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Massive Coal Mine Closer To Reality As Beloved Reef Crumbles To Climate Change

SYDNEY ? An Indian mining giant announced Tuesday the ?official start? of a proposed $16 billion coal project in Australia that conservationists say threatens the Great Barrier Reef.

Adani Group chairman Gautam Adani said the company had approved its ?final investment decision? regarding the controversial project in central Queensland. The 100-square-mile Carmichael mine would produce millions of tons of the fossil fuel each year.

It has faced severe backlash in the country from environmental groups who say the project would negate Australia?s pledges to limit greenhouse gas emissions and harm the environment ? particularly the imperiled reef, located off the state?s coast.

?We have been challenged by activists in the courts, in inner city streets, and even outside banks that have not even been approached to finance the project,? said Adani, who founded the energy company, at a press conference. ?We are still facing activists. But we are committed to this project.?

In recent months, Australian officials have cleared regulatory hurdles for the project and the federal government announced it had conditionally approved a $750 million loan to help build a rail line to transport coal from the Carmichael mine to a proposed shipping terminal on the coast. At its peak, the mine would produce about 44 million tons of coal annually to ship to India. That?s enough energy to power 100 million homes.

?This is a great day not just for the Queensland economy, but for the Queensland people, and our greatest asset is our people,? said Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk at a press conference.

Environmentalists and scientists, however, have roundly lambasted the project and said it runs contrary to any efforts to address climate change. Australia is still party to the landmark Paris climate accord and has pledged to reduce emissions 26 to 28 percent by 2030.

?You can?t be the world?s biggest coal exporter and at the same time be taking action on climate change,?said Nikola Casule, a climate and energy campaigner at Greenpeace Australia. ?It?s completely incompatible.?

Casule noted Tuesday?s announcement doesn?t guarantee the mine would be built because Adani has yet to secure enough funding to start the project. Following public pressure, multiple banks have distanced themselves from the mine, saying they would not fund the project. He said Greenpeace was planning to do ?everything we can? to fight the project, and said the group would take aim at the tax dollars being proposed to fund it.

?We know Australians don?t want billions of dollars of money going to the Carmichael coal mine,? Casule said. ?What is the best way to spend a billion dollars? Is it funding a billionaire?s coal mine or is it for things Australians actually care about.?

Tuesday?s announcement comes as scientists continue to warn about the future of the Great Barrier Reef. The structure has endured back-to-back mass bleaching events that have left large swaths of coral dead, spurred by rapidly warming global temperatures. Climate change remains by far the greatest threat to the reef, and the federal government was this week warned it would need to ?urgently step up its efforts? to tackle the phenomenon if it hoped to save the Great Barrier.

?Without a comprehensive and effective national climate plan to reduce Australia?s pollution ultimately to zero, reefs will continue to be threatened,? said Amanda McKenzie, the CEO of Australian nonprofit the Climate Council, on Monday. ?The future of the world?s coral reefs hangs in the balance. To protect them for the future means tackling climate change by rapidly and drastically reducing our carbon emissions.

Government officials have said the mine wouldn?t impact the Great Barrier Reef. The Queensland government?s Palaszczuk cited 39 approval processes and environmental assessments when she threw her support behind the project at the end of last year.

Scientists, however, disagree.

?We can?t restore the Great Barrier Reef if we allow fossil fuels to destroy it,? wrote Terry Hughes, a leading coral researcher and the director of the ARC Centre for Excellence, on Twitter in December. ?Please, no new subsidized coal mines.?

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Trump, Terrorism, And Why I Can’t Sleep

It?s not the threat of a terror attack on U.S. soil that keeps me up at night; it?s how President Trump will respond to one that worries me most. That?s not to say that attacks like those in London and Manchester don?t scare me ? they do. Like every other parent, I worry about my children attending a concert, or traveling with my family via plane or train.

But it?s the volatility of our unhinged president, and the incendiary words that come from his Twitter-happy fingers that keep me up late into the night: how he doubled down on his calls for a Muslim ban after the London Bridge incident, the way he attacked the mayor of London throughout the morning Monday.

Mr. Trump?s written assault on Mayor Sadiq Khan was despicable and highly embarrassing, even for him. I can only conclude that Trump chose to go after a man whose city had just endured a terror attack because that mayor is Muslim. Is Trump trying to make enemies of our greatest allies? He certainly started down that road at the G-7 Summit, followed by his idiotic decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord.

