February 12, 2018
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Welcome to Monday, where Turkey strikes Kurdish rebel targets in northern Iraq hours after a suicide blast hit Ankara’s interior ministry, a UN mission arrives in Nagorno-Karabakh and the Nobel Prize season kicks off. Meanwhile, Wiktoria Bielaszyn, in Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza, reports on the suspected spy network operated by the Russian Orthodox Church through its clergy members abroad, particularly in the U.S.
Climate change is real, but a closer look at the science shows there are many factors that contribute to weather-related disasters. It is important to raise awareness about the long-term impact of global warming, but there's a risk in overstating its role in the latest floods or fires, writes Axel Bojanowski in German daily Die Welt.
In September, thousands of people lost their lives when dams collapsed during flooding in Libya. Engineers had warned that the dams were structurally unsound.
Two years ago, dozens died in floods in western Germany, a region that had experienced a number of similar floods in earlier centuries, where thousands of houses had been built on the natural floodplain.
Last year saw more than 1,000 people lose their lives during monsoon floods in Pakistan. Studies showed that the impact of flooding in the region was exacerbated by the proximity of human settlements, the outdated river management system, high poverty rates and political instability in Pakistan.
There are many factors that contribute to weather-related disasters, but one dominates the headlines: climate change. That is because of so-called attribution studies, which are published very quickly after these disasters to highlight how human-caused climate change contributes to extreme weather events. After the flooding in Libya, German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung described climate change as a “serial offender," while the Tageszeitung wrote that “the climate crisis has exacerbated the extreme rainfall."
The World Weather Attribution initiative (WWA) has once again achieved its aim of using “real-time analysis” to draw attention to the issue: on its website, the institute says its goal is to “analyse and communicate the possible influence of climate change on extreme weather events." Frederike Otto, who works on attribution studies for the WWA, says these reports help to underscore the urgent need for climate action. They transform climate change from an “abstract threat into a concrete one."
In the immediate aftermath of a weather-related disaster, teams of researchers rush to put together attribution studies — “so that they are ready within the same news cycle," as the New York Times reported. However, these attribution studies do not meet normal scientific standards, as they are published without going through the peer-review process that would be undertaken before publication in a specialist scientific journal. And that creates problems.
It has been proven that climate change affects the weather and that global warming has potentially devastating consequences. However, although attribution studies often draw links between extreme weather events and global warming, the data often tells a different story. [...]
— Read the full Die Welt by Axel Bojanowski, translated into English by Worldcrunch.
• Turkey strikes Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq after Ankara blast: Turkey says it has carried out a number of airstrikes on Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq, hours after a suicide blast hit Turkish interior ministry headquarters in Ankara. Some 20 targets of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) group were “destroyed'” in the aerial operation, including caves, shelters and depots, according to Ankara. The PKK said Sunday morning's bombing in the capital, which injured two policemen, was carried out by an affiliated group.
• EU foreign ministers back Kyiv after Slovakian populist party victory could end aid: The populist party of former Prime Minister Robert Fico that wants to stop military aid to Ukraine and is critical of the European Union and NATO, has won Slovakia’s election. The SMER-SSD party scored 23.3%, beating the centrist Progressive Slovakia (PS) that gathered 17% of the votes. EU foreign ministers gathered in Kyiv today in a strong sign of support for Ukraine’s war effort. Read why Viktor Orban is so happy with the results in Slovakia.
• UN mission arrives in Nagorno-Karabakh, a first in 30 years: A United Nations mission has arrived in Nagorno-Karabakh during a mass exodus of ethnic Armenians from the region after Azerbaijan recaptured the breakaway enclave last month. The mission, led by a senior UN aid official, is the global body’s first access to the region in about 30 years. For more, read this analysis by Pierre Haski for France Inter, translated from French by Worldcrunch: The Return Of Ethnic Cleansing: Why Nagorno-Karabakh Matters, And Isn't Over Yet.
• Ten dead after Mexico church roof collapses: At least 10 people, including three children, were killed when the roof of a church collapsed in northern Mexico. The collapse happened on Sunday afternoon local time as around 100 people were attending a baptism at Santa Cruz church in Ciudad Madero.
• At least 38 injured in blaze at police complex in Egypt: A fire at a police complex in Egypt has injured at least 38 people, according to emergency services and local media. Firefighters managed to contain the blaze at the facility in Ismailia, and local hospitals have been placed on alert.
