Welcome to Overnight News Digest Sunday, where the OND crew, consisting of founder Magnifico, regular editors jlms qkw, maggiejean, wader, Oke, rfall, and JML9999, alumni editors palantir, ScottyUrb, and BentLiberal, guest editor annetteboardman, and current editor-in-chief Neon Vincent, along with anyone else who reads and comments, informs and entertains you with today's news.Some from Twitter, some from my regular sources, and I think I found a theme.
If the pictures of those towering wildfires in Colorado haven't convinced you, or the size of your AC bill this summer, here are some hard numbers about climate change: June broke or tied 3,215 high-temperature records across the United States. That followed the warmest May on record for the Northern Hemisphere – the 327th consecutive month in which the temperature of the entire globe exceeded the 20th-century average, the odds of which occurring by simple chance were 3.7 x 10-99, a number considerably larger than the number of stars in the universe.
Meteorologists reported that this spring was the warmest ever recorded for our nation – in fact, it crushed the old record by so much that it represented the "largest temperature departure from average of any season on record." The same week, Saudi authorities reported that it had rained in Mecca despite a temperature of 109 degrees, the hottest downpour in the planet's history.
Not that our leaders seemed to notice. Last month the world's nations, meeting in Rio for the 20th-anniversary reprise of a massive 1992 environmental summit, accomplished nothing. Unlike George H.W. Bush, who flew in for the first conclave, Barack Obama didn't even attend. It was "a ghost of the glad, confident meeting 20 years ago," the British journalist George Monbiot wrote; no one paid it much attention, footsteps echoing through the halls "once thronged by multitudes." Since I wrote one of the first books for a general audience about global warming way back in 1989, and since I've spent the intervening decades working ineffectively to slow that warming, I can say with some confidence that we're losing the fight, badly and quickly – losing it because, most of all, we remain in denial about the peril that human civilization is in.
Iran has warned against sending weapons to Syrian rebels, saying it will threaten regional stability and increase the "risk of terrorism."Video shows Nigerian troops executing captives
The Iranian Foreign Minister, Ali Akbar Salehi said in a speech in Tehran on Sunday, as talks between Syrian officials and opposition groups tolerated by President Bashar al-Assad were taking place, that "some countries envisage arming the opposition with heavy and semi-heavy weaponry."
Salehi said such arms deliveries would set a "dangerous precedent" and constitute "a clear interference in the affairs of an independent country."
No National Coalition representatives were invited to the Iran talks.
His speech comes as EU foreign ministers will meet in Brussels on Monday to discuss the lifting of the arms embargo on arms deliveries to Syria.
Russia has also warned in the past that providing the coalition with weapons would be a "gross violation" of international law.
Nigeria's military has long been accused of human rights abuses, including summary executions, in the troubled north but there has been no video proof since the first crackdown on the Islamist sect Boko Haram in 2009.Gaza: four children killed in single Israeli air strike
A spokesperson for the army said it was "impossible" for Nigerian troops to do such a thing.
Boko Haram is fighting to carve an Islamic state out of Nigeria, and its fighters have killed hundreds in bomb and gun attacks, many of them from the security forces, since beginning the uprising three years ago.
The video was taken by a soldier who said he was present while the shootings took place two weeks ago. The soldier, who requested anonymity, passed it to Reuters on Sunday.
At least 11 members of one family, including five women and four children, were killed when Israel bombed a house in Gaza City on Sunday as the five-day-old war claimed more civilian lives with no sign of a letup in the intense bombardment.AROUND THE WORLD
The air strike flattened the home of the Dalou family in the Sheikh Radwan district of Gaza City, causing the biggest death toll in a single incident since the offensive began last Wednesday.
The bodies of the children were pulled from the rubble and taken to the morgue at the Shifa hospital. The dead also included an 80-year-old woman.
India has accused European Union of threatening to break the 'Durban deal' on climate change and linking the ratification of Kyoto Protocol to new conditions.Mental Disorders And Evolution: What Would Darwin Say About Schizophrenia?
R R Rashmi, joint secretary (climate change) in the environment ministry and a senior negotiator, said, "To put it bluntly, the gain to EU by not ratifying the Kyoto Protocol is to keep the protocol obligations open and secondly, to link it to the process of negotiations under the Durban Platform (which is to decide a new post- 2020 global regime)."
