The heart of the empire has never been so unprotected

The picture is almost ridiculous: a scared policeman trying to restrain a group of ‘hillbillies’ mostly bearded men who walk in disbelief into the Capitol. Nor did they seem to believe the one they were riding. The mob made up of individuals used to always being the last occupied the very heart of the empire, the center of power in the most powerful country in the history of mankind. How can this happen in a nation where, moreover, security is almost an obsession, where the most sophisticated defense mechanisms are developed? A nation that is even on permanent alert because it lives with the terrorist threat every hour of every day of the year.

There is going to be a lot of talk about this. In principle, everything seems to indicate that there has been a combination of unpredictability and legal rigidities. Not to mention that the instigator of the tumult, Donald Trump, remains the president of the United States, with the consequent authority to influence delicate decisions affecting the country. And we are facing one of them: practically militarizing the capital.

The analysts begin by remembering that the competition architecture in Washington DC has its peculiarities since it is a different entity from the fifty states and depends directly on the federal government. And within Parliament the situation is even more particular because the competence of its security corresponds solely to the Capitol Police. Neither the army, the National Guard nor the city police have access to these facilities. So it is not surprising that a police force that is fundamentally used to managing tourist queues was overwhelmed by this situation. What’s more, some of the officers viewed the rioters with a certain sympathy, even taking selfies.

The problem, therefore, was outside, when no one did anything to contain the mob on their way to the Legislative headquarters. It seems that the authorities trusted themselves, which is surprising. Knowing Trump’s incendiary abilities and the primitive impulses of his most radical (and heavily armed) supporters, anything could happen. The protest was called one kilometer from the Capitol, yes. But it is a minimum distance for people who had approached from the most remote corners of the country. The still president only had to light the fuse for his faithful to advance towards where, according to his crazy theses, the electoral fraud that would turn the United States into a Soviet state was taking place.

When everything exploded, the Pentagon did activate all the National Guard reservists in the District of Columbia (about 1,100 soldiers), and the governor of Virginia sent 200 state agents to contain the unrest. But the damage had already been done, and what considers itself the greatest democracy on the planet had suffered one of the most painful humiliations in its history. Even more so when it has been inflicted by its own people, what some there call ‘white trash’: poor whites spurred, on top of it, by the violent message of their own president.

There is a derivative that is further inflaming the spirits in the US, and it is the striking difference between the shielding that Washington underwent during the protests of the Black Lives Matter movement, and yesterday. Also between the police attitude when there are altercations with the Afro-American majority, and that displayed in this case. Doc Rivers, former coach of the Philadelphia 76ers NBA team, said it very well: “Can you imagine what would have happened if those who stormed the Capitol were black?”

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Trump assures his supporters in Washington that he will “never” concede victory

The president of the United States, Donald Trump, has assured this Wednesday at a rally with his supporters outside the White House that he would never admit he lost the election, as Congress prepared to certify Joe Biden’s victory.

“We never give up. We will never concede, ”Trump told the cheering crowd. “We are going to stop the robbery (…) We have won the elections.”

He also urged Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday to not certifying the electoral victory of Joe Biden in a session of Congress scheduled for this afternoon, repeating unfounded allegations of electoral fraud.

“If Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election,” Trump told his supporters gathered outside the White House. “You have the absolute right to do so.”

“Mike Pence will have to help us, and if he doesn’t, it will be a sad day for our country,” Trump added, calling Republican lawmakers planning to certify Biden as “weak.”

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United States: unprecedented 13th federal execution under Trump presidency

“There have never been so many federal executions in such a short period of time,” notes Richard Dunham, director of the Information Center on the Death Penalty: “The maximum number of civilians executed by the federal authorities was 16 in 1896 ”, compared with 13 executions in six months.

Lhe American federal authorities carried out their 13th and last execution in six months on Saturday, according to media reports, an unprecedented series which, again, will distinguish Donald Trump from his predecessors in the history books.

Dustin Higgs, a 48-year-old black man, received a lethal injection at Terre-Haute Federal Penitentiary in Indiana, The New York Times reported.

One evening in January 1996, he had invited three young women to his apartment near Washington, with two friends. One of them having refused his advances, he had offered to renew them, but had stopped in an isolated federal reserve. According to the Ministry of Justice, he then ordered one of his friends to shoot the three women.

In 2000, he was sentenced to death for kidnapping and murder. The author of the shots was sentenced to life imprisonment.

