Pope’s grave warning on threat from climate change

A draft of a Papal encyclical, leaked by Italian magazine L’Espresso, says climate change is a threat largely caused by mankind and that there is an “urgent and compelling” need to reduce carbon emissions.

In the widely-anticipated letter – trailed at the weekend by The Guardian and whose leak was condemned by the Vatican – Pope Francis warns that the world is heading for “unprecedented destruction” unless mankind confronts climate change and alters how it treats the planet. The Independent calls the encyclical “the most eagerly anticipated papal document in living memory.”

The Pope paints an apocalyptic picture in which the world’s poorest are the biggest victims of a web of environmental, human, financial and ethical degradation that puts the entire planet at risk. In an extraordinarily frank document, the Pope lambasts rich countries for “looting” the world and takes aim at bankers and climate sceptics for accelerating its decline.


The Papal encyclical is certain to prompt debate ahead of the UN conference on climate change in Paris later this year, and comes on the heels of the G7 leaders’ pledge to move, as far as practical, towards phasing out fossil fuel use by the end of the century.

At the weekend, Jim Yardley at the New York Times wrote:

On Thursday, Francis will release his first major teaching letter, known as an encyclical, on the theme of the environment and the poor. Given the pope’s widespread popularity, and his penchant for speaking out on major global issues, the encyclical is being treated as a milestone that could place the Roman Catholic Church at the forefront of a new coalition of religion and science.


* POLITICS * A planned second vote on President Obama’s trade agenda, set for Tuesday, was cancelled, as the Washington Post reports, “Given the grim outcome for Obama of the first vote on Friday — 302 against and 126 in favor — they [House GOP leaders] stood no chance for turning nearly 100 votes in four days.”

Paul Ryan told USA Today’s Susan Page that another vote this week was still possible.

After Jeb! Bush became the 11th candidate to officially seek the Republican Presidential nomination, it seems the 12th could, maybe, possibly follow on Tuesday morning or soon after. Despite a long history of not running, the Washington Post reports that Donald Trump is set to declare his self-assessed financial assets as a possible prelude to entering the race.

The Post writes:

Trump’s speech announcing his decision is likely to center on his career and fortune. He is expected to cast himself as an entrepreneur and outsider who is eager to tangle with the party establishment and U.S. economic rivals abroad, such as China…

One goal of Trump’s camp is to make the cut for the Republican primary debates this summer and fall, which will require him to rank within the top 10 in national polls, among other factors. By issuing a memo on his finances, Trump believes he will be going above and beyond what will be necessary to win a place onstage, according to people familiar with his thinking.

Miles Johnson at Mother Jones has some other possibilities for Tuesday’s event – from unveiling a Celebrity Apprentice spinoff to announcing that he’s finally found President Obama’s birth certificate.


* WORLD * The Greek government and its creditors appeared to harden their positions amid a further impasse over debt talks, and warnings of the aftermath of a default.

Gideon Rachman at the Financial Times looks at ‘Four games the Greeks may be playing.”

The uncertainty about what is driving Athens is only amplified because a parallel set of questions can be asked about the motivations of Brussels and Berlin. It could equally well be argued that the German government is bluffing, in the expectation of Greek capitulation; or that the team around Chancellor Angela Merkel has miscalculated in expecting the Greeks to “behave reasonably”; or that the German government, like its Greek counterpart, is trapped by domestic politics; or, finally, that there are many in Germany, particularly in the finance ministry, who now actively want to force Greece out of the euro.

Russia warned it would retaliate if Washington followed through with plans to put heavy weapons in Europe – something Moscow described as “the most aggressive U.S. act since the Cold War,” according to Reuters.

Meanwhile, Philip Ewing writes at Politico that “The West’s simmering standoff with Russia has prompted the Pentagon to reach for a new weapon: YouTube.”

EU ministers are to meet in Luxembourg on Tuesday to discuss the ongoing Mediterranean migrant crisis and a plan to distribute asylum seekers more evenly across all 28 EU states.

Rachel Dolezal resigned as President of the NAACP chapter in Spokane, WA, as the furore continued over her racial identity. As the media roundabout inevitably spins, she’ll be appearing on the Today Show on Tuesday morning, then will be interviewed by Savannah Guthrie on NBC News and then Melissa Harris-Perry on MSNBC on Tuesday evening.

Here’s Larry Wilmore.



* BUSINESS * The New York Post reported a huge potential deal in the cosmetics industry, with Coty apparently set to buy three beauty businesses from Proctor & Gamble for up to $12billion.

Former AIG boss Maurice Greenberg won his 2011 case against the government for overstepping its legal authority when it bailed out his company. But the judge chose not to award any damages. Greenberg had been seeking up to $40billion. The New York Times writes that when Greenberg brought the case, “the reaction was mainly befuddlement and outright ridicule.”

When the case went to trial last fall, many legal experts predicted a lost cause, while both the government’s lawyers and elected officials were even more blunt: calling Mr. Greenberg an “ingrate” and the lawsuit, which demanded as much as $40 billion, an embarrassment.


* MEDIA * Apple is looking for human editors to curate its news app. Here’s the job spec.

9to5Mac says that 

So Apple won’t be relying on algorithms for News, admitting in the job posting that software alone won’t be able to “recognize original, compelling stories” beyond breaking news to curate stories and categories for readers. While Apple’s reasoning for human editors — to present compelling content to readers that its algorithms have a tough time detecting — is valid, it does bring up the question of how Apple could control what we see and how we see it if its News app becomes popular with readers and attracts a large number of users away from competing aggregation services like Flipboard, Reddit and Techmeme.

Meanwhile, the BuzzFeedNews app launches later this week.


* SPORTS * Details were released of the government’s plea agreement with former Fifa official Chuck Blazer. The Guardian reports that Blazer “agreed to become an informant for the FBI and US justice department – and collect evidence implicating other Fifa executives – in return for immunity from prosecution.”

After Game Five of the NBA finals scored the best TV rating for a championship game since 2004, The Golden State Warriors will attempt to clinch on Tuesday night in Cleveland.

Finally, the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup for the third time in six years, after beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-0 in Game Six in Chicago.


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