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NOAA reveals “new normals” for U.S. climate as average temps are heating up
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration revealed new standards on Tuesday for what an average or “normal” U.S. climate looks like, showing average temperatures in the U.S. rising significantly.Why it matters: Shifting the baseline for normal temperatures highlights just how quickly climate change is affecting conditions on Earth. Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with Axios Markets. Subscribe for freeUpdating these standards is important for helping shape government policies and what your local weather forecaster says the “average” high temperature is on a given date.The big picture: NOAA releases climate averages for the preceding 30-year period every 10 years. The “climate normals” released Tuesday cover 1991-2020 and indicate that the U.S. climate has warmed, and also become wetter over time. NOAA noted that parts of the U.S. may also get drier, due to climate change.”The influence of long-term global warming is obvious,” per a press release.The new normals may shift how the climate is described for particular parts of the U.S.With the changes, Fairbanks, Alaska is no longer considered a sub-Arctic climate, but is now termed a “warm summer continental” climate.Our thought bubble, via Axios’ climate reporter Andrew Freedman: The new normals, released Tuesday, show how the U.S. is getting warmer and, overall, wetter as climate change continues. There are some exceptions to the rule, though, with warming especially pronounced in the Northeast and West, and rainfall coming in shorter, heavier bursts. The West has become drier with time, too.Like this article? Get more from Axios and subscribe to Axios Markets for free.
UK prosecutor ends investigation into Airbus individuals: sources
Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has ended a criminal investigation into individuals associated with Airbus, the European planemaker that agreed to a record $4.0 billion global settlement 16 months ago, sources said on Tuesday. Three sources familiar with the investigation said the SFO had written to former suspects to say it would take no further action. Overseas prosecutors could, however, take a different view in cases where suspects face more than one inquiry.
Diplomatic dance or standoff? N.Korea and U.S. tread cautious line
While North Korea’s barrage of complaints about U.S. President Joe Biden’s policies over the weekend might appear to be ratcheting up tensions, some signs suggest Pyongyang hasn’t ruled out diplomacy with the new team in Washington. But some analysts say that despite its bluster, North Korea doesn’t appear to have shut the door entirely on the Biden administration just yet. “There are signs that Washington and Pyongyang are in the early, cautious stages of a diplomatic dance,” the U.S.-based 38 North programme, which monitors North Korea, said in a report on Monday.
Despite Biden’s ban of menthol cigarettes, getting Blacks to quit smoking remains a challenge
Exclusive: Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra says the Biden administration wants to “save lives in the Black community.” President Joe Biden is taking aim at the tobacco industry with another racial equity move to ban menthol cigarettes. The administration’s decision stands to be a life-changing proposition, especially in the Black community, which is harder hit with nicotine addiction than other groups.
Harris Claims ‘Lack of Climate Resilience’ among ‘Root Causes’ of Migration to U.S.
Vice President Kamala Harris described a “lack of climate resilience” as one of the “root causes” of migration from Central America to the U.S., in a speech to the Washington Conference on the Americas on Tuesday. “We are focused on addressing both the acute factors and the root causes of migration,” Harris said. Harris noted the “acute factors” as hurricanes, the coronavirus pandemic, ongoing drought and “food insecurity” in Central America. “And then there are the longstanding issues: the root causes” Harris said. “And I’m thinking of corruption, violence, and poverty; the lack of economic opportunity; the lack of climate adaptation and resilience; the lack of good governance.” VP Harris claims “the lack of climate adaptation and climate resilience” are “root causes” driving the surge at the southern border pic.twitter.com/7hYYRsnI3t — Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) May 4, 2021 Harris’s comments come as the Biden administration attempts to handle a surge of illegal immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border. U.S. Customs and Border Protection has projected that the number of migrants encountered at the border in April would roughly equal that of March, when border agents detained 172,331 migrants, the Washington Post reported. About 122,000 migrants were detained in the first three weeks of April, according to preliminary data obtained by CNN. While the number of unaccompanied minors arriving at the U.S. dropped slightly in April, the Department of Health and Human Services currently holds over 22,500 migrant children and teens. President Biden appointed Harris in March to lead an effort to stem the surge in illegal crossings, but the White House was forced to clarify that Harris’s role is diplomatic and deals with the “root causes” of migration from Central American nations, rather than focusing on enforcement at the border. “Her focus is not on the border. It’s on addressing the root causes in the Northern Triangle,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said last week, referring to the countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
America’s new normal: A degree hotter than two decades ago
America’s new normal temperature is a degree hotter than it was just two decades ago. Scientists have long talked about climate change — hotter temperatures, changes in rain and snowfall and more extreme weather — being the “new normal.”
