- Harry gets his day in courtEngland 6:26 am - 6,616 views
- Dam break triggers floodingUkraine 6:24 am - 3,355 views
- Water rises after dam blownUkraine 8,310 views
- Migrants flown to CaliforniaUnited States 3,093 views
- Near-collision with navyTaiwan 1,765 views
- Bodies pulled from rubbleIowa 2,283 views
- Pence files bid paperworkUnited States 1,241 views
- CO2 hits new peakWorld 4,832 views
Prince Harry gets his day in court against tabloids he accuses of blighting his life
Harry gets his day in court
Prince Harry entered a courtroom witness box Tuesday, swearing to tell the truth in testimony against a tabloid publisher he accuses of phone hacking and other unlawful snooping.
Harry held a Bible in one hand as he was sworn in at the High Court in London, where he is suing the publisher of the Daily Mirror. Earlier, he'd arrived at court in a black SUV and entered a modern wing past dozens of photographers and TV cameras.
Harry accuses the publisher of the Mirror of using unlawful techniques on an “industrial scale” to get scoops. He faces hours of cross-examination by a lawyer for the defendant, Mirror Group Newspapers, which is contesting the claims.
Sitting in the witness box and dressed in a dark suit and tie, Harry told Mirror Group attorney Andrew Green that he had "experienced hostility from the press since I was born." The prince accused the tabloids of playing “a destructive role in my growing-up.”
Harry was forced almost immediately to acknowledged that he couldn't recall specific articles he was complaining about. Green pressed him on how they could have caused such distress if he couldn’t remember having read them at the time.
"It isn’t a specific article, it is all of the articles,” he said. “Every single article has caused me distress.”
Green asked him to identify what evidence he had of phone hacking in specific articles, and Harry said he'd have to ask that question of the journalist who wrote it. He repeatedly said that the manner in which information had been obtained was highly or incredibly suspicious.
He said that it was also suspicious that some of the journalists had been known for hacking or invoices to third parties, including private investigators known for snooping, around the time of the articles.
When asked how reporters could have hacked his phone for an article about his 12th birthday — a time when he admitted he didn't have a mobile phone — he suggested they may have hacked the phone of his mother, the late Princess Diana.
"That’s just speculation you’ve come up with now,” Green suggested.
In the same article, Green pointed out that a reference to him taking his parent's divorce badly was obvious.
“Like most children I think, yes," Harry said.
But the prince said it was not legitimate to report such information and “the methods in which it was obtained seem incredibly suspicious."
Green then pointed out that his mother previously made public comments to reporters about the difficulties of her children after the divorce.
The 38-year-old son of King Charles III is the first senior British royal since the 19th century to face questioning in a court. An ancestor, the future King Edward VII, appeared as a witness in a trial over a gambling scandal in 1891.
Harry has made a mission of holding the U.K. media to account for what he sees as their hounding of him and his family.
Setting out the prince’s case in court Monday, his lawyer, David Sherborne, said that from Harry's childhood, British newspapers used hacking and subterfuge to mine snippets of information that could be turned into front-page scoops.
He said that stories about Harry were big sellers for the newspapers, and around 2,500 articles had covered all facets of his life during the time period of the case — 1996 to 2011 — from injuries at school to experimenting with marijuana and cocaine to ups and downs with girlfriends.
“Nothing was sacrosanct or out of bounds” for the tabloids, the lawyer said.
In a written witness statement published Tuesday, Harry said that he felt “as though the tabloid press thought that they owned me absolutely.”
“I genuinely feel that in every relationship that I’ve ever had — be that with friends, girlfriends, with family or with the army, there’s always been a third party involved, namely the tabloid press," he said.
Hacking — the practice of guessing or using default security codes to listen to celebrities’ cellphone voice messages — was widespread at British tabloids in the early years of this century. It became an existential crisis for the industry after the revelation in 2011 that the News of the World had hacked the phone of a slain 13-year-old girl. Owner Rupert Murdoch shut down the paper and several of his executives faced criminal trials.
Mirror Group has paid more than 100 million pounds ($125 million) to settle hundreds of unlawful information-gathering claims, and printed an apology to phone hacking victims in 2015.
But the newspaper denies or hasn't admitted any of Harry's claims, which relate to 33 published articles.
Green said Monday there was “simply no evidence capable of supporting the finding that the Duke of Sussex was hacked, let alone on a habitual basis.” The defense lawyer said he plans to question Harry for a day and a half.
Harry had been expected in court on Monday for the opening of the hacking case, the first of his several lawsuits against the media to go to a full trial.
He was absent because he’d taken a flight Sunday from Los Angeles after the birthday of his 2-year-old daughter Lilibet, Sherborne said — to the evident chagrin of the judge, Timothy Fancourt.
“I’m a little surprised,” said Fancourt, noting he had directed Harry to be prepared to testify.
Harry’s fury at the U.K. press — and sometimes at his own royal relatives for what he sees as their collusion with the media — runs through his memoir, “Spare,” and interviews conducted by Oprah Winfrey and others.
