From The Alpha and the Omega - Chapter Eight
by Jim A. Cornwell, Copyright © 1995, all rights reserved
"Global Environment 2021 JULY-SEPT"

    This file is attached to http://www.mazzaroth.com/ChapterEight/2014-2017.htm from “Astronomical Events To Appear Between 2014 Through 2017 A.D.” - Chapter Eight by Jim A. Cornwell, Copyright © 1995, all rights reserved.
    This link will return you to Astronomical Events To Appear Between 2014 Through 2017 A.D.
    Or return to Global Environment 2021 April-June or continue to Global Environment 2021 October-December

Global Environment 2021 JULY-SEPT

2021 World Disaster and Environmental Issues


7/1/2021 Curiosity rover finds methane discrepancy on Mars by Chris Ciaccia For Dailymail.Com
© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo
    NASA researchers may be getting closer to figuring out why methane, a gas that is produced from both biological and geological sources, is spotted near the Martian surface but not its atmosphere.
    In a new study published in the Astronomy & Astrophysics journal, the discrepancy between readings may be due to the time of day when the colorless, odorless gas is being looked for.
    The Curiosity rover is able to detect methane at night, without the distraction of other instruments, while the European Space Agency's ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter spacecraft looks during the day and can't find it.
    The Martian atmosphere is calm at night, so the methane creeps down to the surface, where Curiosity's Tunable Laser Spectrometer (TLS) instrument can detect it.
    'John [Moores] predicted that methane should effectively go down to zero during the day, and our two daytime measurements confirmed that,' said Paul Mahaffy, the principal investigator of Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) chemistry lab aboard the Curiosity rover, in a statement.
    Photographs of lavender fields lit up by the Milky Way and a comet passing over Stonehenge are among the images up for the Astronomy Photographer of the Year award. The Royal Observatory Greenwich event is in its 13th year, and was launched to showcase the best in astrophotography from around the world.    A number of the images submitted were taken by back garden astrophotographers during lockdown, giving a different view of the night sky, the observatory said.
    Curiosity's TLS detection during the day fits within the average detection level that was previously established.
    'So that's one way of putting to bed this big discrepancy,' Mahaffy added.
    In 2019, Moores, a planetary scientist from York University, noted that after looking at wind patterns in the Gale Crater, there was a discrepancy in the methane measurements.


© Provided by Daily Mail
    It's still unclear what is causing the methane detection, whether it's from a biological or geological source. Its presence is not a definitive sign of life.
Doing This Specific Thing on Mars Might Be Harder Than You Think
    Although it's not from the rover itself - the NASA team checked extensively - the new study suggests it could be from 'planetary micro-seepage.'
    On Earth, methane is commonly released along fault lines and from natural gas fields in a process known as gas seepage.
    'Dynamical modeling indicates that such methane release is contained within the collapsed planetary boundary layer (PBL) at night due to a combination of nocturnal inversion and convergent downslope flow winds that confine the methane inside the crater close to the point where it is released,' the researchers wrote in the study.
    NASA's Curiosity rover first measured a 'strong signal' of the molecule on 15 June, 2013. But some experts questioned the reliability of the discovery.
    In 2019, both the Curiosity rover and the ESA's Mars Express spacecraft confirmed the presence of the unexpected discovery.
    The measurement from Curiosity found 21 parts per billion of methane in the air, three times what was found during a 2013 measurement.
    NASA is also researching why the methane is not remaining stable enough to accumulate in the atmosphere and if there is some kind of 'destruction mechanism' they aren't currently aware of.
    'We need to determine whether there's a faster destruction mechanism than normal to fully reconcile the data sets from the rover and the orbiter,' Chris Webster, lead of the Tunable Laser Spectrometer (TLS) instrument, said.

7/1/2021 Letters to the Editor: UFO believers, would you travel thousands of years just to meet humans? By Los Angeles Times
    To the editor: I enjoyed your editorial on the federal government's report on UFOs and agree completely that if aliens are indeed visiting Earth, they probably don't like humans very much.
© (Associated Press) The image from video provided by the Department of Defense shows
an unexplained object being tracked in 2015. (Associated Press)
    I see a much better reason why there have been no verified alien sightings or contacts: The universe has a speed limit.    Nothing can go faster than the speed of light.    The nearest potentially habitable, Earth-like planet is dozens of light-years away, but it's more likely that a civilization of intelligent aliens would be at least thousands of light-years away from us.
    That means aliens would have to spend literally thousands of years traveling just to get here, and that's only if they are moving at or near the speed of light.
    Would you hop in the family space car to take a millenniums-long drive just to see what's out there?    And what are the odds you would go in exactly our direction?    And how would you carry all that food, water and oxygen or whatever you breathe?
    Oh, I forgot — there are warp drives, hyperspace and food replicators.
    Never mind.    Those things are science fiction.
Jeff Wade, Pasadena
..
    To the editor: There is no way to know for sure whether any aliens that might have visited us are attempting to communicate with us or not. If they are, we don't currently understand them.
    My theory is that we are their herd.    They are raising us for some reason.    We provide or will provide some benefit to the universe.
    Fancy that — humans! Who would have thought?
    The aliens are currently in the process of culling the herd.    By introducing the coronavirus, they have presented humans with an abstract and long-term adversary.    They are eliminating those who are unable to think abstractly enough to accept the concept of vaccinations.
    This is a prelude to widespread elimination of those humans who cannot conceptualize the gravity of the climate crisis.
Andrew Tilles, Studio City
    This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

7/1/2021 Forest Fire Guts Small Western Canada Town After Days Of Record-Breaking Heat
Trees burn along a street during a wildfire in Lytton, British Columbia, Canada June 30, 2021 in this
still image obtained from a social media video on July 1, 2021. 2 RIVERS REMIX SOCIETY/via REUTERS
    (Reuters) -A wildfire that began after three days of record-breaking temperatures has destroyed most of the small western Canadian town of Lytton and damaged a nearby hydro power station, a local politician said on Thursday.
    Lytton, in central British Columbia, was evacuated a day earlier.    This week it broke Canada’s all-time hottest temperature record three times.
    Officials braced for more sizzling weather and the threat of more wildfires from a deadly heat wave that also ravaged the U.S. Northwest with record-high temperatures.
    “The town has sustained structural damage and 90% of the village is burned, including the centre of the town,” Brad Vis, a Member of Parliament for Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon, said in a Facebook post.
    He said the fire also caused extensive damage to BC Hydro stations and highways, limiting access to Lytton by road.
    Amateur video footage showed residents scrambling to get out of town in their cars as fires burned down trees and some structures.    The fire spread so swiftly that people were forced to leave behind their belongings and pets.
    Lytton Mayor Jan Polderman ordered everyone in the town of 250 to vacate late on Wednesday.
    “It’s dire.    The whole town is on fire,” Polderman told the CBC.    “It took, like, a whole 15 minutes from the first sign of smoke to, all of a sudden, there being fire everywhere.”
    Residents of another 87 properties north of Lytton were also ordered to leave on Wednesday.
    Lytton set a record of 49.6 degrees Celsius (121.28 degrees Fahrenheit) on Tuesday.    The previous high in Canada, known for brutally cold winters, was 45 degrees Celsius, set in Saskatchewan in 1937.
    On Wednesday, strong winds gusting up to 71 kph (44 mph) were recorded in the area, further flaming the fires.
    In British Columbia, at least 486 sudden deaths were reported over five days to Wednesday, nearly three times the usual number that would occur in the province over that period, the B.C. Coroners Service said on Wednesday. (Reporting by Denny Thomas in Toronto; Editing by Howard Goller and David Gregorio)

7/2/2021 Stephen Hawking's second law of a black hole is proven by Stacy Liberatore For Dailymail.com
    Fifty years after Stephen Hawking proposed a theory about black holes, stating their event horizons – the boundary beyond which nothing can escape – should never shrink, his theoretical law has been proven.
    A team of scientists led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) confirmed the late physicist's area theorem with more than 95 percent accuracy using observation of gravitational waves.
    The team made this breakthrough using data from GW150914, the first gravitational waves detected, which was created by two inspiraling black holes that formed a new one - an event that released a large amount of rippling energy through space time.
    They reanalyzed the signal from the gravitational waves before and after the cosmic collision and determined the event horizon's area did not decrease after the merger.
© Provided © Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo
    'So, it's not like you do this test once and it's over.    You do this once, and it's the beginning.'
    In 2019, Isi and his colleagues developed a technique to extract the reverberations immediately following GW150914's peak—the moment when the two parent black holes collided to form a new black hole.
    The team used the technique to pick out specific frequencies, or tones of the otherwise noisy aftermath, which they could use to calculate the final black hole's mass and spin.
© Provided by Daily Mail
    Both the mass and spin are related to the area of a black hole's event horizon, which led researchers to wonder if they could compare the signal before and after the merger to confirm Hawking's theorem.
    To answer the question, the team split the GW150914 signal at its peak, or the merger, and then developed a model to analyze the signal before to identify the mass and spin of both black holes involved.
© Provided by Daily Mail
    Researchers calculated the total horizon area for both black holes was about 9,0734 square miles, roughly nine times the size of Massachusetts.br>     They then used their previous technique to extract the 'ringdown,' or reverberations of the newly formed black hole.
    This allowed the team to calculate the mass and spin of the newly formed black hole, along with its horizon area.    They found it was the equivalent of 14,169 square miles - 13 times the size the Bay State's area that includes Connecticut, Rhode Island and Vermont.
    'The data show with overwhelming confidence that the horizon area increased after the merger, and that the area law is satisfied with very high probability,' Isi said.
    'It was a relief that our result does agree with the paradigm that we expect, and does confirm our understanding of these complicated black hole mergers.'
    The team plans to further test Hawking's area theorem, and other longstanding theories of black hole mechanics, using data from LIGO and Virgo, its counterpart in Italy.
    'It's encouraging that we can think in new, creative ways about gravitational-wave data, and reach questions we thought we couldn't before,' Isi said.
    'We can keep teasing out pieces of information that speak directly to the pillars of what we think we understand.    One day, this data may reveal something we didn't expect.'

7/2/2021 New Evacuation Orders Issued In Western Canada As Fire Guts Town After Record Heat
Trees burn along a street during a wildfire in Lytton, British Columbia, Canada June 30, 2021
in this still image obtained from a social media video on July 1, 2021. 2 RIVERS REMIX SOCIETY/via REUTERS
    (Reuters) -A forest fire that began after three days of record-breaking temperatures has destroyed most of the small western Canadian town of Lytton, as government officials issued fresh evacuation orders on Thursday as more wildfires tore through the province.
    More than 1,000 people in and around Lytton, in central British Columbia, were evacuated late on Wednesday after the fast-moving fire engulfed the community, catching residents by surprise.    The cause of the fire was being investigated, B.C Premier John Horgan told reporters.
    A couple in their 60s died due to the fire, Post Media reported, quoting their son.    Reuters could not independently verify the deaths.    B.C. officials told the briefing that some residents were unaccounted for, and said “most homes and structures” in Lytton have been lost.
    “The town has sustained structural damage and 90% of the village is burned, including the centre of the town,” Brad Vis, a member of Parliament for Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon, said in a Facebook post.
    He said the fire also caused extensive damage to BC Hydro stations and highways, limiting access to Lytton by road.
    Horgan said 62 new fires were reported in B.C. in the past 24 hours, forcing authorities to issue new evacuation orders affecting some 700 people in B.C.’s Cariboo region.
    The sizzling heat wave also ravaged the U.S. Northwest with record-high temperatures.
    Amateur video footage showed residents of Lytton scrambling to leave town in cars as fires burned down trees and some structures.
    Lytton Mayor Jan Polderman ordered everyone in the town of 250 to vacate late on Wednesday.    Residents of another 87 properties north of Lytton were also ordered to leave on Wednesday.
    Lytton set a record of 49.6 degrees Celsius (121.28 degrees Fahrenheit) on Tuesday.    The previous high in Canada, known for brutally cold winters, was 45 degrees Celsius, set in Saskatchewan in 1937.
    On Wednesday, strong winds gusting up to 71 kph (44 mph) were recorded in the area, flaming the fires.
    The province recorded at least 486 sudden deaths over five days to Wednesday, nearly three times the usual number that would occur in the province over that period, the B.C. Coroners Service said on Wednesday.
(Reporting by Denny Thomas in Toronto; Editing by Howard Goller, David Gregorio and Leslie Adler)

7/2/2021 Firefighters Battle Large Wildfires Across Northern Calif. by OAN Newsroom
A helicopter passes a smoke plume while battling the Lava Fire in Weed, Calif. Firefighters
are battling multiple fires in the region following high temperatures and lightning strikes. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
    Thousands have been forced to flee their homes as wildfires continue to ravage Northern California.    The U.S. Forest Service confirmed 27 percent of the Lava Fire has been contained and nearly 24,000 acres burned as of early Thursday.
    More than 1,000 firefighters have been battling the blaze, which officials say ignited due to lightning.    Extreme heat and dry weathers conditions have made it difficult for the fire to be contained.    Firefighters have also had to battle steep and rocky terrain with lava rock fields providing disadvantages for crews to establish efficient fire lines.
    The Lava Fire started in Siskiyou County, which forced over 8,000 residents to evacuate their homes. Updates on the fire as well as current evacuation orders can be found online through the Incident Information System provided by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group.
    Meanwhile, forecasters predict cooler winds are expected to give firefighters the upper hand as they battle another blaze burning northeast of the Lava Fire.    The Tennant Fire has burned more than 9,000 acres and is only six percent contained.

7/3/2021 Two Feared Dead, 20 Missing In Japan As Torrential Rains Unleash Landslides - NHK
General view of a site where heavy rains triggered a landslide in Zushi, south of Tokyo, Japan July 3, 2021. Kyodo/via REUTERS
    TOKYO (Reuters) - At least two people were feared dead on Saturday after landslides triggered by heavy rains hit the central Japanese city of Atami, where about 20 people were still missing, public broadcaster NHK said.
    Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who convened an emergency task force to tackle the crisis, asked people in the affected areas to remain on alert.
    “There may be more heavy rainfalls and we need to be taking the highest caution,” Suga said in televised remarks.
    The floods are a reminder of the natural disasters – including earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunami – that plague Japan, where the capital Tokyo is to host the summer Olympics starting this month.
    Two people were found in a state of cardiac arrest in Atami, 90 km (60 miles) southwest of Tokyo, and taken to hospital, NHK said.
    It aired footage of collapsed and half-submerged houses as water dashed the city with mud and debris.    Social media images showed partially submerged cars and rescue workers wading through waist-high water with a small life raft.
    Japan’s military sent emergency rescuers to the city, where about 80 people are evacuated, NHK said.
    Some 2,830 households in the area face power outages, it said, citing the Tokyo Electric Power.
(Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Clarence Fernandez, Jane Wardell and William Mallard)

7/4/2021 EU Deploys Assistance For Cyprus As Huge Forest Fire Rages
Smoke from a forest fire is seen in Ora village, Larnaca, Cyprus, July 3, 2021, in this
picture obtained from social media. Mandatory credit ANDREA ANASTASIOU/via REUTERS
    NICOSIA (Reuters) -The European Union on Saturday deployed aerial assistance to help Cyprus contain a huge forest fire raging north of the cities of Limassol and Larnaca, a blaze one official called the worst on record.
    The blaze, fanned by strong winds, affected at least six communities in the foothills of the Troodos mountain range, an area of pine forest and densely vegetated shrubland.
    The EU’s executive, the European Commission, said fire-fighting planes had departed from Greece to battle the fire and Italy was also planning to deploy aerial fire-fighters.
    The EU’s emergency Copernicus satellite was also activated to provide damage assessment maps of the affected areas, the Commission said in a statement.
    “It is the worst forest fire in the history of Cyprus,” Forestries Department Director Charalambos Alexandrou told Cyprus’s Omega TV.
    Attempts were being made to prevent the blaze from crossing the mountains and stop it before reaching Machairas, a pine forestland and one of the highest peaks in Cyprus.
    Alexandrou said the perimeter of the fire was “at least 40 kilometres.”
    Dozens of properties were damaged, but no injuries were reported.    There were widespread power cuts in the area. Plumes of smoke were visible in the capital Nicosia, some 75 km (45 miles) away.
    Officials said that in addition to Greece’s assistance with two aircraft, help was also expected from Israel.
    “This is a very difficult day for Cyprus.    All of the state’s mechanisms are in gear, and the priority is for no loss of life,” Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades tweeted.
    Israel accepted Nicosia’s plea for help, a statement from Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said, and will send firefighting aircraft to Cyprus on Sunday.
    The cause of the fire, which started around midday, was unclear.    Cyprus has experienced a heatwave this week, with temperatures exceeding 40 Celsius (104 Fahrenheit). Police said they were questioning a 67 year old person in connection with the blaze.
    “It passed through like a whirlwind, it destroyed everything,” said Vassos Vassiliou, the community leader of Arakapas, one of the communities affected.
(Reporting by Michele Kambas, additional reporting by Maayan Lubell in Jerusalem and by John Chalmers in BrusselsEditing by Ros Russell, David Gregorio and Diane Craft)
7/4/2021 Four Dead As Cyprus Forest Fire Rages
    NICOSIA (Reuters) -Four people were found dead as a huge fire raged for a second day in Cyprus, razing tracts of forest in a blaze one official called the worst on record.
    The blaze, fanned by strong winds, affected at least 10 communities over an area of 50 square kilometres (19 square miles) in the foothills of the Troodos mountain range, an area of pine forest and densely vegetated shrubland.
    The victims, thought to be Egyptian nationals, were found dead close to the community of Odou, a mountainous community north of the cities of Limassol and Larnaca.
    “All indications point to it being the four persons who were missing since yesterday,” Interior Minister Nicos Nouris said.
    The EU’s executive, the European Commission, said fire-fighting planes had departed from Greece to battle the fire and Italy was also planning to deploy aerial firefighters.
    The EU’s emergency Copernicus satellite was also activated to provide damage assessment maps of the affected areas, the Commission said in a statement.
    “It is the worst forest fire in the history of Cyprus,” Forestries Department Director Charalambos Alexandrou told Cyprus’s Omega TV.
    Attempts were being made to prevent the blaze from crossing the mountains and stop it before reaching Machairas, a pine forestland and one of the highest peaks in Cyprus.
    The cause of the fire, which started around midday on Saturday, was unclear.    Cyprus experiences high temperatures in the summer months, with temperatures in recent days exceeding 40 Celsius (104 Fahrenheit). Police said they were questioning a 67 year old person in connection with the blaze.
(Reporting by Michele Kambas; Additional reporting by Maayan Lubell in Jerusalem and by John Chalmers in Brussels; Editing by Ros Russell, David Gregorio and Diane Craft)

7/4/2021 Japan Rescue Work Continues After Deadly Landslides, 20 Missing by Yuka Obayashi and Irene Wang
An aerial view shows the site of a mudslide caused by heavy rain at
Izusan district in Atami, Japan July 3, 2021. Kyodo/via REUTERS
    TOKYO (Reuters) -Rain hampered Japanese rescuers seeking 20 missing people on Sunday after landslides triggered by torrential rains hit the central city of Atami, killing two women, a local city official said on Sunday.
    A total of 19 people were rescued, with 2 injured, and about 130 buildings were affected after floods, landslides and cascading mud collapsed and half-submerged houses on Saturday in the seaside city 90 km (60 miles) southwest of Tokyo, Yuta Hara, a spokesman for Atami city hall, told Reuters by phone.
    “I just wanted to cry (when I saw what had happened),” said Naoto Date, a 55-year-old actor who returned to his hometown around 03:00 a.m. Saturday (1800 GMT on Friday) to check the damage.
    “That area is in a valley between the mountains and there’s a small river flowing through it.    Above that small river there’s a steep slope and the mudslide rushed down the slope and it became a river,” Date said.
    “As many elderly people were living there, the thought that there might be people who failed to escape from the disaster makes me really sad,” he said.
    The floods are a reminder of the natural disasters – including earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunami – that plague Japan, where the capital Tokyo is to host the summer Olympics starting this month.
    Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga asked people in the affected areas to remain on alert and take precautions after he and cabinet ministers met on Sunday to discuss the disaster and heavy rain in the central and eastern Japan.
    Some 700 people from the Shizuoka prefectural police, firefighters and Japan’s military continued their search and rescue efforts, but their operations have been interrupted twice due to a risk of ground loosening and warnings of secondary damage from rain, Atami’s Hara said.
    In the affected area where intermittent rain continued, about 387 people have been evacuated as of 11:00 a.m. (0200 GMT) on Sunday, Hara said.
    Heita Kawakatsu, governor of Shizuoka prefecture, told a news conference the development of residential areas near the disaster-hit area may have reduced the mountain’s ability to retain water and caused the disaster, Kyodo news agency said.
    “The prefecture will examine the causal relationship between the two factors,” Kyodo quoted Kawakatsu as saying.
    The landslides occurred around 10:30 a.m. (0130 GMT) on Saturday in Atami, which is home to hot spring resorts and situated on a steep slope into a bay.    The water, mud and debris are believed to have flowed along a river for about 2 km (1.2 miles) to the sea, local media said.
    Local TV aired footage of collapsed and half-submerged houses.    Social media images showed partially submerged cars and rescue workers wading through waist-high water with a small life raft.
(Reporting by Yuka Obayashi and Irene Wang; Editing by William Mallard, Ana Nicolaci da Costa and Elaine Hardcastle)

7/4/2021 Rep. André Carson: We Hope To Have Hearings On UAPs In Near Future by OAN Newsroom
Rep. Andre Carson (D-Ind.) speaks in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)
    Democrat Rep. André Carson (Ind.) has insisted Americans need more answers on the hundreds of sightings of unidentified aerial phenomena.    The declassified Intelligence report on UAPs has left many Americans and lawmakers bewildered.
    On Sunday, Carson stated he and other members of the House have been working to get more answers on what is patrolling the skies.
    “We’re planning on having a series of hearings, hopefully in Indiana as well, dealing with our white nationalist threat, our internal threats to our internal security,” he explained.    “Hopefully, we will discuss UAPs in the very near future.”
    This comes after the office of the Director of National Intelligence released a report in late June, which analyzed 144 confirmed UAP sightings by military personnel.    Several accounts described flying objects with unusual shapes, flight patterns and propulsion dynamics.
    “People want members of the government to say it’s extraterrestrial.    We won’t stop there, but certainly it poses a technological concern for us,” Carson expressed.    “It poses a national security concern for us because we don’t want our adversaries to have, one, a technological advance over us in terms of what they can do with their capabilities.”
    The report categorized the sightings into several groups including possible classified U.S. or foreign technology programs as well as otherworldly creations.    However, the DNI reported it could not find any concrete solutions for the phenomena and stressed it required more data to pinpoint possible explanations.
    “We have to take into account our advancements in terms of our cell phone technology and why aren’t these images being captured?    We have to think about the nearly 4,000 satellites that are orbiting the Earth right now,” the Indiana lawmaker argued.    “Most of those satellites have cameras attached to them.    Why hasn’t any of that information been released?
    Meanwhile, Carson continues to work with other members of the House Intelligence Committee to begin holding public meetings to discuss UAP sightings and press the Pentagon to release more information.

7/5/2021 Tropical Storm Elsa Nears Landfall In Cuba Around Bay Of Pigs
Ariel Jimenez applies tape to a window before the arrival of Storm Elsa in Havana, Cuba, July 4, 2021. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
    HAVANA (Reuters) – Tropical storm Elsa neared landfall around Cuba’s Bay of Pigs on the south-central coast on Monday morning, bringing strong rain and winds to parts of the Caribbean’s largest island, and was set to churn across the country on its way to Florida.
    As islands across the Caribbean continued to deal with the damage from the storm, Cuba’s Meteorology Institute said it was moving northwest at 22 kph (14 mph), and that sustained winds were peaking near 100 kph (60 mph).
    Elsa was set to make landfall in the vicinity of the Bay of Pigs around midday, and exit Cuba overnight, between Havana and the city of Matanzas overnight, the institute said.
    The U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said a tropical storm watch and storm surge watch were in place for much of western Florida, which Elsa should approach on Tuesday.
    “We continue with maximum attention focused on the track of storm Elsa through Cuba,” President Miguel Diaz-Canel tweeted early in the morning.    “Authorities are working all over the country.”
    More than 100,000 people in Cuba have been evacuated from the potential path of the storm, most to homes of family and friends, but thousands also to government shelters, state-run media reported.
    “They evacuated people from the areas where there could be flooding, along the coast and river, but so far we’ve just had a constant drizzle, no strong rain or winds,” said Jorge Lemus, a kayak tour guide in the southern city of Cienfuegos.
    Evacuations were under way on Monday morning in the capital Havana for fear that heavy rains could cause dilapidated buildings to collapse.
    To make matters worse, Cuba is also experiencing a surge in coronavirus infections, which are at a record level.
    State-run television showed images of farmers speeding up harvesting of fruit and vegetables to save them from the storm, and local authorities removing debris from the streets to prevent them flying around in the wind.
    The Miami-based NHC said in an alert that tornadoes were possible across southern Florida on Monday afternoon and into Tuesday.
    The approach of the storm forced Florida officials to demolish the remaining portion of a condo building: https://www.reuters.com/world/us/crews-prepare-bring-down-partially-collapsed-florida-condo-ahead-storm-2021-07-04 that collapsed 11 days ago, killing at least 24 people with over 120 still missing.
    Elsa, which was downgraded from a hurricane on Saturday, has caused flooding, blown off roofs, toppled trees and damaged agriculture and infrastructure throughout the Caribbean, from Barbados and Jamaica to Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
(Reporting by Sarah Marsh; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

7/6/2021 Tropical Storm Elsa Exits Cuba Trailing Heavy Rains, Takes Aim At Florida by Sarah Marsh and Marc Frank
A couple prepare a window of their home for the arrival of Storm Elsa, Guanabo, Cuba, July 5, 2021. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
    HAVANA (Reuters) -Tropical storm Elsa’s center exited Cuba late on Monday, just east of Havana, churning northwards on track to Florida although the lopsided weather system continued to dump heavy rains over the Caribbean’s largest island in its wake.
    The U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in its 11 p.m. (0300 GMT) update that Elsa was advancing at just 19 km per hour (12 mph) as it moved out to sea and sustained winds had picked up to peak near 95 kmph with higher gusts.
    Storm surges were affecting Cuba’s southern coast and would start occurring on the northern coast too, the Cuban meteorology institute said, causing light flooding in the capital in lower lying coastal areas such as along its famous Malecon seaside corniche.
    “The rain is coming behind the center so the fact it is moving out to sea along the northern coast between Havana and Mayabeque … does not mean the rain is over,” Cuba’s best known meteorologist Jose Rubiera said on state television.
    More than 100,000 people in Cuba evacuated from flood-prone areas or unsafe housing in the potential path of the storm, most going to homes of family and friends, but thousands also to government shelters, state-run media reported.
    While such preparedness has typically enabled Cuba to avoid the kind of casualties from storms seen elsewhere, it comes amid the country’s worst coronavirus outbreak since the start of the pandemic, raising fears that evacuations could fuel infections.
    Elsa already caused at least three direct deaths and some damages to infrastructure and agriculture in Caribbean islands southeast of Cuba like St Lucia and the Dominican Republic.
    It comes as the tourism-reliant archipelago is already struggling with the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic and bracing for an above-active hurricane season.
    Cuban meteorologists said the rains from Elsa could prove positive for agriculture, bolstering water reservoirs, as long as they were not too intense.
    Rainfall of 5 to 10 inches (13 to 25 cm) with isolated maximum amounts of 15 inches (38 cm) was forecast across parts of Cuba on Monday night and expected to result in “significant flash flooding and mudslides,” the Miami-based NHC said.
FLASH FLOODS LIKELY
    A tropical storm watch and storm surge watch were in place for much of the western coast of Florida, the agency said, with Elsa expected to strengthen out at sea as it passed near the Florida Keys early Tuesday and moved near or over portions of the west coast of Florida on Tuesday and Wednesday.
    The approach of the storm forced Florida officials to demolish the remaining portion of a condominium building that collapsed 11 days ago, killing at least 24 people with over 120 still missing.
    But revised predictions showing Elsa tracking to make landfall north of Miami-Dade sparked renewed optimism that the search for survivors would remain uninterrupted.
    The NHC said amounts of 3 inches to 5 inches (8 to 13 cm)with localized maximum totals up to 8 inches (20 cm) were expected in the Keys and western portions of Florida through Wednesday, which may result in considerable flash and urban flooding, along with minor to isolated moderate river flooding.
    A few tornadoes were possible across south Florida on Monday night and across the Florida peninsula on Tuesday, the agency added.
    “All Floridians should prepare for the possibility of heavy rain, flooding and potential power outages,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis wrote on Twitter.
    In Seminole, Florida, residents filled sand bags and placed them outside their homes to prevent flooding.
    “If we have a lot of water .. and I wait till later to get sand bags there won’t be any left, and then I will have a wet bedroom,” said Wendy Schultz, adding she would stock them anyway for the rest of the season “’cause, you know, it’s Florida.”
    Authorities and locals in some Caribbean island nations including Cuba had already started work by Monday on repairing damage caused by Elsa such as removing toppled trees and other debris and restoring power.
(Reporting by Sarah Marsh, Marc Frank and Nelson Acosta in Havana with additional reporting by Kate Chappell in Kingston, Sarah Peter in Castries, Andre Paultre in Port-au-PrinceEditing by Kevin Liffey, Mark Heinrich, Jonathan Oatis and Michael Perry)

7/6/2021 Smart Foam Material Gives Robotic Hand The Ability To Self-Repair by Travis Teo and Lee Ying Shan
A robotic hand with the AiFoam artificially innervated smart foam, which enables it to sense objects in proximity
by detecting their electrical fields and also self-heals if it gets cut, is pictured at National University
Singapore's Materials Sciences and Engineering lab in Singapore June 30, 2021. Picture taken June 30, 2021. REUTERS/Travis Teo
    SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Singapore researchers have developed a smart foam material that allows robots to sense nearby objects, and repairs itself when damaged, just like human skin.
    Artificially innervated foam, or AiFoam, is a highly elastic polymer created by mixing fluoropolymer with a compound that lowers surface tension.
    This allows the spongy material to fuse easily into one piece when cut, according to the researchers at the National University of Singapore.
    “There are many applications for such a material, especially in robotics and prosthetic devices, where robots need to be a lot more intelligent when working around humans,” explained lead researcher Benjamin Tee.
    To replicate the human sense of touch, the researchers infused the material with microscopic metal particles and added tiny electrodes underneath the surface of the foam.
    When pressure is applied, the metal particles draw closer within the polymer matrix, changing their electrical properties.    These changes can be detected by the electrodes connected to a computer, which then tells the robot what to do, Tee said.
    “When I move my finger near the sensor, you can see the sensor is measuring the changes of my electrical field and responds accordingly to my touch,” he said.
    This feature enables the robotic hand to detect not only the amount but also the direction of applied force, potentially making robots more intelligent and interactive.
    Tee said AiFoam is the first of its kind to combine both self-healing properties and proximity and pressure sensing.    After spending over two years developing it, he and his team hope the material can be put to practical use within five years.
    “It can also allow prosthetic users to have more intuitive use of their robotic arms when grabbing objects,” he said.
(Reporting by Lee Ying Shan and Travis Teo; Writing by Xu Xiao; Editing by Karishma Singh and Stephen Coates)

7/6/2021 Fla. Residents Brace For Tropical Storm Elsa by OAN Newsroom
Wind moves the grass and palm trees under a cloudy sky after the passage of
Tropical Storm Elsa in Havana, Cuba, Monday, July 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
    Officials have issued a hurricane watch for parts of West Central Florida as Tropical Storm Elsa makes its way past Cuba.    The storm is forecast to hit Florida Tuesday night while bringing heavy rain, strong winds and flooding to the state.
    In response to the storm, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) declared a state of emergency in 15 counties, including Miami-Dade where crews continue to search for victims in the deadly condo building collapse.    The governor urged Floridians to pay attention to weather advisories and to prepare for possible power outages.
    “The reminder is in a storm like this, where you could see sustained power outages, if you do have a generator, you have to operate that generator so that the exhaust is outside,” DeSantis explained.    “You can’t put it inside your house, you can’t put it inside your garage and, unfortunately, we have tragic incidences every year now where folks will run those generators in an enclosed area.”
    Joe Biden also declared an emergency in Florida and has ordered federal assistance to help with response efforts. Meanwhile, a tropical storm watch has now been issued for the Georgia coast and parts of South Carolina as the storm is expected to make landfall there late Wednesday.

7/6/2021 Fla. Gov. Gives Update On Tropical Storm Elsa by OAN Newsroom
Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)
    Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) delivered the latest information known about tropical storm Elsa. On Tuesday morning, the Florida governor said the storm was expected to bring strong winds, rain and potential isolate tornadoes.
    This report came after officials issued a hurricane watch for parts of west-central Florida.    When DeSantis gave the update, the storm was said to be 55 miles west of Key West and moving northwest at 12 miles an hour with winds near 70 miles per hour.
    Elsa is expected to make landfall along Florida’s west coast on Wednesday and could reach hurricane status by Tuesday evening. DeSantis announced both tropical storm warnings and hurricane warnings for various areas of the Sunshine State.
    “Most of the rainfall is gonna be east of the center of the storm,” DeSantis explained.    “Right now, there are tropical storm warnings for 22 counties along Florida’s west coast and a hurricane watch is now in effect for the Florida coast stretching from Pinellas County to Dixie County.”
    DeSantis went on to encourage residents to heed all warnings from local officials, be prepared with enough food and expect to be without power for a few days.

7/8/2021 Heat Wave In Pacific Northwest Could Soon Repeat Due To Climate Change – Research by Andrea Januta
FILE PHOTO: An aerial view shows low water levels at Lake Oroville, which is the second largest reservoir in California and according to daily
reports of the state's Department of Water Resources is near 35% capacity, near Oroville, California June 16, 2021. REUTERS/Aude Guerrucci
    (Reuters) -The suffocating heat wave that killed hundreds of people across the Pacific Northwest last week would have been “virtually impossible” without climate change, a study finds.
    Reporting the first research attributing the event to climate change on Wednesday, scientists said climate change had made such a heat wave in the region 150 times more likely. The scientists estimated the extraordinary temperatures were a one-in-a-thousand-year event, though noted this was difficult to quantify given the unprecedented heat in early summer.    But if current greenhouse gas emissions continue, an event so extreme could start occurring every five to 10 years by the 2040s, they warned.
    “People need to realize that heat waves are killers, and they are by far the deadliest extreme event,” said coauthor     Friederike Otto, a climate scientist at the University of Oxford and co-leader of the World Weather Attribution, an international scientific collective that published the study.    The research https://bit.ly/3hDuvJO by 27 scientists is still awaiting peer review but uses peer-reviewed rapid attribution methods to produce findings quickly after extreme events.
    “Heat waves are really changing so much more and so much faster than all other extreme events,” Otto said.    “Heat preparation and preventing death during heat waves need to be a No. 1 priority for every city authority.”
    The heat wave gripped parts of the United States and Canada for days at the end of June, smashing records in dozens of cities.    Power lines melted in the heat.    Roads buckled.    Canada thrice broke its national temperature record, peaking on June 29 at 121 Fahrenheit (49.6 Celsius) — a full 8 degrees Fahrenheit (4.6 degrees Celsius) higher than the previous record set in 1937.
    Another heat wave is expected to hit parts of Canada and the United States later this week.
    The death toll in Oregon alone has topped 100, while British Columbia saw hundreds more deaths than usual.    It will take months to calculate a full death toll, but scientists say these numbers will rise.    Hospitals also saw jumps in the number of heat-related visits and emergency service calls.
    The new research attributing the heat wave to climate change is not entirely surprising.    Worldwide, climate change has made heat waves more common, more severe and longer lasting.
    The June heat wave, however, was far beyond the norm for the Pacific Northwest.    For that, the authors suggested two possible explanations: Either many factors came together to produce a very rare event that was worsened by climate change, or climate change has altered the atmospheric conditions so that this type of heat wave is now more common than previously understood.
    Either way, industry-driven climate change played a key, and considerable, role, according to the study.
    “Most types of extreme events have been getting more frequent,” said Philip Mote, a climate scientist at Oregon State University not involved in the study. Or in the case of the Pacific Northwest heat wave, he said, extreme events were sometimes becoming “things that were almost unimaginable.”
‘CLEAR HUMAN FINGERPRINT’
    The temperature spike was caused by what scientists call a “heat dome,” or a mass of high-pressure air parked over the region.    Like a lid on a pot, the dome trapped hot air beneath it.
    While the weather was unusual in its timing — record-breaking temperatures are rare so early in the summer season — last month proved to be the warmest June on record for North America, and the fourth warmest globally, scientists at the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service reported Wednesday.
    In recent years, scientific advances have allowed researchers to link specific extreme weather events to climate change.
(Graphic on extreme weather) https://tmsnrt.rs/3wcycMk
    “There is a clear human fingerprint on this particular extreme heat wave in the Pacific Northwest, and in general on extreme heat waves everywhere in the modern era we’re living though,” said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles, who was not involved in the new study.
    To establish the climate link to last week’s heat wave, the study’s authors used computer simulations to estimate what conditions might have been without any global warming, and compared that with current conditions and what actually occurred.
    “This event was shocking to everybody who experienced it in the Pacific Northwest.    Rightfully so, because there was just nothing even close to it in the modern historical record,” Swain said.    “And yet it might be something that just becomes a relatively common event.”
(Reporting by Andrea Januta in New York; Editing by Katy Daigle and Lisa Shumaker)

7/8/2021 Tropical Storm Elsa Reaches S.C. by OAN Newsroom
This GOES-16 GeoColor satellite image taken Tuesday, July 6, 2021, at 5:50 p.m. EDT, and provided by NOAA,
shows Tropical Storm Elsa in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida. (NOAA via AP)
    Tropical Storm Elsa has continued to chart its course up the Atlantic Coast.    Heavy rain and strong winds came down on South Carolina Thursday, leaving Charleston in a tropical storm watch through the morning.
    Elsa is forecast to move over North Carolina later in the day, pass near the Eastern Mid-Atlantic states Thursday night and move near or over the Northeast on Friday.
    This comes as Florida is dealing with the effects of Elsa after at least 13 people were reportedly rescued off the coast of Key West.    According to authorities, a boat carrying 22 people capsized due to the violent conditions.    Nine people are missing, however, search and rescue efforts are still underway.
    According to reports, at least one person was killed and more than 30,000 residents in Florida were left without power as of Thursday.    This comes after Elsa made landfall in Taylor County on Wednesday.
    Joe Biden declared an emergency in Florida and has ordered federal assistance to help with response efforts.    Meanwhile, storm watches are in effect across the East Coast from Florida to Virginia.

7/9/2021 New England Areas Under Flood Watches As Tropical Storm Elsa Continues Moving Northeast by OAN Newsroom
This GOES-16 GeoColor satellite image taken Tuesday, July 6, 2021, at 5:50 p.m. EDT, and provided by NOAA,
shows Tropical Storm Elsa in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida. (NOAA via AP)
    Millions of Americans have been under flood and storm watches as Tropical Storm Elsa moved up the northeast.    Around 40 million people from New Jersey to Maine remained under flood watches as the storm has been reported to move northeast at around 25 miles per hour with maximum sustained winds of around 50 miles per hour.
    Reports on Friday afternoon mentioned Elsa had moved over to Rhode Island with states in the New England area affected by the worst of the rain.    However, states like New York and New Jersey were still taking a beating even after the main storm had moved on.
    Here are the 11am (7/9) key messages on #Elsa.    Heavy rain will continue across portions of New England today.    Information specific to your area can be found at https://t.co/SiZo8ohZMN. pic.twitter.com/LRpAyPASLM
— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) July 9, 2021
    “We’ve had a lot of rain.    We’ve had a lot of wind over the past few days, so the ground is quite saturated,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran explained.    “Areas on the south shore especially that are prone to flooding because the ground is saturated, we are looking out for more flooding happening there.”
    New York city saw flooding not only in the streets, but in the subways as well.    Officials warned it would continue to flow through the cracks, vents and stairwells into the subway stations.
A car drives through slight flooding on Furman Street in the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood
of Brooklyn in New York City. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
    Reports early Friday put Elsa just a few miles off Atlantic city, New Jersey, which brought heavy rains, strong gusts and even tornado threats.    Experts from the National Weather Service announced they were headed to southern New Jersey to determine if a tornado touched down in the area during the overnight hours.
    Damage included uprooted trees and a flattened recreational area.    Officials warned while the storm was moving quickly, it shouldn’t be taken lightly.
    “Please be safe.    Particularly if you’re on the coast, take this warning seriously,” Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) asserted.    “Charge your stuff up, stay safe, and again, if you lose your power, jump at the opportunity to report that and don’t go near any downed lines.”
    We’re closely monitoring Tropical Storm Elsa as it moves across New Jersey. Stay safe:
Report outages
Beware of and report downed power lines
Charge your devices
Avoid unnecessary travel
Turn around, don’t drown
Stay updated: @ReadyNJ pic.twitter.com/ZkS4Re6UKt
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) July 8, 2021
    Reports say tens of thousands of people from Delaware to Massachusetts have gone without power.    Elsa has already been blamed for one death after severe winds in Jacksonville, Florida brought a tree down on two cars.    In South Carolina, a coast guard air station rescued a family who had become stranded on an island after their boat drifted off a beach.
    Elsa is ultimately expected to move into the Atlantic off Canada by Friday evening.

7/10/2021 ‘Fire Whirl’ Captured In Northern Calif. Tennant Fire by OAN Newsroom
Flames from the Lava Fire burn along a ridge near U.S. Highway 97 and Big Springs Road north
of Weed, Calif. (Scott Stoddard/Grants Pass Daily Courier via AP)
    Footage of a terrifying fire tornado was captured in Northern California.    The U.S. Forest Service released the video on Friday, which showed the fire swirl coming dangerously close to firefighting equipment.
    The footage was captured as firefighters battled the Tennant Fire near the state’s Klamath National Forest.    The fire has so far burned more than 10,000 acres and was described as 91 percent contained.
    Nearly 1,000 firefighters, aided by aircraft, have battled this and a second fire dubbed the Lava Fire.    That blaze has so far burned more than 25,000 acres and was reported to be more than 70 percent contained.
    The Tennant Fire started on June 28 in Klamath National Forest, with officials still investigating the direct cause.    Although crews have been attempting to isolate the perimeters of the blaze, extreme heat conditions have made it difficult to contain.
    The number of wildfires so far in the year 2021 in California has already surpassed the amount that was recorded for 2020.

7/10/2021 Billionaire Branson Set To Fly To Space Aboard Virgin Galactic Rocket Plane by Steve Gorman
FILE PHOTO: Sir Richard Branson stands on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) ahead of
Virgin Galactic (SPCE) trading in New York, U.S., October 28, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
    (Reuters) – Decades after burnishing his reputation as a wealthy daredevil mogul in a series of boating and hot-air balloon expeditions, Richard Branson is poised to promote his burgeoning astro-tourism venture by launching himself to the final frontier.
    Branson’s Virgin Galactic Holding Inc is due on Sunday to send the company’s passenger rocket plane, the VSS Unity, on its first fully crewed test flight to the edge of space, with the British billionaire founder among the six individuals strapping in for the ride.
    The gleaming white spaceplane will be borne by a twin-fuselage carrier jet dubbed VMS Eve (named for Branson’s mother) to an altitude of 50,000 feet, where Unity will be released and soar by rocket power in an almost vertical climb through the outer fringe of Earth’s atmosphere.
    At the apex of its flight some 55 miles (89 km) above the New Mexico desert, the crew will experience a few minutes of weightlessness before making a gliding descent back to Earth.
    If all goes according to plan, the flight will last about 90 minutes and end where it began – on a runway at Spaceport America near the aptly named town of Truth or Consequences.
    Virgin’s Unity 22 mission marks the 22nd test flight of the spacecraft, and the company’s fourth crewed mission beyond Earth’s atmosphere.
    But it will be the first to carry a full complement of space travelers – two pilots and four “mission specialists,” Branson among them.
MILESTONE AND PUBLICITY
    Although the mission is seen as a potential milestone in helping transform citizen rocket travel into a mainstream commercial venture, spaceflight remains an inherently hazardous endeavor.
    An earlier prototype of the Virgin Galactic rocket plane crashed during a test flight over California’s Mojave Desert in 2014, killing one pilot and seriously injuring another.
    If successful, Sunday’s flight will also give Branson bragging rights to besting rival Jeff Bezos and his space company, Blue Origin, in what has been popularized as a “billionaire space race.”    Bezos, founder of online retail giant Amazon.com, is slated to fly aboard Blue Origin’s suborbital rocketship, the New Shepard, later this month.
    Branson’s official job on his flight is to “evaluate the private astronaut experience,” and his observations will be used to “enhance the journey for all future astronaut customers,” according to Virgin’s press materials.
    But Marco Caceres, a senior space analyst for the Virginia-based consulting firm Teal Group, said the Branson and Bezos ride-alongs were each “a bit of a publicity stunt.”
    “If they succeed, their ventures will be taken more seriously,” Caceres said.    “There’s plenty of multimillionaires in the world that would like to go up on an adventure, so long as they see it as relatively safe.”
    Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin, along with fellow billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s SpaceX, are competing head-to-head in the emerging business of space tourism, though Musk has a big head start.
    In a Twitter exchange https://bit.ly/36qGTrt with Branson early on Saturday, Musk said that he would attend the launch “to wish you the best.”    It was not immediately clear if Musk would be present at the launch site or join online.
    SpaceX, which plans to send its first all-civilian crew (without Musk) into orbit in September, has already launched numerous cargo payloads and astronauts to the International Space Station.
    Branson, 70, insists there is plenty of demand from wealthy would-be citizen astronauts to go around, and that he had no intention of trying to upstage Bezos.
‘NOT A RACE’
    “It’s honestly not a race,” Branson told Reuters in an interview earlier this week.    “If it’s a race, it’s a race to produce wonderful spaceships that can make many more people be able to access space.    And I think that’s both of our aims.”
    The spaceplane’s two pilots, Dave Mackay and Michael Masucci, will control the ignition and shutoff of the ship’s rocket engine, and activate the vehicle’s “feathered” tail maneuver for re-entry.
    The three other mission specialists are Beth Moses, the company’s chief astronaut instructor; Virgin Galactic’s lead operations engineer Colin Bennett; and Sirisha Bandla, a research operations and government affairs vice president.
    The Virgin brand, including Branson’s airline and former record label, has long been associated with exploits of derring-do by its flamboyant founder.    Branson set a new record for the fastest boat crossing of the Atlantic in 1986, a year after his initial attempt ended with a Royal Air Force helicopter rescue when his vessel capsized.
    In 1987 he made a record-breaking Atlantic crossing by hot-air balloon, though again he had to be rescued from the sea.    He went on to break at least two other air-balloon speed records but failed to complete any of three bids to circumnavigate the globe by balloon.
    As for Sunday’s flight, Branson said this week that he is excited, “and I really don’t think there’s anything there to be scared about.”
    Assuming the mission goes well, Virgin has said it plans two further test flights of the spaceplane before beginning commercial service next year.
    The company has said it has received more than 600 flight reservations, priced at around $250,000 per ticket, but hopes eventually to slash the cost of each seat to $40,000.
(Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Additional reporting by Kevin Fogarty in Washington and Shubham Kalia; Editing by Daniel Wallis and William Mallard)

7/11/2021 Virgin Galactic’s Branson Soars To Space Aboard Rocket Plane by Steve Gorman
Virgin Galactic's passenger rocket plane VSS Unity, borne by twin-fuselage carrier jet dubbed VMS Eve,
is parked before billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson departs with his crew for travel to the edge of space
at Spaceport America near Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, U.S., July 11, 2021. REUTERS/Joe Skipper
    TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES, N.M. (Reuters) – British billionaire Richard Branson on Sunday soared more than 50 miles above the New Mexico desert aboard his Virgin Galactic rocket plane and safely returned in the vehicle’s first fully crewed test flight to space, a symbolic milestone for a venture he started 17 years ago.
    Branson, one of six Virgin Galactic Holding Inc employees strapped in for the ride, has touted the mission as a precursor to a new era of space tourism, with the company he founded in 2004 poised to begin commercial operations next year.
    “We’re here to make space more accessible to all,” an exuberant Branson, 70, said shortly after the flight.    “Welcome to the dawn of a new space age.”
    The success of the flight also gave the flamboyant entrepreneur bragging rights in a highly publicized rivalry with fellow billionaire Jeff Bezos, the Amazon online retail mogul who had hoped to fly into space first aboard his own space company’s rocket.
    “Congratulations on the flight,” Bezos said on Instagram.    “Can’t wait to join the club!
    Space industry executives, future customers and other well-wishers were on hand for a festive gathering to witness the launch, which was livestreamed in a presentation hosted by late-night television comedian Stephen Colbert.    Among those present was fellow billionaire and space industry pioneer Elon Musk, who also is founder of electric carmaker Tesla Inc.
    Grammy-nominated R&B singer Khalid took the stage after the flight to perform his forthcoming single “New Normal.”
    The gleaming white spaceplane was carried aloft on Sunday attached to the underside of the dual-fuselage jet VMS Eve (named for Branson’s late mother) in a takeoff from Spaceport America, a state-owned facility near the aptly named town of Truth or Consequences.    Virgin Galactic leases a large section of the 18,000-acre site.
    Reaching its high-altitude launch point at about 46,000 feet, the VSS Unity passenger rocket plane was released from the mothership and fell away as the crew ignited its rocket, sending it streaking straight upward at supersonic speed to the blackness of space some 53 miles (85.9 km) high.
    The spaceplane’s contrail was clearly visible from the ground as it soared through the upper atmosphere, to the cheers of the crowd below.
    At the apex of the climb with the rocket shut down, the crew then experienced a few minutes of microgravity, before the spaceplane shifted into re-entry mode, and began a gliding descent to a runway back at the spaceport.    The entire flight, from takeoff to landing, lasted about an hour.
    “I’ve dreamt of this since I was a kid, and nothing could prepare you for the view from space,” Branson told hundreds of cheering supporters from a stage outside Virgin Galactic’s Gateway to Space complex at the spaceport, before he and crewmates doused one another with champagne.
    The daredevil executive had previously broken world records with ocean-crossing exploits in hot-air balloons.
    Retired Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield pinned Virgin-produced astronaut wings onto the blue flight suits worn by Branson and his team.    Official wing pins from the Federal Aviation Administration would be presented at a later date, a company spokesman said.
HIGH-COST TICKETS
    Virgin has said it plans at least two further test flights of the spaceplane in the months ahead before beginning regular commercial operation in 2022.
    Several hundred wealthy would-be citizen astronauts have already booked reservations, priced at around $250,000 per ticket.
    The Swiss-based investment bank UBS has estimated the potential value of the space tourism market reaching $3 billion annually by 2030.
    Proving rocket travel safe for the public is key.
    An earlier prototype of the Virgin Galactic rocket plane crashed during a test flight over California’s Mojave Desert in 2014, killing one pilot and seriously injuring another.
SPACE RACE     His ride-along also upstaged rival astro-tourism venture Blue Origin and its founder, Bezos, in what has been popularized as the “billionaire space race.”
    Bezos has been planning to fly aboard his own suborbital rocketship, the New Shepard, later this month.
    Branson has insisted he and Bezos are friendly rivals and not engaged in a personal contest to beat one another into space.     Blue Origin, however, has disparaged Virgin Galactic as falling short of a true spaceflight experience, saying that unlike Unity, Bezos’s New Shepard tops the 62-mile-high-mark (100 km), called the Kármán line, set by an international aeronautics body as defining the boundary between Earth’s atmosphere and space.
    “New Shepard was designed to fly above the Kármán line so none of our astronauts have an asterisk next to their name,” Blue Origin said in a series of Twitter posts on Friday.
    However, U.S. space agency NASA and the U.S. Air Force both define an astronaut as anyone who has flown higher than 50 miles (80 km).
    A third player in the space race, Musk’s SpaceX, plans to send its first all-civilian crew (without Musk) into orbit in September, after having already launched numerous cargo payloads and astronauts to the International Space Station for NASA.
    The spaceplane’s two pilots were Dave Mackay and Michael Masucci.    The three other mission specialists were Beth Moses, the company’s chief astronaut instructor; Virgin Galactic’s lead operations engineer Colin Bennett; and Sirisha Bandla, a research operations and government affairs vice president.
(GRAPHIC: Virgin Galactic’s passenger spaceship – https://graphics.reuters.com/SPACE-EXPLORATION/VIRGINGALACTIC/xklpyxlkwvg/Virgin-galactic.jpg)
(Reporting by Steve Gorman; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Lisa Shumaker)

Billionaire Branson Soars To Space Aboard Virgin Galactic Flight

7/11/2021 Ore. Bootleg Fire Doubles In Size Since Friday by OAN Newsroom
Megan Kruse (R) and Jason Barber (L) take a break after igniting a burnout in the
Siskiyou National Forest August 4, 2002 in O’Brien, Oregon. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
    A task force from Northern Oregon has been deployed to assist with the Bootleg Fire that has grown nearly 77,000 acres.    According to the State Marshal’s Incident Management Team, the crew joined the multi-agency task force on Saturday after the fire doubled in size.
    The Bootleg Fire has continued to rage out of control, now threatening about 3,000 homes and vital electrical lines connected to the Oregon power grid.    Firefighters have been working around the clock to improve containment lines and provide structure protection.
    “This fire is burning extremely hot, it’s very, very dry and it’s end of September conditions right now and so we’re here in early July fighting a fire that would usually happen in September,” said Bryan Green, a firefighter on the Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue team.
    Fire authorities said the fire is moving unchecked across the western states as strong winds continue to push it northeast.

7/11/2021 Death Toll In Surfside Condo Collapse Continues To Rise by OAN Newsroom
Search and rescue workers oversee an excavator dig through the rubble of the collapsed 12-story
Champlain Towers South condo building in Surfside, Florida. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
    The death toll has continued to rise in the Surfside, Florida condo building collapse while the efforts of rescue crews have faced setbacks. Authorities in Florida announced a staggering increase in the death toll, which now stands at 90 people.    It is believed that more than 31 still remain unaccounted for.
    Mayor Daniella Levine Cava called Friday’s numbers “heartbreaking” after more bodies were discovered overnight.    This comes after the rescue operation transitioned into recovery efforts earlier this week.
    Officials announced search teams have been recovering victims quicker since the rest of the building was demolished.    Experts looking into the collapse stated there are a multitude of things that could have caused the collapse as they work to eliminate the possibilities one at a time.
    “Once we understand the trigger, we can be looking at how other things in the building, if they weren’t done perfectly in either design or construction, how they might have impacted it,” explained structural engineer Allyn Kilsheimer.    “Maybe something, if it would have been imperfect, part of the building wouldn’t have come down.    Maybe it didn’t make any difference at all.”
    Since the collapse last month, several Miami area buildings have been evacuated out of abundance of caution.    Officials cited possible structural weaknesses and the county has launched a review of all high-rises over five stories.
    Officials expressed gratitude for response teams around the world as well as teams from around the country who have assisted in what Levine-Cava calls “the largest ever non-hurricane emergency response effort” in the state’s history.    Cava also credited the diligent work of investigators in verifying all reports of those unaccounted for and working with the families to open missing persons reports.

7/11/2021 Penn State’s New Treatment Kills COVID With COVID by OAN Newsroom
Penn State University campus. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)
    Scientists from the Pennsylvania State University have developed a new treatment that allegedly reduces COVID-infections by 95 percent in 12 hours.    According to Penn State News, the new treatment uses a deficient version of COVID-19 that destroys the actual virus in infected patients.
    The scientists said they created the defective interfering virus in a lab, stating it replicates three times faster than the actual COVID-19 strain and suppresses the infection.    However, they added that further experiments are still needed before it can be promoted as an antiviral treatment.
    As a result, the actual COVID-19 virus becomes unable to reproduce and dies out under pressure by the immune system.    The new treatment is slated to be available as a one-time inoculation of COVID-infected patients.

7/11/2021 Virgin Galactic Completes Space Flight With Founder Richard Branson Onboard by OAN Newsroom
The Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo space plane Unity and mothership separate as they fly way above Spaceport America, near Truth
and Consequences, New Mexico on July 11, 2021 on the way to the cosmos. (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)
Virgin Galactic blasted into space with founder Richard Branson onboard for a 90 minute suborbital flight.    VSS Unity lifted off from the company’s launch site near Truth or Consequences, New Mexico on Sunday morning.
    The Virgin Galactic founder joined five company employees for Sunday’s test flight to demonstrate the safety and plausibility of an emerging commercial space marketplace.    The VMS Eve, the carrier mothership, soared to an altitude of more than 50 miles before releasing the space plane.br>     “I’ve done some really ridiculous things in my lifetime, but this is truly, truly ridiculous,” Branson explained.    “I wish that the whole world can experience this.    It’s the complete experience of a lifetime.”
    The flight crew had about three minutes of weightlessness before reentering the atmosphere for a spiral descent.    Branson wasn’t supposed to be onboard until later this summer, but the billionaire adventurer jumped on an earlier flight soon after Blue Origin’s Jeff Bezos announced his own spaceflight set for July 20.
    Virgin Galactic has plans for two more test flights this year before boarding paying customers.    So far, 700 people have purchased tickets with the company’s upcoming space tourism busses at $250,000 each.
    At the conclusion of today’s mission, Branson gave a ceremonial speech in which he welcomed the worldwide audience to a new dawn in space travel.

7/12/2021 Handful Of Cities Driving Urban Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Study by Emma Rumney and Isla Binnie
FILE PHOTO: A woman wearing a mask walks past buildings on a polluted day
in Handan, Hebei province, China January 12, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer
    LONDON/MADRID (Reuters) – Just 25 big cities – almost all of them in China – accounted for more than half of the climate-warming gases pumped out by a sample of 167 urban hubs around the world, an analysis of emissions trends showed on Monday.
    In per capita terms, however, emissions from cities in the richest parts of the world are still generally higher than those from urban centres in developing countries, researchers found in the study published in the Frontiers journal.
    The study compared greenhouse gas emissions reported by 167 cities in 53 countries, and found that 23 Chinese cities – among them Shanghai, Beijing and Handan – along with Moscow and Tokyo accounted for 52% of the total.
    It included more cities from China, India, the United states and the European Union because of their larger contribution to global emissions and significance to the climate debate.
    The findings highlighted the significant role cities play in reducing emissions, said study co-author Shaoqing Chen, an environmental scientist at Sun Yat-sen University in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou.
    “It is simple, logical,” he said.    “If you don’t act, eventually you will suffer from (climate change),” he said.
    Average global temperatures have already risen by more than 1 degree Celsius compared to the pre-industrial baseline and are still on track to exceed the 1.5-2 degree limit set by the Paris Agreement.
    Chen and other scientists cautioned, however, that some of the data available for use in their study was patchy, with some cities reporting numbers from as far back as 2005.
    A lack of consistency in how cities report emissions also makes comparisons tricky, they added.
‘LAST BIG PUSH’
    Research published in 2018 in the Environmental Research Letters journal analysed a much larger sample of 13,000 cities, big and small, finding 100 cities containing 11% of the world’s population drove 18% of its carbon footprint.
    Still, the new analysis “contributes to the growing literature and our understanding of urban emissions,” said Yale University Geography and Urban Science professor Karen Seto, who co-authored the 2018 paper.
    “It’s really difficult to compare apples to apples on city greenhouse gas emissions but you have to try, and the paper makes a pretty good effort,” added Dan Hoornweg, a professor at Ontario Tech University and former adviser to the World Bank on sustainable cities and climate change.
    Chen said the new analysis was the first to look at megacity emissions reduction targets and progress in cutting back.
    Sixty-eight of the cities – mostly in developed nations – had set absolute emissions reduction targets.
    But only 30 of the 42 cities where progress was tracked in the study had shown a reduction.    Most of them were in the United States and Europe.
    The analysis confirms scientists’ expectations that whereas in China, cities with high per capita emissions are generally major manufacturing hubs, those in developed nations with the highest per capita rates tend to have strong levels of consumption.
    While more developed economies in Europe and elsewhere can now grow without increasing emissions, the world is moving at different speeds, Hoornweg said.
    “They generated a tonne of emissions on the way to get there and China is in that stage now.    We know India is getting there at some point and the last big push in all of this will be Africa,” he said.
(Additional reporting by Kanupriya Kapoor in Singapore; Editing by Katy Daigle and Helen Popper)

7/12/2021 Possible Signs Of Life Found On Saturn’s Moon by OAN Newsroom
NASA shows the planet Saturn, as seen from the Cassini spacecraft. (AP Photo)
    Scientists find possible signs of life on Saturn’s moon Enceladus.    In a recent interview Dr. Brad Tucker, said NASA’s space probe Cassini found methane, a biproduct of life, emerging from a large sheet of ice.
    Dr. Tucker, a cosmologist from Australia National University, said the space probe Cassini was able to collect data from the cracks in the ice that shoot out gases like a geyser.
    “When the probes went through these plumes of gas, imagine like geysers shooting out of the cracks,” he explained.    “Not only did they detect hydrogen, they detected methane, which is shown to be in the latest study a potential strong by-product of life.    You know, think cows, think methane.”
    The cosmologist said the data shows it is “very likely that the plumes are habitable to earthlike microorganisms,” but further investigation will be required to test the hypothesis.    Dr. Tucker added that in future missions, they may be able to drill through the sheet of ice to look for other signs of life.

7/12/2021 President Trump: I Made Possible Private Sector Space Exploration by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump at the Makato, Minn. airport. (Jim Mone/ AP file)
    President Trump has taken credit for the latest plans to advance space tourism by prominent billionaires.    During an interview Sunday, the 45th president said his administration was focused on increasing the role of private sector in space exploration.
    Trump added the private sector could lease space ports from the U.S. government, which would generate billions of dollars in revenue.    He said the latest space flight of Richard Branson and similar plans by Jeff Bezos happened because of his policies.
    Trump said America is now leading in the space race again, thanks to him.
    “They were closed, or essentially closed for the most part.    So I said, hey look, if Elon wants to stand up a rocket, let him do it.    We’ll charge him some rent. Let him do it,” he explained.    “…We’re seeing advancement now that I don’t believe we would have ever seen had we done it the old-fashioned way.”
    Trump went on to add the U.S. government is also continuing its own space program with NASA, but the private sector is becoming more and more helpful.

7/13/2021 Virgin Galactic Giving Away 2 Free Tickets To Space In 2022 by OAN Newsroom
This photo provided by Virgin Galactic, shows the VSS Unity’s tail cone view from space on Sunday, July 11, 2021. Entrepreneur Richard Branson
and five crewmates from his Virgin Galactic space-tourism company reached an altitude of about 53 miles (88 kilometers) over
the New Mexico desert, enough to experience three to four minutes of weightlessness and see the curvature of the Earth. (Virgin Galactic via AP)
    Richard Branson’s space flight company Virgin Galactic is offering two free tickets to space for next year.    Just moments after returning back to Earth on Sunday, Branson announced he has teamed up with the charity fundraising platform Omaze to give away two tickets aboard the VSS Unity space plane.
    While the giveaway is free to enter, participants can get more raffle entries if they donate to the Space for Humanity Organization, which aims to make space travel more accessible for those of diverse racial, economic and disciplinary backgrounds.
    Space for Humanity is a not-for-profit that seeks to to expand access to space for all of humanity.    Donations can be made at spaceforhumanity.org/donate.    In the meantime, the contest is set to close on August 31.

7/14/2021 One Dead, Hundreds Evacuated In German Freak Floods
A flooded street is seen following heavy rainfalls in Hagen, Germany, July 14, 2021. REUTERS/Leon Kuegeler
    BERLIN (Reuters) – A fireman drowned and the army was deployed to help stranded residents on Wednesday after heavy rain triggered once-in-25-year floods in parts of western Germany, disrupting rail, road and river transport in Germany’s most populous region.
    The German Weather Service issued an extreme weather warning for parts of three western states, while Hagen, a city of 180,000, declared a state of emergency after the Volme river burst its banks.
    With Germans voting in September to choose a successor to Chancellor Angela Merkel, the extreme weather could heighten awareness of global warming, a topic with which the Greens, running second to Merkel’s conservatives, have so far failed to dominate the agenda.
    The city’s crisis team warned that water would reach levels seen not more than four times a century in coming hours and warned everyone who lived near the town’s rivers to move to higher ground immediately, public broadcaster WDR reported.
    “We see this kind of situation only in winter ordinarily,” Bernd Mehlig, an environment official from North Rhine-Westphalia, the most affected region, told WDR.    “Something like this, with this intensity, is completely unusual in summer.”
    Parts of Hagen were described as being isolated by high waters and all but inaccessible.    Soldiers had to be sent to clear some areas of the city.    Residents were also told to leave one district of regional capital Duesseldorf, a major business centre.
    One old people’s home in Hagen had to be evacuated, while across the region firemen were busy pumping out hundreds of cellars.    In one hospital, floodwaters caused lifts to fail.
    The fireman died when he lost his footing in floodwaters and was swept away, authorities told WDR.    Two men, aged 53 and 81, were missing elsewhere in the region.
    Armin Laschet, the premier of North Rhine-Westphalia and the conservatives’ candidate to succeed Merkel, was due to visit the region on Thursday.
(Reporting by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Sandra Maler)

7/15/2021 NASA warns ‘wobble’ in moon orbit to cause floods by Jordan Mendoza, USA TODAY
    Thanks to a “wobble” in the moon’s orbit and rising sea levels, every coast in the United States will face rapidly increasing high tides that will start “a decade of dramatic increases in flood numbers” in the 2030s.
    The conclusion, which was published in the Nature Climate Change journal by NASA Sea Level Change Science Team from the University of Hawaii, has to do with the moon’s orbit, which takes 18.6 years to complete, according to NASA.    For half of that period, Earth’s daily tides are suppressed with high tides at a low average and low tides happening at a higher rate. In the other half of the cycle, the opposite occurs.
    “High tides get higher, and low tides get lower.    Global sea-level rise pushes high tides in only one direction – higher.    So half of the 18.6-year lunar cycle counteracts the effect of sea-level rise on high tides, and the other half increases the effect,” NASA explains.
    The moon is in its tide-amplifying cycle right now, and there is no cause for concern of dramatic flooding given sea levels in the U.S. haven’t risen much.    However, when the moon returns to the tide-amplifying cycle, the seas will have had nearly a decade to rise.
    “The higher seas, amplified by the lunar cycle, will cause a leap in flood numbers on almost all U.S. mainland coastlines, Hawaii, and Guam.    Only far northern coastlines, including Alaska’s, will be spared for another decade or longer because these land areas are rising due to long-term geological processes,” NASA said Wednesday.
    How severe will the floods be? In 2019, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported more than 600 floods.     By the mid-2030s, scientists expect three to four times that amount.
    NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said the combination of the moon’s gravitation pull, which causes tides in the first place, and climate change are the reasons behind the expected flooding.
    “Low-lying areas near sea level are increasingly at risk and suffering due to the increased flooding, and it will only get worse,” Nelson said in the statement.
    The study also determined some floods could happen in clusters, meaning they may last more than a month.    Depending on the positioning of the moon, sun and Earth, cities may experience a flood in consecutive days or every other day.
    While the amount of flooding won’t be as much as a hurricane causes, having such frequent flooding can result in heavy economic damage.
    “If it floods 10 or 15 times a month, a business can’t keep operating with its parking lot underwater.    People lose their jobs because they can’t get to work. Seeping cesspools become a public health issue,” said Phil Thompson, an assistant professor at the University of Hawaii and lead author of the study.
    NASA hopes the release of its findings will help at-risk cities take measures to prevent too much damage.
    Rising sea levels already have made living on the coast risky. Some experts say it may have played a role in the catastrophic collapse of a condo building in Surfside, Florida.
In 2019, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported more than 600 floods. AP
[AS YOU READ FROM HERE ON THE EARTH HAD SOME VERY SEVERE FLOODS ESPECIALLY THE EUROPEAN NATIONS AND THE FAR EAST ESPECIALLY CHINA AND I THINK THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, ISSAC AND JACOB IS SENDING A MESSAGE TO EARTH JUST AS HE DID TO THE NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE ICE STORM IN TEXAS AND OTHER THINGS ARE STILL COMING AS THESE DAYS ARE LETTING US KNOW WHAT IS COMING SOON.]

7/15/2021 Thousands Of Dutch Urged To Leave Their Homes As Rivers Flood
A flooded street is seen following heavy rainfalls in Valkenburg, Netherlands, July 15, 2021. REUTERS/Piroschka Van De Wouw
    AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Thousands of people in the south of the Netherlands on Thursday were urged to leave their houses quickly to escape floods as rivers were on the brink of bursting their banks.
    Several towns and villages along the Meuse river in the province of Limburg strongly advised people to seek refuge until at least Friday afternoon, as there was a large chance that their home would be flooded in the coming hours.
    Water levels on the Meuse and the Rur reached record levels on Thursday, surpassing the levels that led to large floods in 1993 and 1995, local authorities said.
    In Valkenburg, in the far south of Limburg, close to the Belgian and German border, floods had already engulfed the town centre, forcing the evacuation of several nursing homes and destroying at least one bridge.
    Drone footage showed brown water coursing over car parks and parkland.    King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima visited Valkenburg on Thursday evening to show their support.
    Scores of houses have been flooded in the province, where hundreds of soldiers have been sent to help fight the rising waters.
    But with no casualties reported, the situation so far is much less severe than in neighbouring Germany where dozens of people have died and others were missing on Thursday as rivers burst their banks and swept away homes.
(Reporting by Bart Meijer; Editing by Alison Williams)

7/16/2021 Texas: Deaths up to 210 in snowstorm by Elinor Aspegren, USA TODAY
    The death toll from the February freeze in Texas and collapse of the statewide electric power grid rose this week as state officials added 59 deaths to the count.
    The toll, which rose from 151 to 210 deaths, could still change as more deaths are confirmed, the Texas Department of State Health Services said in a report.
    “The majority of confirmed deaths were associated with hypothermia,” the department said, and the deaths tallied so far occurred from Feb. 11 to March 5.
    Other deaths across 60 counties were blamed on carbon monoxide poisoning as freezing Texans sought warmth from cars parked in garages, from portable generators kept inside homes and from outdoor grills.
    Harris County, the state’s largest county and home to Houston, had the state’s highest toll, with 43 deaths.    Travis County followed with 28; Dallas saw 20.
    A winter storm in mid-February pummeled Texas, leaving millions without power in below-freezing temperatures.    Supermarket chains that remained open in past disasters shuttered in the face of power outages and impassable roads.
    Electric Reliability Council of Texas has been scrutinized in the wake of the collapse.
    “This was a total failure by ERCOT,” Gov. Greg Abbott told Houston’s KTRKTV in February.
    Epidemiologists investigate the causes of death and their links to the storm, the department said in its update.    Another update is expected next month before the department issues a final report, Douglas Loveday, a department spokesman, told The New York Times on Wednesday.
[THEY WANT TO BLAME IT ON THE STORM BUT THE TRUTH IS THE DEMOCRATS THAT APPROVED ONLY WIND MILLS AND SOLAR POWER DID NOT APPROVE A BACKUP SYSTEM WITH OIL-BASED GENERATORS SO THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THOSE 210 DEATHS AND IF I AM RIGHT I THINK GOD SENT AN ICE STORM INTO TEXAS WHICH HAS NEVER HAPPENED IN THAT STATE HISTORY JUST AS GOD SENT 10 PLAGUES INTO EGYPT TO TAKE DOWN EACH OF THE GODS OF EGPYTIAN PHAROAH AND HE WAS SO STUBBORN THAT IT TOOK THE DEATH OF HIS FIRST BORN SINCE THE GOD OF PTAH COULD NOT SAVE HIM THAT HE RELEASED THE ISRAELITES.].

