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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Nile Basin Community: Critical issues, mainly water,




Nile Basin Community: Critical issues, mainly water, but not merely

By Mohamed Yassin
The Nile Basin Initiative constitutes a major accumulative positive cooperation platform for the Nile Basin states, but still has its fragility and partial exclusivity. It is fragile in terms of its limited mandates and focus only on water as a single resource, though it is true that the water is the vital and driving asset for the Nile Basin cooperation and existence, however, The Nile Basin is not only and merely water. Also it is fragile because of its limited financial support and geopolitical polarization, frictions and sensitivity when it comes to historical conflicts. The Nile is a unifying identity for all the Nilotic riparian people, being Africans or Arabs or both, while the African orientation for the Nilotic people is resisted by the upper Egyptian and to some extend proportion of the Sudanese inhabitants and vice versa by the other components of the basin. It is partially exclusive because it does not provide full weight to all the Nile Basin States, as Eretria stands as observer. The Nile Basin does not have the same dimensions and magnitude of contribution when it comes to the single riparian country, while some members would tend to consider it as their own and exclusive asset with a narrative of national security. Fragile due to the weakness of a Nile basin wide sense of belonging, togetherness and mutual identity.
The Nile Basin community and institutions should have posts or liaison offices in the various universities and research institutes in order to feed itself by graduates and researchers in the various disciplines and entrepreneurship. It should be job creator and stimulate creation of start-ups and business incubators. It should be an institution that thinks and operate out of the traditional boxes. It should provide enabling environment for the youth and young graduates and researcher(s) preferable through creation of innovative Basin-wide mobility. Most of the challenges of the poverty, rapid urbanization, growing demography and socio economic which are accentuated in the Nile Basin requires mobilization of skilled human resources blended with robust financial and territorial capitals. These interconnected and interdependent challenges can not be addressed by a single riparian state in isolation of the others. The Nile Basin community should work hard and collectively to ensure achievement of the sustainable development, poverty reduction and reduce social and territorial exclusion, it is ought to provide special attention and affirm the importance of full youth employment, through better skills and upgraded capacities and designated specific trainings through the formal education blended with tailored innovations, knowledge upgrading and alignment, and experience sharing and stimulate financial support to harness social development in the coaching technical, vocational, educational, agricultural and healthcare domain. The Nile Basin community can not move far without linking its strategies with the global development agenda 2030 and the regional agenda 2063. For the achievement of these agendas, synergies and accurate coordination is imperative. The active policy-makers and influencers should be smart enough to realize that co-sharing, co-management, collaboration and cooperation is mutually and reciprocally beneficial for the Nile Basin collectivity. They should not let the divisiveness tendencies defeat their good wills of togetherness and common sense of belonging, destiny, solidarity and institutional empowerment. The collaboration and cooperation should be based on bold scientific basis, deep and broad understanding and genuine trust and all the noble principles of accountability, transparency, openness, sincerity, collective ownership, and subsidiarity.
Here I am reporting some notions from my research findings and observations and would like to share it with the public to highlight and brings insights on critical issue that we as diverse stakeholders entrusted in steering the general policies concerning the Nile should bring to the discussion forum and may be consider what is appropriate for uptake and upscale. The points are neither inclusive, however, I think it might be beneficial to embrace it in the boxes and go beyond it in a creative thinking out of the conventional schemes. In summary these critical Issues in the Nile Basin: Evidenced through the research and direct observation from field trips and stay within various Nile Basin Territories, the research observation shed major lights and brought insights on some critical issues, for that purpose it recommends creation of permanent laboratory and working groups to deal with that issues in updating and visionary approaches. Of course, there are plenty of themes for a potential permanent laboratory to focus on, however, the following identified themes will allow to evidence and highlight potentially possible areas of collaboration, technical cooperation and scientific operation between the engaged and evolvable institutions.
