UN Chief Warns Paris Climate Goals Still Not Enough

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres took his global message urging immediate climate action to officials gathered in the United Arab Emirates on Sunday, where production of hydrocarbons remains a key driver of the economy.
 
Guterres is calling on governments to stop building new coal plants by 2020, cut greenhouse emissions by 45% over the next decade and overhauling fossil fuel-driven economies with new technologies like solar and wind. The world, he said, “is facing a grave climate emergency.”
 
In remarks at a summit in Abu Dhabi, he painted a grim picture of how rapidly climate change is advancing, saying it is outpacing efforts to address it.
 
 He lauded the Paris climate accord, but said even if its promises are fully met, the world still faces what he described as a catastrophic three-degree temperature rise by the end of the century.
 
Arctic permafrost is melting decades earlier than even worst-case scenarios, he said, threatening to unlock vast amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas.
 
“It is plain to me that we have no time to lose,” Guterres said. “Sadly, it is not yet plain to all the decision makers that run our world.”
 
 He spoke at the opulent Emirates Palace, where Abu Dhabi was hosting a preparatory meeting for the U.N. Climate Action Summit in September. Guterres was expected to later take a helicopter ride to view Abu Dhabi’s Noor solar power plant.
 
When asked, U.N. representatives said the lavish Abu Dhabi summit and his planned helicopter ride would be carbon neutral, meaning their effects would be balanced by efforts like planting trees and sequestering emissions. The U.N. says carbon dioxide emissions account for around 80% of global warming.
 
Guterres was in Abu Dhabi fresh off meetings with The Group of 20 leaders in Osaka, Japan. There, he appealed directly to heads of state of the world’s main emitters to step up their efforts. The countries of the G-20 represent 80% of world emissions of greenhouse gases, he said.
 
At the G-20 meeting, 19 countries expressed their commitment to the Paris agreement, with the only the United States dissenting.
 
In 2017, President Donald Trump pledged to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement as soon as 2020, arguing it disadvantages American workers and taxpayers. Trump has also moved steadily to dismantle Obama administration efforts to rein in coal, oil and gas emissions. His position has been that these efforts also hurt the U.S. economy.
 
The secretary-general’s special envoy for the climate summit, Ambassador Luis Alfonso de Alba, told The Associated Press it was disappointing that the U.S. has pulled out from the accord. However, he said there are many examples of efforts at the local and state level in the United States to combat climate change.
 
“I think it is very important to have all countries committing to this cause… even more when we are talking about the country of the importance and the size – not only in terms of the economy but also the emissions – of the United States,” he said.
 
Guterres is urging business leaders and politicians to come to the Climate Action Summit later this year with their plans ready to nearly halve greenhouse emissions by 2030 and reach carbon neutrality by 2050.
 
He suggested taxing major carbon-emitting industries and polluters, ending the subsidization of oil and gas, and halting the building of all new coal plants by next year.
 
“We are in a battle for our lives,” he said. “But it is a battle we can win.”

 

 

Thousands of Protesters Demand Civilian Rule in Sudan

Tens of thousands of protesters rallied across Sudan on Sunday against the ruling generals, calling for a civilian government nearly three months after the army forced out the long-ruling autocrat Omar al-Bashir.

The mass protests, centered in the capital, Khartoum, were the first since a June 3 crackdown when security forces violently broke up a protest camp. In that confrontation, dozens were killed, with protest organizers saying the death toll was at least 128, while authorities claim it was 61, including three security personnel.

Sunday’s demonstrators gathered at several points across Khartoum and in the sister city of Omdurman, then marching to the homes of those killed in previous protests.

The protesters, some of them waving Sudanese flags, chanted “Civilian rule! Civilian rule!” and “Burhan’s council, just fall,” targeting Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, the head of the military council. Security forces fired tear gas at the demonstrators.

Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, deputy head of the military council, said the generals want to reach an “urgent and comprehensive agreement with no exclusion. We in the military council are totally neutral. We are the guardians of the revolution. We do not want to be part of the dispute.”

The European Union and several Western countries have called on the generals to avoid bloodshed.

