firm South American Silver had created a company in 2003 – before Morales came to power – to mine the Malku Khota for silver and indium (a rare earth metal used in flat screen televisions). South American Silver then began to extend its reach into its concessions. The land which it claimed was inhabited by indigenous Bolivians, who argued that the company was destroying its sacred spaces as well as promoting an atmosphere of violence.

On 1 August 2012, the Morales government – by Supreme Decree no. 1308 – annulled the contract with South American Silver (TriMetals Mining), which then sought international arbitration and compensation. Canada’s government of Justin Trudeau – as part of a broader push on behalf of Canadian mining companies in South America – put an immense amount of pressure on Bolivia. In August 2019, TriMetals struck a deal with the Bolivian government for $25.8 million, about a tenth of what it had earlier demanded as compensation.

Jindal Steel, an Indian transnational corporation, had an old contract to mine iron ore from Bolivia’s El Mutun, a contract that was put on hold by the Morales government in 2007. In June 2012, Jindal Steel terminated the contract, sought international arbitration, and compensation for its investment. In 2014, it won $22.5 million from Paris-based International Chamber of Commerce. For another case, Jindal Steel demanded $100 million in compensation.

The Morales government seized three facilities from the Swiss-based trans-national mining firm Glencore; these included a tin and zinc mine as well as two smelters. The mine’s expropriation took place after Glencore’s subsidiary clashed violently with miners.

Most aggressively, Pan American sued the Bolivian government for $1.5 billion for the expropriation of its stake in Petrolera Chaco by the state energy company. Bolivia settled for $357 million in 2014.

The scale of these payouts is enormous. It was estimated in 2014 that the public and private payments made for nationalization of these key sectors amounted to at least $1.9 billion (Bolivia’s GDP was at that time $28 billion).

In 2014, even the Financial Times agreed that Morales’ strategy was not entirely inappropriate. "Proof of the success of Morales’ economic model is that since coming to power he has tripled the size of the economy while ramping up record foreign reserves."

Lithium

Bolivia’s key reserves are in lithium, which is essential for the electric car. Bolivia claims to have 70% of the world’s lithium reserves, mostly in the Salar de Uyuni salt flats. The complexity of the mining and processing has meant that Bolivia has not been able to develop the lithium industry on its own. It requires capital and it requires expertise.

The salt flat is at 3,600 meters above sea level, and it receives high rainfall. This makes it difficult to use sun-based evaporation. Such simpler solutions are available to Chile’s Atacama Desert and in Argentina’s Hombre Muerto. More technical solutions are needed for Bolivia, which means that more investment is needed.

The nationalization policy of the Morales government and the geographical complexity of Salar de Uyuni chased away several transnational mining firms. Eramet (France), FMC (United States) and Posco (South Korea) could not make deals with Bolivia, so they now operate in Argentina.

Morales made it clear that any development of the lithium had to be done with Bolivia’s Comibol – its national mining company – and Yacimentos de Litio Bolivianos (YLB) – its national lithium company – as equal partners.

Last year, Germany’s ACI Systems agreed to a deal with Bolivia. After protests from residents in the Salar de Uyuni region, Morales cancelled that deal on November 4, 2019.

Chinese firms – such as TBEA Group and China Machinery Engineering – made a deal with YLB. It was being said that China’s Tianqui Lithium Group, which operates in Argentina, was going to make a deal with YLB. Both Chinese investment and the Bolivian lithium company were experimenting with new ways to both mine the lithium and to share the profits of the lithium. The idea that there might be a new social compact for the lithium was unacceptable to the main trans-national mining companies.

Tesla and Pure Energy Minerals (Canada) both showed great interest in having a direct stake in Bolivian lithium. But they could not make a deal that would take into consideration the parameters set by the Morales government. Morales himself was a direct impediment to the take-over of the lithium fields by the non-Chinese trans-national firms. He had to go.

After the coup, Tesla’s stock rose astronomically.

https://www.brasildefato.com.br/2019/11/12/article-or-bolivias-lithium-and-the-urgency-of-a-coup/
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Turkey's new school year: Jihad in, evolution out
« Reply #14571 on: November 14, 2019, 12:50:04 PM »

There is a storm of criticism over textbooks revised for children aged six to 14

Turkey's schools have begun the new academic year with a controversial curriculum that leaves out the theory of evolution and brings in the concept of jihad.

For Turkey's Islamist-rooted government, the idea is for a new "education of values".

Critics have denounced new textbooks as "sexist" and "anti-scientific", and complain of a major blow to secular education.

"By embedding a jihadist education of values, they try to plague the brains of our little children, with the same understanding that transforms the Middle East into a bloodbath," said Bulent Tezcan of the secular, opposition CHP party.

But the government has accused the opposition of creating black propaganda and trying to polarise Turkey ahead of elections in 2019.

"When we say values, they understand something else. We are proud of our conservative-democrat stand, but we don't want everyone to be like us," says Education Minister Ismet Yilmaz.

