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 on: Today at 07:57 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Zika virus vaccine for animals brings hope for human protection

Trial version in US giving successful immunisation to mice could help fight disease, but complications warned for those who have contracted dengue fever

Ian Sample Science editor
Tuesday 28 June 2016 16.00 BST

An experimental vaccine that completely protects animals from the Zika virus has raised hopes for a jab that can bring the fast-spreading disease under control.

Trials in the US found that a single immunisation shot made from a purified and inactivated form of the Zika virus gave mice total protection against the illness that has swept through Brazil and other parts of South America.

The race is now on to convert this early success into an effective human vaccine, but that may not be straightforward. The similarity of the Zika virus to others in circulation means the vaccine may prove less effective in some people, and could potentially make other infections, such as dengue fever, more serious. Those concerns will almost certainly have to be addressed before human trials can begin.

Dan Barouch, who led the study at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, called the trial results “a step forwards in the development of a Zika virus vaccine”, but said more research lay ahead. “Of course we need to be cautious about extrapolating results from mice into humans,” he said.

The vaccine is one of a number that have been under development as a top priority since the World Health Organisation in February declared the Zika epidemic a global public health emergency. Mosquitoes in more than 60 countries now carry the virus linked to severe birth defects and a paralysing neurological disorder called Guillain-Barré syndrome.

Writing in the journal, Nature, Barouch and colleagues describe how they tested two experimental Zika vaccines in mice. The first, known as a DNA vaccine, was made from genetic material taken from Zika virus circulating in the Brazil outbreak. The second was a more conventional vaccine, made from whole inactivated Zika virus in Puerto Rico. Both vaccines protected mice for at least two months.

“We were very surprised and quite impressed that a single shot of either one of these vaccines provided complete protection,” said Barouch. Tests are now underway to understand how long the vaccines are effective for, and whether boosters can extend the protection they offer.

Human testing of experimental Zika vaccine to begin..Read more:

Scientists have found it difficult to make DNA vaccines work in humans and none have ever been approved for use by the US regulatory authorities. For this reason, the second vaccine may prove easier to bring to market because it draws on conventional vaccine technology.

However, significant hurdles remain. Last week, researchers at Imperial College in London showed that previous exposure to dengue virus could potentially worsen Zika infections. If the reverse is also true, as some scientists suspect, a vaccine that causes the immune system to produce antibodies against Zika virus could inadvertently make dengue infections more life-threatening.

“We know that dengue circulates in the same parts of the world as Zika, and what you don’t want to do is go around and give a vaccine that makes another viral infection much worse and potentially fatal,” said Jonathan Ball, professor of molecular virology at the University of Nottingham.

The problem arises because the Zika and dengue viruses are so genetically similar that the immune system cannot always differentiate between them. When a person who has previously had dengue catches the Zika virus, the immune system may attempt to fight the new infection with “old” antibodies raised against dengue virus. Instead of wiping out the invading Zika viruses, the antibodies merely latch on and draw them into cells, helping them to replicate and spread.

For the same reason, a person who has had dengue in the past may have antibodies in their system that attack the Zika vaccine as soon as it is administered. If that happened, their body might swiftly wipe out the vaccine before it has a chance to make fresh antibodies against Zika virus.

Despite the hurdles, Ball said the results are still encouraging. Other vaccines that target flavivirus, the group of viruses that include Zika and dengue, are already effective, notably for yellow fever, and for Japanese encephalitis virus and the tick-borne encephalitis virus, which can cause the brain to swell.

“These studies are a good step forward and give reason to be optimistic that vaccines might work in people,” said Peter Openshaw, professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London. “However, it is essential to move to human studies as soon as possible. By the time human vaccines are ready, many of the vulnerable population will have already been naturally infected. The purpose of vaccination will presumably be to protect travellers and those wishing to become pregnant. It will be vital to see how vaccines will work in such situations and how the practical and economic barriers to vaccine deployment can be overcome.”

 on: Today at 06:39 AM 
Started by frespana - Last post by Rad
Hi frespana,

First, welcome to the message board. There is no one meaning in the question you are asking. The total chart of an individual must be understood first, as well as the individual in which synastry is taking place. This then gives the total individual context for each. It is that total individual context that then becomes the basis of understanding, correctly, the meaning of having one's Pluto on the S.Node of the Moon in anothers chart, or visa versa. There are various threads on relationships on the mb through which you can learn all about this if you are interested.

God Bless, Rad

 on: Today at 06:33 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Hi Maya

"What could be the meaning of the South Node of Venus square the natal Pluto? I can imagine if the South Node of Venus is in Scorpio, conj. the South Node of Mars in the second house   square natal Pluto in 11 in Virgo , traumatic relationships were created by the soul in order to gain the self-reliance."


