The Guardian 2024-07-08 16:13:08


Temperatures 1.5C above pre-industrial era average for 12 months, data shows

Copernicus Climate Change Service says results a ‘large and continuing shift’ in the climate

The world has baked for 12 consecutive months in temperatures 1.5C (2.7F) greater than their average before the fossil fuel era, new data shows.

Temperatures between July 2023 and June 2024 were the highest on record, scientists found, creating a year-long stretch in which the Earth was 1.64C hotter than in preindustrial times.

The findings do not mean world leaders have already failed to honour their promises to stop the planet heating 1.5C by the end of the century – a target that is measured in decadal averages rather than single years – but that scorching heat will have exposed more people to violent weather. A sustained rise in temperatures above this level also increases the risk of uncertain but catastrophic tipping points.

Carlo Buontempo, director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service, which analysed the data, said the results were not a statistical oddity but a “large and continuing shift” in the climate.

“Even if this specific streak of extremes ends at some point, we are bound to see new records being broken as the climate continues to warm,” he said. “This is inevitable unless we stop adding greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and the oceans.”

Copernicus, a scientific organisation that belongs to the EU’s space programme, uses billions of measurements from satellites, ships, aircraft and weather stations to track key climate metrics. It found June 2024 was hotter than any other June on record and was the 12th month in a row with temperatures 1.5C greater than their average between 1850 and 1900.

Because temperatures in some months had “relatively small margins” above 1.5C, the scientists said, datasets from other climate agencies may not confirm the 12-month temperature streak.

Whether pumped out the chimney of a coal-burning power plant or ejected from the exhaust pipe of a passenger plane, each carbon molecule clogging the Earth’s atmosphere traps heat and warps weather. The hotter the planet gets, the less people and ecosystems can adapt.

“This is not good news at all,” said Aditi Mukherji, a director at research institute CGIAR and co-author of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. “We know that extreme events increase with every increment of global warming – and at 1.5C, we witnessed some of the hottest extremes this year.”

Some ecosystems are more vulnerable than others. In its latest review of the science, the IPCC found that 1.5C of warming will kill off 70-90% of tropical coral reefs, while warming of 2C will wipe them out almost entirely.

A Guardian survey of hundreds of IPCC authors this year found three-quarters expect the planet to heat by at least 2.5C by 2100, with about half of the scientists expecting temperatures above 3C. The increments sound small but can mean the difference between widespread human suffering and “semi-dystopian” futures.

Mukherji compared 1C of global heating to a mild fever and 1.5C a medium-to-high grade fever. “Now imagine a human body with [that] temperature for years. Will that person function normally any more?”

“That’s currently our Earth system,” she added. “It is a crisis.”

François Gemenne, an IPCC author and director of the Hugo Observatory at the University of Liège, said the climate crisis is not a binary issue. “It is not 1.5C or death – every 0.1C matters a great deal because we’re talking about global average temperatures, which translate into massive temperature gaps locally.”

Even in a best-case scenario, he said, people need to prepare for a warmer world and “beef up” response plans. “Adaptation is not an admission that our current efforts are useless.”

Explore more on these topics

  • Climate crisis
  • Fossil fuels
  • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
  • news
Share

Reuse this content

Most viewed

  • LiveFrance election 2024 live: political deadlock looms after leftwing alliance wins most seats
  • The cult of 5am: is rising at dawn the secret of health and happiness?
  • France election: surprise win for leftwing alliance keeps Le Pen’s far right from power
  • Ukraine war briefing: Chinese troops hold military exercises with Belarus on Polish border
  • Motorcyclist dies from heat exposure in Death Valley as temperature reaches 128F

IDF used protocol that may have risked civilian lives in Hamas attack – report

Haaretz shows Hannibal directive employed at three sites to prevent kidnapping of soldiers during 7 October assault

In the initial chaos of the Hamas attack on 7 October, Israel’s armed forces employed what is known as the Hannibal protocol, a directive to use force to prevent the kidnapping of soldiers even at the expense of hostages’ lives, according to a report.

The Israel daily Haaretz reported on Sunday, nine months to the day after the assault in which about 1,200 people were killed and another 250 abducted to the Gaza Strip, that the operational procedure was used at three army facilities attacked by Hamas, potentially endangering civilians as well.

Another message given to Israel’s Gaza division at 11.22am, about five hours after the attack began, ordered: “Not a single vehicle can return to Gaza.”

A southern command source told the paper: “Everyone knew by then that such vehicles could be carrying kidnapped civilians or soldiers … Everyone knew what it meant to not let any vehicles return to Gaza.”

Haaretz said it was still unclear whether civilians or soldiers were harmed as a result of these orders, or how many, but documents and testimonies of soldiers, as well as mid-level and senior Israel Defense Forces (IDF) officers, suggested the practice was used in a “widespread” manner on 7 October amid a lack of clear information as the IDF struggled to respond to the attack.

In response to the report, an IDF spokesperson said internal investigations into what transpired on 7 October and the preceding period were under way. “The aim of these investigations is to learn and to draw lessons which could be used in continuing the battle. When these investigations are concluded, the results will be presented to the public with transparency,” the statement said.