7/16/2021 Further Flooding Feared In Western Germany With Death Toll Above 80 by Martin Schlicht and David Sahl
A destroyed road next to the Ahr river is seen on a flood-affected area following
heavy rainfalls in Schuld, Germany, on July 15, 2021. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay
    SCHULD/ERFTSTADT, Germany (Reuters) – Further flooding was feared in western Germany on Friday as a breach at another dam loomed and the death toll rose to more than 80 in what is Germany’s worst mass loss of life in years.
    Entire communities lay in ruins after swollen rivers swept through towns and villages in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate.
    “The suffering just keeps increasing,” Rhineland-Palatinate premier Malu Dreyer told broadcaster ZDF, adding that more than 50 people had died as a result of the floods in her state alone.
    Infrastructure has been destroyed completely, and rebuilding will cost a lot of time and money, she said.
    In neighbouring North Rhine-Westphalia, around 1,300 people were missing in the Ahrweiler district south of Cologne, the district government said on Facebook.
    Mobile phone networks have collapsed in some of the flood-stricken regions, which means that family and friends are unable to track down their loved ones.
    Further north, in Erftstadt near Cologne, houses collapsed on Friday morning and rescue crews were struggling to help residents who had returned to their homes despite warnings, the Cologne district government said on Facebook.
    It said many people were still in the houses and several were missing. A gas leak was further hampering rescue workers as they tried to reach stranded people by boat.
    Roads around Erftstadt were impassable as they were washed out in the floods.
    One dam close to the Belgian border, the Rurtalsperre, was flooded overnight while another, the Steinbachtalsperre between Ahrweiler and Erftstadt, was unstable.    Several dams in parts of the country have already burst.
    The death toll is the highest of any natural catastrophe in Germany since a deadly North Sea flood in 1962 that killed around 340 people.    The crash of a high-speed ICE train in 1998 killed 101 people.
    Floods at the Elbe river in 2002, which at the time were billed by media “once-in-a-century floods,” killed 21 people in eastern Germany and more than 100 across the wider central European region.
    The North Rhine-Westphalia parliament will hold an emergency meeting on the floods on Friday.
    German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer told magazine Spiegel that the federal government aimed to provide financial support for the affected regions as quickly as possible, adding a package of measures should go to the cabinet for approval on Wednesday. (Reporting by Kirsti Knolle, Maria Sheahan; Editing by Riham Alkousaa and Philippa Fletcher)

7/16/2021 At Least 44 Dead, Dozens Missing As Floods Sweep Through Western Europe by Wolfgang Rattay and David Sahl
German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz visits a damaged area following heavy rainfalls
in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, Germany, July 15, 2021. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay
    SCHULD, Germany (Reuters) – At least 42 people have died in Germany and dozens were missing on Thursday as swollen rivers caused by record rainfall across western Europe swept through towns and villages, leaving cars upended, houses destroyed and people stranded on rooftops.
    As the water started to recede, stunned residents in the worst affected towns inspected what was left of their homes and neighbourhoods.
    In the town of Schuld, houses were reduced to piles of debris and broken beams.    Roads were blocked by wreckage and fallen trees and fish flapped and gasped on puddles of water in the middle of the street.
    “We have had two or three days of constant rain.    Or maybe four, I lost track,” said Klaus Radermacher, who has been living in Schuld for 60 years.
    “I saw the pizza store getting flooded, half an hour later the bakery was flooded.    There is a camping ground up there, so caravans and campervans came floating past, gas tanks.    We were powerless against it.    It came so fast, I’ve never seen anything like it.”
    Eighteen people died and dozens were unaccounted for around the wine-growing region of Ahrweiler, in Rhineland-Palatinate state, police said, after the Ahr river that flows into the Rhine broke its banks and brought down half a dozen houses.
    Another 15 people died in the Euskirchen region south of the city of Bonn, authorities said. People in the region were asked to evacuate their homes and emergency workers were pumping water from a dam south of Euskirchen town, fearing it could burst.
    In Belgium, two men died due to the torrential rain and a 15-year-old girl was missing after being swept away by an overflowing river.
    Hundreds of soldiers and 2,500 relief workers were helping police with rescue efforts in Germany.    Tanks were deployed to clear roads of landslides and fallen trees and helicopters winched those stranded on rooftops to safety.
    Around 200,000 households lost power due to the floods.
‘NATURE HITTING OUT’
    In Ahrweiler, two wrecked cars were propped steeply against either side of the town’s stone gate and locals used snow shovels and brooms to sweep mud from their homes and shops after the floodwaters receded.
    “I was totally surprised.    I had thought that water would come in here one day, but nothing like this,” said resident Michael Ahrend.    “This isn’t a war – it’s simply nature hitting out.    Finally, we should start paying attention to it.”
    The floods have caused Germany’s worst mass loss of life in years.    Flooding in 2002 killed 21 people in eastern Germany and more than 100 across the wider central European region.
    Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed her dismay and vowed to help the affected communities rebuild.
    “I tell those affected: we will not leave you alone in those difficult and scary times,” she said during a news conference at the White House alongside U.S. President Joe Biden, who expressed his condolences to the victims.    “We will also help with reconstruction.”
    In Washington for a farewell visit before she steps down following a federal election in September, Merkel said weather extremes were becoming more frequent which required action to counter global warming.
    Pope Francis also extended his condolences to the victims and their families.
    Armin Laschet, the conservative candidate to succeed Merkel as chancellor and premier of the hard-hit state of North Rhine-Westphalia, blamed the extreme weather on global warming.
    “We will be faced with such events over and over, and that means we need to speed up climate protection measures, on European, federal and global levels, because climate change isn’t confined to one state,” he said during a visit to the area.
    Climate and the environment are central themes in the election campaign, in which Laschet is going head-to-head with Social Democrat candidate Olaf Scholz and Annalena Baerbock of the Greens.
POWER OUTAGE
    In Belgium, around 10 houses collapsed in Pepinster after the river Vesdre flooded the eastern town and residents were evacuated from more than 1,000 homes.
    The rain also caused severe disruption to public transport, with high-speed Thalys train services to Germany cancelled.    Traffic on the river Meuse is also suspended as the major Belgian waterway threatened to breach its banks.
    Downstream in the Netherlands, flooding rivers damaged many houses in the southern province of Limburg, where several care homes were evacuated.
    In addition to the fatalities in the Euskirchen region, another nine people, including two firefighters, died elsewhere in North Rhine-Westphalia.
    Further down the Rhine river, the heaviest rainfall ever measured over 24 hours caused flooding in cities including Cologne and Hagen, while in Leverkusen 400 people had to be evacuated from a hospital.
    In Wuppertal, known for its overhead railway, locals said their cellars had been flooded and power cut off.    “I can’t even guess at how much the damage will be,” said Karl-Heinz Sammann, owner of the Kitchen Club discotheque.
    Weather experts said that rain in the region over the past 24 hours had been unprecedented, as a near-stationary low-pressure weather system also caused sustained local downpours to the west in France, Belgium and the Netherlands.
(Additional reporting by Riham Alkousaa, Matthias Inverardi, Andrea Shalal in Washington, Bart Meijer in Amsterdam and Phil Blenkinsop in Brussels, Philip Pullella in Rome; Writing by Emma Thomasson, Douglas Busvine and Joseph Nasr; Editing by Alex Richardson and Richard Pullin)

7/17/2021 Death Toll Rises To 170 In Germany And Belgium Floods by Petra Wischgoll and David Sahl
Members of the Bundeswehr forces, surrounded by partially submerged cars, wade through the flood water
following heavy rainfalls in Erftstadt-Blessem, Germany, July 17, 2021. REUTERS/Thilo Schmuelgen
    ERFTSTADT, Germany/WASSENBERG, Germany (Reuters) - The death toll in devastating flooding in western Germany and Belgium rose to at least 170 on Saturday after burst rivers and flash floods this week collapsed houses and ripped up roads and power lines.
    Some 143 people died in the flooding in Germany’s worst natural disaster in more than half a century. That included about 98 in the Ahrweiler district south of Cologne, according to police.
    Hundreds of people were still missing or unreachable as several areas were inaccessible due to high water levels while communication in some places was still down.
    Residents and business owners struggled to pick up the pieces in battered towns.
    “Everything is completely destroyed.    You don’t recognise the scenery,” said Michael Lang, owner of a wine shop in the town of Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler in Ahrweiler, fighting back tears.
    German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier visited Erftstadt in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, where the disaster killed at least 45 people.
    “We mourn with those that have lost friends, acquaintances, family members,” he said.    “Their fate is ripping our hearts apart.”
    Around 700 residents were evacuated late on Friday after a dam broke in the town of Wassenberg near Cologne, authorities said.
    But Wassenberg mayor Marcel Maurer said water levels had been stabilising since the night.    “It’s too early to give the all-clear but we are cautiously optimistic,” he said.
    The Steinbachtal dam in western Germany, however, remained at risk of breaching, authorities said after some 4,500 people were evacuated from homes downstream.
    Steinmeier said it would take weeks before the full damage, expected to require several billions of euros in reconstruction funds, could be assessed.
    Armin Laschet, state premier of North Rhine-Westphalia and the ruling CDU party’s candidate in September’s general election, said he would speak to Finance Minister Olaf Scholz in the coming days about financial support.
    Chancellor Angela Merkel was expected to travel on Sunday to Rhineland Palatinate, the state that is home to the devastated village of Schuld.
    In Belgium, the death toll rose to 27, according to the national crisis centre, which is coordinating the relief operation there.
    It added that 103 people were “missing or unreachable.”    Some were likely unreachable because they could not recharge mobile phones or were in hospital without identity papers, the centre said.
COMMUNITIES CUT OFF
    Over the past several days the floods, which have mostly hit the German states of Rhineland Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia and eastern Belgium, have cut off entire communities from power and communications.
    RWE, Germany’s largest power producer, said on Saturday its opencast mine in Inden and the Weisweiler coal-fired power plant were massively affected, adding that the plant was running at lower capacity after the situation stabilised.
    In the southern Belgian provinces of Luxembourg and Namur, authorities rushed to supply drinking water to households.
    Flood water levels slowly fell in the worst hit parts of Belgium, allowing residents to sort through damaged possessions.    Prime Minister Alexander De Croo and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen visited some areas on Saturday afternoon.
    Belgian rail network operator Infrabel published plans of repairs to lines, some of which would be back in service only at the very end of August.
HIGH ALERT IN THE NETHERLANDS
    Emergency services in the Netherlands also remained on high alert as overflowing rivers threatened towns and villages throughout the southern province of Limburg.
    Tens of thousands of residents in the region have been evacuated in the past two days, while soldiers, fire brigades and volunteers worked frantically throughout Friday night to enforce dykes and prevent flooding.
    The Dutch have so far escaped disaster on the scale of its neighbours, and as of Saturday morning no casualties had been reported.
    Scientists have long said that climate change will lead to heavier downpours.    But determining its role in these relentless rainfalls will take at least several weeks to research, scientists said on Friday.
(Reporting by Petra Wischgoll and Leon Kuegeler in Erftstadt, David Sahl in Wassenberg, Matthias Inverardi in Duesseldorf, Philip Blenkinsop in Brussels, Christoph Steitz in Frankfurt and Bart Meijer in Amsterdam Editing by Frances Kerry)

7/17/2021 As Floods Hit Western Europe, Scientists Say Climate Change Hikes Heavy Rain by Isla Binnie and Kate Abnett
A general view following heavy rainfalls in Schuld, Germany, July 16, 2021. REUTERS/Martin Schlicht
    MADRID/BRUSSELS (Reuters) -The extreme rainfall causing deadly flooding across western Germany and Belgium has been so alarming, many across Europe are asking if climate change is to blame.
    Scientists have long said that climate change will lead to heavier downpours.    But determining its role in last week’s relentless downpours will take at least several weeks to research, scientists said on Friday.
    “Floods always happen, and they are like random events, like rolling the dice.    But we’ve changed the odds on rolling the dice,” said Ralf Toumi, a climate scientist at Imperial College London.
    Since the rainfall began, water has burst riverbanks and cascaded through communities, toppling telephone towers and tearing down homes along its path.    At least 157 people have been killed and hundreds more were missing as of Saturday.
    The deluge shocked many.    German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the floods a catastrophe, and vowed to support those affected through these “difficult and scary times.”     In general the rising average global temperature – now about 1.2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial average – makes heavy rainfall more likely, according to scientists.
    Warmer air holds more moisture, which means more water will be released eventually.    More than 15 centimetres (6 inches) of rain soaked the German city of Cologne on Tuesday and Wednesday.
    “When we have this heavy rainfall, then the atmosphere is almost like a sponge – you squeeze a sponge and the water flows out,” said Johannes Quaas, professor of Theoretical Meteorology at Leipzig University.
    A 1-degree rise in average global temperature increases the atmosphere’s capacity to hold water by 7%, climate scientists have said, raising the chance of heavy rainfall events.
    Other factors including local geography and air pressure systems also determine how specific areas are affected.
    Geert Jan van Oldenborgh of World Weather Attribution, an international scientific network that analyses how climate change might have contributed to specific weather events, said he expected it could take weeks to determine a link between the rains and climate change.
    “We’re quick, but we’re not that quick,” said van Oldenborgh, a climate scientist at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute.
    Early observations suggest the rains might have been encouraged by a low-pressure system parked over western Europe for days, at it was blocked from moving on by high pressure to the east and north.
    HAPPENING SO QUICKLY
    The floods follow just weeks after a record-breaking heatwave killed hundreds of people in Canada and the United States.    Scientists have since said that extreme heat would have been “virtually impossible” without climate change, which had made such an event at least 150 times more likely to occur.
    Europe also has been unusually hot.    The Finnish capital of Helsinki, for example, just had its most scorching June on record since 1844. {nL2N2OL1IV]
    This week’s rains have smashed rainfall and river-level records in areas of western Europe.
    Though researchers have been predicting weather disruption from climate change for decades, some say the speed with which these extremes are hitting has taken them by surprise.
    “I am scared that it seems to be happening so quickly,” said Hayley Fowler, a hydroclimatologist at Newcastle University in Britain, noting the “seriously record-breaking events all over the world, within weeks of each other.”
    Others said the rainfall was not such a surprise, but that the high death toll suggested areas lacked effective warning and evacuation systems to cope with extreme weather events.
    “Rainfall doesn’t equal disaster,” said Imperial College London’s Toumi.    “What’s really disturbing is the number of fatalities.    … It’s a wake-up call.”
    The European Union this week proposed a raft of climate policies aimed at slashing the bloc’s planet-warming emissions by 2030.
    Slashing emissions is crucial for slowing climate change, said Stefan Rahmstorf, an oceanographer and climate scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.
    “We have already a warmer world with melting ice, rising seas, more extreme weather events.    That will be with us and with the next generations,” Rahmstorf said.    “But we can still prevent it from getting much worse.”
(Reporting by Isla Binnie in Madrid and Kate Abnett in Brussels; Additional reporting by Thomas Escritt in Berlin; Editing by Katy Daigle and Richard Chang)

7/17/2021 Dutch Remain On High Alert For Flooding Of Swollen Rivers
FILE PHOTO: A caravan floats down the river Meuse, also known as Maas, as it continues
to rise, in Venlo, Netherlands, July 16, 2021. REUTERS/Eva Plevier
    AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Emergency services in the Netherlands remained on high alert on Saturday as overflowing rivers threatened towns and villages throughout the southern province of Limburg.
    Tens of thousands of residents in the region have been evacuated in the past two days, while soldiers, fire brigades and volunteers worked frantically throughout Friday night to enforce dykes and prevent flooding.
    Flooding in neighbouring Germany after massive rainfall this week has killed at least 133 people, while at least 20 have died in Belgium.
    The Dutch have so far escaped disaster on that scale, and as of Saturday morning no casualties had been reported.
    But the rising waters have left a path of destruction across the region and the situation remains critical, local authorities said.
    Water levels in rivers around major cities such as Venlo and Roermond reached record levels early on Saturday and were not expected to drop before late on Sunday, the authorities said.    That is threatening to saturate dykes and other water protections.
    Many streets in and around Roermond have flooded, news agency ANP reported.
    The high waters, fed by the rainfall in Germany and Belgium, will flow through the Netherlands in the coming days towards the North Sea on the western coast of the country.
    Protection along the Rhine and Meuse rivers in regions upstream is generally expected to hold, but experts warned that the current situation remained very difficult to predict.
(Reporting by Bart Meijer; Editing by Frances Kerry)

7/17/2021 German Floods Kill At Least 133, Search For Survivors Continues
FILE PHOTO: A street is flooded following heavy rainfalls in
Erftstadt, Germany, July 16, 2021. REUTERS/Thilo Schmuelgen
    FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Rescue workers searched flood-ravaged parts of western Germany for survivors on Saturday as water levels remained high in many towns and houses continued to collapse in the country’s worst natural disaster in half a century.
    At least 133 people have died in the flooding, including some 90 people in the Ahrweiler district south of Cologne, according to police estimates on Saturday. Hundreds of people are still missing.
    Around 700 residents were evacuated late on Friday after a dam broke in the town of Wassenberg near Cologne, authorities said.
    Over the past several days the floods, which have mostly hit the states of Rhineland Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia, have cut off entire communities from power and communications.
    The flooding has also hit parts of Belgium and the Netherlands.    At least 20 people have died in Belgium.
    German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Armin Laschet, state premier of North Rhine-Westphalia, were scheduled to visit Erftstadt, one of the hardest hit towns, on Saturday.
    Laschet is ruling CDU party’s candidate in September’s general election.    The devastation of the floods could intensify the debate over climate change ahead of the vote.
    Scientists have long said that climate change will lead to heavier downpours.    But determining its role in these relentless downpours will take at least several weeks to research, scientists said on Friday.
(Reporting by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Frances Kerry)

7/17/2021 Belgium Sets Day Of Mourning As Flood Deaths Hit 20 by Bart Biesemans
A damaged vehicle is seen in the river, following heavy rainfalls in
Verviers, Belgium, July 16, 2021. REUTERS/Yves Herman
    TROOZ, Belgium (Reuters) - Belgium declared a national day of mourning next week as the death toll from burst rivers and flash floods in the south and east of the country rose to 20 on Friday, with another 20 people missing.
    “What should have been beautiful summer days suddenly turned into dark and extremely sad days for our fellow citizens,” Prime Minister Alexander De Croo told a news conference.    “These are exceptional circumstances that our country has not seen before.”
    A week of rain finally came to an end after reaching levels in some places normally expected once in 200 years.    But several communities across parts of Belgium were nervously watching as the river Meuse, which flows through the city of Liege in eastern Belgium, continued to rise and threatened to overflow.
    Others were trying come to terms with disaster.
    “We did work, we renovated everything, we’re losing everything we’ve got.    Now we have to start from zero and work at it little by little to put it back in order,” said Sylvia Calvo Lorente, 33, surveying damage in her home in the small town of Trooz near Liege.
    In the eastern town of Verviers, the swollen river was still rushing through neighbouring streets, where people gingerly tried to salvage ruined shops, homes and cars.
    “We made it through COVID, we were hoping we’d get back on our feet and now look!” a shopkeeper said through tears in a pause from his work.
    Several towns and villages were submerged, including Pepinster near Liege, where around 10 houses collapsed.    Belgium’s king and queen visited the town on Friday, wading through flooded streets.
    The government set next Tuesday as a day of mourning and decided to tone down festivities for Belgian National Day the day after.
    Interior minister Annelies Verlinden said 20 people had lost their lives, with a further 20 missing.
    The crisis centre, which is coordinating rescue efforts, urged people in the affected areas to avoid all travel.
    Belgium has called on the European Union’s civil protection mechanism, resulting in contributions from France, Austria and Italy, principally boats, helicopters and rescue personnel.
    It also received help from Luxembourg and the Netherlands, despite these countries also suffering from flooding.    More than 250 foreigners, including helicopter pilots and divers, have come to aid the search.
    Over 20,000 people in the southern region Wallonia were without electricity. Others lacked clean water.    Large parts of the rail network in southern Belgium were unusable, with certain sections of track swept away.
(Additional reporting and writing by Philip Blenkinsop; editing by Philippa Fletcher)

7/18/2021 Study:7% of genome unique to modern humans by Christina Larson ASSOCIATED PRESS
    WASHINGTON – What makes humans unique?    Scientists have taken another step toward solving an enduring mystery with a new tool that may allow for more precise comparisons between the DNA of modern humans and that of our extinct ancestors.
    Just 7% of our genome is uniquely shared with other humans, and not shared by other early ancestors, according to a study published Friday in the journal Science Advances.
    'That’s a pretty small percentage,' said Nathan Schaefer, a University of California computational biologist and co-author of the new paper.    'This kind of finding is why scientists are turning away from thinking that we humans are so vastly different from Neanderthals.'
    The research draws upon DNA extracted from fossil remains of now-extinct Neanderthals and Denisovans dating back to around 40,000 or 50,000 years ago, as well as from 279 modern people from around the world.
    Scientists already know that modern people share some DNA with Neanderthals, but different people share different parts of the genome.    One goal of the new research was to identify the genes that are exclusive to modern humans.
    It’s a difficult statistical problem, and the researchers 'developed a valuable tool that takes account of missing data in the ancient genomes,' said John Hawks, a paleoanthropologist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, who was not involved in the research.
    The researchers also found that an even smaller fraction of our genome – just 1.5% – is both unique to our species and shared among all people alive today. Those slivers of DNA may hold the most significant clues as to what truly distinguishes modern human beings.
    'We can tell those regions of the genome are highly enriched for genes that have to do with neural development and brain function,' said University of California, Santa Cruz computational biologist Richard Green, a co-author of the paper.
    In 2010, Green helped produce the first draft sequence of a Neanderthal genome.    Four years later, geneticist Joshua Akey co-authored a paper showing that modern humans carry some remnants of Neanderthal DNA.    Since then, scientists have continued to refine techniques to extract and analyze genetic material from fossils.
According to a study published Friday in the journal Science Advances, just 7% of our genome is uniquely shared
with other humans, and not shared by other early ancestors, such as Neanderthals. Frank Franklin II/AP file
[ITS ABOUT TIME THAT SOMEONE IS PROVING THAT MODERN HUMANS WAS CREATED WITH A SOUL "BREATH OF LIFE" BY THE GOD OF GENESIS 2 KNOWN AS YAHWEH WHO REPRESENTS MANKIND IN THE ADAM TO ABRAHAM, ISAAC AND JACOB LINE AS IT IS WRITEN IN GENESIS WHERE THE ELOHIM DID THAT IN GENESIS 1 CREATED THEIR MAN THAT DID NOT GET THE "BREATH OF LIFE".].

7/18/2021 Bavaria Hit By Floods As German Death Toll Climbs To 156
Debris covers residential area following heavy rainfalls in Dernau, Germany, July 17, 2021. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay
    FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Flash floods hit southern Germany on Sunday, killing at least one person and adding to the devastation after flooding in the country this week that killed more than 150 people.
    Berchtesgadener Land district in Bavaria, which borders Austria, became the latest region to be hit by record rainfall and ensuing floods.
    Sunday’s death brought the death toll to 156 in the country’s worst natural disaster in almost six decades.
    Some 110 people were killed in the worst-hit Ahrweiler district south of Cologne.    More bodies are expected to be found as the flood waters recede, according to police.
    Over the past several days the floods, which have mostly hit the states of Rhineland Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia, have cut off entire communities from power and communications.    In North Rhine-Westphalia at least 45 were killed.
    Finance Minister Olaf Scholz told weekly Bild am Sonntag that the government would be readying more than 300 million euros ($354 million) in immediate relief and billions of euros to fix collapsed houses, streets and bridges.
    Scientists have long said that climate change will lead to heavier downpours.    But determining its role in these relentless rainfalls will take at least several weeks to research, scientists said on Friday.
($1 = 0.8471 euros)
(Reporting by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Frances Kerry)

7/18/2021 Landslides Kill At Least 25 In Mumbai After Heavy Rains by Shilpa Jamkhandikar and Rajendra Jadhav
Rescue workers remove debris as they search for survivors after a residential house collapsed due
to landslide caused by heavy rainfall in Mumbai, India, July 18, 2021. REUTERS/Niharika Kulkarni
    MUMBAI (Reuters) -At least 25 people died in three Mumbai suburbs when several houses collapsed after landslides triggered by heavy rain, local officials said on Sunday.
    Rescuers were seen using their hands to dig up the ground and retrieve bodies, local television showed, and authorities said more victims could be trapped inside the debris.    Rescuers were also shown carrying the injured through narrow lanes on makeshift stretchers.
    Within the last 24 hours authorities have so far reported 11 incidents of houses or walls collapsing in the Mumbai area, officials said.
    In one neighbourhood about half a dozen shacks located at the base of a hill collapsed on top of each other, officials said.
    Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered condolences in a tweet and announced aid for the victims.
    Several areas in the city were flooded after heavy rainfall over the last 24 hours and suburban train services were disrupted, crippling India’s financial capital.
    Mumbai and the coast of India’s industrial Maharashtra state are expected to receive heavy to very heavy rainfall in the next four days, the weather department said on Sunday.
    Torrential rain, especially during India’s July-September monsoon, often triggers the collapse of buildings, especially older or illegally built structures.
(Reporting by Shilpa Jamkhandikar, Rajendra Jadhav and Neha Arora; Editing by Sam Holmes and Edmund Klamann)

7/18/2021 Germany’s Floods Cover Livelihoods In Sludge by Hakan Erdem and Frank Simon
A general view of Altenburg following heavy rainfalls in the region, Germany, July 17, 2021. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay
    BAD NEUENAHR-AHRWEILER, Germany (Reuters) – Business owners in a town badly hit by the record flooding in Germany struggled on Saturday to pick up the pieces after their livelihoods – from old books to wine – were swept away or caked in sludge.
    Mud still filled the streets of Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, nestled in the Ahrweiler district where at least 98 people were killed.
    “Everything is completely destroyed.    You don’t recognise the scenery,” said Michael Lang, owner of the Ahrweindepot wine shop, fighting back tears.
    cannot imagine the change that has taken place in the countryside,” he added, standing in front of the remnants of his store in the town’s historic centre.    “The interior, the wine bottles, the decoration, it’s all ruined.”
    Up the road, Wolfgang Huste was trying desperately to save what was left of his antiquarian bookshop, which was founded in 1988.
    “I’ve been an antiquarian, an art dealer and auctioneer for 33 years and there are books that don’t make the heart bleed that much.    But we have books from 1510, 1520,” he said, his shoes and books covered in thick layers of sludge.
    “We have books that are irreplaceable.”
    The floods have so far claimed at least 165 lives in western Germany and Belgium and as waters recede, authorities expect to find more victims.
    The floods – Germany’s worst natural disaster in more than half a century – turned houses into rubble and cut power and communications in some regions.
    Huste, too, barely made it.
    “Had I waited just another minute I would have drowned,” he said of escaping the flood waters.    “Corpses were swept down the road, two adults, one kid, they couldn’t save themselves.”
(Writing by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Frances Kerry)

7/18/2021 Bezos And Crewmates Prepare For Inaugural Blue Origin Space Flight by Eric M. Johnson
FILE PHOTO: Amazon and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos addresses the media about the New Shepard rocket booster and Crew Capsule mockup
at the 33rd Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States April 5, 2017. REUTERS/Isaiah J. Downing/File Photo
    (Reuters) – Billionaire American businessman Jeff Bezos and his three crewmates are engaging in a crash course of training on Sunday in preparation for his company Blue Origin’s inaugural flight to the edge of space planned for Tuesday.
    The suborbital launch from a site in the high desert plains of West Texas marks a crucial test for Blue Origin’s New Shepard spacecraft, a 60-foot-tall (18.3 meters) and fully autonomous rocket-and-capsule combo that is central to plans by Bezos to tap a potentially lucrative space tourism market.
    The planned 11-minute trip from the company’s Launch Site One facility is set to include the oldest person ever to go to space – 82-year-old trailblazing female aviator Wally Funk – and the youngest – 18-year-old physics student Oliver Daemen https://www.reuters.com/article/us-space-exploration-blueorigin/teenager-to-fly-with-bezos-in-inaugural-space-tourism-flight-idUSKBN2EL1ZJ?feedType=RSS&feedName=technologyNews.    Joining them for Blue Origin’s launch will be Bezos, the founder and current executive chairman https://www.reuters.com/business/media-telecom/whats-next-amazons-bezos-look-his-instagram-2021-07-03 of Amazon.com Inc, and his brother Mark Bezos.
    The mission https://www.blueorigin.com/news-archive/first-human-flight-updates would represent the world’s first unpiloted flight to space with an all-civilian crew.    Blue Origin will have none of its staff astronauts https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/bezos-blue-origin-make-history-with-unpiloted-civilian-space-flight-2021-07-14 or trained personnel onboard.
    New Shepard is due to launch nine days after rival Richard Branson’s space tourism company, Virgin Galactic, successfully carried out a suborbital flight https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/science/virgin-galactics-branson-ready-space-launch-aboard-rocket-plane-2021-07-11 from New Mexico with the British billionaire inside its rocket plane.
    Blue Origin’s training program, according to the company, includes safety briefings, a simulation of the spaceflight, a review of the rocket and its operations, and instruction on how to float around the craft’s cabin after the capsule sheds Earth’s gravity.
    The training “will help you feel comfortable and prepared for spaceflight and your responsibilities as an astronaut,” Blue Origin said in material describing the sessions.
    New Shepard, which cannot be piloted from inside the spacecraft, is named for Alan Shepard, who in 1961 became the first American in space during a suborbital flight as part of NASA’s pioneering Mercury program.
    New Shepard, like Virgin Galactic’s flight, will not enter into orbit around Earth, but will take the crew some 62 miles up (100 km) before the capsule returns by parachute.    Virgin Galactic’s flight reached 53 miles (86 km) above Earth.
    Billionaire businessman Elon Musk’s space transportation company, SpaceX, is pledging to go even higher in September, sending an all-civilian crew for a several-day orbital flight aboard its Crew Dragon capsule.
    Illustrating tensions in the high-stakes “billionaire space race,” Blue Origin has described Virgin Galactic as falling short of the 62-mile-high-mark (100 km) – called the Kármán line – set by an international aeronautics body as defining the boundary between Earth’s atmosphere and space.
    The U.S. space agency NASA and the U.S. Air Force both define an astronaut as anyone who has flown higher than 50 miles (80 km), as Branson achieved with his flight.
(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Will Dunham)

7/18/2021 Tamarack Fire Scorches More Than 21,000 Acres In Calif. by OAN Newsroom
Firefighters battle the Tamarack Fire in the Markleeville community of Alpine County,
Calif., on Saturday, July 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
    A fast-moving wildfire has scorched more than 21,000 acres in the Golden State.    National Forest officials reported the Tamarack Fire, south of Lake Tahoe, rapidly grew over the weekend with erratic winds and thunderstorms predicted in the area on Sunday.
    Authorities stated more than 500 personnel have been battling the blaze, which is zero percent contained.    Dangerous wildfire weather forced several evacuations.
    “They gave us about 20 minutes notice. It looked like they said the fire was like 5 or 6 miles away,” explained Duana Boucher, Markleeville resident.    “About an hour later, it was right on us.    They didn’t give us any time at all.”
    The blaze was sparked by lightening on July 4 and has destroyed three structures so far.

7/19/2021 Ore. Bootleg Fire Surpasses 300K Acres, Forecasters Predict Gusty Winds, Low Humidity Ahead by OAN Newsroom
In this photo provided by the Bootleg Fire Incident Command, the Bootleg Fire burns at night near Highway 34
in southern Oregon on Thursday, July 15, 2021. (Jason Pettigrew/Bootleg Fire Incident Command via AP)
    The Bootleg Fire in Oregon has torched more than 300,000 acres.    According to fire officials, the blaze is around 25 percent contained as more than 2,000 personnel are working on the frontlines.
    Authorities said red flag weather conditions hurt firefighting efforts on Saturday as gusty winds and low humidity continued to fuel the blaze.    The wildfire is large and quickly progressing. Officials noted evacuation orders are rapidly changing due to the nature of the fire.
    “Weather’s really against us; it’s gonna be hot, it’s gonna be dry and air’s gonna be unstable which just helps the heat raise faster,” stated John Flannigan, Operations Section Chief.    “All things that are negative for firefighters and positive for fire, so it’s gonna be a real battle today.”
    Oregon’s Bootleg Fire is just one of several burning across the Western United States.    Local authorities are urging residents to evacuate their homes and travel to safety.

7/19/2021 Some 170 Still Missing Around Koblenz, Victim Numbers Set To Rise – Police
Members of the Bundeswehr forces work in an area affected by floods caused by
heavy rainfalls in Schuld, Germany, July 19, 2021. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay
    BERLIN (Reuters) – Some 170 people are still listed as missing the area of western Germany hardest hit by deadly flooding, Koblenz deputy police chief Juergen Sues said on Monday, adding the number of victims would surely rise.
    Criminal police chief Stefan Heinz added that he expected many bodies were in places the police had not yet reached or where flood waters had still not receded from.
    “The focus of our work is on giving certainty as soon as possible,” Heinz told a news conference.    “And that includes identifying the victims.”
(Reporting by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Douglas Busvine)

7/20/2021 Jeff Bezos, World’s Richest Man, Set For Inaugural Space Voyage by Eric M. Johnson
FILE PHOTO: Jeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin and CEO of Amazon, speaks about the future plans of Blue Origin during an
address to attendees at Access Intelligence's SATELLITE 2017 conference in Washington, U.S., March 7, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
    VAN HORN, Texas (Reuters) -Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest person, is set on Tuesday to blast off aboard his company Blue Origin’s New Shepard https://graphics.reuters.com/SPACE-EXPLORATION/BLUEORIGIN/jbyprzzympe/blue-origin.jpg launch vehicle for a suborbital flight as part of a history-making crew – another milestone in ushering in a new era of private space travel.
    The American billionaire is due to fly from a desert site in West Texas on an 11-minute voyage to the edge of space, nine days after Briton Richard Branson was aboard his competing space tourism company Virgin Galactic’s successful inaugural suborbital flight https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/science/virgin-galactics-branson-ready-space-launch-aboard-rocket-plane-2021-07-11 from New Mexico.
    Branson got to space first, but Bezos is due to fly higher – 62 miles (100 km) for Blue Origin compared to 53 miles (86 km) for Virgin Galactic – in what experts call the world’s first https://www.blueorigin.com/news-archive/first-human-flight-updates unpiloted space flight with an all-civilian crew.
    Bezos, founder of ecommerce juggernaut Amazon.com Inc, and his brother and private equity executive Mark Bezos will be joined in the flight by two others.    Pioneering female aviator Wally Funk https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/science/trailblazing-female-pilot-will-go-space-age-82-with-jeff-bezos-2021-07-01, 82, and recent high school graduate Oliver Daemen https://www.reuters.com/article/us-space-exploration-blueorigin/teenager-to-fly-with-bezos-in-inaugural-space-tourism-flight-idUSKBN2EL1ZJ?feedType=RSS&feedName=technologyNews, 18, are set to become the oldest and youngest people to reach space.
    “I am excited, but not anxious.    We’ll see how I feel when I’m strapped into my seat,” Bezos said in an interview with Fox Business Network on Monday.    “… We’re ready.    The vehicle’s ready.    This team is amazing.    I feel very good about it.    And I think my fellow crewmates feel good about it, too.”
    Funk was one of the so-called Mercury 13 group of women who trained to become NASA astronauts in the early 1960s but was passed over because of her gender.
    Daemen, Blue Origin’s first paying customer, is set to attend the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands to study physics and innovation management in September. His father heads investment management firm Somerset Capital Partners.
    Barring technical or weather-related delays, New Shepard is due to blast off around 8 a.m. CDT (1300 GMT) from Blue Origin’s Launch Site One facility about 20 miles (32 km) outside the rural Texas town of Van Horn.
MINUTES OF WEIGHTLESSNESS
    New Shepard is a 60-foot-tall (18.3-meters-tall) and fully autonomous rocket-and-capsule combo that cannot be piloted from inside the spacecraft. It is completely computer-flown and will have none of Blue Origin’s staff astronauts https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/bezos-blue-origin-make-history-with-unpiloted-civilian-space-flight-2021-07-14 or trained personnel onboard.
    In contrast, Virgin Galactic used a space plane with a pair of pilots onboard.
    New Shepard will hurtle at speeds upwards of 2,200 miles (3,540 km) per hour to an altitude of about 62 miles (100 km), the so-called Kármán line set by an international aeronautics body as defining the boundary between Earth’s atmosphere and space.
    During the flight, the crew will unbuckle for a few minutes of weightlessness and gaze back at the Earth’s curvature through what Blue Origin calls the largest windows ever used in space travel.    Then, the capsule falls back to Earth under parachutes, using a last-minute retro-thrust system that expels a “pillow of air” for a soft landing at 1 mph (1.6 km/h) in the Texas desert.
    The reusable booster is due to return to the launch pad using drag brakes and ring and wedge fins for stabilization.
    Tuesday’s launch marks another landmark in the “billionaire’s race” to establish a space tourism sector that Swiss investment bank UBS estimates will reach $3 billion annually in a decade.    Another billionaire tech mogul, Elon Musk, plans to send an all-civilian crew on an even more ambitious flight in September: a several-day orbital mission on his Crew Dragon capsule.
    On Twitter, Musk wished https://bit.ly/2TqOL9I the Blue Origin crew “best of luck” for the launch.
    Blue Origin has not offered details on its longer-term pricing strategy or how quickly it will ramp up the frequency of its launches.    Chief Executive Bob Smith has said the next flight is likely in September or October.    Smith said the “willingness to pay continues to be quite high” for people interested in future flights.
    The company appears to have a reservoir of future customers.    More than 6,000 people from at least 143 countries entered an auction to become the first paying customer, though the auction winner who made a $28 million bid ultimately dropped out of Tuesday’s flight.
    Bezos, who founded Blue Origin in 2000, has a net worth of $206 billion according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index https://www.bloomberg.com/billionaires.    He stepped down this month as Amazon CEO but remains its executive chairman.
(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Van Horn, Texas; Additional reporting Radhika Anilkumar; Editing by Will Dunham)

7/20/2021 Floods Lay Bare Europe’s “Gigantic Task” In Averting Future Climate Damage by Kate Abnett and James Mackenzie
FILE PHOTO: People work in an area affected by floods caused by heavy rainfalls
in Bad Muenstereifel, Germany, July 19, 2021. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay
    BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The catastrophic floods that swept northwest Europe last week were a stark warning that stronger dams, dykes and drainage systems are as urgent as long-term climate change prevention, as once-rare weather events become more common.
    As the waters recede, officials are assessing the destruction left by the torrents that terrorised swathes of western and southern Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, smashing buildings and bridges and killing more than 150 people.
    German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, who visited the spa town of Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler on Monday, said the cost of reconstruction would run into the billions of euros, in addition to the millions needed for emergency assistance.
    But the cost of designing and building better infrastructure to mitigate such events could be many times higher.
    Coming hard on the heels of severe heatwaves and wildfires in North America and Siberia, the floods have put climate change at the top of the political agenda.
    The European Union this month launched an ambitious package of measures to address climate change at source, focusing on reducing greenhouse gas emissions to limit the relentless rise in the global temperature.
    It is also implementing a 750 billion euro coronavirus recovery package that is heavily weighted towards projects that boost economic resilience and sustainability.
    But the devastation wrought by last week’s floods has made clear that the extreme weather events predicted by climate change scientists are already happening now, and require a direct response.
    “We need to build new infrastructure – containment basins, dykes, riverside overflow drainage areas – and strengthen sewerage systems, dams and barriers,” said Lamia Messari-Becker, Professor of Building Technology and Construction Physics at the University of Siegen.
    “It is a gigantic task.    This is the hour of the engineers.”
‘IT’S REALLY HAPPENING’
    After a series of severe flooding events over the past 25 years, some of the affected countries had already taken action, for instance by lowering floodplains to help them absorb more water.
    At the same time, the speed and scale of the disaster, caused by exceptionally heavy rain drawn together by a powerful low-pressure system, showed just how hard it will be to prepare for more frequent extreme weather.
    “As climate change continues, as extreme events continue to increase in intensity and frequency, there are just limits to the extent to which you can protect yourself,” said Wim Thiery, a climate scientist at Vrije Universiteit Brussel.
    Drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions are certainly necessary, but will not substantially influence the weather, let alone cool the planet, for decades.
    Long before then, countries will have to adapt or build basic infrastructure that goes beyond water management into agriculture, transport, energy and housing.
    “Our cities developed over the centuries, starting from the Roman period in some cases, for climate conditions that are very different than the climate conditions we are heading into,” Thiery said.
    Even before last week’s floods, which turned high streets and houses into piles of muddy rubble, Germany’s vaunted transport and urban infrastructure had been deteriorating as a result of years of budget restraint.
    In other vulnerable areas of Europe, such as northern Italy, destructive floods expose the weakness of decrepit roads and bridges almost every year.
    And the coronavirus epidemic has left governments with even less spare cash to spend on maintaining their infrastructure, let alone strengthening it.
    But they may have no choice.
    “I think we all realise now that those extreme events are really happening,” said Patrick Willems, professor in water engineering at Belgium’s KU Leuven University.
    “It’s not just the forecast, it’s really happening.”
(Additional reporting by Markus Wacket and Maria Sheahan; Writing by James Mackenzie; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

7/20/2021 Global Quest Underway To Speed COVID-19 Vaccine Trials by Julie Steenhuysen and Ludwig Burger
FILE PHOTO: Vials labelled "Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
vaccine" are seen in this illustration picture taken May 2, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic
    CHICAGO (Reuters) – Scientists are working on a benchmark for COVID-19 vaccine efficacy that would allow drugmakers to conduct smaller, speedier human trials to get them to market and address a huge global vaccine shortage.
    Researchers are trying to determine just what level of COVID-19 antibodies a vaccine must produce to provide protection against the illness.    Regulators already use such benchmarks – known as correlates of protection – to evaluate flu vaccines without requiring large, lengthy clinical trials.
    “You could use it to predict efficacy from a vaccine, which will be more important as we are less able to conduct placebo-controlled trials,” said Stanley Plotkin, inventor of the Rubella vaccine and an expert on correlates of protection.
    “The information is flowing in,” he said.    “By the end of this year, I think there will be enough data to convince everyone.”    An established benchmark for COVID-19 would allow drugmakers to conduct vaccine trials in just a few thousand people, about one-tenth the size of the studies conducted to gain authorization for currently widely-used coronavirus shots, researchers and drugmakers told Reuters.    Those studies, involving tens of thousands of volunteers, compared the rate of COVID-19 infections in people who received the shot with the rate in participants who got a placebo.    Such randomized, controlled trials may no longer be considered ethical in some countries, as researchers cannot give a dummy shot to people where an effective vaccine is widely available.    In addition, many of the new shots are being developed by small companies that may not be able to conduct very large trials without government funding or a partner with deep pockets.    With an established correlate, drugmakers could test blood samples from a smaller number of trial participants who receive an experimental vaccine to see whether they produced that benchmark level of protective antibodies.
    Such a benchmark is “urgently needed” to help overcome challenges faced by vaccine developers and boost availability of shots, Dr. Florian Krammer, a virologist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York wrote this month in the journal Nature.    Researchers at Oxford University late last month proposed a potential correlate of protection based on antibodies found in people who had received the AstraZeneca vaccine.    The work awaits peer reviewed by other scientists.
    Results from a U.S.-backed study of Moderna’s vaccine are expected to be published in a medical journal later this summer.    “We’re writing the paper right now,” said Dr. Peter Gilbert, a biostatistician from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.    Some vaccine experts question whether antibody levels will be a strong enough indicator of protection.    Other components of the immune system, such as T-cells and B-cells, are thought to provide important defenses against COVID-19, but are more difficult to measure.
    That has been the contention of some top vaccine experts at Pfizer, maker along with BioNTech of one of the most effective COVID-19 vaccines, produced in the largest quantities globally.    It is also possible that each different type of coronavirus vaccine will require its own correlate, some experts said.    Drugmakers working on a new type of vaccine likely would not be able to rely on the correlates based on Moderna’s messenger RNA shot, they say.
BRIDGING THE GAP
    Meanwhile, vaccine developers are trying to devise acceptable substitutes to huge, placebo-controlled trials.    Some aim to show their shot provokes antibody responses at least as good as those seen with currently authorized shots.    European and UK health regulators are working with companies to set standards for these so-called “immunobridging” studies.    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration declined to say whether it would accept such trials for next-generation vaccines.
    “It doesn’t have to be an established correlate of protection, but we have to … arrive at the right pre-specified criteria, because we cannot risk that a second-generation vaccine … is of low or modest vaccine efficacy,” FDA vaccine official Dr. Marion Gruber told fellow regulators at a World Health Organization Meeting in May.    “That would undermine confidence in the vaccine enterprise.”
    Italy’s ReiThera Srl is developing a vaccine using technology similar to AstraZeneca’s and will try to demonstrate that its shot is at least as effective.
    The company has an agreement in principle on trial design with European and British regulators, ReiThera’s senior director Stefano Colloca told Reuters.    Massive clinical trials are “no longer ethical and feasible in most countries worldwide,” he said.    French biotech Valneva and Taiwan’s Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp plan to test their vaccines against the AstraZeneca shot, even though both use a different technology.    Valneva’s trial design was approved by UK regulators.    Medigen has a green light from Taiwan.
    Sanofi, with partner GlaxoSmithKline, and Canada’s Medicago are still opting for placebo-controlled trials involving thousands of participants, including in countries with high infection rates and fewer authorized vaccines available.
NEED FOR BOOSTERS?
    The hunt for a correlate is underway from the UK to the United States and Australia.    Scientists are comparing antibody levels in vaccinated people who became infected with COVID-19 to those who did not, to find a threshold of protection that made the difference.    Oxford University researchers said work is needed to address correlates for emerging virus variants, such as the highly transmissible Delta that has quickly become dominant globally.    Their proposed antibody model is based on trial volunteers who had mainly contracted the earlier Alpha variant, first identified in the UK.
    U.S. government-backed scientists are studying infections in people who received the Moderna vaccine.    Moderna spokesman Ray Jordan said the company is also working on the analysis and will publish updates when available.    The correlate benchmark might also indicate when and whether people need vaccine boosters.
    Pfizer has sought authorization for a third booster dose of its vaccine, citing evidence of waning neutralizing antibody levels.    But the company has pushed back against the idea that those same antibodies could be used to predict vaccine efficacy.
    “No formal timeline is in place to have correlates of protection established,” a Pfizer spokesperson said.    “We will continue to work with the scientific community to better understand what immune responses, whether neutralizing antibodies or otherwise, might contribute to protection.”
(Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen in Chicago and Ludwig Burger in Frankfurt; Additional reporting by Emilio Parodi in Milan, Matthias Blamont in Paris, Michael Erman in Maplewood, New Jersey, Allison Martell in Toronto and Ben Blanchard in Taipei; Editing by Michele Gershberg and Bill Berkrot)

7/20/2021 ‘Road To Space’: Billionaire Bezos Has Successful Suborbital Jaunt by Eric M. Johnson
FILE PHOTO: A general view of the Blue Origin New Shepard rocket booster at the 33rd Space Symposium in
Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States April 5, 2017. REUTERS/Isaiah J. Downing/File Photo - RC2U6O9XZ750
    VAN HORN, Texas (Reuters) – Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest person, soared some 66.5 miles (107 km) above the Texas desert aboard his company Blue Origin’s New Shepard https://graphics.reuters.com/SPACE-EXPLORATION/BLUEORIGIN/jbyprzzympe/blue-origin.jpg launch vehicle on Tuesday and returned safely to Earth, a historic suborbital flight that helps usher in a new era of space tourism.
    “Best day ever,” Bezos, accompanied by three crewmates including the world’s oldest and youngest space travelers, said after his capsule descended with three large parachutes and touched down, kicking up a cloud of dust.
    The 57-year-old American billionaire, donning a blue flight suit and cowboy hat, took a trip to the edge of space lasting 10 minutes and 10 seconds.    After landing, Bezos and his crewmates exchanged hugs and popped champagne while roughly two dozen family members and company employees cheered.
    “Astronaut Bezos in my seat – happy, happy, happy,” Bezos told mission control during a safety check after the passengers buckled back in following a few minutes of weightlessness in space.
    The fully autonomous 60-foot-tall (18.3-meters-tall) gleaming white spacecraft, with a feather design on its side, ignited its BE-3 engine for a vertical liftoff from Blue Origin’s Launch Site One facility about 20 miles (32 km) outside the rural town of Van Horn under mostly clear skies.
    Bezos, founder of ecommerce company Amazon.com Inc, and his brother Mark Bezos, a private equity executive, were joined by two others.    Pioneering woman aviator Wally Funk https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/science/trailblazing-female-pilot-will-go-space-age-82-with-jeff-bezos-2021-07-01, 82, and recent high school graduate Oliver Daemen https://www.reuters.com/article/us-space-exploration-blueorigin/teenager-to-fly-with-bezos-in-inaugural-space-tourism-flight-idUSKBN2EL1ZJ?feedType=RSS&feedName=technologyNews, 18, became the oldest and youngest people to reach space.
    “I want to thank every Amazon employee and every Amazon customer, because you guys paid for all of this,” Bezos told reporters afterward.
    The flight came nine days after Briton Richard Branson was aboard his competing space tourism venture Virgin Galactic’s successful inaugural suborbital flight https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/science/virgin-galactics-branson-ready-space-launch-aboard-rocket-plane-2021-07-11 from New Mexico.    The two flights give credibility and inject enthusiasm into the fledgling commercial space tourism industry, which Swiss bank UBS estimates will be worth $3 billion annually in a decade.
    Bezos, who founded Blue Origin in 2000, said this first crewed space flight was a step toward developing a fleet of reusable spacecraft.
    “We’re going to build a road to space so that our kids and their kids can build a future,” Bezos added.    “… We need to do that to solve the problems here on Earth.”
    Blue Origin plans for two more New Shepard passenger flights this year.    Bezos said Blue Origin has not determined its pace of flights after that but is approaching $100 million in private sales.
    “The demand is very, very high,” Bezos said, adding: “Big things start small.”
    Bezos said his company is working “ferociously” toward being able to reuse New Shepard vehicles at least 100 times.    The one used on Tuesday, twice previously flown to space, scored a bulls-eye landing on a nearby pad.
BACK FLIPS AND SKITTLES
    New Shepard hurtled at speeds reaching 2,233 miles (3,595 km) per hour, exceeding the “Kármán line” – 62 miles (100 km) – set by an international aeronautics body to define the boundary between Earth’s atmosphere and space.     After the capsule separated from the booster, the crew unbuckled, performing back flips and tossing each other Skittles candy in weightlessness. The capsule then returned to Earth with parachutes, using a retro-thrust system expelling a “pillow of air” for a soft landing.     The launch represented another step in the fierce competition to forge a space tourism sector.    In this “billionaire space race,” Branson pierced Earth’s atmosphere first, reaching an altitude of 53 miles (86 km) aboard his rocket-powered, pilot-flown spaceplane.    Bezos flew higher in what experts called the world’s first https://www.blueorigin.com/news-archive/first-human-flight-updates unpiloted space flight with an all-civilian crew.
    Another billionaire tech mogul, Elon Musk, plans to send an all-civilian crew on a several-day orbital mission on his Crew Dragon capsule in September.
    “Well done,” Branson wrote on Twitter, congratulating Bezos and his crewmates.
    Musk earlier wished https://bit.ly/2TqOL9I Blue Origin’s crew “best of luck.”
    The flight came on the 52nd anniversary of Americans Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin becoming the first humans to walk on the moon.    New Shepard’s namesake Alan Shepard in 1961 became the first American in space.
    Funk was one of the so-called Mercury 13 group of women who trained to become NASA astronauts in the 1960s but was passed over because of her gender.
    “I’ve been waiting a long time,” Funk said afterward.    “I want to go again – fast.”
    Daemen, Blue Origin’s first paying customer, is set to study physics and innovation management at college in the Netherlands.    His investment executive father embraced him after he emerged from the capsule.
    “The most profound piece of it for me was looking out at the Earth and looking at the Earth’s atmosphere,” Bezos said, noting how the experience underscored the planet’s beauty and fragility.
(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Van Horn, Texas; Additional reporting Radhika Anilkumar; Editing by Will Dunham)

7/21/2021 Central China’s Henan Province Swamped After Heaviest Rain In 1,000 Years by Ryan Woo and Stella Qiu
A resident wearing a rain cover stands on a flooded road in Zhengzhou,
Henan province, China July 20, 2021. cnsphoto via REUTERS
    BEIJING (Reuters) – Large swathes of China’s central Henan province were under water on Wednesday, with at least a dozen people dead in its capital Zhengzhou after the city was drenched by what weather watchers said was the heaviest rain in 1,000 years.
    With more rain forecast across Henan for the next three days, the government of Zhengzhou, a city of over 12 million on the banks of the Yellow River, said 12 people were reported to have died in a flooded subway line, while more than 500 were pulled to safety.
    Video on social media on Tuesday showed commuters chest-deep in murky floodwaters on a train in the dark and an underground station turned into a large, churning pool.
    “The water reached my chest,” a survivor wrote on social media.    “I was really scared, but the most terrifying thing was not the water, but the diminishing air supply in the carriage.”
    Due to the rain, the authorities halted bus services, as the vehicles are powered by electricity, said a Zhengzhou resident surnamed Guo, who spent the night at his office.
    “That’s why many people took the subway, and the tragedy happened,” Guo told Reuters.
    From the evening of Saturday until late Tuesday, 617.1 millimetres (mm) of rain fell in Zhengzhou, about 650 km (400 miles) southwest of Beijing.    That’s almost on par with Zhengzhou’s annual average of 640.8 mm.
    The amount of rainfall in Zhengzhou witnessed over the three days was one seen only “once in a thousand years,” local media cited meteorologists as saying.
    For graphic on Zhengzhou in central China hit by heaviest rain in a millennium – https://graphics.reuters.com/CHINA-WEATHER/HENAN/gdpzyryyevw/chart.png
‘FLOOD PREVENTION DIFFICULT’
    The lives of millions of people in Henan, a province with a population of around 100 million, have been upended in an unusually active rainy season that has led to the rapid rise of a number of rivers in the vast Yellow River basin.
    Many train services across Henan, a major logistics hub in central China, have been suspended. Many highways have also been closed and flights delayed or cancelled.
    Roads in a dozen cities have been severely flooded.
    “Flood prevention efforts have become very difficult,” President Xi Jinping said on Wednesday, addressing the situation in a statement broadcast by state television.
    Dozens of reservoirs and dams also breached warning levels.
    Local authorities said the rainfall had caused a 20-metre breach in the Yihetan dam in Luoyang city west of Zhengzhou, and that the dam “could collapse at any time.”
    In Zhengzhou, the local flood control headquarters said the city’s Guojiazui reservoir had been breached but there was no dam failure yet.
    About 100,000 people in the city have been evacuated to safe zones.
SCHOOLS, HOSPITALS CUT OFF
    Taiwanese technology giant Foxconn operates a plant on the outskirts of Zhengzhou, next to the city’s airport, that assembles iPhones for Apple.    It said there was no direct impact on its facility, but had activated an emergency response plan.
    SAIC Motor, China’s largest automaker, said logistics at its Zhengzhou plant would see some short-term impact, while Japan’s Nissan said production at its Zhengzhou factory had been temporarily suspended.
    Zhengzhou’s transportation system remained paralysed, with schools and hospitals cut off by waterlogging.    Some children have been trapped in their kindergartens since Tuesday.
    Residents caught in the flood had taken shelter in libraries, cinemas and even museums.
    “We’ve up to 200 people of all ages seeking temporary shelter,” said a staffer surnamed Wang at the Zhengzhou Science and Technology Museum.
    “We’ve provided them with instant noodles and hot water.    They spent the night in a huge meeting room.”
    About 3 km away, the First Affiliated Hospital of Zhengzhou University – the city’s largest with over 7,000 beds – has lost all power, and even backup supplies were down.
    The hospital was racing to find transport to relocate about 600 critically ill patients.
(Reporting by Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru, Josh Horwitz and Jing Wang in Shanghai, and Stella Qiu, Roxanne Liu, Cheng Leng, Yilei Sun and Ryan Woo in Beijing; Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in Taipei and Beijing Newsroom; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)

7/21/2021 No More Survivors Likely To Be Found In German Flood Zone-Relief Official
Debris are seen in an area affected by floods caused by heavy rainfalls
in Schuld, Germany, July 20, 2021. REUTERS/Thilo Schmuelgen
    BERLIN (Reuters) – Rescue crews are unlikely to find any more survivors among the rubble of villages devastated by floods in western Germany, a senior Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) official said on Wednesday.
    At least 170 people died in last week’s flooding, Germany’s worst natural disaster in more than half a century, and thousands went missing.
    “We are still looking for missing persons as we clear roads and pump water out of basements,” THW deputy chief Sabine Lackner told Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland.
    Any further victims that are found now are likely to be dead, she said.
    For immediate relief, the federal government was expected on Wednesday to announce plans to provide 200 million euros ($235.5 million) in emergency aid, according to a draft document seen by Reuters.
    That will come on top of 200 million euros to be provided from Germany’s 16 federal states to repair buildings and damaged local infrastructure and to help people in crisis situations.
    Economy Minister Peter Altmaier told Deutschlandfunk radio the aid would include funds to help businesses such as restaurants or hair salons make up for lost revenue.br> (Writing by Maria Sheahan, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

7/22/2021 From China To Germany, Floods Expose Climate Vulnerability by Aradhana Aravindan and James Mackenzie
FILE PHOTO: A street is flooded following heavy rainfalls in Erftstadt, Germany,
July 16, 2021. REUTERS/Thilo Schmuelgen/File Photo
    (Reuters) – Deadly floods that have upended life in both China and Germany have sent a stark reminder that climate change is making weather more extreme across the globe.
    At least 25 people in the central Chinese province of Henan died on Tuesday, including a dozen trapped in a city subway as waters tore through the regional capital of Zhengzhou after days of torrential rain.
    Coming after floods killed at least 160 people in Germany and another 31 in Belgium last week, the disaster has reinforced the message that significant changes will have to be made to prepare for similar events in future.
    “Governments should first realize that the infrastructure they have built in the past or even recent ones are vulnerable to these extreme weather events,” said Eduardo Araral, associate professor and co-director, Institute of Water Policy, at Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.
    In Europe, climate change is likely to increase the number of large, slow-moving storms that can linger longer in one area and deliver deluges of the kind seen in Germany and Belgium, according to a study published https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2020GL092361 June 30 in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
    As the atmosphere warms with climate change, it also holds more moisture, which means that when rainclouds break, more rain is released.    By the end of the century, such storms could be 14 times more frequent, the researchers found in the study using computer simulations.
    While the inundation that devastated wide swathes of western and southern Germany occurred thousands of kilometres from the events in Henan, both cases highlighted the vulnerability of heavily populated areas to catastrophic flooding and other natural disasters.
    “You need technical measures, bolstering dikes and flood barriers.    But we also need to remodel cities,” said Fred Hattermann at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.    He said there was increasing focus on so-called “green-adaptation” measures, like polders and plains that can be flooded, to stop water running off too fast.
    “But when there’s really heavy rain, all that may not help, so we have to learn to live with it,” he said.
    Reinforcing dikes and climate-proofing housing, roads and urban infrastructure will cost billions.    But the dramatic mobile phone footage of people struggling through subways submerged in chest-deep water in Zhengzhou or crying in fear as mud and debris swept through medieval German towns made clear the cost of doing nothing.
    “It is shocking and I have to say it is scary,” said John Butschkowski, a Red Cross driver who was involved in rescue work in western Germany this week.    “It is ghostly, no people anywhere, just rubbish.    And it is inconceivable that this is happening in Germany.”
ONE YEAR’S RAINFALL IN THREE DAYS
    Koh Tieh-Yong, a weather and climate scientist at Singapore University of Social Sciences, said an overall assessment of rivers and water systems would be needed in areas vulnerable to climate change, including cities and farmlands.
    “Floods usually occur due to two factors combined: one, heavier-than-normal rainfall and two, insufficient capacity of rivers to discharge the additional rainwater collected,” he said.
    In both China and northwestern Europe, the disasters followed a period of unusually heavy rain, equivalent in the Chinese case to a year’s rainfall being dumped in just three days, that completely overwhelmed flood defences.
    After several severe floods over recent decades, buffers had been strengthened along major German rivers like the Rhine or the Elbe but last week’s extreme rainfall also turned minor tributaries like the Ahr or the Swist into fearsome torrents.
    In China, built-up urban areas with inadequate water evacuation and large dams that modified the natural discharge of the Yellow River basin may also have contributed to the disaster, scientists said.
    But measures such as improving the resilience of buildings and raising riverbanks and improving drainage are unlikely to be enough on their own to avert the effects of severe flooding.    As a last resort, warning systems, which were heavily criticized in Germany for leaving people insufficient time to react, will have to be improved.
    “It really needs to be embedded in practical knowledge that people have so they know what to do,” said Christian Kuhlicke, head of a working group on environmental risks and extreme events at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research.
    “If you can’t keep the water back, if you can’t save your buildings then at least make sure that all vulnerable people are moved out of these places.”
(Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan in Singapore and James Mackenzie in Milan; Additional reporting by Ann-Kathrin Weis in Ahrweiler, Maria Sheahan in Berlin; Writing by James Mackenzie; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

7/22/2021 China Evacuates Tens Of Thousands As Storms Spread North by Emily Chow
People standing on a flooded road wait to be evacuated following heavy rainfall
in Zhengzhou, Henan province, China July 22, 2021. REUTERS/Aly Song
    ZHENGZHOU, China (Reuters) – Tens of thousands of people were being evacuated from flood-hit regions of central China on Thursday as officials raised the death toll from heavy rain that has deluged Henan province for almost a week to 33 people.
    More cities were inundated and crops destroyed as the severe weather spread northwards, with the official Xinhua news agency reporting direct economic losses of 1.22 billion yuan ($189 million).
    The provincial weather bureau raised the storm alert on Thursday for four cities in the north of Henan – Xinxiang, Anyang, Hebi and Jiaozuo – to red, the highest tier of a four-step colour-coded weather warning system.
    The fatalities included 12 people who were killed when the subway in the provincial capital of Zhengzhou, about 650 km (400 miles) southwest of Beijing, was flooded earlier this week.
    In Zhengzhou, where the bad weather reached a peak on Tuesday, the skies had cleared although floodwaters were still at waist height, or higher, with entire streets underwater in many areas.
    Rescue teams used rubber rafts to ferry residents to safety, while others waded through the water carrying belongings above their heads or waited on half-submerged cars to be picked up.
    Another group of people was carried through the floodwaters on a digger truck.
    One group of 15 volunteers from a construction firm based in Sichuan province were using a boat to transport residents who had been trapped in a high-rise condominium.
    “We bring out the elderly, pregnant women and children first,” said one of the volunteers surnamed Ma.
    “Last time, Sichuan had the earthquake.    Now it’s flooding here.    Today, you help me, tomorrow, I’ll help you.”
    In 2008, Sichuan was rocked by a magnitude 7.9 earthquake that killed tens of thousands, China’s deadliest temblor in decades.
    This week, Zhengzhou became the epicentre of extreme weather in central China, registering 617.1 mm (24.3 inches) of rain from Saturday to Tuesday, almost the equivalent of the city’s annual average of 640.8 mm (25.2 inches).
    A rescue worker who declined to be identified said his team rescued about a thousand people from a neighbourhood on Wednesday, and expect to rescue another thousand more on Thursday.
    “Some of them don’t want to come out if they have food,” the rescuer said.    “Because when they do come out, there’s no place for them to go.    But those without food would come out willingly.”
    A man surnamed Xu said he had been trapped with his wife and two children in their high-rise home for days with no water.
    “We had no water, no electricity, we couldn’t shower, and the water we used from washing, we saved it to flush the toilet,” he said.
    “I’ve lived here for four, five years, and this has never happened,” he told Reuters as his family waited patiently at the entrance of their condo for a boat to rescue them.
SPREADING NORTH
    As the storm moved north on Thursday, more than 73,000 people were being evacuated from the city of Anyang, on Henan’s border with Hebei province.    The city had been swamped by more than 600 mm of rainfall since Monday, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
    Two people were killed in Hebei province when a tornado struck the city of Baoding on Wednesday.
    Xinxiang, a small city north of Zhengzhou, recorded 812 mm of rainfall between Tuesday and Thursday, shattering local meteorological records, Xinhua reported.    Seven medium-sized reservoirs in the city had overflowed, affecting scores of nearby villages and towns.
    As of late Wednesday, more than 470,000 people and over 55,000 hectares of crops have been affected by the Xinxiang downpours, Xinhua said, adding the local government had deployed a more than 76,000-strong search and rescue team.
    The fatal flooding of the Zhengzhou subway prompted the government to order local authorities to immediately improve urban transit flood controls and emergency responses.
($1 = 6.4639 Chinese yuan renminbi)
(Reporting by Emily Chow in Zhengzhou; Additional reporting by Ryan Woo in Beijing; Editing by Jane Wardell, Christopher Cushing and Kim Coghill)

7/22/2021 Death Toll In China Flooded Highway Tunnel Rises To 13
FILE PHOTO: Rescue workers are seen at an entrance to the flooded Shijingshan tunnel, where construction
workers were trapped, in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, China July 16, 2021. cnsphoto via REUTERS/File Photo
    SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Rescuers have found the bodies of 10 more workers who were trapped in a flooded highway tunnel in the southern Chinese city of Zhuhai last week, bringing the death toll to 13, state media reported late on Wednesday.
    Rescuers have been unable to establish contact with one remaining worker trapped in the tunnel, China Central Television reported.    Rescue work is continuing.
    On July 15, water suddenly leaked into the Shijingshan tunnel, which is being built under a reservoir, trapping 14 workers more than a kilometre from the entrance.
    The accident was the second in the tunnel since March, when a collapsed wall killed two workers.
    The tunnel is part of a major expressway in Zhuhai in Guangdong province, linking the coastal city to a bridge to neighbouring Macau and Hong Kong.
(Reporting by Andrew Galbraith; editing by Jane Wardell)

7/23/2021 At Least 112 Dead In India As Rains Trigger Floods, Landslides by Rajendra Jadhav
People use their mobile phones to take pictures of a collapsed building following rains in Mumbai, India, July 23, 2021. REUTERS/Stringer
    MUMBAI (Reuters) - At least 112 people have died in the western Indian state of Maharashtra, authorities said on Friday, after torrential monsoon rains caused landslides and flooded low-lying areas, cutting off hundreds of villages.
    Parts of India’s west coast received up to 594 mm (23 inches) of rainfall over 24 hours, forcing authorities to evacuate people from vulnerable areas as they released water from dams that were threatening to overflow.
    “Unexpected very heavy rainfall triggered landslides in many places and flooded rivers,” Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who heads Maharashtra’s state government, told journalists.
    “Dams and rivers are overflowing. We are forced to release water from dams, and, accordingly, we are moving people residing near the river banks to safer places.”
    The navy and army were helping with rescue operations in coastal areas, he added.
    At least 38 people were killed in Taliye, 180 km (about 110 miles) southeast of the financial capital Mumbai, when a landslide flattened most of the small village, state government officials said.
    In nine other landslides in other parts of Maharashtra 59 people died and another 15 were killed in accidents linked to the heavy rainfall, they said.
    A few dozen people were also feared to have been trapped in landslides in Satara and Raigad districts, said a state government official who asked not to be named.
    “Rescue operations are going on at various places in Satara, Raigad and Ratnagiri.    Due to heavy rainfall and flooded rivers, we are struggling to move rescue machinery quickly,” he said.
    Thousands of trucks were stuck on a national highway linking Mumbai with the southern technology hub of Bengaluru, with the road submerged in some places, another Maharashtra government official said.
    Meanwhile, hundreds of villages and towns were without electricity and drinking water, he said.
    Rivers were also overflowing in the neighbouring southern states of Karnataka and Telangana where authorities were monitoring the situation, government officials there said.
    Seasonal monsoon rains from June to September cause deaths and mass displacement across South Asia every year, but they also deliver more than 70% of India’s rainfall and are crucial for farmers.
(Reporting by Rajendra JadhavEditing by Joe Bavier and Giles Elgood)

7/23/2021 Digger Trucks Drafted In To Rescue People Stranded In China Floods by Emily Chow
A man wades through a flooded road following heavy rainfall in Zhengzhou, Henan province, China July 23, 2021. REUTERS/Aly Song
    ZHENGZHOU, China (Reuters) – Workers driving construction vehicles helped to rescue stranded residents and deliver food to those still trapped on Friday after days of torrential rain swamped the central Chinese city of Zhengzhou.
    As floodwaters began to recede, rescuers in the city of 12 million used digger trucks, inflatable boats and makeshift rafts to transport some residents to dry land and deliver provisions to others in high-rise apartment blocks.
    Zhengzhou, the capital of populous Henan province, has borne the brunt of extreme wet weather in central China this week, receiving the equivalent of a year’s worth of rain in just a few days.
    The resulting severe flooding killed 12 people who were trapped in the city’s subway system.    It also downed power supplies and stranded residents at home, in offices and on public transport.
    Some of the rescuers are volunteers using makeshift means like the digger trucks deployed by local construction companies.
    One of the volunteers, Li Kui, 34, said the demand for basic goods and foods was immense.
    “We start our day at 8 a.m. and go on until 2 a.m.    Besides having lunch and using the bathroom, we just go up and down the streets all day,” Li said.
    Asked if he was exhausted, Li said: “Yes, but compared to the people trapped inside, they must be feeling worse.”
    In other areas of the city where the floodwaters had subsided, municipal workers started the clean-up, sweeping away tree branches and clearing up other debris like marooned bicycles and scooters.
    Tens of thousands of rescue workers, including the military, have been deployed across Henan.
    The death toll in Henan currently stands at 56, with five people still missing, according to state media.
    Rescue professionals from neighbouring provinces have been called in, along with specialised vehicles to drain waterlogged streets, intersections and underground road tunnels.
    While the rains in Zhengzhou had eased to a light drizzle, other parts of Henan were still forecast to receive heavy rain on Friday, according to weather reports.
    In Xinxiang, a city north of Zhengzhou, 29 of 30 reservoirs were overflowing, a situation the local water conservancy bureau described as “grim.”
FAMILY RESCUES
    For rescuers, the task was sometimes upsetting. Local media reported that a three-to-four-old infant was pulled from a collapsed home just outside Zhengzhou earlier this week, with the body of the child’s mother found a day later.
    Zhou Xiaozhong, 33, a digger truck driver from nearby Kaifeng city, picked up a mother and her two young children.
    “She was crying,” said Zhou, a father of three.    “I too felt like crying.”
    The devastation and loss of life has sparked public criticism of the slow reaction of Zhengzhou’s subway operator, prompting the Chinese government to order local authorities to immediately improve urban transit flood controls and emergency responses.
    The provincial weather bureau also came under fire for a lack of warning, despite saying said it had issued a forecast two days before the rains arrived.
    A document created by an anonymous user on a Google Docs-like platform owned by tech giant Tencent for people to share real-time information on the flooding in Henan had been accessed more than 6 million times by Friday.
(Reporting by Emily Chow in Zhengzhou, additional reporting by Ryan Woo, Roxanne Liu and Muyu Xu in Beijing; Editing by Jane Wardell, Philippa Fletcher and Giles Elgood)

7/23/2021 Iran’s Khamenei: Don’t Blame People Protesting Over Water Crisis
FILE PHOTO: Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a televised speech in
Tehran, Iran, January 8, 2021. Official Khamenei Website/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo
    DUBAI (Reuters) -Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Friday that people could not be blamed for protesting over water shortages, and called on officials to deal with the crisis.
    People have taken to the street for more than a week to vent their anger about the shortages, which have come during Iran’s worst drought in half a century and as the economy creaks under U.S. sanctions and COVID-19.
    Overnight the unrest spread from the oil-rich southwestern province of Khuzestan to the town of Aligudarz where one youth was shot dead and seven were injured, a police official said, blaming “counter-revolutionaries” for the violence.
    “The people showed their displeasure, but we cannot really blame the people because the issue of water is not a small one especially in Khuzestan’s hot climate,” Khamenei was quoted by state TV as saying, in reference to the protests
.
    “Now, thank God, all the various agencies, governmental and non-governmental, are working (to resolve the water crisis) and should continue with all seriousness,” Khamenei added.
    Demonstrators in Aligudarz, in Lorestan province, marched to show solidarity for protesters in neighbouring Khuzestan late on Thursday, the eighth night of protests.    Videos ;posted on social media showed protesters chanting slogans against Khamenei.
    The semi-official news agency Fars quoted a police official as saying several people were detained after the violence in Aligudarz.    He said four police officers were shot and injured.
    At least one policeman and three young men had been shot dead in earlier protests, according to Iranian officials who blamed “rioters” for the deaths.
    Amnesty International said, though, that at least eight people had been killed during the unrest.
    “Video footage verified by Amnesty … and consistent accounts from the ground indicate security forces used deadly automatic weapons, shotguns with inherently indiscriminate ammunition, and tear gas to disperse protesters,” it said.
    Reuters has not reviewed the footage.
    U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said she was “extremely concerned about the deaths and injuries that have occurred over the past week, as well as the widespread arrests and detention.”
    “The impact of the devastating water crisis on life, health and prosperity of the people of Khuzestan should be the focus of the government’s attention, not the protests carried out by people driven to desperation by years of neglect,” she said.
    Internet watchdog NetBlocks reported outages of mobile web access in Khuzestan, a curb often imposed by authorities during protests.
    Iran’s deep drought has affected households, devastated agriculture and livestock farming, and led to power blackouts.
    The country’s economy has been blighted by sanctions imposed by former U.S. President Donald Trump, and the COVID-19 pandemic.    Workers, including thousands in the key energy sector, and pensioners have protested for months amid discontent over mismanagement, unemployment and inflation.
(Reporting by Dubai newsroom; additional reporting by Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva; Editing by Toby Chopra and Pravin Char)
[THIS IS FUNNY SINCE THE MOON WOBBLED WE HAVE HAD RAIN AND FLOODING ALL OVER THE WORLD MOSTLY EUROPEAN NATIONS AND THE FAR EAST AND IT IS AMUSING THAT IRAN HAS NO WATER].

7/23/2021 New viruses found in ancient ice by Jordan Mendoza, USA TODAY
    A group of scientists discovered ancient viruses frozen in two ice samples taken from the Tibetan Plateau in China, and most of them are unlike anything ever seen before.
    The findings, published Wednesday in the journal Microbiome, came from ice cores taken in 2015 that scientists said began to freeze at least 14,400 years ago.
    “These glaciers were formed gradually, and along with dust and gases, many, many viruses were also deposited in that ice,” Zhi-Ping Zhong, lead author and researcher at the Ohio State University Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center, said.    “Our goal is to use this information to reflect past environments."
    “And viruses are a part of those environments.”
    When researchers analyzed the ice, they found genetic codes for 33 viruses.    At least 28 were novel, meaning they had never before been identified.
    The group said it doesn’t believe the viruses originated from animals or humans but came from the soil or plants.    The scientists said roughly half of them survived because of the ice.
    “These are viruses that would have thrived in extreme environments,” said Matthew Sullivan, co-author of the study and director of Ohio State’s Center of Microbiome Science.
    “These viruses have signatures of genes that help them infect cells in cold environments – just surreal genetic signatures for how a virus is able to survive in extreme conditions.”
    Sullivan said the technology would lead to looking for similar genetic sequences in other ice environments.     Senior author of the study Lonnie Thompson said, “We know very little about viruses and microbes in these extreme environments and what is actually there.”

7/23/2021 Many Migrant Workers Stranded In Chinese Cities Hit By Floods by Emily Chow
FILE PHOTO: An aerial view shows a flooded road following heavy rainfall in Zhengzhou,
Henan province, China July 23, 2021. Picture taken with a drone. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo
    ZHENGZHOU (Reuters) – For many migrant workers caught up in severe flooding in the central Chinese city of Zhengzhou, crossing town to stay with relatives in less affected areas or returning to their homes in the countryside are not posssible.
    They must stay put, tied to livelihoods in inundated parts of the city and living too far away from families to reach them when transportation is so badly disrupted.
    That means surviving without power and running water for days and counting, difficulty moving around Zhengzhou and mounting worry over how they are going to get back to work.
    Hu, a 40-year-old construction worker from Shandong province who gave only his surname, is one of them.    He rations his food and water, and ventures out into waist-high, mud-coloured water once a day in search of cell phone reception.
    “I can’t simply go back to my hometown.    I work here,” he said, sitting in a park that was raised from the roads and so no longer flooded.
    “Some people have … relatives nearby they can go to.    For us non-locals, leaving is not easy.    We have no way of going home, and we have no work at home.”
    China’s estimated 280 million rural migrant workers often flock to cities like Zhengzhou in search of better jobs, leaving behind families and only returning home once a year for the Lunar New Year.
    The city of 12 million is still recovering from floods this week during which it received the equivalent of a year’s worth of rain in just a few days.
    The death toll in Henan province, where Zhengzhou is located, is 56 and five people are missing, according to state media.[L1N2OY040]
    Zhu Lingyan, 35, is a migrant worker whose family-run business was hit by the floods.
    Hailing from a city over a 100 km from Zhengzhou, she had opened a noodle restaurant just before the floods hit, investing her life savings of 200,000 yuan ($31,000) in the business.
    “All the electrical appliances are ruined.    It’s too hard,” she said, trying to hold back tears. She estimated it would cost up to 30,000 yuan to fix the damage.    “I have to stay.    My husband is working here and my children go to school here.”
(Reporting by Emily Chow; Editing by Mike Collett-White)

7/23/2021 Global Supply Chains Buckle As Virus Variant And Disasters Strike by Jonathan Saul, Muyu Xu and Yilei Sun
Men stand on a vehicle on a flooded road following heavy rainfall in Zhengzhou, Henanbr> province, China July 23, 2021. REUTERS/Aly Song
    LONDON/BEIJING (Reuters) -A new worldwide wave of COVID-19. Natural disasters in China and Germany.    A cyber attack targeting key South African ports.
    Events have conspired to drive global supply chains towards breaking point, threatening the fragile flow of raw materials, parts and consumer goods, according to companies, economists and shipping specialists.
    The Delta variant of the coronavirus has devastated parts of Asia and prompted many nations to cut off land access for sailors.    That’s left captains unable to rotate weary crews and about 100,000 seafarers stranded at sea beyond their stints in a flashback to 2020 and the height of lockdowns.
    “We’re no longer on the cusp of a second crew change crisis, we’re in one,” Guy Platten, secretary general of the International Chamber of Shipping, told Reuters.
    “This is a perilous moment for global supply chains.”
    Given ships transport around 90% of the world’s trade, the crew crisis is disrupting the supply of everything from oil and iron ore to food and electronics.
    German container line Hapag Lloyd described the situation as “extremely challenging.”
    “Vessel capacity is very tight, empty containers are scarce and the operational situation at certain ports and terminals is not really improving,” it said.    “We expect this to last probably into the fourth quarter – but it is very difficult to predict.”
    Meanwhile, deadly floods in economic giants China and Germany have further ruptured global supply lines that had yet to recover from the first wave of the pandemic, compromising trillions of dollars of economic activity that rely on them.
    The Chinese flooding is curtailing the transport of coal from mining regions such as Inner Mongolia and Shanxi, the state planner says, just as power plants need fuel to meet peak summer demand.
    In Germany, road transportation of goods has slowed significantly.    In the week of July 11, as the disaster unfolded, the volume of late shipments rose by 15% from the week before, according to data from supply-chain tracking platform FourKites.
    Nick Klein, VP for sales and marketing in the Midwest with Taiwan freight and logistics company OEC Group, said companies were scrambling to free goods stacked up in Asia and in U.S. ports due to a confluence of crises.
    “It’s not going to clear up until March,” Klein said.
MORE PAIN FOR AUTOMAKERS
    Manufacturing industries are reeling.
    Automakers, for example, are again being forced to stop production because of disruptions caused by COVID-19 outbreaks.    Toyota Motor Corp said this week it had to halt operations at plants in Thailand and Japan because they couldn’t get parts.
    Stellantis temporarily suspended production at a factory in the U.K. because a large number of workers had to isolate to halt the spread of the virus.
    The industry has already been hit hard by a global shortage of semiconductors this year, mainly from Asian suppliers.
    Earlier this year, the auto industry consensus was that the chip supply crunch would ease in the second half of 2021 – but now some senior executives say it will continue into 2022.
    An executive at a South Korea auto parts maker, which supplies Ford, Chrysler and Rivian, said raw materials costs for steel which was used in all their products had surged partly due to higher freight costs.
    “When factoring in rising steel and shipping prices, it is costing about 10% more for us to make our products,” the executive told Reuters, declining to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter.
    “Although we are trying to keep our costs low, it has been very challenging.    It’s just not rising raw materials costs, but also container shipping prices have skyrocketed.”
    Europe’s biggest home appliances maker, Electrolux, warned this week of worsening component supply problems, which have hampered production.    Domino’s Pizza said the supply-chain disruptions were affecting the delivery of equipment needed to build stores.
U.S. AND CHINA STRUGGLE
    Buckling supply chains are hitting the United States and China, the world’s economic motors that together account for more 40% of global economic output.    This could lead to a slowdown in the global economy, along with rising prices for all manner of goods and raw materials.
    U.S. data out Friday dovetailed with a growing view that growth will slow in the last half of the year after a booming second quarter fueled by early success in vaccination efforts.
    “Short-term capacity issues remain a concern, constraining output in many manufacturing and service sector companies while simultaneously pushing prices higher as demand exceeds supply,” said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit.
    The firm’s “flash” reading of U.S. activity slid to a four-month low this month as businesses battle shortages of raw materials and labor, which are fanning inflation.
    It’s an unwelcome conundrum for the U.S. Federal Reserve, which meets next week just six weeks after dropping its reference to the coronavirus as a weight on the economy.
    The Delta variant, already forcing other central banks to consider retooling their policies, is fanning a new rise in U.S. cases, and inflation is running well above expectations.
‘WE NEED TO SUPPLY STORES’
    Ports across the globe are suffering the kinds of logjams not seen in decades, according to industry players.
    The China Port and Harbour Association said on Wednesday that freight capacity continued to be tight.
    “Southeast Asia, India and other regions’ manufacturing industry are impacted by a rebound of the epidemic, prompting some orders to flow to China,” it added.
    Union Pacific, one of two major railroad operators that carry freight from U.S. West Coast ports inland, imposed a seven-day suspension of cargo shipments last weekend, including consumer goods, to a Chicago hub where trucks pick up the goods.
    The effort, which aims to ease “significant congestion” in Chicago, will put pressure on ports in Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland and Tacoma, specialists said.
    A cyber attack hit South African container ports in Cape Town and Durban this week, adding further disruptions at the terminals.
    If all that were not enough, in Britain the official health app has told hundreds of thousands of workers to isolate following contact with someone with COVID-19 – leading to supermarkets warning of a short supply and some petrol stations closing.
    Richard Walker, managing director of supermarket group Iceland Foods, turned to Twitter to urge people not to panic buy.
    “We need to be able to supply stores, stock shelves and deliver food,” he wrote.
(Additional reporting by Anna Ringstrom in Stockholm, Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles, Hilary Russ in New York, Joe White in Detroit, Lucia Mutikani and Howard Schneider in Washington and Heekyong Yang in Seoul;Editing by Simon Webb, Dan Burns and Pravin Char)

7/23/2021 1 Dead, 3 Missing In Colo. Due To Heavy Flooding by OAN Newsroom
Hawk, a search and rescue dog with Larimer County Search and Rescue, enters the Cache La Poudre River, on Wednesday, July 21, 2021, looking for any of
the people missing after a flash flood ripped through the Poudre Canyon near Fort Collins, Colo. (Bethany Baker/The Coloradoan via AP)
    At least one person has died and many others have been missing after flash floods swept across Colorado.    On Thursday, the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office said search efforts have continued for three people who remained missing in the Poudre Canyon area, which is about 110 miles north of Denver.
    This comes after authorities announced they had found the body of a missing woman on Wednesday, whose identity has not been disclosed.    Reports mentioned at least five houses and a small bridge were destroyed in six mudslides as result of the flooding.
    “This big 8 to 10 foot tall mass rolling towards the river, a lot of sludge, a lot of huge boulders, logs,” one resident explained.    “When that hit the cabins, the three cabins right along here, that didn’t even slow it down.    It just pushed them in the river.”
    Authorities expect heavy rains to continue throughout next week and are warnings residents to stay inside and off the roads.

