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 Y'BECCA, UN Environment and WHO

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yanis la chouette

Nombre de messages : 9682
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Date d'inscription : 09/11/2005

MessageSujet: Y'BECCA, UN Environment and WHO    Ven 12 Jan à 3:08

WHO Director-General: invest in health to end plague in Madagascar

News release

8 January 2018 | ANTANANARIVO, MADAGASCAR - The Director-General of WHO has outlined his vision for a Madagascar free of plague epidemics during a three-day visit to the island nation that started on 7 January 2018.

"Madagascar can make plague epidemics a thing of the past through strategic investments in its health system – including better access to healthcare, improving preparedness, surveillance and response capabilities, and implementing the International Health Regulations," said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

During his first visit to Madagascar since his election as Director-General of WHO last year, Dr Tedros is due to meet with plague survivors and affected families, key Ministers and officials leading response efforts, the President and First Lady, and representatives of UN agencies and health partners. He will also visit a plague treatment centre, and the National Operational and Strategic Centre for Epidemiological Surveillance.

On the first day of the visit, the WHO Director-General thanked national authorities for their leadership and partners for their support during the recent nationwide outbreak of pneumonic and bubonic plague that caused more than 200 deaths over four months.

"This unprecedented pneumonic plague outbreak was contained due to the tireless efforts of Malagasy health workers and partners. WHO will continue to support plague preparedness, control and response, and we call on our international development partners to help us end human outbreaks. This will include better understanding of the wider factors that allow plague to spread, and strengthening national capacities to manage similar emergencies in the future," said Dr Tedros.

Although the acute phase of the epidemic was declared over by health authorities in late November 2017, plague occurs seasonally in Madagascar, usually between September and April each year.

Dr Tedros was accompanied by WHO Regional Director for Africa Dr Matshidiso Moeti who cautioned that the response must be sustained until the end of the plague season and beyond.

"We must sustain a strong alert and response system to rapidly detect and respond to new plague cases as they emerge," said Dr Moeti. "WHO urgently requires an additional US$ 4 million to sustain response operations over the next three months and until April 2018."

When the outbreak was detected in August 2017, WHO rapidly mobilised financial, operational and technical support to Madagascar and neighbouring countries – releasing emergency funds, delivering medicines and supplies, sharing guidelines on case management and safe burials, supporting surveillance and laboratory testing, and strengthening public health measures at ports and airports. More than 4400 people were trained to identify, refer and care for close contacts of plague patients to prevent the disease from spreading.

"With support from WHO and other partners we provided treatment to nearly all identified plague patients and more than 7300 contacts free of charge," said Dr Lalatiana Andriamanarivo, Minister of Health of Madagascar.

Through its Health Emergencies programme, financial support for WHO’s response to the plague outbreak in Madagascar has been provided by the WHO Contingency Fund for Emergencies (CFE) and the governments of Italy, Norway and the Republic of Korea. WHO and the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) staff deployed more than 135 staff to Madagascar to respond to the outbreak.
Note to editors

The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the Malagasy Red Cross, Institut Pasteur Madagascar, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Medecins du Monde (MdM), the United Nations country team (including UNICEF, UNFPA, UNDP), USAID, Action Contre la Faim, the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) partners, including the alumni network (EAN) of the European Programme for Intervention Epidemiology Training (EPIET), the Indian Ocean Commission (OIC), Public Health England, the Robert Koch Institute, Santé Public France, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other partners are actively supporting the government and health authorities in Madagascar.
For more information, please contact:

Tarik Jašarević
Communications Officer
Telephone : +41 22 791 5099
Mobile: +41 793 676 214
E-mail: jasarevict@who.int

UN Environment and WHO agree to major collaboration on environmental health risks

News release

10 January 2018 | Nairobi - UN Environment and WHO have agreed a new, wide-ranging collaboration to accelerate action to curb environmental health risks that cause an estimated 12.6 million deaths a year.

Today in Nairobi, Mr Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment, and Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO, signed an agreement to step up joint actions to combat air pollution, climate change and antimicrobial resistance, as well as improve coordination on waste and chemicals management, water quality, and food and nutrition issues. The collaboration also includes joint management of the BreatheLife advocacy campaign to reduce air pollution for multiple climate, environment and health benefits.

