Daily News Roundup

November 6, 2019

The Drone Way: Ben Stamatovich


More than 11,000 scientists around the world have signed a scientific paper declaring a climate emergency, that the climate crisis “has arrived” and is “accelerating faster than most scientists expect”.

The scientists from 153 countries who put their name to the paper, published in the journal BioScience say they have a “moral obligation” to humanity.

They say there needs to be greater emphasis on human activities that can change the climate such as fertility rate, air travel and meat production 

Professor William Ripple, a prominent ecology professor from Oregon State University in the US, led the scientists’ declaration.

Professor William Ripple described the paper as a form of “scientific advocacy”.

He said he hoped the paper and consensus statement would spur on more governments to make similar declarations.

The paper, which was not peer-reviewed, includes signatures from scientists from 153 countries and calls for reporting on climate change to consider a wider range of indicators, beyond just global surface temperature.

It calls on a set of indicators to convey the effects of human activities on greenhouse gas emissions and the consequent impacts on climate, the environment and society.

The scientists present a list of measures they call the Earth’s “vital signs”, which they say better represent climate change.

They include 15 measures of human activities that can change the climate — such as fertility rate, air travel and meat production — and 14 measures of the impacts of climate change, such as ocean acidity, ocean heat content and the number of extreme weather events.

Another lead author on the paper, University of Sydney ecologist Thomas Newsome, said these measures should become part of the public discussion of climate change.

“We think governments at their own country level should actually be reporting this data back to the public so that we can track progress over time,” he said.

“But also so the public can learn about how they might be able to make differences within their own lives to help mitigate the impacts of climate change.”

The UK, Scotland and Ireland are among the countries that have declared a “climate change emergency”, along with more than 1,000 subnational jurisdictions, including many in Australia, such as the ACT, the City of Sydney and the City of Melbourne.

Last month, the Federal Government voted down an attempt to declare a climate emergency across the country, with the Morrison Government’s Emissions Reduction Minister, Angus Taylor, labelling it a “symbolic” gesture.

More than 400,000 Australians have signed a petition, now presented to Parliament, urging the Government to make the call.


An angry US President Donald Trump has urged Mexico to wage war on the county’s drug cartels after at least three women and six children, including twin six-month-old babies, were ambushed and killed by cartel gunmen in northern Mexico.

Described the victims, who held joint US-Mexican citizenship, as “great American people” Mr Trump said the US was “willing and able” to get involved “And do the job quickly”.

The victims, believed to be members of a large Mormon family, were ambushed by gunman while driving to a wedding in the Mexican border state of Sonora — near where they worship with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Six other children were found alive. One child had a bullet wound while one child was still missing, officials said.

Mexico’s security secretary Alfonso Durazo said the gunmen may have mistaken the group’s convoy of large SUVs for a rival gang.

Christina Langford Johnson, 31, Rhonita LeBaron, 33, and Dawna Langford, 43, were the three women killed in the attack, according to The Sun newspaper.

Ms LeBaron had broken down in her SUV when gunmen opened fire, torching the vehicle and causing the petrol tank to explode.

She was found dead inside the bullet-ridden car along with her six-month-old babies, Titus and Tiana.

Two of her other children, Krystal, 10, and Howard, 12, were also reportedly killed in the attack.

Twins Tiana and Titus died in the SUV. Picture: FacebookSource:Facebook

Twelve kilometres ahead, Ms Langford Johnson, Ms Langford, and two of her children, 11-year-old Trevor and three-year-old Rogan, were also killed in other SUVs.

Seven-month-old Faith was reportedly found alive on the floor in the back seat of the car. Picture: SuppliedSource:Facebook

Ms Langford Johnson’s seven-month-old baby Faith was found alive on the floor in the back of her Chevrolet Suburban.

Relatives say the infant was rescued after spending hours inside the car with her mum’s body.

A video posted on social media showed the charred and smoking remains of a vehicle riddled with bullet holes that was apparently carrying the victims when the attack happened.

“This is for the record,” says a male voice in an American accent, off camera, choking with emotion.

In each of the three cars that were attacked, a mother had been driving children to see family.

“They were driving together for safety reasons,” said Kendra Lee Miller, whose sister-in-law Rhonita Maria Miller was killed in the attack.

CNN reports Rhonita Miller was driving with some of her seven children from La Mora, Mexico to Arizona in order to pick up her husband Howard — who was in the US for work.

They were planning to attend Kendra’s wedding in La Mora the following week. Police, soldiers and the National Guard were searching the rural, mountainous area on the Sonora-Chihuahua border for the missing child.


A new study out of the US has found that activities like dancing and working out on gym equipment for and average of just 30 minutes a day can help beat depression, even among people with a family history of the condition.

The results of the study, published in the journal Depression And Anxiety, showed that people who exercised for at least several hours each week (at least 30 minutes per day) were less likely to be diagnosed with a new episode of depression, even in the face of a high genetic risk for the disorder.

Karmel Choi, from the Harvard school of public health in the US, and lead author of the study, said: “Our findings strongly suggest that, when it comes to depression, genes are not destiny and that being physically active has the potential to neutralise the added risk of future episodes in individuals who are genetically vulnerable.”

He said exercising for an extra 30 minutes or so per day “may help people to reduce their risk and protect against future depression episodes”.

“We provide promising evidence that primary care and mental health providers can use to counsel and make recommendations to patients that here is something meaningful they can do to lower their risk even if they have a family history of depression.”

The study found that activities such as yoga and dance classes, or using a treadmill, cross-trainer or rowing machine, could lower the risk of depression by 17 per cent for every 30 minutes per day on average.

Compared to couch potatoes, people who exercised for about 30 minutes a day had a lower risk, but even those who were more active benefited from increasing their exercise.

In fact, the more exercise people did, the lower their risk of depression overall, the study suggested.

Running and walking were found to help protect against depression, but were not as effective as aerobic classes, yoga, stretching and gym-based machine workouts.

The study examined data for 7968 people, including 628 people who had been diagnosed with depression during a two-year period.

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