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Treasurer Frerichs endorses Elizabeth Warren for president | US Politics News Today

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Trump calls Danish PM’s rebuff of Greenland idea ‘nasty’

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WASHINGTON/COPENHAGEN: President Donald Trump declared Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s dismissal of his idea to buy Greenland “nasty” and an affront to the United States on Wednesday, a day after shocking Danes by canceling a Copenhagen visit over the rebuff.
Danes voiced disbelief at Trump’s decision to forgo the trip, although Frederiksen said she believed relations with the United States, a NATO ally, would not be affected.
Trump, who built his career as a businessman dealing in real estate, had mused openly in recent days about a US purchase of Greenland, an autonomous Danish territory rich in natural resources, raising eyebrows in Europe and in the United States.
Former Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen called it “an April Fool’s Day joke” and Frederiksen called the idea “absurd.”
The latter comment set off Trump, who often becomes riled up by criticism, real or perceived. He announced the cancellation of his planned Sept 2-3 trip to Denmark in a tweet late on Tuesday.
“I thought that the prime minister’s statement … was nasty. I thought it was an inappropriate statement. All she had to do is say: ‘No, we wouldn’t be interested,'” Trump told reporters at the White House on Wednesday. “She’s not talking to me. She’s talking to the United States of America. You don’t talk to the United States that way, at least under me.”
Frederiksen, a centre-left Social Democrat, said she learned of Trump’s decision “with regret and surprise”, given Denmark’s strong relations with Washington, but she repeated her opposition to any Greenland transaction.
She stressed that Greenland’s premier, Kim Kielsen, had ruled out selling off the territory and “I obviously agree with him.”
But Frederiksen said the United States remained one of Denmark’s closest allies. “I don’t think the cancelling of this state visit should affect any decisions we make whether it is on commercial cooperation or foreign and security policies.”
Trump’s decision elicited condemnation, outrage and mockery alike among Danish opposition leaders and the public.
“So (Trump) has cancelled his visit to Denmark because there was no interest in discussing selling Greenland. Is this some sort of joke? Deeply insulting to the people of Greenland and Denmark,” tweeted former Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt.
“Total chaos with @realDonaldTrump and cancellation of state visit to Denmark. It has gone from a big opportunity for strengthened dialogue between allies to a diplomatic crisis,” said former Foreign Minister Kristian Jensen of the Liberal Party.
‘Not for sale’
Greenland, which is gaining attention from world powers including China, Russia and the United States because of its strategic location and mineral wealth, is self-governing but underdeveloped and relies on Denmark for economic support.
“Everyone should know Greenland is not for sale,” Jensen said of the world’s largest island, where the United States has a military presence at the Thule Air Base under a US-Danish treaty dating to 1951.
“(Trump’s cancellation) is very, very shocking, when it is about a very close ally and a good friend,” said Soren Espersen of the hard-right Danish People’s Party.
He said Trump had effectively snubbed Queen Margrethe, Denmark’s head of state. Trump and US first lady Melania Trump were formally invited to Denmark by the queen in July.
“It shows why we now more than ever should consider (fellow) European Union countries as our closest allies. The man is unpredictable,” said Morten Ostergaard, leader of the Danish Social Liberal Party. “Reality surpasses imagination.”
Trump, whose “America First” policies have resulted in strained relations with the EU over trade and other issues, said on Sunday a US purchase of Greenland would be “a large real estate deal.”
The two countries appeared to be taking steps to address tensions over the dispute.
Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said in a Twitter post that he had a “frank, friendly and constructive talk” with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and declared the countries “close friends and allies.”
The State Department said Pompeo expressed thanks for Denmark’s cooperation as an ally. “The Secretary and Foreign Minister Kofod also discussed strengthening cooperation with the Kingdom of Denmark – including Greenland – in the Arctic,” it said in a statement.
Trump said he would go to Denmark another time.
“Greenland was just an idea, just a thought. But I think when they say it was ‘absurd’ and it was said in a very nasty, very sarcastic way, I said, ‘We’ll make it some other time.’ We’ll go to Denmark – I love Denmark. I’ve been to Denmark. And, frankly, we’ll do it another time. Respect has to be shown to the United States,” he told reporters.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, a former NATO secretary general and Danish premier, said Trump’s cancellation could work out for the best. “The Arctic’s security and environmental challenges are too important to be considered alongside hopeless discussions like the sale of Greenland,” he said on Twitter.



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Amazon Rainforest Is Ablaze, Turning Day Into Night In Brazil

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Huge tracts of the Amazon, which serves as the lungs of the planet by taking in carbon dioxide, storing it in soils and producing oxygen, are ablaze. Smoke from the widespread fires has turned day into night in Sao Paulo, and intensified a controversy over the Brazilian government’s land use policies.

