Monthly Archives: November 2016

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Mom's boyfriend charged after boy, 3, found with fractured skull – New York Daily News


A 3-year-old Brooklyn boy was on life support Tuesday after he was found in his home covered in feces with his tiny skull fractured, police sources said.

Investigators charged his mother’s 24-year-old boyfriend, who told cops the toddler slipped in the bathtub while he was trying to give the kid a bath, with assault.

“It’s as if the kid had been speared by a football player,” a law enforcement source said.

The boy, Jaden Jordan, was rushed from his W. Fifth St. home in Gravesend to Coney Island Hospital on Monday, just two days after the city’s child welfare agency investigated an anonymous tip about the boyfriend, but took no action, sources said.

Man shoves bag of feces down woman’s shorts on Upper East Side

Jaden, who also suffered lacerations to a kidney and his liver, showed no brain activity late Tuesday and was transferred to New York Presbyterian Hospital-Columbia in Manhattan, sources said.

Raven Chaynes and her son, Jaden.

Raven Chaynes and her son, Jaden.

(Facebook)

Returning from the hospital to his Gravesend home, just blocks from where his son was brutalized, Jaden’s father was heartbroken.

“He’s most likely brain dead, all the signs show it,” 37-year-old Guseyn Aliyev said. “There’s no coming back. Even if he lives, he will most likely be a vegetable.”

Workers from the city’s Administration for Children’s Services checked out an anonymous tip Saturday about a girl locked in a dog cage in the Gravesend apartment. The tipster gave the address of the home next door to the family, apparently by mistake.

ACS workers return to lower jobs after Zymere Perkins’ death

It does not appear that Salvatore Lucchesse, Jaden’s mother’s boyfriend, was ever questioned Saturday.

“The NYC Administration for Children’s Services is saddened by this upsetting news,” spokeswoman Carol Cáceres said in a statement. “We are investigating the circumstances that led to this incident.”

ACS would not confirm it received the tip or to what extent workers investigated it.

Cops charged Lucchesse with four counts of assault and one count of acting in a manner injurious to a child, cops said early Wednesday.

N.J. Alzheimer’s patient was left to sit in own feces: lawsuit

The mother shared this image of the smiling boy with a bandage on his head on her Facebook page.

The mother shared this image of the smiling boy with a bandage on his head on her Facebook page.

“He kept the kids in a dog cage, used a pit bull to terrify them,” a law enforcement source said. “He’s a real menace.”

A neighbor, Busria Codurogu, said that about a week ago, she heard the little boy crying and a man yelling.

“I heard the man screaming, ‘Am I hitting you? I’m not even hitting you right now and you’re crying?’” she recalled. “I didn’t realize it was this bad.”

Neighbors said the boy’s mother, Raven Chaynes, moved into the home with her family just six weeks ago.

Poop-hurling fiend found mentally unfit to stand trial

“They were always fighting, the man and the woman who lived there,” Codurogu, 24, said. “I never saw the child. Never saw him. I didn’t realize they had a child until I heard him crying.”

“Another one that fell through the cracks,” a source said of ACS. “They had Saturday and Sunday to do something and it didn’t happen. They didn’t notify the investigators and it looks like they didn’t go next door once they figured out the right address.”

At least one relative, a brother of the boy’s father, blamed ACS for the tragedy.

“They had the boy coming back and forth. They leave it with a stranger. Because of that the child is hurt now,” said Emin Aliyev, 31, the boy’s uncle.

Gunrunner may be able to sue city for Zymere Perkins’ death

New York Daily News front page for Nov. 30 about Jaden's tragic death.

New York Daily News front page for Nov. 30 about Jaden’s tragic death.

Two pictures from the mother’s Facebook page showed the smiling boy with head injuries. In one, he had a bandage on his forehead.

“I wasn’t in his life as much as I wanted to be,” Guseyn Aliyev said. Outside the crime scene, neighbors took note of a plastic container with clothes and stuffed animals including a monkey and a baby lion. Neighbors said it belongs to the little victim.

