By Degrees: A Parable From Down Under for U.S. Climate Scientists

A Parable From Down Under for U.S. Climate Scientists Photo John Church in Hobart in September 2010. He is known internationally for helping to bring statistical and analytical rigor to longstanding questions about sea level rise. Credit Peter Boyer HOBART, TASMANIA — John A. Church, a climate scientist, did not look or sound like a man who had recently been shoved out of a job.
Speaking softly and downing coffee at an outdoor cafe in this old port city, he sounded more like a fellow fresh off a jousting match. “I think we had a win — a bigger win than I ever anticipated,” Dr. Church said in an interview last month.
Australian climate science went through an upheaval last year, one that engaged the press and the public in defending the importance of basic research. In the end, Dr. Church did indeed lose his job, but scores of his colleagues who had been marked for layoffs did not. Some of them view him as having sacrificed his career to save theirs.
What happened in Australia shows the..

E.P.A. Dismisses Members of Major Scientific Review Board

E.P.A. Dismisses Members of Major Scientific Review Board Photo Scott Pruitt, left, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, with President Trump and a group of coal miners in March as the president signed an executive order that rolled back many climate-change policies. Credit Stephen Crowley/The New York Times WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency has dismissed at least five members of a major scientific review board, the latest signal of what critics call a campaign by the Trump administration to shrink the agency’s regulatory reach by reducing the role of academic research.
A spokesman for the E.P.A. administrator, Scott Pruitt, said he would consider replacing the academic scientists with representatives from industries whose pollution the agency is supposed to regulate, as part of the wide net it plans to cast. “The administrator believes we should have people on this board who understand the impact of regulations on the regulated community,” said the spok..

After Years of Unrest, Ethiopia Seeks Calm With a New Leader

After Years of Unrest, Ethiopia Seeks Calm With a New Leader ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Ethiopia’s governing coalition named a new leader late Tuesday night, paving the way for a peaceful transition of power in a country rocked in recent years by violent protests.
Abiy Ahmed, who is expected to become the country’s next prime minister, would be the first member of the Oromo ethnic group, which makes up a third of Ethiopia’s population, to lead the government. The group, which has suffered political and economic repression, has been at the center of protests demanding more economic opportunities and greater freedom of expression.
The country has been in a state of emergency since the former prime minister’s resignation in February.
The choice of Mr. Abiy was widely seen as a move to maintain stability in Ethiopia, which has East Africa’s largest economy and is a critical player in the regional fight against terrorism.
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American Drone Strike in Libya Kills Top Qaeda Recruiter

American Drone Strike in Libya Kills Top Qaeda Recruiter Photo The aftermath of an American airstrike in 2016 on an Islamic State militant training camp in rural Libya. Until now, the Pentagon had focused its counterterrorism strikes in Libya almost exclusively on Islamic State fighters and operatives farther north. Credit Mohamed Ben Khalifa/Associated Press An American military drone strike over the weekend in southern Libya killed a top recruiter and logistics specialist for Al Qaeda’s branch in northwest Africa, the Pentagon said on Wednesday, and a senior military official warned of more attacks on extremists there.
The military’s Africa Command said in a statement that the attack killed two militants, one of whom was identified as Musa Abu Dawud, a high-ranking official in Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, known as AQIM.
Mr. Dawud trained Qaeda recruits in Libya for strike operations in the region, and provided logistics, money and weapons that enabled the group to threaten and at..

Trilobites: Arctic Foxes on a Swedish Mountain Turned ‘Blue.’ It Was a Good Thing.

Arctic Foxes on a Swedish Mountain Turned ‘Blue.’ It Was a Good Thing. Arctic foxes are endangered in Sweden, Norway and Finland, scattered in isolated populations that can fall victim to severe inbreeding, further threatening their survival.
That’s what happened to a group descended from six white foxes that settled in the early 2000s on Helagsfjället, the highest mountain in southern Sweden.
But in 2010, a local ranger noticed something different: slate-colored or “blue” Arctic foxes, which had to be newcomers. The immigrants presented a rare opportunity for scientists to study what happens when new genetic material flows into a small, isolated population threatened with extinction.
In a study published Wednesday in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, scientists from Sweden and Norway reported that just three new males dramatically reduced inbreeding and produced a generation of more robust offspring in the Helagsfjället arctic fox population.
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Is China extending influence in Africa with $32m grant?

Free gift? China extends influence in Africa with $32M grant for regional HQThe African Union building in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, was also a gift from China. It cost $200 million to build and was handed over in 2012. (CNN)China raised eyebrows this month by announcing it will give the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) a $31.6 million grant to build a new headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria.
Accepting the grant, the president of ECOWAS, Jean-Claude Brou, thanked China and confirmed the organization's commitment to promoting future ECOWAS-China cooperation. A press release said that Brou called this a mark of goodwill from China. But critics questioned the Asian economic powerhouse's motives for the donation, which positions it at the center of West African politics.African, right, and Chinese workers, left, build railway track sections for the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) line in Tsavo, Kenya.Earlier this year, a published report in the French daily..

UK businesses are not educating themselves on what Brexit actually means

Some companies have been been altogether ignoring vital preparations and contingency plans for Brexit
“Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed,” so the UK and EU negotiating teams say. While it wasn’t signed, last week saw the transition agreement endorsed by the European Council – meaning that firms across the UK and the EU can confidently make investment and hiring decisions over the next three years.
The trouble is that companies have not only been waiting to enact expansion and investment plans – many have also been ignoring preparations for Brexit altogether.
Large, well-resourced firms have both the time and the capacity to analyse and plan for the ups and downs of the negotiations, as well as put contingency plans in place.
Read more GKN: Business Secretary intervenes amid anger over Melrose’s bad bid But what about SMEs (small- and medium-sized enterprises)? When you are a business with 50 employees, focussed on making a profit at best or making ends meet at worst,..

Saudi Arabia and Japan's Softbank to create world's biggest solar power project

Planned project is expected to have the capacity to produce up to 200 gigawatts of energy by 2030
Softbank Group has announced a $200bn (£141bn) investment to create the world’s biggest solar power project in Saudi Arabia through its Vision Fund private equity arm.
The Japanese conglomerate’s chief executive, Masayoshi Son, told reporters on Tuesday that the planned project is expected to have the capacity to produce up to 200 gigawatts (GW) of energy by 2030.
According to Reuters, that would add to around 400GW of globally installed solar power capacity and is comparable to the world’s total nuclear power capacity of around 390GW as of the end of 2016.
Read more Softbank chief signals interest in Uber and Lyft investment The deal will also fit into Saudi Arabia’s broader goal of diversifying economically and reducing its reliance on the often volatile oil industry – a programme it has dubbed Vision 2030.
The kingdom is one of the sunniest countries in the world but it is also ..