Flirting with climate danger: UN forecasts 2 in 3 chance of briefly hitting key heat limit soon
The United Nations' weather agency says there's a two-out-of-three chance that the world will reach the internationally accepted global temperature threshold for limiting the worst effects of climate change sometime in the next five years.
Palestinian Authority blocks registration of legal aid group
The Palestinian Authority has blocked the registration of a legal advocacy group representing critics and opponents detained in Palestinian jails, a move condemned as the authority’s latest effort to stifle civil society in the occupied West Bank.
UN seeks court opinion on climate in win for island states
The countries of the United Nations led by the island nation of Vanuatu adopted what they called a historic resolution Wednesday calling for the U.N.‘s highest court to strengthen countries’ obligations to curb warming and protect communities from climate disaster.
Gore announces fossil fuel emissions inventory at UN summit
A detailed inventory of the top known sources of greenhouse gas emitters launched by former U_S_ Vice President Al Gore at the U_N_ climate summit in Egypt on Wednesday found that the top 14 individual polluters are all gas and oil fields and their associated facilities, despite their emissions being “significantly underreported.”.
UK government rejects plan to build national flagship
Britain’s government has scrapped a 250 million-pound ($288 million) plan to build a national flagship that was supposed to tour the world as a “floating embassy” amid a public spending squeeze and to prioritize funding for boosting U.K. defenses against Russia.
Blinken claims progress in effort to boost Gaza truce
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has wrapped up a two-day Mideast mission, winning valuable diplomatic support and hundreds of millions of dollars of pledges from Arab allies as he moved to shore up the cease-fire that ended an 11-day war between Israel and the Gaza Strip’s militant Hamas rulers.
Experts examine bottom of big ship that was stuck in Suez
Experts have boarded Ever Given container ship that had blocked the Suez Canal for nearly a week before it was dislodged. A canal pilot says engineers are inspecting the Ever Given for damage and trying to determine why it ran aground. Two senior canal officials said the vessel's bulbous bow had suffered slight to medium damage. AdEver Given will not be allowed to leave the canal until the end of the investigation, Rabei added. Some broke into tears, many hugged each other as the vessel’s bow was rooted out from the eastern side of the canal.
With ship now freed, a probe into Suez Canal blockage begins
Ever Given, a Panama-flagged cargo ship, is seen in Egypt's Great Bitter Lake Tuesday, March 30, 2021. Experts have boarded Ever Given container ship that had blocked the Suez Canal for nearly a week before it was dislodged. A canal pilot says engineers are inspecting the Ever Given for damage and trying to determine why it ran aground. Global legal firm Clyde and Co. said the Ever Given's owner likely would pay Egypt's canal authority for the assistance already rendered to the vessel. He stood before a sign that said: "Welcome to the Suez Canal: Egypt's lifeline of peace, prosperity and development."
Suez Canal blockage adds to pressure points in global trade
This satellite image from Maxar Technologies shows excavation work in an atempt to free the cargo ship MV Ever Given that is stuck in the Suez Canal near Suez, Egypt, Sunday, March 28, 2021. (Maxar Technologies via AP)Delays in freeing a mammoth container ship stuck in Egypt’s Suez Canal have highlighted still more pressure points in global trade, a year after supply chains were disrupted by the pandemic. About 12% of global trade by volume goes through the Suez Canal, but it accounts for 30% of the world’s daily shipping container freight. Nearly 10% of oil shipments and 8% of global liquid natural gas moves through the Suez Canal, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The disruption from the canal blockage comes at tricky time for international trade and shipping, noted Fiona Boal, global head of commodities at S&P Dow Jones Indices.
Update: Massive container ship that was stuck in Suez Canal is free, on the move again, service firm says
This satellite image from Maxar Technologies shows excavation work in an atempt to free the cargo ship MV Ever Given that is stuck in the Suez Canal near Suez, Egypt, Sunday, March 28, 2021. “We pulled it off!” said Peter Berdowski, CEO of Boskalis, the salvage firm hired to extract the Ever Given. From the city of Suez, ships stacked with containers could be seen exiting the canal into the Red Sea. “The Suez Canal is not guilty of what happened. Berdowski told Dutch radio station NPO 1 the company had always believed it would be the two powerful tugboats it sent that would free the ship.