This represents the most significant formal agreement on joint action across the spectrum of environment and health issues in over 15 years.

"There is an urgent need for our two agencies to work more closely together to address the critical threats to environmental sustainability and climate – which are the foundations for life on this planet. This new agreement recognizes that sober reality," said UN Environment’s Solheim.

"Our health is directly related to the health of the environment we live in. Together, air, water and chemical hazards kill more than 12.6 million people a year. This must not continue," said WHO’s Tedros.

He added: "Most of these deaths occur in developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America where environmental pollution takes its biggest health toll."

The new collaboration creates a more systematic framework for joint research, development of tools and guidance, capacity building, monitoring of Sustainable Development Goals, global and regional partnerships, and support to regional health and environment fora.

The two agencies will develop a joint work programme and hold an annual high-level meeting to evaluate progress and make recommendations for continued collaboration.

The WHO-UN Environment collaboration follows a Ministerial Declaration on Health, Environment and Climate Change calling for the creation of a global "Health, Environment and Climate Change" Coalition, at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP 22 in Marrakesh, Morocco in 2016.

Just last month, under the overarching topic "Towards a Pollution-Free Planet", the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA), which convenes environment ministers worldwide, adopted a resolution on Environment and Health, called for expanded partnerships with relevant UN agencies and partners, and for an implementation plan to tackle pollution.
Note to editors

Priority areas of cooperation between WHO and UN Environment include:

Air Quality - More effective air quality monitoring including guidance to countries on standard operating procedures; more accurate environment and health assessments, including economic assessment; and advocacy, including the BreatheLife campaign promoting air pollution reductions for climate and health benefits.
Climate - Tackling vector-borne disease and other climate-related health risks, including through improved assessment of health benefits from climate mitigation and adaptation strategies.
Water – Ensuring effective monitoring of data on water quality, including through data sharing and collaborative analysis of pollution risks to health.
Waste and chemicals – Promotion of more sustainable waste and chemicals management, particularly in the area of pesticides, fertilizers, use of antimicrobials . The collaboration aims to advance the goal of sound lifecycle chemicals management by 2020, a target set out at the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.

Ongoing WHO/UN Environment collaboration includes:

Ministerial Declaration on Health, Environment and Climate Change –WHO/UN Environment announcement at COP22
BreatheLife campaign has engaged countries, regions and cities in commitments to reduce air pollution for climate and health benefits, covering more than 120 million people across the planet, including Santiago, Chile; London, England; Washington DC, USA, and Oslo, Norway, with major cities in Asia and Africa set to join.
Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) - which has included effective past actions to phase out lead paint, mercury emissions and persistent organic pollutants.

For more information, please contact:

Sarah Cumberland
Communications Officer, WHO
Mobile: +41 79 206 1403
Email: cumberlands@who.int

Why talking about sex is good for your health

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) should not be treated any differently from other infections.

Teodora Elvira Wi, WHO/HRP

13 December 2017 | Most of us are alive as a consequence of two people having sex. Sex is not only to have babies but to express our love and affection; to feel pleasure and intimacy. Living within us however, are microbes that can be sexually transmitted and which cause disease. It is currently estimated that there are around 357 million infections acquired every year just for the four diseases of chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis and trichomonas, and there are many other STIs as well. STIs cause a range of health problems including pelvic infections, infertility, fetal and newborn deaths, cervical cancer to name a few.
Screen shot of video talk by Dr Wi
Dr Wi during her video talk in Monte Carlo, November 2017.

Listen to Dr Wi’s talk

Related links

WHO’s work on sexually transmitted infections
WHO’s work on sexual health

STIs should not be treated any differently from other infections. We don’t have a problem with going to the doctor for a sore throat, so why do we sweep sexually transmitted infections under the carpet? In this entertaining and eye-opening talk about the challenges we face today with safe sex and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), Dr Teodora Elvira Wi shares heart-warming personal stories around sex, STIs and the urgent need to break down the stigma.

Dr Wi highlights the benefits of talking more about sex more mainstream and talks about how every one of us has a role to play in removing the barriers to learning about, preventing, and treating sexually transmitted infections.


