Charlamagne Tha God: Obama and Trump are to blame for dividing AmericaMarquise Francis National Reporter & Producer•Charlamagne Tha God: Obama and Trump are to blame for dividing America Yahoo News Video Scroll back up to restore default view.Former President Barack Obama and President Trump have divided America, according to popular radio host Charlamagne Tha God. Charlamagne, the lead voice of “The Breakfast Club,” a nationally syndicated morning radio show originating in New York City, says the reason you hear an increase of hate-filled stories and see more overt racism today is a direct result of the country’s current and immediate past president.“Donald Trump has a lot to do with that over the past couple years, but I also think Barack had a lot to do with that too,” Charlamagne said in a sit-down interview with Yahoo News’ Marquise Francis. “We fail to realize when you’re on the other side. If you voted for Barack you were probably happy, so you were probably in your echo chamber and you were with your people who loved Barack too. But you didn’t see the other side of America who was extremely pissed off that it was a black man in the White House.”The statistics support Charlamagne’s theory. Counties that hosted a 2016 Trump rally saw a 226% increase in hate crimes, according to a new Washington Post study. Charlamagne admits that the motivation behind Trump and Obama are vastly different, adding that Trump is dividing the country intentionally, while Obama did so unintentionally.Charlamagne, author of a 2018 best-selling book on anxiety titled “Shook One: Anxiety Playing Tricks on Me”, continued that he has parental anxiety in raising his two daughters in the current climate. “I have a lot of fears and concerns and I don’t even know if they’re justified,” he said. “My daughter is in the fifth grade right now, and she’s one of the only minorities in her grade, so I often wonder if she’s around enough of her own people and I wonder what those kids are being taught at home.”
He went on to tell an anecdote of a recent encounter he had with an elementary school student while dropping off his daughter at her school for cheerleading practice. The student initially called Charlamagne a criminal because of the way he looked, but after the two shook hands, the child’s attitude became more positive. Still, the initial assessment struck Charlamagne as ominous, evidence of racist stereotypes being foisted on young and impressionable minds.
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo and fellow Democrats who control the Legislature have reached a deal to make New York the third state with a ban on single-use plastic grocery bags as they worked to finalize budget agreements, officials said Friday.
The ban would prohibit grocery stores from providing plastic bags for most purchases, something California has been doing since a statewide ban was approved in 2016. Hawaii has an effective statewide ban, with all its counties imposing their own restrictions.
Supporters of such bans say they keep plastic bags from entering the environment and causing damage to ecosystems and waterways.
„With this smart, multi-pronged action New York will be leading the way to protect our natural resources now and for future generations of New Yorkers,” Cuomo, who proposed a ban in his $175 billion budget proposal, said in a statement Friday.
New York’s ban wouldn’t take effect until next March. The plan also calls for allowing local governments the option to impose a 5-cent fee on paper bags, with 3 cents going to the state’s Environmental Protection Fund and 2 cents kept by local governments.
Environmental conservation advocates had also been pushing for a statewide fee for paper bags as a way to encourage wider consumer use of reusable bags.
Nonetheless, Patrick McClellan, state policy director for the New York League of Conservation Voters, said his group was „thrilled” that the bag ban appears headed for passage.
„Plastic bags pollute our waterways and streets, and both plastic and paper bags contribute to the solid waste crisis and cost taxpayers money,” he said. „While the best policy would be a ban on plastic bags coupled with a statewide fee on other disposable bags, this agreement represents a tremendous step forward.”
Lawmakers are facing a Monday deadline on a budget agreement. Negotiations on other aspects of Cuomo’s proposed $175 billion spending plan are continuing Friday, with the Senate and Assembly expected to start passing budget bills Sunday ahead of the April 1 start of the state’s 2019-2020 fiscal year.
Lawmakers have also agreed on a measure that would close up to three yet-to-be-determined state prisons. Cuomo announced last month he wanted to reduce the number of facilities because of the state’s declining inmate population.
The budget will also contain a provision requiring employers to give workers three hours off to vote on election day.
Another provision set for the budget would impose congestion tolls to ease traffic in the busiest parts of Manhattan and fund transit improvements, but details are still being discussed.
Negotiations are also continuing on a proposal to tax luxury second homes in Manhattan worth more than $5 million. The option now being considered would impose a one-time tax paid when the properties are sold, Cuomo told reporters Friday.
Revenue from the tax would go to transit.
Other pending issues still being negotiated included criminal justice reform and public financing of political campaigns.
One of the other big issues of the year — the legalization of recreational marijuana — will not be included in the budget. Cuomo said Friday that lawmakers need more time to work out the details to regulation.
This story has been corrected to show that the deal was made public Friday, not reached Friday.
Threatening drastic action against Mexico, President Donald Trump declared Friday he is likely to shut down America’s southern border next week unless Mexican authorities immediately halt all illegal immigration.
Such a severe move could hit the economies of both countries, but the president emphasized, „I am not kidding around.”
„It could mean all trade” with Mexico, Mr Trump said when questioned by reporters in Florida. „We will close it for a long time.”
President Trump has been promising for more than two years to build a long, impenetrable wall along the border to stop illegal immigration, though Congress has been reluctant to provide the money he needs. In the meantime, he has repeatedly threatened to close the border, but this time, with a new surge of migrants heading north , he gave a definite timetable.