Reclaiming jihad from jihadists


Say no to conservative curriculum" read a protester's banner in Istanbul on the eve of the new academic year

Textbooks explaining the idea of jihad are being rolled out in Turkey's religious vocational schools, known widely as Imam-Hatip high schools. They will then be offered to children in secondary schools as optional courses in a year's time.

One book titled Life of Muhammad the Prophet has been singled out for criticism, both for alleged sexism and its explanation of jihad.

Jihad is defined as "religious war" by the dictionary of the Institute of Turkish Language. But education ministry officials say the concept of jihad has been exploited by jihadist groups such as so-called Islamic State (IS).


Critics say the textbooks define a wife's role as that of a mother, while the man is labelled "stronger"

The education minister says the concept should be introduced as part of Islam in the context of "loving a nation".

"Jihad is an element in our religion. Our duty is to teach every concept deservedly and correct things that are wrongly perceived," he says.

The same controversial textbook defines women's "obedience" to men as a form of "worship". But government officials say that is understandable as the book is about Islam and quotes Koranic verses.

"Allah says it, not me. Should I correct him, or what?" said Alpaslan Durmus, who chairs the Board of Education.

But two big protests went ahead at the weekend, with hashtags such as #NoToSexistCurriculum, #SayNoToNonScientificCurriculum and #DefendSecularEducation trending on social media in Turkey.

One union leader called for protesters to "say No to an outdated curriculum that bans science in the 21st Century".


This textbook covering the botched July 2016 coup cites the Koran, saying "courage means standing against the cruel"

Opponents have accused President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of replacing the secular foundations of the Turkish republic with Islamic and conservative values.

The president's own remarks on raising a "pious generation" have also caused alarm.


Protesters in Ankara accused the ruling AKP of undermining Turkey's secular education system

The education ministry also argues that critics are "utterly ignorant" for claiming that evolution has been completely excluded from the curriculum.

Subjects such as mutation, modification and adaptation are explained in biology textbooks, without citing evolution itself. This theory is "above students' level" and should be taught in universities, says the minister.

This will only confuse students, says Aysel Madra from Turkey's Education Reform Initiative, who finds it odd to posit that children can understand jihad but not evolution.


Christian and Muslim creationists reject the theory of evolution

Teachers' unions are also divided over the jihad debate.

Turkey's Egitim Sen union sees an "ideological and deliberate" step by the government, while a more conservative rival union accuses critics of using anti-Islamic arguments.

"According to the Turkish Language Institute, jihad's primary meaning is 'religious war'," says Egitim Sen leader Feray Aydogan. "What is the point of explaining second and third meanings?"


The Imam-Hatip school textbook cites Koranic verses about the Faithful (Mu'min), the Impious (Kafir) and the Hypocrite (Munafık)

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-41296714

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Trump admin preparing to take over private land in Texas for border wall
« Reply #14572 on: November 14, 2019, 01:53:31 PM »
The Trump administration is preparing court filings to begin taking over private land in Texas to build a border wall as early as this week, say officials.


Government contractors erect a section of Pentagon-funded border wall along the Colorado River, in Yuma, Ariz. on Sept. 10, 2019

The Trump administration is preparing court filings to begin taking over private land to build its long-promised border wall as early as this week — without confirming how much it will pay landowners first, according to two officials familiar with the process.

Jared Kushner is hosting a meeting with military and administration officials at the White House this Friday, where they are expected to discuss the U.S. government taking over private land to build more sections of wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, said two officials.

The commanding general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, is expected to attend, as are two assistant defense secretaries for homeland defense, Kenneth Rapuano and Robert Salesses.

Attorneys for the Department of Justice and Department of Defense have prepared letters of rights of entry, informing property owners that government officials will be entering their land to assess the property, test the soil and conduct land surveys, said two officials.

In a typical eminent domain case, the government agrees on an amount of money before it seizes the land. In the past, the government has paid landowners along the Texas-Mexico border $100 for 18 months of unfettered, unannounced access, according to Ricky Garza, an attorney with the Texas Civil Rights Project. Garza's group represents five Texas landowners whose property is in the path of the planned wall and who oppose its construction.

According to two officials familiar with the process, however, government attorneys may file under the Declaration of Taking Act in federal court in Texas, which could expedite the process for the government purchase of private land along the border.

If the government files under that law, and its action survives expected legal challenges, the title would automatically transfer to the government. The government has to name the price it expects to pay, but actual negotiations with the landowners about the price don't begin until after the land is taken.

The Declaration of Taking Act is meant to be reserved for emergencies. Earlier this year the Trump administration declared the situation at the border a national emergency. A federal judge ruled in October that President Donald Trump violated federal law when he used his declaration of a national emergency to pull millions from military funding for building the wall. The ruling did not apply to other sources of funds, however.

"They are probably going to get [the land] in the end, but they are asking the court to dispense with the process that is typically afforded to landowners," said Garza, attorney for the landowners. "We want to make sure that all of our clients are treated with basic human decency and with respect that's been sorely lacking in the past by this administration."