The June 3 raid followed the collapse of talks on a new government, whether it should be led by a civilian or soldier.

Ethiopia and the African Union have offered a plan for a civilian-majority body, which the generals say could be the basis for new negotiations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ancient Peruvian Water-Harvesting System Could Lessen Modern Water Shortages

Sometimes, modern problems require ancient solutions.  
 
A 1,400-year-old Peruvian water-diverting method could supply up to 40,000 Olympic-size swimming pools’ worth of water to present-day Lima each year, according to new research published in Nature Sustainability.
 
It’s one example of how indigenous methods could supplement existing modern infrastructure in water-scarce countries worldwide. 
 
More than a billion people across the world face water scarcity. Artificial reservoirs store rainwater and runoff for use during drier times, but reservoirs are costly, require years to plan and can still fail to meet water needs. Just last week, the reservoirs in Chennai, India, ran nearly dry, forcing its 4 million residents to rely on government water tankers.  
 

Animation showing monthly rainfall in the tropical Andes. Humid air transports water vapor from the Amazon and is blocked by the Andean mountain barrier, producing extreme differences between the eastern and western slopes. (B. Ochoa-Tocachi, 2019)

Peru’s capital, Lima, depends on water from rivers high in the Andes. It takes only a few days for water to flow down to Lima, so when the dry season begins in the mountains, the water supply rapidly vanishes. The city suffers water deficit of 43 million cubic meters during the dry season, which it alleviates with modern infrastructure such as artificial reservoirs. 
 

Panoramic view of the Andean highlands in the Chillon river basin where Huamantanga is located. The city of Lima would be located downstream in the horizon background. (S. Grainger, Imperial College London, 2015)

Artificial reservoirs aren’t the only solution, however. Over a thousand years ago, indigenous people developed another way of dealing with water shortages. Boris Ochoa-Tocachi, a postdoctoral researcher at Imperial College London and lead author of the study, saw firsthand one of the last remaining pre-Inca water-harvesting systems in the small highland community of Huamantanga, Peru. 

Water diverted, delayed
 
The 1,400-year-old system is designed to increase the water supply during the dry season by diverting and delaying water as it travels down from the mountains. This nature-based “green” infrastructure consists of stone canals that guide water from its source to a network of earthen canals, ponds, springs and rocky hillsides, which encourage water to seep into the ground. It then slowly trickles downhill through the soil and resurfaces in streams near the community.  
 
Ideally, the system should be able to increase the water’s travel time from days to months in order to provide water throughout the dry season, “but there was no evidence at all to quantify what is the water volume that they can harvest from these practices, or really if the practices were actually increasing the yields of these springs that they used during the dry season,” said Ochoa-Tocachi. 
 

A diversion canal as part of the pre-Inca infiltration system during the wet season. Canals like this divert water during the wet season to zones of high permeability. (M. Briceño, CONDESAN, 2012)

To assess the system’s capabilities, the researchers measured how much it slowed the flow of water by injecting a dye tracer high upstream and noting when it resurfaced downstream. The water started to emerge two weeks later and continued flowing for eight months — a huge improvement over the hours or days it would normally take. 
 
“I think probably the most exciting result is that we actually confirmed that this system works,” Ochoa-Tocachi added. “It’s not only trusting that, yeah, we know that there are traditional practices, we know that indigenous knowledge is very useful. I think that we proved that it is still relevant today. It is still a tool that we can use and we can replicate to solve modern problems.” 

Considerable increase in supply
 
The researchers next considered how implementing a scaled-up version of the system could benefit Lima. Combining what they learned from the existing setup in Huamantanga with the physical characteristics of Lima’s surroundings, they estimated that the system could increase Lima’s dry-season water supply by 7.5% on average, and up to 33% at the beginning of the dry season. This amounts to nearly 100 million cubic meters of water per year — the equivalent of 40,000 Olympic-size swimming pools. 
 
Todd Gartner, director of the World Resources Institute Natural Infrastructure for Water project, noted that this study “takes what we often just talk about — that ‘green [infrastructure] is as good as grey’ — and it puts this into practice and does a lot of evaluation and monitoring and puts real numbers behind it.” 
 
