Huge fleet of icebergs hits North Atlantic shipping lanes

About 450 icebergs up from 37 a few weeks earlier have strayed into waters where Titanic sank, forcing containers to divert and conjuring global warming fears

More than 400 icebergs have strayed into the North Atlantic shipping lanes over the past week in an uncommonly large crowd for this early in the season, forcing containers to slacken to a creep or take detours of hundreds of kilometres.

Experts are attributing it to uncommonly strong counter-clockwise gusts that are describing the icebergs south, and perhaps also global warming, which is accelerating the process by which chunks of the Greenland ice sheet break away and swim away.

As of Monday, there were about 450 icebergs near the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, up from 37 a few weeks earlier, in agreement with the US Coast Guards international frost patrol in New London, Connecticut. Those kinds of numbers are generally not ascertained until late May or early June. The average for this time of year is about 80.

In the waters close to where the Titanic went down in 1912, the icebergs are forcing ships to take precautions.

Instead of cutting straight across the ocean, trans-Atlantic containers are taking detours that can add around 650 km( 400 miles) to the trip-up. Thats a period and a half of added trip day for many large cargo ships.

Close to the Newfoundland coast, cargo ships owned by Oceanex are throttling space back to three or four knots as they make their space to their home port in St Johns, which can add up to a period to the trip-up, told executive chairwoman Captain Sid Hynes.

One ship was drawn out of service for repairs after reaching a clump of frost, he told.

It constructs everything more expensive, Hynes told. Youre burning more fuel, its taking a longer time, and its hard on the equipment. He called it a very unusual year.

US Coast Guard Commander Gabrielle McGrath, who leads the frost patrol, said she had never seen such a drastic increased number of such a short period of time. Adding to the peril, three icebergs were discovered outside the limits of the region the Coast Guard had advised navigators to eschew, she said.

McGrath is predicting a fourth consecutive extreme frost season with more than 600 icebergs in the shipping lanes.

Most icebergs participating the North Atlantic have calved off the Greenland ice sheet. Michael Mann, director of the earth structure science middle at Pennsylvania State University, said it was possible climate change was leading to more icebergs in the shipping lanes, but wind patterns were also important.

In 2014, there were 1,546 icebergs in the shipping lanes the sixth most severe season on record since 1900, in agreement with the patrol. There were 1,165 icebergs in 2015 and 687 in 2016.

The international ice patrol was formed after the sink of the Titanic to monitor iceberg peril in the North Atlantic and warn ships. It conducts reconnaissance flights that are used to produce charts.

In 104 times , no ship that has heeded the admonishings has struck an iceberg, in agreement with the frost patrol.

Read more: https :// context/ 2017/ apr/ 06/ huge-fleet-icebergs-north-atlantic-shipping-lanes

Trump’s response to Syria chemical attack exposes administrations volatility

President has touted an America first plan, but his personnel imparted plenty of clues that the administration was at least considering a direct response to the atrocity

Donald Trumps professed change of mind about Syria and the office of the president Bashar al-Assad and his clues of possible punitive action in response to Tuesdays chemical attack have underlined his administrations volatility on the world stage.

The suggestion that the US could intervene in the conflict would be a revolutionary deviation from the alone America first approach that has hitherto defined Trumps policy. In Syria, that meant focusing alone on Islamic State( Isis) and other radicals, and putting off dealing with the countrys political transition.

I dont like Assad at all, Trump declared in a presidential debate last-place October. But Assad is killing Isis. Russia is killing Isis and Iran is killing Isis.

Simply a few weeks ago, the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, declared: our priority is no longer to sit and focus on get Assad out. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had argued the Syrian presidents future will be decided by the Syrian people, overlook the fact that many of those people is currently under relentless bombardment by Assad and unable to voice an ruling.

Even more confounding was Trumps declaration that the Idlib gas attack spanned many, many paths beyond a ruby-red path. The commentary came only hours after the president had lambasted Barack Obama for laying down the original ruby-red path on Assads use of chemical weapons in 2012 and then not assaulting when the line was spanned in August 2013.

Trump has all along been argued that the failure to deliver on the ruby-red path threat projected US weakness. But “its been” far away from clear on Wednesday what action his own administration would take now that Assad had spanned many, many paths.

Read more: https :// world/ 2017/ apr/ 05/ syria-chemical-attack-trump-administration-response-assad

Spain accused of causing Gibraltar traffic jams amid Brexit tensions

British enclaves deputy president supposes Spanish police purposely inducing fus for motorists on its border with the mainland

Gibraltar on Wednesday accused Spain of inducing long traffic jams by tightening border controls, saying it was clearly a response to rising political tensions over the British territory.