EMS workers rushed to the boy’s home at 4:24 p.m. Monday after someone called 911, sources said.

“A man had the baby in his arms, naked, faced up,” said a witness. “He told them, ‘Hurry up!’ It was terrible.”

Little Jaden’s injuries happened just two months after the death of Zymere Perkins, who apparently fell through cracks of ACS bureaucracy.

Zymere died Sept. 26 after being beaten with a broomstick in his Harlem apartment. That boy’s mother, Geraldine Perkins, 26, and her boyfriend, Rysheim Smith, 42, were hit with endangerment charges related to the boy’s death.

Before Zymere died, the boy’s mom had been the subject of five child abuse investigations, but had been cleared of any wrongdoing. Mayor de Blasio and ACS Commissioner Gladys Carrion came under fire for the agency’s failure to prevent the boy’s death.

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OPEC Deal Could Be a Boon to World Economy Amid Shifting Dynamics – Wall Street Journal


Workers passed by a pump jack at a facility operated by Tatneft OAO near Almetyevsk, Russia, in July 2015. According to analysts, a rise in oil prices following an output cut by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries could help the world economy.
ENLARGE

Workers passed by a pump jack at a facility operated by Tatneft OAO near Almetyevsk, Russia, in July 2015. According to analysts, a rise in oil prices following an output cut by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries could help the world economy.


Photo:

Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg News

The world’s oil cartel may have just done the global economy a big favor.

Traditional economics says a boost in oil prices—they rose more than 7% to over $48 a barrel Wednesday after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed to cut output—is bad for global growth because it erodes consumer buying power, especially in the world’s largest economies.

But that view is built on experiences of the past. This time may be different, given changing dynamics in the world economy.

“Higher oil prices are good for growth,” said Jeffrey Currie, head of commodity research at Goldman Sachs.

First, higher prices should help stimulate growth in the world’s largest economic engine, the U.S. It is one of the top three oil producers in the world, pumping more than nine million barrels a day, or 10% of global consumption. As prices fell over the last two years, investment in the sector pulled back and output sank by roughly a million barrels a day.

But as prices picked up in recent months in anticipation of an OPEC deal, investment in the industry has risen. That should help push down unemployment further, pressure wages and fuel the U.S. economic expansion.

More broadly, high crude prices will help a swath of economies hurt by the two-year price plummet. Russia, Brazil, producers in the Middle East and North Africa and Nigeria—Africa’s largest economy—have all been suffering with increasing budget deficits and rising debt. The price collapse forced all of them to slash government spending—a primary driver of economic growth in most—and tilted some countries into recession. Their woes added to the headwinds facing the global economy.

Currency values—an early indicator of economic health—rose in a host oil-exporting nations around the world Wednesday, with the Russian ruble, Mexico’s peso and Canada’s dollar all seeing gains.

Higher energy costs could also counter the scourge of weak consumer-price growth in the U.S., Europe and Japan.

“I see higher oil prices as confirming the end of deflation in most countries, even possibly Japan,” said Marc Chandler, head of currency strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman.

Beyond the straightforward economic gains, Goldman Sachs’s Mr. Currie argued that an evolved global financial system upends the conventional view that higher oil prices harm the global economy. That thinking is based on the price increases of the 1970s, when higher crude costs caused a massive wealth transfer from rich economies to emerging-market exporters. Those higher-saving nations had a lower tendency to consume. And advanced economies had to less in their pocketbooks to spend on other goods and services. Combined, those factors slowed global growth.

But now, those exporting nations pour their cash back into rich economies. Unlike the 1970s, more sophisticated financial markets “were able to transform this excess savings into greater global liquidity that increased asset values, lowered interest rates, and improved credit conditions that spanned the globe,” said Mr. Currie.

As prices rise, that will juice the amount of cash and investment available globally.

Furthermore, oil prices should remain range bound, putting oil within levels that could prove optimal for the global economy.

Many economists say OPEC’s decision—if it proves a credible deal that cuts output—could push oil prices to a range of around $55 to $70 a barrel.

