On the ground, climate change is hitting us where it counts: the stomach — not to mention the forests, plants and animals. A new United Nations scientific report examines how global warming and land interact in a vicious cycle. Human-caused climate change is dramatically degrading the land, while the way people use the land is making global warming worse. Thursday’s science-laden report says the combination is already making food more expensive, scarcer and even less nutritious. “The cycle is accelerating,” said NASA climate scientist Cynthia Rosenzweig, a report co-author. “The threat of climate change affecting people’s food on their dinner table is increasing.” But if people change the way they eat, grow food and manage forests, it could help save the planet from a far warmer future, scientists said Earth’s landmasses, which are only 30% of the globe, are warming twice as fast as the planet as a whole. While heat-trapping gases are causing problems in the atmosphere, the land has been less talked about as part of climate change. A special report, written by more than 100 scientists and unanimously approved by diplomats from nations around the world at a meeting in Geneva, proposed possible fixes and made more dire warnings. “The way we use land is both part of the problem and also part of the solution,” said Valerie Masson-Delmotte, a French climate scientist who co-chairs one of the panel’s working groups. “Sustainable land management can help secure a future that is comfortable.” Scientists in Thursday’s press conference emphasized both the seriousness of the problem and the need to make societal changes soon. “We don’t want a message of despair,” said science panel official Jim Skea, a professor at Imperial College London. “We want to get across the message that every action makes a difference” The report said climate change already has worsened land degradation, caused deserts to grow, permafrost to thaw and made forests more vulnerable to drought, fire, pests and disease. That’s happened even as much of the globe has gotten greener because of extra carbon dioxide in the air. Climate change has also added to other forces that have reduced the number of species on Earth. “Climate change is really slamming the land,” said World Resources Institute researcher Kelly Levin, who wasn’t part of the study but praised it. And the future could be worse. “The stability of food supply is projected to decrease as the magnitude and frequency of extreme weather events that disrupt food chains increases,” the report said. In the worst-case scenario, food security problems change from moderate to high risk with just a few more tenths of a degree of warming from now. They go from high to “very high” risk with just another 1.8 degrees (1 degree Celsius) of warming from now. Scientists had long thought one of the few benefits of higher levels of carbon dioxide, the major heat-trapping gas, was that it made plants grow more and the world greener, Rosenzweig said. But numerous studies show that the high levels of carbon dioxide reduce protein and nutrients in many crops. For example, high levels of carbon in the air in experiments show wheat has 6 to 13% less protein, 4 to 7% less zinc and 5 to 8% less iron, she said. But better farming practices — such as no-till agricultural and better targeted fertilizer application — have the potential to fight global warming too, reducing carbon pollution up to 18% of current emissions levels by 2050, the report said. If people change their diets, reducing red meat and increasing plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables and seeds, the world can save as much as another 15% of current emissions by mid-century. It would also make people more healthy, Rosenzweig said. The science panel said they aren’t telling people what to eat because that’s a personal choice. Still, Hans-Otto Portner, a panel leader from Germany who said he lost weight and felt better after reducing his meat consumption, told a reporter that if she ate less ribs and more vegetables “that’s a good decision and you will help the planet reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” Reducing food waste can fight climate change even more. The report said that between 2010 and 2016 global food waste accounted for 8 to 10% of heat-trapping emissions. “Currently 25-30% of total food produced is lost or wasted,” the report said. Fixing that would free up millions of square miles of land. With just another 0.9 degrees of warming (0.5 degrees Celsius), which could happen in the next 10 to 30 years, the risk of unstable food supplies, wildfire damage, thawing permafrost and water shortages in dry areas “are projected to be high,” the report said. At another 1.8 degrees of warming from now (1 degree Celsius), which could happen in about 50 years, it said those risks “are projected to be very high.” Most scenarios predict the world’s tropical regions will have “unprecedented climatic conditions by the mid to late 20th century,” the report noted. Agriculture and forestry together account for about 23% of the heat-trapping gases that are warming the Earth, slightly less than from cars, trucks, boats and planes. Add in transporting food, energy costs, packaging and that grows to 37%, the report said. But the land is also a great carbon “sink,” which sucks heat-trapping gases out of the air. From about 2007 to 2016, agriculture and forestry every year put 5.7 billion tons (5.2 billion metric tons) of carbon dioxide into the air, but pulled 12.3 billion tons (11.2 billion metric tons) of it out. “This additional gift from nature is limited. It’s not going to continue forever,” said study co-author Luis Verchot , a scientist at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture in Colombia. “If we continue to degrade ecosystems, if we continue to convert natural ecosystems, we continue to deforest and we continued to destroy our soils, we’re going to lose this natural subsidy.” Overall land emissions are increasing, especially because of cutting down forests in the Amazon in places such as Brazil, Colombia and Peru, Verchot said. Recent forest management changes in Brazil “contradicts all the messages that are coming out of the report,” Portner said. Stanford University environmental sciences chief Chris Field, who wasn’t part of the report, said the bottom line is “we ought to recognize that we have profound limits on the amount of land available and we have to be careful about how we utilize it.”