7/24/2021 Heavy Rain In India Triggers Floods, Landslides; At Least 125 Dead by Rajendra Jadhav and Manoj Kumar
People use their mobile phones to take pictures of a collapsed building following rains in Mumbai, India, July 23, 2021. REUTERS/Stringer.
    MUMBAI/NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Rescue teams in India struggled through thick sludge and debris on Saturday to reach dozens of submerged homes as the death toll from landslides and accidents caused by torrential monsoon rain rose to 125.
    Maharashtra state is being hit by the heaviest rain in July in four decades, experts say.    Downpours lasting several days have severely affected the lives of hundreds of thousands, while major rivers are in danger of bursting their banks.
    In Taliye, about 180 km (110 miles) southeast of the financial capital of Mumbai, the death toll rose to 42 with the recovery of four more bodies after landslides flattened most homes in the village, a senior Maharashtra government official said.
    “About 40 people are still trapped.    The possibility of rescuing them alive is thin as they’ve been trapped in mud for more than 36 hours,” said the official, who declined to be identified as he is not authorised to talk to the media.
    Harsh weather has hit several parts of the world in recent weeks, with floods in China and Western Europe and heat waves in North America, raising new fears about the impact of climate change.
    Parts of India’s west coast have received up to 594 mm (23 inches) of rain, forcing authorities to move people out of vulnerable areas as they released water from dams about to overflow.    The hill station of Mahabaleshwar recorded its highest ever rainfall – 60 cm in 24 hours.
    Rescuers were searching for victims of landslides in four other places in the state, the official said.
    “Around 90,000 people were rescued from flood affected areas,” the Maharashtra government said in a statement, as authorities released water from overflowing dams.
    Thousands of trucks were stuck for more than 24 hours on a highway linking Mumbai with the southern technology hub of Bengaluru, with the road submerged in some places.
    Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was in anguish over the loss of lives.
    “The situation in Maharashtra due to heavy rains is being closely monitored and assistance is being provided to the affected,” Modi said on Twitter on Friday.
    In the southern state of Telangana, heavy rain caused flooding in the state capital of Hyderabad and other low-lying areas.
    Indian environmentalists have warned that climate change and indiscriminate construction in fragile coastal regions could lead to more disasters.
    “The rain fury that lashed Mahabaleshwar … is a strong warning against any more tampering with the ecologically fragile Western Ghats,” environment economist Devendra Sharma said on Twitter referring to the range of hills along India’s west coast.
(Reporting by Rajendra Jhadav and Manoj Kumar; Editing by Robert Birsel)

7/24/2021 Philippines Evacuates Thousands As Monsoon Rains Flood Manila, Provinces
A man on a bicycle wades through a flooded street in Manila, Philippines, July 24, 2021. REUTERS/Lisa Marie David
    MANILA (Reuters) -Philippine authorities moved thousands of residents in the capital, Manila, out of low-lying communities on Saturday as heavy monsoon rains, compounded by a tropical storm, flooded the city and nearby provinces.
    The national disaster agency said about 15,000 people, most of them from a flood-prone Manila suburb, had moved into evacuation centres.
    “We decided to evacuate early,” said Luzviminda Tayson, 61.
    “We don’t want the waters to rise and be caught,” said Tayson, one of about 2,900 evacuees who were reminded to practice physical distancing as they took refuge in a primary school in Marikina city.
    Harsh weather has hit nearly all corners of the globe in recent weeks, bringing floods to China, India and Western Europe and heat waves to North America, heightening fears about the impact of climate change.
    The Philippines, a Southeast Asian archipelago of more than 7,600 islands, is hit by about 20 tropical storms a year but a warmer Pacific Ocean will make storms more powerful and bring heavier rain, meteorologists say.
    In some parts of the Philippine capital region, an urban sprawl of more than 13 million people, flood waters waters rose waist-high in places and cut off roads to light vehicles.
    The Philippines is also grappling with one of the worst outbreaks of COVID-19 in Asia and has tightened curbs to prevent the spread of the more infectious Delta variant.
    With more than 1.54 million cases and 27,131 deaths, the Philippines has the second highest number of COVID-19 infections and fatalities in Southeast Asia, after Indonesia.
    The public works ministry was busy on Saturday clearing debris and landslides from roads in the provinces, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.
    “Some houses were flooded up to the roof,” Humerlito Dolor, governor of Oriental Mindoro province south of the capital, told DZMM radio station.
(Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales and Jay Ereno; Editing by Robert Birsel and Edmund Klamann)

7/24/2021 SpaceX Lands NASA Launch Contract For Mission To Jupiter’s Moon Europa by Steve Gorman
FILE PHOTO: SpaceX's Elon Musk gives an update on the company's Mars rocket Starship
in Boca Chica, Texas U.S. September 28, 2019. REUTERS/Callaghan O'Hare
    LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Elon Musk’s private rocket company SpaceX was awarded a $178 million launch services contract for NASA’s first mission focusing on Jupiter’s icy moon Europa and whether it may host conditions suitable for life, the space agency said on Friday.
    The Europa Clipper mission is due for blastoff in October 2024 on a Falcon Heavy rocket owned by Musk’s company, Space Exploration Technologies Corp, from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, NASA said in a statement posted online.
    The contract marked NASA’s latest vote of confidence in the Hawthorne, California-based company, which has carried several cargo payloads and astronauts to the International Space Station for NASA in recent years.
    In April, SpaceX was awarded a $2.9 billion contract to build the lunar lander spacecraft for the planned Artemis program that would carry NASA astronauts back to the moon for the first time since 1972.
    But that contract was suspended after two rival space companies, Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin and defense contractor Dynetics Inc, protested against the SpaceX selection.
    The company’s partly reusable 23-story Falcon Heavy, currently the most powerful operational space launch vehicle in the world, flew its first commercial payload into orbit in 2019.
    NASA did not say what other companies may have bid on the Europa Clipper launch contract.
    The probe is to conduct a detailed survey of the ice-covered Jovian satellite, which is a bit smaller than Earth’s moon and is a leading candidate in the search for life elsewhere in the solar system.
    A bend in Europa’s magnetic field observed by NASA’s Galileo spacecraft in 1997 appeared to have been caused by a geyser gushing through the moon’s frozen crust from a vast subsurface ocean, researchers concluded in 2018.    Those findings supported other evidence of Europa plumes.
    Among the Clipper mission’s objectives are to produce high-resolution images of Europa’s surface, determine its composition, look for signs of geologic activity, measure the thickness of its icy shell and determine the depth and salinity of its ocean, NASA said.
(Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Edmund Klamann)

7/24/2021 Wildfires In Calif., Ore. Pushed By High Winds And High Temperatures by OAN Newsroom
A tree stump is engulfed in flames in the Bravo Bravo section of the Bootleg Fire on
July 21, 2021 in the Fremont National Forest of Ore. (Mathieu Lewis-Rolland/Getty Images)
    Firefighters have continued to battle some of the nation’s largest fires in both California and Oregon.    In California, the so-called Tamarack Fire sparked on July 4 by lightning, has burned more than 90 square miles of national forest land south of Lake Tahoe.
    More than 1,200 firefighters are currently battling the blaze and said they expect extreme fire behavior into the weekend, citing high winds and high temperatures.    Meanwhile, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) announced the addition of a dozen firefighting aircrafts to the state, nine of which were sent to the fire.    California is now using more than 60 aircrafts in its fight against the wildfires.
    The fire continued its march across the border with Nevada earlier this week, prompting new evacuation orders for the surrounding area.    The fire has so far destroyed at least 10 buildings and is about a mile away from a Nevada community of around 1,200 residents.
Firefighting Pilots maintain their aircraft between missions to suppress the Bootleg Fire at the
Lakeview Airport on July 22, 2021 in Lakeview, Ore. (Mathieu Lewis-Rolland/Getty Images)
    Those who have been evacuated from their homes said they teeter between feelings of panic and hope that their homes survived.    “I think that all the volunteers and everyone here who’s helping, they’re doing a great job,” said Bill Miller, an evacuee from Markleeville, California.
    As of Friday, the Tamarack Fire was only four percent contained.    Meanwhile in Oregon, firefighters continued their fight against a blaze tearing through the western part of the state.    Progress has been made in the Bootleg Fire described as the biggest fire in the country, as it sits at around 40 percent containment and has consumed more than 400,000 acres.
    The fire that sparked on Jan. 6 still poses a threat to thousands of homes and is so large that reports said it’s creating its own weather.    Firefighters said the blaze is being pushed by 30 mile-per-hour winds, which forced them to retreat to a safety zone.br>     Altogether, there are currently more than 80 wildfires burning in the U.S., which have consumed almost 1.5 million acres.

7/25/2021 Cars, Pavements Washed Away As Belgian Town Hit By Worst Floods In Decades
A woman works to recover her belongings following heavy rainfall in Dinant, Belgium July 25, 2021. REUTERS/Johanna Geron
    BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The southern Belgian town of Dinant was hit by the heaviest floods in decades on Saturday after a two-hour thunderstorm turned streets into torrential streams that washed away cars and pavements but did not kill anyone.
    Dinant was spared the deadly floods 10 days ago that killed 37 people in southeast Belgium and many more in Germany, but the violence of Saturday’s storm surprised many.
    “I have been living in Dinant for 57 years, and I’ve never seen anything like that,” Richard Fournaux, the former mayor of the town on the Meuse river and birthplace of the 19th century inventor of the saxophone, Adolphe Sax, said on social media.
    Rainwater gushing down steep streets swept away dozens of cars, piling them in a heap at a crossing, and washed away cobbles stones, pavements and whole sections of tarmac as inhabitants watched in horror from windows.
    There was no precise estimate of the damage, with town authorities predicting only that it would be “significant,” according to Belgian RTL TV.
    The storm wreaked similar havoc, also with no loss of life, in the small town of Anhee a few kilometres north of Dinant.
(Reporting by Jan Strupczewski; Editing by Nick Macfie)

7/25/2021 Shanghai Region Braces For Typhoon In-Fa After Flooding In Central China
A man with luggage walks in the rain on The Bund as Typhoon In-fa approaches Shanghai, China July 25, 2021. cnsphoto via REUTERS
    BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s commercial hub Shanghai and neighbouring coastal regions cancelled all flights, slowed or suspended subway trains and shuttered businesses as Typhoon In-fa made landfall on Sunday, bringing flooding and felling around 1,000 trees.
    The typhoon landed in the Putuo district of the city of Zhoushan, a major port in the east coast province of Zhejiang, at 12:30 p.m. (0430 GMT) on Sunday, state broadcaster CCTV said, citing the China Meteorological Administration.
    The storm hit as central China was still reeling from record flooding that killed at least 63, cut off power and forced the relocation of more than 1 million people.
    “We will make every effort to ensure the safety of people’s lives and property, and do everything to minimize disaster losses, and strive to achieve the goal of no deaths and few injuries and economic losses,” said Yuan Jiajun, the Zhejiang province Communist Party secretary, during an inspection of preparations on Saturday, official media reported.
    After flooding 6 kilometres (4 miles) of roads in Zhoushan with seawater and felling around 1,000 trees in Shanghai on Sunday afternoon, the typhoon was due to make a second landfall on the coast between Zhejiang’s Jiaxing city and Jiangsu province’s Qidong city on Sunday night.    The Meteorological Administration earlier said the typhoon was moving at a speed of 15 km per hour (9 miles per hour).
    In-fa’s wind speeds were up to 38 metres per second, the Meteorological Administration said.    That is equal to about 137 kph (85 mph), according to Reuters calculations.
    The Zhejiang emergency management department upgraded its typhoon response to the highest level on Saturday, closing schools and markets and suspending road traffic when necessary.
    Both Shanghai, home to about 26 million people, and Hangzhou to the south cancelled inbound and outbound flights from Saturday, and many train services in the region were also halted.
    The Shanghai government said it would slow its subway trains and supended some lines from noon, and Hangzhou authorities also cancelled all underground trains.
    Flooding in the central Chinese city of Zhengzhou last week killed 12 people who were trapped in the subway system.
    Shanghai Disneyland would close on Sunday and Monday because of the weather, the resort announced, while the city’s Yangshan Port has evacuated hundreds of vessels, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
    The typhoon was set to linger in eastern China after its second landfall and bring strong rainstorms to Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Anhui provinces, and Shanghai, said Xinhua.
(Reporting by Dominique Patton and Sophie Yu; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)

7/25/2021 Dixie Fire Scorches More Than 190K Acres In Calif. by OAN Newsroom
A home burns as flames from the Dixie Fire tear through the Indian Falls neighborhood of
unincorporated Plumas County, Calif. on July 24, 2021. (JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images)
    A new wave of evacuations have been issued for residents of Plumas and Butte counties as the Golden State’s largest wildfire has only continued to intensify.    California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection officials said the blaze grew to more than 190,000 acres and was 21 percent contained as of Sunday morning.
    The fire sparked on July 14 and has already destroyed several structures since, continuing to threaten more than 10,000 others.    Officials added the blaze remained active overnight and the fire is continuing to burn in a remote area with limited access, obstructing their control efforts.
    More than 5,000 personnel are on the scene as the Dixie Fire has marked the largest of seven currently ravaging across California.
    “The threats and risks associated to this fire are very real,” said Mike Minton, an incident commander.    “We’re observing fire behavior conditions and fuel conditions that are not common for this area.    So the rapid rates of fire growth that we’re seeing are very real.”
    Meanwhile, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has declared a state of emergency in four counties due to the multiple fires igniting across the state.

7/26/2021 Southern Europe Battles Wildfires As North Cleans Up After Floods
A helicopter is being filled up with water from a tank as a wildfire burns near the village
of Spathovouni, near Corinth, Greece July 23, 2021. REUTERS/Vassilis Psomas
    ATHENS (Reuters) – Wildfires burned in regions across southern Europe on Monday, fuelled by hot weather and strong winds, as some northern countries cleaned up after a weekend of torrential rain and flooding.
    In Greece, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said firefighters had battled around 50 fires during the past 24 hours and it was likely there would be more with meteorologists warning that a further heatwave was in prospect.
    “I want to emphasize that August remains a difficult month,” he said.    “That is why it is important for all of us, all state services, to be on absolute alert until the firefighting period is formally over.”
    Fire service officials said negligence on farms and construction sites had been behind several incidents, many of which were in the southern Peloponnese region.    No casualties were reported.
    Conditions in southern Europe were in sharp contrast to the torrential rainstorms that lashed northern countries from Austria to Britain following the catastrophic flooding in Germany and neighbouring countries last week.
    On the Italian island of Sardinia, firefighting planes from France and Greece reinforced local aircraft battling blazes across the island where more than 4,000 hectares of forest were burnt and more than 350 people evacuated.
    In Sicily, fires broke out near the western town of Erice.
    In Spain, the northeastern region of Catalonia saw more than 1,500 hectares destroyed near Santa Coloma de Queralt, forcing dozens to be evacuated, although the blazes were 90% stabilized on Monday, firefighters and authorities said.
    In Lietor, in the central east region of Castilla-La Mancha, more than 2,500 hectares burned during the weekend before being brought under control, authorities said.
    So far this year, wildfires have burned across 35,000 hectares in Spain, still some way off the 138,000 hectares burned in 2012, the worst year of the past decade.
(Reporting by Emma Pinedo Gonzalez in Madrid, Lefteris Papadimas and Angeliki Koutantou in Athens and Emily Roe in Rome; writing by James Mackenzie; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

7/26/2021 Extreme Weather Renews Focus On Climate Change As Scientists Update Forecasts by Andrea Januta
FILE PHOTO: A child looks on as water floods through a fence in Wessem, Netherlands, July 16, 2021. REUTERS/Eva Plevier/File Photo
    (Reuters) – As scientists gather online to finalize a long-awaited update on global climate research, recent extreme weather events across the globe highlight the need for more research on how it will play out, especially locally.
    The list of extremes in just the last few weeks has been startling: Unprecedented rains followed by deadly flooding in central China and Europe.    Temperatures of 120 Fahrenheit (49 Celsius) in Canada, and tropical heat in Finland and Ireland.    The Siberian tundra ablaze. Monstrous U.S. wildfires, along with record drought across the U.S. West and parts of Brazil.
    “Global warming was well projected, but now you see it with your own eyes,” said Corinne Le Quere, a climate scientist at the University of East Anglia.
    Scientists had long predicted such extremes were likely.    But many are surprised by so many happening so fast – with the global atmosphere 1.2 degrees Celsius warmer than the preindustrial average.    The Paris Agreement on climate change calls for keeping warming to within 1.5 degrees.
    “It’s not so much that climate change itself is proceeding faster than expected — the warming is right in line with model predictions from decades ago,” said climate scientist Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University.    “Rather, it’s the fact that some of the impacts are greater than scientists predicted.”
    That suggests that climate modeling may have been underestimating the “the potential for the dramatic rise in persistent weather extremes,” Mann said.
    Over the next two weeks, top scientists with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will finalize the first installment of its sixth Assessment Report, which will update the established science around greenhouse gas emissions and projections for future warming and its impacts.    Government representatives are also taking part in the virtual two-week meeting.
    The report will expand on the last such IPCC report in 2013 https://bit.ly/3rwwHY8 by focusing more on extreme weather and regional impacts.
    When released on Aug. 9, the report will likely serve as a guide for governments in crafting policies around the environment, greenhouse gas emissions, infrastructure and public services.    The report’s release was postponed several months due to the coronavirus pandemic.
LINGERING UNKNOWNS
    While climate modeling has evolved over decades to where scientists have high confidence in their projections, there are still uncertainties in how climate change will manifest — particularly at a local scale.    Answering these questions could take many more years.
    The June heat wave that killed hundreds in Canada would have been “virtually impossible.”
    https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/heat-wave-pacific-northwest-could-soon-repeat-due-climate-change-research-2021-07-07 without human-caused climate change, scientists from the World Weather Attribution network determined.
    But those temperatures — as much as 4.6 degrees Celsius higher than the previous record in some places — might also have resulted from new atmospheric changes that are not yet captured by climate models.
    “In the climate models, this does look like a freak event,” said the study’s co-author Friederike Otto, a climate scientist at the University of Oxford.    “The climate models do simulate such rare events and don’t suggest there is something else going on, but of course that could mean the models are just not correct.    This is really something we and the scientific community need to look into.”
    One area of mystery is how the Earth’s four main jet streams respond to shifting temperatures.    The jet streams are fast-flowing air currents that circle the globe — near the poles and the tropics — driving many weather patterns.    They are fueled by temperature variations. Some studies have suggested climate change may be slowing down parts of the northern polar jet stream, especially during the summer.
    That can cause heat waves by trapping heat under high-pressure air, as seen in Canada in June, or it can stall storms for longer in one place, potentially causing flooding.
    A key research challenge is the fact that extreme events are, by definition, rare events so there is less data.
    There is “tantalizing evidence” that the warming has introduced new, unexpected factors that have amplified climate change impacts even further than previously understood, but more research is needed, said Ken Caldeira, an atmospheric scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science’s Department of Global Ecology.
    “From my perspective, the jury is still out on that,” he said.    “Whichever the answer is, the policy prescription is the same.    We need to get ourselves off of CO2 emissions as soon as is practical.”
    More immediately, though, countries need to realize that extreme events are here to stay, even if the world can rapidly reduce emissions, scientists say.
    “There’s almost no strategy for adapting to a changing climate,” Le Quere said.    “Governments are not prepared.”
(Reporting by Andrea Januta; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

7/26/2021 Strained G20 Climate Talks Could Yet Deliver Progress On Coal by Gavin Jones
FILE PHOTO: South Korea's Environment Minister Han Jeoung-ae and Italy's Ecological Transition Minister Roberto Cingolani greet one another
at the start of the G20 Environment, Climate and Energy Ministers' Meeting in Naples, Italy, July 22, 2021. G20Italy/Handout via REUTERS
    ROME (Reuters) – Climate campaigners voiced frustration a meeting of ministers from the world’s richest countries failed to deliver a deal to phase out coal, but said pledges in the final communique gave hope for a breakthrough in time for U.N. talks later this year.
    The communique was only released at nearly midnight on Friday, hours after the energy and environment ministers finished tense talks, and the full documents were not available until Sunday.
    In his closing news conference, Italian Ecological Transition Minister Roberto Cingolani, who chaired the gathering, said negotiations had been exhausting and it had been impossible to agree on all issues.
    The sticking points were a target date of 2025 for the complete phase out of fossil fuel subsidies, which some developed countries had sought, and fixing dates to end the international financing of coal projects and to phase out coal power.
    After major emitters China and India refused to sign up to both points, Cingolani issued a separate statement asking G20 leaders to seek an accord on them at a summit in October.
    Some think tanks said the meeting had improved the chances of significant progress in October, and more importantly at United Nations climate talks, known as COP 26, which take place in Glasgow in November.
    They pointed to a commitment by so-far non-compliant nations to present before the COP 26 “ambitious” medium- and long-term plans for cutting emissions, and to a common aim to limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7°F) above pre-industrial levels.
    India, South Africa, and South Korea are among countries who have yet to submit their emission-cutting plans.
STAGE IS SET
    “There was real progress from major G20 economies over committing medium and long-term plans and on the acceptance of the 1.5 degree goal,” said Luca Bergamaschi, co-founder of Italian energy and climate think-tank ECCO and an adviser to the Italian government on G20 issues.
    “The stage is set for big decisions on coal at the October summit,” he added.
    Environmental group Climate Action Network-UK said the G20 communique “crucially acknowledges 1.5 degrees and the need for urgent action this decade, and sets up COP 26 as the moment for delivering on that by setting an intention to communicate ambitious medium term goals by then.”
    Oscar Soria, of the U.S.-based online activist network Avaaz, was more downbeat, saying the commitment to aim to cap the temperature rise at 1.5 degrees was positive, “but without new financial commitments that statement is meaningless.”
    Similarly, the absence of a date to phase out fossil fuel subsidies hollowed out the apparent progress made in committing to the goal of net zero emissions, he said.
    The Italian arm of the World Wildlife Fund acknowledged “some progress” on climate targets but added it “would have liked to see much more courage in decisions on clean technology, renewable energy, the end of fossil fuels.”
    With attention focused on COP 26, Alok Sharma, the British minister who will chair the meeting, expressed disappointment that the G20 had failed to agree on phasing out coal power and overseas coal financing.
    “It is frustrating that despite the progress made by some countries, there was no consensus in Naples to confine coal to history,” he said, adding that he hoped for progress on that front at the G20 leaders summit in October.
(Editing by Barbara Lewis)

7/26/2021 ‘The Sky Has Fallen’: Chinese Farmers See Livelihoods Washed Away By Floods by Emily Chow
Pigs are seen amid floodwaters after heavy rainfall in Wangfan village of Xinxiang,
Henan province, China July 25, 2021. Picture taken July 25, 2021. REUTERS/Aly Song
    XINXIANG, China (Reuters) – Chinese farmer Cheng wades through knee-deep water, pulling dead pigs behind him one-by-one by a rope tied around their ankles as he lines up the bloated carcasses for disposal.
    More than 100 of Cheng’s pigs drowned in floods that paralysed China’s central Henan province last week, and the outlook for those left alive is bleak.
    “I’m waiting for the water levels to go down to see what to do with the remaining pigs,” said the 47-year-old farmer from Wangfan village, about 90 kilometres (55 miles) north of provincial capital Zhengzhou.
    “They’ve been in the water for a few days now and can’t eat at all.    I don’t think even one pig will be left.”
    Cheng’s farm is one of thousands in Henan, famous for agriculture, and pork production in particular.    The province was struck by heavy rains last week that sparked the worst flash flooding in centuries, catching many by surprise.
    “In an instant, we now have no way of surviving.    We have no other skills.    We have no more money to raise pigs again,” Cheng, who has raised pigs all his life, told Reuters at his farm on Sunday.
    “This is as if the sky has fallen.”
    Across the village, where most of the 3,000 other residents also raise pigs or chickens or grow grain, people were clearing debris left by the receding floodwaters.
    Some carted out wheelbarrows and crates of lifeless chickens.    Dead pigs lay bloated in the water, tied to trees to stop them floating away.    Parts of the village smelled strongly of mud and rotting carcasses.
    At least 200,000 chickens and up to 6,000 pigs were lost in the flood, half of the village’s herd, farmers told Reuters.    Across Henan, rains have deluged 1,678 larger scale farms, killing more than a million animals.
    Though Chinese pig production has become increasingly intensive in recent years, millions of small farmers still play a major role in producing the country’s favourite meat.
    Even after a devastating epidemic of the deadly pig disease African swine fever swept the country during 2018 and 2019, many farmers returned to pig raising and expanded their herds to capitalise on high prices.
    Cheng said he’s facing losses of about 30,000 yuan ($4,627.13), and worries he won’t receive any government compensation.
    Livelihoods aside, the flooding also has many worried about fresh disease outbreaks.
    Last summer, heavy rain and flooding across southern China was blamed for dozens of outbreaks of African swine fever, a disease that usually kills pigs though is not harmful to people.
    “The disease issue is a much more severe issue than the direct losses,” said Pan Chenjun, senior analyst at Rabobank.
    The swine fever virus lives for about 10 days in pig faeces and water, and can survive for up to 100 days in manure pits.
    “Whatever’s in the manure pits will be washed out and spread around,” said Wayne Johnson, a veterinarian and consultant at Beijing-based Enable Ag-Tech Consulting.
    Last week, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs issued guidelines to local governments on how to prevent animal disease after flooding, including measures on disposal of carcasses and disinfection of farms.
    For now though, Wangfan farmers are not even sure they’ll return to farming.
    “After doing this for so many years, in a flash, everything is gone,” said 53-year-old Zhang Guangsi, who lost about half his herd.    “I don’t feel like raising pigs anymore.”
(This story has been refiled to correct headline to include quote mark, deletes extraneous word in paragraph 2.)
(Reporting by Emily Chow in Xinxiang; Additional reporting by Dominique Patton in Beijing; editing by Jane Wardell)

7/26/2021 Ore. Bootleg Fire Surpasses 400K Acres by OAN Newsroom
In this photo provided by the Bootleg Fire Incident Command, the Bootleg Fire burns at night near Highway 34
in southern Oregon on Thursday, July 15, 2021. (Jason Pettigrew/Bootleg Fire Incident Command via AP)
    As firefighters continue to battle Oregon’s Bootleg Fire, residents who were forced to evacuate are returning to find their homes have been ruined.    According to local news outlets, approximately 112 homes and 169 outbuildings have been destroyed.
    The Bootleg Fire in Oregon has torched more than 400,000 acres so far, making it Oregon’s third largest wildfire on records dating back to 1900.    According to fire officials, the blaze is around 46 percent contained as more than 2,000 personnel are working on the frontlines.
    An estimated 2,000 residents were displaced by evacuations when the fire reached its peak.
    “We just got to try to band together as a community and rebuild and get people’s lives back in order,” stated Sycan Estates evacuee Gage Clark.    “It’ll never be back to what it was, of course, but we got to try to do what we can because we all still own our property and a lot of people don’t have anywhere else to go.”
    Oregon’s Bootleg Fire is just one of several burning across the Western United States.    Local authorities are urging residents to pay attention to evacuation orders.

7/26/2021 8 Killed In Utah Multi-Vehicle Pileup Caused By Sandstorm by OAN Newsroom
Crash scene in Millard County, Utah on 7/25/2021. (Photo credit: Utah Highway Patrol)
    A multi-vehicle pileup in Utah has left several people dead and many others injured.    The incident happened on Sunday afternoon on Highway 15 in Millard County, which is about two hours south of Salt Lake City.
    “It’s very tragic,” expressed Sgt. Cameron Roden of Utah Highway Patrol.    “It’s very hard to see the loss of life, the families and the people that are affected.”
    Officials said strong winds created a sandstorm, which impaired the visibility of several drivers and led to a series of crashes involving more than 20 vehicles.    One witness went on to explain, “after the semi crashed into the car right beside us, we just kept hearing more crashes.”
    Officials reported many of the victims included children and several of the injured have been in critical condition.    Utah Gov. Spencer Cox (R) offered condolences by saying, “we fervently pray for the loved ones of those who perished and for those fighting for their lives
    Utah Highway Patrol warned drivers of delays on Highway 15 throughout the ongoing investigation.

7/27/2021 Six Killed In Landslide, Flooding At Rohingya Camps In Bangladesh
FILE PHOTO: A Rohingya refugee boy sits inside his temporary shelter near Balukhali in
Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, September 12, 2017. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/File Photo/File Photo
    DHAKA (Reuters) -At least six Rohingya Muslims, including children, were killed and several others injured on Tuesday after heavy monsoon rains triggered landslides and flooding in refugee camps in southern Bangladesh, officials said.
    Mohammad Shamsud Douza, a senior Bangladesh government official in charge of refugees, said five people died in landslides and a child was swept away by flooding after days of heavy rain.
    Nearly one million Rohingya live in crowded camps in the border district of Cox’s Bazar, the world’s largest refugee settlement, after fleeing a military crackdown in neighboring Myanmar in 2017.
    “I saw many terrible situations in the camps,” said Kasim, a refugee in one of the worst affected areas.    “Shelters were under water, mothers were running with their children crying.”
    Onno van Manen, country director of Save the Children Bangladesh, said two children were killed on Tuesday after a rain-soaked hill collapsed on top of their shelter, burying them underneath.
    “On top of these deaths, the heavy rains have damaged hundreds of temporary shelters, forcing exhausted families to seek shelter in mosques and schools,” he said.
    The Bangladesh weather office said it expected heavy rains to continue for the next few days.
    Rohingya refugees mostly live in shacks made of bamboo and plastic sheets that cling to steep, bare hills, and flooding has further worsened their living conditions.
    “Today’s severe rainfall and flooding in Cox’s Bazar shows yet again how vulnerable Rohingya refugees, and especially children, are to the impacts of climate change,” said van Manen.
    “Camps like these are no place for children to live and grow up.    The international community must come up with a long-term political solution.”
(Reporting by Ruma Paul and Poppy McPhersonEditing by Tomasz Janowski and Bernadette Baum)

7/27/2021 Much Power Restored In Western Germany After Floods, 5,800 Still Cut Off
FILE PHOTO: A man looks on outside a house in an area affected by floods caused by heavy rainfall
in Bad Muenstereifel, Germany, July 19, 2021. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/File Photo
    FRANKFURT (Reuters) – The restoration of power supplies in flood-stricken parts of western Germany has continued but an estimated 5,800 households are still without electricity, the country’s biggest local grid company Westnetz said on Tuesday.
    A total 200,000 households were cut off less than two weeks ago after extreme rainfall caused deadly flooding across the region when river water swept through towns and villages.[L8N2OS2Q1].
    Power substations and transformers that were switched off when flooded had been cleaned, tested and recommissioned, Westnetz, which is part of utility group E.ON, said in a statement.
    Sockets and installations including photovoltaic panels and storage batteries in some parts of the area still needed more work to ensure that reconnecting them was safe for both people and the housing stock, it added.
    Some 800 employees have been pulled together from technical units, control centres, and hotlines to work locally, and related units of E.ON and partner companies were also providing support.
    Westnetz, which supplies 7.5 million customers with power, gas, water and heat, is still using alternative substations and emergency generators in some locations.
(Reporting by Vera Eckert, editing by David Evans)

7/28/2021 Residents Flee As Winds Fan Massive Wildfire In Southern Turkey
Smoke from a wildfire is seen in Manavgat, Antalya, Turkey July 28, 2021 in this still
image taken from social media video. TWITTER/@ONURBURAKCELIK/via REUTERS
    ANKARA (Reuters) – A massive forest fire in southern Turkey spread to the town of Manavgat as the flames were fanned by strong winds on Wednesday, according to the local mayor, and TV footage showed residents running for their cars as streets were engulfed in smoke.
    Footage showed plumes of black smoke rising from the forest around Manavgat, 75 km (45 miles) east of the resort city of Antalya, and Mayor Sukru Sozen said flames had spread as far as the town centre, where many buildings were being evacuated.
    “The fire has spread to the town centre.    It’s growing even more with the wind.    It’s impossible for us to determine the size of the damage, there is damage in the villages too.    We have not seen anything like this,” Sozen told broadcaster Haberturk.
    Antalya Mayor Muhittin Bocek said the fire had started at four different points.    He told Haberturk four neighbourhoods had been evacuated but there were no reports of casualties yet.
    Authorities could not immediately say what caused the fire.
    Agriculture Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said authorities were battling the flames with a firefighting plane, 19 helicopters, 108 vehicles and some 400 personnel.
    Turkey’s AFAD disaster agency said emergency teams from nearby provinces were also called into action, while authorities evacuated settlements near the forest.
    Antalya, a popular destination for both foreign and local tourists, is known for its scorching summer heat.    Bocek said the extreme heat and strong winds were fanning the fire as it swept through the pine forest.
    The fire comes as Turkey battles with a series of disasters caused by extreme weather conditions in recent weeks.
    Earlier this month, flash floods in the Black Sea provinces of Rize and Artvin damaged homes and property.    The floods killed six people in Rize, according to AFAD. (Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Alex Richardson)

7/29/2021 Light coming from behind a black hole is observed for the first time by Stacy Liberatore For Dailymail.com
© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo
    A team of astronomers at Stanford University has detected light coming from behind a black hole in a first ever observation that proves famed theoretical physicist Albert Einstein's theory of relativity.
    The study, published Wednesday in Nature, analyzed X-ray 'echoes' surrounding a black hole, some 100 million light-years from Earth, which were a result of the intense gravity of the object warping space and bending the light back around into view.
    These 'echoes' are flashes of X-ray light that come from the disk, which scientists use to map the black hole's inner structure.
    The scenario was predicted by Einstein's theory, which determined that massive objects cause a distortion in space-time, which is felt as gravity.
    Roger Blandford, a co-author of the research, published in Nature, said: 'Fifty years ago, when astrophysicists starting speculating about how the magnetic field might behave close to a black hole, they had no idea that one day we might have the techniques to observe this directly and see Einstein's general theory of relativity in action.'
Slide 1 of 8: Stunning images of nearby galaxies revealing the locations of young stars as the gas warms up around them have
been captured by astronomers.    The new observations resemble colorful cosmic fireworks, and were obtained with the
European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile.    Images show different components of the galaxies
in distinct colors, allowing astronomers to pinpoint the locations of young stars and their surrounding gas. Combining these observations
with data from the ALMA telescope has allowed the team to shed new light on what triggers clouds of gas to go on to
form stars. Click through to see the stunning shots...
    While conducting the research, Stanford University astrophysicist Dan Wilkins observed a series of bright flares of X-rays and then the telescopes recorded something unexpected: additional flashes of X-rays that were smaller, later and of different 'colors' than the bright flares.
© Provided by Daily Mail
    Einstein's famous theory, penned in 1915, determined that massive objects cause a distortion in space-time, which is felt as gravity.
    'Any light that goes into that black hole doesn't come out, so we shouldn't be able to see anything that's behind the black hole,' Wilkins, who is a research scientist at the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology at Stanford and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, shared in a statement.
    'The reason we can see that is because that black hole is warping space, bending light and twisting magnetic fields around itself.'
    While studying a black hole in the at the center of a galaxy called I Zwicky 1 (I Zw 1 for short), around 100 million light-years from Earth, Wilkins noticed a series of smaller flashes.

© Provided by Daily Mail
    He and his team determined that the flashes are the same X-ray flares released from the center, but instead were being reflected from the back of the disk.
    'I've been building theoretical predictions of how these echoes appear to us for a few years,' said Wilkins.
    'I'd already seen them in the theory I've been developing, so once I saw them in the telescope observations, I could figure out the connection.'
    Wilkins and his colleagues' original research had focused on learning more about a black holes' corona, which is a collection of ultra-hot gas particles that forms as gas from the disk falls into the black hole.
    The leading theory about what a corona is suggests it begins with gas sliding onto the black hole, which is then heated to millions of degrees.
© Provided by Daily Mail
    At such extreme temperatures, electrons separate from atoms, creating a magnetized plasma.
    'Caught up in the powerful spin of the black hole, the magnetic field arcs so high above the black hole, and twirls about itself so much, that it eventually breaks altogether – a situation so reminiscent of what happens around our own Sun that it borrowed the name 'corona.'
    'This magnetic field getting tied up and then snapping close to the black hole heats everything around it and produces these high energy electrons that then go on to produce the X-rays,' said Wilkins.

7/29/2021 Three Dead As Wildfires Blaze On Southern Turkish Coast by Mert Ozkan
FILE PHOTO: Plumes of black smoke rise from the forest around Manavgat, 75 km
(45 miles) east of the resort city of Antalya, Turkey, July 28, 2021. REUTERS/Kaan Soyturk
    MANAVGAT, Turkey (Reuters) -Three people died in a forest fire in southern Turkey on Thursday where authorities were battling multiple blazes for a second day amid suspicions of arson, the country’s AFAD disaster agency and the agriculture minister said.
    Dozens of villages as well as some hotels were evacuated, and television footage showed burnt buildings and people fleeing across fields as firefighters on the ground and in helicopters tried to contain a blaze in Manavgat, 75 km (45 miles) east of the Mediterranean resort of Antalya.
    Officials have said that more than 60 wildfires have erupted across 17 provinces on Turkey’s Aegean and Mediterranean coasts this week, with the presidency vowing to hold to account those responsible for the “attacks.”
    Of those wildfires, 36 have been contained, but firefighting efforts for the remaining 17 continue, with more than 140 people requiring treatment or suffering property damage, according to AFAD.
    Agriculture Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said an 82-year-old man had been found dead during the evacuation of Kepezbeleni, 16 kilometres northeast of Manavgat, and two people were found dead in Degirmenli, 20 kilometres east of Manavgat.
    He said 18 villages and districts had been evacuated in Antalya, along with 16 others in neighbouring provinces of Adana and Mersin, as fires spread around Manavgat on Wednesday, fanned by strong winds in hot weather.    Authorities also evacuated a Manavgat hospital.
    Buildings including a hotel in the Aegean resort of Marmaris were evacuated due to the blaze, state broadcaster TRT Haber said.    Footage showed two separate fires near residential areas in the Aegean summer hotspots of Bodrum, where another hotel was evacuated, and Didim.
    Pakdemirli said 35 aircrafts, 457 vehicles, and 4,000 personnel were involved in firefighting efforts, as separate wildfires raged in the provinces of Osmaniye, Kayseri, Kocaeli, Adana, Mersin and Kutahya.
    “Our struggle to contain (the fires) continues, and surely we will contain them.    But this may take some time,” he said.
    The timing of the various wildfires has raised concerns of arson, with the presidency’s communications director Fahrettin Altun saying investigations were launched to determine the cause of the fires.
    “Those responsible will be held to account for the attacks they mounted on our nature and forests as soon as possible,” Altun said on Twitter.
    Turkey’s southern Mediterranean coast is known for its scorching summer heat, which often causes wildfires. Officials have said the latest fires are the biggest to date.
    Turkey has battled a series of disasters caused by extreme weather conditions this summer, including flash floods last week that killed six people in the Black Sea region.
(Additional reporting by Yesim Dikmen and Ezgi Erkoyun in Istanbul, Tuvan Gumrukcu in Ankara; Writing by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Dominic Evans, Catherine Evans, Timothy Heritage and Raissa Kasolowsky)

7/30/2021 ‘This Is Like A Nightmare’: Thousands Displaced As Floods Hit Bangladesh Rohingya Camps by Ruma Paul
General view of a flooded area following heavy monsoon rains at Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh
July 27, 2021 in this picture taken July 27, 2021. Arakan Times/via REUTERS
    (Reuters) -Heavy monsoon rains triggered landslides and flash floods in refugees camps displacing thousands of Rohingya Muslims in southeastern Bangladesh this week, U.N. and other officials said on Friday, with further heavy rainfall expected.
    At least six Rohingya, including three children, died in landslides and flooding while 15 Bangladeshis were killed and more than 200,000 stranded by flooding in Cox’s Bazar, said Mamunur Rashid, the district administrator.
    Nearly one million Rohingya live in crowded camps in the border district of Cox’s Bazar, the world’s largest refugee settlement, after fleeing a military crackdown in neighbouring Myanmar in 2017.
    The refugees mostly live in shacks made of bamboo and plastic sheets that cling to steep, bare hills.    TV footage showed flooded homes and muddy water cascading down steps and hillsides.    Children played in chest-high waters.
    “This is like a nightmare,” said Rohingya Rokeya Begum.    “I have never seen such flooding in the camps in four years.    When the water came, there was nobody from my family at home to help.    I was alone but I could take my belongings to a safer place.    Now I am staying with another family.”
    The U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said more than 21,000 refugees had been “affected” by the flooding while nearly 4,000 shelters had been damaged or destroyed.
    It said more than 13,000 were forced to relocate in the camps, while thousands of facilities were damaged, including health clinics and toilets.    Access has been hindered due to damage to roads, pathways and bridges.
    And the flooding is likely to get worse.
    “Heavy rainfall is expected during the next few days, and as such, challenges are likely to increase,” said Manuel Marques Pereira, Deputy Chief of Mission in Bangladesh for the U.N.’s International Organization for Migration.
    Refugees, many of them still recovering from massive fires that tore through the camps in March, said landslides and floods left homes “totally covered with mud.”
    “Somehow my family members could evacuate,” said Abu Siddique, who lives in the Balukhali refugee camp.    “The mud that came down from the hill entered my home… All of our belongings inside are covered in mud.”
(Reporting by Ruma Paul; Editing by Nick Macfie)

7/30/2021 Rio’s Homeless Brave Unprecedented Cold
Marco Antonio, 21, a homeless man, is pictured as NGO doAcao distribute food and blankets to the
homeless while an unusual cold hits Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 29, 2021. REUTERS/Lucas Landau
    RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – As an unusual cold snap stuns residents of Rio de Janeiro, a Brazilian city famous for its sun, sand and sea, the city’s homeless have been struggling to sleep through the chill.
    “It’s very cold.    Even with two blankets and a quilt, I still felt horrible last night,” Flávio, who is homeless, said.
    A polar air mass has been traveling toward the country’s center-south regions this week, bringing fast winds and rare snowfall to communities unfamiliar with low temperatures — and to street residents ill-equipped to handle them.
    In Rio, Jeniffer Faria da Silva and Marlon Memos Mollulo have been distributing warm food, blankets, clothes, shoes and bread to the city’s street residents as part of a project they began a year and a half ago.    Traveling through the city at night, they’ve been placing thermal liners on concrete, where dozens of the city’s homeless sleep side by side to stay warm.
    “There’s a lot of suffering, especially in Rio where we aren’t used to having these kinds of temperatures.    We don’t have the right infrastructure to cope with the cold, and some of these people also have pets,” Silva said.
    The polar air mass is slated to bring freezing temperatures to São Paulo and Minas Gerais, major producers of key commodities like sugar, citrus and coffee.
    Temperatures in Rio are expected to drop to an unusual low of 9°C on Friday before gradually starting to warm up in August.
(Reporting by Sergio Queiroz, writing by Jimin Kang, Editing by Nick Zieminski)

7/30/2021 ‘Welcome To Global Warming’: Greece Warns Against Unnecessary Work As Temperatures Soar by Phoebe Fronista
The Parthenon temple is seen atop the empty Acropolis hill archaeological site, closed
to the public during a heatwave in Athens, Greece, July 30, 2021. REUTERS/Costas Baltas
    ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek authorities warned the public against unnecessary work and travel on Friday as temperatures hit 40 degrees Celsius (104 °F) in Athens and the ancient Acropolis, its most visited monument, was briefly forced to close.
    Temperatures have been high in much of the country in recent days and are expected to reach 44 degrees on Monday and Tuesday, the National Meteorological Service said, warning of a high risk of wildfires during a “dangerous” heatwave.
    “We are constantly recording maximum record temperatures all these years, which means that climate change is here,” said Stavros Solomos, researcher at the Centre for Atmospheric Physics and Climatology of the Academy of Athens.
    “We are expecting to have more frequent, more intense heatwaves,” he said, as well as “tropical nights” – where temperatures do not fall below 25 to 30 degrees.br>     The Acropolis, which looks out over the capital, closed for a few hours as it does when temperatures rise, to protect tourists from the heat.
    The heatwave was characterized as dangerous because it was expected to last several days – at least until next Friday, with the peak expected on Monday and Tuesday, said Theodoros Kolydas, head of the weather service.
    Citizens’ Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis warned of “extremely high temperatures” and urged people “to show the highest degree of responsibility and cooperation.”
    He added: “I also want to appeal to our fellow citizens to avoid unnecessary travel in the heat but also unnecessary work.”
    Earlier this month, Athens Mayor Kostas Bakoyiannis appointed a chief heat officer, the first in Europe, to help tackle extreme heat.
    “Welcome to global warming! It’s very hot, it’s very oppressive,” said George Papabeis, a Greek-American tourist, as he made his way through central Athens.
    On the capital’s beaches, conditions were equally dire.
    “I think it will be like hell.    I’m not happy about it,” said May Ben Atia, a tourist from Israel.    “It becomes so hot you can actually feel it in your skin,” she said.
    More than 1,000 people died in 1987 in Greece’s deadliest heatwave, with scorching temperatures for over a week.
    Firefighters have tackled more than 40 wildfires in the last 24 hours, the fire brigade said, fanned by winds and high temperatures.    A raging blaze north of Athens on Tuesday burned at least a dozen homes before being brought under control.
    Neighbouring Turkey has been hit by wildfires in which four people have been killed this week.
(Additional reporting by Karolina Tagaris and Angeliki KoutantouWriting by Karolina Tagaris; Editing by Nick Macfie)

7/30/2021 No Toxic Fallout From German Chemical Blast, Official Says
FILE PHOTO: Smoke billows following an explosion in Leverkusen, Germany, July 27, 2021. Feuerwehr Koeln/Handout via REUTERS
    DUESSELDORF (Reuters) – The fallout from Tuesday’s fatal blast at an industrial estate in western Germany did not contain any toxic substances, an official from the regional environmental protection agency said on Friday.
    Analysis of particles that fell on a residential area near the Chempark industrial estate in Leverkusen contained no dioxins or polychlorinated biphenyls, environmental protection official Ulrich Quass told a news briefing.
    The blast at the Chempark site, which hosts chemicals companies including Bayer and Lanxess, killed five people, injured 31, and set off a fire in a tank containing solvents.
    Local residents were told to close their windows and stay indoors to minimise their exposure to the fallout.    Officials said precautionary measures would stay in force while a cleanup operation went ahead. (Reporting by Tom Kaeckenhoff, Writing by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Alison Williams)

7/30/2021 U.S. Voices Concern Over Harassment Of Media Covering China Floods
FILE PHOTO: An aerial view shows a flooded road following heavy rainfall in Zhengzhou,
Henan province, China July 23, 2021. Picture taken with a drone. REUTERS/Aly Song
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The United States is “deeply concerned with the increasingly harsh surveillance, harassment, and intimidation of U.S. and other foreign journalists” covering recent floods in China’s Henan province, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Thursday.
    China’s harsh rhetoric toward news it perceives as critical “has provoked negative public sentiment leading to tense, in-person confrontations and harassment” of journalists, Price said in a statement.
    China’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
    The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China said on Tuesday that journalists from several media outlets covering recent floods in China were harassed online and by local residents, with staff from the BBC and Los Angeles Times receiving death threats.
    “We call on the PRC to act as a responsible nation hoping to welcome foreign media and the world for the upcoming Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games,” Price said.
(Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Sandra Maler and Simon Cameron-Moore)

7/30/2021 Four Killed As Wildfires Sweep Turkey, Villages Evacuated by Mert Ozkan
A forest fire burns near the town of Manavgat, east of the resort city of Antalya, Turkey, July 29, 2021. REUTERS/Kaan Soyturk
    MANAVGAT, Turkey (Reuters) -The death toll from wildfires on Turkey’s southern coast has risen to four and firefighters were battling blazes for a third day on Friday after the evacuation of dozens of villages and some hotels.
    More than 70 wildfires have broken out this week in provinces on Turkey’s Aegean and Mediterranean coasts as well as inland areas, President Tayyip Erdogan said, adding that 14 were still burning.
    Planes from Russia and Ukraine helped battle the flames and another from Azerbaijan was joining them.    “As of midday, with the arrival of the planes, we are turning in a positive direction,” Erdogan told reporters after Friday prayers.
    Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said fires raged on in six provinces and officials promised to bring to account anyone found responsible for starting them.
    Villages and some hotels have been evacuated in tourist areas and television footage has shown people fleeing across fields as fires closed in on their homes.
    Pakdemirli said fires were still blazing in the Mediterranean resort region of Antalya and the Aegean resort province of Mugla.
    “We were hoping to contain some of the fires as of this morning but while we say cautiously that they are improving, we still cannot say they are under control,” he said.
    Wildfires have broken out elsewhere in the region, with more than 40 in Greece in the last 24 hours, fanned by winds and soaring temperatures, authorities said.    On Tuesday, a blaze tore through a pine forest north of Athens, damaging more than a dozen homes before it was brought under control.
    Fires also burned large swathes of pine forest in the mountainous north of Lebanon this week, killing at least one firefighter and forcing some residents to flee.
    In Turkey, firefighters on the ground and in helicopters were fighting a blaze that killed three people in Manavgat, 75 km (45 miles) east of Antalya.    Urbanisation Minister Murat Kurum said 27 neighbourhoods were evacuated there.
    One person was found dead on Thursday in Mugla’s Marmaris area, 290 km west of Manavgat.    The blaze continued in Marmaris but residential areas were not at risk, Pakdemirli said.
    Erdogan said at least five planes, 45 helicopters, drones, and 1,080 firefighting vehicles were involved in firefighting efforts at 1,140 sites.
    Istanbul governor’s office banned entry to forest areas until the end of August as a precaution against fires.
(Reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen, Daren Butler, Tuvan Gumrukcu in Ankara, Karolina Tagaris in Athens, Laila Bassam in Beirut; Editing by Janet Lawrence and Giles Elgood)

7/31/2021 Western Governors Ask Biden For More Resources Amid Intense, Fast Growing Wildfires by OAN Newsroom
    Joe Biden listens during a virtual meeting with west coast Governors in the South Court Auditorium
in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on July 30, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
    Joe Biden and Kamala Harris held a virtual meeting with several governors from western states to discuss the latest wildfires and prevention efforts.    Biden took down bullet points on Friday as Govs. Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.), Kate Brown (D-Ore.), Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) and four others all pleaded for further action.
    The governors told Biden what needs to be provided by the federal government in order for their states to fight against the blazes that have continued to ravage on amid extreme heat and drought conditions.    Biden acknowledged the threat of western wildfires this year has been the most severe as its ever been and demanded urgent action.
    Governors discussed ways to strengthen wildfire prevention, preparedness and response efforts.    Newsom said the Golden State has hit a record number of firefighters in July with at least 7,400 active personnel battling blazes, adding even more are needed alongside emergency fuel supplies.
    In Washington, Gov. Inslee said the state’s wildfire season is looking to be four times worse than seasons prior.    Additionally, Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) emphasized the state’s need for critical forest management and called for coordination from federal agencies.
    This marked the second meeting between Biden and the governors to discuss the nation’s growing wildfires.    In the meantime, the National Interagency Fire Center reported more than 80 active wildfires currently burning across 13 states.
[WHATEVER YOU DO SO DO NOT LET THEM TAKE THE MONEY FOR POLITICS OR BLM, ETC AND FORCE THEM TO DO PROPER FORESTING CLEANUPS AND LAKE RESEVOIRS.]

7/31/2021 ‘This Is Like A Nightmare’: Thousands Displaced As Floods Hit Bangladesh Rohingya Camps by Ruma Paul
General view of a flooded area following heavy monsoon rains at Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh
July 27, 2021 in this picture taken July 27, 2021. Arakan Times/via REUTERS
    (Reuters) -Heavy monsoon rains triggered landslides and flash floods in refugees camps displacing thousands of Rohingya Muslims in southeastern Bangladesh this week, U.N. and other officials said on Friday, with further heavy rainfall expected.
    At least six Rohingya, including three children, died in landslides and flooding while 15 Bangladeshis were killed and more than 200,000 stranded by flooding in Cox’s Bazar, said Mamunur Rashid, the district administrator.
    Nearly one million Rohingya live in crowded camps in the border district of Cox’s Bazar, the world’s largest refugee settlement, after fleeing a military crackdown in neighbouring Myanmar in 2017.
    The refugees mostly live in shacks made of bamboo and plastic sheets that cling to steep, bare hills. TV footage showed flooded homes and muddy water cascading down steps and hillsides. Children played in chest-high waters.
    “This is like a nightmare,” said Rohingya Rokeya Begum.    “I have never seen such flooding in the camps in four years.    When the water came, there was nobody from my family at home to help.    I was alone but I could take my belongings to a safer place.    Now I am staying with another family.”
    The U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said more than 21,000 refugees had been “affected” by the flooding while nearly 4,000 shelters had been damaged or destroyed.
    It said more than 13,000 were forced to relocate in the camps, while thousands of facilities were damaged, including health clinics and toilets.    Access has been hindered due to damage to roads, pathways and bridges.
    And the flooding is likely to get worse.
    “Heavy rainfall is expected during the next few days, and as such, challenges are likely to increase,” said Manuel Marques Pereira, Deputy Chief of Mission in Bangladesh for the U.N.’s International Organization for Migration.
    Refugees, many of them still recovering from massive fires that tore through the camps in March, said landslides and floods left homes “totally covered with mud.”
    “Somehow my family members could evacuate,” said Abu Siddique, who lives in the Balukhali refugee camp.    “The mud that came down from the hill entered my home… All of our belongings inside are covered in mud.”
(Reporting by Ruma Paul; Editing by Nick Macfie)

7/31/2021 Turkish Wildfire Leaves Charred Home And Ashes, As Blazes Spread by Mert Ozkan
FILE PHOTO: A forest fire burns near the town of Manavgat, east of the
resort city of Antalya, Turkey, July 29, 2021. REUTERS/Kaan Soyturk
    MANAVGAT, Turkey (Reuters) -Days after a raging wildfire in southern Turkey drove his family from the home they lived in for four decades, Mehmet Demir returned on Saturday to discover a burnt-out building, charred belongings and ashes.
    Bedsprings, a ladder, metal chairs and some kitchenware were the only things left identifiable after some of the worst fires in years tore through the region, with several still burning four days after they erupted on Wednesday.
    Demir’s home, near the coastal Mediterranean town of Manavgat and not far from the popular tourist resort Antalya, was hit by one of the some 100 fires that officials say broke out this week across southern and western Turkey.    Sweltering heat and strong winds fanned the flames.
    “The blaze spread through the highlands and raged suddenly,” Demir told Reuters as he looked around the wreckage of his home, built in 1982.    “We had to flee to the centre of Manavgat.    Then we came back to find the house like this.”
    “This was our (only) saving for the past 39-40 years.    We are now left with the clothes we are wearing, me and my wife.    There is nothing to do.    This is when words fail.”
    The death toll from the fires rose to six on Saturday, as two firefighters died during efforts to control the fire in Manavgat, officials said.    Thousands of people were evacuated from their homes.
    Smoke from the fires in Antalya and Mersin extended to the island of Cyprus, around 150 km (100 miles) away, satellite imagery showed.
    A new blaze erupted on Saturday in the popular holiday resort of Bodrum on the Aegean coast and some residential areas and hotels were evacuated, according to broadcasters.br>     Video footage showed plumes of smoke rising from mountains above Bodrum and a helicopter discharging water as firefighters tried to control the blaze before it reaches residential areas.
    Wildfires are common in southern Turkey in the summer but authorities say the latest blazes have covered a much bigger area.
HEATWAVES IN THE REGION
    Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said a total of 101 fires had broken out in the past four days, of which 91 were under control.
    Fires continued in southern coastal provinces of Antalya, Mersin and the western coastal province of Mugla including the one in Bodrum and central province of Usak, Pakdemirli said.
    Turkish meteorological authorities said forecasts pointed to heatwaves along the Aegean and Mediterranean coastal regions.    Temperatures are forecast to reach 43 Celsius to 47 Celsius (109.4 – 116.6 Fahrenheit) in Antalya next week.
    President Tayyip Erdogan said during a visit to Manavgat on Saturday all damaged houses would be rebuilt and losses compensated, adding that Azerbaijan, Russia, Ukraine and Iran have sent firefighting planes and support teams to the affected areas.
    In neighbouring Greece https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/greece-issues-wildfires-warning-over-dangerous-heatwave-2021-07-30, authorities warned the public against unnecessary work and travel on Friday as temperatures hit 40 C (104 F) in Athens and the ancient Acropolis, its most visited monument, was briefly forced to close.
    On the Italian island of Sicily, firemen said on Saturday they were battling for a second straight day wildfires that reached the town of Catania https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/firemen-fighting-wildfires-sicilian-town-catania-2021-07-31, forcing people to leave their homes and the local airport to temporarily shut down.
(Writing by Ezgi ErkoyunAdditional reporting by Yesim Dikmen in IstanbulEditing by Dominic Evans, Clelia Oziel and Frances Kerry)

7/31/2021 Firemen Fighting Wildfires In Sicilian Town Of Catania
A view of a fire at Le Capannine beach in Catania, Sicily, Italy, July 30, 2021, in this
photo obtained from social media on July 31, 2021. Roberto Viglianisi/via REUTERS
    MILAN (Reuters) – Firemen in Italy said on Saturday they were battling for a second straight day wildfires in Sicily that reached the town of Catania, forcing people to leave their homes and the local airport to temporarily shut down.
    The firemen said on Twitter they had been conducting 250 operations in Sicily in the past 24 hours, of which 50 were in Catania alone.    The city famous for its Baroque architecture is located on the slopes of Mount Etna on the island’s eastern coast.
    The fires hit the area of Catania facing the sea, destroying the local beach resort La Capannina where social media images showed charred beach chairs and umbrellas.
    With temperatures approaching 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), hot winds have stoked the flames across the island, with fires erupting also in the Palermo province, causing ashes to rain on the Sicilian capital, local media reported.
    Earlier this week, fires swept through various parts of Southern Europe, including Spain and Turkey’s southern regions, while also ravaging the Italian island of Sardinia.
    To tame the flames in Sardinia, Italy was forced to request help from the European Union, which on Monday sent four forest firefighting planes, after more than 350 people were evacuated.
    The Italian arm of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said on Saturday almost 20,000 hectares (49,420 acres) of land in Sardinia had suffered because of the fires which killed animals and destroyed century-old woods.
(Reporting by Valentina Za; Editing by Clelia Oziel)

7/31/2021 More Countries Hike Climate Pledges, Piling Pressure On Major Emitters by Kate Abnett
FILE PHOTO: Smoke billows from the chimneys of the Belchatow coal-fired power station
in this May 7, 2009, photo. REUTERS/Peter Andrews/File Photo
    BRUSSELS (Reuters) – A group of mostly smaller countries submitted new, more ambitious climate pledges to the United Nations this week, raising pressure on big emitters including China to do the same ahead of a major U.N. climate summit in November.
    U.N. climate chief Patricia Espinosa said that as of Saturday the United Nations had received new pledges from 110 countries, out of the nearly 200 that signed the 2015 Paris climate accord.
    “It is still far from satisfactory, since only a little over half the parties (58%) have met the cut-off deadline,” Espinosa said in a statement, urging laggards to “redouble their efforts” and make more ambitious commitments to protect the planet.
    A total of 15 countries – most of them small and with relatively low CO2 emissions – submitted new pledges this week, ahead of a July 30 deadline for them to be counted in a U.N. report.
    They included Sri Lanka, Israel, Malawi and Barbados.    Malaysia, Nigeria and Namibia were among the larger countries to submit tougher climate targets this week.
    With deadly heatwaves, flooding and wildfires occurring around the world, calls are growing for urgent action to cut the CO2 emissions heating the planet.
    But the United Nations’ latest analysis of countries’ climate pledges said that taken together, they would still lead to global warming far beyond the 1.5 degree limit that would avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
    “I truly hope that the revised estimate of collective efforts will reveal a more positive picture,” Espinosa said.
    China – the world’s biggest emitter of CO2 – and countries including India and South Korea have not yet submitted new climate pledges.    They are facing considerable international pressure to do so ahead of the U.N. climate summit.
    The United States and European Union, the world’s second and third biggest emitters, hiked their targets in recent months, promising to slash emissions faster this decade.
    Tina Stege, climate envoy for the Marshall Islands, an island country near the Equator in the Pacific Ocean which is highly vulnerable to rising sea levels, urged rich nations who have not yet hiked their pledges to step up.
    “If these major economies submit 1.5C-aligned NDCs, it would make a world of difference,” she said. A country’s climate pledge is known as a “nationally determined contribution.”
    Countries that miss the deadline for inclusion in the U.N. report can still submit new pledges before the summit in November, by which time every country is expected to submit a new pledge.
(Reporting by Kate Abnett; Editing by Clelia Oziel)

7/31/2021 Motorists Stranded After Mudslide Shuts Down Colo. Highway by OAN Newsroom
    In this photo provided by the Colorado Department of Transportation, equipment works to clear mud and
debris from a mudslide on Interstate-70 through Glenwood Canyon, Colo. (Colorado Department of Transportation via AP)
    A massive mudslide trapped more than 100 motorists in Colorado, which led to the closure of a major highway.    Reports on Friday mentioned the slide happened the prior evening after heavy rains hit the region where the Grizzly Creek fire burned last year.
    The debris covered a section of Interstate 70, about 150 miles west of Denver, and forced a shutdown.    At least 29 vehicles were stranded, with the Department of Transportation reporting a total of 108 individuals being either evacuated or moved to a safe place.
    “We’re sending a large number of tandem dump trunks, bucket loaders, vac trucks to clean out drainage systems.    We’re also sending additional radios,” explained John Lorme of Colorado Department of Transportation.    “We’re trying to beef up, on a temporary basis, our cellular communications networks with the Glenwood Canyon area.    So, it’s all hands on deck.”
    The interstate is expected to be closed throughout the weekend for cleanup amid the threat of more rain in the area.

8/1/2021 Death Toll In Turkey Wildfires Rises To Eight, Coastal Resorts Affected
A firefighter tries to extinguish a wildfire near Marmaris, Turkey, August 1, 2021. REUTERS/Umit Bektas
    ISTANBUL (Reuters) -The death toll from wildfires on Turkey’s southern coast rose to eight on Sunday as firefighters battled for a fifth day to contain blazes still raging in coastal resort towns.
    Two more people died on Sunday due to wildfires in the southern town of Manavgat, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said, adding that 10 others were receiving treatment in hospital in the area.
    Most of more than 100 blazes that erupted in Turkey in the last five days have been contained, authorities said.    However, fires were still blazing in Manavgat and in Marmaris and the inland town of Milas, Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said, prompting the evacuation of some residential areas and hotels.
    In the popular resort town of Bodrum, a group of tourists and hotel staff was evacuated by boat as flames spread and plumes of smoke filled the sky, footage showed. Pakdemirli said the blaze in the area had been contained by Sunday morning.
    The fires had already claimed the lives of five people in Manavgat and one person in Marmaris in recent days.    Efforts were being made to put out six fires still blazing in Turkey on Sunday, according to Forestry Ministry data.
    Since Wednesday thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes. Locals as well as support teams from Russia, Ukraine, Iran and Azerbaijan were deployed to help firefighters.    The Turkish government pledged to rebuild damaged homes and compensate for losses in areas affected by the fires.
    Pakdemirli said at least 13 planes, 45 helicopters, drones, and 828 fire-fighting vehicles were involved in firefighting efforts.
    The EU said it had helped mobilise three fire-fighting planes on Sunday, one from Croatia and two from Spain, after Turkey activated a disaster response scheme to request help from other European countries.    Turkey is not a member of the EU.
    In neighbouring Greece https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/greece-issues-wildfires-warning-over-dangerous-heatwave-2021-07-30, firefighters were trying to contain a wildfire burning in the west of the country that destroyed houses and left 15 citizens in hospital with breathing problems on Saturday, authorities said.    Temperatures have been high in much of the country in recent days and are expected to reach 44 degrees Celsius on Monday and Tuesday.
    On the Italian island of Sicily https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/firemen-fighting-wildfires-sicilian-town-catania-2021-07-31, firemen said on Saturday they were battling for a second straight day wildfires that reached the town of Catania, forcing people to leave their homes and the local airport to temporarily shut down.
(Reporting by Yesim Dikmen in Istanbul and Eleftherios Papadimas in Athens; additional reporting by Kate Abnett in BrusselsWriting by Ezgi ErkoyunEditing by Frances Kerry, Susan Fenton and Chris Reese)

8/1/2021 Vehicle Causes Fire In Gorman, Calif. by OAN Newsroom
Flames via AP Photo
    A brush fire has broken out in Los Angeles County. Authorities announced the Hungry Fire has burned 340 acres.
    According to reports, the brush fire started from a vehicle fire near a freeway in Gorman, California. As of Sunday, the fire has been 55 percent contained.
    Reports also mentioned the Hungry Fire was first spotted near Hungry Valley State Vehicle Recreation Park.    The fire travelled uphill due to 15 miles-per-hour winds that came from the south.    According to fire officials, no injuries have been reported and no structures were threatened.
    A second smaller fire was also reported to have broken out nearby in the Gorman area later that day.

8/2/2021 Wildfires Blaze On In Drought-Hit Turkey As Criticism Grows by Mehmet Emin Caliskan and Daren Butler
Firefighters extinguish a wildfire in the Mazi region near Bodrum, Turkey, August 2, 2021. REUTERS/Kenan Gurbuz
    MARMARIS, Turkey (Reuters) – Firefighters using planes and helicopters, and locals with buckets of water, battled wildfires raging for a sixth day near southern resorts in drought-hit Turkey and the government faced fresh criticism of its handling of the disaster.
    Seven fires were still burning on Monday, fanned by temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius (104°F), strong winds and low humidity, Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said.
    Huge flames engulfed trees on a hillside near the coastal resort of Marmaris, images filmed by Reuters showed, while drone footage revealed a grey landscape nearby where fires had left smouldering buildings and blackened tree trunks.
    While 16 planes and 51 helicopters tackled the blazes across a swathe of southwest Turkey, villagers carrying water containers up a hill to fight a fire near Marmaris said the government was not doing enough to help them.
    “We are here as the entire village, from the locals to others.    We didn’t run or anything, so the government must see this and also not run away.    It must send some of its planes here,” a woman called Gulhan told Reuters.
    The heatwave exacerbating the fires comes after months of exceptionally dry weather in Turkey’s southwest, according to maps issued by meteorological authorities.
    Data from the European Forest Fire Information Service showed there have been three times as many fires https://tmsnrt.rs/3fiKsVF as usual this year, while the 136,000 hectares burnt were almost three times the area burnt on average in an entire year.
    Engin Ozkoc, a senior figure in the main opposition CHP, called on Pakdemirli to resign for failing to adequately prepare.
OUR TURKEY IS STRONG
    “You don’t deserve that ministry.    You didn’t foresee this and buy firefighting planes,” he said, criticising the amount of aerial resources available.
    The European Union said it had helped mobilise three fire-fighting planes on Sunday. One from Croatia and two from Spain joined teams from Russia, Iran, Ukraine and Azerbaijan.
    President Tayyip Erdogan’s communications director, Fahrettin Altun, rejected criticism of the government’s handling of the fires and condemned a social media campaign calling for foreign help.
    “Our Turkey is strong.    Our state is standing tall,” Altun said on Twitter, describing most information about the fires on social media as “fake news.”    “All our losses will be compensated for.”
    Eight people have been killed in the wildfires, but there were no reports of further casualties on Monday.
    Since Wednesday, thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes and some tourists have left their hotels, although Tourism Minister Mehmet Ersoy said holidaymakers had returned within hours.
    The wildfires are another blow to Turkey’s tourism industry following the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Bulent Bulbuloglu, head of the South Aegean Hoteliers Association, said 10% of reservations had been cancelled in Bodrum and Marmaris.     Others had cut their visits short.
(Reporting by Mehmet Emin Caliskan, Mert Ozkan and Ceyda Caglayan; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Dominic Evans and Andrew Heavens)

8/2/2021 Death Toll In Turkey Wildfires Rises To Eight, Coastal Resorts Affected
A firefighter tries to extinguish a wildfire near Marmaris, Turkey, August 1, 2021. REUTERS/Umit Bektas
    ISTANBUL (Reuters) -The death toll from wildfires on Turkey’s southern coast rose to eight on Sunday as firefighters battled for a fifth day to contain blazes still raging in coastal resort towns.
    Two more people died on Sunday due to wildfires in the southern town of Manavgat, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said, adding that 10 others were receiving treatment in hospital in the area.
    Most of more than 100 blazes that erupted in Turkey in the last five days have been contained, authorities said.    However, fires were still blazing in Manavgat and in Marmaris and the inland town of Milas, Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said, prompting the evacuation of some residential areas and hotels.
    In the popular resort town of Bodrum, a group of tourists and hotel staff was evacuated by boat as flames spread and plumes of smoke filled the sky, footage showed.    Pakdemirli said the blaze in the area had been contained by Sunday morning.
    The fires had already claimed the lives of five people in Manavgat and one person in Marmaris in recent days.    Efforts were being made to put out six fires still blazing in Turkey on Sunday, according to Forestry Ministry data.
    Since Wednesday thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes.    Locals as well as support teams from Russia, Ukraine, Iran and Azerbaijan were deployed to help firefighters.    The Turkish government pledged to rebuild damaged homes and compensate for losses in areas affected by the fires.
    Pakdemirli said at least 13 planes, 45 helicopters, drones, and 828 fire-fighting vehicles were involved in firefighting efforts.
    The EU said it had helped mobilise three fire-fighting planes on Sunday, one from Croatia and two from Spain, after Turkey activated a disaster response scheme to request help from other European countries.    Turkey is not a member of the EU.
    In neighbouring Greece https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/greece-issues-wildfires-warning-over-dangerous-heatwave-2021-07-30, firefighters were trying to contain a wildfire burning in the west of the country that destroyed houses and left 15 citizens in hospital with breathing problems on Saturday, authorities said.    Temperatures have been high in much of the country in recent days and are expected to reach 44 degrees Celsius on Monday and Tuesday.
    On the Italian island of Sicily https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/firemen-fighting-wildfires-sicilian-town-catania-2021-07-31, firemen said on Saturday they were battling for a second straight day wildfires that reached the town of Catania, forcing people to leave their homes and the local airport to temporarily shut down.
(Reporting by Yesim Dikmen in Istanbul and Eleftherios Papadimas in Athens; additional reporting by Kate Abnett in BrusselsWriting by Ezgi ErkoyunEditing by Frances Kerry, Susan Fenton and Chris Reese)

8/2/2021 Death Toll From Floods In China’s Henan Province Rises To 302
FILE PHOTO: People on a makeshift raft make their way through a flooded road following
heavy rainfall in Zhengzhou, Henan province, China July 22, 2021. REUTERS/Aly Song
    BEIJING (Reuters) -The death toll from last month’s floods in the central Chinese province of Henan rose to 302 as of Monday, officials said, triple the figure of 99 that was reported last week, with most of the fatalities reported in the provincial capital Zhengzhou.
    In Zhengzhou, a city of 12 million that lies along the Yellow River, the death toll was 292, including 14 who perished when a subway line was flooded. In total, 39 people died in underground areas in Zhengzhou including garages and tunnels.
    Over three days last month, 617.1 mm (24.3 inches) of rain fell in Zhengzhou, nearly equivalent to its annual average of 640.8 mm, causing widespread damage and disruption in a city that is a major transport and industrial hub.
    Of the 50 people still missing in Henan province, 47 were from Zhengzhou, local officials told a briefing on Monday.     Direct economic losses in Henan reached 114.27 billion yuan ($18 billion), with more than 580,000 hectares of farmland affected.
    China’s State Council said it will set up a team to investigate the disaster in Zhengzhou and will hold officials accountable if found to have derelicted their duty, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
($1 = 6.4592 Chinese yuan renminbi)
(Reporting by Beijing Newsroom and Tony MunroeEditing by Mark Heinrich and David Holmes)

8/3/2021 Western wildfires still spread poor air quality by Doyle Rice, USA TODAY
    The Bootleg Fire in Oregon was up to 84% contained on Monday as firefighters made progress over the weekend battling the blaze, which is the nation's largest at 646 square miles.
    Elsewhere, authorities canceled evacuation orders near the Dixie Fire in Northern California and another on Hawaii’s Big Island.
    Despite the good news, authorities warned that with unpredictable winds and extremely dry fuel across the West, the risk of flare-ups remained high over the next few days.    In addition, while predicted thunderstorms in many areas could bring welcome rainfall, the storms could also cause flash flooding.
    Spots left barren of vegetation by the rash of wildfires throughout the West are especially prone to flash flooding when pelted by heavy rainfall.
    Flash flood watches were in effect for mountainous areas of seven Western states, from Montana to New Mexico, the National Weather Service said.
    Nearly 22,000 firefighters and support personnel were battling 91 wildfires covering 2,813 square miles in mostly Western states, the National Interagency Fire Center said.
    California’s Dixie Fire covered nearly 388 square miles in mountains where 42 homes and other buildings have been destroyed.    The fire was 35% contained Monday, and evacuation orders and warnings had been lifted for several areas.
    Dry conditions and powerful winds made for dangerous fire conditions in Hawaii.    A wind advisory had been issued Sunday for portions of Lanai, Maui and the Big Island.
    A fast-moving wildfire on Hawaii’s Big Island grew to 62 1/2 square miles, prompting evacuation orders that forced thousands of residents out of their homes.    Those orders were lifted Sunday evening, but authorities told residents to stay alert.
    Meanwhile, air quality alerts because of smoke remained in effect Monday for portions of the Northwest, Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming and upper Midwest, the National Weather Service said.
    Wildfires emit huge volumes of microscopic smoke particles that researchers say can be harmful if breathed in and lead to immediate and long-term health problems.    Children, the elderly and people with underlying health conditions are particularly at risk.
Contributing: Jorge Ortiz, USA TODAY; The Associated Press
Flames from the Dixie Fire burn in in Lassen National Forest in California. NOAH BERGER/AP

8/3/2021 U.S. Army Helps Battle Waimea Brush Fire by OAN Newsroom
Flames via AP Photo
    The U.S. Army helped fight a raging wildfire on the Big Island of Hawaii.    According to Tuesday reports, the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade joined efforts to battle the Waimea brush fire that scorched more than 40,000 acres of grassland and destroyed at least two homes.
    Hawaii County Mayor Mitch Rother said military aircraft and personnel have contributed greatly to the multi-agency task force.
    “It’s not just been the fire department.    We’ve had our National Guard.    We’ve had Army,” he stated.    “…We’ve had so many different group who have been helping.”
    The joint firefighting effort has allowed firefighters to gain a foothold on the blaze and Hawaii County officials have lifted mandatory evacuation orders.

