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WATCH: Kamala Harris corners Amy Coney Barrett on climate change in epic congressional grilling

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Judge Amy Coney Barrett (screengrab).

At the second day of questioning in the Supreme Court hearing, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) grilled Judge Amy Coney Barrett on how she will apply science on the bench — and got her to admit she believes climate change is a political debate as opposed to a scientific fact.

“Scientific consensus has grown even more and stronger that climate change is real, and it is caused by manmade greenhouse gas pollution and it poses significant threats to human life,” said Harris. “If a case that comes before you would require you to consider scientific evidence, my question is, will you defer to scientists and those with expertise in the relevant issues before rendering a judgment?”

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“If a case comes before me involving environmental regulation, I will certainly apply all applicable law, deferring when the law requires me to,” said Barrett. “And as I’m sure you know, Senator Harris, the Administrative Procedure Act does require courts to defer to agency fact-finding and to agency regulations when they’re supported by substantial evidence.”

“Do you accept that COVID-19 is infectious?” said Harris.

“I think yes, I do accept that COVID-19 is infectious,” said Barrett. “That’s something I feel like we can say you take judicial notice of. It’s an obvious fact, yes.”

“Do you accept that smoking causes cancer?” said Harris.

“I’m not sure exactly where you’re going with this,” said Barrett. “But you know, the notice that’s taken—”

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“It’s just a question,” cut in Harris. “The question is what it is. You can answer if you believe, yes or no.”

“Senator Harris, yes, every package of cigarettes warns that smoking causes cancer,” said Barrett.

“And do you believe that climate change is happening and is threatening the air we breathe and the water we drink?” Harris pressed her.

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“Senator, again, I was wondering where you were going with that. You have asked me a series of questions that are completely uncontroversial, like whether COVID-19 is infectious, whether smoking causes cancer, and then trying to analogize that to eliciting an opinion from me that is on a very contentious matter of public debate, and I will not do that. I will not express a view on a matter of public policy, especially one that is politically controversial because that’s inconsistent with the judicial role as I have explained.”

“Thank you, Judge Barrett, and you’ve made your point clear that you believe it’s a debatable point,” said Harris.

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Moon may be richer in water than thought — and it could help propel humans farther from earth

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There may be far more water on the Moon than previously thought, according to two studies published Monday raising the tantalising prospect that astronauts on future space missions could find refreshment -- and maybe even fuel -- on the lunar surface.

The Moon was believed to be bone dry until around a decade ago when a series of findings suggested that our nearest celestial neighbour has traces of water trapped in the surface.

Two new studies published in Nature Astronomy on Monday suggest there could be much more water than previously thought, including ice stored in permanently shadowed "cold traps" at lunar polar regions.

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Asymptomatic coronaagvirus sufferers lose antibodies sooner: study

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Asymptomatic coronavirus sufferers appear to lose detectable antibodies sooner than people who have exhibited Covid-19 symptoms, according to one of the biggest studies of its kind in Britain published on Tuesday.

The findings by Imperial College London and market research firm Ipsos Mori also suggest the loss of antibodies was slower in 18–24 year-olds compared to those aged 75 and over.

Overall, samples from hundreds of thousands of people across England between mid-June and late September showed the prevalence of virus antibodies fell by more than a quarter.

The research, commissioned by the British government and published Tuesday by Imperial, indicates people's immune response to Covid-19 reduces over time following infection.

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2020 Election

Early voting to be hit by heavy rain and flooding as Hurricane Zeta barrels towards the Gulf Coast

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Hurricane Zeta is expected to make landfall near Louisiana's border with Mississippi on Wednesday evening as campaigns work to get supporters to the polls and convince any undecided voters to back their candidate.

"Hurricane conditions and life-threatening storm surge are possible along portions of the northern Gulf Coast on Wednesday, and Storm Surge and Hurricane Watches are in effect," the National Hurricane Center warned.

"Between Tuesday night and Thursday, heavy rainfall is expected from portions of the central Gulf Coast into the southern Appalachians and Mid-Atlantic states near and in advance of Zeta. This rainfall will lead to flash, urban, small stream, and minor river flooding," the center explained.

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