The Haaretz investigation is the latest reporting by Israeli media shedding light on failures in military intelligence and operational responses around the Hamas offensive, the deadliest single attack on Israeli soil since the founding of the state in 1948.

Israel’s ensuing campaign in Gaza has still to achieve several of its stated objectives, leading to fears the conflict is on the brink of morphing into sustained insurgency-style warfare. More than 38,000 people have been killed by Israeli operations in the Palestinian territory, according to the local health ministry, and almost all of the 2.3 million population have been displaced from their homes in a catastrophic humanitarian crisis.

Allegations first surfaced in January that the IDF may have used the Hannibal protocol to prevent Hamas fighters from returning to Gaza with hostages. While the directive has only ever been used in relation to soldiers, a high-profile incident at the Be’eri kibbutz, in which a brigadier general ordered a tank to fire shells at a house with Hamas militants and 14 Israelis inside, killing 13 of the hostages, has raised questions about operational procedures causing civilian casualties.

The Israeli military probably killed more than a dozen of its own citizens during the 7 October attack, a UN investigation found last month.

Also on Sunday, Israel’s Channel 12 reported that a sophisticated early-warning system on the Gaza border developed by Unit 8200, part of the IDF’s military intelligence directorate, had not been properly maintained and was known to frequently malfunction. A dossier presented by Unit 8200 officers before 7 October detailed Hamas’s elaborate invasion plans, including raids on Israeli towns and military posts, hostage scenarios and potential outcomes, the report said.

In November, members of the women-only “spotters” unit deployed at two points along the Gaza perimeter said they had tried to warn their superiors on numerous occasions about unusual activity along the border fence before Hamas’s attack, but had been ignored. Fifteen spotters were killed on 7 October and another six taken hostage.

Explore more on these topics

  • Israel-Gaza war
  • Gaza
  • Middle East and north Africa
  • Palestinian territories
  • news
Share

Reuse this content

Most viewed

  • LiveFrance election 2024 live: political deadlock looms after leftwing alliance wins most seats
  • The cult of 5am: is rising at dawn the secret of health and happiness?
  • France election: surprise win for leftwing alliance keeps Le Pen’s far right from power
  • Ukraine war briefing: Chinese troops hold military exercises with Belarus on Polish border
  • Motorcyclist dies from heat exposure in Death Valley as temperature reaches 128F

Welcome to our latest live blog on the Israel-Gaza war and the wider Middle East crisis. Here are the latest headlines …

Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu says any Gaza ceasefire deal must allow Israel to resume fighting until its objectives are met, Reuters reports.

Hamas wants mediators to guarantee a permanent ceasefire, but Netanyahu is vowing to keep fighting until Israel destroys Hamas’ military and governing capabilities, reports Associated Press.

“Any deal will allow Israel to return and fight until all the goals of the war are achieved,” Netanyahu said in a statement Sunday.

Five days after Hamas accepted a key part of the plan, two officials from the Palestinian militant group said the group was awaiting Israel’s response to its latest proposal.

Hamas has dropped a key demand that Israel first commit to a permanent ceasefire before it would sign an agreement. Instead, it said it would allow negotiations to achieve that throughout the six-week first phase, a Hamas source told Reuters on Saturday on condition of anonymity.

But Netanyahu said he insisted the deal must not prevent Israel from resuming fighting until its war objectives are met. Netanyahu said:

The plan that has been agreed to by Israel and which has been welcomed by President Biden will allow Israel to return hostages without infringing on the other objectives of the war.

Netanyahu was scheduled to hold consultations late on Sunday on the next steps in negotiating the three-phase plan that was presented in May by US President Joe Biden and is being mediated by Qatar and Egypt.

It aims to end the war and free about 120 Israeli hostages being held in Gaza.

In other developments:

  • The Israeli government has been accused of attempting to sabotage a US-backed ceasefire proposal, according to Israeli media, by introducing new demands despite previously accepting the plan. Two Hamas officials told Reuters they were now waiting for a response from Israel. However, David Barnea, the chief of the Mossad foreign intelligence service, who was dispatched over the weekend to Qatar, where talks are being held, was reported to have provided the mediators with a list of new reservations, according to Israeli media.

  • Protests aimed at pressuring the Israeli government to reach a hostage deal with Hamas began across Israel on Sunday, with demonstrators blocking roads and picketing at the homes of government ministers. The demonstrators took to the streets, blocking rush hour traffic at major intersections across the country. They briefly set fire to tires on the main Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway before police cleared the way.

  • In Gaza, Palestinian health officials said at least 15 people were killed in separate Israeli military strikes on Sunday. An Israeli airstrike on a house in the town of Zawayda, in central Gaza, killed at least six people and wounded several others, while six others were killed in an airstrike on a house in western Gaza, the health officials said.

  • Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement fired another 20 rockets at northern Israel, leaving one person injured there, the latest cross-border attacks launched in solidarity with Gaza’s Palestinian militant group Hamas. Hezbollah said that “in response to the attack and assassination that the Israeli enemy carried out”, it had targeted “one of the main bases” in northern Israel, west of Tiberias, with “dozens of Katyusha rockets”.

