The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Tuesday to extend the mandate of the nearly 3,700-strong peacekeeping force in the disputed Abyei region on the Sudan-South Sudan border until Nov. 15. It also asked Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to provide recommendations for reconfiguring and ending the mission, although Guterres informed the council early last month that he couldn’t provide such options because of differences between the two countries. The 2005 peace deal that led to South Sudan’s independence from its northern neighbor in 2011 required both sides to work out the final status of region, but it is still unresolved.
A top U.N. envoy urged Iraqis on Tuesday to uphold the integrity of “all-important national elections” next October, saying the world will be watching to see that voting is free and transparent without political pressure or interference. Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, the U.N. special representative for Iraq, told the Security Council that the Iraqi people demanded these elections during demonstrations in which some paid with their lives and “now is not the time to let them down.”
In the seemingly never-ending cascade of news headlines about hacks, data breaches and ransomware attacks like the one from this weekend executed by a Russian criminal gang against a major US fuel pipeline, the bad guys often appear as a kind of faceless, nearly-anonymous menace. Compared to almost any other time when reporters write about crime, actual flesh-and-blood characters usually emerge - whether in the form of mug shots, arrest details, or through eyewitness accounts and the like. The hackers on the other end of a computer crime, however, enjoy a certain degree of freedom to operate without being seen. If anything, the only thing we end up beholding is their handiwork, while we’re told by Very Serious Government Experts that the attack came from Iran, China, Russia or some other far-flung nation-state where hackers thrive. When it comes to the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack from this weekend, however, almost from the get-go a series of fascinating details have been trickling out about the DarkSide ransomware gang from Russia that US experts pointed the finger at — and the DarkSide hackers, themselves, have even taken responsibility for the attack. In fact, the cybercriminals actually posted a kind of “oops” statement on their website, suggesting that what they were mostly after was money here, not a significant attack on a major piece of US infrastructure. And make no mistake, "major" is a pretty good descriptor for the implications of this attack on a pipeline network that carriers some 45% of the fuel consumed by the US East Coast. As we noted previously, major installations like the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, which until this year was ranked as the world’s busiest airport, also receive fuel from Colonial Pipeline, as do military bases across the pipeline’s footprint. Ultimately, Colonial's network encompasses some 5,550 miles of pipeline, and by shutting it down because of the hackers' actions, it initially stranded a significant amount of gasoline, jet fuel and diesel along the Gulf Coast. Colonial said it decided to take its operational network down out of an abundance of caution, even though it was the company's IT network that the Russian hackers hit -- they stole almost 100GB before locking the network and demanding their ransomware payment. Colonial's entire website is actually down as of the time of this writing, though the company says it's aiming to restore service to the pipeline by the end of the week. Meantime, as noted above, the DarkSide gang has taken the extraordinary step of coming reasonably close to an apology for the attack, stressing in the statement you can read below that "Our goal is to make money, and not creating problems for society." https://twitter.com/darktracer_int/status/1391735232991092738 And boy, does this gang have a pretty sophisticated setup that, notwithstanding this latest attack, keeps the money rolling in nicely with a minimum of mainstream press scrutiny. That's the opinion of experts like Lesley Carhart, a principal industrial incident responder with Dragos Inc., who tweeted that: “They were doing a really good job of decimating businesses, including infrastructure -- and everyone has been really quiet." Some key facts about DarkSide: The gang operates like a quasi-normal business, believe it or not. Danny Jenkins, CEO of ThreatLocker, told the IT and business security news site ThreatPost that DarkSide has "employees, costs, profits, and customer support." DarkSide is actually a ransomware-as-a-service platform, according to cybersecurity-focused investigative reporter Brian Krebs. As such, approved cybercriminals are allowed to use the platform to infect companies with ransomware and to negotiate payment with victims. But those criminals have to follow the DarkSide rules -- no hacking whatsoever of enterprises like funeral homes, non-profits, and hospitals. That seems to harken back to the DarkSide statement above. These guys want to get paid, so their aim is to attack targets that are actually able to pay up, as well as targets that won't make them look, you know, evil. As of Tuesday afternoon, it hasn't yet emerged whether Colonial Pipeline has paid a ransom yet or how much money the DarkSide gang demanded, but the group tends to require that victims pay anywhere from $200,000 to $2 million. Along these lines, there's a kind of FAQ on the DarkSide website that explains: "We only attack companies that can pay the requested amount, we do not want to kill your business." At the top of that page, by the way, is verbiage of a sort that you'd find on the About page of something like a tech startup, where DarkSide explains a bit about the platform they built for follow ransomware attackers. "We created DarkSide because we didn't find the perfect product for us. Now we have it." Cybersecurity journalist Kim Zetter, who's been covering all this in her Substack newsletter Zero Day, notes that DarkSide's money-making practices also extend to selling information about upcoming victims of its ransomware attacks so that other bad actors can short the victim company's stock. Krebs has also found that back in March, DarkSide introduced a sort of call service that's integrated into the affiliate hackers DarkSide management web portal, "which enabled the affiliates to arrange calls pressuring victims into paying ransoms directly from the management panel." The real-world side to all this, meanwhile, encompasses the actual, tangible consequences that the Colonial attack is having, which go beyond events that played out on computer screens. The White House on Tuesday, for example, urged Americans not to engage in a run on gasoline stations, as the Colonial shutdown extended for yet another day. Nevertheless, as of the time of this writing, gas stations in at least six states are reporting fuel outages, while the price and fuel tracker GasBuddy says that fuel demand in the Eastern US is up more than 30% this week compared to last week.