Lt. Col. Chris Mitchell, a DOD spokesperson, said, "The Department of Defense is considering its options in close consultation with the Department of Justice."

The White House and the Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Acting Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection Mark Morgan told reporters on Thursday that land acquisition for the border wall was "a challenge," but said, "I still think we're on track to get the land we need for 450 miles [of new wall]."

Morgan also noted that there had been lawsuits and "a lot of the judicial activism out there, and land acquisition is not going to be immune from that as well."

Asked how much new wall had been constructed during the Trump administration, Morgan said, "Every mile of wall that's being built is a new mile of wall." Asked how much wall had been built where none existed before, Morgan said the administration had just broken ground in the Rio Grande Valley.

Garza said there are hundreds if not close to one thousand landowners in Texas who own land in the path of plans for a border wall. The winding Texas border with Mexico is more than 1,200 miles long. Garza added that in Texas, unlike other border states, the majority of the land along the border is private, and has been passed down through families for generations.

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/immigration/trump-admin-preparing-take-over-private-land-border-wall-n1082316
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Algeria jails 22 protesters over Berber flags
« Reply #14573 on: November 15, 2019, 05:42:22 AM »


Twenty-two Algerian demonstrators were handed one-year jail sentences Tuesday for "undermining national unity" by bearing the Berber minority's flag during anti-regime protests, a prisoners' rights group said.

The CNLD committee said on its Facebook page that a court in the capital's Sidi Mhamed district had sentenced the accused to 12 months in prison -- half of it suspended -- and fines of 30,000 dinars ($275).

Said Salhi, vice president of the Algerian human rights groups LADDH, condemned the ruling as "heavy, hard and unexpected", adding that defence lawyers would appeal.

Protesters had gathered outside the court on Monday ahead of the late night ruling, chanting: "Free the detainees!"

Algeria has been rocked by months of street protests demanding an overhaul of the entire political system.

Army chief General Ahmed Gaid Salah, the country's main powerbroker since the April resignation of longtime president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, has banned protesters from bearing flags other than the Algerian one.

He was apparently referring to the Berber -- or Amazigh -- flag, which demonstrators have been seen holding alongside the national ensign.

Authorities arrested a group of 42 protesters on June 21 for brandishing the Berber ensign during rallies in Algiers.

The trial of the 20 remaining defendants, including one currently in hospital, has been postponed to November 18, the CNLD committee said.

Algeria is home to some 10 million Berbers, most living in Kabylie, a mountainous region to the east of Algiers that has long suffered marginalisation.

In April 2001, the death of a high school student at a police station there sparked riots and a crackdown in which more than 120 were killed and hundreds wounded.

Kabylie had been preparing to celebrate the 21st anniversary of its fight to secure recognition of its Berber identity.

In 2002 the Berber language Tamazight was recognised as an official language alongside Arabic.

Berbers are descended from the pre-Arab inhabitants of north Africa and still have a presence across the region, particularly in Algeria and Morocco.

© 2019 AFP

https://www.france24.com/en/20191112-algeria-jails-22-protesters-over-berber-flags
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Big plastic polluters accused of cynically backing US recycling day
« Reply #14574 on: November 15, 2019, 06:10:05 AM »
America Recycles Day promoted by EPA is brainchild of not-for-profit backed by companies that produce plastic products


 ‘I think we’ve taken convenience and just turned it into a monster,’ said Shaymah Ansari.

America’s government-backed national recycling awareness day is being used as cover by large corporations that are churning out enormous volumes of plastic that end up strewn across landscapes, rivers and in the ocean, critics have said.

The second annual America Recycles Day event on Friday is being vigorously promoted by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a way to encourage Americans to recycle more.

But critics point out that the initiative is the brainchild of Keep America Beautiful, a not-for-profit founded and backed by large companies that produce vast quantities of plastic products that end up as pollution.

Current backers include Coca-Cola, Nestlé, Pepsico, and Altria, the tobacco giant formerly known as Phillip Morris. Decades of campaigns by the group have emphasized individual responsibility for plastic recycling, which data reveals to be a largely broken system.

America’s government-backed national recycling awareness day is being used as cover by large corporations that are churning out enormous volumes of plastic that end up strewn across landscapes, rivers and in the ocean, critics have said.

The second annual America Recycles Day event on Friday is being vigorously promoted by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a way to encourage Americans to recycle more.

But critics point out that the initiative is the brainchild of Keep America Beautiful, a not-for-profit founded and backed by large companies that produce vast quantities of plastic products that end up as pollution.

Current backers include Coca-Cola, Nestlé, Pepsico, and Altria, the tobacco giant formerly known as Phillip Morris. Decades of campaigns by the group have emphasized individual responsibility for plastic recycling, which data reveals to be a largely broken system.