1. Lack of shared visions
The primary observation of generic characteristics is concerning the scarcity or inadequacy of shared vision on the principal challenges, which are of trans-boundary and global nature and are evidenced in the whole Nile territories of concern. Special focus will involve those Nile Basin territories, which are witnessing and foreseen to witness significant demographic, social and economic dynamics and environmental consequentiality.
2. Legislations
An important observation of concern is on the lack of, non-reinforced and un-harmonized legislations and legal framework especially on environmental issues of trans-boundary dimensions. There is huge gap between the theoretically set legislations and norms and its implementation on the ground and crude reality.
3. Heritage: Preservation And Management
One of the primary observations is the need for inclusion of the heritage preservation, protection and management in the concerned territories, and that could be enhanced through transfer of experience and knowledge accumulated from the different UNESCO programs and its pilot projects in the diversity of fields such as the Earthen Architecture.
4. Sewerage Systems, garbage treatment, solid and liquid waste management
Another evident lacuna is regarding the sewerage systems and its management in relation to the dumping and drainage in the basins of different solid and liquid waste. That challenging situation has direct impacts on the ecological systems of the Nile Basin, which is directly connected to the continental and global ecosystems such as the Mediterranean ecosystem. The concern here is the water pollution and connected resource-base and ecological foundations. Missing is a comprehensive vision of models of absorptions of such massive solid and liquid wastes which should encompass the entire Nile Territory. Still the mechanism and the vision of reuse, recycle and conversion of such waste in useful resources are missing and need to be put in place to avoid future setbacks and ecological disasters. Vision of recycling of strongly urbanizing agglomerations and growing metropolitan regions are badly needed.
5. Infrastructural post-intervention Scenarios
Of strategic importance, is the construction of scenarios of the infrastructural post-interventions of great operas and infrastructures which will interest and impact on the territorial assets and concerned regions. Practically, it is dealing with better understanding, for instance, what will be the predictions of the possible impacts of great infrastructures such as dams, on the socio-geography in loci where that infrastructures are erected and beyond.
6. The demographic challenge
Strictly correlated to the realization of the great infrastructures are the demographic aspects, which are consequentiality of the tumultuous growth of the populations, which is verifying in most of the East African territories and along the Nile Basin. Furthermore, that manifestations and phenomena are connected to the polarization capacities exercised by that important infrastructure, such as the dams which generate natural growth and accumulation of population and determine the natural resources management and governance through the very infrastructures and its connected assets and services, such as the planned dwellings and collective housing, schools, health centres and hospitals, roads, resettlements agglomerations. The unplanned and shaky visions of such impacts and growth will lead to the exaltation of diminishing equilibrium in the impacted territories. The demographic growth also requires a wise vision on its impacts on the existing great metropolitan areas in the region especially on the along the Nile Basin. From that prevision, harmonization, and control and management of those mechanisms of demographic development, a sustainable and equilibrated development and prosperity can prevail in the concerned Nile Basin and the whole East African territories.
7. Urban growth and sustainable settlement models
The demographic aspects following the tumultuous population growth, which is witnessed in the most of the Nile Basin territories in particular and in the East African region as a whole is generating increase in the dimensions of the great metropolitan areas in the capital cities and towns of most of the Nile Basin riparian states other than in the newly developed and sprawling urban agglomerations along the main rivers and water bodies and courses. All these phenomena require deep studies and research capable of suggesting appropriate and sustainable models of settlements other than identifying corrective measures and tools to the informal settlements, which are developing in a growing pattern around the urban centres. Furthermore, the improvement of the vernacular dwellings based on the utilization of local materials and optimization of the constructive and construction culture of the diverse communities constitute a challenging current reality and above all for generations to come, concrete answers and concerted actions to the sustainable development of the whole territories under focus.