“It’s arbitrary and unfair to punish Mr. Higgs more than the killer,” said his lawyer Shawn Nolan in a request for clemency addressed to Donald Trump. As in other cases, the Republican president, a fervent defender of the death penalty, had not followed up.

On the contrary, his administration fought in court to be able to proceed with the execution before he left the White House, in four days.

13 executions in six months

“There have never been so many federal executions in such a short period of time”,

The Republican administration resumed in July a practice suspended for 17 years, while at the same time states postponed all executions to avoid spreading the virus.

Since then, twelve Americans have received lethal injections in Terre-Haute, including, for the first time in nearly 70 years, a woman, executed despite doubts about her mental health.

“There have never been so many federal executions in such a short period of time,” notes Richard Dunham, director of the Information Center on the Death Penalty: “The maximum number of civilians executed by the federal authorities was 16 in 1896 ”, compared with 13 executions in six months.

With the execution of Mr. Higgs, six have taken place since Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election on November 3, again unheard of, he adds.

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Trump assures his supporters in Washington that he will “never” concede victory

The president of the United States, Donald Trump, has assured this Wednesday at a rally with his supporters outside the White House that he would never admit he lost the election, as Congress prepared to certify Joe Biden’s victory.

“We never give up. We will never concede, ”Trump told the cheering crowd. “We are going to stop the theft (…) We have won the elections.”

He also urged Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday to failure to certify Joe Biden’s electoral victory in a session of Congress scheduled for this afternoon, repeating unfounded allegations of electoral fraud.

“If Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election,” Trump told his supporters gathered outside the White House. “You have the absolute right to do so.”

“Mike Pence will have to help us, and if he doesn’t, it will be a sad day for our country,” Trump added, calling Republican lawmakers planning to certify Biden “weak.

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They discover an arboreal snake that climbs with a movement never seen

Researchers have discovered that invasive brown tree snakes that live in the Guam Island, Pacific Ocean, can move in a way that never seen before.

The discovery, published in the magazine in Current Biology, about locomotion bow shaped The ability to climb smooth vertical cylinders has important implications, both for understanding snakes and for conservation practices to protect birds from them.

“Our most important finding is a new mode of locomotion in snakes (highlights co-lead author Julie Savidge of Colorado State University (CSU) in the United States). Only four main types have been recognized for almost 100 years and we have discovered a fifth way“.

A green tree python (Morelia viridis) (EFE).

The discovery of a fifth mode of locomotion, in addition to the well-known rectilinear, lateral undulation, lateral wind and concertina modes, was a matter of chance. Savidge was working on a project to protect Micronesia’s starling nests, one of only two remaining native forest species on Guam.

Night snakes were accidentally introduced to Guam by people in the late 1940s or early 1950s. Soon after, bird populations began to decline. Invasive snakes are now recognized to have decimated forest bird populations on the island. They are also liable for major damages and many power outages all over the island every year.

“Most of the native forest birds have left Guam (Savidge explains). There is a relatively small population of Micronesia starlings and one other bird that nests in caves which has survived in small numbers. “

A green tree python (Morelia viridis) curled up on a branch (EFE).

A green tree python (Morelia viridis) curled up on a branch (EFE).

“Understanding what brown tree snakes can and cannot climb has direct implications for designing barriers that reduce dispersal and some of the deleterious effects of this highly invasive species,” says co-lead author Bruce Jayne of the University of Cincinnati.

“For example (adds Thomas Seibert, also from CSU) since brown tree snakes can use loop locomotion To defeat poles or cylinders of a certain size, we can design deflectors to better protect the bird houses used to restore some of Guam’s birds. “

In the new study, the researchers attempted to use a meter-long metal deflector to prevent brown tree snakes from climbing the bird boxes. The same deflectors have been used to keep other snakes and raccoons away from nest boxes in bird watchers’ yards. But, they soon discovered that their ability to deter brown tree snakes was short-lived.

A python from Burma (EFE).

A python from Burma (EFE).

“We weren’t expecting the brown tree snake to find a way around the baffle (Seibert acknowledges). Initially, the baffle worked, for the most part. Martin Kastner, a biologist at CSU, and I had seen about four hours of video and then all of a sudden we saw this snake form what seemed like a loop around the cylinder and move your body up. We watched that part of the video about 15 times. It was a surprise. Nothing I’ve seen compares to that“, he confesses.

Jayne explains that snakes often climb up steep, smooth branches or pipes using accordion locomotion, leaning sideways to latch on in at least two places. But locomotion with a lasso is different. Using the lasso, the snakes form a single grip region.

