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2019 was Europes hottest year ever EU




Last year was the hottest in history across Europe as temperature records were shattered by a series of extreme heatwaves, the European Union's satellite monitoring surface said Wednesday, AFP reported.

In its annual report on the state of the climate, the EU's Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) said that 11 of the continent's 12 warmest years on record have been since 2000 as greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise.

Warm conditions and summer heatwaves contributed to widespread drought across southern Europe, while areas of the Arctic were close to one degree Celsius hotter than a typical year, it said.

Overall, temperatures across Europe have been 2C hotter during the last five years than they were in the latter half of the 19th century, C3S's data showed.

2019 globally was second-hottest only to 2016, a year that experienced an exceptionally strong El Nino warming event.

C3S director Carlo Buontempo said that while 2019 was Europe's hottest year on record, it was important to focus on the continent's long-term heating.

"One exceptional warm year does not constitute a warming trend, but to have detailed information from our operational service, that covers many different aspects of our climate, we are able to connect the dots to learn more about how it is changing," he said.

Some parts of Europe experienced periods up to 4C hotter than the historic baseline last year, and heatwaves — notably in June and July — saw temperature records shattered in France, Germany and Britain.

The Paris climate deal commits nations to limit global temperature rises to "well below" 2C above pre-industrial levels.

To do so, and to stand any hope of meeting the accord's more ambitious cap of 1.5C of warming, the UN says emissions from fossil fuel use must fall 7.6 percent annually by 2030.

– 'Massive emissions reductions' –

While carbon pollution levels are expected to drop significantly in 2020 due to the economic slowdown from the pandemic, there are fears that emissions will surge back once a vaccine is found.

"The response to the COVID-19 crisis could exacerbate the climate crisis if bailouts of the fossil fuel industry and fossil-intensive sectors are not conditional on a transition to clean technologies," said Cameron Hepburn, director of the University of Oxford's Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment.

Andrew Shepherd, director of the University of Leeds' Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling, said C3S's data was all the more worrying as it foreshadowed accelerated melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet.

"We can't avoid the rapid changes in climate that are happening around our planet, even if they occur miles away in the polar regions, because they affect our weather today and will affect our coastlines in the future," he said.

Anna Jones, a climate scientist at British Antarctic Survey, said she wasn't surprised by the C3S findings.

"Concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are obstinately increasing as a result of human activity," she said.

"With this rise come changes in our climate – warming trends and events of extreme weather."

"For things to improve, we need massive reductions in greenhouse gas emissions – there is no other way," Jones added.


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Situation escalates on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, casualties on both sides




On July 14, the third day of escalation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, the situation remains very tense. Various reports state that both sides have used artillery, and that large territories adjacent to the battlefield, including villages, are being shelled.

Baku reports that 12 Azerbaijani soldiers have been killed, including high-ranking officers.

Yerevan reports that two soldiers have died.

Both sides accuse one another of escalating tensions and say that the casualties experienced by the other side are significantly larger.

The escalation began on July 12 with an incident on the border of the Tovuz District in Azerbaijan and the Tavush Province in Armenia.

The Azerbaijani side announced that Armenian soldiers “tried to go on the offensive in order to seize ground.”

The Armenian Ministry of Defense accused the authorities of Azerbaijan of starting the provocation. At first it was reported that the Azerbaijani military tried to violate the border of Armenia. Then, the Armenian authorities announced that Azerbaijan was unleashing ongoing artillery fire on Armenian settlements.

“The two countries need a direct line of communication” – international response

The European Union called on both countries to end the armed conflict and take measures to prevent further escalation.

The same statement was made by the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, who act as mediators in the process of resolving the Karabakh conflict.

The co-chairs stated that they are in contact with both parties, but urge them to use the direct channel of communication existing between them.

President Putin’s spokesperson released a statement expressing concern and calling for restraint on both sides. Russia is one of the countries co-chairing the OSCE Minsk Group.

The Collective Security Treaty Organization, led by Russia, called for the ceasefire to be resumed immediately. Armenia is a member of this organization.

A brief timeline of recent events on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, as told be official sources from both countries.

Life on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border from Soviet times to the present day

Armenia: Limited access to education – the unseen consequence of conflict

Op-ed: You’d better lie truthfully

Information from Yerevan

On the morning of July 14, Yerevan reported that during the night, the Armenian Armed Forces had noticed an enemy tank driving past and opened fire on it. Shushan Stepanyan, spokesperson for the Armenian Ministry of Defense, wrote about this on her Facebook page.

“At this moment, the border is relatively calm,” Stepanyan wrote.

She also posted a video about the incident on the border and explained what was happening on the video:

“The Armenian Armed Forces are destroying defensive bases in Azerbaijan, where they open fired at the border with the settlements in the Tavush Province. Watch the final part carefully.”

Later on July 14, the Armenian Ministry of Defense reported that an Azerbaijani drone had hit the border village of Berd:

“The enemy took out civilian infrastructure in the city of Berd with a drone strike. There are no victims.”

