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Welcome to the Overnight News Digest with a crew consisting of founder Magnifico, current leader Neon Vincent, regular editors jlms qkw, maggiejean, wader, Oke, rfall, and JML9999. Alumni editors include (but not limited to) palantir, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, ek hornbeck, ScottyUrb, Interceptor7 and BentLiberal. The guest editor is annetteboardman.

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The Guardian

Forecast global temperature rise of 4C a calamity for large swaths of planet even if predicted extremes are not reached

Some of the most extreme predictions of global warming are unlikely to materialise, new scientific research has suggested, but the world is still likely to be in for a temperature rise of double that regarded as safe.

The researchers said warming was most likely to reach about 4C above pre-industrial levels if the past decade's readings were taken into account.

That would still lead to catastrophe across large swaths of the Earth, causing droughts, storms, floods and heatwaves, and drastic effects on agricultural productivity leading to secondary effects such as mass migration.


may see deaths from heat rise by as much as 20 percent in the 2020s and 90 percent by the 2080s in a worst-case scenario, a study found.

The study, published this week in the journal Nature Climate Change, was done by Columbia University’s Earth Institute and the Mailman School of Public Health. Higher winter temperatures may cut cold-related mortality, though net temperature-related deaths may still climb by a third by the 2080s, according to a statement detailing the findings.

“This serves as reminder that heat events are one of the greatest hazards faced by urban populations around the globe,” said Radley Horton, a climate scientist at the Earth Institute’s Center for Climate Systems Research and a co-author.


Greenland ice melting at an expanding pace may begin cooling the North Atlantic and increasing the severity of storms by 2075, said James Hansen, the former NASA scientist who raised concerns about global warming in the 1980s.

“If we stay on this path where the rate of mass loss from Greenland doubles every 10 years, we would get to a situation by about 2075 or 2080 where the mass loss is so fast that it causes the whole North Atlantic to be colder,” Hansen said in London.

The findings are from computer models using current rates of ice melt and will be detailed in a paper that Hansen plans to finish writing in the summer, he said yesterday in an interview.

Daily Beast

Months after his state was ravaged by extreme weather, the New Jersey governor is now publicly denying climate change. Expect more of that kind of idiocy as he gears up for 2016.

So now Chris Christie is a climate-change denier. He was at a ceremony Monday, just a few hours before Moore, Oklahoma got pounded for the sixth time in recent years, doing the sort of thing governors love to do—pounding the ceremonial final nail into the rebuilt boardwalk in Lavallette, New Jersey. A reporter from WNYC/New Jersey Public Radio asked him about her station’s investigative report on the state’s extreme lack of preparedness for Hurricane Sandy. Should state agencies, he was asked, have made preparations with climate change in mind?



The Doors' founding keyboardist, Ray Manzarek, died in Germany Monday after a long fight with cancer, his publicist said in a statement. He was 74.
The artist had been diagnosed with bile duct cancer.

The Doors formed in 1965 after Manzarek happened to meet Jim Morrison on California's Venice Beach. The legendary rock group went on to sell 100 million albums worldwide, establishing five multiplatinum discs in the U.S.

Morrison died in 1971, but Manzarek carried on The Doors' legacy, continuing to work as a musician and also as an author.


Republicans defended Mitt Romney against criticism from Democrats that he avoided taxes by keeping money stashed overseas. Those roles are now reversed with the disclosure that President Barack Obama’s pick to run the Commerce Department does the same thing.

The nomination of Chicago billionaire Penny Pritzker marks the second time this year that Obama has put forth a cabinet nominee with offshore accounts -- months after he castigated Romney, the Republican presidential candidate, for utilizing them. In a financial disclosure released last week, Pritzker said she received $53.6 million in income last year from a trust in the Bahamas.

The Guardian

Tornadoes reported Sunday in Iowa, Kansas and Oklahoma as part of storm system that stretched from Texas to Minnesota

When Lindsay Carter heard on the radio that a violent storm was approaching her rural Oklahoma neighborhood, she gathered her belongings and fled. When she returned, there was little left.

