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13 Dec

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

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.

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  • Sea ice also melting at fastest pace in 1,500 years, US government scientists find

  • ‘The Arctic is a very different place than it was even a decade ago’ – author

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“It’s a liberal conspiracy”
“There’s no real evidence”
“Liberals faked the moon landing”
“The earth is flat”
“Climate change is a lie”
“Migrants are to blame for poor public services”

Right… Now you don’t have to talk bullshit, I’ve covered it all for you… Can we get on with solutions…?

If not please get the hell out of the way!

 The McGlynn

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An iceberg melts in Kulusuk, Greenland, near the Arctic circle. The far northern region is warming twice as fast as the rest of the globe.

An iceberg melts in Kulusuk, Greenland, near the Arctic circle. The far northern region is warming twice as fast as the rest of the globe. Photograph: John Mcconnico/AP

 

Permafrost in the Arctic is thawing faster than ever, according to a new US government report that also found Arctic seawater is warming and sea ice is melting at the fastest pace in 1,500 years.

The annual report released on Tuesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed slightly less warming in many measurements than a record hot 2016. But scientists remain concerned because the far northern region is warming twice as fast as the rest of the globe and has reached a level of warming that’s unprecedented in modern times.

The Arctic has traditionally been the refrigerator to the planet, but the door of the refrigerator has been left open

Jeremy Mathis

“2017 continued to show us we are on this deepening trend where the Arctic is a very different place than it was even a decade ago,” said Jeremy Mathis, head of NOAA’s Arctic research program and co-author of the 93-page report.

Findings were discussed at the American Geophysical Union meeting in New Orleans.

“What happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic; it affects the rest of the planet,” said acting NOAA chief Timothy Gallaudet. “The Arctic has huge influence on the world at large.”

Permafrost records show the frozen ground that many buildings, roads and pipelines are built on reached record warm temperatures last year nearing and sometimes exceeding the thawing point. That could make them vulnerable when the ground melts and shifts, the report said. Unlike other readings, permafrost data tend to lag a year.

Preliminary reports from the US and Canada in 2017 showed permafrost temperatures are “again the warmest for all sites” measured in North America, said study co-author Vladimir Romanovsky, a professor at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks.

Arctic sea ice usually shrinks in September and this year it was only the eighth lowest on record for the melting season. But scientists said they were most concerned about what happens in the winter – especially March – when sea ice is supposed to be building to its highest levels.

Arctic winter sea ice maximum levels in 2017 were the smallest they’ve ever been for the season when ice normally grows. It was the third straight year of record low winter sea ice recovery. Records go back to 1979.

About 79% of the Arctic sea ice is thin and only a year old. In 1985, 45% of the sea ice in the Arctic was thick, older ice, said NOAA Arctic scientist Emily Osborne.

New research looking into the Arctic’s past using ice cores, fossils, corals and shells as stand-ins for temperature measurements show that Arctic ocean temperatures are rising and sea ice levels are falling at rates not seen in the 1,500 years. And those dramatic changes coincide with the large increase in carbon dioxide levels in the air, the report said.

This isn’t just a concern for the few people who live north of the Arctic circle. Changes in the Arctic can alter fish supply. And more ice-free Arctic summers can lead to countries competing to exploit new areas for resources. Research also shows changes in Arctic sea ice and temperature can alter the jet stream, which is a major factor in US weather.

This is probably partly responsible for the current unusual weather in the United States that brought destructive wildfires to California and a sharp cold snap to the south and east, according to NOAA scientist James Overland and private meteorologist expert Judah Cohen.

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World Politics

United States

Doug Jones becomes first Democrat to win any statewide office in Alabama in decades after Moore’s campaign for Senate marred by sexual assault claims

The Democrat Doug Jones has beaten his Donald Trump-backed Republican rival Roy Moore in the diehard Republican state of Alabama, setting off a political earthquake that shook Washington.

His victory in a special election for a US Senate seat – by a margin of 49.9 to 48.4 with 100% of precincts reporting – is a major personal blow to the president and his efforts to pass tax reform on Capitol Hill.

Jones was able to become the first Democrat in a decade to win any statewide office in Alabama by beating Moore, who had faced multiple allegations of sexual assault during a campaign which exposed Republican party faultlines.

Moore, who late on Tuesday was refusing to concede the race, had been favored in the deep red state until two women came forward to claim that Moore assaulted them when they were teenagers; a number of other women said the Alabama Republican had romantically pursued them when they were underage. Moore has denied all the allegations.

Alabama has long faced a profound racial divide, which was reflected in the results. According to an exit poll, Jones won 95% of the African-American vote but only 27% of the white vote in the Yellowhammer State. However, widespread African-American turnout on Jones’s behalf overcame Moore’s margins in rural, predominantly white parts of Alabama.

Jones also made significant inroads among college-educated whites. He won well-educated Madison county by a margin of 57-40. A center of the aerospace industry, the county voted for Trump by a margin of 55-38 in 2016.