Oregon fights COVID-19 uptick, reminding the U.S. the pandemic isn’t over yet
COVID-19 cases and deaths are declining in the U.S. and Europe, and much of the U.S. and Europe are starting to relax safety restrictions and shift back toward pre-pandemic life. New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut announced Monday they plan to fully reopen May 19. Los Angeles County reported a second day of zero COVID-19 deaths on Monday. But Michigan is battling its way out of its recent surge, fueled by the more transmissible B.1.1.7 variant first found in Britain — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) has tied lower restrictions to higher vaccination rates. And the coronavirus is raging out of control in parts of South America and India. Oregon, like India, managed to avoid big outbreaks in the first waves of the pandemic, and Gov. Kate Brown (D) moved last week to make sure Oregon’s new outbreak doesn’t blow up. Brown put new restrictions on 15 counties deemed at “extreme risk” for COVID-19 spread, and more counties are expected to be added this week. The governor said the measures — no indoor service at bars and restaurants, expanded outdoor dining capacity, and limits at gyms, movie theaters, and other businesses — will last no more than three weeks, and she plans for Oregon to be fully reopened by July. Brown told CBS Evening News on Monday that Oregon is in a race between vaccinations and the B.1.1.7 variant, and right now the variant is winning. The B.1.1.7 variant, now the dominant strain in Oregon, spreads faster and appears to strike younger, healthier people, according to anecdotal evidence from Michigan, Britain, and other areas where it is prevalent. All vaccines approved for use in the U.S. are effective against the U.K. variant. Nearly half of Oregonians are at least partially vaccinated, and the Oregon Health Authority reported one new COVID-19 death and 540 new cases Monday, a slight drop even while hospitalizations are still rising. “Oregon has among the lowest overall case counts and deaths of all states,” Becky Hultberg, CEO of the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems, said last week. “We can’t let our guard down now.” Not all U.S. states agree with Oregon’s strategy. In Florida, which is reporting an average of nearly 5,000 new COVID-19 cases a day and has a test positivity rate of 7.9 percent — versus 6 percent in Oregon — Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation Monday that will allow him to override local COVID-19 restrictions across the state. More stories from theweek.comBiden’s self-imposed ceiling5 brutally funny cartoons about Giuliani’s legal woesFox News’ Tucker Carlson is on the warpath against House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy
Pelosi’s Archbishop Says Pro-Abortion Catholics Should Be Denied Communion
San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone said recently that priests should deny communion to pro-abortion Catholic public figures who “are unwilling or unable to abandon” their “advocacy for abortion.” “If you find that you are unwilling or unable to abandon your advocacy for abortion, you should not come forward to receive Holy Communion,” the archbishop told Catholic public figures. “To publicly affirm the Catholic faith while at the same time publicly rejecting one of its most fundamental teachings is simply dishonest.” Cordileone’s rebuke of public figures who support abortion came in a 17-page letter on Saturday titled Before I Formed You in the Womb I Knew You. He did not name any such figures, though one of the archdiocese’s most famous parishioners, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, is a longtime abortion advocate. President Joe Biden also calls himself a pro-abortion Catholic, despite the church’s teachings on the issue. “If their participation in the evil of abortion is not addressed forthrightly by their pastors, this can lead Catholics (and others) to assume that the moral teaching of the Catholic Church on the inviolate sanctity of human life is not seriously held,” Cordileone wrote. “The constant teaching of the Catholic Church from her very beginning, the repeated exhortations of every Pope in recent times up to and including Pope Francis, the frequent statements by the bishops of the United States, all make it clear what the teaching of the Catholic Church is in regard to abortion.” He adds that pastors should call Catholic public figures “to conversion and to warn them that if they do not amend their lives they must answer before the tribunal of God for the innocent blood that has been shed.” Cordileone said doing so can occur via private conversations “between the erring Catholic and his or her parish priest or bishop” but said that the “sad truth” is that such discussions often yield little change, “thus leaving it easy for the individual to continue participating fully in the life of the Church” and bringing scandal upon other Catholics. “Because we are dealing with public figures and public examples of cooperation in moral evil, this correction can also take the public form of exclusion from the reception of Holy Communion,” the archbishop wrote. “When other avenues are exhausted, the only recourse a pastor has left is the public medicine of temporary exclusion from the Lord’s Table. This is a bitter medicine, but the gravity of the evil of abortion can sometimes warrant it.” “I tremble that if I do not forthrightly challenge Catholics under my pastoral care who advocate for abortion, both they and I will have to answer to God for innocent blood,” he added. Cordileone’s letter came days after the Associated Press reported that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops will convene a national meeting in June to discuss whether to tell Biden and other high profile Catholic politicians not to receive Holy Communion at mass if they continue to be public advocates of abortion. “Because President Biden is Catholic, it presents a unique problem for us,” Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, told the outlet. “It can create confusion. … How can he say he’s a devout Catholic and he’s doing these things that are contrary to the church’s teaching?”
COVID SCIENCE-Antibody drug neutralizes virus variants in lab study; COVID-19 antibodies detectable 12 months after infection
The following is a roundup of some of the latest scientific studies on the novel coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus. An experimental monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-19 being developed by Eli Lilly and Co and AbCellera Biologics Inc can “potently” neutralize numerous coronavirus variants, including those first identified in the UK, Brazil, South Africa, California and New York, scientists have found in test tube experiments. The antibody – known as LY-CoV1404 or LY3853113 – works by attaching itself to a place on the virus that has shown few signs of mutating, which means the drug is likely to retain its effectiveness over time, the researchers said in a report posted on Friday on bioRxiv ahead of peer review.
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