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Trump signs order overhauling Obama’s attempts to slow climate change

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Washington, March 29, 2017: US President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed an executive order rolling back Obama-era rules aimed at tackling global warming.

The order seeks to suspend, rescind or flag for review more than a half-dozen measures in an effort to boost domestic energy production in the form of fossil fuels.

As part of the roll-back, Trump will initiate a review of the Clean Power Plan, which restricts greenhouse gas emissions at coal-fired power plants. The regulation, which was the former president’s signature effort to curb carbon emissions, has been the subject of long-running legal challenges by Republican-led states and those who profit from burning oil, coal and gas.

The President signed the order at the headquarters of the Environmental Protection Agency, saying that this is “the start of a new era” in energy production. He also said that his administration was going to “end the war on coal”.

Trump has previously called global warming a “hoax”, and has repeatedly criticised ex-President Barack Obama’s efforts as an attack on American workers and the struggling US coal industry.

Environmental advocates were not surprised by the order – given such remarks – but said Trump has not considered the public health and economic implications of not fighting climate change or how the order negatively affects US standing in the world.

Laurence Tubbiana, formerly the top French diplomat on climate change and now the CEO of the European Climate Foundation, said in a statement that the order “will propel the economy backwards”.

Anne Kelly a Senior Director at Ceres, a coalition of investors and business that promote sustainability, told the Independent that the Clean Power Plan was the “crown jewel of the Obama administration’s climate plan”.

Trump gave his statement after an off-camera signing ceremony, flanked by coal miners from West Virginia.

He said the order would “start a new era…[in] making America wealthy again”.

Given that private sector investment in the renewable energy industry hit $350 billion in 2016 globally, outpacing new investment in the oil and gas sector for the first time, Kelly said she expects the “marketplace is going to go forward regardless of what the White House does”.

Several of the country’s largest pension funds, accounting for tens of billions in investment, have already begun divesting money from oil and gas companies in order to ensure a more profitable future for their investors.

However, they do require the EPA to do its part in the regulatory realm.

In 2007, under Republican George W. Bush’s administration, the Supreme Court ruled that carbon emissions were essentially a pollutant, Ms Kelly explained.

The ruling made it the EPA’s responsibility to regulate carbon pollution as a matter of public health after a series of “endangerment hearings.” Kelly said states were given quite a bit of flexibility in how to reach the goal of reducing carbon emissions as well.

Trump also said during his speech that safety, clean water, and clean air are still priorities, but that his latest order will eliminate the “crushing attack” on economic freedoms, jobs in coal mining, and American manufacturing by the “bad” regulations.

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Politics

Biden’s inner circle get key cabinet posts as John Kerry named climate tsar

He has made unsubstantiated claims of widespread electoral fraud and is continuing to pursue legal challenges over the result.

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Former US secretary of state John Kerry will act as “climate tsar” when US President-elect Joe Biden takes office.

He was one of several people named for top positions by the Biden transition team on Monday.

Other key picks include Avril Haines as the first woman to lead intelligence, and long-time aide Antony Blinken as secretary of state – the most important foreign policy position.

It comes as calls are growing for Donald Trump to concede the election.

He has made unsubstantiated claims of widespread electoral fraud and is continuing to pursue legal challenges over the result.

Mr Biden is projected to beat President Trump by 306 votes to 232 when the US electoral college meets to formally confirm the winner on 14 December. This is far above the 270 votes he needs.

In a statement following the announcements on Monday, Mr Biden said: “I need a team ready on Day One to help me reclaim America’s seat at the head of the table, rally the world to meet the biggest challenges we face, and advance our security, prosperity, and values. This is the crux of that team.”
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Some of the positions require confirmation in the US Senate.

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Disaster

Global Covid-19 cases top 58.5mn: Johns Hopkins

Brazil currently accounts for the second highest number of fatalities at 169,183.

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Washington, Nov 23: The overall number of global coronavirus cases has topped 58.5 million, while the deaths have surged to more than 1.38 million, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

In its latest update on Monday, the University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed that the current global caseload and death toll stood at 58,542,174 and 1,386,454, respectively.

The US is the worst-hit country with the world’s highest number of cases and deaths at 12,226,643 and 256,741, respectively, according to the CSSE.

India comes in second place in terms of cases at 9,095,806, while the country’s death toll soared to 133,227.

The other countries with more than a million confirmed cases are Brazil (6,071,401), France (2,191,180), Russia (2,071,858), Spain (1,556,730), the UK (1,515,802), Argentina (1,370,366), Italy (1,408,868), Colombia (1,248,417) and Mexico (1,025,969), the CSSE figures showed.

Brazil currently accounts for the second highest number of fatalities at 169,183.

The countries with a death toll above 20,000 are Mexico (100,823), the UK (55,120), Italy (49,823), France (48,807), Iran (44,802), Spain (42,619), Argentina (37,002), Russia (35,838), Peru (35,549), Colombia (35,287) and South Africa (20,903).

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India

Mahatma Gandhi’s Great-Grandson Satish Dhupelia Succumbs To Covid-19 In South Africa

Satish and his two siblings are descendants of Manilal Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi’s son who stayed in South Africa to continue his father’s legacy.

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Satish Dhupelia

Satish Dhupelia, the South African great-grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, succumbed to Covid-19 complications here on Sunday, three days after his 66th birthday, a family member said.

Dhupelia’s sister Uma Dhupelia-Mesthrie confirmed that her brother had died of Covid-19 related complications after he contracted the disease in a hospital where he had been under treatment for a month due to pneumonia.

“My beloved brother has passed on after a month of illness with pneumonia, a superbug contracted in hospital and then Covid-19 also contracted while he was being treated.

“He suffered a major cardiac arrest this evening,” Uma said in a social media post.

Besides Uma, Dhupelia leaves back another sister, Kirti Menon, who lives in Johannesburg, where she is active in various projects honouring the memory of Gandhi.

The three siblings are descendants of Manilal Gandhi, who Mahatma Gandhi left behind in South Africa to continue his work after he returned to India after spending two decades.

Dhupelia, who spent most of his life in media, especially as a videographer and photographer, was also very active in assisting the Gandhi Development Trust to continue the work started by the Mahatma at the Phoenix Settlement near Durban.

He was renowned for assisting the needy in all communities and was active in a number of social welfare organisations.

Tributes poured in from his friends and dear ones.

“I am in shock. Satish was a great humanitarian and activist,” politician-analyst Lubna Nadvi said.

“He was also a great friend of the Advice Desk for Abused Women, and always assisted the organisation in whichever way he could,” Nadvi added.

Dhupelia was also a member of the Board of the 1860 Heritage Foundation, which on Monday, November 16 commemorated the arrival of the first indentured labourers from India to work on the sugar cane fields of Durban.

On the day, in one of his last Facebook posts for which Dhupelia was renowned, especially for his humour, he wrote:

“Let us also not forget that we still need to stand together to achieve our final goals of equality for all and an eradication of poverty”.

Funeral arrangements of Dhupelia have not been announced yet.

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