Two protesters were killed when Sudanese security forces dispersed a demonstration late Tuesday in the capital of Khartoum, a local medical group said. The violence broke out when dozens of protesters made their way late in the day to the sealed-off area outside the military’s headquarters to commemorate a deadly break-up of a protester camp two years ago. The protesters have demanded justice for those killed in the 2019 violence.
MSNBCMSNBC anchor Ayman Mohyeldin repeatedly confronted a former Israeli ambassador on Tuesday as the cross-border fighting between Gaza militants and Israel continues to escalate, wondering aloud if he’d recognize that Israel is possibly responsible for “war crimes.”After an Israeli airstrike leveled a 14-story apartment complex in Gaza City on Monday, a Tel Aviv neighborhood was hit by Palestinian rocket fire on Tuesday, killing three. Dozens of Israelis have also reportedly received medical treatment. At the same time, amid Israeli airstrikes, health officials in Gaza said at least 26 Palestinians have been killed, including nine children, and over 100 others wounded.While the current tensions were apparently triggered by a violent police raid on a mosque in Jerusalem this week, the undercurrent of the conflict is decades—if not centuries—old, something Mohyeldin drilled down on in his interview with former Israeli Ambassador to the United Kingdom Mark Regev.Noting that the Israel Foreign Ministry recently said that “Palestinian terror groups are presenting a real-estate dispute between private groups as a nationalistic cause,” the MSNBC anchor brought up 2009 remarks made by a Jewish settler who took over a Palestinian home.“We take house after house because we prove in the court that this area belonged to the Jewish. And because of that, all this area will be a Jewish neighborhood. A dream that all East Jerusalem will be like West Jerusalem, Jewish capital of Israel,” the Jewish claimant said at the time.Pointing out that the man is now on the Jerusalem City Council, Mohyeldin said this sounds less like a “land dispute” and more like a “stated strategy to remove Palestinians from East Jerusalem” to make it a Jewish city.“He was speaking for himself,” Regev responded.“He’s the spokesman for a settler organization,” the MSNBC anchor retorted.“I understand. He is speaking for himself and the organization,” Regev said, before invoking Mohyeldin’s prior guest, a Palestinian evicted from East Jerusalem.“The person who you had on before was speaking for himself and his organization,” he added. “He basically said Israel had no right to exist, he said my country was built on stealing other people’s land. So you have different opinions on both sides, very strong opinions on both sides.”Mohyeldin followed up by reading a recent statement by the deputy mayor of Jerusalem, who said last week that there’s a “wider strategy” of placing Jews throughout the eastern part of Jerusalem so as to achieve the larger goal of making Jerusalem a capital for Jewish people.“How should Arabs who are living in Jerusalem interpret statements like this by the deputy mayor of this city?” Mohyeldin asked.From there, the interview grew a bit more heated, with Regev complaining that Mohyeldin was constantly interrupting and pressing him to answer specific questions, something Regev felt the anchor didn’t do to his previous guest.Mohyeldin, meanwhile, continued to press the ex-ambassador about inflammatory rhetoric from Israeli officials, such as the deputy mayor saying Palestinian activists should be “shot in the head.”“To be fair, there were people demonstrating with Hamas flags. You know, Hamas calls for the murder of all Israelis. How am I supposed to see that? If you want to find extremists and say that represents Israel, you can do that,” Regev reacted.“He’s the deputy mayor of Jerusalem. I’m not selecting a fringe element,” Mohyeldin shot back.Eventually, the MSNBC host noted that the United Nations doesn’t recognize Israeli sovereignty over East Jerusalem, challenging Regev on whether or not he felt evictions of Palestinian families in the area were criminal.“A spokesperson for the United Nations’ high commissioner said any actions in Jerusalem that are enforced that would ultimately evict Palestinian families under international humanitarian law may amount to a war crime,” Mohyeldin stated. “What do you say to the international community who does not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over East Jerusalem and says what you’re doing to families like [the previous guest’s] and others is possibly a war crime?”Regev described this as the “politicization of international law” before blasting the U.N for its “anti-Israel agenda” and claiming the organization doesn’t “have a lot of legitimacy on the issue.” He also suggested Palestinians have no rightful claim to territory in Jerusalem since “Israel reunited the city in 1967” and, before that, the area was occupied by Jordanians and the British.“We’re not going down the history lessons here because, as you mentioned, you don’t recognize Palestinian claims to their homes in 1948 Israel or East Jerusalem. You won’t allow them to use the same judicial process that you’re advocating for Israelis to use,” Mohyeldin pushed back.“Don’t put words in my mouth,” Regev fired back. “I said what happened in 1948, that’s what you’re talking about here, I said there were almost a million Jews who were thrown out of their homes in the Arab countries.”“There were less than that, Palestinian Arabs, who fled the fighting here,” he concluded. “And just as we made homes for the Jews, and my wife’s family were expelled from Syria, had that terrible journey on foot from Syria to Israel, we think it’s fair that the Arab world would accept their Arab brothers and sisters and integrate them. I think that’s fair history.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
Egypt on Tuesday announced plans to widen and deepen the southern part of the Suez Canal where a hulking vessel ran aground and closed off the crucial waterway in March. The head of the Suez Canal Authority, Lt. Gen. Osama Rabe, announced details of the plan in a televised ceremony in the canal’s city of Ismailia. The plan includes widening the canal’s southernmost stretch by about 40 meters (yards) to the east, on the side of the Sinai Peninsula, Rabei said.