‘More in common than what would divide us’

Jones emerged to a euphoric reception just before 10pm local time. “Folks, I gotta tell you, I think that I have been waiting all my life and now I just don’t know what the hell to say,” he said, beginning a 10-minute speech. “I have always believed that the people of Alabama had more in common than what would divide us.”

The election had never been either about him or Moore, he insisted. “This entire race has been about dignity and respect. This campaign has been about the rule of law. This campaign has been about common courtesy and decency and making sure everyone in this state, regardless of what zip code you live in, is going to get a fair shake.”

His speech was met with cheers and applause and chants of “USA! USA!”

Doug Jones waves to supporters after the results were announced.

Doug Jones waves to supporters after the results were announced. Photograph: John Bazemore/AP

The Democratic victory will reduce the Republican majority in the Senate to 51-49 once Jones takes his seat on Capitol Hill. This significantly reduces the margin for error as Republicans attempt to push through a major corporate tax cut.

They already have one defector in senator Bob Corker, and Jones’s election means a single additional Republican breaking ranks would sink the legislation.

Moore’s defeat also marks a major personal blow to Trump, who endorsed the Alabama Republican and held a rally on his behalf just over the state line in Pensacola, Florida. Although most national Republicans rushed to distance themselves from Moore in the aftermath of the allegations, Trump reaffirmed his support through tweets and public statements.

Read Full Article>>

Alabama election: Democrats defeat Roy Moore, dealing huge blow to Donald Trump>>

Alabama has spoken: Roy Moore and the Bannon-faction will not be tolerated>>

Democratic euphoria as Doug Jones wins Alabama – in pictures>>

Five things we learned from Doug Jones’s win in Alabama>>

As Democrats rejoice in Roy Moore loss, Republicans look for someone to blame>>

‘This race has been about dignity’: Doug Jones’s victory speech in Alabama>>

Trump attacks senator and dismisses sexual harassment claims as Democratic conspiracy>>

FBI agent removed from Russia investigation called Trump an ‘idiot’>>

Roy Moore arrives on horseback for Alabama vote as sister says ‘every single woman is lying’>>

Rex Tillerson US ready for talks with North Korea ‘without preconditions’>>

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Palestinian president demands UN takes charge of peace process after Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel

Mahmoud Abbas delivers a speech during an extraordinary meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in Istanbul

Mahmoud Abbas delivers a speech during an extraordinary meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in Istanbul. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, has formally declared that Palestinians will no longer accept the US as a mediator in the Middle East peace process following Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

In his strongest public statement since Trump’s announcement last week, Abbas said Palestinians would go to the United Nations security council to seek full membership of the UN while asking the world body to take control of the peace process as Washington was no longer “fit” for the task.

The meeting took place a day after the US secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, suggested that the linked – and equally contentious – move of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem might not actually take place during Trump’s current term in office.

Abbas was speaking at a hastily convened meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul, where members were called upon to recognise a Palestinian state amid strong condemnations of both the US and Israel.

“Jerusalem is and will forever be the capital of the Palestinian state,” Abbas told delegates. “We do not accept any role of the United States in the political process from now on, because it is completely biased towards Israel.”

The Palestinian president’s comments were echoed later in the summit’s official closing statement, which declared “East Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Palestine” and invited “all countries to recognise the state of Palestine and East Jerusalem as its occupied capital”.

The statement said the OIC summit viewed Trump’s move “as an announcement of the US administration’s withdrawal from its role as sponsor of peace” in the Middle East, describing it as legally “null and void” and “a deliberate undermining of all peace efforts” that would give impetus to “extremism and terrorism”.

The summit was attended by King Abdullah of Jordan, the Lebanese president, Michel Aoun, the emirs of Qatar and Kuwait, and the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, who called on all Muslim nations to unite to defend the rights of Palestinians.

In remarks echoed by a number of speakers, the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdo?an, opened the meeting by denouncing the US move as a provocative “red line” for Muslims, describing Israel as an occupying and “terror” state.

In a sign of cracks in the unity of Muslim countries – and reflecting the wider tensions in the region – Saudi Arabia and Egypt were represented at a relatively junior level, and took a back seat in the proceedings.

Palestinians protest in the West Bank town of Hebron on 13 December against Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of the Israel last week.

Palestinians protest in the West Bank town of Hebron on 13 December against Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of the Israel last week. Photograph: Abed Al Hashlamoun/EPA

In comments pointedly aimed at Saudi Arabia, Rouhani said the only reason Trump had dared to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was because some in the region were seeking to establish ties to Israel.

Rouhani’s remarks – and the prominence of countries closer to Iran at the summit – suggest there is a risk that the contentious issue of Jerusalem will be sucked into the escalating confrontation between Riyadh and Tehran.

Away from the summit, however, King Salman of Saudi Arabia echoed its language, telling the kingdom’s consultative council that Palestinians had the right to establish the Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem as their capital.

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Pictures of the year: Natural disasters

A woman wades through a submerged street in the UNESCO heritage town of Hoi An after Typhoon Damrey hit Vietnam, November 6. REUTERS/Kham

David Gonzalez comforts his wife Kathy after being rescued from their home flooded by Tropical Storm Harvey in Orange, Texas, August 30.
REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman

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