Arctic Chills, Messy Energy Politics Await Obama in Alaska

31 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

AP News in Brief at 9:58 p.m. EDT.

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration will change the name of North America’s tallest mountain peak from Mount McKinley to Denali, the White House said yesterday (Aug 30), a major symbolic gesture to Alaska Natives on the eve of President Barack Obama’s historic visit to Alaska. By renaming the peak Denali, an Athabascan word meaning “the high one”, Mr Obama waded into a sensitive and decades-old conflict between residents of Alaska and Ohio. Alaskans have informally called the mountain Denali for years, but the federal government recognises its name invoking the 25th president, William McKinley, who was born in Ohio and assassinated early in his second term. “With our own sense of reverence for this place, we are officially renaming the mountain Denali in recognition of the traditions of Alaska Natives and the strong support of the people of Alaska,” said Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. Julie Kitka, president of the Alaska Federation of Natives, said in an interview on Sunday that the new policy announcement would have a concrete as well as psychological effect on Alaska Natives. “It’s symbolic,” Kitka said, “but the practical thing is now on all the maps and all the descriptions it will have the traditional name. Mr Obama is scheduled to tour a receding glacier and meet people in remote Arctic communities whose way of life is affected by rising ocean levels, creating images designed to build support for regulations to curb carbon emissions.

Representative Bob Gibbs said McKinley deserved to be honoured, and invited his colleagues to join him to try to block what he called Mr Obama’s “constitutional overreach”. “This political stunt is insulting to all Ohioans, and I will be working with the House Committee on Natural Resources to determine what can be done to prevent this action,” Mr Gibbs said. The peak was named Mount McKinley in 1896 after a gold prospector exploring the region heard that Ohioan William McKinley, a champion of the gold standard, had won the Republican nomination for president. Alaskans had been blocked in Congress by Ohio politicians, who wanted to stick with McKinley as a lasting tribute to the 25th US president, who served from 1897 until his assassination in 1901. The move elicited praise from Alaska governor Bill Walker, a Republican turned independent, and Republican elected officials, who more typically are critical of an administration they see as hostile to the oil and gas interests of their state. “I’d like to thank the president for working with us to achieve this significant change to show honor, respect, and gratitude to the Athabascan people of Alaska,” said Republican senator Lisa Murkowski, who led the fight for the Denali name in Congress. The president was also expected to announce new steps to help Alaska Native communities on Wednesday when he becomes the first sitting president to visit the Alaska Arctic.

ROME (AP) — The Italian energy company Eni SpA announced Sunday it has discovered a “supergiant” natural gas field off Egypt, describing it as the “largest-ever” found in the Mediterranean Sea. Eni said the discovery — made in its Zohr prospect “in the deep waters of Egypt” — could hold a potential 30 trillion cubic feet of gas over an area of 100 square kilometers (38.6 square miles). At 6.19km, the mountain stands as the continent’s tallest, and is still growing at a rate of about one millimetre per year, according to the National Park Service. The discovery well is 190 kilometers (about 120 miles) from the Egyptian coast, and is at a depth of 1,450 meters ( 4,757 feet) in the Shorouk Block, the company said. Known for its majestic views, the mountain is dotted with glaciers and covered at the top with snow year-round, with powerful winds that make it difficult for the adventurous few who seek to climb it.

Upon hearing the news that McKinley, a Republican, had received his party’s nomination to be president, the prospector named it after him and the name was formally recognized. In his best-selling 1985 book, “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat,” he described a man who really did mistake his wife’s face for his hat while visiting Sacks’ office, because his brain had difficulty interpreting what he saw. The Interior Department said the US Board on Geographic Names had been deferring to Congress since 1977, and cited a 1947 law that allows the Interior Department to change names unilaterally when the board fails to act “within a reasonable time”.

Millions of Californians are being inconvenienced in this fourth year of drought, urged to flush toilets less often, take shorter showers and let lawns turn brown. But it’s dramatically worse in places like Okieville, where wells have gone dry for many of the 100 modest homes that share cracked streets without sidewalks or streetlights in California’s Central Valley. Lozano, a 40-year-old disabled vet and family man, has worked with his neighbors to rig lines from house to house, sharing water from a well deep enough to hit the emptying aquifer below.

He aims to build a memorial in heart of Warsaw’s former ghetto to his beloved Elka and the thousands of other Polish Christians who risked their lives for Jews during World War II. Many scholars and some Jews fear that a monument to Polish rescuers at Warsaw’s key site of Jewish tragedy will bolster a false historical narrative that Poles largely acted as rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust. Yet little is said about the widespread passivity that existed despite such enormous Jewish suffering, or cases where Poles used the breakdown of law and order to blackmail and murder Jews themselves, driven by greed or anti-Semitic hatred.

BEIRUT (AP) — Islamic State militants in Syria severely damaged the Bel Temple, considered one of the greatest sites of the ancient world, in a massive explosion Sunday, activists said. The news of the latest destruction at Palmyra came just days after IS released propaganda images purportedly showing militants blowing up another Palmyra temple, the 2,000-year-old Baalshamin dedicated to the Phoenician god of storms and fertilizing rains.

Earlier this month, relatives and witnesses said that IS militants had beheaded Khaled al-Asaad, an 81-year-old antiquities scholar who devoted his life to understanding Palmyra. NEW YORK (AP) — When Pope Francis sets foot on the tarmac at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington on Sept. 22, it won’t just be his first time in the United States as pontiff. The former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina, never followed the footsteps of so many fellow Roman Catholic leaders of his rank, who sought to raise their profiles, along with funds for missions back home, by networking within the deeply influential and well-resourced U.S. church.

It’s a cultural barrier.” EDISON, N.J. (AP) — Jim Herman played in the group in front of Tiger Woods last week on the PGA Tour, giving him a little experience in coping with gallery noise behind him. The Republican presidential candidate marched along the ropes on the back nine with fans — including one dressed up as Santa Claus — wanting handshakes and selfies.

Trump was in campaign mode, except when he stopped the crowd and his security detail as Herman and Pat Perez stood over their shots. “Talk about location!” he yelled to a group of fans in the front row of a grandstand, all with cellphones in hand. ROSZKE, Hungary (AP) — On the edge of a Hungarian cornfield, the beam from a car’s headlights reflects in their eyes: Europe’s newest residents catching their breaths, fresh from evading border police.

Emotions swing from forlorn to triumphant and back again on this migrant-besieged frontier, as thousands of exhausted trekkers achieve one goal only to face another daunting challenge. Before arriving here, many have already slipped through Syria’s border into Turkey lugging children or elderly parents, crossed the choppy seas to Greece and navigated the Balkan nations of Macedonia and Serbia by foot, bus or train.

No razor-wire fence is going to stop them from entering Hungary, the gateway to the 28-nation European Union, and beginning what could be a yearslong legal battle to prove their right to refugee status. Most seek reassurance that their weeks of physical toil and financial sacrifice — many have paid smugglers more than 3,000 euros ($3,500) each along the way — have not been in vain. “Please, tell me, 100 percent, will Germania take me?

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