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New July 2013

Make the U.S. an Energy Powerhouse

With Europe’s dependence on Russian gas impeding diplomatic efforts, it’s time to reconsider outdated policies that are keeping the U.S. from becoming an energy exporter.

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‘Baby hatches’ are no substitute for a social welfare system

<!– google_ad_section_start –> A controversy is raging over the growing phenomenon of “baby hatches” on the mainland amid Guangzhou’s abrupt suspension of its new facility after being overwhelmed by abandoned babies. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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What the U.N.’s new climate report says about North America

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Global warming is a global crisis, but the effects of climate change are being felt differently in different corners of the globe. The latest report from the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns of a world wracked by hunger, violence, and extinctions. But the IPCC also dedicates chapters to impacts that are underway and anticipated in individual regions and continents. For North America, the report states there is “high confidence” of links between climate change and rising temperatures, ravaging downpours, and declining water supplies. Even if temperatures are allowed to rise by just 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 C), which is the goal of current international climate negotiations (a goal that won’t be met unless everybody gets a lot more serious about curbing greenhouse gas pollution), such severe weather is going to get a lot worse. North America’s coastal regions will continue to face a particularly long list of hazards, with climate change bringing growing risks of “sea-level rise, warming, ocean acidification, extratropical cyclones, altered upwelling, and hurricanes and other storms.” Here are some highlights from the North American chapter of the IPCC’s new report: Observed climate trends in North America include an increased occurrence of severe hot weather events over much of the US, decreases in frost days, and increases in heavy precipitation over much of North America … Global warming of approximately 2°C (above the pre-industrial baseline) is very likely to lead to more frequent extreme heat events and daily precipitation extremes over most areas of North America, more frequent low snow years, and shifts towards earlier snowmelt runoff over much of the western US and Canada. Together with climate hazards such as higher sea levels and associated storm surges, more intense droughts, and increased precipitation variability, these changes are projected to lead to increased stresses to water, agriculture, economic activities and urban and rural settlements. The following figure from the report shows how temperatures have already risen — and how they are expected to continue to rise in different parts of the continent under relatively low (“RCP2.6″) and high (“RCP8.5″) greenhouse gas pollution scenarios: IPCCClick to embiggen.And this figure shows that rain and snow are falling more heavily in parts of central and eastern U.S., but that the changes are more mixed in the West: IPCCClick to embiggen.Care about other parts of the world? Good for you! So do we. Here are links to chapters on other regions, along with our brief summaries of their findings: Africa. This already overheated continent can expect to experience faster warming than other parts of the world – we’re talking about as much as 11 degrees F of warming by the end of the century. Couple that with worsening water shortages in many areas and more severe floods, and many Africans are staring down a hellish long-term weather forecast. Europe. Worse floods and droughts, peppered with brutal winter winds over Central and Northern Europe. Asia. A bento box of impacts varying widely across the region. Water shortages and rising seas are among the big worries. Farmers in some countries might benefit, but rice growers will generally find it more difficult to feed Asia. “There are a number of regions that are already near the heat stress limits for rice,” the chapter states. Australasia. Crikey, them cyclones are gonna hit Down Under harder than a ‘roo on a bonnet. And that’s not all. Fires, heat waves, and flooding will continue to get worse in many areas of Australia and New Zealand. Central and South America. Temperatures will continue to rise, and rain and snow will fall harder in some places but grow scarcer in others. The Andes will continue to lose snow. Polar Regions. As the poles melt and grow more balmy, new biomes will appear. The report notes that the “tree line has moved northward and upward in many, but not all, Arctic areas … and significant increases in tall shrubs and grasses have been observed in many places.” Which sounds like a good thing, except that the melting permafrost is unleashing climate-changing methane. Small islands. Those island bits that remain above sea level will be buffeted by salty floods, which will make freshwater harder to come by. The coral reefs that foster the ecosystems that support the livelihoods of islanders will continue to bleach and die. The ocean. Three words: acidic rising seas.Filed under: Article, Climate & Energy

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The New Fear of Flying

No accident in history of flying has ever spooked as many people. It’s a crisis for the airline industry that wants to make Asia a larger market than North America and Europe combined.