He has blamed paparazzi for causing the car crash that killed his mother, Princess Diana, and said harassment and intrusion by the U.K. press, including allegedly racist articles, led him and his wife, Meghan, to flee to the U.S. in 2020 and leave royal life behind.
While Harry’s memoir and other recent media ventures have been an effort to reclaim his life’s narrative, which has largely been shaped by the media, he has no such control during cross-examination in a courtroom full of reporters taking down every word.
Collapse of major dam in southern Ukraine triggers emergency as Moscow and Kyiv blame each other
Dam break triggers flooding
The wall of a major dam in southern Ukraine collapsed Tuesday, triggering floods, endangering Europe’s largest nuclear power plant and threatening drinking water supplies as both sides in the war rushed to evacuate residents and blamed each other for the destruction.
Ukraine accused Russian forces of blowing up the Kakhovka dam and hydroelectric power station on the Dnieper River in an area that Moscow controls, while Russian officials blamed Ukrainian bombardment in the contested area. It was not possible to verify the claims.
The potentially far-reaching environmental and social consequences of the disaster quickly became clear as homes, streets and businesses flooded downstream and emergency crews began evacuations; officials raced to check cooling systems at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant; and authorities expressed concern about supplies of drinking water to the south in Crimea, which Russia illegally annexed in 2014.
Both Russian and Ukrainian authorities brought in trains and buses for residents. About 22,000 people live in areas at risk of flooding in Russian-controlled areas, while 16,000 live in the most critical zone in Ukrainian-held territory, according to official tallies. Neither side reported any deaths or injuries.
The dam break added a stunning new dimension to Russia’s war in Ukraine, now in its 16th month. Ukrainian forces were widely seen to be moving forward with a long-anticipated counteroffensive in patches along more than 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) of front line in the east and south.
It was not immediately clear whether either side benefits from the damage to the dam, since both Russian-controlled and Ukrainian-held lands are at risk. The damage could also hinder Ukraine’s counteroffensive in the south and distract its government, while Russia depends on the dam to supply water to Crimea.
Patricia Lewis, director of the International Security Program at Chatham House think tank in London, said apportioning blame is difficult but “there are all sorts of reasons why Russia would do this.”
“There were reports (last fall) of Russians having mined the reservoir. The question we should pose is why the Ukrainians would do this to themselves, given this is Ukrainian territory,” she said.
Experts have previously said the dam was suffering from disrepair. David Helms, a retired American scientist who has monitored the reservoir since the start of the war, said in an e-mail that it wasn’t clear if the damage was deliberate or simple neglect from Russian forces occupying the facility.
But Helms reserved judgement, also noting a Russian history of attacking dams.
Authorities, experts and residents have expressed concern for months about water flows through — and over — the Kakhovka dam. After heavy rains and snow melt last month, water levels rose beyond normal levels, flooding nearby villages. Satellite images showed water washing over damaged sluice gates.
Amid official outrage, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he convened an urgent meeting of the National Security Council. He alleged Russian forces set off a blast inside the dam structure at 2:50 a.m. (2350 GMT Monday) and said about 80 settlements were in danger. Zelenskyy said in October his government had information that Russia had mined the dam and power plant.
But Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called it “a deliberate act of sabotage by the Ukrainian side … aimed at cutting water supplies to Crimea.”
Both sides warned of a looming environmental disaster. Ukraine’s Presidential Office said some 150 metric tons of oil escaped from the dam machinery and that another 300 metric tons could still leak out.
Andriy Yermak, the head of Ukraine’s President’s Office, posted a video showing swans swimming near an administrative building in the flooded streets of Russian-occupied Nova Kakhovka, a city in the Kherson region where some 45,000 people lived before the war. Other footage he posted showed flood waters reaching the second floor of the building.
Ukraine's Interior Ministry urged residents of 10 villages on the Dnieper’s right bank and parts of the city of Kherson downriver to gather essential documents and pets, turn off appliances, and leave, while cautioning against possible disinformation.
The Russian-installed mayor of occupied Nova Kakhovka, Vladimir Leontyev, said it was being evacuated as water poured into the city.
Ukraine’s nuclear operator Energoatom said in a Telegram statement that the damage to the dam “could have negative consequences" for the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, which is Europe's biggest, but wrote that for now the situation is “controllable.”
The U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency said in a statement there was “no immediate risk to the safety of the plant,” which requires water for its cooling system.
It said that IAEA staff on site have been told the dam level is falling by 5 centimeters (2 inches) an hour. At that rate, the supply from the reservoir should last a few days, it said.
The plant also has alternative sources of water, including a large cooling pond than can provide water “for some months,” the statement said.
Ukrainian authorities have previously warned that the dam’s failure could unleash 18 million cubic meters (4.8 billion gallons) of water and flood Kherson and dozens of other areas where thousands of people live.
The World Data Center for Geoinformatics and Sustainable Development, a Ukrainian nongovernmental organization, estimated that nearly 100 villages and towns would be flooded. It also reckoned that the water level would start dropping only after five-seven days.
A total collapse in the dam would wash away much of the broad river's left bank, according to the Ukraine War Environmental Consequences Working Group, an organization of environmental activists and experts documenting the war’s environmental effects.