2 tugboats deploy to Egypt's Suez Canal as shippers avoid it
This satellite image from Maxar Technologies shows the cargo ship MV Ever Given stuck in the Suez Canal near Suez, Egypt, Saturday, March 27, 2021. Authorities are preparing to make new attempts to free the giant container vessel stuck in Egypt's Suez Canal for a fifth day and reopen a crucial east-west waterway for global shipping. The Dutch-flagged Alp Guard, a specialist tugboat, arrived at the location Sunday, according to the stuck ship's technical management company, Bernard Schulte Shipmanagement. Excavators dug Sunday on the eastern wall of the Suez Canal, hoping to free the bulbous bow of the Ever Given that plowed into the embankment, satellite photos showed. Dozens of others still listed their destination as the canal, though shippers increasingly appear to be avoiding the passage.
No timeline given for extracting wedged ship from Suez Canal
This satellite image from Maxar Technologies shows the cargo ship MV Ever Given stuck in the Suez Canal near Suez, Egypt, Friday, March 26, 2021. Meanwhile, the head of the Suez Canal Authority said strong winds were “not the only cause” for the Ever Given running aground on Tuesday, appearing to push back against conflicting assessments offered by others. A Dutch salvage firm is attempting to refloat the vessel with tugboats and dredgers, taking advantage of high tides. AdSome 9,000 tons of ballast water had been already removed from the vessel, the canal chairman said. The Suez Canal Authority organized the first media trip Saturday to the site where the vessel was stuck.
Ethiopia rejects outside mediation in Nile River dam dispute
An Ethiopian official said on Tuesday, March 16, 2021 that his government opposes calls by Sudan for outside mediators including the United States in the ongoing dispute over its construction of a massive hydroelectric dam on the Nile River. Ethiopia is generally opposed to mediation by outside parties even though the African Union is welcome to help, Dina Mufti, spokesman for Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told reporters. “The tripartite talks between Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam should be concluded between the three countries themselves, not through mediators,” he said. Mufti added that Ethiopia has “big respect for the African Union” and that the country "believes in resolving African problems by Africans." AdNegotiators have said key questions remain about how much water Ethiopia will release downstream if a multi-year drought occurs and how the countries will resolve any future disputes.
The Latest: Tennessee probe finds wasted vaccines
___WASHINGTON — Coronavirus vaccine makers tell Congress to expect a big increase in the delivery of doses over the coming month. AdLooking ahead to summer, Pfizer and Moderna expect to complete delivery of 300 million doses each, and J&J aims to provide an additional 100 million doses. ___MADRID — Spain has registered 7,461 new coronavirus cases and 443 more deaths. AdThe country has reached a total of 3.1 million cases and 68,000 confirmed deaths. Ad___GENEVA — The head of the World Health Organization is criticizing the lack of access to coronavirus vaccines for the world’s poor.
US: Aid pause to Ethiopia no longer linked to dam dispute
(AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty, File)NAIROBI – The United States says it has decided to “de-link” its suspension of millions of dollars of aid to Ethiopia from that country’s dispute with Egypt over a massive hydroelectric dam project. The State Department said humanitarian assistance remains exempt from the aid suspension. Ethiopia had left a U.S.-led attempt to mediate the dispute with Egypt, alleging bias. Trump also caused an uproar by saying downstream Egypt would “blow up” the dam project that Cairo considers an existential threat. AdThe U.S. has said Eritrean soldiers should “immediately” leave Ethiopia.
Under the sea, humans have changed ocean sounds
Using underwater microphones, scientists can record fish sounds – which tend to hover around the same low frequencies as shipping traffic noise. “For many marine species, their attempts to communicate are being masked by sounds that humans have introduced,” said Carlos Duarte, a marine ecologist at the Red Sea Research Center in Saudi Arabia and co-author of the paper. AdThe Red Sea is one of the world’s key shipping corridors, full of large vessels traveling to Asia, Europe and Africa. Some fish and invertebrates now avoid the noisiest areas, as the sound effectively fragments their Red Sea habitat, he said. Climate change also influences physical processes that shape ocean sounds, such as winds, waves and melting ice, the researchers found.
Gulf Arab leaders sign declaration to ease rift with Qatar
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan told reporters after the summit that diplomatic relations would be restored in full with Qatar, although no time frame was given. Saudi Arabia and Bahrain are primarily concerned about Qatar’s ties with Iran. The rift between Abu Dhabi and Doha has been deepest, with the UAE and Qatar at sharp ideological odds. Egypt’s foreign minister also attended the meeting of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, which comprises Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar. Qatar's only land border with Saudi Arabia, which it relied on for the import of dairy products, construction materials and other goods, has been mostly closed since June 2017.