Several tornadoes struck parts of the nation's midsection Sunday, concentrating damage in central Oklahoma and Wichita, Kansas. Two people were killed near Shawnee, Oklahoma, and at least 39 people throughout the state were injured, according to the state's emergency management director, Albert Ashwood.

The National Weather Service was forecasting more of the same for the area – including Oklahoma City and Tulsa – Monday afternoon and evening, warning of the possibility of tornadoes and baseball-sized hail.

Governor Mary Fallin began touring the hardest-hit areas early Monday, including Carney, in Lincoln County, and a mobile home park near Shawnee, 35 miles southeast of Oklahoma City, that suffered a direct hit and was where the two confirmed deaths happened.


(Reuters) - A huge tornado flattened an area near Oklahoma City on Monday, leaving a wake of tangled wreckage, as a dangerous storm system threatened as many as 10 states.

At least two schools were in the path of the tornado, television reports said, and video showed homes destroyed, cars tossed and at least one building on fire.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or deaths from the tornado, which struck near Moore, Oklahoma, in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area, in the midafternoon.

"It seems that our worst fears have happened today," said Bill Bunting, National Weather Service meteorologist in Norman, Oklahoma.

Two people were killed on Sunday from tornadoes in Oklahoma and at least 39 were injured.

The National Weather Service predicted a 10 percent chance of tornadoes in parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Illinois. It said parts of four other states - Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan and Iowa - have a 5 percent risk of tornadoes.

The Guardian

US secretary of state John Kerry arrives in the Holy Land this week on his fourth visit in two months amid deepening scepticism on all sides about his chances of breathing life back into the moribund peace process, and an acknowledgement by European diplomats that there is no "Plan B" in place in the event of its failure.

The British foreign secretary William Hague will also join the Middle East diplomatic merry-go-round this week, with a visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories beginning on Thursday. The focus of Hague's trip, in which he is expected to meet politicians from both sides, is to support Kerry's mission to bring the two sides back to negotiations after an impasse of almost four years.


As the country awaits two important Supreme Court decisions involving state laws on same-sex marriage, a small but consistent body of research suggests that laws that ban gay marriage — or approve it — can affect the mental health of gay, lesbian and bisexual Americans. When several states passed laws to prohibit same-sex marriage, for example, the mental health of gay residents seemed to suffer, while stress-related disorders dropped in at least one state after gay marriage was legalized.

Here's the research trail:

Beginning around 2004, several states banned gay marriage. Just before that series of bans, the National Institutes of Health happened to conduct a massive survey of 43,093 Americans. The questions elicited detailed information about respondents' mental health. (To validate what people reported about themselves, psychiatrists also interviewed samples of the people in the survey, and their medical diagnoses closely matched the findings of the survey.)

Soon after the wave of state bans on gay marriage, in 2004 and 2005, the NIMH conducted a second round of interviews, managing to reach 34,653 of the original respondents. (That's a high rate compared with most polls and surveys.)


Opponents of expanding background checks for gun sales often raise the fear that it would allow the government to create a national gun registry — a database of gun transactions. In fact, federal law already bans the creation of such a registry. And the reality of how gun sales records are accessed turns out to be surprisingly low-tech.

The trace begins after police seize a gun at a crime scene and then reach out to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives National Tracing Center in Martinsburg, W.Va. — the one place in the country that can investigate where the gun came from.

Here, in a warren of cubicles, ATF contractors are busy on the phones pursuing trace after trace. On a recent visit, they had 700 calls to make. Last year, ATF processed more than 344,000 crime gun trace requests.



Over the past week, Pope Francis has launched a crescendo of attacks on the global financial system and what he calls a "cult of money" that does not help the poor.

The 2-month-old papacy of Francis — the Argentina-born Jorge Bergoglio — is shaping up as a papacy focused on the world's downtrodden. And in sharp contrast with the two preceding papacies, this one even contains echoes of the Latin American liberation theology movement that John Paul II and Benedict XVI had repressed.

The new pope's popularity is growing day by day. When Francis appears in St. Peter's Square, the crowd shouts his name in every imaginable language. Women hold out their babies to be kissed; everyone wants to touch him.

