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How A Mission To Turn A Haitian Town Into A Surfing Destination Failed To Live Up To Its Promise

Jessica Obert for BuzzFeed News

Samuel Jules, 23, a member of Surf Haiti, has participated in surf competitions.

The sun had just crested above the hills when Samuel Jules walked past an abandoned house on Kabic Beach, in southern Haiti, wrapped the surfboard leash around his ankle, and glided into the turquoise waves.

For a few minutes during that August morning, 23-year-old Jules — the uncontested best surfer in the country — bobbed alone out in the water, where his dream of representing Haiti in the Olympics had been born. Soon, a couple more surfers paddled out and joined him, the town behind the group still asleep.

“When you surf, you forget all your problems and you just focus on what’s in front of you at the moment,” said Frantzy Andris, 22, one of the surfers.

There was a lot to leave behind, even in this paradisiac setting.

A month before, Haiti’s then-president, Jovenel Moïse, had been assassinated, plunging the Caribbean nation into a political crisis. The country’s nerves were taut as a series of arrests — of top officials and foreign mercenaries linked to the magnicide — dragged on for weeks. Abroad, a new barrage of dismal headlines from Haiti dominated newspaper front pages and primetime segments on TV: natural disasters, government failure, corruption.

Jessica Obert for BuzzFeed News

Michael Jules, 18, heads onto Kabic Beach in Jacmel, where people are known to surf.

The first surfers rode waves in this Haitian bay in the wake of a crisis over a decade earlier. After a catastrophic earthquake in 2010, an American physician who traveled to the country to help with the emergency response founded a surfing program that drew dozens of local kids and turned a hobby into a profitable project for the neighborhood, as a growing trickle of tourists rented boards and signed up for surf lessons. But in the years since, as funds dwindled and founding members departed, Surf Haiti languished and is now on the verge of extinction, with only a handful of surfers out on the water during any given week and barely any customers.

It has become a common story in Haiti: Well-intentioned ventures established by foreigners have failed to produce the long-term relief that inspired their initial missions. Some left too early, without providing the community with the resources necessary to continue the projects. Others have mismanaged funds, or worse — more than 200 UN peacekeepers abused or engaged in exploitative relationships with women, impregnated dozens of them, and left the country, later refusing to pay child support. All efforts have been stunted by political instability and the series of cataclysms battering the country.

One week after Jules’s surfing session last month, an earthquake struck Haiti, killing more than 2,200 people, followed by a destructive tropical storm within days.

Available estimates place the nation’s unemployment rate as high as 70% — most locals lack the resources to continue surfing. In addition to drawing tourists to the area, the surf project aimed to provide an escape from daily realities for those who couldn’t leave the country.

And yet, even that escape has become inaccessible for many.

Wolvenson Gilles, 27, watched from the shore as Jules did a 360 on a wave and landed softly on his board, his legs dangling on either side of it.

Gilles said he was craving a ride, but his board was at home, broken.

Jessica Obert for BuzzFeed News

Wolvenson Gilles in Jacmel, Haiti

At first, he was afraid of the sea.

Gilles’s parents, like so many others, had told him if he plunged in he might drown. A bad spirit, they said, lurked in its waters. He met many others who shared the fear, including fisherfolk who couldn’t swim.

Gilles thinks the anxiety around the water is a legacy of slavery: generational trauma, passed down from ancestors who had been kidnapped, shipped to a French colony across the ocean, and forced to work coffee and sugar plantations that enriched white colonizers.

Curious and freedom-seeking, Gilles, who goes by Papito, learned to swim when he was 5. There wasn’t much to do in town except to play soccer on the beach or horse around on scraps of plastic in the water. Then one day when he was around 15, he was mesmerized by the sight of a dark-haired figure standing on a board dozens of miles into the horizon, weaving through the waves.

Ken Pierce had recently left Kauai, Hawaii, after seeing footage of the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, which had flattened much of the capital city, buried thousands under rubble, and filled tent camps with dazed and injured people. Pierce, an emergency physician, was among the legion of volunteers who streamed into the country. He brought a suitcase full of medical supplies — and a surfboard, just in case.

After settling in, he took a drive down the coast near Jacmel, a cultural hub that resembles a worn-down New Orleans, with some buildings boasting high ceilings, vivacious colors, and wrap-around verandas. Painters and sculptors in the city used rubble from pancaked buildings to make art. As Pierce later recounted, he kept looking over his right shoulder at the waves, looking for the right one — until, at last, he found it near Kabic Beach.