Authorities in Gibraltar said they intercepted Thursday a super tanker believed to be breaching European Union sanctions by carrying a shipment of Iranian crude oil to war-ravaged Syria, while a senior Spanish official said the operation was requested by the United States. Gibraltar port and law enforcement agencies, assisted by Britain's Royal Marines, boarded the Grace 1 early Thursday, authorities on the British overseas territory at the tip of Spain said in a statement. It added that the vessel was believed to be headed to the Baniyas Refinery in Syria, which is a government-owned facility under the control of Syrian President Bashar Assad and subject to the EU's Syrian Sanctions Regime. The EU, and others, has imposed sanctions on Assad's government over its continued crackdown against civilians. They currently target 270 people and 70 entities. Spain's caretaker foreign minister said the tanker was stopped by British authorities after a request from the United States. Josep Borrell told reporters in Madrid that Spain is assessing the implications of the operation because the detention took place in waters it considers its own. Britain insists Gibraltar is part of the United Kingdom but Spain argues that it is not, and the tanker operation risks offending the Spanish. "We're looking into how this (operation) affects our sovereignty," said Borrell, who was nominated earlier this week to become the EU's foreign policy chief. The Spanish claim that the U.S. requested the operation switched attention to whether the tanker was carrying Iranian crude. The Gibraltar authorities didn't confirm the origin of the ship's cargo but Lloyd's List, a publication specialized in maritime affairs, reported this week that the Panama-flagged large carrier was laden with Iranian oil. Experts were said to have concluded that it carried oil from Iran because the tanker wasn't sending geographic information while in Iranian waters. According to a U.N. list, the ship is owned by the Singapore-based Grace Tankers Ltd. According to the data firm Refinitv, the vessel likely carried just over 2 million barrels of Iranian crude oil. Tracking data showed that the tanker made a slow trip around the southern tip of Africa before reaching the Mediterranean. The tanker's detention comes at a particularly sensitive time as tensions between the U.S. and Iran grow over the unraveling of a 2015 nuclear deal, which President Donald Trump withdrew from last year. Trump has also slapped sanctions onto Iran and recently approved the passage of a carrier group, bombers and fighter jets to the Persian Gulf. In recent days, Iran has broken through the limit the deal put on its stockpile of low-enriched uranium and plans on Sunday to boost its enrichment. Meanwhile, oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz have been targeted in mysterious attacks as Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen launch bomb-laden drones into Saudi Arabia. The U.S. has rushed thousands of additional troops, an aircraft carrier, B-52 bombers and F-22 fighters to the region, raising fears of a miscalculation sparking a wider conflict. Last month Iran shot down a U.S. surveillance drone, further stoking those fears. Iran's intelligence minister said Thursday that any negotiations with the U.S. would have to be approved by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and would require the lifting of U.S. sanctions. Khamenei has until now ruled out talks with the U.S., saying that Washington cannot be trusted. On Thursday, the official IRNA news agency quoted Information Minister Mahmoud Alavi as saying "if the supreme leader permits, negotiations between Iran and the United States will be held." He added, however, that Tehran would not negotiate under pressure. There was no immediate reaction to the tanker's detention from Syria, which has suffered severe fuel shortages as a result of the civil war and Western sanctions that have crippled the country's oil industry, once the source of 20 percent of government revenues. Iran, which has provided vital military support to Assad, extended a $3 billion credit line for oil supplies beginning in 2013 but the Iranian aid dwindled as Washington restored tough sanctions. In November, the U.S. Treasury Department added a network of Russian and Iranian companies to its blacklist for shipping oil to Syria and warned of "significant risks" for those violating the sanctions. Fabian Picardo, Chief Minister of Gibraltar, which has in the past been a transit port for energy shipments without known buyers, said he has informed the EU about developments. In a statement, the British government welcomed the "firm action" by authorities in Gibraltar.


Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister, Dr Keith Rowley is expected in Barbados tomorrow to sign a Memorandum of Understanding between both countries for cooperation on energy development. The announcement from Minister of Energy and Energy Industries Dr Franklin Khan, who says the team, will include himself and also Minister of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs, Dennis Moses, and Minister of Finance, Colm Imbert along with other officials drawn from the Ministry of Energy. “ . . . the [MOU] between the Governments [concern] cooperation in energy development for hydrocarbons that extends across a single maritime boundary. As you are aware [BHP Billiton Limited] has been making gas discoveries in the northeastern part of Trinidad and Tobago’s maritime assets. They have drilled a number of successful wells and some of them are quite close to the Barbadian border. “Because of that, both the governments of Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago saw it fit to do a Memorandum of Understanding for joint cooperation in the event that gas reserves are found on the Barbadian side that will lead to possibly the signing a Unitization Treaty between Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados in the not too distant future,” Khan said during a post-cabinet press briefing in Port of Spain. In recent months BHP conducted a global endowment study in which it identified the deepwater off Trinidad and Tobago and its neighbours Barbados as having world-class potential with world-class source rock.

Dr Lundie Richards, Consultant Medical Haematologist-Oncologist

The Cayman Islands Health Services Authority (HSA) is enhancing its blood diseases and cancer care services with the recruitment of a full-time medical haematologist-oncologist. The addition of a specialist with the ability to diagnose and treat blood cancers, blood disorders(eg. anemia),bleeding conditions(eg. hemophilia),blood clots, as well as solid cancers, has made comprehensive cancer care for people in the Cayman Islands more easily accessible, closer to home. Dr Lundie Richards, Consultant Medical Haematologist-Oncologist, has history with the HSA having been contracted part-time over a few years ago before joining the organisation’s pathology laboratory and oncology teams full-time in August. In addition to haemotology and oncology services, he will provide expertise in blood bank and transfusion medicine. “I am honoured to work within the multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, patient centred team of professionals at the HSA,” said Dr Richards. “My team and I will aim to facilitate positive health outcomes and contribute to the overall strengthening of the healthcare system of the Cayman Islands by always putting our patients first. I truly believe this is key, and am very pleased that we have already taken the first step by making the service available here on island so we can reduce the need for patients to seek this type of service overseas.” Prior to Dr Richards full-time employment, Dr Gillian Wharfe, a visiting oncologist-haematologist, travelled from Jamaica at least once a month to treat patients. Dr Wharfe, who has been working with the HSA since 2002, will continue to provide medical care for patients. “Blood cancers are treated differently from many solid cancers, which means that people who have blood cancer often choose to see a haematologist over an oncologist for their treatment. Having a full-time specialist on staff who is practiced in both haematology and oncology allows us to diagnose and treat a wider range of cancers and provide more comprehensive, quality care to our patients,” said Medical Director Dr Delroy Jefferson. “An important part of cancer care is having the ability to receive it locally where family and friends are nearby for support. As such, we are delighted to welcome Dr Richards whose knowledge and experience will be most beneficial to increasing the value of our services to the people of our islands.” Dr Richards received his medical degree from the Instituto Superior Ciencias Medicas, Villa Clara, Cuba, where he graduated with “Diploma de Oro” (Gold Seal Diploma - First Class Honours). He completed his Doctor of Medicine in Clinical Haematology & Oncology at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica. He earned the prestigious Common Wealth Scholarship award in 2000 and pursued his Master of Science in Transfusion and Transplantation Sciences at the University of Bristol UK. He has also obtained a Master of Public Health from Lakehead University, Ontario Canada and Master in Health Management from McMaster University, Ontario Canada. Dr Richards has worked as a haematologist-oncologist in Jamaica for over 20 years. He has held several senior positions globally including: Director Laboratory Services Jamaica, Director National Blood Services Jamaica, Director Health Services Planning and Integration Jamaica, Advisor Blood Services Development and Management – Pan American Health Organization / World Health Organization and Senior Program Consultant at the Ministry of Health, Ontario Canada. Dr Richards is fluent in both Spanish and English and enjoys cricket. Patients will need a referral for haematology and oncology services provided by Dr. Richards. For more information, please contact the Chemotherapy Unit at 244-2872.