Yes, that can be very true as well the Soul learning about the nature of human psychology in general, and it's own psychology specifically. Within this the inner causes, dynamics, as to why it has created the traumas in the first place which are directly embedded in Soul's relationship to itself. Such a Soul will of course come into life with deep inner fears of loss, abandonment, and betrayal that affect it's ability to totally trust others in general, and those is close emotional/ sexual relationships specifically: it's inner relationship to itself. Within this inner relationship to itself the Soul will come into life with unresolved emotional, psychological, and sexual traumas that are the causes of PTSD from birth.

Who is a friend, and who is not will be an ongoing karmic and evolutionary lesson due to this. Such a Soul is continuing to desire, coming into the current life, of how to 'objectify' itself, as well as to objectify the actual realities of others where objectification can only take place by detaching from the underlying emotions that bind the Soul to this or that person. In turn the Soul is still trying to objectify itself by detaching from it's own emotional body/ sexual body.

There are of course many other dynamics involved in these symbols: this is just a small example. Feel free to ask more. It is good that you are looking to the planetary ruler of the S.Node of Venus, and Mars. That, indeed, will be the next step as we progress in this thread.

God Bless, Rad

 on: Today at 06:16 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
U.S. Elections

Elizabeth Warren Is Gathering A Democratic Army To Defeat Donald Trump

By Jason Easley on Tue, Jun 28th, 2016 at 6:33 pm

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is urging all Democrats to go on the attack against Donald Trump because now is the time to go after the Republican nominee.

During an interview on The View, Sen. Warren (D-MA) said, “You know, the way I see it is the Republicans waited way too late to go on the attack after Donald Trump, and they waited until he had basically seized the nomination and then a bunch of them are saying: Oh my God, that man is not ready to be president of the United States. That man is dangerous. That man holds a bunch of views that are really horrible views, but it was too late for the Republicans. Well, my view on that is, I’m not waiting. I waded in on Donald Trump. Now’s the time to go after him. You bet.”

Warren is correct. Democrats have learned from the mistakes of the Republican Party. They aren’t falling for Trump’s tabloid style tactics. They aren’t kidding themselves that Trump is a fad, or that he will go away. Democrats are taking Donald Trump seriously, which is why they are coming after him early and often.

The worst mistake that Democrats could make would be to be complacent with Trump. Most Republicans thought Trump could never win, and now he is their presidential nominee. Democrats need to hit Trump early and often. Most importantly, they can’t let up until the job is done.

Donald Trump isn’t a joke. He is the Republican nominee for president. Sen. Warren has it figured out. Trump is dangerous, which is exactly why Democrats should be relentless on him though Election Day.


Trump To Turn GOP Convention Into World’s Worst Infomercial Starring Mike Tyson

By Jason Easley on Tue, Jun 28th, 2016 at 10:14 pm

Instead of a political convention, Donald Trump is preparing to stage the world’s worst infomercial in Cleveland.

Bloomberg Politics reported:
Donald Trump’s campaign aides are lining up a slate of iconic sports figures to appear at the national convention in Cleveland next month—including former undisputed world heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, legendary Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka, former Indiana University basketball coach Bobby Knight and NASCAR chief Brian France, people familiar with the planning told Bloomberg Politics.

Talks are in the works with a broad slate of other celebrities and top athletes, so the list of those appearing at the convention will grow, organizers said.

If you could pick 3 American sports celebrities who any sane person would not want to speak at their presidential convention on behalf of a party’s nominee they would be Mike Tyson (convicted rapist), Bobby Knight (Rage issues, once choked one of his own players), and Mike Ditka (bigot who called being gay a choice that people have to tolerate). Donald Trump is about to turn the Republican convention into the worst infomercial in American television history.

Trump is aiming for speakers who will appeal to white men over age 45. The guests that Trump is lining up for his convention do not represent the future of America. Trump is grabbing his fellow D-list celebrities and hoping to pop ratings.

The American public should be treated to the surreal moment of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan being followed on stage by convicted rapist Mike Tyson. Trump thinks that he can fool the American people with an Apprentice-style spectacle, but what he is putting together for Cleveland is pathetic and sad.

A train wreck is coming to a television near you. Television ratings do not equal votes. What Trump is planning may attract rubberneckers who want to eyeball the flaming heap of a convention as they click down the television road, but it will only serve to prove that Donald Trump is pandering to an electorate of old white men that is not large enough to win in November.

The Trump Republican convention is going to backfire and show voters why they should not vote for Donald Trump.


Trump Flips Out And Blames The Media After Getting Busted For Mike Tyson Convention Scheme

By Jason Easley on Tue, Jun 28th, 2016 at 11:42 pm

Donald Trump threw a fit after word got out that he planned to have Mike Tyson speak at the Republican convention, and blamed the media for his plan to have a convicted rapist support him on national television.