When he paddled back to shore, a group of local boys was waiting for him, bursting with questions, and a request to try his board out. Gilles remembers getting on Pierce’s surfboard, taking a wave, and plunging into the sea even before he was able to get off his knees.

By the end of the day, he was able to stand. For those fleeting moments gliding across the water, Gilles’s mind cleared — he wasn’t thinking about his damaged house or fear of aftershocks but was purely consumed by the thrilling challenge of trying to keep from flying off the board.

Within months, Pierce had rented a house on Kabic Beach, imported more boards, and started teaching local kids to surf. He started Surf Haiti, a nonprofit organization, intended to establish the country as a surfing destination and provide jobs for people in the community.

Jessica Obert for BuzzFeed News

Frantzy Andris (Japipo), 22, Samuel Andris, 13, and Samuel Jules hang out and talk on their surfboards in the water waiting for a wave.

The organization grew to 30 members, who bonded over their shared passion for the ocean. They set up a sign with a price list for surf lessons and board rentals on the street, and watched as tourists — mostly foreign aid workers who drove south for some R&R — began trickling in. Donations of boards and bathing suits for the members of Surf Haiti started arriving from the US. A New York–based surfboard design company made a special board for Jules, whose local celebrity was growing, and soon the founding members of Surf Haiti began plotting to send Jules — whose own mother doesn’t know how to swim — to train in France so he could represent Haiti in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

On land, debris from the earthquake that had brought Pierce out to Haiti lingered on the streets for years, and money for reconstruction from the international community was either mismanaged by development authorities or promised but never delivered by donors.

But out in the waters of Kabic Beach, dozens of young people were falling into a new pastime. Those who knew how to swim taught those who didn’t, and within a few years, the surfing community was bustling. The kids rented out boards to visitors. Then, as they honed their skills on the boards, they started giving surfing lessons themselves. In what is a luxury for most teenagers in Haiti, they were both in school and making money on the side.

“Surfing is in Haiti to stay,” Pierce, who returned to the US in 2012, told the online publication Roads & Kingdoms in 2014. (Pierce declined to be interviewed for this story, saying the surge of COVID patients in his hospital has left him unavailable.)

In 2016, Surf Haiti hosted its first international surfing competition. Over two days, DJs played music on the beach, local artists promoted their work, and restaurants filled up with visitors. A similar event took place the following year. The community had a shot at making headlines abroad not for political crises or traumatic natural catastrophes, but for being talented and entrepreneurial.

Surf Haiti had become “like a family” and its members “were connected,” said Andris during a humid and cloudless afternoon near Kabic Beach in August.

It seemed like the tides had turned in this corner of Haiti.

Jessica Obert for BuzzFeed News

The guys bring the surfboards back to the Surf Haiti storeroom after surfing in the morning in Kabic Beach in Jacmel.

The trouble began in July 2018 in the capital city of Port-au-Prince, 54 miles north.

The government had just announced a 50% increase in fuel prices following an agreement with the International Monetary Fund, eliciting protests that turned violent, with demonstrators looting stores and police firing tear gas. The protesters called for accountability, most notably regarding the whereabouts of $ 2 billion from PetroCaribe, an oil deal with Venezuela that was meant to help Haiti invest in infrastructure and social programs.

Economic growth was grinding to a halt and inflation was soaring. The question on everyone’s mind: What did Haiti have to show for the $ 13 billion from the world, thousands of volunteers, and countless projects?

Tourists were barely coming to Haiti — and many Haitians were leaving, including Gilles, who moved to the Dominican Republic in December 2019 for two years so he could find a job and save some money. Today, he’s trying to set up a small shop selling snacks and drinks on the Haiti–Dominican Republic border. Though he longed to stay in southern Haiti, he said, “I really want a job and to feel independent.”

Around half a dozen of Surf Haiti’s founders and older members were among those who left, most of them to the US, after getting into college or finding jobs.

When boards began breaking, there wasn’t anyone to bring new ones. Wax became scarce. Visitors slowed to a trickle, and the kids who had waited by the shore for Pierce to paddle back in years earlier were now in college, with no job prospects and no income.

