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US and China agree to cooperate on new climate agreement

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US and China agree to cooperate on new climate agreement

SEOUL, South Korea — The United States and China, the world’s two biggest carbon polluters, agreed to cooperate to curb climate change with urgency, just days before President Joe Biden hosts a virtual summit of world leaders to discuss the issue. 

The agreement was reached by U.S. special envoy for climate John Kerry and his Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua during two days of talks in Shanghai last week, according to a joint statement. 

The two countries “are committed to cooperating with each other and with other countries to tackle the climate crisis, which must be addressed with the seriousness and urgency that it demands,” the statement said.

China is the world’s biggest carbon emitter, followed by the United States. The two countries pump out nearly half of the fossil fuel fumes that are warming the planet’s atmosphere. Their cooperation is key to a success of global efforts to curb climate change, but frayed ties over human rights, trade and China’s territorial claims to Taiwan and the South China Sea have been threatening to undermine such efforts.

Meeting with reporters in Seoul on Sunday, Kerry said the language in the statement is “strong” and that the two countries agreed on “critical elements on where we have to go.” But the former secretary of state said, “I learned in diplomacy that you don’t put your back on the words, you put on actions. We all need to see what happens.”

Noting that China is the world’s biggest coal user, Kerry said he and Chinese officials had a lot of discussions on how to accelerate a global energy transition. “I have never shied away from expressing our views shared by many, many people that it is imperative to reduce coal, everywhere,” he said.

Biden has invited 40 world leaders, including Chinese President Xi Jinping, to the April 22-23 summit. The U.S. and other countries are expected to announce more ambitious national targets for cutting carbon emissions ahead of or at the meeting, along with pledging financial help for climate efforts by less wealthy nations.

It’s unclear how much Kerry’s China visit would promote U.S.-China cooperation on climate issues. 

While Kerry was still in Shanghai, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng signaled Friday that China is unlikely to make any new pledges at next week’s summit. 

“For a big country with 1.4 billion people, these goals are not easily delivered,” Le said during an interview with The Associated Press in Beijing. “Some countries are asking China to achieve the goals earlier. I am afraid this is not very realistic.”

During a video meeting with German and French leaders Friday, Xi said that climate change “should not become a geopolitical chip, a target for attacking other countries or an excuse for trade barriers,” the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

On whether Xi would join the summit, Le said “the Chinese side is actively studying the matter.” 

The joint statement said the two countries “look forward to” next week’s summit. Kerry said Sunday that “we very much hope that (Xi) will take part” in the summit but it’s up to China to make that decision. 

Biden, who has said that fighting global warming is among his highest priorities, had the United States rejoin the historic 2015 Paris climate accord in the first hours of his presidency, undoing the U.S. withdrawal ordered by predecessor Donald Trump.

Major emitters of greenhouse gases are preparing for the next U.N. climate summit taking place in Glasgow, U.K., in November. The summit aims to relaunch global efforts to keep rising global temperatures to below 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit as agreed in the Paris accord.

According to the U.S.-China statement, the two countries would enhance “their respective actions and cooperating in multilateral processes, including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement.” 

It said both countries also intend to develop their respective long-term strategies before the Glasgow conference and take “appropriate actions to maximize international investment and finance in support of” the energy transition in developing countries.

Xi announced last year that China would be carbon-neutral by 2060 and aims to reach a peak in its emissions by 2030. In March, China’s Communist Party pledged to reduce carbon emissions per unit of economic output by 18% over the next five years, in line with its goal for the previous five-year period. But environmentalists say China needs to do more. 

Biden has pledged the U.S. will switch to an emissions-free power sector within 14 years, and have an entirely emissions-free economy by 2050. Kerry is also pushing other nations to commit to carbon neutrality by then.

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Mysterious lights streak across Seattle sky

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Mysterious lights streak across Seattle sky

Stargazers in the Pacific Northwest were left puzzled by another mysterious light show that illuminated the sky on Tuesday night.

Residents in the Seattle-area posted video on social media that showed lights streaking across the sky shortly after 9 p.m.

“Anyone know what I’m looking at flying by in the sky tonight? #ufo #seattle,” one Twitter user wrote, along with a video of passing lights.

Another person said on Twitter: “Um, someone want to explain this line of lights that just streaked across the Seattle sky? #ufo”

But the National Weather Service’s Seattle office tweeted that the lights appear to be linked to an earlier SpaceX satellite launch out of the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Less than two months ago, a similar light show in the same area left residents equally confused at first.

But the streaking lights were determined to be the remains of a SpaceX rocket entering earth’s atmosphere.

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California woman arrested for allegedly harrasing black delivery driver

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California woman arrested for allegedly harrasing black delivery driver

A California woman is facing hate crime charges for allegedly harassing a black delivery driver with racial slurs last month, a report said.

Julie Warland, 35, is accused of targeting Amazon driver Kendall McIntosh on April 18 as he was finishing up his deliveries in North Berkeley, KRON reported.

Warland, along with her boyfriend, allegedly confronted McIntosh and Warland accusing him of speeding.

McIntosh told the station that the couple followed him to his next stop, where Warland allegedly started screaming at him and calling him names, including the n-word.

“Instantly just started cursing me out like, first sentence I’m getting cursed at,” McIntosh said.

“I was getting just racially profiled from the jump,” he said.

During the confrontation, Warland also jumped into the delivery van and grabbed a hold of the steering wheel to prevent McIntosh from leaving, he told the outlet.

“I was just trying to do my job and she wouldn’t allow me to,” McIntosh said.

Neighbors recorded part of the confrontation.

In a clip obtained by KRON, Warland and her boyfriend can be seen approaching McIntosh in front of a truck. Screaming can also be heard in the footage.

Berkeley police are treating the incident as a hate crime.

Warland is charged with suspicion of false imprisonment, battery, using offensive words and willfully threatening a person based on their appearance, the report said.

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Murder suspect and his infant son killed in police shootout

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Murder suspect and his infant son killed in police shootout

A Mississippi man who allegedly murdered two people was killed along with his infant son after he kidnapped the child and led police on a wild chase that ended in a shootout on Monday night.

The shootout occurred after Eric Smith, 30, led police on a miles-long pursuit that began in Louisiana, where he allegedly shot dead his ex-girlfriend Christin Parker, 32, and her 26-year-old nephew Brandon Parker earlier on Monday, WLOX reported.

Smith then kidnapped the child before police located his vehicle, leading to the chase.

After crossing into Mississippi, Smith avoided a tire deflation device laid out by police and eventually stopped his car in Harris County.

With the infant inside the car, Smith and police exchanged gunfire. Smith was shot and killed.

The baby, identified as La’Mello Parker, was also struck, according to the report.

Parker was hospitalized, but pronounced dead early Tuesday morning, authorities said.

The county coroner will determine if the baby was struck by a bullet or shrapnel, the report said.

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