Could Global Warming be solved by Regreening the planet ?

By: Reuters

Planting forests and other activities that harness the power of nature could play a major role in limiting global warming under the 2015 Paris agreement, an international study showed on Monday.

Natural climate solutions, also including protection of carbon-storing peatlands and better management of soils and grasslands, could account for 37% of all actions needed by 2030 under the 195-nation Paris plan, it said.

Combined, the suggested “regreening of the planet” would be equivalent to halting all burning of oil worldwide, it said. 
“Better stewardship of the land could have a bigger role in fighting climate change than previously thought,” the international team of scientists said of findings published in the US journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 

The estimates for nature’s potential, led by planting forests, were up to 30% higher than those envisaged by a UN panel of climate scientists in a 2014 report, it said.

Trees soak up heat-trapping carbon dioxide as they grow and release it when they burn or rot. That makes forests, from the Amazon to Siberia, vast natural stores of greenhouse gases.

Overall, better management of nature could avert 11.3bn tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year by 2030, the study said, equivalent to China’s current carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel use.

The Paris climate agreement, weakened by US president Donald Trump’s decision in June to pull out, seeks to limit a rise in global temperature to “well below” 2C above pre-industrial times.

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Echo Dot Just Got 4wheel Drive 

By: Valentina Palladino of Arstechnica 

At a recent Amazon event, the company announced BMW would integrate Alexa into its 2018 models. It’s no secret that Amazon wants to stick Alexa anywhere and everywhere it can, and BMW is only the beginning. The latest company to announce a collaboration with Amazon is Garmin: the wearable and navigation device manufacturer revealed the new Garmin Speak today, a small disk-like device that installs on your windshield and brings Alexa voice commands into your car.

Describing the Garmin Speak device as “disk-like” is the polite way of drawing a comparison between it and Amazon’s Echo Dot speaker. Essentially, the Garmin Speak is a smaller, 1.5-inch-wide version of the Echo Dot, complete with a circular, glowing blue LED status light. Inside that circle is an OLED display that will show arrows, icons, and numbers as it provides audible turn-by-turn directions. The Garmin Speak comes with a windshield mount, making it a device you could easily confuse for a dash cam with just a quick glance.

But the Garmin Speak does not have the essential outward-facing camera like dash cams do. Instead, the device is solely a home for Garmin Speak software and Amazon’s Alexa. As with any other Alexa-toting device, you can summon Alexa with your voice through the Garmin Speak, asking for news, weather, sports, and other updates. You can also use Alexa to ignore or accept phone calls, and you can also control music search and playback so you can ask to hear a new song, artist, or genre without taking your hands off the wheel or eyes off the road. Alexa’s smart home controls work when you’re in the car as well, so you can ask Alexa to turn on your lights before you pull into your driveway.

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Bomb Blast Kills Over 250 In Somalia 

By: The Hindu 

The most powerful bomb blast ever witnessed in Somalia’s capital killed 276 people with around 300 others injured, the country’s information minister said early today, making it the deadliest single attack in this Horn of Africa nation.

The toll could continue to rise.

In a tweet, Abdirahman Osman called the attack “barbaric” and said countries including Turkey and Kenya had already offered to send medical aid. Hospitals were overwhelmed a day after a truck bomb targeted a crowded street near key government ministries, including foreign affairs.

As angry protesters gathered near the scene of the attack, Somalia’s government blamed the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab extremist group for what it called a “national disaster.” However, Africa’s deadliest Islamic extremist group, which often targets high-profile areas of the capital, had yet to comment.

Al-Shabab earlier this year vowed to step up attacks after both the Trump administration and Somalia’s recently elected president announced new military efforts against the group.

The Mogadishu bombing is one of the deadliest attacks in sub-Saharan Africa, larger than the Garissa University attack in Kenya in 2015 and the US Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.

Doctors at Mogadishu hospitals struggled to assist badly wounded victims, many burned beyond recognition. “This is really horrendous, unlike any other time in the past,” said Dr Mohamed Yusuf, the director of Medina hospital.

Inside, bleary-eyed nurses transported a man whose legs had been blown off. He waited as surgeons attended to another badly injured patient. Exhausted doctors struggled to keep their eyes open, while screams from victims and newly bereaved families echoed through the halls.

“Nearly all of the wounded victims have serious wounds,” said nurse Samir Abdi. “Unspeakable horrors.” The smell of blood was strong.