8. Food Systems, Food and Nutrition Security: Challenges associated with the environment
The necessity to guarantee the food and nutrition security in an ever growing, sprawling and densely populated areas, above all along the major rivers, tributaries and water bodies and streams is a domain of major importance. That needs visioning and modalities on how to integrate functional food systems in such concentrated urbanizing and problematic realities. The Nile Basin community should consider its food and nutrition security as top and strategic priority before running to irresponsible investments aiming to secure elsewhere rather than securing food and adequate nutrition for the vulnerable people of the Nile Basin community.
9. Immigrants / Europe
An important consideration which necessitate putting in action corrective strategies in concern of the evidenced facts that growing numbers of immigrants to Europe are stemming from the African continent, especially from the East Africa and Nile Region. That will lead to significant socio-demographic transformation and development. The Nile Basin institution can consider Nile Wide free movements of its citizens, and may adopt a sort of Nile Basin Community travel documents or laissez-passer. This might help easing the current tensions, frictions, and smuggling as well, and considering such measures, the Nile populations will have better circulation of goods, services, people as the Nile water is circulating through the entire Nile Basin States up to the Mediterranean basin.
10. Trail of new frontiers of multi-disciplinary sciences such as the Agritecture and annexed visions
What Agritecture vision for transforming the smallholder agriculture in the Nile Basin?
As the Nile Basin sustains almost half billion inhabitants and foreseen to double within this century, causing a huge impact on the environment, the society and the economy at local and global level. It is interconnected and interdependent in its Agritecture policies and governance especially for the smallholder family farming systems. The on-going urbanization and Agrifood system revealed to be unsustainable, following its current pathways, which are not reconciling the nature conservation while launching sustainable development. The current development models are too much resource(s) demanding and resources consumptive in terms of energy, land, forest, water, biodiversity, fauna and flora. To address such challenging reality, innovative approaches transcending the boundaries of the current disciplines are needed to anticipate a possible urbanizing population concentrated in limited spaces with limited sustaining resources. The emerging Agriculture and the connected Archifood can provide possible and potential sustainable solutions, options and vision, offering strong push to the urban planning, design, architecture incorporating agricultural farming and practices embedding the food and nutrition culture and issues for the benefit of the smallholders in the rural and urban context. There is a need of innovative and integrated disciplines, which require certain degree of permeability and flexibility of professional figures, policy makers and territorial governance. The Nile Basin institutions should encourage researches, which intend to bring into mainstream discussion on the Agritecture as a fundamental proposal for the visionary future of the Nile Basin and contribute to be a founding cornerstone throughout the following innovative methodologies in studying the Nile Basin territories in a sustainable developmental perspective.
Lastly, worth to notice that the Nile Basin issues and policy are highly influenced by biased and polarized media, often providing inaccurate and inflated information, misplaced statements and attributes, conflictive and divisive coverage and reporting, Nilotic-stereotypes, politically steered and incorrect propaganda, misperceptions and connected myth and misused platforms for tiny interest and services and narrow and shallow visions.
My sincere hope remain that, all these points will be well tackled and cleared by the Nile Basin diplomacy in communitarian participatory approaches for the benefit of the whole Nile Basin community.
Mohamed Yassin is a Sudanese and Italian scholar in Economics, Ecology, Landscape and Territory at the University of Udine, Italy. He holds B.Sc. in Agricultural and Rural Economy (University of Khartoum, Sudan), Post Graduate Degree in Rural development in Developing countries, Post Graduate Degree in International Development Cooperation, Masters degree in International Business Import Export Management and Masters degree in International Veterinary Cooperation (Italy). He has been visiting scholar at the University of Minnesota (USA) where he conducted research works on the Nile Basin. He is reachable at this address: Department of Civil Engineering & Architecture, University of Udine, Italy, Institutional E-mail: mohamed.yassin@uniud.it Private E-mail: yassintowers@gmail.com and Twitter: @MohamedSMYassin