• Early voting begins in Australia’s Indigenous Voice referendum: Early voting has begun in parts of Australia for a landmark referendum on creating an Indigenous body that can advise Parliament on matters affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The referendum itself is scheduled for October 14, and voting is compulsory. As early voting began, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese hit the streets of Melbourne, the capital of Victoria, to rally support for the “yes” vote.
• Nobel Prize in Medicine: Hungarian-born Katalin Kariko and Drew Weissman of the U.S. have won the 2023 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their research that led directly to the first mRNA vaccines to fight COVID-19, made by Pfizer and Moderna.
Spanish daily ABC features the "infernal dawn" that shocked the southeastern city of Murcia early Sunday, after a fire that engulfed three nightclubs, killing at least 13. The blaze broke out in the Fonda Milagros nightclub at about 6 a.m. local time before spreading to neighboring clubs. The death toll is expected to rise as rescue workers are still pulling bodies from the burnt down buildings. The origin of the fire is currently under investigation.
In order to ease the country’s severe traffic jams and reduce its carbon footprint, Indonesian President Joko Widodo has launched the country’s first high-speed railway. The project, backed by China under its Belt and Road initiative, is called Whoosh: a Bahasa Indonesian acronym that stands for Waktu Hemat, Operasi Optimal, Sistem Handal, which translates to Timesaving, Optimal Operation, Reliable System. Widodo also added that the name is inspired by the sound of a “rushing high-speed train.” The train connects the capital Jakarta to Bandung, a top economic hub. Read this recent article in German daily Die Welt, now in English on Worldcrunch: The West Has An Answer To China's New Silk Road — With A Lift From The Gulf.
The Russian Orthodox Church has long supported Russia’s ongoing war effort in Ukraine. Now, clergy members in other countries are suspected of collaborating with and recruiting for Russian security forces, reports Wiktoria Bielaszyn in Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza.
🚨 On Sept. 21, Bulgaria deported Russian Archimandrite Vassian, guardian of the Orthodox parish in Sofia, along with two Belarusian priests. In a press release, the Bulgarian national security agency says that clergy were deported because they posed a threat to national security. Bulgaria is not the only country accusing Archimandrite Wassian of working for Russian security services. Radio Svoboda has reported that he was among three Russian diplomats recognized as persona non grata by North Macedonia.
🔍 Even stronger charges were brought in the U.S. against another Russian Orthodox priest, Dmitry Petrovsky. After analyzing his activities as part of his work in the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, the FBI accused him of recruiting agents among priests and parishioners of Orthodox churches in the U.S. for the Russian services.
🇷🇺🇺🇸 Citing FBI sources, Russian investigative journalists Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan found that Petrovsky may have been cooperating with the Russian services for years, under the guidance of Patriarch Kirill, who has long been loyal to the Kremlin and openly supports the war in Ukraine. In May 2021, FBI officers found files on Petrovsky's computer, which included documents on prominent Orthodox priests in the U.S. According to FBI agents, this data was intended to help Pietrowski to blackmail other members of the Orthodox clergy.
➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com
➡️ Watch the video: THIS HAPPENED
“We will not walk away.”
— U.S. President Joe Biden has vowed to maintain support for Ukraine amid military funding cuts. On Saturday, a last-minute congressional budget deal, which was pushed as a temporary measure to avoid government shutdown, excluded $6 billion intended for Kyiv. Despite some rising Republican discontent with the aid given to Ukraine, Biden reiterated on Sunday that “We cannot, under any circumstances, allow U.S. support to Ukraine to be interrupted,” with some suggesting that a separate bill be soon passed on the issue. For more on the topic, we offer this Gazeta Wyborcza article.
U2 inaugurated Las Vegas’ new $2.3-billion Sphere venue with two futuristic concerts over the weekend. Billed as the world’s largest spherical structure (366-ft tall and 516-ft wide), Sphere boasts state-of-the-art 360° LED screens inside and on the exterior of the building, allowing the Irish band to push the boundaries of how “immersive” a high-tech concert can be. The effect, as Brandon Griggs reports for CNN, is “a little like being in a giant planetarium or a juiced-up IMAX theater, inside a giant spaceship.” — Photo: Amiee Stubbs/imageSPACE/ZUMA
• War History Shows Why Russia Is Doomed In Southern Ukraine: Supply Lines — VAZHNYYE ISTORII/IMPORTANT STORIES
• When Racism Poisons Italy's Culinary Scene — LA STAMPA
• Livestream Shopping Is Huge In China — Will It Fly Elsewhere? — AMERICA ECONOMIA
✍️ Newsletter by Emma Albright, Valeria Berghinz, Michelle Courtois, Laure Gautherin and Anne-Sophie Goninet
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