July 1, 2019

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Cori Gauff, 15, beats Venus Williams

Though Cori Gauff is only 15, tennis people in the know have been speaking in hushed tones about her talent for years.

With her precocious blend of power, athleticism, court savvy and competitive drive, Gauff was the youngest United States Open junior girls finalist in history at age 13 and the second youngest French Open junior girls champion at age 14.

But even if potential is abundantly clear, it is never clear how a teenager will handle the moment when she takes the court at the highest level against an established champion.

On Monday, tennis got an emphatic answer as Gauff, displaying remarkable poise, upset Venus Williams, 6-4, 6-4, in the first round of Wimbledon.

It was the first Grand Slam singles match of Gauff’s career, and it made quite an impression on those who watched from near and far, including Williams, a five-time Wimbledon singles champion. Two of those titles came before Gauff was born on March 13, 2004, in Delray Beach, Fla.

“I think the sky’s the limit, it really is,” said Williams, who was unseeded at age 39.

Later, she also thanked the Wimbledon organizers, who offered her a wild card into the qualifying tournament despite her world ranking of 313th at the time. She and her father and coach, Corey, got word of the offer by phone when they were on their way to southern France to train during Wimbledon at the academy near Nice operated by Patrick Mouratoglou, Serena Williams’s coach.

(NY Times)

Gauff WMQ19 (24).jpg
Cori Gauff [si.robi] https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gauff_WMQ19_(24).jpg

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  • France’s interior minister, Christophe Castaner, has asked the Paris police chief to provide explanations about a video that went viral on social media, where law enforcement officers are seen spraying with pepper spray and dragging protesters from the Extinction Rebellion anti-climate change movement. Although the police needed to evict the protesters, who obstructed a transit route, the mechanisms that they used generated negative reactions. (The Guardian)

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July 2, 2019

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Climate change: Heatwave made ‘at least’ five times more likely by warming

Last week’s record breaking heatwave across much of Europe was made “at least five times” more likely to happen by climate change, say scientists.

Their rapid attribution study says that rising temperatures “super-charged” the event, making it more likely to happen than through natural variability alone.

Heatwaves in June are now about 4C hotter than they used to be, the researchers said.

Globally, the average temperature for June was the highest on record.

The immediate cause of the heatwave was the weather, with hot air drawn in from northern Africa, caused by high pressure over central Europe and a storm stalling over the Atlantic.

By lucky coincidence, the authors of this new study happened to be in Toulouse, France, at a conference on climate change and extreme events.

The researchers, members of the World Weather Attribution Group decided to use the opportunity to analyse the link between human-induced climate change and the heatwave.

They defined the heatwave as the highest three-day averaged daily mean temperature in June, arguing that this is a better indicator of health impacts than maximums or minimums.

The researchers compared the observations of temperatures recorded during the month of June with climate models that can show how the world would be without the human influence on the climate.

They found that, over France, the probability of having a heatwave had increased by at least a factor of five. However, the researchers say that this influence could be much higher still, by a factor of 100 or more.

“We are very confident that this lower boundary of factor five is valid – but we are not confident we can say much more than that,” said Dr Geert Jan van Oldenborgh, senior researcher at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute.

“The reason we are fairly careful is because we found fairly large discrepancies between the modelled properties of heatwaves and the observed properties of heatwaves. They all show stronger heatwaves but the trend in the observations is much larger than in the trends in the model.”

According to those involved with this study, this trend in heatwaves is likely to get worse.

“We experienced a heatwave whose intensity could become the norm in the middle of the century,” said Dr Robert Vautard, Senior Scientist, CNRS, France.

“The new record of 45.9C set in France last Friday is one more step to confirmation that, without urgent climate mitigation actions, temperatures in France could potentially rise to about 50°C or more in France by the end of the century.”

The researchers believe that if global warming continues to the 2C level envisioned in the Paris climate agreement, heatwaves like the one experienced last week will become the norm in June.

(BBC)

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July 3, 2019

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Jim Beam Warehouse Fire Destroys 45,000 Barrels

A fire in Kentucky destroyed a warehouse containing about 45,000 barrels of Jim Beam bourbon after officials let the blaze run its course to avoid ethanol contamination in a nearby creek that runs into the Kentucky River.

The fire started around 11 p.m. in Woodford County on Tuesday and was completely out by noon on Wednesday, fire officials said. No injuries were reported.

“The biggest issue we are dealing with is the environmental aspect,” said Drew Chandler, the Woodford County emergency management director. “If we put the fire out, we are going to dump a lot of water on it and that water will be contaminated.”

He said fire officials did not know what had caused the fire, but a spokeswoman for Jim Beam said she believed lightning had sparked it.

(NY Times)

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July 4, 2019

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Tutankhamun: Bust Egypt says was ‘stolen’ sells for £4.7m

A 3,000-year-old Tutankhamun bust that Egypt claims was stolen has fetched £4.7m ($6m) at auction.

Egypt earlier called on auction house Christie’s to cancel the sale of the relic depicting ancient boy-king Tutankhamun.

The country’s foreign ministry says that the bust was probably stolen from an Egyptian temple during the 1970s.

Christie’s says Egypt has not expressed concern about the bust in the past, despite it being exhibited publicly.

The brown quartzite, 28cm (11in) relic comes from a private collection of ancient art that Christie’s last sold for £3m in 2016.

In a statement, Christie’s said: “The object is not, and has not been, the subject of an investigation.” The auction house said it would never auction an object over which there were legitimate concerns.