What will happen when there is another major terror attack on our soil? Because that is not an if. We can be sure that ISIS is patiently waiting to poke the American tiger. They will most certainly test our president, and we can only hope that they will be thwarted before an attack is carried out. But I can?t stop thinking about what would happen if they?re successful ? if we suffered a large-scale attack on American soil.

What will our president and his minions do in the aftermath? Will they tell Americans the truth? Will the president start tweeting and talking before he?s gathered the facts? Will he listen to the U.S. intelligence services that he has so often derided? The first problem in such a scenario will be the credibility of the president and the White House staff, and the information and tone they project to the country and the world.

What will happen when our president unleashes his fury and ignorance on the Muslim world?

Will he drop bombs or worse, nuclear weapons, somewhere in the Middle East and kill thousands of civilians, spark a wider war?

Will the White House shut our borders, register American Muslims and put them in internment camps? Will the government encourage citizens to snuff them out, report their ?suspicious? neighbors to the authorities?

It doesn?t help that I recently watched The Handmaid?s Tale. I don?t think that kind of dystopia will ever happen here. But I do believe that President Trump could consolidate power in a similar fashion under the guise of protecting Americans. I can imagine him seizing bank accounts and companies, sending out the army and the National Guard to patrol streets, making unilateral decisions that would put Americans in even graver danger by stoking the wrath of ISIS and completely disenfranchising Muslim youth here and abroad. And I can picture him further cutting us off from our NATO allies, who came to our aid after September 11th.

Of course Bannon, Miller, Sessions and Conway will gladly go along with him if not lead the way, write his speeches, whisper hateful ideas in his ear long after everyone else has left the White House for the night. And that sad collection of stooges known as Congressional Republicans will keep their mouths shut. His supporters will double down on their love of the president and buy into his lies, as they are wont to do.

If the Paris Accord and Republican reaction have taught us anything, it is that there are too few Republicans who care anything for truth, for ethics, for the planet. This White House and its enablers are comprised of people who make terrible decisions and then conjure ?facts? to back them up. And the country is filled with people who believe them.

I try to tune out the insanity. I?ve tried watching great comedy series like Catastrophe before I go to sleep rather than the news or The Handmaid?s Tale. But in this climate of one political tornado after another, if you blink, you miss it. And as disturbing as it all is, we must be in the know. We can?t hide in the basement to wait out the storm, or stick our heads under our pillows, or dismiss the president?s latest infraction with a shrug. It is better to be sleepless, knowledgeable and on high alert than rested and ignorant.

After all, I can sleep when I?m dead. Now is the time to stay wide awake. It?s the president who needs to get off his phone and get some sleep.

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This Is The Most Pinned Engagement Ring On Pinterest This Year

For BRIDES, by Alexis Hobbs.

Can you imagine your life without Pinterest? It?s every bride?s go-to for all things wedding related, from wedding dress inspo to gorgeous reception themes to mega beauty tips for glowing skin. And although we love spending hours on the social media site crafting our own dream wedding boards, it?s always nice to see what other brides are pinning on their own page. Which brings us to the most popular engagement ring on Pinterest right now. Heads up: It?s a stunner.

See More: The Prettiest Wedding Dresses From the Runway

The ring, a sparkling rose gold solitaire, has been pinned more than a whopping 103,900 times, according to the Daily Mail. Simplicity wins this year, that much is clear.

Sadly, the engagement ring isn?t mass produced for every bride-to-be around the world to sport on her finger. According to the Daily Mail, the bling belongs to Sylvia Billone and was custom-made just for her. She revealed online that the rose gold band boasts a 1.22 karat solitaire diamond. No word on the price of the ring yet, but we have a feeling it wasn?t exactly cheap.

This year?s most popular engagement ring is a far cry from the ring that stole girls? hearts last year on Pinterest. Instead of opting for the minimalistic vibe of 2017, women went wild for an intricate white gold Verragio ring. The diamond twisted split shank paired with lace embellishments was the embodiment of opulence and grace.

Still not sold on either of these rings? Don?t worry. We found the engagement ring trends to look out for this year (and they?re NOT what you?d expect)..