“The people who were there to motivate us and support us haven’t been here as much,” Andris said.

And then, the pandemic hit. Jules’s bid for the Olympics fell apart when he wasn’t able to gain the support he needed from sponsors and local authorities in Jacmel. Last year, less than a dozen people showed up for surf classes, a far cry from the years when that many showed each month.

In recent months, gangs took over the main route out of the capital city, cutting it off from the south; few dare traverse it. Another route, a long stretch of steep, narrow dirt road, is too dangerous if there’s even a trickle of rain. Water taxis are limited.

The stream of visitors to Kabic Beach is, for now, virtually shut off. Remaining Surf Haiti members say they plan on selling t-shirts with the organization’s logo and hand-crafted souvenirs online.

In the meantime, it’s mostly locals in the water, less than half a dozen of them on this August morning. The regulars are teaching their younger siblings to surf in an effort to keep the sport going. Samuel Andris, Frantzy’s 13-year-old brother, stayed close to the shore during a recent morning, pausing to observe the waves’ buildup and trying to catch the smaller ones.

Further out, Jules practiced his more advanced moves. He learned some of them while surfing in the Dominican Republic in 2019, during the only competition he has attended abroad. After a while, he emerged from the water, patted his adopted mutt, Brutus, on the head, and climbed the steps up to the patio of the abandoned house — Pierce’s home, years ago. With no job prospects or a functioning gym in the neighborhood, Jules spends most of his time here doing push-ups on the grass.

He still dreams of going to surfing competitions in Brazil, Hawaii, and Tahiti.

“It’s like someone that wakes up and has to walk,” Jules said. “I see surfing the same way.” ●

Jessica Obert for BuzzFeed News

A few of the members of Surf Haiti go surfing early in the morning in Jacmel.

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Parking tickets are ‘terrorising’ business owners in ‘dying’ town centre

The companies have been hit with charges after failing to follow confusing rules around loading and unloading goods. Businesses are able to load and unload before 10:30 am and after 4:30 pm on the busy Newmarket Street.

“It’s common sense when people are parked outside their businesses, it’s the only way they can operate.”

Zoe Hunter, co-owner of food business They Bake has also been hit with penalties for unloading stock.

She said they had asked how to get a permit but the attendant did not help.

Ms Hunter said businesses have been “a bit shocked” because many had suddenly started receiving tickets.

The permit states drivers must not be used during the day between 10:30 am and 4:30 pm.

Drivers can apply for a permit by contacting South Ayrshire Council Customer Services team.

Speaking to the Daily Express, the ARA said a public consultation will soon be launched to look at parking in the area.

They said: “The current rules for the use of loading bays on High Street, Ayr are very clear and are enforced to ensure that drivers comply with the rules and that the bays can be used appropriately.

“The loading bays are for the use of goods vehicles that are loading/ unloading items or for the delivery or collection of goods from nearby premises.

“The loading bays can be used in this manner for up to 30 minutes so long as there is evidence of loading or unloading taking place.

“Ayrshire Roads Alliance parking attendants are not ‘terrorising’ residents, they are doing the job that they are employed and instructed to do.

“Parking attendants, like all employees, have a right to work without fear of violence or verbal abuse. The Alliance will continue to take action, where appropriate, to protect our employees.

“South Ayrshire Council is currently holding a public consultation exercise that outlines a range of proposals for parking in Ayr and any decisions taken by the Council will be fully implemented by the Ayrshire Roads Alliance.”

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: Life and Style
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Why Do Some Crimes Increase When Airbnbs Come to Town?

Tourists neither commit nor attract crimes. But a study finds that violent offenses rose in neighborhoods where more homes were converted to short-term rentals.

The presence of more Airbnbs in a neighborhood may be linked to more crime—but not in the way you might think.

Researchers from Northeastern University reviewed data in Boston from 2011 to 2018, a period of both sustained growth in Airbnb listings and growing concerns about crime. They found that certain violent crimes—fights, robberies, reports of someone wielding a knife—tended to increase in a neighborhood a year or more after the number of Airbnbs increased—a sign, the researchers said, of a fraying social order.

“You’re essentially eroding a neighborhood’s natural capacity to manage crime,” says Dan O’Brien, one of the authors. The study was published Wednesday in PLOS One, a peer-reviewed open-access scientific journal published by the Public Library of Science.

