Its’ Tuesday December 12, 2017

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French President Emmanuel Macron delivered a bleak assessment on the global fight against climate change to dozens of world leaders and company executives on Tuesday, telling them: “We are losing the battle." Macron is seeking to breathe new life into a collective effort that was weakened this summer when President Donald Trump said he was pulling the United States out of an international accord brokered in the French capital two years ago. Macron said modern-day science was revealing with each day the danger that global warming posed to the planet, and pressured the assembled heads of states, ministers, and executives to launch a new phase in the fight against global warming. No internationally binding commitments will be made at Tuesday’s “One Planet” summit. More than 200 institutional investors with $26 trillion in assets under management said on Tuesday they would step up pressure on the world’s biggest corporate greenhouse gas emitters to combat climate change. On Tuesday, the European Commission unveiled 9 billion euros worth of investments targeting sustainable cities, sustainable energy, and sustainable agriculture for Africa and EU neighborhood countries.

A big explosion rocked a major natural gas hub in Austria, killing one person and injuring at least 18, as well as disrupting the gas supply to some EU nations. Police said a fire followed the blast which happened just east of the capital Vienna, near the Slovak border. Austrian police said the situation was under control and a technical fault had caused the blast. The flow of Russian natural gas to Europe has dropped as a result of the accident. Spot prices rose sharply across Europe after the incident, and Italy declared a state of emergency. The Baumgarten facility near Vienna is a key hub for imported Russian gas, which is sent on to a number of European countries. The facility receives about 40 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year. Gas Connect said the incident should have no effect on gas deliveries to Austria but those to Italy and Croatia might be reduced. Russia's Gazprom Export company said it was working to redirect the gas supply.

A would-be suicide bomber is being held on terrorism charges in the rush hour blast in the heart of the New York City subway system that failed to cause the bloodshed he intended. New York Police said 27-year-old Akayed Ullah was charged Tuesday with supporting an act of terrorism, making a terroristic threat and weapon possession. An announcement on federal terrorism charges is also expected later. The Bangladeshi immigrant was hospitalized with burns to his hands and stomach. Overseas, Bangladesh counterterrorism officers were questioning the wife and other relatives of the suspect. Relatives and police said Ullah last visited Bangladesh in September to see his wife and newborn son before leaving them behind to return the United States. Monday’s explosion happened in an underground passageway connecting two of Manhattan’s busiest subway stations. Ullah — who told investigators he wanted to retaliate for American action against Islamic State extremists — came to the U.S. from Bangladesh in 2011 on a visa available to certain relatives of U.S. citizens. President Donald Trump cited the background of the bomber in renewing his call for closer scrutiny of foreigners who come to the country based on family ties.

Alabama Senate candidates Roy Moore and Doug Jones face off Tuesday in their closely watched special election, with polls showing a dead heat. A Fox News poll published Monday showed Jones, the Democrat, up 10 points, but a rival poll by Emerson showed Moore, the Republican, with a 9-point lead. RealClearPolitics' average between Nov. 27 and Dec. 10 put Moore up by 2.5 points. Moore's standing slipped weeks ago after several women accused him of pursuing them or touching them inappropriately when they were as young as 14 and he was in his 30s. Former President Barack Obama and his vice president, Joe Biden, made last-minute robocalls backing Jones, countering a similar appeal by President Trump for Moore. Moore denied the allegations, calling them "ritual defamation." The winner of the election will fill the vacant seat of Jeff Sessions who resigned to become the Trump administration's Attorney General.

Three women who last year accused President Trump of sexual misconduct revived their allegations for what they called "round two," sharing them on the Megyn Kelly Show and appealing for a congressional investigation. In all, 16 accusers are calling for an investigation, hoping to get a broader hearing for their stories thanks to the still-building strength of the #MeToo anti-sexual harassment movement. Trump has denied all of the accusations, and the White House dismissed the renewed public airing of the stories, saying that the questions had been litigated in last year's election and included nothing new. Privately, some Trump aides acknowledged that the allegations could pose problems for the president in the newly charged atmosphere.