The Brazilian Amazon has experienced 74,155 fires since January, according to data from Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research, known by the acronym INPE. That’s an 85 percent increase from last year and significantly higher than the 67,790 blazes since by this point in the year during 2016, when there were severe drought conditions in the region associated with a strong El Nino event.

“There is nothing abnormal about the climate this year or the rainfall in the Amazon region, which is just a little below average,” INPE researcher Alberto Setzer told Reuters. Speaking of the fires, he said, “The dry season creates the favorable conditions for the use and spread of fire, but starting a fire is the work of humans, either deliberately or by accident.”

The fires have covered Sao Paulo in dark smoke, and they are raising concerns that the rainforest, which is one of the most biologically diverse regions on Earth, may be suffering from land-clearing operations and other activities intended to transform the land for agricultural use.

“People stored black water from the rainfall after the massive smoke cloud reached Sao Paulo,” says Vitor Gomes, an environmental scientist at the Federal University of Para in Brazil, via email.

According to the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, the fires have led to a clear spike in carbon monoxide emissions as well as planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions, posing a threat to human health and aggravating global warming.

INPE tracks deforestation in Brazil, and its data has shown a huge increase in the Amazon this year. In early August, INPE found that 1,330 square miles of rainforest had been lost since January, which is a rate 40 percent higher than in 2018.

The release of those statistics and ensuing media coverage earned the ire of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. Bolsonaro, who favors increased agricultural and mining development in the Amazon, called those numbers “a lie” and then fired Ricardo Galvao, a physicist who served as the director of the scientific agency.

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Guaranta do: In this August 20, 2019 drone photo released by the Corpo de Bombeiros de Mato Grosso, brush fires burn in Guaranta do Norte municipality, Mato Grosso state, Brazil. (PTI)

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The recent Amazon fires have been widespread, and some came on suddenly. In the state of Para, a wildfire surge occurred last week that was linked to a call by farmers for a “day of fire” on Aug. 10, according to local news reports. INPE, using satellite-based sensors and other instruments to locate fires and track the amount of acreage burned, recorded hundreds of fires in the state as farmers cleared land for agriculture and also burned intact areas of rainforest for further development. Cleared rainforests in this region are typically used for farming cattle and growing soybeans, and much of the land-clearing is done illegally.

The fires there and in other states sent a plume of smoke drifting far southeastward across Brazil, darkening the skies over some cities and towns.

One contributing factor to the spate of fires in the Amazon is the fact that it is the dry season there, the time of year when wildfires tend to break out from human activities. The dryness acts to make the environment particularly receptive to fires, but most of the blazes are started by people, either intentionally or by accident.

“The dry season certainly adds to fires, but we had more intense dry seasons in the past . . . and never experienced such big fires,” Gomes said.

In addition, this is not yet the peak of the fire season in Brazil, according to Mikaela Weisse, a program manager with Global Forest Watch, who closely tracks fire and deforestation trends through satellite imagery. Weisse said most of the fires are taking place on cleared agricultural land, but satellites may be missing flames burning beneath tree canopies.

The fire season in Brazil peaks between August and October, Weiss said, and so far this year is tracking close to 2016’s wildfire and tree cover losses. “It’s early in the season, so what happens in the next couple of months is crucial for determining how significant this is.”

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Undated: This satellite image provided by NASA on August 13, 2019, shows several fires burning in the Brazilian Amazon forest. (PTI)

– – –

An increase in fires and ensuing deforestation in the Amazon make it even more difficult, if not impossible, for countries to hold global warming to “well below” 3.6 degrees (2 degrees Celsius) compared with preindustrial levels, as called for in the Paris climate agreement.

The Amazon, which spans 2.12 million square miles, sucks up about a quarter of the 2.4 billion metric tons of carbon that global forests absorb each year. However, the ability of the rainforest to pull in more carbon than it releases is diminishing, weakened by changing weather patterns, deforestation and increasing tree mortality, among other factors. The ongoing fires will further degrade its function as a carbon sink.

If the Amazon were to turn into a consistent net source of carbon emissions, it would accelerate global warming while also leading to a huge loss in species that are not found anywhere else on Earth.

A study Gomes co-authored this year found that while deforestation is the main threat to Amazonian tree species, climate change may exceed it within a few decades. The research found that a combination of climate-change-related effects, such as increased dryness, along with deforestation to make way for agriculture, could cause a decline in Amazon tree species richness of nearly 60 percent.

In a worst-case scenario, without any effective climate policies or programs to limit deforestation, the study found that by 2050, the Amazonian lowland rainforest could become fragmented, harming biodiversity and making the Amazonian ecosystems far less capable of soaking in and storing carbon. The study warned of a “tipping point” beyond which the forest cannot recover.

“According to the results of our studies, even in the ‘best-case’ scenario (optimistic), half of Amazonian tree species will be threatened in the future. The trends we’ve seen today could be beyond our ‘worst-case’ scenario,” Gomes said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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Donald Trump, King of the Jews | America First Ep. 445

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