By carefully recording and analyzing a high-resolution video of this new climbing method, the researchers found that snakes have these tiny curves within the noose loop. Those curves allow them move slowly up, changing the location of each curve.

Smuggling of exotic snakes discovered in Australia (AFP).

Smuggling of exotic snakes discovered in Australia (AFP).

That is not to say that this way of climbing is not a fight for snakes. In the process of their lasso locomotion, the researchers observed that the snakes moved very slowly. They also slip frequently, they stop to rest and breathe heavily. “Although they can scale using this mode, it’s pushing them to the limit,” says Jayne.

Savidge and Seibert say they hope to continue developing a baffle that brown tree snakes they can’t get around, which could later be used in Guam for bird restoration.

Jayne plans to further test what brown tree snakes can and cannot pass through. He also wants to test the limits of the locomotive abilities of other snake species and learn more about the anatomy and physiology involved.

Europa Press.

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Nothing like this had ever happened in the NBA; today, the return of Denver and Campazzo in search of the first

The game between Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Clippers will be marked in history by the 50 points difference that the Mavs took in the first half (77 to 27), which means the largest point difference after two quarters in history of the NBA, since the possession clock exists, in 1955.

The end was 124 to 73.

The excuse for the withdrawal of Kawhi Leonard, absent due to injury after the fortuitous elbow that his teammate Serge Ibaka gave him, stopped having the necessary weight to justify what was happening.

Dallas, which did not have Kristaps Porzingis, had absolute control of a game in which they dominated, controlled in both zones and scored as they pleased.

In addition, Luka Doncic confirmed his level, with 24 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists.

The history of the biggest differences in the first half, in addition to that mentioned, includes another 47 (Warriors vs. Kings, November 2, 1991); 44 (Dallas vs. Philadelphia, on November 13, 2014) and Sonics vs. Celtics (November 23, 1967).

Denver plays today

Trying to compose himself from the two defeats, in other presentations, across from Sacramento (126-124) and against the Clippers (121-108), Denver, Facundo Campazzo’s team, will face Houston today, starting at 23 (NBA TV).

Other results

The last day had some other results that were also striking: New Orleans Pelicans 98, San Antonio Spurs 95; Washington Wizards 113, Orlando Magic 120 and Charlotte Hornets 106, Brooklyn Nets 104.

También, Cleveland Cavaliers 118, Philadelphia 94; New York Knicks 130, Milwaukee Bucks 110 y Chicago Bulls 128, Golden State Warriors 129.

The rest: Indiana Pacers 108, Boston Celtics 107; Sacramento Kings 100, Phoenix Suns 116 and Los Angeles Lakers 127, Minnesota Timberwolves 91.

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The K2, a giant never conquered in the Himalayan winter

In a little over ten years, all was said. Begun in 1950 with the ascent of the Anapurna by the French pair Herzog-Lachenal, the conquest of the fourteen 8,000 m in spring or autumn, the two most favorable slots, ended in 1964.

And yet, the case could have been carried out more quickly without the Chinese obstruction on the youngest, the Shishapangma (in Tibetan territory, recently conquered), in order to give time to the Chinese climbers to plant the red flag first at the top. .

→ RECIT. Lies and truths in the high mountains

But winter is a whole different story in the Himalayas and it wasn’t until 1980, 37 years after it was conquered in the spring in 1953 by Edmund Hillary and Tensing Norgay, for Everest to be conquered in winter.

The Himalayan Matterhorn

Forty years later, the conquest of the 14 rooftops of the world in winter is still not complete. One summit, the K2, the second highest and one of the most technically difficult, still resists. “K2 is the last myth still standing, the last man’s step on the roof of the world, enthuses the Himalayan guide François Damilano, also a filmmaker and who recently dedicated a film to him (1). K2 is beautiful, wild and dangerous, romantic. It is a pyramid of rock and ice that we often compare to the Matterhorn in our Alps. “

The only 8,000 ever conquered in winter, the K2 attracts the best mountaineers in the world, tired of the very high-altitude trek that Everest has become, with its dozens of daily customers hanging on fixed ropes permanently installed. Much further north than the great 8000 classics, in an almost desert region, it has long remained hidden from the world. Hidden by clouds and protected by a very special weather situation, with extremely violent winds.

