Nature’s global warming ‘sink’ isn’t clogged anymore, studies say

Christian Science Monitor

The Southern Ocean around Antarctica absorbs a significant share of the carbon dioxide emitted by human activity. For a while, it seemed to be slowing down. But studies say it has returned to normal, though the mechanics aren’t well understood.

Australian Antartic Division/Reuters
Australian Antartic Division/Reuters

After an unexpected lull, Earth’s Southern Ocean – a vast marine moat surrounding Antarctica – is pulling carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere at an increased clip.

The trend should ease concerns that the Southern Ocean may be losing its capacity to scrub CO2, a climate-altering greenhouse gas, from the atmosphere.

It also highlights how much remains to be learned about the factors governing CO2 uptake in Southern Ocean, researchers say.

By some estimates, the Southern Ocean accounts for 43 percent of the total ocean uptake of CO2 emissions humans pump into the atmosphere. But the controls on that uptake and their interplay are poorly understood. Solving those puzzles would put estimates of the ocean’s response to continued global warming on a more sound footing, researchers say. Continue reading Nature’s global warming ‘sink’ isn’t clogged anymore, studies say

Japan passes law allowing troops to fight abroad

Al Jazeera
Upper house passes law allowing troops to fight on foreign soil for first time since World War II, despite protests.

There were scuffles in parliament as protesters and politicians tried to physically stop the motion [Reuters]
There were scuffles in parliament as protesters and politicians tried to physically stop the motion [Reuters]
Japan’s parliament has passed a law allowing its military to fight on foreign soil for the the first time since World War II.

Japan marks WWII anniversary amid criticism

The upper house of the Japanese parliament passed the law on Saturday despite fierce attempts by opposition politicians to block the move.

The approval makes the legislation into law, loosening post-World War II constraints on the use of force by the military to its own self-defense only.

The legislation, passed by the more powerful lower house in July, sparked sizable protests and debate about whether the nation should shift away from its pacifist ways to face growing security challenges.

The motion, backed by Shinzo Abe’s ruling coalition, passed following days of heated debate that at times descended into scuffles and shouting matches between parliament members.

Fierce opposition

Opposition politicians on Thursday pushed and shoved in a failed bid to stop a committee approving the bills.

Abe has faced fierce criticism for his handling of the bills and there are growing signs the campaign has taken a political toll.

Women pay the price for Zambia mining expansion

Thomson Reuters Foundation

Author: Magdalena Mis

Rontina Alesi Muke, 66, (C) sits inside a village church with other residents of Shinengene, or Southern Settlement, in Zambia's North Western province, 09 August, 2015. THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION/Magdalena Mis
Rontina Alesi Muke, 66, (C) sits inside a village church with other residents of Shinengene, or Southern Settlement, in Zambia’s North Western province, 09 August, 2015. THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION/Magdalena Mis

SHINENGENE, Zambia, Sept 15 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The women sat quietly in a village church in northwest Zambia, the sun slanting down on their colorful Sunday outfits as they told how life had changed since their chief sold a tract of land to a foreign firm for a new copper mine, displacing hundreds of families.

“We had a vast land and we could do anything,” Seke Mwansakombe, one of the displaced women, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“Here we are confined to 40 by 40 meter plots and our movements have been restricted because certain areas are now no-go areas.”

(SLIDESHOW: Women and children trapped in Zambia mining expansion)

Kalumbila Minerals Ltd, a subsidiary of Canada-based First Quantum Minerals Ltd, signed a deal with Senior Chief Musele in 2011 to buy 518 square kms of surface rights for its mining activities, called the Trident Project.

As a result almost 1,000 families, most of them subsistence farmers, were relocated to Shinengene, or Southern Settlement, and to Northern Township, some 18 kms (11 miles) from their original village. Other villages are due for relocation soon. Continue reading Women pay the price for Zambia mining expansion

EU refugee talks ‘disappointing’ say campaigners

Independent Catholic News
mig-93Christian Aid has renewed its call for EU members to respond with fairness and vision to the present refugee crisis, saying it was disappointed at the outcome of ministerial talks in Brussels this week.

The EU’s Justice and Home Affairs Council failed to agree binding quotas that would commit EU member states to taking an additional 120,000 refugees – agreeing instead to relocate just 40,000 over a two-year period. In addition, although ministers did agree a welcome increase to the EU budget to help refugees in countries neighboring Syria, additional funds will not be available until next year.

“We wanted a permanent, balanced and mandatory EU relocation scheme. Instead we got a political stalemate,” said Christian Aid’s Head of Advocacy, Laura Taylor, yesterday. Continue reading EU refugee talks ‘disappointing’ say campaigners

Pope: no-one can remain oblivious to atrocities & human rights violations in Syria & Iraq

Independent Catholic News

“One of the most overwhelming human tragedies of recent decades are the terrible consequences that the conflicts in Syria and Iraq have on civilian populations as well as on cultural heritage. Millions of people are in distressing state of urgent need. They are forced to leave their native lands. Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey today carry the weight of millions of refugees, which they have generously received. Faced with such a situation and conflicts that are expanding and disturbing in an alarming way the internal and regional equilibrium, the international community seems unable to find adequate solutions while the arms dealers continue to achieve their interests”.

With these words the Pope addressed the participants in the meeting on the humanitarian crisis in Syria and Iraq, organised by the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum”, attended by Catholic charitable bodies and the bishops of the region, among others, and to which more than thirty organizations have lent their support. Continue reading Pope: no-one can remain oblivious to atrocities & human rights violations in Syria & Iraq

Catholic women sharply call for Synod to open to women’s participation, voices

National Catholic Reporter
Joshua J. McElwee

womanA diverse global network of Catholic women is set to launch an expansive and compelling collection of writings before the opening of October’s Synod of Bishops, pointedly calling on the male prelates to include their half of humanity and its experience in the synod’s discussions.
In 40 short essays mixing the sociological, theological, and sometimes deeply personal, the writers raise a number of weighty concerns for the hotly anticipated worldwide meeting of prelates on family life — centered on the fact that extraordinarily few women are invited or involved.
At the heart of many of their concerns, however, is their own exclusion from the Synod process. While Francis has appointed 30 women to attend the Synod as auditors making contributions to the discussions, only the 279 male members of the meetings can vote.

Pressing that point in one of the essays is Italian historian Lucetta Scaraffia, who titles her contribution: “Breathing with Only One Lung: Where Are the Women’s Voices in the Synods?” Scaraffia is one of the women appointed as auditors.
Continue reading Catholic women sharply call for Synod to open to women’s participation, voices

What It’s REALLY Like To Be a Nun on the Bus

Network
by Sr. Judith Best

networkWhat Does It Take to Ride with Nuns on the Bus?

This is a question I’ve been asked so often these days. Let me try to share a few ideas.

It’s as close as I’ll ever get to being greeted as a “rock star.” I’m writing this from the country music capital of the United States, Nashville, I‘d like to answer it out of this country music context.

Yesterday provided a few hours of unscheduled time so two of us decided to visit the Country Music Museum in Nashville. Since I’m a mostly-Mozart person this was a moment of opening to something new. I noticed that the Nashville Symphony Hall performs on the opposite corner. Continue reading What It’s REALLY Like To Be a Nun on the Bus