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Brother of Manchester Bomber Extradited from Libya  to Britain  

The brother of the suicide bomber responsible for killing 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester has been extradited from Libya to Britain. Hashem Abedi, 22, was arrested after he landed at a London airport on Wednesday. Salman Abedi, who detonated the bomb at the end of the concert in May 2017, died in the explosion, which also wounded more than 500 people, many of them teenagers. British authorities have sought Hashem’s extradition for nearly two years, saying he was involved in planning the lethal attack.Libyan police arrested Hashem, who was then 18, and his father after the attack in Britain. Hashem told investigators that both he and his brother belonged to the Islamic State group and that he knew about the attack. The father was not charged and was later released.The Abedi family fled Libya during the rule of dictator Moammar Gadhafi. The brothers grew up in Manchester but moved back to Libya in 2017. But after just three weeks there, Salman returned to Manchester and within days, carried out the attack on the Manchester Arena.Hashem faces charges of murder, attempted murder, and conspiracy to cause an explosion likely to endanger life.

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Trump Veto of F-35s for Turkey Could Force Ankara to Buy Russian Aircraft 

U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to block the sale of the advanced F-35 jet to Turkey means Ankara may look elsewhere to replace its aging air force.Trump’s veto in response to Turkey’s acquisition of Russian missiles could prompt Ankara to turn to Moscow again.Trump’s announcement followed the first deliveries of Russia’s S-400 air defense missile system to Turkey. Washington had repeatedly warned Ankara that the S-400’s advanced radar could compromise the F-35 stealth technology, making delivery of the jet impossible.However, Trump’s decision appears to have taken Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan by surprise.FILE – U.S. President Donald Trump, left, shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, as Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, second right, looks on, in Osaka, Japan, June 29, 2019.”Tayyip Erdogan really trusted Trump,” said international relations professor Huseyin Bagci of Ankara’s Middle East Technical University. “In last month’s G-20 meeting in Japan, they were sitting together and Trump [was] saying it’s easy to do business with this these guys.”It created the expectation that he will prevent the embargo on the F-35, but Trump gave into strong domestic pressure,” he added.In a statement issued late Wednesday, Turkey’s foreign ministry called the decision to exclude it from the F-35 program a mistake, dismissing the Pentagon’s concerns.FILE – Two Russian Air Force Sukhoi SU-57 warplanes are seen in a July 23, 2017, photo.Su-57 buyers sought Rostec is urgently looking for buyers of the Su-57 since India pulled out of the project. Moscow initially was able to buy a handful of the expensive planes, although last month it ordered another 76.However, analysts warn any move by Ankara to further deepen its dependence on Russian weapons would further strain its relations with its NATO partners. NATO has voiced strong concerns about Turkey’s purchase of two batteries of S-400 missiles.A significant procurement of advanced Russian jets could push Turkey’s NATO’s ties to a breaking point.”Logically, it’s possible you can buy S-400, you can buy Russian fighter bombers,” Haldun Solmazturk, head of the Ankara-based 21st Century Turkey Institute, said.”But this would require a fundamental political decision,” he added, “not just the Turkish government, but including Turkish parliament, Turkish public. This would be a national decision similar in 1946 when Turkey opposed the Soviet Union and applied to join NATO in 1949.”Such a decision would be equally important, equally critical. It would be a junction point in Turkish political, military history,” Solmazturk said.However, given that Erdogan appears to have been wrong-footed by Trump’s vetoing of F-35s, analysts suggest Ankara is most likely scrambling to form a new strategy.”We have got to this point by a series of diplomatic accidents, not by intention,” Bagci said. “The Turkish mind is confused. There is no clear mind in the heads of Turkish politicians. Erdogan, his defense and foreign ministers, this trio have to talk now on what to do. There is always the possibility to keep the channels open to Washington to find a solution.”Otherwise, it’s bye-bye, Washington relations and NATO,” he said. 

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Protesters Arrested Trying to Stop Giant Hawaii Telescope

Police have begun arresting protesters gathered at the base of Hawaii’s tallest volcano, Mauna Kea, to stop the construction of a giant telescope on what they say is their most sacred ground.Protest leader Kealoha Pisciotta told The Associated Press that police had arrested 30 elders, called kupuna in Hawaiian, on Wednesday.  Some of the elders used canes and strollers to walk, while others were taken in wheelchairs to police vans. Those who could walk on their own were led away with their hands in zip ties.The elders were among about 2,000 people blocking the road to the summit of Mauna Kea in an attempt to stop construction material and workers from reaching the top. The $1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope is expected to be one of the world’s most advanced. Opponents of the the telescope say it will desecrate sacred land. According to the University of Hawaii, ancient Hawaiians considered the location kapu, or forbidden. Only the highest-ranking chiefs and priests were allowed to make the long trek to Mauna Kea’s summit above the clouds.Supporters of the telescope, however, say it will not only make important scientific discoveries but bring educational and economic opportunities to Hawaii. The company behind the telescope is made up of a group of universities in California and Canada, with partners from China, India and Japan.  Astronomers hope the telescope will help them look back 13 billion years to the time, just after the Big Bang, and answer fundamental questions about the universe.

