‘Extraordinarily hot’ Arctic temperatures alarm scientists
TURKEY - Turkey’s government is to withdraw a bill that could overturn men’s convictions for child-sex assault after a public backlash, the prime minister, Binali Yıldırım, has said.
Critics had said the bill – which would allow the release from jail of sex assault convicts if they marry their victims – would legitimize rape. Thousands of people protested against the bill at the weekend. “We are taking this bill in the parliament back to the commission in order to allow for the broad consensus the president requested, and to give time for the opposition parties to develop their proposals,” Yıldırım said yesterday . “This commission will evaluate and take into account all sides and surely a solution will be found,” he added. In comments overnight, the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, had called for a compromise to be found. The bill’s withdrawal marks a rare concession to popular opposition by the ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) The AKP has dominated Turkish politics since coming to power in 2002. If the bill had passed, it would have permitted the release from prison of men guilty of assaulting a minor if the act was committed without “force, threat, or any other restriction on consent” and if the aggressor marries the victim. Opposition parties from across the political spectrum had heavily criticized the bill, which was approved in an initial parliamentary reading on Thursday. It had been expected to be put forward again in parliament yesterday.
The main opposition Republican People’s party (CHP) had called for the bill to be withdrawn and vowed to go as far as the constitutional court to block it. But the Turkish government insisted it was trying to help families in which the men involved were not rapists or sexual aggressors, and who were unaware of the law. The legal age of consent in Turkey is 18 but child marriage is widespread, especially in the south-east of the country.
(Theguardian.com) USA - The Arctic is experiencing extraordinarily hot sea surface and air temperatures, which are stopping ice forming and could lead to record lows of sea ice at the north pole next year, according to scientists. Danish and US researchers monitoring satellites and Arctic weather stations are surprised and alarmed by air temperatures peaking at what they say is an unheard-of 20C higher than normal for the time of year. In addition, sea temperatures averaging nearly 4C higher than usual in October and November. “It’s been about 20C warmer than normal over most of the Arctic Ocean, along with cold anomalies of about the same magnitude over north-central Asia. This is unprecedented for November,” said research professor Jennifer Francis of Rutgers university. Temperatures have been only a few degrees above freezing when -25C should be expected, according to Francis. “These temperatures are literally off the charts for where they should be at this time of year. It is pretty shocking. The Arctic has been breaking records all year. It is exciting but also scary,” she said. Francis said the near-record low sea ice extent this summer had led to a warmer than usual autumn. That in turn had reduced the temperature difference between the Arctic and mid-latitudes. “This helped make the jet stream wavier and allowed more heat and moisture to be driven into Arctic latitudes and perpetuate the warmth. It’s a vicious circle,” she added. Sea ice, which forms and melts each year, has declined more than 30% in the past 25 years. This week it has been at the lowest extent ever recorded for late November. According to the US government’s National Snow and Ice Data Centre, (NSIDC), around 2m square kilometres less ice has formed since September than average. The level is far below the same period in 2012, when sea ice went on to record its lowest ever annual level. Francis said she was convinced that the cause of the high temperatures and ice loss was climate change. “It’s all expected. There is nothing but climate change that can cause these trends. This is all headed in the same direction and picking up speed.” Rasmus Tonboe, a sea ice remote sensing expert at the Danish Meteorological Institute in Copenhagen, said: “Sea surface temperatures in the Kara and Barents seas are much warmer than usual. That makes it very difficult for sea ice to freeze.
A large pool of melt water over ice on top of the Beaufort Sea in the Arctic Ocean.( Photo: Nasa)