“Most participants would say that around $60 a barrel would be a sweet spot,” says Deutsche Bank Securities analyst Ryan Todd. “It’s not high enough to really hurt global economies, but it’s high enough for most producers to sustain a relatively attractive business model, and an attractive price for U.S. refiners.”

Even if OPEC delivers an effective cut of around 500,000 barrels a day—including the possibility of members producing over their agreed-to quotas—prices could still move into the low-to-mid $50 range, some analysts say.

I see higher oil prices as confirming the end of deflation in most countries.

—Marc Chandler, head of currency strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman

That would put prices into a “Goldilocks equilibrium,” says Frank Verrastro, a top energy expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. That is a price balance-point “sufficient to bring in additional revenues and potentially draw down the excessive stock overhang without significantly eroding consumer demand.”

To be sure, if prices go too high—surging past $80 and into the $100 range, they could hurt world growth.

Before the 2008 financial crisis, when rich nations were booming and China’s double-digit growth fueled an 8% growth rate in emerging markets, the global economy could happily cope with $100-a-barrel oil. Now, such a boost could curb consumer spending while policy makers are still struggling to spur demand for other goods and services and trade is in long-term slump.

Write to Ian Talley at ian.talley@wsj.com

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The Latest: Trump asks Bharara to stay as a US attorney – U.S. News & World Report


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U.S. News & World Report
The Latest: Trump asks Bharara to stay as a US attorney
U.S. News & World Report
United States Attorney General for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara speaks with reporters at Trump Tower, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) The Associated Press. WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on …
The Latest: Trump whittles list to final 4 for StateNews On 6
Latest Cabinet Picks Are Proof That Trump Never Intended To 'Drain The Swamp'PoliticusUSA
Trump Taps Hollywood's Mnuchin for Treasury and Dines With RomneyNew York Times

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Trending: Woodburn breaks Liverpool record, Southgate confirmed for England – ESPN FC (blog)


Jurgen Klopp has expressed that he sees nothing wrong with the set up of the English national team and backs them to succeed.

Here are the latest stories for Wednesday.

ENGLAND: Gareth Southgate has been confirmed as England’s permanent manager on a four-year contract that will take him through the 2018 World Cup and 2020 European Championship campaigns.

LIVERPOOL: Ben Woodburn has become the youngest player to score for Liverpool at 17 years and 45 days after he netted in the 2-0 EFL Cup victory over Leeds United on Tuesday.

– Woodburn got the highest marks in Dave Usher’s Liverpool player ratings.

– Liverpool got away with it as they left it late to beat Leeds after rotating their squad, Mark Ogden writes

REAL MADRID: Gareth Bale has successfully undergone surgery on his damaged ankle in London, Real Madrid have announced.

– Cristiano Ronaldo heads a list of Madrid stars to be rested for the midweek Copa del Rey game.

– La Cultural Leonesa loanee Jose Leon says he is happy to get the chance to fulfil his boyhood dream after parent club Real Madrid gave him permission to play in the Copa del Rey game at the Bernabeu on Wednesday.

CHAPECOENSE: A chartered plane carrying Chapecoense to the biggest match in the Brazilian football club’s history crashed into a Colombian hillside and broke into pieces, killing 71 people and leaving six survivors. 

Thousands squeezed into Chapeco’s cathedral and even more packed a stadium to mourn following the tragedy.

– Chapecoense were the mighty mouse that roared right up to the very end, Tim Vickery writes

MAN UNITEDManchester United manager Jose Mourinho has received a one-match touchline ban after being sent to the stands in Sunday’s match against West Ham, the Football Association has announced.

– Eric Bailly is closing in on a return to action for Manchester United after resuming training this week.

– Slaven Bilic believes Jose Mourinho only got into trouble with the Football Association because he caught the water bottle too well.

– Zorya Luhansk are reportedly planning a “high level” of security for the visit of Manchester United, whose fans have been asked not to wear colours by their own club.

