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  • Wary of angering public, Iran has few ways to contain virusWary of angering public, Iran has few ways to contain virus
    As coronavirus infections reached new heights in Iran this month, overwhelming its hospitals and driving up its death toll, the country’s health minister gave a rare speech criticizing his own government’s refusal to enforce basic health measures. “We asked for fines to be collected from anyone who doesn’t wear a mask,” Saeed Namaki said last week, referring to the government’s new mandate for Tehran, the capital. Namaki’s speech, lamenting the country’s “great suffering” and “hospitals full of patients,” clearly laid the blame for the virus’ resurgence at the government’s door — a stark contrast to the usual speeches from officials who point the finger at the public’s defiance of restrictions. Read more »
  • Xi's big carbon promise on the table as China's leaders meetXi's big carbon promise on the table as China's leaders meet
    China's Communist leadership will discuss Xi Jinping's ambitious carbon neutral pledge in talks that began Monday on the country's economic strategy for the next five years. Read more »
  • Feeding Houston's hungry: 1M pounds of food daily for needyFeeding Houston's hungry: 1M pounds of food daily for needy
    In car lines that can stretch half a mile, (0.8 kilometers), workers who lost jobs because of the coronavirus pandemic and other needy people receive staggering amounts of food distributed by the Houston Food Bank. On some days, the hundreds of sites supplied by the country's largest food bank collectively get 1 million pounds. Among the ranks of recipients is unemployed construction worker Herman Henton, whose wife is a home improvement store worker and now the sole breadwinner for their family of five. Read more »
  • Palestinian teen dies after West Bank chase by Israeli army
  • Trump to escalate campaigning as Biden steps up own travelTrump to escalate campaigning as Biden steps up own travel
    President Donald Trump plans to intensify an already breakneck travel schedule in the final full week of the presidential campaign, overlooking a surge of coronavirus cases in the U.S. and a fresh outbreak in his own White House. Trump is expected to hit nearly a dozen states in his last-ditch effort to recover ground from Democrat Joe Biden, including Sunday’s trip to Maine and Tuesday’s to Nebraska. Biden, too, plans to pick up his travel schedule, aiming to hit the six battleground states the campaign sees as key to his chances, some with socially distanced in-person events and others with virtual events. Read more »
  • Australia asks Iran about report academic moved from prisonAustralia asks Iran about report academic moved from prison
    Australia is seeking information from Iran on reports that a British Australian academic who was convicted of espionage has been moved to a mystery location, the foreign minister said on Monday. Kylie Moore-Gilbert was a Melbourne University lecturer on Middle Eastern studies when she was arrested in Iran and sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2018. Foreign Minister Marise Payne said Australian Ambassador to Iran Lyndall Sachs had a consular visit with Moore-Gilbert at Qarchak “a short time ago" and Australian officials “are seeking further information” on the reports she had been moved. Read more »
  • Early vote total exceeds 2016; GOP chips at Dems' advantageEarly vote total exceeds 2016; GOP chips at Dems' advantage
    With nine days before Election Day, more people already have cast ballots in this year's presidential election than voted early or absentee in the 2016 race as the start of in-person early voting in big states led to a surge in turnout in recent days. The opening of early voting locations in Florida, Texas and elsewhere has piled millions of new votes on top of the mail ballots arriving at election offices as voters try to avoid crowded places on Nov. 3 during the coronavirus pandemic. The result is a total of 58.6 million ballots cast so far, more than the 58 million that The Associated Press logged as being cast through the mail or at in-person early voting sites in 2016. Read more »
  • Zeta likely hurricane before hitting Yucatan, heading for USZeta likely hurricane before hitting Yucatan, heading for US
    A strengthening Tropical Storm Zeta is expected to become a hurricane Monday as it heads toward the eastern end of Mexico's resort-dotted Yucatan Peninsula and then likely move on for a possible landfall on the central U.S. Gulf Coast at midweek. Zeta, which on Sunday became the earliest ever 27th named storm of the Atlantic season, was centered about 260 miles (420 kilometers) southeast of Cozumel island late Sunday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. It would then head into the Gulf of Mexico and approach the U.S. Gulf Coast by Wednesday, though it could weaken by then, the hurricane center said. Read more »
  • Xi's carbon neutrality vow to reshape China's five-year plan
  • Follow in the footsteps of Yu Gong and cross the Taihang mountain in Jiyuan- the 1st Conference of International Hiking across Magnificent Taihang 2020 kicked off on 24 OctoberFollow in the footsteps of Yu Gong and cross the Taihang mountain in Jiyuan- the 1st Conference of International Hiking across Magnificent Taihang 2020 kicked off on 24 October
    On October 24, the 1st Conference of International Hiking Across Magnificent Taihang 2020 kicked off in Jiyuan, the south starting point of the Taihang National Park Forest Trail. The event embodied the spirit of the speech delivered by Secretary General Xi Jinping during his visit to Henan and looked to strengthen the "Henan My Hometown" culture and tourism brand. In doing so, it highlighted the ecological environment of the magnificent Taihang mountain and brought the "Yu Gong Removes the Mountains" myth into the new era. Read more »
  • Typhoon displaces thousands, floods villages in PhilippinesTyphoon displaces thousands, floods villages in Philippines