Saudi Arabia to lift Qatar embargo, easing the Gulf crisis
The Saudi border, which Qatar relied on for the import of dairy products, construction materials and other goods, opened briefly during the past three years to allow Qataris into Saudi Arabia to perform the Islamic hajj pilgrimage. The rift between Abu Dhabi and Doha has been deepest, with the UAE and Qatar at sharp ideological odds. This year, Egypt’s president has also been invited to attend the summit of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, which comprises Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar. “Saudi Arabia could frame a partial détente, which allows Qatari civilian planes to fly over Saudi airspace and de-escalates the information war, as proof of ‘new thinking’ in Riyadh,” Ramani said ahead of the announcement. Saudi Arabia and Bahrain are primarily concerned with Qatar's close ties with regional foe Iran.
Charity rescue ship with 265 migrants anchors off Italy
Migrants from Eritrea, Egypt, Syria and Sudan, rest on board the Spanish NGO Open Arms vessel after having been rescued in the Mediterranean sea, about 110 miles north of Libya, on Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Joan Mateu)ROME – Italy allowed a Spanish-flagged charity ship with 265 rescued migrants aboard to anchor off Sicily on Monday. The Open Arms vessel had brought the migrants safely aboard in separate rescues last week in the central Mediterranean. Open Arms said 96 of those rescued had been adrift two days in a wooden boat without life vests in international waters. In an earlier, separate operation, Open Arms had taken aboard 169 migrants, who had departed Libyan shores, where many human traffickers are based.
Spanish-flagged boat rescues 265 migrants in Mediterranean
Migrants from Eritrea, Egypt, Syria and Sudan, are assisted by aid workers of the Spanish NGO Open Arms, after fleeing Libya on board a precarious wooden boat in the Mediterranean sea, about 110 miles north of Libya, on Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Joan Mateu)ROME – A Spanish-flagged humanitarian ship on Sunday was seeking a port of safety for 265 migrants its crew rescued from the Mediterranean Sea in the last few days. The Open Arms charity tweeted that its vessel on Saturday had safely brought aboard 96 migrants who had been adrift in a wooden boat with without life vests in international waters. In a separate operation two days before that rescue, Open Arms took aboard 169 migrants, who had departed Libyan shores, where many human traffickers are based. The traffickers launch vessels, many of them flimsy rubber dinghies or rickety fishing boats, crowded with migrants who hope to reach European shores to seek asylum.
20 migrants dead off Tunisia after boat sinks, more missing
Tunisian authorities say 20 African migrants have been found dead after their boat, which was trying to reach Europe, sank in the Mediterranean Sea. Five survivors were rescued Thursday, Dec. 24, 2020 and authorities are searching for up to 20 others believed missing. (AP Photo/Santi Palacios, File)TUNIS – About 20 African migrants were found dead Thursday after their smuggling boat sank in the Mediterranean Sea while trying to reach Europe, Tunisian authorities said. Five survivors were rescued and the Tunisian navy is searching for up to 20 others still believed missing. According to survivors, the migrant smuggling boat was carrying about 40 or 50 people heading toward Italy, Ben Zekri said.
Saeb Erekat, longtime Palestinian spokesman, dies at 65
FILE - In this Oct. 2, 2011 file photo, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, speaks during a press conference at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo, Egypt. Erekat, a veteran peace negotiator and prominent international spokesman for the Palestinians for more than three decades, has died Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020. Erekat's body was brought to a West Bank hospital and was to be laid to rest in Jericho on Wednesday. He spent most of his life in the occupied West Bank town of Jericho, a palm-studded desert oasis about 30 minutes from Jerusalem. ___Associated Press writers Mohammed Daraghmeh and Haitham Hamad in Ramallah, West Bank, and Josef Federman in Jerusalem contributed to this report.
Egyptians vote in 2nd stage of parliamentary election
A woman casts her vote on the first day in the second and final stage of the country's parliamentary elections in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020. Egyptians began voting on Saturday after a relatively low turnout in the first stage that embarrassed the government of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. A total of 568 seats in the lower chamber are up for grabs in the election, with half the seats reserved for candidates running as individuals. The other 50% of seats in the House of Representatives are for over 1,100 candidates running on four party lists. For weeks before the vote, pro-government media called voting a patriotic duty and urged Egyptians to vote in high numbers.