The ministry says that during the first two days of the escalation at the border, other border villages – Movses, Chinari, Aygepar and Nerkin Karmirakhpyur, were bombarded.

The Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs lays the blame on Azerbaijan.

“Baku continues its acts of aggression on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, intentionally targeting civilian infrastructure and civilians, expanding the area of the conflict,” states a release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs press service.

The release also promises “a proportionate response to these aggressive actions.”

Eyewitness accounts

Hamlet Melkumyan, a resident of Berd, the epicenter of the incident, said that the situation there is generally calm.

“Everyone is busy with their work. People understand that they must be ready at all times during a period of tension, everyone knows what needs to be done. Only schoolchildren worry. But they are not intimidated and are ready to take shelter in the basements if the situation worsens.”

Hacker attacks government sites – evidence points to Azerbaijan

The tensions are not just limited to the real Armenian-Azerbaijani border, but also exist in cyberspace.

On the afternoon of July 14, news broke that the official website of the Armenian Prime Minister had been hacked. The press service of Nikol Pashinyan has not yet commented on the situation.

In addition, the Armenian government website had been hacked. Neither sites were able to load.

Armenian experts claim that evidence from the attack pointed to Azerbaijan.

Summary of social media discussions

Trend One: the enemy is cruel and treacherous, but the Armenian army is in control of the situation

“We don’t need to laud them too heavily, of course. But we should be happy that our army is effective.”

Trend Two: no one should rejoice over casualties on either side

“I suppose I’ll get stoned for saying this, but I still don’t understand why we have this culture where people can’t get enough of hearing about the deaths of enemies.”

Trend Three: they’re only doing what’s needed

“We must respond as strongly as possible to all provocations. And recently, Azerbaijanis have begun to threaten us more and more for who knows what reason!”

Aggressive rhetoric against Azerbaijan is growing amongst Armenian Facebook users in general.

Information from Baku

On July 14, the incident on the border was the one thing all media sources reported on and the main source of discussion on Azerbaijani social media sites.

Early in the morning, the head of the press service of the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan, Colonel Vagif Dargyakhly, reported that Armenian Armed Force units were shelling the villages of Agdam and Alibeyli in the Tovuz region of Azerbaijan using large-caliber weapons and artillery cannons.

Soon, a report was confirmed that a general had died in the war zone. This was announced at a briefing not far from the front line in the Tovuz region by Deputy Minister of Defense of Azerbaijan Kerim Veliyev.

He also said that a colonel, two majors, two ensigns and a re-engaged soldier of the Azerbaijani army had died.

Veliyev said that on the night of July 13-14, fierce battles continued in the Tovuz region, and at least 100 people had been killed and equipment had been destroyed on the Armenian side.

On July 14, they reported that the shelling had killed 75-year-old disabled man Aziz Azizov, a resident of the village of Agdam in the Tovuz region.

Eyewitness reports

TV channels broadcast messages from villages at the epicenter of the incident. People say that they do not want to leave their homes and will remain on their territory.

In this video interview, local residents say: “Armenians have been firing from heavy artillery since July 12. But our army is much stronger than the Armenian army. Armenians have received, and will continue to receive, an appropriate response to their actions.”

The State Office of Public Prosecutor of Azerbaijan declared that Armenian military personnel have committed war crimes against the civilian population of Azerbaijan. An investigation team is working at the scene, and after they gather the proper documentation, criminal cases will be initiated and measures will be taken within the framework of international law, read the prosecutor general’s statement.

Ukraine, Moldova, and Turkey noted the importance of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan welcomed the statements of the Foreign Ministries of Ukraine, Moldova and Turkey. These countries stated that they are in favor of an early settlement of the conflict between the two countries within the framework of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and the borders recognized by the international community.

Summary of comments on social media

Trend One: Lavrov’s plan (Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs)

“What happened in Tovuz is all part of Lavrov’s secret plan. We cannot allow Russian troops to be deployed in the zone of contact between the troops.”

Trend Two: The Enemy Must Be Punished

“The death of any of our soldiers and privates is a tragedy, it is painful. But killing an officer is a different level of audacity, for which the enemy should be punished without any talk of peace negotiations, which Pashinyan himself has openly shot down all the time recently. So now I think there is no other way. It is impossible to stop, just as it was four years ago, at the request of our neighbors, NATO, OSCE, UN, and Washington. In the end, none of them had done anything in a long enough time for justice to triumph without war. ”

Trend Three: fear for their children who serve in the army

“Parents with children who are serving now have been extremely worried these past few days, to put it mildly.. As always, those who have not served a day and have never smelled gunpowder, the happy few who own certificates exempting them from service – they are ones chanting and calling the loudest [for war].”

The post Situation escalates on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, casualties on both sides appeared first on English Jamnews.