8/3/2021 Athens Suburbs Brace For Night Inferno As Blaze Burns Homes by George Georgiopoulos
Burning cars are seen during a wildfire at Nea Kifisia suburb north of
Athens, Greece, August 3, 2021. REUTERS/Costas Baltas
    ATHENS (Reuters) -A wildfire raged uncontrolled north of Athens on Tuesday, burning homes and forcing authorities to order more evacuations as they grappled with 81 forest fires during Greece’s worst heatwave in over 30 years.
    As night fell, more than 500 firefighters battled the blaze on the lower slopes of Mount Parnitha, assisted by nine helicopters, seven aircraft and 305 police in a densely vegetated area in the suburbs of Varympopi and Adames.
    “It is a difficult day for the country, we had 81 forest fires in the last 24 hours due to the extreme weather conditions,” Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias told reporters.
    Temperatures of more than 40 Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) and winds have fanned wildfires in different areas of Greece in recent days.    On Tuesday, some places recorded temperatures of over 46 Celsius (115 Fahrenheit).
    The blaze north of Athens had three main fronts at the towns of Varympopi, Adames and Thrakomakedones, scorching homes and cars and forcing residents to flee.
    “We will continue our fight through the night, our priority is to save lives,” the minister said.
    Authorities had removed valuables at the former royal estate at Tatoi nearby and the civil protection service ordered residents of the Olympic Village to leave their homes.    They could stay at designated hotels at the state’s expense.
    Seven people were taken to hospital with breathing problems.
    Earlier, children were evacuated from a summer camp and residents were ordered out of their homes in the suburbs of Varympopi, Adames and Thrakomakedones, some 20 km north of central Athens.
    Some stayed on to defend their houses with garden hoses.    Explosions sounded as the wildfire engulfed an unknown number of homes.    Equestrian clubs let horses loose to flee the fire.
    Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis visited a fire brigade operations centre coordinating efforts to contain the blaze and other fires, in the Peloponnese Peninsula and on the islands of Evia and Kos.
    “All available means and resources have been deployed in the fight on multiple fronts,” his office said in a statement.    “In these difficult times, the priority is to protect human lives.”
    In Athens, the power grid operator IPTO said the fire had damaged parts of the grid, posing a major risk to the electricity supply in parts of the metropolitan region.
    “Dozens of homes are being burnt,” Michalis Vrettos, deputy mayor of the Acharnes region, told Open TV as thick plumes of smoke rose over the houses behind him.
    The fire disrupted train services and forced authorities to seal off part of a national motorway.
    Europe is grappling with a summer of extreme weather, from heavy flooding in the north to the severe heatwaves and fires that have engulfed several areas in the Mediterranean region.
    Greece’s neighbour, Turkey, was fighting wildfires near some of its most popular tourist resorts for a seventh consecutive day on Tuesday.
(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou, Karolina Tagaris and Lefteris Papadimas; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise, Alison Williams, Kevin Liffey and David Gregorio)

8/4/2021 A black hole warped space-time so much that astronomers saw flashes of light from its far side by mmcfalljohnsen@insider.com (Morgan McFall-Johnsen)
© NASA/JPL-Caltech An illustration shows a black hole with a corona (the ball of white light) as it devours material streaming into the black hole. NASA/JPL-Caltech
    For the first time, scientists have seen the light behind a black hole.
    Because no light can pass through a black hole and come out the other side, the discovery further confirms Albert Einstein's theory that massive objects, like black holes and neutron stars, warp space.    This particular black hole, 800 million light-years away, was distorting space so much that astronomers could see X-ray explosions flashing behind it.
    "Any light that goes into that black hole doesn't come out, so we shouldn't be able to see anything that's behind the black hole," Dan Wilkins, a researcher at Stanford's Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, said in a press release.    "The reason we can see that is because that black hole is warping space, bending light and twisting magnetic fields around itself."
© Provided by Business Insider A view of the M87 supermassive black hole
in polarized light shows its swirling magnetic fields. EHT Collaboration
    According to Einstein's theory of general relativity, massive objects warp the fabric space-time.    Instead of continuing in a linear fashion, space-time bends around them, creating curved paths that other objects must follow as they travel.    That, Einstein said, is gravity.
    In the same way gravity forces a planet to orbit a star, light should follow the same curved path around objects like black holes, which can have the mass of billions of suns.    But nobody had ever observed a black hole bending and warping the light behind it until now.
© NASA An illustration shows the curvature of space-time around objects with mass. NASA
    Wilkins and his fellow astronomers were not trying to find examples of black holes warping space-time.    Instead, they were observing the black hole in question with X-ray telescopes to study its corona - a region of electrons heated by the black hole's immense gravity to temperatures as high as a billion degrees.
Gallery: Astronomers capture stunning images of nearby galaxies (Daily Mail)
    From this hot, spinning disc, magnetic fields arc away from the black hole in huge loops, then twist and snap, exploding in bright flashes of X-ray light. It looks similar to what happens on the surface of our sun (the outermost layer of which is called the corona).
    "This magnetic field getting tied up and then snapping close to the black hole heats everything around it and produces these high energy electrons that then go on to produce the X-rays," Wilkins said.
© Provided by Business Insider A plasma loop bursts from the sun's corona, February 24, 2015. NASA/GSFC
    But as the researchers observed these bursts of light, they also detected smaller, slightly delayed flashes in different colors.    These mystery flashes seem to be the bent light of coronas on the other side of the black hole.    They lined up with the researchers' predictions of what that distant corona activity should look like.
    Wilkins and his colleagues published their findings in the journal Nature last week.
    "Fifty years ago, when astrophysicists starting speculating about how the magnetic field might behave close to a black hole, they had no idea that one day we might have the techniques to observe this directly and see Einstein's general theory of relativity in action," physicist Roger Blandford, who co-authored the paper, said in the release.
    Wilkins hopes to continue studying black-hole coronas with a future space-based X-ray observatory, the Advanced Telescope for High-ENergy Astrophysics (Athena).    The telescope is still in early development; the European Space Agency plans to launch it into orbit around Earth in 2031.
    "It's got a much bigger mirror than we've ever had on an X-ray telescope and it's going to let us get higher resolution looks in much shorter observation times," he said.    "So, the picture we are starting to get from the data at the moment is going to become much clearer with these new observatories."
    Read the original article on Business Insider

8/4/2021 Geological Analysis Explains Durability Of Stonehenge Megaliths by Will Dunham
FILE PHOTO: Stonehenge ancient stone circle is seen at dawn, near Amesbury, Wiltshire,
Britain, November 4, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo
    (Reuters) – The first comprehensive scientific analysis of Stonehenge’s imposing megaliths has revealed some of the traits that made them an exemplary building material for the famed monument in southern England including their stout resistance to weathering.
    Researchers on Wednesday described a battery of examinations that provided a glimpse inside one of Stonehenge’s 52 sandstone megaliths, known as sarsens, gaining insight into its geology and chemistry.
    They studied a core sample extracted from one of the sarsens, called Stone 58, during 1950s conservation work.    It was kept in the United States for decades before being returned to Britain for research in 2018.
    The sarsens are made of stone called silcrete that formed gradually within a few yards (meters) of the ground surface as a result of groundwater washing through buried sediment.
    The examination clarified Stone 58’s internal structure.    It showed that the silcrete is comprised of mainly sand-sized quartz grains cemented tightly together by an interlocking mosaic of quartz crystals.    Quartz is extremely durable and does not easily crumble or erode even when exposed to eons of wind and weather.
    “This explains the stone’s resistance to weathering and why it made an ideal material for monument-building,” said University of Brighton geomorphologist David Nash, who led the study published in the journal PLoS ONE.
    In a remarkable engineering achievement by late Neolithic people, the sarsens were erected at the site in Wiltshire, England around 2500 BC.    Stone 58, one of the giant upright sarsens at Stonehenge’s center, stands about 7 meters (23 feet) tall, with another 2 meters (7 feet) underground, and an estimated above-ground weight of 24 tons.
    The core sample is a rod of stone, about an inch (2.5 cm) in diameter and roughly a yard (meter) long.    Its cream color is brighter than the pale-gray exterior of the megaliths, which have been exposed to the elements for millennia.
    It was given as a souvenir to a man named Robert Phillips who worked for a company involved in the conservation work and was on-site during drilling.    Phillips took it with him with permission when he emigrated to the United States in 1977.    Phillips decided to return it to Britain for research in 2018. He died in 2020.
    “Getting access to the core drilled from Stone 58 was very much the Holy Grail for our research,” Nash said.    “All the previous work on sarsens at Stonehenge involved samples either excavated from the site or knocked off from random stones.”
    The researchers used CT-scanning, X-rays, microscopic analyses and various geochemical techniques to study fragments and wafer-thin slices of the core sample – such testing being off limits for megaliths at the site.
    “This small sample is now probably the most analyzed piece of stone other than moon rock,” Nash said.
    It remains unclear precisely when the rock formed, though the researchers found that some embedded sand grains dated to as long ago as the Mesoproterozoic Era, 1 billion to 1.6 billion years ago.
    Nash led research published last year https://www.reuters.com/article/us-science-stonehenge/scientists-solve-mystery-of-the-origin-of-stonehenge-megaliths-idUSKCN24U2VG involving the same core sample that showed that 50 of the 52 sarsens share a common origin about 15 miles (25 km) from Stonehenge at a site called West Woods.    Stonehenge’s builders may have either dragged or moved the huge stones on rollers.
    “I think Stonehenge has fascinated archaeologists and other scientists for centuries now, partly because we don’t know what it was used for exactly, and there are a number of theories as to why the site was built,” Nash said.    “It’s a site that is still rich with possibilities for doing more research.”
(Reporting by Will Dunham in Washington; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

8/5/2021 Atlantic Ocean Currents Weaken, Signalling Big Weather Changes – Study by Nina Chestney
FILE PHOTO: General view shows the Atlantic ocean near the road between Saint-Jean-De-Luz
and Hendaye, in Socoa, France, February 2, 2019. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau
    LONDON (Reuters) – The Atlantic Ocean’s current system, an engine of the Northern Hemsiphere’s climate, could be weakening to such an extent that it could soon bring big changes to the world’s weather, a scientific study said on Thursday.
    The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) is a large system of ocean currents which transports warm water from the tropics northwards into the North Atlantic.
    As the atmosphere warms due to increased greenhouse gas emissions, the surface ocean beneath retains more of heat. A potential collapse of the system could have severe consequences for the world’s weather systems.
    Climate models have shown that the AMOC is at its weakest in more than 1,000 years.    However, it has not been known whether the weakening is due to a change in circulation or it is to do with the loss of stability.
    The study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, said the difference is crucial.
    “The loss of dynamical stability would imply that the AMOC has approached its critical threshold, beyond which a substantial and in practice likely irreversible transition to the weak mode could occur,” said Niklas Boers at the Potstdam Insitute for     Climate Impact Research and author of the study.
    By analysing the sea-surface temperature and salinity patterns of the Atlantic Ocean, the study said the weakening of the last century is likely to be associated with a loss of stability.
    “The findings support the assessment that the AMOC decline is not just a fluctuation or a linear response to increasing temperatures but likely means the approaching of a critical threshold beyond which the circulation system could collapse,” Boers said.
    If the AMOC collapsed, it would increase cooling of the Northern Hemisphere, sea level rise in the Atlantic, an overall fall in precipitation over Europe and North America and a shift in monsoons in South America and Afria, Britain’s Met Office said.
    Other climate models have said the AMOC will weaken over the coming century but that a collapse before 2100 is unlikely.
(Reporting by Nina Chestney; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

8/5/2021 Last Month Was World’s Third-Hottest July On Record – EU Scientists by Kate Abnett
FILE PHOTO: Firefighters spray water to extinguish a wildfire near the village of
Rodopoli, north of Athens, Greece, July 27, 2021. REUTERS/Costas Baltas/File Photo
    BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Last month was one of the world’s hottest Julys on record, behind only 2019 and 2016, with unusually high temperatures seen in regions from Finland to the United States, EU scientists said on Thursday.
    It is the latest milestone in a long-term warming trend that saw the last seven years rank as the world’s hottest on record, as emissions of greenhouse gases change the planet’s climate.
    “When we look at global temperatures, there are swings from year to year or even month to month,” Freja Vamborg, senior scientist at the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, told Reuters.
    “But ultimately, the underlying thing we see is a warming trend globally, and in most regions of the world.”
    Last month tied with July 2020 as the world’s third-hottest on record, behind July 2019 and July 2016, Copernicus said.    It was Europe’s second-hottest July on record, after 2010.
    Copernicus’ records go back to 1950 but are cross-checked with other datasets that trace back to the mid-19th century.
    Multiple regions were beset by extreme weather events last month – in line with scientists’ consensus that global warming is making heatwaves more likely and more severe, and that a hotter planet will lead to heavier rainfall.
    Record-breaking heat in the United States and Canada, which began in June, killed hundreds of people and fanned wildfires.    In China, Belgium and Germany, extreme rainfall caused deadly floods.
    Australia’s tropical north recorded its highest daily maximum temperature last month, while temperatures over Northern Africa were higher than normal “almost everywhere,” Copernicus said.
    Some regions were slightly colder than average, including Germany and parts of Russia.
    Ralf Toumi, co-director of Grantham Institute on climate change at Imperial College London, said the recent bursts of record-breaking heat are no surprise, given the long-term pattern of rising temperatures.
    “This is a constant casino we’re playing, and we’re just picking the high numbers again and again,” he said.
(Reporting by Kate Abnett; editing by David Evans)

8/5/2021 Calif. River Fire Quickly Grows As Dixie Fire Destroys Gold Rush Town by OAN Newsroom
A home is engulfed in flames as the Dixie fire rages on in Greenville, California
on August 5, 2021. (JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images)
    A new wildfire has scorched hundreds of acres in Northern California, while firefighters continue to battle a blaze that’s only grown over the weeks.    Reports on Thursday said the blaze, dubbed the River Fire, started late Wednesday afternoon around 70 miles west of the California-Nevada border.
    The fire quickly grew to around 1,400 acres, destroying around 40 structures and threatening another 4,000.    Around 6,600 residents have already been forced to evacuate their homes with fire officials reporting no containment of the blaze as of Wednesday evening.
    Sheriffs warned residents if they received an evacuation warning, to not take their chances and to simply leave.    In the meantime, fire crews have continued to battle the blaze known as the Dixie Fire, which is about 120 miles north of Sacramento.
    Reports said part of the Dixie Fire swept through the town of Greenville leaving the community, which was once home to more than 1,100 people, not much much more than ash.    Businesses and homes were consumed, some of which date back to the state’s Gold Rush-era, with buildings more than a century old.
    This came amid a “red flag warning” with forecasters predicting dry conditions and winds up to 40 miles-per-hour.    Sheriffs also warned if anyone was still in the area to evacuate as they are in danger and must leave immediately.
    More than 26,000 people have been placed under evacuation orders due to the size of the Dixie Fire’s footprint.    Firefighters in the U.S. are currently battling more than 90 large fires that have burned a total of more than two million acres.

8/5/2021 Britain To Invest 5 Million Stg In Climate Resilience Research
FILE PHOTO: A man views flooded properties beside the River Severn in
Ironbridge, Britain, February 27, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville
    LONDON (Reuters) – Britain has launched a 5 million pound ($7 million) research programme to help better prepare for risks posed by climate change such as heatwaves and floods, the government said on Friday.
    The move comes a week after scientists warned Britain’s weather is already being hit by climate change and following catastrophic floods across northwest Europe last month and wildfires in several Mediterranean countries this month.
    “From flooding to wildfires – the extreme weather events we’ve recently witnessed show how crucial it is for communities to build resilience and protect their futures,” Alok Sharma, president for the COP 26 international climate talks to be held in Britain later this year, said in a statement.
    The research will be carried out by some of the leading authorities in environmental science such as University College London and the UK     Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, and will help to inform future climate policy, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said (BEIS).
    Britain’s independent climate advisers, the Climate Change Committee, warned earlier this year the country has so far failed to prepare for many of the likely impacts of a warmer planet, such as worsening food security and the risks posed to health by overheating buildings.
    Last month’s floods follow just weeks after a record-breaking heatwave killed hundreds of people in Canada and the United States.    Scientists have since said that extreme heat would have been “virtually impossible” without climate change, which had made such an event at least 150 times more likely to occur.
($1 = 0.7178 pounds)
(Reporting By Susanna Twidale, Editing by William Maclean)

8/6/2021 Huge X-Ray Rings Around a Black Hole Reveal The Hidden Dust Between Stars by Michelle Starr, Science Alert
    In June 2015, we were treated to a spectacle.    A black hole 7,800 light-years away awoke from a nap to devour a chunk of star - a messy process that resulted in a screaming flare of light blazing across the galaxy.
© X-ray: NASA/CXC/U.Wisc-Madison/S. Heinz et al.; Optical/IR: Pan-STARRS
    The echoes of that light, shown in a newly released image, are allowing astronomers to map and understand the invisible space dust drifting between the stars, as described in a paper published in 2016.
    That object is part of a binary system named V404 Cygni, found in the northern constellation of Cygnus.    The black hole is what's known as a microquasar, surrounded by material on which it feeds.
    That material is being siphoned off the black hole's binary companion, an early-stage red giant; as the two pirouette their extremely close orbital dance, the black hole's gravitational field strips the red giant's outer material.
    This process is what caused the 2015 outburst.    As concentrations of material from the star entered the black hole's accretion disc, it let off a series of intense X-ray light pulses, which we detected here on Earth.
    Those pulses also did something interesting in the space around V404 Cygni.    As the light traveled out into the dust around the system, it echoed off it, producing a series of concentric rings of X-radiation.
    This is not unknown, but it's rare.    Just three other bright X-ray light echoes had been detected from flaring stars in the Milky Way galaxy. So, naturally, astronomers took the opportunity to use the echoes produced by V404 Cygni to find out more, not just about the outburst behavior of the black hole, but the cosmic dust surrounding it.
a star filled sky: right rings © Provided by ScienceAlert
    Composite X-ray and optical image of the rings. (X-ray: NASA/CXC/U.Wisc-Madison/S. Heinz et al.; Optical/IR: Pan-STARRS)
    Images from the Chandra X-ray Observatory show eight concentric rings, created by a flare from the black hole, travelling through dust between us and the binary.    The rings are thin, because the flare was short.
    The diameters of the rings are revealing, too. They tell us the distance between the ring and ourselves, because we know the distance to V404 Cygni and how fast light travels.    The closer rings have larger diameters, the farther rings smaller - think of looking down a tube.    Perspective will make the close end of the tube look larger than the far end.
diagram: illustration of X-ray rings around the black hole © Provided by ScienceAlert illustration of X-ray rings around
the black hole Illustration shows in detail how the ringed structure is produced. (Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison/S.Heinz)
    The eight rings, therefore, represent eight separate clouds of dust encountered by the light as it propagated through space.
    From this, we know that the closest, largest ring is created by a dust cloud about 3,363 light-years away, and the farthest about 6,934 light-years away.
    Finally, the light echoing off the dust can be analyzed to determine the structure and composition of the cosmic dust.    Certain elements absorb certain wavelengths of the X-ray light, which means scientists can study the X-ray spectrum that reaches us to see what the dust is made of.    They found that the cosmic dust is likely mostly silica and graphite, and also that it is not uniform in all directions.
    This particular study was published in 2016, but continuing to observe the light echoes will allow scientists to learn more about the usually invisible dust between the stars.    In addition, V404 Cygni is rowdy, experiencing an outburst roughly every few decades, so we can expect future flares to help us understand how interstellar dust might change over time.
    There's a lot more we can learn from such outbursts, too.    For example, the 2015 outburst showed us that the V404 Cygni black hole's magnetic field was way weaker than we expected it to be; and that the black hole is also wobbling, because of the way it drags space time.
    There have, in fact, been rather a lot of papers published on the 2015 V404 Cygni outburst.    It's the black hole gift that keeps on giving, and will likely continue to do so, well into the future.
    Just imagine if everyone looked at you like that every time you ate a snack, though.
    The paper was published in 2016 in The Astrophysical Journal.

8/6/2021 Thousands Flee In Greece As Wildfires Sweep Through Mediterranean by Lefteris Papadimas and Costas Baltas
Flames rise as a wildfire burns at the village of Afidnes, north of Athens, Greece August 6, 2021. REUTERS/Costas Baltas
    ATHENS (Reuters) -Police went door to door on Friday urging people to leave their homes north of Athens and emergency crews struggled to stop wildfires from spreading to more towns as scorching winds fuelled blazes across Greece for the fourth day.
    Greece, like much of the rest of Europe, has been grappling with extreme weather this summer. A week-long heatwave – its worst in 30 years – has sparked simultaneous wildfires in many parts of the country, burning homes and killing animals as flames tear through thousands of acres of land.
    At least 56 active fronts burned across the country on Friday, from the Peloponnese in the west to the island of Evia near Athens, where hundreds of people had to be evacuated by boat as flames burned through forestland to the shore.     “The fire in Attica is dangerous.    It’s unpredictable,” the head of Greece’s firefighters federation, Dimitris Stathopoulos, told Skai TV, referring to the wider region which includes the Greek capital.
    Thousands of people have fled their homes since wildfires on the foothills of Mount Parnitha just north of Athens burst back into life late on Thursday, and authorities ordered the evacuation of several suburbs.
    “We might have to spend the night in the car if we don’t find a friend to host us,” said Yorgos, 26, who had to leave his home in the suburb of Polydendri.
    The fire, which broke out on Tuesday, burned around the main highway linking Athens to northern Greece and hundreds of firefighters with water-bombing aircraft battled to contain it.
    “Conditions are extremely dangerous,” Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias said.
    A 38-year-old man was killed on Friday by a falling electricity pylon in a suburb north of Athens, the hospital where he was treated said.
    In neighbouring Turkey, authorities are battling the country’s worst-ever wildfires, and flames sweeping through its southwestern coastal regions forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people.    In Italy, hot winds fanned flames on the island of Sicily this week.
‘A CATASTROPHE’
    Temperatures have been over 40 degrees Celsius (107 Fahrenheit) all week and no let up came on Friday with high winds spreading the flames further.
    The Athens power grid operator announced staggered power cuts in the surrounding region to ensure there were no major outages in mainland Greece.
    In Gytheio in the southern Peloponnese, a coast guard vessel rescued 10 people from a beach on Friday as a blaze there flared.    Locals made desperate calls for firefighting aircraft.
    In the Peloponnese, where firefighters saved Ancient Olympia, the site of the first Olympic Games, from a fire this week, the flames left behind scorched earth and dead animals.
    “A catastrophe,” said farmer Marinos Anastopoulos.    “The fire came around midday with swirling winds and homes were burned, a lot of animals burned to death. Rabbits, sheep, dogs, everything.”
    On Evia near Athens, coastguard vessels assisted by tourist boats have picked up 631 people since late Thursday from three beaches on the island, where the flames have burned through a vast area of pine forest since Tuesday and reached the sea.
(Additional reporting by Angeliki Koutantou, Karolina Tagaris, George Georgiopoulos, Giorgos Moutafis and Rami Ayyub; Writing by Karolina Tagaris; Editing by Giles Elgood, William Maclean)

8/6/2021 France Braces For Slump In Wine Output On Weather Woes by Gus Trompiz
FILE PHOTO: French Champagne-maker Charles Philipponnat, who doctors put into an induced coma for a week
as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) ravaged his body in October and awoke to find he had partially lost his senses,
checks his Champagne vineyard in Mareuil-sur-Ay, France, April 14, 2021. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol/File Photo
    PARIS (Reuters) – France’s wine production could drop by as much as 30% this year to its lowest level in decades after vineyards were hit by spring frosts and summer downpours, its farm ministry said.
    The weather toll on the harvest could bring further headaches for a French wine sector that has seen demand dented over the past year by the coronavirus pandemic and U.S. tariffs.
    Champagne producers have warned their harvest potential has been cut by about half due to severe spring frosts followed by torrential summer rain that caused mildew fungus.
    In its first outlook for national wine output, the French farm ministry on Friday projected 2021 production at between 32.6 million and 35.6 million hectolitres, 24-30% less than last year.
    A hectolitre is the equivalent of 100 litres, or 133 standard wine bottles.
    “Wine production in 2021 is forecast to be historically weak, below levels in 1991 and 2017 that were also affected by severe frost in spring,” the ministry said in a report.
    Overall production would be the lowest since at least 1970, ministry data showed, with nearly all production hit by frosts.
    Meanwhile, mildew disease spawned by soggy summer conditions affected areas including Champagne, Alsace and Beaujolais.     Wine producers have previously projected that frosts may cut French production by a third.
    With grapes about 10 days to two weeks behind last year’s growth pace, there was still time for yields to recover slightly, said Jerome Despey, a producer and head of the wine committee at farming agency FranceAgriMer.
    Early harvesting was just starting in the far south of France compared with late July in 2020, he said.
    Champagne producers say their longstanding practice of adjusting supply with stocks from previous seasons will prevent any spike in prices of the sparkling wine.
    The impact on the wider wine market may depend on whether coronavirus variants lead to further restrictions on hospitality and tourism.
    “Wine producers are facing major difficulties this year,” Despey said.    “The lost production will never be made up for by market prices.”
    In Italy, the world’s largest wine producer, farmers association Coldiretti estimates output could fall 5-10% this year to 44-47 million hectolitres.
    High temperatures have led to the harvest starting a week early in the south, while in the north grape growth was running about 10 days late after heavy rain, Coldiretti said.
(Reporting by Gus Trompiz Additional reporting by Silvia Aloisi in Milan Editing by Alexander Smith and Mark Potter)

8/7/2021 No End To Greek Inferno As Wildfires Rage Into The Night by George Georgiopoulos and Karolina Tagaris
Flames rise as a wildfire burns at the village of Afidnes, north of Athens, Greece August 6, 2021. REUTERS/Costas Baltas
    ATHENS (Reuters) - Wildfires in Greece raged into the night burning more forest and homes in the northern outskirts of Athens and other parts of the country and forcing more evacuations as more international aid was on the way.
    Authorities struggled with 154 wildfires across the country on Friday with the biggest fronts still burning in the north of Athens, the island of Evia and areas in the Peloponnese including Mani, Messinia and ancient Olympia, the site of the first Olympic Games.
    “We are facing another, more difficult night,” Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias told reporters.    “Wildfires of unprecedented intensity and spread, all our forces are fighting the battle day and night to save lives, together with volunteers.”
    In the northern part of the island of Evia near Athens, the coast guard evacuated 650 people by boat as wildfires burned through forestland all the way to the shore for the fourth day.
    As night approached, firefighters kept battling a continuous resurgence of blazes in the north of Athens which, fanned by strong winds, threatened to engulf the lake of Marathon and go up Mount Parnitha.
    Greece, like much of the rest of Europe, has been grappling with extreme weather this summer.    A week-long heatwave – its worst in 30 years – has sparked simultaneous wildfires in many parts of the country, burning homes and killing animals as flames tear through thousands of acres of land.
    The fire, which broke out on Tuesday, burned around the main highway linking Athens to northern Greece and hundreds of firefighters with water-bombing aircraft battled to contain it.
    A 38-year-old man was killed on Friday by a falling electricity pylon in a suburb north of Athens, the hospital where he was treated said.
    In neighbouring Turkey, authorities are battling the country’s worst-ever wildfires.    Flames sweeping through its southwestern coastal regions forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people.    In Italy, hot winds fanned flames on the island of Sicily this week.
    Police went door to door on Friday urging people to leave their homes north of Athens.    Authorities ordered the evacuation of more suburbs in the north of Athens as the blaze advanced, burning more homes, cars and businesses.
    “We are witnessing a catastrophe of historic proportions and climate change is the basic cause,” said Alexis Tsipras, leader of Greece’s main political opposition.    “We must support our frontline fighters and all who lost the efforts of a lifetime in a few minutes.”
FIERY DISASTER
    Temperatures have been over 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) all week and little let up came on Friday with high winds spreading the flames further.
    The Athens power grid operator announced staggered power cuts in the surrounding region to ensure there were no major outages in mainland Greece.
    In Gytheio in the southern Peloponnese, a coast guard vessel rescued 10 people from a beach as a blaze there flared.    Locals made desperate calls for firefighting aircraft.
    More foreign help was on the way with Switzerland sending three helicopters, joining other countries, including France, Cyprus, Israel, Sweden and the Ukraine who sent firefighters and water-bombing aircraft, the civil protection minister said.
    The U.S. Navy was sending a P-8 aerial reconnaissance aircraft to support firefighting efforts.
    In the Peloponnese, where firefighters saved Ancient Olympia from a fire this week, the flames left behind scorched earth and dead animals.
    “A catastrophe,” said farmer Marinos Anastopoulos.    “The fire came around midday with swirling winds and homes were burned, a lot of animals burned to death. Rabbits, sheep, dogs, everything.”
(Additional reporting by Angeliki Koutantou, Lefteris Papadimas, Giorgos Moutafis and Rami Ayyub; Writing by George Georgiopoulos and Karolina Tagaris; Editing by Giles Elgood, William Maclean and Aurora Ellis)

8/7/2021 Greece Battles Wildfires For Fifth Day In ‘Nightmarish Summer’ by Stamos Prousalis and Giorgos Moutafis
Flames rise as a wildfire burns in the village of Limni, on the island
of Evia, Greece, August 6, 2021. REUTERS/Nicolas Economou
    ATHENS (Reuters) -Fires blazed uncontrolled for a fifth day in Greece on Saturday, ravaging swathes of land on its second-biggest island of Evia where hundreds of people had to be evacuated by ferry and locals joined firefighters in battling the flames.
    A fire which began on Tuesday on the island east of Athens quickly burgeoned into several fronts, ripping through thousands of hectares (acres) of pristine forest in the north, and forcing the evacuation of dozens of villages.
    “The situation is very difficult,” Central Greece Governor Fanis Spanos told Skai TV.    “The northern front is traversing the island from one side to the other.”
    Wildfires have erupted in many parts of the country amid Greece’s worst heatwave in more than 30 years, burning forestland, destroying homes and businesses and killing animals.
    Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis called it a “nightmarish summer,” adding the government’s priority “has been, first and foremost, to protect human lives.”
    On the outskirts of Athens, strong winds pushed a fire into the town of Thrakomakedones where residents had been ordered to evacuate.    The blaze left behind burnt and blackened houses and cars among scorched pine trees.    A cloud of smoke hovered over the capital.
    “(It’s) really bad,” said Thanasis Kaloudis, a resident of Thrakomakedones.    “All of Greece has burned.”
    The fire on the foothills of Mount Parnitha north of Athens forced the evacuation of thousands of people since late Thursday.    It had receded by Saturday afternoon but winds were forecast to strengthen and there was still a high threat they would flare again.
    “Under no circumstances can we be complacent,” Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias said during an emergency briefing.    “We are fighting a very big battle.”
    Dozens of wildfires broke out in the last 24 hours, with the biggest fronts still burning in Evia and areas in the Peloponnese including Arkadia and Ancient Olympia, the site of the first Olympic Games.
    Neighbouring Turkey is also battling what President Tayyip Erdogan says are the worst wildfires in its history and five fires were still burning there on Saturday.
    That number was slightly lower than in recent days. In the Mediterranean resort of Manavgat, where the first fires broke out 10 days ago, rain showers helped firefighters to extinguish the last flames.
    Further west in the Aegean province of Mugla, four fires were still blazing as a sustained, dry heatwave continued, while another fire burned inland in Isparta.
    Eight people have died in fires that have ravaged Turkey’s southwestern coastal regions, burning tens of thousands of hectares and forcing thousands of residents and tourists to leave homes and hotels.
ESCAPE BY FERRY
    Greece has deployed the army to help fight the fires and has received reinforcements from several countries including Cyprus, France and Israel.    Germany said it was sending firefighters and vehicles expected to arrive in three to four days.
    In dramatic sea rescues, more than 2,000 people, including many elderly residents, have been evacuated by ferries from Evia this week as the skies turned an apocalyptic red.
    One man died in Athens on Friday after being injured by electricity pylon and at least nine others have been injured, authorities said.
    The government planned to reimburse people affected by the fires and would designate the burned land as areas for reforestation, Mitsotakis said.
    Residents in suburbs north of Athens have been forced to leave in a hurry with the few belongings they can take.
    “Our business, our home, all of our property is there.    I hope they don’t burn,” Yorgos Papaioannou, 26, said on Friday, sitting in a parking lot with his girlfriend as ash fell around them from the smoke-filled sky.
(Additional reporting by Karolina Tagaris, Costas Baltas and Alexandros Avramidis in ATHENS, Dominic Evans in ISTANBUL and Paul Carrel in BERLIN; Writing by Karolina Tagaris; Editing by Frances Kerry and Christina Fincher)

8/8/2021 Greece Battles Wildfires For Fifth Day In ‘Nightmarish Summer’ by Stamos Prousalis and Giorgos Moutafis
Flames rise as a wildfire burns in the village of Limni, on the
island of Evia, Greece, August 6, 2021. REUTERS/Nicolas Economou
    ATHENS (Reuters) -Fires blazed uncontrolled for a fifth day in Greece on Saturday, ravaging swathes of land on its second-biggest island of Evia where hundreds of people had to be evacuated by ferry and locals joined firefighters in battling the flames.
    A fire which began on Tuesday on the island east of Athens quickly burgeoned into several fronts, ripping through thousands of hectares (acres) of pristine forest in the north, and forcing the evacuation of dozens of villages.
    “The situation is very difficult,” Central Greece Governor Fanis Spanos told Skai TV.    “The northern front is traversing the island from one side to the other.”
    Wildfires have erupted in many parts of the country amid Greece’s worst heatwave in more than 30 years, burning forestland, destroying homes and businesses and killing animals.
    Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis called it a “nightmarish summer,” adding the government’s priority “has been, first and foremost, to protect human lives.”
    On the outskirts of Athens, strong winds pushed a fire into the town of Thrakomakedones where residents had been ordered to evacuate.    The blaze left behind burnt and blackened houses and cars among scorched pine trees.    A cloud of smoke hovered over the capital.
    “(It’s) really bad,” said Thanasis Kaloudis, a resident of Thrakomakedones.    “All of Greece has burned.”
    The fire on the foothills of Mount Parnitha north of Athens forced the evacuation of thousands of people since late Thursday.    It had receded by Saturday afternoon but winds were forecast to strengthen and there was still a high threat they would flare again.
    “Under no circumstances can we be complacent,” Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias said during an emergency briefing.    “We are fighting a very big battle.”
    Dozens of wildfires broke out in the last 24 hours, with the biggest fronts still burning in Evia and areas in the Peloponnese including Arkadia and Ancient Olympia, the site of the first Olympic Games.
    Neighbouring Turkey is also battling what President Tayyip Erdogan says are the worst wildfires in its history and five fires were still burning there on Saturday.
    That number was slightly lower than in recent days.    In the Mediterranean resort of Manavgat, where the first fires broke out 10 days ago, rain showers helped firefighters to extinguish the last flames.
    Further west in the Aegean province of Mugla, four fires were still blazing as a sustained, dry heatwave continued, while another fire burned inland in Isparta.
    Eight people have died in fires that have ravaged Turkey’s southwestern coastal regions, burning tens of thousands of hectares and forcing thousands of residents and tourists to leave homes and hotels.
ESCAPE BY FERRY
    Greece has deployed the army to help fight the fires and has received reinforcements from several countries including Cyprus, France and Israel.    Germany said it was sending firefighters and vehicles expected to arrive in three to four days.
    In dramatic sea rescues, more than 2,000 people, including many elderly residents, have been evacuated by ferries from Evia this week as the skies turned an apocalyptic red.
One man died in Athens on Friday after being injured by electricity pylon and at least nine others have been injured, authorities said.
    The government planned to reimburse people affected by the fires and would designate the burned land as areas for reforestation, Mitsotakis said.
    Residents in suburbs north of Athens have been forced to leave in a hurry with the few belongings they can take.
    “Our business, our home, all of our property is there.    I hope they don’t burn,” Yorgos Papaioannou, 26, said on Friday, sitting in a parking lot with his girlfriend as ash fell around them from the smoke-filled sky.
(Additional reporting by Karolina Tagaris, Costas Baltas and Alexandros Avramidis in ATHENS, Dominic Evans in ISTANBUL and Paul Carrel in BERLIN; Writing by Karolina Tagaris; Editing by Frances Kerry and Christina Fincher)

8/8/2021 Mysterious Mite Bites Reported In Washington Metro Region, Source Connected To Cicada Brood by OAN Newsroom
The bugs are 1/125 of an inch in length making them virtually invisible to the naked eye. (AP)
    Residents in the Washington, D.C. area have been warned of a flesh-eating insect that’s moved into the area. According to the Arlington County Department of Human Services, they’ve been alerted of an oak leaf itch mite infestation making its way across the region.
    The mites are said to be 1/125 inch long and nearly impossible to see by the human eye.    However, they leave behind painful and itchy sores.
    The mites are said to feed on cicada eggs and oak trees, and have ability to fly off trees and land onto humans.
    The recent cicada brood, which emerged over the summer, was found in around 30 states across the country.    For now, the Health Department has suggested long clothing and bug spray, saying the bites aren’t particularly harmful.
[I WONDER HOW MANY PEOPLE WHO ATE CICADAS ARE THROWING UP RIGHT NOW.].

8/8/2021 Blaze Ravages Evia Island On Sixth Day Of Greek Wildfires by Marco Trujillo
A firefighting airplane makes a water drop as a wildfire burns near the village of Vasilika,
on the island of Evia, Greece, August 8, 2021. REUTERS/Alexandros Avramidis
    PSAROPOULI, Greece (Reuters) -Thousands of people have fled their homes on the Greek island of Evia as wildfires burned uncontrolled for a sixth day on Sunday, and ferries were on standby for more evacuations after taking many to safety by sea.
    Fires that had threatened northern suburbs of Athens in recent days died back. But the blaze on Evia, a large island east of the capital, quickly burgeoned into several fronts, ripping through thousands of hectares (acres) of pristine forest across its northern part, and forcing the evacuation of dozens of villages.
    “I feel angry.    I lost my home … nothing will be the same the next day,” said one resident who gave her name as Vasilikia after boarding a rescue ferry at the village of Psaropouli.
    “It’s a disaster.    It’s huge.    Our villages are destroyed, there is nothing left from our homes, our properties, nothing, nothing,” she said.
    Wildfires have erupted in many parts of the country during a week long heatwave, Greece’s worst in three decades, with searing temperatures and hot winds creating tinder-box conditions.    Across the country, forest land has burned and dozens of homes and businesses have been destroyed.
    “Fiery destruction,” newspaper To Vima said on its front page on Sunday.
    The coastguard has evacuated more than 2,000 people, including many elderly residents, from different parts of the island since Tuesday, in dramatic sea rescues as the night sky turned an apocalyptic red.
    Others fled their villages on foot overnight, walking along roads dotted with trees in flames.
    “A house is burning over here,” one woman told emergency crews on the ground in the settlement of Vasilika, pointing to a searing fire in the distance.
    “Everywhere, everywhere, everywhere, everywhere,” one of the firefighters replied.
    The governor for central Greece, Fanis Spanos, said the situation in the north of the island had been “very difficult” for nearly a week.
    “The fronts are huge, the area of burned land is huge,” he told Skai TV.    More than 2,500 people have been accommodated in hotels and other shelters, he said.
    Greece has deployed the army to help battle the fires and several countries including France, Egypt, Switzerland and Spain have also sent help including firefighting aircraft.
    More than 570 firefighters are battling the blaze in Evia, where two active fronts were burning in the north and south of the island.
    Greece’s deputy civil protection minister, Nikos Hardalias, said water-bombing aircraft in the region faced several hurdles including low visibility caused by the thick plumes of smoke rising over the mountains and turbulence.
    “We have ahead of us another difficult evening, another difficult night,” Hardalias told an emergency briefing.    “The battle continues.”
    A fire in the foothills of Mount Parnitha north of Athens has been contained but weather conditions meant there was still a high threat it could flare up again.
    On Friday night, strong winds pushed the fire into the town of Thrakomakedones, where residents had been ordered to evacuate.    The blaze left burnt and blackened houses and cars among scorched pine trees.
(Additional reporting and writing by Karolina TagarisEditing by Frances Kerry and David Evans)

8/8/2021 Prehistoric Cave Paintings In Spain Show Neanderthals Were Artists by Jon Nazca and and Mariano Valladolid
Red ocher markings which were painted on stalagmites by Neanderthals about 65,000 years ago, according to an
international study, are seen in a prehistoric cave in Ardales, southern Spain, August 7, 2021. REUTERS/Jon Nazca
    ARDALES, Spain(Reuters) – Neanderthals may have been closer to our species of prehistoric modern human than previously believed after cave paintings found in Spain proved they had a fondness for creating art, one of the authors of a new scientific report said on Sunday.
    Red ochre pigment discovered on stalagmites in the Caves of Ardales, near Malaga in southern Spain, were created by Neanderthals about 65,000 years ago, making them possibly the first artists on earth, according to the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) journal.
    Modern humans were not inhabiting the world at the time the cave images were made.
    The new findings add to increasing evidence that Neanderthals, whose lineage became extinct about 40,000 years ago, were not the unsophisticated relatives of Homo sapiens they been long been portrayed as.
    Pigments were made in the caves at different times up to 15,000 and 20,000 years apart, the study found, and dispel an earlier suggestion that they were the result of a natural oxide flow rather than being man-made.
    Joao Zilhao, one of the authors of the PNAS study, said dating techniques showed that ochre had been spat by Neanderthals onto the stalagmites, possibly as part of a ritual.
    “The importance is that it changes our attitude towards Neanderthals.    They were closer to humans.     Recent research has shown they liked objects, they mated with humans and now we can show that they painted caves like us,” he said.
    Wall paintings made by prehistoric modern humans, such as those found in the Chauvet-Pont d’Arc cave of France, are more than 30,000 years old.
(Reporting by Graham Keeley, additional reporting by Jon Nazca and Mariano Valladolid; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)
[SO IT LOOKS LIKE WHERE HUNTER BIDEN LEARNED HIS ART AND THERE IS NO PROOF THEY MATED WITH HUMANS BUT THEN MAYBE HUNTER WAS A REJECT IN THE BIDEN GENES AND THAT EXPLAINS HIS ACTIONS IN THE MODERN WORLD.].

8/8/2021 Historic Cave Painting In Spain Shows Neanderthal Artwork by OAN Newsroom
Pedro Cantalejo, director of the Andalusian cave of Ardales, looks at Neanderthal
cave paintings inside the cavern. (JORGE GUERRERO/AFP via Getty Images)
    A new art discovery in a cave in Spain has revealed the hidden talents of Neanderthals.    According to a recent report by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, red ochre pigment was found on stalagmites in the Ardales Caves.
    The prehistoric artwork showed Neanderthals were artists years before humans arrived.    The paintings were estimated to have been created 65,000 years ago.
    “These types of red marks that are in these folds, are those that have been dated at more than 45,000 years and less than 65,000 years,” explained Prehistoric Cave of Ardales Director Pedro Cantalejo.    “Those to which pigment analysis has been carried out, which has shown that the type of dye applied is not natural, but a recipe that has come to the cave thanks to human contribution.”
    Researchers mentioned the paintings in the caves could possibly be the oldest art in the world.

8/8/2021 Federal Judge Orders PG&E To Explain Role In Dixie, Fly Fires by OAN Newsroom
Cal Fire firefighters monitor a backfire they lit to stop the spread of the Dixie fire in the Prattville
community of unincorporated Plumas County, California. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images)
    Officials have started to point their fingers at Pacific Gas and Electric after the company admitted its equipment may have sparked the Golden State’s Dixie Fire. On Saturday, a federal judge in California ordered PG&E to explain its role in starting the Dixie Fire as well as a smaller blaze, the Fly Fire, which later merged with it.
    PG&E was also ordered to provide details on equipment used in the area where the fire first began.    In a report to the California Public Utilities Commission, PG&E said a worker was inspecting a blown fuse when they came across “challenging terrain” and a bridge closure.
    Once the work was able to get to the scene, a small fire was already burning at the base of a tree that had fallen onto one of the company’s powerlines.
    Former CPUC Commissioner Catherine Sandoval explained, “what likely happened is that all day long that tree limb was rubbing on the line on an uninsulated power line like a bow against a violin.”
    The utility company said it received notice of a short circuit after the tree fell and decided not to cut the power remotely.
    Fire investigator Ken Buske stated, “they should’ve assumed that either a fire may have started right then or at least they needed to remove the power from the lines.”
    This comes as the company has been at fault for some of the Golden State’s deadliest blazes.    Just last year, the company pleaded guilty to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter and unlawfully starting a fire.    The company also previously admitted its electrical transmission lines sparked the 2018 Camp Fire.
    Meanwhile, the energy company reportedly has until August 16 to respond as the Dixie Fire marks the larges of U.S. wildfires this year so far.

8/9/2021 3,700-year-old Babylonian clay tablet upends history of mathematics by Eric Mack, C/Net
    Despite what you may have thought in school, all those numbers and angles really can come in handy -- something that even surveyors in ancient Babylon knew.
© Provided by CNET Si.427 is a hand tablet from 1900-1600 BCE, created by an Babylonian
surveyor. It's made out of clay, and the surveyor wrote on it with a stylus. UNSW Sydney'
    The etchings on the clay tablet pictured above reveal that people have been using geometry in everyday life for centuries longer than many have assumed.    The tablet is known as Si.427, and it dates back to the Old Babylonian Period between 1900 and 1600 BCE.
    The tablet is basically a land survey that maps out boundary lines, but the surveyor demonstrated a surprising level of knowledge by using what we today call "Pythagorean triples" to make precise right angles.    If you paid attention in trigonometry class, you might remember this as the classic 3-4-5 triangle that creates mathematically perfect right angles.
© UNSW Sydney'
    Si.427 is a hand tablet from 1900-1600 BC, created by an Old Babylonian surveyor.    It's made out of clay and the surveyor wrote on it with a stylus.
    "The discovery and analysis of the tablet have important implications for the history of mathematics," University of New South Wales mathematician Daniel Mansfield said Wednesday in a statement.    "For instance, this is over a thousand years before Pythagoras was born."     So centuries before the ancient Greeks built their most famous monuments and before scholars like Pythagoras dropped scientific knowledge that I used to build a gloriously straight and square outhouse last summer (my weird pandemic project), it turns out the ancient Babylonians already had dialed up some of that know-how.
    "It is generally accepted that trigonometry was developed by the ancient Greeks studying the night sky in the second century BCE," Mansfield says.    "But the Babylonians developed their own alternative 'proto-trigonometry' to solve problems related to measuring the ground, not the sky."
© Provided by CNET The ancient surveyor managed to be precise by using Pythagorean triples,
making the boundary lines truly perpendicular. UNSW Sydney
    Interestingly, Si.427 wasn't a new find.    It was actually on display at a museum in Istanbul.    Mansfield learned of its existence from reading excavation records of an expedition that took place in 1894 in modern day Iraq.
    "It was a real challenge to trace the tablet from these records and physically find it," he said.    "The report said that the tablet had gone to the Imperial Museum of Constantinople, a place that obviously doesn't exist anymore."
    Once Mansfield tracked the object down, it took months to decipher its significance, which is laid out in full detail in a study published Wednesday in the journal Foundations of Science.
    There is one mystery that remains with the ancient document: The number 25:29 is written in Old Babylonian base 60 on the back.
    "I can't figure out what these numbers mean," Mansfield said.    "It's an absolute enigma.    I'm keen to discuss any leads with historians or mathematicians who might have a hunch as to what these numbers trying to tell us."
[I STILL THINK THAT IT WAS CREATED MILLENIUM BEFORE YOUR ABOVE ARTICLE CLAIM AND WE MAY NEVER FIND THAT PROOF BUT YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT MAY COME FROM FUTURE DISCOVERIES AS COUNTRIES START LETTING US EXPLORE ALL AREAS.].

8/9/2021 U.N. Sounds ‘Deafening’ Warning On Climate Change by Nina Chestney and Andrea Januta
FILE PHOTO: Smoke and steam billows from Belchatow Power Station, Europe's largest coal-fired power plant
operated by PGE Group, near Belchatow, Poland November 28, 2018. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/File Photo
    (Reuters) – The United Nations panel on climate change told the world on Monday that global warming was dangerously close to being out of control – and that humans were “unequivocally” to blame.
    Already, greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere are high enough to guarantee climate disruption for decades if not centuries, the report from the scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg1 warned.
    In other words, the deadly heat waves, gargantuan hurricanes and other weather extremes that are already happening will only become more severe.
    Monday alone saw 500,000 acres of forest burning in California, while in Venice tourists waded through ankle-deep water in St Mark’s Square.
    U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres described the report as a “code red for humanity.”
    “The alarm bells are deafening,” he said in a statement.    “This report must sound a death knell for coal and fossil fuels, before they destroy our planet.”
    In an interview with Reuters, activist Greta Thunberg called on the public and media to put “massive” pressure on governments to act.
    In three months’, time, the U.N. COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, will try to wring much more ambitious climate action out of the nations of the world, and the money to go with it.
    Drawing on more than 14,000 scientific studies, the IPCC report gives the most comprehensive and detailed picture yet of how climate change is altering the natural world – and what could still be ahead.
    Unless immediate, rapid and large-scale action is taken to reduce emissions, the report says, the average global temperature is likely to reach or cross the 1.5-degree Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) warming threshold within 20 years.
    The pledges to cut emissions https://reut.rs/3ywxDyE made so far are nowhere near enough to start reducing level of greenhouse gases – mostly carbon dioxide (CO2) from burning fossil fuels – accumulated in the atmosphere.
‘WAKE-UP CALL’
    Governments and campaigners reacted https://www.reuters.com/article/climate-change-ipcc-reactions-short-idAFL8N2PG1ZW to the findings https://www.reuters.com/article/us-climate-change-ipcc-takeaways-idUSKBN2FA0J8 with alarm.
    British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he hoped the report would be “a wake-up call for the world to take action now, before we meet in Glasgow.”
    The report says emissions “unequivocally caused by human activities” have already pushed the average global temperature up 1.1C from its pre-industrial average – and would have raised it 0.5C further without the tempering effect of pollution in the atmosphere.
    That means that, even as societies move away from fossil fuels, temperatures will be pushed up again by the loss of the airborne pollutants that come with them and currently reflect away some of the sun’s heat.
    A rise of 1.5C is generally seen as the most that humanity could cope with without suffering widespread economic and social upheaval.
    The 1.1C warming already recorded has been enough to unleash disastrous weather https://tmsnrt.rs/3wcycMk.    This year, heat waves killed hundreds in the Pacific Northwest and smashed records around the world.    Wildfires fuelled by heat and drought are sweeping away entire towns in the U.S. West, releasing record carbon dioxide emissions from Siberian forests, and driving Greeks to flee their homes by ferry.
    Further warming could mean that in some places, people could die just from going outside.
    “The more we push the climate system … the greater the odds we cross thresholds that we can only poorly project,” said IPCC co-author Bob Kopp, a climate scientist at Rutgers University.
IRREVERSIBLE
    Some changes are already “locked in.”    Greenland’s sheet of land-ice https://tmsnrt.rs/2Qvivkg is “virtually certain” to continue melting, and raising the sea level, which will continue to rise for centuries to come as the oceans warm and expand.
    “We are now committed to some aspects of climate change, some of which are irreversible for hundreds to thousands of years,” said IPCC co-author Tamsin Edwards, a climate scientist at King’s College London.    “But the more we limit warming, the more we can avoid or slow down those changes.”
    But even to slow climate change, the report says, the world is running out of time.
    If emissions are slashed in the next decade, average temperatures could still be up 1.5C by 2040 and possibly 1.6C by 2060 before stabilising.
    And if, instead the world continues on its the current trajectory, the rise could be 2.0C by 2060 and 2.7C by the century’s end.
    The Earth has not been that warm since the Pliocene Epoch roughly 3 million years ago – when humanity’s first ancestors were appearing, and the oceans were 25 metres (82 feet) higher than they are today.
    It could get even worse, if warming triggers feedback loops that release even more climate-warming carbon emissions — such as the melting of Arctic permafrost or the dieback of global forests.
    Under these high-emissions scenarios, Earth could broil at temperatures 4.4C above the preindustrial average by the last two decades of this century.
(Reporting by Nina Chestney in London and Andrea Januta in Guerneville, California; Additional reporting by Jake Spring in Brasilia, Valerie Volcovici in Washington, and Emma Farge in Geneva; Editing by Katy Daigle, Lisa Shumaker, Kevin Liffey and Giles Elgood)

8/9/2021 Key Takeaways From The U.N. Climate Panel’s Report by Andrea Januta
FILE PHOTO: A firefighter tries to extinguish a wildfire near Marmaris, Turkey,
August 1, 2021. REUTERS/Umit Bektas TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY/File Photo
    (Reuters) – The U.N. climate panel has released its most comprehensive assessment https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg1 of climate change yet.
    Here are some of the report’s main conclusions:
HUMANS ARE TO BLAME – FULL STOP
    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) used its strongest terms yet to assert that humans are causing climate change, with the first line of its report summary reading: “It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land.”
    The stark language marked a shift from previous IPCC reports, which had said it was “extremely likely” that industrial activity was to blame.
    “There is no uncertainty language in this sentence, because there is no uncertainty that global warming is caused by human activity and the burning of fossil fuels,” said IPCC co-author Friederike Otto, a climatologist at University of Oxford.
TEMPERATURES WILL KEEP RISING
    The report describes possible futures depending on how dramatically the world cuts emissions.
    But even the severest of cuts are unlikely to prevent global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial temperatures.    Without immediate steep emissions cuts, though, average temperatures could cruise past 2C by the end of the century.
    The scientists also looked at events considered less likely but still possible, and they could not rule out big impacts from so-called tipping points, such as the loss of Arctic ice loss or the dieback of forests.
WEATHER IS GETTING EXTREME
    Weather extremes once considered rare or unprecedented are becoming more common — a trend that will continue even if the world limits global warming to 1.5C.
    Severe heat waves that happened only once every 50 years are now happening roughly once a decade.    Tropical cyclones are getting stronger.    Most land areas are seeing more rain or snow fall in a year.    Severe droughts are happening 1.7 times as often.    And fire seasons are getting longer and more intense.
    Scientific advances in the last decade are also helping scientists detect whether climate change caused or worsened specific weather events.
    “In the past, people would say ‘you can’t say anything about any individual event,'” said IPCC co-author Michael Wehner, a climate scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California.    “But now we can actually make quantitative statements about extreme weather events.”
ARCTIC SUMMERS COULD SOON BE FREE OF ICE
    Summertime sea ice atop the Arctic Ocean will vanish entirely at least once by 2050, under the IPCC’s most optimistic scenario. The region is the fastest-warming area of the globe – warming at least twice as fast as the global average.     While Arctic sea ice levels vary throughout the year, the average lows during summer have been decreasing since the 1970s and are now at their lowest levels in a thousand years.    This melting creates a feedback loop, with reflective ice giving way to darker water that absorbs solar radiation, causing even more warming.
SEAS WILL RISE NO MATTER WHAT
    Sea levels are sure to keep rising for hundreds or thousands of years.    Even if global warming were halted at 1.5C, the average sea level would still rise about 2 to 3 meters (6 to 10 feet), and maybe more.
    Sea level rise has picked up speed, as polar ice sheets melt and warming ocean water expands.    Already, associated flooding has nearly doubled in many coastal areas since the 1960s, with once-in-a-century coastal surges set to occur once a year by 2100.
    Scientists could not rule out extreme rises of more than 15 meters by 2300, if tipping points trigger runaway warming.    “The more we push the climate system … the greater the odds we cross thresholds that we can only poorly project,” said IPCC co-author Bob Kopp, a climate scientist at Rutgers University.
RUNNING OUT OF TIME
    Meeting the Paris Agreement goal of limiting warming to 1.5C will require sticking to a “carbon budget,” a term describing how much additional carbon can be pumped into the atmosphere before that goal is likely out of reach.
    The world is now on track to use up that budget in about a decade.
    With 2.4 trillion tons of climate-warming CO2 added to the atmosphere since the mid-1800s, the average global temperature has risen by 1.1C.    That leaves 400 billion tons more that can be added before the carbon budget is blown.    Global emissions currently total a little more than 40 billion tons a year.
(Reporting by Andrea Januta; Editing by Katy Daigle and Lisa Shumaker)

8/9/2021 Reactions To Landmark U.N. Climate Science Report
FILE PHOTO: Flood waters lap at a high water warning sign that was partially pushed over by Hurricane
Florence on Oak Island, North Carolina, U.S., September 15, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake/File Photo
    (Reuters) – Eight years after its last full update on climate science, the United Nations on Monday published a report that delivered even starker warnings about how human-induced climate change is affecting the planet – and how damaging the impacts might get.
    The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said human influence was “unequivocally” to blame for warming the planet, and that some forms of climate disruption were now “locked in” for centuries.
    Without rapid and large-scale reductions in emissions, the report said, the average global temperature will exceed critical thresholds of 1.5 and 2.0 degrees Celsius (2.7 and 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) during the 21st century.
    Here are some early reactions to the IPCC report.
GOVERNMENTS, COUNTRIES, U.N.
    United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres:
    “Today’s IPCC Working Group 1 Report is a ‘code red’ for humanity.    The alarm bells are deafening, and the evidence is irrefutable: greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel burning and deforestation are choking our planet and putting billions of people at immediate risk.    Global heating is affecting every region on Earth, with many of the changes becoming irreversible …
    “This report must sound a death knell for coal and fossil fuels, before they destroy our planet.”
    British Prime Minister Boris Johnson:
    “Today’s report makes for sobering reading, and it is clear that the next decade is going to be pivotal to securing the future of our planet.    We know what must be done to limit global warming – consign coal to history and shift to clean energy sources, protect nature and provide climate finance for countries on the frontline …
    “I hope today’s IPCC report will be a wake-up call for the world to take action now, before we meet in Glasgow in November for the critical COP26 summit.”
    U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry:
    “As the IPCC makes plain, the impacts of the climate crisis, from extreme heat to wildfires to intense rainfall and flooding, will only continue to intensify unless we choose another course for ourselves and generations to come.
    What the world requires now is real action.    All major economies must commit to aggressive climate action during this critical decade
.”     Diann Black-Layne, Ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda, Lead Climate Negotiator for the Alliance of Small Island States:
    “Major emitters must take account for the damages inflicted by the fossil fuel industry, knowing that every single tonne of carbon and every single dollar spent on fossil fuels will have a negative impact …
    The stark fact is that if we keep warming to 1.5C, we are still facing half a metre of sea level rise.    But if we stop warming from reaching 2C, we can avoid a long-term three metres of sea level rise.    That is our very future, right there
.”     Mohamed Nasheed, ambassador for the Climate Vulnerable Forum of 48 countries, and former Maldives president:
    “Our people are dying in vulnerable developing countries because of the fossil fuel burning for consumption and economic growth in rich countries.    We are paying with our lives for the carbon someone else emitted. We will take measures soon to begin to address this injustice, which we cannot merely accept.”
SCIENTISTS
    Paulo Artaxo, an IPCC lead author and environmental physicist at the University of Sao Paulo:
    “This is a strong message that we are changing the climate in an irreversible way.    So basically, we are damaging the climate in such a way for the next generations that this will certainly make the socioeconomic difficulties in the future much, much worse than in our generation …
    My personal opinion is that it will be impossible to limit the increase in temperature to 1.5 degrees
.”
    Friederike Otto, an IPCC lead author and Associate Director of the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford:
    “Already, there are a lot of impacts of anthropogenic climate change in every region around the world … There are things that we can stop from getting worse by keeping to the targets, but there are a lot of changes which are already here.”
    Helene Hewitt, a coordinating IPCC lead author and Ocean Modelling group leader at the UK Met Office’s Hadley Centre:
    “Previous reports may have slightly underestimated the trend of Arctic sea ice (melting) in the past and now we are combining multiple lines of evidence which suggest that we might see a practically sea-ice-free Arctic for the first time by 2050 under all scenarios.”
    Kristina Dahl, a senior climate scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists:
    “While this report underscores the urgent need for climate action, prior IPCC reports and countless other studies, as well as our lived experience, have already given us more than enough evidence to know that we’re in the midst of a crisis brought to us largely by the fossil fuel industry and their political allies.”
CAMPAIGN GROUPS
    Helen Mountford, Vice President of Climate and Economics, World Resources Institute:
    “If this IPCC report doesn’t shock you into action, it should.    The report paints a very sobering picture of the unforgiving, unimaginable world we have in store if our addiction to burning fossil fuels and destroying forests continues.”
    Kaisa Kosonen, Senior Political Advisor on Climate and Energy, Greenpeace:
    “We’re not going to let this report be shelved by further inaction.    Instead, we’ll be taking it with us to the courts.    By strengthening the scientific evidence between human emissions and extreme weather, the IPCC has provided new, powerful means for everyone everywhere to hold the fossil fuel industry and governments directly responsible for the climate emergency.”
    Nafkote Dabi, Climate Policy Lead at Oxfam:
    “Amid a world in parts burning, in parts drowning and in parts starving, the IPCC today tables the most compelling wake-up call yet for global industry to switch from oil, gas and coal to renewables.    Governments must use law to compel this urgent change.    Citizens must use their own political power and behaviors to push big polluting corporations and governments in the right direction.    There is no Plan B.”
    Teresa Anderson, climate policy coordinator at ActionAid International:
    “The IPCC tells us that limiting average global warming to 1.5C is going to be difficult – but not impossible.    This new report drills home the message that radical and transformative action is urgently needed to bring emissions down to real zero.    Unfortunately, too many ‘net zero’ climate plans are being used to greenwash pollution and business-as-usual, jeopardising the goals of the Paris Agreement.”
COMPANIES AND INDUSTRIES
    Wai-Shin Chan, Global Head of ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) Research at HSBC:
    “The science is crystal clear but the response is not.    Investors must use their influence to push decision makers to make the bold emission reductions required to limit the most severe consequences of climate change.”
(Reporting by Kate Abnett, Nina Chestney, Jake Spring; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

8/9/2021 Once-In-50-Year Heat Waves Now Happening Every Decade - U.N. Climate Report by Jake Spring
FILE PHOTO: A home is seen fully engulfed in flames during the Glass Fire
in St. Helena, California, U.S. September 27, 2020. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
    (Reuters) -Extreme heat waves that previously only struck once every 50 years are now expected to happen once per decade because of global warming, while downpours and droughts have also become more frequent, a U.N. climate science report said on Monday.
    The report https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg1 found that we are already experiencing those effects of climate change, as the planet has surpassed more than 1 degree Celsius in average warming.    Heat waves, droughts and torrential rains are only set to become more frequent and extreme as the earth warms further.
    It is the first time that the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change https://reut.rs/3xzDiCs (IPCC) has quantified the likelihood of these extreme events in a wide variety of scenarios.
    “As the IPCC makes plain, the impacts of the climate crisis, from extreme heat to wildfires to intense rainfall and flooding, will only continue to intensify unless we choose another course for ourselves and generations to come,” U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry said.
    The report found that once-in-a-decade heavy rain events are now 1.3 times more likely and 6.7% wetter, compared with the 50 years up to 1900 when major human-driven warming started to occur.
    Previously once-in-a-decade droughts could happen every five or six years.
    Scientists emphasized that these effects of climate change are already here, with events like the heat wave in the U.S. Pacific Northwest killing hundreds in June and Brazil currently experiencing its worst drought in 91 years https://reut.rs/2X3Jsyh.
    “The heat wave in Canada, fires in California, floods in Germany, floods in China, droughts in central Brazil make it very, very clear that climate extremes are having a very heavy toll,” said Paulo Artaxo, a lead author of the report and an environmental physicist and the University of Sao Paulo. (Graphic on warming planet https://tmsnrt.rs/3wcycMk)
    The future looks even grimmer, with more warming meaning more frequent extreme events.
    Heat waves show stronger increases in frequency with warming than all other extreme events. Twice in a century heat waves could happen roughly every six years with 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming, a level which the report says could be surpassed within two decades.
    Should the world become 4 degrees Celsius hotter, as could happen in a high-emissions scenario, those heat waves would happen every one to two years.
    Carolina Vera, another report author and a physical climate scientist at University of Buenos Aires and Argentina’s main agency for science research (CONICET), said there is also an increasing likelihood that multiple extreme weather events could happen at the same time.
    For example, extreme heat, drought and high winds – conditions that could feed wildfires – are more likely to happen at the same time.
    The IPCC has a medium or high-level confidence that many important agricultural regions around the world will see more droughts or extreme rain.    That includes parts of Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia and Brazil that are major growers of soybeans and other global commodities.
    “It is scary, sure, with the risk that fires, heat waves, droughts will affect humans in the form of weather and food insecurity, energy insecurity, water quality and health – mainly in poor regions,” said Jose Marengo, a climatologist at the Brazilian Science Ministry’s disaster monitoring center.
    Marengo was a review editor for the IPCC report’s chapter on human influence on the climate system.
    For example, regions that are already prone to drought are likely to experience them more frequently, including in the Mediterranean, southern Australia, and western North America, said Friederike Otto, IPCC author and climatologist at University of Oxford.
    Increased frequency of drought and heavy rain also are not mutually exclusive and are predicted in places like Southern Africa, she said.
    The projections on extreme weather events laid out in the report reinforce the importance of curbing climate change to the levels laid out in the Paris Agreement, scientists said.
    “If we stabilize at 1.5 degrees, we can stop them from getting much worse,” Otto said.
(Reporting by Jake Spring in Brasilia; Additional reporting by Nina Chestney in London and Andrea Januta in Guerneville, California; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

8/9/2021 Drone Footage Shows Devastation After Wildfires Ravage Turkey’s Pine Forests by Mehmet Emin Caliskan
FILE PHOTO: Vegetation fires burn behind the hotel in Icmeler, near Marmaris, Turkey July 31, 2021
in this still image obtained from a social media video. Hakan Gurcan/via REUTERS
    ICMELER, Turkey (Reuters) – Until devastated by wildfires, hills near the Turkish sea resort of Marmaris were decked in thick green pine forest.    Now these same hills form a ghostly, grey-brown landscape topped with blackened tree stumps as though sketched in charcoal.
    Drone footage from the small tourist seaside town of Icmeler near Marmaris from before and after what President Tayyip Erdogan has called Turkey’s worst wildfires shows the extent of the devastation.
    In the last two weeks, the fires have wrought damage on tens of thousands of hectares of forest in Turkey’s Mediterranean and Aegean provinces, killed eight people and forced thousands of people including tourists to flee.
    Similar damage could be seen in before and after drone footage of the village of Bayir and the seaside resort of Turunc, also in the province of Mugla where both Marmaris and Bodrum, another major resort, are located.
    Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said on Monday that the only wildfires continuing to burn were in the Mugla districts of Milas and Koycegiz, with nearly 240 blazes brought under control in the last 13 days.
    Mugla municipality has said 55,000 hectares have been burnt – more than twice the area burnt across the whole of Turkey last year – and 36,000 people evacuated.
    Strong winds, low humidity and temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius (104°F) have contributed to the spread of the fires.    Fire-fighting efforts involved 15 planes, 64 helicopters and 5,250 personnel, Pakdemirli said.
    The U.N. climate panel sounded a dire warning Monday, saying the world is dangerously close to runaway warming and humans are “unequivocally” to blame, with greenhouse gas levels high enough to guarantee climate disruption for decades.
    The 1.1-degree Celsius warming already recorded has been enough to unleash disastrous weather, including the wildfires in Turkey, Greece and the U.S. West.
(Reporting by Mehmet Emin Caliskan and Yesim Dikmen; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

8/9/2021 Thunberg: ‘Massive Public Pressure’ Needed To Galvanize Climate Fight by Kate Abnett
FILE PHOTO: Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg takes part in the rally
''Europe Climate Strike'' in Brussels, Belgium, March 6, 2020. REUTERS/Johanna Geron/File Photo
    BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Calling for “massive” pressure to fight climate change after Monday’s dire report by a U.N. science panel, activist Greta Thunberg said she plans to go to this year’s global climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, after all.
    The major U.N. conference will test countries’ ambition to limit global warming, which a landmark scientific report on Monday warned was dangerously close to escalating beyond the limits countries agreed on.
    “I hope that this can be a wake up call, in every possible way,” Thunberg said of the report, in an interview with Reuters.
    “When these extreme weather events are happening, many say, what will it take for people in power to start acting?    What are they waiting for?    And it will take many things, but especially, it will take massive pressure from the public and massive pressure from the media,” she said.
    The U.N. report landed just three months before the Glasgow conference in November.
    Thunberg, who has rallied youth to protest for climate action worldwide, had initially said she would skip the event out of concern that the uneven rollout of COVID-19 vaccines across the world would leave some countries unable to attend safely.
    But Britain’s offer in June to vaccinate delegates assuages some of that concern, the 18-year-old Swedish campaigner said.
    “I’ve said before that I wasn’t going to go if it wasn’t fair,” Thunberg said.    “But now they say that they will vaccinate all the delegates that are going there.    If that’s considered fair and safe, then I will hopefully attend.”
    With wildfires ripping through Greece and Turkey this week, just weeks after deadly flooding swept through China and Germany and heatwaves baked the United States, Thunberg said people’s awareness of climate change was increasing, but “very slowly.”
    But she said world leaders had ignored scientists’ previous warnings about climate change and she did not expect them to match words with action in response to the latest U.N. report.
    “I expect them to go out and have big speeches, or press releases, or posts on social media where they say the climate crisis is very important and we are doing everything that we can,” Thunberg said.
    “As it is now, nothing is changing.    The only thing that’s changing is the climate.”
(Reporting by Kate Abnett; editing by Katy Daigle and Giles Elgood)

8/9/2021 Analysis-U.N. Climate Report Depicts Fast-Warming World Where ‘Nobody Is Safe’ by Megan Rowling
FILE PHOTO: Children hold placards during a global climate change strike rally
in Nicosia, Cyprus September 27, 2019. REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou/File Photo
    (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A flagship U.N. science report on Monday showed no one is safe from the accelerating effects of climate change and there is an urgent need to prepare and protect people as extreme weather and rising seas hit harder than predicted.
    The report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), written by 234 scientists, said global warming of about 1.1 degrees Celsius has brought many changes in different regions – from more severe droughts and storms to rising seas.
    Those will all increase with further warming, but it is not too late to cut climate-heating emissions to keep temperature rise to internationally agreed goals of “well below” 2C and ideally 1.5C – which would help stop or slow down some of the impacts, the report said.
    U.N. officials said the IPCC had increasingly sounded the alarm in its regular reports over the past four decades, but that had not spurred adequate policy responses.
    “The world listened but didn’t hear; the world listened but it didn’t act strongly enough – and as a result, climate change is a problem that is here now,” said Inger Andersen, executive director of the U.N. Environment Programme.
    “Nobody is safe and it’s getting worse faster,” she told journalists at the online report launch.
    IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee said the report provided an improved understanding of climate change and how it is already playing out around the world.
    “It tells us that it is indisputable that human activities are causing climate change and making extreme weather events more frequent and severe,” he said, describing it as a “valuable toolbox” for negotiators at November’s COP26 climate talks.
    All parts of the world are being affected, he added, noting the report contains detailed information on impacts by region, as well as fast-developing knowledge on attributing extreme weather events to climate change.
    It also offers an interactive atlas allowing people to check climatic changes where they live.
    Petteri Taalas, the secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), which hosts the IPCC, said current pledges by governments to cut their emissions could, if confirmed and implemented, limit global warming to 2.1C.
    But that level of temperature rise would still bring many problems, including food shortages, extreme heat, forest fires, sea level rise, a potential “refugee crisis” and negative impacts for the global economy and biodiversity, he added.
    As well as slashing emissions, “it is essential to pay attention to climate adaptation since the negative trend in climate will continue for decades and in some cases for thousands of years,” he told the report launch.
    One powerful way to adapt, he said, is to invest in early warning services for threats like droughts and floods – but only half of the WMO’s 195 member countries currently have those, fuelling human and economic losses.
    are also severe gaps in meteorological and weather forecasting systems in Africa, parts of Latin America, the Caribbean and the Pacific, he noted.
RESILIENT INFRASTRUCTURE
    Youba Sokona, vice-chair of the IPCC and special advisor for sustainable development at the South Centre think-tank, said the report would help policy makers in Africa improve their ability to understand climatic changes and anticipate what may come.
    That would allow them to design more resilient infrastructure, such as larger dams in drought-prone areas or higher flood defences in cities, and seek finance for such projects, he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by video call from Bamako, the capital of Mali.
    The report includes specific scientific information on the polar regions, saying it is very likely the Arctic has warmed at more than twice the global rate over the past 50 years.
    That has led to more extreme heat events, permafrost thawing and longer fire seasons, while the Arctic could be ice-free in summer at least once by 2050, it said.
    IPCC report lead author Dirk Notz, who heads research on sea ice at Germany’s University of Hamburg, said the Arctic was “the early warning system of our planet,” with climate change manifesting earlier and stronger there.
    He said policy makers should use the new report to plan for sea levels potentially topping earlier projected ranges.
    For example, if building a coastal dyke to protect against 1-metre higher waters this century, it would be sensible to allow for it to be raised to cope with a 2m rise if needed.
    “I hope … that both society and policy makers really understand what is at stake here – that we are leaving the comfort zone of our climate system that we’ve been living in for the past thousands of years and moving into completely uncharted territory,” he added.
(Reporting by Megan Rowling @meganrowling; editing by Zoe Tabary. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly.    Visit http://news.trust.org/climate)

8/9/2021 U.N. Climate Change Report Sounds ‘Code Red For Humanity’ by Nina Chestney and Andrea Januta
FILE PHOTO: A boy, 5, stands on the cracked ground of the Boqueirao reservoir in the Metropolitan Region
of Campina Grande, Paraiba state, Brazil, February 13, 2017. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino/File Photo
    (Reuters) -Global warming is dangerously close to spiralling out of control, a U.N. climate panel said in a landmark report Monday, warning the world is already certain to face further climate disruptions for decades, if not centuries, to come.
    Humans are “unequivocally” to blame, the report from the scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
(IPCC) https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg1 said. Rapid action to cut greenhouse gas emissions could limit some impacts, but others are now locked in.
    The deadly heat waves, gargantuan hurricanes and other weather extremes that are already happening will only become more severe.
    Monday alone saw 500,000 acres of forest burning in California, while in Venice tourists waded through ankle-deep water in St. Mark’s Square.
    U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres described the report as a “code red for humanity.”
    “The alarm bells are deafening,” he said in a statement.    “This report must sound a death knell for coal and fossil fuels, before they destroy our planet.”
    In an interview with Reuters https://reut.rs/2U4reeV, activist Greta Thunberg called on the public and media to put “massive” pressure on governments to act.
    In three months, the U.N. COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, will try to wring much more ambitious climate action out of the nations of the world, and the money to go with it.
    Drawing on more than 14,000 scientific studies, the IPCC report gives the most comprehensive and detailed picture yet of how climate change is altering the natural world – and what could still be ahead.
    Unless immediate, rapid and large-scale action is taken to reduce emissions, the report says, the average global temperature is likely to reach or cross the 1.5-degree Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) warming threshold within 20 years.
    The pledges to cut emissions https://reut.rs/3ywxDyE made so far are nowhere near enough to start reducing level of greenhouse gases – mostly carbon dioxide (CO2) from burning fossil fuels – accumulated in the atmosphere.
‘WAKE-UP CALL’
    Governments and campaigners reacted https://www.reuters.com/article/climate-change-ipcc-reactions-short-idAFL8N2PG1ZW to the findings https://www.reuters.com/article/us-climate-change-ipcc-takeaways-idUSKBN2FA0J8 with alarm.
    British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he hoped the report would be “a wake-up call for the world to take action now, before we meet in Glasgow.”
    U.S. President Joe Biden tweeted Monday: “We can’t wait to tackle the climate crisis.    The signs are unmistakable.    The science is undeniable.    And the cost of inaction keeps mounting.”
    The report says emissions “unequivocally caused by human activities” have already pushed the average global temperature up 1.1C from its pre-industrial average – and would have raised it 0.5C further without the tempering effect of pollution in the atmosphere.
    That means that, even as societies move away from fossil fuels, temperatures will be pushed up again by the loss of the airborne pollutants that come with them and currently reflect away some of the sun’s heat.
    A rise of 1.5C is generally seen as the most that humanity could cope with without suffering widespread economic and social upheaval.
    The 1.1C warming already recorded has been enough to unleash disastrous weather https://tmsnrt.rs/3wcycMk.    This year, heat waves killed hundreds in the Pacific Northwest and smashed records around the world.    Wildfires fuelled by heat and drought are sweeping away entire towns in the U.S. West, releasing record carbon dioxide emissions from Siberian forests, and driving Greeks to flee their homes by ferry.
    Further warming could mean that in some places, people could die just from going outside.
    “The more we push the climate system … the greater the odds we cross thresholds that we can only poorly project,” said IPCC co-author Bob Kopp, a climate scientist at Rutgers University.
IRREVERSIBLE
    Some changes are already “locked in.”    Greenland’s sheet of land-ice https://tmsnrt.rs/2Qvivkg is “i>virtually certain/i>” to continue melting, and raising the sea level, which will continue to rise for centuries to come as the oceans warm and expand.
    “We are now committed to some aspects of climate change, some of which are irreversible for hundreds to thousands of years,” said IPCC co-author Tamsin Edwards, a climate scientist at King’s College London.    “But the more we limit warming, the more we can avoid or slow down those changes.”
    But even to slow climate change, the report says, the world is running out of time.
    If emissions are slashed in the next decade, average temperatures could still be up 1.5C by 2040 and possibly 1.6C by 2060 before stabilising.
    And if, instead the world continues on its the current trajectory, the rise could be 2.0C by 2060 and 2.7C by the century’s end.
    The Earth has not been that warm since the Pliocene Epoch roughly 3 million years ago – when humanity’s first ancestors were appearing, and the oceans were 25 metres (82 feet) higher than they are today.
    It could get even worse, if warming triggers feedback loops that release even more climate-warming carbon emissions — such as the melting of Arctic permafrost or the dieback of global forests.
    Under these high-emissions scenarios, Earth could broil at temperatures 4.4C above the preindustrial average by the last two decades of this century.
(Reporting by Nina Chestney in London and Andrea Januta in Guerneville, California; Additional reporting by Jake Spring in Brasilia, Valerie Volcovici in Washington, and Emma Farge in Geneva; Editing by Katy Daigle, Lisa Shumaker, Kevin Liffey and Giles Elgood)

8/10/2021 NASA seeks four people to live inside Mars module for a year by Jordan Mendoza, USA TODAY
    It has long been a goal to get humans on Mars, and it will soon become a reality – sort of.     As the space agency prepares to plan how humans would survive on the Red Planet, NASA is looking for four people to live in conditions similar to those on Mars in hopes of providing some idea on how that survival would look like.
    Instead of going into outer space, the volunteers will live in the Mars Dune Alpha, a 3D-printed 1,700square-foot module inside the Johnson Space Center in Houston.    The model will include private rooms, a kitchen, two bathrooms, a workout room and space to grow crops.
    NASA plans three of these experiments, the first in fall 2022, then in 2024 and 2025.    The paid volunteers will be given tasks such as simulated spacewalks, use of virtual reality and scientific research.
    Though it may seem fun to see what being on Mars is like, it'll come with its challenges, such as dealing with equipment failure as well as limited communication to the outside world and resources.    The challenges are expected to give NASA possible answers to problems that could arise in future missions.
    “The analog is critical for testing solutions to meet the complex needs of living on the Martian surface,” Grace Douglas, lead scientist for NASA’s advanced food technology research, said in a news release.
    “Simulations on Earth will help us understand and counter the physical and mental challenges astronauts will face before they go.”     The application, which opened Friday and is available through Sept. 17, says the agency is looking for permanent U.S. citizens ages 30 to 55 who are healthy and have no dietary concerns.
    The selection will 'follow standard NASA criteria for astronaut candidate applicants': Candidates should have a master's degree in a STEM field, professional STEM experience and pilot experience, according to the application.
This photo provided by ICON and NASA shows a proposal for the Mars Dune Alpha habitat. ICON/NASA VIA AP

8/10/2021 PM Apologises As Greece Counts Costs Of Wildfire Catastrophe by Lefteris Papadimas
FILE PHOTO: A damaged farm is seen following a wildfire in the village of Lasdikas
near ancient Olympia, Greece, August 6, 2021. REUTERS/Giorgos Moutafis
    PEFKI, Greece (Reuters) -Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis apologised on Monday for failures in tackling the devastating wildfires that have burned across Greece for the past week as the country counted the cost in lost homes and livelihoods.
    As fires burned unabated in many parts of the country for a seventh day, the biggest front was on Evia, Greece’s second-biggest island located just off the mainland east of Athens.
    “It burned everything, there’s nothing left,,” said 77-year-old Makis Ladogiannakis, sitting in a cafe in the seaside town of Pefki, where a ferry waited to evacuate more locals and tourists to safety if needed, as in previous days.
    “The fire was the biggest catastrophe for the village,” he said.    “People lived off resin production and the olive trees.”
    More than 500 fires have been burning across Greece, forcing the evacuation of dozens of villages and thousands of people and there has been growing public anger at delays and breakdowns in the government’s response.
    Mitsotakis went on television late on Monday to make a public apology and promised that mistakes would be identified and rectified but called for unity.
    “I fully understand the pain of our fellow citizens who saw their homes or property burned,” he said.    “Any failures will be identified.    And responsibility will be assigned wherever necessary.”
    Mitsotakis promised that forests destroyed by the fires would be restored and climate defences be built up, and he pledged compensation for those whose property was destroyed in the fires.
    He approved a 500 million-euro package of aid for Evia and the Attica region around Athens.    Ministers were due to meet on Tuesday to discuss further support measures. [L8N2PG55U]
CHILDHOOD MEMORIES
    Strong winds on Monday fuelled flare-ups on Evia after appearing to ease earlier in the day.    Water-bombing aircraft struggled to operate because of the large plumes of smoke blanketing the area, authorities said.
    The fires broke out last week during Greece’s worst heatwave in three decades, with searing temperatures and dry heat causing tinder box conditions.
    “The climate crisis is knocking on the door of the entire planet,” Mitsotakis said, just hours after a U.N. report said global warming was dangerously close to being out of control.
    Temperatures had cooled somewhat in Greece, but were forecast to rise again during the week, meaning the risk of flare-ups remained high.
    “It’s sad.    All my childhood memories are burned right now,” said Richard Konstantine Allen, who lives in Athens but went back to try to save his property.    “I used to run in this forest, to cycle to collect fruit, now everything is gone.”
    In Athens, officials began to assess the damage from a blaze which tore through several suburbs north of the city last week before beginning to recede on Saturday.
    “Our aim is to complete the inventory as soon as possible, in order to immediately begin the process of compensating our affected fellow citizens,” the ministry of infrastructure and transport said in a statement.
    The blaze, which broke out on the foothills of Mount Parthina on the outskirts of the capital, sent thousands of people fleeing and damaged homes and businesses as well as thousands of hectares of forest land.
    Almost 1,000 firefighters, nine aircraft and 200 vehicles have been sent to Greece from other European countries to help with the wildfires.    In addition, Greece said on Monday it was expecting two aircraft from Turkey and an additional plane from Russia.
    More than 2,000 residents and tourists have been evacuated by ferry since last Tuesday – the images of them departing against the backdrop of a dark red sky becoming emblematic of the blazes.
(Writing by Karolina Tagaris; Editing by Mike Collett-White and Alison Williams)

8/10/2021 U.N. Report Ignites Fight For Funds To Build Climate Defences by Kate Abnett, Valerie Volcovici and Kanupriya Kapoor
FILE PHOTO: Smoke billows over the hills to the north of a Red Cross disaster shelter as the Bootleg Fire expands
to over 210,000 acres. Klamath Falls, Oregon, U.S., July 14, 2021. REUTERS/Mathieu Lewis-Rolland/File Photo
    (Reuters) – The United Nations climate panel’s report on Monday alerted wealthy nations to a lesson many of the world’s most vulnerable countries have already learnt through bitter experience: they must adapt quickly to a world with more extreme weather.
    The report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change made clear the planet will get warmer for at least the next few decades, and seas will rise for centuries – trends that have already triggered weather disasters across the globe.
    “The fact that some changes are going to continue to play out for a long, long time, underscores the importance of paying much more attention to making communities more resilient,” Jane Lubchenco, deputy climate director at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, told Reuters.
    As rich nations strain to curb their climate-warming emissions, experts say they will need to prepare for higher sea levels, which can turn storm surges into floods.
    Societies will also need to ready for heat waves by creating public health infrastructure to cope with those who become ill, while regions must rethink urban planning and development to steer communities away from high-risk zones, such as wildfire spots.
    In developing countries alone, the U.N. has said this will take up to $300 billion in adaptation investments per year by 2030, although other estimates run far higher. Few countries around the world have begun.
    “Adaptation and resilience in general is underfunded nearly everywhere,” said climate scientist Bill Hare, who leads the non-profit Climate Analytics.    Developed countries did not pay enough attention to the problem and developing countries did not have the money to spend, he said.
    Development bank funding tells a similar story. Out of seven large development banks, only the African Development Bank in 2019 spent more to help societies adapt to already unavoidable climate change than on efforts to curb emissions, data from the banks showed.
    The European Investment Bank spent just 11% of its climate finance for poorer countries on adaptation that year.
‘THIS IS WHAT WE’VE BEEN FIGHTING FOR’
    Hours after the report’s release on Monday, the U.S. government said it would spend $5 billion to help states and communities to prepare for climate disasters, for example, by strengthening power grids or water systems.
    Even if global emissions are reduced quickly, the IPCC said average global temperature would rise 1.5 Celsius (2.7°Fahrenheit) above the preindustrial average over the next two decades.    The world has already seen 1.1 C of that warming – enough to trigger today’s weather extremes.
    “The IPCC pointed out how far behind we are in adapting to the impacts that are already unavoidable,” former U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres said.
    “Developing countries – and the most vulnerable populations in all countries – have already been knocked over the head by the adaptation challenge,” she said.
    Developing countries tend to be the most vulnerable to costly climate impacts, and the least resourced to deal with them.    For years, they have been struggling to secure the $100 billion a year pledged by rich nations toward helping them prepare for climate disruptions.
    The money that has arrived, so far, has focused on emissions reduction rather than adaptation.    Of the $78.9 billion in climate finance transferred by rich countries in 2018, only 21% was spent on adaptation, OECD data shows.
    The IPCC report is likely to spur demands for more financing at a major U.N. climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, in November.    A failure to deliver could irk the developing world and frustrate talks on other global deals to safeguard the planet.
    “This is what we’ve been fighting for, for a long time,” said James Michel, former president of the Seychelles islands.     “We are not warming the planet … but then we are at the receiving end.”
    Around 90% of the Seychelles’ population lives on the narrow coastal plateaus of the Indian Ocean nation’s main islands.    Building houses further inland and improving flood defences is an expense the country cannot finance alone, Michel said.
    Some especially vulnerable nations moved early to adapt.
    Cyclone-prone Bangladesh has built more than 12,000 cyclone shelters along its coastline since 1970 – one of multiple adaptation investments that experts say have drastically reduced storm-related deaths.
    “We have drills on what to do in a cyclone, what to do when a flood comes,” said Saleemul Huq, chair of the expert advisory group of the     Climate Vulnerable Forum of 48 countries.
    Not preparing means disasters can be costly, as many wealthy nations have seen.    As of July 9, the United States had faced eight weather or climate-related disasters in 2021 with losses exceeding $1 billion each, government data shows.
    This week’s IPCC report focused on physical climate impacts, but next year the panel will release another comprehensive assessment of how countries can deal with climate impacts.
    “Good adaptation policy is well known.    You just have to be better prepared for these kinds of events, and every country is going to have to be better prepared,” Huq said.
(Reporting by Kate Abnett, Valerie Volcovici; additional reporting by Alessandra Prentice, Kanupriya Kapoor; editing by Barbara Lewis)

8/11/2021 At Least 65 Killed In Algerian Wildfires – State TV
A helicopter collects water from Taksebt dam to extinguish a wildfire in the mountainous
Tizi Ouzou region, east of Algiers, Algeria August 11, 2021. REUTERS/Abdelaziz Boumzar
    ALGIERS (Reuters) -Wildfires tearing through forested areas of northern Algeria have killed at least 65 people, state television reported on Wednesday, as the country battled some of the most destructive blazes in its history.
    The government has deployed the army to help fight the fires, which have burnt most fiercely in the mountainous Kabylie region, and 28 of the dead are soldiers.
    President Abdelmadjid Tebboune declared three days of national mourning and froze state activities not related to the fires.
    French President Emmanuel Macron said Paris would send two water bombers to the Kabylie region, promising on Twitter to “bring all our support to Algerian citizens.”
    Algeria’s government later said it had reached an agreement with the European Union to hire two firefighting planes.    The prime minister’s office said the planes, which will be in action from Thursday, had been used to tackle blazes in Greece.
    Morocco’s King Mohammed VI expressed readiness to dispatch two aircraft and was waiting for approval from Algerian authorities to go ahead, Morocco’s state news agency MAP said.
    Ties between Algeria and Morocco have been tense for decades because of differences over a conflict in the Western Sahara.
    Algeria last month recalled its ambassador to Rabat after the Moroccan envoy to the United Nations called for “the right of self-determination” of the Kabylie region.
    Forest fires have set large parts of Algeria, Turkey and Greece aflame over the past week as temperatures rose.
    Dozens of fires have raged through forest areas across northern Algeria since Monday.    On Tuesday, Interior Minister Kamel Beldjoud accused arsonists of igniting the flames, but produced no evidence.
    The worst-hit area is Tizi Ouzou, the largest Kabylie district, where houses have burned and residents fled to hotels, hostels and university accommodation in nearby towns.
    The government has said it will compensate those affected.
(Reporting by Hamid Ould Ahmed, additionnal reporting by Nicolas Delame in Paris, Writing by Angus McDowall; Editing by Janet Lawrence, John Stonestreet and Timothy Heritage)

8/11/2021 Dixie Fire Forces Evacuees Into Parking Lots by OAN Newsroom
Evacuated Chester resident April Phillips hugs their family dog at an evacuation center for
the Dixie fire in Susanville, California on August 6, 2021. (JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images)
    California’s Dixie Fire has continued to rage on, damaging homes and leaving shelters full.    The blaze recently approached the small California town of Susanville, forcing many to pack up what they could carry with nowhere to go.
    “You could not see where you were going five feet in front of you,” said Charlene Mays, an evacuee.    “There wasn’t an actual fire right there in town, but it was all around the town.”
    On Tuesday, thousands were forced into shelters, but for many others, they had to make home in a parking lot due to the overflow.    Mays said she left her husband with firefighters to help maintain water tanks being used to help extinguish the fire.
    The devastation continues as the blaze has been active for nearly a month and is already larger than the city of Houston, Texas.    It has now been named one of the largest fires in state history.
    Many are scared of the unknown and have been left clueless as to when and if they’ll return to their homes.    In the meantime, those who fled to parking lots to stay safe said they are surrounded by animals and good company.    The evacuees have been trying to remain in good spirits knowing everything is at stake and many say they are just thankful to be alive.

