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FILE - Liu Zhenmin, vice foreign minister of China, visits the Foreign Ministry headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, March 11, 2015. VOA

Nov 18, 2016: Nearly 200 nations are calling on the world to make the “highest political commitment” to fight climate change after U.S. President-elect Donald Trump threatened to toss out the Paris Agreement.

“Our climate is warming at an alarming and unprecedented rate and we have an urgent duty to respond,” delegates meeting at a U.N. climate conference in Marrakech, Morocco, said Thursday.


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They called the move away from carbon-emitting fossil fuels and toward renewable energy sources “irreversible,” according to a statement. “It is being driven not only by governments, but by science, business, and global action of all types at all levels.”

The delegates stood up and cheered, holding their hands above their heads in a gesture of victory after the statement was read.


Representatives of different indigenous groups from various countries protest during the UN Climate Change Conference 2016 (COP22) in Marrakech, Morocco, Nov. 17, 2016. VOA

The Marrakech talks were aimed at setting out a timetable for carrying out the Paris climate change agreement. The deal signed in April aims to cut carbon emissions and limit the rise in global temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius over the Industrial Revolution levels of the 19th century.

But success of the deal hinges on the cooperation and contributions of some of the world’s biggest polluters and consumers of fossil fuels, including the United States.

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[bctt tweet=”Trump’s longtime insistence that global warming is a Chinese-created hoax has many world leaders worried he will carry out his threat to pull out of the Paris deal. ” username=””]

“The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive,” Trump first tweeted in 2012.

He has also championed more gas and oil exploration, and promised to revive the moribund U.S. coal industry.

Nether Trump nor anyone from his transition team have talked publicly about global warming since his election.

But China’s Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin said in Morocco that former U.S. presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush began talks on global warming more than 30 years ago and China was not part of those early meetings. He said it is impossible the Chinese invented the concept.


FILE – Liu Zhenmin, vice foreign minister of China, visits the Foreign Ministry headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, March 11, 2015. VOA

“If you look at the history of climate change negotiations, actually it was initiated by the [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] with the support of the Republicans during the Reagan and senior Bush administration during the late 1980s,” Liu said.

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Between 2012 and 2014, Trump tweeted several more times with some variation on the idea that climate change is a hoax. He often said cold weather as a reason why he doesn’t believe in the concept.

“The weather has been so cold for so long that the global warming HOAXSTERS were forced to change the name to climate change to keep $ flow!” Trump tweeted in 2014.


FILE – Liu Zhenmin, vice foreign minister of China, visits the Foreign Ministry headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, March 11, 2015. VOA

“If you look at the history of climate change negotiations, actually it was initiated by the [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] with the support of the Republicans during the Reagan and senior Bush administration during the late 1980s,” Liu said.

Between 2012 and 2014, Trump tweeted several more times with some variation on the idea that climate change is a hoax. He often said cold weather as a reason why he doesn’t believe in the concept.

“The weather has been so cold for so long that the global warming HOAXSTERS were forced to change the name to climate change to keep $ flow!” Trump tweeted in 2014.


FILE – Then Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump answers a question during the third presidential debate in Las Vegas, Oct. 19, 2016. Despite his own tweets, Trump has denied having made claims that climate change was a hoax invented by China. VOA

Trump has since denied making the claims.

During the first presidential debate with Democrat Hillary Clinton, Clinton said: “Donald thinks that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. I think it’s real. I think science is real.”

To which Trump responded, “I did not, I did not. I do not say that.”

Meanwhile, U.S. government experts said Thursday that 2016 is on track to be the hottest year in recorded history, with a global temperature so far nearly 1 degree Celsius above normal.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said this October was the third-hottest October on record. (VOA)


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Indian astronomers have found an active galaxy in a very bright state with 10 times more X-ray emission than normal

Indian astronomers have found an active galaxy in a very bright state with 10 times more X-ray emission than normal, equivalent to more than 10 trillion of the sun, and located five billion light years away that could help probe how particles behave under intense gravity and acceleration to the speed of light.