  • At least 38,153 Palestinians have been killed and 87,828 injured in Israel’s military offensive on Gaza since 7 October, Gaza’s health ministry said on Sunday.

Labour expected to drop challenge to ICC over Netanyahu arrest warrant

Exclusive: UK government appears unlikely to go ahead with legal bid, while Keir Starmer has spoken with Israeli PM over Gaza ceasefire

The new Labour government is expected to drop a bid to delay the international criminal court (ICC) reaching a decision on whether to issue an arrest warrant for Benjamin Netanyahu over alleged war crimes in Gaza.

The development came as Keir Starmer, the new UK prime minister, told the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, that he believed the Palestinians had an undeniable right to a Palestinian state. Starmer spoke to Abbas on Sunday about the “ongoing suffering and devastating loss of life” in Gaza.

He also spoke to Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, setting out the “clear and urgent” need for a ceasefire in Gaza. “He added that it was also important to ensure the long-term conditions for a two-state solution were in place, including ensuring the Palestinian Authority had the financial means to operate effectively,” a readout of the call said.

Starmer said the situation on the northern border of Israel, where exchanges of fire with Lebanon-based Hezbollah have been taking place, was “very concerning” and it was “crucial all parties acted with caution”.

Labour officials briefed that the party continued to believe that the ICC, based in The Hague, had jurisdiction over Gaza. In a submission to the ICC, made by the previous government, the UK had claimed the court did not have jurisdiction over Israeli nationals. Britain’s request to lodge the challenge was made on 10 June in secret but was revealed a fortnight ago by the ICC.

The court’s pre-trial chamber had given the UK until 12 July to submit its full claim, but it now appears highly unlikely that the new government will go ahead with it, lifting the potential delay on the ICC pre-trial chamber ruling on the request for arrest warrants.

In its legal challenge, the UK had questioned whether the ICC could order the arrest of Israeli citizens. The Foreign Office said the Palestinian authorities had no jurisdiction over Israeli nationals under the Oslo accords, and as a result they could not transfer jurisdiction to the ICC.

In 2021 the ICC ruled that, despite the state of Palestine not being a sovereign state, the ICC did have jurisdiction over any alleged violations of the Rome statute, the ICC’s foundational charter, in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza.

The foreign secretary, David Lammy, said he would this week start reviewing issues such as the future funding of the Palestinian relief works agency Unrwa, and the legal advice given to the previous government which said there was no risk that UK arms sales were being used by Israel in breach of international humanitarian law.

The UK is now one of the few countries that has refused to restore funding to Unrwa after it was claimed that up to a dozen of its staff might have taken part in the attack on Israel on 7 October. UK funding of Unrwa should have restarted in May, but the Conservative government said it would wait until the outcome of a UN investigation.

Insisting on his right to consider the issue carefully, Lammy added: “We did raise issues about the funding of the dispatch box, and real concerns that did not want the situation where the UK was contributing to tremendous hardship already in Gaza.”

On the publication of official advice about the legality of arms sales, Lammy said: “I made the solemn undertaking in parliament that I would look at the legal assessments, and I will begin that process, of course, as soon as I’m able to. I expect that to begin next week as I sit down with officials.”

Defending the Labour position in the wake of a loss of support among many Muslim voters at the general election, he added: “I have been crystal clear on the international humanitarian law. There will be no resiling from that, because it’s important that we are all seen to uphold the rules-based order at a time particularly when authoritarian states are discarding it. It’s on that basis that I enter into this role and I take that very, very seriously.”

Lammy also said he was deeply worried about the so-called “day after”, including the planning for some kind of revamped Palestinian Authority in Gaza. He rejected Hamas being given a role in the future governance of Gaza, saying: “It’s hard to see how an organisation that’s not committed to a two-state solution, and is committed to terrorism, can be part of that solution. But I also recognise that there are real problems at the moment with the Palestinian Authority, which is why this is going to take a lot of work with our partners.”

Explore more on these topics

  • International criminal court
  • Labour
  • Foreign policy
  • Israel-Gaza war
  • Gaza
  • Benjamin Netanyahu
  • Palestinian territories
  • news
Share

Reuse this content

Most viewed

  • LiveFrance election 2024 live: political deadlock looms after leftwing alliance wins most seats
  • The cult of 5am: is rising at dawn the secret of health and happiness?
  • France election: surprise win for leftwing alliance keeps Le Pen’s far right from power
  • Ukraine war briefing: Chinese troops hold military exercises with Belarus on Polish border
  • Motorcyclist dies from heat exposure in Death Valley as temperature reaches 128F

Boeing will plead guilty to criminal fraud over 737 Max crashes, justice department says

The deal, which still requires the approval of a federal judge, will see the company pay a fine of almost $250m and invest at least $455m in improving safety

Boeing will plead guilty to a criminal fraud charge stemming from two deadly crashes of 737 Max jetliners, after the government determined the company violated an agreement that had protected it from prosecution for more than three years, the US the government said in court filing late on Sunday.

Federal prosecutors gave Boeing the choice this week of entering a guilty plea and paying a fine as part of its sentence, or facing a trial on the felony criminal charge of conspiracy to defraud the US.