Vatican security guards are at a loss as Pope Francis gets off his popemobile to shake hands, to hug and to be hugged.

New York Times

Twelve-year-old Judeline crouches at the feet of a much younger girl, lifting high a makeup kit so the little girl, Boubou, can apply a colored pencil to her brow. Boubou studies herself intently in the kit’s mirror; Judeline, hidden to her, stares at us with a look that seems both humiliated and beseeching.

Taken by the photographer Vlad Sokhin for a series called “Restavek: Child Slavery in Haiti,’’ it is one of the most haunting images (Slide 4) of a Haitian servant child that I have ever seen.

Judeline’s hair is close-cropped, boyish. Boubou, the 5-year-old daughter of the family for whom Judeline works, is beribboned. Boubou has natural, apparent self-regard; Judeline, her bra strap slipping down her thin arm, has learned to be self-effacing to survive.


(Reuters) - More than 60 people were killed in a series of car bomb explosions targeting Shi'ite Muslims across Iraq on Monday, police and medics said, part of the worst sectarian violence since U.S. troops pulled out in December 2011.

The attacks brought the number killed in sectarian clashes in the past week to over 200, and tensions between Shi'ites, who now lead Iraq, and minority Sunni Muslims have reached a point where some fear a return to all-out civil conflict.

No group claimed responsibility for the bombings. Iraq is home to a number of Sunni Islamist insurgent groups, including the al Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq, which has previously targeted Shi'ites in a bid to provoke a wider sectarian confrontation.

Nine people were killed in one of two car bomb explosions in Basra, a predominantly Shi'ite city 420 km (260 miles) southeast of Baghdad, police and medics said.


(Reuters) - About 30 Lebanese Hezbollah fighters and 20 Syrian soldiers and militiamen loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have been killed in the fiercest fighting this year in the rebel stronghold of Qusair, Syrian activists said on Monday.

Sunday's reported death toll was the highest for Hezbollah in a single day's conflict in Syria, highlighting the increasing intervention by the guerrilla group originally set up by Iran in the 1980s to fight Israeli occupation troops in south Lebanon.

If confirmed, the Hezbollah losses also reflect the extent to which Syria is becoming a proxy conflict between Shi'ite Iran and Gulf Arab states such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which back Assad's mostly Sunni enemies.

Western countries and Russia, an ally of Damascus, back opposing sides in this regional free-for-all which is also sucking in Israel. Three times this year Israeli planes have bombed presumed Iranian weapons destined for Hezbollah.

Spiegel Online

Stylia Kampani did everything right, and she still doesn't know what the future holds for her. The 23-year-old studied international relations in her native Greece and spent a year at the University of Bremen in northern Germany. She completed an internship at the foreign ministry in Athens and worked for the Greek Embassy in Berlin. Now she is doing an unpaid internship with the prestigious Athens daily newspaper Kathimerini. And what happens after that? "Good question," says Kampani. "I don't know."

"None of my friends believes that we have a future or will be able to live a normal life," says Kampani. "That wasn't quite the case four years ago."


In China, having too much money is a relatively new problem. But the rapidly growing country is second only to the U.S. in its number of billionaires, according to Forbes magazine. And now an enterprising company has set up a course for kids born into wealthy families, who are learning how to deal with the excesses of extraordinary wealth.

For a moment, it looks like this high-end shopping mall in the southwestern city of Chengdu has been taken over by baby bankers. Kids in maroon neckties, white button-down shirts and khaki trousers are holding a charity sale to raise money for earthquake victims. They're on a course dubbed a "mini-MBA" at China Britain Financial Education.

"Even for me, for all our teachers, we sometimes feel very surprised to hear how much pocket money they have," says Paul Huang, the head of research and development. "One girl told our teacher that each year at the spring festival, she might have more than 20,000 U.S. dollars as pocket money."

Al Jazeera

David Cameron faces divide as members of his own party attempt to undermine his bill to legalise gay marriage.

David Cameron, British prime minister, is facing deepening splits within his Conservative Party, with a divisive bill to legalise gay marriage returning to parliament.