Mykhailo Podolyak, a senior adviser to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said that “a global ecological disaster is playing out now, online, and thousands of animals and ecosystems will be destroyed in the next few hours.”
Video posted online showed floodwaters inundating a long roadway; another showed a beaver scurrying for high ground from rising waters.
The incident also drew international condemnation, including from German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, who said the “outrageous act … demonstrates once again the brutality of Russia’s war in Ukraine.”
Ukraine controls five of the six dams along the Dnieper, which runs from its northern border with Belarus down to the Black Sea and is crucial for the country’s drinking water and power supply.
Ukraine’s state hydro power generating company wrote in a statement that “The station cannot be restored.” Ukrhydroenergo also claimed Russia blew up the station from inside the engine room.
Leontyev, the Russian-appointed mayor, said numerous Ukrainian strikes on the Kakhovka hydroelectric plant destroyed its valves, and “water from the Kakhovka reservoir began to uncontrollably flow downstream.” Leontyev added that damage to the station was beyond repair, and it would have to be rebuilt.
Ukraine and Russia have previously accused each other of targeting the dam with attacks.
Ukraine accuses Russia of destroying major dam near Kherson, warns of widespread flooding
Water rises after dam blown
Ukraine on Tuesday accused Russian forces of blowing up a major dam in a part of southern Ukraine they control, alerting residents further along the Dnipro River to evacuate and warning of flooding downstream.
The Ukrainian Interior Ministry called for residents of 10 villages on the river’s right bank and parts of the city of Kherson to gather essential documents and pets, turn off appliances and leave, while cautioning against possible disinformation.
Oleksandr Prokudin, the head of the Kherson Regional Military Administration, said in a video posted to Telegram shortly before 7 a.m. that “the Russian army has committed yet another act of terror,” and warned that water will reach “critical levels” within five hours.
A multi-hundred foot chunk of the Nova Kakhovka dam is gone, the Kakhovka Reservoir is quickly emptying out into the Dnipro. pic.twitter.com/265i1nbvAO— OSINTtechnical (@Osinttechnical) June 6, 2023
2nd flight carrying migrants lands in Sacramento; California officials say Florida arranged travel
Migrants flown to California
Another plane carrying migrants arrived in Sacramento on Monday, marking the second flight in recent days that California officials allege was coordinated by Florida.
The flight carrying roughly 20 migrants that arrived Monday follows the arrival Friday of 16 migrants from Colombia and Venezuela, who were taken from Texas to New Mexico before they were put on a chartered plane to California's capital. It's not clear what countries the latest group of arrivals are from, but their travel appears to have been arranged by the same company, said Tara Gallegos, a spokesperson for California Attorney General Rob Bonta.
Bonta says he's investigating whether any crimes were committed.
The first group of migrants was dropped off at the Roman Catholic Church diocese’s headquarters in Sacramento.
They carried documents that said they were transported through a program run by Florida’s Division of Emergency Management and carried out by contractor Vertol Systems Co., Gallegos said. She said she couldn’t share the documents because they are part of an active investigation.
Spokespeople for the Florida Division of Emergency Management and Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis have not confirmed Florida’s involvement, and Vertol Systems didn't respond to requests for comment.
“While we continue to collect evidence, I want to say this very clearly: State-sanctioned kidnapping is not a public policy choice, it is immoral and disgusting,” Bonta said in a statement.
The migrants entered the U.S. through Texas. Eddie Carmona, campaign director at PICO California, a faith-based group that helps migrants, said U.S. immigration officials had already processed the young women and men and given them court dates for their asylum cases when “individuals representing a private contractor” approached them outside a migrant center in El Paso, Texas, and offered to help them get jobs and get them to their final destinations.
“They were lied to and intentionally deceived,” Carmona said, adding that the migrants had no idea where they were after being dropped off in Sacramento. He said they have court dates in cities throughout the country, not only in Texas, and that none of them meant to end up in California.
Asylum seekers can change the location of their court appearances, but many are reluctant to try and instead prefer sticking with a firm date, at least for their initial appearances. They figure it is a guarantee, even if horribly inconvenient.
DeSantis, who is seeking the Republican nomination to run for president, has been a fierce critic of federal immigration policy under President Joe Biden and has heavily publicized Florida's role in past instances in which migrants were transported to Democratic-led states.
He has made the migrant relocation program one of his signature political priorities, using the state legislative process to direct millions of dollars to it.
Florida paid Vertol Systems $1.56 million last year to fly migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, and for a possible second flight to Delaware that never took place. The Republican governors of Texas and Arizona have previously sent thousands of migrants on buses to New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C., but the rare charter flights are an escalation in tactics.
Before the flight from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard last year, DeSantis signed off on a Republican-backed budget that earmarked $12 million to relocate people in the country illegally from Florida to other locations.
When questions arose around the legality of the Martha’s Vineyard fight because it originated in Texas, not Florida, in apparent violation of budgetary language, DeSantis had Republicans legislators create a program in his office dedicated to migrant relocations and specify that the state can transport migrants from locations anywhere in the country.
DeSantis’ administration has selected three vendors to help transport migrants.