– United goalkeeper Sam Johnstone is a loan target for Aston Villa and Wigan Athletic, sources close to the player have told ESPN FC.

ARSENAL: Arsene Wenger has praised the Southampton player production line as he prepares his Arsenal side to go up against Saints in their EFL quarterfinal clash on Wednesday.

– Granit Xhaka has said without his tough-tackling all-action style he would “no longer be the same player” that Arsenal wanted.

– Abou Diaby has told France Football he once dreamed of winning the Ballon d’Or and that his faith has helped him cope with a career beset by injuries.

CHELSEA: Chelsea’s Victor Moses has been named the PFA Fans’ Premier League Player of the Month for November.

ATLETICO MADRID: Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone has rested stars including Antoine Griezmann and Koke for Wednesday’s Copa del Rey round-of-32 first leg at Guijuelo, with five youth-team players called up.

BARCELONA: Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti has told France Football he sometimes found the club’s play “boring as s—” under Pep Guardiola.

– Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho has told Four Four Two he considers Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar to be the best players in the world.

– Andres Iniesta is set to return to first team action against Real Madrid at Camp Nou on Saturday.

BAYERN MUNICH: Xabi Alonso says he will not rush to make a decision on his playing future with his contract at Bayern Munich ending in the summer of 2017.

– Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness has called on club captain Philipp Lahm to honour his playing contract before considering a post-playing career.

INTER MILAN: Inter Milan’s Chinese owners have reiterated their commitment to doing all they can to strengthen the squad and make the Nerazzurri competitive again.

– Inter Milan are not interested in signing Diego Costa, according to their sporting director Piero Ausilio.

Follow @ESPNFC on Twitter to keep up with the latest football updates.

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World leaders bid farewell to Fidel Castro – USA TODAY


Regional leaders and tens of thousands of Cubans filled Havana’s Plaza of the Revolution on Tuesday night for a service honoring Fidel Castro. (Nov. 29) AP

HAVANA — World leaders bid farewell to Fidel Castro on Tuesday night in a ceremony filled with solemn memorial for the fallen communist dictator and collective admonishment of imperialism and the United States.

Presidents, prime ministers and diplomats from Ecuador to China to South Africa took to a podium in Cuba’s Plaza of the Revolution, where Castro himself had delivered so many of his hours-long, fiery speeches before massive crowds of Cubans.

Castro was hailed as the father of Cuba’s communist revolution, who brought health care, education and military might to his people.

Majid Ansari, vice president of Iran, said Castro’s name would go down among the most important independence fighters in human history. Nicolas Maduro, the president of Venezuela, described El Comandante as a father figure who founded his country’s socialist ideals.

Bolivian President Evo Morales hailed Castro for successfully fighting back the United States and leaving the “anti-imperialist” people of the world ready to continue the fight.

“Fidel is more alive than ever, more necessary than ever. He’s alive, vigilant, contemplating our common cause,” Morales said. “The Cuban people are stronger than ever and ready to fight imperialism. And the anti-imperialists of the world are united like never before.”

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Tuesday’s ceremony in Havana, filled with nearly four hours of speeches, marked the most high-profile event of a week full of services for the communist leader. On Wednesday, his ashes will begin a slow procession across the island, ending in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba, where they will be interred alongside Cuba’s independence leader Jose Marti.

Many heads of state from allies around the world were absent on Tuesday, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Despite the recent diplomatic opening initiated by President Obama, he did not attend, sending a White House adviser and the chief of the U.S. mission in Havana in his place.

Still, the U.S. played a prominent role in the speeches delivered Tuesday as many praised Castro for his fight against the Yankees to the north.

Maduro accused former President George W. Bush of trying to assassinate former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa took specific aim at the Cuban-American community in Miami, which he referred to as “Cuba North” that had repeatedly tried, and failed, to take down Castro.

“They have not invaded Cuba because they can’t defeat an entire population,” Correa said to loud cheers from the crowd.