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Air Force ‘Highly’ Discourages People From Storming Area 51

The U.S. Air Force has a warning for the more than 1 million people who have signed up to “storm Area 51″ in search of aliens as part of an internet joke that has gone viral. “Any attempt to illegally access the area is highly discouraged,” the Air Force said in a statement Wednesday. The Air Force said it does not discuss its security measures and that the test and training range, known as Area 51, provides “flexible, realistic and multidimensional battle space” for testing and “advanced training in support of U.S. national interests.”The Facebook event “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All Of Us,” invites people to attempt to run into the mysterious site at 3 a.m. September 20. “If we Naruto run, we can move faster than their bullets,” the event description says, referring to a Japanese manga character known for running with his arms stretched out backward and his head forward. Area 51 is part of the vast Nevada Test and Training Range. It has been the subject of conspiracy theories that say the U.S. military keeps aliens and UFOs there.After decades of government officials refusing to acknowledge Area 51, the CIA released declassified documents in 2013 referring to the 20,700-square-kilometer installation by name and locating it on a map near the dry Groom Lake bed. 

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Russia Extends Ukraine Sailors’ Detention Amid Prisoner Swap Talks

A Russian court on Wednesday prolonged the detention of 24 Ukrainian sailors captured last year near Crimea, in the midst of sensitive prisoner-swap talks between the two ex-Soviet neighbors.Moscow’s Lefortovsky district court ruled that the sailors must stay in detention for an extra three months until Oct. 24. After the hearings, the sailors were escorted out of the courtroom by masked security officers as relatives and supporters applauded. Some wiped away tears.Relatives sported yellow bracelets bearing the names of the sailors, who face up to six years in prison on charges of illegally crossing Russian borders.In the cramped courtroom, the sailors, who have described themselves as “prisoners of war”, were held in a metal-barred cage reserved for defendants. Olena Zerkal, Ukrainian deputy foreign minister, condemned the extension of the sailors’ detention, saying it only complicated “diplomats’ complicated work” amid the current negotiations.The Ukrainians have been imprisoned since their three vessels were seized off Crimea last November, the most dangerous direct clash between Russia and Ukraine in years.This combination of photos created on July 11, 2019, shows Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukraine’s new leader Volodymyr Zelensky discussed a possible prisoner swap during their first phone call last week.Zelensky said Wednesday that an exchange of all Ukrainian prisoners held in Russia and also areas held by pro-Russian separatists  for all Russian prisoners held in Ukraine  would happen, “starting with the sailors.”In Kyiv on Tuesday, Vadym Prystaiko, a senior presidential official, had said that Ukraine and Russia had agreed to exchange a certain number of prisoners over the next month. Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier Wednesday that the prisoner swap was “on the agenda.”‘Keep hoping'”I am ready to wait for as long as needed as long as this ends well,” Natalya Mokryak, mother of the commander of one of the detained vessels, Roman Mokryak, said in court.”They haven’t done anything wrong,” added Iryna Guzhanska, whose husband Yury Budzylo is also among the prisoners.”We keep hoping,” she told AFP before the hearing began. Lawyer Nikolai Polozov, who heads the defense team, and Ukraine’s rights ombudsman Lyudmyla Denysova, who attended the hearing, said Russia and Ukraine were negotiating a possible prisoner exchange. They declined to discuss any details.Speaking ahead of the hearing, Polozov said Russia would likely extend the sailors’ detention “as a maneuver to exercise control.”On Tuesday, Denysova and her Russian counterpart Tatyana Moskalkova exchanged lists of prisoners. Kyiv’s list consists of “150 cases,” Denysova has said. Among the most prominent Ukrainian prisoners held in Russia is Oleg Sentsov, who is a serving a 20-year sentence in a Russian penal colony in the north.Last year, he went on a hunger strike and went 145 days without solid food.’Lack of political will’He suggested that Moscow may release the sailors at some point after Sunday’s parliamentary elections in Ukraine.”I am hoping that the sailors could be released before the trial starts,” Polozov told reporters.”The only thing that separates the sailors from their freedom is a lack of political will of the Russian leadership.”But the defense team also did not rule out that the sailors would have to be tried first before they could be exchanged.Lawyer Ilya Novikov told AFP that the trial could start in September and last until November. He said it could be held in Russia-annexed Crimea, a move that would complicate access to the hearings for diplomats and journalists.He suggested that the prisoner-swap negotiations might be failing to gain traction.”No one wants to make the first move,” he said.U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker, third from left, meets with Ukrainian troops at an undisclosed location near Popasna, Donbas region, Ukraine, May 15, 2018. (M. Gongadze/VOA)On Tuesday, U.S. special envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker, encouraged Russia to agree to a prisoner exchange with Kyiv.”If successful, it will be the result of direct engagement between Presidents Zelensky and Putin,” he tweeted.In November, Russia opened fire on three Ukrainian navy vessels as they tried to pass through the Kerch Strait from the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov.The two countries have been locked in a confrontation since 2014 when Moscow annexed Crimea and supported an insurgency in eastern Ukraine. More than 10,000 people have been killed in the conflict. 