After Bloomberg Politics reported that Trump was going to have Mike Tyson speak at the Republican convention, the candidate quickly ran away from his scheme to have a convicted rapist voice his support at the Republican convention.

Trump tweeted:

    Iron Mike Tyson was not asked to speak at the Convention though I'm sure he would do a good job if he was. The media makes everything up!

    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 29, 2016

The problem with Trump’s claim that the media made it up was the sources for the report were Trump’s own campaign aides. Trump has also been hinting that he will use sports stars at his convention for months. In June, Trump said, “I’m thinking of getting some of the great sports people that I know that like me a lot and that I like, and not even sports — we may call it the winners’ evening.”

In other words, Trump got caught trying to sneak a convicted rapist on to his “winner’s evening,” and then he lied and blamed the media.

Trump’s bad publicity freight train keeps rolling along, and when he gets called out for a horrible idea like having Mike Tyson speak at the convention, he immediately lies and denies his own plan.

Trump can’t tell the truth about his own convention, so no one should believe that he is capable of being honest about anything.


Trump Implies That He Will Indict Hillary Clinton If People Give Him Money

By Jason Easley on Tue, Jun 28th, 2016 at 5:13 pm

Donald Trump is trying to raise money with the suggestion that he will indict Hillary Clinton if he wins the White House.

Trump sent out this fundraising email:

    Um….WOW: Trump fundraising off promise to indict Clinton

    — Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) June 28, 2016

The email was trying to make a psychological connection between giving Donald Trump money and indicting Hillary Clinton. The fundraising pitch was the clearest suggestion yet that Trump’s campaign strategy isn’t vote for me. His entire is strategy is don’t vote for her.

American voters have a long history of rejecting purely negative campaign. Outside of his sales pitch that he will bring greatness to America solely by occupying the White House, Trump hasn’t given voters a single reason to vote for him. Hillary Clinton is laying out proposals and ideas. Clinton is showing voters what they will get from her administration.

Trump offers nothing but his personal opinions, and some vague promises to do things that everyone knows will never happen. The negative argument is not going to work against Hillary Clinton.

The idea of trying to raise money of off implying that you would indict your opponent if you win is undemocratic and deplorable.

Donald Trump is running the most un-American campaign in modern political history. The fact that his campaign can’t fire up voters with their own candidate or agenda is one of the biggest reasons why Donald Trump could end up being a big loser on Election Day.


Trey Gowdy Just Accidentally Admitted That The House Benghazi Report Is A Total Failure

By Jason Easley on Tue, Jun 28th, 2016 at 10:01 am

While trying to defend his committee’s Benghazi report, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) accidentally admitted that the Republicans have utterly failed.

Select Committee Chair Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) went on MSNBC’s Morning Joe to defend the report:

    .@TGowdySC on Benghazi report: We mention Secretary Clinton's name less times than the Dems do

    — Morning Joe (@Morning_Joe) June 28, 2016

Gowdy said, “You read the report, and if you think it is an overzealous prosecutor. We mention Secretary Clinton’s named less times than the Democrats do despite the fact the report is twice as long. So I would ask you and all my fellow citizens. Put aside what the Democrats say the report is going to be like. It’s actually out. Read it for yourself, and read all the new information that we found, and what our focus is on. It is not on one person. It’s is on four people whose political ideations. I have no idea what they are.”

That was a shallow attempt at spin by Rep. Gowdy, but let’s be honest, the reason the report is focused on the Obama administration and not Hillary Clinton’s emails is that the Republicans didn’t find anything. The Republicans on the Benghazi Select Committee spent millions of taxpayer dollars, and years investigating Hillary Clinton’s emails.

The resulting report was an 800-page long rehash of various Republican conspiracies and allegations. The facts that Gowdy pointed to don’t back up anything that Republicans have been claiming about Benghazi for years. There no evidence of criminal activity or a criminal conspiracy. Republicans conclude in their biased partisan opinion that things “should have been known,” but they present no real evidence to back up their claims.

The press release on the report was pure damage control spin, as the emphasis was placed on generating a lot of pages in the hope that the volume of the report could disguise its lack of substance. Gowdy defended the report by practically begging the American people to read it, which points to what the real motivation for the investigation has always been.

Republicans wasted millions of taxpayer dollars on a publicity effort to get voters interested in a conspiracy theory.

It didn’t work, which is why Rep. Gowdy went on national television to plead with voters to read his report.

If actions really do speak louder than words, Rep. Gowdy’s behavior after the release of the report demonstrates that Republicans understand that their effort to smear the Democratic nominee by politicizing the death of four Americans was a total failure.

 on: Today at 06:06 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Nicaragua expels six environmental activists accused of handling explosives

Four Mexican nationals, an Argentinian and a Costa Rican were deported ‘without any official explanation’, lawyer says

Associated Press in Managua
Tuesday 28 June 2016 21.59 BST

Nicaragua has expelled six foreign environmental activists after they were detained on allegations of handling explosive substances without authorization, a lawyer and the Mexican government said Tuesday.