As Gibraltar emerges as a sore point in Britains exit negotiations with the European Union, deputy chief minister Joseph Garcia complained of traffic tie-ups on Wednesday on the border with Spain.

The latest activity of Spain is patently and clearly a response to the latest political climate, Garcia told broadcaster GBC. It is what theyve always taken care of me but certainly it is totally and absolutely unacceptable.

He added: We have been told that the police officers deployed at their own borders, the Polica Nacional, are not the ones that are here normally. They dont quite is how they need to conduct the checks at the border.

Police in the territory known as the Rock, which is home to 32,000 people, tweeted: All those driving toward Spain should expect long delays. Gibraltars government earlier positioned on Twitter that vehicles faced two-hour lines to cross into Spain.

Neither Spains interior ministry nor the national police responded to AFPs requests to confirm that margin measures had been tightened.

About 10,000 people cross from Spain to Gibraltar to job every day, with the outcrop is dependant on the small land margin for trade and tourism.

Spain has applied traffic jams as a political weapon against Gibraltar since the day their own borders opened, Garcia told. He noted that there were similar scenes at the frontier in 2013 when, in the midst of a diplomatic row, Madrid doubled its border controls until the European Commission stepped in to calm the situation.

Tensions rose last weekwhen the European union told Spain should have a veto on extending any trade deal to Gibraltar after Britain leaves the bloc.

London and Madrid have had a long and bitter spat over Gibraltar, which has been a British overseas area for more than 300 years.

Fearing that Madrid was seeking to take advantage of Brexit to enforce its power over the enclave, Gibraltar reacted angrily to the EU move and London securely expressed its support for the territory.

A Spanish warship also sailed into quarrelled liquids off Gibraltaron Tuesday, creating tensions further, although such incidents are not uncommon.

The European Parliament on Wednesday overwhelmingly adopted tough cherry-red lines for negotiations over a Brexit deal, on which EU lawmakers will have the final say in two years day, but omitted any mention of the issue of Gibraltar.

Read more: https :// world/ 2017/ apr/ 06/ spain-gibraltar-traffic-jams–brexit-tensions

Trump’s response to Syria gas attack: blame Obama

The White House was silent before condemning the Obama administrations weakness, as Trump fights to define a plan vision

The scale and repugnance of Tuesdays gas attack on the civilian population of Idlib highlighted the vacuum in the Trump administrations foreign policymaking: the incident was gratified firstly by silence, then by criticism of Barack Obama.

Donald Trump described the two attacks, which killed ratings of victims, including many children, as a direct consequence of his predecessors Syria policy.

These heinous acts by the Bashar al-Assad regime are a consequence of the last administrations weakness and irresolution, he said in a statement. President Obama said in 2012 that he would establish a blood-red path against the use of chemical weapons and then did nothing.

The reflex exemplified Trumps staying appreciation of is available on his predecessors shadow, reinforcing the notion given by his obsessive tweeting of unsubstantiated claims that Obama wiretapped him.

As with healthcare, Trumps policy on Syria has been defined by the desire to unpick Obamas legacy without a clearly defined picture of what would replace it.

In the absence of a clearly defined eyesight, the initial have responded to on Tuesday was silence.

The Idlib attack was rapidly condemned by western capitals and congressional leaders, but the United states secretary of state, Rex Tillerson who was visiting neighbouring Jordan at the time ignored a press question about it, holding his customary silence in the face of daily world events.

He lately described himself as not a media press access person.

On Tuesday morning, Trump addressed a makes seminar, but attained no mention of the attack.

It was only later in the day that the White House spokesman read out a statement from the president, in which Trump applied the occasion to score a domestic political phase against the Obama administration.

He pointed out that Obama had set down a blood-red path in 2012 on the use of chemical weapons in Syria, but was contended that Obama then did nothing when the Assad regime carried out a mass gas strike against the cities of Ghouta in August 2013.

Obama did not carry out air strikes but organised with Russia to move Syrias declared arsenal of chemical weapons out of the country to be destroyed.

There was nothing in Trumps statement to indicate how the US might respond differently from the Obama administration.

After the Ghouta attack in 2013, Trump had argued vociferously against US military action in Syria. On 7 September of that time, he tweeted: President Obama, do not strike Syria. “They dont have” upside and tremendous downside. Save your powder for another( and more important) day!

Donald J. Trump (@ realDonaldTrump)


September 5, 2013

There was also no mention in Trump statement on Tuesday of what impact the two attacks would have on Washingtons approach to Assads principal backers, Russia and Iran.

Later in the working day, after much public hypothesi about his silence, Tillerson issued his own proclamation, which did address the responsibility of Moscow and Tehran.

While we continue to monitor the horrible situation, it is clear that this is how Bashar al-Assad operates: with brutal, unabashed cruelty, the former oil executive replied.

