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Hong Kong protesters are using Pepe the Frog as part of pro-democracy movement

19.08.2019 14:29

In Hong Kong, as millions of citizens are fighting a battle to protect its democracy, protesters have turned to the smug frog cartoon as a mascot.


Man fights Florida city's citation for landing a helicopter in backyard

19.08.2019 13:54

A Florida city has issued a citation to a man who landed a helicopter in a friend's backyard as a stunt when he showed up for a party.


Man uses pocketknife to fight off mountain lion

19.08.2019 11:27

A mountain lion was killed after it attacked a man inside a park in Colorado


Russian Lawmakers Look For Foreign Hand Behind Wave of Protests

19.08.2019 8:19

(Bloomberg) -- Leaders of Russia’s lower house of parliament met to discuss alleged foreign meddling in the country’s affairs including in elections, amid the biggest wave of protests in Moscow in seven years.The council of the State Duma, comprising party leaders and top officials, held a special session on Monday to create a commission to investigate “the facts of possible interference in Russia’s internal affairs,” according to a statement on the legislature’s website. It will start work this week, the state-run Tass news service reported.The meeting during the Duma’s summer recess highlights the increasing alarm among officials over the growing protests, which are the biggest since Vladimir Putin returned to the presidency in 2012. Andrei Klimov, the head of a similar commission in the upper chamber of parliament, last week accused YouTube and the U.S. embassy of advertising opposition rallies, two days after an estimated 60,000 turned out to protest in Moscow.A series of protests that began in the capital last month, initially over the refusal to register opposition candidates for the Sept. 8 city council elections, has swiftly gained momentum after riot police beat and brutally detained peaceful protesters. Despite thousands of detentions and the imprisonment of many of the movement’s leaders, the anti-Kremlin opposition has called another protest for this weekend.In an unusual intervention, Sergey Chemezov, an influential Putin ally who heads Rostec State Corp., said “the presence of a sound opposition” would be good for the authorities in Moscow and Russia generally, in an interview published Monday by the RBC news website. “It’s obvious people are very upset and that’s not good for anyone,” said Chemezov, adding that Russia risked a return to times of stagnation without a healthy opposition and “we have already gone through this.”Growing DiscontentDiscontent is spreading in Russia after five years of falling living standards and last year’s unpopular pension-age hike that helped push Putin’s approval rating to the lowest since 2013. Organizers of opposition demonstrations have avoided support from abroad since Russia passed its tough “foreign agent” law as part of moves to break the 2012 protests.Lawmakers delayed a separate discussion on the spread of “fake news” via algorithms on Yandex NV, Russia’s largest search engine and biggest news aggregator, until October.The Duma’s focus on foreign meddling comes amid a broader crackdown by the authorities that includes mass unrest charges against at least 10 people arrested at the peaceful rallies, and a money-laundering probe against opposition leader Alexey Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation. State TV has also taken up the theme in reporting on the Moscow protests.Russia’s Foreign Ministry accused the U.S. embassy of interference earlier this month for posting a notice on Twitter and on its website warning American citizens about an unsanctioned election protest in Moscow, along with a map of the route of the proposed demonstration. The ministry summoned Tim Richardson, a diplomat in the U.S. embassy’s political section, on Aug. 9 to complain that publication of the map was “a call to action, which constitutes an attempt to interfere in Russia’s domestic affairs.”The Foreign Ministry also summoned Germany’s envoy, Beate Grzeski, to complain about the “unacceptable” behavior of Deutsche Welle, alleging the broadcaster called on people in social media to take part in unsanctioned protests. Deutsche Welle said its correspondent was detained briefly while reporting on a July 27 protest in Moscow.(Updates with Chemezov comment in fifth paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Jake Rudnitsky in Moscow at [email protected] contact the editors responsible for this story: Torrey Clark at [email protected], Tony Halpin, Paul AbelskyFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

