We had just one year of progress before the backlash kicked in.
Russian cheating requires a strong response.
Dmitriy N. Andreychenko, 20, was charged with making a terrorist threat. He had entered the store carrying a tactical rifle, a handgun and 100 rounds of ammunition, the police said.
Communities living on the foothills of Mount Kenya believe that burning forests will result in rain. A new United Nations report states that deforestation is one of the major drivers of climate change. Credit: CC By 2.0/Regina Hart
By Miriam Gathigah
NAIROBI, Aug 9 2019 (IPS)
The villagers living on the foothills of Mount Kenya have a belief: If they burn the forest, the rains will come.
“Generally, we believe that the sky is covered by a thick layer of ice and only a forest fire can rise high enough to melt this ice and give us rainfall,” Njoroge Mungai, a resident from Kiamungo village, Kirinyaga County, which is located on the foothills of Mount Kenya, tells IPS.
It is little wonder then that Kirinyaga is one of the counties most affected by wild fires, according to the Kenya Forest Services (KFS).
During the first two months of this year, at least 114 forest fires were recorded across Kenya with at least five major forests being adversely affected, according to KFS. In just a matter of days in February, a wild fire ravaged an estimated 80,000 acres of Mount Kenya’s forest moorlands. Forest and wildlife experts are adamant that communities living around these forested areas are responsible for the fires.
Such significant loss of forest cover is not a unique occurrence across Africa. And yet deforestation is one of the major drivers of climate change, according to a new report.
Scientists on the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have noted that the world is staring at a climate catastrophe.
These warnings are contained in a new IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land (SRCCL) released yesterday, Aug. 8, in Geneva, Switzerland.
Co-authored by 107 scientists, almost half of whom are from developing nations and 40 percent of whom are female, the report resoundingly places land management at the very centre of the raging war to combat climate change, stating that effective strategies to address global warming must place sustainable land use systems at their core.
The Mijikenda community in southern Kenya carefully tends to the outskirts of kaya forests, which also serve as the ancient burial grounds of their ancestors, nurturing a diverse ecosystem that is home to rare plant and bird species. A new United Nations report states that effective strategies to address global warming must place sustainable land use systems at their core. Credit: Miriam Gathigah/IPS
“IPCC’s newly released report focuses on the link between global warming and land use. At the core of this report is the nexus between climate change and unsustainable land use, including unsustainable global food systems,” Richard Munang, the sub-programme coordinator on climate change at U.N. Environment’s Africa Office, tells IPS.
Munang says that this nexus “is already coming to the fore in Africa especially now that the continent is losing forest cover at a rate that is much higher than the global average.”
He further explains that globally, Africa bears the second-highest cost of land degradation—estimated at 65 billion dollars per year—and that this has put a strain on economic growth.
“While average losses resulting from land degradation in most countries are estimated at nine percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), some of the worst afflicted countries are in Africa and lose a staggering 40 percent of their GDP,” he says.
The IPCC report emphasises that while climate change itself can increase land degradation through increases in rainfall intensity, flooding, drought intensity, heat stress and dry spells, it is land management practices that has tipped the balance of increased land degradation. The report noted that agriculture, food production, and deforestation are the major drivers of climate change.
According to the report, land is a critical resource and also part of the solution to climate change. However, as more land becomes degraded, it becomes less productive and at the same time reducing the soil’s ability to absorb carbon. This in turn exacerbates climate change.
As a result of significant land use changes, grazing pressures and substantial reduction in soil fertility, U.N. researchers now say that one-third of total carbon emissions come from land.
Dr. Wilfred Subbo, a lecturer in natural resources at the University of Nairobi, notes the findings with concerns: “Land is under a huge amount of pressure and we are increasingly witnessing how human-induced environmental changes contribute to catastrophic carbon emissions.”
“We are indeed heading straight into a climate disaster and this report has highlighted how damaged land is no longer serving as that large sink that absorbs harmful carbon dioxide emissions,” he tells IPS.
Coordinated action to address climate change can simultaneously improve land, food security and nutrition, and help to end hunger, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said in a statement. Credit: Miriam Gathigah/IPS
The report also noted “global warming and urbanisation can enhance warming in cities and their surroundings, especially during heat related events, including heat waves”.