Three-way talks over Ethiopia's Nile River dam set to resume
JOHANNESBURG – Negotiations between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan over the controversial dam that Ethiopia is building on the Nile River will resume Tuesday, according to the chairman of the African Union, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. Egypt and Sudan, however, have expressed concern that the dam will reduce the flow of Nile River waters to their countries. Egypt relies heavily on the Nile to supply water for its agriculture and to its more than 100 million people. Ethiopia celebrated the first stage of the filling of the dam in August, citing heavy rains, to the dismay of Egypt. "The dam already has more than 4.9 billion cubic meters of water in its reservoir,” Abebe Yirga told The Associated Press.
Ethiopia blasts Trump remark that Egypt will 'blow up' dam
Without naming Trump or the U.S., Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office issued a separate critical statement amid an outcry in Ethiopia over Trump’s latest threat over the dam. Downstream Sudan is a party to the talks with Ethiopia and Egypt over the disputed dam. “They (Egypt) will end up blowing up the dam,” Trump said. Ethiopia celebrated the first filling of the dam in August, citing heavy rains, to the dismay of Egypt. Negotiators have said key questions remain about how much water Ethiopia will release downstream if a multi-year drought occurs and how the countries will resolve any future disputes.
IMF: Nearly all Mideast economies hit by pandemic recession
Well before the coronavirus swept across the globe, several Mideast countries had been struggling with issues ranging from lower oil prices and sluggish economic growth to corruption and high unemployment. The IMF projects the Lebanese economy will see one of the region's sharpest economic contractions this year at 25%. The pandemic has only pushed the country further to the brink after a wave of anti-government anger before the virus struck. Meanwhile, wealthy Mideast oil exporters are expected to see their economies contract by 6.6% in 2020, the IMF said. Gulf Arab states, however, are expected to see average economic growth of 2.3% next year.
Experts: Libya rivals UAE, Russia, Turkey violate UN embargo
The warring parties in Libya and their international backers the United Arab Emirates, Russia and Jordan vs Turkey and Qatar violated a U.N. arms embargo on the oil-rich north African country that remains totally ineffective, U.N. experts said in a new report. The experts said the Wagner group transferred armed private military operatives and military equipment into Libya to support Hifters military operations, including two armored personnel carriers. The panel of experts said the resupply of both sides by air was extensive, with flights from the UAE to western Egypt and eastern Libya, and from Russia via Syria to eastern Libya to reinforce Hifters forces and from Turkey to western Libya to reinforce the government. AP emails to the U.N. missions of the UAE, Russia, Jordan, Egypt, Syria and Qatar got no response. Allegations regarding any violation by Turkey of sanctions are baseless, said the spokesperson who was not authorized to be identified by name.
Authorities detect community spread of virus in Gaza
GAZA The Hamas-run Health Ministry in the Gaza Strip on Monday announced the first cases of coronavirus spread through the community, raising fears of an outbreak in the impoverished territory blockaded by Israel and Egypt. Until now, all the cases reported in Gaza were linked to quarantine facilities for residents returning from abroad. The Islamic militant Hamas movement has ruled Gaza since seizing control from rival Palestinian forces in 2007. Egypt and Israel imposed a crippling blockade on the territory, which is home to some 2 million Palestinians, in response to the Hamas takeover. Authorities have detected 109 cases in the quarantine facilities since March, and 72 of them have recovered.
Islamic holiday Eid comes as families grieve virus victims
(AP Photo)For Marwa Conelly, the upcoming Islamic Eid al-Adha holiday was supposed to be extra celebratory this year she was looking forward to getting engaged around that time. In Egypt, where the Conellys live, the first day of Eid will be on Friday. Normally the family has a festive but laid-back routine for the first day of Eid. Hospitalized and under quarantine, Mohamed was unable to say goodbye or attend his burial, shortly before the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr. She has asked someone close to her to pray with her that the virus is gone by next year.
Ethiopia's leader hails 1st filling of massive, disputed dam
ADDIS ABABA Ethiopias prime minister on Wednesday hailed the first filling of a massive dam that has led to tensions with Egypt, saying two turbines will begin generating power next year. "We have successfully completed the first dam filling without bothering and hurting anyone else. Ethiopia has said it would begin filling the reservoir this month even without a deal as the rainy season floods the Blue Nile. There are other sticking points, but if we agree on this basic principle, the other points will automatically be solved, he said. Years of talks with a variety of mediators, including the Trump administration, have failed to produce a solution.