Johnson Says U.K. Will Be Ready to Leave Oct. 31: Brexit Update

19.08.2019 7:53

(Bloomberg) -- Follow @Brexit, sign up to our Brexit Bulletin, and tell us your Brexit story. Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn promised to do “everything necessary” to prevent a no-deal Brexit, amid reports the government is preparing for a three-month “meltdown” at ports if Britain crashes out of the European Union. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he still wants an agreement with the bloc, but the U.K. will be ready to leave on Oct. 31 without one.Key Developments:Corbyn renewed pledge to hold a second Brexit referendum if general election called this yearPrime Minister Boris Johnson said the U.K. will be ready to leave the EU with or without a deal on Oct. 31; will meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron this weekSunday Times newspaper cited leaked documents showing the government is preparing for shortages of food and medicine, as well as a hard Irish border, in a no-deal Brexit scenarioPound dropped 0.3%Johnson: U.K. Will Be Ready on Oct. 31 (12:45 p.m.)Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he still wants a Brexit deal with the European Union, but that Britain will be ready to leave the bloc without one on Oct. 31 if necessary.“I want a deal,’’ Johnson told Sky News on Monday. “We’re ready to work with our friends and partners to get a deal, but if you want a good deal for the U.K., you must simultaneously get ready to come out without one.’’The premier, who is going to Berlin and Paris this week to discuss Brexit with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, said EU leaders were “showing a little bit of reluctance at the moment to change their position.’’ But he said he was “confident” they’ll shift.U.K. Has ‘Stepped Up’ No-Deal Planning (12.30 pm)Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokeswoman insisted the leaked document (see earlier) on “Operation Yellowhammer’’ -- the government’s worst-case plans for a no-deal Brexit -- are out of date.“We have significantly stepped up planning,’’ Alison Donnelly told reporters Monday. “You can see that work is ongoing. A significant amount of work has been done. There’s still work to do in various areas.’’She refused to discuss details of the leak further, but said the coming public information campaign would help with no-deal planning.Donnelly said the free movement of EU citizens in and out of Britain will end on Oct. 31, but offered only one example of how: “Much tighter’’ rules on whether people with criminal records can come in. She urged EU citizens living in the U.K. to apply for settled status. She also ruled out recalling Parliament early, as requested by some MPs over the weekend (see 8:30 a.m.).Corbyn Renews Election, Referendum Pledges (11:30 a.m.)Corbyn renewed his promise to call a no-confidence vote in the government and if successful, form a temporary administration to call an election. Labour, he said in a speech in Corby, central England, would promise to hold a second referendum because opinions have hardened in the past three years.“No outcome will now have legitimacy without the people’s endorsement,” Corbyn said. Labour will “give voters the final say with credible options on both sides including the option to remain.”Corbyn also said his party will do “everything necessary to stop a disastrous no-deal, for which this government has no mandate.” When Parliament returns in September, “this country is heading into a political and constitutional storm,” he said.Taking questions from the press afterward, Corbyn agreed with his finance spokesman, John McDonnell, that Parliament should return early (see 8:30 a.m.) from its summer recess. But Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokeswoman ruled it out in a briefing to reporters on Monday morning.Labour Seeks Parliamentary Recall Over Brexit (8:30 a.m.)The Labour Party believes Prime Minister Boris Johnson should recall Parliament from its summer recess in the coming days to discuss the threat of a no-deal Brexit, the main opposition’s finance spokesman, John McDonnell, said on Monday.McDonnell was responding to a question on BBC radio about the group of more than 100 lawmakers, including Labour backbenchers, who have written to Johnson to make that request. Parliament is due to resume on Sept. 3.“It’s a good initiative by this group of MPs to say that we need to get back into Parliament,” McDonnell said. “We’re facing a critical issue here and we should be debating it in Parliament.”Former Sainsbury’s Boss Warns of Brexit Food Shock (Earlier)Former J Sainsbury Plc Chief Executive Officer Justin King said the Oct. 31 Brexit deadline comes at just about the worst time of the year for the food-supply chain, and that the document leaked to the Sunday Times on the impact of a no-deal Brexit presages a major crisis.“Anything other than silky smooth at our borders particular at Dover-Calais is going to have very significant impacts on the food supply chain in the U.K.,” King told BBC radio. By the end of October, food is already being stored up for Christmas, leaving little spare capacity to stockpile in anticipation of border delays, he said.CBI Says No-Deal Impacts Show Need for Deal (Earlier)The document leaked to the Sunday Times detailing the anticipated impact of a no-deal Brexit -- including port delays and fuel shortages -- shows just how “incredibly serious for our economy” such an outcome would be, Confederation of British Industry Director-General Carolyn Fairbairn told BBC radio Monday.“Business does have to prepare, but above all else what this does show is we must be trying to get a deal -- and that must be the number one priority of government,” Fairbairn said, adding that the U.K. as become more prepared in recent weeks for “the short-run disruption.”“Not fully prepared, I don’t think that can be done,” she said. “If you have any delays at borders, that would be significant. I think what we can’t be prepared for though is the long-run impact of a fundamental change in our competitiveness.”Earlier:Corbyn Gears Up for Election as Chaotic Brexit Fears EscalateJohnson to Raise Brexit Stakes in Visits to Germany and FrancePound Wins Holiday From Selloff on Resistance to No-Deal BrexitTo contact the reporters on this story: Alex Morales in London at [email protected];Robert Hutton in London at [email protected] contact the editors responsible for this story: Robert Hutton at [email protected], Stuart Biggs, Andrew AtkinsonFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