“Just like the fossil fuel industry, corporate polluters have been using recycling to justify ever-increasing production of single-use packaging, while taxpayers and cities are left to foot the bill,” said Denise Patel, the US and Canada program director of Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives.

“Lower-income communities and communities of color, who are the hardest hit and the least responsible, bear the brunt of a model that has brought us to the brink of the waste and climate crisis.”

A huge global expansion in plastic production is under way, threatening to sweep aside any effort to increase the current recycling rate of about 9% of all plastics. A 2017 analysis found that fossil fuel companies such as ExxonMobil and Shell have poured more than $180bn into new facilities that form the raw material for everyday plastics from packaging to bottles, trays and cartons.

This boom is set to fuel a 40% rise in plastic production over the next decade, according to experts, exacerbating the plastic pollution crisis that scientists warn already risks “near permanent pollution of the Earth”.

The Trump administration is simultaneously supporting that expansion and promoting a flawed recycling system.

The EPA administrator, Andrew Wheeler, this week toured a recycling facility in Virginia and the agency is hosting an “innovation fair,” in addition to the summit on Friday.

Wheeler said the agency is “working diligently to identify market-based strategies and innovative ideas to create a more sustainable recycling system in America”.

An EPA spokesperson, asked to point to specific policies the agency is developing to bolster recycling, referred to a voluntary pledge that 45 corporations and government associations have signed. The signatories – which include the biggest plastic producers – have been divided into work groups that have each established a “vision statement, as well as challenges, opportunities and potential actions”.

The Trump administration is simultaneously supporting plastics growth and promoting a flawed recycling system, without enacting changes to fix it.

The problems that poses for consumers is on full display at one Washington, DC organic grocery store that runs a program for customers to drop off hard-to-recycle waste.

Shaymah Ansari is in charge of environmental restoration efforts at the Mom’s Organic Market just off a busy highway headed out of the city. She spends hours each week sorting the waste people bring in to make sure it isn’t contaminated before sending it to recycling facilities.


Packaging for plastic food items that cannot be accepted for recycling.

She sees it all – the Amazon bubble envelopes, the bread bags, the used toothbrushes – all the things local residents can’t recycle at home. She also sees optimistic recycling, or “wishcycling” of things that typically can’t be repurposed into new products. One day she found a Kenmore coffee maker.

“I think we’ve taken convenience and just turned it into a monster,” Ansari said.

Ansari sees people trying harder to responsibly dispose of their waste, only to find they often can’t. Many of the plastics they drop off – including bags for frozen food, coffee and lunch meat – end up in the trash.

Even when difficult-to-recycle plastics are repurposed, they are often downcycled into things like plastic benches and fuel and are rarely used to make the same products they came from.

Even if people properly sort and prepare their waste, most plastic never has a chance at getting recycled anyway. About 91% of plastic does not ultimately get recycled. Billions of tons still remain on the planet – from the oceans to the snow in the Arctic and the Alps.

Most of the plastic Americans try to recycle is sent overseas, where it is often landfilled or incinerated. And increasingly, plastics are burned in the US, polluting the air in mostly minority communities.

Judith Enck, a former Environmental Protection Agency official who has launched the Beyond Plastics project at Bennington College, said that means plastics “fundamentally are not recyclable”. She says companies making plastic are pushing personal responsibility instead of supporting new laws and taking accountability for a worldwide plastic crisis.

“Many of us go to the supermarket and try not to buy plastic,” Enck said. “It’s impossible, and it’s not our fault.”

Even if the broader global recycling system was functioning well, the US has another problem: Americans are terrible at sorting and recycling their waste. The country’s municipal recycling rate is 35%, according to a recent analysis – far lower than most developed nations.

Germany, the most efficient country, attempts to recycle 68% of its waste. Plastics producers in Germany are forced to take back the single-use bottles they make, collecting them in reverse vending machines at grocery stores. And communities are required to have extensive sorting systems.

People in the US say they care deeply about the planet, with 74% agreeing “the country should do whatever it takes to protect the environment”, according to a Pew Research Center poll. But only 32% say it bothers them “a lot” when people throw away things that could be recycled.

Jessica Nolan, the director of the conservation psychology lab at the University of Scranton, said the US lags behind other countries because it lacks government policies that signal recycling is important.

“By putting laws in place that mandate recycling or incentivize recycling, what that tends to do psychologically is it increases peoples’ expectations that other people are going to participate,” Nolan said. “No one wants to be a sucker – nobody wants to be spending all this time and energy doing something if no one else is doing it.”

San Francisco, for example, instituted strong recycling policies more than a decade ago and reached an 80% recycling rate, Nolan said.

But some localities are scaling back their recycling programs, as China has begun to refuse recycling shipments from the US that are contaminated with food or the wrong kinds of plastics. In New Orleans, Louisiana, for example, the parish government will no longer accept plastic containers labeled 3 through 7, meaning they will go to a landfill.

Many activists argue that plastics recycling is so broken that humanity should return to a zero-waste economy, starting with food and beverage packaging. Metal, glass and paper should still be reused and recycled, they say, but single-use plastic should be largely phased out.