8/11/2021 Tropical Storm Fred Over Hispaniola, Races Toward Cuba And Florida
Palm trees sway in the wind during the passage of Tropical Storm Fred in
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic August 11, 2021. REUTERS/Ricardo Rojas
    HAVANA (Reuters) – Tropical storm Fred was passing over the Caribbean island of Hispaniola on Wednesday, made up of the countries of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, the sixth named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season.
    The National Hurricane Center (NHC)in Miami said at 11 a.m. that Fred was moving west-northwest, at 16 mph (26 kph), with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph (75 kph).    It forecast some weakening of the storm as it moved through mountainous Hispaniola.
    The NHC warned of possible flash flooding, with rainfall of up to 6 inches (15 centimeters) and tropical storm winds expected over the Dominican Republic, Haiti, the Southern Bahamas as well as Cuba and Florida.
    Fred was forecast to hug Cuba’s east and central northern coast on Thursday, gaining some strength, before heading toward Florida early Friday morning.
    Storm warning were up in the Dominican Republic, Haiti and parts of Cuba.
    “There is an increasing chance of wind and rainfall impacts in Florida beginning Friday night or early Saturday,” the center’s advisory said.
    Fred passed by the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Tuesday causing little damage and no casualties. (Reporting by Marc Frank; Editing by Leslie Adler)

8/12/2021 Indian Rocket Fails To Launch Earth Observation Satellite
FILE PHOTO: A security guard stands behind the logo of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)
at its headquarters in Bengaluru, India, June 12, 2019. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas
    BENGALURU (Reuters) -An Indian rocket carrying a powerful earth observation satellite failed to fire fully on Thursday, the state-run space agency said, in a setback for the country’s space programme.
    The satellite, meant for quick monitoring of natural disasters such as cyclones, cloudbursts and thunderstorms, was launched on a geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle (GSLV) at 0013 GMT, from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in southern India.
    But while the liftoff was smooth, the rocket failed in its final phase, the Indian Space Research Organisation said.
    “Performance of first and second stages was normal.    However, Cryogenic Upper Stage ignition did not happen due to technical anomaly.    The mission couldn’t be accomplished as intended,” ISRO said.
    It did not say what happened to the GSLV spacecraft and the EOS-03 satellite it was meant to place in a geostationary orbit nearly 36,000km (22,500 miles) above the equator.
    Scientists had mounted a large telescope on the satellite to look down on the Indian subcontinent.
    Jonathan McDowell, a U.S.-based astronomer, said the satellite and the rocket probably fell into the Andaman Sea, west of Thailand.
    India has built a reputation as a maker of earth imaging satellites and the ability to launch them into low orbits at a fraction of the cost of Western agencies.
    But over the past several years, it has moved into the more lucrative area of launching heavier geostationary satellites that are used for communications and meteorology.
(Reporting by Chris Thomas in Bengaluru and Sanjeev Miglani in New Delhi; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)

8/12/2021 Italian Wildfires Rage On After 49 Degree Heat Record
A fire is seen burning a forest near the town of Mandas on the south of the
island of Sardinia, Italy, August 12, 2021. Vigili del Fuoco/Handout via REUTERS
    ROME (Reuters) – Fires stoked by hot winds swept through southern Italy on Thursday, a day after a monitoring station in Sicily reported temperatures of 48.8 Celsius (119.84°F) which some scientists believe could be the highest in European history.
    The record temperature, which still needs to be verified by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), was reported close to the city of Syracuse, in the southeast of the island of Sicily.
    “If the data is validated, it could become the highest value ever recorded in Europe, beating the previous record of 48 degrees measured in Athens on July 10, 1977,” meteorologist Manuel Mazzoleni wrote on 3Bmeteo.com, a specialist website.
    Firemen said on Twitter they had carried out more than 500 operations in Sicily and Calabria in the last 12 hours, employing five planes to try to douse the flames from above.    They said the situation was now “under control” on the island.
    Local media reported that trees and land were burning in the Madonie mountains some 100 km from the Sicilian capital of Palermo and in the small town of Linguaglossa, on the slopes of the Etna volcano.
    “Our small town was really invaded by fire. It is a catastrophe … We are living through some really sad moments,” said Giovanna Licitra, from the village of Giarratana in the south of the island which was hit by fires on Wednesday.
    Serious damage has also been reported in Calabria, the toe of Italy’s “boot,” where some families left their homes and a man died on Wednesday.
    Temperatures are expected to rise in several Italian cities including the capital Rome on Friday, when the heatwave could reach its peak, according to a health ministry bulletin.
(Reporting by Angelo Amante, additional reporting by Antonio Parrinello in Giarratana, editing by Gavin Jones and Mike Collett-White)

8/13/2021 China Cities Declare Rain ‘Red Alerts’ As Flood Death Toll Hits 21
Paramilitary police officers evacuate residents stranded by floodwaters with a boat following heavy
rainfall in Hedian town of Suizhou, Hubei province, China August 12, 2021. cnsphoto via REUTERS
    SHANGHAI (Reuters) -Five cities in the central Chinese province of Hubei have declared “red alerts” after torrential rain left 21 people dead and forced the evacuation of nearly 6,000 people, state media reported.
    The deaths were recorded in the township of Liulin, part of the city of Suizhou in the north of the province.    More than 2,700 houses and shops suffered flood damage and power, transportation and communications were also disrupted, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
    Rescue crews have been dispatched to the worst affected areas, including the cities of Suizhou, Xiangyang and Xiaogan, China’s Ministry of Emergency Management said.    The city of Yicheng also saw a record 400 millimetres of rain on Thursday.
    According to the official China News Service, as many as 774 reservoirs in Hubei had exceeded their flood warning levels by Thursday evening.
    Extreme weather in the province has caused widespread power cuts and has damaged more than 3,600 houses and 8,110 hectares of crops.    Total losses were estimated at 108 million yuan ($16.67 million), the official China Daily said on Friday, citing the province’s emergency management bureau.
    China regularly experiences flooding during its wet summer months, but authorities have warned that extreme weather is now becoming more frequent as a result of climate change.
    Around 80,000 were evacuated in the southwestern province of Sichuan last weekend and record rainfall in Henan last month caused floods that killed more than 300 people.
    The China Meteorological Administration warned that heavy rainstorms were likely to continue until next week, with regions along the Yangtze river vulnerable to flooding.
    State weather forecasters also issued a geological disaster warning late on Thursday, saying areas at risk include the central provinces of Hubei, Hunan, Henan and Anhui, Chongqing, Sichuan and Guizhou in the southwest as well as Zhejiang on the eastern coast.
($1 = 6.4782 yuan)
(Reporting by David Stanway; Editing by Sam Holmes)

8/13/2021 Tears And Anger As Greek Island Residents Face Wildfire Aftermath by Lefteris Papadimas
FILE PHOTO: Burnt hillsides are seen following a wildfire near the village of Rovies on the
island of Evia, Greece, August 12, 2021. Picture taken with a drone. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
    ROVIES, Evia, Greece (Reuters) – Residents of the Greek seaside village of Rovies mourn a lost paradise of pristine pine forests and family homes, scorched by wildfires that burned for nine days.
    But they are also angry as they start to see how little was salvaged.
    The village at the foothills of a mountain, on the island of Evia northeast of Athens, had long been a popular retreat for Greek and foreign tourists, with locals also living off honey, resin and olive oil farming.
    Wildfires have turned the forest and beehives into ashes and burned down about a dozen houses in Rovies, those on the outskirts, and dozens more across the island.
    One of these homes belonged to 72-year old Costas Constantinidis, a former pastry cook.
    “There was a paradise here and now… it’s hell,” Constantinidis said, in tears as he stood in front of his house, much of which was destroyed by flames.
    “My wife and I worked hard for many years to build this so we could enjoy it in our old age, and now, we must start again from the beginning.”
    In Rovies, as in other villages across the island, residents said the government failed to protect their homes and the forest.
    “The truth is that they forgot us,” 87-year-old Sotiria Kalaboka said.    “From the beginning, the airplanes did not come to drop (water), to act.”
    Kotzias Thrasyvoulos, a beach cafe owner in Pefki, on the other side of the island, said firefighters were a big help but that, without air units at first, they could not tackle the fire.
    “If they had brought the helicopters and the planes immediately and had stayed for six or seven hours straight, the fire would have been put out from the beginning on the first day,” he said.
OUR DREAMS BURNED
    A fire brigade official said he understood people who lost their homes were upset, but said firefighters had done all they could.
    “All firefighters, all fire engines were in the fronts from the beginning,” the offical said.
    Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has publicly apologised for delays in the firefighting effort and announced 500-million-euro ($587 million) relief package, while defending his government’s action.
    “I want to tell them that I completely understand what they feel, both the pain and the disappointment, and the desperation,” he told a news conference on Thursday.    “I want to tell them they will not be unassisted, the state will be close to them.”
    That appeared to offer little comfort to residents of Evia.
    “What can they give me?    A loan to pay off?    How can I pay it off? With what?,” said 53-year old Anastasia.
    She and her husband had built a house in Revios and were making a small income from beehives and olive trees.    All of that was now ashes.
    “Everything burned. Our dreams burned, our memories burned, everything, everything.    Not even one photograph from my dad’s home is left.”
    Zoi Charasti, 55, owned a pastry shop in Rovies and had lived above the shop for the past 38 years.    The wildfire burned a big part of her shop after police told her to evacuate.
    She was overwhelmed by sadness and anger when she returned to see what remained of her shop – burned mixers and refigerators.
    “We don’t know what to expect now, and we had so much equipment that it is really difficult for us to buy it all again from the beginning, it requires a lot of money that we will not receive,” she said.
(Reporting by Lefteris Papadimas, Writing by George Georgiopoulos and Ingrid Melander, Editing by Angus MacSwan)

8/14/2021 One Dead, Two Missing As Torrential Rains Slam Japan, Risk Alerts Broadened by Elaine Lies
Firefighters transport stranded residents on a boat in a road flooded by heavy rain in Kurume, Fukuoka
prefecture, western Japan, August 14, 2021, in this photo taken by Kyodo. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS
    TOKYO (Reuters) -One woman was dead and two people were missing on Saturday after torrential rains touched off a landslide and engulfed at least two houses in western Japan, with rivers overflowing their banks as rain continued to pound the area.
    A wide swath of western Japan, particularly the southernmost main island of Kyushu, saw record levels of rainfall, with as much as 956 mm (37.6 inches) falling in one area in the three days to noon on Saturday.
    Japan broadened its highest level 5 risk alerts to cover more than 1.5 million people, NHK public broadcaster said, while the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) warned of more rain to come over the next few days.
    “People must take steps to secure their safety,” a JMA official told a news conference.
    “There has been almost no movement of the rain front over Japan, and it’s being fed by warm, humid air, which is making it more active.”
    Rivers broke their banks in several cities, including Kurume in Fukuoka, and were dangerously close to the tops in others.    The Kamo River running through the ancient capital of Kyoto was high but not flooded as of noon Saturday.
    Landslides hit several parts of Nagasaki prefecture, with one sweeping away at least two houses and killing Fumiyo Mori, 59.    Her husband and daughter were missing, and military personnel joined rescuers looking for them, NHK said.
    Shinkansen bullet train service was halted along much of the line running from Tokyo to Kyushu.
    Heavy rains have moved into the central part of the largest main island of Honshu. The JMA has warned that the front is likely to remain over the nation for about a week.
(Reporting by Elaine Lies; Editing by Edwina Gibbs and William Mallard)

8/14/2021 Tears And Anger As Greek Island Residents Face Wildfire Aftermath by Lefteris Papadimas
FILE PHOTO: Burnt hillsides are seen following a wildfire near the village of Rovies on the
island of Evia, Greece, August 12, 2021. Picture taken with a drone. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
    ROVIES, Evia, Greece (Reuters) – Residents of the Greek seaside village of Rovies mourn a lost paradise of pristine pine forests and family homes, scorched by wildfires that burned for nine days.
    But they are also angry as they start to see how little was salvaged.
    The village at the foothills of a mountain, on the island of Evia northeast of Athens, had long been a popular retreat for Greek and foreign tourists, with locals also living off honey, resin and olive oil farming.
    Wildfires have turned the forest and beehives into ashes and burned down about a dozen houses in Rovies, those on the outskirts, and dozens more across the island.
    One of these homes belonged to 72-year old Costas Constantinidis, a former pastry cook.
    “There was a paradise here and now…    it’s hell,” Constantinidis said, in tears as he stood in front of his house, much of which was destroyed by flames.
    “My wife and I worked hard for many years to build this so we could enjoy it in our old age, and now, we must start again from the beginning.”
    In Rovies, as in other villages across the island, residents said the government failed to protect their homes and the forest.
    “The truth is that they forgot us,” 87-year-old Sotiria Kalaboka said.    “From the beginning, the airplanes did not come to drop (water), to act.”
    Kotzias Thrasyvoulos, a beach cafe owner in Pefki, on the other side of the island, said firefighters were a big help but that, without air units at first, they could not tackle the fire.
    “If they had brought the helicopters and the planes immediately and had stayed for six or seven hours straight, the fire would have been put out from the beginning on the first day,” he said.
OUR DREAMS BURNED
    A fire brigade official said he understood people who lost their homes were upset, but said firefighters had done all they could.
    “All firefighters, all fire engines were in the fronts from the beginning,” the offical said.
    Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has publicly apologised for delays in the firefighting effort and announced 500-million-euro ($587 million) relief package, while defending his government’s action.
    “I want to tell them that I completely understand what they feel, both the pain and the disappointment, and the desperation,” he told a news conference on Thursday.    “I want to tell them they will not be unassisted, the state will be close to them.”
    That appeared to offer little comfort to residents of Evia.
    “What can they give me?    A loan to pay off?    How can I pay it off?    With what?,” said 53-year old Anastasia.
    She and her husband had built a house in Revios and were making a small income from beehives and olive trees.    All of that was now ashes.
    “Everything burned.    Our dreams burned, our memories burned, everything, everything.    Not even one photograph from my dad’s home is left.”
    Zoi Charasti, 55, owned a pastry shop in Rovies and had lived above the shop for the past 38 years.    The wildfire burned a big part of her shop after police told her to evacuate.
    She was overwhelmed by sadness and anger when she returned to see what remained of her shop – burned mixers and refigerators.
    “We don’t know what to expect now, and we had so much equipment that it is really difficult for us to buy it all again from the beginning, it requires a lot of money that we will not receive,” she said.
(Reporting by Lefteris Papadimas, Writing by George Georgiopoulos and Ingrid Melander, Editing by Angus MacSwan)

8/14/2021 7.2 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Haiti, Rescue Missions Underway by OAN Newsroom
A man helps to carry a person rescued from the rubble in the aftermath of an
earthquake in Les Cayes, Haiti, Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Duples Plymouth)
    At least 300 people were killed after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti.    Haitian officials made the announcement on Saturday with the confirmed death toll rising by hundreds compared to earlier in the day.
    Officials said hundreds more people are either injured or missing and hospitals are reportedly being overburdened with patients.    Teams are also being sent to the epicenter of the quake, where search and rescue missions are taking place.
    The Haitian government has declared a one-month state of emergency since the incident occurred.    Meanwhile, the country reportedly faced a significant aftershock just west of the original epicenter and more are expected in the coming days.
    Martine Moise, widow of the former Haitian president, addressed the country stating “my brothers and sisters, we have to put our shoulders together to come together to demonstrate our solidarity.    It is our togetherness that makes up our strength and resilience.    Courage, I will always be by your side.”

8/15/2021 For Haitians, Quake Reawakens Trauma Of Disaster A Decade Ago by Andre Paultre and Kate Chappell
People look for survivors at a house destroyed following a 7.2 magnitude earthquake
in Les Cayes, Haiti August 14, 2021. REUTERS/Ralph Tedy Erol
    PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) – When Lydie Jean-Baptiste saw her neighbors running from their homes on Saturday and felt the ground begin to shake beneath her feet, the 62-year-old Haitian was flooded by terrifying memories of the earthquake a decade ago that devastated her hometown.
    For many in the poor Caribbean nation, Saturday’s major quake – which killed more than 300 people and left hundreds injured – revived the trauma of the Jan. 12, 2010 temblor from which the country was still reeling.
    “The neighbors, I saw them running and running.    I said ‘What’s wrong?’    They said ‘Earthquake!’ and I rushed to the front door,” Jean-Baptiste said.    “All of a sudden, I had all those images of January 12 coming to my mind and I felt really, really scared.”
    Her neighborhood of Delmas, in the southern outskirts of Port-au-Prince, was tossed by Saturday’s quake, whose epicenter was some 150 km (90 miles) to the west of the capital.
    But in 2010, the tremor struck much closer, leveling many of the houses in her neighborhood and across the capital.
    Estimates of the number of dead from that tremor vary widely, from below 100,000 to as high as the government’s 316,000.
    When the 2010 quake struck just before 5 pm, Jean-Baptiste was covered in debris in her office and had to walk home through the wreckage of familiar streets.
    “People had their head cut off, corpses, everything.    For 48 hours, I just felt like: Am I alive?    Did I awake somewhere else?”    Jean-Baptiste said, adding it took her nearly a year before she was able to sleep under her own roof without worrying it would collapse.
    “The trauma is coming back.    I am home and we are just wondering, are we sleeping inside?    Are we going to sleep on the veranda?
    Her worries were echoed by Haitians across the south of the country, with some in the worst-affected areas saying they preferred to sleep outdoors than worry about the roof crashing down on them.
    “There are aftershocks every now and then, so I will be sleeping outside,” said Yvon Pierre, 69, former mayor of Saint Louis du Sud, now living in Les Cayes.
    “I am strong but this affected me psychologically and that is probably the same as the rest of the population.”
    Saturday’s earthquake came from the same system of seismic faults as the massive tremor that convulsed Port-au-Prince in 2010, running east to west across the nation.
    Haiti – the poorest nation in the Americas – still bears the scars of the 2010 quake https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-haiti-quake-life-idINKBN1ZB0MY, with its infrastructure and economy weakened.
    Iconic buildings, including the Notre Dame l’Assomption cathedral, have not been rebuilt, while tens of thousands of people still live in provisional housing.
    Efforts to rebuild have been hampered by a flawed international aid system, corruption and political turmoil, experts said.    Just last month, President Jovenel Moise was assassinated https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/haitian-president-shot-dead-home-overnight-pm-2021-07-07 at his home.
    Fonie Pierre, director of Catholic Relief Services for Les Cayes, 49, said Saturday’s quake was so strong that she could not bring herself to move, and as she stood there in her home, she had flashbacks from 2010.
    She had traveled from Les Cayes to the capital days after the tremor and seen corpses piled up on the side of the road.
    “It brought back to my mind’s eye the dead bodies, the white dust of homes crumbling” said Pierre.    “I thought: this is it, it’s the same thing.”
    Haiti had been struck by calamity after calamity – and now also has to face Tropical Storm Grace, on track to blow through the nation early next week, she lamented.
    “It’s as if the sky were falling in on us,” she said.    “And you ask yourself: What have we done to deserve this?
(Reporting by Andre Paultre in Port-au-Prince, Kate Chappell in Kingston and Sarah Marsh in Havana; Writing by Daniel Flynn and Sarah Marsh; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

8/15/2021 Haitians Scramble To Rescue Survivors From Ruins Of Major Quake by Andre Paultre
People walk past a house destroyed following a 7.2 magnitude earthquake
in Les Cayes, Haiti August 14, 2021. REUTERS/Ralph Tedy Erol
    PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) – Haitians labored overnight to pick through shattered buildings in search of friends and relatives trapped in the rubble after a devastating earthquake struck the Caribbean country on Saturday, killing more than 300 people and injuring many more.
    The 7.2 magnitude quake flattened hundreds of homes in the impoverished country, which is still clawing its way back from another major temblor 11 years ago, and has been without a head of state since the assassination of its president last month.
    Southwestern Haiti bore the brunt of the blow, especially in the region in and around the city of Les Cayes.    Haitian officials had by Saturday evening registered at least 304 fatalities and more than 1,800 people injured. [L1N2PL06W]
    Churches, hotels, hospitals and schools were badly damaged or destroyed, while the walls of a prison were rent open by the violent shudders that convulsed Haiti at 8:29 a.m. that morning.
    “We need to show a lot of solidarity with the emergency,” said Haiti’s Prime Minister Ariel Henry, a neurosurgeon who was thrust to the forefront of the troubled country after the shocking assassination of President Jovenel Moise on July 7.
    Some Haitians said they would spend Saturday night sleeping in the open, traumatized by memories of the magnitude 7.0 2010 quake that struck far closer to the sprawling capital Port-au-Prince, and killed tens of thousands of people.
    Footage of Saturday’s aftermath posted on social media showed residents reaching into narrow openings in piles of fallen masonry to pull out shocked and distraught people from the debris of walls and roofs that had crumbled around them.
    Access to the worst-hit areas has been complicated by a deterioration in law and order that has left key access roads in parts of Haiti in the hands of gangs, although unconfirmed reports on social media suggested they would let aid pass.
    Following Moise’s assassination, which authorities have alleged was carried out by a group of largely Colombian mercenaries and Haitian accomplices, Prime Minister Henry said officials would aim to hold elections for a new president as soon as possible.
    However, reports earlier this week suggested that the vote initially earmarked for September would not take place until November, and the chaos unleashed by Saturday’s natural disaster is likely to make the task of prompt elections harder still.
    The quake send tremors traveling as far as Jamaica and Cuba, and countries in the region quickly offered help to Haiti.
    “I am saddened by the devastating earthquake that occurred in Saint-Louis du Sud, Haiti this morning.    Through USAID, we are supporting efforts to assess the damage and assist efforts to recover and rebuild,” said U.S. President Joe Biden.
    Long racked by political instability, Haitians have also suffered at the hands of international aid efforts and peace-keeping deployments during the past decade.
    A sexual misconduct scandal centering on Oxfam International blighted the record of charity workers in Haiti, while a cholera outbreak linked to U.N. peacekeepers led to thousands of deaths.
    Writing on Twitter, tennis star Naomi Osaka, whose father’s family are from Haiti, expressed her sorrow about the latest quake, saying she would give all the prize money she won at a tournament next week to the relief efforts. [L1N2PM008]
    “I know our ancestors blood is strong,” she said, “we’ll keep rising.”
(Additional reporting by Kate Chappell in Kingston and Sarah Marsh in Havana; Writing by Dave Graham; Editing by Daniel Flynn and Aurora Ellis)

8/15/2021 Quake Kills Hundreds In Haiti, Worsening Caribbean Nation’s Plight by Andre Paultre and Sarah Marsh
A view of a collapsed building following an earthquake, in Les Cayes, Haiti, in this still
image taken from a video obtained by Reuters on August 14, 2021. REUTERS TV via REUTERS
    PORT-AU-PRINCE/HAVANA (Reuters) – At least 304 people died and hundreds were injured after a major earthquake struck southwestern Haiti on Saturday, authorities said, reducing churches, hotels, schools and homes to rubble in the latest tragedy https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/haitis-history-violence-rebellion-2021-07-23/?taid=6117ef92ced6e000017623b1&utm_campaign=trueAnthem:+Trending+Content&utm_medium=trueAnthem&utm_source=twitter to hit the impoverished Caribbean nation.
    The 7.2-magnitude quake, which was followed by a series of aftershocks, struck 8 km (5 miles) from the town of Petit Trou de Nippes, about 150 km west of the capital Port-au-Prince, at a depth of 10 km, the United States Geological Survey said.
    That made the temblor which was felt as far away as Cuba and Jamaica potentially more severe than the magnitude 7 earthquake 11 years ago that killed tens of thousands on the island.
    This one – which occurred around 8:30 a.m. local time – hit farther away from the capital, however.    In Port-au-Prince, it was strongly felt but did not appear to have caused major damage, according to Reuters witnesses.
    Still, Haiti’s Civil Protection service said the preliminary death toll stood at 304, with at least 1,800 injured and more people unaccounted for.    Preliminary rescue operations by emergency teams and ordinary citizens had enabled many people to already be recovered from the debris.
    At least 949 homes, seven churches, two hotels and three schools had been destroyed, it said.    A further 723 homes, one prison, three health centres and seven schools had been damaged although there was no major damage to port, airport or telecoms infrastructure.
    The area shuddered again late on Saturday when a 5.8 magnitude aftershock hit, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said.    It was not immediately clear what impact it caused.
    Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who flew over the region to survey the damage, declared a month-long state of emergency.
    The nearest big town was Les Cayes, where many buildings collapsed or suffered major damage, authorities said.
    “I saw bodies being pulled out of the rubble, injured and perhaps dead people,” said Les Cayes resident Jean Marie Simon, 38, who was at the market when the earthquake struck and ran home to see if his family was safe.    “I heard cries of pain everywhere I passed through.”
    His wife and 2-year-old child had been bathing and rushed out to the street, naked, just before the front of the house crumbled.    Simon gave his wife his shirt and they took refuge in the courtyard of a church with other locals.    His mother’s house had also collapsed.
    “There are a lot of aftershocks and every time there’s one, people run and shout,” he said.    “My legs are still trembling.”
    Videos posted to social media showed citizens pulling others from debris and crowds of people waiting for medical attention at overwhelmed hospitals.
    USGS said a significant amount of the population was at risk of landslides, with road obstructions likely.    Haiti’s Civil Protection service said a landslide had blocked the highway between Les Cayes and the town of Jeremie.
    Likely to complicate relief efforts is the fact Haiti is now in the probable track of Tropical Storm Grace, which could bring heavy rains and winds early next week.
    Also, access by road to the southern region, where the quake struck, has been restricted by gang control of key areas although Henry said police would accompany any convoys going to the south.
‘NEVER A BREAK’
    The earthquake comes just over a month after the assassination of President Jovenel Moise https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/haiti-one-month-without-assassinated-president-jovenel-moise-2021-08-06, who had been ruling by decree, which deepened the country’s political turmoil.
    Meanwhile, swaths of Haiti are facing growing hunger and healthcare services are already overwhelmed by COVID-19.
    That region had only recently recovered from Hurricane Matthew, which struck in 2016, killing hundreds and causing widespread devastation.
    “This country just never finds a break!    Each year of mismanagement did not hurt but the cumulative effects made us vulnerable to everything,” said Haitian entrepreneur Marc Alain Boucicault on Twitter.
    “It’s going to take years to fix things and we have not even started!
    In Port-au-Prince, residents traumatized by the 2010 quake rushed, screaming, into the streets and stayed there as the aftershocks rumbled on.
    “In my neighborhood, I heard people screaming.    They were flying outside,” said resident Sephora Pierre Louis. “At least they know to go outside.    In 2010, they didn’t know what to do. People are still outside in the street/i>.”
    The quake sent shock waves as far as Cuba and Jamaica although there were no reports of material damage, deaths or injuries there.
    “Everyone is really afraid.    It’s been years since such a big earthquake,” said Daniel Ross, a resident in the eastern Cuban city of Guantanamo.
    He said his home stood firm but the furniture shook.
    “I feel it, man.    It wake me up. My roof kind of make some noise,” said Danny Bailey, 49, in Kingston.
    U.S. President Joe Biden said he had authorized an immediate U.S. response and named Samantha Power, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, coordinator of the effort.
    Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador also said he was ordering the government to prepare immediate relief.
(Reporting by Andre Paultre in Port-au-Prince, Sarah Marsh and Nelson Acosta in Havana, Kate Chappell in Kingston and Aakriti Bhalla in Bengaluru and Frances Kerry in London; Editing by Daniel Flynn, Aurora Ellis and Matthew Lewis)

8/15/2021 Torrential Rain Lashes Japan, Three Feared Dead After Landslide by Sakura Murakami, Joseph Campbell and Kim Kyung Hoon
Rescue workers transport people using a boat along a flooded street in Takeo,
Saga Prefecture, western Japan, August 15, 2021. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
    TAKEO, Japan (Reuters) -Torrential rain lashed much of Japan on Sunday, submerging roads and buildings in the western part of the country, while three people were feared dead after a landslide in central Nagano prefecture.
    Large parts of Japan, particularly the southernmost main island of Kyushu, have seen record levels of rainfall, causing rivers to overflow and triggering landslides.
    While the rain had stopped in much of Kyushu as of Sunday morning, Tokyo and other parts of the country were pounded by the downpour.
    The Japanese government will hold a ministerial meeting on the heavy rains on Sunday afternoon, Kyodo reported.
    In Takeo, a city in Saga prefecture in Kyushu, entire roads were submerged as rescue workers in wetsuits dragged inflatable boats and surveyed the damage.    Local residents carried broomsticks and buckets and waded knee-deep in water.
    “I’ve experienced three floods like this so far, but this is the worst,” said Toshimi Kusumoto, a 68-year-old doctor whose clinic was flooded.
    Kusumoto waited out the rain with his family on the second floor of his house, he said, located just behind the clinic.
    The water reached his house, too, meaning most of the appliances on the ground floor would have to be replaced. His garage was bent out of shape, presumably from the pressure of the water.
    His son Daigo said their family was prepared for the flooding but was concerned over the frequency at which torrential downpours were pummelling the area, and was considering re-building his house to raise the ground level.
    He had re-built the house only four years ago and it had seen two floods already.
    “It’s a bit much if it happens this frequently,” Daigo said, as he hosed down the mud in front of the house.
    In 2019, Takeo city was hit by a record-hitting downpour that killed three people.    The government at the time estimated that such a deluge would only happen once every few decades.
    “But what can you do?” said Toshimi, with a slight shrug.
    Takayuki Haraguchi, 68, who works as a caretaker at a local sports centre, had come to survey the damage briefly when it was raining on Saturday.
    “It looked no different from the sea,” he said as he recalled what he saw on Saturday morning.
    He pointed out cars that had been submerged in muddy waters and vending machines that would have to be replaced.
    Elsewhere in Saga prefecture, 113 patients at a local hospital and 69 nursing home residents at the same site were safely evacuated to higher floors after flooding, public broadcaster NHK said. Footage from NHK showed the hospital building and surrounding area flooded with water, which reached the top of the tyres of cars parked in the hospital parking lot.
    Three people, including a boy under 10, were without vital signs after a landslide hit a house in Okaya city, in central Nagano, while four people were missing in three other prefectures as of Sunday noon, NHK said.
(Reporting by Sakura Murakami, Joseph Campbell and Kyung Hoon Kim; Additional reporting by Eimi Yamamitsu; Editing by David Dolan, William Mallard and Kim Coghill)

8/16/2021 Haiti Hospitals Overwhelmed By Quake Victims As Death Toll Hits 1,297 by Laura Gottesdiener
People walk past a house destroyed following a 7.2 magnitude earthquake
in Les Cayes, Haiti August 14, 2021. REUTERS/Ralph Tedy Erol
    PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) – Haiti’s hospitals were swamped on Sunday by thousands of injured residents after a devastating earthquake the day before killed at least 1,297 people as authorities raced to bring doctors to the worst-hit areas before a major storm hits.
    The 7.2 magnitude quake on Saturday destroyed thousands of homes and buildings in a Caribbean nation which is still clawing its way back from another major temblor https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/haitians-quake-reawakens-trauma-disaster-decade-ago-2021-08-15 11 years ago and is reeling from the assassination of its president last month.
    Southwestern Haiti bore the brunt of the blow, especially in the region in and around the town of Les Cayes.    Haiti’s Civil Protection Agency said the toll from the disaster had climbed to 1,297 and the hospitals that were still functioning were struggling to cope as some 5,700 people were injured.
    In the northwestern city of Jeremie, another badly hit area, doctors treated injured patients on hospital stretchers underneath trees and on mattresses by the side of the road, as healthcare centers have run out of space.
    “We do have a serious issue,” Jerry Chandler, the head of Haiti’s Civil Protection Agency, told Reuters.
    “There are very important facilities that are dysfunctional as we speak and those that are functional are receiving an overflow of patients,” he said.
    The challenge facing Haiti has been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, a severe economic downturn aggravated by fierce gang violence, and a political crisis that has engulfed the troubled nation after the assassination of President Jovenel Moise on July 7.
    Churches, hotels, hospitals and schools were badly damaged or destroyed, while the walls of a prison were rent open by the violent shudders that convulsed Haiti. Some 13,694 houses were destroyed, the civil protection agency said, suggesting the toll could rise further.
    In Les Cayes, a seafront town of some 90,000 people, rescuers in red hard hats and blue overalls pulled bodies from the tangled wreckage of one building, as a yellow mechanical excavator nearby helped to shift the rubble.
    Haiti’s Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who flew to visit Les Cayes, praised the dignity shown by people there even in the midst of their suffering.
    “They are affected but resilient.    They fight to survive,” he said, thanking international agencies and foreign governments for their support.
    Nearby countries, including the Dominican Republic and Mexico, rushed to send desperately needed food and medicines by air and across Haiti’s land border.    Colombia sent search and rescue personnel.
    The United States dispatched vital supplies and deployed a 65-person urban search-and-rescue team with specialized equipment, said Samantha Power, the administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
    From the Vatican, Pope Francis urged the international community to show support swiftly.    “May solidarity from everyone lighten the consequences of the tragedy,” he told pilgrims and tourists at his Sunday blessing in St. Peter’s Square.
    However, Haiti’s government appealed to aid organizations against setting up makeshift camps and urged them to work through the planning ministry, an apparent attempt to avoid the mistakes made following the devastating 2010 earthquake https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/haitis-history-violence-rebellion-2021-07-23 that killed tens of thousands of people.
    Many Haitians prepared on Sunday to spend a second night sleeping in the open, traumatized by memories of that magnitude 7 quake 11 years ago that struck far closer to the sprawling capital, Port-au-Prince.
    At Port-au-Prince airport, international aid workers, doctors and rescue workers boarded flights to Les Cayes.    A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter ferried the wounded.
    The rescue and aid efforts will be complicated by Tropical Depression Grace, which is expected to lash Haiti with heavy rainfall on Monday.     Some 75 to 100 milliliters of rainfall was expected, which may trigger landslides and cause some rivers to flood, Haiti’s Civil Protection Agency said.
    “We ask the population to remain vigilant,” the agency added.
    Thousands of people sleeping in the streets would be exposed to the torrential rains amid a rising risk of water-borne diseases, said Chandler, the head of the agency.
    The death toll is expected to rise as telephone network has been down in more remote areas.    In difficult-to-reach villages many houses were fragile and built on slopes vulnerable to landslides, said Alix Percinthe, from the ActionAid charity.
    He said one local leader had informed him there were 47 deaths in his area not yet reported to regional authorities.
HUMANITARIAN CORRIDOR
    Footage of Saturday’s aftermath posted on social media showed residents reaching into narrow openings in piles of fallen masonry to pull shocked and distraught people from the debris of walls and roofs that had crumbled around them.
    Access to the worst-hit areas was complicated by a deterioration in law and order that has left key access roads in parts of Haiti in the hands of gangs.    In a video posted on social media, one gang leader said the armed groups had declared a truce along the route to Les Cayes.
    Chandler said boats and helicopters were being used to bring in aid but the government was working to establish safe access by road. A first convoy of aid had made it through by land to the region of Les Cayes.
    The United Nations called for a “humanitarian corridor” to be established so that aid can pass through gang-held territories.
    Following Moise’s assassination, which authorities have alleged was carried out by a group of largely Colombian mercenaries and Haitian accomplices, Prime Minister Henry said officials would aim to hold elections for a new president as soon as possible.
    However, reports this week suggested that the vote initially earmarked for September would not take place until November.    The chaos unleashed https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/haiti-one-month-without-assassinated-president-jovenel-moise-2021-08-06 by Saturday’s disaster is likely to make the task of holding prompt elections harder still.
    Haiti has long been politically unstable and Haitians have also suffered from problems stemming from international aid efforts and peace-keeping deployments during the past decade.
    A sexual misconduct scandal centering on Oxfam International blighted the record of charity workers in Haiti, while a cholera outbreak linked to U.N. peacekeepers led to thousands of deaths.
(Additional reporting by Kate Chappell in Kingston, Sarah Marsh in Havana and Philip Pullella, Olive Griffin; Writing by Dave Graham, Drazen Jorgic; Editing by Daniel Flynn, Chizu Nomiyama and Diane Craft)

8/16/2021 Wildfires Rage Outside Athens, Villages Evacuated
A firefighting helicopter makes a water drop as a wildfire burns in the village
of Markati, near Athens, Greece, August 16, 2021. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
    LAVRIO, Greece (Reuters) – Two wildfires, fanned by strong winds, raged out of control near Athens on Monday, forcing the evacuation of villages, but there were no immediate reports of casualties.
    More than 500 wildfires have broken out in recent weeks across Greece, which, like other countries in the Mediterranean region including Turkey and Tunisia, has seen some of its highest temperatures in decades.
    On Monday, a blaze broke out on a mountain near the port town of Lavrio, about 60 km (40 miles) south of Athens, sending thick plumes of smoke above a busy beach, where windsurfers were riding the waves.
    At least 91 firefighters, assisted by six water-bombing planes and six helicopters, tried to contain the fire, which broke out in an area of low vegetation and spread to pine trees. Three villages were ordered to evacuate.
    A separate blaze broke out in a forested area near the village of Vilia north of the capital, close to a children’s summer camp, authorities said.    Five helicopters and five firefighting planes were dispatched there.    Vilia is just over 50 km from Athens.
    The biggest fire, on the island of Evia near the capital, burned for more than a week earlier in August before being contained, ravaging swathes of forest in the island’s north and forcing the evacuation of thousands of people by sea.
    Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has apologised for failures in tackling the fires.    The government announced a 500-million-euro aid package for Evia and the Attica region around Athens.
(Reporting by Vassilis Triandafyllou, Leon Malherbe and Alkis Konstantinidis; Writing by Karolina Tagaris; Editing by Ingrid Melander and Janet Lawrence)

8/16/2021 Distraught Haitians Seek Medical Help At Swamped Hospitals After Quake by Laura Gottesdiener and Ricardo Arduengo
A heavy machine removes debris from a house after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake
in Les Cayes, Haiti August 15, 2021. REUTERS/Estailove St-Val
    LES CAYES, Haiti (Reuters) - Doctors in Haiti battled on Monday in makeshift tents to save the lives of hundreds of injured people, including young children and the elderly outside hospitals overwhelmed by a major earthquake that killed at least 1,297 people.
    Saturday’s 7.2 magnitude quake brought down thousands of homes and buildings in the deeply impoverished country, which is still recovering from another major temblor https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/haitians-quake-reawakens-trauma-disaster-decade-ago-2021-08-15 11 years ago and the assassination of its president, Jovenel Moise, last month.
    The areas in and around the city of Les Cayes – some 150 km (93 miles) west of the Caribbean country’s capital Port-au-Prince – suffered the biggest hit, putting enormous strain on local hospitals, some of which were badly damaged by the quake.
    Collapsed cement buildings lined the main street of the seafront city of 100,000 people, which risks further peril due the approach of a dangerous storm. Dozens of men dug out rubble from a collapsed hotel, where the owner died in the quake, according to residents.
    The city’s general hospital was overwhelmed, with doctors and nurses attending patients in tents set up in its crowded parking lot because there was no more room inside.
    Dozens lay on beds and mattresses on the grass outside the hospital.    Inside, patients were on stretchers on the floor or on cots in crowded rooms with relatives by their sides.
    Babies were being transported out of the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit over concerns that the building was unsafe after the quake, according to a Reuters witness.
    Dr. Lucette Gedeon, a pediatrician, had been volunteering at the makeshift neonatal ward since Saturday and said the hospital had run out of antibiotics and anesthetics.
    “There have been babies that came in needing limbs amputated after they were trapped under the rubble,” Gedeon said.
    Outside, Marceline Charles said her 1-month-old baby was hit by a brick when their house collapsed.    The debris also cut a deep wound in the head of her 7-year-old daughter.
    “I don’t know whether she’ll survive,” Charles said.
    Nearby, Michelle Delva stood next to her sister, Claudine, cradling the injured woman’s infant.    Delva said that when the earthquake struck, Claudine threw herself on top of her baby to save him from falling bricks.    She broke her leg and needs an operation but they had been waiting outside since Saturday.
    “She’s not getting the attention she needs, the doctors are so busy,” Delva said.
    Prime Minister Ariel Henry said there was no time to lose.
    “From this Monday, we will move faster.    Aid provision is going to be accelerated,” he wrote on Twitter.    “We will multiply efforts tenfold to reach as many victims as possible with aid.”
    Port-au-Prince airport on Monday bustled with medics and aid workers, with domestic and private charter flights filled with humanitarian teams and supplies headed south.
    In addition to damage to some roads in the area from the earthquake, access to Les Cayes has been complicated by months of political turmoil in Haiti, which has left gangs in control of key access routes to parts of the country.
    The United Nations called for a “humanitarian corridor” https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/un-calls-haiti-humanitarian-corridor-gang-held-areas-2021-08-15 to enable aid to pass through gang-held territories.
    At Les Cayes airport, a steady stream of ambulances arrived, bringing the severely injured from nearby areas, a Reuters witness said.     Casualties were carried on stretchers to small aircraft and a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter to be taken to Port-au-Prince, where hospital services were more intact.
    Jeanette Pierre, whose cousin died in the earthquake, stood near the runway tarmac next to her 71-year-old father Pierre Ender, who was on an intravenous drip with bandages on his two broken legs, and her stepmother, who had one broken leg.
    Both were caught under falling masonry when their house collapsed during the tremors.
    “We went to the hospital with the other victims, but there weren’t enough doctors to attend to us,” said their daughter.    “Now we’re hoping to get to Port-au-Prince for treatment.”
    With the telephone network down in more remote areas and thousands injured, the death toll is expected to rise further, aid workers and officials said.    In difficult-to-reach villages, many houses were fragile and built on slopes vulnerable to landslides, said Alix Percinthe of the ActionAid charity.
    The disaster also threw into confusion plans to hold presidential elections in November to draw a line under the political confusion https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/one-month-after-haitian-president-slain-painful-confusion-prevails-2021-08-07 since Moise was assassinated on July 7.
FLOOD RISK
    Aid workers were hurrying to beat the arrival of Tropical Depression Grace, which early on Monday was moving west-northwest off the southern coast of Hispaniola, the island that Haiti shares with the neighboring Dominican Republic.
    The U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) forecast Grace would pass right through areas directly hit by the quake, and could douse some areas with up to 15 inches (38 cm) of rain through Tuesday, risking flash flooding and mudslides.
    Many Haitians who lost their homes have been sleeping outdoors, many traumatized by memories of a magnitude 7 quake https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/haitians-quake-reawakens-trauma-disaster-decade-ago-2021-08-15 11 years ago that struck far closer to Port-au-Prince, killing more than 200,000 people, according to the United Nations.br>     Thousands of people sleeping in the streets would be exposed to rains amid a rising risk of waterborne diseases, such as cholera, according to Jerry Chandler, head of Haiti’s Civil Protection Agency.
    “We do have a serious issue,” Chandler said on Sunday.
    He said boats and helicopters were being used to bring in aid, but the government was working to establish safe access by road.    Initial supplies have made it through by land.
    In Jeremie, to the northwest of Les Cayes, doctors were forced to treat injured patients on hospital stretchers underneath trees and on mattresses by the side of the road.
    Churches, hotels and schools were also seriously damaged or ruined in the quake.    Some 13,694 houses were destroyed, the civil protection agency said, and the toll could rise further.
    In Les Cayes, rescuers in red hard hats and blue overalls pulled bodies from the tangled wreckage of one building, as a yellow mechanical excavator nearby helped to shift the rubble.
(Writing by Dave GrahamEditing by Daniel Flynn and Jonathan Oatis)

8/16/2021 Haiti Quake Revives Anger Over Aid Response To Past Disasters by Laura Gottesdiener and Dave Graham
FILE PHOTO: A woman on a stretcher is pictured with a baby after a 7.2 magnitude
earthquake in Les Cayes, Haiti August 15, 2021. REUTERS/Estailove St-Val
    PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) – The earthquake that ravaged Haiti https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/haitians-scramble-rescue-survivors-ruins-major-quake-2021-08-15 on Saturday has revived anger over international aid agencies’ response to a devastating quake there 11 years ago, stirring calls to ensure donations do a better job of reaching the people who need them most.
    Haitians and well-wishers have taken to social media to urge donors to send money directly to Haitian charities or via the government, criticizing what they saw as misuse of funds after the 2010 quake and a major hurricane in 2016.
    Despite billions of dollars in aid, Haiti has slipped down global development rankings, violence is widespread and its institutions were already in turmoil when President Jovenel Moise was shot dead https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/haiti-one-month-without-assassinated-president-jovenel-moise-2021-08-06 last month by what the government says was a group of largely Colombian mercenaries.
    Saturday’s quake in the poorest country in the Americas killed at least 1,297 people and injured thousands more.
    It prompted pledges of support from U.N. bodies, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Red Cross and governments around the world.
    But with the scars of the last quake still visible in the Caribbean nation’s capital Port-au-Prince, there are calls for the aid response to be different this time.
    “It’s just a matter of trying to get money into as many individual people’s hands in Haiti as possible,” said Jonathan Katz, a journalist and author of “The Big Truck That Went By,” a damning critique of the international response to the 2010 earthquake https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/haitians-say-2010-quake-lessons-may-have-saved-lives-not-enough-2021-08-16, which killed more than 200,000 people.
    “The world had 11 years to prepare for the next earthquake.    We did not,” he added.        “Don’t shuffle money from the State Department to the Defense Department by way of USAID and tell the world that that was money for Haiti.”
    Much of the U.S. military spending right after the natural disaster was more focused on preventing social unrest and deterring mass migration than rebuilding, said Katz.
    The Pentagon did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.    The State Department said that, while it spent money evacuating staff and U.S. citizens and keeping the local embassy operating in 2010, its diplomatic programs had “no relation” to security assistance, military spending or migration programs.
    USAID, which has dispatched a team to Haiti to help relief efforts, pointed Reuters to recent congressional testimony by Barbara Feinstein https://www.usaid.gov/who-we-are/organization/barbara-feinstein, acting senior deputy assistant administrator within its bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Feinstein highlighted improvements in infant mortality rates in Haiti and said that in 2020 alone, USAID had supported the vaccination of more than 75,000 children there and provided care to tens of thousands of women and newborn babies.
    USAID had also benefited local farming, with its investments supporting 105,000 farmers to adopt new technologies, generating nearly $30 million in agricultural sales, she said.
MISSING AID
    Haiti’s government complained after the 2010 quake that aid was too slow to materialize.    Six months after the disaster, it said it had received less than 2 percent of the promised support https://www.un.org/press/en/2010/ecosoc6441.doc.htm, despite pledges by the U.N. special envoy for Haiti, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, to “build Haiti back better
https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/13/AR2010011304604.html.
    A 2012 study https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/UEH%20Tulane%20DRLA%20Haiti%20Humanitarian%20Aid%20Evaluation%20ENGLISH%20May%202012.pdf by Tulane University found that while some aid exceeded the population’s needs in affected areas, humanitarian efforts did not contribute significantly to making Haiti more resilient to disasters and may even have “caused harm.”
    It argued the humanitarian response often undermined Haitian organizations due to the poaching of staff, and because they could not compete with larger, international NGOs for support, or lacked access to the decision-making process.
    The American Red Cross in particular has been singled out for what critics said was the low impact of some $500 million in donations it received after the 2010 quake.
    “Donate to HAITIAN ORGANIZATIONS ONLY! Please! Can’t stress this enough.    Haiti Based ONLY,” Jessie Woo, a Haitian-American comedienne, said on Twitter.    “DO NOT DONATE ANY MONEY TO THE RED CROSS REGARDING HAITI.”
    The American Red Cross has said it spent 91 cents of every dollar of that money https://www.redcross.org/about-us/our-work/international-services/haiti-assistance-program/donations-at-work.html in programs to help the people of Haiti.
    In a statement to Reuters, the American Red Cross said it “strongly disputes negative reporting of our past work in Haiti” and had made a significant impact there.
    This included investment in more than 50 hospitals and clinics, safer housing for more than 22,000 families, funding for Haiti’s first wastewater treatment plant and support for the country’s first-ever cholera vaccination campaign.
    “Americans donated generously in the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake to save lives – which is exactly what their donations did,” it said.
MISTRUST
    Controversies linked to foreign intervention have reinforced a sense of public mistrust.
    A sexual misconduct scandal https://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-oxfam-report-idUSKCN1G300L that surfaced in 2018 centering on Oxfam International tarnished the name of relief workers in Haiti, while a cholera outbreak linked to U.N. peacekeepers in the country after the 2010 quake led to thousands of deaths.
    Even as countries like Mexico began flying in aid, Haiti’s government urged donors to go through its civil protection agency to better coordinate efforts this time.
    “As we want to avoid the proliferation of tented camps, the ministry asks NGOs to distribute tents and tarpaulins to the identified people whose homes have been damaged to enable them to spend the night close to their residence,” it said.
    Over 1 million survivors https://www.reuters.com/article/haiti-storm-idAFN0452108620101105 of the 2010 quake spent months in makeshift tent camps crammed into Port-au-Prince, exposing them to the elements, lawlessness and the cholera outbreak.
    The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) said on Monday that Haiti’s government was preparing a needs list and had asked for cash donations so humanitarian goods could be bought in the country.    A major criticism of the 2010 response was that imports of foreign aid damaged Haitian farming and commerce.
    One diplomat, who asked not to be identified, expressed confidence that the ad hoc government Haiti had assembled after Moise’s assassination seemed to be taking a “big leap forward” in coordinating aid efforts.
    But Haiti, which has only just begun administering its first publicly distributed vaccines against COVID-19, may not be in the spotlight as much this time, with events such as the U.S. pullout from Afghanistan dominating the news, argued Katz.
    “I think it’s going to get a lot less attention than the 2010 earthquake,” he said.br> (Reporting by Laura Gottesdiener in Port-au-Prince and Dave Graham in Mexico City; Additional reporting by Sarah Marsh in Havana and Kate Chappell in Kingston; Writing by Dave Graham; Editing by Daniel Flynn and Matthew Lewis).

8/16/2021 Spain Evacuates Nearly 1,000 People From Path Of Wildfire
Volunteers try to extinguish a wildfire burning in the village of
Navalmoral, Spain, August 16, 2021. REUTERS/Juan Medina
    MADRID (Reuters) – Spanish authorities have evacuated nearly 1,000 people from their homes to protect them from a wildfire that has destroyed at least 12,000 hectares (29,652 acres) of land since Saturday, spurred on by a severe heatwave.
    The blaze in Navalacruz, a rural area about 120 km (75 miles) west of Madrid in the central region of Castilla y Leon, began when a car burst into flames on a highway on Saturday and forced the evacuation of eight villages.
    Regional environment chief Juan Carlos Suarez-Quinones said on Monday a combination of strong winds, high temperatures and low humidity created perfect conditions for the fire to spread, but firefighters were gradually bringing it under control.
    “If there is no change in the wind conditions, we should be able to stabilise the fire today,” he said.
    Around 1,000 firefighters, including 140 emergency military personnel, have been deployed to tame the blaze, as well as helicopters and planes, he said.
    A video uploaded by the regional government showed columns of black smoke rising out of scrubland as firefighters attempted to stop the flames from advancing.    Two other nearby fires have been brought under control, authorities said.
(Reporting by Nathan Allen and Juan Medina; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

8/16/2021 U.S. Coast Guard Deploys Humanitarian Aid To Haiti by OAN Newsroom
People walk over a pile of rubble from a collapsed building after a 7.2-magnitude
earthquake struck Haiti in Les Cayes, Haiti. (Photo by Richard Pierrin/Getty Images)
    The U.S. Coast Guard deployed humanitarian aid to Haiti as the country has grappled with a deadly earthquake. Coast Guard personnel landed in the Caribbean nation on Sunday and have been assisting search and rescue teams to find survivors buried in the rubble.
    Photos released on Monday showed a Coast Guard member carrying a critically injured child to emergency medical services.    Aircrews have also been transporting medical supplies to help with the rescue efforts.
    The 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti on Saturday, with reports of around 1,419 people killed.    The Haitian government declared a state of emergency following the quake and various nations including the U.S., Argentina and Chile have offered medical assistance.
    The Coast Guard released a statement, which said their hearts went out to all those impacted by this disaster.

8/17/2021 Haiti Mourners Tell Of Church Collapse Horror During Quake by Laura Gottesdiener
FILE PHOTO: A soldier cleans debris from a house after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake
in Les Cayes, Haiti August 15, 2021. REUTERS/Ralph Tedy Erol
    TOIRAC, Haiti (Reuters) – When the ground began to tremble during a church funeral service in the small village of Toirac in southern Haiti, Kettney Francois was trampled in the frantic stampede to escape.
    Fellow mourners pulled her out from the crush of people and carried her outside, but her teenage daughter and elderly mother were not so lucky.    They were among the hundreds of people killed when a devastating earthquake struck Haiti early on Saturday.
    Both died when the entrance and part of the ceiling to the St Famille du Toirac church collapsed.    Residents say an estimated 20 lives were lost in the building in the tight-knit rural community inland from the city of Les Cayes.
    “I was crying out, where’s my mother?    Where’s my daughter?,” Francois said, sitting outside the church.    As she spoke, she suddenly jolted forward in terror.    “Since the earthquake, I keep thinking the ground is trembling, that it’s happening again.”
    Authorities have confirmed the deaths of at least 1,419 people, with another 6,900 injured, even as rescue workers continue to sift through rubble searching for bodies in and around Les Cayes, the area which bore the brunt of the quake.
    The death toll is expected to rise as rescue workers penetrate remote areas like Toirac, which is nearly an hour’s drive from the nearest hospital, and only accessible by rocky dirt roads now scarred by deep slashes rent by the earthquake.
    Hundreds of residents are now sleeping outdoors beneath tarps or the canopy of banana trees that help sustain many local livelihoods.    They worry about the incoming storm, Grace, but with their homes destroyed, they have few options.
    More than a dozen residents interviewed by Reuters said they were still waiting for government aid and did not know if the deaths in the village estimated by residents to be between 40 and 50 had been included in the national toll.
    With so many dead, residents decided to bury victims of the church collapse in a mass grave in a nearby cemetery, said Prenor Lefleur, who helped move the bodies and dig the hole.
    “We just took down the names of all the victims and asked their families to sign for permission to bury them,” Lefleur said.    “We didn’t know what else to do.”
(Editing by Dave Graham and Michael Perry)

8/17/2021 Storm Brings Floods As Haitians Seek Help At Overloaded Hospitals After Quake by Laura Gottesdiener and Ricardo Arduengo
A heavy machine removes debris from a house after a 7.2 magnitude
earthquake in Les Cayes, Haiti August 15, 2021. REUTERS/Estailove St-Val
    LES CAYES, Haiti (Reuters) -Doctors in Haiti on Monday battled in makeshift tents to save the lives of hundreds of injured people, including young children and the elderly, outside hospitals overwhelmed by an earthquake that killed at least 1,419 people.
    While rescue teams toiled to dig out survivors of Saturday’s 7.2 magnitude quake, a storm dumped heavy rain on the southern coast of Haiti, bringing flooding near the worst-hit areas and exacerbating the humanitarian crisis, local residents said.
    Deus Deronneth, a politician from the Jacmel region, posted a video on Twitter showing a torrent of water sweeping through a local town and confirmed the flooding to Reuters.
    The earthquake brought down tens of thousands of buildings in the deeply impoverished country, which is still recovering from a major temblor https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/haitians-quake-reawakens-trauma-disaster-decade-ago-2021-08-15 11 years ago and the assassination of its president, Jovenel Moise, on July 7.
    Dozens of churches, hotels, homes and schools were seriously damaged or ruined by the quake.    Haitian authorities said on Monday afternoon that 1,419 fatalities had been confirmed, with some 6,900 people injured and 37,312 houses destroyed.
    Data circulating among aid groups indicated over 450 additional deaths had been logged in the hardest-hit department, and Haitian officials warned the toll was likely to rise.
    The areas in and around the city of Les Cayes – some 150 km (93 miles) west of the Caribbean country’s capital Port-au-Prince – suffered the most damage, putting enormous strain on local hospitals, some of which were badly damaged.
    Collapsed buildings lined the main street of the seafront city of 100,000 people.    Dozens of men dug through rubble from a hotel whose owner died in the quake, residents said.
    The city’s general hospital was overwhelmed, with doctors and nurses attending patients in tents in its crowded parking lot because there was no more room inside.
    Dozens lay on beds and mattresses on the grass outside the hospital.    Inside, patients were on stretchers on the floor or on cots in crowded rooms with relatives by their sides.
    Babies were being transported out of the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit over concerns that the building was unsafe after the quake, according to a Reuters witness.
    Dr. Lucette Gedeon, a pediatrician, had been volunteering at the makeshift neonatal ward since Saturday and said the hospital had run out of antibiotics and anesthetics.
    “There have been babies that came in needing limbs amputated after they were trapped under the rubble,” Gedeon said.
    Outside, Marceline Charles said her 1-month-old baby was hit by a brick when their house collapsed.    The debris also cut a deep wound in the head of her 7-year-old daughter.
    “I don’t know whether she’ll survive,” Charles said.
    Nearby, Michelle Delva stood next to her sister, Claudine, cradling the injured woman’s infant.    Delva said that when the earthquake struck, Claudine threw herself on top of her baby to save him from falling bricks.    She broke her leg and needs an operation but they had been waiting outside since Saturday.
    “She’s not getting the attention she needs, the doctors are so busy,” Delva said.
    Prime Minister Ariel Henry said there was no time to lose.
    “From this Monday, we will move faster.    Aid provision is going to be accelerated,” he wrote on Twitter.    “We will multiply efforts tenfold to reach as many victims as possible with aid.”
    Port-au-Prince airport on Monday bustled with medics and aid workers scrambling to get to the south with supplies.
    In addition to damage to some roads in the area, access to Les Cayes has been complicated by months of political turmoil in Haiti, which has left gangs in control of key access routes to parts of the country.
    The United Nations called for a “humanitarian corridor” https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/un-calls-haiti-humanitarian-corridor-gang-held-areas-2021-08-15 to enable aid to pass through gang-held territories.
    It was unclear whether presidential elections planned for November to draw a line under the political confusion https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/one-month-after-haitian-president-slain-painful-confusion-prevails-2021-08-07 since Moise was assassinated could be held.
DIFFICULT TO REACH
    At Les Cayes airport, ambulances brought the severely injured from nearby areas, a Reuters witness said. Casualties were carried on stretchers to small aircraft and a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter to be taken to Port-au-Prince, where hospital services were more intact.
    With the phone network down in some areas, aid workers are still calibrating the damage.
    In difficult-to-reach villages, many houses were fragile and built on slopes vulnerable to landslides, said Alix Percinthe of the ActionAid charity.
    Aid workers were hurrying to beat the onset of Tropical Depression Grace, which on Monday evening was moving west-northwest along southern Haiti, dumping heavy rain.
    The U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) forecast Grace would churn alongside the quake zone, and could douse some areas with up to 15 inches (38 cm) of rain through Tuesday.
    Some Haitians who lost their homes have been sleeping outdoors, many traumatized by memories of a magnitude 7 quake https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/haitians-quake-reawakens-trauma-disaster-decade-ago-2021-08-15 in 2010 that struck far closer to Port-au-Prince, killing more than 200,000 people, according to the United Nations.
    Those people in the streets would be exposed to rains amid a rising risk of waterborne diseases, such as cholera, according to Jerry Chandler, head of Haiti’s Civil Protection Agency.
    “We do have a serious issue,” Chandler said on Sunday.
    He said boats and helicopters were being used to bring in aid, but the government was working to establish safe access by road. Initial supplies have made it through by land.
    In Jeremie, to the northwest of Les Cayes, doctors were forced to treat injured patients on hospital stretchers underneath trees and on mattresses by the side of the road.
(Reporting by Laura Gottesdiener and Ricardo Arduengo in Les Cayes, HaitiAdditional reporting by Gessika Thomas in Port-au-Prince, Dave Graham in Mexico City and Sarah Marsh in HavanaWriting by Dave GrahamEditing by Daniel Flynn, Jonathan Oatis and Matthew Lewis)

8/18/2021 Haiti Quake Survivors Cry For Help As Death Toll Nears 2,000 by Laura Gottesdiener and Ricardo Arduengo
FILE PHOTO: Haitian firefighters search for survivors, under the rubble of a destroyed hotel,
after Saturday's 7.2 magnitude quake, in Les Cayes, Haiti August 16, 2021. REUTERS/Ricardo Arduengo
    LES CAYES, Haiti (Reuters) -Survivors of the earthquake that killed at least 1,941 people in Haiti clamored for food, shelter and medical care on Tuesday as search and rescue efforts resumed after a tropical storm lashed the Caribbean nation with rain, causing dangerous flooding.
    Quake damage to several major hospitals hampered humanitarian efforts, and doctors in makeshift tents outside battled to save the lives of the many injured, including young children and the elderly.    But they could not help them all.
    “There weren’t enough doctors and now she’s dead,” said Lanette Nuel, sitting listlessly next to her daughter’s body outside the main hospital of Les Cayes, one of the towns worst hit by both the tremor and the storm’s heavy rains and winds.
    The 26-year-old deceased woman, herself a mother of two, had been crushed by debris during the magnitude 7.2 quake.    Now she lay under a white sheet on the floor.
    “We came in yesterday afternoon, she died this morning.    I can’t do anything,” her mother said.
    Saturday’s quake knocked down tens of thousands of buildings in the poorest country in the Americas, which is still recovering from a temblor 11 years ago that killed over 200,000 people.    Aside from the dead, the latest quake also injured at least 9,915, with many people still missing or under the rubble, the civil protection service said on Tuesday afternoon.
    Relief efforts were already complicated due to political turmoil and difficult road access from the capital to the south due to gang control of key points.    Flash flooding and landslides in the wake of Tropical Storm Grace, which by Tuesday afternoon had continued on past Jamaica, exacerbated the situation.
    “Countless Haitian families who have lost everything due to the earthquake are now living literally with their feet in the water due to the flooding,” said Bruno Maes, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) representative in the country.
    “Right now, about half a million Haitian children have limited or no access to shelter, safe water, healthcare and nutrition.”
    The United Nations said it had allocated $8 million in emergency funds to provide relief for affected people.
    Latin America countries including Venezuela, Chile, Mexico, Panama, Colombia and the neighboring Dominican Republic sent food, medicine and supplies.    The United States also dispatched supplies and search and rescue teams.
    Although criminal gangs have been blocking access roads for months, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs said “successful negotiations” had made it possible for a convoy to reach Les Cayes.
    The hospital in Les Cayes, about 150 km (90 miles) west of the capital Port-au-Prince, was even more overwhelmed on Tuesday than before as patients who had been camping outside moved indoors to escape the tropical storm.
    Director Peterson Gede said medics were doing the best they could.    “We couldn’t handle all the patients,” he said.    “And we have been receiving supplies, but it’s not enough.”
    At a tent city in Les Cayes containing many children and babies, over a hundred people scrambled to repair makeshift coverings made of wooden poles and tarps that were destroyed by Grace overnight.    Some took cover under plastic sheets.
    Mathieu Jameson, deputy head of the committee formed by the tent city residents, said hundreds of people there were in urgent need of food, shelter and medical care.
    “We don’t have a doctor.    We don’t have food. Every morning more people are arriving.    We have no bathroom, no place to sleep.    We need food, we need more umbrellas,” said Jameson, adding the tent city was still waiting for government aid.
SMELL OF DECAY
    Haiti’s latest natural disaster comes just over a month after the country was plunged into political turmoil by the July 7 assassination of President Jovenel Moise.
    U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Tuesday it was too early to gauge the impact of the quake on Haiti’s political process and that the United States, the country’s main donor, had no current plans to deploy its military there.
    Rescue workers have been digging alongside residents through the rubble in a bid to reach survivors.    On Tuesday morning 16 people were recovered alive alongside nine dead, Haitian civil protection authorities said.
    But hopes were fading, and a smell of dust and decomposing bodies permeated the air.
    “We came from all over to help: from the north, from Port-au Prince, from everywhere,” said Maria Fleurant, a firefighter from northern Haiti.
    Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who was sworn in less then a month ago after Moise’s assassination, vowed to disburse humanitarian aid better than in the wake of the 2010 quake.
    Though billions of dollars in aid poured into Haiti after that quake and Hurricane Matthew in 2016, many Haitians say they saw scant benefits from the uncoordinated efforts: government bodies remained weak, amid persistent shortages of food and basic goods.
    “The earthquake is a great misfortune that happens to us in the middle of the hurricane season,” Henry told reporters.    He said the government would not repeat “the same things” done in 2010.
(Reporting by Laura Gottesdiener and Ricardo Arduengo in Les Cayes, Haiti;Additional reporting by Herbert Villarraga and Robenson Sanon in Les Cayes, Dave Graham in Mexico City, Michelle Nichols in New York and Sarah Marsh in Havana; Editing by Daniel Flynn, Giles Elgood, Jonathan Oatis and Sonya Hepinstall)

8/18/2021 Greek Firefighters Battle Growing Forest Blaze Near Athens
FILE PHOTO: A local tries to extinguish a wildfire burning in the village of Markati,
near Athens, Greece, August 16, 2021. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
    ATHENS (Reuters) – Greek firefighters on Wednesday battled a wildfire raging through one of the last remaining pine forests near Athens and said that homes could be at risk.
    More than 500 wildfires have broken out in recent weeks across the country, ravaging swathes of forest and forcing the evacuation of thousands of people.
    “The flames are huge.    I do not know what will happen, the fire is approaching homes,” Lefteris Kosmopoulos, deputy local governor of the Western Attica region, told state TV ERT.
    Buses were on standby in Vilia, about 50 km (30 miles) from Athens, to evacuate residents if needed, as strong winds fanned a fire that started on Monday but had seemed under control. About a dozen smaller villages have been evacuated since Monday.
    About 400 firefighters, assisted by additional firefighters from Poland, 15 helicopters and six firefighting planes, were dispatched to the area.
    The biggest fire of the past few weeks, on the island of Evia near the capital, burned for days before being contained, ravaging swathes of forest in the north of the island.
    Like other countries across the Mediterranean region including Turkey and Tunisia, Greece has seen some of its highest temperatures in decades this summer.