A substantial closure could have an especially heavy impact on cross-border communities from San Diego to South Texas, as well as supermarkets that sell Mexican produce, factories that rely on imported parts, and other businesses across the US.
The US and Mexico trade about $1.7 billion in goods daily, according to the US Chamber of Commerce, which said closing the border would be „an unmitigated economic debacle” that would threaten 5 million American jobs.
Trump tweeted Friday morning, „If Mexico doesn’t immediately stop ALL illegal immigration coming into the United States through our Southern Border, I will be CLOSING the Border, or large sections of the Border, next week.”
The DEMOCRATS have given us the weakest immigration laws anywhere in the World. Mexico has the strongest, & they make more than $100 Billion a year on the U.S. Therefore, CONGRESS MUST CHANGE OUR WEAK IMMIGRATION LAWS NOW, & Mexico must stop illegals from entering the U.S….
….through their country and our Southern Border. Mexico has for many years made a fortune off of the U.S., far greater than Border Costs. If Mexico doesn’t immediately stop ALL illegal immigration coming into the United States throug our Southern Border, I will be CLOSING…..
In Florida, he didn’t qualify his threat with „or large sections,” stating: „There is a very good likelihood I’ll be closing the border next week, and that is just fine with me.”
He said several times that it would be „so easy” for Mexican authorities to stop immigrants passing through their country and trying to enter the U.S. illegally, „but they just take our money and ’talk.’”
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen suggested Mr Trump was referring to the ongoing surge of mostly Central American families heading north through Mexico. Many people who cross the border illegally ultimately request asylum under US law, which does not require asylum seekers to enter at an official crossing.
Short of a widespread shutdown, Nielsen said the US might close designated ports of entry to re-deploy staff to help process parents and children. Ports of entry are official crossing points that are used by residents and commercial vehicles.
„If we have to close ports to take care of all of the numbers who are coming, we will do that,” Nielsen said. „So it’s on the table, but what we’re doing is a very structured process based on operational needs.”
The White House did not immediately respond to questions about whether Trump’s possible action would apply to air travel.
Trump’s latest declaration came after Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said his country was doing its part to fight migrant smuggling. Criminal networks charge thousands of dollars a person to move migrants through Mexico, increasingly in large groups toward remote sections of the border.
„We want to have a good relationship with the government of the United States,” Lopez Obrador said Friday. He added: „We are going to continue helping so that the migratory flow, those who pass through our country, do so according to the law, in an orderly way.”
Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico’s foreign relations secretary, tweeted that his country „doesn’t act based on threats” and is „the best neighbor” the US could have.
Democratic and Republican lawmakers have fought over Trump’s contention that there is a „crisis” at the border, particularly amid his push for a border wall, which he claims will solve immigration problems, though a wall wouldn’t keep out families who cross at official points so they can surrender and be detained.
The president called on Congress to immediately change what he said were weak US immigration laws, which he blamed on Democrats. The Department of Homeland Security wants the authority to detain families for longer and more quickly deport children from Central America who arrive at the border on their own. The department argues those policy changes would stop families from trying to enter the US.
HOUSTON (AP) — A 7-year-old girl from Guatemala died of a bacterial infection while detained by the U.S. Border Patrol, according to an autopsy released Friday, in a case that drew worldwide attention to the plight of migrant families at the southern U.S. border.
Jakelin Caal Maquin died Dec. 8, just over a day after she was apprehended by Border Patrol agents with her father after entering the U.S. illegally. Jakelin was one of two children to die in Border Patrol custody in December, raising questions about the agency’s ability to care for families.
The report from the medical examiner in El Paso, Texas, says traces of streptococcus bacteria were found in Jakelin’s lungs, adrenal gland, liver, and spleen. The autopsy says she faced a „rapidly progressive infection” that led to sepsis and the failure of multiple organs.
The medical examiner did not determine which form of streptococcus bacteria Jakelin contracted.
„It’s a death that could have been preventable,” said Dr. Colleen Kraft, a past president of the American Academy of Pediatrics who spoke to The Associated Press after reviewing the report.
Kraft said the type of infection Jakelin had would have likely caused initial symptoms that a medical professional would have caught, like an elevated heartbeat, respiratory rate, or problems with blood circulation.
„She should have been taken to the hospital right away,” Kraft said, adding that „you had somebody who didn’t know to look for those subtle signs that her little system was shutting down.”
Dr. Matthew Gartland, a pediatrician and member of the advocacy group Physicians for Human Rights, said that while it was difficult to determine whether more rapid treatment would have saved Jakelin’s life, „what we can say is immigrant children should receive timely care, including emergency care, by pediatricians.”
Jakelin was not hospitalized until 12 hours after she and her father were apprehended, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
CBP said Jakelin and her her father, Nery Gilberto Caal Cuz, were in a group of 163 migrants who were apprehended at about 9:15 p.m. Dec. 6 in a remote part of New Mexico. The father signed an English-language form stating Jakelin was in good health, CBP said, but it remains unclear whether he understood what the form said.
Jakelin and her father boarded a bus at about 4:30 a.m. Dec. 7 from the Antelope Wells port of entry for the Lordsburg station. According to a CBP statement, Jakelin’s father reported just before the bus left at 5 a.m. that she was vomiting.