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Former Azerbaijani Minister of Defence detained




Former Minister of Defence Rahim Qaziyev has been detained. Reports say that the former minister spread false information on social media about the outbreak of fighting on the Azerbaijani-Armenian border.

Tension on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border continues for second day

All the details of the situation – according to the defense ministries and governments of the two countries and international partners

Armenian-Azerbaijani border, Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, Ilham Aliyev, Nikol Pashinyan, shootout, seizure of positions, violation of the ceasefire, violation of the border,

The National Security Service states that there is substantial reason to suspect that he committed these actions to ‘weaken the defense capability of the Republic of Azerbaijan’, urging people to riot and forcibly seize state power.

Qaziyev was arrested under suspicion of violating article 281 (public appeals against the state) and 282 (provocation) of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Rahim Qaziyev was the Minister of Defense during the administration of the Azerbaijani Popular Front Party in 1992-1993.

The period he served is associated with large territorial losses on the front.

The arrest of the former minister led to heated discussions on social networks.

Here are some of the comments:

“He lost thousands of our people in Karabakh…”

“They did the right thing. They gave him a life sentence back then, and he shouldn’t have been released. It’s time to fix that mistake. So far, we have no clear information. Maybe Rahim published correct information. They interfered.”

“Azerbaijan was of little use to Ragim Gaziyev when he was the minister, why would it matter to him now?”

“He had to be arrested. Really, they should have detained him a long time ago. The land we lost was his fault. And now he’s openly trying to provoke unrest.”

The post Former Azerbaijani Minister of Defence detained appeared first on English Jamnews.

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Azerbaijanis debate Hagia Sophia transformation into mosque on social media




The debate about Turkey’s recent decision to turn Hagia Sophia in Istanbul back into a mosque after being a museum for 86 years continues to rage on social media. Most condemn the decision, although there are those who support it as well.

Photo taken in Hagia Sophia in 2009. Erdogan shows the cathedral to then-US President Barack Obama. REUTERS / Jim Young

The Hagia Sophia was built in Constantinople in 537. At first it was an Orthodox church, then a mosque.

On November 14, 1934, the Ataturk government decided to change the status of Hagia Sophia for a third time, turning the mosque into a museum.

On July 10, 2020, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed a decision to repeal that decree.

Starting July 24, Hagia Sophia will open once again as a mosque. The call to prayer has already sounded inside its halls, and prayers take place in front of the temple every day, with hundreds in attendance.

Hundreds of people gather for an evening prayer in front of Hagia Sophia after the government decided to reopen the museum as a mosque. Istanbul, July 10, 2020. REUTERS / Murad Sezer

Azerbaijan has not officially expressed its opinion on the decision to abolish the Ataturk government decree of 1934. This cannot be said about the Azerbaijani public, however, amongst which a fiery debate has broken out.

Overall, the public opinion is practically unanimous — most people condemn the decision to turn the museum into a mosque.

The famous Azerbaijani historian Altay Goyushov, who now lives in Germany, said:

“You can declare the Hagia Sophia a mosque four times over – it’s useless. When it was built, it was the most famous orthodox church in the world. In the 15th century, the temple was declared a mosque based on the rules of its time. In the 1930s, also based on the progressive, modernist trends of the time, turning it into a museum was an appropriate decision.

“Nowadays, turning a museum into a church would be a progressive step. This would bring great respect and gratitude to Turkey. Turkey’s opponents would have much less to say against them.

“Or, they could just maintain its status as a museum and not cause so much excitement for no reason.

“Even though they have once again turned the temple into a mosque, it is impossible to change the fact of the Hagia Sophia was built as an Orthodox church. But this move was a powerful blow to the authority of Turkey and Islam around the world. And now, Turkey’s opponents have even more to say against them.”

Istanbul: The city that is above sultans and presidents

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Popular radio host Aziza Ismailova posted:

“Aya Sofya has become a mosque. I never had the chance to visit it as a museum. ”

The famous blogger Namiq Mammadov jokes:

“Well, there is a silver lining – now the Hagia Sophia will have free admission.”

Though few and far between, there are some posts whose authors can barely contain their joy about the situation.

Elnur Aliyev, a famous blogger among Azerbaijani conservatives, said:

“Congratulations, Turkey! May Allah be with us.”

There are also users who do not understand the uproar among Azerbaijanis surrounding the events around Haga Sofya. In their opinion, it would be better for them to pay more attention to the condition of churches within Azerbaijan itself.

“It is strange to read comments from people who lament over Hagia Sophia. Have you seen the condition of the ancient Albanian church in Gakh? The Ministry of Culture does not even know about it. And we have many churches like this,”

writes the famous journalist, editor of one of the Azerbaijani news sites Gunay Arda.

An demonstration of support for the government’s decision to turn Aya Sofya from a museum into a mosque. Istanbul, July 10, 2020. REUTERS / Murad Sezer

The post Azerbaijanis debate Hagia Sophia transformation into mosque on social media appeared first on English Jamnews.

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