The flight, if proven to have been arranged by Florida, would intensify a prolonged political feud between DeSantis and California's Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom. The two have offered conflicting visions on immigration, abortion and a host of other issues.
Newsom said in a statement that he also met with the newly arrived migrants and that officials were working to ensure that they are “treated with respect and dignity” through this process.
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg issued a more forcefully worded statement: “Whoever is behind this must answer the following: Is there anything more cruel than using scared human beings to score cheap political points?”
Anand: China irresponsible over Taiwan Strait collision risk with Canada, U.S. ships
Near-collision with navy
Defence Minister Anita Anand says Beijing acted irresponsibly on the weekend in the Taiwan Strait, where Washington says a Chinese warship forced a U.S. vessel to avoid a collision near a Canadian frigate.
"China must behave responsibly," Anand wrote in a Monday statement, hours after the U.S. military released video of what it called an "unsafe" Chinese manoeuvre Saturday.
The American destroyer USS Chung-Hoon and Canadian frigate HMCS Montreal were conducting a so-called "freedom of navigation" transit of the strait between Taiwan and mainland China.
China claims the democratic self-governing island of Taiwan as part of its own territory, and maintains the strait is part of its exclusive economic zone, while the U.S. and its allies regularly sail through and fly over the passage to emphasize their contention that the waters are international.
During the Saturday transit, the Chinese guided-missile destroyer overtook the Chung-Hoon on its port side, then veered across its bow at a distance of 137 metres, according to the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.
The American destroyer held its course, but reduced speed to 10 knots "to avoid a collision," the U.S. military said.
The video released Monday shows the Chinese ship cutting across the course of the American one, then straightening out to start sailing in a parallel direction.
The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said the actions violated maritime rules of safe passage in international water.
The Chinese ship did not attempt a similar manoeuvre on the Canadian frigate, which was sailing behind the American destroyer.
Anand says the Canadian ship was undertaking a regular sailthrough to uphold global rules that recognize the Taiwan Strait as international waters.
"We want to make sure that we are doing our best to uphold peace and security in this region, but also to ensure that international rules and norms are recognized," reads an emailed statement attributed to Anand.
"Canada will continue to sail where international law allows, including the Strait, and the South China Sea. Our overall goal is to increase the peace and stability of this region."
She said Canada's military will be more present in the region as part of the Liberals' Indo-Pacific strategy.
"Actors in this region must engage responsibly, and that’s the bottom line," she wrote.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin defended the manoeuvre.
"These actions are completely justified, lawful, safe and professional," he told reporters Monday in Beijing, according to an official translation of his remarks.
"China resolutely opposes the country concerned stirring up trouble in the Taiwan Strait and is firmly determined to defend its sovereignty and security and regional peace and stability," he said.
"It is the U.S. that should reflect on and correct its wrongdoing."
The U.S. recently accused China of also performing an "unnecessarily aggressive manoeuvre" in the air, saying a Chinese J-16 fighter jet late last month flew directly in front of the nose of a U.S. air force reconnaissance aircraft over the South China Sea.
The close-calls have raised concerns of a possible accident that could lead to an escalation between the two countries' militaries at a time when tensions in the region are already high.
Three bodies recovered at Iowa apartment collapse site; lawsuit launched
Bodies pulled from rubble
One of the residents injured in the collapse of an apartment building sued the city of Davenport and the building's current and former owners on Monday, alleging they knew of the deteriorating conditions and failed to warn residents of the risk.
The complaint filed on behalf of Dayna Feuerbach alleges multiple counts of negligence and seeks unspecified damages. It also notes that additional lawsuits are likely.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.
The bodies of three men have been removed from the site of a collapsed six-story apartment building, the police chief in Davenport, Iowa, announced Monday.
"We don’t have any other information at this time that there are any additional people missing,” Chief Jeff Bladel said.
Branden Colvin Sr.’s body was recovered Saturday. The body of Ryan Hitchcock was recovered Sunday and Daniel Prien early Monday. The discoveries came after authorities announced that the search for survivors had been completed, with attention turning to shoring up the remaining structure so recovery efforts could begin.
City officials had said earlier that Colvin, 42; Hitchcock, 51; and Prien, 60; had “high probability of being home at the time of the collapse." Searching for them has proven to be extremely dangerous. The remains of the six-story apartment building were constantly in motion in the first 24 to 36 hours after it collapsed on May 28, putting rescuers at great risk.
“We are doing the best we can to balance the building conditions and the safety of our responders,” Fire Chief Mike Carlsten told reporters. He said conditions have forced a response that may take “days and weeks” instead of what ideally would have been minutes or hours.
Mayor Mike Matson said last week that any complaints about the rescue process should be directed at him, not first responders.
Unresolved questions include why neither the owner nor city officials warned residents about potential danger. A structural engineer’s report issued days before the collapse indicated a wall of the century-old building was at imminent risk of crumbling.
Documents released by the city show that city officials and the building’s owner had been warned for months that parts of the building were unstable.
Tenants also complained to the city in recent years about a host of problems they say were ignored by property managers, including no heat or hot water for weeks or even months at a time, as well as mold and water leakage from ceilings and toilets. While city officials tried to address some complaints and gave vacate orders to individual apartments, a broader evacuation was never ordered, records show.