8/18/2021 Haitians Grow Impatient For Quake Aid As Hungry Crowd Gathers by Laura Gottesdiener
An evacuated woman prepares breakfast next to her son, in the stadium used as shelter after
Saturday's 7.2 magnitude quake, in Les Cayes, August 18, 2021. REUTERS/Henry Romero
    LES CAYES, Haiti (Reuters) - A hungry crowd gathered outside an airport in southern Haiti on Wednesday as people left homeless by an earthquake that killed some 2,000 people voiced anger that government aid was slow to arrive five days after the disaster, leaving many without food and water.
    Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who flew to visit the worst-affected town of Les Cayes in southwest Haiti soon after Saturday’s quake of magnitude 7.2, had praised the dignity shown by survivors and promised a rapid escalation of aid.
    But following another night of rains, residents in Les Cayes, including those camped in a mushrooming tent city in the center of the town, complained of scant help on the ground.
    Dozens of people showed up at the local airport demanding food after a helicopter arrived carrying supplies, according to a Reuters witness.    Police intervened to allow a truck carrying aid to leave.
    Pierre Cenel, a local judge in Les Cayes, a town of some 100,000 in habitants, aimed his ire at the government in Port-au-Prince, echoing the bubbling frustration in the hardest-hit regions.
    “As a judge, I must not have a political opinion.    But as a man, as a man concerned about the situation of my country, nothing is working.    They didn’t do anything to prepare for this disaster,” Cenel said in downtown Les Cayes.
    Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, is still recovering from a quake 11 years ago that killed more than 200,000.    The latest calamity comes just over a month after the July 7 assassination of President Jovenel Moise plunged the country into political turmoil.
    Jerry Chandler, the head of Haiti’s Civil Protection Agency, which handles emergency response, said he was aware that aid had yet to reach many communities but said officials were working hard to deliver support and appealed for patience.
    “The frustration and despair of the population is understood, but … the population is asked not to block the convoys so that the Civil Protection can do its job and help those in need,” he told a news conference.
    There were at least 600,000 people in need of humanitarian assistance and 135,000 families displaced, Chandler said, adding that the goal was to deliver aid to everyone in need within a week.
    In an effort to avoid what it said was a confused response to the 2010 quake, Haiti’s government has sent a list of humanitarian needs to partners and is sorting the international aid as it arrives to distribute it to the most needy, Chandler said.
    On Wednesday morning, four U.S. Coast Guard helicopters landed in Les Cayes, bringing patients from more remote areas for treatment, according to an airport worker.    The United States has dispatched humanitarian supplies as well as search and rescue teams to Haiti.
    Latin American countries such as Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Panama and Venezuela have also sent food, medicine and supplies, and Taiwan – which has diplomatic relations with Haiti – also swiftly dispatched aid. Puerto Rican authorities said they were sending more rescue workers and doctors who were expected to arrive on Wednesday.
RISK OF DISEASE
    In the fast-expanding tent city in Les Cayes, residents desperately pleaded for assistance.    Aid workers have also warned about the risks of waterborne diseases, such as cholera.
    “We need help<,” said Roosevelt Milford, a pastor speaking on radio on behalf of the hundreds camping out in soggy fields since the quake destroyed their homes.
    Milford and others complained that they lacked even the most basic types of aid, such as food, clean drinking water, and shelter from the rain.    Tanks of drinking water were destroyed during the quake, impacting reserves, authorities said.
    Tropical Storm Grace, which sloughed across southern Haiti this week, had swept away many shelters and inundated the field, adding to the misery.
    In a country with high levels of violent crime, residents had set up their own security teams to keep watch at night, paying particular attention to the safety of women and girls, he added.
    Security concerns about the gang-controlled areas on the route from the capital Port-au-Prince, as well as quake damage to some roads, have slowed access to some of the worst-affected zones difficult for aid and rescue teams.
    The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said on Tuesday that successful negotiations with armed groups had permitted a humanitarian convoy to reach Les Cayes.
    Chandler said the government was now escalating the number of aid convoys travelling by land, and hoped to soon reach three per day.
    However, he said flash flooding and landslides in the wake of Grace, which swept past Jamaica by Tuesday afternoon, worsened the difficulties of reaching remote communities.
    In the smaller town of L’Asile, some 60 km (40 miles) to the northeast of Les Cayes and home to more than 30,000 people, community leader Aldorf Hilaire said government help had yet to arrive, and survivors were reliant on support from charities such as Doctors Without Borders.
    “We are desperate,” he told Reuters.    “The springs are dirty: the water is not drinkable … We had a bad night during the storm and the people need tents and tarps.”
HOSPITALS DAMAGED
    Authorities said on Wednesday that the earthquake had killed at least 1,941 people and injured some 9,900 others, but with rescuers still pulling bodies from the rubble the tally looks set to rise.
    In a rare piece of good news, 34 people had been rescued from under the rubble in the last two days, Chandler said, though as time passes, hopes for survivors dim.    It was difficult to carry out search and rescue operations due to landslides in some areas, he added.
    Quake damage has hampered the work of several major hospitals.    Doctors in makeshift tents have battled to save the injured, from young children to the elderly.
    Dozens in the Les Cayes tent city hailed from the nearby poor neighborhood of Impasse Filadelfia, where crumbling cement homes, contorted tin roofs and soaked mattresses lined narrow dirt roads.
    Water surged into the modest homes after a fast-moving river that edges the neighborhood burst its banks during the quake.
    “We are crying out for help,” said one of them, Claudel Ledan.    “All our houses collapsed and we need help from the government urgently.”
(Reporting by Laura Gottesdiener in Les Cayes; Editing by Daniel Flynn, Clarence Fernandez, Philippa Fletcher and Marguerita Choy)

8/18/2021 Calif. Caldor Fire Doubles In Size, Destroys Town Of Grizzly Flats by OAN Newsroom
    In this long exposure photograph, the Caldor Fire burns through trees
on Mormom Emigrant Trail east of Sly Park, Calif., Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Ethan Swope)
    A California wildfire has doubled in size overnight, destroying a small community.    What’s been named the Caldor Fire in Northern California exploded in size, consuming a forest community as firefighters continued to combat the blaze.
    Reports said the fire was sparked on Saturday in El Dorado County about 80 miles east of Sacramento and started small, but was pushed by strong winds.    However, the blaze exploded in size from Tuesday into Wednesday.    It grew from around 22,000 acres to around 54,000 and prompted evacuations of nearby communities.
    So far, there’s been zero containment.
    The town of Grizzly Flats, which is home to around 1,200 people, was caught up in the flames as authorities said at least 50 homes in the area had burned.    The fire also destroyed a local post office and the nearby Walt Tyler Elementary School.
A partially melted street sign stands after the Caldor Fire burned through Grizzly Flats,
Calif., on Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Ethan Swope)
    Residents compared the damage in their town to the damage seen in the town of Paradise during the 2018 Camp Fire.    Reports said two people were seriously injured in the fire and were airlifted to a nearby hospital.
    Around 2,500 people still remain under evacuation orders and the fire is still threatening a further 6,000 structures.    Firefighters said the blaze has continued to move quickly, leaving it difficult to keep up with it.
    Firefighters have reported they’re unable to use heavy machinery like bulldozers in the remote areas and have been relying on hand crews.
    The cause of the fire is currently under investigation.    In the meantime, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) has declared a state of emergency in El Dorado County on Tuesday with authorities closing the entire El Dorado National Forest in response.

8/19/2021 Tremors Strike Haitian City Still Reeling From Quake
People look for goods while an excavator removes rubble from a destroyed building after Saturday's
7.2 magnitude quake, in Les Cayes, Haiti August 18, 2021. REUTERS/Ricardo Arduengo
    LES CAYES (Reuters) -Tremors shook buildings late on Wednesday in the southern Haitian city of Les Cayes, a Reuters witness said, a few days after a devastating earthquake killed almost 2,200 people across the Caribbean nation and injured thousands more.
    A police officer on patrol in Les Cayes said there were no immediate reports of further deaths or damage in the region, which is still reeling from the 7.2 magnitude earthquake on Saturday morning.
    Across the seaside city, families were sleeping on mattresses in the streets.
    Haitian authorities said late on Wednesday that the official death toll from the quake had risen to 2,189.
    The poorest country in the Americas, Haiti is still recovering from a 2010 quake that killed over 200,000.
(Reporting by Ricardo Arduengo and Laura Gottesdiener in Les CayesEditing by Shri Navaratnam)

8/19/2021 After Delays, U.N. Biodiversity Agreement Expected Next Year by Kanupriya Kapoor
FILE PHOTO: Fur seals rest along the northern shore in St. George, Alaska, U.S., May 22, 2021. Hundreds of thousands of
fur seals spend their summer on St George each year. Picture taken on drone May 22, 2021. REUTERS/Nathan Howard
    SINGAPORE (Reuters) – A United Nations biodiversity summit will be held in two parts, officials said late on Wednesday, confirming another delay to a much-needed global agreement to protect the planet’s nature.
    A virtual opening session will be held from Oct. 11 to 15 and in-person negotiations will be held from April 28 to May 8, 2022 in Kunming, China to finalise an agreement, the UN biodiversity body said in a statement.
    The COP15, as the summit is known, has already been delayed twice due to the coronavirus pandemic and a third delay was all but certain because of the challenges posed by the lack of face-to-face meetings, Reuters reported last month.
    “Decisive in-person meetings on a highly anticipated new UN agreement on biodiversity have been paused for a few more months by the coronavirus pandemic,” the secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity said in a statement.
    China’s minister of ecology and environment, Huang Runqiu, said the host country would “fulfil the obligations of the host country, steadily advance the preparations, and make all efforts to host a landmark conference.”
    With growing calls for the world to protect nature in tandem with tackling climate change, countries are being urged at the conference to commit to put 30% of their land and sea territories under conservation by 2030.
    The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) said the delays meant the “momentum to protect nature is at risk of stalling.”
    “Nature loss has not paused.    It is essential that the extra time is used well,” said Guido Broekhoven, head of policy, research and development at WWF International.
(Additional reporting by Nina Chestney; Editing by Stephen Coates)

8/19/2021 Dixie Fire Burns 662K Acres, 35% Contained by OAN Newsroom
Cal Fire firefighters monitor a backfire they lit to stop the spread of the Dixie fire in the Prattville
community of unincorporated Plumas County, California. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images)
    The Dixie Fire has been raging on in Northern California.    Fire officials said the blaze has burned over 662,000 acres and is only 35 percent contained.
    The flames are spreading rapidly due to strong winds, which make it hard for firefighters to contain it.    The fire has raged on for over 36 days while spanning multiple counties and has destroyed more than 1,000 structures.
    “One thing I do want to say is, once again, from Incident Management Team One, we realize the impacts on the community,” stated Chad Cook of California Incident Management Team One.    “We are short on resources and we continue to fight the fire on several fronts, especially as it moves. Down the 395 corridor and could impact other communities.”
    While the cause of the fire is unknown, officials with Cal Fire are working in conjunction with the National Park Service in the course of the investigation.

8/20/2021 Storm Grace Lashes Mexico’s Caribbean Coast, Enters Gulf Of Mexico
A general view shows a beach before the approach of Hurricane Grace, in Cancun, Mexico, August 18, 2021. REUTERS/Paola Chiomante
    MEXICO CITY (Reuters) -Tropical storm Grace dumped heavy rain on Mexico’s Caribbean coast on Thursday but appeared to have spared tourist resorts serious damage as it moved across the Yucatan Peninsula into the Gulf of Mexico, where it was forecast to strengthen again.
    The government of Quintana Roo state, home to beach resorts Cancun and Tulum, said no one was hurt during the passage of Grace.    It struck the Mexican coast as a Category 1 Hurricane in the morning before weakening to a tropical storm inland.
    Social media images showed downed street signs and palm trees flailing in the wind near Tulum, and authorities reported some floods, power outages and toppled trees.
    Heading westward, Grace was expected to move across the southern Gulf of Mexico on Friday, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.
    “Intensification is likely now that the center has emerged over the Gulf of Mexico, and Grace is forecast to be a hurricane when it makes its second landfall on the mainland coast of Mexico late Friday or early Saturday,” the NHC said in an update.    “Rapid weakening is expected after Grace moves inland over central Mexico.”
    The NHC said Grace would dump 4-8 inches (10-20 cm) of rain over the Yucatan Peninsula through Friday, and up to 12 inches in some areas.    The heavy rainfall would likely cause areas of flash and urban flooding, it added.
    Mexican officials said preparations had been made for the hurricane’s arrival, with dozens of military and rescue workers as well as staff from the national power utility, gearing up to help.
    “We’re ready,” Laura Velazquez, head of Mexico’s civil protection authority, told a regular news conference standing alongside President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
    Velazquez said the states of Quintana Roo, Campeche, Yucatan and Tabasco were likely to receive heavy rainfall.
    Grace unleashed downpours and flooding over Haiti and Jamaica earlier this week.    By Thursday evening it was about 65 miles north-northwest of Campeche, with maximum sustained winds of 60 miles per hour (97 km per hour), moving west at 15 mph (24 kph), the NHC said.
(Reporting by Dave Graham, Daina Beth Solomon, Diego Ore and Stefanie Eschenbacher; editing by Frances Kerry, Cynthia Osterman and Grant McCool)

8/20/2021 World Leaders Out Of Excuses On Climate Change, Thunberg, Youth Activists Say by Emma Rumney
FILE PHOTO: Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg takes part in a climate strike protest during the
50th World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, January 24, 2020. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
    JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – The world’s children cannot afford more empty promises at this year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), youth activists including Greta Thunberg said, after a U.N. report found virtually no child will escape the impact of global warming.
    In the first index of its kind, published on Friday, U.N. children’s agency UNICEF found that almost all the world’s 2.2 billion children are exposed to at least one climate or environmental risk, from catastrophic floods to toxic air.
    Last week a U.N. climate panel of the world’s top atmospheric scientists warned that global warming is dangerously close to spiralling out of control, with deadly heat waves, hurricanes and other extreme events likely to keep getting worse.
    Thunberg, 18, said the UNICEF index confirmed children would be the worst affected, and when world leaders meet in Glasgow in November for COP26 they needed to act rather than just talk.
    “I don’t expect them to do that, but I would be more than happy if they could prove me wrong,” she told journalists ahead of the index’s publication on the third anniversary of Fridays For Future, a now-global youth movement that started with her solo protest outside her Swedish school.
    Thunberg was joined by young activists around the world including Mitzi Jonelle Tan, 23, from the Philippines, who spoke of doing homework by candlelight as typhoons raged outside or fearing drowning in her bed as floodwaters filled her room.
    After months of extreme weather and dire warnings from scientists, world leaders’ “empty promises and vague plans” were no longer enough, Tan said.
    “There’s no excuse for this COP… to not be the one that changes things.”
    Henrietta Fore, UNICEF executive director said young people globally were leading by example, pointing to a survey by the organisation that found nine in ten of them in 21 countries felt it was their responsibility to tackle climate change.
    They were more at risk than adults in the “increasingly unrecognisable” world they stood to inherit, she said, being less able to survive extreme weather events and more susceptible to toxic chemicals, temperature changes and disease.
    The UNICEF index showed around 1 billion children in 33 mostly African low-emission countries faced a “deadly combination” of extreme weather and existing issues like poverty, making them uniquely vulnerable.
(Reporting by Emma Rumney; Editing by Tim Cocks and John Stonestreet)

8/20/2021 More Than 35K Evacuated As Calif. Wildfires Continue by OAN Newsroom
Scorched vehicles destroyed by the Caldor fire rest on Evergreen Drive in Grizzly Flats, Calif., on Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Ethan Swope)
    More than 35,000 people have been forced to evacuate as wildfires continue to blaze across Northern California.    Thousands of firefighters are spread out across the Golden State as they work the frontlines to battle more than a dozen blazes.
    California’s Dixie Fire continues to rapidly grow more than a month after it sparked, marking the second largest wildfire in state history.     The several blazes include the Caldor Fire in El Dorado County and Trinity County’s McFarland Fire, which also continue to grow as gusty winds and dry conditions cause unprecedented fire behavior.
    Leaving destruction in their path, the fires have decimated thousands of structures.    The Caldor Fire, for instance, left the entire town of Grizzly Flats to dust.
    According to Cal Fire, California’s 2020 wildfire season was one of the most severe, scorching more than 4.2 million acres and destroying over 10,000 structures.    Meanwhile, more than 1.3 million acres have burned since the start of 2021.

8/20/2021 Damaged Roads Hinder Aid Reaching Remote Areas Of Haiti Quake Zone by Laura Gottesdiener
Children accompany Milton Scheeder, an ISAR Germany rescue team member, as he makes an assessment in the northern part of Haiti after a strong earthquake
affected this area, August 19, 2021. Picture taken August 19, 2021. ISAR Germany/Paul-Philipp Braun/Handout via REUTERS
    MARCELINE, Haiti (Reuters) -Damaged or impassable roads hindered efforts on Friday to deliver aid to remote parts of Haiti devastated by an earthquake last weekend that killed more than 2,000 people as hopes of finding those still missing faded.
    Landslides and cracks in the tarmac on the main inland mountain road between the southwestern city of Les Cayes and Jeremie to its northwest, two of the hardest hit urban areas, made it harder to dispatch aid to farming communities short on food and drinkable water.    The route was littered with boulders and the occasional stranded truck, according to a Reuters reporter.
    “We are all absolutely overwhelmed,” Prime Minister Ariel Henry said in a meeting with the Organization of American States (OAS) on Friday.    “Every commune, every city, every village in that area was very hard hit.”
    Henry repeatedly thanked foreign countries for sending assistance.
    The poorest country in the Americas, Haiti is still recovering from a 2010 quake that killed over 200,000 people.
    It was pitched into deeper instability by the assassination on July 7 of President Jovenel Moise, by what authorities say was a group of largely Colombian mercenaries.
    A powerful storm that hit Haiti earlier this week, triggering landslides, has also made it harder to find victims of last Saturday’s quake, which destroyed tens of thousands of homes and claimed the lives of at least 2,189 people.
    Some 332 people are still missing, while 12,200 people were injured, authorities said.
    Many hospitals remained saturated in the worst-hit areas of Haiti.    At Les Cayes’ airport, helicopters ferried the injured to the capital, Port-au-Prince.
    The kidnapping by gangs of two doctors in the capital, including one of the few trained orthopedic surgeons in Haiti, has added to the strain.    Some hospitals decided to shut down temporarily in protest, demanding that the gangs release the doctors, local media reported.
    The orthopedic surgeon worked at Bernard Mevs hospital and Radio RFM said the kidnapping “paralyzes the care that the hospital was beginning to provide to earthquake victims.”
DIGGING GRAVES
    In the village of Marceline, 25 km (16 miles) north of Les Cayes, a dozen residents were digging out a vast pile of rubble of what was once a handful of houses.    The air smelled of decomposing bodies, and residents said that at least one woman who lived in one of the buildings was still missing.
    Elsewhere in the village, some people dug graves to prepare for funerals, while other families are still waiting for the corpses of their loved ones to be recovered from the rubble.
    Amerlin Dorcy surveyed rescue efforts at the house where, on Saturday morning, his mother Seralia Dejoit and others were attending a voodoo ceremony when the quake struck.
    She and other worshippers were buried by the falling cement.
    “She’s still missing, we don’t even have her body to bury,” said Dorcy, explaining that his mother had been called upon to sing at Saturday’s ceremony by the head priestess.
    The latest calamity brought back memories for Dorcy of the 2010 quake, which he survived by fleeing from the collapsing three-story building he was inside in Port-au-Prince.
    “Now there’s another earthquake and it’s my mother who’s the victim,” he said.
(Reporting by Laura Gottesdiener; Additional reporting by Gessika Thomas in Port-au-Prince; Writing by Drazen Jorgic; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Grant McCool)

8/20/2021 More Coast Guard Personnel Sent To Haiti To Aid Rescue Efforts by OAN Newsroom
U.S. Coast Guard loads two severely injured earthquake victims for helicopter transport from Ofatma Hospital in Les Cayes
to one of the hospitals in Port-au-Prince on August 17, 2021. (REGINALD LOUISSAINT JR/AFP via Getty Images)
    More U.S. Coast Guard personnel have been sent to Haiti to aid in medical evacuations following a devastating earthquake and subsequent hurricane.    Footage on Friday showed Coast Guard rescue crews evacuating critically injured victims to hospitals in the region as the island nation has continued its search for survivors.
    Reports said domestic rescue efforts had stalled due to impassable roads, leading to rescuers relying heavily on U.S. helicopter crews to evacuate residents.
    “We’re proud but we’re also a little heartbroken about what we saw there, but there are some strong people there, there are compound fractures, so much trauma, and they would get in that helicopter and ride for an hour back to the hospital and they wouldn’t say a word,” said Michael Diglio, an aviation survival technician at U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater.
    U.S. Coast Guard officials said so far they have saved at least 83 people, airlifted hundreds out of danger zones and transported nearly seven tons of supplies since their arrival on Saturday.
U.S. Coast Guard transport an old man severely injured in the quake from the Ofatma hospital in Les Cayes
to one of the hospitals in Port-au-Prince on August 17, 2021. (REGINALD LOUISSAINT JR/AFP via Getty Images)

8/20/2021 2 Dead, 17 Missing After Tropical Storm Fred Slams N.C. by OAN Newsroom
This satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows a Tropical Storm
Fred in the Caribbean as it passes south of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. (NOAA/NESDIS/STAR GOES via AP)
    At least two people have died and 17 others reported missing after Tropical Storm Fred blew through North Carolina.    Authorities announced those numbers on Friday after Gov. Roy Cooper (D-N.C.) declared a state of emergency due to the severe flooding.
    The tally of missing people dropped from 20 on Thursday after several hundred were rescued from rising waters.    Power was also knocked out for thousands of customers, with around 2,000 people still without power.
    “So far out here, there have been about 200 water rescues,” Cooper stated.    “We are so grateful for the men and women who are out there in teams, searching for people.”
    Remnants of Fred have been slated to drop around five inches of rain, with possible tornados across New England on Friday.    Flash flood warnings were issued in several states including New York, Vermont and New Hampshire.

8/21/2021 Hurricane Grace Strengthens To Category 3 Storm, Slams Mexico’s Gulf Coast by OAN Newsroom
View of a construction damaged by the landfall of Hurricane Grace in Tecolutla, Veracruz, Mexico,
on August 21, 2021. (VICTORIA RAZO / AFP) (Photo by VICTORIA RAZO/AFP via Getty Images)
    Hurricane Grace has strengthened to a Category 3 storm as it slammed into Mexico’s Gulf Coast.    The National Hurricane Center warned of a dangerous storm surge on Saturday as strong winds and heavy rain blew through the Mexican state of Veracruz.
    Reports said Hurricane Grace’s center swelled to around 45 miles wide and carried sustained winds of more than 110 miles-per-hour overnight.
    Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador urged residents to stay indoors and to get to high ground over fears the torrential rain could cause major flooding in the region.
    “I ask the people of the regions of Veracruz, Puebla, San Luis Potosi, Tamaulipas and Hidalgo to seek refuge in high places with relatives and in shelters that are being set up,” Lopez Obrador on Twitter.

8/21/2021 Desperate Haitians Fighting Over Supplies Stolen From Aid Trucks by OAN Newsroom
Men hand out supplies to a crowd of earthquake victims during the distribution of food and water
at the “4 Chemins” crossroads in Les Cayes, Haiti. (Photo by REGINALD LOUISSAINT JR/AFP via Getty Images)
    Haitians desperate for aid in the wake of the 7.2 magnitude earthquake have been stealing food and supplies from trucks.    According to reports, residents of one small town could be seen swarming aid trucks on Saturday as leaders have tried to coordinate aid efforts in the nations.
    Reports also mentioned the truck drivers were able to remain safe and the trucks were mostly undamaged.    Haitians said they have become frustrated over the lack of help and called on local authorities to prevent a deteriorating security situation.
    “The people of Cayes are living in hunger.    All the houses collapsed.    The city is doing badly now,” one resident expressed.    “We are suffering.    We can’t find food to eat.    When the truck arrives with the food, the police don’t want to distribute it.”
    Haiti’s prime minister said the government learned lessons in the earthquake of 2010 and assured it was better coordinating its emergency response.    The quake on August 14 killed more than 2,000 people, injured more than 12,000 and damaged or destroyed around 100,000 homes.

8/21/2021 Tropical Storm Henri Strengthens To Hurricane by OAN Newsroom
This OES-16 East GeoColor satellite image taken Friday, Aug. 20, 2021, at 11:40 a.m. EDT.,
and provided by NOAA, shows Tropical Storm Henri in the Atlantic Ocean. (NOAA via AP)
    Storm Henri has strengthened from a tropical storm to a hurricane during its march toward the Northeastern U.S. According to reports, the storm was around 200 miles off the coast of North Carolina as of Saturday.
    The storm is expected to hit New York or southeastern New England by Sunday. Almost six million people have been under hurricane warnings across New England with another 35 million under tropical storm warnings.
    Residents discussed the damaged caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and have been wary of a repeat scenario.
    “I think everyone is thinking of Sandy, um, if you saw what happened to the boardwalk back then and the businesses along the road and the beach,” New York resident Mike Folan expressed.    “You know, there’s a high water mark that’s this high on the ground floor my building, so it’s hard not to think about it.”
    Massachusetts residents were urged to stay indoors as Henri has been approaching the state.    On Friday, Gov. Charlie Baker (R-Mass.) gave an update on the state’s preparations for the recently declared hurricane.
    “It looks like this storm is going to have a big impact on the commonwealth and we would urge everybody to do everything they can to stay home on Sunday,” Baker explained.    “Be mindful of the fact that the high winds and the rain that come with the storm will in fact create issues across the commonwealth and everybody needs to be vigilant and careful about how they handle the back part of this weekend.”
    Baker went on to say preparations are being made for the Camp Edwards military training facility to host utility workers so they can act quickly in restoring power after the storm.
    Henri currently has sustained winds of around 75 miles-per-hour. FEMA urged residents to take the storm seriously by saying even if it doesn’t make landfall, heavy winds and storm surges can cause “significant damage.”

8/21/2021 Grace Becomes Major Hurricane, Barrels Toward Mexico’s Gulf Coast by Tamara Corro
A man carries a fan and a box while walking past tourist boats that were moved from the water for safety as Hurricane
Grace gathered more strength before reaching land, in Tecolutla, Mexico August 20, 2021. REUTERS/Oscar Martinez
    TECOLUTLA, Mexico (Reuters) -Hurricane Grace rapidly intensified into a major hurricane on Friday night as it barreled towards Mexico’s Gulf coast, threatening to lash the oil-producing state of Veracruz and central Mexico with strong winds and heavy rains.
    By Friday night, Grace was blowing maximum sustained winds of 120 miles per hour (195 km per hour), with higher gusts, making it “a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale,” the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/text/refresh/MIATCPAT2+shtml/210258.shtml.
    Grace was about 105 miles (165 kilometers) north of Veracruz, moving west at 10 mph (17 kph), the Miami-based NHC said. It is forecast to reach land later on Friday or in the early hours of Saturday.
    Veracruz and its waters are home to several oil installations, including Petroleos Mexicanos’ Lazaro Cardenas refinery in Minatitlan in the south of the state.    Latest forecasts showed Grace expected to hit Veracruz well to the north of Minatitlan.
    Through Sunday, the NHC said Grace would dump 6 to 12 inches (15-30 cm) of rain over large swaths of eastern and central Mexico, and up to 18 inches in some areas.    The heavy rainfall would likely cause areas of flash and urban flooding, it added.
    “We ask the population to be very alert,” Laura Velazquez, head of Mexico’s civil protection authority, told a regular news conference with President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
    Grace pounded Mexico’s Caribbean coast on Thursday, downing trees and causing power outages for nearly 700,000 people, but without causing loss of life, authorities said. Earlier in the week, it doused Jamaica and Haiti with torrential rain.
    In Tecolutla, a resort on the Gulf of Mexico, some tourists from Mexico City had still been enjoying the calm before the storm in the afternoon, even as light rain started to fall.
    “We had to come, even if we get a bit wet,” said Guillermina Morales, who was on a trip planned over four months ago.
(Reporting by Dave Graham in Mexico City and Tamara Corro in Tecolutla; Additional reporting by Stefanie Eschenbacher; Editing by Frances Kerry, Aurora Ellis and William Mallard)

8/22/2021 Tenn. Flooding Kills At Least 17, Dozens Missing by OAN Newsroom
A mobile home and a truck trailer sit near a creek after they were washed away
by flood waters the day before in McEwen, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
    More than a dozen people have died and dozens more missing after severe flooding hit middle Tennessee.    According to the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency on Sunday, 17 inches of rain fell within a six-hour period on Saturday morning.
    Flood water devastated Dickson, Hickman, Humphreys and Houston counties.    More than 10,000 residents have been left without power and many without clean water.
    The Waverly Mayor Buddy Frazier said residents were caught totally off guard by how quickly the event progressed.
    “It was something like the quickness of a tornado I guess. Some of them described it as a tidal wave,” he explained.
    “When this creek crested, of course, we received 18 inches of rainfall just east of Waverly.    So all that flood water impacted us and a very violent surge and without warning.”
    The Emergency Management Agency activated its Emergency Operations Center and brought in the Tennessee National Guard to assist in search and rescue operations.

8/22/2021 Tropical Storm Henri Makes Landfall In R.I., Threat Of Flooding Across Southern New England by OAN Newsroom
This OES-16 East GeoColor satellite image taken Friday, Aug. 20, 2021, at 11:40 a.m. EDT.,
and provided by NOAA, shows Tropical Storm Henri in the Atlantic Ocean. (NOAA via AP)
    Storm Henri has weakened from a hurricane to a tropical storm on its approach to the U.S. as it made landfall in New England. According to Sunday reports, Henri made landfall along the coast of Rhode Island with winds around 60 miles per hour.
    Rhode Island’s governor warned more than 100,000 people were expected to lose power in the state, with nearly 70,000 without power already.    Power outages and flooding were also expected across much of southern New England as heavy rains and winds have continued to push inland.
    “I’m hoping we’ve got some systems in place and can avoid some of the big street flooding,” expressed Massachusetts resident Anne Thompson.    “Sometime in the low-lying areas of the city it’s kind of difficult to navigate from one spot to another. So, if you lived here long enough you know the areas to avoid.”
    Hurricane warnings remain in effect for parts of New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts.    Storm surge warnings say storms like Henri have the ability to generate high waves up to five-feet-tall or above.

8/22/2021 Climate Change Activists Target City Of London’s Guildhall
Police officers stand in formation as Extinction Rebellion climate activists protest
at the Guildhall in London, Britain August 22, 2021. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
    LONDON (Reuters) – Climate change activists climbed the outside of the headquarters of the City of London’s government on Sunday as they began two weeks of protests focused on the capital’s financial district.
    About 200 demonstrators from the group Extinction Rebellion targeted the medieval Guildhall, the home of the City of London Corporation, which governs the city’s historic financial centre.
    Three activists climbed the facade of the ornate Guildhall, parts of which date back to the 15th Century, lit red flares and displayed a banner that said: “co-liberation-freedom together.”
    Extinction Rebellion, which caused days of traffic chaos in London two years ago, said it is targeting the city’s financial district, which they blame for helping to fuel climate change.
    The group wants an emergency response from governments and a mass move away from polluting industries to avert the worst scenarios of devastation outlined by scientists.
    Extinction Rebellion brought much of central London to a standstill during 11 days of action in 2019, bringing its cause to the fore but also provoking criticism from some politicians who said the police had been too tolerant.
    The City of London is the smallest local authority in Britain, and unlike most conventional British councils, officially declares its job is to reinforce the importance of financial services to the British economy.
    It claims to be the oldest, continuous representative local government in the world, running the area that is home to the Bank of England and St Paul’s Cathedral for at least a thousand years.
(Reporting by Andrew MacAskill; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

8/23/2021 Tropical Depression Henri Downgraded After Making Landfall by OAN Newsroom
A car drives down a partially flooded street after the remnants of Hurricane Henri, now downgraded to a
tropical depression, made landfall, Sunday, Aug. 22, 2021, in Springfield, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
    Tropical Depression Henri is downgraded from a tropical storm after making landfall in New England. On Sunday, Henri made landfall along the coast of Rhode Island with winds around 60 miles-per-hour and gusts around 70 miles-per-hour.
    Rhode Island’s governor warned more than 100,000 people are expected to lose power in the state with nearly 44,000 without power as of Monday morning.    Power outages and flooding are expected across much of southern New England as heavy rains and winds continue to push inland.
    “I spent most of the day preparing my house, we’re anticipating about three feet of water in my street,” said Paul Muniz, a resident of Branford, Connecticut.    “So we rented a moving truck and unloaded everything in our garage and brought it up to higher ground.”
    More than 49 million people are currently under flood watch across the region from New Jersey to New Hampshire.

8/23/2021 Villagers Evacuated As Forest Fire Spreads Near Athens
FILE PHOTO: Firefighters try to extinguish fires as a wildfire continues to rage near the
village of Afidnes, north of Athens, Greece, August 6, 2021. REUTERS/Alexandros Avramidis/File Photo
    ATHENS (Reuters) – People were evacuated from two villages west of Athens on Monday as firefighters battled a new blaze in a forested area that was devastated by flames last week.
    Authorities ordered the protective clearance of the villages of Vilia and Profitis ?lias, about 50 km (30 miles) from the Greek capital, as strong winds fanned the blaze.    There were no immediate reports of injuries.
    More than 500 wildfires have broken out across Greece since the beginning of August, ravaging swathes of forest and forcing the evacuation of thousands of people.
    The biggest one, on the island of Evia near Athens, burned for days before it was contained.
    Greece, Turkey, Tunisia and other countries across the Mediterranean region have seen some of their highest temperatures in decades this summer.
    A total of 85 firefighters, 13 helicopters and eight water bombing planes were sent in to contain the wildfire west of Athens on Monday, a fire brigade official said.
    More than 9,000 hectares of thick pine forest were burned in the same area last week. (Reporting by Lefteris Papadimas; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

8/24/2021 'Einstein Ring' spotted by Hubble 3.4 billion light-years from Earth by Stacy Liberatore For Dailymail.com
© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo
    The Hubble Space Telescope captured a stunning ‘Einstein Ring’ 3.4 billion light-years from Earth.
    This cosmic display, formally known as gravitational lensing, occurs when the gravitational field from a massive object in space warps space and deflects light from a distant object behind it
.
    It then results in a bull’s-eye pattern, or ‘Einstein Ring.’    It was predicted by the famed physicist, Albert Einstein, in 1915.
    The image shows six luminous spots of light clustered at the center, four of which are forming a circle around a central pair.
    The formation, however, only consists of two galaxies and a single distant quasar that is magnified as it passes through the gravitational field of the galaxies.
© Provided by Daily Mail
    The quasar, known as 2M1310-1714, sits farther away from Earth than the pair of galaxies.
    A quasar is the extremely bright nucleus of an active galaxy and its powerful glow is created by the incredible amounts of energy released by gas falling toward the supermassive black hole at its center.
    ‘The light from the quasar has been bent around the galaxy pair because of their enormous mass, giving the incredible appearance that the galaxy pair are surrounded by four quasars — whereas in reality, a single quasar lies far beyond them,’ the European Space Agency (ESA) shared in a statement.
    In 1915, the German-born Einstein claimed that gravity is the result of massive objects warping the very fabric of the universe, what he called spacetime.
    Experts have since been able to test his theory of General Relativity within the solar system and prove his groundbreaking work holds up to scrutiny, which has been with hundreds of Einstein Rings.
    Thomas Collett, of the Institute of cosmology and gravitation at the University of Portsmouth, who discovered another Einstein Ring in 2018, said in a statement: ‘General Relativity predicts that massive objects deform space-time.
    'This means that when light passes near another galaxy the light's path is deflected.
    'If two galaxies are aligned along our line of sight this can give rise to a phenomenon, called strong gravitational lensing, where we see multiple images of the background galaxy.
    'If we know the mass of the foreground galaxy, then the amount of separation between the multiple images tells us if General Relativity is the correct theory of gravity on galactic scales.'
    Data from the Hubble telescope identified a seventh spot of light in the very center, which is a rare fifth image of the distant quasar.
    A few hundred strong gravitational lenses are known, but most are too distant to precisely measure their mass.
    This rare phenomenon is caused by the presence of two galaxies in the center that act as a lens.

8/24/2021 Haitians Struggle Following Deadly Earthquake, Over 2k Dead by OAN Newsroom
Injured children and their parents sleep on mattresses, on the floor of the Immaculee Conception hospital, in Les Cayes,
Haiti, Monday, Aug. 23, 2021, a week after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit the area. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)
    The people of Haiti are facing true turmoil, following the massive 7.2 earthquake that shook the nation on August 14.    One survivor, Evelyn Michele, detailed the struggle for women like her while describing to reporters on Monday the difficulty she has finding food and water for her children.
    “We are here with our children…we need to feed them, we need food, water dress,” she explained.    “They are crying because they are hungry and thirsty.    We need medication and now we use this place as a shelter, then we really need help to feed our children, ourselves.”
    Currently, many Haitians are facing similar situations with some even being forced into living in horrible circumstances such as tents made of bed sheets along highways.
Nurse Gabrielle Lagrenade, center, sleeps next to her daughter on the the side of the road in Les Cayes, Haiti, Monday, Aug. 23, 2021,
a week after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake made her rental home unsafe to live in. Lagrenade, 52, describes her current living conditions
simply as “inappropriate,” but she continues arriving for her daily shift at the hospital. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)
    One local pastor, Lindor Obed, said the earthquake has made most of the Haiti county side unlivable.    He added, the quake has destroyed much of what Haitians are accustomed to with it destroying their homes, businesses and way of life.
    “People are in a complicated situation, it’s really deplorable,” Obed explained.    “Their homes are destroyed and now they live in tents when it rains.    It is catastrophic.    It is terrible for them.    This is not a place to live in.”
    Relief for the Haitian people has not come swiftly due to Tropical Storm Grace, which tore through the country shortly after the deadly earthquake.    The U.S. along with other countries are sending aid to assist the struggling nation.    The earthquake is said to have killed at least 2,200, injured over 12,000 and has left over hundreds missing.
    This comes weeks after the country was shook by the assassination of its president in early July, which threw the country in political turmoil.    Experts say the political uncertainty has only served to harm the Haitian people in this difficult time following the deadly earthquake.

8/24/2021 Calif. Caldor Fire Continues Burning Through Everything In Its Path by OAN Newsroom
In this long exposure photograph, the Caldor Fire burns through trees on Mormom Emigrant
Trail east of Sly Park, Calif., Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Ethan Swope
    Thousands of firefighters are struggling to contain the Caldor Fire that has exploded in size while consuming structures and businesses in its path. According to fire officials, over 1,700 people are currently assigned to the Caldor Fire.
    During a briefing Monday, Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Ralph Terrazas said California 2020 wildfire season was one of the most severe with this year already on pace to see more of its landscape go up in flames.
    “In fact, the frequency of these fires is outpacing last year’s record-breaking season, which saw over 4 million acres burned,” he stated.
    Chief Terrazas urged residents in the affected areas to begin bracing themselves for the potential future blazes.
    “Therefore, it is now more critical than ever that the people of Southern California become prepared for wildfires,” he stressed.
    Fire officials added, over 13,000 personnel from state, local and federal agencies are currently fighting all of the wildfires burning across the state.

8/25/2021 U.S. Climate Envoy Kerry Expected To Travel To China In September – Sources by Jarrett Renshaw
FILE PHOTO: U.S. climate envoy John Kerry speaks at a press briefing at the White House
in Washington, U.S., January 27, 2021. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque//File Photo/File Photo/File Photo
    (Reuters) -U.S. climate envoy John F. Kerry is expected to travel to China next month to continue his efforts to carve out climate change as an area of closer collaboration amid deepening tensions between the two countries, according to two people familiar with the plans.
    The visit would mark the second for the former secretary of state, who has led U.S. efforts to convince the global community of the threat of climate change and urge them to accelerate efforts to curb carbon emissions.
    It would also come weeks ahead of the high-stakes United Nation’s Global Climate Summit, which Kerry hopes will help get other countries behind a “decade of action” on climate change.
    A State Department spokeswoman declined to comment.
    Kerry will look to build on commitments he helped secure during his first visit in April, when the two countries, the world’s two biggest carbon polluters, agreed to cooperate to curb climate change with urgency.
    “The United States and China are committed to cooperating with each other and with other countries to tackle the climate crisis,” their joint statement said.
    The statement said the two countries also agreed to discuss specific emission reduction actions including energy storage, carbon capture and hydrogen.    They said they would take action to maximize financing for developing countries to switch to low-carbon energy sources.
(Reporting by Jarrett Renshaw; Editing by Sandra Maler)

8/26/2021 Death Toll Rises To At Least 20 In Western Venezuela Floods
People walk on the street covered in mud following flash flooding in Tovar, Merida State, Venezuela
August 25, 2021. Courtesy of Comunicacion Continua/comunicacioncontinua.com/Handout via REUTERS
    SAN CRISTOBAL, Venezuela (Reuters) - At least 20 people have died in the western Venezuelan state of Merida following intense rains that caused mudslides and rivers to overflow.
    On state TV on Wednesday a ruling Socialist Party official in Merida announced the death doll had risen and said authorities were working to restore telephone service in some areas.
    State governor Ramon Guevara said earlier that more than 1,200 houses had been destroyed and 17 people remained missing as rescue workers search the wreckage.
    “Let’s try not to make this political or ideological,” Guevara, a member of the Democratic Action opposition party, said.    “Lets all look for solutions to the problem.”
    Images shared on social media showed cars being swept down streets, buildings and businesses filled with mud, and mudslides that left boulders strewn across roads.
    Several towns in the affected area including Tovar, Bailadores, Zea and Santa Cruz de Mora are without electricity as floodwaters damaged transformers, Guevara said.
    Neither the state nor municipal governments have the resources to help the affected areas, he said, but he had charged infrastructure specialists to work with Caracas on repairing buildings and roads.
    President Nicolas Maduro on Tuesday said Oil Minister Tareck El Aissami had guaranteed fuel for the rescue efforts.
    Interior Minister Remigio Ceballos told state TV on Wednesday that at least 54,543 people in 87 municipalities of had been affected in addition to damaged roads and bridges.    He said the states that remain in a state of emergency were Merida, Tachira, Zulia, Apure, Amazonas, Bolivar, Delta Amacuro, Monagas and Aragua.
    So far 80 firefighters and 60 Civil Protection officials from Merida have been deployed for emergency operations in addition to members of the armed forces stationed in the area.
    Guevara instructed officials to organize a humanitarian aid collection post in Merida’s city center where they are receiving contributions of water, non-perishable food, clothing and blankets. Guevara also deployed health workers to the hardest hit places. (Reporting by Anggy Polanco; Writing by Sarah Kinosian; Editing by Sandra Maler and Grant McCool)

8/26/2021 Climate Change Fueling Warm Ocean ‘Blob’ Causing Chile Megadrought – Study by Cassandra Garrison
FILE PHOTO: A cow is seen on land that used to be filled with water, at the Aculeo Lagoon
in Paine, Chile, May 14, 2018. REUTERS/Matias Delacroix/File Photo
    (Reuters) – A blob of warm water in the southern Pacific is fueling a decade-long megadrought in Chile, and climate change is at least partly to blame, scientists say.
    The “Southern Blob” east of New Zealand is driving hot and dry conditions in Chile, with snow caps melting https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/mega-drought-andes-leaves-some-peaks-without-snow-2021-08-05/#:~:text=Europe-,’Mega-drought’%20in%20Andes%20from%20climate%20change,leaves%20some%20peaks%20without%20snow&text=The%20Andes’%20glaciers%2C%20which%20between,seen%20before%2C%22%20he%20 said on the Andes, reservoirs running low and once-lush landscapes withered https://www.reuters.com/article/us-chile-environment-bees/decade-long-drought-in-chile-wipes-out-hives-as-bees-are-left-without-flowers-idUSKBN1XB3T5.    Chilean authorities this year were forced to truck water to some 400,000 people living in rural areas.
    Research published Thursday in the Journal of Climate finds that human-driven climate change is partly behind the blob, and consequentially the drought, though to what degree exactly is still unclear.    Natural variability in ocean and atmospheric temperatures also played a role, the scientists say.
    That massive blob – wider than the continental United States – is now 1.5 degrees Celsius warmer than it was 40 years ago.    Areas of nearby ocean, however, have warmed much more slowly during that time, and are just 0.2C to 1C warmer, the study shows.
    The heat from the blob warms the air directly above it and winds carry the heated air toward Chile.    This impacts pressure trends, affecting rainfall and resulting in dry conditions in Chile.
    The blob “is only perhaps 3% of the South Pacific, but it’s located in such a sensitive area that it produces this chain of events,” said study co-author Rene Dario Garreaud, a climate scientist at the University of Chile in Santiago.
    While drought is not uncommon in Chile, the current megadrought https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/chiles-record-breaking-drought-makes-climate-change-very-easy-see-2021-08-10 has persisted since 2010.    Some scientists and politicians have begun warning of possible long-term water shortages in the central region, home to vineyards and farms.
    Ocean blobs also regularly occur, dissipating within a couple of years.    But the Southern blob’s prolonged and pronounced rate of warming is beyond what might occur naturally, the researchers found.
    “We know that the blob is natural, but it is invigorated by climate change…. why it (has lasted) so long and why it is so intense is because of climate change,” Garreaud said.
    The scientists said more research is needed to determine exactly how much of a role climate change is playing in this phenomenon.    Still, scientists who were not involved in the work said the findings were cause for worry.
    “I find it very concerning to see that human-caused climate change is amplifying the severity of megadroughts,” said Andreas Prein, a climate scientist at the U.S.-based National Center for Atmospheric Research.
    “Such (extreme) droughts are responsible for the collapse of historic civilizations such as the Mayas or the Ming Dynasty, and can destabilize modern cultures such as recently seen in Syria.”
    The fact that a swathe of warm water, even one spanning more than 8 million kilometers, could impact conditions thousands of kilometers away in Chile shows how broadly climate change will affect the planet, said ocean and climate scientist Dillon Amaya at the University of Colorado in Boulder.
    “We need to be cognizant of the changes that are happening in global climate thousands of miles away,” Amaya said.    “It’s all connected.”
(Reporting by Cassandra Garrison in Mexico City; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

8/27/2021 Scientists have found the fossil of a deadly 4-legged whale that had a jackal-like head and lived both on land and in the sea by mloh@businessinsider.com (Matthew Loh)
© Abdullah Gohar the Phiomicetus anubis (top). Abdullah Gohar
    Scientists in Egypt have discovered the 43-million-year-old fossil of a four-legged whale species that both walked on land and swam in the water.
    The finding offers clues as to how early whales transitioned from being land dwellers to the sea creatures they are today, according to the findings published in the peer-reviewed journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Named "Phiomicetus anubis," the newly-discovered species is part of a group of semiaquatic whales called Protocetids, which existed in the Eocene period, which was 56 million to 33.9 million years ago, per the report.    Because they are amphibious, Protocetids represent a unique stage in whale evolution that still largely remains a mystery to researchers.
    The Phiomectus anubis had an estimated length of 10 feet, weighed around 1,300 pounds, had a head shaped like a jackal's, and had a powerful jaw that gave it a "raptorial feeding style," according to the study.
    Its skull was one of the main reasons why the research team named it after the Egyptian god of death Anubis, Abdullah Gohar, the lead author of the paper, told Insider.
    "We discovered how fierce and deadly its powerful jaws are capable of tearing a wide range of prey ... this whale was a god of death to most of the animals that lived in its area," he said.
© Abdullah Gohar the paleontologists sit around the fossil of the newly-discovered whale.
From left to right: Mohamed Sameh Antar, Abdullah Gohar, and Hesham Sallam. Abdullah Gohar
    The fossil came from the Fayum Depression in Egypt's Western Desert, which was once an undersea region, where many other Protocetids have been discovered since German paleontologist Eberhard Fraas unearthed the first one in 1904.
    Researchers studied the fossil at the Mansoura University Vertebrate Paleontology Center, in the lab of co-author and center founder Hesham Sallam.
    Gohar also said this was the first time that an Arab team had discovered, scientifically described, and named a whale fossil.
    "This paper represents a breakthrough for Arab paleontologists ... this science remained the preserve of foreign scientists for a long period of time, despite the richness of the Egyptian natural heritage with important fossils of the ancestors of whales," he said.
[AS I HAVE PROMOTED THAT THE EARTH HAS HAD CREATURES ON THE EARTH AND GONE THROUGH SEVERAL ICE AGES AND SEA CREATURES LIVED IN THE OCEANS AND SURVIVED AND THIS COULD VERY WELL BE A DESCENDANT OF MODERN WHALES AND FUTURE EVOLUTION OF ANIMALS COMING ONTO LAND AND STILL FITS THE STATEMENT IN GENESIS ONE WHICH MEANS RESTORATION.].

8/27/2021 Rio Tinto Yet To Pay Compensation Over Sacred Site Destruction by Melanie Burton
FILE PHOTO: A sign adorns the building where mining company Rio Tinto has their office in Perth, Western Australia, November 19, 2015. REUTERS/David Gray
    MELBOURNE (Reuters) -Mining giant Rio Tinto is yet to pay compensation to the Aboriginal group whose ancient rock shelters it destroyed for an iron ore mine in Western Australia last year, company officials told a parliamentary inquiry Friday.
    The incident last year destroyed the historically and culturally significant site at Juukan Gorge in the Pilbara region that showed evidence of human habitation 46,000 years ago into the last Ice Age.
    The destruction created public outrage that led to a dramatic overhaul of Rio’s leadership and a review of the Australian laws that are supposed to protect significant sites of the world’s oldest living culture.
    An interim report from a federal parliamentary inquiry in December said Rio should pay restitution to the Puuti Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura people (PKKP) with the final report and recommendations due in coming months.
    The head of Rio’s Australian operations, Kellie Parker, told the inquiry on Friday the company was committed to “doing the right thing” around paying restitution but said that details around the financial component of any compensation were subject to a confidentiality agreement at the PKKP’s request.
    Rio Tinto has rehabilitated parts of the Juukan Gorge and is working to restore the shelters in a structurally sound way, she said.
    More broadly, Rio has moved responsibility for company relationships with traditional owners and mining near significant sites to operational managers, rather than the company heritage division.
    It has also committed to review mining plans around all areas of significance and “modernise” agreements with traditional owners, Parker said, without clarifying whether this could include backpayments for historic royalties.
    Rio Tinto does not pay royalties to traditional owners for some mines where mining began prior to the native title act in 1993.
    The world’s biggest iron ore miner does not pay royalties to the Wintawari Guruma for three of six mines it operates on their ancestral land, even though those mines are operational today, said Tony Bevan, a director at the Wintawari Guruma Aboriginal Corporation.
    The miner posted record half year earnings of more than $12 billion in July.
    WGAC want royalties to be considered as part of a modern agreement as well as compensation for heritage destruction and an ability for them to visit their traditional lands for which access is currently denied.
    News emerged this year that Rio failed to protect WGAC artefacts that had been salvaged from its Marandoo iron ore project including 18,000-year-old evidence showing how people lived during the last Ice Age.    Those and other artefacts were thrown in a Darwin rubbish heap.
    Parker said that Rio was modernising agreements, with particular focus on social as well as economic contributions, but did not directly answer repeated questions by Senator Patrick Dodson about the number of mines that Rio doesn’t pay royalties on.
    The PKKP said that it continued to work in good faith with Rio Tinto on the recovery and rehabilitation at Juukan Gorge as well as the development of a co-management model for their operations.
    “The results on these will be the true test of our relationship with Rio Tinto,” it said.
    PKKP said it wanted a relationship-based co-management system with Rio that reflected a shared commitment and respect for its rights, and participation in decision making throughout all phases of a mine, from development to closure.
(Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Sam Holmes & Simon Cameron-Moore)

8/27/2021 U.S. To Give $32M In Aid To Haiti After Earthquake by OAN Newsroom
FILE – USAID administrator Samantha Power speaks to reporters after a Security Council
meeting at U.N. headquarters. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
    The U.S. has continued to give emergency relief assistance to Haiti as the country reels from the recent devastating earthquake.
    On Thursday, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) administrator Samantha Powers announced the U.S. will give $32 million in aid for shelter, food and medical assistance.    She said Haiti has a long road ahead in the recovery process.
    “As we build on this initial response, I am pleased here to announce that USAID will provide an additional $32 million as part of a broader American response to support people here affected by the earthquake,” Powers stated.    “The Prime Minister (Ariel Henry) and I spoke about the Haitian government’s sense of the priorities for people and how not only USAID and not only the entire U.S. government, but the broader international community can best meet those needs.”
    The aid comes in the wake of the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit the island on August 14 and killed more than 2,200 people.    Meanwhile, the United Nations said the total amount needed to help Haiti recover will be closer to $180 million.

8/27/2021 Wash. Officials Discover And Eradicate Murder Hornet Nest by OAN Newsroom
A Washington State Department of Agriculture worker displays an Asian giant hornet taken from a nest
on October 24, 2020, in Blaine, Washington. (Photo by ELAINE THOMPSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
    On Thursday, the Washington State Department of Agriculture said officials found and destroyed the first Asian giant hornet nest of the season.    In rural Whatcom County, the Department said they were able to locate the nest using a hornet that had been previously tagged.
    According to state officials, the nine-layer nest had nearly 1,500 hornets inside at various stages of development.
    “One of the hornets that we had tagged just kept appearing and reappearing on our radio receiver devices and we were able to team up with not just the USDA [U.S. Department of Agriculture], but also the Oregon Department of Agriculture and eventually follow it back to the nest, which is where eyes were laid on it by one of the members of the Oregon Department of Agriculture,” said Sven Spichiger, an entomologist for the Washington State Department of Agriculture.
    Once locating the nest, authorities said the hornets made their home at the base of a dead alder tree, similar to one officials destroyed last October.    Also known as the “murder hornets,” the insects are the largest hornets in the world and are an invasive species to North America.
    They are known to prey on honey bees and their hives.    Officials say it only takes a few hours for a group of hornets to destroy a bee hive.
    In the meantime, the State Department of Agriculture said it would continue to hunt down and search for murder hornets through the end of September.

8/27/2021 Hurricane Ida Moving Into Gulf Of Mexico, Expected To Land In La. By Weekend by OAN Newsroom
This GOES-16 East GeoColor satellite image taken Friday, Aug. 27, 2021, at 4:40 p.m. EDT, and provided by NOAA, shows Hurricane Ida
crossing western Cuba. Hurricane Ida struck Cuba on Friday and threatened to slam into Louisiana with far greater force over the
weekend, prompting New Orleans’ mayor to order everyone outside the protection of the city’s levees to evacuate. (NOAA via AP)
    Storm Ida has strengthened into a hurricane ahead of its anticipated landfall in Louisiana this weekend.    Reports on Friday warned Ida is expected to grow into a Category 2 hurricane before reaching the Pelican State on either Sunday or Monday.
    Forecasts have predicted eight to 12 inches of rain with up to 15 inches in some areas. Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) has already declared a state of emergency ahead of the storm’s landfall.
    Ida has been described as the most serious weather threat of the 2021 hurricane season, with Edwards advising residents to get ready and heed local officials.
    Some have pointed out the coincidence that Ida is set to land on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s arrival in New Orleans.    Meanwhile, oil prices jumped almost 1.5 percent on Friday ahead of possible supply disruptions, as the storm moves into the the Gulf of Mexico.

8/28/2021 Greenland Expedition Discover ‘World’s Northernmost Island’ by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen
An aerial view of a tiny island off the coast of Greenland revealed
by shifting pack ice. JULIAN CHARRIERE/via REUTERS TV
    COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – Scientists last month set foot on a tiny island off the coast of Greenland which they say is the world’s northernmost point of land and was revealed by shifting pack ice.
    The discovery comes as a battle is looming among Arctic nations the United States, Russia, Canada, Denmark and Norway for control of the North Pole some 700 km (435 miles) to the north and of the surrounding seabed, fishing rights and shipping routes exposed by melting ice due to climate change.
    “It was not our intention to discover a new island,” polar explorer and head of the Arctic Station research facility in Greenland, Morten Rasch, told Reuters.    “We just went there to collect samples.”
    The scientists initially thought they had arrived at Oodaaq, an island discovered by a Danish survey team in 1978.    Only later, when checking the exact location, they realized they had visited another island 780 metres northwest.
    “Everybody was happy that we found what we thought was Oodaaq island,” said Swiss entrepreneur Christiane Leister, creator of the Leister Foundation that financed the expedition.
    “It’s a bit like explorers in the past, who thought they’d landed in a certain place but actually found a totally different place.”
    The small island, measuring roughly 30 metres across and a peak of about three metres, consists of seabed mud as well as moraine – soil and rock left behind by moving glaciers.    The team said they would recommend it is named “Qeqertaq Avannarleq,” which means “the northernmost island” in Greenlandic.
    Several U.S. expeditions in the area have in recent decades searched for the world’s northernmost island.    In 2007, Arctic veteran Dennis Schmitt discovered a similar island close by.
    Though it was exposed by shifting pack ice, the scientists said the island’s appearance now was not a direct consequence of global warming, which has been shrinking Greenland’s ice sheet.
    Rene Forsberg, professor and head of geodynamics at Denmark’s National Space Institute, said the area north of Greenland has some of the thicket polar sea ice, though he added it was now 2-3 metres thick in summer, compared with 4 metres when he first visited as part of the expedition that discovered Oodaaq in 1978.
    Any hope of extending territorial claims in the Arctic depends on whether it is in fact an island or a bank that may disappear again.    An island need to remain above sea level at high tide.
    “It meets the criteria of an island,” said Forsberg.    “This is currently the world’s northernmost land.”
    But Forsberg, an advisor to the Danish government, said it was unlikely to change Denmark’s territorial claim north of Greenland.
    “These small island come and go,” he said.
    The discovery was first reported earlier on Friday by Danish newspaper Weekendavisen.
(Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; Editing by Alex Richardson)

8/28/2021 Hurricane Ida Gaining Strength, Gulf Coast Prepares by OAN Newsroom
This GOES-16 East GeoColor satellite image taken Friday, Aug. 27, 2021, at 4:40 p.m. EDT, and provided by NOAA, shows Hurricane Ida
crossing western Cuba. Hurricane Ida struck Cuba on Friday and threatened to slam into Louisiana with far greater force over the weekend,
prompting New Orleans’ mayor to order everyone outside the protection of the city’s levees to evacuate. (NOAA via AP)
    Forecasters have urged for preparation as intensifying Hurricane Ida approaches the Northern Gulf Coast.    A state of emergency was issued in Mississippi on Saturday as well as several counties across Alabama.
    The storm is expected to reach major hurricane status before poised to strike Louisiana on Sunday, which has prompted thousands to flee coastal areas.    Officials warned Louisiana residents to prepare for heavy rain and devastating winds, while weather forecasters issued hurricane warnings in counties throughout Louisiana in preparation for the category four hurricane.
    The storm is due to hit the Pelican State as it commemorates 16 years since Hurricane Katrina.    However, officials emphasized Louisiana was not the same state it was many years ago.
    “I know that tomorrow for many people is a very difficult anniversary.    It is the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina,” expressed Gov. John Bel Edwards (D-La.).    “We have a hurricane risk reduction system in place because if the generosity of the people of the United States of America because we didn’t have that before.    We also have tremendous investments and protection.”
    Mandatory evacuations were issued for residents of New Orleans outside of the city’s levee system, while Mayor LaToya Cantrell (D) warned a citywide evacuation could be issued in the coming hours.
    “Prepare for damaging wind power outages, heavy rain, tornadoes.    What I am told is that this storm in no way will be weakening,” she explained.    “There will be and there are no signs, again, that this storm will weaken and there’s always an opportunity for the storm to strengthen.”
    Hurricane Ida is said to bring a life-threatening storm surge, dangerous rainfall and flooding, and winds reaching more than 100 miles-per-hour.

8/29/2021 Rogue black holes could be wandering at the edges of the Milky Way by Ben Turner, SPACE
© Provided by Space The rogue black holes could make up 10% of the universe's total black hole mass.
    An enormous number of rogue supermassive black holes may be wandering around the universe, new simulations find.
    In fact, wandering giant black holes may account for a whopping 10% of the nearby universe's black hole mass "'budget,'" the research finds.    This means that galaxies like our own could have an average of 12 invisible behemoths prowling around their outskirts, gobbling up anything that gets in their way.
    According to the study researchers, because the number of black holes increases the more mass there is in the outer "halo" of material that surrounds galaxies, clusters of galaxies, which have heavy halos, could have even more of the ravenous wanderers.
    "We expect thousands of wandering black holes in galaxy cluster halos," the researchers wrote in the study.
    Just as a panama basket can be woven around the supporting structure of a stone, astronomers think that most galaxies form around supermassive black holes.    The gigantic gravitational beasts, often many millions or even billions times more massive than the sun, act as anchors for long trains of gas, dust, stars and planets that swirl in orbit around them.    Closer to the black holes, this material spirals faster and heats up, forming an accretion disk that both feeds the black hole and produces the telltale radiation that makes it visible.
    Usually the mass of these black holes cements them in the centers of their galaxies, which slowly orbit around each other in clusters called galactic groups.    But sometimes, an enormous force — such as a collision between two galaxies — can pop a central supermassive black hole loose, forcing it to wander the universe like a cosmic vagabond.
    The wandering monsters can also be set loose when the merging of two black holes is disrupted, sending one or both of them flying.
    To estimate how often this occurs, the astronomers ran a set of simulations called Romulus that account for all known rules about how black holes behave to trace how their orbits might evolve over billions of years.
    The simulations predicted that the frequent galactic collisions of the early universe, between the time of the Big Bang about 13.7 billion years ago and roughly 2 billion years later, produced enough wanderers to outnumber, and even outshine, their galactically fixed supermassive black hole cousins.
    Later, as the universe grew older, many of the loose black holes merged and were recaptured by other supermassive black holes after forming binary systems with them in the centers of galaxies, the simulations found.    But many also remained free.
    "Romulus predicts that many supermassive black hole binaries form after several billions of years of orbital evolution, while some SMBHs [supermassive black holes] will never make it to the center," the researchers wrote.    "As a result, Milky Way-mass galaxies in Romulus are found to host an average of 12 supermassive black holes, which typically wander the halo far from the galactic center."
    The researchers "next steps will be to figure out possible hallmarks of the lost invisible giants'" presence out in the universe so that one day soon, we can observe them first hand.
    The researchers published their findings in the June issue of the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

8/29/2021 Fields Flooded, Homes Damaged After Hurricane Ida Passes Over Cuba by OAN Newsroom
View of beach installations under the rain in Batabano, Mayabeque province, about 60 km south of Havana,
on August 27, 2021, as Hurricane Ida passes through eastern Cuba. (Photo by YAMIL LAGE/AFP via Getty Images)
    Cubans are picking up the pieces after Hurricane Ida passed over the western part of the island on its march towards the U.S. Reports said the southwestern part of the country saw the worst damage with plantations uprooted, trees knocked down and fields flooded.
    In addition, electricity still remains out in several areas with many houses damaged by the winds.    Ida hit Cuba as a Category 1 storm, forcing the evacuation of more than 10,000 people from the area.
    “It was very scary because we did not expect it to be so fast this way.    We had already experienced Gustav, which was very strong, but Gustav took a few days and this was in two days,” said a San Cristobal resident, Irma Miranda.    “We prepared ourselves because we are always prepared.”
    Ida has since strengthened to a Category 4 storm as it passed through the Gulf of Mexico.    Hurricane Ida officially made landfall in Louisiana Sunday morning.    This makes Ida the first hurricane to land on U.S. soil in 2021.
    This comes 16 years to the day since Hurricane Katrina made its own landfall in Louisiana.

8/29/2021 Fire Crews Work To Prevent Calif. Caldor Fire From Reaching Lake Tahoe by OAN Newsroom
Smoke from the Caldor Fire, shrouds Fallen Leaf Lake near South Lake Tahoe, Calif., Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021.
The massive wildfire, that is over a week old, has scorched more than 190 square miles, (492 square kilometers) and
destroyed hundreds of homes since Aug. 14. It is now less than 20 miles from Lake Tahoe. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
    Thousands of firefighters are struggling to contain the Caldor Fire that has exploded in size while consuming structures and businesses in its path.    According to fire officials, over 1,700 people are currently assigned to the Caldor Fire.
    “In fact, the frequency of these fires is outpacing last year’s record-breaking season, which saw over 4 million acres burned,” stated Los Angeles Fire Department Chief, Ralph Terrazas.
    Chief Terrazas urged residents in the affected areas to begin bracing themselves for the potential of future blazes.    “Therefore, it is now more critical than ever that the people of Southern California become prepared for wildfires,” he stressed.
    The state’s fire department announced on Sunday the blaze had reached the community of Strawberry and has burned more than 152,000 acres.    The department also confirmed the fire is only 19 percent contained as it continues to make its way towards the Lake Tahoe resort region.
    South Lake Tahoe’s city manager issued an emergency proclamation last week, warning residents to be prepared for possibly evacuation orders.    Meanwhile, authorities said firefighters are expected to have full containment of the blaze from early next week to Sept. 8.

8/29/2021 Nora, Now Tropical Storm, Kills Boy In Mexican Resort Town by Alfonso Lepe
A view shows swollen Cuale river waters after that Hurricane Nora pounds Mexico coast with heavy rains
and strong winds in Puerto Vallarta, in Jalisco state, Mexico August 29, 2021. REUTERS/Alfonso Lepe
    PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico (Reuters) - Nora, which has now weakened to a tropical storm, killed one boy over the weekend after torrential rains and heavy winds caused a building the popular resort town Puerto Vallarta to partially collapse.
    Nora was about 105 miles (165 kilometers) north-west of Mazatlan on Sunday evening and moving north-north west at 12 miles per hour (19 km per hour), the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/text/refresh/MIATCPEP4+shtml/292051.shtml. It was blowing at 60 mph (95 kph) with higher gusts.
    In Puerto Vallarta, a river burst, destroying a bridge, flooding roads and bringing a building to collapse, a Reuters witness said.
    Earlier, Nora was a Category 1 hurricane, the lowest rating on a five-step scale.
    The dead body of a minor was recovered from a partially collapsed hotel, Jalisco Governor Enrique Alfaro said on Twitter.    It was not immediately clear whether the second person that had also been missing, a woman, has been located.
    “This tragedy was caused by the partial collapse of a hotel in downtown Puerto Vallarta, due to the overflow of the Cuale River,” Alfaro wrote.    “To his family, who came to our port from Spain 7 years ago, and to his loved ones, all our support and our deepest condolences.    R.I.P.
    Elsewhere, local media showed pictures of flooding, felled trees, damaged roads and power lines across several states.     The Miami-based NHC expected Nora to continue moving north-northwest on Sunday in its latest advisory and then move slower northwest through Tuesday.
    “Gradual weakening is forecast during the couple of days as the center moves roughly parallel to the coast of Mexico,” the NHC said.    “However, rapid weakening will likely occur if the center moves inland sooner than forecast.”
    Nora will likely produce additional heavy rainfall along the west coast of Mexico from the states of Jalisco to Sonora through late week, the NHC said.    It could also produce life-threatening flash flooding and mud slides, as well as storm surge and large waves.
    Last week, Hurricane Grace killed eight people after it hit Veracruz.
(Reporting by Alfonso Lepe in Puerto Vallarta;Additional reporting by Miguel Angel Gutierrez and Stefanie Eschenbacher in Mexico City; Editing by Bill Berkrot and Lisa Shumaker)

8/29/2021 Biden Addresses Public On Hurricane Ida by OAN Newsroom
Joe Biden speaks about Hurricane Ida alongside FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell (left)
during a visit to FEMA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
    Joe Biden pledged aid as the category four storm Hurricane Ida hit the state of Louisiana.    Biden visited FEMA headquarters in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, where he addressed the crisis at hand.
    Biden said resources would be distributed to those in need and assured the state had a lot of preparation to handle situations such as this.
    “We’ve already prepositioned resources that we know are going to be needed, and equipment and response teams in the region.    This includes 2.5 million meals and three million liters of water,” he announced.    “We’ve got generators in place and we’re in close touch with the power providers to get and restore power as soon as possible.”
    Biden added no matter how much they’ve prepared however, it could take weeks before power was up and running again in some places.
[I AM GLAD THEY GAVE JOE A JOB THAT HE CANNOT SCREW UP ONLY THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, ISAAC AND JACOB CAN DO THAT JUST LIKE HE DID WHEN HE SENT A ONCE IN THOUSANDS OF YEARS AN ICE STORM INTO TEXAS FOR A LESSON TO THE HOUSTON DEMOCRATS.].

8/30/2021 UFOs regularly spotted in restricted U.S. airspace by Bill Whitaker, CBS NEWS
    Earlier this summer, the director of national intelligence and secretary of defense released a highly-anticipated, unclassified report about something the Pentagon calls unidentified aerial phenomena—or UAP—more commonly known as UFOs.    The government's grudging acknowledgment of 144 mysterious sightings documented by our military comes after decades of public denial.    But as we first reported in May, whatever is trespassing in our skies and seas poses a serious safety risk to our servicemen and women, as well as our national security.
© Credit: CBSNews ufoarticle.jpg
    Navy pilots describe encounters with UFOs
    Bill Whitaker: So what you are telling me is that UFOs, unidentified flying objects, are real?
    Lue Elizondo: Bill, I think we're beyond that already.    The government has already stated for the record that they're real.    I'm not telling you that.    The United States government is telling you that.
    Luis Elizondo spent 20 years running military intelligence operations worldwide: in Afghanistan, the Middle East and Guantanamo.    He hadn't given UFOs a second thought until 2008.    That's when he was asked to join something at the Pentagon called the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, or "AATIP."
© Provided by CBS News Lue Elizondo
    Lue Elizondo: The mission of AATIP was quite simple.    It was to collect and analyze information involving anomalous aerial vehicles, what I guess in the vernacular you call them UFOs. We call them UAPs.
    Bill Whitaker: You know how this sounds?    It sounds nutty, wacky.
    Lue Elizondo: Look, Bill, I'm not, I'm not telling you that, that it doesn't sound wacky.    What I'm telling you, it's real.    The question is, what is it?    What are its intentions?    What are its capabilities?
    Buried away in the Pentagon, AATIP was part of a $22 million program sponsored by then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to investigate UFOs.    When Elizondo took over in 2010 he focused on the national security implications of unidentified aerial phenomena documented by U.S. service members.
    Lue Elizondo: Imagine a technology that can do 6-to-700 g-forces, that can fly at 13,000 miles an hour, that can evade radar and that can fly through air and water and possibly space.    And oh, by the way, has no obvious signs of propulsion, no wings, no control surfaces and yet still can defy the natural effects of Earth's gravity.    That's precisely what we're seeing.
    Elizondo tells us AATIP was a loose-knit mix of scientists, electro-optical engineers, avionics and intelligence experts, often working part time.    They combed through data and records, and analyzed videos like this.
    A Navy aircrew struggles to lock onto a fast-moving object off the U.S. Atlantic Coast in 2015.
    Recently released images may not convince ufo skeptics, but the pentagon admits it doesn't know what in the world this is or this or this.
    Bill Whitaker: So what do you say to the skeptics?    It's refracted light.    Weather balloons.    A rocket being launched.    Venus.
    Lue Elizondo: In some cases there are simple explanations for what people are witnessing.    But there are some that, that are not.    We're not just simply jumping to a conclusion that's saying, "Oh, that's a UAP out there."    We're going through our due diligence.    Is it some sort of new type of cruise missile technology that China has developed?    Is it some sort of high-altitude balloon that's conducting reconnaissance?    Ultimately when you have exhausted all those what ifs and you're still left with the fact that this is in our airspace and it's real, that's when it becomes compelling, and that's when it becomes problematic.
    Former Navy pilot Lieutenant Ryan Graves calls whatever is out there a security risk.    He told us his F/A-18F squadron began seeing UAPs hovering over restricted airspace southeast of Virginia Beach in 2014 when they updated their jet's radar, making it possible to zero in with infrared targeting cameras.
© Provided by CBS News Ryan Graves
    Bill Whitaker: So you're seeing it both with the radar and with the infrared.    And that tells you that there is something out there?
    Ryan Graves: Pretty hard to spoof that.
    These photographs were taken in 2019 in the same area. The Pentagon confirms these are images of objects it can't identify.    Lieutenant Graves told us pilots training off the Atlantic Coast see things like that all the time.
    Ryan Graves: Every day. Every day for at least a couple years.
    Bill Whitaker: Wait a minute, every day for a couple of years?
    Ryan Graves: Uh-huh.
    Ryan Graves: I don't see an exhaust plume.
© Provided by CBS News
    Including this one – off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida in 2015, captured on a targeting camera by members of Graves' squadron.
    Soundbites from pilots: Look at that thing, it's rotating!    My gosh!    They're all going against the wind, the wind's 120 knots to the west.    Look at that thing dude!
    Bill Whitaker: You can sorta hear the surprise in their voices.
    Ryan Graves: You certainly can.    They seem to have broke character a bit and were just kind of amazed at what they were seeing.
    Bill Whitaker: What do you think when you see something like this?
    Ryan Graves: This is a difficult one to explain.    You have rotation, you have high altitudes.    You have propulsion, right?    I don't know.    I don't know what it is, frankly.     He told us pilots speculate they are one of three things: secret U.S. technology, an adversary's spy vehicle, or something otherworldly.
    Ryan Graves: I would say, you know, the highest probability is it's a threat observation program.
    Bill Whitaker: Could it be Russian or Chinese technology?
    Ryan Graves: I don't see why not.
    Bill Whitaker: Are you alarmed?
    Ryan Graves: I am worried, frankly.    You know, if these were tactical jets from another country that were hangin' out up there, it would be a massive issue.    But because it looks slightly different, we're not willing to actually look at the problem in the face.    We're happy to just ignore the fact that these are out there, watching us every day.
    The government has ignored it - at least publicly - since closing its project "Blue Book" investigation in 1969.    But that began to change after an incident off Southern California in 2004, which was documented by radar, by camera, and four naval aviators.    We spoke to two of them: David Fravor, a graduate of the Top Gun naval flight school and commander of the F/A-18F squadron on the USS Nimitz; and flying at his wing, Lieutenant Alex Dietrich, who has never spoken publicly about the encounter.
© Provided by CBS News Alex Dietrich and Dave Fravor
    Alex Dietrich: I never wanted to be on national TV, no offense.
    Bill Whitaker: So why are you doing this?
    Alex Dietrich: Because I was in a government aircraft, because I was on the clock.    And so I feel a responsibility to s-- to share what I can. And it is unclassified.
    It was November 2004 and the USS Nimitz carrier strike group was training about 100 miles southwest of San Diego.    For a week, the advanced new radar on a nearby ship, the USS Princeton, had detected what operators called "multiple anomalous aerial vehicles" over the horizon, descending 80,000 feet in less than a second.    On November 14, Fravor and Dietrich, each with a weapons systems officer in the backseat, were diverted to investigate.    They found an area of roiling whitewater the size of a 737 in an otherwise calm, blue sea.
    Dave Fravor: So as we're looking at this, her back-seater says, "Hey, Skipper, do you..." And about that got out, I said,     "Dude, do you, do you see that thing down there?"    And we saw this little white Tic Tac-looking object.    And it's just kind of moving above the whitewater area.
    As Deitrich circled above - Fravor went in for a closer look.
    Bill Whitaker: So you're sort of spiraling down?
    Dave Fravor: Yep. The Tic Tac's still pointing north-south, it goes, click, and just turns abruptly. And starts mirroring me.    So as I'm coming down, it starts coming up.
    Bill Whitaker: So it's mimicking your moves?
    Dave Fravor: Yeah, it was aware we were there.
    He said it was about the size of his F/A-18F, with no markings, no wings, no exhaust plumes.
    Dave Fravor: I want to see how close I can get. So I go like this.    And it's climbing still.    And when it gets right in front of me, it just disappears.
    Bill Whitaker: Disappears?
    Dave Fravor: Disappears.    Like, gone.
    It had sped off.
    Bill Whitaker: What are you thinking?
    Alex Dietrich: So your mind tries to make sense of it.    I'm gonna categorize this as maybe a helicopter or maybe a drone.    And when it disappeared.    I mean it was just…
    Bill Whitaker: Did your back-seaters see this too?
    Alex Dietrich: Yeah.
    Dave Fravor: Oh yeah.    There was four of us in the airplanes literally watching this thing for roughly about five minutes.
    Seconds later, the Princeton reacquired the target.    60 miles away.    Another crew managed to briefly lock onto it with a targeting camera before it zipped off again.
    Alex Dietrich: You know, I think that over beers, we've sort of said, "Hey man, if I saw this solo, I don't know that I would have come back and said anything," because it sounds so crazy when I say it.
    Bill Whitaker: You understand that reaction?
    Dave Fravor: I do.    I've had some people tell me, you know, "When you say that, you can sound crazy."    I'll be hon-- I'm not a UFO guy.
    Bill Whitaker: But from what I hear you guys saying, there's something?
    Alex Dietrich: Yes.
    Dave Fravor: Oh there's, there's definitely something that…    I don't know who's building it, who's got the technology, who's got the brains.    But there's, there's something out there that was better than our airplane.
    The aircrew filed reports.    Then like the mysterious flying object, the Nimitz encounter disappeared.    Nothing was said or done officially for five years, until Lue Elizondo came across the story and investigated.
    Lue Elizondo: We spend millions of dollars in training these pilots.    And they are seeing something that they can't explain.    Furthermore, that informations being backed up on electro optical data, like gun camera footage.    And by radar data. Now, to me, that's compelling.
© Provided by CBS News Chris Mellon
    Inside the Pentagon his findings were met with skepticism. AATIP's funding was eliminated in 2012, but Elizondo says he and a handful of others kept the mission alive until finally, frustrated, he quit the Pentagon in 2017, but not before getting these three videos declassified and then things took a stranger turn.
    Chris Mellon: I tried to help my colleague, Lue Elizondo, elevate the issue in the department and actually get it to the Secretary of Defense.
    Christopher Mellon served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for intelligence for Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush and had access to top secret government programs.
    Chris Mellon: So it's not us, that's one thing we know.
    Bill Whitaker: We know that?
    Chris Mellon: I can say that with a very high degree of confidence in part because of the positions I held in the department, and I know the process.
    Mellon says he grew concerned nothing was being done about UAPs, so he decided to do something.    In 2017, as a private citizen, he surreptitiously acquired the three Navy videos Elizondo had declassified and leaked them to the New York Times.
    Chris Mellon: It's bizarre and unfortunate that someone like myself has to do something like that to get a national security issue like this on the agenda.
    He joined forces with now civilian Lue Elizondo and they started to tell their story to anybody who would listen: to newspapers, the History Channel, to members of Congress.
    Chris Mellon: We knew and understood that you had to go to the public, get the public interested to get Congress interested, to then circle back to the Defense Department and get them to start taking a look at it.
    And now it is.    Last year, the Pentagon resurrected AATIP, it's now called the UAP task force; service members now are encouraged to report strange encounters; and the Senate wants answers.
    Marco Rubio: Anything that enters an airspace that's not supposed to be there is a threat.
    After receiving classified briefings on UAPs, Senator Marco Rubio called for a detailed analysis.    This past December, while he was still head of the intelligence committee, he asked the director of national intelligence and the Pentagon to present Congress an unclassified report.
    Bill Whitaker: This is a bizarre issue.    The Pentagon and other branches of the military have a long history of sort of dismissing this.    What makes you think that this time's gonna be different?
    Marco Rubio: We're gonna find out when we get that report.    You know, there's a stigma on Capitol Hill.    I mean, some of my colleagues are very interested in this topic and some kinda, you know, giggle when you bring it up.    But I don't think we can allow the stigma to keep us from having an answer to a very fundamental question.
    Bill Whitaker: What do you want us to do about this?
    Marco Rubio: I want us to take it seriously and have a process to take it seriously.    I want us to have a process to analyze the data every time it comes in.    That there be a place where this is cataloged and constantly analyzed, until we get some answers.    Maybe it has a very simple answer.    Maybe it doesn't.
    A few weeks after our story aired, the director of national intelligence released an unclassified report saying UAP probably lack a single explanation, but that some "appear to demonstrate advanced technology," meriting "further analysis."
    Produced by Graham Messick. Associate producer, Jack Weingart. Broadcast associate, Emilio Almonte. Edited by Craig Crawford.

