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Rising sea levels pose threat to homes of 300m people - study

Source: The Guardian

Rising sea levels pose threat to homes of 300m people – study

Figure based on new analysis of coastlines is more than three times previous estimate

Jonathan Watts
Tue 29 Oct 2019 16.00 GMT
Last modified on Tue 29 Oct 2019 16.38 GMT

More than three times more people are at risk from rising sea levels than previously believed, research suggests.

Land that is currently home to 300 million people will flood at least once a year by 2050 unless carbon emissions are cut significantly and coastal defences strengthened, says the study, published in Nature Communications. This is far above the previous estimate of 80 million.

The upward revision is based on a more sophisticated assessment of the topography of coastlines around the world. Previous models used satellite data that overestimated the altitude of land due to tall buildings and trees. The new study used artificial intelligence to compensate for such misreadings.

Researchers said the magnitude of difference from the previous Nasa study came as a shock. “These assessments show the potential of climate change to reshape cities, economies, coastlines and entire global regions within our lifetimes,” said Scott Kulp, the lead author of the study and a senior scientist at Climate Central.

“As the tideline rises higher than the ground people call home, nations will increasingly confront questions about whether, how much and how long coastal defences can protect them.”


Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/oct/29/rising-sea-levels-pose-threat-to-homes-of-300m-people-study


Related: New elevation data triple estimates of global vulnerability to sea-level rise and coastal flooding (Nature Communications)

Tally of children split at border tops 5,400 in new count

Source: Associated Press

Tally of children split at border tops 5,400 in new count

October 25, 2019

SAN DIEGO (AP) — U.S. immigration authorities separated more than 1,500 children from their parents at the Mexico border early in the Trump administration, the American Civil Liberties Union said Thursday, bringing the total number of children separated since July 2017 to more than 5,400.

The ACLU said the administration told its attorneys that 1,556 children were separated from July 1, 2017, to June 26, 2018, when a federal judge in San Diego ordered that children in government custody be reunited with their parents.

Children from that period can be difficult to find because the government had inadequate tracking systems. Volunteers working with the ACLU are searching for some of them and their parents by going door-to-door in Guatemala and Honduras.

Of those separated during the 12-month period, 207 were under 5, said attorney Lee Gelernt of the ACLU, which sued to stop family separation. Five were under a year old, 26 were a year old, 40 were 2 years old, 76 were 3, and 60 were 4.

“It is shocking that 1,556 more families, including babies and toddlers, join the thousands of others already torn apart by this inhumane and illegal policy,” said Gelernt. “Families have suffered tremendously, and some may never recover.”


Read more: https://apnews.com/c654e652a4674cf19304a4a4ff599feb

David Ignatius: For U.S. soldiers, 'it's a dagger to the heart' to abandon the Kurds

Source: Washington Post

For U.S. soldiers, ‘it’s a dagger to the heart’ to abandon the Kurds

By David Ignatius
Oct. 14, 2019 at 7:26 p.m. EDT

At a gathering last Saturday night of military and intelligence veterans, one topic shrouded the room: President Trump’s decision to abandon Kurdish fighters in Syria who had fought and died to help America destroy the Islamic State.

“It’s a dagger to the heart to walk away from people who shed blood for us,” one former top CIA official who attended the black-tie dinner told me later. A retired four-star general who was there said the same thing: Trump’s retreat was an “unsound, morally indefensible act” and a “disgrace” to America and the soldiers who serve this country.

This sense of anguish was pervasive among those attending the event, several attendees said. It was an annual dinner honoring the Office of Strategic Services, the secret World War II commando group that was a forerunner of today’s CIA and Special Operations forces. The event celebrated the military alliances that have always been at the center of American power. It was a bitter anniversary this year.

It’s probably impossible for Americans to fully grasp the sense of betrayal felt by the Syrian Kurds, who suffered 11,000 dead and 24,000 wounded in a war that we asked them to fight. But perhaps we can understand the shame and outrage of the Special Operations forces who fought alongside them and now see the Kurds cast aside to face their Turkish enemies alone.

“It will go down in infamy,” said one Army officer who served in the Syria campaign. “This will go down as a stain on the American reputation for decades.” Those may sound like extreme sentiments, but they’re widely shared by those who served in the Syria mission. For these soldiers, abandoning an ally on the battlefield is about the worst thing that can happen.


Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/for-us-soldiers-its-a-dagger-to-the-heart-to-abandon-the-kurds/2019/10/14/f0a1db60-eecf-11e9-89eb-ec56cd414732_story.html

Donald Trump's Own Former National Security Officials Sign Open Letter Saying Ukraine Whistleblower

Source: Newsweek



Dozens of former national security officials—including several who once served under President Donald Trump—have signed an open letter honoring the first whistleblower to come forward in the Trump-Ukraine scandal and demanding their protection.

Signed by 90 former national security officials, the letter came as news broke that at least one other whistleblower had come forward in the case, seeking to flag concerns around Trump's July 25 phone call, in which he asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate 2020 Democratic rival Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

"While the identity of the whistleblower is not publicly known, we do know that he or she is an employee of the U.S. Government," the letter, signed by prominent officials, including former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, states. "As such, he or she has by law the right—and indeed the responsibility—to make known, through appropriate channels, indications of serious wrongdoing."

"That is precisely what this whistleblower did; and we applaud the whistleblower not only for living up to that responsibility but also for using precisely the channels made available by federal law for raising such concerns," it continues.

Calling for the whistleblower's protection, the letter's signatories praised their efforts, asserting that "a responsible whistleblower makes all Americans safer by ensuring that serious wrongdoing can be investigated and addressed, thus advancing the cause of national security to which we have devoted our careers."


Read more: https://www.newsweek.com/donald-trump-ukraine-whistleblower-open-letter-deserves-protection-1463494


Related: An Open Letter to the American People

Conservatives attacked Ocasio-Cortez over a bizarre town hall speaker. Now, a pro-Trump fringe group

Source: Washington Post

Conservatives attacked Ocasio-Cortez over a bizarre town hall speaker. Now, a pro-Trump fringe group says it planned the stunt.

By Allyson Chiu
Oct. 4, 2019 at 7:28 a.m. EDT

For most of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-N.Y.) Thursday town hall, the woman in a black jacket sat quietly in the third row. Then, as the event in Corona, N.Y., neared its end, the woman suddenly stood up and began yelling about climate change.

“But we’re not going to be here much long because of the climate crisis,” the woman blurted. “We got to start eating babies,” she abruptly declared, taking off her jacket to display a T-shirt that read, “Save the planet. Eat the children.”

The woman’s bizarre speech swiftly became the center of a heated Twitter fight Thursday night that pitted Ocasio-Cortez against President Trump, his son, Donald Trump Jr., and other conservatives, who suggested the woman was an example “climate change hysteria.” In response, Ocasio-Cortez chastised critics for trying to “mock or make a spectacle” of a woman who “may have been suffering from a mental condition.”

It now seems likely that the scene was carefully planned.

The woman was apparently part of an attempt by a right-wing fringe political group to embarrass the Democratic congresswoman. Late Thursday, a Twitter account belonging to the LaRouche PAC — which was founded by conspiracy theorist Lyndon H. LaRouche Jr. — took credit for the stunt. A historian who has documented the organization said the woman’s outburst was “a fairly well-established tactic for them.”


Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/10/04/conservatives-attacked-ocasio-cortez-over-bizarre-town-hall-speaker-now-pro-trump-fringe-group-says-they-planned-stunt/
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