Curiously, the researchers found that reports of crime did not increase at the same time that Airbnbs in a neighborhood increased, suggesting that the tourists staying in those rentals were neither committing crimes nor attracting crimes.

“It’s not the visitors themselves that’s the problem, it’s the fact that you took a bunch of units that normally would have functioning, contributing members of a community off of the social network,” O’Brien says.

In addition, the researchers found that other types of crime, including noise complaints, public intoxication, domestic violence, and landlord-tenant disputes, did not increase as more units in a neighborhood were listed on Airbnb.

Airbnb took issue with the study’s methodology and conclusions. In a statement, a spokesperson said the researchers reached “inaccurate conclusions not supported by the evidence.”

The spokesperson questioned whether the researchers controlled for other factors, such as new housing construction and overall economic conditions. The spokesperson raised concerns about generalizing the findings from a single city to a larger nationwide trend.

Additionally, the spokesperson said the researchers’ method of tracking new Airbnb listings was flawed because it relied on when a user “joined” the platform. The spokesperson said someone can sign up for the site as a guest, but not become a host for years, which makes it difficult to track changes in listings over time.

To measure Airbnb’s impact, the researchers looked at the overall number of listings in neighborhoods as the degree to which they were clustered on specific blocks. They divided “crime” into three categories: social disorder, private conflict, and public violence.

Social disorder refers to noise complaints, public intoxication, and a general rowdiness often associated with tourists. O’Brien hypothesized that the minor impact Airbnb has on this definition of crime could be because social disorder often occurs near bars and restaurants, which are generally in the downtown area, not in the more suburban or residential areas where Airbnb listings are concentrated.

Private conflict refers to domestic violence or landlord-tenant disputes, anything that points to disturbances inside the home. This didn’t spike either during the period studied. But the third type of crime, public violence, did. These are fights, robberies, 911 reports of someone wielding a knife, and so on.

The paper builds on existing sociological theories of social organization: the idea that a community of close-knit neighbors who know and trust each other establishes and enforces its own social norms, reducing crime. Essentially, the researchers found that what’s behind the increase in violence is not the presence of tourists or visitors, but the absence of long-term residents who are integrated in the community.

Importantly, this dynamic takes time to appear. If the issue was simply the presence of rowdy tourists, crime would increase simultaneously with a spike in the number of visitors. Instead, the researchers found a lag—violence tended to spike a year or two after an increase in listings.

“Every time we look at the lag further back, it’s actually more impactful,” O’Brien says.

This “erosion” also eventually spreads from public to private: The researchers noted an increase in private violence that appears two years after an increase in listings.

The researchers said they relied on when a user “joined” Airbnb because the platform does not make more specific data available. 

“Airbnb is correct that the data on listings could be stronger,” says Babak Heydari, one of the authors. “The scraped data are not guaranteed to be perfect. But this weakness serves only to highlight their own lack of transparency.”

The researchers hope to replicate their results in other cities and use the results for a constructive conversation on regulation and one which considers how the platform affects social norms. “The current regulations are not designed with this mechanism in mind, O’Brien says.

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Ave Maria in Florida: A Planned Town for Catholics in the United States

aI have Maria. If the navigation system knows this place, you’re in luck. The name of one of the most unusual cities in America is often not programmed into the program, after all, it was only founded less than 20 years ago. If you start in Miami it takes 2 hours, the road leads through Florida and into areas that used to feel lonely Florida tiger Cautious. There are only an estimated 130 specimens remaining in the case of this native species of puma. The fact that it can be expected here says a lot about the remoteness of the area.

There is no car on the road to Ave Maria. You can see new single family homes and small villas – some apparently inhabited, some vacant. Only when a large-sized cathedral appears in the distance, one suspects that there may be more than a handful of people living in this settlement.

According to the latest estimates, there are about 10,000 inhabitants. Avi Maria is a vision in the making, the eternal construction site of a Christian town, designed and financed by billionaire pizza tycoon Tom Monaghan. Christian modesty doesn’t seem to be a thing, however, and couldn’t help putting the motto of his “Domino’s” on the sidewalk right in front of the cathedral.

The biblical name of the place is its program: a city for devout Catholics, where no condoms or other contraceptives are sold, and where each couple has a large number of children. At the private Catholic university, there is also a dress code for students: shirts without straps or with spaghetti straps are just as taboo as shorts, and slippers, usually too narrow or too wide, revealing clothing.