The bus arrived in Lordsburg about 90 minutes later, CBP said. By then, Jakelin’s temperature had reached 105.7 degrees Fahrenheit (40.9 degrees Celsius). An emergency medical technician had to revive her.
She was flown to a hospital in El Paso, where she died the next day .
CBP says large groups of migrants are increasingly heading to remote areas of the border such as rural New Mexico, where it has very limited facilities or staff to apprehend and care for them. The agency expanded medical screenings for all children after the death of a second child, Felipe Gomez Alonzo.
The Border Patrol said this week that it would release families immediately instead of referring them to processing, a step the agency said was necessary to relieve overcrowding in its facilities.
CBP declined Friday to comment on the autopsy report. Commissioner Kevin McAleenan previously said in a statement that the agents who were involved „are deeply affected and empathize with the father over the loss of his daughter.”
„We cannot stress enough the dangers posed by traveling long distances, in crowded transportation, or in the natural elements through remote desert areas without food, water and other supplies,” McAleenan said.
Advocates have criticized CBP for its treatment of migrant families and for portraying their growing numbers as a crisis. They have long warned that immigration facilities are ill-suited to detain families. After Jakelin’s death, the U.N. special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants urged the U.S. not to detain migrants and called for „a thorough investigation” of her death.
Kraft, the former head of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said she had spoken with McAleenan since the two child deaths and said the agency had made progress in making sure sick children are quickly taken to a hospital.
RAICES, a group that provides legal services to detained immigrants, tweeted on Friday: „We will keep fighting for you and the innocent children and their families seeking refuge in this country.”
Tekandi Paniagua, the Guatemalan consul based in Del Rio, Texas, said his office had spoken to Nery Caal on Friday and that he would „continue providing the necessary accompaniment and support to the Caal family.”
Addis Ababa (AFP) – The African Union has called on all sides in Comoros to „show the greatest restraint” amid violence and a political crisis in the wake of disputed elections.
AU commission chief Moussa Faki Mahamat said he was „concerned about the deterioration of the political and security climate” on the Indian Ocean archipelago, in statement released late Friday.
Comoros is in the grip of a political crisis following President Azali Assoumani’s victory in March 24 polls, that his opponents say was rigged and led rivals to unite against him.
Mahmat added he „deplores the violence that resulted in loss of life.”
Violence broke out in the Indian Ocean nation after a defeated presidential candidate bidding to unseat the president was arrested.
Comoros has had a volatile political history since independence in 1975 and has endured more than 20 attempted coups, four of which were successful.
Azali initially came to power in a coup, then ruled the country between 1999 and 2006, and was re-elected in 2016.
Both observers and community groups have questioned the credibility of the election, which saw Azali declared the winner with almost 61 percent of the vote.
Ukrainian comic actor and presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelensky looks set to lead after a first round vote on Sunday
Kiev (AFP) – A comedian whose political experience is limited to playing the president on TV is likely to top the first round of voting when Ukrainians go to the polls on Sunday.
Actor Volodymyr Zelensky’s bid started as a long shot but he has leapfrogged establishment politicians amid public frustration over corruption and stagnating living standards.
The 41-year-old star of the political comedy „Servant of the People,” which returned for its third season this week, is polling above 25 percent, well ahead of his nearest rivals.
If Zelensky wins the presidency he will lead a country of 45 million people that in recent years has known war, loss of territory and uprisings, and remains one of the poorest nations in Europe.
The main question now is whether incumbent Petro Poroshenko or ex-prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko will meet Zelensky in a run-off next month.
One recent survey put them neck and neck at around 17 percent, though another showed Poroshenko pulling ahead of ally-turned-foe Tymoshenko to make the second round.
Zelensky, who has a young support base, acknowledges that he has „no experience” but nonetheless insists he has the strength to lead Ukraine.
„I don’t have all the knowledge but I’m learning this now,” he told AFP in an interview this month.
„I don’t want to look like an idiot.”
Even in the final days of campaigning he has eschewed rallies and interviews in favour of playing gigs with his comedy troupe.
Critics point to the vagueness of his manifesto, the key pledges of which were chosen following a public vote on social media.
But supporters say only a brand new face can clean up Ukraine’s murky politics.
Some accuse Zelensky of acting as a front for the interests of oligarch Igor Kolomoysky, who owns the channel that broadcasts the entertainer’s shows, but he denies any political links.
– Standing up to Russia –
Poroshenko was elected president in 2014 after a revolution forced Kremlin-backed predecessor Viktor Yanukovych from office.
The pro-Western uprising was followed by Russia’s annexation of Crimea and a conflict in eastern Ukraine between Kiev’s forces and Moscow-backed separatists.
Poroshenko came in on promises to tackle graft, align Ukraine with the West and shut down the fighting in the east.
But five years on, corruption is widespread and the simmering separatist conflict has cost 13,000 lives.
„I am absolutely confident that despite all of Russia’s attempts… the Kremlin will not block the European or Euro-Atlantic integration of my country,” Poroshenko said after his final campaign rally.
The 53-year-old president has positioned himself as the only person able to stand up to the Kremlin and has promised to return Crimea to Ukraine if he is re-elected.