Mónica López Baltodano, an environmental attorney who has been in contact with authorities since the activists were taken into custody, said four Mexican nationals were deported to Honduras on Monday night and an Argentinian and a Costa Rican were sent to Costa Rica.

Jacobo Prado, a Mexican foreign relations department official, also confirmed the deportation of the four Mexicans in comments to MVS Radio, saying they had been contacted and were in good health.

Nicaraguan authorities have not commented on the reason for the expulsions, but had announced that they would not file charges against the foreigners.

“They were released and deported without any official explanation,” said López Baltodano, the attorney.

The six activists were part of a caravan that has been holding workshops on ecological projects in poor Central American communities in recent months.

They were detained Saturday after there was an explosion during a workshop on making low-fuel-consumption ovens in a town in Nueva Guinea, in southern Nicaragua.

About two weeks ago, Nicaragua expelled three recently arrived US government officials whom it accused of conducting anti-terrorism and anti-drug work without local authorization.

Earlier in June, Nicaraguan authorities detained and expelled a Mexican citizen who they alleged had faked his own disappearance to hurt the image of the Nicaraguan government.

On Monday, Mexico advised its citizens who are in or may travel to Nicaragua to contact their embassy if they suspect they could be detained.

 on: Today at 06:05 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
India's supreme court refuses to hear challenge to law against gay sex

Setback for gay community, which argued that penal code undermined their rights by failing to protect sexual preferences

Wednesday 29 June 2016 09.01 BST

India’s supreme court has refused to hear a petition challenging a law criminalising gay sex, in a setback for activists battling in the country’s courts to get the ban overturned.

A number of well-known lesbian, gay and bisexual Indians had argued that section 377 of India’s penal code, which prohibits “carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal”, undermined their fundamental rights by failing to protect their sexual preferences.

“The supreme court refused to hear the matter and asked the petitioners to approach the chief justice of India,” said Arvind Dattar, a lawyer for one of the petitioners.

India’s chief justice is already hearing a separate case to strike down the ban, and India’s top court has previously argued that only parliament has the power to change section 377.

The decision is the latest setback India’s gay community has faced in its fight to get a prohibition on homosexual sex overturned since the supreme court reinstated a colonial-era ban in late 2013.

That ban ended a four-year period of decriminalisation that had helped bring homosexuality increasingly out into the open in a deeply conservative society.

Violation of the law on gay sex can result in a prison sentence of up to 10 years.

 on: Today at 06:03 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Chagos islanders lose supreme court bid to return to homeland

Islanders forcibly evicted to make way for US base in Indian Ocean had launched legal challenge to overturn resettlement ban

Owen Bowcott Legal affairs correspondent
Wednesday 29 June 2016 10.49 BST

Chagos islanders, forcibly removed from their homes in 1971, have lost a legal challenge at the supreme court that could have speeded up their return.

In a majority ruling, justices at the UK’s highest court said failure to disclose key Foreign Office documents would not have altered the outcome of a key House of Lords judgment in 2008.

Delivering the judgment, Lord Mance said there was “no probability” that a court would have, if it had seen the papers, made a different decision.

In 2004, the Chagossians’ right of abode on the British Indian Ocean Territory was removed partially on the basis of a feasibility study, examining how they could be settled, which was never presented to the original hearing.

About 1,500 islanders were removed to make way for the US base on Diego Garcia, the largest island, in 1971. Under a deal, kept secret at the time, the US agreed to contribute to the costs of establishing the bases and waive the UK’s payments for joint missile development programmes.

A more recent feasibility study by the Foreign Office, however, carried out in 2014-15, concluded that there was the possibility of resettling islanders on Diego Garcia and elsewhere in the British Indian Ocean Territory.

A further legal challenge by Chagos Islanders over their loss of fishing rights in the Indian Ocean is expected to reach the supreme court next year.

Standing outside the court holding the Chagossian orange, black and blue flag, Louis Oliver Bancoult, who brought the legal challenge, said the ruling was “not the end of the road”.

Bancoult, who was forced into exile along with his family when he was four years old, said: “It’s impossible to accept that other people can live in our birthplace but we can’t. Chagossians will be on Chagos very soon. We want to be allowed to return. We implore the British government to go ahead with the exercise to allow us to go back to our homeland.”

Many of the exiled Chagossian community now live in Crawley, West Sussex. Richard Gifford, the solicitor who has represented them through a string of legal challenges, said: “Resettlement is perfectly feasible and fervently desired by the Chagossians. Given the acquiescence of the US and the support of Mauritius, this injustice can no longer be sustained.”

A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said: “We are pleased that the supreme court was clear that additional documents would have not made any difference to the outcome of the case in 2008 and ruled in favour of the UK government.