Even compostable plates and cups have raised alarms, both because some of them don’t actually biodegrade and because some include harmful chemicals.

Miriam Gordon, who works with companies to limit their waste at Upstream Solutions, said activists are up against “convenience culture”. Just decades ago, many households didn’t need their trash collected because they didn’t produce trash beyond food scraps, she said.

Berkeley, California, is piloting a program for reusable stainless steel cups at cafes, partnering with the company Vessel, which distributes, collects and cleans the cups

“If we are going to go back to reusables and refillables, we have to have a culture-changing strategy,” Gordon said.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/nov/14/america-recycles-day-plastic-pollution-cover
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This Guy Studies the 'Global Systems Death Spiral' That Might End Humanity
« Reply #14575 on: November 15, 2019, 06:18:05 AM »
Could climate change get so bad that it leads to our extinction? A few researchers are trying to answer that question.



COLLAGE BY LIA KANTROWITZ

This article originally appeared on VICE US.

Simon Beard has a career that most people would consider depressing and terrifying. He is part of a team of researchers trying to figure out if, how, and when climate change could cause the human species to go extinct. The stakes of his research—a potential annihilation of 7.7 billion humans and all the unborn people who come after them—couldn’t be any higher.

The idea that a heating planet will doom humanity is the subject of a lot of public speculation and anxiety, yet there are very few experts studying the existential impacts of climate change with any sort of academic rigor. Beard, who does this work at the Cambridge Center for the Study of Existential Risk, described it as “a field with next to no data” and a lot of unsupported hypotheses. “Under what circumstances could climate change cause a collapse of global civilization?” he said. “When you start asking that question, then your already quite-limited literature gets even more scarce.”

By bringing scientific precision to the doomsday scenario that wipes us off the planet, Beard hopes to convince world leaders to actually do something about it. “That’s really what we’re aiming for at the moment,” he said. “I think this could be genuinely transformative—firstly for the science but also by implication for the policy and the way that these things are discussed in society.”

The starting point for Beard’s research is that humans are incredibly resilient: We have found a way to survive in tropical rainforests, blistering deserts, icy tundra, and even for a brief time on the moon. But that says more about our collective strength than our skills as individuals. Shut down the grocery stores, turn off the taps, disband the government and very few of us, perhaps apart from a small number of rugged survivalists, would be able to stay alive for long.

“And so every one of us as an individual, I think, is very vulnerable, and relies upon these massive global systems that we’ve set up, these massive global institutions, to provide this support and to make us this wonderfully adaptable generalist species,” Beard recalled earlier this year on the Future of Life Institute podcast,

Those systems—the ones that put broccoli and frozen pizzas in our fridges and keep our streets from becoming Mad Max war zones—are themselves way more vulnerable and interconnected than we appreciate. The greenhouse gas emissions that humans are pumping into the atmosphere at record levels are changing the climate in ways that make it harder for us to grow and distribute food. This also increases pressure on our political system—as we saw with drought and crop failures in the lead-up to the Syrian civil war.

At some point—potentially sooner than we think, Beard fears—the stress could become too much. A collapse in one human or natural system could cascade into the others, potentially setting off a “global systems death spiral” that accelerates and amplifies the damage beyond our ability to control it. “That forms a feedback loop,” Beard said. “You basically get food security collapsing, political systems collapsing [and then] rising levels of environmental destruction. With this many people, that could be genuinely devastating for all of humanity.”

But this conceptual model, however terrifying, is crucially incomplete. What is the specific event or series of events capable of setting off this death spiral? Is the spiral enough on its own to end humanity? Are there “death traps or kill mechanisms” along the way that finish us off instead? What would those be? A nuclear war? A disastrous attempt to geoengineer the climate? Is the new stable state at the end of the death spiral habitable? Or is survival there impossible?

Beard and his team believe that they are tantalizingly close to providing answers. They are working on a paper that will attempt to describe in as scientifically robust detail as possible the precise mechanisms—however unlikely they are from actually occurring—that could end our human existence. The paper was supposed to come out at the end of August. He now hopes it will be published by the end of the year. But each time it feels ready they identify another blind spot.

“We do want to get it right, if we just put out a piece of speculation that can easily be rubbished we won’t have achieved our end, and the next time we put forward something then people won’t listen to it that much,” he said. “Professionally this has been one of the hardest judgment calls of my life, and I’m still finding it really stressful.”

Despite all this, Beard won’t let himself become sentimental. The work is too important, and he thinks “people who worry stay in bed.” But there was that time about a year and a half ago when he came home from having heart surgery and started to feel raw and emotional. (The doctors had warned him this could happen.) “I just burst into floods of tears thinking about this kind of existential collapse,” he said on the Future of Life Institute podcast. “And, you know, what it would mean for my kids and how we’d survive it, and it was completely overwhelming.”