Another benefit of the system is the cost. Ochoa-Tocachi estimated that building a series of canals similar to what exists in Huamantanga would cost 10 times less than building a reservoir of the same volume. He also noted that many highland societies elsewhere in the world have developed ways of diverting and delaying water in the past and could implement them today to supplement their more expensive modern counterparts. 
 
“I think there is a lot of potential in revaluing these water-harvesting practices that have a very long history,” Ochoa-Tocachi said. “There are a lot of these practices that still now could be rescued and could be replicated, even though probably the actual mechanics or the actual process is different than the one that we studied. But the concept of using indigenous knowledge for solving modern engineering problems, I think that is probably very valuable today.” 

Trump Meets Kim at DMZ, Crosses Into North Korea

Donald Trump became the first sitting U.S. president to visit North Korea, stepping across the border during a meeting at the demilitarized zone with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

After shaking hands with Kim at the Panmunjom border village, Trump walked across the military demarcation line separating the two Koreas. Kim and Trump then crossed the border back into South Korea. 

“Good to see you again,” Kim told Trump. “I never expected to see you in this place.” 

“Stepping across that line was a great honor,” said Trump, who invited Kim to the United States for another meeting.

Trump on Saturday had said the meeting would only last two minutes. However, Trump’s private talks with Kim lasted about 50 minutes, turning into an impromptu summit.

When Trump emerged from the meeting, he announced he and Kim had agreed to form teams to restart working level talks. 

“They will meet over the next few weeks and they’re going to start a process and we’ll see what happens,” Trump said. “Speed is not the object…we want a really comprehensive, good deal.” 

Leaving South Korea after a wonderful meeting with Chairman Kim Jong Un. Stood on the soil of North Korea, an important statement for all, and a great honor!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 30, 2019

It is the third meeting between Kim and Trump, following meetings in Singapore last June and in Vietnam in February. Though the DMZ summit raises hopes of revived nuclear talks, it’s not clear how much progress was made.

President Donald Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone, South Korea, Sunday, June 30, 2019.

Nuclear progress?

Trump announced his negotiating team would continue to be led by Steve Biegun, the U.S. special envoy for North Korea. He said that North Korea “was also putting someone in charge who we know and who we like,” though he didn’t elaborate.

After the Singapore summit, Trump also announced his deputies would soon start working level negotiations. But those talks soon broke down over disagreements about how to pace sanctions relief with North Korea’s steps to dismantle its nuclear weapons. 

“It’s where we were about 15 months ago,” says Vipin Narang, a nuclear expert and professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “One step forward, two steps back. But this is one step forward.” 

“Given where we were last week, it’s not nothing,” he added. 

The disagreements between the U.S. and North Korea remain vast. Not only has North Korea not provided a list of its nuclear sites, Washington and Pyongyang have not even agreed on what the idea of denuclearization means. 

In recent weeks, North Korea expressed increasing levels of anger at the U.S. refusal to relax sanctions. Trump prefers a “big deal” under which North Korea commits to completely abandoning his nuclear weapons before relaxing any sanctions.

In their public comments Sunday, neither Trump nor Kim gave any indication of softening their stances.

“There was no sign that the two sides were prepared to address the underlying substantive problems, like differences over sanctions relief, that have made diplomacy so difficult,” says Mintaro Oba, a former State Department official and Korea specialist.  

“Unless the working-level negotiators have a mandate to try new, more constructive approaches to these problems, it’s hard to see what they can achieve,” he adds.

President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un stand on the North Korean side in the Demilitarized Zone, Sunday, June 30, 2019 at Panmunjom.

U.S. officials have given mixed signals about whether they are open to an incremental approach, whereby Pyongyang would give up its nuclear program in stages in exchange for reciprocal steps by Washington.

Building trust or theatrics?

Trump visited the DMZ with South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Though the three leaders did not make any public statement together, they briefly appeared together before Trump and Kim met for private talks.