Danish PM: Trump's idea of buying Greenland is 'absurd'

19.08.2019 6:36

Trump is expected to visit Denmark in September as part of a trip to Europe.


Feeding the future: Fixing the world's faulty food system

19.08.2019 5:22

Feeding the future Fixing the world's faulty food system Feeding the future Fixing the world's faulty food system Nearly one billion of the world's population go hungry, while two billion eat too much, using up the planet's precious resources. Josh Wilson delves into the data exploring ways to solve the problem. This article has an estimated read time of seven minutes Fixing the world's "faulty food system" is increasingly being recognised as one of the key ways to fight climate change as well as tackle high rates of both malnutrition and obesity.  Each year 821 million people suffer from hunger – a figure that is rising despite an increase in global food production. And at the same time, around two billion people are eating too much of the wrong type of food.   The world is also facing an unprecedented climate emergency, with temperatures hurtling towards a dangerous tipping point.  Last week, a United Nations report concluded that eating less meat could help tackle the dual crisis of climate change and hunger. Switching to plant-based diets, the UN said, could both free up land and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.  With the global population set to hit almost 10 billion by 2050, the pressure to find new approaches to feed the world is not going to disappear.  Almost half the current global crop production goes to feeding livestock, however on average just 15 per cent of these calories are then passed on to humans when we consume meat. Climate change also poses a major threat to food security as increasingly common extreme weather events devastate crop land. Simultaneously, agriculture is one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. “At one level we don't need to grow any more, we should stop feeding our food to bloody livestock and then we've got all the calories we need,” Tim Benton, professor of population ecology at Leeds University, told The Telegraph.  “Food production, and especially livestock production, is a major driver of climate change, biodiversity loss, water  and air quality degradation and soil degradation. We have to start actually recognising that we can’t carry on as we are,” Prof Benton added.  But is the solution to such complicated challenges really as simple as changing how we eat?  One in ten suffering from chronic hunger Hunger is a part of everyday life in certain parts of the world – 11 of the 15 most undernourished countries are in Africa, with the worst rates found in the Central African Republic where three in every five people suffer malnutrition. Globally over one in ten people suffer from chronic undernourishment In Yemen, some 85,000 children are thought to have died from extreme hunger between April 2015 and October 2018 as the country struggles with civil war and military intervention from Saudi Arabia. But many countries with high levels of hunger also produce plenty of food. Pakistan was the ninth biggest producer of beef in 2013 – yet more than one in five of their population suffer from chronic undernourishment. Experts have warned that future conflicts will increasingly focus on a struggle for dwindling resources, especially food and water, unless more urgent action is taken on a global scale. “The most potent resource for any national government is access to energy, water and food, and so as the world gets more complicated these sorts of things are going to matter more and more,” said Prof Benton. Insatiable appetites for meat The livestock industry is viewed by many experts as a serious threat to food security because of its size and unsustainability, as well as the negative effects on our health of a diet overly rich in meat. Every one and a half years, more animals are slaughtered than the total number of humans who ever lived.  As countries become wealthier their eating habits shift towards more meat-based diets, fuelling a massive expansion in livestock farming and contributing some 8.1 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases in 2010. “By 2050 we're forecast to be consuming 60 per cent more meat and dairy, a staggering 1.2 trillion litres of dairy milk and 500 billion kilograms of meat per year,” said Joseph Poore, researcher at the University of Oxford, warning that such growth is unsustainable. Meat production has skyrocketed to keep up with population growth With half of global crop production already going to feed livestock such a scenario could have catastrophic consequences, warn scientists. In the UK each person consumes an average of 81.5 kg of meat each year, up from 69.2 kg in 1961, despite associated health risks such as obesity, diabetes and bowel cancer. Professor Benton said: “If you look at the UK, the amount of money that it’s costing us to make people better through the health service is around 37 per cent of all our tax revenue and that’s going up fast. “That’s partly because of an ageing population, but it’s also partly because of malnourishment in the form of obesity,” he said.  