The bill was approved by a comfortable 225-vote majority when it was last debated in February despite the opposition of almost half of Conservative lawmakers.

But dozens of disgruntled Conservative MPs are expected to deliver a blow to Cameron's agenda by backing an amendment saying that if gay couples are allowed to marry, then heterosexual couples should also be able to have civil partnerships.

The government said it was a "wrecking amendment" which could delay the passing of the gay marriage bill by up to two years and cost $6bn in pension changes.

The main opposition Labour Party, while it backs gay marriage, had hinted that it could join the Conservative rebels in backing the amendment because it argues that the government has failed to make a convincing case against extending civil partnerships.



(Reuters) - Yahoo Inc said it is buying blogging service Tumblr for $1.1 billion cash, giving the struggling Internet pioneer a much-needed platform in social media to reach a younger generation of users.

The deal, announced on Monday, is a bold bet by Yahoo Chief Executive Marissa Mayer to revitalize the company by co-opting a Web property with strong visitor traffic but little revenue.

Yahoo made clear it was sensitive to concerns that it might damage Tumblr by making it less irreverent or more corporate.

"Per the agreement and our promise not to screw it up, Tumblr will be independently operated as a separate business," Yahoo said in a statement.

The acquisition, which will use up about a fifth of Yahoo's $5.4 billion in cash and marketable securities, is the largest by far since Mayer took the reins in July with the goal of reversing a long decline in Yahoo's business and Web traffic.


Professional sports teams are increasingly turning to tablets to help improve players' performance.

Noel Gillespie didn't like what he was seeing. From the bench, the Phoenix Suns assistant coach watched his basketball team easily give up 48 points to the Golden State Warriors halfway through a game last year.

One play in particular was hurting them -- the "pick and roll." It's when a player blocks for his teammate before slipping behind him to receive a pass and score.
But as it turns out, the Suns had a new weapon they were preparing to try out. Call it the swipe and scroll.

Gillespie pulled out his Samsung Galaxy tablet and called up a video clip from the first quarter. He was able to immediately show his players what their opponents were doing so they could make quicker adjustments during the game.

Meet the extreme mobile worker: the professional athlete, whose closest thing to an office is the airplane seat when traveling from arena to arena.

This NASA artist concept shows what the impact may have looked like.
(Credit: Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET)
It's a good thing you weren't standing on the moon's Mare Imbrium crater on March 17. You might have been ground into space dust. A meteoroid "the size of a small boulder" crashed into the lunar surface and exploded with a flash so bright, it was visible to the naked eye from Earth.

NASA has been keeping an eye on the moon for eight years, looking for explosions caused by meteoroids. The space agency has seen hundreds of detectable impacts, but none quite so spectacular as this one. "For about one second, the impact site was glowing like a fourth magnitude star," NASA says.


Microsoft is bound to play up the non-gaming entertainment features of the new console, focusing on streaming video, Skype calling, and deeper integration with other devices and services.

Much has changed in the video game landscape since Microsoft unveiled the Xbox 360 in 2005.

Back then, Microsoft was a clear underdog, hoping to cut into the leads held by rival consoles from Nintendo and Sony. The Xbox had a core following, to be sure. But it also had plenty of ground to make up.

When Microsoft reveals the details of the next Xbox on Tuesday, it will be sitting in a far more comfortable position. Just last week, NPD reported that 130,000 Xboxes were sold in April in the United States, making the Xbox the best-selling video game console in the country, the 28th consecutive month it's been in that spot. Consumers spent $208 million on hardware, software, and accessories for the Xbox in April, more than any rival console.


A new report suggests that improved health care and significant reductions in drug costs might be attained by breaking up the age-old relationship between physicians and drug company representatives who promote the newest, more costly and often unnecessary prescription drugs.

This system, which has been in place for decades, at one time benefitted doctors by keeping them up to date on new medications, and always provided generous amounts of “free” samples to get patients started on the newest drugs, as well as other supplies and gifts.

Originally posted to Overnight News Digest on Mon May 20, 2013 at 08:56 PM PDT.

Also republished by Climate Hawks, Climate Change SOS, and DK GreenRoots.

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