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After Record Heat Wave, Parts of Europe Now Face Drought 

After weathering record-breaking temperatures, parts of Europe are now gripped by a punishing drought that is shriveling harvests, sparking water shortages and taking a toll on wildlife. experts now warn Europeans must better prepare for today’s ‘new normal.’Weeks of dry weather have left two-thirds of French departments facing water restrictions. Plants and wildlife are stressed. More than 20 departments are in the critical red category that restricts water use to only essential needs.France is not the only European country facing a parched summer. This weather forecast in neighboring Spain indicates some rain up north, but overall the country is baking in its third driest year this century.Dry weather also has hit parts of Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic and Scandinavian countries. This month, Lithuania declared an emergency, with drought expected to cut its harvests by half.All of this follows a string of record-breaking temperatures in June across much of the continent.People cool off by the Vistula River during a heatwave in Warsaw, Poland, June 30, 2019.Climate change and adaptation expert Blaz Kurnik, of the European Environment Agency in Copenhagen, says that’s no coincidence.“Drought and heatwaves are connected,” he said. “And they are amplifying each other afterwards.”Kurnik says its hard to just blame everything on climate change. But the last couple of years were the warmest ever recorded in Europe, mirroring the global temperature rise. And this is Europe’s second drought in as many years.Not surprisingly, farmers are worried. We’re going to irrigate some plots, this farmer told French TV, while noting that not all of the crops can be saved.Insurance companies estimate last year’s drought cost Europe several billion dollars. Expert Kurnik points up that’s only part of the bill.“There are also losses, which cannot directly translate into money, which are the permanent damage of the forest, the loss of biodiversity … which can recover in the next years — or not,” he said.Europe has long been considered a climate change leader. Experts say many European Union countries have drafted comprehensive plans to mitigate the impact of hotter and drier weather in the years to come. But that’s not enough.When it comes to sustainable water management, for instance, environmental group WWF’s European Water Policy Officer Carla Freund says there’s a disconnect between good legislation and action.“I think we see a lack of will overall,” she said. “It’s not an area of priority for a lot of member states. I think water is seen as something that’s ubiquitous regardless. So I don’t think governments are really aware that we’re going to be facing a huge shortage problem in the future.”A different EuropeA Swiss study out earlier this month predicts that like other parts of the world, Europe will be drastically different by 2050. London’s climate may be more like Barcelona’s today. Madrid will be more like Marakesh.Climate change expert Kurnik says that in some ways, Europe is preparing for these changes. France’s 2003 heatwave killed 15,000 people. That didn’t happen this year. Some farmers are planting drought-resistant crops and adopting more efficient irrigation methods. But he says the efforts are patchy.Meanwhile, next week’s forecast predicts yet another heatwave in France — with no rain in sight.

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US Cuts Turkey Out of F-35 Fighter Jet Program 