The majority of population growth will occur in less developed nations Drought causes over 80 per cent of agricultural damage Agriculture, especially livestock production, is a major driver of climate change, but it also one of the most sensitive industries to the effects of changes to weather. Extreme climate disasters such as floods, storms and droughts are on the rise, with an average of 213 such events occurring each year between 1990 and 2016. These events often devastate wide areas of delicate crop land. This harms agricultural yields, leading to food price hikes and loss of income, reducing access to food. This captures some of the complexity of the system and its highly integrated nature. It also highlights how the problem of feeding the population won't be solved by simply growing more food. There has been average of 213 extreme climate disasters per year Reports of crop damage due to climate change are becoming increasingly common, with farmers in Ghana, Tanzania and Nigeria recently describing delays to the start of the rainy season, abnormal mid-season heatwaves and high-intensity rainfall. These have all led to crop losses. Increasing water scarcity is also a serious concern as the agricultural industry accounts for 70 per cent of global water use. Groundwater has already been depleted worldwide for crop irrigation, and as these sources run dry it will increasingly limit where we can grow crops. Meanwhile, as the planet continues to warm, sea levels are predicted to rise, putting low-lying farms at considerable risk, while also restricting future expansion. Scientists have warned that any initiatives to ensure future food security must account for global climate change and seek to minimise agriculture’s contribution. Changing diets and tackling poverty key "In 20 years time we will have 10 billion people on the planet and we simply can’t sustain those numbers without changes in diet," says Simeon Van Der Molen, founder of Moving Mountains, a British manufacturer of plant-based burgers. “Cellular agriculture is the future.” Plant-based meat alternatives such as the 'Impossible Burger' have been touted as a viable and much more sustainable alternative to conventional meat. The Impossible Burger bleeds like real meat Some of these products have already started to get a run out on Britain's high streets. Greggs  achieved notable success with its vegan sausage roll and KFC recently announced it is to begin trialling a vegan Imposter Burger, featuring a bespoke Quorn fillet. Newer plant-based products such as the 'Impossible Burger' are now able to get much closer to the sensory profile and texture of meat, making it more appealing to many consumers. They have a similar nutritional profile to meat but require significantly less water and energy to produce. Insects have also been touted as a potential alternative to meat. They have the advantage of being high in protein and also have a much higher conversion rate of energy input to received calories. However, insect-based meat replacements remain a very niche consumer product and public acceptance in the West remains a long way off. But there is another major emerging food technology which has expanded rapidly in recent years and has drawn lots of interest and corporate investment, that of lab grown meat. This 'meat' is grown in special bioreactors from cells extracted harmlessly from livestock. The result is a product that is almost indistinguishable from conventionally produced meat. From petri dish to plate: how to grow a burger in a lab Leaders in the cultured meat industry are confident that their product has the edge over other meat alternatives because it has the same taste and texture profile as the real thing. “We’re pretty optimistic that as long as it really has the same taste, texture and smell, we think that most consumers will favour the product that doesn’t have all the guilt surrounding it in terms of animal welfare and environmental damage," said Sarah Lucas, head of operations at Mosa Meat, the company responsible for the first lab-grown hamburger. Lab-grown meat is still a few years from consumer availability and the technology still has some way to go - that first lab grown hamburger cost €250,000 to produce - but management consultant AT Kearney predicts that it will make up over a third of global meat supply by 2040. Meat consumption calculator However Prof Benton has warned that systemic changes to the whole agricultural system will be needed to achieve sustainable and nutritious food security. He says that tackling poverty will be key in this battle: “If people are too poor to buy a healthy diet, why does everybody leap to the conclusion that it’s the food price that’s the problem and not the poverty? “For me, the challenge of feeding 10 billion people is not how do we double agricultural production of the wrong things. It is how to do this systemic transformation so people can eat healthily in a way that doesn’t create a lot of waste and doesn’t create a lot of unsustainability.” Protect yourself and your family by learning more about Global Health Security Global Health Bulletin REFERRAL article