Are seawalls the best answer to rising sea levels – or is retreat a better option?


The extraordinary pictures of subsumed gardens and a swimming pool wrenched from the ground by the giant waves that battered Sydney's northern beaches last month have revived debate about seawalls and the impact of human attempts to keep the rising ocean from our doors.
Given their spectacular locations, the homes in the frontline of raging waves are usually valuable property. Attempts to fortify them are met with resistance from ecologists and other beach users, who say the houses should not have been built there in the first place.
They object to seawalls because they stop the beach from being a dynamic system, in which wind and waves continually reshape the shore. Natural processes will usually redeposit much of the lost sand back on to beaches in the weeks after a storm. But where there is a seawall, heightened waves run up the shore and slam against it. The beach can't move backwards, so the sand disappears. 




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S. Sudan refugees in E. Africa could exceed 1 million: UN




S. Sudan refugees in E. Africa could exceed 1 million: UN

July 17, 2016 (JUBA) – The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) said it expects the number of South Sudanese refugees in East Africa to exceed a million this year, and urged on armed groups to allow safe passage for people fleeing due to the latest fighting.
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IDPs shelter near the UNMISS base in Wau (IOM/Gonzalez 2016)
The agency says it requires up to $700 million in aid to help it cope with the influx of South Sudanese fleeing the violence to neighboring countries.
At least 42,000 civilians have been displaced in the recent fighting that occurred in the South Sudan capital, Juba, a senior UN official said last week.
The head of the UN peacekeeping operation, Hervé Ladsous told the Security Council that 7,000 of those displaced were accounted for at the two UN compounds and the remaining about 35,000 were sheltering between the World Food Programme (WFP) compound, other non-governmental organisations and churches in the city.
He expressed concerns over potentials for the resumption of violence and spill over into others parts of the young nation.
On Wednesday, according to Ladsous, the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) was been able to conduct limited patrolling again to assess the security situation, the safety and security of personnel and assets at UN compounds.
The senior UN official, however, noted that securing freedom of movement remains an uphill battle as security forces limit the mission's movement every step of the way.
He further urged the South Sudanese government to allow UNMISS and other humanitarian actors in the country freedom of movement and access to provide vital assistance to the civilian population.
Meanwhile, Ethiopia said it was ready to send more soldiers to strengthen the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan.
"We're more than willing to take on our part of responsibility in restoring calm in South Sudan," Getachew Reda, the spokesperson for the Ethiopian government told Reuters.
South Sudan President Salva Kiir told reporters in Juba last week that his country would not accept the deployment of additional peacekeepers in the young nation.
(ST)

Brazilian judge blocks WhatsApp nationwide

AFP/Rio De Janeiro

A judge yesterday suspended the WhatsApp smartphone messaging service across Brazil, where it is hugely popular, for failing to surrender user data in a police investigation, the court in Rio de Janeiro said. "WhatsApp is blocked across the whole national territory," a spokesman said.
WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, has clashed several times with Brazilian courts after refusing to give access to police.
The 19-page court ruling said Brazilian telephone operators must "immediately suspend" WhatsApp services.
Facebook must comply with an order to turn information over to a police investigation, or would face fines of 50,000 reais ($15,265) a day, the court said.
The president of the national telecoms' union, Eduardo Levy, told G1 news site that the blockage would take effect at 2pm (1700GMT).
In a statement, WhatsApp called the measure an "indiscriminate" threat to "people's capacity to communicate, to run their businesses and live their lives." The company said it would appeal. This was the fourth court-ordered suspension of WhatsApp since February 2015.
The long-running dispute pits Brazilian authorities' insistence that they need access to communications between alleged criminals against Facebook's argument that it is protecting privacy and freedom of communication.
The last time, in May, the blockage lasted a day and was lifted after a second appeal.
The shutdown angered users reliant on the free app in Brazil, where cell phone fees for texting and calls are high and where WhatsApp's group chat and image-sharing functions have become embedded in everyday social interaction.
Billionaire Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg called the May shutdown "very scary in a democracy."
But in the latest ruling, judge Daniela Barbosa said Facebook was being irresponsible by refusing "to provide information that will be critical to the success of an investigation and later to bolster the criminal case."
Barbosa said Facebook had been issued with three requests to provide messages to police investigating a case in Duque de Caxias, north of Rio de Janeiro.
The nature of the case was not given.
She also harshly criticised Facebook for responding to the Brazilian police requests with a list of questions demanding more information that were presented in English, treating Brazil "like some small republic."
The judge said those mourning loss of WhatsApp "should remember that the main victim of the crimes being investigated is society itself, with the certainty that all the time new victims are being created and new crimes are being committed while the judiciary is unable to stop the incidents or punish those responsible."