At an earlier military briefing with Moon at a DMZ lookout point, Trump said the demilitarized zone used to be “very, very dangerous…but after our first summit, all the danger went away.” 

Trump also defended his North Korea policy and blasted media that have questioned whether he should meet with Kim, given that talks with North Korea are stalled.  

“I say that for the press, they have no appreciation for what we’ve done,” Trump said.

While many warn the latest summit risked normalizing friendly relations with a brutal dictator, South Korea’s President Moon said the meeting was an important step toward building trust with North Korea.

“We have taken one big step forward,” Moon said. “The…Korean people have been given hope thanks to today.”

But Bonnie Glaser with the Center for Strategic and International Studies said that for Trump, stepping inside North Korea might not signify any change in policy.

Trump, she said, delights in doing things no president has done before.”

Європейські ігри: Україна здобула 12-у золоту нагороду

В останній день ІІ Європейських ігор збірна України вже здобула шість нагород: по два «золота», «срібла» і «бронзи».

Представник греко-римської боротьби Жан Беленюк у фіналі вагової категорії до 87 кг переміг азербайджанця Іслама Аббасова з рахунком 3:1 і виборов 11-у золоту нагороду для України.

Вже через півгодини ще одну нагороду найвищого ґатунку здобув боксер Олександр Хижняк.

У фіналі вагової категорії до 75 кг українець не залишив шансів італійцеві Сальваторе Кавалларо.

Читайте також: Живий блог. Європейські ігри. День 10. Україна здобула 12-у золоту нагороду

Інший український боксер Микола Буценко став срібним призером ІІ Європейських ігор. І ще три нагороди в активі українських гімнастів: Олег Верняєв здобув «срібло» у вправах на коні, Петро Пахнюк став третім у вільних вправах, а Ігор Радівілов виборов бронзову нагороду у вправах на кільцях.

30 червня відбудуться також фінали з опорного стрибка, де змагатиметься Ігор Радівілов, і вправи на брусах, де виступатиме Олег Верняєв.

ІІ Європейські ігри, що тривають у Мінську, завершуються 30 червня. О 20:00 відбудеться церемонія закриття головних континентальних стартів цього літа.

Schumer: ATF Should Investigate Dominican Republic Deaths

The Senate’s top Democrat called on the U.S. government Sunday to step up its efforts to investigate the deaths of Americans who traveled to the Dominican Republic and is asking the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to get involved.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the agency should step in to lend investigative support to the FBI and local law enforcement officials after at least eight Americans died in the Dominican Republic this year. Family members of the tourists have called on authorities to investigate whether there’s any connection between the deaths and have raised the possibility the deaths may have been caused by adulterated alcohol or misused pesticides.

The ATF – the agency primarily investigates firearms-related crimes but is also charged with regulating alcohol and tobacco – is uniquely positioned to provide technical and forensic expertise in the investigation, Schumer said. The agency also has offices in the Caribbean.

“Given that we still have a whole lot of questions and very few answers into just what, if anything, is cause for the recent spate of sicknesses and several deaths of Americans in the Dominican Republic, the feds should double their efforts on helping get to the bottom of things,” Schumer said in a statement to The Associated Press.

An ATF spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Francisco Javier Garcia, the tourism minister in the Dominican Republic, said earlier this month that the deaths are not part of any mysterious wave of fatalities but instead are a statistically normal phenomenon that has been lumped together by the U.S. media. He said autopsies show the tourists died of natural causes.

Five of the autopsies were complete as of last week, while three were undergoing further toxicological analysis with the help from the FBI because of the circumstances of the deaths.

 

На Дніпропетровщині з’явився мурал із зображенням британської королеви

На Дніпропетровщині, у селі Єлизаветівка Петриківського району, створили перший в Україні мурал із зображенням королеви Великої Британії Єлизавети II. Про це Радіо Свобода повідомив сільський голова Максим Голосний.

За його словами, це також перший в Україні мурал, створений на фасаді будівлі органу місцевого самоврядування, – сільської ради.