    A fast-moving typhoon forced thousands of villagers to flee to safety in provinces south of the Philippine capital Monday, flooding rural villages and ripping off roofs, officials said. There were no immediate reports of casualties from Typhoon Molave, but authorities reported at least one person was missing and seven others were rescued after their yacht sank off Batangas province south of Manila. Read more »
  • RPT-China to set five-year plan for steering economy through choppy waters
  • Early vote total exceeds 2016; GOP chips at Dems' advantageEarly vote total exceeds 2016; GOP chips at Dems' advantage
    With nine days before Election Day, more people already have cast ballots in this year's presidential election than voted early or absentee in the 2016 race as the start of in-person early voting in big states led to a surge in turnout in recent days. The opening of early voting locations in Florida, Texas and elsewhere has piled millions of new votes on top of the mail ballots arriving at election offices as voters try to avoid crowded places on Nov. 3 during the coronavirus pandemic. The result is a total of 58.6 million ballots cast so far, more than the 58 million that The Associated Press logged as being cast through the mail or at in-person early voting sites in 2016. Read more »
  • Zero Hour Is Coming for Emissions. Believe ItZero Hour Is Coming for Emissions. Believe It
    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- It’s only natural to be skeptical when a political leader stands up and makes a promise about a target that’s far off, hard to achieve, and lacks a clear pathway.So one reaction to a report that Japan’s new prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, will pledge next week to reduce the country’s net carbon emissions to zero by 2050 might be: Really?After all, public and private Japanese banks are still funding new coal-fired power stations in Vietnam, Indonesia and Bangladesh, exploiting a loophole in Tokyo’s previous promise to reduce financing to such projects — a fact that’s causing some consternation among European investment funds.For all the publicity garnered by South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s Green New Deal and pledge last month of a 2050 net zero target, Korean engineering companies, too, are working with Japanese funders on Vietnam’s Vung Ang 2 coal plant.Chinese President Xi Jinping also garnered plenty of positive headlines last month for promising to bring the world’s largest emitter to net zero status by 2060 — but China still has 250 gigawatts of coal plants under development, more than the total existing fleets in India or the U.S.Doubts are warranted when so many nations are falling far short of their own climate pledges. At the same time, it can be pushed too far. The promises of political leaders have real-world effects that we’re already seeing. On the path to getting the binding and comprehensive emissions policies that the world needs, there will be plenty of partial, vague and unenforceable pledges. Each of them, though, sets a new baseline that will help create the conditions for further, more ambitious policies.Take the broadly accepted target that the world must stabilize atmospheric carbon dioxide at or below 450 parts per million. Until relatively recently, this was generally considered the most radical reasonable option.The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2001 synthesis of scientific research took 450ppm as the lower bound of a range of outcomes stretching up to 750ppm. The influential 2006 U.K. government review of the economics of climate change by Nicholas Stern advised aiming for 500ppm to 550ppm. That ambition was considered bold at the time but is now accepted as grossly inadequate. Similarly, limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius was rarely treated as a serious option until the 2015 Paris Agreement set a target “well below 2 degrees Celsius” at the behest of small island states that risk destruction from higher levels of warming.What target skeptics miss is the feedback relationship between the stated goals of political leaders and the behavior of investors, engineers and lower-level officials whose work will help decarbonize the economy.As should be obvious from the $3.5 billion a year spent on lobbying in the U.S. alone, the decisions of political leaders shape the field of what’s possible for businesses. When a politician embraces a net-zero ambition — and especially when, as in the European Union, those words are enshrined into law — the risks associated with carbon-intensive projects go up, while those associated with low-carbon technologies go down. That's particularly the case when, as we’re seeing, the path starts to be followed by… Read more »
  • Azerbaijan and Armenia accuse each other of violating new ceasefireAzerbaijan and Armenia accuse each other of violating new ceasefire
    Azerbaijan's defence ministry said on Monday that Armenian forces violated a ceasefire agreed on Sunday and shelled villages in Terter and Lachin regions. Nagorno-Karabakh defence ministry said it was "misinformation" and said that Azeri forces had launched a missile attack on Armenian military positions on the north-eastern side on the line of contact. Armenia and Azerbaijan had again agreed to respect a "humanitarian ceasefire" that was supposed to come into effect on Monday, the US State Department announced, after previous attempts to stem the bloodshed in the disputed region failed. World leaders have been scrambling for weeks to broker a truce, with Russian President Vladimir Putin estimating that close to 5,000 people have been killed so far in weeks of fighting over the mountainous province. Both an initial ceasefire negotiated by France and a second brokered by Russia have already broken down. The latest truce was supposed take effect at 8:00 am local time (04H00 GMT) on Monday, according to a joint statement from the US State Department and the so-called "Minsk" group attempting to bring a negotiated end to the conflict. Azerbaijan on Sunday welcomed the agreement in a statement from its ambassador to the US, Elin Suleymanov, while pointing the finger of blame at Armenia. Read more »
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