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yanis la chouette

Nombre de messages : 9682
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Date d'inscription : 09/11/2005

MessageSujet: Re: Y'BECCA, UN Environment and WHO    Ven 12 Jan à 3:11

Astronomers and visualization specialists from NASA's Universe of Learning program have combined visible and infrared vision of the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes to create an unprecedented, three-dimensional, fly-through view of the picturesque Orion Nebula, a nearby star-forming region.

This visualization explores the Orion Nebula using both visible and infrared light. The sequence begins with a wide-field view of the sky showing the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy, then zooms down to the scale of the Orion Nebula. The visible light observation (from the Hubble Space Telescope) and the infrared light observation (from the Spitzer Space Telescope) are compared first in two-dimensional images, and then in three-dimensional models.

Viewers experience this nearby stellar nursery "up close and personal" as the new digital visualization ferries them among newborn stars, glowing clouds heated by intense radiation, and tadpole-shaped gaseous envelopes surrounding protoplanetary disks.

Using actual scientific imagery and other data, combined with Hollywood techniques, a team at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, and the Caltech/Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC) in Pasadena, California, has created the best and most detailed multi-wavelength visualization yet of this photogenic nebula. The fly-through enables people to experience and learn about the universe in an exciting new way.

The three-minute movie, which shows the Orion Nebula in both visible and infrared light, was released to the public today. It is available to planetariums and other centers of informal learning worldwide to help audiences explore fundamental questions in science such as, "How did we get here?"

"Being able to fly through the nebula's tapestry in three dimensions gives people a much better sense of what the universe is really like," explained the Space Telescope Science Institute's visualization scientist Frank Summers, who led the team that developed the movie. "By adding depth and structure to the amazing images, this fly-through helps elucidate the universe for the public, both educating and inspiring."

"Looking at the universe in infrared light gives striking context for the more familiar visible-light views. This movie provides a uniquely immersive chance to see how new features appear as we shift to wavelengths of light normally invisible to our eyes," said Robert Hurt, lead visualization scientist at IPAC.

One of the sky's brightest nebulas, the Orion Nebula, is visible to the naked eye. It appears as the middle "star" in the sword of the constellation Orion, the Hunter, and is located about 1,350 light-years away. At only 2 million years old, the nebula is an ideal laboratory for studying young stars and stars that are still forming. It offers a glimpse of what might have happened when the Sun was born 4.6 billion years ago.

The three-dimensional video provides a look at the fantastic topography of the nebula. A torrent of ultraviolet radiation and stellar winds from the massive, central stars of the Trapezium star cluster has carved out a cavernous bowl-like cavity in the wall of a giant cloud of cold molecular hydrogen laced with dust.

Astronomers and visualizers worked together to make a three-dimensional model of the depths of this cavernous region, like plotting mountains and valleys on the ocean floor. Colorful Hubble and Spitzer images were then overlaid on the terrain.

The scientific visualization takes the viewer on a breathtaking flight through the nebula, following the contours of the gas and dust. By toggling between the Hubble and Spitzer views, the movie shows strikingly different details of the Orion Nebula.

Hubble sees objects that glow in visible light, which are typically in the thousands of degrees. Spitzer is sensitive to cooler objects with temperatures of just hundreds of degrees. Spitzer's infrared vision pierces through obscuring dust to see stars embedded deep into the nebula, as well as fainter and less massive stars, which are brighter in infrared than in visible light. The new visualization helps people experience how the two telescopes provide a more complex and complete picture of the nebula.

The visualization is one of a new generation of products and experiences being developed by NASA's Universe of Learning program. The effort combines a direct connection to the science and scientists of NASA's astrophysics missions with attention to audience needs to enable youth, families and lifelong learners to explore fundamental questions in science, experience how science is done, and discover the universe for themselves.

The three-dimensional interpretation is guided by scientific knowledge and scientific intuition. Starting with the two-dimensional Hubble and Spitzer images, Summers and Hurt worked with experts to analyze the structure inside the nebula. They first created a visible-light surface, and then an underlying structure of the infrared features.

