From: Nicole Chavez
Category 5 Hurricane Irma has become one of the strongest storms recorded in the Atlantic, and is threatening to slam into Caribbean islands including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands with “potentially catastrophic” force on Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center said.
It’s too early to tell whether the storm will affect the US mainland, but current forecast tracks show it could turn toward Florida over the weekend.
Irma was churning west Tuesday evening in the Atlantic with maximum sustained winds of 185 mph — well above the 157 mph threshold for a Category 5 — about 130 miles east of Antigua and Barbuda, the hurricane center said.
The last storm with sustained winds that strong in the Atlantic was 2005’s Hurricane Wilma, which weakened before it brushed Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, turned right and crossed Florida. Irma’s Atlantic wind speeds are behind only 1980’s Hurricane Allen, which peaked at 190 mph at sea.
Irma’s forecast track currently has it near or over Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Anguilla by early Wednesday, and the British and US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Wednesday afternoon.
Preparations to protect life and property in those areas “should be rushed to completion,” the hurricane center said in a 5 p.m. ET advisory.
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By: Sam Morgan of Euractiv
New figures published by solar industry firm Asia Europe Clean Energy (Solar) Advisory (AECEA) last week revealed that China has exceeded its 2020 target of 105GW of installed solar capacity, after new builds in June and July pushed it up beyond 112GW.
Solar power is enjoying a sunny 2017 in China, after the first half of this year saw capacity increased by 24.4GW, dwarfing similar efforts in Europe, and cementing China’s status as the world’s leading solar nation.
China is not planning to rest on its laurels either. Officials have recently tweaked its 2017 forecast for new solar installations and figures now suggest that total new capacity for this year could reach 45GW. In contrast, in 2016 Germany’s total capacity was 41.1GW.
Renewable energy groups have called on Europe to be more like China and strive to be number one in the sector. SolarPower Europe association urged the EU to increase the current 27% renewable energy target for 2030 to 35%.
The association’s recent Global Market Outlook concluded that only a 35% target will maintain the impetus for the renewable industry. It also estimated that the bloc will struggle to hit the current 27% goal unless ambitions are raised.
China’s ambitions are admittedly impressive. It already boasts the largest solar farm in the world, which measures in at over 30 square kilometres. It also recently opened the world’s largest floating solar farm, which is positioned over an old coal mine.
But once capacity and landmark projects are excluded from the equation, the Chinese solar sector does have significant problems. Although China hit its 2020 target, only 1% of its energy demand is satisfied by solar power. Coal still reigns supreme in its energy mix.
There is also the issue of subsidies. Feed-in-tariffs, paid to solar companies to generate power and make the market more attractive, have often arrived late, hurting the bottom lines of many of those energy firms.
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From FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency)
Friday, President Donald J. Trump issued a Major Disaster Declaration for the state of Texas, making federal funding available for emergency work and to affected individuals and businesses owners who sustain damage as a result of the storm.
Shelters are open across the affected and surrounding areas. Download the FEMA mobile app for shelter information, weather alerts, and safety tips. The app (available in English and Spanish) provides directions to open shelters, disaster survival tips, and weather alerts from the National Weather Service.
The federal coordination is fully-activated, geared up, and providing support to states, local communities, and tribes as needed. FEMA’s National Response Coordination Center in Washington, D.C. and Regional Response Coordination Center in Denton, Texas, are operating 24-hours a day.
Follow FEMA online at www.fema.gov/blog,www.twitter.com/fema, www.facebook.com/fema and www.youtube.com/fema
From BEMA (Black Emergency Managers Association)
In December 2016 NAACP HQ renewed disaster assistance memorandum of agreement (MOA) with FEMA. Additional assistance during time of response & recovery is available from your local NAACP chapter. For an updated MOA contact your local NAACP office.
By: Oliver Pechter of Business Insider
The Swedish government could potentially resign today.