Current and former residents told The Associated Press about interior cracks on the wall that ultimately collapsed that were reported to building management. One woman whose apartment ended up in a huge pile of rubble had to have her leg amputated in order to be rescued.
Andrew Wold, the building’s owner, released a statement dated May 30 saying “our thoughts and prayers are with our tenants.” He has made no statement since then, and efforts to reach him, his company and a man believed to be his attorney have been unsuccessful.
County records show Davenport Hotel L.L.C. acquired the building in a 2021 deal worth $4.2 million.
Former Vice President Pence files paperwork launching 2024 presidential bid in challenge to Trump
Pence files bid paperwork
Former Vice President Mike Pence filed paperwork on Monday declaring his campaign for president in 2024, setting up a challenge to his former boss, Donald Trump, just two years after their time in the White House ended with an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and Pence fleeing for his life.
Pence, the nation's 48th vice president, will formally launch his bid for the Republican nomination with a video and kickoff event in Des Moines, Iowa, on Wednesday, which is his 64th birthday, according to people familiar with his plans. He made his candidacy official Monday with the Federal Election Commission.
While Trump is currently leading the early fight for the nomination, with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis polling consistently in second, Pence supporters see a lane for a reliable conservative who espouses many of the previous administration’s policies but without the constant tumult.
While he frequently lauds the accomplishments of the “Trump-Pence administration,” a Pence nomination in many ways would be a return to positions long associated with the Republican establishment but abandoned as Trump reshaped the party in his image. Pence has warned against the growing populist tide in the party, and advisers see him as the only traditional, Reagan-style conservative in the race.
A staunch opponent of abortion rights, Pence supports a national ban on the procedure and has campaigned against transgender-affirming policies in schools. He has argued that changes to Social Security and Medicare, like raising the age for qualification, should be on the table to keep the programs solvent — which both Trump and DeSantis have opposed — and criticized DeSantis for his escalating feud with Disney. He also has said the U.S. should offer more support to Ukraine against Russian aggression, while admonishing “Putin apologists” in the party unwilling to stand up to the Russian leader.
Pence, who describes himself as “a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order,” has spent months laying the groundwork for an expected run, holding events in early voting states like Iowa, South Carolina and New Hampshire, visiting churches, delivering policy speeches and courting donors.
Pence’s team sees Iowa and its evangelical Christian voters as critical to his potential path to victory. Advisers say he plans to campaign aggressively in the state, hitting every one of its 99 counties before its first-in-the-nation caucuses next year.
The campaign is expected to lean heavily on town halls and retail stops aimed at reintroducing Pence to voters who only know him from his time as Trump’s second-in-command. Pence served for more than a decade in Congress and as Indiana’s governor before he was tapped as Trump’s running mate in 2016.
As vice president, Pence had been an exceeding loyal defender of Trump until the days leading up to Jan. 6, 2021, when Trump falsely tried to convince Pence and his supporters that Pence had the power to unilaterally overturn the results of the 2020 election.
That day, a mob of Trump’s supporters violently stormed the U.S. Capitol building after being spurred on by Trump’s lies that the 2020 election had been stolen. Many in the crowd chanted “Hang Mike Pence!” as Pence, his staff and his family ran for safety, hiding in a Senate loading dock.
Pence has called Trump’s actions dangerous and said the country is looking for a new brand of leadership in the 2024 election.
“I think we’ll have better choices,” he recently told The Associated Press. “The American people want us to return to the policies of the Trump-Pence administration, but I think they want to see leadership that reflects more of the character of the American people.”
Pence has spent the 2 1/2 years since then strategically distancing himself from Trump. But he faces skepticism from both anti-Trump voters who see him as too close to the former president, as well as Trump loyalists, many of whom still blame him for failing to heed Trump’s demands to overturn the pair’s election defeat, even though Pence’s role overseeing the counting of the Electoral College vote was purely ceremonial and he never had the power to impact the results.
Pence joins a crowded Republican field that includes Trump, DeSantis, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, U.S. Sen Tim Scott of South Carolina, tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson. Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie plans to launch his own campaign Tuesday evening in New Hampshire, and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum will announce his bid Wednesday in Fargo.
With Trump, a thrice-married reality star, facing skepticism among some Republicans during his 2016 run, his pick of Pence as a running mate assuaged concerns from evangelical Christians and others that he wasn’t sufficiently conservative. As vice president, Pence refused to ever criticize the former president publicly and often played the role of emissary, trying to translate Trump’s unorthodox rhetoric and policy proclamations, particularly on the world stage.
After Trump’s legal efforts to stave off defeat of the 2020 election were quashed by courts and state officials, he and his team zeroed in on Jan. 6, the date that a joint session of Congress would meet to formally certify President Joe Biden’s victory. In the weeks leading up to the session, Trump engaged in an unprecedented pressure campaign to convince Pence he had the power to throw out the electoral votes from battleground states won by Biden, even though he did not.
As the riot was underway and after Pence and his family were rushed off the Senate floor and into hiding, Trump tweeted, “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done.” Video footage of the attack shows rioters reading Trump’s words aloud and crowds breaking into chants that Pence should be hanged. A makeshift gallows was photographed outside the Capitol.