To give the nebula its ethereal feel, Summers wrote a special rendering code for efficiently combining the tens of millions of semi-transparent elements of the gas. The customized code allows Summers to run this and other visualizations on desktop workstations, rather than on a supercomputing cluster.

The other components of the nebula were isolated into image layers and modeled separately. These elements included stars, protoplanetary disks, bow shocks, and the thin gas in front of the nebula called "the veil." After rendering, these layers and the gaseous nebula are brought back together to create the visualization.

The three-dimensional structures serve as scientifically reasonable approximations for imagining the nebula. "The main thing is to give the viewer an experiential understanding, so that they have a way to interpret the images from telescopes," explained Summers. "It's a really wonderful thing when they can build a mental model in their head to transform the two-dimensional image into a three-dimensional scene."

This movie demonstrates the power of multi-wavelength astronomy. It helps audiences understand how science is done -- how and why astronomers use multiple regions of the electromagnetic spectrum to explore and learn about our universe. It is also whetting astronomers' appetites for what they will see with NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, which will show much finer details of the deeper, infrared features.

More visualizations and connections between the science of nebulas and learners can be explored through other products produced by NASA's Universe of Learning, such as ViewSpace. ViewSpace is a video exhibit currently at almost 200 museums and planetariums across the United States. Visitors can go beyond video to explore the images produced by space telescopes with interactive tools now available for museums and planetariums.

NASA's Universe of Learning materials are based upon work supported by NASA under award number NNX16AC65A to the Space Telescope Science Institute, working in partnership with Caltech/IPAC, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, and Sonoma State University.

News Media Contact
Elizabeth Landau
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

Ann Jenkins / Ray Villard
Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Maryland
410-338-4488 / 410-338-4514
jenkins@stsci.edu / villard@stsci.edu

Written by Ann Jenkins



News | January 11, 2018
Steep Slopes on Mars Reveal Structure of Buried Ice
A cross-section of underground ice is exposed at the steep slope that appears bright blue in this enhanced-color view from the HiRISE camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The scene is about 550 yards wide. The scarp drops about 140 yards from the level ground in the upper third of the image. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UA/USGS
› Full image and caption

Researchers using NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) have found eight sites where thick deposits of ice beneath Mars' surface are exposed in faces of eroding slopes.

These eight scarps, with slopes as steep as 55 degrees, reveal new information about the internal layered structure of previously detected underground ice sheets in Mars' middle latitudes.

The ice was likely deposited as snow long ago. The deposits are exposed in cross section as relatively pure water ice, capped by a layer one to two yards (or meters) thick of ice-cemented rock and dust. They hold clues about Mars' climate history. They also may make frozen water more accessible than previously thought to future robotic or human exploration missions.

Researchers who located and studied the scarp sites with the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on MRO reported the findings today in the journal Science. The sites are in both northern and southern hemispheres of Mars, at latitudes from about 55 to 58 degrees, equivalent on Earth to Scotland or the tip of South America.

"There is shallow ground ice under roughly a third of the Martian surface, which records the recent history of Mars," said the study's lead author, Colin Dundas of the U.S. Geological Survey's Astrogeology Science Center in Flagstaff, Arizona. "What we've seen here are cross-sections through the ice that give us a 3-D view with more detail than ever before."

Windows into underground ice

The scarps directly expose bright glimpses into vast underground ice previously detected with spectrometers on NASA's Mars Odyssey (MRO) orbiter, with ground-penetrating radar instruments on MRO and on the European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiter, and with observations of fresh impact craters that uncover subsurface ice. NASA sent the Phoenix lander to Mars in response to the Odyssey findings; in 2008, the Phoenix mission confirmed and analyzed the buried water ice at 68 degrees north latitude, about one-third of the way to the pole from the northernmost of the eight scarp sites.

The discovery reported today gives us surprising windows where we can see right into these thick underground sheets of ice," said Shane Byrne of the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, Tucson, a co-author on today's report. "It's like having one of those ant farms where you can see through the glass on the side to learn about what's usually hidden beneath the ground."

Scientists have not determined how these particular scarps initially form. However, once the buried ice becomes exposed to Mars' atmosphere, a scarp likely grows wider and taller as it "retreats," due to sublimation of the ice directly from solid form into water vapor. At some of them, the exposed deposit of water ice is more than 100 yards, or meter, thick. Examination of some of the scarps with MRO's Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) confirmed that the bright material is frozen water. A check of the surface temperature using Odyssey's Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) camera helped researchers determine they're not seeing just thin frost covering the ground.

