September 22, 2018 - September 28, 2018
Bangkok meet fails to finalize draft on climate change rules
Delegates meet for a United Nations climate change conference in
Bangkok, Sunday, Sept 9, 2018. The six-day Bangkok meeting has failed in
its aim of completing fruitful preparations so an agreement can be
reached in December on guidelines to implement the 2015 Paris Climate
Change Agreement. (AP Photo/Kaweewit Kaewjinda)
Bangkok (AP) -
An international meeting in Bangkok fell short of its aim of completing
fruitful preparations to help an agreement be reached in December on
guidelines for implementing the 2015 Paris climate change agreement.
meeting, which ended on Sunday, Sept. 9, was scheduled to step up
progress in the battle against rising global carbon emissions by
adopting a completed text that could be presented at the COP24
conference in Katowice, Poland, three months from now.
A primary objective
of the 2015 Paris agreement, to which 190 nations subscribe, is to limit
the global temperature increase by 2100 to less than 2 degrees Celsius
(3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) and as close as possible to 1.5 degrees, which
is vital to the survival of island nations threatened by rising seas.
But the absence of guidelines for meeting that goal has led to fears
that not enough action is being taken.
There have been
notable disagreements over fair financing for implementation of the
rules by developing countries, and the technical details of their
reporting on progress.
executive secretary for the United Nations Framework Convention on
Climate Change, said Sunday at the closing press briefing for the
Bangkok meeting that progress was made on most issues but nothing was
The meeting was
attended by representatives of most of the countries party to the Paris
agreement, as well as the United States, which has announced that it is
pulling out of the pact.
Espinosa said there
was “limited progress” on the issue of contributions from developed
nations to developing countries, adding that she is “hopeful” that
future discussions will be productive because of the importance of the
“On the core issues
of forward-looking climate finance and the degree of flexibility
developing countries should be given on the information and reporting
requirements for national commitments under the Paris Agreement,
negotiators were stalemated in Bangkok,” said a statement from Alden
Meyer, director of strategy and policy for the Union of Concerned
Scientists, a U.S.-based activist group.
“It’s now up to the
incoming Polish presidency and officials leading negotiations to find
ways to bridge the deep differences on these issues and to secure
agreement in Katowice on a robust, comprehensive package of rules to
implement the Paris Agreement,” he said.
climate policy manager for ActionAid International, said Sunday that a
vital component of the Paris agreement is for wealthy nations to provide
financial assistance to developing countries as they fight natural
disasters brought by climate change.
But he said wealthy
and developed countries “led by the United States and including
countries such as Australia, Japan and even the European Union” refused
to clearly show “how much money they are going to provide and how that
is going to be counted.”
Advocacy for the
developing countries was led at the meeting by China, said Meyer, but
was also supported by others, including India, Iran, Saudi Arabia and
critical of Washington’s lobbying at the meeting, especially because
President Donald Trump has announced plans to have the U.S. withdraw
from the Paris pact, which had been heavily promoted by his predecessor,
“The U.S. has
announced its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement but still negotiates
as if it is a Party, weakening international cooperation by not
contributing to finance and technology transfer to developing
countries,” Meena Raman, legal adviser at Third World Network, said in
an emailed statement.
Climate change is a
polarizing issue in the United States, and some states and local
communities have announced policies supporting the Paris agreement.
governors, mayors, company CEOs and civil society leaders are expected
to gather in San Francisco for the Global Climate Action Summit.
NASA’s Mars rover
Curiosity snaps dusty selfie
composite image from Aug. 9, 2018 photos made available by NASA shows
the Curiosity rover at Vera Rubin Ridge on Mars. A thin layer of dust is
visible on the nuclear-powered rover, the result of a storm that
enveloped the planet this summer. The darkish sky is from dust still in
the atmosphere. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS via AP)
Fla. (AP) - NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has
snapped a dusty but cool selfie.
NASA released the
panorama this week. A thin layer of dust is visible on Curiosity, the
result of a storm that enveloped Mars this summer. The darkish sky
indicates dust still clogging the atmosphere in August, when the
panorama was shot by Curiosity’s mast camera. The rover had just drilled
for a new rock sample.
nuclear-powered and therefore unaffected by the lack of sunlight. NASA’s
older rover Opportunity, however, relies on solar power and has been
silent since June. Flight controllers hope as the Martian sky continues
to clear, Opportunity will get back in contact. But after almost 15
years exploring the red planet, Opportunity may not have the strength or
ability for a comeback.
September 15, 2018 - September 21, 2018
Russia says air leak at space station
caused by drill hole
Moscow (AP) - Russia’s top
space official says that last week’s air leak at the International Space
Station was a drill hole that happened during manufacturing or in orbit.