Ethiopia denies reports government has started filling dam
ADDIS ABABA Ethiopias water minister denied reports Wednesday that the government had begun filling a massive hydroelectric dam that has caused severe tensions with Egypt and led some to fear military conflict. Media outlets reported the government had begun filling after Minister Sileshi Bekele confirmed to the Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation that satellite images from recent days showed the dams reservoir swelling. The minister told The Associated Press, however, that the images reflected heavy rains, saying that inflow was greater than the outflow. Ethiopia has said it would begin filling the dam's reservoir this month even without a deal as the rainy season floods the Blue Nile. Ethiopia says the colossal dam offers a critical opportunity to pull millions of its nearly 110 million citizens out of poverty and become a major power exporter.
In Egypt, volunteers make meals with love for virus patients
Basma Mostafa, a 30-year-old journalist who founded an initiative that sends freshly home cooked meals to quarantined coronavirus patients, package food at her friend's apartment, in Cairo, Egypt. Mostafa, who works with others to coordinate the volunteer effort, said she got the idea of helping out when she was going through a difficult time. "I thought that to alleviate my suffering, I can engage with the suffering of others and feel more for them," she said. "I derive my strength and perseverance from the patients." (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)
In Egypt, volunteers make meals with love for virus patients
Basma Mostafa, a 30-year-old journalist who founded an initiative that sends freshly home cooked meals to quarantined coronavirus patients, package food at her friend's apartment, in Cairo, Egypt. She and other volunteers in Egypt hope the meals will help nurse quarantined coronavirus patients back to health and provide them with some respite. In different neighborhoods in Cairo and some other cities, theyve enlisted to cook, donate food or make contactless deliveries to patients homes. When some patients ask to pay for their meals, organizers encourage them to pay it forward instead by donating supplies after they recover, Mostafa says. Radwa Shalash, one of the organizers, says she is moved when patients who have received meals call to say they recovered.
Africa starts opening airspace even as COVID-19 cases climb
Thats even as Africa had more than 463,000 confirmed virus cases as of Sunday and South Africa, its most developed economy, already struggles to care for COVID-19 patients. Senegals president has said international flights will begin on July 15. Kenya Airways wants to resume international flights. And she suggested that when we see a flare-up that is unacceptable in virus cases, the loosening of travel restrictions could be reversed. African nations can seize the moment and do more tourism at home, Amani Abou-Zeid, AU commissioner for infrastructure and energy, told reporters last week.
China, Korea, Egypt report rise in virus cases as curbs ease
China had 57 confirmed cases in the 24 hours through midnight Saturday, the National Health Commission reported. The world is seeing more than 100,000 newly confirmed cases every day, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. China, where the pandemic began in December, and other countries that suffered early on including South Korea, Italy and Spain have seen numbers of new infections decline. Doug Ducey is not requiring Arizona residents to wear masks in public despite warnings by public health experts outside the government. ___Associated Press writer Hyung-Jin Kim in Seoul, South Korea, and AP journalists worldwide contributed to this report.
Houston religious leaders share the role of faith during coronavirus pandemic
HOUSTON – Houston Newsmakers with Khambrel Marshall takes on special meaning this week as Jews and Christians celebrate their holiest time of the year. Coinciding perhaps ironically with the coronavirus pandemic that has infected more than a million and killed many thousands. Congregation Beth Yeshurun Senior Rabbi Brian Strauss said Passover provides life lessons to those of the Jewish faith. No, I think the church is being the church and trying to minister to the least, the last, the lost, our seniors and everyone else in between. "The good news (is) heard clearer when there is bad news in the background,” said Pastor West.
Mayor Turner recommends staycations over international trips this spring break in response to coronavirus
HOUSTON – More cases of coronavirus are surfacing in the greater Houston area, and they are all linked to a Nile River cruise in Egypt. ”All of these individuals were on the same trip together... in Egypt,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. Three people in Maryland have tested positive for the coronavirus and have also been connected to the Nile River cruise, the Washington Post reports. The first positive Coronavirus test from the group was announced Wednesday in Fort Bend. KPRC 2 sources confirmed health officials are currently investigating another eight people because they were also on the same Egypt trip.