The pledge has been widely dismissed as unrealistic.
– Record number of candidates –
Tymoshenko — who was once known for her traditional plaited hairstyle but now opts for a more conventional pony tail — has focused on the cost of living.
She has promised to cut consumer gas prices in half and boost pensions as she appeals to an older base during her third bid for the presidency.
With a record 39 candidates on the first-round ballot, analysts say the race remains open despite Zelensky’s dominance in the polls.
Barring a shock result in which one candidate crosses the 50 percent threshold in the first round, a two-person run-off is to be held on April 21.
KIEV (Reuters) – As Ukraine heads in a presidential election on Sunday, two artists have created an unflattering portrait of incumbent Petro Poroshenko using sweet wrappers and bullet casings.
From Poroshenko’s perspective probably the best thing about the piece is that the artists had to use 20 kilograms (44 lb) of candies made by a confectionary firm that he owns.
Titled ‘Face of Corruption’, the collage by Daria Marchenko and Daniel Green is full of hidden meanings.
Speaking to Reuters in her apartment in Kiev, Marchenko explained that the candy wrappers symbolize empty promises made to Ukrainians since Poroshenko came to power following the ousting of pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovich five years ago.
Sat at a table covered with colorful wrappers, she described the Ukrainian people as being like a child craving democracy.
„This child was shown a candy in the form of democracy, in the form of a new future, of something bright, non-totalitarian and honest,” she said.
„And in the end, the child was not given this candy. That is why we can see candy wrappers on the face of Petro Oleksiyovych (Poroshenko). We cannot not see candies, we can see empty wrappers, just wrappers.”
The portrait’s background is made of bullet casings collected from Ukraine’s volatile east and are arranged in a pattern to resemble chocolate bars, in a nod to Poroshenko’s background in the confectionery business and his nickname „the Chocolate King”.
Close-up, the chocolate bars also resemble coffins which symbolize the lost souls of Ukrainians, Marchenko said.
„In the background we can see the country at war, the country full of coffins while the president lives in sweetness under any circumstances,” she said.
According to an opinion poll published on Thursday, comic actor Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a political novice who plays a fictional president in a popular TV series, has maintained a strong lead in Ukraine’s presidential election race. [nL8N21F3RH]
The poll by KIIS research body, the final survey for the election’s first round, showed support for Zelenskiy at 20.9 percent, with Poroshenko second on 13.7 percent and opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko third on 9.7 percent.
Thirty-nine candidates have registered for the election. If no candidate wins 50 percent of the votes cast in Sunday’s poll, the top two will face each other in a run-off on April 21.
The portrait of Poroshenko is the third in a series of artworks by Marchenko and Green.
Their 2015 ‘Face of War’ depicted Russian President Vladimir Putin and was made of bullet casings, while a 2017 portrait of U.S. President Donald Trump was made of coins and titled ‘Face of Money’.
(Reporting by Margaryta Chornokondratenko; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)
US woman kidnapped in Afghanistan says husband’s abuse was just like captors’
A Canadian man who was kidnapped with his wife in Afghanistan was controlling and violent towards her before, during and after their five-year hostage ordeal, she told a Canadian court on Friday.
Caitlan Coleman, 33, gave testimony for a second day at the trial of Joshua Boyle, 35 who faces 19 criminal charges, including sexual assault, unlawful confinement and uttering death threats.
Coleman was pregnant when she and Boyle were kidnapped by a Taliban-linked group while backpacking in Afghanistan in 2011. They spent five years as hostages, and had three children together before they were rescued by the Pakistani military.
Coleman testified that during their captivity in the hands of the militant Haqqani network, Boyle dictated all aspects of her life. His behaviour “was just like my captors’”, she told the court.
“I was never to disagree with him, even on small things,” she told the court. “In the past, he made it clear he didn’t feel any guilt hurting me.”
Coleman, dressed in a white blazer, black dress and black headscarf, spoke through video link in an adjoining room in order to avoid being in the same room as Boyle.
She had travelled from Pennsylvania, where she currently lives with her family, to testify.
Boyle, wearing a navy blazer and maroon pants, sat at the front row of the courtroom, frequently taking notes on a yellow legal pad. He was briefly joined by his parents.
Coleman described a pattern of abusive behaviour that culminated in a vicious assault after the couple had returned to Canada, in which Boyle demanded sex then hit her when she refused. She told the court she felt “very, very frightened” during the 27 November incident.
“Josh told me to get on the bed. He took ropes he kept in a bag … and he started to tie my hands and legs.” Boyle sexually assaulted her, then refused to release her, Coleman told the court. “He said he couldn’t trust me, so he wasn’t going to untie me,” she said.
She was only able to free herself after Boyle fell asleep, she told the court. “Looking back, I should have tried to leave,” she said. “But I didn’t.”
In her previous testimony, Coleman had described a “rollercoaster” relationship with Boyle, whom she met at age 16 in a Star Wars-themed online chatroom. “He was my first kiss,” she told the court on Wednesday.
Coleman quickly fell in love with Boyle, but she told the court that he became an emotionally and physically abusive partner, critiquing her drinking and interactions she had with men.