People stand by an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019.  (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

Global stock markets were back in positive territory Wednesday as investors looked ahead to a speech by the Federal Reserve chairman for signs of possible plans for more U.S. interest rate cuts. Market benchmarks in London and Frankfurt rose in early trading. On Wall Street, the futures for the S&P 500 index rose 0.7% to 2,918 and futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.6% to 26,085. After a three-day run of gains, U.S. stocks fell Tuesday after a slide in bond yields and a mixed batch of corporate earnings. Financial sector stocks led the declines. Investors are now looking ahead to the Fed's Wednesday release of notes from its policymaking meeting last month and a speech Friday by Chairman Jerome Powell. Markets have "entered a holding pattern" ahead of Powell's afternoon speech at an annual gathering in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a report. Investors expect Powell to signal the Fed "is about to embark on a reinvigorated wave of easing," said Halley. However, he said U.S. data "simply does not support the need for an aggressive easing cycle." London's FTSE 100 rose 1.1% in midday trading to 7,205 and Frankfurt's DAX also climbed 1.1% to 11,784. France's CAC-40 jumped 1.5% to 5,426. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 shed 0.3% to close at 20,618.57. Hong Kong's Hang Seng inched up 0.2% to finish at 26,270.04. The Shanghai Composite Index was little changed at 2,880.33. Seoul's Kospi gained 0.2% to 1,964.65 while Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 fell 0.9% to 6,483.30. India's Sensex lost 0.6% to 37,114.28. Taiwan was higher and New Zealand was lower, while Southeast Asian markets were mixed. The U.S. market has been volatile this month as investors try to parse conflicting signals on the U.S. economy and determine whether a recession is on the horizon. A key concern is that the U.S.-Chinese tariff war will weigh on global economic growth. ON TARGET: After mixed results from retailers on Tuesday, Target Corp. topped expectations Wednesday for its second quarter as it pushes faster delivery and invests heavily in new private label brands. Shares in the retailer jumped 15% in premarket trading. ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 63 cents to $56.76 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract shed 1 cent on Tuesday to close at $56.13. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 96 cents to $60.99 per barrel in London. The contract advanced 27 cents the previous session to $60.03. CURRENCY: The dollar rose to 106.45 yen from Tuesday's 106.22. The euro inched up to $1.1105.

A woman walks by an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo, Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019.  (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

Global shares were mostly higher Tuesday after Wall Street rallied on the U.S. decision to give Chinese telecom giant Huawei another 90 days to buy equipment from American suppliers. That decision appeared to inspire a buying mood among investors eager for any signs of progress in the trade war between the U.S. and China. France's CAC 40 added nearly 0.2% in early trading to 5,380.18, while Germany's DAX inched up nearly 0.1% to 11,723.98. Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.2% to 7,205.60. U.S. shares were set to drift higher with Dow futures edging up 0.1% to 26,143. S&P 500 futures were also up 0.1% at 2,926.50. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 gained 0.6% to finish at 20,677.22. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 1.2% to 6,545.00. South Korea's Kospi rose 1.1% to 1,960.25, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.2% to 26,231.54. The Shanghai Composite was down 0.1% at 2,880.00. Recently, investors have been trying to determine whether a recession is on the horizon in the U.S. A key concern is that the escalating and costly trade conflict between the world's two biggest economies will hamper growth around the globe. Earlier this month, Trump announced plans to extend tariffs across virtually all Chinese imports, many of them consumer products that were exempt from earlier rounds of tariffs. The tariffs have been delayed, but ultimately will raise costs for U.S. companies bringing goods in from China. Huawei has become part of the trade war, with the White House showing a willingness to use sanctions against the company as a bargaining chip. The U.S. government blacklisted Huawei in May, deeming it a national security risk, meaning U.S. companies aren't allowed to sell the company technology without government approval. "While it is not unexpected, the extension for the easing of Huawei sanctions had added to the relief for markets at the start of the week," said Jingyi Pan, market strategist for IG in Singapore. ENERGY: Benchmark crude oil rose 14 cents to $56.28 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 10 cents to $59.84 a barrel. CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 106.43 yen from 106.36 yen on Monday. The euro weakened to $1.1074 from $1.1104.