See More: These Are the Top Wedding Trends of 2017 on Pinterest

More From BRIDES:

How To Find The Perfect Wedding Dress For Your Body Type

The 61 Best Celebrity Engagement Rings

The 50 Best Places to Get Married in America

The Biggest Fall Wedding Dress Trends from Bridal Fashion Week

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Inventor Of The Super Soaker Is Supporting The Next Generation Of Engineers

The man who invented the Super Soaker wants to make a positive impact on the new generation of engineers.

Lonnie Johnson is using his nonprofit to help fund high school robotics teams, NBC News reported Thursday. One team he helps, DISCbots, is made up of refugees from nine countries. The team is in its second year and has already qualified for a worldwide robotics tournament in Texas. 

?If I can have a positive impact … clearly it?s something I want to do,? Johnson said.

The inventor, who grew up in Mobile, Alabama, during the Jim Crow era, became interested in engineering as a youth, according to BBC. He built a robot for a fair held by the Junior Engineering Technical Society at the University of Alabama during his senior year of high school in 1968. The only black student in the competition, Johnson won first place for his robot, Linex. 

After graduating from Tuskegee University, he went on to work for the U.S. Air Force, and then became a rocket scientist at NASA. While testing a water pump he designed, he came up with his billion-dollar idea, he told NBC News.

?I thought to myself, ?Geez, this would make a neat water gun!?? he said. ?At that point I decided to put my engineering hat on and design a high performance water gun.?

The toy first went on sale in the 1990s. Johnson went on to create other toys, including the NERF gun. He also created a ceramic battery and hair rollers that set without heat, among other inventions, according to Biography.com

He recently visited his high school alma mater to speak with students about engineering. 

?Kids need exposure to ideas, and they need to be given an opportunity to experience success,? he told BBC. ?Once you get that feeling, it grows and feeds itself ? but some kids have got to overcome their environments and attitudes that have been imposed on them.?

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Ariana Grande Leads Emotional Performance At Manchester Benefit Concert

Less than two weeks following the tragic attack at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, the ?Into You? singer triumphantly returned to the stage to perform at the One Love Manchester benefit concert. 

Originally organized to mark the May 22 suicide bombing that claimed the lives of 22 people in the Manchester Arena, Sunday?s concert took on added meaning after three assailants killed seven people and injured nearly 50 on Saturday night at the London Bridge and Borough Market in London.  

Grande?s manager, Scooter Braun, said in a statement on Sunday that the singer?s show would go on with ?greater purpose? following Saturday?s attack.  

When the 23-year-old singer, dressed in a One Love Manchester sweatshirt, finally walked onstage, the crowd erupted into cheers. She kicked off her performance with the upbeat ?Be Alright,? and followed up with ?Break Free.? The songs seemed to take on more powerful meanings during the Sunday night performance. 

Grande was visibly emotional, and appeared to tear up as she finished the songs. The singer thanked the crowd multiple times during the concert, at one point telling them, ?The kind of love and unity that you?re displaying is the medicine the world really needs right now.? 

Stars such as Robbie Williams, Niall Horan, Pharrell Williams, Take That and Katy Perry also performed at the concert, infusing messages of strength and positivity throughout the night. Grande performed with various artists, including The Black Eyed Peas and Victoria Monet.

A particularly sweet moment came when Grande joined members of the choir of Parrs Wood High School, located in a Manchester suburb, to sing ?You Are My Everything.? The group had many in the crowd in tears. 

After that performance, Grande introduced her boyfriend, rapper Mac Miller, to the stage to sing ?The Way,? which they collaborated on in 2013. 

?Tonight?s all about love,? she said before he came out to join her. As the two performed together, their love for each other clearly radiated through. 

Then, Grande was joined my Miley Cyrus, who had performed earlier in the night. The singers performed their cover of Crowded House?s ?Don?t Dream It?s Over,? which they first sang as part of Cyrus? Backyard Sessions

In what may have been the most powerful moment of the show, Grande closed out the show by singing ?Somewhere Over The Rainbow? alone onstage. The stunning performance had many in the crowd in tears.

Grande herself was also overcome with emotion, breaking down before finishing the song. The crowd then erupted into cheers and the singer managed to get through the final bit beautifully. 

Proceeds from the benefit concert will go toward the Red Cross? We Love Manchester emergency fund, in support of the victims and families of the May attack.

 

Doha Madani contributed to this report.

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Dads’ Brains React Differently To Sons And Daughters

Dads with toddler-age daughters interact differently with their kids than fathers with toddler-age sons, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that fathers with daughters use different language and show different levels of attentiveness to their daughters? needs, compared to fathers with sons. In addition, their brains? responses to their tots? pictures differed from those of dads with sons, according to the findings, which were published May 22 in the journal Behavioral Neuroscience.