The church dominates the cityscape on Ave Maria

“The church is the dominant building in the city, as it is in many European cities,” explains Forrest Wallace, the parish deacon proudly. “On the left is the campus of Ave Maria University, and on the right is the city center.” And the oval square around the church with shops and apartments is what is called the Annunciation Circle, Annunciation circle.

Deacon Wallace is kind of a fact of this place, it is atypical, he says: not only for the United States, but also for the rest of the world. In addition to his work as a clergyman, he is responsible for press relations at the city university, where he is a lecturer in marketing.

This is how it is at Ave Maria: you not only have a job and a family, but you are also always the founder of a city. Wallace says it was a great opportunity for him to build something completely new. In 2007, he and his wife moved from Cincinnati with their eight children to help build a green Catholic town.

Children are part of the street scene in Ave Maria

Coyle: Getty Images

Chelsea Allen, a mother of nine, is also a passionate Aviary. She moved from Minnesota with her husband and offspring the year the city was founded. “By Way of the Family” is the name of her store, which she opened at the crossing address Verkündigungskreis 5080. In addition to school supplies, it mainly sells religious gifts such as figures of saints such as adorable dolls.

Ave Maria is “a little piece of heaven on earth,” says Chelsea Allen. “I love the weather; I love the neighborhood; I love the schools; I just love everything here.” There are so many children in the city that their nine children can play with them. “And I know that your parents share the same values ​​as us.”

No minorities – but lots of kids

In fact, Ave Maria is a dream come true for many conservative Americans. The majority of the population is Catholic and white, even if people of different faiths such as Protestants, Jews, and Muslims are expressly permitted. This is a tolerant city, said Reverend Robert Tatman: “We built Maria Street true to the American conviction that we don’t discriminate against people,” he said. No matter where someone comes from, everyone is welcome.

However, the cityscape on Ave Maria is dominated by white heterosexual couples, mostly in their mid-40s and fifties. The minorities that the priest would like to welcome here do not seem to feel the need to settle in this major Catholic city. Neither dark-skinned nor homosexual people could be seen during our visit to Ave Maria.

Florida: Prayers with the matching shirt at the private Catholic University of Ave Maria

Praying with the matching shirt at the private Catholic University of Ave Maria

Coyle: Getty Images

However, Ave Maria’s offspring can be seen and heard from afar, much to the delight of Cathy Delaney, who left New York City in 2006 to start a new life here. “If you look around you’ll see kids everywhere,” she says, her eyes shining. Here is a perfect place to raise them. Everyone can find support everywhere. “It’s like a big family.”

She proudly shows a brown chest. Engraved prayer on the front and the image of the Virgin on the lid: a music box. Cathy Delaney opens it and looks like “Ave Maria” – kitsch to some, a nice souvenir from the only souvenir shop in town to others.

The shops have only the necessities

Moving to a new city seemed tempting to her, Delaney explains of her decision on Ave Maria, but the deciding factor was the presence of a college here, Ave Maria Catholic University, which she could send her son to. “I wanted to be by his side, so I looked for a job at Ave Maria.”

Now offering manicures, pedicures, peelings and massages at the Temple of Wellness “Salon d’Maria” – everything that keeps the body in good shape, but can also be understood as a form of pastoral care. “I love helping people feel better,” says Cathy Delaney. “For me, this is an act of love; as a gift from God I share with others.”

Florida, USA: The main center of the city is the Cathedral of Ave Maria

The main center of the city is the Ave Maria Cathedral

Quelle: Photo Alliance / imageBROKER

Your salon joins the shops around the central cathedral. The house of the Lord forms the center of Avi Maria, and anyone can stand there at any time to pray. It saves space for about 1,100 insured at the same time – a 30-meter-high structure made only of glass and steel.

If wood had been used, the high humidity in South Florida would have caused clouds to form inside the building and create its own ecosystem in the church. The church was built within one year, from March 2006 to March 2007. It is hurricane-resistant and said to be able to withstand even the highest category of hurricanes.

All the streets pour into the circle of preaching. In addition to the shops, you will also find the pubs of the city – a Mexican restaurant, grill, bar, Irish restaurant, café, fruit shop and supermarket.

