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.
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→
Al Jazeera Upper house passes law allowing troops to fight on foreign soil for first time since World War II, despite protests.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
Independent Catholic News Christian 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.
“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”.
A 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.
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→
Deustche Welle Dozens of people have been killed after an oil truck exploded in South Sudan. The accident happened when a crowd tried to gather fuel from the vehicle after it had broken down.
“Eighty five people are confirmed dead by the local authorities,” Presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny told reporters a day after the incident occurred. At least 50 more people had been injured, he added, indicating that the death toll could rise.
The explosion took place near Maridi in the country’s southwest on Wednesday when the tanker, traveling from Juba to Yambio, overturned and began leaking. According to Ateny, local residents were trying to siphon off some petrol when somebody lit a cigarette, setting off the explosion.
The injured were taken to local hospitals, but chances of their survival were low. “We don’t have medical equipment and these people may not survive because we do not have facilities to treat highly burnt people,” Charles Kisagna, information minister for the state of Western Equatoria, told journalists.
“This was an accident,” Ateny said, arguing that the blast had nothing to do with the conflict between government forces and rebel fighters that has been going on since 2013. A new truce deal this year has not been entirely effective.
South Sudan, one of the world’s poorest countries, has almost no tarmac roads and fuel tankers often travel along poorly maintained paths to reach far-flung communities.
AMBON, Indonesia — More than 2,000 fishermen have been rescued this year from brutal conditions at sea, their freedom prompted by an Associated Press investigation into seafood brought to the U.S. from a slave island in eastern Indonesia.
Dozens of Burmese men in the bustling port town of Ambon were the latest to go home, some more than a decade after being trafficked onto Thai trawlers. Grabbing one another hands, the men walked together toward buses last week. As they pulled away for the airport, some of those still waiting their turn to go home cheered, throwing their arms in the air.
“I’m sure my parents think I’m dead,” said Tin Lin Tun, 25, who lost contact with his family after a broker lured him to Thailand five years ago. Instead of working in construction, as promised, he was sold onto a fishing boat and taken to Indonesia. “I’m their only son. They’re going to cry so hard when they see me.”
The reunion he envisions has played out hundreds of times since March, after the AP tracked fish — caught by men who were savagely beaten and caged — to the supply chains of some of America’s biggest food sellers, such as Wal-Mart, Sysco and Kroger, and popular brands of canned pet food like Fancy Feast, Meow Mix and Iams. It can turn up as calamari at fine restaurants, as imitation crab in a sushi roll or as packages of frozen snapper relabeled with store brands that land on our dinner tables. The U.S. companies have all said they strongly condemn labor abuse and are taking steps to prevent it.
In response, a multi million-dollar Thai-Indonesian fishing business has been shut down, at least nine people have been arrested and two fishing cargo vessels have been seized. In the U.S., importers have demanded change, three class-action lawsuits are underway, new laws have been introduced and the Obama administration is pushing exporters to clean up their labor practices. The AP’s work was entered into the congressional record for a hearing, and is scheduled to be brought up for discussion again later this month.
The largest impact, by far, has been the rescue of some of the most desperate and isolated people in the world. More than 2,000 men from Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos have been identified or repatriated since the AP’s initial story ran, according to the International Organization for Migration and foreign ministries. The tally includes eight fishermen trafficked aboard a Thai cargo ship seized in neighboring Papua New Guinea.
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns On July 31, another Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement deadline passed. Supporters and detractors both thought the pact would have been solidified during negotiations held in Maui the last week of July, but many issues linger, including access to medicines, privacy concerns regarding technology, and intellectual property patents.
The environment chapter was recently finalized; it addresses wildlife trafficking, illegal logging and illegal fishing but does not require signatory nations to endorse relatively weak standards. Additionally, the chapter says nothing about climate change or incentives for TPP countries to move towards more sustainable, low-emission energy sources or business practices; it’s expected that the investment chapter will continue to allow foreign corporations to sue governments when enforcement of domestic environmental laws negatively affect the corporations’ profits. Continue reading Trade: Update on TPP→