Police have referred an investigation into graffiti on the campus of Bates College that targeted Israel and supported Palestinian rights to the state Attorney General’s Office as a possible hate crime. A social media account affiliated with some Bates College students posted photos on Sunday showing what appeared to be chalk graffiti on the college's campus that supported Palestinian rights and targeted Israel, the Lewiston Sun Journal reported.
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tore into President Biden's foreign policy regarding Israel and Iran, saying its stance on the long-standing disputes in the region "emboldens terrorists."
Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard forces on Tuesday killed seven militants and dismantled their cell in the country's northwest near the border with Turkey, Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency reported. Two Guard members were also killed in the shootout. IRNA said the “group of terrorists” had snuck into Iran illegally from Turkey.
Turkey’s top diplomat met with his counterpart in Saudi Arabia Tuesday on his first official trip in years, as the country pushes to repair damaged ties with the kingdom that reached a low point over the 2018 killing in Istanbul of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. “We discussed in an open and sincere way what can be done in our bilateral relations, the areas where we have problems, how we can resolve them,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters after his meeting with Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud. “It's not enough to condemn (the violence), the (Muslim) community is expecting us to take some steps,” Cavusoglu said.
A man accused of killing eight people, six of them women of Asian descent, in shootings at three Atlanta-area massage businesses was indicted Tuesday on murder charges by two separate grand juries, and one prosecutor filed notice that she’ll also seek hate crime charges and the death penalty. A Fulton County grand jury indicted Robert Aaron Long, 22, in the March 16 slayings of Suncha Kim, 69; Soon Chung Park, 74; Hyun Jung Grant, 51; and Yong Ae Yue, 63.
Britain called on Tuesday for the European Union to show pragmatism over the issue of Northern Irish trade, which has been disrupted by rules imposed since a Brexit deal agreed between London and Brussels at the end of last year. "We’re committed to working through the issues with the EU urgently and in good faith," British negotiator and junior minister David Frost said in a statement. "I hope they will take a common sense, risk-based approach that enables us to agree a pragmatic way forward that substantially eases the burdens on Northern Ireland."
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard seems more focused on internal dissent than external threats. Is that a failure of imagination, or a system overwhelmed?
France has lifted a ban on Jersey fishermen landing their catch after the Channel Island granted a two-month delay to the controversial post-Brexit fishing licences. Last week the Council of La Manche, Normandy, prevented Jersey vessels from landing their catches in Granville, Barneville-Carteret and Dielette. The fleet was stopped from landing for around five days, fishermen told The Telegraph, with one actively prevented from landing in Carteret on Thursday. Welcoming the news, the Jersey government said the action was “not compliant” with the terms of the Brexit trade deal – the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA). But on Tuesday night, the Normandy Fishing committee threatened to block a Jersey freight vessel, the Normandy Trader, from leaving the port of Granville on Wednesday if it attempted to land. Didier Leguelinel, from the committee, told The Telegraph "it won't be allowed to leave", suggesting the fishermen intended to take the law into their hands with or without a ban. Chris Le Masurier, skipper of the Normandy Trader, said that he decided not to land in Granville on Tuesday but instead went to Saint Malo, Brittany. He told The Telegraph the harbourmaster at Granville said he would not be allowed in. "I just want to carry on and work. I’m tired of all this toing and froing, it’s driving me absolutely potty," he said. The Jersey government defended its decision to issue new restrictions on fishing licences for French vessels, which caused outcry in Paris and Brussels last week. A flotilla of 60 French fishing boats blockaded Jersey’s main port of St Helier on Thursday in protest.