The findings indicate that gender-based differences in fathers? behaviors appear to show up while children are very young, said lead study author Jennifer Mascaro, an assistant professor of family and preventive medicine at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. The fathers in the study had kids between ages 1 and 3.

Previous research has shown that when parents complete questionnaires, they rarely report treating their sons and daughters differently. And psychology studies that observe how a parent and child interact in a laboratory setting may not always be representative of typical caregiving behavior. [8 Tried-and-True Tips for Talking to Preschoolers]

To observe real-world interactions between fathers and toddlers, the researchers recruited 52 men ages 21 to 55 who lived in Atlanta and had a 1- or 2-year-old son or daughter. Thirty of the dads had young daughters, and the rest had sons.

Each father was given a recording device that he wore on his belt during one typical weekday and one typical day over the weekend. The device was programmed to record 50-second snippets of sound every 9 minutes, but neither the father nor the child could tell when the device was actually recording.  

?People behave incredibly natural? when wearing the recording device, since they never know when it?s on or off, Mascaro said.

The researchers ended up with a total of 2 hours of sound from each father. They transcribed the recordings, and evaluated the fathers? attentiveness, behaviors and language used while interacting with their sons or daughters.

The study found that the fathers with daughters sang more to their little girls than the fathers with sons sang to the boys. When talking to their children, fathers of toddler daughters used more language related to sadness, using words such as ?cry,? ?sad,? ?tears? and ?lonely,? as well as more language referencing the body, such as ?belly,? ?foot? and ?tummy,? compared with fathers who had toddler sons. [25 Scientific Tips for Raising Happy Kids]

In addition, dads used more analytic words, such as ?more? and ?better,? with their daughters than dads with sons did. Such words can facilitate more complex language development, Mascaro said.

On the other hand, fathers with sons used more achievement-oriented words ? such as ?win,? ?proud? and ?top? ? and they engaged in more rough-and-tumble play, such as tickling or tossing around their sons, the findings revealed.

When it came to being attentive, the fathers with daughters were more responsive to their children?s needs than fathers with sons, according to the findings.

And when the fathers were shown pictures of their children with different facial expressions, brain scans showed that the fathers had a stronger neural response in areas of the brain important for reward and emotional regulation to happy faces on their daughters than they did when the girls made other expressions. The brains of dads of sons, by contrast, had a more robust response to the boys? neutral expressions than to other expressions.

It was surprising that the fathers responded more to a neutral expression on their sons, Mascaro said. Fathers may be more attentive to their sons? neutral expressions because it is less clear what the son is feeling, and so they may need to read between the lines more to understand it, Mascaro told Live Science. [9 Weird Ways Kids Can Get Hurt]

One possible explanation for why fathers had different emotional and behavioral responses to their young children is biologically based, meaning that men could be hardwired to respond differently to sons and daughters, Mascaro said.

But another possibility is that there are societal, cultural and gender norms about how dads should interact with girls and boys, she said. The study looked at fathers from just one area.

It could also be that the differences in behavior stem from both biological and cultural explanations. In other words, there could be small differences in the way young boys and girls actually behave, which then cause fathers to encourage more of this behavior in their children, thus enhancing these behaviors in kids, Mascaro suggested.

The researchers said they could not tie the findings to any long-term outcomes in children, such as youngsters? social, emotional or intellectual development. However, the fact that these differences in fathers? behavior toward their sons and daughters show up so early is important in helping researchers understand how gender roles are developed and reinforced, Mascaro said.

Originally published on Live Science.

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Trump’s Withdrawal Of The U.S. From The Paris Climate Agreement Is A Disaster

Since the end of World War II, the United States has proudly carried the mantle of global leader of the international community. American leadership brought us the United Nations, the World Bank, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and the Marshall Plan, which helped rebuild a continent decimated by war and secure a peace that has lasted for more than 70 years. As a senior member of Congress, a member of the Helsinki Commission, and member of the American delegation to the 80th Inter-Parliamentary Meeting of European Union and United States Legislators, one of my responsibilities is to work with the delegation?s European counterparts on cooperative efforts to address and resolve issues of mutual concern.