Pence has said that Trump “ endangered my family and everyone at the Capitol that day” and that history will hold him accountable.
Despite his harrowing experience, Pence opposed efforts to testify in investigations into Trump’s actions on and in the lead-up to Jan. 6. He refused to appear before the House committee investigating the attack and fought a subpoena issued by the special counsel overseeing numerous Trump investigations, though he did eventually testify before a grand jury.
Only six former U.S. vice presidents have been elected to the White House, including Biden, who is running for a second term.
Amount of carbon dioxide in atmosphere hits new peak, growing at near-record rate
CO2 hits new peak
The cause of global warming is showing no signs of slowing as heat-trapping carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere increased to record highs in its annual Spring peak, jumping at one of the fastest rates on record, officials announced Monday.
Carbon dioxide levels in the air are now the highest they’ve been in more than 4 million years because of the burning of oil coal and gas. The last time the air had similar amounts was during a less hospitable hothouse Earth before human civilization took root, scientists said.
The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration announced that the carbon dioxide level measured in May in Hawaii averaged 424 parts per million. That’s 3 parts per million more than last year’s May average and 51% higher than pre-industrial levels of 280 ppm. It is one of the largest annual May-to-May increases in carbon dioxide levels on record, behind only 2016 and 2019, which had jumps of 3.7 and 3.4 parts per million.
“To me as an atmospheric scientist, that trend is very concerning,” said NOAA greenhouse gas monitoring group leader Arlyn Andrews. “Not only is CO2 continuing to increase despite efforts to start reducing emissions, but it’s increasing faster than it was 10 or 20 years ago.”
Emissions used to increase by maybe 1 part per million per year, but now they are increasing at twice and even three times that rate, depending on whether there is an El Nino, Andrews said.
“The relentless rise in atmospheric CO2 is incredibly worrying if not wholly predictable,” said Brown University climate scientist Kim Cobb, who was not part of the research.
Carbon dioxide levels are rising so that each year is higher than the last. However, there’s a seasonal cycle with carbon dioxide so that it reaches its highest saturation point in May. That’s because two-thirds of the globe’s land is in the northern hemisphere and plants suck carbon dioxide out of the air, so during late spring and summer carbon dioxide levels fall until they start rising again in November, Andrews said.
Carbon dioxide levels rise more during El Nino climate cycles because it is drier in the northern hemisphere. An El Nino is brewing. That 3.0 increase may be a sign of an El Nino bump, she said.
There are two main ways of tracking greenhouse gases. One is to monitor what’s coming out of smokestacks and exhaust pipes, but about half of that is absorbed by the oceans and lands, Andrews said.
The other way is to measure how much carbon dioxide is in the air. NOAA and partner agencies measure all around the world. Hawaii has the longest history of direct measurements and is the home of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography’s Keeling Curve, which has kept track of carbon in the air since 1958 when the May reading peaked at 317.5. Emissions have gone up about 33% since then.
“Current emissions are going to remain in the atmosphere for thousands of years and they’re going to continue to trap heat energy near Earth’s surface for thousands of years,” Andrews said.
Because of that “we are still dealing with CO2 in the atmosphere that was emitted in the early-to-mid 20th century,” University of Oklahoma meteorology professor Jason Furtado, who wasn't part of the monitoring teams, said in an email. “This is why we have to see emissions DROP in order to have a chance to reverse climate change. And even if/when we reverse the CO2 emissions rate, it will take some time before the climate system responds.”
This year NOAA had a complication in its reading.
NOAA and the Scripps Institution have two distinct monitors that have slightly different measurements. Scripps measured 423.8 parts per million and often runs a bit below NOAA. Both have been at the remote Mauna Loa volcano for decades but last November’s eruption cut off power to the NOAA monitor and it’s been unable to use it since. NOAA established another one at Mauna Kea Volcano, 21 miles away.
Scripps got their Mauna Loa site working and put one at Mauna Kea and their data shows that Mauna Kea is an accurate substation for Mauna Loa, Andrews said.
Many activists and scientists advocate for returning to 350 parts per million levels.
“CO2 now is higher than any time in the last 4 to 4.5 million years when the atmosphere was about 7 degrees Fahrenheit (3.9 degrees Celsius) warmer and sea levels were 5 to 25 meters (16 to 82 feet) higher,” Andrews said.
Temperatures were higher with similar amount of carbon dioxide in the air because carbon dioxide traps heat for so long and millions of years ago the build up of carbon dioxide was much more gradual, allowing heat to build and ice to melt to raise seas, scientists said.
“We are absolutely at levels unseen in human civilization,” Furtado said. “Humans are running a massive experiment on the Earth climate system via burning carbon, and the results are turning out not great for a lot of people on this planet.”
'Very last warning' for 82-year-old German convicted of dealing drugs
82-year-old drug dealer
A German court says it is giving an 82-year-old man a "last warning" to avoid jail after he was found guilty of drug dealing, despite 24 previous convictions.