Coleman told the court that the abuse continued in Afghanistan, where the final two years of captivity were the worst. He would choke, bite and spank her as punishment, she said. While in captivity, Boyle demanded she remain in a bathroom stall for extended periods of time – telling his wife he couldn’t stand the sight of her.
Coleman testified that Boyle also joked about killing her by lighting her on fire or spilling cooking oil on her.
“This was probably the darkest period of my life,” she told the court.
During their five years as prisoners in Afghanistan, the couple and their small children are believed to have been shuttled between more than 20 locations.
The court had previously heard that Boyle’s violence continued after the couple returned to Canada.
Coleman testified that he would often hit her and demand sex; on one occasion, he forced her to swallow powerful sleeping medication, she testified.
“He stood in the bathroom and watched me take them that time … I took them because I knew that if I didn’t he would hit me harder,” she told the court on Wednesday.
On Friday Coleman told the court that when the couple was back in Ottawa, Boyle gave her a detailed list of rules dictating her diet, weight, appearance and frequency of sex. “I would be punished if I did not follow this list,” she testified, adding that Boyle withheld meals from her, and threatened corporal punishment if she did not comply.
Coleman told the court that the rules required her to address her children as “Sir” and “Madam”, “so I could understand I was beneath everyone.”
During her testimony, Coleman also said her former husband was paranoid about reports of the family in the media. “He was so focused on the fact that world’s eyes were on us … he said we have to look like a happy family,” she said.
Coleman told the court that during interviews, Boyle – once an aspiring journalist – attempted to control the narrative of the couple’s time in Afghanistan.
“He would give verbal or physical instructions about what could be answered … what story we could tell or what part of captivity we could talk about,” said Coleman.
The 19 charges against Boyle are all related to alleged events after the family returned to Canada. Coleman was the alleged victim in 17 of the offences; a publication ban protects the identity of a second alleged victim.
The trial is expected to last eight weeks.
By Philip Pullella
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis on Friday made it compulsory in law to report the sexual abuse of children within the Vatican and in its diplomatic missions worldwide.
Although the city state within Rome is tiny, and very few children live there, the sweeping legal changes reflect a desire to show that the Catholic Church is finally acting against clerical child abuse after decades of scandals around the world.
The changes signed by the pope – who is Vatican head of state as well as head of the Church – make it obligatory for superiors and co-workers to report abuse allegations; punish failure to report with dismissal, fines or jail; and offer assistance to victims and families.
There are also provisions to protect vulnerable adults.
It is the first time a unified and detailed policy for the protection of children has been compiled for the Vatican and its embassies and universities outside the city state.
The law sets up procedures for reporting suspected abuse, imposes more screening of prospective employees, and sets strict guidelines for adult interaction with children and the use of social media.
The Church’s credibility has been badly tarnished in much of the world by abuse scandals in Ireland, Chile, Australia, France, the United States, Poland, Germany and elsewhere, in which it has paid billions of dollars in damages to victims and been forced to close parishes.
„Laws that make even one child safer should be applauded,” said Anne Barrett Doyle of the U.S.-based abuse tracking group BishopAccountability.org.
„While the action is no-risk and limited in scope, it is constructive. It’s a baby step in the right direction,” she said, calling for the pope to undertake „bold, broad reforms” by changing universal Church law.
Senior bishops from around the world met in the Vatican last month to chart a strategy for ending abuse. Victims said the meeting merely produced a restatement of old promises.
The scandals have reached the upper echelons of the Vatican itself. Cardinal George Pell, jailed this month for six years for abusing boys in his native Australia, had served as the Vatican treasurer and a member of the pope’s innermost council of cardinals.
Vatican diplomatic missions have also been involved in scandals in the past. In 2013, Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, the Vatican’s ambassador to the Dominican Republic, was charged with paying boys for sex. He was recalled and kept in detention in the Vatican but died in 2015 before his trial.
(Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Kevin Liffey)
Global landmarks from the Sydney Opera House to Dubai’s Burj Khalifa are set to dim their lights on Saturday to raise awareness about energy use and our planet’s vanishing biodiversity.
The thirteenth edition of Earth Hour, organised by the green group WWF, will see 24 landmarks each go dark for 60 minutes throughout the day.
„We are the first generation to know we are destroying the world. And we could be the last that can do anything about it,” the charity said.
„We have the solutions, we just need our voices to be heard.”
Dozens of companies around the world have said they will join in this year’s switch-off.
The event comes after some of the most dire warnings yet on the state of Earth’s natural habitat and species.
WWF’s own „Living Planet” report in October said that 60 percent of all animals with a backbone — fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles and mammals — had been wiped out by human activity since 1970.
Another dataset confirmed the depth of an unfolding mass extinction event, only the sixth in the last half-billion years.
Paris’s Eiffel Tower, New York’s Empire State Building and the Acropolis in Athens will all take part in Earth Hour.
Last year’s event was observed in more than 7,000 towns and cities in 187 countries, according to organisers.
LONDON – British lawmakers on Friday rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s European Union divorce deal for a third time, a defeat that adds further uncertainty and confusion over the country’s the efforts to leave the bloc.
Britain now has until April 12 to announce a new plan, or leave the bloc without a deal and risk a disorderly exit that could substantially damage Britain’s economy.
