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President Donald Trump walks to speak to members of the media on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Nov. 4, 2019. VOA

The United States announced Monday that it has notified the United Nations that it will begin its withdrawal from the 2015 Paris climate agreement to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

“President Donald Trump made this decision because the Paris Agreement unfairly burdens American businesses, workers and taxpayers while giving a free pass to other countries,” a State Department spokesman told VOA.


The United States is second only to China as the top emitter of greenhouse gas emissions globally.

U.S. President Donald Trump campaigned against the U.S. being a part of the Paris deal, though virtually every other country has signed up. Due to a 3-year waiting period since the agreement entered into force, Monday was the first day Washington could formally submit its official notification. It will take an additional year for the U.S. withdrawal to take effect. That date — Nov. 4, 2020 — is the day after the 2020 U.S. presidential election.


FILE – Participants and delegate members hold up solar lanterns in honor of the Paris Agreement, during the opening session of the Climate Conference in Marrakech, Morocco, Nov. 7, 2016. VOA

Democrat challengers to Trump do not support the withdrawal, and if one of them wins the presidency, that person could cancel the withdrawal after taking office Jan. 20, 2021.

“As the climate crisis worsens each day and California burns and Iowa floods, Trump continues to abandon science and our international leadership,” tweeted Joe Biden, one of Trump’s main political challengers. “He just notified the United Nations of our official withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. It’s shameful.”

The Paris Agreement aims to keep a global temperature rise this century under 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The deal also seeks to strengthen the ability of countries to respond to and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

A U.N. spokesperson confirmed receipt of the U.S. notification and said the U.N. would say something further soon.

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The Trump administration says irrespective of the Paris Agreement, U.S. net greenhouse gas emissions dropped 13% from 2005 to 2017, while the economy grew over 19%.

On the state and local level, as well as in the private sector, there is still a major drive to respond to climate change in the United States. (VOA)


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Basil Leaves

Basil scientifically called Ocimum basilicum, and also known as great basil, is a culinary herb from the Lamiaceae (mints) family. A common aromatic herb, it is usually used to add flavor to a variety of recipes, but what may astonish one is that there are various health benefits of basil that make it well-known for its immunity-enhancing properties.

Basil seeds or basil essential oil are proven to help prevent a wide range of health conditions, which makes it one of the most essential medical herbs known today. Basil has vitamin A, C, E, K, and Omega 3 components including cooling components too. It also contains minerals like Copper, Calcium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Zinc, and Potassium. An ancient Ayurvedic herb, basil has various proven benefits including being anti-inflammatory, ant-oxidant, immune-booster, pain-reducer, and blood vessel-protector.

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This herb also contains cooling components thus making it really helpful for summers. It detoxifies the body and maintains one's body temperature pace. Adding to the benefits Basil contains antioxidant-rich volatile essential oils, which are considered hydrophobic, meaning they don't dissolve in water and are light and small enough to travel through the air and the pores within our skin. Basil's volatile essential oil is something that gives the herb its distinct smell and taste, but basil contains some great healing properties.

In the long history of Ayurveda, basil seeds were also called tukmaria seeds. These seeds may support one's gut health, may complete one's fiber quota, reduce blood sugar, help in weight loss, and also reduce cholesterol.

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When you're pregnant, the immune system is seeing the placenta for the first time in decades.

The US researchers have discovered a class of immune cells that plays a role in miscarriage, which affects about a quarter of pregnancies.

Researchers at the University of California-San Francisco found that the recently discovered subset of cells known as extrathymic Aire-expressing cells in the immune system may prevent the mother's immune system from attacking the placenta and fetus.

The researchers showed that pregnant mice who did not have this subset of cells were twice as likely to miscarry, and in many of these pregnancies fetal growth was severely restricted.

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"When you're pregnant, the immune system is seeing the placenta for the first time in decades -- not since the mother made a placenta when she herself was a fetus," said Eva Gillis-Buck, from UCSF.

"Our research suggests that this subset of immune cells is carrying out a sort of 'secondary education' -- sometimes many years after the better-known population of the educator cells have carried out the primary education in the thymus -- teaching T cells not to attack the fetus, the placenta and other tissues involved in pregnancy," she added. The findings are published in the journal Science Immunology.

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