Colombia to press for open border with Venezuela after food queues - BBC News


The government in Colombia has called for the permanent opening of its border with Venezuela after crisis-hit Venezuelans flocked to buy basic items.
Colombia said it would not allow any further temporary openings of the border, which Venezuela shut last year.
More than 100,000 people went to Colombia last weekend, the second time the border was open in a year.
They crossed to buy basic goods that are in short supply in their country because of a severe economic crisis.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure to fight cross-border crime. He said the area had been infiltrated by Colombian paramilitaries and gangs.

Flood in Penang improves, two relief centres closed | New Straits Times




Flood in Penang improves, two relief centres closed

TELUK BAHANG: The flood situation on Penang island has improved with the two flood relief centres closed.
The temporary shelter at the Perpustakaan Komuniti Siber Ilmu here closed at 3.30pm while the one at Teluk Kumbar at 8.25pm.
Eleven people from five families had sought temporary shelter at the Perpustakaan Komuniti Siber Ilmu while 19 people from eight families at the Dewan Gerakan Masyarakat Teluk Kumbar.
Earlier today, Teluk Bahang assemblyman Datuk Shah Headan Ayoob Hussain Shah told newsmen that the floods, the worst in Teluk Bahang, was caused by poor drainage system.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng blamed it on unusually heavy rain.
It was reported that several parts of the island were brought to a standstill yesterday after overnight showers caused several low-lying areas to be inundated in knee-deep water.
Teluk Bahang was the worst-hit area. Other affected areas were Relau and Batu Maung.
Even the Penang International Airport in Bayan Lepas was not spared with the public area at the arrival level, turbo prop lounge and service roads flooded.
Several inbound and outbound flights were also delayed by the heavy rain.

Lifting the fog on SGX disruption, The Straits Times


The cause of the longest securities trading disruption on the Singapore Exchange (SGX) remains largely unclear for now. Despite media questioning last Friday, SGX chief executive Loh Boon Chye gave only some clues to the cause of a "technical issue" that affected trade confirmation processes and led to the shutdown of the bourse for more than five hours on Thursday.
Mr Loh said it was not a capacity issue, meaning the trading system did not crash due to heavy trading. He added that the glitch was "discovered with a trigger to hardware".


Bangladesh earthquake warning: 140 million people may be at risk, scientists say

As many as 140 million people in Bangladesh may be at risk from a huge earthquake as pressure builds beneath the surface of one of the world's most densely populated nations, US and Bangladeshi scientists say.
Sediment flows from the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers have layered parts of the country with as much as 20 kilometres of sand and mud, masking until now the extension of the same fault line that triggered the 2004 Sumatra tsunami and killed 230,000 people.

Agrimoney.com | Canada flags threats yet to canola crop, but sees soaring durum stocks


Canadian officials warned over "disease and insect outbreaks" in the domestic rapeseed crop, even as they lifted their forecast for the harvest of the oilseed, in a report which also highlighted soaring durum stocks.

AAFC, Canada's farm ministry, lifted by 500,000 tonnes to 15.9m tonnes its forecast for the country's canola harvest this year, reflecting an official report which showed that producers had not reduced sowings of the rapeseed variant by nearly as much as had been expected.