The Swedish opposition movement Alliansen is putting forward a motion of no confidence against interior minister Anders Ygeman, defence minister Peter Hultqvist and infrastructure minister Anna Johansson following an IT-scandal at the Swedish Transport Agency earlier this month, which involved the leaking of private citizen data to foreign contractors.
“We at Alliansen want to raise a motion of no confidence against the three responsible ministers for their failures to take responsibility during the crisis,” said the Moderates party leader Anna Kinberg Batra.
“It is obvious that the three ministers have neglected their duties… it may have threatened the security of Sweden,” says Annie Lööf.
“But we are not demanding that the government should resign,” says Jan Björklund.
The Alliance elaborated their decision further in a debate article in Svenska Dagbladet.
“The security crisis puts individual citizens as well as the entire nation’s security at risk. It’s very serious. We have found major shortcomings in the government’s work and responsibility during the handling of the crisis.”
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Compliments of the BBC
The Atlanta rapper took to Instagram to tell people about the the pop-up clinic and to “come get tested and know your status”.
The house was originally used to promote his new album Pretty Girls like Trap Music, which was released in June.
It has since been used as a church and community centre, and has been welcomed by residents as a tourist attraction.
A trap house is a term for somewhere you go to buy drugs from a dealer – similar to a drugs den.
The HIV clinic was supported by the Fulton County Board of Health, and charities Atlanta AIDS and Test Atlanta.
In a caption on Instagram, 2 Chainz said: “Inside the ‘pink traphouse’ something seldom shown, art, kids, music, good vibes, inspiration etc. The word trap is and was associated with a negative connotation.
“We will see after we get thru injected some cultural ideas the move the needle inch by inch”.
The pink house has also been used as a “trap church,” which involved many local groups coming together and urging the public to support organisations to help residents of the poorest neighbourhoods.
Portraits of famous musicians, like Tupac and the Weeknd, can also be bought at the house, and it also functions as a salon, offering nail and hair appointments to local residents.
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Compliments of Vatican Radio
Pope Francis has appealed for prayers and international participation in the “One Minute for Peace” initiative to be held:
Thursday, 8 June, at 1:00 PM Rome time.
He said the initiative represents “a short moment of prayer on the recurrence of the meeting in the Vatican between me, the late Israeli President Peres, and the Palestinian President Abbas”.
Their encounter took place in the Vatican Gardens on 8 June 2014, during which the three men prayed together for peace.
The Holy Father said, “In our days, there is a great need to pray – Christians, Jews, and Muslims – for peace.”
By: Karla Lant of Futurism
Yesterday, the world’s first commercial carbon capture plant began sucking carbon dioxide (CO2) out of the air around it. Perched atop a Zurich waste incineration facility, the Climeworks carbon capture plant comprises three stacked shipping containers that hold six CO2 collectors each. Spongey filters absorb CO2 as fans pull air through the collectors until they are fully saturated, a process that takes about two or three hours.
The container then closes, and the process reverses. The collector is heated to 100 degrees Celsius (212 degrees Fahrenheit), and the pure CO2 is released in a form that can be buried underground, made into other products, or sold.
According to Climeworks, the startup that created this carbon capture facility, hundreds of thousands more like it will be needed by midcentury if we want to remain below the limits set by the Paris Agreement. However, to keep the planet’s temperature from increasing by more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), we’ll need to do something more than simply lowering global emissions.
“We really only have less than 20 years left at current emission rates to have a good chance of limiting emissions to less than 2°C,” Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment director Chris Field told Fast Company. “So it’s a big challenge to do it simply by decreasing emissions from energy, transportation, and agriculture.”
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Compliments of The BBC
The White House communications director has resigned only three months after being hired by President Donald Trump.
Mike Dubke, an experienced Republican strategist, was hired in March to revamp the White House media strategy.
As part of the shake-up, White House press secretary Sean Spicer will reportedly hold on to his position, but there will be fewer media briefings.
The reshuffle follows reports of disarray in the White House communications team.
