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Wednesday, May 23, 2018
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Scientists say global warming damage to Great Barrier Reef is irreversible; suicide bomber kills at least 57 in Kabul; more in world news

Australia

Reef’s damage is irreversible

An underwater heat wave that damaged huge sections of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef two years ago spurred a die-off of coral so severe that scientists say the natural wonder will never look the same again. Scientists said nearly one-third of the reef’s coral were killed when ocean temperatures spiked in 2016, a result of global warming, according to a recent study published in journal Nature. The damage to the reef, one of the world’s largest living structures, has also radically altered the mix of its coral species, scientists said. "The reef is changing faster than anyone thought it would," said Terry P. Hughes, lead author of the study and director of a government-funded center for coral reef studies at James Cook University. The reef is home to thousands of species and Australia relies on it for about 70,000 jobs and billions of dollars annually in tourism revenue, all now threatened by years of accumulated damage. Hughes said scientists had predicted a mass reef die-off resulting from global warming, but "what the paper shows is that it’s well under way." Corals require warm water to thrive, but they are extremely sensitive to heat, and an increase of 2 or 3 degrees Fahrenheit above normal can kill them. Scientists said if nations honored global commitments in the Paris climate accord, Australia would still have an altered Great Barrier Reef in 50 years. But if greenhouse gas emissions continue on their current trajectory, the reef will be unrecognizable, they said.

Elsewhere

Korean Air heiresses lose jobs: Two sisters accused of abusing Korean Air employees will be removed from management positions in their family-run Hanjin empire, the company said Sunday, four years after one of them became notorious for "nut rage." Cho Hyun-ah, 43, and Cho Hyun-min, 35, have become lightning rods for South Koreans who say leaders of family-run conglomerates, known as chaebol, act as if they are above the law. Cho Hyun-ah became infamous in 2014 when she flew into a rage — throwing documents and insults and more — after she was served nuts in an unopened package, rather than on a plate, in first class. Cho Hyun-ah later spent months in prison, but she made a quiet return to Hanjin.

Suicide bomber attacks Kabul: A suicide bomber killed at least 57 people Sunday as they lined up at a government office in Kabul to register to vote, raising new concerns about the potential for violence to undermine Afghanistan’s long-delayed parliamentary elections. The attacker detonated his explosives as authorities distributed national identity cards in the capital, part of a push by the government to get more people to register to vote. A spokesman for the Afghan Health Ministry said the attack also wounded at least 119 others. Among the dead were 25 men, 22 women and eight children, while two bodies were not identifiable.

French big names decry ‘new anti-Semitism’: Actor Gerard Depardieu, singer Charles Aznavour and former President Nicolas Sarkozy are among 300 well-known people urging action to counter a "new anti-Semitism" in France they blame on rising Islamic radicalism. The manifesto published Sunday in Le Parisien also was signed by politicians from the right and left and Jewish, Muslim and Catholic leaders. The statement urges prominent Muslims to denounce anti-Jewish and anti-Christian references in the Quran as outdated so "no believer can refer to a holy text to commit a crime."

Nobel body says ‘unacceptable behavior’ not widely known: An investigation into sexual misconduct allegations at the Swedish body that hands out the coveted Nobel Prize in Literature found Friday that "unacceptable behavior in the form of unwanted intimacy" has taken place. The secretive 18-member board has been embroiled in a sex-abuse scandal — following allegations from 18 women against Sweden’s Jean-Claude Arnault, who denied them — that investigators concluded was "not generally known." It has led to the departure of six of members of the Academy and tarnished the prize’s reputation. Swedish officials have expressed their concerns. On Thursday, thousands gathered outside the Swedish Academy to demand all of its remaining members resign. — tbt* wires

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