“It’s the hardest, because the further away from the equator, the greater the difficulty in breathing at altitude. However, the K2 has almost eight degrees of latitude of difference with the others ”, explained in 2019, during a conference at the Piolets d’or (the biggest mountaineering festival in the world), Michał Pyka, the weatherman of the last winter attempt in 2018, led by a heavy Polish team.

The adventure ended in another failure, despite a final solo outing by the famous Denis Urubko, one of the last high-altitude troublemakers, at 7,600 m, still very far from the official 8,611 m from the summit.

This famous expedition – it was interrupted when the two team leaders left K2 to help the Frenchwoman Élisabeth Revol in distress on a neighboring mountain – should be resumed in comparable conditions, at the beginning of 2022. But without Denis Urubko who announced his retirement.

Narrow weather window

It may be too late, because three teams are already at work to try the adventure in January or February 2021. “There are two small teams, a Nepalese and a Pakistani, who will attempt the ascent in alpine style, that is to say without resorting to heavy logistics, without fixed rope, or oxygen, explains Rodolphe Popier, a Himalayan enthusiast working for ascension certification bodies. If either of the two is successful, it will truly be a huge achievement. “

He believes that this is unlikely but possible, especially with the immense progress of the weather forecast which almost certainly makes it possible to enter a favorable window, even a narrow one. “All it takes is a fluke of weather… In that case, it’s likely that the fittest men from the two small expeditions will team up at the last moment for the ultimate assault. “

But mountain lovers, like Rodolphe Popier, or journalist-editor Charlie Buffet, author of “The madness of K2” in 2004, feared that the armada set up by the Nepalese agency Sevent Summit, a juggernaut of high-altitude tourism, would whisper politeness to them.

→ CRITICAL. “La folie des hauteurs”, a podcast at the top for mountain lovers

Led by Chhang Dawa Sherpa, a Nepalese who hung the fourteen 8,000 from his buttonhole, it is led by several renowned European mountaineers. They will try to lead clients to the top, including a 19-year-old Briton, with the help of fifteen very high level sherpas who will try to equip the mountain from top to bottom.

« The sherpas will do everything: install the ropes, go back and forth to carry the equipment and oxygen …, regrets Rodolphe Popier. It’s a vision of commercial mountaineering quite similar to the one we know at Everest and which has become much less interesting. “

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Polish masters

While K2 remains the only undefeated in winter, the last success in this season, in the Himalayas, dates back to February 2016, on Nanga Parbat. Almost all of the men who overcame the Himalayan winter were trained in Poland, a leading nation in this field. The first to tackle these summits in winter, in the 1980s, the Poles made almost all of the first thirteen climbs. The Italian Simone Moro and the Russian Denis Urubko (who recently acquired Polish nationality) are among the few to have questioned this virtual monopoly.

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“I have never committed the least act of corruption,” defends Sarkozy

“I have never committed the least act of corruption. Never”. Not when he was a deputy, not when he was promoted to minister, not when he was head of the Republic. Nicolas Sarkozy wanted to make his line of defense clear from the very beginning of his interrogation in the Paris court where he is tried for corruption and influence peddling. The president of France between 2007 and 2012 was on Monday willing to answer “all questions” from the court in order to “wash this infamy” and establish “the truth.” He stated that he felt “hurt” by having been treated by the Public Prosecutor’s Office as an “expert criminal”.

Next to him, his lawyer and friend Thierry Herzog and former magistrate Gilbert Azibert sit on the bench. If the former president is found guilty, he could be sentenced to a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a million euros fine. During the hearing, the transcript of five telephone conversations held by Sarkozy and Herzog in February 2014 was read. The prosecution considers that the content of the recordings is decisive, because “they reflect the moment when the corruption pact is established.”

TRIAL OF THE FORMER PRESIDENT:

Charges

The Prosecutor’s Office accuses him of corruption and influence peddling, crimes that could carry him up to 10 years in prison.

The case began in 2013, when a judge ordered his phones to be ‘tapped’ as part of an investigation into the alleged Libyan financing of his 2007 election campaign, which opened the doors to the Elysee. It was discovered that Sarkozy had two lines to communicate with his lawyer: one official and another secret, opened in the name of Paul Bismuth, an old classmate of Herzog’s oblivious to the facts. The wiretaps revealed the alleged influence peddling for which they are prosecuted.