Dr Lundie Richards, Consultant Medical Haematologist-Oncologist

The Cayman Islands Health Services Authority (HSA) is enhancing its blood diseases and cancer care services with the recruitment of a full-time medical haematologist-oncologist. The addition of a specialist with the ability to diagnose and treat blood cancers, blood disorders(eg. anemia),bleeding conditions(eg. hemophilia),blood clots, as well as solid cancers, has made comprehensive cancer care for people in the Cayman Islands more easily accessible, closer to home. Dr Lundie Richards, Consultant Medical Haematologist-Oncologist, has history with the HSA having been contracted part-time over a few years ago before joining the organisation’s pathology laboratory and oncology teams full-time in August. In addition to haemotology and oncology services, he will provide expertise in blood bank and transfusion medicine. “I am honoured to work within the multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, patient centred team of professionals at the HSA,” said Dr Richards. “My team and I will aim to facilitate positive health outcomes and contribute to the overall strengthening of the healthcare system of the Cayman Islands by always putting our patients first. I truly believe this is key, and am very pleased that we have already taken the first step by making the service available here on island so we can reduce the need for patients to seek this type of service overseas.” Prior to Dr Richards full-time employment, Dr Gillian Wharfe, a visiting oncologist-haematologist, travelled from Jamaica at least once a month to treat patients. Dr Wharfe, who has been working with the HSA since 2002, will continue to provide medical care for patients. “Blood cancers are treated differently from many solid cancers, which means that people who have blood cancer often choose to see a haematologist over an oncologist for their treatment. Having a full-time specialist on staff who is practiced in both haematology and oncology allows us to diagnose and treat a wider range of cancers and provide more comprehensive, quality care to our patients,” said Medical Director Dr Delroy Jefferson. “An important part of cancer care is having the ability to receive it locally where family and friends are nearby for support. As such, we are delighted to welcome Dr Richards whose knowledge and experience will be most beneficial to increasing the value of our services to the people of our islands.” Dr Richards received his medical degree from the Instituto Superior Ciencias Medicas, Villa Clara, Cuba, where he graduated with “Diploma de Oro” (Gold Seal Diploma - First Class Honours). He completed his Doctor of Medicine in Clinical Haematology & Oncology at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica. He earned the prestigious Common Wealth Scholarship award in 2000 and pursued his Master of Science in Transfusion and Transplantation Sciences at the University of Bristol UK. He has also obtained a Master of Public Health from Lakehead University, Ontario Canada and Master in Health Management from McMaster University, Ontario Canada. Dr Richards has worked as a haematologist-oncologist in Jamaica for over 20 years. He has held several senior positions globally including: Director Laboratory Services Jamaica, Director National Blood Services Jamaica, Director Health Services Planning and Integration Jamaica, Advisor Blood Services Development and Management – Pan American Health Organization / World Health Organization and Senior Program Consultant at the Ministry of Health, Ontario Canada. Dr Richards is fluent in both Spanish and English and enjoys cricket. Patients will need a referral for haematology and oncology services provided by Dr. Richards. For more information, please contact the Chemotherapy Unit at 244-2872.

TheNational Community Enhancement Project (NiCE) team has been exploring environmentally sound methods of removing sargassum from the nation's beaches. On August 5 to 16, asmall crew of six personsworked in tandem with a selection of beach cleaning equipment to remove influxes of the seaweed, usingequipment such as a skid steer, back hoe and beach tech marina,on several beaches across Grand Cayman. Some of the areas cleaned includedthe coastline at South Sound Boat Launch Ramp and Board walk areas, Frank Sound Boat Launch Ramp, Coe Wood Beach in Bodden Town, Cayman Kai Public Beach, North Side and Colliers Beach in East End. In instances where it was difficult to separate the seaweed from the sand, the sargassum was taken to a government location to be dried, sieved and the sand transported back to the beaches by the Recreation, Parks and Cemeteries Unit. Minister of Commerce, Planning and Infrastructure, Hon. Joey Hew commended the crew members, Project Manager Lois Kellyman and the National Roads Authority for the excellent work completed within the short timeframe. “Cleaning the sargassum manually is not sustainable. This approach worked well with the combination of manual labour and machinery. We have received positive feedback from members of the communities who noted the stark difference they have seen in the clean-up of our beaches,” he stated. The Ministry of Commerce, Planning and Infrastructure is leading a multi-agency task force that has been set up to review the sargassum issue and map a way forward.