A teary-eyed Hawo Yusuf looked at her husband’s badly burned body. “He may die waiting,” she said. “We need help.”
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USA To Finally Battle Japan In Giant Robot Fight 

By: James Vincent of the Verge 

We’ve been waiting a long time to see the “world’s first giant robot duel,” and next week we’ll finally get to watch the metal-on-metal action. If you’ve forgotten the background, all the way back in July 2015 a US team of engineers (MegaBots Inc.) challenged their Japanese rivals (Suidobashi Heavy Industry) to a fight, but the difficulty in finding a venue and upgrading the robots has delayed the bout. Well, next Tuesday, October 17th at 7PM PT, the duel will finally be streamed on Twitch for all to see.

It won’t be a live event though. In a press release, MegaBots Inc, said that the duel consisted of “multiple rounds of fighting,” and that in order to give the teams time to repair their bots, the rounds were spread out over several days. This meant the fight “could not be livestreamed like a traditional sport.” The duel was held in an abandoned steel mill in Japan, with no spectators beyond the two sets of engineers. Commentary was provided by Mike Goldberg of the MMA and robotics expert Saura Naderi.

Over email, MegaBots’ Gui Cavalcanti explained that the duel was fought on a knockout system, with no point scoring involved. Victory is attained by either knocking over or disabling your opponent (or, if they surrender), with the weight, power, size, and weapons of the bots “left to each individual team.” Cavalcanti adds, though, that the weapons were chosen “to not cut through metal, but instead to damage it.”

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Fox Spends 400M To Broadcast WorldCup But U.S.A’s Team Will Not Be Participating

By: Alan O’Brian

It was a bad, bad night for the United States of America – as President Donald Trump would probably have put it.

For the first time since 1986 the country’s national men’s side failed to qualify for the World Cup.

Heading into their final qualifier against Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday night, the USA simply had to avoid losing or else their fate would be out of their hands.

But it was not to be as Bruce Arena’s men succumbed to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of their Caribbean opponents.

This would have been fine if both Panama and Honduras had lost too, but unfortunately the former took down Costa Rica while the latter beat Mexico.
For some certain individuals in America, though, the ignominy of missing out on football’s central showpiece will be considerably greater than for others.

Indeed, Murdoch-owned broadcaster Fox, whose news arm have courted controversy after a string of sexual harassment cases, paid a staggering $400m for the rights to broadcast the 2018 World Cup.

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Californians Evacuated as Fires Grow Exponentially In Northern and Southern California 

By: Anh Do, Victoria Kim and James QueallyContact Reporters

Orange County fire officials have evacuated at least 1,000 homes as a fast-moving fire in the Anaheim Hills spat smoke into the air and scorched several structures early Monday afternoon, according to fire officials and television footage.

The fire raced up a ridge and hit a tract homes at the top of a hill. Several caught fire, and firefighters were trying to prevent the fire from spreading further into the subdivision.
Canyon fire No. 2 broke out around 9:20 a.m. near the 91 Freeway and Gypsum Canyon Road, and quickly leapt the California 241 toll road, according to Sgt. Daron Wyatt, a spokesman for the Anaheim Fire Department.

As of 2 p.m., the fire had grown to approximately 2,000 acres, fire officials said. In a video posted to the Anaheim Fire Department’s Facebook page, Wyatt said he had received “unconfirmed reports” of one firefighter suffering a minor injury and five structures sustaining fire damage.

At least 200 firefighters from multiple fire task forces are battling the blaze. Television footage showed several homes on fire early Monday afternoon.

Evacuations were ordered south of the 91 Freeway, west of the 241 toll road, north of Nohl Ranch Road and east of Serrano Avenue. The eastbound 91 Freeway was closed, with small spot fires reported along the roadway.

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Chile and Niue Vow To Protect Ocean With Various Marine Parks 

By: Amir Dawood 

The world of ocean conservation is still in shock today after they were sent reeling by some truly incredible news. The fight to protect the world’s seas and oceans is a slow and steady one, full of minor victories and large defeats. But recent news from Chile and the small island state of Niue have buoyed the environmental community.

Niue is only a tiny little island in the South Pacific, with a population of approximately 1,600 people. Yet it’s decided to turn a full 40% of what’s known as its ‘exclusive economic zone’ into a marine park. While the South American country of Chile has decided to add two brand new marine parks off its coasts. Parks that have strict rules and law about fishing. In other words, fishing is totally banned.

In total, the three new marine parks account for some 290,000 square miles of ocean. An incredible amount. To put that into some kind of size perspective, that’s double the size of Germany.
The Director of the Niue Ocean Wide (NOW) project, which is a public/private sustainability initiative in Niue is a man called Brendon Pasisi. He says this about the amazing work of the small island nation: “It is no small feat for a small-island developing state to make such a tremendous and tangible contribution to ocean conservation.”
University of Hawaii biologist Alan Friedlander is the chief scientist for Pristine Seas. Here are his thoughts on it all:
“We found some of the highest densities of reef sharks anywhere on Earth. Shark populations have declined by more than 90 percent globally, so this new MPA (marine protected area) is an important spot for these highly threatened species. We were amazed by what we found at Beveridge Reef — there were more sharks recorded by my BRUVS underwater video system at Beveridge Reef than had been recorded anywhere in the world to date.”