Researchers previously used MRO's Shallow Radar (SHARAD) to map extensive underground water-ice sheets in middle latitudes of Mars and estimate that the top of the ice is less than about 10 yards beneath the ground surface. How much less? The radar method did not have sufficient resolution to say. The new ice-scarp studies confirm indications from fresh-crater and neutron-spectrometer observations that a layer rich in water ice begins within just one or two yards of the surface in some areas.

Astronauts' access to Martian water

The new study not only suggests that underground water ice lies under a thin covering over wide areas, it also identifies eight sites where ice is directly accessible, at latitudes with less hostile conditions than at Mars' polar ice caps. "Astronauts could essentially just go there with a bucket and a shovel and get all the water they need," Byrne said.

The exposed ice has scientific value apart from its potential resource value because it preserves evidence about long-term patterns in Mars' climate. The tilt of Mars' axis of rotation varies much more than Earth's, over rhythms of millions of years. Today the two planets' tilts are about the same. When Mars tilts more, climate conditions may favor buildup of middle-latitude ice. Dundas and co-authors say that banding and color variations apparent in some of the scarps suggest layers "possibly deposited with changes in the proportion of ice and dust under varying climate conditions."

This research benefited from coordinated use of multiple instruments on Mars orbiters, plus the longevities at Mars now exceeding 11 years for MRO and 16 years for Odyssey. Orbital observations will continue, but future missions to the surface could seek additional information.

"If you had a mission at one of these sites, sampling the layers going down the scarp, you could get a detailed climate history of Mars," suggested MRO Deputy Project Scientist Leslie Tamppari of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. "It's part of the whole story of what happens to water on Mars over time: Where does it go? When does ice accumulate? When does it recede?"

The University of Arizona operates HiRISE, which was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colorado. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Maryland, leads MRO's CRISM investigation. The Italian Space Agency provided MRO's SHARAD instrument, Sapienza University of Rome leads SHARAD operations, and the Planetary Science Institute, based in Tucson, Arizona, leads U.S. involvement in SHARAD. Arizona State University, Tempe, leads the Odyssey mission's THEMIS investigation. JPL, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, California, manages the MRO and Odyssey projects for the NASA Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Lockheed Martin Space, Denver, built both orbiters and supports their operation.

News Media Contact
Guy Webster
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

Jennifer LaVista
U.S. Geological Survey, Denver

Laurie Cantillo / Dwayne Brown
NASA Headquarters, Washington
202-358-1077 / 202-358-1726
laura.l.cantillo@nasa.gov / dwayne.c.brown@nasa.gov



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Date d'inscription : 09/11/2005

MessageSujet: Re: Y'BECCA, UN Environment and WHO    Ven 12 Jan à 3:15

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Energy and Environment
Interior plans to move thousands of workers in the biggest reorganization in its history
By Juliet Eilperin and Darryl Fears January 10 at 10:26 PM

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke rides in the Bears Ears National Monument with local and state representatives in Blanding, Utah, on May 9, 2017. (Scott G Winterton/The Deseret News/AP)

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke launched an unprecedented effort Wednesday to undertake the largest reorganization in the department’s 168-year history, moving to shift tens of thousands of workers to new locations and change the way the federal government manages more than 500 million acres of land and water across the country.

The proposal would divide the United States into 13 regions and centralize authority for different parts of Interior within those boundaries. The regions would be defined by watersheds and geographic basins, rather than individual states and the current boundaries that now guide Interior’s operations. This new structure would be accompanied by a dramatic shift in location of the headquarters of major bureaus within Interior, such as the Bureau of Land Management and the Bureau of Reclamation.

As part of the reorganization, Zinke brought 150 Senior Executive Service staffers to Washington this week to explain his proposal, get their input and split them into working groups that discussed ways to streamline the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, Fish and Wildlife Service and other key agencies. Participants identified alternative cities outside Washington, Denver and Albuquerque where thousands of employees could live with suitable schools and homes they can afford. The department has 70,000 employees.