However, the upgrade left the estimate well below forecasts from some other commentators, such as the US Department of Agriculture, which last week lifted its forecast to 16.5m tonnes, citing "ideal" growing conditions.

Palm oil markets feel El Nino 'hangover'


The palm oil market suffering an El Nino "hangover", as production rebounds after a long period of drought damage, Commerzbank said. 
"For several months, a decline in production that was caused by El Nino ensured upward pressure on prices in the palm oil market," the bank noted. 
But now, with production "surprising to the upside," palm oil supplies are weighing on the market, and the situation is only being exacerbated by the heavy stocks accumulated by importers, who bought heavily ahead of El Nino.

Singapore-KL High Speed Rail targeted to start running by around 2026The Straits Times

PUTRAJAYA - The long-awaited High Speed Rail connecting Singapore and Kuala Lumpur is targeted to be up and running by around 2026, cutting the travelling time between both cities to 90 minutes.
The two terminal stations will be at Jurong East in Singapore and Bandar Malaysia in KL. The High Speed Rail line will pass through another six intermediate stations in Malaysia that will be connected by a domestic service. These stations are Iskandar Puteri, Batu Pahat, Muar, Ayer Keroh, Seremban and Putrajaya.

India court orders old cars deregistered in smog-hit Delhi The Straits Times


NEW DELHI (AFP) - India's environment court on Monday (July 18) ordered all diesel vehicles older than 10 years be deregistered in New Delhi, strengthening a ban on pollution-spewing cars partly blamed for the capital's toxic air, a lawyer said.
The National Green Tribunal directed Delhi's regional transport office to cancel registrations immediately, after police complained of struggling to force the affected cars off the roads.
"Without registration, these (vehicles) will not be able to ply at all. This is effective immediately," lawyer Vardhaman Kaushik, who lodged the petition seeking the order, told AFP.

Anti-US protests staged at 11 KFC branches in China: ReportThe Straits Times


BEIJING (AFP) - Chinese people who blame Washington for an international tribunal's dismissal of Beijing's maritime claims have called for a boycott of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) in protests outside branches in 11 cities, reports said.
Crowds gathered to wave placards and shout anti-US slogans outside restaurants stretching from the northern province of Hebei to Hunan province, some 1,600km away on Monday (July 18), Internet portal Sohu said.
"Get out of China, KFC and McDonald's," one protester's banner read.

U.S. Consumers Stiff Climate Change Buy Gas Hungry Autos The Washington Post


The fuel efficiency standards championed by President Obama in 2012 will fall short of the 54.5-miles-per-gallon 2025 target the administration set because consumers are buying more pickup trucks, vans and sports utility vehicles than expected, according to a new technical assessment report by the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 


Soaring Temperatures Will Make It Too Hot to Work, UN Warns - Bloomberg

Searing temperatures caused by climate change may cost global economies more than $2 trillion by 2030, restricting working hours in some of the poorest parts of the world, according to United Nations research.
As many as 43 countries, especially those in Asia, including China, Indonesia, and Malaysia, will experience declines in their economies because of heat stress, says Tord Kjellstrom, a director at the Health and Environment International Trust, based in Nelson, New Zealand. As a result, China's gross domestic product would be reduced 1 percent and Indonesia's by 6 percent by 2030.

Map of Extreme Weather World Wide

Map of Extreme Weather World Wide from Climate Change

Australia Renewable energy: Victoria approves state's largest windfarm project Guardian

Victoria has approved a $650m, 96-turbine windfarm that will be the largest in the state as it bids to become the nation's renewable energy leader.
The approval of the Dundonnell project means 300 direct and indirect jobs will be created during construction and the turbines will generate 1000 gigawatt hours of clean energy each year. It is enough to power 140,000 homes.
The windfarm will save an estimated 700,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions a year – equivalent to removing 170,00 cars from Victorian roads.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jul/19/renewable-energy-victoria-approves-states-largest-windfarm-project


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Concerns mount over Andrea Leadsom's suitability for environment role The Guardian