It could also mean an extended delay to Britain’s departure from the EU, known as Brexit, or no Brexit at all. May said the „implications are grave” and EU leaders immediately announced an emergency summit on Brussels for April 10.
The House of Commons voted 344-286 against May’s withdrawal agreement, a narrower margin of loss than in previous parliamentary votes on Brexit.
Lawmakers had already rejected May’s EU exit deal twice before and earlier this week she promised to quit as Britain’s leader if the deal is approved.
Lawmakers plan to hold a series of votes Monday in an attempt to find a new plan.
Friday’s vote was on the withdrawal agreement that sets out the terms of Britain’s departure from the bloc – but not a shorter declaration on future ties.
Almost three years after Britain voted to leave the EU, Brexit has brought the country’s political system to a standstill and May’s agreement still faces substantial opposition because hard line lawmakers from her ruling Conservative Party don’t feel the deal she negotiated with the EU sufficiently disentangles Britain from the EU. Many opposition Labour Party lawmakers, meanwhile, are in favor of closer ties with the EU.
Asked Thursday about May’s offer to resign if her Brexit deal is passed, President Donald Trump said he wished „the Brexit movement” well.
Of May, Trump said: „She’s strong, she’s tough and she’s in there fighting.”
The vote came on the day that Britain was originally scheduled to leave the EU and the result raises the possibility that the nation may need to hold a second national referendum on Brexit or call a general election to solve the impasse.
Ahead of the vote, May had appealed Friday to lawmakers „to put aside self and party … accept the responsibility given to us by the British people.”
After the vote, she said the outcome was a „matter of profound regret.”
The European Commission, the bloc’s executive branch, said that the result meant that a chaotic EU exit – a „no-deal” Brexit – for Britain was now „a likely scenario.”
Food shortages, sky-rocketing cheese prices, grounded airplanes, traffic jams, riots and even a re-purposed Cold War-era emergency exit route for Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II are just some of the warnings being sounded in Britain if the nation leaves the bloc it joined 46 years ago without securing a withdrawal deal with the EU that’s also acceptable to lawmakers. That’s because many of Britain’s laws from security policy to public health for decades have been formed in cooperation with the EU.
Much of this legislation, under a „no-deal” Brexit, would effectively evaporate overnight.
The British pound fell sharply against the U.S. dollar after the vote. In recent trading, it was 0.5 percent lower at $1.2995. Britain’s currency rose modestly ahead of the vote.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Theresa May’s EU Brexit deal rejected by Parliament a third time
(Reuters) – Following are five big themes likely to dominate thinking of investors and traders in the coming week and the Reuters stories related to them.
1/ YIELD CURVEBALLS
Which is it – growth or gloom? With 10-year U.S. bond yields below 3-month T-bill rates for the first time in more than a decade, recession fears are swirling. After all, an inverted yield curve, when longer-dated yields drop below shorter maturities, have proved to be fairly reliable predictors of U.S. recessions in the past. As a result some investors are busy putting cash behind bets the Fed is gearing up for rate cuts.
But there are many who scoff – they point to a world economy chugging along at a decent clip, dovish central banks and company earnings that are still growing, albeit more slowly. So while Treasury yields are down 30 basis points this quarter, world stocks are up more than 10 percent. Recession sceptics may also note that U.S. equities are not far off record highs and credit spreads have retraced most of their December losses.
Also, while past recession discussions have focussed on inversions of the 2-year/10-year U.S. curve, that hasn’t reacted so far. Fed policymakers too, such as voting member John Williams, say they are not worried about recession this year or the next. Others such as James Bullard seem to be endorsing the „this time is different” argument, hinting that the curve’s predictive power has weakened.
But policymakers around the world have already taken heed. The ECB has hinted at further rate cut delays and at tiering interest rates to help banks; other central banks, from New Zealand to Canada, are hinting at rate cuts ahead.
– Fed rate cut seen nearer as yield curves invert
– Fed’s Williams sees no elevated chance of near-term recession
– Why the yield curve could be sounding a false alarm
(Graphic: U.S. yield curve inverts for first time since 2007, https://tmsnrt.rs/2UNVc1P)
2/THE END OF THE ROAD?
No. No. No. No. Parliament’s cold response to Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal so far means the manner of Britain’s exit from the European Union – originally scheduled for March 29 – is unknown.
Brussels has let Britain delay its departure while May battled to find a way forward but there is little enthusiasm in parliament or the population even for the stripped-down version of May’s twice-defeated deal. But lawmakers have also given the thumbs-down to a series of other amendments, including revoking Brexit, delaying it further or holding another referendum.
Dismayed investors have been avoiding the pound but the resulting shortage in trading volumes just exacerbates price swings. The question now is whether the most hardline Conservative eurosceptics and Northern Ireland’s DUP, the party propping up May’s government, can ever be convinced to back an exit deal before the new April 12 deadline.
If the withdrawal agreement does somehow scrape through, sterling would likely surge above $1.35. For the time being though, the bleak, if unlikely, alternative scenario – a chaotic no-deal departure – persists.
Options markets aren’t optimistic. The price investors are willing to pay for one-month sterling protection – insurance against sterling falls – is at the highest since the 2016 referendum vote.