The United States is officially removing Turkey from its F-35 stealth fighter jet program after Ankara accepted the Russian delivery of its S-400 missile defense system.”Unfortunately, Turkey’s decision to purchase Russian S-400 air defense systems renders its continued involvement with the F-35 impossible,” the White House said in a statement Wednesday. “The F-35 cannot coexist with a Russian intelligence collection platform that will be used to learn about its advanced capabilities.”U.S. officials believe NATO ally Turkey’s decision to use Russian advanced radar technology could compromise the alliance’s military systems in the country. The S-400 could potentially be used to target NATO jets in Turkey, including the U.S.-made F-35, which is NATO’s newest stealth fighter jet.Defense Secretary nominee Mark Esper testifies before a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on his nomination in Washington, July 16, 2019.On Tuesday, President Donald Trump’s nominee to be the next secretary of defense slammed Turkey’s acceptance of the S-400, parts of which were delivered last week, as “wrong” and “disappointing.” Mark Esper told lawmakers he emphasized in a phone call to Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar that “you can either have the S-400 or the F-35. You can’t have both.”A Russian transport jet delivered the first parts of the $2.2 billion missile system last Friday to a Turkish military air base outside Ankara.Turkey’s Ministry of National Defense has said its purchase of the S-400 defense systems was “not an option but rather a necessity.”The ministry said last week that Turkey was still assessing the bid to acquire U.S. Patriot air defense systems.But the White House countered Turkey’s assertion on Wednesday.”The United States has been actively working with Turkey to provide air defense solutions to meet its legitimate air defense needs, and this administration has made multiple offers to move Turkey to the front of the line to receive the U.S. PATRIOT air defense system,” the White House said.The White House added that Turkey has been a “longstanding and trusted partner and NATO Ally for over 65 years,” but that “accepting the S-400 undermines the commitments all NATO Allies made to each other to move away from Russian systems.”Potentially more damaging for Turkey are U.S. sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which could hit Turkey’s already weakened economy.The top Republican and Democratic senators of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Jim Inhofe, Jack Reed, Jim Risch and Bob Menendez, issued a joint statement Friday condemning the delivery and urging President Trump to fully implement the sanctions.Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan waves to supporters following a rally to honor the victims of the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt, part of the ceremonies marking the three-year anniversary, in Istanbul, July 15, 2019.”By accepting delivery of the S-400 from Russia, President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan has chosen a perilous partnership with Putin at the expense of Turkey’s security, economic prosperity and the integrity of the NATO alliance,” the senators said.”It did not have to come to this,” they added, stating that Turkey had “rejected multiple attempts” by the United States to preserve the relationship while protecting Turkish airspace with F-35 fighter jets and the U.S.-made Patriot surface-to-air defense system.Turkish officials argue Turkey is in a complicated geopolitical region, as it borders Iran, Iraq, and Syria. Three years ago, the Turkish presidential palace was bombed by rogue elements of its military in an attempted coup, and some analysts suggest the missiles could be used to protect Turkish President Erdogan.While the S-400 is widely recognized as one of the most advanced missile systems in the world, its practical use is in question, given its incompatibility with the rest of Turkey’s NATO military systems.From a military perspective there is no logic,” said retired General Haldun Solmazturk, who now heads the Ankara-based 21st Century Institute research institution. “This is not only a problem between Turkey and the United States, but it is a problem between Turkey and the rest of the 28 NATO members, so it’s a serious problem.”

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A Breathless Ocean

The ocean provides many benefits to our planet and all the creatures that live there. It regulates the earth’s climate, produces 60 percent of the oxygen for the earth and is an important source of food.   Denise Breitburg is a marine ecologist with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. Her research and studies center on the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, a large water system that stretches from New York to Virginia. The Bay itself receives about half its volume from the Atlantic Ocean. “I do work on a wide range of organisms, from fish, jellyfish to oysters. Any of the things large enough to see without a microscope. But, I’m also really interested not just in individual animals, but in how it all fits together, how food webs change, how the environment influences evolution and really the ecosystems as a whole.” Breitburg says one thing that has a negative impact on the ecosystem is oxygen decline in the ocean.   “Animals need oxygen to breathe, grow, reproduce and survive. The marine ecosystems require oxygen. But, oxygen is declining in the open ocean and coastal waters because of increasing global temperatures and excess nutrients.”Marine ecologist Denise BreitburgFinding a solution to this problem, Breitburg says, requires spending much of her time doing research and instead of being in the open waters. She also spends time speaking to policy makers and environmental managers to educate them on the issues so they can develop policies that are going to be effective. Breitburg says ocean deoxygenation does not occur in isolation or only in waters in the United States. “I’ve been co-chairing a working group that’s part of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission from UNESCO. It  includes about 20 researchers and scientists from around the world, who all work on various aspects of the problem of low oxygen in the oceans. Waters are warming and acidifying, food webs are changed by fishing and habitat can be degraded by plastics and other pollutants.” This is a problem around the world, says Breitburg. “Everything from fisheries to global models to trying to understand the effects of climate change. Many many places around the world have the same sort of problems that we have here.” Breitburg says the Clean Air Act and other kinds of management of coastal waters has reduced the amount of nitrogen coming into the Chesapeake Bay. In other words, policies, regulations, and research can make a difference over time, Breitburg says. “The Earth’s population has increased. It’s almost tripled since 1950, and things that we used to be able to do when there were many fewer of us just don’t work in a global population this size, and at a time when we still need to think about how to bring people from poorer developing countries up to a better standard of living so that they’re healthy and can lead long lives. And for that to happen, that means each of us having less of an impact on this earth and supporting government actions that will encourage that to happen. So, we can hopefully leave a healthier environment for our children and grandchildren.”