Iran warns US against seizing tanker at sea as re-named Grace-1 1eaves Gibraltar

19.08.2019 5:13

Iran has warned the United States against attempting to seize the Grace 1 oil tanker on the high seas after it departed from Gibraltar following a six-week crisis.  The Grace 1, which was renamed the Adrian Darya 1 over the weekend, left an anchorage off Gibraltar after dark on Sunday night after a court dismissed an attempt by the United States to have it impounded.  This morning ship tracking data showed it heading slowly east, bound for the port of Kalamata in Greece.   Asked about the possibility of the US seizing the vessel by force at sea, Abbas Mousavi, an Iranian foreign ministry spokesman, said:  "Such an action, and even the talk of it...would endanger shipping safety in open seas "Iran has issued the necessary warnings through official channels, especially the Swiss embassy, to American officials not to commit such an error because it would have heavy consequences," he told Iranian television.   A Royal Marine boarding party seized the Grace 1 after it sailed into Gibraltar's waters on July 4, sparking a weeks long standoff between Tehran and London that culminated in Iran seizing a British flagged tanker, the Stena Impero, in the Persian Gulf.  The governments and Britain and Gibraltar said they suspected the vessel of carrying oil to Syria, in breach of sanctions against Bashar Assad's regime.  Iran accused Britain of acting on behalf of the United States, which has tried to blockade Iranian oil exports as part of a "maximum pressure" policy against Tehran, and sent revolutionary corps gunboats to seize the Stena Impero, a British flagged tanker, in the gulf on July 19.   However, Mr Mousavi on Monday denied the Stena Impero had been taken in a tit-for-tat action and said it would only be released after an Iranian court had reviewed "violations" it had committed.   Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, a member of the Iranian parliament's national security and foreign affairs committee, appeared to hint that the British tanker would be held for several more days or even weeks.  "Until the Iranian oil tanker arrives at its destination the British must help end the crisis," Mr Falahatpisheh was quoted as saying by the semi-official ISNA news agency. "This means that the crisis with Britain is not over. Britain has the primary responsibility for ending the oil tanker crisis," he said.  A Gibraltar court cleared the Grace 1 to proceed last week after assurances were provided that it would not sail to Syria.  The United States then applied or the vessel to be impounded on the grounds that its cargo is controlled by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, which the US designates a terrorist organisation. The court rejected the application because Gibraltar is not within US jurisdiction.

Brazil Mulls Labeling Hezbollah as Terrorists in Pivot to U.S.