Raul Castro, who rose to power when Fidel fell ill in 2006, ended the night remembering the many times he and his brother celebrated victories in the Plaza of the Revolution. That included the times when Fidel stood in the face of U.S. aggression, declaring that in Cuba, “there’s a dignified people prepared to defend its independence and the common destiny of a liberated Latin America.”

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Anderson Cooper Has The Perfect Response To Donald Trump's Latest Freakout – Huffington Post


CNN host Anderson Cooper said Donald Trump wants to violate two parts of the Constitution with his tweet urging loss of citizenship and jail time for burning the American flag.  

But Cooper finds it even more baffling that Trump appears to spend his time watching cable news and firing off controversial tweets instead of getting ready for his upcoming job as president of the United States. 

Speaking Tuesday night on “Anderson Cooper 360,” Cooper said:

“We are in uncharted waters with a president-elect who is continuing to tweet just as he did, maybe a little less, but as he did during the campaign. I mean, when I first heard that he was tweeting about something that was on this broadcast, a number of tweets ― again, factually incorrect tweets last night ― I kept thinking, ‘doesn’t he have, like, a briefing book on ISIS to be reading last night?’”

“I appreciate he’s watching the show,” Cooper said. “But what is he doing?”

See the full conversation above. 

(h/t Mediaite)

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Trending: Woodburn breaks Reds record – ESPN FC (blog)


Divock Origi and 17-year-old Ben Woodburn scored second-half goals to see Liverpool advance to the EFL Cup semifinals.

Liverpool have ended Leeds’ EFL Cup hopes, winning 2-0 with the arrival of their youngest ever goalscorer, Ben Woodburn.

Divock Origi and Ben Woodburn scored to down Leeds and send Liverpool to the semi-finals of the EFL Cup

Ben Woodburn scored on his senior debut for Liverpool and became the youngest player ever to score for the club.

Here are the latest stories for Wednesday.

LIVERPOOL: Ben Woodburn has become the youngest player to score for Liverpool at 17 years and 45 days after he netted in the 2-0 EFL Cup victory over Leeds United on Tuesday.

– Woodburn got the highest marks in Dave Usher’s Liverpool player ratings.

– Liverpool got away with it as they left it late to beat Leeds after rotating their squad, Mark Ogden writes

REAL MADRID: Gareth Bale has successfully undergone surgery on his damaged ankle in London, Real Madrid have announced.

– Real Madrid may be playing Cultural Leonesa on Wednesday but all eyes are on Saturday’s trip to Barcelona, Rob Train writes

Cristiano Ronaldo heads a list of Madrid stars to be rested for the midweek Copa del Rey game.

CHAPECOENSE: A chartered plane carrying Chapecoense to the biggest match in the Brazilian football club’s history crashed into a Colombian hillside and broke into pieces, killing 71 people and leaving six survivors. 

Thousands squeezed into Chapeco’s cathedral and even more packed a stadium to mourn following the tragedy.

– Chapecoense were the mighty mouse that roared right up to the very end, Tim Vickery writes

ENGLAND: Gareth Southgate is set to be confirmed as England’s new permanent manager on Wednesday, sources have told ESPN FC

BARCELONA:  Andres Iniesta is set to return to first team action against Real Madrid at Camp Nou on Saturday.

WATCH Luis Enrique takes the blame for Barcelona’s disappointing form.

Follow @ESPNFC on Twitter to keep up with the latest football updates.

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Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook’s Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN’s media platforms. Learn more.

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Ohio State attacker was ISIS 'soldier,' terrorist group proclaims – New York Daily News


The Somali-born Ohio State student who rammed his car into a crowd before attacking them with a butcher knife was an ISIS “soldier,” the terrorist group proclaimed Tuesday.

The Islamic State’s news agency took responsibility for the attack by Abdul Razak Ali Artan that left 11 injured.

The revelation came as new details surfaced about Artan’s rants on Facebook. A law enforcement source said the 18-year-old logistics major warned about Muslims he described as belonging to “a sleeper cell, waiting for a signal.” 