The plea deal, which still must receive the approval of a federal judge to take effect, calls for Boeing to pay an additional $243.6m fine, according to a justice department (DOJ) document filed in federal court in Texas.

Boeing has also agreed to invest at least $455m over the next three years to strengthen its safety and compliance programs, the DOJ said. The department will appoint a third-party monitor to oversee the firm’s compliance. The monitor will have to publicly file with the court annual reports on the company’s progress.

A guilty plea potentially threatens the company’s ability to secure lucrative government contracts with the likes of the US defence department and Nasa, although it could seek waivers. Boeing became exposed to criminal prosecution after the justice department in May found the company violated a 2021 settlement involving the fatal crashes.

Prosecutors accused the American aerospace giant of deceiving regulators who approved the airplane and pilot-training requirements for it.

The plea deal however spares Boeing a contentious trial that could have exposed to even greater public scrutiny many of the company’s decisions leading up to the fatal Max plane crashes. It would also make it easier for the company, which will have a new CEO later this year, to move forward as it seeks approval for its planned acquisition of Spirit AeroSystems.

Boeing confirmed to the New York Times and Reuters that the company reached an agreement with the justice department, but declined to comment further.

The plea deal covers only wrongdoing by Boeing before the crashes, which killed all 346 passengers and crew members aboard two new Max jets. It does not give Boeing immunity for other incidents, including a panel that blew off a Max jetliner during an Alaska Airlines flight in January, a justice department official said.

The deal also does not cover any current or former Boeing officials, only the corporation.

Federal prosecutors alleged Boeing committed conspiracy to defraud the government by misleading regulators about a flight-control system that was implicated in the crashes, which happened in Indonesia in October 2018 and in Ethiopia less than five months later.

The company’s guilty plea will be entered in US district court in Texas. The judge overseeing the case, who has criticised what he called “Boeing’s egregious criminal conduct”, could accept the plea and the punishment that prosecutors offered with it or he could reject the agreement, likely leading to new negotiations between the justice department and Boeing.

Relatives of the people who died in the crashes were briefed on the plea offer a week ago and at the time said they would ask the judge to reject it.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report

Explore more on these topics

  • Boeing
  • Airline industry
  • news
Share

Reuse this content

Most viewed

  • LiveFrance election 2024 live: political deadlock looms after leftwing alliance wins most seats
  • The cult of 5am: is rising at dawn the secret of health and happiness?
  • France election: surprise win for leftwing alliance keeps Le Pen’s far right from power
  • Ukraine war briefing: Chinese troops hold military exercises with Belarus on Polish border
  • Motorcyclist dies from heat exposure in Death Valley as temperature reaches 128F

Ukrainian air defences were engaged on Monday in repelling a rare daytime Russian missile attack on Kyiv, local authorities said.

Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko reported explosions in the Ukrainian capital and urged residents to stay in shelters.

Up to 10 explosions could be heard across the city, according to Kyiv Independent reporters on the ground, with particularly loud explosions heard in the centre of the city, near the area of the Taras Shevchenko Park.

Ukrainian air defences were engaged on Monday in repelling a rare daytime Russian missile attack on Kyiv, local authorities said.

Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko reported explosions in the Ukrainian capital and urged residents to stay in shelters.

Up to 10 explosions could be heard across the city, according to Kyiv Independent reporters on the ground, with particularly loud explosions heard in the centre of the city, near the area of the Taras Shevchenko Park.

Heatstroke alerts issued across Japan as heatwave leads to four deaths

Average number of heatstroke-related deaths each year has increased six fold since 1995

Japan’s meteorological agency has issued a heatstroke alert for 26 of the country’s 47 prefectures, urging people not to go outside unless absolutely necessary, to use their air conditioners during the day and at night, and to drink plenty of water.

Authorities in Japan issued the extreme heat warnings after the temperature reached 40C for the first time this year on Sunday, as the country swelters in the grip of another heatwave.

Shizuoka in central Japan reported a temperature of 40C in the early afternoon on Sunday, while 244 other locations saw the mercury rise to 35C or over – a level officially recognised as “extremely hot”.

The temperature in Shizuoka, recorded shortly after 1 pm, was the highest in the city since records began in 1940, according to the Japan Times.

The meteorological agency warned earlier this year that temperatures are expected to be higher than average again this summer, perhaps exceeding those last summer – the hottest on record.

Hot and humid summers are normal in Japan , particularly after the rainy season ends in mid- to late July, but temperatures have been particularly high in recent years as a result of global heating and other climatic factors, according to experts.

There is particular concern for the welfare of the country’s large older population, who are more vulnerable to heatstroke. The fire and disaster management agency said that of the 2,276 people were taken to hospital for heatstroke in the last week of June, more than half were aged over 65.

Young children are also at risk. This month firefighters were called out in Kyoto after nine children showed symptoms of heatstroke during a school trip. Three were taken to hospital, according to public broadcaster NHK, which warned that temperatures had reached “life-threatening” levels.

At least four deaths associated with the weather have been reported in recent days: a man in his 70s who was found dead at his home after cutting the grass, and another in his 80s who had been working on his farm. On Sunday, media reported that a woman in her 90s was pronounced dead after collapsing at home, while an 83-year-old woman died after working outside.

