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The man Hamas called the main suspect in a bomb attack against the Palestinian prime minister in Gaza was killed in an arrest raid on Thursday that also left two members of the Islamist movement's security forces dead. One of chief suspect Anas Abu Koussa's alleged accomplices in last week's attack was also killed in the raid, according to Hamas. The raid came after Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, launched a manhunt to search for the perpetrators of a roadside bomb that left prime minister Rami Hamdallah unhurt on March 13.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch now contains 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic, 16 times higher than previous estimates, experts have warned. A three-year mapping project led by the The Ocean Cleanup Foundation, which is based in The Netherlands, has discovered that the problem is far worse than first thought. The ‘Garbage Patch’ also known as the ‘Pacific Trash Vortex’ was first noticed by US boat captain Charles Moore in 1997 when he was sailing from Hawaii to southern California and claimed to have stumbled upon ‘plastic…as far as the eye could see” Experts said they were surprised about how large some pieces of plastic were Credit: The Ocean Cleanup Foundation Plastic aggregates in the area because of circular ocean currents which pick up rubbish along coastlines and swirl them into the centre. It is estimated that items take around six years to reach the patch from the coast of the USA and around a year from Japan. Previously scientists have used fine-meshed nets to trap the plastic and quantify how much rubbish has accumulated, but the new study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, has found that the method has vastly underestimated the problem. The new study involved traditional trawling with nets, as well as aerial scanning to map plastic in the ocean in 3D. The team used huge nets to trawl for trash Credit: The Ocean Cleanup Foundation The results show that the Garbage Patch is now three times the size of France, with nearly two trillion pieces of plastic, weighing the equivalent of 500 jumbo jets. The figures are four to sixteen times higher than previous estimates. 92 per cent of the mass is represented by larger objects such as fishing nets, while eight per cent of the mass was due to microplastics. “We were surprised by the amount of large plastic objects we encountered,”said Dr. Julia Reisser, Chief Scientist of the expeditions. “We used to think most of the debris consists of small fragments, but this new analysis shines a new light on the scope of the debris.” Much of the plastic was marine waste Credit: The Ocean Cleanup Foundation By comparing the amount of microplastics with historical measurements of the Garbage Patch, the team found that plastic pollution levels have been growing exponentially since measurements began in the 1970s. It is estimated that there is now a 1:2 ratio of plastic to plankton and, left unchecked, plastic will outweigh fish by 2050. Plastic in the oceans swallowed by marine animals that cannot digest it. Chemicals leach into the water, and it has been shown that even humans who eat seafood ingest 11,000 pieces of microplastic each year. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch sites between California and Hawaii Boyan Slat, Founder of The Ocean Cleanup Foundation and co-author of the study, elaborated on the relevance of the findings for his organisation’s cleanup plans: “To be able to solve a problem, we believe it is essential to first understand it. “These results provide us with key data to develop and test our cleanup technology, but it also underlines the urgency of dealing with the plastic pollution problem. “Since the results indicate that the amount of hazardous microplastics is set to increase more than tenfold if left to fragment, the time to start is now.”
By Nina Chestney LONDON (Reuters) - Global energy-related carbon emissions rose to a historic high of 32.5 gigatons last year, after three years of being flat, due to higher energy demand and the slowing of energy efficiency improvements, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said. Global energy demand rose by 2.1 percent last year to 14,050 million tonnes of oil equivalent, more than twice the previous year's rate, boosted by strong economic growth, according to preliminary estimates from the IEA. Energy demand rose by 0.9 percent in 2016 and 0.9 percent on average over the previous five years.
Prosecutors argued on Wednesday that the former Minnesota police officer charged with murdering an unarmed Australian woman in July represents a flight risk and should face high bail. Ex-Minneapolis police Officer Mohamed Noor, 32, who on Tuesday was charged in the fatal shooting of 40-year-old Justine Damond, did not enter a plea on the third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges. Judge Kathryn Quaintance set his bail at $500,000 without conditions, or $400,000 if he agreed to no contact with the other officer present at the shooting, surrendered his passport and agreed to avoid possession of any firearms.
MOSCOW (AP) — The war of words between Russia and Britain over an ex-spy's poisoning got uglier Wednesday as the U.K. foreign secretary called it vomit-inducing that Russian President Vladimir Putin is rejoicing over hosting the World Cup. Russia shot back that Boris Johnson is "poisoned with venom of malice and hate."
‘In a perfect world, every smoker would have the self-awareness to realize smoking while walking subjects everyone behind you to the fumes,’ said councilman Peter Koo. Smoking while walking would be banned in New York City if a new bill is passed into law. Councilman Peter Koo is introducing the legislation on Wednesday, in what he says is an attempt to keep secondhand smoke away from pedestrians.
Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz on Wednesday stressed Poland's right to reform its judiciary however it likes, adding he regrets that the European Union launched unprecedented legal action against Warsaw. "We defend our right to reform our justice system in accordance with the expectations of Polish people," Czaputowicz told parliament during an annual overview of Poland's foreign diplomacy. Brussels in December triggered Article 7 of the EU treaty over what it sees as "systemic threats" to the independence of the Polish judiciary from the country's right-wing government -- a move that could lead to never-before-used sanctions.
Today's Front Bench focuses on Boris Johnson and the Salisbury poisoning. A sample of the email is below. If you like what you see, sign up here. Don't forget to vote in the poll and leave your reasoning in the comments below. The best responses will feature in this afternoon's Brexit Briefing. Front Bench The Salisbury spy poisoning story has slipped into a slower gear of late, with the investigators struggling to make a breakthrough in the case – one well-placed source told The Telegraph “we are just guessing at the moment” as to where “ground zero” – and UK ministers choosing to hold off on escalating retaliation for now. However, this morning the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, could bring a dash of colour back to the story. He’s set to give evidence to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, including on the marshalling of an allied response to Russia. Who needs enemies? In one of those moments of coincidental timing that only politics provides, it comes just as two of Britain’s supposed allies have chosen to chum it up with Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin. Yesterday, President Donald Trump phoned Putin and, per The Washington Post, ignored his briefing notes and went a little off-piste. First, despite his briefing notes reportedly saying in all caps “DO NOT CONGRATULATE” (on his election victory), Trump did just that. He also didn’t bring up the Skripal case at all, even though his aides had instructed him to condemn Putin over it. Meanwhile, the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker went off reservation and chose to congratulate Putin in a letter. He also wrote, “I have always argued that positive relations between the European Union and the Russian Federation are crucial to the security of our continent”. A divided house Juncker is known in Brussels as a pro-Russian figure and has even been accused of undermining EU sanctions over Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Other senior EU personnel don’t share his rosy view of Putin, with Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s Brexit negotiator, saying this is “no time for congratulations” and European Council president Donald Tusk reportedly taking a stand in private. Nevertheless, as Front Bench has often discussed, the EU is far from united in its coolness towards Russia. Yesterday, Greece was said to be to blame for the watering down of a European Council joint communique on the Skripal case (which has still not been issued), while whichever parties form the new Italian government, it will almost certainly have a distinctly pro-Putin flavour thanks to the success of Five Star and the Liga. You and what friends? So expect Johnson to field some rather awkward questions about whether Britain really has its allies on side. When Theresa May announced that the UK was laying blame at Russia’s door she was careful to focus on the outrage of a deadly nerve agent being used on foreign soil and against civilians. This was all part of a carefully calibrated plan to make this an international issue and make the building of a coalition as straightforward as possible. At the moment it looks like that alliance is breaking up before it even got together.
The US Supreme Court on Tuesday night stayed the execution of a convicted murderer-rapist after lawyers and advocates warned the punishment could subject him to intense suffering because of his rare illness. Russell Bucklew had been scheduled to die by lethal injection in the state of Missouri. "The United States Supreme Court has granted a stay of execution for Russell Bucklew, pending further review of his appeal," the Missouri Department of Corrections said in a statement which gave no reason for the decision.
Police in Austin are responding to another reported explosion - the sixth in a spate of bombings that have left two dead and four others seriously wounded. The explosion marked the latest in a string of blasts in the Austin area since 2 March. The development came as the chairman of the US House Homeland Security committee said federal authorities had informed him that investigators have obtained surveillance videos in Austin that "could possibly" show a suspect in the earlier package bombing at a FedEx distribution centre near San Antonio.
By Jon Herskovitz and Jim Forsyth AUSTIN/SCHERTZ, Texas (Reuters) - A package bomb blew up at a FedEx distribution center near San Antonio on Tuesday, the fifth in a series of attacks that have rocked Texas this month and left baffled investigators searching for what they suspect is a serial bomber. The package filled with nails and metal shrapnel was mailed from Austin to another address in Austin and passed through a sorting center in Schertz, about 65 miles (105 km) away, when it exploded on a conveyer belt, knocking a female employee off her feet, officials said. It was the fifth of a series in explosions in Texas in the past 18 days that have killed two people, injured others, and left hundreds of federal and local investigators scrambling to find the perpetrator and a motive.
By Philip Wen and Ben Blanchard BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese President Xi Jinping told self-ruled Taiwan on Tuesday that it would face the "punishment of history" for any attempt at separatism, offering his strongest warning yet to the island claimed by China as its sacred territory. The government of Taiwan, one of China's most sensitive issues and a potentially dangerous military flashpoint, responded that it hoped China could "break free" of the old clichés of threats and force. China's hostility towards Taiwan has risen since the 2016 election of President Tsai Ing-wen, a member of the island's pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party.