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In a Wednesday interview with The Washington Post, Zinke said reorganization is his largest priority, in addition to shoring up the National Park Service’s crumbling infrastructure, with its $12 billion shortfall for maintenance of buildings, roads, bridges and other projects.

“If you look at the way we’re presently organized, all the bureaus under Interior have different regions . . . and are not aligned geographically,” Zinke said. For example, a single stream with trout and salmon can fall under multiple agencies, one for each fish, another for a dam downstream and yet another to manage the water, and each generates reports that often conflict.

“There’s not a lot of opportunity to work as a team,” said Zinke, a former Navy SEAL who favors militarylike precision. Interior needs 13 new reorganized regions to better manage land and water, he said, and to respond to crisis as a coordinated unit.

Moving thousands of employees around the country would require congressional authorization. Zinke said the Trump administration plans to negotiate the reorganization in the upcoming budget approval process. During the Great Depression, Congress had delegated “consolidation authority” to the president but then withdrew it when the law’s sunset provision was triggered in 1984.

“There will be hearings on the Hill, briefings of committees,” Zinke said. “We want the reorganization to be bipartisan. There will be a lot of my time spent on the Hill, talking to ranking members and chairmen. In the Senate, the appropriations committee was briefed last year on what the beginning of the reorganization will look like.”

Former interior secretary Sally Jewell was one of several people with knowledge of the department who expressed doubt that such a sweeping reorganization can work.

“I’m skeptical about the reorganization and its ability to serve the public more effectively,” Jewell said in an interview Wednesday. “Interior has a broad and diverse mission.”

The department isn’t centralized in certain cities without reason, Jewell said. Agencies share real estate and leases as a cost-cutting measure. Reorganizing could come with massive costs for an agency whose budget is being dramatically cut by President Trump.

“This would be from moving people, giving up leases before maturity, potential severance costs, and substantial disruption to productivity,” Jewell said in an email. In the interview, she said: “Just trying to look at a map and saying we’re going to take Interior and organize it this way may be inconsistent with the mission of Interior.”

Any attempt to undertake a broad overhaul of Interior is likely to encounter some level of congressional opposition, and several Democratic senators expressed initial skepticism about the plan.

“This proposal is concerning because it appears to eliminate the Navajo Regional Office of the Bureau of Indian Affairs,” said Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.). “A change of this magnitude should only come after extensive, meaningful government-to-government consultation with the affected tribes. On its face, this looks more like a dismantling than a reorganization.”

Jennifer Talhelm, a spokeswoman for Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), also raised questions about aspects of the plan.

“As this process moves along, Senator Udall will listen to his constituents and pose a long list of questions — including why Secretary Zinke proposes to split New Mexico into two regions, and what impacts this proposal will have on tribes, on the department’s partners and stakeholders, and on the agency’s workforce in the state,” she said in an email.

Interior officials have emphasized that some western Democrats like the concept of moving BLM headquarters to the region, a change that would involve the relocation of about 350 federal employees. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), as well as Democratic Reps. Ed Perlmutter (Colo.), Jared Polis (Colo.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.), has endorsed it. Sen. Michael F. Bennet (D-Colo.) has offered qualified support for the idea.

Bennet’s spokeswoman, Samantha Slater, said in an email he is “supportive of moving more of the federal government out of Washington, particularly to the West.”

But she added that such a move would have to enhance BLM’s work, and noted, “We would expect Secretary Zinke to consult with our office, as well as communities across Colorado, prior to releasing any proposals.”

The politics of moving employees is often difficult, Jewell said. Interior sought to consolidate the BLM offices for New Mexico and Arizona because the topography of the states is so similar. “Congress came after us. You would’ve thought we were ending the world as we knew it. Politicians came out of the woodwork,” Jewell said. “You throw up your hands and say it’s not worth it. If you’re a politician it looks like your district lost and another district won.”

At a budget hearing in June, Zinke defended a $1.6 billion proposed budget cut at Interior, saying he planned to shave 4,000 positions from the workforce. In September, he said a third of Interior’s staff was “not loyal to the flag,” meaning the Trump administration.