Christie’s also published a chronology of the relic’s owners for the past 50 years. The bust is understood to have been acquired from German aristocrat Prinz Wilhelm von Thurn between 1973 and 1974.

The auction house also said that the bust’s existence had been known for a considerable time and it had been on display for a number of years.

Egypt’s former antiquities minister Zahi Hawass told AFP news agency: “We think it left Egypt after 1970 because in that time other artefacts were stolen from Karnak Temple.”

Egypt introduced laws in 1983 banning the removal of artefacts from the country.

Tutankhamun died over 3,000 years ago aged 19. His remains were found in 1922.

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  • Lightsource BP, a solar energy developer headquartered in London, has announced that it will acquire utility-scale solar projects in Brazil, 1.9 gigawatts of projects, for an undisclosed sum. This is a major expansion for Lightsource, which is 43% owned by the energy giant BP(Reuters)

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July 5, 2019

Top News Story –

New Melania Trump statue in Slovenia gets mixed reviews

A tongue-in-cheek statue of US First Lady Melania Trump has appeared on the outskirts of her Slovenian hometown.

US artist Brad Downey hired a local chainsaw artisan, Ales Zupevc, to carve the likeness out of a tree trunk outside the town of Sevnica.

The result was a wooden rendering of Mrs Trump dressed in a blue coat with a club-like hand gesturing to the sky.

Some residents described it as “a disgrace”, a “Smurfette”, saying “it doesn’t look anything like Melania”.

Downey told Reuters news agency he wanted to “have a dialogue” with the US political situation.

The artist has an exhibition in Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana until late August. The gallery reportedly suggested the statue “might only be a slapstick prank” in a leaflet.

Downey’s previous works include Wisdom Testicles and Cactus Hand.

Sevnica has become a tourist magnet ever since Donald Trump was elected US president in 2016, and Ms Trump – a famous former resident – became the first lady.

Melania Trump by Regine Mahaux Weaver

(BBC)

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July 6, 2019

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California earthquake: Power ‘restored to most’ after 7.1-magnitude quake

A 7.1 magnitude earthquake has rattled parts of Southern California, the biggest tremor to strike in 20 years.

It struck at the shallow depth of 0.9km (0.6 miles) and its epicentre was near the city of Ridgecrest, about 240km north-east of Los Angeles.

A 6.4-magnitude quake hit the same area on Thursday at a depth of nearly 11km.

Emergency officials say the damage is not as bad as they initially feared, with power restored to most who had lost it and food stores trading again.

All of the roads that were damaged by the quake have also now been reopened, they say, but add that crews are still assessing the aftermath.

It’s thought about 3,000 people in Ridgecrest and the surrounding area were left without power.

California Governor Gavin Newsom offered his “heartfelt support” to all those affected, and requested a Presidential Emergency Declaration and federal aid to help.

He later added that there were a number of “minor to moderate level” injuries, and said there were “no reports of any fatalities, so I think we’re very lucky there”.

(BBC)

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    • At least 2 company employees are confirmed killed and two more are critically injured in the explosion at the industrial waste processing plant owned by Monotaro due improper handling of spray cans.(nikkei.com)

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  • American billionaire Jeffrey Epstein is arrested and faces new charges related to alleged sex crimes involving minors. (ABC News)

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July 7, 2019

Top News Story –

U.S. Wins Record Fourth Womens World Cup Soccer Title

Dominating yet another opponent in yet another final, the United States women’s soccer team claimed its fourth Women’s World Cup title on Sunday, beating the Netherlands, 2-0, in Lyon, France, to repeat as world champions.

Megan Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle scored second-half goals for the United States, which needed more than an hour to solve a tenacious Netherlands defense but eventually, rush after rush, found a way through. Rapinoe broke the dam with a penalty kick in the 61st minute, and Lavelle sealed the victory with a driving run up the center in the 69th.

“It’s surreal,” said Rapinoe, who was named the tournament’s outstanding player. “I don’t know how to feel. It’s ridiculous.”

Megan Rapinoe (May 2019) (cropped).jpg

Megan Rapinoe

It was the second straight World Cup title for a dozen of the American players, who claimed their first championship in Canada four years ago. It also cemented their status as the gold standard in women’s soccer, even as Europe — led by teams like the Netherlands — mounts a sustained assault on their crown.

“They put their heart and soul into this journey, and I can’t thank them enough,” United States Coach Jill Ellis, hoarse and on the verge of tears herself, said minutes after the game. Ellis became the first coach to win consecutive Women’s World Cup titles; her team has not lost a game in the event since 2011 (13-0-1), and will be favored to reclaim its Olympic championship next summer in Tokyo.

NY Times

List of the Day –

FIFA Wome’s World Cup Tournament Hosts and Results

EditionYearHostsChampionsScore and venue
11991  China
United States
2–1 
Tianhe StadiumGuangzhou

Norway
21995  Sweden
Norway
2–0 
Råsunda StadiumSolna

Germany
31999  United States
United States
0–0 (a.e.t.)
(5–4 p
Rose BowlPasadena

China PR
42003  United States
Germany
2–1 (a.e.t.
Home Depot CenterCarson

Sweden
52007  China
Germany
2–0 
Hongkou StadiumShanghai

Brazil
62011  Germany
Japan
2–2 (a.e.t.)
(3–1 p
Commerzbank-Arena,Frankfurt

United States
72015  Canada
United States
5–2 
BC PlaceVancouver

Japan
82019  France
United States
2–0
Parc Olympique Lyonnais,Lyon

Netherlands

(Wikipedia)

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