Beard doesn’t come to this work from a science background. He did a PhD in philosophy, and prior to joining the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk he worked as a researcher in politics and policy for the U.K. parliament and several think tanks. But he sees the Centre’s mission as part of a long scientific tradition of inquiring into doomsday.

He likens what he’s doing to the pioneering work of Carl Sagan on the impacts of nuclear war. People had feared since the first nuclear bombs were detonated in the 1940s that these weapons could mean the end of humanity. But nobody could come up with a scientifically credible scenario—Would the explosions themselves wipe us all out? Would our extinction be caused by radiation?—for how this might take place. Sagan proposed in the early 1980s that nuclear war could hurl ash into the atmosphere, cooling the entire planet, which would destroy our ability to grow food and lead to mass starvation.

“That really stimulated this overall change in how we perceive the danger from nuclear war,” Beard explained. As Sagan’s initially crude calculations were replicated and refined by other scientists, Cold War adversaries Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan warned about the horrors of nuclear winter, changing the terms of the nuclear disarmament debate. Beard and his colleagues are now trying to do something similar on climate change.

Not everyone thinks extinction scenarios are a top priority, though. “While it’s an interesting point to theoretically wonder about, I think it’s not really the most important question to be asking, because we’ll get significant problems well before that,” said Steven Lade, a researcher with the Stockholm Resilience Centre.

This gets at one of the climate extinction field’s biggest challenges: Nobody has put out work that is particularly persuasive. You have sensational scenarios such as the Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration report this summer (covered by VICE) that warns of civilizational collapse potentially being triggered by 2050. But this attracted a significant amount of scientific scrutiny. “While there is plenty of scientific evidence that climate change will pose increasingly existential threats to the most vulnerable individuals in society and to key global ecosystems, even these dire outcomes aren’t equivalent to the ‘annihilation of intelligent life,’ as is claimed in the report,” argued UCLA’s Daniel Swan.

Then there are pieces—such as this one in Vox—which summarize the mainstream scientific consensus that even warming as high as 4 degrees Celsius, while undeniably bad for humanity, is not likely to lead to our extinction. “It’s worthwhile to look into the worst-case scenarios, and even to highlight and emphasize them. But it’s important to accurately represent current climate consensus along the way,” wrote Kelsey Piper. “Climate change won’t kill us all.”

Beard is averse to wild and unsubstantiated hypotheses. But he knows that using the extremely limited scholarly research that’s been done on climate extinction as a guide to the future isn’t necessarily a full picture of the horrors that could await us. That’s because we’re constantly learning how incomplete our conceptual models are for predicting cataclysmic risk.

Consider for example the science around compound weather events, which the world still isn't prepared for. “They are events where a combination of multiple climate drivers or hazards cause potentially large impacts,” explained Jakob Zscheischler, a scientist at the University of Bern in Switzerland. That’s how you get what happened to Russia in 2010, when an unusually long high-pressure system led to record hot temperatures, which when combined with extremely dry soil conditions triggered wildfires that destroyed Russian crops and released deadly air pollution. More than 50,000 people died. “We are currently often underestimating the risk of these types of events,” Zscheischler said. “A lot of events we may not even know about because they only emerge in a warmer climate and we haven’t really thought about them.”

Things like the terrible Russian summer of 2010 may end up being a microcosm of what we experience on a planetary scale: Catastrophes that we previously saw as unrelated begin to amplify and intensify each other.

“At some point when you push the system far enough, it’s quite likely that tipping points will happen where the changes start to be non-linear,” Lade said.

Lade is part of a team of researchers that in 2018 laid out a distressing scenario for the future. At some level of atmospheric warming, perhaps as low as the famous 2 degrees Celsius above baseline target set out in the Paris agreement, which we could hit within the next few decades, we may still have to deal with the melting of all the Arctic sea ice or any number of other thresholds that could accelerate warming, pushing us domino-style past further tipping points and committing us to a “Hothouse Earth” that’s radically different from anything we experience today.

The potential impacts to humans are hard to fathom: the permanent flooding of coastal cities like Miami and Mumbai; the collapse of agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa; Himalayan glaciers, which supply drinking water to over a billion people, retreating. As horrible as all this sounds, researchers like Lade don’t think it would necessarily wipe us off the planet. “I find it difficult to imagine that happening from climate change alone,” he said. “I imagine humans are resilient enough that some of us will survive somewhere, but of course things are bad far before an existential extinction.”

Beard thinks that the Resilience Centre is producing fascinating and useful research. But he worries that our food, political, and natural systems are more fragile than even those researchers assume. “You might actually not need what looks like a particularly devastating level of environmental change, even what the Hothouse Earth people are worried about, to trigger a downward spiral of these three systems,” he said.

With all the professional and existential stress he has bearing down on him, you might expect Beard to be angry, cynical and depressed. But instead he gives off something resembling hope.

