Chemical weapons watchdog will investigate Syria's use of deadly chlorine gas on civilians
April 30, 2014
Austrian glaciers last year retreated "more than ever", the country's Alpine Club said Friday, as climate change threatens glaciers around the globe.
On average, 89 Austrian glaciers observed by the organisation have become 28.7 metres (94.2 feet) shorter, compared to 11 metres in 2021, it said in a statement, sounding a "red alert".
"Never before in the history of the Alpine Club's glacier measurement service, which dates back to 1891, has there been a greater loss of glaciers," it said.
"The drastic glacier retreat undoubtedly makes the consequences of the anthropogenic massively intensified climate change clear," it added, warning that glaciers in Austria would disappear at the latest in 2075.
It urged the better protection of glaciers in the ski-mad Alpine nation.
"The touristic development of glacier areas is simply no longer justifiable at a time when the climate crisis is already having an enormous impact on the glaciers," it said.
Half of the Earth's 215,000 glaciers and a quarter of their mass will melt away by the end of the century, according to a study published in the journal Science in January.
This will happen even if global warming can be capped at 1.5-degrees Celsius, the ambitious Paris Agreement target that many scientists now say is beyond reach, the study said.
Global mean temperature is currently estimated to be increasing by 2.7-degrees Celsius which would result in a near-complete loss of glaciers in Central Europe, Western Canada and the continental United States and New Zealand.
© 2023 AFP
Joe Biden has repeatedly said he'd like to face Donald Trump again in 2024, but the indictment of his former -- and possibly future -- opponent has opened a new box of political risks for the Democrat.
On Friday morning, Biden stopped to speak with reporters as he left for a trip to survey tornado damage in Mississippi -- instead of walking right past as he often does.
"I'm not going to talk about the Trump indictment," he said to multiple shouted questions. "I have no comment on Trump."
The White House has released no formal statement since the revelation on Thursday that Trump would become the first ever former president to face criminal charges, over a hush money payment to a porn star during the 2016 election.
Biden's administration, seeking to avoid any perception of influencing the justice system, will likely remain "quiet for as long as they can," former press secretary Jen Psaki said on MSNBC.
Trump quickly claimed the indictment was "political persecution and election interference," and accused Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg of "doing Joe Biden's dirty work."
Other top Republicans similarly expressed outrage at Bragg, an elected Democrat, with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy pledging to hold him to account over an "unprecedented abuse of power."
Psaki advised the White House to "keep your head down" and don't "feed into the politics of this."
Until now, her successor at the White House press room podium, Karine Jean-Pierre, has remained silent on the legal proceedings against Trump, using as cover a law that prohibits government officials from discussing future elections.
Biden's Democratic Party will however be broadly content with the dual-image split screen that could soon come: Biden touring the country touting economic programs, Trump appearing in court.
After Mississippi, Biden will travel to his home in Delaware, where he spends most weekends.
But on Monday, he plans to travel to the northern city of Minneapolis, where the White House says he will "discuss how his economic agenda has led to the strongest job growth in history."
A day later, Trump is expected to arrive in New York for his arraignment, and to have his finger prints and a mugshot taken.
The indictment of the Republican -- which in no way prohibits him from campaigning -- may have a mobilizing effect in his own camp, and fuel fundraising efforts.
Senior members of his party flocked to support Trump on Thursday, including the man believed to be his biggest rival for the Republican nomination, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
Biden, 80, believes that in a head-to-head race with 76-year-old Trump, the Democrat will once again emerge victorious, and that his age will be less of a handicap.
"In the next election, I'd be very fortunate if I had that same man running against me," Biden said recently of Trump, whom the Democrat narrowly defeated in 2016.
A recent Marquette Law School poll showed Biden neck and neck with his former opponent, at 38 percent each.
The race will likely swing once again on the key voting bloc of independents and undecideds.
To sway those groups, Biden has been honing arguments on the cost of living, defending health insurance reforms, and protecting social programs -- which, he argues, the Republicans want to dismantle.
But polling shows that Americans remain concerned about the economy, with a Quinnipiac University poll on Thursday saying that 68 percent of Americans are worried about their post-retirement standard of living.
In recent months, Biden has slowed, if not fully abandoned, remarking directly on his predecessor, like he did last September in a major speech in Philadelphia.
Biden, in a rare attack on Trump, accused him of feeding an "an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic."
© Agence France-Presse
Reacting to Donald Trump's attempts to rally his supporters to take to the streets now that he has been indicted by a Manhattan grand jury, one the former president's biographers suggested Trump should not hold his breath if he thinks another Jan. 6 is in the offing.
In a column for the Daily Beast, investigative journalist and author David Cay Johnston claimed the former president doesn't have the hold on his fans that he used to have and -- having watched a substantial number of participants who took part in the Capitol insurrection arrested and jailed -- they may not want to put their necks on the line for him.
That, in turn, could lead to low protest turnout that would diminish the former president's standing as an invincible figure just as he is hitting the road to tout his third presidential run.
Posing the question, "Can Trump repeat his success in persuading thousands of his followers to storm the Capitol? Will masses of MAGAs fill the streets in New York and other cities, break into more government buildings, and use force to prevent any prosecutions of their hero?" the journalist poured cold water on Trump's hopes.
"I think not. And such a failure would show that his once powerful hold on the disaffected has waned, relentlessly shriveling towards impotence," before recalling, "Many of the insurrectionists Trump sent to the Capitol on Jan. 6 to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory expressed surprise, shock, and anger that they were identified, located, arrested, prosecuted, convicted (or offered plea deals too good to refuse), and in some cases given years-long prison sentences. "
Asking, "How many Trump die-hards will engage in violence for his benefit knowing that the Justice Department is relentlessly pursuing the wrongdoers and winning convictions?" he claimed, "How many will risk their freedom for the man who promised that he alone could save them from what they regard as cultural, political, racial, and economic devastation—and then failed to deliver?"
Johnston also suggested that the type of people Trump is counting on to risk jail over his indictment is vocal -- but small, writing: "This isn’t to deny that tens of millions of Americans are disaffected. Many of them would throw away our Constitution and the liberties it ensures in favor of a wannabe dictator whose promises resonate with their circumstances. They are angry. They are also a minority, even among Republicans."
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