In Tokyo, 198 people were taken to hospital with suspected heatstroke on Sunday, NHK said. The temperature in some parts of the city had reached at least 35C by mid-morning on Monday.

Statistics from the health ministry reported by the Japan Times show that the number of heatstroke-related deaths increased from an average of 201 people a year between 1995 and 1999, to an average of 1,295 from 2018 to 2022. Between 80 and 90% of those who die are over 65, according to data cited by the newspaper.

The maximum recorded temperature in Japan was 41.1°C in the central city of Hamamatsu on August 17, 2020, and in Kumagaya, north-west of Tokyo, on July, 23, 2018.

Explore more on these topics

  • Japan
  • Asia Pacific
  • news
Share

Reuse this content

Most viewed

  • LiveFrance election 2024 live: political deadlock looms after leftwing alliance wins most seats
  • The cult of 5am: is rising at dawn the secret of health and happiness?
  • France election: surprise win for leftwing alliance keeps Le Pen’s far right from power
  • Ukraine war briefing: Chinese troops hold military exercises with Belarus on Polish border
  • Motorcyclist dies from heat exposure in Death Valley as temperature reaches 128F

Biden insists he can reunite US as high-profile Democrats reportedly want him to quit race

President hits trail in Pennsylvania as virtual lawmaker meeting with Hakeem Jeffries shows growing party doubt

Joe Biden insisted he was the person to reunite America in a second term in the White House and was “up for the job” as he hit the trail in Pennsylvania on Sunday – but the number of high-profile Democrats doubting his position as the presumptive party nominee only grew amid a campaign in crisis.

Pressure on the US president increased even further following his poor debate performance against Donald Trump last month and an underwhelming ABC interview last week, as a group of Democratic representatives met online with House minority leader Hakeem Jeffries on Sunday.

Congressmen Jerry Nadler of New York and Jamie Raskin of Maryland were reportedly among a clutch of lawmakers who told Jeffries that Biden should leave the presidential race.

Congress will be back on Monday from its latest recess and the focus among Democrats is whether Biden can continue to campaign for re-election. House Democrats are expected to meet in person with Jeffries on Tuesday to discuss the president.

Biden’s fresh blitz on Sunday to rally voters, donors and campaign staff also came as prominent House Democrat Adam Schiff said Vice-President Kamala Harris could beat Trump and the president should “pass the torch” to someone else if he can’t win “overwhelmingly”.

The US president made no mention of his health and fitness when he told a loudly supportive Philadelphia church congregation in the morning: “We must unite America again … that’s my goal. That’s what we’re going to do.”

But Schiff, who is likely to become California’s next senator in the November election, said he thought Harris could decisively win the election against presumptive Republican party nominee Trump, if Biden drops out.

He warned that the US president either “has to win overwhelmingly, or he has to pass the torch to someone who can”.

Meanwhile, reports began emerging after the virtual meeting with Jeffries on Sunday, via CBS and CNN, that as well as Nadler and Raskin, representatives Mark Takano of California, Adam Smith of Washington state, Jim Himes of Connecticut, Joe Morelle of New York and Susan Wild of Pennsylvania told him they wanted Biden to quit as the race, the outlets said, citing unnamed sources. Many want Harris to take over as the nominee.

Democrats Maxine Waters and Bobby Scott told Jeffries they support Biden to become the nominee and fight for re-election, while Jeffries did not reveal his hand, CNN reported.

As the chaos continued, Biden was on a three-stop swing in Pennsylvania, first addressing the church service in a majority Black neighborhood in north-western Philadelphia before expecting to head to the state capital of Harrisburg about 100 miles away in the afternoon.

He was introduced at the Mount Airy church of God in Christ in Philadelphia as “our honored guest” and senior pastor Louis Felton told the congregation that if they stand together “there is no election that we cannot win”, adding, “We love our president. We pray for our president.”

One demonstrator outside the church underlined the conflicting views within the party and even normally loyal Democratic voters, carrying a sign that read: “Thank you Joe, but time to go.”

But Felton said: “God knew Biden needs some love.” He described Biden as a president of vision and integrity and said: “President Biden is coming back. He’s a comeback kid. He’s a fighter. He’s a champion.”

He concluded: “Never count Joseph out,” as congregants chanted “four more years” when Biden finished speaking.

In Harrisburg, Biden joked that “Dark Brandon is coming back,” to a supporter who asked about the nickname, the Hill reported, which was originally a mistaken interpretation of a Republican insult that then was reclaimed by Biden’s election campaign as a humorous show-of-strength meme.

Then as Biden was later departing for the White House, he responded to a reporter asking: “Will you have to convince Nato you’re up for the job again?” ahead of the gathering of defense alliance leaders in Washington DC this week.

Biden gave a thumbs up and said “I’m up for the job,” having earlier shouted “yes” with a big smile when asked if his party was behind him.

Meanwhile Mark Warner, another prominent Democrat and US senator for Virginia, reportedly is wrangling Senate Democrats to ask Biden at the White House on Monday to step down as the presumptive nominee.