‘We must rethink our approach,’ acting chief of the agency charged with protecting federal networks said in Senate testimony Fuel prices are on the rise, due to a cyberattack on one of the top US fuel pipelines forced it to shut down. Photograph: C Neil Decrescenzo/Zuma Wire/Rex/Shutterstock The US must “rethink our approach to cybersecurity”, the acting chief of the agency charged with protecting federal networks told senators on Tuesday, as fallout from the Colonial pipeline ransomware attack saw panic-buying begin at some gas stations while the energy industry moved to shore up systems of supply. “As the pace and scale of cyber threats we face expands so must our response tool kit,” Brandon Wales, acting director of the Cybersecurity and Information Security Agency (Cisa), said in Senate testimony. “We need sustained investment to modernize and protect our most critical federal systems, as well as state and local governments, suffering under budget restraints and facing increasingly aggressive ransomware operators.” The Colonial pipeline network moves fuels including gasoline, diesel and jet fuel from the Gulf coast east. The ransomware attack against it was made public last week. On Friday, Colonial shut its 5,500-mile network in order to protect its systems. It has restarted some smaller lines. The FBI said DarkSide, a collective of cybercriminals, was responsible for the attack. A statement purporting to be from DarkSide said it aimed for financial rather than geopolitical gain. Wales said: “Threats and technology are advancing substantially. It’s not surprising that a criminal enterprise like this is going after increasingly important targets. We’ve seen this over the past two years.” DarkSide appears to have links to countries from the former Soviet Union. At the White House on Monday, Joe Biden said he would ask the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, to take action. “We have efforts under way with the FBI and DoJ to disrupt and prosecute ransomware criminals,” the US president added. On Tuesday, Moscow denied any involvement in the pipeline attack. “Russia has nothing to do with these hacker attacks, and had nothing to do with the previous hacker attacks,” Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Putin, told reporters. “We categorically do not accept any accusations against us.” US environmental regulators issued an emergency fuel waiver, to help alleviate any gasoline shortages in mid-atlantic states. Panic buying has caused gas stations from Virginia to Louisiana to begin to run dry. One Washington DC-area fuel distributor told Bloomberg shortages were imminent. “It’s going to be catastrophic,” said John Patrick, chief operating officer of Liberty Petroleum in Chester, Maryland. “Governors should declare a state of emergency and ask people chasing tanker trucks to gas stations to stay home. School buses stay put.” Average retail gasoline prices touched $3 a gallon, their highest since late 2014, exacerbating fears of broader inflationary pressures on the economy. The Environmental Protection Agency said its rule waiver, which relaxes some standards usually applied to fuel, would run through 18 May for fuel sold in Washington DC, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia. On its website, the EPA says waivers “help ensure that an adequate supply of fuel is available, particularly for emergency vehicle needs”. Seeking to combat gasoline shortages, North Carolina has suspended restrictions on shipments. The attack has also forced Gulf coast refineries to scale back operations due to lack of storage space. Refiners had also booked at least five tankers to store gasoline, according to sources and shipping data. The tankers, booked by Marathon Petroleum, Valero Energy, Phillips 66 and PBF Energy, can hold around 350,000 tonnes of fuel. Two were booked for up to a month and three were provisional bookings that could be cancelled, according to data and shipbroking sources. Traders also booked several tankers to ship gasoline and diesel from Europe to the US east coast. French oil major Total SE and commodities trading houses Vitol and Trafigura each booked 90,000-tonne tankers to ship diesel on the transatlantic route, data showed, a relatively rare route as Europe consumes more diesel than it produces. Several Gulf coast refiners that rely on Colonial for shipments cut output. Total and Motiva Enterprises cut gasoline production at their refineries in Port Arthur, Texas, and Citgo Petroleum pared back at its plant in Lake Charles, Louisiana, sources said.
NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP via Getty ImagesMOSCOW—President Vladimir Putin immediately ordered an overhaul of laws allowing civilians access to semi-automatic weapons after the latest tragic example of Russia’s outbreak of U.S.-style school shootings.At least nine people were killed after an attack using a semi-automatic shotgun in the city of Kazan on Monday. Children—who have become accustomed to deadly ‘Columbiner’ rampages across Russia over the last ten years—were so terrified that they leaped from classroom windows to escape the shooting.Horrifying video circulating on social media shows students plummeting from third-floor windows. Local outlets reported that at least two students died from the fall. At least seven students and two school staffers were killed in total. The suspect, identified as Ilnaz Galyaviyev, 19, was arrested at the scene.Columbine-Inspired Shootings Surge Among Young RussiansThe alleged shooter posted a selfie on Telegram before the massacre, posing in front of a mirror wearing a blood-red face mask and an armored vest with pockets loaded and zipped. On May 6, he posted, “I will kill a huge number of biological garbage.” It is not yet clear if the attacker’s social media profiles were linked to the dystopian online world of Russian Columbine school shooting fans known as Columbiners.It was supposed to be a day of celebration at school #175 in the semi-autonomous republic of Tatarstan in southern Russia. The kids were dressed up in white shirts and preparing to mark Victory Day, remembering the veterans of World War II.The weapon used in the shooting—a Hatsan Escort semi-automatic shotgun—was manufactured by the same Turkish company that made the pump-action shotgun used to kill 21 students during the Kerch Polytechnic College massacre in Crimea in 2018.The Kremlin said it would move to introduce further restrictions on gun ownership, in a country where the rules are already much tighter than the U.S.