This is becoming increasingly difficult because in less than 150 days, President Trump has done more to damage relations with our allies and the standing of the United States in the world than all of his predecessors combined. On his maiden trip abroad as the leader of the United States, Trump embarrassed our country and alienated our allies by failing to affirm our commitment to Article 5 of the NATO charter which regards an attack on any NATO member as an attack on all of them. Driving a wedge between the United States and its European allies has been the long sought strategic objective of the Russians since the formation of NATO in 1949.

Compounding his disastrous performance at the NATO summit, the President has now renounced America?s commitment to the landmark Paris Climate Agreement, which encourages all nations to set and reach national climate goals every five years. The U.S. played the pivotal role in drafting the agreement, forging consensus, and securing the assent of 195 nations. In withdrawing from the agreement, Trump has elected to place the United States in the company of Syria and Nicaragua as the only countries not to accept by the Paris Agreement. As U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham stated, by withdrawing from the Paris Agreement, Trump is affirming that ?he believes climate change is a hoax.?

Climate change is not a hoax invented by the Chinese and the Paris Agreement is an example of America?s indispensable global leadership. Almost every credible scientific voice tells us human activity has and continues to have a dramatic impact on climate change. Moreover, scientists have warned that inaction by the major industrialized nations of the world could lead to global catastrophe.

According to NASA researchers, 16 of the 17 warmest years in the last 13 and a half decades have occurred since 2001. Evaporation patterns have shifted producing more frequent and powerful storms. The United States is the world?s second largest contributor to carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere. Experts say the resulting polluted runoff is degrading water quality.

As the founder of the Congressional Children?s Caucus, I believe we have a duty to leave the planet we inherited in better shape for the generations that follow. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), changing weather conditions is cited as one of the main causes of trauma to children. According to the AAP, between 2000 and 2009, there have been three times as many extreme weather events as occurred between 1980 and 1989 and that following climate-related natural disasters, high numbers of children are found to exhibit symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Children under one year of age are especially vulnerable to heat-related climate change and there is more than a 90 percent chance that by the end of the 21st century average summer temperatures will exceed the highest temperatures yet recorded in many regions. According to the World Health Organization, more than 88 percent of diseases attributable to climate change occur in children younger than five. By 2030, climate change is expected to lead to 48,000 more children under the age of 15 dying from diarrheal disease in 2030, primarily in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. And in the world?s poorest regions, where the disease burden is disproportionately high, children will be the most affected by climate change influenced infectious diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, West Nile virus, chikungunya, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, diarrheal illness, amebic meningoencephalitis and coccidioidomycosis.

Trump has often questioned the value of the Paris Agreement but has yet to provide any scientific or empirical basis to reject the consensus of experts that human activity is a leading contributor to climate change. Indeed, if the President had any legitimate concerns regarding the efficacy of the Paris Agreement, he could and should work with America?s partners to address and resolve them. He has made no attempt to do so.

According to a recent Gallup poll, 54 percent of Americans believe that climate change is a serious problem. As a member of Congress, I have always acted on the basis of facts and promoted policies that are both aspirational and grounded in reality. I have endeavored to always seek the truth by discerning what is real from what is fake. And when it comes to the issue of climate change, I have listened to the scientists.

The President needs to recognize that he represents the entire country; not just the Trump Organization.

President Trump?s isolated and short-sighted view threatens to quash years of deliberation and work by corporate leaders, scientists, educators, social actors and others who work tirelessly to protect the planet. Withdrawing from the Paris Agreement would be disastrous, not only because it jeopardizes America?s status as a world leader, but also because such action will undermine our competitiveness in the emerging clean-environment global economy.

According to studies, China is the world leader in renewable energy investment, pouring more than $78 billion into renewable energy projects last year alone. In contrast, the United States invested less than $24 billion last year. Many jobs are at stake, and that means non-participation in the Paris Agreement could undermine American economic interests. We cannot afford to be left behind as the rest of the world moves toward a clean economy future.

A resounding bipartisan chorus has called for continued American observance of the Paris Agreement. From Republican and Democratic Governors to Members of Congress to our NATO allies, the chorus of voices counseling against withdrawal continues to grow. Americans want their country to lead the battle against climate change and for a healthy planet.

The President needs to recognize that he represents the entire country; not just the Trump Organization. He is the President of the United States of America. If the President truly wants to ensure this nation?s continuing greatness, then he will reverse his decision to renounce America?s continued participation in the Paris Climate Agreement.

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