‘The Edge of an Abyss.’ How the World’s Newspapers Are Responding As the U.S. Descends Into Chaos

As protests over police racism and racial inequality have spread to more than 140 U.S. cities in the week since the death of George Floyd, the world has been watching.

Demonstrators have marched through streets or gathered at U.S. embassies in Canada, the U.K., Germany and beyond, both to express solidarity with American protesters and to highlight systemic inequalities at home.

The world’s media is paying attention too. Front pages and editorials from France to Mexico to China have discussed Floyd’s death, the violent repression of protesters by law enforcement, and the divisive response to the protests mounted by President Donald Trump; over the last week the president has blamed the unrest on Democrats, quoted a 1960s southern sheriff’s threat to shoot looters in black neighborhoods, and threatened to bring in the army if “liberal governors and mayors” don’t get tougher on demonstrators.

Criticism, coming from traditional allies and longtime antagonists of the U.S., has often been scathing, both of the president’s leadership and what this week means for America’s place in the world.

France

In France, the editorial board of left leaning-broadsheet Le Monde wrote “two images of the U.S. that have collided this week.” First, the image of SpaceX’s launching a new rocket and its successful landing at the International Space Station; “a new episode of American genius in the space race.” And second, “the unbearable image, seen by millions on social media, of a black man on the floor, handcuffed and suffocating under the knee of a white policeman.”

Of President Trump, the paper wrote, “in avoiding any expression of empathy for the victims of the injustice, and in refraining from speaking about the root of the problem and only highlighting the violence of rioters, [Trump] has remained faithful to the tactic he’s used since his rise to power: division and confrontation.”

The U.K.

In the U.K., where the Conservative party government has sought to bolster an alliance with the U.S. since it exited the European Union, the Foreign Secretary declined to comment on events in the U.S. over the weekend.

But newspapers took a more critical stance. “Mr Trump is trying to craft a divisive narrative of random, violent protesters at war with good cops,” wrote the editorial board of broadsheet the Financial Times. “Americans should not buy it. […] The only way to end the [racial injustice in the U.S.] will be …read more

Source:: Time – World

      

Swarms of Millions of Locusts Devastate Crops in India Amid Economic Crisis Due to Pandemic

India has been hit by the worst locust storm the country has experienced in nearly 30 years, as the nation grapples with the ongoing coronavirus crisis that has overrun hospitals.

Swarms of millions of desert locusts that stretch up to 4 miles long crossed into the Western state of Rajasthan from Pakistan at the beginning of May and have since entered Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) believes that the current locust crisis was caused by the strong winds that followed the Cyclone Amphan that hit India and Bangladesh on May 20.

The FAO said that desert locusts are the most destructive of the all locust species because of their speed and their ability to quickly multiply. An adult locust can fly up to 93 miles an hour. The swarms have devastated crops in a country that was already grappling with an economic crisis as a result of the pandemic.

Hard-hit states are carrying out locust control operations that involve using drones to break apart swarms and fire trucks to spray pesticides. Rajasthan has been implementing these measures since May 22 but states across the country have since issued alerts to farmers, advising them to make loud noises and light fires to repel the locust. But the swarms are expected to remain for at least another few weeks.

“Several successive waves of invasions can be expected until July in Rajasthan with eastward surges across northern India as far as Bihar and Orissa followed by westward movements and a return to Rajasthan on the changing winds associated with the monsoon,” the FAO said in their Desert Locust Situation Update.

Earlier this year, East Africa was also hit by a locust outbreak, the worst the continent had seen in decades.

…read more

Source:: Time – World

      

The U.K. Records Its Sunniest Spring Ever Amid Worrying Climate Change Trends

The U.K. has recorded its sunniest spring, with May being its sunniest calendar month, since records began over 90 years ago, according to data published by the Met Office—the U.K.’s national weather service—on June 1. For many people in the U.K, it has meant long days of soaking up the sun as lockdown restrictions eased from May 13. However, experts say that this record, along with other extreme weather trends globally appears to be consistent with what they expect from climate change.

There were more than 626 hours of sunshine between March 1 and June 1, surpassing the previous record of 555.3 hours in 1948, the Met Office said. In comparison, Italy’s capital city Rome, a popular holiday destination for Britons, sees an average of 621 hours in the spring and in the Turkish city, Istanbul – 548 hours. The U.K. usually gets about 440 hours each spring and only 10 years have had more than 500 hours of sunshine. According to Liz Bentley, Chief Executive of the Royal Meteorological Society, a leading independent expert on climate and the weather, there have only been three U.K. summers that have been sunnier.

These weather patterns are the result of jet streams — a strong core of winds around 5 to 7 miles above the earth’s surface — being directed north and around the U.K., according to Mark McCarthy, the head of the Met Office’s National Climate Information Centre. “But we don’t quite understand why these statistics have been so extreme. And we can’t say that this how it will be from now on. Jet streams might behave differently. Compared to other countries in Europe, we get a lot of variability on our weather,” he adds.

Weather patterns have also created relatively dry conditions as the U.K. saw its driest May in 124 years, with less than 10 millimeters rain falling across England on average. Northamptonshire – a region located near the center of England – has been the driest county so far, recording only 1.5mm of rain during May.

The U.K’s sunny spring came off the back of an extremely wet winter. The Met Office recorded the U.K’s wettest February on record, with 237% the average rainfall for February, boosted by Storms Ciara and Dennis, which brought heavy rains to the whole of the country.

The U.K. has never seen such large differences in …read more

Source:: Time – World

      

Unmasked Coronavirus Deniers Crowd Italian Piazza to Protest Health Measures Amid Pandemic They Claim ‘Never Existed’

(ROME) — Hundreds of demonstrators have gathered in Rome shunning masks to protest against the Italian government’s measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Members of a marginal political movement created last year by a retired Carabinieri general have emerged as a virus-denial camp in Italy, the first Western country to be hit by the global pandemic.

The leader of the so-called Orange Vests told the protest crowd assembled in the Piazza del Popolo on Tuesday that children shouldn’t be made to wear masks and he threatened to ‘’slap” anyone who did.

Antonio Pappalardo added that he refuses to wear a mask himself and said: ‘’These lungs mine. I will take care of my lungs. Breathing is sacred.”

The people packing the square didn’t adhere to social-distancing guidelines set by the government.

Pappalardo portrayed such containment measures as an infringement of freedom. Other speakers at the protest asserted that the pandemic ‘’never existed” and alleged that politicians had played it up to enhance their own powers.

Italy went into a nationwide lockdown in early March. The country enters a new phase in emerging from the virus emergency with the opening of regional and external borders on Wednesday.

…read more

Source:: Time – World