05 Dec

A Foreign Perspective, News and Analyses

English Online International Newspapers

Nearly all of these are English-edition daily newspapers. These sites have interesting editorials and essays, and many have links to other good news sources. We try to limit this list to those sites which are regularly updated, reliable, with a high percentage of “up” time.


Irish Examiner>>

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Wildlife photographer of the year: Lumix people’s choice shortlist 2019 – in pictures

Fans of wildlife photographs can pick their favourite for the Lumix-sponsored award from 25 images pre-selected by the Natural History Museum in London. The institution whittled down its shortlist from more than 48,000 submissions from 100 countries. Voting ends on 4 February

Mother Knows Best by Marion Volborn (Germany)

Findings confirm reliability of projections of temperature changes over last 50 years

A climate emergency protest in Bangalore, India

A climate protest in Bangalore, India. Based on modern projections, the world is on track for about 3°C of warming above pre-industrial temperatures by 2100, which the IPCC and others predict would be catastrophic. Photograph: Jagadeesh Nv/EPA

Climate models have accurately predicted global heating for the past 50 years, a study has found.

The findings confirm that since as early as 1970, climate scientists have had a solid fundamental understanding of the Earth’s climate system and the ability to project how it will respond to continued increases in the greenhouse effect. Since climate models have accurately anticipated global temperature changes so far, we can expect projections of future warming to be reliable as well.

The research examines the accuracy of 17 models published over the past five decades, beginning with a 1970 study and including 1981 and 1988 models led by James Hansen, the former Nasa climatologist who testified to the US Senate in 1988 about the impacts of anthropogenic global heating. The study also includes the first four reports by the UN’s intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC).

“We found that climate models – even those published back in the 1970s – did remarkably well, with 14 out of the 17 model projections indistinguishable from what actually occurred,” said Zeke Hausfather, of the University of California, Berkeley, and lead author of the paper, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Based on modern climate model projections, if countries follow through with current and pledged climate policies, the world is on track for about 3C of warming above pre-industrial temperatures by 2100 – a situation the IPCC and others predict would be catastrophic.

The challenge in evaluating climate model accuracy lies in the fact that due to computing power limitations, simulations are only run for a few specific future greenhouse gas emissions scenarios. There are an infinite number of such possible scenarios, but real-world emissions will follow only one path, and it will never exactly match the few scenarios input into climate models. Thus, if Earth warms less than in a climate model projection, it does not necessarily mean the model was inaccurate.

Put simply, climate scientists are not in the business of predicting human fossil fuel consumption but are attempting to accurately simulate how the climate will change in response to a given rise in greenhouse gas emissions.

“Future emissions depend on human behaviour, not physical systems, and climate models should be evaluated on their physics rather than the future emission projections,” said Hausfather.

In nearly half of the model projections examined in the paper, the input scenarios were significantly different from the real-world changes in greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, projected temperature changes were only consistent with observed global warming in 10 of the 17 models, with four projecting more warming and three projecting less than subsequently occurred.

However, the study authors addressed these inconsistencies by evaluating the change in temperature per change in “radiative forcing” – the global energy imbalance caused by the increased greenhouse effect and other factors – in models against what happened in the real world. This metric reveals whether the climate models are accurately producing the temperature response to a given emissions change – in essence, whether are accurately simulating the physical response of Earth’s climate system. With this factored in, 14 of the 17 models were accurate.

“The rate of warming we are experiencing today is pretty much exactly what past climate models projected it would be,” said Hausfather.

Those who oppose policies to limit the impacts of global heating have long sought to undermine the credibility of climate models. If the model projections are considered unreliable, they argue, then we do not know how urgent slowing global warming is. As a result, “climate models are unreliable” has become a popular myth propagated by climate deniers.

The latest study adds to the body of evidence supporting the accuracy of climate models, and will be welcomed by those arguing that more aggressive climate policies are needed to avoid dangerous levels of global warming. The UN climate summit in Glasgow in 2020 will be crucial, as countries will be expected to commit to scaling up the emission reductions that were pledged in the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change.