“Last year the United Nations Development Programme indicated that Africa’s urban transition is unprecedented in terms of scale and speed and that the continent is 40 percent urban today,” Subbo says.
Coordinated action to address climate change can simultaneously improve land, food security and nutrition, and help to end hunger, the IPCC said in a statement. The report highlights that climate change is affecting all four pillars of food security: availability (yield and production), access (prices and ability to obtain food), utilisation (nutrition and cooking), and stability (disruptions to availability).
“Food security will be increasingly affected by future climate change through yield declines – especially in the tropics – increased prices, reduced nutrient quality, and supply chain disruptions,” said Priyadarshi Shukla, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III, in the statement.
“We will see different effects in different countries, but there will be more drastic impacts on low-income countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean,” he said.
Munang nonetheless points out that all is not lost: “Over 90 percent of countries in Africa have ratified their commitments to accelerate climate action towards achieving the 2015 Paris agreement.”
This agreement seeks to achieve a sustainable low carbon future. Munang emphasises that such climate goals calls for countries to embrace ambitious eco-friendly practices such as agro-forestry, the use of organic fertiliser and clean energy, among others.
He says that a number of African countries are on track. “Ethiopia has done very well and set a new unofficial world record of planting over 350 million trees in just 12 hours.”
Kenya aims to run entirely on green energy by 2020 and is on record as having the largest wind farm in Africa, as is Morocco with the largest solar farm in the world.
“The key going forward is to change perspective and to look at these actions within the broader goal of building globally competitive enterprises with climate action co-benefits,” Munang says.
Meanwhile, back on the foothills of Mount Kenya, Mungai says that there are efforts to educate the community about forest fires and the effect it has on both the land and climate.
“This belief will take time to change because it was passed down from our grandfathers. But the County government is focused on addressing these problems so future generations will learn to do things directly.”
The post Burning Forests for Rain, and Other Climate Catastrophes appeared first on Inter Press Service.
by Fritz Zimmermann
On July 23, FBI Director Christopher Wray told the Senate Judiciary Committee that federal investigations of domestic terrorism had led to some 100 arrests in the last nine months. While the FBI quickly announced that the number was 90, not 100, the basic message appeared unchanged: The FBI was actively investigating and prosecuting domestic terrorists.
The 90 arrests have been cited countless times since last weekend’s killing of 22 people in El Paso, Texas, by a man suspected of harboring racist views of immigrants. To find out more, we contacted the FBI on Monday, asking who had been arrested, as well as where and when, and what the allegations were in each case.
Four days later, we have been given next to no information about them.
Our first inquiry on Monday was straightforward: We asked for basic information about each of the 90 arrests, which we assumed had all been publicly announced.
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An FBI spokeswoman wrote back: “We would not be able to provide you with a comprehensive list of these press releases. As there is no federal domestic terrorism statute so DT subjects are charged under other federal, state, and local charges.”
We understood that those arrested for committing or intending to commit violent acts on American soil are typically prosecuted for an assortment of crimes — murder, say, or illegal possession of firearms — not domestic terrorism, for which there’s no federal charge. The 90 people who were supposedly arrested might have been ultimately prosecuted by local authorities.
But it seemed clear from Wray’s statements that the FBI had done the work of determining which of the cases involving, as the spokeswoman put it, “other federal, state and local charges” involved elements of domestic terror. There had been a formal count. Wray had testified as much.
We wrote to the FBI again: “Thank you for getting back to me this fast and for your answer. I am a bit confused though: The number of DT arrests I was referring to originally comes from the FBI Director and was later clarified by a FBI spokesperson. So where would that number come from? I would be happy if you could clarify this point?”
The spokeswoman responded: “What do you mean? We clarified the number, it’s a comprehensive list of press releases that I’m saying we’re unable to provide.”
The spokeswoman, saying she was speaking “on background,” and thus not to be identified, later suggested that we go on the Department of Justice’s public affairs website and “see what pops up.”
So we did. When we typed in domestic terrorism arrests for the past nine months, five cases came up. But only one of the cases actually involved an American arrested for seeking to harm others in the U.S. — Cesar Sayoc, the man recently sentenced to 20 years for mailing 16 explosive devices to a variety of current and former government officials and the philanthropist George Soros.