Socialist touch? “Well, we don’t have big department stores here,” Cathy Delaney admits. “We have to get out of town to do the really big shopping.” On Ave Maria there are only the necessities, such as schools, doctors, a few shops and a church. By the way, there is no pizzeria. However, she likes the place here: it is safe, one feels protected, the other is surrounded by like-minded people. Not like there.

Lots of scholarships for local university

Of course, this is not entirely true with like-minded people. At least not every student is here because of religious beliefs. “Ave Maria attracts more people with money and educational opportunities,” says Veronese Leiter, who studies literature here. The university was relatively new a few years ago, so it offered a lot of scholarships to attract students. It was this financial support that made it possible for my family to send me to university in the first place. “Ave Maria University has won nearly a thousand students in just half a decade.

Avi Maria in Florida: University attracts generous funding.  Students shouldn't expect too much when it comes to fashion

The university attracts generous funding. Students shouldn’t expect too much when it comes to fashion

Coyle: Getty Images

It is difficult to say to what extent the lecturers are trying to exert theological influence, Leiter says. “I don’t think the professors place special emphasis on the religious aspects of our reading.” In general, lecturers will try to teach as objectively as possible. Rather, they assert that theology and literature are two different things.

And it feels good here, she says, “but honestly, changing the scenery now and then is a really good thing.” She has to go out at least every two weeks. Then she and her friends drove to Naples, a 40-minute drive away.

And they’re not alone: ​​On weekends, you see surprisingly few students at Ave Maria. In Naples, which has a population of 22,000, there are more than thirty churches. However, it can be assumed that young people from Maria Street do not go there to pray on weekends.

Ave Maria in Florida, USA

Source: world infographic

Tips and information

Heading there: Closest airport: Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers, about an hour’s drive from Ave Maria.

Accommodation: There are no hotels or motels for tourists on Ave Maria. However, it is possible to book an apartment or house via Airbnb. The nearest motel is in Immakalee, about ten kilometers away, and the hotels in Naples, 60 kilometers away.

Information desk: City information: avemaria.com. Tourist entry to the United States is currently not possible.

Elephants on the run – in Florida

Florida is known for many things: beautiful beaches, great weather even in winter, and theme parks. Not far from elephants, but that could change now.

Source: WELT / Steffen Schwarzkopf

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Unprecedented heat, hundreds dead and a town destroyed. This is the reality of climate change.

Lytton hit 49.6 degrees Celsius (121.3 degrees Fahrenheit), astounding for the town of just 250 people nestled in the mountains, where June maximum temperatures are usually around 25 degrees. This past week, however, its nights have been hotter than its days usually are, in a region where air conditioning is rare and homes are designed to retain heat.
Smoke rises from a fire at Long Loch and Derrickson Lake in Central Okanagan in Canada on June 30.
Now fires have turned much of Lytton to ash and forced its people, as well as hundreds around them, to flee.
Scientists have warned for decades that climate change will make heat waves more frequent and more intense. That is a reality now playing out in Canada, but also in many other parts of the northern hemisphere that are increasingly becoming uninhabitable.
Roads melted this week in America’s northwest, and residents in New York City were told not to use high-energy appliances, like washers and dryers — and painfully, even their air conditioners — for the sake of the power grid.
In Russia, Moscow reported its highest-ever June temperature of 34.8 degrees on June 23, and Siberian farmers are scrambling to save their crops from dying in an ongoing heat wave. Even in the Arctic Circle, temperatures soared into the 30s. The World Meteorological Organization is seeking to verify the highest-ever temperature north of the Arctic Circle since records there began, after a weather station in Siberia’s Verkhoyansk recorded a 38-degree day on June 20.
Visitors at Humayun's Tomb in New Delhi, India, on a hot day on June 30 amid a heatwave.
In India, tens of millions of people in the northwest were affected by heat waves. The Indian Meteorological Department on Wednesday classified the capital, New Delhi, and cities in its surrounds as experiencing “severe extreme heat,” with temperatures staying consistently in the 40s, more than 7 degrees higher than usual, it said. The heat, along with a late monsoon, is also making life difficult for farmers in areas like the state of Rajasthan.
And in Iraq, authorities announced a public holiday across several provinces for Thursday, including the capital Baghdad, because it was simply too hot to work or study, after temperatures surpassed 50 degrees and its electricity system collapsed.
Experts who spoke with CNN said it was difficult to pinpoint exactly how linked these weather events are, but it’s unlikely a coincidence that heat waves are hitting several parts of the northern hemisphere at the same time.
A man stands by fans spraying mist along a street in Iraq's capital, Baghdad, on June 30.
“The high pressure systems we’re seeing in Canada and the United States, all of these systems are driven by something called the jet stream — a band of very strong winds that sits way above our heads, at about 30,000 feet where the planes fly around,” Liz Bentley, Chief Executive at the UK’s Royal Meteorological Society, told CNN.
Bentley explained the configuration of the jet stream is preventing weather systems from moving efficiently along their normal west-to-east path.
“That jet stream has become wavy, and it’s got stuck in what we call an Omega block, because it’s got the shape of the Greek letter Omega, and when it gets in that, it doesn’t move anywhere, it blocks it,” Bentley said. “So the high pressure that’s been building just gets stuck for days or weeks on end, and these Omegas appear in different parts of the northern hemisphere.”
In the US, the same thing happened in mid-June in the Southwest, breaking records in Mexico and places like Phoenix in Arizona. A couple weeks later, a dome of high pressure built over the Northwest, toppling records in Washington, Oregon and southwest Canada.
“So we’ve seen these unprecedented temperatures — records being broken not just by a few degrees, being absolutely smashed,” Bentley said.