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Contrary to Popular Belief The Legalization of Marijuana is Having Adverse Frequency Of Use by Youth 

By: Kat McCue

Despite fears that the legalization of marijuana might encourage use among adolescents, the rate of marijuana use among teenagers has dropped to its lowest point since 1994. Among youth between the ages of 12 and 17, marijuana usage has been on a downward trend since at least 2002, even though recreational marijuana shops opened in 2014.

Currently, 6.5 percent of individuals in this age range use marijuana on a monthly basis, based on data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
The same survey from 2014 reported that 7.1 percent of youth aged 12 to 17 used marijuana on a monthly basis compared to 8.2 percent in 2002. Marijuana use among teenagers is declining regardless of whether it is legally available to some members of the public.

Cannabis Use and Acceptance Growing Among Adults

In contrast, the same survey found that marijuana use among adults aged 18 to 34 is at its highest rate since 1985. Nearly 21 percent of Americans between 18 and 25 use marijuana at least once a month, while monthly usage is reported to be 14.5 percent among adults aged 26 to 34.

These numbers have been rising for several decades; the last national survey saw an increase from 17.3 percent to 19.1 percent among 18 to 25-year-olds between 2002-2013, so current rates seem to be a continuation of an existing trend.

Alcohol use decreased alongside an increase in marijuana use by adults 18 or older according to the 2017 survey, suggesting that people are replacing liquor consumption with marijuana use.

According to a study covered earlier this year by saludmóvil™, individuals who used medical marijuana to treat their symptoms of pain (whether chronic, regularly occurring, or acute) reported a 42 percent drop in alcohol consumption.

A recent Quinnipiac poll found that a majority of adults in America — 61 percent — believe that lawmakers should legalize marijuana in the United States, while a resounding 94 percent support allowing adults to legally use marijuana for medical purposes if prescribed by a doctor.

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Civil Unrest Intensifies In Spain

By: John White 

The scenes of Spanish riot police marching through the streets of Barcelona and other Catalonian towns and cities, attacking civilians with batons and rubber bullets outside polling stations for the crime of attempting to cast a democratic vote on their future, of ballot boxes being seized and elected politicians being arrested — all at the behest of the government of an EU member state — you might think are incongruous and incompatible with the EU’s self-declared status as a pillar of democratic values in the 21st century, a status enshrined in Article 2 of its very own constitution, the Lisbon Treaty, which reads:

“The Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. These values are common to the Member States in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail.”

However Brussels’ position of pristine indifference in the face of the grotesque and disgraceful scenes that unfolded in Catalonia should be no surprise, given the anti-democratic character of its institutions.
It should also not go un-noted that just as the EU has essentially washed its hands of the crisis in Catalonia, taking the position that it is an internal matter for the Spanish government and authorities, so the so-called democratic powers in the 1930s stood by as democracy in Spain was extinguished back then, holding to the supine position of “non-intervention.”

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What To Do In Active Shooter Incidents

First, our sincere condolences and prayers go out to the families who have been impacted by the mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada on October 1st, 2017.

This domestic terrorist attack by an Active Shooter is now the largest mass shooting incident in United States history.  Unfortunately, this will not be the last time this kind of threat happens to communities across the US and around the world.

Do you know what to do if you find yourself confronted by an Active Shooter or in a Domestic Terrorist attack?  Have you discussed this with your family and friends?

The US Department of Homeland Security advises to “Run – Fight – Hide” in Active Shooter events.  If you can run and get to safety  – do it.  If you can’t run then hide until the event is over.  If you are cornered and unable to run or hide, then fight for your life.  Many may remember during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the people on United Flight 93 found themselves in this very predicament.  They could not run because they were in the air on a plane, they could not hide because everyone was confined in the same cabin space.  Then a group of passengers got together to fight, uttering the now famous words, “Let’s Roll” as they combined forces and overtook the terrorists.  Although the plane crashed in a rural field in Pennsylvania claiming the lives of everyone on board, it is agreed by many that the passengers heroic efforts may have saved the lives of thousands by fighting the terrorists and causing the plane crash in a field instead of hitting a populated target.

This video from the FBI talks about what to do if you are threatened by an active shooter:

More information is available on the FBI Active Shooter Resource Website  and on the UCIT.tv & TRN.tv  DAPP (#911, Disaster Awareness, Preparedness & Planning) Channels.

Please take a moment to discuss this with your family and friends and do the best you can to prepare for how you could respond if you find yourself in this unfortunate situation.

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