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Pakistan bans groups linked to Mumbai attack suspects

Pakistan bans groups linked to Mumbai attack suspectsPakistan on Thursday banned two groups believed to be fronts for the group blamed for the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, amid heightened pressure on Islamabad to act against militants. Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation were designated "proscribed organisations", the interior ministry said in a statement, adding that Prime Minister Imran Khan had ordered officials to accelerate action against banned groups. JuD and FIF are considered by the UN to be fronts for Lashkar-e-Taiba, a group accused by Washington and New Delhi of carrying out the Mumbai attack, which killed 166 people and brought India and Pakistan to the brink of war.

Thu, 21 Feb 2019 12:05:50 -0500
Key moments since Jussie Smollett reported Chicago attack

Key moments since Jussie Smollett reported Chicago attackCHICAGO (AP) "Empire" actor and R&B; singer Jussie Smollett told Chicago police last month that two men physically attacked him and yelled racial and homophobic slurs. Some key moments in the story:

Thu, 21 Feb 2019 15:32:38 -0500
U.S. Democrats launch resolution to stop Trump border emergency

U.S. Democrats launch resolution to stop Trump border emergencyHouse Democrats introduced the resolution early on Friday, taking the first step to challenge Republican Trump's assertion that he could take money Congress had appropriated for other activities and use it to build the wall. Pelosi predicted the resolution would pass the Democratic-controlled House. Action would then move to the Republican-majority Senate, where the measure's future is less clear.

Fri, 22 Feb 2019 11:30:11 -0500
Venezuela Army Trucks Block Guaido's Travels as Showdown Looms

Venezuela Army Trucks Block Guaido's Travels as Showdown LoomsEarlier today, three buses carrying about 40 lawmakers sympathetic to Guaido left Venezuelas capital heading for the frontier. The National Assembly president was traveling separately for security reasons and was unable to cross the tunnel, said Edward Rodriguez, his press team coordinator.

Thu, 21 Feb 2019 13:32:40 -0500
Trump's climate expert is wrong: The world's plants don't need more CO2