– Brexit at a crossroads: May puts her deal to ‘last chance’ vote in parliament
– DUP’s Wilson says party will not support Brexit deal today or in the future
(Graphic: GBP risk reversals, https://tmsnrt.rs/2V1piz2)
3/WORKIN’ FOR A LIVIN’
U.S. factory job growth was its weakest in February since the summer of 2017 but still managed to extend the streak of monthly gains to 19, the longest in nearly a quarter century. If, as expected, Friday’s March payrolls report makes it 20 in a row – economists polled by Reuters predict a 10,000 increase – it would mark the longest uninterrupted run of manufacturing employment expansion in a generation, matching the run from January 1983 through August 1984.
But while comparable in length, the current manufacturing renaissance pales in terms of total jobs created. Back then, U.S. factories added 1.34 million workers, more than three times the 417,000 new jobs since the current streak began in August 2017.
For early clues on the jobs data, cast an eye on Monday’s ISM Manufacturing Index. Its employment component is closely correlated with the Labor Department’s manufacturing payrolls series. ISM’s February reading on factory employment, at 52.3, was the weakest in more than two years. Should it drop below 50, the level separating expansion from contraction in the ISM series, it could signal an end to manufacturing employment’s long run. The last time ISM had a sub-50 print was September 2016. That month, U.S. factories cut 3,000 jobs.
(Graphic: U.S. manufacturing employment, https://tmsnrt.rs/2WwFc4R)
4/DEAL WITH IT
A month has passed since the United States and China missed an initial deadline to agree a trade deal. The first face-to-face meetings between the two sides since that deadline were apparently „constructive” and „productive”; now Chinese Vice Premier Liu He is to travel to Washington for further talks.
In the meantime though, tariffs on Chinese goods worth $250 billion are in play and that is hurting – China as well as its Asian neighbours who are linked to it through complex supply chains. March Purchasing Managers Indexes are expected to show a further deterioration in sentiment across the region and another source of pressure is the worry of a recession in the United States.
The one thing preventing panic is the hope Beijing will provide enough stimulus to offset slowing trade. Central bankers around Asia have started hinting at interest rate cuts, relieved at the end of the Fed’s policy-tightening campaign. But the upcoming activity data might show how soon they need to act.
-With Fed pause, list of potential Asia rate cutters grows
– U.S., China resume trade talks in Beijing after ‘productive working dinner’
(Graphic: Manufacturing activity in Asia, https://tmsnrt.rs/2CIU20R)
5/NO THANKSGIVING FOR THIS TURKEY
Last year’s lira crisis tipped Turkey into a painful recession, ended its credit-fuelled economic boom and complicated President Tayyip Erdogan’s task of selling his economic success story to voters. They are headed to the ballot box on Sunday for the first time since last year’s currency meltdown.
Polls suggest Erdogan could lose Ankara, the city from which he has ruled Turkey with an increasingly iron grip since 2003. His AK Party could face a tough race in Istanbul, where Erdogan was once mayor. But policymakers’ efforts shore up the currency before the election have run into trouble and moves to curb offshore lira supply has pushed investors into selling Turkish stocks and bonds.
The question now is how quickly policymakers will normalise their approach to markets. And even if they do, will pressure on the lira ease up and can they win back the trust of investors, some of whom will have taken losses from the recent episode? For an economy that’s already reeling how much damage have these unorthodox measures inflicted? And finally, will the stress percolate to European banks active in Turkey? BBVA, Unicredit, ING, HSBC and BNP Paribas all have varying degrees of exposure.
ANALYSIS-Turkey running low on hard cash reserves as markets fear ‘dollarisation’
-In first vote since Turkey’s crisis, Erdogan could lose capital city
(Graphic: Turkey’s FX reserves fall as lira pressure mounts, https://tmsnrt.rs/2OqMwfq)
(Reporting by Dan Burns in New York, Marius Zaharia in Hong Kong; Sujata Rao, Tom Finn and Karin Strohecker in London; Editing by Mark Heinrich)
The phones were rigged to a metal frame and synchronised so their screens would flash in various colours
Beijing (AFP) – A Chinese artist on Saturday unveiled a sculpture made of discarded mobile phones and shaped like a cell tower in a bid to highlight the problem of electronic waste.
The phones were rigged to a metal frame and synchronised so their screens would flash in various colours.
„The inspiration of my tower comes from the Tower of Babel in the Bible,” artist Shen Bolun told AFP, referring to the origin story explaining why people speak different languages.
Displayed in a busy shopping mall in Beijing, the sculpture attracted scores of curious bystanders who stopped to take photos of the exhibit.
„I originally thought environmental protection is waste sorting, but I didn’t realise cellphones could be recycled and used again,” said primary school student Li Jiaxing, who was viewing the artwork with his mother.
„After seeing this tower, I decided to donate my old cellphone here to make use of its remaining value.”
China’s waste from computers, mobile phones, and other electronics will reach 15.4 million tonnes by 2020, said environmental group Greenpeace, which organised the display.
As a leading manufacturer and consumer of electronic goods, China was a logical place to launch an e-waste recycling and reduction campaign, the group said.
Old electronic devices contain large amounts of metal that have economic value, said Greenpeace project manager Jiang Zhuoshan.
„If these metals are recycled, we can reduce mining and damaging the environment,” she added.