“This isn’t science fiction stories that we’re telling ourselves to feel scared or feel a rush. This is a real problem. And we’re here to solve that problem,” he has argued. “Understanding the risk and responding to it: this is the way that we keep all the good things that our civilization has given us. This is the way that we keep international travel, that we keep our technology, that we keep our food and getting nice things from all around the world.”

We may be vulnerable as individuals, Beard believes, but we are not powerless.

https://www.vice.com/en_in/article/qvg99b/this-guy-studies-the-global-systems-death-spiral-that-might-end-humanity

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World’s Largest Public Bank Cuts Finance for Coal and Oil
« Reply #14576 on: November 15, 2019, 06:30:22 AM »
LUXEMBOURG - Today, the European Investment Bank (EIB), the world’s largest international public bank and the €555bn lending arm of the EU, adopted a new lending policy that will cut finance to most fossil fuel projects as it tries to become the world’s first ‘climate bank’. Some countries including the German and Italian governments pushed for loopholes that could allow for dangerous fossil gas projects to be supported by the bank - campaigners will continue to fight against these.

“When the world’s biggest public lender decides to largely ditch fossil fuels, financial markets across the globe will take notice: this is the beginning of the end of climate-wrecking fossil fuel finance. The gas lobby has unfortunately managed to get Germany and the European Commission to insert some loopholes into the policy, which leave the door open for funding of dangerous fossil gas projects. They had better take note of the growing list of pipelines, terminals and fracking wells that are scrapped thanks to local opposition and the unprecedented masses of people mobilising for climate justice,” said Kate Cahoon, Germany Campaigner, 350.org.

This decision is a result for the tens of thousands of people around the world who have put pressure on the EIB to recognise it must go fossil free, as well as for the local groups across Europe who have been regularly protesting outside finance ministries and EIB offices. This move is not isolated; it comes amid growing pressure on financial institutions to cut their exposure to high-carbon projects and a collective move by Multilateral Development Banks to align their funding with the Paris agreement.

The EIB handed out €6.2 million every day to fossil fuel companies between 2013 and 2018 and provided security for millions more in private funding - so cutting this finance is another nail in the coffin for the fossil fuel industry. But the loopholes for fossil gas remain - any project added to the EU’s ‘Projects of Common Interest’ (PCI) list before 2022 will still be eligible for EIB funding, and at present, there are more than 50 fossil gas projects included. The PCI list is yet to be finalised so there is still time to ensure the EIB doesn’t lock Europe into decades of dependency on dangerous fossil fuels.

The European Commission, under pressure from the gas lobby, pushed EU member states to water down a stronger version of the policy that would have seen a more comprehensive ban on fossil fuel finance. This happened despite the need for the EU states to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and bring them down to net zero before 2050. Germany was also instrumental in watering down the first proposed policy, but the actions of Finance Minister Olaf Scholz in pushing for fossil fuel loopholes has precipitated a significant new movement against fossil gas projects in the country.

“This is a clear signal to financial institutions in Europe and around the world that they must take rapid, transformative action to change their financial models, keep fossil fuels in the ground, and support a just transition to sustainable forms of energy for all,” said Clémence Dubois, France Campaigner, 350.org.

https://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2019/11/14/worlds-largest-public-bank-cuts-finance-coal-and-oil
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Re: This Guy Studies the 'Global Systems Death Spiral' That Might End Humanity
« Reply #14577 on: November 15, 2019, 06:43:07 AM »
Could climate change get so bad that it leads to our extinction? A few researchers are trying to answer that question.


As noted earlier in this thread, about the only thing that could end in Extinction for Homo Sap in the Near Term is a Collision with a Planet Killer Asteroid.  Climate Change by itself can and probably WILL end in a very serious Population Knockdown, but not EXTINCTION within our lifetimes, or even the lifetimes of our Grandchildren.

Here's yet another Simulation of the Apophis Asteroid colliding with the Earth, this one with Trajectories.  :icon_sunny:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/mS8Ln4mXqII" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/mS8Ln4mXqII</a>

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For Hong Kong, Armistice Day was the city’s darkest day – until Monday. A police officer shot a young protester using live ammunition and left him in critical condition, while another policeman drove his motorcycle wildly into the crowds, injuring several. In another part of the city, a man was set on fire as he argued with a crowd. On Tuesday, the crisis grew darker still, with an assault by the police upon students at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

These incidents follow months of violence. Most have been perpetrated by the police, often against peaceful protesters, or by pro-Beijing triad gangs assaulting demonstrators. A pro-democracy candidate in the local elections was attacked a week ago by a knife-wielding pro-Beijing thug who bit the politician’s ear off.

But some of the violence, it must be acknowledged, has been carried out by a small minority of protesters. Their acts cannot be condoned, but they should be understood. They are the response of a deeply frustrated, desperate people who feel that no one is listening to them and so resort to extreme acts.

Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam and her puppet masters in Beijing thought they could stop the protesters by bludgeoning them into silence. They were wrong. The completely disproportionate police brutality, well-documented by organisations such as Amnesty International, has only angered the people further.