Trump's climate expert is wrong: The world's plants don't need more CO2Plants on Earth have flourished for hundreds of millions of years, yet President Donald Trump's pick to lead his new climate team insists that they need more carbon dioxide to thrive.Princeton physicist and carbon dioxide-advocate William Happer has been selected to head the brand new Presidential Committee on Climate Security, reports The Washington Post. The atomic scientist -- who achieved recognition for his work on atomic collisions and telescope optics, not climate science -- maintains that the planet's atmosphere needs significantly more CO2, the potent greenhouse gas that U.S. government scientists -- and a bevy of independent scientists -- have repeatedly underscored is stoking accelerating climate change.Because plants use carbon dioxide to live, Happer has said "more CO2 is actually a benefit to the Earth," asserted that Earth is experiencing a "CO2 famine," and concluded that "If plants could vote, they would vote for coal."Earth and plant scientists, however, find Happer's insistence that the plant kingdom would benefit from increased carbon dioxide wrong-headed and lacking evidence, at best. For reference, Earth's CO2 concentrations have skyrocketed in the last century, and are now at their highest levels in at least 800,000 years -- though other measurements show CO2 levels are higher than they've been in 15 million years."The idea that increased CO2 is universally beneficial [to plants] is very misguided," Jill Anderson, an evolutionary ecologist specializing in plant populations at the University of Georgia, said in an interview.&> Animation showing the evolution of global mean temperature vs. carbon dioxide concentration since 1850, now updated to include 2018. &> &> Though 2018 is a bit cooler than recent years, it still is one of the warmest years ever and lies close to the trend line of GlobalWarming. pic.twitter.com/eK7zvUqWyT&> &> -- Robert Rohde (@RARohde) February 10, 2019"It's a silly argument," added Britton Stephens, a senior scientist in the Earth Observing Laboratory at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, in an interview.Both independent academic institutions and government agencies around disparate parts of the globe have concluded more carbon dioxide will "bring many negative impacts" to plant environments, Stephens emphasized. "If someone is going to claim it's good, it's incumbent upon them to show evidence."Reached by email, Happer said he would like to chat about the benefits of carbon dioxide in the future, but such requests must now be sent through (and vetted) by the National Security Council (NSC). The NSC responded by saying that "At the moment, a discussion on this topic is not possible."If someone, like Happer, were to ignore uncomfortable realities like drought-ravaged crops, some of the deadliest wildfires on record, and the evaporating Colorado River, they could argue that some plants -- but not all plants -- could see growth benefits from amassing carbon dioxide concentrations. SEE ALSO: The Green New Deal: Historians weigh in on the immense scale required to pull it off"If we were to hold other environmental factors completely constant, some plants would do well, some plants would do worse, and some would outcompete other plants," said Anderson.But this is a reality that doesn't exist."We know that CO2 isn't increasing in isolation," said Anderson. Eighteen of the last 19 years have been the warmest on record. Both wild plants and crops are experiencing increased flooding, heat waves, and pestilence."CO2 does "fertilize" plants and by itself causes plants to grow faster, but unchecked CO2 release into the atmosphere will lead to reduced yields and the consequences could be catastrophic," Thomas Sharkey, a plant biochemist at Michigan State University, said over email.&> Baseball spring training starts this week. &> &> Predicting today whether CO2 in 2100 will be ~1000 ppm, or only half that, is like guessing who will play in the World Series in October. &> &> Nonetheless, the consequences of our CO2 emissions over the next few decades are profound. pic.twitter.com/pUf5VVlBAk&> &> -- Kris Karnauskas (@OceansClimateCU) February 19, 2019Sharkey noted that pollen production -- which is necessary for making seeds -- is sensitive to even small increases in the average temperature. "The negatives far outweigh the positives," added Stephens.As might be evident to anyone alive on the planet, plants flourish today and have flourished for hundreds of millions of years, so Happer's suggestion that the planet's vegetation is in need of more carbon dioxide is bizarre."Obviously plants were doing just fine historically," said Anderson. "There's no indication plants are increasing their performance and doing better now than historically."A NASA graph showing skyrocketing CO2 levels.Image: nasaA recent NASA study found that Earth's overall greening over the last two decades -- which is to say the increase in area covered by green leaves -- is largely due to major tree planting programs and agricultural expansion in China and India. And some new regions of the planet are greening as the planet warms, like vast swaths of the northern tundra. But globally, the jury's still out on whether increased carbon dioxide is having a measurable influence on plant growth."This is not a huge signal that everyone can see," said Stephens.There are extremely conspicuous climate signals, however, that everyone can see. One of the most widely-predicted consequences of a warming climate, stoked by historically-high carbon dioxide emissions, is increased fire weather. The California town of Paradise fell victim to profoundly dried-out vegetation and hot temperatures this past November. The forests had been turned to tinder, waiting to burn.Is more CO2 really good for plants?"Tell that to the trees in Paradise, California," said Stephens. WATCH: Ever wonder how the universe might end?

Thu, 21 Feb 2019 19:26:28 -0500
Canada looks to reunite Syrian family after fire claims seven kids

Canada looks to reunite Syrian family after fire claims seven kidsCanada is looking to quickly bring over siblings of a Syrian refugee distraught over the loss of her seven children in a Halifax house fire, the prime minister said Thursday. "The immigration minister is seized with this particular case," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said when asked if Ottawa would fast-track the immigration or asylum process to bring the woman's brothers to Canada in order to provide her with family support. The family was among tens of thousands of Syrian refugees welcomed by Canada over the past four years.

Thu, 21 Feb 2019 13:18:33 -0500
Putin to Trump, waving missiles: Your move.

Putin to Trump, waving missiles: Your move.From Russian missiles to hate groups reaching a record high. Heres Wednesdays top news.

Wed, 20 Feb 2019 16:58:27 -0500
Britain, EU closer to possible agreement on Brexit: EU diplomats

Britain, EU closer to possible agreement on Brexit: EU diplomatsThe backstop is an insurance policy designed to avoid border controls between EU member Ireland and British-ruled Northern Ireland after Brexit. "We are also looking at updating the declaration on future EU-UK ties after Brexit to give more prominence to the 'alternative arrangements' sought by Britain," said one EU diplomat who deals with Brexit. "But May won't get any firm wording before Feb. 28." A second diplomat, briefed on the May-Juncker talks on Wednesday evening, confirmed the EU would only signal this was the direction of travel before the British prime minister faces another round of Brexit votes in the UK parliament.

Thu, 21 Feb 2019 07:35:37 -0500
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez faces backlash after Amzaons decision to pull out of building a new NYC headquarters

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez faces backlash after Amzaons decision to pull out of building a new NYC headquartersJob Creators Network bought a billboard in Times Square blasting New York Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for her role in Amazons decision to no longer build a new headquarters in New York City; Doug McKelway reports.

Thu, 21 Feb 2019 13:45:34 -0500
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