On Sunday morning, Schiff told NBC News’s Meet the Press show: “The [ABC] interview didn’t put concerns to rest. No single interview is going to do that. And what I do think the president needs to decide is, can he put those concerns aside? Can he demonstrate the American people that what happened on the debate stage was an aberration?”

Schiff then weighted Harris’s prospects if she became the party nominee not Biden, as her profile rises fast.

“I think she very well could win overwhelmingly, but before we get into a decision about who else it should be, the president needs to make a decision about whether it’s him.”

Bernie Sanders, the independent US senator from Vermont who caucuses with Democrats, signaled continued support for Biden.

He told CBS: “What we are talking about now is not a Grammy award contest for best singer. Biden is old. He’s not as articulate as he once was. I wish he could jump up the steps on Air Force One – he can’t,” Sanders admitted, while adding a challenge to the president to continue to run on policies that help working-class voters.

“Whose policies will benefit the vast majority of the people in this country, who has the guts to take on corporate America?” Sanders asked, saying the Democratic nominee needed to fight for health insurance coverage, selectively higher taxes and benefits.

“Those are the issues he’s talked about. He’s got to bring them up in the fallt,” Sanders said.

Democratic US senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut said “the clock is ticking” for the president to quell doubts and that this was a crucial week for him.

Explore more on these topics

  • Joe Biden
  • US elections 2024
  • US politics
  • Democrats
  • House of Representatives
  • Donald Trump
  • Kamala Harris
  • news
Share

Reuse this content

Most viewed

  • LiveFrance election 2024 live: political deadlock looms after leftwing alliance wins most seats
  • The cult of 5am: is rising at dawn the secret of health and happiness?
  • France election: surprise win for leftwing alliance keeps Le Pen’s far right from power
  • Ukraine war briefing: Chinese troops hold military exercises with Belarus on Polish border
  • Motorcyclist dies from heat exposure in Death Valley as temperature reaches 128F

Pakistani breast milk bank closes after Islamic clerics withdraw approval

Doctors deplore decision and point to country’s high neonatal mortality rate as bank, which opened in June, forced to close without taking a single deposit

When he heard a hospital in Karachi was setting up a milk bank for babies, the news was a “huge relief” to Mohammad Munawwar.

With his wife very sick and their premature son Ayan in hospital, the 52-year-old father had had to collect milk five or six times a day from different female relatives who were breastfeeding their own babies.

His elation was short-lived; last month the bank closed before a single ounce could be deposited after complaints from Islamic clerics. Doctors who had been working on the bank for more than 12 months share Munawwar’s disappointment.

“We had been working on the bank [for] a year and had been in intense discussions with the religious clerics from Jamia Darul Uloom Karachi [for] the last eight months,” said Dr Jamal Raza, executive director of the Sindh Institute of Child Health and Neonatology (SICHN), which had established what should have been the first-ever milk bank in Pakistan, in collaboration with Unicef.

He said the scholars had raised several concerns, all of which were addressed, and after finally getting a nod from the seminary, the bank was inaugurated on 12 June.

But the seminary has now withdrawn its fatwa of assent, saying it had new advice that the hospital would find it not only “difficult but almost impossible to adhere to the strict conditions” set down by the institution’s clerics.

“The objective of the doctors who wanted to set up the human milk bank may be in good faith, but we concur with Jamia Darul Uloom Karachi, and do not think it needs to be encouraged,” said Hafiz Muhammad Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi, chair of the Pakistan Ulema Council, though he refused to elaborate.

The complexity arises due to the kinship bond. In Islam, when a baby feeds from a woman who is not the biological mother, any future marriage is forbidden between that baby and any of the woman’s own children.

Further exacerbating the concern is that in the 750 milk banks in nearly 70 countries, donors are anonymous and milk can be combined from several sources.

However, Raza said this would not have been an issue. “The original fatwa allowed us to mix a maximum of three to five mothers’ milk but we intend to keep it to one mother donating to one child at a time.”

Dr Azra Pechuho, health minister for Sindh province said: “When there is a properly developed digital identification system in place in Pakistan, keeping a record of which child got milk from which woman is not difficult.”

She said the state should not let this opportunity of “saving the lives of premature babies lapse because of this issue which is clearly resolvable”.

Ayan is not the only baby whose survival is at risk, said Dr Hassan Jabbar, who works in the 52-bed neonatal unit. The unit has, on average, between five and eight premature babies, who stay until they are strong enough to go home. A baby born at 26 weeks will stay for an average of six weeks, for instance.

“It’s the same story that keeps repeating and which is very distressing,” said Jabbar. “I just saw a baby weighing a kilogram whose mother died while giving birth; how do we feed him?”

Formula is no substitute he said. “I am totally against feeding babies with formula, it means putting them through even more complications. People say ventilators are important in an [intensive care unit]; I say mother’s milk is even more important. A vent costs 7.5m rupees [£4,000]; human milk is free.”

Leading paediatrician Dr DS Akram said breast milk protects babies in a way formula milk does not. “Premature babies have a very underdeveloped protection against bacteria in their intestines. If fed formula milk, [they] are at high risk of developing a severe gut infection called necrotising enterocolitis, which has a very high death rate.”