“We remain committed to our current review of resettlement and will continue to keep parliament, Chagossians and their supporters closely informed of progress on the issue.”

 on: Today at 05:52 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Siemens freezes new UK wind power investment following Brexit vote

German energy firm will not make fresh plans until the UK’s European relationship becomes clearer, but existing manufacturing will not be affected

Arthur Neslen
Tuesday 28 June 2016 14.13 BST

Siemens is putting new wind power investment plans in the UK on hold due to uncertainty caused by last week’s Brexit vote, the Germany energy company has told the Guardian.

A £310m manufacturing hub in Hull that employs 1,000 people will not be affected by the decision, and should still begin producing blades and assembling turbines next year.

But Siemens, one of the few firms to openly back a Remain vote, will not be making new investments until the future of the UK’s relationship with Europe becomes clearer.

Juergen Maier, the firm’s UK CEO, said that an existing blueprint to export offshore wind turbine machinery from the Hull hub was now up in the air.

He said: “Those plans were only beginning to happen and I expect that they will stall until we can work out exactly what the [new government’s] plan is, how we can participate in EU research programmes, and until all the issues around tariffs and trade have been sorted out.”

It is unclear how much money the EU gave to the Hull project but it has put up £525m for the Beatrice windfarm project in Scotland, whose developer will be a major buyer of the Hull factory’s turbine blades.

The firm also agreed a contract with a Belgian consortia which received a £250m loan from the European Investment Bank for the supply, servicing and maintenance of 42 offshore turbines.

Despite this EU support, the people of Hull voted overwhelmingly for Leave in what a local councillor described as “a cry of rage”.

Maier called on the government to urgently start negotiations with the wind power sector before formally notifying Brussels of a decision to leave the EU.

“We definitely can’t wait until Article 50 has been triggered,” he said. “People will be holding off on major investment decisions and this is why we need to get together as soon as possible and see that a plan is put in place.”

Uncertainty over Britain’s political leadership, future access to the internal market and financial volatility buffeting the pound and interest rates are all contributing to a sense of malaise.

Many wind investors responded cautiously to the Leave vote, stressing the sound fundamentals of UK climate change laws, and an intent to wait and see how Brexit plays out.

A spokesperson for Dong Energy, the single biggest investor in UK offshore wind, said: “We will await clarity over the implications of the vote to leave the European Union. However, we don’t believe that UK energy policy is dependent on EU membership.”

Privately though, industry and EU sources expect the vote to have a detrimental effect on the energy union process of linking Europe’s electricity grids so that clean power can be transferred across borders in real-time, without need for storage.

“Something is still being baked but it will now be baked without the UK expressly in mind,” a source said.

There are also concerns that the EU’s target of a 27% share for renewable energy, averaged across Europe by 2030, could now be too ambitious. The UK has outperformed several EU states in attracting investors, last year taking €26bn - around half of all Europe’s wind energy investment.


Leaving EU will make it harder for UK to tackle climate change, says minister

Climate and energy secretary says while decision to leave will make UK’s role harder, the government’s commitment remains the same

Adam Vaughan
Wednesday 29 June 2016 11.00 BST

Brexit will make it harder for Britain to play its role in tackling climate change, the UK energy and climate secretary has said.

But Amber Rudd said that the UK remained committed to action on global warming and Whitehall sources have told the Guardian that on Thursday she will approve a world-leading carbon target for 2032.

“While I think the UK’s role in dealing with a warming planet may have been made harder by the decision last Thursday, our commitment to dealing with it has not gone away,” Rudd told an audience in London.

“Securing our energy supply, keeping bills low and building a low carbon energy infrastructure: the challenges remain the same. Our commitment also remains the same. As I said, I think the decision last week risks making it a harder road.”

She said she agreed with chancellor, George Osborne, that the UK now faced a period of uncertainty.

“The decision on Thursday raises a host of questions for the energy sector, of course it does. There have been significant advantages to us trading energy both within Europe and being an entry point into Europe from the rest of the world.”

She added that the UK remained committed to new nuclear, including the planned £23bn expansion of Hinkley Point in Somerset, which some observers have said is likely to become a casualty of last week’s leave vote.

Rudd’s comments on Brexit having significant ramifcations for the energy sector were at odds with her energy minister, Andrea Leadsom, a prominent Leave campaigner during the referendum.

“In my view, for energy policy I don’t believe anything will change,” she said when asked by MPs on the committee on energy and climate change what impact Brexit would have.

“The UK’s Climate Change Act is absolutely key to our climate change objectives, we continue to be absolutely committed to those.

“In terms of interconnectors, those are businesses, those are run on commercial terms and nothing will change. In terms of cooperation on climate change and decarbonisation our own commitment remains as strong, but we never only working with EU, we were working globally.”