Giuffre tells Panorama she was instructed to have sex with royal by Jeffrey Epstein’s friend Ghislaine Maxwell

Virginia Giuffre: Prince Andrew’s accuser asks Britain to ‘stand beside her’ – video

Virginia Giuffre, who claims she was trafficked as a teenager to have sex with friends of Jeffrey Epstein, including the Duke of York, has implored the British public to “stand by her” and “not accept this as OK” in her first UK television interview.

Giuffre, who alleges she had sex with Prince Andrew on three occasions in 2001 and 2002 when she was 17 years old, told Panorama she stood by her claims she was instructed to have sex with the royal by Ghislaine Maxwell, socialite and close friend of Epstein, the wealthy financier and convicted sex offender who killed himself in August.

The prince, 59, has consistently denied the allegation.

In the programme The Prince and the Epstein Scandal, screening at 9pm on Monday on BBC One, Giuffre, then called Virginia Roberts, repeated her claim she had sex with Andrew after he bought her a drink and asked her to dance at Tramp nightclub in London.

She said: “He is the most hideous dancer I’ve ever seen in my life. I mean it was horrible and this guy was sweating all over me, like his sweat was like it was raining basically everywhere. I was just like grossed out from it, but I knew I had to keep him happy because that’s what Jeffrey and Ghislaine would have expected from me.”

She alleged that after they left the club: “In the car Ghislaine tells me that I have to do for Andrew what I do for Jeffrey and that just made me sick.” She alleges that she had sex with Andrew upstairs at Maxwell’s house in Belgravia later that evening.

Giuffre was interviewed by Panorama last month. Before it was ready to air, the prince agreed to an interview with BBC’s Newsnight. The fallout from that disastrous interview led to him being forced to withdraw from public life.

Though Giuffre does not directly address Andrew’s account in her interview, which had already been filmed, she has since told Panorama she stands by every word.

In his interview with Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis last month, Andrew said: “I can categorically tell you it never happened. I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady – none whatsoever.” He claimed he had a medical condition that meant he did not sweat, and argued sex could not have taken place, insisting he had been at a Pizza Express in Woking on the same day.

Asked about a photo that appears to show him with his arm around Giuffre’s waist, the prince said he did not recall the photograph being taken, and raised questions in the interview over whether it was his hand.

Giuffre told Panorama: “The people on the inside are going to keep coming up with these ridiculous excuses like his arm was elongated or the photo was doctored. I mean I’m calling BS on this. He knows what happened. I know what happened. And there’s only one of us telling the truth.”

She said: “I implore the people in the UK to stand up beside me, to help me fight this fight, to not accept this as being OK.

“This is not some sordid sex story. This is a story of being trafficked. This is a story of abuse and this is a story of your guy’s royalty.”


Who is Ghislaine Maxwell?

Maxwell has denied the allegations made against her. She has not been seen in public for months, amid speculation over her continued contact with the prince.

Buckingham Palace has said the duke “unequivocally regrets his ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein” and that Andrew “deeply sympathises with those affected who want some form of closure”. It said: “It is emphatically denied that the Duke of York had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Virginia Roberts. Any claim to the contrary is false and without foundation.”

The Panorama programme is broadcast as the prince faces calls for a parliamentary inquiry into his business dealings after the Mail on Sunday claimed he had been enabling a friend’s business interests while working as a British trade envoy.

The newspaper said it had seen a cache of documents, including leaked emails, about Andrew’s links with David Rowland, and claimed the duke had been helping his business interests, including promoting his private bank, while a trade envoy for Britain.

World Politics

United States

‘No choice but to act’: Pelosi asks Congress to proceed with Trump impeachement

The US Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, has announced the House will proceed with articles of impeachment against Donald Trump. ‘The president leaves us no choice but to act,’ she said. ‘Sadly but with confidence and humility, with allegiance to our founders and a heart full of love for America, today I am asking our chairman to proceed with articles of impeachment’

‘No one is above the law’: read Nancy Pelosi’s full impeachment statement>>

I shall taunt you a second time: North Korea threatens Trump ‘dotard’ insults>>

US government edict puts international film-makers in danger, lawsuit claims>>


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