The leak, which was discovered last week, was
traced to a small hole in one of the Russian Soyuz capsules docked at
the station. The leak was patched over with a sealant that officials
said was airtight.
Russian news agencies on Tuesday quoted Roscosmos
chief Dmitry Rogozin saying that the hole was drilled by “an unsteady
hand” potentially during manufacturing. But he said that it was possible
that the hole was drilled while the capsule was already in orbit. He
didn’t say if he suspected one of the astronauts.
Three Americans, two Russians and a German are
currently aboard the station.
Researchers hope some objects survived Brazil museum fire
combination of two undated handout photos provided by Brazil’s National
Museum shows the skull of Luzia Woman, left, and a reconstruction of
Luzia, right, at the National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro. In the
mid-1990s, tests by scientists determined it was the oldest fossil in
the Americas. It was given the name “Luzia,” homage to “Lucy,” the
famous 3.2-million-year-old remains found in Africa. (Museu Nacional
Brasil via AP)
National Museum, seen from above, stands gutted after an overnight fire
in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, Sept. 3, 2018. (AP Photo/Mario Lobao)
undated handout photo provided by Brazil’s National Museum shows a
mummified head produced by the Jivaro of the Ecuadorian Amazon, at the
National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro. The famous heads shrunk by
the so-called “people of the waterfall” were prepared in complex rituals
and had a deep spiritual significance. (Museu Nacional Brasil via AP)
Marcelo Silva De Sousa & Mauricio Savarese
Rio de Janeiro (AP) -
Researchers held out hope that a famed skull and other valuable objects
might somehow be recovered from the ashes of a massive blaze that tore
through Brazil’s National Museum after firefighters found bone fragments
from the collection.
Officials have said as much as 90
percent of Latin America’s largest collection of treasures might have
been lost in a fire that broke out Sunday. Aerial photos of the main
building showed only heaps of rubble and ashes in the parts of the
building where the roof collapsed.
The firefighters “found fragments
of bones in a room where the museum kept many items, including skulls,”
Cristiana Serejo, the museum’s vice director, said Tuesday. “We still
have to collect them and take them to the lab to know exactly what they
In its collection of about 20
million items, one of the most prized possessions is a skull called
Luzia, which is among the oldest fossils ever found in the Americas.
Despite the evident loss, Serejo
told journalists Tuesday that staff members were “reasonably optimistic
about finding some more items inside.”
Parts of the collection were saved
when a professor rushed into the fire, and parts were held in other
buildings - though some of those were also at risk. For instance, the
electricity went out in an annex on the site, causing some frozen
specimens to begin to rot.
Paulo Buckup, a professor of
zoology at the museum, recounted Tuesday how he and a few other people
pulled out mollusks and marine specimens as the fire gathered steam,
going into and out of the building several times until it became too
dangerous. He said the group tried to identify in the dark the most
irreplaceable objects, but said they only saved a “minuscule portion of
the heritage that was lost.”
Many have already said that
regardless of what is salvaged, the loss will be immeasurable. Marina
Silva, a candidate for president in upcoming elections, called it a
“lobotomy of Brazilian history.”
The Globo newspaper wrote in an
editorial published Tuesday: “The size of the catastrophe is vast: It
struck the national memory, through the loss of the important historical
collection; it affected the sciences, interrupting research; and it
represents a cultural loss impossible to quantify. We only know that it
With the cause still under
investigation, the disaster has led to a series of recriminations amid
accusations that successive governments haven’t sufficiently funded the
museum, and it has raised concerns that other institutions might be at
risk. Officials have said it was well known that the building was
vulnerable to fire and in need of extensive repair.
The national development bank
announced Tuesday that it would make $6 million available for museums
looking to upgrade their security or fire-prevention plans.
On Monday, government officials
promised $2.4 million to the National Museum shore up its gutted
building and vowed to rebuild the institution.
UNESCO, the U.N.’s cultural agency,
has offered financial and technical assistance, and French and Egyptian
officials also have offered help. The museum was home to Egyptian
artifacts, and Egypt’s ministries of foreign affairs and antiquities
have expressed concern over the fate of those objects.
September 8, 2018 - September 14, 2018
Drought reveals ancient ‘hunger stones’ in European river
the so called “hunger stones” exposed by the low level of water in the
Elbe River in Decin, Czech Republic, Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018. (AP
Photo/Petr David Josek)
Decin, Czech Republic (AP) - Due to this
summer’s drought in Central Europe, boulders known as “hunger stones”
are reappearing in the Elbe River.