Industry, experts and green groups broadly welcomed Rudd’s speech today.

Nick Molho, executive director of the Aldersgate Group, which represents BT, Ikea, M&S and a group of businesses supporting sustainability, said: “Coming a few days after the outcome of the EU referendum, it is positive to hear Amber Rudd highlight the importance of continuing to tackle climate change.

The leading economist Lord Stern said: “The secretary of state’s speech has provided reassurance that the long-term direction of UK climate change policy under the current government has not changed.”

Sam Barker, director of the Conservative Environment Network, said:
“This is a welcome intervention from the energy and climate change secretary. Ministers across this Conservative government have delivered significant environmental improvements, from planning an ambitious coal phase-out to creating the world’s largest marine reserve.”

Greenpeace said that Rudd and Leadsom’s commitment to the Climate Change Act was good but action was needed. “Soothing words are not good enough. Green investor confidence in the UK was shaky before Brexit because of the government’s ever changing and incoherent policies, which neither minister seem willing to get to grips with even now,” said John Sauven, the group’s executive director.

On Wednesday, the wind power industry said that the uncertainty created by Brexit meant it was time the government reconsidered its stance on onshore wind power, for which Rudd cut subsidies last year.

RenewableUK’s chief executive, Hugh McNeal, said: “It is precisely now, at this moment which is so unpredictable and uncertain, that I believe we should reflect on what we can offer; cheap, homegrown electricity able to deliver hundreds of millions of pounds of capital investment for our economy over the next few years, helping companies all over Britain just at a time when we need it most.”

Separately, politicians expressed shock that Mark Reckless, a Ukip Welsh assembly member had been appointed chair of the Welsh assembly’s Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee. Ukip has repeatedly cast doubt on climate change science and in the 2015 general election campaigned on a manifesto promise to repeal the Climate Change Act.


UK ministers to approve world-leading carbon emissions target

Fears had been raised that EU referendum would result in deadline being missed but sources say carbon budget will be agreed

Adam Vaughan
Tuesday 28 June 2016 20.15 BST

Ministers will this week approve a world-leading carbon emissions reduction target for the early 2030s, the Guardian understands.

Fears had been raised by green groups and industry that the EU referendum would cause the UK government to miss a deadline on Thursday for accepting carbon targets from its statutory climate advisers.

But a Whitehall source has confirmed that the so-called fifth carbon budget – put forward by the Committee on Climate Change last November – will be agreed before the month is out, as legally required by the Climate Change Act.

The move commits the UK to a 57% cut in emissions by 2032, on 1990 levels. Although a tougher target than the EU one of a 40% emissions cut by 2030, environmentalists in January said they were disappointed that the committee had not made the target more ambitious after last December’s Paris climate deal.

The commitment should allay anxieties in the green energy sector that last week’s leave vote would water down the UK’s leadership on climate change, or that the decision to approve the budget would be left to the next prime minister.

Emma Pinchbeck, WWF-UK’s head of energy and climate change, said:“The UK’s Climate Change Act gives us, even outside the EU, a global leadership role on climate change. So it’s great that the government has ignored siren voices from the fringes, listened to the scientists, and set a new target which will help boost the green economy.”

The question of whether to accept the last emissions target – the fourth carbon budget – sparked a battle in 2011 between factions in the coalition government, with David Cameron eventually intervening to approve the target.

The energy secretary, Amber Rudd, is scheduled to give a speech on climate change on Wednesday to business leaders in London, though she is not expected to use it to announce the acceptance of the fifth carbon budget

Separately, the UN’s climate change chief has urged a post-Brexit Britain not to give up its leadership on global warming action.

Christiana Figueres warned on Tuesday that should article 50 be triggered it would bring uncertainty for two years but cooperation on climate change could be one area of continuity between the UK and EU.

“Should that be the case [article 50 being triggered], there is going be quite a lot of uncertainty, transition, volatility for at least two years,” she told an audience in London.

Figueres, who played a key role in forging the Paris climate deal last December and is believed to be considering running for UN secretary general, riffed on the second world war poster “keep calm and carry on”.

“Over these next two years, my suggestion would be to use the proverbial UK [message]: ‘stay calm and transform on [to a low-carbon economy]’. It’s not ‘stay calm and do nothing’, it’s ‘stay calm and transform on’ because the UK and EU have had a very important leadership on climate change, there’s no reason to change that whatsoever.”

Asked if the vote to leave the EU would become an obstacle to action on climate change, she said: “No. Climate change action is by now unstoppable. It is global.”


Scotland's fishing industry welcomes decision to leave the EU

EU departure offers a chance to banish past overfishing and incoherent regulation, says head of industry group, despite warnings exit could hurt fisheries

Fiona Harvey, environment correspondent
Wednesday 29 June 2016 11.49 BST 

Scottish fishermen’s representatives were adamant on Tuesday that Brexit would be good news for the 5,000 strong fleet, despite warnings that the uncertainty surrounding the UK’s departure from the EU could hurt fisheries.

Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, said that leaving the EU would give fleets “the ability to recover proper, sustainable, rational stewardship through our own exclusive economic zone for fisheries”, comparing the situation with Norway and Iceland, which share many key North Sea fishing grounds and are not members of the EU, though they are in the European Economic Area (EEA).

Armstrong said Scottish fishermen were strongly against staying in the EU, even though the country as a whole voted strongly for remain. “It must not be forgotten that the whole of the Scottish fishing community, who sustainably harvest seafood from some of the best fishing grounds in the world, does not agree with this stance [on remaining in the EU] in the slightest,” he said.

“For Scotland’s economically important fishing industry, we believe the new opportunities presented by the referendum result are overwhelmingly for the better,” he said.

He warned Scottish parliamentarians to “carefully consider all views as they make their decisions on the way forward” and held out the promise that “the ills of past overfishing and incoherent regulation could be banished” if the UK was able to make its own decisions on fishing after leaving the EU.

He called for politicians across the UK to embrace the referendum result and use it to the benefit of the fishing industry, which employs about 11,000 people directly in the UK. “We are witnessing another form of project fear, when instead we should be working on the details of how we, at long last, make the best out of the new leadership opportunities presented.”

However, Scotland and the rest of the UK are likely to face complex negotiations on how to manage fish stocks outside the EU’s common fisheries policy, as most of the main open-sea fishing grounds are shared with other countries, including Norway and Iceland but also EU nations. If the UK is to join the EEA, as many in the Brexit camp hope, it will be required to follow strict rules, including regulations on dividing up the North Sea’s fish stocks.

SNP MP Paul Monaghan, told the Guardian that while he understood fishermen’s grievances, leaving the EU meant missed opportunities for Scottish fishermen.

He said: “Scotland’s fishing industry is right to feel aggrieved at the way it has been treated in the past, and by the abject failure to be effectively represented in Europe by the UK Government. Following the Brexit vote, the UK’s fishing fleet is unlikely to see any significant change within the next two years, or potentially longer, depending on when the UK Government chooses to progress Article 50.”

He added that, if the UK had remained within the EU, the common fisheries policy would have changed, potentially in Scotland’s favour, in any case.

“The common fisheries policy was due to be renegotiated in 2020 and that offered a significant opportunity to deliver a policy that finally worked for the UK’s fishing industry. As things currently stand, that opportunity is now lost and, in the longer term, the industry may experience a prolonged period of uncertainty in respect of markets, quotas and exporting outside of Europe. The Brexit vote has done no favours to an industry that was previously described, and treated, as “expendable” by numerous UK Governments and that treatment must end.”

He said his party was working to restore a deal with Europe over Scotland’s position, but this could not be guaranteed. “Without support from the common fisheries policy, and the ability to access the single market, the long term future could be bleak. Without a market there is no industry.”

Green campaigners called for a focus on sustainable catches for fishing fleets, that would allow fish stocks to recover from decades of overfishing. Lang Banks, director of WWF Scotland, told the Guardian: “It’s becoming very clear that dealing with the fall-out from the EU referendum on fishing and many other issues is going to take some time to sort out. However, if Scotland is to have the healthy seas needed to support a fishing industry then it’s clear that sustainable quotas will still be needed along with coherent plans for maintaining and conserving the wider marine environment.”

 on: Today at 05:50 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
‘Devastated’: scientists too late to captive breed mammal lost to climate change

Australian conservationists spent five months obtaining permissions and planning for a captive breeding programme for the Bramble Cay melomys. But when they arrived on the rodent’s tiny, low-lying island, they discovered they were too late.

Jeremy Hance
Wednesday 29 June 2016 09.12 BST 

The Bramble Cay melomys has become more famous in extinction than it ever was in life. A mouse-like rodent, the melomys amazingly survived on a 3.6 hectare grass-covered cay (a low-lying island in a coral reef) in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef like a ratty Robinson Crusoe for thousands of years. There, it thrived off just a few plant species until human-caused climate change—in the form of rising sea levels and increasing inundations of sea water on the low-lying island—wiped it off the planet.

But, while the extinction has been reported widely, articles have missed an important point: the scientists who uncovered the rodent’s fate had planned to capture individuals and bring them back to the Australian mainland to start a captive breeding programme. They were just too late.

“My colleagues and I were devastated,” Ian Gynther, a Senior Conservation Officer in Queensland’s Department of Environment and Heritage Protection who led the failed rescue mission, said.

“As each day of our comprehensive survey passed without revealing any trace of the animal, we became more and more depressed,” he added.