Obviously, that was far short of the cases Wray had referenced. It also seemed odd that the FBI would suggest this approach to searching since it had to have done a more comprehensive compilation to equip its director with the numbers he gave the Senate Judiciary Committee.
We tried again: “Thanks for your reply! What I mean is: you clarified the number, so despite DT subjects being charged under ‘other federal, state, and local charges,’ as you wrote, the FBI obviously has information about all these cases. And this is what I’ve been originally asking for. So I would be glad if you could give me the following information about as many of the 90 arrests as possible: who was arrested, where, when and what the allegations were. If you are unable to provide this information or a comprehensive list of press releases I would like to know why.”
On the phone, she again cited the figure of 90 arrests, adding, “These are people that the FBI arrested as a result of a domestic terrorism investigation.”
We answer questions about hate crimes and give you a kind of primer to our Documenting Hate project, now in its third year.
But she also repeated that the bureau couldn’t give us any information, even press releases, about these arrests. “In their arrests they may not be characterized as domestic terrorists depending on how those arrests were made in the locality, in the state … so it’s just not something the FBI is able to publicly provide,” she said.
Yahoo News on Thursday published what it said was a document detailing the 2018 domestic terrorism arrests involving white supremacists, something the article said Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee had been unsuccessfully seeking from the Department of Justice.
“This map reflects 32 domestic terrorist attacks, disrupted plots, threats of violence, and weapons stockpiling by individuals with a radical political or social agenda who lack direction or influence from foreign terrorist organizations in 2018,” the document cited in the Yahoo article stated. The document, the article said, had been produced by New Jersey’s Office of Homeland Security Preparedness.
Late on Thursday, we tried to make things simpler with the FBI in hopes of getting some kind of firm answer: If the FBI could not quickly list the arrests stemming from domestic terrorism investigations, could it say how many such investigations had been carried out in 2019?
The spokeswoman did not respond to the request.
The entire exchange left us increasingly perplexed. The FBI had clearly been proud of its record in making arrests of possible domestic terrorists. Wray had testified that the bureau took the threat “extremely seriously.” The country was eager to be reassured in the aftermath of the killings in El Paso. Why wouldn’t the FBI be able to quickly cite its array of successes?
We asked the FBI if it could send us any of the press releases of the cases Wray had referenced specifically at the hearing. Once again, the spokeswoman demurred.
- Backlash over picture posted on first lady’s Twitter account
- Two-month-old’s parents shot dead in attack that killed 22
A backlash is building over a picture posted by Melania Trump on Twitter that showed her and Donald Trump smiling broadly while holding a baby who was orphaned in the mass shooting in El Paso.
Bully double down Donny and his 10-year old comebacks is ruining US reputation and value.
Uruguay, Venezuela, and Japan issued advisories following multiple mass shootings in the US last weekend that killed 31 people
Eight Democratic U.S. Senators signed letters to chief executives of major tech firms on Friday demanding they halt sales of gun accessories on their sites.
The Congress members, led by New Jersey’s Robert Menendez, implored Google, Amazon, and eBay to close loopholes that allow the sale of firearm accessories like magazines online, according to the Washington Post.
From the Associated Press:
North Korea on Saturday fired two more projectiles into the sea, according to South Korea’s military. It is likely another protest at the United States and South Korea continuing joint military exercises that the North says are aimed at a northward invasion.
South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said Saturday that Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the projectiles were launched from an area near the North’s east coast. It didn’t immediately Identify the projectiles or how far they flew, but North Korea has unleashed a series of test firings of short-range ballistic missiles in recent weeks.
Trump said: “They treat conservatives, Republicans, totally different than they treat others.” He also claimed that “all of the heads of the biggest companies” would be coming to the White House to discuss their output with him.
The management teams of Equinox and SoulCycle are still scrambling to mitigate the fallout from the news that billionaire owner and Hudson Yards developer Stephen Ross would be hosting a $100K+/plate Donald Trump fundraiser at his Hamptons home today. Although both companies tried to distance themselves from Ross, a #BoycottEquinox protest quickly gained traction on social media this week. Today, SoulCycle’s chief executive officer tried to get customers back on their side by offering free “social justice” rides to customers for causes hand-picked by instructors. [ more › ]
Ontario’s premier says a patient who fled a mental health hospital where he was detained for killing his roommate is an “animal” and that politicians need to stop being politically correct about it.