“The president gave an order to urgently work out a new provision concerning the types of weapons that can be in civilian hands, taking into account the weapon [used today],” said Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov.Russians own more than 20 million guns, under permits for hunting and sport. Weapons with magazines that have more than ten cartridges or fire bursts of bullets are already outlawed. In order to be granted a permit, citizens must obtain a mental health certificate from a medical professional.The Russian parliament has already considered a law designed to punish doctors for misdiagnosing patients or giving firearms permits to people with mental health issues. The trouble is, you can also buy a psychologist's medical certificate for less than $20 online.Alexander Verkhovsky, head of SOVA Center—which monitors radical youth groups—told The Daily Beast that his organization has tracked several social media groups created by Russian teens devoted to fetishizing the Columbine high school massacre.Crimea Attack Teen ‘Dreamed’ of Giving Russia Its Own Columbine Massacre“Russian Columbiners are just people haters. They are not politically motivated,” he said.Whatever their motivation, their actions have ended the lives of dozens of young people across Russia.On October 17, 2018, an 18-year old college student, Vladislav Roslyakov, killed 21 and injured 61 people at school in Crimea. Last year, another teenager, 18-year-old Danila Monakhov, killed seven before committing suicide in the city of Nizhny Novgorod. Before embarking on his rampage, Monakhov posted on social media, "The day of resurrection is coming soon.” The shooter listed his birthday as the same day of the Columbine massacre: April 20, 1999.Heartbroken families affected by this latest attack demanded to know why the school had such poor security. Officials explained that there are at least 40,000 schools in Russia, and that it would be impossible to provide armed security to each school.By one account, the alleged shooter wanted to exact revenge on a former teacher: “She told him he would fail in high school, that he had to leave after the 9th grade, which he did,” one peer told a Russian radio station, adding that the suspect was a quiet student and did not have many friends.Verkhovsky explained that he wouldn’t be surprised if the Kazan suspect had been egged on in Russian Colombiner chatrooms. “I think the Kerch shooter, who killed more than 20 people, impresses them,” he said.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
As the Israel-Palestine conflict escalates, the lack of a U.S. ambassador to Israel or a consul general in Jerusalem for Palestinians is becoming more glaring, Aaron David Miller, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said Tuesday. I realize the Administration has lowballed and deprioritized the Middle East and Israeli-Palestinian issue. But the lack of an Ambassador to Israel and a consul general in Jerusalem is a serious problem during a crisis. — Aaron David Miller (@aarondmiller2) May 11, 2021 In an earlier tweet, Miller wrote that the Biden administration's decision to remain mostly out of the fray has resulted in Israel and Hamas emerging as the "key decision-makers" at the moment, which is "not an uplifting thought." Walla News' Barak Ravid seemed to agree that the unhurried approach is befuddling amid a "huge crisis," noting that the Biden administration has appointed envoys for Iran, Libya, the Horn of Africa, and Yemen. "This doesn't make any sense," he tweeted. While the Biden administration clearly wants to play a more restrained role in the Middle East than past administrations, it does seem that moving more quickly on tapping diplomatic officials could be necessary. On Monday, Gilad Erdan, the Israeli ambassador to the U.S., tweeted (in Hebrew) his displeasure with the State Department's current messaging, Politico reports, suggesting the need for more direct engagement. More stories from theweek.comTed Cruz walks out of gun violence hearing after failing to change the subjectFederal judge dismisses NRA's bankruptcy caseMcCarthy is reportedly gambling that dumping Liz Cheney will get Trump to help make him House speaker
Great Eastern Brood set to emerge in the last two weeks of May and into early June, with hordes of bugs to push up from underground Brood cicadas emerge in Fairfax, Virginia. Nowhere will the hatching be more intense than around Washington. Photograph: Carol Guzy/Zuma/Rex/Shutterstock Brood X, otherwise known as the great cicada hatching of 2021, is drawing closer as soil temperatures in some parts of America move closer to 64F (18C) – the trigger, according to scientists, for trillions of the insects to push up to the surface and into the trees to mate. It is a remarkable 17-year-life cycle for the hordes of bugs, who form different broods that emerge at different times and who remain underground for almost their entire lives before briefly emerging to mate and then die. Brood X – or the Great Eastern Brood – is the group of cicadas that spread over tracts of the north-east of the US, including New York and Washington, as well as parts of the midwest and West Virginia. Their emergence is a bonanza for predators, including copperhead snakes, who are also eagerly awaiting Brood X’s return to the surface. Birds, squirrels, bats, wasps, mantises, spiders and robber flies are also set to feast on the swarm. But this time, some US chefs and bug enthusiasts are looking to adopt traditions of entomophagy – the consumption of insects – in both ceremonial and nutritional terms. Nowhere will the hatching be more intense than around Washington. “Maryland is at the epicenter of the cicada emergence, so there will be spectacular numbers of cicadas emerging very heavily,” Michael Raupp, professor emeritus of entomology at the University of Maryland, known for his Bug Guy blog, told WJLA. “But the big ‘cicada-palooza’ is going to happen the last two weeks of May and into early June. So in some areas, there will be 1.5 million cicadas per acre emerging from the ground,” Raupp added. According to a recent report in Indian Country Today, the Indigenous Food Lab in Minneapolis is preparing to revive cicadas as a food source. Sean Sherman, founder and chief of the Sioux Chef and member of the Oglala Lakota, told the outlet that the non-profit wants to put insects on the menu at his new restaurant, Owamni, opening this month. “We have all sorts of amazing, diverse proteins across North America. If you’re looking at food from an Indigenous perspective, you really have to include insects,” Sherman, who won the 2018 James Beard award for best American cookbook, The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen, told Indian Country Today. “Edible insects such as grasshoppers are still used in Mexico today; the history of colonialism has stripped away our Indigenous foods, depicting them as inferior,” Sherman said, adding that “people should be open to exploring protein options beyond cows, chicken and pigs.” The recommendation comes amid increased awareness of the environmental costs of beef, hog and poultry production. In aquaculture, too, the depletion of wild fish stocks and attendant damage from farmed substitutes is forcing the industry to consider other sources of nutrition. According to “Edible insects: Future prospects for food and feed security,” a 2013 report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, “edible insects contain high quality protein, vitamins and amino acids for humans. Insects have a high food conversion rate, e.g. crickets need six times less feed than cattle, four times less than sheep, and twice less than pigs and broiler chickens to produce the same amount of protein.” Besides, the paper continued: “They emit less greenhouse gases and ammonia than conventional livestock.” Other chefs are planning to follow suit. Joseph Yoon, executive director of Brooklyn Bugs, told the Washington Post he wants to try them at every point in their four- to six-week life cycle. “There’s so much beauty in the unknown,” he said. Gene Kritsky, author of Periodical Cicadas: the Brood X Edition, said he had tried cicadas sauteed, blanched, in pies and stir fry, though battered and fried with cocktail sauce is best.