It could help study the role of strong gravity and acceleration of matter in the formation, interaction and evolution of galaxies in the early universe.

Every galaxy in the universe is believed to host a supermassive black hole at its centre. In some galaxies, the black hole is actively devouring a large amount of material and shooting a jet of plasma almost at the speed of light towards us. These are called blazars.

OJ 287 belongs to a class of blazars known as BL Lacertae objects which show very rapid and large amplitude flux variations but barely discernible emission line features.

This class of sources emit in the whole electromagnetic spectrum, a rather uncommon phenomenon which requires extreme physical conditions. Hence, a study of such sources tells us about the behaviour of matter in an extreme gravitational field where it is difficult for light to escape from the vicinity of the black hole.

Astronomers at Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences, an autonomous institute of the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, have been monitoring one such black hole system named 'OJ 287' since 2015. This source shows a repeated optical brightness enhancement almost every 12 years.

"The repeated optical enhancement makes OJ 287 very intriguing as this class of sources does not show any repeating features in flux variations. The repeated optical enhancement made the researchers believe that the system hosts a binary black hole," said a release from the Ministry of Science and Technology.

In 2020, the source was very bright at optical and X-ray bands with X-ray flux more than 10 times the normal (non-active phase) flux. This flare was very different as it was not expected in models proposed for this source and thus, indicated a more complex system and physical conditions.

Investigating the extreme brightness shown by OJ 287 at optical and X-ray bands, astronomers led by Pankaj Kushwaha and Alok C. Gupta reported the source in a completely new spectral state.

The team argued that this change of state holds clues to the researcher's quest to understand how matter behaves in very strong gravity and how it accelerates the particle to almost the speed of light -- a feat that is out of the scope of even the most advanced CERN accelerator.

The research published in 'The Astrophysical Journal' tracked the details of changes in optical to the X-ray emission spectrum of the source with time from 2017 to 2020 -- after the second brightest X-ray flare of the source. It revealed how the source gradually started to change its spectral behaviour from mid-2018 to the new spectral state in 2020.

The study included data recorded by the ground-based facility operated by Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad, operated Mount Abu observing facility in near infra-red bands and the space-based NASA's satellites -- the Niels Gherel Swift satellite at optical, UV and X-rays with gamma ray data from the Fermi satellite, the release added. (IANS/JB)

Keywords: Science, NASA, Satellites, Black Hole, Gravity, India


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Tospread awareness about the significance of reading, Rachna Kalra, who hails from Gurugram (Haryana), started the Silent Book Club in the year 2019.

Who doesn't like reading, and that, too, reading along the company of mother nature? Well, this book club is truly a fantasy turned to reality.

As said by a regular reader at the Silent Book Club, “There is something meditative about reading. Sitting quietly with a book, without any distractions, is almost spiritual for me," this exactly is the case with many such readers.

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Ninety-eight per cent of Indian travellers say they want to stay in a sustainable accommodation in the coming year.

A Travel Sustainable badge, provides highly coveted information to travellers all over the world looking to make more sustainable travel choices. Booking.com has launched the Travel Sustainable Badge, a first of its kind in the industry, designed to be applicable to a wide range of property types, from apartments, B&Bs, and vacation homes to hotels, resorts, and even treehouses, and adaptable to local realities and considerations.

Ninety-eight per cent of Indian travellers say they want to stay in a sustainable accommodation in the coming year, and with more than 28 million listings on Booking.com, the company sees a huge opportunity to highlight more of the impactful efforts its partners are making to create more sustainable experiences, making it easier for travellers to find a sustainable way to stay.

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With 88 percent of Indian travellers indicating that they would be more likely to choose a specific accommodation that implements sustainable practices, it rewards and encourages providers to take the next steps on their individual sustainability journeys.

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