Mr Dubke tendered his resignation on 18 May and is leaving on good terms, according to Axios News, a politics website which first reported his exit.
White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said Mr Dubke had agreed to stay on until Mr Trump returned from his trip to the Middle East and Europe on Saturday.
“Mike tendered his resignation just before the President’s historic international trip and offered to remain onboard until a transition is concluded,” said Mr Priebus.
“Mike will assist with the transition and be a strong advocate for the President and the President’s policies moving forward.”
According to news website Politico, Mr Dubke, 47, provided few details on his departure in an email to friends.
“The reasons for my departure are personal,” he wrote, “but it has been my great honor to serve President Trump and this administration.
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By: Kelly Mclaughlin For Mailonline
A Frenchman whose hoverboard invention is being considered by the US Army for usage by combat soldiers was spotted flying his super-fast device over a lake in Arizona.
Franky Zapata, a former professional jet ski driver, was seen flying his Flyboard Air hoverboard over Lake Havasu earlier this month.
In footage of the flight, Zapata is seen hovering dozens of feet above the Lake Havasu beach as onlookers watched the amazing flight.
Wearing a protective helmet and flight suit, he zooms past palm trees and over water and sand during the minute-long video.
Upon finishing the flight, Zapata lands on a nearby platform and is helped down by a nearby onlooker.
FLYBOARD AIR: KEY STATS
The Flyboard Air claims to allow users to fly untethered through the sky to an incredible height of 10,000ft (3,048m).
That’s equal to the height of nearly seven Empire State buildings stacked on top of each other.
It uses an ‘Independent Propulsion Unit’ to fly for about 10 minutes and has a top speed of 93mph (150 km/h).
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By: The CDC ( Center Of Disease Control )
Human infections with an Asian lineage avian influenza A (H7N9) virus (“Asian H7N9”) were first reported in China in March 2013. Annual epidemics of sporadic human infections with Asian H7N9 viruses in China have been reported since that time. China is currently experiencing its 5th epidemic of Asian H7N9 human infections. This is the largest annual epidemic to date. As of May 1, 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) has reported 623 human infections with Asian H7N9 virus during the 5th epidemic, making it the largest annual epidemic to date. This brings the total cumulative number of human infections with Asian lineage H7N9 reported by WHO to 1,421. Additional infections have been reported, but not yet publically announced by WHO. During epidemics one through four, about 40 percent of people confirmed with Asian H7N9 virus infection died.
Most human infections with avian influenza viruses, including Asian H7N9 virus, have occurred after exposure to poultry; Asian H7N9 viruses continue to circulate in poultry in China. Most reported patients with H7N9 virus infection have had severe respiratory illness (e.g., pneumonia). Rare instances of limited person-to-person spread of this virus have been identified in China, but there is no evidence of sustained person-to-person spread. Some human infections with Asian H7N9 have been reported outside of mainland China, but most of these infections have occurred among people who had traveled to mainland China before becoming ill. Asian H7N9 viruses have not been detected in people or birds in the United States.
CDC Risk Assessment
While the current risk to the public’s health posed by Asian H7N9 virus is low, the pandemic potential of this virus is concerning. Influenza viruses constantly change and it is possible that this virus could gain the ability to spread easily and sustainably among people, triggering a global outbreak of disease (i.e., a pandemic). In fact, of the novel influenza A viruses that are of special concern to public health, Asian lineage H7N9 virus is rated by the Influenza Risk Assessment Tool (IRAT) as having the greatest potential to cause a pandemic, as well as potentially posing the greatest risk to severely impact public health.
It is likely that sporadic human infections with Asian H7N9 virus associated with poultry exposure will continue to occur in China. There is also a possibility of Asian H7N9 virus spreading to poultry in neighboring countries and human infections associated with poultry exposure may be detected in neighboring countries. Asian H7N9 infections may continue to be detected among travelers returning from countries where this virus is present. However, as long as there is no evidence of ongoing, sustained person-to-person spread, the public health risk assessment would not change substantially.
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