A last-minute deal agreed between EU and the major developing countries and agreed upon by all others in 2011 at Durban permitted the establishment of a fresh process to finalize a new global deal by 2015. In return, the EU and other developed countries party to the Kyoto Protocol committed to extend its life beyond 2013. The new global deal to be implemented by 2020 is expected to ring fence the bigger developing economies into a higher level of commitment to reduce emission of greenhouse gases.
Q: You say at the beginning of your paper that "psychiatric disorders have long puzzled researchers by defying the expectations of natural selection." Why?Cleaning the Sewer: A Hi-Tech Revival for Europe's Foulest River
A: It's particularly the case with schizophrenia, which in this paper and in many other papers has been shown to be a disorder that drastically reduces your fecundity — the number of kids you have. It's often referred to as reduced fertility but, strictly speaking, people with schizophrenia aren't infertile. It's just that they're less often likely to find a partner and have kids.
Schizophrenia is estimated to have a heritability of around 80 percent. Same is true for autism. So if these disorders are very heavily influenced by genes, but the people who have the disorders are less likely to pass on their genes, why aren't the disorders becoming less common in the population?
In the heroic days of the coal mines, when 500,000 dust-covered miners risked their lives to drill their way through increasingly deeper layers of coal, they had a fatalistic motto underground: "It's dangerous in front of the miner's pick."IMF questions plan to restructure Greek debt: “pls reality, not wishful thinking”
Now, the industry has virtually gone bust, and most of the region's mines have been closed. "In 2018, all mining subsidies will be discontinued," says Jochen Stemplewski, "and then the adage will be: 'The last man out can turn off the lights.'"
The man who has so unsentimentally come up with a new slogan for the Ruhr region, the industrial rust belt in western Germany, is the head of Germany's largest sewage treatment provider, based in the city of Essen. As the master of all manhole covers, he flushes out the bathwater and fecal matter of some 3 million area residents. A crew of over 1,500 helps him meet this challenge.
But Stemplewski, 59, has a problem. On this fall autumn day, the sewage manager is standing in rubber boots on a bridge near Dortmund. He points straight down to a brownish river on which used toilet paper and condoms are drifting by.
Cutting short a visit to Asia to attend a Eurogroup meeting on Tuesday in Brussels, Christine Lagarde, the IMF managing director, said it was important that an agreement provide a lasting solution to Greece's debt to avoid prolonged uncertainty and further damage to the Greek economy.Vendetta masks in UAE colours draw warning
“I am always trying to be constructive but I am driven by two objectives,” she said in an interview, “to build and approve a program for Greece that is solid, that is convincing today, that will be sustainable tomorrow and that is rooted in reality and not in wishful thinking.
”The second objective is to maintain the integrity, credibility and quality of advice that we are giving, not for the Fund itself, which obviously is a concern of mine, but to lend that to the Europeans because that is what they are interested in,” she said late on Saturday.
Police officials in Dubai have warned against wearing a mask that symbolises opposition to state authority during any celebrations connected to National Day and declared it illegal.Degrees of devastation: major report warns of drastically hotter planet
Any person found wearing Guy Fawkes masks, also known as ‘Vendetta masks’, risks police questioning as any object or action deemed to be instigating unrest or insulting the UAE is illegal, police officials said.
The masks are a stylised depiction of a man who was behind the failed Gunpowder Plot to blow up the British House of Lords in London in 1605. The plot is commemorated with a fireworks displays in the UK on November 5 each year in an event that has come to be known as Guy Fawkes night.
The World Bank has warned the planet is on track to warm by four degrees Celsius this century - causing increasingly extreme heat waves, lower crop yields and rising sea levels - unless significant action is taken to cut greenhouse gas emissions.Electricity shortfall feared to increase
In a major report released ahead of the year-end United Nations climate summit in Qatar, the bank says changes associated with four degrees of warming would have dramatic and devastating effects on all parts of the world, including Australia, but that the poor would be most vulnerable.
Scientists say global warming must be kept within two degrees of pre-industrial temperatures to give the world the best chance of avoiding the worst impacts of climate change.
Climate change is coming to a planet near you.