The retired seaman, who said he wanted to improve his meagre 800-euro ($855) monthly pension by selling marijuana, was handed a suspended sentence by a court in the northern town of Aurich on Monday.
German news agency dpa reported that prosecutors had asked the court to impose a prison term of 34 months in view of the man's lengthy criminal record and an existing suspended sentence.
But judges said they would make an exception and classify the latest crimes as “less serious offenses” due to the man's particular circumstances and recent health problems.
Dpa quoted the presiding judge telling the defendant that it was his “very last warning.”
France's spectacular abbey Mont-Saint-Michel celebrates 1,000th birthday
Abbey's 1,000th birthday
France’s beloved abbey of Mont-Saint-Michel has reached a ripe old age. It's been 1,000 years since the laying of its first stone.
The millennial of the UNESCO World Heritage site and key Normandy tourism magnet is being celebrated until November with exhibits, dance shows and concerts. French President Emmanuel Macron is heading there on Monday.
Macron plans to deliver a speech and to see a new exhibit tracing the Romanesque abbey's history via 30 objects and pieces, including a restored statue of Saint Michael. Legend has it that the archangel Michael appeared in 708, duly instructing the bishop of nearby Avranches to build him a church on the rocky outcrop.
The exhibit, two years in the making, opened last month. It covers the complex process of building what is considered an architectural jewel on a rocky island linked to the mainland only by a narrow causeway at high tide.
Four crypts were constructed on the granite tip along with a church on top. The exhibit explains how the original structure, built in 966, became too small for pilgrims, spurring on the builders to create the 11th century abbey that stands to this day.
France has spent more than 32 million euros ($34 million) over 15 years to restore the building, and the work is nearing completion. Authorities have also tried in recent years to protect the monument’s surrounding environment from the impact of mass tourism.
One of the most popular French destinations outside Paris, Mont-Saint-Michel island attracted 2.8 million visitors last year, including 1.3 million for the abbey. It was not closed to visitors for the presidential visit, but local authorities were taking measures for it to go as smoothly as possible.
Prince Harry a no-show on first day of court showdown with British tabloid publisher
Harry a no-show in court
A broken thumb, a back injury, dabbling with drugs and dating girls.
No event in the life of a young Prince Harry was too trivial or private for the journalists of Mirror Group Newspapers to resist, and the demand for such scoops led to the use of illegal means to dig up the dirt, his lawyer said Monday in opening statements in his phone hacking lawsuit.
“Nothing was sacrosanct or out of bounds and there was no protection from these unlawful information-gathering methods,” attorney David Sherborne said.
Harry's highly anticipated showdown with the publisher of the Daily Mirror in his battles with the British press was anticlimactic when the star of the show failed to turn up — to the chagrin of the judge and defense lawyer.
The Duke of Sussex was unavailable to testify that afternoon because he’d taken a flight from Los Angeles after the birthday of his 2-year-old daughter, Lilibet, on Sunday, Sherborne said.
“I’m a little surprised,” said Justice Timothy Fancourt, noting he had directed Harry to be in court for the first day of his case if time allowed for him to begin testifying.
Mirror Group’s lawyer, Andrew Green, said he was “deeply troubled” by Harry’s absence, adding he'd need a day and a half to cross-examine the prince.
The case against Mirror Group is the first of the prince’s several lawsuits against the media to go to trial, and one of three alleging tabloid publishers unlawfully snooped on him in their cutthroat competition for scoops on the royal family.
When he enters the witness box, Harry, 38, will be the first member of the British royal family in more than a century to testify in court. He is expected to describe his anguish and anger over being hounded by the media throughout his life, and its impact on those around him.
He has blamed paparazzi for causing the car crash that killed his mother, Princess Diana, and said harassment and intrusion by the U.K. press, including allegedly racist articles, led him and his wife, Meghan, to flee to the U.S. in 2020 and leave royal life behind.
Mirror Group has admitted using a private investigator to target Harry, but only once. Sherborne said phone hacking and forms of unlawful information-gathering were carried out on such a widespread scale that this was implausible.
“The ends justify the means for the defendant,” Sherborne said.
Stories about Harry were big sellers for the newspapers, and some 2,500 articles had covered all facets of his life – from injuries at school to experimenting with marijuana and cocaine to the ups and downs with girlfriends, Sherborne said.
Mirror Group has said it used documents, public statements and sources to legally report on the prince.
But Sherborne said the judge could infer that Mirror journalists eavesdropped on voicemails and hired private eyes to report on Harry as they did on others that have been documented.
The articles at issue in the trial date back to his 12th birthday, in 1996, when the Mirror reported he felt “badly” about the divorce of his mother and father, now King Charles III.
Harry said in court documents that he suffered “huge bouts of depression and paranoia” over concerns that friends and associates were betraying him by leaking information to the newspapers. Relationships fell apart as the women in his life – and even their family members – were “dragged into the chaos.”
He says he later discovered the source wasn't disloyal friends but aggressive journalists and the private investigators they hired to eavesdrop on voicemails and track him to locations as remote as Argentina and an island off Mozambique.