Scientist says this could happen every year by 2100

There is a growing acceptance among some political leaders that climate change is a driving force behind fueling many extreme weather events, particularly for heat waves and storms.
“Climate change is driving the dangerous confluence of extreme heat and prolonged drought,” US President Joe Biden said Wednesday. “We’re seeing wildfires of greater intensity that move with more speed and last well beyond traditional months, traditional months of the fire season.”
Scientists are working on sophisticated tools that can rapidly assess just how much climate change may have contributed to a particular weather event.
“We carried out a quick attribution study to get some fast answers to ‘What is the role of climate change?'” said UK Met Office meteorologist, Nikos Christidis, who has been developing simulations to carry out such analysis.
“We found that without human influence, it would be almost impossible to hit a new record and such a hot June in the region,” he said, referring to an area including those affected in Canada and the US.
Christidis said in the past, without human-caused climate change, extreme heat in the Northwest US or Southwest Canada would have occurred “once every tens of thousands of years.” Presently, it can occur every 15 years or so, Christidis said.
And if greenhouse gas emissions continue? Christidis said as often as every year or two by the turn of the century.
Several countries, including the US, United Kingdom and those in the European Union, recently increased their commitments — some by a long way — but many scientists and activists say they still don’t go far enough to keep global average temperatures within 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. World leaders pledged in the 2015 Paris Agreement to aim for this limit in order to stave off the more most catastrophic impacts of climate change.
Climate groups have also urged Canada to increase its commitments and wean itself off oil and gas.
“This is literally the deadliest weather on record for the US Pacific Northwest and far southwest Canada region. The losses and the despair as a result of the extreme heat and devastating fires in Canada are a reminder of what’s yet come as this climate crisis intensifies,” said Eddy Pérez, Climate Action Network Canada’s manager for international climate diplomacy.
“Canada is experiencing historic climate-induced losses and damages while at the same time not doing its fair share to combat dangerous climate change. As an oil and gas producer, Canada is still considering the expansion of fossil fuels which is directly attributed to the global temperature rise.”

Author: Angela Dewan, CNN
Read more here >>> CNN.com – RSS Channel – HP Hero

Japan landslide: 20 missing as coastal town devastated – resident says ‘Can’t be real’

Early reports suggest as many as 20 people may have been caught in the incident on Saturday.

The landslide is believed to have been triggered by heavy rain.

The coastal town of Atami is situated in Japan’s southern island of Shizuoka.

In a video capturing the event, one resident can be heard saying: “Look up there!”

As the landslide swept past their house, they said: “This can’t be real.”

The monster earth wall swallowed multiple houses and cars in its path.

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Author: Oliver Trapnell
Read more here >>> Daily Express :: World Feed

Willy Morgan And The Curse Of Bone Town Brings “Modern” Point-And-Click To Switch Next Week

VLG publishing and developer imaginarylab have announced that the surprisingly-named Willy Morgan and the Curse of Bone Town will be launching on Switch next week.