Four women accused Mario Batali, the celebrity chef, and star of ABC's 'The Chew', of inappropriate touching and sexual harassment over two decades, Eater NY reported Monday. One of the women, a chef, said that at a party about 10 years ago she introduced herself to Batali. After wine spilled on her chest, she said, Batali began aggressively rubbing her breasts, saying something like "Let me help you with that." Batali, who has been reprimanded for inappropriate workplace behavior as recently as two months ago, said that he was stepping away from his restaurant empire and ABC TV show for an unspecified time. Batali apologized, saying that while the accusers' identities had not been revealed, "much of the behavior described does, in fact, match up with ways I have acted."

Thousands of firefighters fighting the massive Thomas Fire in Southern California made slight gains on Monday after powerful winds that fueled the blaze over the weekend lost some strength. Red Flag fire-danger due to Santa Ana winds and extremely dry conditions continued, however, rather than expiring as once forecast. "It doesn't get much drier than this folks," the National Weather Service Service tweeted. The Thomas Fire, now the fifth largest in modern California history, remained only 20 percent contained after scorching an area larger than all of New York City. The Thomas Fire and five other major wildfires burning in the state have destroyed more than 1,000 structures since last week.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee died early Tuesday in a San Francisco hospital. He was 65. Lee was the first Asian American to lead the San Francisco government. He was appointed by the Board of Supervisors in 2011 to replace former mayor Gavin Newsom after his election as the state's lieutenant governor. Lee was then elected to a full term later the same year and re-elected in 2015. In the last year, the former director of San Francisco's Human Rights Commission battled with President Trump over immigration, as San Francisco was a leading sanctuary city under Lee. San Francisco Board of Supervisors President London Breed is now the acting mayor.

PepsiCo said it has reserved 100 of Tesla's new electric semi trucks, the largest-known order of the big rig, as the maker of Pepsi, Mountain Dew soda, and Doritos chips seeks to reduce fuel costs and fleet emissions. Tesla has been trying to convince the trucking community that it can build an affordable electric big rig with the range and cargo capacity to compete with relatively low-cost, time-tested diesel trucks. PepsiCo’s 100 trucks add to orders by more than a dozen companies such as Wal-Mart, fleet operator J.B. Hunt Transport, and foodservice distribution company Sysco. PepsiCo said the electric rigs will complement its U.S. fleet of nearly 10,000 semis and are a key part of its plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across its supply chain by a total of at least 20 percent by 2030. PepsiCo intends to deploy its electric semis for shipments of snack foods and beverages between manufacturing and distribution facilities and direct to retailers within the 500-mile range promised by Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk.

Merriam-Webster’s word of the year for 2017 is “feminism.” In 2017, lookups for feminism increased 70 percent over 2016 on Merriam-Webster.com and spiked several times after key events. There was the Women’s March on Washington in January, along with sister demonstrations around the globe. And heading into the year was Democrat Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and references linking her to white-clad suffragettes, along with her loss to President Trump, who once boasted about grabbing women. The “Me Too” movement rose out of Harvey Weinstein’s dust, and other “silence breakers” brought down rich and famous men of media, politics and the entertainment worlds. Merriam-Webster defines feminism as the “theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes” and “organized activities on behalf of women’s rights and interests.” Feminism has been in Merriam-Webster’s annual Top 10 for the last few years, including sharing word-of-the-year honors with other “isms” in 2015. Socialism, fascism, racism, communism, capitalism, and terrorism rounded out the bunch. Surreal was the word of the year last year.

A project searching for intelligent life in the cosmos is going to check the first known interstellar asteroid for signs of alien technology. The odd-shaped object, called 'Oumuamua, was detected as it sped towards the Sun back in late October. Scientists said its properties suggested it originated around another star, making it the first such body to be spotted in our cosmic neighborhood. Astronomers will use a radio telescope to listen for signals from it starting Wednesday. Previous observations of the object have noted its strange, elongated shape, making it look a bit like a cigar. Other researchers who have carried out observations of the asteroid with ground telescopes say that, apart from its shape, it closely resembles natural objects found in the outer parts of our Solar System. Measurements suggest it has a dense structure and is comprised of rock and metal, but with little - if any - water-ice. Although 'Oumuamua formed around another star, scientists think it could have been wandering through the Milky Way, unattached to any star system, for hundreds of millions of years before its chance encounter with our Solar System. It is currently speeding away from our Solar System. The asteroid's name, 'Oumuamua, means "a messenger from afar arriving first" in Hawaiian.

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