8/30/2021 Haiti’s Hunger Crisis Bites Deeper After Devastating Quake by Laura Gottesdiener
FILE PHOTO: People stay at makeshift tents in a camp after the 7.2 magnitude quake on August 14 damage or destroyed
their houses in the Nan Konsey neighborhood in Pestel, Haiti August 23, 2021. REUTERS/Ricardo Arduengo
    NAN KONSEY, Haiti (Reuters) – In a tent encampment in the mountains of southern Haiti, where hundreds of villagers sought shelter after a powerful earthquake flattened their homes this month, a single charred cob of corn was the only food in sight.
    “I’m hungry and my baby is hungry,” said Sofonie Samedy, gesturing to her pregnant stomach.
    Samedy had eaten only intermittently since the 7.2-magnitude earthquake on Aug. 14 destroyed much of Nan Konsey, a remote farming village not far from the epicenter.    Across Haiti, the quake killed more than 2,000 people https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/im-distraught-grieving-haitians-bury-their-dead-week-after-quake-2021-08-22 and left tens of thousands homeless.
    In Nan Konsey, the earth’s convulsions tore open the village’s cement cisterns used to store drinking water and triggered landslides that interred residents’ modest subsistence farms.
    Since then, Samedy and the rest of the community have camped alongside the main highway, about a 40-minute walk from their village, hoping to flag down the rare passing truck to ask for food and water.
    “I’m praying I can still give birth to a healthy baby, but of course I’m a little afraid,” she said.
    Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, has long had one of the world’s highest levels of food insecurity https://www.reuters.com/article/haiti-hunger/update-1-haiti-political-morass-fuels-growing-crisis-of-hunger-malnutrition-idINL1N2AJ1YX.    Last year, Haiti ranked 104 out of the 107 countries on the Global Hunger Index. By September, the United Nations said 4 million Haitians – 42% of the population – faced acute food insecurity.
    This month’s earthquake has exacerbated the crisis: destroying crops and livestock, leveling markets, contaminating waterways used as sources of drinking water, and damaging bridges and roads crucial to reaching villages like Nan Konsey.
    The number of people in urgent need of food assistance in the three departments hardest-hit by the earthquake – Sud, Grand’Anse and Nippes – has increased by one-third since the quake, from 138,000 to 215,000, according to the World Food Programme (WFP).
    “The earthquake rattled people who were already struggling to feed their families,” Lola Castro, WFP’s regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean, said in a statement.
    “The compound effects of multiple crises are devastating communities in the south faced with some of the highest levels of food insecurity in the country.”
‘IN THE HANDS OF GOD’
    Just off the highway leading to Nan Konsey, a few dozen men gathered at a goat market, where they sold off their remaining livestock to secure cash to feed their children or to pay for family members’ funerals.
    Before the quake, farmer Michel Pierre had tended 15 goats and cultivated yams, potatoes, corn, and banana trees. He arrived at the market with the only two animals that survived the earthquake.
    With his crops also buried beneath landslides, he hoped to earn about $100 from the sale to feed himself, his wife and his children.
    When that money runs dry, he said, he isn’t sure what he will do.    He is still in debt from when Hurricane Matthew ravaged Haiti in 2016.
    “Day by day, it’s getting harder to be a farmer,” he said.    “I am in the hands of God.”
    Haiti was largely food self-sufficient until the 1980s, when at the encouragement of the United States it started loosening restrictions on crop imports and lowered tariffs.    A subsequent flood of surplus U.S. crops put droves of Haitian farmers out of business and contributed to investment in the sector tailing off.
    In recent years, climate change has made Hispaniola – the island Haiti shares with the Dominican Republic – increasingly vulnerable to extreme droughts and hurricanes.    Spiraling food costs, economic decline and political instability have worsened the shortages.
    For Gethro Polyte, a teacher and farmer living north of the town of Camp-Perrin, the earthquake decimated his two main sources of income: leveling the school where he taught fourth grade, and submerging his crops and livestock in an avalanche of earth.
    Before the disaster, he and his family had been able to pull together two meals a day and draw water from underground springs, he said.    But since then, his food supplies have dwindled down to a few yams and bananas, and the water has been contaminated with silt.
    Polyte doubted the school would be rebuilt for classes to start in September and for him to receive a paycheck, given the chaos following the assassination https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/he-never-stood-chance-fateful-downfall-haitis-president-2021-08-22 of President Jovenel Moise in July.    And with bank loans still to pay off, he doubted he’d be able to secure money to invest in rebuilding his farm.
    “We are living now by eating a little something just to kill the hunger,” he said.    “And, of course, things will only grow worse in the coming days.”
(Reporting by Laura Gottesdiener in Haiti, additional reporting by Ricardo Arduengo and Herbert Villarraga in Haiti; Editing by Daniel Flynn and Rosalba O’Brien)

8/30/2021 La. Gov. Says Death Toll After Ida Expected To Rise, Comes As Rescue Efforts Ramp Up by OAN Newsroom
People walk through flood waters in Norco, Louisiana, on August 30, 2021 after Hurricane
Ida made landfall. (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)
    Rescue efforts ramped up as residents have been assessing the damage after Hurricane Ida ripped through Louisiana.    During a press briefing on Monday, Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) said it could take weeks to restore electricity since strong winds and rain caused catastrophic damage to the power grid.
    Edwards said one person was confirmed dead, but added the death toll was expected to rise.    On a positive note, the governor said all levees performed extremely well.
    Edwards went on to urge people to check on family and neighbors, while assuring them rescue crews were on their way.
    “We have tremendous damage to homes and to businesses.    We know that individuals are out there waiting to be rescued because their homes are not habitable,” he explained.    “…Please know that we have thousands of people out right now with high water vehicles and boats who are doing search and rescue.    We have dozens of helicopters up and that’s just from the state side.”
    Ida has since been downgraded to a tropical storm as it traveled north and passed over Mississippi.    The National Hurricane Center warned on Monday of dangerous storm surges and possible tornadoes for Southeast Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

8/30/2021 All Of New Orleans Without Power Due To Tropical Storm Ida by OAN Newsroom
Traffic diverts around downed power lines Monday, Aug. 30, 2021, in Metairie, La. A fearsome Hurricane Ida has left scores of coastal
Louisiana residents trapped by floodwaters and pleading to be rescued, while making a shambles of the electrical grid across a wide swath
of the state in the sweltering, late-summer heat. One of the most powerful hurricanes ever to hit the U.S. mainland has now
weakened into a tropical storm as it pushes inland over Mississippi with torrential rain and shrieking winds. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
    Joe Biden pledged to provide aid to Louisiana just before what is now Tropical Storm Ida made landfall.    He warned Americans along the Gulf Coast to prepare for the worst as they weather the storm.
    It has left New Orleans without power.    The entire city lost power Sunday evening as the electric company said the storm caused a “load imbalance” and warned individuals to stay away from “standing water and areas of debris.”    Mayor LaToya Candrell said without electricity an already dangerous storm became much more severe.
    Biden visited FEMA headquarters Sunday evening to see the coordination between federal, state and local governments as well as organizations.
    “This is the National Response Coordination Center, where we have 22 federal interagency partners that have been gathered here since earlier in the week to support the planning efforts and preparedness efforts for Louisiana and Mississippi,” stated FEMA Administrator Deanna Criswell.
    Biden added, resources would be distributed to those that need it and the state has had a lot of preparation to handle situations like this.
    “We’ve already pre-positioned resources that we know are going to be needed, and equipment and response teams in the region,” he explained.    “This includes 2.5 million meals and 3 million liters of water.    We’ve got generators in place and we’re in close touch with the power providers to get and restore power as soon as possible.”
    However, Biden noted that no matter how much they have prepared, it could take weeks before power is up and running again in some places.
    “We should be prepared that it can take a long time, no matter how much we’ve pre-positioned which we have, that it’s going to take a long time for a lot of to get back up,” he stated.
    As many have decided to hunker down and stay at home, emergency response teams are already preparing for what could be a massive search and rescue effort.
    Just as Biden wrapped up his comments and was about to leave to allow FEMA to handle the response of the worst storm to hit Louisiana since 1850, he opened the room up for questions yet refused to answer any.

8/30/2021 Calif. Caldor Fire Surpasses 168K Acres by OAN Newsroom
Seen in a long camera exposure, the Caldor Fire burns as chairlifts hang at the Sierra-at-Tahoe ski resort on Monday, Aug. 30, 2021, in Eldorado
National Forest, Calif. The main buildings at the ski slope’s base survived as the main fire front passed. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
    Evacuations are underway as the Caldor Fire in California drops from 19 percent contained to 13 percent.    Fire officials said the blaze was ”more aggressive than anticipated” on Sunday.
    Over 3,000 personnel are battling the blaze amid gusty winds and temperatures, which are expected to hit triple digits in the coming days.    Thick smoke has produced hazardous air quality, in turn, limiting aircraft use.
    Firefighters are scrambling as they try to keep the fire out of the Lake Tahoe basin.
    “We are reasonably confident on holding it where it’s at, I mean mother nature is fickle,” stated Assistant Chief Isaac Lake, Cal Fire.    “And you know it throws a curve ball, so there’s just a ton of professional people working hard on this thing and they have a good plan in place.”
    As of Sunday night, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said the blaze had scorched more than 168,000 acres.

8/31/2021 U.S. Climate Envoy Kerry Visits Japan, China For Talks On Emissions
U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry meets Japanese Minister of the
Environment Shinjiro Koizumi in Tokyo, Japan, August, 31, 2021. Koji Sasahara/Pool via REUTERS
    TOKYO (Reuters) -U.S. climate envoy John Kerry arrived in Tokyo for talks on Tuesday with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on cooperation on carbon emissions and cutting support for fossil fuels, especially coal, before heading to China tonight.
    Talks in the two Asian economic powerhouses will be “to engage with international counterparts on efforts to address the climate crisis,” the U.S. State Department said in a statement on Monday, Washington time.
    The former secretary of state has led U.S. efforts to convince the global community of the threat of climate change and urge the acceleration of efforts to curb carbon emissions.    The U.S. push comes in advance of the U.N. COP26 climate conference, which will be held in Scotland later this year.
    In Japan, discussions are likely to focus on the country’s continued support for coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel.    Japan is the only G7 country building coal-fired power stations as it struggles with the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, which led to the shutdown of most of the country’s reactors.
    In April, Japan nearly doubled its target for emissions cuts by 2030 to a reduction of 46% in response to pressure from the United States and some of its own firms, after pledging last year to attain carbon neutrality by 2050.
    “Japan made some tough decisions,” Kerry told Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi, referring to the targets.
    Koizumi told Kerry that the months leading up to COP26 are “critically important and we need to intensify our efforts to tackle climate change,” local media reported.
    In China, Kerry will hope to build on commitments secured during a visit in April that the country will work urgently work to curb climate change.
    Kerry’s visits come after the U.S. Treasury said earlier this month the United States would oppose most involvement of multilateral development banks like the World Bank in fossil fuel projects.
    Discussions in Tokyo are also likely to focus on plans by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to organise and develop a scheme to acquire coal-fired power plants and shut them down early.
    The effort, first reported by Reuters, includes British insurer Prudential PLC, lenders Citigroup Inc and HSBC Holdings PLC and BlackRock Real Assets, with ambitions for an initial purchase in 2022.
    Japan is the largest shareholder of the ADB and support from Tokyo will be crucial to any success for the plans.
    China, the United States and Japan are the world’s biggest, second-and fifth-biggest carbon emitters.
    China has pledged to “enhance ambition” on curbing climate change, and is set to announce new measures before the end of the year.
    Activists are watching for any new pledge on coal, with many hoping that Beijing will stop financing overseas coal-fired power plants.
    Amid political tension between the two sides, the United States has tried to ring fence climate issues and Kerry has no remit to discuss any other topics with China.
(Reporting by Eric Beech in Washington, Aaron Sheldrick, Rocky Swift, Kiyoshi Takenaka and Yuka Obayashi in Tokyo, David Stanway in Shanghai; Editing by Peter Cooney and Christopher Cushing)

8/31/2021 Caldor Fire Prompts States Of Emergency In Calif., Nev. by OAN Newsroom
Two firefighters monitor the Caldor Fire burning near homes in South Lake Tahoe, Calif., Monday, Aug. 30, 2021. As the winds
returned this week, the Caldor Fire roared over the Sierra crest and bore down on the southern end of Lake Tahoe. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
    Multiple counties in Northern California and Nevada are under a state of emergency as the Caldor Fire continues to spread.    According to reports Tuesday, at least 50,000 people were ordered to evacuate South Lake Tahoe and areas near the popular vacation spot.
    The blaze has scorched over 186,000 acres, in turn, destroying more than 600 structures and is only 15 percent contained.    Cal Fire officials say drought and smoke conditions are hindering the efforts to contain the blaze.
    Dry conditions and strong winds are expected to worsen over the next few days as the National Weather Service extends its red flag warning for the region.    This is expected to remain in place until at least until Wednesday.
    “There is fire activity happening in California that we have never seen before,” stated Chief Thom Porter, director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.    “The critical thing for the public to know is evacuate early. For the rest of you in California, every acre can and will burn someday in this state.”
    Due to the ongoing fire threats in the Golden State, all national forests in California would be closed until September 17.    This comes as 13 blazes are currently scorching the state.
    The state of emergency declarations will ensure federal and state resources are available to help with the fire fighting efforts.

8/31/2021 2 Dead, 10 Injured In Miss. Highway Collapse Amid Storm Ida by OAN Newsroom
A flooded city is seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, Monday, Aug. 30, 2021, in Lafitte, La. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
    Storm Ida turned deadly in Mississippi as heavy rains caused part of a highway to collapse. Officials confirmed two people died and 10 others were injured Monday night when their cars plunged into a hole, where Highway 26 washed away in George County.
    Rescue workers used cranes to pull the cars out of the hole and rushed the victims to the hospital, where at least three are in critical condition. This came after officials said more than eight inches of rain fell in the area as Ida devastated the county.     “We’ve had torrential rainfall in the last 24-hours because of Hurricane Ida and this is another reason why we tell people during storms roads could wash out,” stated Mississippi State Trooper Cal Robertson.    “You know, it’s a very dangerous situation.”
    The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) is assessing the damages and will determine when the highway will reopen.    According to MDOT data, approximately 3,100 to 5,700 vehicles travel along the affected highway on an average day.    Meanwhile, crews are also checking other highways to access damages from Ida.

9/1/2021 Weather Disasters Killed 2 Million In Last 50 Years, UN Agency Says by Emma Farge
FILE PHOTO: A cow stands on caked mud before a small patch of water at a dam as the region deals with a prolonged drought
near Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, January 18, 2020. Picture taken January 18, 2020. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo/File Photo
    GENEVA (Reuters) – The number of disasters, such as floods and heatwaves, driven by climate change have increased fivefold over the past 50 years, killing more than 2 million people and costing $3.64 trillion in total losses, a U.N. agency said on Wednesday.
    The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) says its “Atlas” is the most comprehensive review of mortality and economic losses from weather, water and climate extremes ever produced.
    It surveys some 11,000 disasters occurring between 1979-2019, including major catastrophes such as Ethiopia’s 1983 drought, which was the single most fatal event with 300,000 deaths, and Hurricane Katrina in 2005 that was the most costly, with losses of $163.61 billion.
    The report showed an accelerating trend, with the number of disasters increasing nearly fivefold from the 1970s to the most recent decade, adding to signs that extreme weather events are becoming more frequent due to global warming.
    The WMO attributed the growing frequency to both climate change and improved disaster reporting.
    Costs from the events also surged from $175.4 billion in the 1970s to $1.38 trillion in the 2010s when storms such as Harvey, Maria and Irma ripped through the United States.
    “Economic losses are mounting as exposure increases,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas in a foreword.
    But while hazards became more costly and frequent, the annual death toll has fallen from more than 50,000 in the 1970s to around 18,000 in the 2010s, suggesting that better planning was paying off.
    “Improved multi-hazard early warning systems have led to a significant reduction in mortality,” Taalas added.
    The WMO hopes the report, which gives a detailed regional breakdown, will be used to help governments develop policies to better protect people.
    More than 91% of the 2 million deaths occurred in developing countries, the report said, noting that only half of the WMO’s 193 members have multi-hazard early warning systems.
    It also said that “severe gaps” in weather observations, especially in Africa, were undermining the accuracy of early warning systems.
(Reporting by Emma Farge; Editing by Alex Richardson)

9/1/2021 Pollution Likely To Cut 9 Years Of Life Expectancy Of 40% Of Indians
A man walks along a road on a smoggy morning in New Delhi, India, December 23, 2020. REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis/Files
    NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Air pollution is likely to reduce the life expectancy of about 40% of Indians by more than nine years, according to a report released by a U.S. research group on Wednesday.
    More than 480 million people living in the vast swathes of central, eastern and northern India, including the capital, New Delhi, endure significantly high pollution levels, said the report prepared by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC).
    “Alarmingly, India’s high levels of air pollution have expanded geographically over time,” the EPIC report said.
    For example, air quality has significantly worsened in the western state of Maharashtra and the central state of Madhya Pradesh, it said.
    Lauding India’s National Clean Air Program (NCAP), launched in 2019 to rein in dangerous pollution levels, the EPIC report said “achieving and sustaining” the NCAP goals would raise the country’s overall life expectancy by 1.7 years and that of New Delhi 3.1 years.
    The NCAP aims to reduce pollution in the 102 worst-affected cities by 20%-30% by 2024 by ensuring cuts in industrial emissions and vehicular exhaust, introducing stringent rules for transport fuels and biomass burning and reduce dust pollution.    It will also entail better monitoring systems. (https://reut.rs/3sZXYTE)
    New Delhi was the world’s most polluted capital for the third straight year in 2020, according to IQAir, a Swiss group that measures air quality levels based on the concentration of lung-damaging airborne particles known as PM2.5.
    Last year, New Delhi’s 20 million residents, who breathed some of the cleanest air on record in the summer because of coronavirus lockdown curbs, battled toxic air in winter following a sharp increase in farm residue burning in the nearby states of Punjab and Haryana.
    According to the EPIC’s findings, neighbouring Bangladesh could raise average life expectancy by 5.4 years if the country improves air quality to levels recommended by the World Health Organization.
    To arrive at the life expectancy number, EPIC compared the health of people exposed to different levels of long-term air pollution and applied the results to various places in India and elsewhere.
(Reporting by Mohi Narayan; Editing by Mayank Bhardwaj and Gerry Doyle)

9/1/2021 Canada’s ‘Infernal Summer’ Puts Climate Change At Forefront Of Election by Nia Williams
FILE PHOTO: A helicopter battles the Bear Creek fire that sprung up south of the White Rock
forest on Westside Rd. near Fintry, Canada, August 24, 2021. REUTERS/Artur Gajda
    CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) – Canadians are demanding decisive action from leaders to tackle climate change after a summer of extreme weather intensified environmental concerns, making it the No. 1 issue in September’s snap election, polling data shows.
    For many Canadians, 2021 is the year the climate crisis hit home.    A “heat dome” scorched Canada’s westernmost province of British Columbia in June, smashing national temperature records, contributing to more than 500 deaths and heralding the start of the province’s third-worst wildfire season.
    Across the Prairies, a drought has shriveled crops, while spring sea ice in northern Labrador hit its lowest level in 50 years.
    Data from polling firm Angus Reid shows climate change is the top election issue for Canadian voters, as it was in 2019, and concerns have intensified over the course of the summer, overtaking worries about the pandemic and healthcare.    A poll last Friday found 18% of voters put climate and the environment as their No. 1 issue in the Sept. 20 vote.
    That focus would primarily cost the main opposition Conservative Party, which has the least ambitious climate policies among the major parties, analysts said.
    But it could also siphon support away from the ruling Liberals led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, with whom the Conservatives are running neck and neck in the polls.
    While the Liberal Party has tried to paint itself as the party of climate action, in contrast to the Conservatives, led by Erin O’Toole, it has failed to rein in Canada’s carbon emissions, with greenhouse gas emissions rising 1% between 2015 and 2019, government data shows.
    Some voters are threatening to abandon parties that are not aggressive enough on climate policy, which could emerge as the swing factor in a tight race.
    “Climate anxiety has really set in. … I can no longer vote strategically as I have done in the past,” said Helen Zhou, 23, an investment firm associate in Toronto. In previous elections, Zhou voted tactically for the Liberals, to keep the Conservatives out, but is now planning to support the left-leaning New Democratic Party (NDP) or Green Party.
    Those two smaller parties have tougher climate measures than the Conservatives or Liberals, but recent infighting among the Greens may deter voters.
‘ALL TOO REAL’
    At least half of voters intending to support the Liberals or NDP say climate is their main concern, Angus Reid polling showed, putting pressure on O’Toole to communicate his climate policy.
    “Climate was a serious issue in the previous election that prevented the Conservatives from winning more moderate voters, and it could be a liability in this election again,” said Lori Williams, a political science professor at Calgary’s Mount Royal University.
    At a March convention, most Conservative Party delegates voted against officially recognizing climate change as a real threat.
    “For many Canadians, this is the summer the effects of climate change became all too real,” said Robin Edger, director of climate change at the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC).    “There’s a much greater sense that climate change is not just a future problem, it’s a now problem.”
    The IBC says whichever party wins the election will need to plan for the worsening effects of extreme weather.    Canada is the world’s second-largest country by area and the 10th-biggest carbon emitter globally.
    The Liberals straddle an uneasy divide on climate and risk losing support as they try to tackle emissions while safeguarding Canada’s high-polluting energy sector, which contributes 10% to national gross domestic product.
    Trudeau has implemented a more aggressive carbon tax, pledged to cut national carbon emissions by 40-45% below 2005 levels by 2030 and promised to cap oil-and gas-sector emissions.
    But the Liberals also bought the Trans Mountain oil pipeline in 2018, which could undermine Trudeau’s efforts to secure a majority in environment-focused provinces like British Columbia and Quebec, said Anthony Sayers, a political science professor at the University of Calgary.
    The extreme weather and a damning U.N. report last month cemented Canadians’ understanding that climate change is a human-caused issue and requires drastic action to prevent further warming, said Angela Carter, environmental policy professor at the University of Waterloo.
    “We will look back on this infernal summer as one of the colder summers of our lifetime.    That is finally landing with people suffering in apartments that don’t have air-conditioning, and with farmers watching crops wither,” Carter said.
(Reporting by Nia Williams; Editing by Denny Thomas and and Peter Cooney)

9/2/2021 Could aliens be using Dyson Spheres around black holes to collect immense power? By John Loeffler
    Scientists have upped the ante on theoretical Dyson Spheres with a proposal for alien civilizations constructing the colossal megastructures around stellar mass black holes, pushing the energy harvesting power well beyond what could be possible with just a traditional Dyson Sphere.
© Provided by TechRadar A Dyson Sphere Under Construction Around A Black Hole
    In a new study published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, researchers from Taiwan's National Tsing Hua University (NTHU) dig into the energy output from a stellar mass black hole and found that the energy captured would be immense and would dwarf the amount of energy captured by their own sun.
    "An accretion disk, a corona, and relativistic jets could be potential power stations for a Type II civilization," the researchers write.    "Our results suggest that for a stellar-mass black hole, even at a low Eddington ratio, the accretion disk could provide hundreds of times more luminosity than a main sequence star."
    A Type II civilization refers to the Kardashev scale, a way for astrobiologists and cosmologists to classify the potential energy available to extraterrestrial intelligences.
    Originally, the scale numbered from I to III, with Type I being a civilization capable of harnessing all of the energy of their home planet (humanity isn't even close to this stage yet). Type II civilizations would be capable of harnessing all of the energy produced by its host star, with Type III being able to harness the entire energy of a galaxy.
    The issue seems almost well consigned to science fiction, but it is an important one when talking about the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI).    While predominantly focused on the radio signals produced by an alien civilization, the problem becomes what happens if an alien civilization is not broadcasting them for reasons of self-preservation (i.e., you can't come and invade what you don't is there).
    That problem was what inspired physicists Freeman Dyson to postulate in 1960 that a sufficiently advanced alien race would reach the point where its energy needs exceeded what its planet was capable of supplying.
    They would then move to harness the energy of its host star more directly by constructing platforms around their star in a form of biosphere that would absorb most of the star's energy.
    If such a megastructure could be constructed, it would significantly diminish the life of the star from our perspective, but would be lit up like Christmas lights in infrared. Even as this advanced alien civilization soaked up all that energy, they could not help but bleed off excess heat into space, lest their platforms melt entirely.
    While Dyson wasn't suggesting anything near what we now come to think of as a Dyson Sphere – where a star is essentially encased in an artificial construct like a kind of stellar matryoshka doll – the idea of something along these lines has captured the imaginations of the public and cosmologists alike.
    Now, the NTHU researchers have figured that capturing the energy of a stellar mass black hole could provide as much as five times the amount of energy captured by a main sequence star, and might even be more visible as a result even using current telescopes.
    Analysis: its fascinating to consider, but how plausible is this?
    For starters, its hard to imagine what even a Type I civilization would look like.    We're talking about a civilization that would be able to harness the power of earthquakes, volcanos, hurricanes, and even the energy output of the Earth's core all at once.    We are hundreds of years out from such a feat if something like this is even possible.
    A Type II civilization would have to be thousands of years beyond even that high threshold, and considering the incredibly unlikelihood of life developing on a planet orbiting a stellar mass black hole, much less one surviving long enough to achieve Type I status, any civilization building a Dyson Sphere around a stellar-mass black hole would have to travel from their host star to that black hole and construct one.    That would almost certainly put them between a Type II and Type III civilization.
    All that said, even though we imagine black holes as energy sinks rather than generators, that is not entirely the case.    The area around the black hole is extremely energetic, with its accretion disk accelerating matter so fast that it radiated energy for brighter than a star.
    Quasars, which are pretty much the energy being released in the immediate area around a supermassive black hole in the center of a galaxy, are the brightest objects in space, outshining all of the stars in the galaxy that contains them itself.    While the jets speeding out from the poles of a stellar-mass black hole are nothing like those of supermassive black holes, the principle is the same, and the energy they represent is substantial.    If you're a Type II civilization, you'd get far more bang from your investment building a Dyson Sphere around a black hole than a typical main sequence star.
    However, we've yet to even find traces of bacteria on another world, much less something this, well, epic in scale.    But, the galaxy is an immense place with an estimated 400 billion stars in it.    We've only been able to detect the presence of a few thousand exoplanets around alien stars.    We've got a long way to go before declaring anything we can't comprehend as impossible.

9/2/2021 Biden Issues Emergency Declaration For Caldor by OAN Newsroom
Two firefighters monitor the Caldor Fire burning near homes in South Lake Tahoe, Calif., Monday, Aug. 30, 2021. As the winds
returned this week, the Caldor Fire roared over the Sierra crest and bore down on the southern end of Lake Tahoe. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
    Joe Biden issued an emergency declaration in response to the Caldor Fire in Northern California.    He approved the declaration Wednesday night while authorizing the state to get federal assistance for recovery efforts in multiple counties affected by the fire.
    The declaration also allows the state to get grants for temporary housing, home repairs and programs to help local business owners recover.    This comes as the fire has destroyed dozens of structures while forcing the evacuation of hundreds of people as the blaze rapidly spreads throughout the region.
    “This fire has shown us how challenging and volatile that it can be,” stated Keith Wade, a spokesperson for the Caldor Fire Incident Command.    “Every containment line that we’ve had on that eastern side, it has skipped it and the reason being this is a very rapidly driven fire through terrain.    And it’s the weather that’s helping to drive it.    We’ve experienced very erratic winds, very high temperatures and very low humidity.    And we’re in areas that haven’t burned on some records for decades or even 100 years.”
    The Caldor Fire, which started more than two weeks ago, has scorched over 200,000 acres and is only 25 percent contained as of Thursday morning.
[Newsom you must feel like Nero when Rome was burning so you need a violin for your woes.].

9/2/2021 Governors In Northeast States Battered By Ida Take Emergency Action by OAN Newsroom
Vehicles are under water during flooding in Norristown, Pa. Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021 in the aftermath of
downpours and high winds from the remnants of Hurricane Ida that hit the area. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
    New York and New Jersey are assessing the damage left in the wake of the remnants of Hurricane Ida.    The governors of each state declared states of emergency Wednesday as heavy rainfall has led to flooding and hazardous conditions.    A tornado also left a path of destruction in its wake as it tore across southern New Jersey Wednesday evening.
    In his statement, Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said the safety of New Jersey’s residents is the top priority while urging residents to stay informed about the changing weather conditions and to stay off the roads. His declaration applies to 21 of New Jersey’s counties.
    Meanwhile in New York, the National Weather Service reported record-breaking rainfall with Central Park getting 3.1 inches of water over the course of a single hour.    New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) asked residents to move to higher ground and stay off the roads.
    Additionally, the extreme weather has caused issues for the city’s transit system.    This has led to limited services and in some cases suspended travel altogether.
    The historic flooding has led to the National Weather Service to issue the first-ever flash flood emergency warning for parts of New York City.    That alert level is reserved for “exceedingly rare situations when a severe threat to human life and catastrophic damage from a flash flood is happening or will happen soon.”
    In Pennsylvania, residents and emergency crews are dealing with the aftermath of tornados spawned from the storm.
    “I signed a disaster emergency proclamation to help free up resources to help the commonwealth prepare for the storm, and that allowed us to preposition emergency crews and supplies in strategic places all across the commonwealth,” said state Gov. Tom Wolf (D).    “It also allowed me to activate the National Guard.    We’re doing everything we can to prepare for further rainfall and prepare for potential flooding.”
    Ida hit Louisiana at the start of the week as a Category 4 hurricane and is on track for the Atlantic Ocean, where experts say it’s expected to fizzle out and have its name retired.
    More than 20 people have been killed so far as the remnants of Hurricane Ida continue to rip through the Northeast.    The death toll for the region as of Thursday morning rose to at least 22 as crews continued to search for dozens of missing people amid record rainfall.
[OF COURSE THE NEW YORK POLITICIANS USED THIS FOR A PROMOTION OF CLIMATE CHANGE WITHOUT ANY PROOF IF IT IS CAUSED BY IT.].

9/3/2021 Is dark matter made of 'Fermi balls' forged in the Big Bang? by Paul Sutter, Space.com
© Provided by Space An artist's impression of dark matter in the beginning of the universe.
    Dark matter — the mysterious substance that exerts gravity but doesn't interact with light — might be made of tiny black holes permeating the universe.    And according to a new theory, those black holes might have been made from Fermi balls, or quantum "" of subatomic particles known as fermions that got smooshed together in dense pockets during the universe's infancy.
    The theory could explain why dark matter came to dominate the universe.
    "We find that in some cases, the Fermi balls are so dense that the fermions are too close to each other, triggering the collapse of a Fermi ball [in]to a black hole," Ke-Pan Xie, a researcher at the Center for Theoretical Physics at Seoul National University in South Korea, told Live Science.
    Xie and collaborator Kiyoharu Kawana, also of the Center for Theoretical Physics, have devised a new scenario to explain how dark matter came to dominate the universe: In the midst of an incredible transformation when the cosmos was less than a second old, a new kind of particle got trapped, collapsing to such a small point that they transformed into black holes.    Those black holes then flooded the universe, providing the heft required to explain dark matter.
The case for primordial black holes
    Astronomers and physicists cannot explain dark matter, the mysterious substance that makes up more than 80% of the mass of every large structure, from galaxies to the cosmic web itself, in the universe.
    One intriguing possibility is that dark matter originated from black holes.    After all, black holes, like dark matter, emit no light.    "As a kind of nonluminous and compact object, black holes are a natural explanation for the dark matter," Xie said.
    But astronomers have known for a long time that normal, stellar-mass black holes can't explain the universe's dark matter.    That's because not nearly enough stars have formed in the history of the universe to create enough black holes to account for the known dark matter.
    But the earliest moments of the universe featured some pretty mind-boggling physics.    Perhaps whatever was going on back then spawned trillions of smaller black holes.    Those black holes could persist to the present day, potentially solving the dark matter riddle.
    But to explain dark matter, the theory would have to make enough black holes.
A frothy universe
    Xie and Kawana added several ingredients to their model, which is described in a paper published in June to the preprint database arXiv. (The paper has not yet been peer-reviewed.)    They started with a very young, very hot, very dense universe.    These extreme conditions allow some physical processes that do not happen in the normal conditions of the present-day universe.
    The first ingredient is something called a scalar fieldHiggs field, which gives matter its mass, is an example of one.) As the universe expanded and cooled, that scalar field underwent a phase transition, transforming from one quantum mechanical state to another.br>     That phase transition didn't happen all at once throughout the entire universe.    Instead, there were a few points where the transition began from and then spread — just as a few bubbles in a pot of boiling water merge to form bigger bubbles, Xie said.
    "This process is called a first-order phase transition: Water transfers from 'liquid phase' into 'gas phase,' and the latter first exists as growing bubbles," Xie said.
    The new scalar field state, called the "ground state," spreads out from these points like a bunch of fizzing bubbles.    Eventually, the bubbles merge completely, and the scalar field finishes its transition.
How to make a Fermi ball
    To make primordial black holes that seed dark matter, however, Xie and Kawana needed another ingredient.    So they added a new kind of fermion to their model.    Fermions are a category of particles that make up the building blocks of the universe.    For instance, the electrons, protons and neutrons that make up the atoms in your body are all fermions.
    In the very early universe, these fermions moved freely within the scalar field.    But according to the recipe that Xie and Kawana have cooked up, these fermions couldn't penetrate the little foaming bubbles of the new ground state of the cosmos as the phase transition proceeded.
    As the bubbles grew, the fermions crowded into the remaining pockets, becoming Fermi balls.    And that's when things went really haywire for them.
    That's because there was an additional force, known as a Yukawa interaction, between the fermions, caused by that very same scalar field, Xie and Kawana proposed in the paper.    Normally, fermions don't like to be crammed into small volumes together, but the scalar field added an attractive force that could overwhelm that natural repulsion, they theorized.
    As an example, protons and neutrons are made of even tinier particles, called quarks.    Quarks are fermions and normally hate each other, but an extra force, the strong force, glues them together.    That force can be modeled as a Yukawa interaction, similar to the early-universe physics at play in Xie and Kawana's model.
    Once the Yukawa attraction took hold, it was game over for the little Fermi balls, according to Xie and Kawana's theory.    Wedged into little pockets of a rapidly changing universe, the clumps of fermions catastrophically collapsed, forming huge numbers of black holes.
    Those black holes then survived through the end of the phase transition, going on to flood the universe as dark matter.
    At least, that's the idea.    It's a radical suggestion, but when it comes to the physics of the early universe — and the mystery surrounding dark matter — we need some radical suggestions, along with a healthy dose of observations, to make progress.

9/3/2021 Biden On Ida: We’ll Be Working Around The Clock by OAN Newsroom
Joe Biden delivers remarks on his Administration’s response to Hurricane Ida in the South Court auditorium
of the White House in Washington, DC on September 2, 2021. (Photo by Oliver Contreras/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)
    Joe Biden held a press conference to discuss the response efforts in place for those suffering in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.    In a speech Thursday, he confirmed FEMA is on the ground in New York and New Jersey amid widespread flooding and tornadoes that have led to the deaths of dozens of people.
    “I spoke with Governor (Kathy) Hochul of New York and Governor (Phil) Murphy of New Jersey, and I plan to speak with Governor (Tom) Wolf of Pennsylvania after last night’s devastating storm and floods from Hurricane Ida, the fifth largest hurricane in our history,” Biden stated.    “Record rain fell in these states and New York recorded more rain yesterday, the first day of September, than it usually sees the entire month of September.    We saw more than three inches of rain per hour fall in Central Park.”
    He issued an emergency declaration for New Jersey and New York in the wake of the storm, which downed power lines, destroyed houses and brought major cities to a standstill.
    Biden also said he’s working with electric and gas companies to restore power for all of the residents in Louisiana who are still without power.    He then made a plea to insurance companies to pay their fair share to people who fled their homes ahead of the storm.
Workers pump water from a flooded section of Interstate 676 in Philadelphia Friday, Sept. 3, 2021 in the aftermath of
downpours and high winds from the remnants of Hurricane Ida that hit the area. The cleanup and mourning has continued as
the Northeast U.S. recovers from record-breaking rainfall from the remnants of Hurricane Ida. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
    So far, FEMA has paid $77 million to help Louisiana residents in their recovery efforts.
    “For those who have lost their homes, states have been working with the American Red Cross to open almost 50 shelters across the Gulf Coast,” said Biden.    “We know that there is much to be done in this response on our part.    We need to get power restored.    We need to get more food, fuel and water deployed.    I get hourly updates on the progress from FEMA well into the night and we’ll be working around the clock until the critical needs of the region are fully met.”
    Ida was tied for the fifth largest hurricane to hit the U.S. and its remnants triggered the National Weather Service’s first-ever flood emergency warning for the state of New York.

9/3/2021 Amazon Fires Surge Anew In Brazil As Cleared Forest Burns by Bruno Kelly
Smoke from a fire rises into the air as trees burn amongst vegetation in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest next to the Transamazonica
national highway, in Labrea, Amazonas state, Brazil September 1, 2021. Picture taken September 1, 2021. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly
(Corrects spelling of Mapinguari National Park in paragraph 7)
    LABREA, Brazil (Reuters) -Thick smoke billowed above Brazil’s Amazon jungle as fire tore through butchered rainforest and discarded trees littered the scorched earth like dead matchsticks, burnt and black.
    A Reuters witness saw vast burned and clear cut areas on Wednesday and Thursday, as the arc of deforestation advanced deeper into the jungle by the frontier town of Labrea, the municipality with the most fires this year.
    Fires ramped up in the Brazilian rainforest in August, according to government data released this week, with fires for the month well above the historic average for the third consecutive year under right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro.
    Such levels were last seen a decade ago, before Bolsonaro took office.    The right-wing president has been widely criticized for driving development in the Amazon while working to weaken environmental protections.    Scientists fear the rapid rate of destruction risks sabotaging global attempts to limit climate change.
    The former army captain has sought to roll back indigenous land rights – which protect huge swathes of rainforest – and defanged environmental agencies, handing enforcement responsibilities to the military who have failed to prevent the destruction.
    Newly cleared areas near Labrea, in southern Amazonas state, were being turned into cow pastures. Informal logging roads branch off the Transamazonian Highway, which ends in Labrea.
    Nearby, there are signs that the destruction is also nearing the protected Mapinguari National Park and Caititu indigenous reserve.
    Satellites registered 28,060 fires in the Braziian Amazon in August, a decline of 4% compared to the same month in 2020 when fires likely hit the highest point in a decade https://www.reuters.com/article/us-brazil-environment-fires-exclusive-idUSKBN25T349, according to Brazil’s national space research agency Inpe.
    The Amazon is the world’s largest rainforest and is seen as a vital bulwark against climate change because of the vast amount of carbon dioxide that its plant life absorbs and stores.
    The elevated level of blazes comes in spite of Bolsonaro’s broad ban on outdoor fires and a military deployment in response to the destruction for the third straight year.
    Reuters saw no evidence of government firefighters or environmental enforcement efforts in Labrea.
    Brazil’s Environment Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
(Reporting by Bruno Kelly in Labrea and Jake Spring in Brasilia; editing by Stephen Eisenhammer and David Gregorio)

9/4/2021 Europe To Miss 2030 Climate Goal By 21 Years At Current Pace – Study
FILE PHOTO: Steam and other emissions rise from a power station in Berlin on February 2, 2012. REUTERS/Pawel Kopczynski
    CERNOBBIO, Italy (Reuters) – Europe will miss a key climate target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions by more than 20 years unless it picks up the pace on energy transition measures and improves governance, a study involving Europe’s biggest utility Enel said.
    At the current pace, Europe will only reach its 2030 target for a 55% reduction in greenhouse gases in 2051, a study by Enel Foundation and the European House-Ambrosetti said.
    In July, Brussels unveiled a raft of ambitious measures in its ‘Fit for 55’ package aimed at putting the European Union on track to meet the 2030 goal of reducing emissions by 55% from 1990 levels.
    The study, presented on Saturday, said investments of around 3.6 trillion euros ($4.3 trillion) were needed across the bloc to reach 2030 goals, with a potential cumulative impact on the EU’s economic growth of more than 8 trillion euros.
    But it warned the EU needed to step up its efforts if this potential was to be realised.
    “i>It is necessary to accelerate and equip ourselves with a governance system which is adequate to the extent of the challenge and capable of translating intentions into concrete action,” Enel Chief Executive Francesco Starace said.
    He said at the current pace Europe would only reach its 2030 target of raising the share of renewable energy to 40% of final consumption in 2043.    “(That) would be too late.”
    To speed up the process, the study called for closer cooperation between member states on energy transition, adopting a regional approach to help boost market integration.
($1 = 0.8416 euros)
(Reporting by Francesca Landini and Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Mark Potter)
[DON’T WORRY EU EVEN BY 2030 THERE WILL NOT BE ANY THREAT FROM CLIMATE CHANGE BUT YOU MIGHT BE WORRIED ABOUT THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, ISAAC AND JACOB IF YOU CONTINUE LISTENING TO THE GLOBALIST SOCIALIST ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT BY WHAT THEY DO TO CHANGE THE LIVES OF HUMANITY TO BECOME IN TOTAL ENCOMPASSING OF THEIR ANTI-CHRISTIAN POLICIES WHICH IS IN PROCESS NOW.].

9/5/2021 U.N. Urges Australia To Speed Up Efforts To Drop Coal
FILE PHOTO: A miner holds a lump of iron ore at a mine located in the
Pilbara region of Western Australia, December 2, 2013. REUTERS/David Gray
    (Reuters) – Australia’s government should increase its efforts to phase out coal or else climate change will dramatically damage the country’s economy, Selwin Hart, the United Nations special adviser on climate change, said on Sunday.
    Australia’s reliance on coal-fired power makes it one of the world’s largest carbon emitters per capita, but its conservative government has steadfastly backed Australia’s new deputy PM casts shadow over 2050 net zero emissions ambition fossil fuel industries, saying tougher action on emissions would cost jobs.
    “We fully understand the role that coal and other fossil fuels have played in Australia’s economy, even if mining accounts for a small fraction – around 2% – of overall jobs,” Hart said in a speech at the Australian National University in Canberra.
    “But it’s essential to have a broader, more honest and rational conversation about what is in Australia’s interests.”
    The U.N. has called for phasing out coal by 2030 in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries, which include Australia.
    In July, energy and environment ministers from the Group of 20 big economies failed to deliver a deal to phase out coal by 2025.    But some experts said there were chances of progress at U.N. climate talks https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/strained-g20-climate-talks-could-yet-deliver-progress-coal-2021-07-26 in Glasgow in November.
    Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said Australia is on a path to net zero carbon emissions but has stopped short of committing to a timeline.    He has said that Australia would update its 2030 emissions projections going into the Glasgow talks.
    Most other developed countries have signed up to a target of net zero emissions by 2050.
    Hart said that the Australian government should “seize the moment” and switch to renewables.
    “If the world does not rapidly phase out coal, climate change will wreak havoc right across the Australian economy: from agriculture to tourism, and right across the services sector,” he said.
(Reporting by Lidia Kelly; Editing by William Mallard)

9/6/2021 Australia Sees Strong Future For Coal Beyond 2030 Despite U.N. Call
FILE PHOTO: Coal is unloaded onto large piles at the Ulan Coal mines near the central
New South Wales rural town of Mudgee in Australia, March 8, 2018. REUTERS/David Gray/File Photo
    MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Coal will be a major contributor to Australia’s economy well beyond 2030 given growth in global demand, the country’s resources minister said on Monday, a day after a United Nations envoy called on the country to phase out the fossil fuel.
    Without greater efforts to cut coal, climate change will dramatically damage Australia’s economy, Selwin Hart, the United Nations special adviser on climate change, said in a speech https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/un-urges-australia-speed-up-efforts-drop-coal-2021-09-05 in the capital Canberra on Sunday.
    Australia’s heavy reliance on coal-fired power makes it one of the world’s largest carbon emitters per capita, but its conservative government has steadfastly backed https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/barnaby-joyce-be-australias-new-deputy-prime-minister-reports-2021-06-21 fossil fuel industries, saying tougher action on emissions would cost jobs.
    Australia’s latest export figures show “the reports of coal’s impending death are greatly exaggerated and its future is assured well beyond 2030,” Resources Minister Keith Pitt said in a statement.
    In the three months to July, Australian coal exports grew 26% in value to A$12.5 billion ($9.3 billion), he noted.    Coal prices have climbed as global economies recover from COVID-19 restrictions.
    “The future of this crucial industry will be decided by the Australian government, not a foreign body that wants to shut it down costing thousands of jobs and billions of export dollars for our economy,” Pitt added.
    The U.N. has called for phasing out coal by 2030 in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries, which include Australia.
    In July, energy and environment ministers from the Group of 20 big economies failed to deliver a deal to phase out coal by 2025.    But some experts said there were chances of progress at U.N. climate talks https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/strained-g20-climate-talks-could-yet-deliver-progress-coal-2021-07-26 in Glasgow in November.
    Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said Australia is on a path to net zero carbon emissions but has stopped short of committing to a timeline.    He has said that Australia would update its 2030 emissions projections going into the Glasgow talks.
($1 = 1.3454 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Melanie Burton; editing by Richard Pullin)

9/6/2021 N.Y. And N.J. To Receive Federal Aid After Deadly Flooding by OAN Newsroom
Residents sort through damaged and destroyed items after a night of heavy rain and wind caused many homes to flood
in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images)
    New York and New Jersey were granted to receive much needed federal aid as they have struggled to recover from Hurricane Ida.    Joe Biden issued disaster declarations in both states on Sunday and approved federal aid for the hardest hit areas in the region.
    The storm killed dozens of people in the northeast, while destroying multiple homes and public infrastructure.    FEMA officials said the federal aid could be used for temporary housing, home repairs and to help businesses recover from the disaster.
    “What we saw today was absolutely heartbreaking, the amount of damage and destruction that these families have experienced,” expressed Deanne Criswell of FEMA.    “The president has declared a major disaster declaration for this area.”

    Biden has scheduled a visit New York and New Jersey on Tuesday to survey the storm damage.

9/7/2021 World’s Top Three Christian Leaders In Climate Appeal Ahead Of U.N. Summit by Philip Pullella
FILE PHOTO: Pope Francis arrives for the weekly general audience at the Vatican, August 25, 2021. REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane
    VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – The world’s three main Christian leaders issued an unprecedented joint appeal to members of their Churches to “listen to the cry of the earth” and back action to stem the effects of climate change.
    In “A Joint Message for the Protection of Creation,” Pope Francis, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew asked Christians to pray that world leaders at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow in November make courageous choices.
    “We call on everyone, whatever their belief or world view, to endeavour to listen to the cry of the earth and of people who are poor, examining their behaviour and pledging meaningful sacrifices for the sake of the earth which God has given us,” the message said.
    Francis heads the 1.3 billion-member Roman Catholic Church, Bartholomew is the spiritual leader of the world’s some 220 million Orthodox Christians and Welby is the senior bishop of the worldwide Anglican Communion, which has about 85 million members.
    All three have been very active in environmental affairs and concur that climate change and global warming is at least partially caused by human activities such as the use of fossil fuels.
    “We stand before a harsh justice: biodiversity loss, environmental degradation and climate change are the inevitable consequences of our actions, since we have greedily consumed more of the earth’s resources than the planet can endure,” the message said.
    It said recent extreme weather events, natural disasters, floods, fires, droughts and rising sea levels have shown that “climate change is not only a future challenge, but an immediate and urgent matter of survival.”
    Europe had its warmest summer on record this year, though only by a small margin over two previous highest temperatures for June-August, European Union scientists said earlier on Tuesday, and green groups have called for the COP26 conference to be postponed.
    Typically delegates from more than 190 countries attend the annual talks, yet with many countries grappling with COVID-19 and poorer nations struggling to access vaccines, it should be delayed, the Climate Action Network (CAN) said.
    Scotland’s bishops have said Pope Francis, who underwent intestinal surgery in July, will take part in the Glasgow conference, health permitting.
    A spokeswoman for Welby said he would attend.    Bartholomew’s office did not immediately respond to an email about his plans.
    On Oct. 4, the Vatican will host a major gathering of world religious leaders and scientists to take a common stand to raise the stakes ahead of the Glasgow conference.
    Called “Faith and Science: Towards COP26,” is being organised by Britain and Italy.    It will bring together some 40 leaders from the world’s major religions and 10 scientists.
(Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

9/7/2021 Kuwait Starts To Recycle Massive Tyre Graveyard by Ahmed Hagagy
A Syrian contractor, Ibrahim Kamal, stands amongst used tires destined for recycling in Salmi, Kuwait,
September 4, 2021. Picture taken September 4, 2021. Picture taken with a drone. REUTERS/Stephanie McGehee
    KUWAIT (Reuters) – More than 42 million old vehicle tyres dumped in Kuwait’s sands have started to be recycled, as the Gulf state tackles a waste problem that created one of the world’s largest tyre graveyards.
    The massive dump site was a mere 7 km (4 miles) from a residential suburb. Residents were bothered by periodic large fires releasing noxious black smoke.
    But this month Kuwait, which wants to build 25,000 new houses on the site, finished moving all the tyres to a new location at al-Salmi, near the Saudi border, where recycling efforts have begun.
    At a plant run by the EPSCO Global General Trading recycling company, employees sort and shred scrap tyres, before pressing the particles into rubbery coloured flooring tiles.
    “The factory is helping society by cleaning up the dumped old tyres and turning them into consumer products,” said EPSCO partner and CEO Alaa Hassan from EPSCO, adding they also export products to neighbouring Gulf countries and Asia.
    The EPSCO plant, which began operations in January 2021, can recycle up to 3 million tyres a year, the company said.
    Scrap tyres are a major environmental problem worldwide due to their bulk and the chemicals they can release.
    Oil-rich Kuwait, an OPEC member with a population around 4.5 million, had about 2.4 million vehicles in 2019, Central Statistical Bureau data shows, up from 1.5 million in 2010.
    The government hopes al-Salmi will become a tyre recycling hub, with more factories planned.
    The Al Khair Group transported more than half of all the tyres to the new site using up to 500 trucks a day and is planning to open a factory to burn the tyres through a process called pyrolysis, its CEO Hammoud al-Marri said.
    Pyrolysis produces a type of oil which can be sold for use in industrial furnaces such as cement factories, and an ash known as carbon black that can be used in various industries.
(Reporting by Ahmed Hagagy; Writing by Lisa Barrington; Editing by Alex Richardson)

9/7/2021 Europe Just Had Its Warmest Summer On Record, EU Scientists Say
FILE PHOTO: A thermometer mounted on a wall of the headquarters of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
(UNFCCC) shows a temperature of 40 Celsius degrees in Bonn, Germany July 31, 2020. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/File Photo
    BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Europe had its warmest summer on record this year, though only by a small margin over two previous highest temperatures for June-August, European Union scientists said on Tuesday.
    The EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service said the average surface air temperature in June-August was close to 1.0C above the 1991-2020 average, making it the hottest in its dataset.    The previous warmest summers, 2010 and 2018, were 0.1C cooler.
    The 2021 summer temperature marks the latest milestone in a long-term global warming trend as emissions of greenhouse gases change the planet’s climate.
    Copernicus’ records go back to 1950 but are cross-checked with other data sets that trace back to the mid-19th century.
    It said in a statement that, globally, August 2021 was, together with August 2017, the third-warmest on record at a little over 0.3C warmer than the 1991-2020 average.
    For Europe, August 2021 was near the 1991-2020 average, but with contrasting conditions across the continent.    These included record-breaking maximum temperatures in Mediterranean countries, warmer-than-average temperatures in the east and generally below-average temperatures in the north.
    Earlier on Tuesday, green groups called for the COP26 conference, which was put back from last year due to the COVID crisis and is scheduled to take place from Oct. 31 to Nov. 12 in Glasgow, to be delayed.
    Typically delegates from more than 190 countries attend the annual talks, yet with many countries grappling with COVID-19 and poorer nations struggling to access vaccines, they should be postponed, the Climate Action Network (CAN) said.
(Reporting by John Chalmers; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

9/8/2021 Powerful Quake Shakes Southwest Mexico, One Dead by Uriel Sanchez
People react during a quake in Mexico City, Mexico, September 7, 2021. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
    ACAPULCO, Mexico (Reuters) – A powerful earthquake struck southwestern Mexico near the beach resort of Acapulco on Tuesday, killing at least one man who was crushed by a falling post, and causing rock falls and damaging buildings, authorities said.
    The quake of magnitude 7.0, which hit 11 miles (17.7 km) northeast of Acapulco, shook the hillsides around the city, downing trees and pitching large boulders onto roads, causing power outages in several states.
    Many people gathered in the streets of the Mexican holiday destination amid the aftershocks.
    “We were only just checking into the hotel, so we have all our things with us,” said Jessica Arias, who was part of a group of eight visiting from Mexico City, the capital.    “They told us it’s still not safe to enter.”
    Others said they were having dinner or at the cinema when the quake hit.
    “We were in shock,” said Andrea del Valle, who was sitting on a pavement with her partner after rushing out of a cinema.    “There were no earthquake alarms, so we felt it when it was already happening.”
    Guerrero state governor Hector Astudillo told local television that a man was killed by a falling post in Coyuca de Benitez, a small town just west of Acapulco.
    Authorities reported a gas leak at a café as well as damage to a hotel and a public hospital.
    President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said the earthquake had not caused major damages in Guerrero, the neighboring region of Oaxaca, Mexico City or any other areas.
    Acapulco is roughly 230 miles (370 km) from Mexico City.
    In the central Roma Sur neighborhood of Mexico City, lights went off and scared residents rushed out, some in little more than their pajamas, a Reuters witness said. Residents huddled together in the rain, holding young children or pets.
    “It was terrible.    It really reminds me of the 1985 quake every time something like this happens,” said Yesmin Rizk, a 70-year-old resident of the neighborhood.    “I’m not sure we’ll sleep tonight.”
    A massive earthquake that struck the Mexican capital in 1985 killed thousands of people.
    The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said Tuesday’s quake, initially measured at a magnitude of 7.4 and later downgraded to 7.0, was relatively shallow, just 12 miles below the surface, which would have amplified the shaking effect.
    Mexican state power utility the Comision Federal de Electricidad said in a statement 1.6 million users had been affected by the quake in Mexico City, the adjacent State of Mexico, and the states of Guerrero, Morelos and Oaxaca.
(Reporting by Uriel Sanchez, Sharay Angulo and Dave Graham, additional reporting by Stefanie Eschenbacher; Writing by Shri Navaratnam; Editing by Sandra Maler, Christopher Cushing and Ana Nicolaci da Costa)

9/8/2021 Seventeen People, Most With COVID-19, Die In Flooding Of Mexican Hospital
People look at the damage caused by heavy rainfall in the municipality of Ecatepec, that left two persons missing and damaged cars
and infrastructure, in the outskirts of Mexico City, Mexico, September 7, 2021. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
    MEXICO CITY (Reuters) -Severe flooding led to the deaths of 17 people, most of whom had COVID-19, at a hospital in the central Mexican state of Hidalgo after torrential rains caused the River Tula to burst its banks, authorities said on Tuesday.
    More than 40 other patients in the public hospital in the town of Tula were evacuated by emergency service workers, and an initial assessment showed about 2,000 houses had flood damage, the Mexican government said in a statement.
    Hidalgo Governor Omar Fayad told local media that 15 or 16 out of the 17 fatalities were COVID-19 patients.    The media said the deaths occurred when flooding caused by days of rain knocked out electricity at the hospital.
    In pictures shared by Fayad on social media, desperate nurses were pushing beds out of the hospital to try to bring patients to safety.    Some nurses were up to their knees in water.
    Video footage also showed how patients, some of them intubated, were moved out into speedboats.
    President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Twitter urged residents at risk to seek out shelters, areas of higher ground or to go to friends or relatives.    “A lot of rain has fallen in the Valley of Mexico and it will keep raining,” he said.
(Reporting by Sharay Angulo, Lizbeth Diaz and Miguel Angel Gutierrez; Editing by Richard Chang and Grant McCool)

9/9/2021 Wildfire Raging In Southern Spain Forces Nearly 800 To Flee by Jon Nazca
A wildfire burns on Sierra Bermeja mountain in Estepona, Spain, September 9, 2021. REUTERS/Jon Nazca
    ESTEPONA, Spain (Reuters) - A wildfire has forced the evacuation of nearly 800 people from around the southern Spanish resort of Estepona, local authorities said on Thursday.
    The blaze started on Wednesday around 9:30 p.m. and has since burned through around 2,000 hectares (5,000 acres) of the densely forested area known as the Sierra Bermeja, according to the emergency services.
    A total of 779 people have been evacuated from four communities in Estepona, which is popular with British retirees and holidaymakers, and one in neighbouring Benahavis, authorities said.
    Local resident Cristina Zamora, 38, hurried through the streets with a large grey cat draped from her arm while a photographer helped her with another cat in a box.
    “I was at work so I came running back for the animals… I had to leave my parakeets behind,” she said.
    An elderly British resident who gave his name as Arthur ran through the village escorted by police before jumping into a car with his wife and dog.
    “It’s just one of those things… these things happen,” he said when asked if he was scared by the fire.
    A Reuters witness saw huge clouds of smoke billowing up from the forest and blowing towards the village of Las Abejeras in Estepona, which was evacuated on Wednesday night.
    About 200 firefighters are working to extinguish the fire, which has yet to be brought under control, Andalusia’s regional government said in a statement.
    Several roads, including a stretch of the AP-7 highway, which runs alongside the Mediterranean, were closed because of the blaze.
    As of late August, wildfires had ravaged 74,260 hectares (183,500 acres) in Spain, above the average of the last 10 years but still some way off the 190,000 hectares (469,500 acres) destroyed in 2012, the worst year in the past decade.
    Environment Ministry data show seven of the 10 hottest years on record in Spain occurred in the last decade.
    Unusually large wildfires have raged in various parts of the world this year, fuelled by extremely hot, dry conditions that experts say are symptomatic of climate change.
(Reporting by Jon Nazca; Additional reporting and writing by Inti Landauro, Emma Pinedo and Nathan Allen; editing by Andrei Khalip, Alistair Bell and Jonathan Oatis)

9/9/2021 IAEA To Send Experts To Japan In December To Review Fukushima Water Release Plan
FILE PHOTO: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grossi attends a news conference during
a board of governors meeting at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna, Austria, June 7, 2021. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
    TOKYO (Reuters) – A plan to release radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean will be examined in December by international experts sent by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Japan’s industry ministry said on Thursday.
    In a move that angered local fishermen as well as China and South Korea, Japan said in April that it would release into the sea more than 1 million tonnes of contaminated water from the Fukushima plant, which was wrecked by an earthquake and tsunami a decade ago.
    To gain trust and ensure transparency from the fishermen and neighbouring countries, Japan has sought IAEA officials to conduct a review to assess and advise on the handling of the water from the perspective of a nuclear expert organisation.
    The latest plan was set by the Japanese government and Lydie Evrard, deputy director general of the IAEA, who visited Japan this week to kick off discussions about their collaboration over the safety review of the planned water release.
    International experts will assess the condition of the water to be released, the safety of the disposal procedure and the effects of radiation in accordance with IAEA safety standards, the ministry said.
    “The main objective of our review is to be objective … and transparent with a scientific-based approach,” Evrard told reporters.
    International experts will be selected by IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi and will likely include experts from neighbouring nations such as China and South Korea, she said.
    Japan sought the IAEA’s cooperation to ensure transparency of the water release for local fishermen and the international community, especially neighbouring countries which are opposed to oceanic discharge.
    “The agency will listen to different concerns from various stakeholders,” Evrard said.
    Last month, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power outlined plans to discharge the water, after treatment and dilution, from a point about 1 km (0.6 miles) offshore from the Fukushima station.    The release could begin as early as spring in 2023.
    The IAEA will issue a report on the review before spring 2023 and continue safety reviews after the water release, Evrard said.
(Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; editing by David Evans)

9/9/2021 Russia’s Yakutia Province Governor Warns Of More Deadly Wildfires Next Year
FILE PHOTO: Specialists work to extinguish a wildfire in the region of Yakutia, Russia, in this
handout picture released August 17, 2021. Aerial Forest Protection Service/Handout via REUTERS
    VLADIVOSTOK, Russia (Reuters) – The governor of Russia’s northern province of Yakutia, which suffered from widespread wildfires this summer, warned of the risks of a similar disaster next year if unusually hot and dry weather persists.
    The vast swathes of Yakutia’s forest were engulfed by wildfires in the summer, with smoke reaching as far as the North Pole.
    According to the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology, the wildfires in Yakutia accounted for almost 80% of the country’s total.
    Fires tear through Russian forest land every year, but they have become more intense in recent seasons amid unusually high temperatures across the northern Siberian tundra.
    “I don’t think it will be worse, but it could be the same nest year,” the regional governor, Aisen Nikolayev, told Reuters on the sidelines of an economy forum in the city of Vladivostok last week.
    He blamed hot and dry weather for contributing to the wildfires.
    “We had only 2 millimetres of rain, while the norm is almost 40 millimetres.    That’s the whole story,” he said.
    Environmentalists fear the fires, fuelled by hot weather, may thaw the Siberian permafrost and peatlands, releasing even more climate-warming carbon that has long been stored in the frozen tundra.
    Yakutia is home to the village of Oymyakon, which, according to the Guinness Book of Records, is the coldest permanently inhabited place in the world, experiencing temperatures as low as -67.7°C (-90°F), last recorded in February 1933.
    Nikolayev said the problem of thawing permafrost was getting worse with every year and represented a danger for engineering structures.
    “We should preserve permafrost,” he said.
(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

9/10/2021 U.N. Chief Urges China, US To Keep Bilateral Spats Out Of Climate Fight by Michelle Nichols
FILE PHOTO: Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres addresses
the media in Brussels, Belgium June 24, 2021. John Thys/Pool via REUTERS
    UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged the United States and China on Friday to prevent any problems between the superpowers from harming cooperation to combat climate change ahead of the U.N. COP26 climate change conference next month.
    Ties between the world’s two biggest economies have been languishing at their lowest point in decades over issues ranging from human rights to transparency over the origins of COVID-19.
    “We understand that there are problems in the relations between the U.S. and China, but those problems do not interfere with the needs of both the U.S. and China to do everything possible to make sure that the COP is a success, independently of the relations between the two,” Guterres told reporters.
    During a visit to China last week by U.S. climate envoy John Kerry, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/china-holds-virtual-climate-meeting-with-us-describes-environment-policy-oasis-2021-09-02 climate change was an “oasis” in China-U.S. relations but could not be separated from broader disputes.
    U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping discussed climate change during a phone call https://www.reuters.com/world/china/biden-chinas-xi-discuss-managing-competition-avoiding-conflict-call-2021-09-10 on Thursday.    Xi said that if “core concerns” on both sides were respected, breakthroughs could still be made in the area of climate change.
    The COP26 meeting in Glasgow, Scotland, is seen as a critical chance to win more ambitious country-by-country commitments on achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and keeping the global average temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius this century.
    “We need a stronger engagement of the U.S., namely in financing for development, for climate-related development issues, mitigation, adaptation, and we need an additional effort from China in relation to emissions,” Guterres said on Friday.
    “But … we are talking about a multilateral process in which all countries must commit themselves, based on their own engagement with climate action,” he stressed.
(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

9/11/2021 Serbian Protesters Demand More Action To Stop Industrial Pollution
People attend a protest to urge Serbia's government to do more to prevent industrial
pollution, in Belgrade, Serbia, September 11, 2021. REUTERS/Marko Djurica
    BELGRADE (Reuters) – About 2,000 protesters marched through Belgrade on Saturday to urge Serbia’s government to do more to prevent industrial pollution, and some denounced plans by Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto to develop a lithium mine.
    Waving banners and white flags, the protesters blocked one of the main bridges in the capital for two hours, calling for more action against water, air and land pollution by industries such as mining and power production.
    “There is no forgiveness for poisoning nature.    That is the crime which cannot be forgiven,” declared one banner.
    Another said: “Rio Tinto go away.”
    Serbia has in recent years started selling mining resources to foreign companies, despite opposition by local residents warning that increased ore exploration could cause greater pollution.
    In July, Rio Tinto committed $2.4 billion to a project to explore and process lithium in Serbia.
    The Serbian government sees the project as a chance to boost the national economy but many Serbs fear it will damage the environment.
    Rio Tinto Serbia CEO Vesna Prodanovic has said the company will meet all European Union and Serbian environmental regulations, including on the treatment of wastewater.
    Coal-fired power plants and a copper mine run by China’s Zijin has also faced criticism.
    According to a World Health Organization study published in 2019, air pollution was the main cause of some 6,600 deaths in Serbia annually.
    The former Yugoslav republic, which in the 1990s went through a decade of wars and economic crisis, has lacked resources to tackle pollution.    As it seeks to join the EU, Serbia will need billions of euros of investment to meet the bloc’s environmental standards.
    “I came here to support this wider protest for our air, water and environment,” said Jovana Stefanovic, a pensioner.     “Natural resources are getting scarce and we need to be careful about it.”
    “I came here today to make Rio Tinto leave,” said another protester, Danica Vujicic.    “We have to put an end to it (pollution), otherwise our children will not have a future.”
(Reporting by Ivana Sekularac, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

9/11/2021 Anger As Spanish Wildfire Blazes For Fourth Day by Mariano Valladolid and John Nazca
A helicopter makes a water drop over a wildfire on Sierra Bermeja mountain, in
Genalguacil, near Estepona, Spain, September 11, 2021. REUTERS/Jon Nazca
    ESTEPONA, Spain (Reuters) – A wildfire raging close to a popular Costa del Sol resort was still active on Saturday, and locals spoke of their anger about the blaze, which is believed to have been started deliberately.
    Andalucia’s regional forest fire agency said conditions had improved overnight, and over 400 firefighters supported by 41 helicopters were working to tackle the blaze.
    Fanned by strong winds and high late-summer temperatures, the flames have driven over 1,000 people from their homes and killed one emergency worker since they erupted on Wednesday in the mountainous Sierra Bermeja above Estepona, a Mediterranean resort favoured by British tourists and retirees.
    The regional forest fire agency on Saturday asked residents in two local towns, Jubrique and Genalguacil, to remain indoors because of the danger of low-lying smoke in the area.
    “Since the fire started, we haven’t slept for days.    It’s awful,” said visibly shaken local resident Pepa Rubio, 64.
    Regional environment chief Carmen Crespo said on Friday the blaze appeared to have been started deliberately and investigators were working to uncover more details.
    Andalusia’s regional president Juanma Moreno visited the area on Saturday and vowed to catch those responsible.
    “It could take a month, two months or a year, but we’ll bring them to justice,” he tweeted.
(Writing by Jessica Jones; Editing by Christina Fincher)

9/11/2021 1 Dead, 10 Missing Landslide In Mexico City by OAN Newsroom
Boulders that plunged from a mountainside rests among homes in Tlalnepantla, on the outskirts of Mexico City, when a mountain gave
way on Friday, Sept. 10, 2021. A section of mountain on the outskirts of Mexico City gave way Friday, plunging rocks the size of
small homes onto a densely populated neighborhood and leaving at least one person dead and 10 others missing. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)
    The search has continued for 10 missing Mexico City residents following a devastating landslide, which killed at least one person.    Rescue crews sifted through the three-story pile of rubble on Saturday as they continued to search for survivors of a massive landslide.
    As a result of the landslide, four homes were buried in Mexico’s capital city.
    “Unfortunately, one person was found dead. One person has already been rescued and is in hospital,” stated State of Mexico Gov. Alfredo del Mazo Maza.    “The search for more people that could be there is continuing.”
Firefighters scale a three-story pile of rocks in Tlalnepantla, on the outskirts of Mexico City, when a mountain gave way on
Friday, Sept. 10, 2021, plunging rocks the size of small homes onto a densely populated neighborhood. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)
    Officials pointed to heavy rains in central Mexico and a recent 7.0 magnitude earthquake as reasons for the slide.
    “Everyone is working in a coordinated way.    Firstly, to help in the rescue of those people who could be under the rocks.    A landslide that could have happened because of the rain, because of the earthquake that happened from just days ago,” Maza explained.    “We have been informed that four homes have been affected at the moment.”
    The Mexican National Guard has been deployed as local officials locked down the surrounding area over fears the shifting of rubble could trigger more slides.

9/12/2021 Strong Typhoon Cuts Power, Causes Flooding In Northern Philippines
Debris are seen in a building after Typhoon Chanthu passed through Sabtang, Batanes, Philippines,
in this September 12, 2021 image obtained via social media. DENNIS BALLESTEROS VALDEZ via REUTERS
    MANILA (Reuters) – Several communities remain flooded and without power after a strong typhoon battered the Philippines’ northernmost islands, the authorities said on Sunday, displacing thousands of people.
    Typhoon Chanthu, which at one point was categorised by the Philippine weather bureau as a category 5 storm, has weakened after powering into the northernmost region, including the Batanes island group, on Saturday, the weather bureau said.
    “It’s one of the strongest typhoons I’ve felt,” said Dennis Ballesteros Valdez, a resident of Sabtang town in the province of Batanes, which is often pummelled by powerful typhoons.
    “It could have been more destructive if the houses were not built as strong,” Valdez said.
    Footage taken by Valdez showed powerful winds and rains battering houses in Sabtang on Saturday morning.
    More than 11,000 people have been affected by the typhoon, with more than 1,000 still in evacuation centers, the disaster agency said in a report.    No casualties have been reported yet.
    Chanthu has been downgraded to category 3, according to Tropical Storm Risk, as it brushed Taiwan and drenched the island with heavy rain.
    Some 20 typhoons hit the Philippines on average each year, according to the weather authorities.
(Reporting by Peter Blaza; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

9/13/2021 Tropical Storm Nicholas Could Make Landfall As Hurricane by OAN Newsroom
This satellite image provided by NOAA shows Tropical Storm Nicholas in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021. Tropical storm
warnings have been issued for coastal Texas and the northeast coast of Mexico. Nicholas is expected to produce storm total rainfall of 5 to 10 inches,
with isolated maximum amounts of 15 inches, across portions of coastal Texas into southwest Louisiana. (NOAA via AP)
    The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is warning residents in Texas and Louisiana that Tropical Storm Nicholas could make landfall as a hurricane.    The NHC said Nicholas has been moving erratically off the the northeastern coast shore of Mexico and is expected to strengthen on its way inland toward Texas Monday.
    Officials have reported several roads have been closed in Corpus Christi due to flooding.    Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said resources have been allocated to local officials in preparation for the storm and he asked that all residence take extra safety precautions.
    Forecasts predict heavy rainfall, gusty winds and potentially dangerous storm surges will impact parts of both Texas and Louisiana through the middle of the week.    This has prompted a Hurricane Watch for parts of the Texas coast.    Additionally, a Flash Flood Watch is in effect for at least 8 million people from the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas to southwestern Louisiana.

[WELL HERE WE GO AGAIN JUST LIKE THE GEORGE SOROS CARAVANS FROM 3 SOUTH AMERICA COUNTRIES WHICH BROUGHT MEASLES AND MUMPS IN TO AFFECT OUR CHILDREN AND AGAIN WITH THE RECENT OPENING OF OUR SOUTHERN BORDERS INTO THE U.S. NOW THE STUPID DEMOCRATS WHO NEVER LEARN ANYTHING BECAUSE THEY ARE TO BUSY DOING THEIR USUAL CORRUPTION FOR THE U.S. AND THEY WERE JUST ABOUT TO DO THE SAME THING FROM AFGHANISTAN AND THEY HAVE NOT CONSIDERED WHAT ELSE THEY MAY HAVE DONE BUT IF IT’S A DISEASE THAT ONLY KILLS DEMOCRATS IT IS OKAY.].
9/14/2021 CDC Orders Afghan Flights To U.S. To Halt Amid Measles Outbreak by OAN Newsroom
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby speaks during a press briefing at the
Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
    U.S. bound flights for Afghan evacuees have been paused due to a measles outbreak.    The Biden administration made the announcement on Monday, which could stall evacuee relocation for up to a week.
    As many as 12,000 refugees will remain in Air Force bases in Germany and Qatar, while the CDC attempts to stop the spread as soon as possible.    Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby explained the discovery of stateside cases.
    “There have been five diagnosed cases of measles among new arrivals so far and we are closely monitoring just in case more emerged,” he stated.    “We already announced one case that was confirmed last week at Fort McCoy and three cases were confirmed on Thursday night among new arrivals who flew into Dulles Airport here in the D.C. area.”
    Infected evacuees already in America will be quarantined while the CDC will be performing contact tracing to try to identify any future cases.    Measles vaccines are now mandatory for all refugees before coming to the U.S.
    “So all arriving Afghans are currently required to be vaccinated for measles as a condition of their humanitarian parole and critical immunizations, including MMR, are being administered for Afghans at safe havens on military bases in the United States,” Kirby continued.    “We will soon be vaccinating Afghans for MMR while they are still overseas.”
    Evacuee relocation could be stalled for more than a week.

9/14/2021 Nicholas Downgraded To Tropical Storm After Landfall In Texas As Hurricane by OAN Newsroom
A surfer tries to paddle through the surf as wind and rain from Tropical Storm Nicholas batters
the area Tropical Storm Nicholas batters the area. (Jon Shapley/Houston Chronicle via AP Photo)
    Tropical Storm Nicholas was downgraded after making landfall in Texas as a Category One hurricane.    Heavy rainfall and thunderstorms were already battering the state before the storm struck near Sargent Beach just an hour south of Houston early Tuesday morning.
    As a result, more than 500,000 customers are without electricity in Southeast Texas and Houston with tropical storm warnings in effect.     Officials are warning about life-threatening flash floods in the coming days.
    Kenny Mercado, the Executive Vice President of CenterPoint Energy assured that they are committed to restoring service to customers as safely and quickly as possible.
    “However, patience will be important as some areas of our system and equipment may be difficult to reach for our crews due to safety-related issues, such as downed trees,” he explained.
    Forecasts predict Nicholas will weaken to a Tropical Depression by Wednesday, however, as it continues moving northeast over Texas and Louisiana.