That is why, said Pechuho, “If we want our premature babies to survive we have to have human milk banks in all our obstetric and paediatric hospitals.”

Of the almost 15 million babies in the world born prematurely each year, nearly 1 million die due to complications.

According to the Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey 2018, the neonatal mortality rate in the country is 42 per 1,000 live births, one of the highest in the world.

“A premature baby cannot latch, cannot suckle and nor can he swallow, he has to be fed through a tube,” said Dr Syed Rehan Ali of the neonatal intensive care unit at SICHN, adding: “The milk bank was one way of reducing our dismal neonatal mortality rate.”

Last week, Pechuho told lawmakers in the Sindh assembly she will call upon the Council of Islamic Ideology to help make the initiative “Sharia-compliant”.

Now a month old, Ayan is on formula. “He’s gained weight and looks good,” said Munawwar. But cost is now a concern. “A tin of milk costs 2,600 rupees and it is consumed within six days,” he said. “I have three other kids and do not have a regular job,” he added.

Formula milk is not without danger, say doctors, in places where few adhere to safe practices of sterilising bottles and teats or are able to ensure the water used for mixing is clean. “Mothers from lower socioeconomic groups often reduce the proportion of the milk powder to the water for it to last longer, to save the cost,” said Akram.

Despite laws promoting breastfeeding, Akram said the relentless marketing of formula continues and has had an impact. It is now illegal for breastmilk substitute companies to approach healthcare facilities and for health professionals to promote their products.

Just 48% Pakistani mothers exclusively breastfeed their babies, lower than in Bangladesh (65%) and India (64%). In Sri Lanka 82% of women breastfeed their babies in the first six months.

The clerics did not respond to requests for comment.

Explore more on these topics

  • Global development
  • Global health
  • Pakistan
  • Breastfeeding
  • Premature birth
  • Health
  • Children
  • news
Share

Reuse this content

Most viewed

  • LiveFrance election 2024 live: political deadlock looms after leftwing alliance wins most seats
  • The cult of 5am: is rising at dawn the secret of health and happiness?
  • France election: surprise win for leftwing alliance keeps Le Pen’s far right from power
  • Ukraine war briefing: Chinese troops hold military exercises with Belarus on Polish border
  • Motorcyclist dies from heat exposure in Death Valley as temperature reaches 128F

Motorcyclist dies from heat exposure in Death Valley as temperature reaches 128F

Another visitor in same motorcycle group hospitalized for ‘severe heat illness’ as other four members treated at scene

A visitor to Death Valley national park died Sunday from heat exposure and another person was hospitalized as the temperature reached 128F (53.3C) in eastern California, officials said.

The two visitors were part of a group of six motorcyclists riding through the Badwater Basin area amid scorching weather, the park said.

The person who died was not identified. The other motorcyclist was hospitalized in Las Vegas for “severe heat illness”, the statement said. The other four members of the party were treated at the scene.

“High heat like this can pose real threats to your health,” said park superintendent Mike Reynolds.

“Besides not being able to cool down while riding due to high ambient air temperatures, experiencing Death Valley by motorcycle when it is this hot is further challenged by the necessary heavy safety gear worn to reduce injuries during an accident,” Reynolds said.

The death comes as a long-running heatwave has shattered temperature records across the US, with about 36 million people – roughly 10% of the country – under excessive heat warnings, National Weather Service’s (NWS) meteorologist Bryan Jackson said.

Dozens of locations in the west and Pacific north-west were expected to tie or break previous heat records, he said.

That was certainly the case over the weekend: many areas in northern California surpassed 110F (43.3C), with the city of Redding topping out at a record 119F (48.3C). Phoenix set a new daily record Sunday for the warmest low temperature: it never got below 92F (33.3C).

Triple-digit temperatures were common across Oregon, where several records were toppled – including in Salem, where on Sunday it hit 103F (39.4C), topping the 99F (37.2C) mark set in 1960.

Rare heat advisories were extended even into higher elevations including around Lake Tahoe, on the border of California and Nevada, with the weather service in Reno, Nevada, warning of “major heat risk impacts, even in the mountains”.

The NWS is also warning of increased wildfire risks due to a mix of hot, dry and windy conditions. In Southern California, residents were ordered late Saturday to evacuate parts of Santa Barbara County where the Lake Fire has scorched more than 13,000 acres since Friday, according to Cal Fire.

Each of the past 12 months have ranked as the warmest on record in year-on-year comparisons across the globe, according to the Copernicus Climate Change Service, European Union’s climate change monitoring service, which links human activities like the combustion of fossil fuels to climate change-causing greenhouse gas emissions.

Last week, Joe Biden’s administration proposed the first-ever safety standard intended to protect workers and communities from the impacts of extreme heat.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed reporting

Explore more on these topics

  • Extreme heat
  • California
  • West Coast
  • National parks
  • news
Share

Reuse this content

Most viewed

  • LiveFrance election 2024 live: political deadlock looms after leftwing alliance wins most seats
  • The cult of 5am: is rising at dawn the secret of health and happiness?
  • France election: surprise win for leftwing alliance keeps Le Pen’s far right from power
  • Ukraine war briefing: Chinese troops hold military exercises with Belarus on Polish border
  • Motorcyclist dies from heat exposure in Death Valley as temperature reaches 128F

Artwork featuring Christ overlaid with Looney Tunes characters removed by Sydney council after threats of violence

Online protest claimed the work mocked the Christian religion and Liverpool mayor Ned Mannoun called for it to be taken down

  • Follow our Australia news live blog for latest updates
  • Get our morning and afternoon news emails, free app or daily news podcast

A Sydney council has removed a “playful” artwork of Jesus Christ overlaid with Looney Tunes characters after a torrent of online abuse.