Said to be a great fit for fans of point-and-click classics like Day of the Tentacle and Monkey Island, Willy Morgan offers “a modern take” on point-and-click games by having players pick up the usual clues and master puzzles in a fresh, 3D, pirate-themed world. You’ll be helping Willy discover details on his father’s mysterious disappearance, and hopefully enjoying the “hilarious dialogue, whimsical characters and charming cartoon graphics” throughout.

“10 years have passed since the mysterious disappearance of Willy’s father, the famous archaeologist Henry Morgan. After Willy receives a strange letter containing a cryptic message he heads on a perilous adventure to Bone Town, an unconventional place full of pirates and shady characters, to once and for all uncover the truth behind what happened to his father.”

Key Features:
Non-linear gameplay – Explore without constraint, collect items and solve stimulating puzzles.
– Unique graphic style – A fantastical world with a magical atmosphere.
– Full HD quality – Cinematographic cutscenes and over 50 locations to see.
– A pirate world with a modern twist – Pirates and computers? Why not?!
– 15 NPCs to interact with – Learn about the story through several hours of interactive dialogues packed with irony and easter eggs.
– Original soundtrack – More than two hours of original music.

The game’s launching on the Switch eShop on 8th June for £22.49; it arrived on Steam last summer and has received ‘very positive’ user reviews.

What do you think? Will you be keeping an eye out for this one? Tell us below.

This post originally appeared on Nintendo Life | Latest News

Property boom: The town where house prices have risen 48 percent in a year

House prices have surged in St Mawes in the South West by 48 percent. The area, in Cornwall, has seen average prices jump to over half a million pounds.
Over the past 10 years, house prices in certain parts of the UK have risen astronomically.

Padstow, the Cornish hotspot, has seen prices increase by 75 percent over 10 years, from £351,458 to £616,368.

Princes in East Wittering have increased from £291,543 to almost half a million (£494,025) since 2010 to 2011.

Russell Galley, of Halifax, said: “The housing market has experienced some dramatic changes over the past year, brought about by the impact of the pandemic.

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“But one thing that remains constant is the Brits’ love of the seaside.

“Properties in these towns have always been highly sought after – with residents prizing the picturesque scenery and coastal way of life – meaning a big price premium in the most desirable locations.

“As many people re-evaluate their work and lifestyle priorities, the South West has been a magnet for those drawn to a life by the water, with Salcombe, Sandbanks and Padstow the three most expensive seaside locations in Britain.

“However, more affordable options exist for those willing to move further north, with many towns on Scotland’s coastline offering great value for money.”

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Life and Style Feed
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Salcombe named Britain’s most expensive seaside town

Recent research revealed that Britons could be paying up to 60 percent more on typical seaside buys depending on which coastal town they visit. Salcombe leads the list of the UK’s most expensive seaside resorts.

Savings site VoucherCodes.co.uk, has analysed the cost of a portion of fish and chips, a scoop of ice cream in a cone, a draught pint and a bucket and spade.

The research has been conducted in 20 of the UK’s most popular seaside destinations.

But which one offers the best value for your money?

Whitstable, in Kent, has been named the most affordable seaside getaway.

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The cheapest draught pint in Whitstable costs £2.83, the average cod and chips £7.83 and an ice cream cone £2.13.

Salcombe, in Devon, has been revealed as the UK’s most expensive coastal resort.

In Salcombe, Britons will find the cheapest pint for £3.95 and average ice cream for £3.00.

The town tops the list for the priciest fish and chips costing £12.52.

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Following closely behind is Dartmouth, which has the priciest beer for £4.80.

When planning a staycation by the coast this summer, the best option will the beautiful town of Whitstable, if a budget-friendly seaside destination is what you are after.

For those who like to have a drink while sunbathing, the research also found out what are the UK coastal town with pubs closest to the beach.

Weymouth and Whistable are found as the best places to go, with the nearest pub only 79 feet away from the beach.

Lifestyle Editor at VoucherCodes.co.uk,  Anita Naik, said: “UK beaches have so much to offer, which is good news for day trippers and holidaymakers alike as uncertainty around travelling abroad this summer remains.

“While prices in each location may vary depending on which shop you visit, from those analysed it is clear there are differences around the country so you may want to do your research before heading to the coast.”

Top five cheapest UK seaside destinations:

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Travel Feed