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Russia sets terms for Ukraine deal as 40,000 troops mass on border

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Lavrov demands that Kiev have only limited powers as Kerry says military moves are obstructing peace dealRussia on Sunday night repeated its demand that the US and its European partners accept its proposal that ethnic Russian regions of eastern and southern Ukraine be given extensive autonomous powers independent of Kiev as a condition for agreeing a diplomatic solution to the crisis over its annexation of Crimea.Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, told reporters Ukraine could not function as a “unified state” and should become a loose federation. He made the remarks after an inconclusive meeting with John Kerry, the US secretary of state, at the Russian ambassador’s residence in Paris following a day in which tensions over Ukraine deepened appreciably. Lavrov called the talks “very, very constructive”.

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French Front National eyes real power after startling gains in local elections

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The FN already has a new mayor and could end up in control of five towns or cities after a strong showing at the polls, with Marine Le Pen declaring 2014 ‘year zero’ for French politicsThe historic city of Avignon is up for grabs. So is Perpignan, as is Fréjus on the south coast.In local elections on Sunday, Marine Le Pen’s Front National (FN) is hoping to snatch up to 15 towns and cities from the ruling Socialist party or the opposition centre-right UMP, validating its claim to be the third force in French politics. Across Europe, where Eurosceptic, anti-immigration parties are on the rise, the results will be taken as a sign of things to come

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Ukraine’s Hopes Riding on a Chocolatier

After a leading contender dropped out of Ukraine’s presidential race, the nation’s hopes and those of its Western supporters are now with the billionaire Petro Olekseyevich Poroshenko.

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Head of D.C. NFL team’s Native group lost federal contract over ‘unusable’ results

The head of Washington D.C.’s National Football League team outreach effort toward Native American communities was criticized by federal investigators for the “unusable” results of a contract with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Washington Post reported on Friday. A 2012 report…

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Putin Calls Obama to Discuss Ukraine, White House Says

President Vladimir V. Putin called President Obama to discuss how to settle the Ukraine crisis, the White House said Friday.

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Thurston Moore on What Drew Him to New York, Art-Rock, and Forming Sonic Youth

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As told to Jennifer Vineyard I was born in 1958, and the Velvet Underground disbanded in the early ’70s, so I was aware of the Velvet Underground as a young kid. I remember finding the banana LP at Sears, because you’d buy rec­ords in places like department stores. It wasn’t … More »

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NATO Picks Former Norwegian Premier as Its Next Leader

The appointment of Jens Stoltenberg comes as the United States reaffirms its commitment to the Western military alliance as a way of containing an increasingly assertive Russia

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Edelstein: Wes Anderson Moves Out of the Dollhouse With The Grand Budapest Hotel

Wes Anderson’s latest cinematic styling is The Grand Budapest Hotel, an exquisitely calibrated, deadpan-comic miniature that expands in the mind and becomes richer and more tragic. Anderson tells a story within a story within a story. (There might be one more story—I lost track.) First, a young girl pays tribute … More »

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‘Noah’: Twitter conservatives outraged that film deviates from Bible’s original English

Devout Christians are up in arms this morning about Darren Aronofsky’s film Noah, despite the fact that the majority of them haven’t seen it. They’re upset because, in the words of one person on Twitter: “Noah” was directed by an #Atheist and was purposely made secular… Just…

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Vote by U.N. General Assembly Isolates Russia

A resolution on Ukraine rejecting Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula as illegal passed overwhelmingly.

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Russia’s Sakha Republic proposes ‘tourist camps’ on former gulag sites

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Forced labour camps in the Tomponsky district of eastern Siberia to become tourist attraction, preserving historical heritageThe ministry of entrepreneurship and tourism development of Russia’s Sakha Republic, also known as Yakutia, has put forward a proposal to create “tourist camps” on the sites of former gulags in a remote region of eastern Siberia.During the 1940s and 50s, thousands of prisoners worked at forced labour camps in the Tomponsky district building the M56 Kolyma Highway, often called the “road of bones” as many of them died during construction.

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America, Inc. at it’s Finest

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Chocolate Artisan Truffles by Just Chocolate

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Burberry
New July 2013