He added: We call upon Russia and Iran, yet again, to exercise their force over the Syrian regiman and to guarantee that this sort of horrific strike never happens again.

The atmosphere of the statement was reminiscent of the previous administration, both in terms of its condemnation of the role of Russia and Iran as enablers and in its absence of references to future US action.

In New York, the US envoy to the UN, Nikki Haley, said she would use the US presidency of members of the security council to convene a special session on Syria on Wednesday morning.

Nonetheless, US allies and Syrian opposition figures questioned the coherence of the administrations statu , noting further that the two attacks followed proclamations from both Tillerson and Haley that appeared to formalise a change in US policy, away from challenging an demise to the Assad regime.

Tillerson declared during a inspect to Turkey this week that the longer-term status of President Assad will be decided by the Syrian people. On Thursday, Haley told reporters: You pick and choose your battles … And when were looking at this, its about changing up priorities, and our priority is greater to sit and places great importance on get Assad out.

On Tuesday, the French foreign minister ventilated his annoyance at the disarray at the very heart of Trumps Syria policy, arguing that the Idlib attack was carried out by the Damascus government to explore the boundaries and answers of the new US adminstration.

Its a test. Thats why France echoes the messages , notably to the Americans, to illuminate its own position, Jean-Marc Ayrault told RTL radio.

I told them that we need lucidity. Whats your position? The question to be told, yes or no, whether the Americans corroborate a political transition in Syria, which means organising this transition, elections, and that at the end of the process, the question of Assads departure is asked, Ayrault said.

Criticism likewise came from Republican leaders. Senator John McCain said the idea that the Syrian people would be able to vote on Assads future while being bombed was an ludicrous fiction.

The recent statements by US officials indicating otherwise served only to legitimise the actions of this war felon in Damascus, McCain said.

The starting assumption of the Trump administrations Syrian plan is because it is feasible to concentrate almost entirely on opposing Islamic State extremists, perhaps in concert with Russia, and only afterwards talk in earnest about the countrys political future. It was never clear how that plan are appropriate to pushing back Iranian force of the states of the region, as Tehran would benefit from western places great importance on Isis, and an easing of pressure on its ally the Assad regime.

The Idlib massacre have substantially stressed another loophole in the administrations approaching: a failure to appreciate different degrees to which Assads brutality was a driver of extremism.

Basma Kodmani, a member of the Syrian opposition, showed the two attacks was in fact a direct consequence of the US decision to relax pressure on Assad.

The first reaction from Syrians is that this is a direct consequence of American proclamations about Assad not being a priority and dedicating him day and allowing him to stay in strength, Kodmani told Reuters in Washington.

Read more: https :// world-wide/ 2017/ apr/ 04/ syria-gas-attack-trump-us-foreign-policy

Russell Westbrook ties 55-year-old record for triple-doubles

Russell Westbrook has matched Oscar Robertsons single-season record for triple-doubles, compiling his 41 st during Tuesdays game against Milwaukee

Russell Westbrook matched Oscar Robertsons single-season record with his 41 st triple-double and helped the Oklahoma City Thunder vanquished the Milwaukee Bucks 110 -7 9 on Tuesday night.

Westbrook clinched his seventh straight triple-double on an assist to Taj Gibson with 9:17 left in the third quarter. The bunch stood and chanted MVP! MVP! long after the assistance. He afterward waved to the crowd after play-act stopped. He finished with 12 levels, 13 backlashes and 13 assistances. Westbrook already has enough levels and rebounds to secure a double-double for the season.

Robertson specified the record during the 1961 -6 2 season, and Westbrook can transgress it Wednesday in Memphis. Westbrook also moved into a tie with Wilt Chamberlain for fourth on the career list with his 78 th triple-double.

OKC THUNDER (@ okcthunder)

The moment. 7Y8FEU8VKw

April 5, 2017

Enes Kanter scored 17 levels for the Thunder, who posted their largest win perimeter of the season. Michael Beasley scored 14 levels and Giannis Antetokounmpo added 11 levels and 10 backlashes for the Bucks.

Milwaukee had been one of the leagues hottest teams. Jason Kidd was voted Eastern Conference Coach of the Month after contributing the Bucks to a 14 -4 register in March, and although they lost to Dallas on Sunday, their recent success gained the Thunders full attention.

Westbrook had 12 levels, eight backlashes and eight assistances at half-time to help Oklahoma City take a 63 -3 9 leading. He hit a three-pointer with 8.6 seconds left in the first half to reach double figures in points.

Westbrook got his 10 th backlash and 10 th assist six seconds apart. He left the game for good with 2:35 left in the third quarter.

Read more: https :// sport/ blog/ 2017/ apr/ 04/ russell-westbrook-nba-record-triple-doubles-nba