Logrolling

Azibert is suspected of violating the summary secrecy in 2014 by informing Sarkozy, through his lawyer, about the appeal presented so that the presidential agendas that were seized a year earlier during the proceedings of another cause, baptized as’ Bettencourt ‘and dismissed in 2013, which was instructed to determine whether he had taken advantage of the weakness of the elderly heiress to the L’oréal empire to pay for his run to the presidency. In return, Sarkozy – who denied to the judges having received “any inside information” – would have offered to help the then magistrate to promote for a position on the Council of State of Monaco. Finally, he did not intercede on his behalf and Azibert was left without the position. According to the Prosecutor’s Office, because he discovered that he had his telephone tapped.

It is the first time that a former French president has faced a court. Jacques Chirac was sentenced in 2011 to two years in prison with suspended sentences for embezzlement in a fictitious jobs case when he was mayor of Paris. But he did not appear before the judges due to health problems.

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“I have never committed the least act of corruption,” defends Sarkozy

“I have never committed the least act of corruption. Never”. Not when he was a deputy, not when he was promoted to minister, not when he was head of the Republic. Nicolas Sarkozy wanted to make his line of defense clear from the very beginning of his interrogation in the court of Paris where he is tried for corruption and influence peddling. The president of France between 2007 and 2012 was shown this Monday willing to answer “all questions” from the court in order to “wash away this infamy” and have “the truth” established. He stated that he felt “hurt” by having been treated by the Public Prosecutor’s Office as an “expert criminal”.

Next to him, his lawyer and friend Thierry Herzog and former magistrate Gilbert Azibert sit on the bench. If the ex-president is found guilty, he could be sentenced to a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a million euros fine.. During the hearing, the transcript of five telephone conversations held by Sarkozy and Herzog in February 2014 was read. The prosecution considers that the content of the recordings is decisive, because “they reflect the moment when the corruption pact is established.”

The case began in 2013, when a judge ordered his phones to be ‘tapped’ as part of an investigation into the alleged Libyan financing of his 2007 election campaign, which opened the doors to the Elysee. It was discovered that Sarkozy had two lines to communicate with his lawyer: one official and one secret, opened in the name of Paul Bismuth, an old classmate of Herzog’s oblivious to the facts. The wiretaps revealed the alleged influence peddling for which they are prosecuted.

Logrolling

Azibert is suspected of violating the summary secrecy in 2014 by informing Sarkozy, through his lawyer, about the appeal presented so that the presidential agendas that were seized a year earlier during the proceedings of another cause, baptized as’ Bettencourt ‘and dismissed in 2013, which was instructed to determine whether he had taken advantage of the weakness of the elderly heiress to the L’oréal empire to pay for his run to the presidency. In return, Sarkozy – who denied to the judges having received “any inside information” – would have offered to help the then magistrate to promote for a position on the Council of State of Monaco. Finally, he did not intercede on his behalf and Azibert was left without the position. According to the Prosecutor’s Office, because he discovered that he had his telephone tapped.

It is the first time that a former French president has faced a court. Jacques Chirac was sentenced in 2011 to two years in prison with suspended sentences for embezzlement in a fictitious jobs case when he was mayor of Paris. But he did not appear before the judges due to health problems.

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November 2020 is the hottest month on record in the world

The twelve-month period from December 2019 to November 2020 is 1.28ºC above the temperatures of the pre-industrial era, explains Copernicus in its monthly climate report published on Monday.

NNovember 2020 was the hottest November on record in the world, bringing the year 2020 one step closer to the 2016 record, according to the EU’s Copernicus climate change service.

The twelve-month period from December 2019 to November 2020 is 1.28ºC above the temperatures of the pre-industrial era, explains Copernicus in its monthly climate report published on Monday. While the years 2015 to 2020 are the six hottest on record, that number puts the planet dangerously close to the first ceiling of the Paris Agreement, which turns five this week.

The pact, concluded in 2015 by nearly 200 states which have committed to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions, aims to contain global warming significantly below + 2 ° C, if possible at + 1.5 ° C, to limit the devastating impacts storms, droughts and other heat waves already at work.

But the planet has gained an average of 0.2ºC per decade since the late 1970s, insists Copernicus.

Warming has already reached around 1.2ºC and 2020 is unlikely to reverse the trend.

The World Weather Organization (WMO) announced on Wednesday that 2020 would be on the podium of the hottest years. Provisional data places it second behind 2016, but the gap is small, the ranking could change.

Adding the new data for November, “2020 is now even closer to the 2016 record,” Copernicus said on Monday, estimating that it could finish on the first step, tied or even alone, unless there is a change of trend always possible.

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