If the U.S. wanted “Muslims to stop carrying lone wolf attacks, then make peace with ‘dawla in al sham,’” a term for ISIS, Artan wrote, the source told the Associated Press.

Ohio State suspect spoke of Muslim faith, said he was ‘scared’

Artan specifically protested the killing of Muslims in Burma, where a UN official last week said a Muslim minority group was suffering violence tantamount to ethnic cleansing at the state’s hands.

NBC previously reported that Artan, 18, had also written on Facebook that the U.S. should stop meddling in other countries.

“We are not weak. We are not weak, remember that,” Artan wrote.

Abdul Razak Ali Artan ranted on Facebook about sleeper cells and lone wolf attacks.

Abdul Razak Ali Artan ranted on Facebook about sleeper cells and lone wolf attacks.

(Kevin Stankiewicz/AP)

As Ohio State students returned to class Tuesday, investigators continued trying to determine whether the attack that injured 11 people was an act of terror.

Ohio State attack wake-up call on opportunistic jihad

Artan plowed his car onto a sidewalk and into a group of pedestrians before 10 a.m. He then began slashing people with a butcher knife before a campus police officer shot him dead.

Most of the victims were hurt by the car while two were stabbed, officials said. One victim had a fractured skull. Three remained hospitalized Tuesday.

One of the victims, Andy Payne, told the Springfield News-Sun that he came face to face with Artan after he crashed his car.

“Once he let off the gas pedal and the car came to a stop, I began to take a few steps toward the car to help people who were hit by the vehicle,” Payne said. “That’s when the individual got out with a knife and he attacked someone to my right. Then he turned to attack me and I grabbed the knife with my left hand, which gave me enough time to get under his arm and away from him.”

Ohio State University student killed after campus attack

Payne was recovering from surgery to repair tendons in his left hand. 

Police were investigating Artan’s home for evidence pointing to a motive in the car-and-knife that left 11 injured.

Police were investigating Artan’s home for evidence pointing to a motive in the car-and-knife that left 11 injured.

(John Minchillo/AP)

Artan was born in Somalia and was a legal permanent U.S. resident, according to a U.S. official who was not authorized to discuss the case and spoke on condition of anonymity. He came to the United States in 2014 as the child of a refugee.

He had been living in Pakistan from 2007 to 2014. It is not uncommon for refugees to go to a third-party country before being permanently resettled.

He graduated cum laude in May from Columbus State Community College before enrolling in OSU. A video from graduation shows Artan happily spinning and jumping in the air before accepting his diploma.

Ohio State football players say they’re safe amid attack

Artan graduated from Columbus State Community College in Ohio on May 19.

Artan graduated from Columbus State Community College in Ohio on May 19.

(CSCC via YouTube)

Seth Harris, 32, who lives a few doors down from Artan in Columbus, was struggling to believe his neighbor carried out the attack.

Coincidentally, the complex where Artan lived was purchased in 2014 by the Utah-based Romney Group — which is run by former presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his son, Josh.

“I’m shocked that this happened,” said Harris, an Army veteran and prison guard. “I’m shocked that it turned out to be my neighbor … I wouldn’t expect him to do something like this.”

EUO MNDTY 3TP NARCH/NARCH30TMPOUT

Police fatally shot Artan shortly after his rampage began.

(HANDOUT/REUTERS)

Columbus is home to 50,000 Somali refugees, the second-largest population in the U.S.

Ohio State students told to ‘Run Hide Fight’ amid attack

Harris said he wasn’t comfortable with the change.

“Nothing has made me question my safety, but it has made me question my ability to mesh well here,” Harris said.

Ohio State students hold hands and pray at an on-campus vigil Monday.

Ohio State students hold hands and pray at an on-campus vigil Monday.

(PAUL VERNON/AFP/Getty Images)

Following the attack local Islamic leaders were joined by other faiths in denouncing the violence.

Columbus City Council President Zach Klein called the attack “an isolated incident.” Blame should be on the attacker, Klein said, not the diverse Muslim and Somali communities from which he came.