Andrea Leadsom's appointment as environment secretary has raised significant concerns among senior environmental and agricultural figures over her suitability for the role. 
Leadsom's lack of top-level political experience, absence of track record in farming or environmental areas and ideological approach to policy are all cited as fears. However, her junior ministers are viewed more favourably in terms of tackling the enormous challenges faced by her department.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jul/18/concerns-mount-over-andrea-leadsoms-suitability-for-environment-role


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Violence, fear and looting grip South Sudan's capital Juba | Global development | The Guardian

Burned tanks lined the side of the main road leading past the UN base in the Jebel area of Juba. Homes and market stalls had been ransacked. Military boots, caps and ripped pieces of uniforms were scattered on the ground. Dark spots in the dirt suggested where bodies had once lain, and although most had been removed, the smell of death lingered.
Much of the fighting during the most recent violence in South Sudan's capitaltook place in Jebel. Clashes erupted between government and opposition forces on 8 July, killing hundreds and shattering hopes that a recently installed transitional government could bring peace after more than two years of conflict.



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Matthew Canavan says there is 'uncertainty' around impact of climate change | Australia news

The new resources minister, Matthew Canavan, has warned there is still a level of uncertainty about the impact of carbon emissions on global warming and described the Adani Carmichael coalmine as an "incredibly exciting project" for Australia.
Canavan, who has previously called for funding for climate change sceptic scientists, is also responsible for the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility, which will decide whether to recommend the Queensland government's application for a federal loan for the Adani railway link.
He said while he had the final decision on projects recommended by the NAIF, the body had only come into being on 1 July and had yet to make any recommendations to him as minister.
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/jul/19/matthew-canavan-says-there-is-uncertainty-around-cause-of-climate-change


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UK to swelter in heatwave as temperatures near 34C

The UK is expected to have its hottest day of the year so far, with temperatures as high as 34C on Tuesday. 
The mini-heatwave – the previous hottest day of the year was on Monday – has prompted Public Health England to urge people to look out for relatives and friends who may be particularly vulnerable to the heat.
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/jul/19/uk-to-swelter-in-heatwave-as-temperatures-near-34c


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Iraq government declares two-day public holiday due to heatwave | World news | The Guardian


The Iraqi government has announced a two-day mandatory official holiday beginning on Wednesday due to a heatwave.
Tuesday's statement, issued by the Iraqi cabinet, says temperatures are expected to soar above 50C (122F). It is the first heat advisory issued by the Iraqi government this summer.
The public holiday will apply to all government workers.
High temperatures in summer are common in Iraq, and endemic electricity outages make life harder for Iraqis when temperatures soar. To cope with the heat, Iraqis either stay indoors or swim in rivers. In some public places, showers are set up for those who want to cool down.
It is not uncommon for such public holidays to be declared when heatwaves hit during Iraq's long, hot summers.



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Islamic State flag 'found at home of suspected German train attacker' | World news | The Guardian

An Islamic State flag has been found in the room of an Afghan teenager accused of carrying out an axe attack on a train in northern Bavaria, according to German officials.
Five people were injured in the attack on Monday evening before the attacker was shot dead by police. Isis claimed responsibility in a statement on its Amaq news agency on Tuesday morning – its first such claim for an attack in Germany.


Bavaria's interior minister, Joachim Herrmann, said the suspect was a 17-year-old Afghan asylum seeker, and that he shouted "Allahu Akbar" during the attack.
Herrmann said on Tuesday that investigators raiding his room also found a handpainted Isis flag.




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Glacier retreat upsets river species balance - SciDev.Net

As global warming causes glaciers to melt, rivers lose their diversity of plants and animals at an alarming rate, scientists warn.

In a four-year experiment simulating the effects of glacier retreat, a team of scientists from Ecuador and France found that the abundance of species of Ecuador's rivers changed 30 times faster than their rate of recovery when original conditions were restored.