Michel Barnier has called for all non-European Union immigration into France to be banned for up to five years. The EU’s former Brexit negotiator said immigration was “not working” in what is seen as a pitch to lead the centre-Right Republicains into next year’s presidential elections. “I think that effectively we need to take some time, between three to five years, and suspend immigration,” he said in comments aimed at sapping support from rival candidate Marine Le Pen. “I’m not talking about students, I’m not talking about refugees who must be treated with humanity and strength. But we need to rebuild the whole process,” he told French television. Mr Barnier has previously warned that France could follow the UK out of the EU amid “social unrest and anger” over immigration and Europe’s failure to defend its borders. He said Paris should hold talks with its EU allies about how to strengthen the bloc’s border controls and about the passport-free Schengen Zone. “The problems with immigration are not moderate ...We need to talk to our neighbours about the Schengen Agreement, we possibly need to put in stricter border controls,” Mr Barnier said. Mr Barnier criticised Nigel Farage for his use of immigration in the Brexit referendum campaign in his recently published diary of the negotiations.
LONDON (Reuters) -British Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised to tackle inequality and "level up" the country on Tuesday with a post-pandemic raft of laws presented by Queen Elizabeth to parliament. In a ceremony stripped back because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the queen, who wore a day dress instead of the usual robes and crown, read out the bills the government hopes to pass during the next year on everything from job creation and healthcare to stripping back post-Brexit bureaucracy. After travelling to parliament by car rather than the traditional horse and carriage, the queen, in her first major public appearance since the death of her husband Prince Philip last month, read out the government's agenda for the new parliamentary year.
The Washington Post has named Associated Press executive editor Sally Buzbee as its new executive editor, effective June 1.Why it matters: Buzbee replaces legendary editor Marty Baron, who retired at the end of February. She will be the first woman to lead the newsroom in The Post's 144-year history.Get market news worthy of your time with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free.What they're saying: "Sally Buzbee has an exceptional record of achievement and a tremendous wealth of experience in leading a global news organization," Washington Post Publisher Fred Ryan wrote in a memo to staff.“In an extensive search that included many of the best journalists in America, Sally stood out as the right person to lead The Post going forward. She is widely admired for her absolute integrity, boundless energy, and dedication to the essential role journalism plays in safeguarding our democracy.”Between the lines: While Baron's retirement wasn't a surprise, his departure seemed rather abrupt to media insiders, especially given that The Post hadn't yet hired an editor to replace him. The Post named managing editor Cameron Barr as interim editor in late February, just before Baron stepped aside. Be smart: Baron's successor has been the subject of intense speculation for months. Sources told Axios that the decision was made by a very tight-knit group of top executives, including The Post's publisher Fred Ryan and its owner Jeff Bezos. Other names that were floated for the role, as Axios previously reported, include former Post managing editor and ESPN executive Kevin Merida, who was recently named executive editor at the Los Angeles Times, and National Geographic editor in chief Susan Goldberg.The big picture: Buzbee will be tasked with continuing to grow The Post's reputation for strong, investigative journalism, while also being open to experimentation with new technologies and ideas. She will also need to navigate the Post's newsroom through difficult questions around the role of activism in journalism, especially at a time when news companies are expected do more to address diversity and inclusion.The Post has been able to successfully transition its brand into the digital era under Bezos' ownership and Baron's editorial leadership. Under Baron, The Post launched a major video unit and hired a full-time TikTok reporter. It expanded its tech and business coverage and made new investments in data journalism. What to watch: The AP announced it will immediately begin its search for a new executive editor, which it expects to take a few months."As AP’s top editor, Buzbee has directed AP’s global news report throughout the Trump administration, the #MeToo movement, Brexit, the COVID-19 pandemic, protests over racial injustice and the 2020 U.S. election," AP said in a press release. "This is bittersweet news for the AP. Sally has been an exceptional leader, guiding AP’s journalists and news report through some of the most pivotal news events of our time," said AP president and CEO Gary Pruitt.Go deeper: Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post editor Marty Baron retiresLike this article? Get more from Axios and subscribe to Axios Markets for free.