The report – a snapshot of the most recent climate science prepared for the bank by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics – says global mean warming is now about 0.8 degrees above pre-industrial levels.
With people already facing hours of power outages, the Pakistan State Oil has expressed its inability to provide furnace oil to the sector on credit which may cause an increase in electricity shortfall in coming weeks.Maybe someone should tell Pakistan about renewable energy.
A senior official of the water and power ministry told Dawn on Sunday that loadshedding in cities like Lahore, Faisalabad and Karachi had gone up to four hours a day over the past week.
He said there had been no unannounced loadshedding anywhere for almost a month — between mid-October and the second week of November.
An official of the petroleum ministry said the PSO would no more supply furnace oil on credit.
He said the largest fuel supplier had informed the ministries of water and power and finance that it would now provide furnace oil only on advance payment and would suspend the practice of procuring the fuel from refineries on credit for supply to power plants on deferred payment.
ACROSS THE STATES
The obvious choice for me this week, in my unending and inane quest to compare everything that happens in my life or in my brain to something I’ve seen happen in a comic, would be to touch on the devastation wrought upon New York and the Atlantic coast by Hurricane Sandy. Like maybe throw together some cutesy list of times in comics when New York City has been either without power or underwater or both, in order to try and convey how unbelievable these last few days have been here.Elwha: Images of a landscape transformed
I could put Dark Knight Returns on there, with it’s power outage scene and Batman having to ride into battle on police horses (let’s not forget, Gotham is just another name for New York), and maybe Ultimatum, since New York flooded in that comic, even though I didn’t read it. I was also thinking about including J. Michael Straczynski’s harrowing 9/11 tribute in Amazing Spider-Man #36. I remember being a kid in Connecticut and working on a submarine base when 9/11 occurred, and feeling very frightened and confused about what the nation was turning into in the days and weeks after it, and that comic helped get a lot of those feelings out.
But as epic and monumental as these last few days have been, I feel like using this time to talk about comic books would only serve to trivialize the truly brave, heroic efforts that I have seen from the people in this area in response to the storm. I am talking about the FDNY firefighters, who, upon seeing a Chelsea building’s entire facade crumble to the ground, immediately decided to run into the building, rather than hide under a car and play dead, like I probably would’ve done. I am talking about the staff at the NYU Langone Medical Center who helped evacuate 215 patients, including 20 newborns, down the stairs no less, since the elevators were out, while holding flashlights, after the building lost power and backup generators failed. During the storm.
The pace of change on the Elwha is breathtaking.You-all have to click through to see the pictures. It's amazing. I am in the group who thinks Glen Canyon Dam never should have been built.
Julie Titone, a former Spokesman-Review environmental reporter, took these photos while visiting the Elwha for the first time since the dams came out.
Like many Northwesterners, Julie has followed the Elwha story for decades, writing about dam removal on the Elwha for the Spokesman-Review back in the 1990s when (to some) it still seemed like a crazy idea that would (and should) never happen. As she explored the Elwha after a nice fall soaker she was treated to this amazing sight, of stumps of the Elwha's former riparian forest, cut before Lake Aldwell was filled for Elwha Dam:
Like everything involving modern economics and libertarianism, it was a kind of giant meta-sham, shams celebrating a sham. Even the Nobel Prizes in economics awarded to people like Milton Friedman, George Stigler, or Friedman’s contemporary fans Heckman and Lucas, are fake Nobel Prizes — in fact, there is no such thing as a Nobel Prize in economics; its real name is the “Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel” and it was first launched in 1969 by the Swedish Central Bank and has since been denounced by Alfred Nobel’s heirs.It seems that Milton Friedman is no more credible than Andrew Wakefield, and if Dr. Friedman conspired with Big Business to propagate his theories, we are all in need of severe re-education.
And yet — in the words of Larry Summers, "Any honest Democrat will admit we are all Friedmanites now." Of course, there are no honest Democrats. And there are no honest economists. And these are the people who are framing our politics, the people who have told Greece and Spain they have no choice, and the people who today are making sure that the number one item on Obama’s and Congress’s agenda is cutting Social Security and cutting Medicare and cutting "entitlements" — and the only thing that divides the elites in charge of this mess is “how much of these moochers’ lifelines can we cut?”