The low water levels in the river
that begins in the Czech Republic then crosses Germany into the North
Sea has exposed stones on the river bed whose appearances in history
used to warn people that hard times were coming.
Over a dozen of the hunger stones,
chosen to record low water levels, can now be seen in and near the
northern Czech town of Decin near the German border.
The oldest water mark visible dates
to 1616. That stone, which is considered the oldest hydrological
landmark in Central Europe, bears a chiseled inscription in German that
says: “When you see me, cry.”
Expert: Fires will get deadlier as cities grow, planet warms
destroyed house stand near the sea one month after a deadly wildfire
tore through holiday homes near Athens, on at the seaside area of Mati.
Authorities are still investigating the cause of the fire that killed
more than 90 people and touched off a political spat that forced
country’s minister of public order to resign. (AP Photo/Petros
Athens, Greece (AP) - A
senior German scientist who will lead an independent inquiry into this
summer’s deadly Greek wildfire says fires are expected to pose a greater
threat worldwide in the coming decades.
Johann Goldammer, who heads the
Global Fire Monitoring Center at Germany’s Max Planck Institute for
Chemistry, met with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Athens on
Thursday after agreeing to head the inquiry into Greece’s deadly July 23
The blaze killed 96 people and
gutted hundreds of homes in a seaside area near Athens.
Goldammer says that climate change,
growing cities and changes in land use and commercial agriculture have
created an increased the risk of deadly wildfires globally.
Scientists find perfectly preserved ancient foal in Siberia
image made from video, scientists examine the fossil of a horse in
Yakutia, Russia, Thursday, Aug. 23. Scientists from Russia’s Northeast
Federal University said that the foal is estimated to be 30,000 to
40,000 years old. (AP Photo)
Moscow (AP) - Russian
scientists have found the carcass of an ancient foal perfectly preserved
in the Siberian permafrost.
The fossil discovered in the region
of Yakutia has its skin, hair, hooves and tail preserved. Yakutia is
also famous having wooly mammoth fossils found in the permafrost.
Scientists from Russia’s Northeast
Federal University who presented the discovery Thursday said the foal is
estimated to be 30,000 to 40,000 years old. They believe it was about
two months old when it died.
Semyon Grigoryev, head of the
Mammoth Museum in the regional capital of Yakutsk, was surprised to see
the perfect state of the find. He noted it’s the best-preserved ancient
foal found to date.
The foal was discovered in the
Batagaika crater, a huge 100-meter (328-foot) deep depression in the
East Siberian taiga.
September 1, 2018 - September 7, 2018
Germany: No preparations made in case of alien landing
exposure picture shows driving cars on the highway just before sunrise
near Frankfurt, central Germany on Friday, Aug. 17. (AP Photo/Michael
Berlin (AP) -
The German government says it has made no preparations for the
possibility that aliens might land in the European country.
In a response to
questions from opposition Green Party lawmaker Dieter Janecek, the
government said “there are no protocols or plans for a possible first
contact with alien life.”
stance, the government added it believes “a first contact on German
territory is extremely unlikely, based on today’s scientific knowledge.”
Janecek linked the government’s responses to a media article Saturday.
news agency dpa reported Saturday the classic children’s book “The
Little Prince” has been translated into Klingon - the fictitious
language of the eponymous space race in the science fiction franchise
Saarbruecken-based translator Lieven L. Litaer as saying the book,
titled “ta’puq mach,” will be published in October.
Modi says India will send manned flight into space by 2022
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the nation on the country’s
Independence Day from the ramparts of the historical Red Fort in New Delhi,
India, Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018. India will send a manned flight into space
by 2022, Modi announced as part of India’s Independence Day celebrations.
(AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
New Delhi (AP) -
India will send a manned flight into space by 2022, Prime Minister Narendra
Modi announced Aug. 15 as part of India’s Independence Day celebrations.
He said India will
become the fourth country after Russia, the United States and China to
achieve the feat and its astronaut could be a man or a woman. The space
capsule that will transport India’s astronauts was tested a few days
Rakesh Sharma was the
first Indian to travel in space, aboard a Soviet rocket in 1984. As part of
its own space program, active since the 1960s, India has launched scores of
satellites for itself and other countries and successfully put one in orbit
around Mars in 2014.
It hopes to showcase
its technological ability to explore the solar system while also using
research from space and elsewhere to solve problems at home. The $1
billion-a-year space program has already helped develop satellite,
communication and remote-sensing technologies and has been used to gauge
underground water levels and predict weather in the country prone to cycles
of drought and flood.
India won independence
from British colonialists in 1947. Modi’s 80-minute speech, broadcast live
from the historic Red Fort in New Delhi, comes months before national