«Ми з’ясовували: дозвіл із Букінгемського палацу варто отримувати, якщо йде мова про бюст чи барельєф. Мурал такого дозволу не потребує. До початку робіт ми поінформували Букінгемський палац і МЗС Великої Британії. З Букінгемського палацу ми отримали відповідь, де вони дякують за ініціативу, але просять, коли роботи будуть завершені, поінформувати їх, надіслати зображення і також поінформувати посла Великої Британії в Україні. Унікальність муралу в тому, що він виконаний без використання бюджетних коштів. Малював художник Тімо Левін. Заплатили з криптовалютних активів тергромади. За основу взяли фото королеви 20-річної давнини, це фото з мережі», – сказав Максим Голосний.

За його словами, мурал, а також найменування площі села іменем британської королеви зроблено «на знак вдячності та поваги щодо принципової позиції королеви і Великої Британії з невизнання анексії українських територій».

«Українці ніколи не дякували своїм зовнішньополітичним партнерам таким чином – ми спромоглися. Також ця ініціатива спрямована на розвиток туристичного потенціалу Дніпровського регіону. Тепер це єдине місце в Україні, де можна зробити селфі з королевою. Ми кажемо: ідеї змінюють простір», – додав Максим Голосний.

Згодом в селі планують також відкриття пам’ятного знаку, присвяченого королівській родині.

Раніше в селі Єлизаветівка з’явилася площа Єлизавети ІІ. Відповідне рішення ухвалили депутати місцевої ради. 

Італійка стала лауреатом міжнародної премії імені Франка

Доктор філології Міланського університету Марія Грація Бартоліні (Італія) стала лауреаткою міжнародної премії імені Івана Франка 2019 року.

Як повідомляє Міжнародний фонд Івана Франка, її монографія «Пізнай самого себе. Неоплатонічні джерела в творчості Г.С. Сковороди» здобула перемогу в номінації «За вагомі досягнення у галузі україністики».

Лауреата визначили під час засідання журі премії 28-29 червня в Інституті Славістики Віденського університету (Австрія).

При цьому в номінації «За вагомі досягнення у галузі соціально-гуманітарних наук» жодна з робіт-номінантів на міжнародну премію імені Івана Франка не набрала необхідну кількість балів, які визначені положенням про премію.

Як зазначив голова журі професор Міхаель Мозер: «Всі роботи є достойними, проте важко було дійти згоди, яка саме праця однозначно заслуговує на премію».

До складу міжнародного журі увійшло 12 вчених із університетів України, США, Австрії, Італії, Словаччини та Польщі.

Лауреат міжнародної премії імені Івана Франка отримає грошову винагороду і золотий знак лауреата. Церемонія нагородження переможця відбудеться 27 серпня 2019 року на батьківщині Івана Франка – у місті Дрогобич.

Цього року на здобуття премії було подано 27 наукових робіт із 22 університетів.

Міжнародну премію імені Івана Франка заснував у 2015 році його онук – Роланд Франко.

Лауреатами премії були: у 2016 році – верховний архієпископ-емерит Української греко-католицької церкви, кардинал Католицької церкви – Любомир Гузар; у 2017 році у номінації «За вагомі здобутки (досягнення) у галузі україністики» лауреатом став професор Віденського університету, президент Міжнародної асоціації україністів – Міхаель Мозер, а в номінації «За вагомі здобутки (досягнення) у галузі соціально-гуманітарних наук» нагороду здобув академік, почесний професор Львівського національного університету імені Івана Франка – Олег Шаблій.

У 2018 році у номінації «За вагомі здобутки (досягнення) у галузі україністики» лауреатом стала професор Українського католицького університету (Львів) і Українського вільного університету (Мюнхен) Ярослава Мельник, а у номінації «За вагомі досягнення у галузі соціально-гуманітарних наук» переміг Йоганнес Ремі – помічник професора Колумбійського університету (США).

 

Tens of Thousands Join Gay Pride Parades Around the World 

Tens of thousands of people turned out for gay pride celebrations around the world on Saturday, including a boisterous party in Mexico and the first pride march in North Macedonia’s capital. 
 