Kingspan’s upgraded Modesto, California manufacturing facility now uses upcycled plastic bottles in manufacturing, adding PV solar roofDELAND, Fla., May 11, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Kingspan Insulated Panels North America announces new sustainability initiatives as part of the company’s global Planet Passionate program, an ambitious, decade-long commitment to cutting carbon emissions between 2020 and 2030. Through upcycling, renewable energy and a PV solar roof, a large investment in Kingspan’s plant in Modesto, California, puts Kingspan a step closer to meeting its global target with a focus on three areas: Energy: powering 60% of all Kingspan operations directly from renewable energy with a minimum of 20% of this energy generated on manufacturing sitesCarbon: achieving net zero carbon manufacturing and a 50% reduction in product CO2 intensity from primary supply partnersCircularity: upcycling of 1 billion PET bottles per annum into insulation products plus zero company waste to landfill across all sites The Modesto plant is using upcycled PET plastic water bottles as a key raw material input for manufacturing Kingspan’s QuadCore® insulation, as part of the global effort to meet Planet Passionate goals of upcycling a billion water bottles a year worldwide. This is a critical step toward cleaning up the world’s beaches and oceans, while providing between 9% and 12% recycled content to Kingspan’s insulation foam, depending on panel thickness. According to the United Nations, the world produces 300 million tons of plastic waste each year, which is equivalent to the weight of the entire human population. Even more alarming is that 8% ends up in the world’s oceans. The UN estimates that by 2050, if nothing changes, the oceans could contain more plastic than fish. Kingspan is also reducing its own carbon footprint by installing a PV solar panel roof at its Modesto plant to generate roughly 1.4 MW of on-site electricity. When finalized this summer, the Modesto plant will be on the road to meeting Kingspan’s global Planet Passionate goal of 60% direct renewable energy, while contributing to 20% on-site renewable generation. As of 2018, electricity production accounted for more than 26% of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The reliance on clean energy cuts both carbon emissions and pollution. “We need to address every aspect of sustainability when it comes to the built environment. With each plant, we are finding new ways to meet and even exceed our goals in order to fulfill our commitment to tackling climate change,” said Brent Trenga, Kingspan’s Director of Sustainability. “It is critical to our planet that we assess carbon emissions in every step of the manufacturing process. We must examine every aspect from the energy sources to the materials used.” In addition to being more energy efficient, the plant can manufacture insulated panels at almost double the speed of its predecessor and has a state-of-the-art autonomous online conditional monitoring system, making it Kingspan’s most advanced insulated panel manufacturing plant globally. The 138,500 sq. ft. plant employs a staff of 85 and is the City of Modesto’s third largest employer. Total investment for the plant is around $23 million and it is one of Kingspan’s five plants in North America. Kingspan has been operating in Modesto, California, since 2008. To learn more about Kingspan, visit www.kingspanpanels.us. About Kingspan Insulated Panels – North America Kingspan Insulated Panels – North America is a business unit of Kingspan, a global company operating in more than 60 countries, with over 140 manufacturing facilities. Kingspan Insulated Panels – North America manufactures and markets three groups of products at its U.S. and Canadian facilities: insulated metal wall and roof panel systems for commercial/industrial construction; insulated architectural panel and façade systems for design-driven projects; and controlled environment panels and doors for cold-storage and climate-controlled warehousing. In addition to its commitment to quality and innovation, the company is on the leading edge of the sustainability movement, offering best-of-class products produced in state-of-the-art, eco-friendly facilities. To learn more visit www.kingspanpanels.us. Media Contact: Alyssa CohenUproar PR for Kingspan Insulated Panels North America 321-236-0102 email@example.com
Sunrise over Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota. NPS/FlickrPresident Joe Biden calls climate change “the existential crisis of our time” and has taken steps to curb it that match those words. They include returning the U.S. to the Paris Agreement; creating a new climate Cabinet position; introducing a plan to slash fossil fuel subsidies; and announcing ambitious goals to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. But climate change is not the only global environmental threat that demands attention. Scientists widely agree that loss of wildlife and the natural environment is an equally urgent crisis. Some argue that biodiversity loss threatens to become Earth’s sixth mass extinction. But unlike efforts to fight climate change – which center on clear, measurable goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – there is no globally accepted metric for saving biodiversity. As an expert on budgeting and public finance, I know that governments and private businesses alike pay much more attention to resources when they have a well-defined price tag. I believe that overhauling society’s concept of wealth to include “natural capital” – the value nature provides to humans – is a critical step for slowing and reversing the loss of precious ecosytems. Economist Dieter Helm offers strategies for establishing natural capital policy. What is natural capital? Natural capital can be defined as the world’s stocks of natural assets – soil, air, water, grasslands, forests, wetlands, rocks and minerals – and all of its living things, from mammals and fish to plants and microbes. Conservation experts estimate that these resources contribute more than US$125 trillion to the global economy every year. Humans depend on nature’s contributions for survival. For example, forests absorb carbon and filter the water we drink. Wetlands and coral reefs mitigate flooding. Bees and other insects pollinate crops, enabling us to grow food. But human societies don’t formally recognize the economic value of these services. This