When the water runoff from the glacier decreased, non-native seaweed and herbivorous insects proliferated at the expense of native species, the researchers say in a paper published in Nature Communications last month (24 June).

The scientists studied two streams located at 4,100 metres above sea level in Ecuador's Antisana Ecological Reserve. One was used as a reference and the other one was manipulated to mimic the effects of a shrinking glacier on the downstream river's flow, its plants and animals.

Theft Vulnerability Instagram, Google, Microsoft


July 17, Softpedia – (International) Researcher finds way to steal money from Instagram, Google, and Microsoft. An independent Belgian security researcher discovered a flaw in Facebook, Google, and Microsoft’s two-factor authorization (2FA) voice-based token distribution systems that could allow an attacker, who has created premium phone services and linked them together with fake Instagram, Google, and Microsoft Office 365 accounts, to use automated scripts to request 2FA tokens for all accounts, and by doing so, place legitimate phone calls to their premium phone service, thereby earning a substantial profit.
Source: http://news.softpedia.com/news/researcher-finds-way-to-steal-money-from- instagram-google-and-microsoft-506387.shtml 

Con Agra Foods Recall Metal Fragments in Frozen Chicken


July 16, U.S. Department of Agriculture – (National) ConAgra Foods recalls frozen chicken and beef products due to possible foreign matter contamination. ConAgra Foods Inc., expanded a previous recall July 15 to include an additional 191,791 pounds of its frozen chicken and beef entrée products sold in 9 variations due to potential contamination with metal fragments discovered after an establishment employee found metal fragments while dispensing sugar used to make the sauce during processing. There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions and the products were shipped to distributors and retail locations nationwide.
Source: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/recalls-and-public-health- alerts/recall-case-archive/archive/2016/recall-056-2016-release-expansion 

Warming Could Mean More Algae Blooms Like Florida’s | Climate Central


Nearly 240 square miles of Lake Okeechobee, the largest freshwater lake in Florida, are covered in a scum of blue-green algae that has also traveled down nearby waterways and out to the coastline.
The stinking sludge has impacted local ecosystems and the tourism industry and caused Gov. Rick Scott to declare a state of emergency in the affected counties.

The Hottest Cities in U.S. vs. the Fastest Warming | Climate Central

Searing heat is the signature of climate change, and the scorching summer temperatures blanketing much of the nation this week are exactly what we should expect in an ever warming world. With the mercury rising, a host of Midwestern cities are forecast to see their hottest weather of the year. This comes on the heels of the hottest June ever recorded in the U.S., in a year where every month has been the hottest on record globally. With the country broiling, Climate Central partnered with The Weather Channel to look at which cities are traditionally the hottest and which cities are warming the fastest.

Surging electricity prices spark calls for national inquiry into renewable energy | Business | The Guardian


Surging electricity prices in South Australia have sparked calls for a national inquiry into renewable energy and whether the electricity market is coping with the influx of wind and solar.
Over the past month South Australia has had surges in wholesale electricity prices. Normally sitting below $100 per megawatt hour, they have fluctuated dramatically in recent weeks, hitting as much as $14,000 per megawatt hour and regularly jumping above $10,000.
The prices have spooked energy-intensive heavy industry in the state, including the embattled Arrium steelworks, and led the premier, Jay Weatherill, to call on a recently mothballed gas power plant to fire up.



New York's remodelled Governors Island has built-in climate change defense |The Guardian


The Netherlands may have surrendered what is now New York to the English 352 years ago, but if America's largest city is to withstand the inexorable rise of the seas in the years to come, Dutch ingenuity may well prove crucial.


On Tuesday, a remodelled Governors Island will be unveiled to the public. The 172-acre fragment of land, a seven-minute ferry ride from the southern tip of Manhattan, now has an undulating park covering the southern portion of the island that aims not only to be aesthetically pleasing but also to provide a blueprint for how New York can cope with the ravages of climate change.