Sydney artist Philjames’ work, Jesus Speaks to the Daughters of Jerusalem, was removed from the Blake Art Prize exhibition at the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre after fierce criticism was directed at the artist and gallery on Friday, just two days before the eight-week exhibition ended.

The biennial prize at the Liverpool city council gallery recognises contemporary artwork that explore spirituality and religion and draws artists from all beliefs and cultural backgrounds.

But a last-minute online protest claimed the 2023 oil-on-lithograph work mocked the Christian religion, with some protesters threatening the museum and its staff – many of whom are volunteers – with violence.

Philjames said he received about 200 “vile” social media messages on Friday and Saturday, with the gallery receiving over 60 phone calls from protesters on Friday alone.

“I do like stirring a bit of a reaction with my work, but the novelty very quickly wore off on Friday. The level of vitriol and the sheer volume of it was actually frightening,” the 48-year-old said.

“I’ve been doing these sorts of works for around 15 years and I’ve had one or two people upset but nothing like this. It was vile and not at all Christian.”

One protester warned him that the gallery “better get some extra security”, he said.

“The poor staff who work there don’t need this. It’s not worth it.”

  • Sign up for Guardian Australia’s free morning and afternoon email newsletters for your daily news roundup

Liverpool mayor Ned Mannoun called for the removal of the painting in the face of what he called “many complaints from numerous residents who were disgusted and offended that Liverpool Council was displaying this artwork”.

“The Christian Messiah and the Muslim Messiah Jesus has no connection to the cartoon character Goofy”, he said in a statement.

Charlie Bakhos, the founder of conservative Catholic group, Christian Lives Matter, told supporters on social media that the “shocking disrespectful art” had been removed.

“This is another attack on Christianity we have managed to put a stop to thanks to everyone’s support. Let’s keep defending our faith respectfully and we will get results as Jesus is on our side.”

The acting Liverpool Council CEO, Jason Breton, said the artwork was removed in response to the mayor’s position, safety concerns and the community response.

While Philjames said he was “absolutely happy to put safety first”, he was concerned that the incident may set a precedent for limits on freedom of expression.

“That for me is the most problematic thing: the mayor requested it to be taken down, putting politicking before freedom of expression. Where does it end?”

Mannoun said the right to free speech needed to be balanced with the right to practise religion without fear, persecution or ridicule.

“Liverpool is one of the most religious LGAs in Sydney. Religious art should be respectful and unifying, not divisive and disrespectful.”

He said he would make the same calls about art that he considered to be antisemitic or derogatory of any religion.

Police were contacted to inform them of potential unrest around the artwork, the council confirmed.

The prize is open to believers and non-believers and prizes are strictly non-sectarian. Philjames, whose work has been described as Kafkaesque and surreal, said he grew up attending Sunday school but is not religious.

“I find it all a bit absurd, it was a playful work. I like incorporating cartoon characters – they deal with human issues,” he said.

“To be honest, there wasn’t really any meaning behind the piece. It’s just an image – choose your own adventure.”

The artist has given his absurdist treatment to a number of subjects, including Queen Elizabeth II, Donald Trump and Christopher Reeve. He is represented by the Chalk Horse Gallery in Darlinghurst and has entered the Blake Prize “numerous times”.

He said he had received an outpouring of support from the artistic community over the weekend.

Blake prize organisers are no strangers to controversy. In 2011, artist Luke Roberts’ triptych of depictions of the crucifixion featured an intersex woman wearing only a pink G-string and nipple tassels.

It prompted the Anglican Bishop of South Sydney, Rob Forsyth, to say the work was “something [he] would not be happy about,” but that did not mean it should be forbidden.

In 2007, two separate Blake prize artworks attracted the criticism of both John Howard and Kevin Rudd. One depicted the Virgin Mary wearing a Muslim burqa and another morphed an image of Osama bin Laden with that of a depiction of Jesus Christ.

“The choice of such artwork is gratuitously offensive to the religious beliefs of many Australians,” Howard told News Ltd newspapers at the time.

Explore more on these topics

  • Australian art
  • Sydney
  • Censorship
  • Christianity
  • Religion
  • news
Share

Reuse this content

Most viewed

  • LiveFrance election 2024 live: political deadlock looms after leftwing alliance wins most seats
  • The cult of 5am: is rising at dawn the secret of health and happiness?
  • France election: surprise win for leftwing alliance keeps Le Pen’s far right from power
  • Ukraine war briefing: Chinese troops hold military exercises with Belarus on Polish border
  • Motorcyclist dies from heat exposure in Death Valley as temperature reaches 128F

Leave a Reply