But there are still many barriers — many are either unfamiliar with the recycling procedures or have privacy concerns about the prospect of someone else handling their personal devices.
London (AFP) – British rock icon Mick Jagger said on Saturday he was „devastated” after his Rolling Stones were forced to cancel their United States and Canada tour dates so he could receive „medical treatment”.
„I really hate letting you down like this,” the 75-year-old wrote on his Twitter account, without specifying what treatment he was receiving.
„I’m devastated for having to postpone the tour but I will be working very hard to be back on stage as soon as I can.”
The rock legends earlier announced the cancellations, saying that they would reschedule the dates.
„Mick has been advised by doctors that he cannot go on tour at this time, as he needs medical treatment,” said the band’s official statement.
„The doctors have advised Mick that he is expected to make a complete recovery so that he can get back on stage as soon as possible.”
Jagger has eight children, five grand children and a great-granddaughter, but has maintained his energetic stage performances well into his 70s, playing Britain’s Glastonbury Festival in 2013.
The band, who formed in 1962, were due to play 17 shows in the US and Canada between April and June.
Kris Osborn, Warrior Maven
It would be epic.
The Real ‘Star Wars’: How the U.S. Military Is Preparing for a Space War
Staying ahead of space trends – from satellite manufacture to new launch options – is daunting. Six trends – at least – are at work. To what exact end they vector is unclear, but watching is important. These trends will affect American investment in space, national security, our modern standards of living, and our wider economy.
First, heavy satellites are getting heavier, as more capability is attached to each satellite. Capabilities are commercial to national security, communications to climate prediction, crisis response to territorial protection, real-time analysis to event anticipation.
Heavier satellites tend to raise launch costs and can be expensive to design and build, but may reduce ground-station costs. While heavy satellites represent only a narrow slice of the market, this trend reinforces continued (but very expensive) interest in heavy lift. Additionally, a renewed emphasis on man-rated heavy launch capability only ups this ante.
Second and simultaneously, smaller satellites – including “cube-sats” which are often the rough size equivalent to a shoebox – are proliferating for commercial as well as both government civil and military use. These satellites stay on orbit for shorter periods, but perform specialized missions, often requiring a quick-turn launch, deployment and replacement. These satellites are multiplying, their applications are evolving magnitudes faster than any comparable change in heavy payloads.
Third, just as heavy lift requirements are triggering new heavy lift options, proliferation of smaller satellites is triggering a hunt for cost-effective, lighter options. The hunger is growing for cheaper, faster ways to loft individual cubes, cube clusters, and cube constellations. The hunt for low-cost launch has spawned new rocket companies – American and foreign – focused on getting orbital and suborbital to meet existing and predicted demand.
Fourth, cost-efficiency may be the premier variable. From new Office of Management and Budget (OMB) emphasis on cost-savings to redirection of resources in NASA’s 2020 budget, from calls for big launch savings and accelerating small payload placements to emerging economies of scale and size, the race is on for cheap suborbital and orbital launch options. Days of “build it and they buy it” are over.
Fifth, the Trump Administration is shining a spotlight on “Buy America.” This will directly affect space-related markets. After two Executive Orders, “Buy America” is back in vogue, and getting more popular by the month. This will affect commercial and national security space markets – more each year.
Reasons for emphasis on “Buy America” in space are not hard to figure out. On the commercial side, overt interest in favoring US manufacturers, US labor and US investment in rockets, satellites, and supply chains allows the President and Congress to reclaim American leadership in space, creating jobs and satisfying bipartisan political ambitions.
On the security front, “Buy America” reflects intense pressure to protect American space assets, software, payloads, investment sources, highly skilled labor, geographic centers of space-related activity, and “US launch only” prerogatives. Pressure to avoid security lapses is high, affecting supply chains, cyber-penetration, and where satellites are launched from. While concerns are global, mounting threats in the Far East, and especially from China, North Korea, Iran and Russia are key. Perceived vulnerabilities tied to international launch are growing.
Finally, a sixth trend in literature, dialogue and among national leaders cannot be ignored. As commercial aviation receives new environmental scrutiny, rocket fuels are coming under pressure. In an era of bold initiatives, intense congressional oversight, and concern for incremental environmental impacts, fuels used in launches may become key to federal (and possibly even commercial) launch decision-making.
Net-net, the entire space-related sector is undergoing change, mostly positive but at unprecedented speed. What “end state” these six trends produce is unclear, but continued growth in US leadership, innovation, investment and space-presence is predicted. Exactly how fast payloads will shift, when launch options will widen, which American rocket companies first go orbital and suborbital, how intense the “Buy America” campaign will be, and what role the environment and fuels will play – are all uncertain.
What is certain is the accelerating rate of change across this sector. Space will be ever more important to governments, global commerce, and American consumers. Cube-sat development, nimble and responsive launch options, dramatically lower costs, pressure to “Buy American,” and environmental concerns are not going away. A new American future in space is coming.
Correction: The future is here.
Steve Mosteiro – Senior Warrior Contributor – is a former strategic planner, policy analyst and missile defense expert with the U.S. Office of Secretary of Defense and the Office of Secretary of the Air Force.
This article by Steve Mosteiro originally appeared in WarriorMaven in 2019.