Mirror Group Newspapers said it didn't hack Harry's phone and its articles were based on legitimate reporting techniques. The publisher admitted and apologized for hiring a private eye to dig up dirt on one of Harry's nights out at a bar, but the resulting 2004 article headlined “Sex on the beach with Harry" is not among the 33 in the trial.
Hacking that involved guessing or using default security codes to listen to celebrities’ cell phone voice messages was widespread at British tabloids in the early years of this century. It became an existential crisis for the industry after the revelation in 2011 that the News of the World had hacked the phone of a slain 13-year-old girl.
Owner Rupert Murdoch shut down the paper and several of his executives faced criminal trials.
Mirror Group has paid more than 100 million pounds ($125 million) to settle hundreds of unlawful information-gathering claims, and printed an apology to phone hacking victims in 2015. But it denies executives – including Piers Morgan, who was editor of the Daily Mirror editor between 1995 and 2004 — knew about hacking.
Harry's fury at the U.K. press — and sometimes at his own royal relatives for what he sees as their collusion with the media — runs through his memoir, “Spare,” and interviews conducted by Oprah Winfrey and others. His claims will face a tough audience in court when he is cross-examined by Mirror Group's attorney.
The opening statements marked the second phase of a trial by Harry and three others that alleged privacy violations.
In the first part, Sherborne, who represents Harry and the other claimants, including two actors from the soap opera “Coronation Street," said the unlawful acts were “widespread and habitual” at the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and Sunday People, and carried out on “an industrial scale.”
Two judges — including Fancourt — are in the process of deciding whether Harry’s two other phone hacking cases will proceed to trial.
Murdoch’s News Group Newspapers, publisher of The Sun, and Associated Newspapers Ltd., which owns the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday, have argued the cases should be thrown out because Harry failed to file the lawsuits within a six-year deadline of discovering the alleged wrongdoing.
Harry’s lawyer has argued that he and other claimants should be granted an exception to the time limit, because the publishers lied and deceived to hide the illegal actions.
No survivors found after plane that flew over DC and led to fighter jet scramble crashes in Virginia
No survivors in plane crash
A wayward and unresponsive business plane that flew over the Washington, D.C., Sunday afternoon caused the military to scramble a fighter jet before the plane crashed in Virginia, officials said. The fighter jet caused a loud sonic boom that was heard across the capital region.
Hours later, police said rescuers had reached the site of the plane crash in a rural part of the Shenandoah Valley and that no survivors were found.
The Federal Aviation Administration says the Cessna Citation took off from Elizabethtown, Tennessee, on Sunday and was headed for Long Island’s MacArthur Airport. Inexplicably, the plane turned around over New York’s Long Island and flew a straight path down over D.C. before it crashed over mountainous terrain near Montebello, Virginia, around 3:30 p.m.
It was not immediately clear why the plane was nonresponsive, why it crashed or how many people were on board. The plane flew directly over the nation's capital, though it was technically flying above some of the most heavily restricted airspace in the nation.
A U.S. official confirmed to The Associated Press that the military jet had scrambled to respond to the small plane, which wasn't responding to radio transmissions and later crashed. The official was not authorized to publicly discuss details of the military operation and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Flight tracking sites showed the jet suffered a rapid spiraling descent, dropping at one point at a rate of more than 30,000 feet per minute before crashing in the St. Mary’s Wilderness.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command later said in a statement that the F-16 was authorized to travel at supersonic speeds, which caused a sonic boom that was heard in Washington and parts of Virginia and Maryland.
“During this event, the NORAD aircraft also used flares – which may have been visible to the public – in an attempt to draw attention from the pilot,” the statement said. “Flares are employed with highest regard for safety of the intercepted aircraft and people on the ground. Flares burn out quickly and completely and there is no danger to the people on the ground when dispensed.”
Virginia State Police said officers were notified of the potential crash shortly before 4 p.m. and rescuers reached the crash site by foot around four hours later. No survivors were found, police said.
The plane that crashed was registered to Encore Motors of Melbourne Inc, which is based in Florida. John Rumpel, who runs the company, told The New York Times that his daughter, 2-year-old granddaughter, her nanny and the pilot were aboard the plane. They were returning to their home in East Hampton, on Long Island, after visiting his house in North Carolina, he said.
Rumpel, a pilot, told the newspaper he didn't have much information from authorities but hoped his family didn't suffer and suggested the plane could've lost pressurization.
“I don’t think they’ve found the wreckage yet,” Rumpel told the newspaper. “It descended at 20,000 feet a minute, and nobody could survive a crash from that speed.”
A woman who identified herself as Barbara Rumpel, listed as the president of the company, said she had no comment Sunday when reached by The Associated Press.
The episode brought back memories of the 1999 crash of a Learjet that lost cabin pressure and flew aimlessly across the country with professional golfer Payne Stewart aboard. The jet crashed in a South Dakota pasture and six people died.
President Joe Biden was playing golf at Joint Base Andrews around the time the fighter jet took off. Anthony Guglielmi, spokesperson for the U.S. Secret Service, said the incident had no impact on the president’s movements Sunday. Biden was playing golf at the Maryland military base with his brother in the afternoon.
A White House official said the president had been briefed on the crash and that the sound of the scrambling aircraft was faint at Joint Base Andrews.
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