9/15/2021 Analysis-China’s Hard Climate Stance With U.S. Imperils Glasgow Talks by David Stanway and Muyu Xu
FILE PHOTO: A man walks near a coal-fired power plant in Harbin, Heilongjiang province,
China November 27, 2019. Picture taken November 27, 2019. REUTERS/Jason Lee
    SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s refusal to accept requests for deeper carbon emissions cuts during recent visits from the top climate envoys of the United States and Britain may undermine progress at the upcoming global climate summit in Glasgow in November, experts say.
    China rebuffed U.S. envoy John Kerry’s appeal to strengthen its emissions goals ahead of the COP26 summit by saying climate could not be separated from the wider breakdown in the countries’ relationship.
    This shift in China’s tone on climate relations between the world’s two biggest greenhouse gas emitters has sapped momentum for the Glasgow talks and contrasts with the cooperation between the two countries in 2015 that paved the way for the landmark Paris climate agreement.
    China no longer feels obliged to consider requests for deeper carbon cuts after former President Donald Trump rejected U.S. climate change commitments, most notably by withdrawing from the Paris accord, especially after relations between the two countries deteriorated during Trump’s term over trade, human rights and geopolitical issues, experts say.
    China and the U.S. still have an understanding on climate issues but “the bigger problem now is the difference in the political positions of the two sides,” said Zou Ji, the president of Energy Foundation China who was part of China’s delegation at the 2015 Paris talks.
    “The balance of power and influence of the two sides has changed.”
    The United States says China, the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter, has not done enough despite pledging to bring emissions to “net zero” by 2060.    They want China to pledge to reach peak emissions earlier and do more to cut coal consumption, a key source of greenhouse gases.
    However, China argues its current commitments are strong.
    President Xi Jinping has repeatedly promised to “increase the strength” of its nationally determined contributions (NDC), the emissions goals that each country must submit under the Paris accords, to reflect China’s commitment to reach the 2060 “net zero” target.
    China’s top climate envoy Xie Zhenhua said in August that China had already strengthened other pledges, including a new renewable energy target and a commitment to bring emissions to a peak “before” 2030 instead of “around” 2030.
    China has also said it will cut coal consumption starting in 2026 and produce 25% of its energy from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030.
OVERSEAS PRESSURE
    The Chinese government is unwilling to be seen buckling to overseas pressure on the coal consumption cuts, U.S. diplomatic sources said.    China is the world’s biggest coal user and the industry employs many workers.
    “Amid all the uncertainties, one thing has become clear – Beijing will not give in to foreign powers,” said Li Shuo, a climate expert with Greenpeace.    “The best way to propel Chinese climate action is to align it with China’s self-interest.”
    China must submit updated NDCs before the COP26 begins.    But, rather than introduce new pledges, analysts expect them to provide more details about how existing long-term targets, described by Premier Li Keqiang as extremely arduous, can be achieved.
    Environmental think-tanks, such as the Innovative Green Development Program (IGDP) base in Beijing, say the government may update China’s NDCs to include a 2025 energy consumption cap, more action on greenhouse gases other than carbon dioxide, as well as a “roadmap” to achieve existing targets.
    Last week, the China Center for International Cooperation on Environment and Development, a government advisory body, also recommended China set a 2025 total emissions cap.
    However, it is uncertain if the government will make bigger changes in the NDCs and China’s comments following the meetings with Kerry are not a cause for optimism.
    The U.S. had hoped to keep climate discussions as “standalone” issues from other items such as its support for Taiwan and allegations of human rights abuses in Xinjiang.
    But senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi told Kerry during their meeting that the “oasis” of climate cooperation could not be separated from the diplomatic “desert” between them.
    For its part, China could seek exemptions from a new European carbon border tax and push richer countries to fulfil financing pledges to developed nations, analysts said.
    Beijing will also seek reassurances that Washington can meet its own pledges, said Zou at the Energy Foundation China.
    “If Trump or someone with the same views returns, then it is a matter of concern to everyone whether U.S. climate policy will experience another twist,” he said.
    Alex Wang, an expert in environmental law at the University of California, Los Angeles, said the best way the United States could influence China’s climate actions was by example.
    “The U.S. critiques are not surprising and point to real areas where China needs to do better,” he said.    “But the United States has also not done nearly enough. One of the best ways the United States could exert pressure now is by taking decisive and durable climate action at home.”
(Reporting by David Stanway and Muyu Xu; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)

9/16/2021 U.N. Says World Likely To Miss Climate Targets Despite COVID Pause In Emissions
FILE PHOTO: A truck engine is tested for pollution exiting its exhaust pipe near
the Mexican-U.S. border in Otay Mesa, California September 10, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Blake/
    ZURICH (Reuters) – The pace of climate change has not been slowed by the global COVID-19 pandemic and the world remains behind in its battle to cut carbon emissions, the United Nations said on Thursday.
    The virus-related economic downturn caused only a temporary downturn in CO2 emissions last year and it was not enough to reverse the rising levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said.
    Reduction targets are not being met and there is a rising likelihood the world will miss its Paris Agreement target of reducing global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the WMO said in its United in Science 2021 Report.
    “This is a critical year for climate action,” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, saying the results were an “alarming appraisal of just how far off course we are.”
    “This year has seen fossil fuel emissions bounce back, greenhouse gas concentrations continuing to rise and severe human-enhanced weather events that have affected health, lives and livelihoods on every continent,” he said.
    Concentrations in the atmosphere of the major greenhouse gases – CO2, methane and nitrous oxide – continued to increase in 2020 and the first half of 2021, the U.N. said.
    The average global temperature for the past five years was among the highest on record, estimated at 1.06C to 1.26C above pre-industrial levels.
    There is now a 40% chance that average global temperature in one of the next five years will be at least 1.5C warmer than pre-industrial levels, the report said.
    “Unless there are immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, limiting warming to 1.5C will be impossible, with catastrophic consequences for people and the planet on which we depend,” Guterres said.
    The United in Science 2021 report presents the latest scientific data and findings related to climate change.
    “Throughout the pandemic we have heard that we must build back better to set humanity on a more sustainable path and to avoid the worst impacts of climate change on society and economies,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.
    “This report shows that so far in 2021 we are not going in the right direction,” he said.
(Reporting by John Revill; Editing by Edmund Blair)

9/16/2021 SpaceX Launches First All-Civilian Space Mission To Go To Orbit by OAN Newsroom
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, with four private citizens onboard, lifts off in this time-exposure photo from
Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39-A, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
    SpaceX launched the first all-civilian spacecraft to enter Earth’s orbit from Cape Canaveral, Florida.    Dubbed the Resilience, the Falcon 9 vessel took off from the Kennedy Space Center on Wednesday.
    While calling themselves the Inspiration4, the astronauts will stay in Earth’s orbit for three days and conduct research “to advance human health on Earth” and for future space flights.    This launch is the first to allow civilians to go beyond suborbital levels in space.
    Benjamin Reed, SpaceX’s Director of Crew Mission Management, gave reference points for the crew’s journey.
    “This is significant and historic because it’s going to be the highest that any humans have gone into orbit since the Hubble servicing missions,” he explained.    “And, in fact, they’ll be above the current orbit of the Hubble and above the current orbit of the International Space Station.”
    The private citizen crew consists of a variety of backgrounds, including an internet executive, a jet pilot and an engineer.    Hayley Arceneaux, the chief medical officer, is the youngest American to go to space.    The astronaut described the research that will be conducted while in the cosmos.
    “I’m so excited about the medical research that we’re going to be doing on this flight and we’re going to be collecting a lot of swabs to learn about the microbiome, how that changes in flight,” she stated.    “We’re going to be performing ultrasounds, evaluate for fluid shifts as well as performing some cognitive tests in setting radiation effects of going to our high altitude.”
    Arceneaux is a survivor of childhood bone cancer.    Additionally, the mission will raise awareness and funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.    The Inspiration4 has a fundraising goal of $200 million in donations for the hospital.
    SpaceX was founded by Tesla CEO Elon Musk and has assisted in several government missions.    However, space tourism and a Mars landing are not outside of the company’s future aspirations.
    Mission Control plans for the Inspiration4 crew to land safely off the coast of Florida after completing their objectives.

9/16/2021 Indonesia Court Finds President Negligent In Air Pollution Lawsuit by Kate Lamb and Agustinus Beo Da Costa
FILE PHOTO: Plants are seen on a rooftop as smog covers Jakarta, Indonesia, June 24, 2021. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan
    JAKARTA (Reuters) – An Indonesian court ordered on Thursday President Joko Widodo and other senior government officials to improve the hazardous air quality of the capital Jakarta after finding them guilty of environmental negligence in a civil lawsuit.
    The citizen lawsuit was filed in 2019 against the president, the ministers of health, environment and home affairs, as well as other prominent local leaders.
    The 32 plaintiffs said the lawsuit was a last-ditch attempt to compel authorities to take action against severe air pollution in the bustling metropolis of Jakarta and its surrounds, an area home to more than 30 million people.
    In its verdict, judges at the Central Jakarta District Court said the actions of the defendants had contravened the law.
    The ruling obliges the president to establish national air quality standards to protect human health, and the health minister and Jakarta governor to devise strategies to control air pollution.
    “The defendants were found to be negligent at controlling air pollution.    We appreciate the verdict, and we are satisfied,” Ayu Eza     Tiara, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs told Reuters.
    The court also ordered the defendants to take other measures, including an analysis of cross border emissions, and for older vehicles to be periodically tested for emissions.
    Presidential spokesman Fadjroel Rahman said decisions regarding any further action would fall on the environment minister.
    In a message on Twitter, Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan said his administration would not appeal and was ready to implement the ruling to achieve cleaner air in the capital.
    The environment ministry, the home affairs ministry, and the health ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
    Rapid urbanisation and chronic traffic in Jakarta, along with nearby coal-fired power plants, have contributed to the poor air quality, according to the Center on Energy and Clean Air (CREA).
    In the trial, the plaintiffs argued that authorities had been negligent by failing to protect citizens, pointing to scientific research that air pollution could cause conditions such as asthma, heart disease and lower life expectancy.
    IQAir’s World Air Quality report for 2020 said Jakarta was the ninth-worst capital city globally in terms of levels of PM.2.5, or fine particulate matter, an air pollutant that can be dangerous to human health in high levels.
    Delhi and Dhaka topped the global ranking, but the index showed that Jakarta was the worst in Southeast Asia.
(Reporting by Agustinus Beo Da Costa and Kate Lamb in Sydney; Editing by Martin Petty and Ed Davies)

9/17/2021 Scientists spot unusually large hole in ozone by ASSOCIATED PRESS
    BERLIN – Scientists say the hole in the Earth’s protective ozone layer over the Southern Hemisphere is larger than usual this year and already surpasses the size of Antarctica.
    The European Union’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service said Thursday that the so-called ozone hole, which appears every year during the Southern Hemisphere spring, has grown considerably in the past week following an average start.
    “Forecasts show that this year’s hole has evolved into a rather larger than usual one,” said Vincent-Henri Peuch, who heads the EU’s satellite monitoring service.
    Atmospheric ozone absorbs ultraviolet light coming from the sun.    Its absence means more of this high-energy radiation reaches the Earth, where it can harm living cells.
    Peuch noted that last year’s ozone hole also started out as unremarkable but then turned into one of the longest- lasting on record.
    The Montreal Protocol, signed in 1987, led to a ban on a group of chemicals called halocarbons that were blamed for exacerbating the annual ozone hole.

9/17/2021 UN Faces $100 Trln Shortfall In Fight Against Climate Change, Inequality – Report by Simon Jessop
FILE PHOTO: An internally displaced woman from drought hit area carries a jerrycan of water as she walks towards
her shelter at a makeshift settlement area in Dollow, Somalia April 4, 2017. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra/File Photo
    LONDON (Reuters) - Global goals tackling poverty, inequality, injustice and climate change face a $100 trillion funding shortfall and are likely to be missed unless 10% of global economic output is directed to the U.N. targets every year to 2030, a report on Friday said.
    The U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals set targets on everything from the environment to health and equality and have the support of all member states, yet the supply of finance from governments, investors, banks and companies to help meet them has consistently fallen short.
    Hampered by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the annual shortfall is now up to $10 trillion a year, according to a landmark report by the Force for Good Initiative, collaborating with the United Nations and the finance industry, shared with Reuters.
    “Humanity is at a crossroads.    More than ever, all stakeholders must partner to ensure this crisis is the beginning of a new economics for sustainable development with prosperity for all,” said Chantal Line Carpentier, Chief, UN Conference on Trade and Development in the New York Office of the Secretary-General.
    Adding the costs of financing the global transition to a low-carbon economy to limit global warming, and total funding out to 2050 comes in at $200-$220 trillion, the report added.
    The SDGs are a global “to-do” list addressing such issues as war, hunger, land degradation, gender equality and climate.
    While more than 1.1 billion people have been lifted out of extreme poverty since 1990, failure to accelerate efforts on the SDGs risked fuelling conflict and crises, they said.
    After a slow start, the world’s finance industry has begun to do more, with $9.5 trillion committed to 2030 and a record $2.1 trillion deployed in 2020. However there are imbalances in the way the money is being invested, the report said.
    While climate change-related goals represented 20% of the funding gap, the theme was currently attracting 44% of the committed capital, the report said.    By contrast, human, economic and social-related goals made up more than half of the funding gap but were taking in just 32% of current funding.
    “The financial sector is playing a rapidly expanding role in financing the SDGs and the transition to a sustainable digital future,” said Ketan Patel, Chairman of Force for Good and CEO and Co-Founder of Greater Pacific Capital.
    “However, with less than ten years to go, there is a pressing need to explore even bigger and more radical solutions than those being deployed today.”
    Among other leading financial companies involved in the initiative include BlackRock, JPMorgan, Bridgewater Associates and Schroders, the report said.
(Reporting by Simon Jessop, Editing by William Maclean)

9/17/2021 Biden Asks World Leaders To Cut Methane In Climate Fight by Jeff Mason and Alexandra Alper
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the economy during a speech in the
East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., September 16, 2021. REUTERS/Leah Millis
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden urged world leaders on Friday to join the United States and European Union in a pledge to cut methane emissions, hoping to build momentum before an international summit on climate change begins next month.
    Biden made the remarks during a virtual meeting of the Major Economies Forum (MEF), a follow-up to an Earth Day meeting he hosted in April https://www.reuters.com/article/us-global-climate-summit-idCAKBN2CA0DK to unveil new U.S. greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets and press other countries to do more to curb theirs.
    The United Kingdom heeded the call, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledging to be among the first signatories of the Global Methane Pledge to reduce emissions of the harmful gas.
    Tackling climate change is one of Biden’s top domestic and international priorities, and the U.N. COP26 climate conference in Glasgow from Oct. 31 to Nov. 12 is seen as a critical moment for the world to commit to doing more to halt rising temperatures.
    The United Nations said on Thursday the pace of climate change had not been slowed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the world was losing its battle https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/un-says-world-likely-miss-climate-targets-despite-covid-pause-emissions-2021-09-16 to cut emissions enough to cap global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Scientists say this is the ceiling to avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change.
    Biden asked other nations Friday to join a pact agreed by the United States and the EU to aim to reduce global methane emissions by at least 30 percent below 2020 levels by 2030.
    “This will not only rapidly reduce the rate of global warming, but … it will also produce a very valuable side benefit like improving public health and agricultural output,” Biden told the leaders.
    “We believe the collective goal is both ambitious but realistic, and we urge you to join us in announcing this pledge at COP26,” Biden said.
    Globally, methane emissions are responsible https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/save-planet-focus-cutting-methane-un-climate-report-2021-08-09 for around 30% of warming since the pre-industrial era, according to the United Nations.    A recent report by U.N. climate scientists said that cutting methane emissions is the fastest way to slow down global warming.
    After pledging the U.K.’s commitment to the goal, Johnson urged other nations to make good use of the lead-up to the next climate summit.
    “Over the next 1,000 hours between now and everyone coming to COP26, we must do the work that will allow us to come to Glasgow bearing the ambitious NDCs – Nationally Determined Contributions – and rock-solid commitments on coal, cars and trees,” Johnson said, pointing to the importance of securing funds to spur compliance by poorer nations.
    “We must get serious about filling the $100 billion pot that the developing world needs in order to do its bit.”
    Leaders from Argentina, Bangladesh, Indonesia, South Korea, Mexico, Britain, and the European Union took part in the MEF, along with United Nations Secretary General António Guterres, the White House said.
    The April summit included remarks from China’s President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other top world leaders.
    Biden said he wanted to use the MEF to complement other climate change forums and his team, including climate envoy John Kerry, is working to push countries to set ambitious targets for cutting their greenhouse gas emissions.
    “Whatever commitments we make at COP26, we must all resolve together in Glasgow to continue strengthening our ambition and our actions … to keep us … below 1.5 degrees and keep that within reach,” Biden said.
    Leaders and activists warned of potentially disastrous consequences.
    “Under current policies, we’ll reach almost 3 degrees of global warming by the end of the century,” Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said, according to remarks released by his office.    “The consequences of such an increase in global temperatures would be catastrophic.”
    Biden announced in April a new target to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions 50%-52% by 2030 compared with 2005 levels.    Biden has been emphasizing climate change repeatedly in recent weeks in the wake of damage from devastating floods and wildfires across the United States.
(Reporting by Jeff Mason and Alexandra Alper; additional reporting by Valerie Volcivici and Crispian Balmer; editing by Richard Pullin, Heather Timmons, William Maclean and Philippa Fletcher)

9/18/2021 Philippines Divers Clear Plastic Waste From Corals For World Cleanup Day by Peter Blaza
Diving instructor Carmela Sevilla holds a mesh bag filled with trash during an underwater
cleanup drive in Bauan, Batangas Province, Philippines, September 18, 2021. REUTERS/Peter Blaza
    MANILA (Reuters) – Divers in the Philippines pulled plastic bags, drinks bottles and fishing nets from a coral reef on Saturday, joining an annual cleanup that aims to highlight the impact of garbage on the world’s oceans.
    About a dozen divers cleared rubbish from the reef and nearby beaches as they marked World Cleanup Day in Batangas province, a popular spot for snorkelling and diving south of the capital, Manila.
    “For every fishing line or net that you remove, you could actually prevent a turtle from dying or getting caught in it or eating a plastic bag,” organiser Carmela Sevilla told Reuters, holding up a mesh bag full of garbage.
    The Philippines, an archipelago of more than 7,600 islands with nearly 36,300 km (22,555 miles) of coastline, is one of the world’s most marine resource-rich countries.
    But campaigners say its marine resources are threatened by the neglect of local authorities and lax implementation of environmental laws.
    Another of the clean-up participants, Haley Osbourne, 35, a Canadian who has lived in the Philippines five years, said all divers should do their bit by picking up any rubbish they come across while underwater.
    Most of the plastic trash blighting the world’s oceans comes from rivers and coastlines.
    Of the total, 81% percent is estimated to come from Asia, with a third of the Asian plastic originating in the Philippines, according to a 2021 report by Our World in Data, a scientific online publication.
    World Cleanup Day is held annually on the third Saturday of September.
(Reporting by Peter Blaza; Writing by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Helen Popper)

9/19/2021 World Leaders Return To U.N. With Focus On Pandemic, Climate by Michelle Nichols
FILE PHOTO: The United Nations headquarters is seen during the 75th annual U.N. General Assembly high-level debate, which is being held
mostly virtually due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in New York, U.S., September 21, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo
    UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – World leaders are returning to the United Nations in New York this week with a focus on boosting efforts to fight both climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic, which last year forced them to send video statements for the annual gathering.
    As the coronavirus still rages amid an inequitable vaccine rollout, about a third of the 193 U.N. states are planning to again send videos, but presidents, prime ministers and foreign ministers for the remainder are due to travel to the United States.
    The United States tried to dissuade leaders from coming to New York in a bid to stop the U.N. General Assembly from becoming a “super-spreader event,” although President Joe Biden will address the assembly in person, his first U.N. visit since taking office.    A so-called U.N. honor system means that anyone entering the assembly hall effectively declares they are vaccinated, but they do not have to show proof.
    This system will be broken when the first country speaks – Brazil.    Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is a vaccine skeptic, who last week declared that he does not need the shot because he is already immune after being infected with COVID-19.
    Should he change his mind, New York City has set up a van outside the United Nations for the week to supply free testing and free shots of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
    U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told Reuters that the discussions around how many traveling diplomats might have been immunized illustrated “how dramatic the inequality is today in relation to vaccination.”    He is pushing for a global plan to vaccinate 70% of the world by the first half of next year.
    Out of 5.7 billion doses of coronavirus vaccines administered around the world, only 2% have been in Africa. Biden will host a virtual meeting from Washington with leaders and chief executives on Wednesday that aims to boost the distribution of vaccines globally.
    Demonstrating U.S. COVID-19 concerns about the U.N. gathering, Biden will be in New York only for about 24 hours, meeting with Guterres on Monday and making his first U.N. address on Tuesday, directly after Bolsonaro.
    His U.N. envoy, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said Biden would “speak to our top priorities: ending the COVID-19 pandemic; combating climate change … and defending human rights, democracy, and the international rules-based order.”
    Due to the pandemic, U.N. delegations are restricted to much smaller numbers and most events on the sidelines will be virtual or a hybrid of virtual and in-person.    Among other topics that ministers are expected to discuss during the week are Afghanistan and Iran.
    But before the annual speeches begin, Guterres and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will start the week with a summit on Monday to try and save a U.N. summit – that kicks off in Glasgow, Scotland, on Oct. 31 – from failure.
    As scientists warn that global warming is dangerously close to spiraling out of control, the U.N. COP26 conference aims to wring much more ambitious climate action and the money to go with it from participants around the globe.
    “It’s time to read the alarm bell,” Guterres told Reuters last week.    “We are on the verge of the abyss.”
(Reporting by Michelle Nichols, additional reporting by Anthony Boadle; editing by Leslie Adler)

9/19/2021 SpaceX Capsule With World’s First All-Civilian Orbital Crew Returns Safely by Steve Gorman
The quartet of newly minted citizen astronauts comprising the SpaceX Inspiration4 mission safely splashes down in SpaceX's Crew
Dragon capsule off the coast of Kennedy Space Center, Florida, U.S. September 18, 2021. SpaceX/Handout via REUTERS
    (Reuters) -The quartet of newly minted citizen astronauts comprising the SpaceX Inspiration4 mission safely splashed down in the Atlantic off Florida’s coast on Saturday, completing a three-day flight of the first all-civilian crew ever sent into Earth orbit.
    The successful launch and return of the mission, the latest in a recent string of rocket-powered expeditions bankrolled by their billionaire passengers, marked another milestone in the fledgling industry of commercial astro-tourism, 60 years after the dawn of human spaceflight.
    “Welcome to the second space age,” Todd “Leif” Ericson, mission director for the Inspiration4 venture, told reporters on a conference call after the crew returned.
    SpaceX, the private rocketry company founded by Tesla Inc electric automaker CEO Elon Musk, supplied the spacecraft, launched it, controlled its flight and handled the splashdown recovery operation.
    The three-day mission ended as the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, dubbed Resilience, parachuted into calm seas around 7 p.m. EDT (2300 GMT), shortly before sunset, following an automated reentry descent, as shown during a live SpaceX webcast on its YouTube channel.
    Within an hour the four smiling crew members were seen emerging one by one from the capsule’s side hatch after the vehicle, visibly scorched on its exterior, was hoisted from the ocean to the deck of a SpaceX recovery vessel.
    Each of the four https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/science/profiles-first-all-civilian-space-crew-headed-orbit-2021-09-15 stood on the deck for a few moments in front of the capsule to wave and give thumbs-up before being escorted to a medical station on board for checkups at sea.    Afterward they were flown by helicopter back to Cape Canaveral for reunions with loved ones.
SEARING REENTRY
    The return from orbit followed a plunge through Earth’s atmosphere generating frictional heat that sent temperatures surrounding the outside of the capsule soaring to 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit (1,900 degrees Celsius).    The astronauts’ flight suits, fitted to special ventilation systems, were designed to keep them cool if the cabin heated up.
    Applause was heard from the SpaceX flight control center in suburban Los Angeles as the first parachutes were seen deploying, slowing the capsule’s descent to about 15 miles per hour (25 kph) before splashdown, with another round of cheers as the craft hit the water.
    The astronauts were cheered again as they stepped onto the deck of the recovery ship.
    First out was Hayely Arceneaux, 29, a physician assistant at St. Jude Children’s Research Center in Tennessee, a childhood bone cancer survivor herself who became the youngest person ever reach Earth orbit on the Inspiration4 mission.
    She was followed in rapid succession by geoscientist and former NASA astronaut candidate Sian Proctor, 51, aerospace data engineer and Air Force veteran Chris Sembroski, 42, and finally the crew’s billionaire benefactor and “mission commander” Jared Isaacman, 38.
    “That was a heck of a ride for us,” Isaacman, chief executive of the e-commerce firm Shift4 Payments Inc, radioed from inside the capsule moments after splashdown.    “We’re just getting started.”
    He had paid an undisclosed sum – put by Time magazine at roughly $200 million – to fellow billionaire Musk for all four seats aboard the Crew Dragon.
    The Inspiration4 team blasted off on Wednesday from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral atop one of SpaceX’s two-stage reusable Falcon 9 rockets.
HIGHEST ORBIT SINCE APOLLO
    Within three hours the crew capsule had reached a cruising orbital altitude of 585 km, or just over 363 miles – higher than the International Space Station or Hubble Space Telescope, and the farthest any human has flown from Earth since NASA’s Apollo moon program ended in 1972.
    It also marked the debut flight of Musk’s new space tourism business and a leap ahead of competitors likewise offering rides on rocket ships to well-heeled customers willing to pay a small fortune to experience the exhilaration of spaceflight and earn amateur astronaut wings.
    Musk’s company already ranks as the best-established player in the burgeoning constellation of commercial rocket ventures, having launched numerous cargo payloads and astronauts to the space station for NASA.
    Two rival operators, Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc and Blue Origin, inaugurated their own space tourism services in recent months, with their respective founding executives, billionaires Richard Branson and Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, each going along for the ride.
    Those suborbital flights, lasting a matter of minutes, were short hops compared with Inspiration4’s three days in orbit.
    Isaacman conceived of Inspiration4 primarily to raise awareness and donations for St. Jude, one of his favorite causes, where Arceneaux now works.    Ericson said the flight had so far raised $160 million for the cancer institute, including $100 million donated by Isaacman at the outset.
    The Inspiration4 crew had no part to play in flying the spacecraft, which was controlled by ground-based flight teams and onboard guidance systems, although Isaacman and Proctor are both licensed pilots.
    But Ericson insisted the crew had “the same training and the same control and authority that NASA astronauts have” to intervene in the Crew Dragon’s operation in the event of an emergency.
    SpaceX’s human-spaceflight chief, Benji Reed, marveled at how little went wrong during the flight, citing just two problems he described as minor and easily resolved – a malfunctioning fan in the crew’s toilet system and a faulty temperature sensor on one of the spacecraft’s engines.
    The level of “space adaption syndrome” experienced by the crew – vertigo and motion sickness while acclimating to a microgravity environment – was “pretty much on target with what NASA astronauts do,” Ericson said.
    All four had appeared relaxed and energetic during a number of live video appearances they made for Earth-bound audiences during their flight, from performing zero-G somersaults in the cabin to strumming a ukulele https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/science/all-civilian-inspiration4-crew-shows-off-zero-gravity-orbit-2021-09-18.
(Writing and additional reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Daniel Wallis, David Gregorio and William Mallard)

9/19/2021 Lava Shoots Up From Volcano On La Palma In Spain’s Canary Islands by Borja Suarez
    An aerial view of San Antonio Volcano in the foreground and Teneguia Volcano
in the background, on the Canary Island of La Palma, Spain, September 17, 2021. REUTERS/Borja Suarez
    LA PALMA, Spain (Reuters) -A volcano erupted on the Spanish Canary Island of La Palma on Sunday, sending jets of lava and a plume of smoke and ash into the air from the Cumbre Vieja national park in the south of the island.
    Authorities had begun evacuating the infirm and some farm animals from the surrounding villages before the eruption at 3:15 p.m. (1415 GMT) on a wooded slope in the sparsely populated Cabeza de Vaca area, according to the islands’ government.
    Immediately after the eruption, the municipality urged residents in a statement to “exercise extreme caution,” and stay away from the area and off the roads.
    The population of nearby villages were told to go to one of five centres to be evacuated and soldiers were deployed to help.
    Spanish television (TVE) showed fountains of lava shooting into the sky and plumes of smoke could be seen from across the island.
    Stavros Meletlidis, a doctor of volcanology at the Spanish Geographical Institute, said the eruption had opened up five fissures in the hillside and that he could not be sure how long the eruption would last.
    “We have to measure the lava every day and that will help us to work it out.”
    Canary Islands President Angel Victor Torres told TVE that no injuries had been reported so far.
    Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez tweeted that he had postponed his trip to the United Nations General Assembly in New York and was on his way to La Palma.
    Flights to and from the Canaries were continuing as normal, the airport operator Aena said.
    La Palma had been on high alert after more than 22,000 tremors were reported in the space of a week in Cumbre Vieja, a chain of volcanoes that last had a major eruption in 1971 and is one of the most active volcanic regions in the Canaries.
    The earliest recorded eruption in La Palma was in 1430, according to the Spanish National Geographical Institute (ING).
    In 1971, one man was killed as he was taking photographs near the lava flows, but no property was damaged.
(Reporting by Graham Keeley and Borja Suarez; Writing by Toby Chopra and Kevin Liffey; Editing by Gareth Jones and David Clarke)

9/19/2021 Volcano Erupts In Spain’s Canary Islands by OAN Newsroom
Lava flows from an eruption of a volcano at the island of La Palma in the
Canaries, Spain, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Jonathan Rodriguez)
    After an increase in seismic activity, a volcano has erupted on La Palma.    Following the volcano’s eruption on Sunday, emergency evacuations began.
    La Palma is one of Spain’s Canary Islands that sits in the Atlantic Ocean.    The volcano on La Palma was considered one of the most active of the islands after more than 22,000 seismic shocks were felt leading up to the eruption.    Many residents have said they weren’t expecting it.
    “This has been very stressful, especially for the elderly and for my generation that has never experienced this,” said one resident on the island.    “My parents didn’t go to the information center, they came to our house.    Now we are waiting for information from authorities to see what we do in the next hours.”
    So far, no injuries have been reported and an evacuation is underway.    Meanwhile, Spain’s Civil Guard reported it was working to evacuate between 5,000 and 10,000 people as latest reports revealed lava was headed towards nearby villages.

9/20/2021 Are 226,000-year-old handprints oldest art... or just child's play? by Daily Mail Reporter
© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo
    The world’s oldest known piece of art has been discovered – hand and footprints made by children around 226,000 years ago.
    Researchers said the prints, which were found in Tibet, were deliberately formed in a pattern.
    But others are sceptical and view them as accidental.
    However, if they are seen as art, the prints are more than 100,000 years older than the earliest cave paintings found in Indonesia.
    It is believed that the five handprints and five footprints were left by Denisovans – a distant relative of modern man – on a rocky promontory at Quesang on the Tibetan Plateau.
    They were created by a child aged seven and a 12-year-old, analysis suggests.    They were pressed into soft limestone that later hardened some 169,000 to 226,000 years ago.
    The research, published in Science Bulletin, was led by a team from institutions such as Cornell and Bournemouth University.


map: (Next Slide 1/4 SLIDES © Provided by Daily Mail)
    Research scientist in the College of Arts and Sciences at Cornell, Thomas Urban, said: ‘The prints date back to the middle of the Pleistocene era, so date from between 169,000 and 226,000 years ago.
    ‘It would have been a slippery, sloped surface.    You wouldn’t really run across it, somebody didn’t fall like that, so why create this arrangement of prints?
    ‘They’re clearly not accidentally placed and there’s not a utilitarian explanation for these.    So, what are they?
    ‘The question is: What does this mean?    How do we interpret these prints?
    ‘My angle was, can we think of these as an artistic behaviour, a creative behaviour, something distinctly human. The interesting side of this is that it’s so early.’
    He added: ‘These young kids saw this medium and intentionally altered it.
    ‘We can only speculate beyond that.    This could be a kind of performance, a live show, like, somebody says, “Hey look at me, I’ve made my handprints over these footprints.'”
    He added: ‘I think we can make a solid case that this is not utilitarian behaviour.    There’s something playful, creative, possibly symbolic about this.
    ‘This gets at a very fundamental question of what it actually means to be human.’
    While footprints are common in the human record, handprints are much rarer.    The fact they are there could be linked to what is called parietal art, which is immobile and typified by hand stenciling on cave walls.
    Uranium series dating was used to date the art-panel, raising the question of who made them.    The ages of the children was hypothesised from the size of the prints.
    Lead author David Zhang of Guangzhou University said: ‘The placement of the prints is not as they would naturally occur, with tracks spaced by movement or hands placed to stabilise.
    ‘Rather, the artist has taken a form that was already known through lived experience (i.e., the artist presumably having seen their own footprints), and took that form (the footprint) and reproduced it in a context and pattern in which it would not normally appear.
© Provided by Daily Mail
    ‘This is made even clearer by the addition of the handprints, which are not commonly seen in lived experience.
    ‘Two children playing in the mud and intentionally creating a set of tessellated prints during an idle moment is what we probably have at Quesang and falls under most of the definitions of art.
    ‘After all, most parents would describe their children’s tentative artistic endeavours as art and proudly display them.
    ‘We therefore conclude that the composition of hand and foot traces described here constitutes “art” under a range of definitions, although given the range of possible definitions some might disagree.’

9/20/2021 Thousands Flee Canaries Volcano As Lava Streams Destroy Homes by Borja Suarez and Marco Trujillo
Lava rises following the eruption of a volcano in the Cumbre Vieja national park at El Paso, on the
Canary Island of La Palma, September 19, 2021. Pictures taken September 19, 2021. REUTERS/Borja Suarez
    LA PALMA, Spain (Reuters) -Lava flowing from the Canary Islands’ first volcanic eruption in 50 years has forced the evacuation of 5,500 people and destroyed at least 100 houses, authorities said.
    The flow of molten rock was expected to reach the coast later on Monday evening, potentially triggering more explosions, and the volcano itself would remain active for days.
    The volcano erupted on Sunday, shooting lava hundreds of metres into the air, engulfing forests and sending molten rock towards the Atlantic Ocean over a sparsely populated area of La Palma, the northwesternmost island in the Canaries archipelago.
    No fatalities or injuries have been reported but drone footage captured two tongues of black lava cutting a devastating swathe through the landscape as they advanced down the volcano’s western flank towards the sea.
    A Reuters witness saw the flow of molten rock slowly tear its way through a house in the village of Los Campitos, igniting the interior and sending flames through the windows onto the roof.
    Authorities have not given an updated tally of how many properties have been destroyed since the head of La Palma’s local government gave an estimate of 100 early on Monday.
    Regional leader Angel Victor Torres said the damage would be substantial.
    “It was horrible,” said Eva, a 53-year old tourist from Austria.    “We felt the earthquake, it started in the morning … Then at 3 in the afternoon the lady from our house came and said you have to pack everything and leave quickly.”
    “We’re happy to go home now,” she said at the airport, boarding a flight back home after cutting her trip short.
    Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto said the eruption was “a wonderful show” which would attract more tourists – comments that were criticised by the opposition at a time when many residents have lost their homes.
    Some of the tourists at the airport disagreed with Maroto. “We want to leave as fast as possible,” said Wienard, a 55-year- old social worker from Salzburg.
    But at least one visitor was happy.
    “I felt like a little child inside, very excited,” said Kabirly, 26, a market researcher from Belgium.    “It was also my birthday yesterday so it was sort of a candle on the island cake!
    About 360 tourists were evacuated from a resort in La Palma following the eruption and taken to the nearby island of Tenerife by boat early on Monday, a spokesperson for ferry operator Fred Olsen said.    A total of more than 500 tourists had to leave their hotels.
REACHING THE SEA
    Officials said they were hopeful they would not need to evacuate any more people but warned of the need to treat the volcano with caution.
    “It is still active and will continue to be active for the next few days,” regional leader Torres said.    The lava flow was likely to reach the coast at about 8 p.m. local time (1900 GMT).
    Officials warned of possible explosions and clouds of toxic gases when the lava reaches the sea.
    Anticipating reduced visibility, maritime authorities on Monday closed down shipping to the west of the island.
    La Palma had been on high alert after thousands of tremors were reported over a week in Cumbre Vieja, which belongs to a chain of volcanoes that last had a major eruption in 1971 and is one of the Canaries’ most active volcanic regions.
    Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez arrived in La Palma on Sunday and said citizens would receive support.
    Emergency services said it was unclear what path the lava would take to the ocean.    Authorities had evacuated people with mobility issues from several coastal towns, including the Puerto Naos resort.
    Airspace around the Canaries remained open with no visibility problems, the Enaire civil air authority said after a local airline cancelled four flights between islands.
(Reporting by Borja Suarez and Marco Trujillo in La Palma and Inti Landauro, Emma Pinedo, Corina Pons, Nathan Allen in Madrid; Writing by Ingrid Melander and Nathan Allen; Editing by Angus MacSwan, Janet Lawrence and Giles Elgood)

9/20/2021 Tianzhou-3 Cargo Spacecraft Docks With China Space Station Module
The Long March-7 Y4 carrier rocket, carrying the Tianzhou-3 cargo spacecraft with supplies for China's under-construction space station, takes
off from Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Center in Wenchang, Hainan province, China September 20, 2021. China Daily via REUTERS
    BEIJING (Reuters) – A Chinese robotic resupply cargo spacecraft successfully docked with an orbiting space station module on Monday in the fourth of 11 missions needed to finish building China’s first permanent space station by the end of next year.
    A Long March-7 rocket carrying the Tianzhou-3, or “Heavenly Vessel” in Chinese, blasted off at 3:10 p.m. Beijing time (0710 GMT) from the Wenchang Space Launch Center on the southern island of Hainan, state media reported.
    It successfully docked with the core Tianhe module of the space station at 1408 GMT.
    Tianzhou-3 will deliver fuel and supplies for three astronauts due to travel to the Tianhe module in October.
    Their planned six-month stay would be the fifth mission in the series and the last for this year.
    Next year, China will launch two additional core modules for the space station – Wentian and Mengtian – on Long March 5B rockets – China’s most powerful space transport vehicles.
    China began building the three-module space station in April with the deployment of Tianhe, followed by a three-month crewed mission that ended last week.
    The station, on completion, will rival the International Space Station (ISS), which is backed by countries including the United States, Russia and Japan.    China was barred from participating in the ISS by the United States.
(Reporting by Liangping Gao and Ryan Woo; additional reporting by Tom Daly; Editing by Nick Macfie)

9/21/2021 Canaries Volcano Streams Slow Down, Homes Destroyed, Thousands Flee by Borja Suarez and Marco Trujillo
Lava rises following the eruption of a volcano in the Cumbre Vieja national park at El Paso, on the
Canary Island of La Palma, September 19, 2021. Pictures taken September 19, 2021. REUTERS/Borja Suarez
    LA PALMA, Spain (Reuters) - Lava flowing from Spain’s Canary Islands’ first volcanic eruption in 50 years has forced the evacuation of 5,500 people and destroyed around 100 houses but the streams were advancing slower than originally predicted, authorities said on Monday.
    The flow of molten rock will not reach the Atlantic Ocean on Monday evening as earlier estimated, an official said. Experts say that if and when it does, it could trigger more explosions and clouds of toxic gases.
    “The movement of lava is much slower than it was initially …    There has not been a large advance during the day,” local emergency coordinator Miguel Angel Morcuende told a press briefing on Monday evening.    He said the stream had made its way about halfway to the coast.
    A new stream of lava erupted from the volcano late on Monday, prompting the evacuation of residents in the town of El Paso, the regional emergency agency wrote on Twitter.
    The volcano first erupted on Sunday, shooting lava hundreds of metres into the air, engulfing forests and sending molten rock towards the ocean over a sparsely populated area of La Palma, the northwesternmost island in the Canaries archipelago.
    No fatalities or injuries have been reported but drone footage captured two tongues of black lava cutting a devastating swathe through the landscape as they advanced down the volcano’s western flank towards the sea.br>     A Reuters witness saw the flow of molten rock slowly tear its way through a house in the village of Los Campitos, igniting the interior and sending flames through the windows and onto the roof.
    Around 100 homes have been affected by the volcano’s eruption, said regional emergency official Jorge Parra, adding that residents should not fear for their safety if they follow authorities’ recommendations.
    Six roads on the island were closed, officials said.
    Regional leader Angel Victor Torres said the damage would be substantial.    “It is still active and will continue to be active for the next few days,” he added.br>     “It was horrible,” said Eva, a 53-year old tourist from Austria.    “We felt the earthquake, it started in the morning … Then at three in the afternoon the lady from our house came and said you have to pack everything and leave quickly.”
    “We’re happy to go home now,” she said at the airport, boarding a flight back home after cutting her trip short.
    Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto said the eruption was “a wonderful show” which would attract more tourists to the tourism-dependent archipelago – comments that were criticised by the opposition at a time when many residents have lost their homes.
    Some of the tourists at the airport disagreed with Maroto.    “We want to leave as fast as possible,” said Wienard, a 55-year- old social worker from Salzburg.
    But at least one visitor was happy.
    “I felt like a little child inside, very excited,” said Kabirly, 26, a market researcher from Belgium.    “It was also my birthday yesterday so it was sort of a candle on the island cake!
    About 360 tourists were evacuated from a resort in La Palma following the eruption and taken to the nearby island of Tenerife by boat early on Monday, a spokesperson for ferry operator Fred Olsen said. A total of more than 500 tourists had to leave their hotels.
    Anticipating reduced visibility, maritime authorities on Monday closed down shipping to the west of the island.
    La Palma had been on high alert after thousands of tremors were reported over a week in Cumbre Vieja, which belongs to a chain of volcanoes that last had a major eruption in 1971 and is one of the Canaries’ most active volcanic regions.
    Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez visited some affected areas and met officials on Monday, and later took to Twitter to praise the emergency personnel’s response.
    Airspace around the Canaries has remained open with no visibility problems, the Enaire civil air authority said after a local airline cancelled four flights between islands.
(Reporting by Borja Suarez and Marco Trujillo in La Palma and Inti Landauro, Emma Pinedo, Corina Pons, Nathan Allen and Joan Faus in Madrid; Writing by Ingrid Melander, Nathan Allen and Joan Faus; Editing by Angus MacSwan, Janet Lawrence and Giles Elgood)

9/21/2021 Families Race To Salvage Belongings As Lava From La Palma Volcano Nears Homes by Borja Suarez and Marco Trujillo
A house burns due to lava following the eruption of a volcano in the Cumbre Vieja national park, in the residential area of
Los Campitos at Los Llanos de Aridane, on the Canary Island of La Palma, Spain, September 20, 2021. REUTERS/Borja Suarez
    LOS LLANOS DE ARIDANE, Spain (Reuters) - Families rushed to retrieve belongings from their homes and escape the advancing lava on Tuesday, as sirens sounded and helicopters flew overhead in air filled with smoke from an erupting volcano on the Spanish island of La Palma.
    Drone footage showed the lava flowing westwards to the coast in three huge tongues, incinerating everything in their path, including a school.
    The largest flow was advancing towards a banana plantation and water reservoir as it crept closer to the main street of the town of La Laguna, travelling at about 200 metres an hour, authorities said.
    Lorena, a 42-year-old Laguna resident, raced to salvage furniture and electrical appliances from her parents’ home.
    “We are nervous, we are taking out the most essential things like mattresses, the fridge,” she said, with her family’s possessions strewn around the back yard.
    The town was evacuated on Monday but emergency workers gave residents a two-hour window to return home and save whatever they could.
    Nearly a third of the population in the affected areas work in the banana plantation industry, a producers’ association said.
    One family of three in the town of Los Llanos de Aridane, which lies in the possible path of the molten rock, hurried to load a Toyota van with mattresses, a fridge, washing machine and bags stuffed with clothes.
    Residents in Los Llanos de Aridane were given one hour to pack up and flee, a scene played out over La Palma in the Canary Islands since the volcano erupted on Sunday, forcing 6,000 people to evacuate. At least 166 houses have been destroyed so far.
    Regional leader Angel Victor Torres said emergency services were powerless to stop the lava’s “inexorable” advance to the sea and that more homes, churches and agricultural land would be consumed.
    While the total damage remains hard to predict, he said it would far exceed the 400-million-euro threshold needed to qualify for European Union aid.
TOXIC GASES
    Authorities have warned that as it hits the sea, the lava could create a cloud of toxic gases and possibly explosions as the molten rock cools rapidly.
    Marine authorities were keeping a two-nautical-mile zone offshore closed as a precaution “to prevent onlookers on boats,” the island council’s chief Mariano Hernandez told Cadena SER radio station, urging people to stay away.    A road collapse partly hampered the evacuation on Monday.
    The lava flow was initially expected to reach the shore on Monday, but it is now moving more slowly.    More people had to be evacuated late on Monday and early on Tuesday after a new stream of lava started flowing from the Cumbre Vieja volcano.
    “The lava on its path to the sea has been a bit capricious and has diverted from its course,” El Paso’s mayor Sergio Rodriguez told state broadcaster TVE.
    The volcano erupted on Sunday, shooting lava hundreds of metres into the air after La Palma, the most northwestern island in the Canaries archipelago, had been rocked by thousands of tremors in the preceding days.
    No fatalities or injuries have been reported.
    A Reuters witness saw the flow of molten rock slowly engulf a house in the village of Los Campitos, igniting the interior and sending flames through the windows and onto the roof.
    As of Tuesday morning, the lava had covered 103 hectares and destroyed 166 houses, according to data released by the European Union’s Copernicus Emergency Management service.
    Emergency services have said residents should not fear for their safety if they follow recommendations.
(Reporting by Borja Suarez, Marco Trujillo, Nacho Doce, Inti Landauro, Catarina Demony, Nathan Allen, Emma Pinedo; writing by Clara-Laeila Laudette; Editing by Ingrid Melander and Janet Lawrence)

9/22/2021 Magnitude 6.0 Earthquake Strikes Near Melbourne, Tremors Rattle Southeast Australia
Debris are seen on a road in Prahran, after a magnitude 6.0 earthquake struck near Melbourne, Victoria, Australia,
September 22, 2021, in this still image from video obtained via social media. Tom Robertson via REUTERS
ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES.
    SYDNEY/MELBOURNE (Reuters) - A magnitude 6.0 earthquake struck near Melbourne on Wednesday, Geoscience Australia said, one of the country’s biggest quakes on record, causing damage to buildings in the country’s second-largest city and sending tremors throughout neighbouring states.
    The quake’s epicentre was near the rural town of Mansfield in the state of Victoria, about 200 km (124 miles) northeast of Melbourne, and was at a depth of 10 km (six miles).    An aftershock was rated 4.0.
    Images and video footage circulating on social media showed rubble blocking one of Melbourne’s main streets, while people in northern parts of the city said on social media they had lost power and others said they were evacuated from buildings.
    The quake was felt as far away as the city of Adelaide, 800 km (500 miles) to the west in the state of South Australia, and Sydney, 900 km (600 miles) to the north in New South Wales state, although there were no reports of damage outside Melbourne and no reports of injuries.
    More than half of Australia’s 25 million population lives in the southeast of the country from Adelaide to Melbourne to Sydney.
    “We have had no reports of serious injuries, or worse, and that is very good news and we hope that good news will continue,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters in Washington.
    “It can be a very disturbing event, an earthquake of this nature.
    They are very rare events in Australia and as a result, I am sure people would have been quite distressed and disturbed
.”
    Quakes are relatively unusual in Australia’s populated east due to its position in the middle of the Indo-Australian Tectonic Plate, according to Geoscience Australia.    The quake on Wednesday measured higher than the country’s deadliest tremor, a 5.6 in Newcastle in 1989, which resulted in 13 deaths.
    The mayor of Mansfield, Mark Holcombe, said he was in his home office on his farm when the quake struck and ran outside for safety.
    “I have been in earthquakes overseas before and it seemed to go on longer than I have experienced before,” Holcombe told the ABC.    “The other thing that surprised me was how noisy it was.    It was a real rumbling like a big truck going past.”
    He knew of no serious damage near the quake epicentre, although some residents reported problems with telecommunications.
    No tsunami threat was issued to the Australian mainland, islands or territories, the country’s Bureau of Meteorology said in a statement.
    The quake presented a potential disruption for anti-lockdown protests expected in Melbourne on Wednesday, which would be the third day of unrest that has reached increasing levels of violence and police response.
(Reporting by Byron Kaye and Renju Jose in Sydney, Sonali Paul in Melbourne and Shubham Kalia in Bengaluru; Editing by Michael Perry & Shri Navaratnam)

9/22/2021 New WHO Air-Quality Guidelines Aim To Cut Deaths Linked To Fossil Fuels by Stephanie Nebehay and Andrea Januta
FILE PHOTO: The Eiffel Tower is surrounded by a small-particle haze which hangs above the skyline in Paris, France, December 9,
2016 as the City of Light experienced the worst air pollution in a decade. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/File Photo
    GENEVA (Reuters) - The World Health Organisation (WHO) tightened its air quality guidelines on Wednesday for the first time since 2005, hoping to spur countries toward clean energy and prevent deaths and illness caused by air pollution.
    The new recommendations targeting pollutants including particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide, both of which are found in fossil fuel emissions, could save “millions of lives,” it said.
    Air pollution kills at least 7 million people prematurely each year.    Even at very low levels, research has shown “air pollution affects all parts of the body, from the brain to a growing baby in a mother’s womb,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference.
    The United Nations body hopes the revisions encourage their 194 member countries toward actions that slash fossil fuel emissions, which are also driving climate change. Globally, countries are under pressure to pledge bold emissions-cutting plans ahead of the U.N. climate conference in November in Glasgow, Scotland.
    Scientists applauded the new guidelines, but worried that some countries would have trouble implementing them, given that much of the world was failing to meet the older, less stringent standards.
    In 2019, a full 90% of the global population was breathing air considered unhealthy by the 2005 guidelines, according to WHO data.    And some countries, such as India, still have national standards that are looser than those 2005 recommendations.
    In the European Union, which has standards that are significantly higher than the WHO’s older recommendations, some countries failed https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/eu-states-breached-air-pollution-limits-2020-despite-covid-2021-09-21 to keep average annual pollution levels within legal limits in 2020, even with the industry and transportation shutdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic.
    Experts said that efforts to curb pollution by reducing fossil fuel use would provide a double benefit, in both improving public health conditions and bringing down climate-warming emissions.
    “The two go hand in hand,” said Kurt Straif, a former scientist with the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, who is a visiting professor and co-director of the Global Observatory on Pollution at Boston College.    “While implementation is extremely challenging, it is also a once-in-a-generation opportunity in the post-COVID recovery.”
BETTER HEALTH
    The new recommendations slash in half the WHO limits for a measure called PM2.5, which stands for particulate matter smaller than 2.5 micrometers – or less than one-thirtieth the width of a human hair.    That is small enough to travel deep into the lungs and even enter the blood stream.
    According to the new limits, average annual PM2.5 concentrations should be no higher than 5 micrograms per cubic meter.
    The old recommendations set the average annual limit at 10.    But scientists have determined that long-term exposure to concentrations even that low still contributed to heart and lung diseases, stroke and other negative health impacts.
    Hardest hit are those living in low- and middle-income countries reliant on burning fossil fuels for electricity.
    “The evidence is pretty clear that poorer populations and more socially disadvantaged populations are going to be more exposed, just because of where they are living,” said Jonathan Grigg, a paediatrician and researcher at Queen Mary University of London.    Generally, he said, these groups emit less pollution, yet face more of its consequences.
    Meeting the new guidelines would not only improve overall health, but could work to reduce health inequality, he said.
    In announcing the new guidelines, the WHO said that “almost 80% of deaths related to PM2.5 could be avoided in the world if the current air pollution levels were reduced.”
    The average PM2.5 level in China in the first half of this year was 34 micrograms per cubic metre.    For Beijing, the level was 41, the same as last year.
    “What matters most is whether governments implement impactful policies to reduce pollutant emissions, such as ending investments in coal, oil and gas and prioritizing the transition to clean energy,” said Aidan Farrow, a Greenpeace international air pollution scientist who is based at Britain’s University of Exeter.
    “The failure to meet the outgoing WHO guidelines must not be repeated,” he said in a statement.
(Reporting and writing by Stephanie Nebehay and Andrea Januta; additional reporting by David Stanway in Shanghai; Editing by Bernadette Baum, Katy Daigle and Marguerita Choy)

9/22/2021 ‘All We Can Do Is Cry’ – La Palma Volcano Leaves Trail Of Devastation by Borja Suarez and Marco Trujillo
A member of emergency services stands by a building as lava from La Palma island
volcano nears homes in Todoque, Spain September 21, 2021. REUTERS/Borja Suarez
    LA PALMA, Spain (Reuters) -Lava flowed from an erupting volcano on the Spanish island of La Palma for a fourth day on Wednesday, forcing more people to evacuate their homes and blanketing towns in ash, while residents struggled to come to terms with the destruction.
    “All we can do is cry.    We are a small business, we live off all these people who have lost everything,” said Lorena, 30, who works in a jewellers in the small town of Los Llanos de Aridane.
    Since erupting on Sunday, lava from the Cumbre Vieja volcano has destroyed at least 150 houses and forced thousands of people to flee, mostly in Los Llanos de Aridane and nearby El Paso.
    Holding back tears as she swept away a thick layer of ash from the street outside her store, Nancy Ferreiro, the jewellery shop owner, said: “There are no words to explain this feeling.”
    Less than 5 km (3 miles) to the south, in Todoque, forked tongues of black lava advanced slowly westward, incinerating everything in their path, including houses, schools and the banana plantations that produce the island’s biggest export.
    Emergency services tried to redirect the lava towards a gorge in an effort to minimise damage but had little success.
    “Faced with the column of advancing lava … nothing can be done,” regional leader Angel Victor Torres told a news conference, adding that the flow had slowed to a crawl.
    Miguel Angel Morcuende, technical director of the Pevolca eruption taskforce, said the lava’s speed had reduced so much that it might not reach the sea.
    Experts had originally predicted it would hit the Atlantic Ocean late on Monday, potentially causing explosions and sending out clouds of toxic gases.    Marine authorities are keeping a two nautical mile area in the sea closed as a precaution.
    Morcuende said for now there was no indication that gases released by the eruption were damaging to human health.
    People from the El Paso neighbourhood of Jerey were ordered to evacuate on Wednesday as the lava crept close to their homes.
    About 6,000 of La Palma’s population of 80,000 have been evacuated since Sunday. Some were allowed back briefly to recover belongings.     Property portal Idealista estimated the volcano had caused around 87 million euros ($102 million) in property destruction so far.
    Late on Tuesday, the Canary Islands’ volcanology institute said the scale of seismic activity within the volcano was intensifying.
    Drone footage captured towers of magma bursting high into the air, spraying debris onto the flanks of the Cumbre Vieja volcano.
    No fatalities or injuries have been reported.
(Reporting by Borja Suarez, Marco Trujillo, Nacho Doce, Emma Pinedo, Clara-Laeila Laudette and Inti Landauro; Writing by Nathan Allen and Inti Landauro; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

9/23/2021 ‘All We Can Do Is Cry’ – La Palma Volcano Leaves Trail Of Devastation by Borja Suarez and Marco Trujillo
A member of emergency services stands by a building as lava from La Palma island
volcano nears homes in Todoque, Spain September 21, 2021. REUTERS/Borja Suarez
    LA PALMA, Spain (Reuters) -Lava flowed from an erupting volcano on the Spanish island of La Palma for a fourth day on Wednesday, forcing more people to evacuate their homes and blanketing towns in ash, while residents struggled to come to terms with the destruction.
    “All we can do is cry.    We are a small business, we live off all these people who have lost everything,” said Lorena, 30, who works in a jewellers in the small town of Los Llanos de Aridane.
    Since erupting on Sunday, lava from the Cumbre Vieja volcano has destroyed at least 150 houses and forced thousands of people to flee, mostly in Los Llanos de Aridane and nearby El Paso.
    Holding back tears as she swept away a thick layer of ash from the street outside her store, Nancy Ferreiro, the jewellery shop owner, said: “There are no words to explain this feeling.”
    Less than 5 km (3 miles) to the south, in Todoque, forked tongues of black lava advanced slowly westward, incinerating everything in their path, including houses, schools and the banana plantations that produce the island’s biggest export.
    Emergency services tried to redirect the lava towards a gorge in an effort to minimise damage but had little success.
    “Faced with the column of advancing lava … nothing can be done,” regional leader Angel Victor Torres told a news conference, adding that the flow had slowed to a crawl.
    Miguel Angel Morcuende, technical director of the Pevolca eruption taskforce, said the lava’s speed had reduced so much that it might not reach the sea.
    Experts had originally predicted it would hit the Atlantic Ocean late on Monday, potentially causing explosions and sending out clouds of toxic gases.    Marine authorities are keeping a two nautical mile area in the sea closed as a precaution.
    Morcuende said for now there was no indication that gases released by the eruption were damaging to human health.
    People from the El Paso neighbourhood of Jerey were ordered to evacuate on Wednesday as the lava crept close to their homes.
    About 6,000 of La Palma’s population of 80,000 have been evacuated since Sunday.    Some were allowed back briefly to recover belongings.
    Property portal Idealista estimated the volcano had caused around 87 million euros ($102 million) in property destruction so far.
    Late on Tuesday, the Canary Islands’ volcanology institute said the scale of seismic activity within the volcano was intensifying.
    Drone footage captured towers of magma bursting high into the air, spraying debris onto the flanks of the Cumbre Vieja volcano.
    No fatalities or injuries have been reported.
(Reporting by Borja Suarez, Marco Trujillo, Nacho Doce, Emma Pinedo, Clara-Laeila Laudette and Inti Landauro; Writing by Nathan Allen and Inti Landauro; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

9/23/2021 Volcano Erupts In Spain’s Canary Islands by OAN Newsroom
Lava flows from an eruption of a volcano at the island of La Palma in the
Canaries, Spain, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Jonathan Rodriguez)
    After an increase in seismic activity, a volcano erupted on La Palma.    Following the volcano’s eruption on Sunday, emergency evacuations began.
    La Palma is one of Spain’s Canary Islands that sits in the Atlantic Ocean.    The volcano on La Palma was considered one of the most active of the islands after more than 22,000 seismic shocks were felt leading up to the eruption.    Many residents have said they weren’t expecting it.
    “This has been very stressful, especially for the elderly and for my generation that has never experienced this,” said one resident on the island.    “My parents didn’t go to the information center, they came to our house.    Now we are waiting for information from authorities to see what we do in the next hours.”
    Meanwhile, Spain’s Civil Guard reported about 6,000 of La Palma’s population of 80,000 have been evacuated since Sunday as latest reports revealed the lava’s velocity was slowing, yet thickening.
    The volcano has continued to stay active into Thursday as the lava made its way down the mountain side.    However, questions remain on how much more damage the lava will bring, as it has destroyed nearly 200 homes and continues to force residents to evacuate.
    Authorities said residents would continue to face the dangers from the volcano in the coming weeks.    Additionally, scientists have said the flows of lava could last for weeks and possibly months.

9/24/2021 Firefighters Retreat As La Palma Volcanic Explosions Intensify by Guillermo Martinez and Jon Nazca
A cloud of smoke and ash is seen from the sea as volcanic explosions intensified
on the Canary Island of La Palma, Spain, September 24, 2021. REUTERS/Marco Trujillo
    LA PALMA (Reuters) -Intensifying volcanic explosions on the Spanish island of La Palma forced firefighters to retreat and authorities to evacuate three more towns on Friday, while airlines cancelled flights due to a cloud of gas and ash, the biggest since the volcano erupted.
    Firefighters pulled out of clean-up work in the town of Todoque on Friday afternoon as a new vent opened up in the flank of the volcano and videos shared on social media showed a massive shockwave emanating from the eruption site.
    A Reuters witness saw a huge grey cloud billowing from the top of the volcano on Friday afternoon, the largest since the eruption began on Sunday.
    “The volcano is in a newly explosive phase … Firefighters will not operate anymore today,” tweeted the Tenerife fire service, which has been deployed to help on La Palma.
    Authorities ordered the evacuation of the towns of Tajuya, Tacande de Abajo and the part of Tacande de Arriba that had not already been evacuated on Friday afternoon, with residents told to assemble at the local football ground.
    Canary Islands emergency services had initially told residents to stay indoors to avoid the dense cloud of ash and lava fragments but later decided to evacuate due to the heightened risk from explosions.
    It wasn’t just people being evacuated, but animals too.
    “The evacuation of people is the main priority … although there are also other important tasks such as keeping pets safe,” the Guardia Civil tweeted, with a video showing officers carrying reluctant goats to safety.
    Since erupting on Sunday, the Cumbre Vieja volcano has spewed out thousands of tons of lava, destroyed hundreds of houses and forced the evacuation of thousands of people.
    No serious injuries or fatalities have been reported but about 15% of the island’s economically crucial banana crop could be at risk, jeopardising thousands of jobs.
    Canary Island airline Binter said on Friday it had cancelled all flights to La Palma due to the volcano eruption https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/canaries-volcano-blasts-lava-into-air-ash-blankets-area-2021-09-23, while Iberia cancelled its only flight scheduled for the day, and another local airline, Canaryfly, also suspended operations.
    Binter said it was forced to halt operations to and from La Palma as the ash cloud had worsened considerably in the last few hours.
    The airline, which had initially only cancelled night flights, could not say when it would resume operations.
    A cloud of toxic gas and ash extends more than 4 km (2-1/2 miles) into the sky, the Canaries volcanology institute said on Thursday.
    It has begun to drift northeast towards the Mediterranean and Spanish mainland, the national weather agency said.
    Airspace above the island remains open apart from two small areas near the eruption site.
(Reporting by Guillermo Martinez and Marco Trujillo in La Palma and Emma Pinedo and Jessica Jones in MadridEditing by Nathan Allen, Raissa Kasolowsky and Giles Elgood)

9/24/2021 World’s Youth Take To The Streets Again To Battle Climate Change by Kate Abnett
People take part in the Global Climate Strike of the movement Fridays
for Future in Berlin, Germany, September 24, 2021. REUTERS/Christian Mang
    BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Young people around the world took to the streets on Friday to demand urgent action to avert disastrous climate change, in their largest protest since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
    The strike takes place five weeks before the U.N. COP26 summit, which aims to secure more ambitious climate action from world leaders to drastically cut the greenhouse gas emissions heating the planet.
    “The concentration of CO2 in the sky hasn’t been this high for at least 3 million years,” Swedish activist Greta Thunberg told a crowd of thousands of protesters in the German capital.
    “It is clearer than ever that no political party is doing close to enough.”
    Demonstrations were planned in more than 1,500 locations by youth movement Fridays for Future, kicking off in Asia with small-scale demonstrations in the Philippines and Bangladesh, and spreading throughout the day to European cities including Warsaw, Turin and Berlin.
    “Everyone is talking about making promises, but nobody keeps their promise.    We want more action,” said Farzana Faruk Jhumu, 22, a youth climate activist in Dhaka, Bangladesh.    “We want the work, not just the promises.”
    A landmark U.N. climate science report in August warned that human activity has already locked in climate disruptions for decades – but that rapid, large-scale action to reduce emissions could still stave off some of the most destructive impacts.
    So far, governments do not plan to cut emissions anywhere near fast enough to do that.
    The United Nations said last week that countries’ commitments would see global emissions increase to be 16% higher in 2030 than they were in 2010 – far off the 45% reduction by 2030 needed to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
    “We are here because we are saying a loud ‘no’ to what is happening in Poland,” said Dominika Lasota, 19, a youth activist at a protest in Warsaw, Poland.    “Our government has for years been blocking any sort of climate politics and ignores our demands for a safe future.”
    Friday’s strike marked the in-person return of the youth climate protests that in 2019 drew more than six million people onto the streets, before the COVID-19 pandemic largely halted the mass gatherings and pushed much of the action online.
    Yusuf Baluch, 17, a youth activist in the Pakistani province of Balochistan, said the return to in-person events was vital to force leaders to tackle the planetary crisis.
    “Last time it was digital and nobody was paying attention to us,” he said.
    But with access to COVID-19 vaccines still highly uneven around the world, activists in some poorer countries said they would only hold symbolic actions with only a handful of people.
    “In the global north, people are getting vaccinated so they might be out in huge quantities.    But in the global south, we are still limited,” Baluch said.
(Reporting by Kate Abnett, Additional reporting by Kacper Pempel and Andrea Januta, Editing by William Maclean)

9/24/2021 In Ageing Germany, The Young Get Desperate Over Climate
People take part in the Global Climate Strike of the movement Fridays for Future in Berlin, Germany,
September 24, 2021. The banner reads "We only have one choice" REUTERS/Christian Mang
    BERLIN (Reuters) – In one of the world’s most aged countries, some young people are resorting to drastic measures to voice their frustration at politicians’ failure to tackle climate change.
    Outside Germany’s parliament, a group of activists have been on hunger strike since Aug. 30, bringing their demands for more action on climate change in person to the three candidates to succeed Angela Merkel.
    Now, two days before the election that will bring her time in office to a close, two of the activists have stepped up their campaign, announcing that they will no longer even drink water until their demands are heard.
    “We’ve tried everything,” said Klara Hinrichs, spokesperson for the two remaining hunger strikers.    “Thousands of us were on the street with Fridays for Future.    We started petitions.    I chained myself to the transport ministry.”
    Swedish activist Greta Thunberg was in the German capital on Friday as part of a Fridays for Future global climate protest.
    The three chancellor candidates, Olaf Scholz of the Social Democrats, conservative Armin Laschet and Green Annalena Baerbock have not gone to see the hunger strikers, urging them to drop their strike and preserve themselves for future battles.
    But while the other hunger strikers have now dropped their campaign, Henning Jeschke, now wheelchair-bound and very gaunt, and Lea Bonasera have vowed not to drink until Olaf Scholz, leading in the polls, either comes to them or declares there is a climate emergency.
    “To the activists in hunger strike I say: I will stick to the agreement and speak to them after the election,” Scholz wrote on Twitter on Friday.    “But now they must save their own lives and stop.”
    Germany has long been in the vanguard of climate activism, giving birth to the first Green Party to win national prominence, and all parties are committed to action on climate change.
    But its population also has the oldest median age in the European Union, and successive elections have revealed a gulf between the young, most exposed to the long-term impact of rising temperatures, and the old for whom climate change is one of many competing worries.
    After a recent television debate, polls found that more than half those aged 18-34 thought Baerbock, the Green candidate, had won, compared to a fifth of older people, who were far more convinced by the SPD’s and conservatives’ candidates.
    “The intergenerational pact has been broken,” reads the poster with which the seven original hunger strikers announced their campaign.
    But Baerbock, at 40 the youngest of the three candidates for chancellor, also sided with Scholz.
    “Don’t throw your lives away,” she told them via newspaper Die Welt.    “Society needs you.”
(Reporting by Oliver Barth, writing by Thomas Escritt, Editing by William Maclean)

9/25/2021 Prints shed light on human arrival in North America by Christina Larson, ASSOCIATED PRESS
    WASHINGTON – Fossilized footprints discovered in New Mexico indicate that early humans were walking across North America around 23,000 years ago, researchers said Thursday.
    The first footprints were found in White Sands National Park in 2009.    Scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey recently analyzed seeds stuck in the footprints to determine their approximate age, ranging from around 22,800 and 21,130 years ago.
    The findings may shed light on a mystery that has long intrigued scientists: When did people first arrive in the Americas, after dispersing from Africa and Asia?
    Most scientists believe ancient migration came by way of a now-submerged land bridge that connected Asia to Alaska.    Researchers have offered a range of possible dates for human arrival in the Americas, from 13,000 to 26,000 years ago or more.
    “What we present here is evidence of a firm time and location,” they said.
    Based on the size of the footprints, researchers believe that at least some were made by children and teenagers who lived during the last ice age.

9/25/2021 La Palma Volcano Enters Most Explosive Phase by OAN Newsroom
Lava flows from an eruption of a volcano at the island of La Palma in the
Canaries, Spain, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Jonathan Rodriguez)
    After an increase in seismic activity, a volcano erupted on La Palma.    Following the volcano’s eruption on Sunday, emergency evacuations began.
    La Palma is one of Spain’s Canary Islands that sits in the Atlantic Ocean.    The volcano on La Palma was considered one of the most active of the islands after more than 22,000 seismic shocks were felt leading up to the eruption.    Many residents have said they weren’t expecting it.
    “This has been very stressful, especially for the elderly and for my generation that has never experienced this,” said one resident on the island.    “My parents didn’t go to the information center, they came to our house.    Now we are waiting for information from authorities to see what we do in the next hours.”
    The volcano has continued to stay active into Saturday as the lava made its way down the mountain side.    Authorities said residents would continue to face the dangers from the volcano in the coming weeks.
    Additionally, scientists have said the flows of lava could last for weeks and possibly months.
    Meanwhile, as of Saturday, island inhabitants were not able to return to their homes due to an influx of volcanic activity Friday night.    Officials said the Cumbre Vieja volcano has entered its most explosive phase.
    Since its eruption, the volcano has destroyed more than 400 buildings, forcing at least 7,000 of the island’s residents to flee.

9/27/2021 La Palma Volcano Roars Back To Life As Lava Nears The Sea by Jon Nazca and Nacho Doce
FILE PHOTO: Lava is seen from La Laguna, following the eruption of a volcano on the
Canary Island of La Palma, Spain, September 26, 2021. REUTERS/Nacho Doce
    LA PALMA, Spain (Reuters) -The volcano on Spain’s La Palma island began ejecting ash and smoke again on Monday after a brief lull, while hundreds of people in coastal villages were locked down in anticipation of the lava reaching the sea and releasing toxic gas.
    A column of white smoke rose from the Cumbre Vieja volcano after several hours of calm around 11 a.m. local time (1000 GMT), according to Reuters witnesses.    Researchers confirmed it began spewing out lava at the same time.
    “It’s something normal with this type of eruption,” said Miguel Angel Morcuende, director of the Pevolca response committee.    “The volcano has periods of growth and periods of decay.”
    His Pevolca colleague, Maria Jose Blanco, said lower levels of gas and a reduced supply of material within the crater could have caused the drop in activity.
    Since Sept. 19, black lava has been slowly flowing down the volcano’s western flank toward the sea, destroying more than 500 houses as well as churches and banana plantations, according to the European Union’s Copernicus disaster monitoring programme.
    Spanish property portal Idealista estimated the damage at around 178 million euros ($209 million) on Monday.
    On Monday, two tongues of the superheated black lava were rounding a hill to the west of the small town of Todoque, less than a kilometre from the Atlantic, but authorities said they could not be sure when it might reach the sea.
    Still, around 300 locals in the coastal areas of San Borondon, Marina Alta and Baja and La Condesa have been confined to their homes as the moment of contact between the lava and the sea will likely trigger explosions and emit clouds of chlorine gas.
    Local airline Binter, which had planned to resume flights to and from the islands on Monday afternoon, said conditions were still unsafe and that all transfers would be cancelled until Tuesday.
    After a new vent opened on Sunday, Reuters drone footage showed a river of red hot lava flowing down the slopes of the crater, passing over homes, and swathes of land and buildings engulfed by a black mass of slower-moving, older lava.
    No fatalities or serious injuries have been reported, but about 15% of the island’s banana crop could be at risk, jeopardising thousands of jobs.
    La Palma, with a population of over 83,000, is part of an archipelago making up the Canary Islands.
($1 = 0.8537 euros)
(Reporting by Guillermo Martinez, Jon Nazca, Nacho Doce and Marco Trujillo in La Palma and Inti Landauro, Emma Pinedo and Clara-Laeila Laudette in Madrid; Writing by Inti Landauro and Nathan Allen Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Alistair Bell)

9/29/2021 Nine Days After Eruption, Lava From La Palma Volcano Reaches Ocean by Miguel Pereira and Marco Trujillo
Pigeons fly at dawn in front of the lava and smoke, following the eruption of a volcano
on the Canary Island of La Palma, in El Paso, Spain, September 28, 2021. REUTERS/Jon Nazca
    LA PALMA, Spain (Reuters) – Red hot lava from a volcano that devastated the Spanish island of La Palma reached the Atlantic Ocean late on Tuesday evening, nine days after it started to flow down the mountain, wrecking buildings and destroying crops.
    Big clouds of white steam billowed up from the Playa Nueva area as the lava made contact with the ocean, according to Reuters images.    Photographs shared on social media showed the lava piling up near a cliff.
    Officials said the lava flowing into the sea could trigger explosions and clouds of toxic gases and the Canary Islands’ emergency service urged those outdoors to immediately find a safe place to shelter. No injuries have been reported.
    “When the lava reaches the sea, the lockdown must be strictly observed,” Miguel Angel Morcuende, director of the Pevolca response committee, said earlier on Tuesday.
    Lava has been flowing down the Cumbre Vieja volcano’s western flank toward the sea since Sept. 19, destroying almost 600 houses and banana plantations in La Palma, which neighbours Tenerife in the Canary Islands archipelago off the North African coast.
    Thousands of people have been evacuated and three coastal villages were locked down on Monday in anticipation of the lava meeting the Atlantic Ocean.
    Spain classified La Palma as a disaster zone on Tuesday, a move that will trigger financial support for the island.
    The government announced a first package of 10.5 million euros ($12.3 million), which includes around 5 million euros to buy houses, with the rest to acquire furniture and essential household goods, government spokesperson Isabel Rodriguez said.
    One resident who was evacuated last week from the village of Tacande de Arriba was delighted to find his house still standing and his pet cats unscathed.
    “It’s a good feeling, a fantastic feeling,” said Gert Waegerle, 75, who fled the advancing lava with his five turtles on Friday but had to leave the cats behind.
    “I am super happy because in the end, everything turned out fine.”
($1 = 0.85 euros)
(Reporting by Miguel Pereira, Marco Trujillo, Jon Nazca, Nacho Doce and Borja Suarez in La Palma and Emma Pinedo and Inti Landauro in Madrid; Writing by Nathan Allen and Catarina Demony; Editing by Andrei Khalip, Angus MacSwan, Karishma Singh and Jane Wardell)

9/29/2021 South Africa Tells Western Envoys It Needs Funds To Shift From Coal by Alexander Winning
FILE PHOTO: Steam rises at sunrise from the Lethabo Power Station, a coal-fired power station owned by
state power utility ESKOM near Sasolburg, South Africa, March 2, 2016. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/File Photo
    JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa told visiting climate envoys from the United States, Britain, Germany and France that it needs major financial support to move away from coal, the environment department said on Wednesday.
    South Africa is the world’s 12th biggest carbon emitter, according to the Global Carbon Atlas, emitting 479 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2e) in 2019. It is also by far Africa’s largest emitter.
    This month, the government adopted a more ambitious emissions reduction target of 350-420 Mt CO2e per year by 2030, weeks before the United Nations COP26 climate summit, where it hopes to wring money out of rich countries for a swifter transition to renewable energy.
    “While South Africa is committed to a just transition (to cleaner energy sources), we need certainty of…financing … to accelerate this transition.    We do need an irrevocable agreement that we can sign at COP26,” the environment department said.
    South Africa’s struggling state power utility, which produces most of its power by burning coal – more than 80% of the country’s power is produced this way – wants billions of dollars to replace its heavily polluting coal plants with cleaner alternatives.
    South Africa’s delegation comprising the environment, trade and public enterprises ministers and deputy finance and foreign ministers told the Western climate envoys on Tuesday that the financial support should include concessional and grant funding which takes into account current fiscal constraints.
    The environment department cited repurposing retiring coal plants, investment in low-carbon power generation and grid infrastructure, and electric vehicle manufacturing as goals.
    This week, consultancy Meridian Economics proposed a new funding model for the shift away from coal that it said could unlock billions of dollars of cheap financing.
    It would involve the government taking out long-term debt, with the effective borrowing cost lowered either by wealthy nations guaranteeing the debt or South Africa receiving cash incentives for its emissions reductions.
    A portion of the money raised would be earmarked for a fund to support thousands of workers losing jobs in coal plants – a political headache for a government that needs union support.
(Additional reporting by Wendell Roelf in Cape Town; Editing by Tim Cocks, William Maclean and Angus MacSwan)

9/29/2021 Italy’s Draghi To Meet Greta Thunberg At Milan Climate Talks
Italy's Prime Minister Mario Draghi speaks during a joint news conference with Italy's Economy Minister Daniele Franco
(not pictured) on the government's new fiscal targets in Rome, Italy, September 29, 2021. REUTERS/Yara Nardi
    ROME (Reuters) -Italian prime minister and current president of the G20 Mario Draghi will meet climate activist Greta Thunberg in Milan on Thursday, Draghi’s office said.
    Thunberg is among thousands of young people who have gathered in Italy’s financial capital to protest and meet policymakers, either remotely or in person, to hammer out proposals to tackle global warming.
    Fellow activists Vanessa Nakate, from Uganda, and Italian Martina Comparelli will also join the meeting with Draghi at 0730 GMT.
    Soon afterwards, Draghi is scheduled to speak at one of the many climate-related events going on in Milan this week. (Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte and Stephen Jewkes, writing by Giselda Vagnoni, editing by Gavin Jones)

9/29/2021 Young Activists Table Proposals For Glasgow Climate Talks by Stephen Jewkes and Giulio Piovaccari
A general view of the opening session during the second day of the Youth4Climate pre-COP26
conference in Milan, Italy September 29, 2021. REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane
    MILAN (Reuters) – Young activists on Wednesday tabled a slate of proposals for inclusion in the COP26 climate agenda, a day before Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi meets Swedish campaigner Greta Thunberg.
    The proposals will be vetted by climate and energy ministers gathering at a meeting in Milan on Thursday, before some find their way to the U.N. COP26 summit in Glasgow in a month’s time.
    The Glasgow conference aims to secure more ambitious climate action from the nearly 200 countries who signed the 2015 Paris Agreement and agreed to try to limit human-caused global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
    Structured across four areas of action, the activist proposals include demands for a transparent climate finance system as well as a call for the total phasing out of the fossil fuel industry by 2030.
    “(2030) is the limit we want to put, we don’t want to say 2050… because this is our last chance,” Iraqi activist Reem Alsaffar said.
    “We’re so tired of greenwashing and of companies selling us that.”
    The initiative is designed to give youngsters a seat at the table of climate talks as concern grows in their ranks that some countries might not be fully committed to targets.
    Addressing activists from around 190 countries, Italy’s Energy Transition Minister Roberto Cingolani said this was the first time youngsters had been given a chance to play such a direct role in climate policies.
    “The proposals are excellent and a good base to start from… There’s a lot to work on,” he said.
    The minister said a platform would be kept open until Oct. 25 so improvements to the final document could be made ahead of the Glasgow summit.
    Italy, which currently holds the presidency of the G20, is co-host of the COP26 along with the UK.
    Draghi and his UK counterpart Boris Johnson are scheduled to take part, either in person or remotely, in the Milan pre-COP26 meeting on Thursday along with COP26 president Alok Sharma and U.N. chief Antonio Guterres.
    Draghi’s office said he would be meeting Thunberg on Thursday.
(Reporting by Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

9/30/2021 Kilauea Volcano Erupts In Hawaii by OAN Newsroom
This webcam image provided by the United States Geological Survey shows a view of an eruption that has begun in
the Halemaumau crater at the summit of Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano, Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021. (USGS via AP)
    The Kilauea Volcano erupted at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Earthquakes were felt around the area leading to the eruption on the big island Wednesday.
    Fountains of lava up to 100-feet tall shot out of the summit paired with plumes of smoke.    While the surrounding area is under a ‘red alert warning,’ the U.S. Geological Survey reported no buildings or communities are in danger at this time.
    “We’re not seeing any indications that lava is moving into the lower part of the eastern zone where people live,” stated Ken Horn,     Scientist in Charge of Hawaii Volcano Observatory (USGS).    “Everything is currently, all the activity is within the park, and we kind of expect these summit eruptions and maybe some upper east rift zone eruptions, you know, to be going on for the next couple of years.”
    Kilauea had a major eruption in 2018, destroying more than 700 homes and displacing thousands of residents.
This webcam image provided by the United States Geological Survey shows a view of an eruption that has begun in
the Halemaumau crater at the summit of Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano, Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021. (USGS via AP)

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