Short surveys in both 2011 and early 2014 failed to find a single Bramble Cay melomys (Melomys rubicola), but Gynther said the team was still optimistic when the left in August of 2014 believing that the failure of the two most recent surveys “was due to the limited trapping effort.”

Instead, they found the cay totally empty of its sole mammal, which was believed to have evolved in isolation from its nearest relative for nearly a million years and was considered the Great Barrier Reef’s only endemic mammal.

If they had found any survivors, Gynther said the plan was to create a captive population as “an emergency insurance measure” against extinction. Indeed, the team spent five months obtaining the necessary permissions for captive breeding from Australia’s governmental agencies and various stakeholders as well as creating a plan to hold the species at University of Queensland’s Gatton campus.
Bramble Cay in the Torres Strait. As storm surges increased, the Bramble Cay melomys saw its habitat and food sources considerably diminished. Repeated inundations potentially drowned individuals as well. The last of the species vanished forever sometime between 2009 and 2014.

Gynther said scientists were cautious about placing the species in captivity, even though the Bramble Cay melomys had been listed by the IUCN Red List as critically endangered since 1996 and not seen by humans since 2009.

“Captive breeding is an expensive undertaking, requiring a significant commitment of staff, resources and time by the parties involved,” he explained. “This is particularly true for a program that is likely to be required for an indefinite period, as would have been the case for the Bramble Cay melomys.”

But the impacts of climate change on the cay, including repeated storm surges that killed off the melomys’ food sources like the common purslane (Portulaca oleracea), happened quicker than conservationists ever anticipated. And the last Bramble Cay melomy may have been simply swept off the island and drowned in the sea.

“By the time it was apparent that a captive breeding program was required as an urgent conservation action, it was already too late,” Gynther said.

The Bramble Cay melomys was simply gone, washed away by rising seas which now threaten the island’s seabird rookeries and sea turtle nesting beaches

The genetics of the Bramble Cay melomys may be wholly lost as well. Tissue samples were taken of 42 individuals in 1998, but the whereabouts of these samples are currently unknown, though, Gynther and his team are trying to track them down.

The loss of this little island survivor is tragically irreversible, but it could provide a number of lessons for conservationists going forward. Given that many climate change impacts are happening far quicker than scientists anticipated, conservationists may need to consider moving more speedily and aggressively to protect an increasing number of climate-vulnerable species.

“The extinction highlights that conservation recovery actions need to be highly responsive, especially where climate change impacts are involved,” Gynther said.

He added that controversial actions, such as assisted migration for species, must be considered as climate change continues to batter animals and ecosystems.

Of course, in an age of rising seas, more extreme weather, worsening droughts and polar ice melt, conservationists may also need to become even more vocal about dealing with the underlying cause of climate changes: burning fossil fuels. The longer global society goes without transforming itself, the more extinctions will become inevitable.

And if the loss of the Bramble Cay melomys proves anything, it’s that we may not have as much time as we think.

 on: Today at 05:46 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
The heifers are in their new quarters

St Dominic, Tamar Valley A handsome South Devon bull has now joined them, so the cycle will continue
South Devon cows with spring-born calves.

Virginia Spiers
Wednesday 29 June 2016 05.30 BST

A herd of South Devon cattle again graces the fields opposite home. For 30 years the land, with distinctive beech trees on a hedge and an old, freestanding oak, was used mainly for a succession of cereal crops, with annual and ever dearer costs of ploughing, sowing, spraying to control weeds and moulds, and harvesting by combine and straw baler. Marauding pigeons from nearby woods were shot and once there was a mysterious double corn circle that caused consternation and wonder.

Over the past few years the new tenant has resown the former arable fields with grasses that have thickened up with regular topping (cutting) and sheep grazing. This year, strong post-and-wire fences have been reinstated against the hedge-banks, and a cattle crush or pen has been installed for sorting the animals and for the obligatory TB tests.

In April the recently purchased heifers arrived, and then, from their winter quarters at the home farm, cows with spring-born calves were brought in batches in the tractor-drawn trailer. The new arrivals trotted excitedly around their unfamiliar surroundings, testing the boundaries and calling to the heifers over the hedge.

Soon they settled in; calves (including two black ones, adopted by cows whose own calves died soon after birth) skipped and played across the fresh pasture before returning to their mothers’ sides. They will stay here all summer and be weaned in October, then fattened on home-produced silage, grain and grass for another 12 months. Some of the finished meat will be sold in the farmer’s own butchery.

A handsome South Devon bull has now joined the heifers and a Limousin bull is in with the herd of cows and calves, so the cycle will continue. In the warmth of a June afternoon the cattle lie content in the sunshine that gilds their pale brown backs. Come evening, the lowering sun still lights up these level and north-facing fields, and there is more attention to eating. The animals spread out to graze, often in synchronisation, facing the same direction, looking particularly beautiful and in harmony with this traditional pastoral landscape.

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