Jewell cited those remarks. “I will say most people view this not as an attempt to streamline but an attempt to downsize” Interior’s workforce, she said.

Zinke said he regretted the way he framed the loyalty remark in a speech to mostly oil and gas industry executives because it left room for misinterpretation. He said reorganization is necessary and can be done.

“This is going to be a long process,” he said. He called the conference-like gathering at Interior a giant first step, “a very important meeting” where employees in field offices had “an opportunity to talk to me personally. I think most people were really enthusiastic.”

Interior is poised to move employees because 16 percent of its workforce is currently at retirement age, Zinke said. About 40 percent will be at retirement age in five years, he said. “We don’t have to RIF [reduction in force] anyone” through layoffs and other means, he said. As people retire, positions can be shifted from Denver or Washington to “to a position closer to the field,” Zinke said.

Many congressional Republicans have embraced the idea of moving large divisions of Interior out the nation’s capital. Colorado GOP Sen. Cory Gardner and Rep. Scott R. Tipton introduced companion bills in May that would relocate BLM’s headquarters to any one of a dozen Western states, though the legislation has yet to pass.

Katie Schoettler, deputy press secretary for House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah), said in an email that the panel’s staffers “remain engaged with the department” on the topic of reorganization.

“Once more detailed plans are made available, the committee will be evaluating if statutory changes are necessary to achieve its objectives and improve accountability, effectiveness and transparency in the service the agency provides to the public,” she said.

Environmentalists, who have fought with Zinke on a number of fronts since he first took office, expressed skepticism at the idea of such a radical change in the department’s structure.

“A regional approach to managing Interior might indeed make sense, but the jury is out on this reorganization,” Sharon Buccino, senior director for lands at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in an email. “Virtually everything Secretary Zinke has done to date has been to advance fossil fuel interests — above the stewardship of our public lands, preservation of wildlife and protection of clean air and water.”

While presidents have managed to change the way the federal government is structured in times of crisis, such as after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, other reorganization proposals have sputtered to a halt. In 2012 President Barack Obama proposed a much broader government reorganization, which would have established a new department charged with overseeing trade and investment, business and economic development, technology and innovation, and economic statistics.

That move would have combined the trade and commerce functions of the Commerce Department, the Small Business Administration, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corp. and the Trade and Development Agency into one department, while also folding in the Census Bureau, the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. By contrast, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration would have been transferred from Commerce to Interior. The plan failed to gain traction on Capitol Hill.

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Juliet Eilperin is The Washington Post's senior national affairs correspondent, covering how the new administration is transforming a range of U.S. policies and the federal government itself. She is the author of two books—one on sharks, and another on Congress, not to be confused with each other—and has worked for the Post since 1998.
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Darryl Fears has worked at The Washington Post for more than a decade, mostly as a reporter on the National staff. He currently covers the environment, focusing on the Chesapeake Bay and issues affecting wildlife.
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Title Sahara snow
Released 12/01/2018 10:00 am
Copyright contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2018), processed by ESA, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

The Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission has captured rare snowfall in northwest Algeria, on the edge of the Sahara desert.

Part of the Sahara was covered with snow on 7 January 2018, despite the desert at times being one of the hottest places on Earth. The snow was reported to be up to 40 cm thick in some places. Although temperatures plummet during the night, snowfall is very unusual in the Sahara because the air is so dry. It is only the third time in nearly 40 years that this part of the desert has seen snow.

Most of the snow had melted by the end of the next day, but luckily the Sentinel-2A satellite happened to be in the right place at the right time to record this rare event from space. The image was acquired on 8 January.

While snow is common in the High Atlas Mountains, the image shows that, unusually, snow fell on the lower Saharan Atlas Mountain Range. The image is dominated by the orange–brown dunes and mountains dusted with snow.

The town of El Baydah can be seen towards the bottom left. To the east of El Baydah, a cultivated forest is visible as a red rectangle. The image, which has been processed to display vegetation in red, shows that there is very little flora in the region.

The two Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellites each carry a high-resolution camera that images Earth’s surface in 13 spectral bands. The mission is largely used to track changes in Earth’s land and vegetation, so useful for monitoring desertification.

This image is featured on the Earth from Space video programme.
Id 388899


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