NAM: What steps did you take to help raise black turnout at the polls?
BTJ: Registering people to vote (and) turning them out to vote is less of an art and more of a science. We purchased the voter database for all 50 states -- the only organization outside the two parties to have that database. We knew who the registered voters were and who were the unregistered. That allowed to us to train our people more effectively, unlike previous times when we didn’t have the data for all states. We took our standard 45-minute civic engagement-training course and expanded it to eight hours.
NAM: How did that work?
BTJ: We knew we were on to something when after the first round of training our volunteers gave our trainers a standing ovation. They felt that for the first time they really knew how to move people to register and to vote. We registered three-and-a-half times the number of people this year than in 2008, from 125,000 to 432,000. We moved 1.2 million people to the polls compared with 500,000 in 2008.
NAM: The Republicans were expecting that fewer blacks would vote for President Obama than in 2008. Some liberals who criticized Obama for not doing enough for African Americans thought so too. What happened?
BTJ: On Election Day that myth ran contrary to facts. You cannot explain Obama’s victory in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia or Florida without factoring in the huge turnout of black voters, in some instances higher than in 2008. What we found was that people were frustrated but knew that things have begun to get better. There was also real hope that the GOP could get beyond partisan gridlock in Obama’s last term. The situation increased expectations for the next term rather than decreased their enthusiasm for the president.
I want every single US citizen registered to vote, and voting!
HERE IN UTAH
Utah’s immigration court has been stretched so thin since Judge Dustin Pead left in August to become a federal magistrate, several local attorneys say their pending cases have been pushed back well into 2014.Somehow in a sidebar, the Trib managed to blame Obama.
"I’ve never seen cases backed up so far," Salt Lake City immigration attorney Tim Wheelwright said.
The state already ranks 10th in the country for backlogged immigration cases, with an average wait time of 543 days, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University. California is the most backed up, with immigration cases pending in the system for an average of 681 days.
But of the 26 states that operate full-time immigration courts, Utah is the only one with just a single judge handling cases in person.
To help offset the strain on Immigration Judge William Nixon, the court is using video teleconferencing to help with the court calendar. But since most of the help is coming from judges based in the east, there have been problems due to two-hour time difference, an ability to provide documents in a timely manner as well as the burden of adding to other immigration judges’ existing caseloads.
The state Board of Oil, Gas and Mining is scheduled to meet Dec. 5 to decide whether to give its blessing to the nation’s first commercial oil sands project, proposed for Utah’s eastern Book Cliffs.Men found dead in Great Salt Lake were inseparable best friends, family says
The board is being asked by an attorney for Moab-based Living Rivers to vacate the state Division of Oil, Gas and mining’s previous approval of the project.
Attorney Rob Dubuc said he did not plan a lengthy presentation in opposition to the oil sands proposal from Earth Energy Resources, a Canadian company doing business as U.S. Oil Sands.
“We put on our case before the Water Quality Board and did a pretty good job,” Dubuc said.
“This is specifically an appeal from Living Rivers,” Division of Oil, Gas and Mining spokesman Jim Springer said. “They originally brought the matter before the board eight or nine months ago.”
Late Saturday night, the family of Logan Hardman received word that rescue workers in a helicopter had spotted both Hardman and his friend Chad Tohinaka floating in the Great Salt Lake.It never crossed my mind that people could die in the GSL. This is tragic.
But when they were told the men were about one-half mile apart from each other, the family knew both men were likely dead.
"As soon as we realized Logan and Chad were separated we knew that it was probably done," Logan Hardman's brother Andy Hardman said. "They would never leave each other."
Tohinaka, 25, of Salt Lake City and Hardman, 25, of West Jordan were spotted just after 11:00 p.m., according to Lt. Justin Hoyal of the Unified Police Department. They had been duck hunting with another friend whose identity has not been released.
Jerry Uelsmann is a giant of surreal photomontage — in the 1960s, he was a leading figure in the new field of Pop photography. And he still works in that labor-intensive way. “I’ve had images that I’ve worked on for two or three weeks in the darkroom,” he tells Kurt Andersen. “You know that the idea is a viable one but you’re not quite sure how to resolve it visually.” Uelsmann’s work is featured in the exhibition Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.Maybe some of our erudite readers have seen this exhibition?