oversight encourages people to recklessly deplete the natural environment. A recent review of the economics of biodiversity, commissioned by the U.K. government and led by Cambridge University economist Sir Parth Dasgupta, warns that human prosperity is growing at a “devastating cost to nature” and estimates that it would take 1.6 Earths to maintain the world’s current living standards. The report calls for the world to treat nature like an asset to be reported in financial statements and national accounts. The Capitals Coalition, a global consortium of 380 initiatives and businesses, is trying to “change the math.” The organization seeks to persuade at least half of the world’s businesses, financial institutions and governments to incorporate natural capital into their decision-making by 2030. Globally, researchers estimate that public and private spending that harms natural assets is significantly higher than spending to protect and enhance them. Dasgupta Review, CC BY-ND Valuing ecosystems Current accounting methods used by corporations and governments largely ignore what ecosystems and their services contribute to the economy and to human social well-being, jobs and livelihoods. As a consequence, modern societies spend far more on investments that deplete or exploit natural assets than they do to preserve them. Under the current model, short-term economic gains typically win out against longer-term ecological benefits. For example, failing to maintain forests can spark wildfires. And constructing homes on fragile coastal wetlands can erode soil and reduce fish stocks, destroying local communities. A recent study by the Paulson Institute, a research institute founded by former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, estimated that global investments that degrade nature exceed conservation efforts by $600 billion to $824 billion per year. Natural capital accounting would require businesses and governments to calculate how human activity affects nature, much as they assess depreciation of buildings or machinery. Analyzed in this way, nature is a financial asset, and damage to it becomes a liability. This approach creates incentives to conserve natural resources and restore others that have been degraded or depleted. Land cleared for a palm oil plantation in Indonesia in 2016. Experts say that valuing assets like tropical forests will spur greater protection of nature. Ulet Ilfasanti/Getty Images Global recognition of this issue is growing. In March 2021 the United Nations updated a statistical framework for standardizing ecosystem accounting, which was first published in 2012. These guidelines help countries track changes in ecosystems and their services and provide leaders with a baseline with which to compare their stocks and flows when making policy decisions. Some 90 countries have adopted this System of Environmental Economic Accounting and produced baseline “national capital accounts.” They include European Union members, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and more than 40 developing countries. The U.S. is planning to implement this approach but has not done so yet. Assessing nature’s value Placing values on natural assets is really no different from government assessments of the benefits of new roads, bridges and other infrastructure. People intuitively understand that natural resources are precious. And the COVID-19 pandemic has made clear how closely human health is intertwined with the health of the planet. In response to the biodiversity crisis, President Biden has aligned the U.S. with the global 30x30 campaign, a plan to protect at least 30% of the planet’s land and oceans by 2030. Multiple scientific studies have shown that achieving this goal would conserve species, store carbon, prevent future pandemics and boost economic growth. The year 2021 marks the start of the U.N. Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, which aims to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems worldwide. Today, according to a recent study, less than 3% of the world’s land remains ecologically intact with healthy wildlife populations and undisturbed habitat. [Get the best of The Conversation, every weekend. Sign up for our weekly newsletter.] The U.S has lost decades of potential progress since Congress suspended fledgling efforts by the Bureau of Economic Analysis to develop environmental accounting methods in 1995. Researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey and other federal agencies are now urging the U.S. to adopt national capital accounts using the U.N. framework. In contrast, the U.K. created public environmental accounts and set up a Natural Capital Committee in 2012, led by its finance ministry, to help corporations develop natural capital accounts. Today, the U.K. maintains these accounts, which capture data on the size, condition, quantity and value of habitats and ecosystem services. President Biden could empower the U.S. Treasury Department to spearhead a similar initiative. Adopting metrics to measure and track the benefits people receive from wildlife and ecosystems would clarify how human activities affect nature and show how much investment is needed to reverse humanity’s current destructive trajectory. Conservation advocates will be much better positioned to protect our planet’s resources with a strong balance sheet to back it up.This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts. It was written by: Linda J. Bilmes, Harvard Kennedy School. Read more:Bringing scientific rigor to ‘ecosystem services’To solve climate change and biodiversity loss, we need a Global Deal for Nature Dr. Linda J. Bilmes has served as the United States member of United Nations Committee of Experts on Public Administration since 2017. She has previously received funding from the National Park Foundation for research related to the economics of National Park assets.
“If Facebook lets Trump back on Facebook and Instagram, he'll assuredly restart his assault on democracy.”
“Facebook should have known better than to believe that it could limit speech on its platform without setting a terrible precedent.”
“Providing a microphone and an amplifier for deceit isn't fighting the good fight for free speech.”
“It’s no defense of Mr. Trump’s conduct to say that the digital public square shouldn’t suppress speech by political leaders.”
“The former president no longer gets the ‘head of state’ exception to terms of service.”