Candace Goforth Desantis reporting in Columbus, Ohio

With News Wire Services

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Antarctica Ice Shelf is Breaking from the Inside Out – Scientific American


An ice sheet in West Antarctica is breaking from the inside out.

The significant new findings published yesterday in Geophysical Research Letters show that the ocean is melting the interior of the Pine Island Glacier, which is about the size of Texas. The crack seems to be accelerating, said Ian Howat, associate professor of earth sciences at Ohio State University and the study’s lead author. The findings are the first confirmation of something glaciologists have long suspected was happening, he said.

“It’s showing a new weakness in the ice shelf, and it’s showing the weakness may be extending far up the glacier,” he said. “That’s the alarming thing from our standpoint.”

Higher ocean temperatures are causing the ice to shrink at an accelerating rate, and it’s eroding the ice fringing the continent. That, in turn, opens the ice sheet to further contact with warmer ocean water and increases the amount of ice running into the ocean, the researchers found.

“More importantly, it gives us a mechanism for even faster retreat in the future. Before, we used to have a slow retreat at the edges of the ice shelf,” Howat said. “The ocean had to nibble away at it on the edges. This allows the ice shelf to break apart way further inland from the inside out.”

This latest retreat is particularly noteworthy because it’s farther inland than anything scientists have previously observed, he said. It also shows that the region could be more vulnerable than previously thought.

If Antarctica were not covered in ice, it would be a series of islands. That means much of the ice in the region is already under constant pressure from the ocean, as its movements dislodge the ice that covers the area between the land masses. Cracking is more likely to occur in the valleys located on the ice sheet, where the ocean is in closer contact with the ice, researchers found.

The currents off Antarctica are warmer and carry saltier water that encourages melting. The sea temperature is about 5 degrees Celsius, which is far warmer than the average surface temperature of minus 20 C. That causes a twofold vulnerability for the ice, because some of it is located underwater and because it is exposed to the warm sea around it.

Similar rifts have already been observed in Greenland, as the Arctic warms and ocean water flows along the bedrock, causing the ice to melt. The Pine Island Glacier and a similar-sized neighboring glacier are unique because they block ice flows from reaching the sea. That’s enough to keep about 10 percent of the ice sheet from toppling into the warmer water.

‘Significant collapse’ possible

A separate study published last week in Nature suggests that the melting of the Pine Island Glacier started in the 1940s, likely as a result of El Niño activity. Scientists obtained sediment cores from beneath the glacier to show that a cavity started forming before the mid-1940s. Warmer seawater flowed into the space and caused the glacier to lift off the sea-floor ridge that held it in place.

The thinning of the glacier shows that it is responding to shifts in sea temperatures that occur elsewhere in the world, even in the Pacific, researchers found. Once the melting begins, it can continue for decades, they said.

Understanding what caused the changes to the Pine Island Glacier and how long they could continue is important, said David Vaughan, director of science at British Antarctic Survey and a co-author of the study published in Nature.

“Ice loss from this part of West Antarctica is already making a very significant contribution to global sea-level rise, and is actually one of the largest uncertainties in global sea-level predictions,” he said.

The melting in Antarctica has a direct result on coastal cities across the globe. Imagine Antarctica as a dam, holding back ice instead of water, Howat said. It holds about half of the world’s fresh water. The spillways at the top of the dam are now open, increasing in volume and draining the reservoir. That increase will be felt as the sea levels rise and cities are inundated by increased flooding.

Scientists used satellite imagery to observe how the rift, located 20 miles inland, formed in 2013. Within two years, the rift had broken through the ice and caused a 225-square-mile iceberg to break off the glacier in the summer of 2015.

Howat said the rift is further evidence that it’s not a matter of if, but when the larger West Antarctic Ice Sheet will melt. It adds “to the probability that we may see significant collapse of West Antarctica in our lifetimes,” he said.

Reprinted from ClimateWire with permission from E&E News. E&E provides daily coverage of essential energy and environmental news at www.eenews.net.

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