When Hongkongers who used to have a professional police force worthy of respect see the police beating unarmed, peaceful protesters with batons, spraying tear gas and pepper-spray directly into their eyes at point-blank range, firing rubber bullets at dangerously close quarters, chasing people into the subway and spraying tear gas at them on the platforms and trains underground, assaulting elderly people in their eighties and children as young as twelve, it is hardly surprising they feel angry. And then when reports began to emerge of torture in detention and allegations of rape, the enemy lines have been drawn.

The language used by the Hong Kong police is every bit as troubling as the physical brutality. Describing protesters as “cockroaches” has genocidal echoes and while no one is remotely suggesting Hong Kong has reached such a level of international crime, such dehumanising language is profoundly dangerous. So too are the frequent examples of the police denying access for paramedics, first aiders and ambulances to assist the injured.

I lived in Hong Kong for the first five years after the handover, from 1997 until 2002, and never imagined we would see the scenes that are now on our news channels on a daily basis. Over the past five years Hong Kong’s basic freedoms and autonomy have been increasingly eroded, with booksellers kidnapped, pro-democracy legislators and candidates disqualified, peaceful protesters jailed, the Financial Times’ Asia News Editor and some foreign activists expelled and other threats to freedom of expression growing. But this year, the city has descended into a whole new level of conflict.

The crisis is entirely Lam’s making. She should never have proposed the badly thought-out and extremely dangerous extradition bill that sparked the protests. A bill that, had it passed, would have allowed the regime in Beijing to demand the extradition of anyone it disliked, from a city with a proud tradition of the rule of law into the mainland, a jurisdiction where torture, arbitrary arrests, disappearances and executions are commonplace, where the judiciary is controlled by the Communist Party and there is no concept of fair trial, and where the regime stands accused by an independent tribunal chaired by the man who prosecuted Slobodan Milošević of forcibly extracting the organs of prisoners of conscience.

Having proposed the bill, Lam could have stepped back early and listened to the concerns of lawyers and businesses, and the international community. She refused to do so. The peaceful march of a million Hongkongers, followed a week later by two million – a quarter of the population, according to organiser estimates – ought to have been a wake-up call. Instead, she merely suspended the legislation. Eventually, though months too late, she declared the bill “dead,” but still refused to bury it. Only last month, after six months of turmoil, did she formally withdraw it.

The protesters behaved with remarkable restraint at the beginning. Marches were peaceful, protesters cleaned up the litter after them, people held candlelit prayer vigils, and the song “Sing Hallelujah to the Lord” echoed around the city. It was the police, not the protesters, who started the violence. From the very beginning, the police showed an extraordinary lack of control, and a wholly disproportionate response, beating peaceful marchers and firing tear gas and rubber bullets wildly into the crowds. It was their brutality and Lam’s refusal to condemn it that led to the escalation we see today.

The movement has grown from one opposed to the extradition bill to one demanding justice and political reform. They want an independent inquiry into police brutality. They call on the authorities to stop describing peaceful protesters as rioters. They demand amnesty for those who have been arrested. And they want democracy and universal suffrage.

These demands are not unreasonable. Of course, the minority of protesters who have committed actual crimes of violence against people or property should be held accountable, but existing laws need to be revised and applied carefully so that only those who have acted criminally are prosecuted.

Hong Kong is a city on the brink of collapse. It can pull back from the brink, but only if Lam changes course. She must realise that the only way to break the stalemate is dialogue and reform, not more violence. She must meet pro-democracy activists, set out a timetable for political reform, introduce universal suffrage in elections for Chief Executive and all seats in the legislature, and establish a truly independent inquiry into police conduct with powers to prosecute those responsible for brutality. Continued refusal to do this will lead to even more bloodshed.

The world has a responsibility now to act. Britain, as the former colonial power and signatory to the Sino-British Joint Declaration, has a moral and legal obligation to lead. Britain should establish an international contact group of like-minded nations to coordinate efforts. It should impose targeted financial sanctions under the Magnitsky Act against those responsible for torture.

Britain should work with other countries to offer sanctuary for those who need to flee Hong Kong. And it should escalate diplomatic efforts to urge Lam, and the regime in Beijing, to step back from the brink and recognise that unless they address the people’s grievances, whatever may be left of Hong Kong as we knew it will die and with it one of the world’s most important financial and trading centres and one of Asia’s most open cities. And that would be a tragedy for everyone.

https://www.hongkongfp.com/2019/11/13/hong-kongs-govt-thought-bludgeon-protesters-silence-wrong/

Everything, I mean EVERYTHING, is a BIG FUCKING MESS!!

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Re: This Guy Studies the 'Global Systems Death Spiral' That Might End Humanity
« Reply #14579 on: November 15, 2019, 06:52:19 AM »
Note:  Apophis is NOT big enough to be a Planet Killer.  Life in some form would go on here.

It is however likely big enough to cause the EXTINCTION of Homo Sap.  We go the way of the Dinosaurs.



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