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As Polar Vortex Hits The U.S, Donald Trump Questions Climate Change

A member of Congress from Utah, as government employees began packing up early in the afternoon, on Tuesday threw his own virtual snowball at the threat of another approaching winter storm appearing to panic politicians

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A commuter arrives at Metra Western Avenue station, in Chicago, Illinois, Jan. 29, 2019, as extreme cold and record-breaking temperatures are moving into the region. VOA

A Tuesday tweet from a U.S. government scientific agency seems relatively innocuous: “Winter storms do not prove global warming is not happening.”

The message from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which is devoted to climate science and information, includes a link citing research that severe snowstorms may be even more likely in a global warming climate because higher ocean temperatures appear to create more moisture.

Many are viewing Tuesday’s post as a rebuttal to President Trump’s tweet late Monday noting an approaching deep freeze for the American Midwest and asking “What the hell is going on with Global Warming (sic). Please come back fast, we need you.”

A polar vortex has returned this week to the Midwest bringing extremely low temperatures that could break records.

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Pedestrians gather at a bus stop during snowfall along Lexington Avenue, Jan. 21, 2014 in New York. VOA

NOAA denies any connection between the president’s comment and its social media posting.

“We routinely put this story out at these times,” the agency said in a statement. “Our scientists weren’t responding to a tweet.”

Most scientists say there is little valid research to counter the prevailing view climate change is real and note research also demonstrates that with global warming there will be more frequently extreme temperatures at both ends of the thermometer.

With a forecast of icy roads around the nation’s capital, one item of unanimous consent throughout the Trump administration Tuesday is non-emergency federal workers – just two days back on the job after a record-long shutdown – could leave early because of the weather.

“Employees of Federal offices in the Washington, D.C., area are authorized for early departure,” according to a notice from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. “Employees should depart 2 hours earlier than their normal departure times and may request unscheduled leave to depart prior to their staggered departure times.”

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U.S. Postal Service letter carrier Jamie Jasmon struggles through snow and below zero temperatures while delivering the mail, Jan. 6, 2014, Springfield, Illinois. VOA

The notification is intended, in part, to alleviate congestion on streets that could soon become hazardous.

The ability of a mere dusting of snow or sheets of ice on roadways and sidewalks to create pandemonium in the U.S. center of power frequently puzzles those who have migrated to this part of the country from harsher winter climates.

A January 2016 snowstorm paralyzed the region, although only 2.5 centimeters of snow fell on Washington, D.C. roadways. There were hundreds of traffic accidents and many motorists abandoned their vehicles on highways after untreated roads became impassible with black ice.

The mess and lack of preparedness prompted a public apology by the mayor of Washington, D.C.

Muriel Bowser was taking no such chances on Tuesday, three years after the so-called Snowzilla (not to be confused with the area’s December 2009 Snowpocalypse).

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Ice forms as waves crash along the Lake Michigan shore in Chicago, Illinois, Jan. 27, 2014. VOA

Mayor Bowser, on Tuesday announced she had requested an additional $1 million from the city’s contingency fund “to cover higher costs than anticipated for salt/de-icing as a result of Winter Storm Gia.”

The city also issued a hypothermia alert, which will keep shelters open during daylight hours so the estimated 7,000 homeless people in Washington will have a warm and safe place to stay.

Also Read: Antarctica’s Ice Melting Six Times Faster: Study

A member of Congress from Utah, as government employees began packing up early in the afternoon, on Tuesday threw his own virtual snowball at the threat of another approaching winter storm appearing to panic politicians, bureaucrats and lobbyists inside the Beltway.

“People in DC love to show how tough they are and call their opponents ‘snowflake,’” wrote Congressman Ben McAdams on Twitter. “Unless the weather forecast includes snowflakes, and then they cancel meetings, leave work early and buy all of the bottled water at the grocery store. Snowflakes.” He then tossed a promotional hashtag for a top winter recreational activity in his state that includes the Wasatch Mountain range: #SkiUtah. (VOA)

Next Story

Micro-blogging Site Twitter Aims to Restrict Users, Not World Leaders Like Trump

"These are constantly evolving challenges and we'll keep our policies and approach under advisement, particularly as we learn more about the relationship between Tweets from world leaders and the potential for offline harm," it added

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Twitter is a social media app that encourages short tweets and brief conversations. Pixabay

Stating that world leaders are not above its policies “entirely,” Twitter has decided to restrict how users can interact with harmful tweets from world leaders who break its rules, but did not clarify whether it will remove or block the world leader like US President Donald Trump from doing so.

The micro-blogging platform said it will not allow users to like, reply, share or retweet offending posts from world leaders.

“You will not be able to like, reply, share, or Retweet the Tweet in question. You will still be able to express your opinion with Retweet with Comment,” the company said on Tuesday.

“Our goal is to enforce our rules judiciously and impartially. In doing so, we aim to provide direct insight into our enforcement decision-making, to serve public conversation, and protect the public’s right to hear from their leaders and to hold them to account,” it added.

Twitter has been facing pressure to take action against US President Donald Trump for posting controversial tweets, but the micro-blogging platform has been evading action.

Earlier this month, California Senator Kamala Harris, who is a 2020 Democrat presidential candidate, asked Twitter to suspend Trump’s account for attacking lawmakers and the whistleblower behind a complaint on his shady dealings with Ukraine.

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A man reads tweets on his phone in front of a displayed Twitter logo. VOA

“Trump’s Twitter account should be suspended. There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that he is irresponsible with his words in a way that could result in harm as the privilege of using those words in that way should probably be taken from him,” Harris told CNN.

Trump has repeatedly used Twitter to attack his political opponents.

In a series of tweets, he said that House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff should be arrested for treason for exaggerating parts of phone call Trump had with Zelensky.

Also Read: Uber Lays off 350 Staff Across Eats, Self-driving Wings

If a tweet from a world leader does violate its rules, but there is a clear public interest value to keeping the Tweet on the service, the company said on Tuesday that it “may place it behind a notice that provides context about the violation and allows people to click through should they wish to see the content”.

“With critical elections and shifting political dynamics around the world, we recognise that we’re operating in an increasingly complex and polarised political culture,” said Twitter.

“These are constantly evolving challenges and we’ll keep our policies and approach under advisement, particularly as we learn more about the relationship between Tweets from world leaders and the potential for offline harm,” it added. (IANS)