19.08.2019 4:02

(Bloomberg) -- Brazil is considering designating Lebanese group Hezbollah a terrorist organization, as President Jair Bolsonaro increasingly aligns his government with the U.S. on foreign policy.Officials are reviewing their options to move forward with the idea, which is being discussed at the highest levels of government but doesn’t have across-the-board support, according to three people with direct knowledge of the matter. It wouldn’t be easily implemented due to the particularities of Brazilian law, they added, requesting anonymity because the discussion isn’t public.The idea is part of Bolsonaro’s efforts to forge stronger ties with Donald Trump, with whom he also seeks a trade deal. It also fits into the world-view of Brazil’s right-wing president and his inner-circle. During last year’s presidential campaign, his son Eduardo, who may become the Brazilian ambassador to the U.S., already advocated a strong stance against Hezbollah, and Hamas.Yet the move could strain relations with Iran, a Hezbollah ally which imports $2.5 billion of Brazilian products per year, and displease Brazil’s influential Lebanese community. The government also worries it could make the country a target of terrorism, said one of the people. A decision could be announced before Bolsonaro visits in October the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, two countries that make strong opposition to Hezbollah.Contacted by Bloomberg, Brazil’s foreign ministry said it doesn’t consider Hezbollah a terrorist organization and has no plans to change its status for now. The president’s office, the justice ministry and the federal police, responsible for enforcement of anti-terror laws, declined to comment.Currently, Brazil only considers as terrorists those groups already labeled as such by the UN Security Council, including al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. It can bar the entry, arrest, and freeze assets of people suspected to be part of them.Growing PressureThe Brazilian leader is at the same time willing and under pressure from the U.S. to put Hezbollah on the terrorist list. In a November meeting with then President-elect Bolsonaro, U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said Trump expected to boost cooperation with Brazil on terrorism, be it against Hezbollah, Hamas or others.The temperature rose further last month when Argentina became the first Latin American nation to label Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed Shia Islamist group with an armed wing, as a terrorist organization.“Brazil has been under international pressure for many years to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist group,” said Jorge Lasmar, a terrorism expert and professor of international relations at the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais. “There can be serious consequences, for example creating friction with Iran and other countries with a relevant number of Shiites, such as Lebanon.”The U.S. has urged Latin American countries to denounce Hezbollah as part of its anti-Iran strategy. Argentina finally did so during the 25th anniversary of the bombing of a Jewish community center that killed 85 people. Argentina and the U.S. blame Hezbollah and Iran for the attack. Both deny the accusations. Brazil has recently recognized the group’s presence in South America.End of NeutralityBolsonaro and Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo have repeatedly vowed to break with Brazil’s decades-old tradition of multilateralism and neutrality that allowed former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to keep trade and diplomatic relations with the U.S. and its enemies. Instead, Brazil is getting so close to the U.S. and its allies that Bolsonaro earlier this year promised to move the country’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, following on Trump’s footsteps. The pledge triggered intense criticism from Brazilian meat exporters who feared losing market in the Middle East, forcing the president to open only a trade bureau in Jerusalem, rather than an embassy.Brazil also followed the U.S. in recognizing opposition leader Juan Guaido as president of Venezuela. Eduardo Bolsonaro‘s nomination as ambassador to Washington has received Trump’s blessing but has yet to be approved by Brazil’s Senate.Among the obstacles to press ahead with the plan is the fact that Brazilian law is vague when defining terrorism. Currently, Brazil narrowly defines acts of terror but not terrorist organizations. It also completely ignores political motivation behind attacks. That means Congress’ may need to approve any specific measures against Hezbollah.“Brazil’s legal definition of terrorism is narrow; foreign and national concepts on this topic tend to clash,” said Rogerio Sanches Cunha, a legal scholar and expert in anti-terror Brazilian laws.Hezbollah, or the party of God in Arabic, is at the same time an armed group, a political party and a social organization. It sits in the Lebanese cabinet and has considerable geopolitical power. It is considered a terrorist group by many countries, including the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. Germany sees Hezbollah’s military wing as terrorist but not its political and social branches. Russia and China don’t consider it as a terrorist group.To contact the reporter on this story: Samy Adghirni in Brasilia Newsroom at [email protected] contact the editors responsible for this story: Rosalind Mathieson at [email protected], Walter BrandimarteFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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