Rainbow flags and umbrellas swayed and music pounded as the march along Mexico City’s Paseo de la Reforma avenue got underway, with couples, families and activists seeking to raise visibility for sexual diversity in the country.   
 
Same-sex civil unions have been legal in Mexico City since 2007, and gay marriage since 2009. A handful of Mexican states have also legalized same-sex unions, which are supposed to be recognized nationwide. But pride participants said Mexico has a long way to go in becoming a more tolerant and accepting place for LGBTQ individuals.  
 

Revelers attend the gay pride parade in Quito, Ecuador, June 29, 2019.

“There’s a lot of machismo, a lot of ignorance still,” said Monica Nochebuena, who identifies as bisexual.  
 
Nochebuena, 28, attended the Mexico City march for the first time with her mother and sister on Saturday, wearing a shirt that said: “My mama already knows.” Her mother’s shirt read: “My daughter already told me.” 
 
Human rights activist Jose Luis Gutierrez, 43, said the march is about visibility, and rights, especially for Mexico’s vulnerable transgender population. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights says that poverty, exclusion and violence reduce life expectancy for trans women in the Americas to 35 years. 
 
In New York City, Friday marked the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, when a police raid on a gay bar in Manhattan led to a riot and days of demonstrations that morphed into a sustained LGBTQ liberation movement. The city’s huge Pride parade on Sunday will swing past the bar. 
 
Other LGBTQ celebrations took place from India to Europe, with more events planned for Sunday. 
 

People take part in the first gay pride parade in Skopje, North Macedonia, June 29, 2019.

In the North Macedonian capital of Skopje, U.S. Charge d’Affaires Micaela Schweitzer-Bluhm attended the first pride march there in a festive and incident-free atmosphere despite a countermarch organized by religious and “pro-family” organizations. 
 
People from across Macedonia took part, along with marchers from neighboring Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia and other countries.  
 
“This year Skopje joined more than 70 Pride [marches] and the USA are very proud to be part of this,” Schweitzer-Bluhm told reporters. “There is a lot of progress here in North Macedonia but still a lot has to be done.” 

Thousands March in Madrid to Save Anti-Pollution Plan

Thousands marched through Madrid on Saturday to ask the Spanish capital’s new mayor not to ditch ambitious traffic restrictions in the center only recently set up to improve air quality. 
 
“Madrid Central,” as it is called, was one of the measures that persuaded the European Commission not to take Spain to court last year over its bad air pollution in the capital and Barcelona, as it did with France, Germany and the United Kingdom. 
 
“Fewer cars, better air” and “The new city hall seriously harms your health” were the messages on banners as protesters walked through the city’s center in 40-degree-Celsius heat. 
 
The capital’s new conservative mayor, Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida, made ditching “Madrid Central” a priority during his campaign, saying it had done nothing to ease pollution and only caused a nuisance for locals. 
 
But since he has taken power as part of a coalition with center-right party Ciudadanos, city officials have toned this down, saying the government is merely seeking to reform a system that does not work properly, having mistakingly handed out some fines. 
 
When the system was launched in November, Madrid followed in the steps of other European cities such as London, Stockholm and Milan that have restricted traffic in their centers. 
 

A woman takes part in a protest against Madrid’s new conservative People’s Party municipal government plans to suspend some anti-car emissions policies in the city center, June 29, 2019.

But while in these cases drivers can pay to enter such zones, Madrid went a step further, banning many vehicles from accessing the center altogether and fining them if they did. 
 
These fines will be suspended from July 1 to the end of September as the new city hall team audits the system. 
 
For Beatriz Navarro, 44, a university biochemistry professor who took part in the march, the system is working fine. 
 
“It’s a small seed … among everything that has to be done to slow down climate change,” she said. 
 
In a statement, environmental group Ecologistas en Accion said “the levels of pollution from nitrogen dioxide (NO2) registered during May this year were lower than those of 2018 in all the [measuring] stations in the system.” 
 
“In 14 of the 24 stations [in Madrid], the value registered in May 2019 was the lowest in the last 10 years.”