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https://avalanches.com/us/los_angeles_goldstein_soars_to_win_in_shanghai_leg_of_global_champions_tour177_08_05_2019
Danielle Goldstein won the Shanghai leg of the Longines Global Champions Tour for the world's top showjumpers in a nail-biter. The colorful Israeli rider and her powerful, big-striding 13-year-old chestnut mare Lizziemary edged Ireland's Darragh Kenny and Balou Du Reventon by just 0.08 seconds in the jump-off. Dutch veteran Jur Vrieling and VDL Glasgow v. Merelsnest finished third, 2.65 seconds back. "This is one that everybody really wants to win," Goldstein told LGCT television. "The money is huge here, and the crowd is unbelievable, so this is amazing. We've come a long way, and we've made it worthwhile." In the Global Champions League team competition, the Monaco Aces of Frenchman Julian Epaillard and Belgium's Jerome Guery triumphed ahead of the Paris Panthers. 'Rocketship' It was the second LGCT triumph for Goldstein, who also won in Estoril two years ago. "She is like a rocketship underneath you, you have just so much raw power, she tries her heart out for me," Goldstein said about the horse she has been riding since 2016. "I couldn't ask for anything more." Watched by a cosmopolitan crowd at the China Art Palace in Shanghai, with many spectators donning hats and designer outfits, the lone Asian stop of the Tour saw nine riders qualify for the jump-off, on a sandy course over 1.60-meter jumps set by Uliano Vezzani. Ireland's Kenny had set the pace as the third rider in the jump-off, finishing in a time of 38.06 seconds as he stepped up the pace in the second part of the course to beat the previous leader, Vrieling. "Dani did one less stride to the last fence and that made a huge difference," Kenny said afterwards. "I've been aiming my horse for this for two months now and it's a great show." The sixth rider, Belgium's Pieter Devos, the winner of Miami Beach two weeks ago, put down the fastest time (37.49 seconds) in the jump-off, but dropped a pole at the penultimate fence. Another Belgian, Niels Bruynseels, and his big striding horse Delux Van T&L, were equally unlucky, dropping a pole at the last fence as they finished in a time of 38.21 seconds. Close finish With just two more riders to go, Goldstein guided Lizziemary round the course in a clear round in 37.98 seconds, as Kenny looked on from the sidelines and showed his frustration after getting beaten by such a thin margin. Could the last rider, LGCT rookie Titouan Schumacher and Atome Z, produce a masterpiece in front of the China Art Palace? It wasn't meant to be for the 164th-ranked Frenchman, as his horse dropped a pole, and they finished in eighth place in a time of 39.12 seconds. Head-to-head television pictures comparing Kenny and Goldstein's rides showed Lizziemary won the jump-off in the final few strides. "Today worked out," said Goldstein. "Some days it doesn't, but it was really our day and she jumped amazing the whole day. I didn't nail the first line the way I would have liked, but I made it up somewhere else...I couldn't be happier." Devos remains overall leader The Global Champions Tour, show jumping's richest circuit, is held at a record 20 venues in 2019, including new stops in New York, Montreal and Stockholm. It was staged in Shanghai for the sixth straight year. Her victory earned Goldstein a place in the lucrative GC Prague Playoffs November 21-24, which will see all individual LGCT winners compete against each other in the season finale. After stops in Doha, Mexico City, Miami Beach and Shanghai, Devos remained atop the overall leaderboard with 120 points, following his fifth-place finish in Shanghai. Bruynseels, who was sixth in Shanghai, is second in the overall standings with 94 points, followed by Germany's Daniel Deusser with 83 points. Global Champions League The Monaco Aces, who had been lying in pole position after the first round, made a tactical horse-rider switch to clinch the Global Champions League (GCL) for teams Sunday as they finished on a total of four penalties and in a combined time of 156.3 seconds. The Paris Panthers were second, with the same penalties as the Aces, but at four seconds back. Kenny put down two clear rounds with two different horses, while his Belgian team mate Gregory Wathelet had four penalties in the second round. The Prague Lions, with Holland's Marc Houtzager and Bruynseels, were third, on a total of eight penalties. The two-day GCL had been re-scheduled to Saturday and Sunday after one of two specially chartered horse flights from Europe was delayed. The team event normally finishes before the start of the Longines Global Champions Tour, which concluded on Saturday. "It was decided with FEI [International Equestrian Federation] approval to change the earlier team competition to ensure the horses were well rested and fresh for the weekend with horse welfare the top priority," the GCL said on its website. The Monaco Aces had taken the lead in Shanghai after the first round, which saw five teams producing double clears on a technical course over 15 jumps, which included three sets of double combinations. "I was super happy — It's only half of the job done, but a good day for the team," said Epaillard of the Aces, after guiding Virtuose Champeix to the team's first clear in just over 74 seconds. His Brazilian team-mate Marlon Modolo Zanotelli also had a perfect first round with VDL Edgar M: "He's a fantastic horse and just gets better and better — I'm very lucky to have him," the Brazilian said. Although Epaillard said on Saturday the Aces were unlikely to make a horse-rider change overnight, the team switched Modolo Zanotelli for Guery and Garfield de Tiji Des Templiers for the second round on Sunday. Although Guery, the winner of the opening LGCT in Doha, had a pole down on the penultimate fence, Epaillard and Virtuose Champeix delivered once more with another clear round to clinch the first GCL victory for the Aces. "We fight a little bit today, it was really a team victory," said Guery on Sunday. "They did a super job the first day, and we changed a little bit the plan for today." Epaillard said he had felt "a lot of pressure" after the first round. "Very bad for our heart, but it was super," he added. It was tough weekend for Switzerland's Pius Schwizer and Germany's Daniel Deusser of the Shangai Swans, the winners of the first two legs. Although the team finished in 11th place in Shanghai, on a total of 29 penalties, they remain in the lead in the overall standings, with 90 points. Saint Tropez Pirates are second, with 79 points, followed by the Aces with 74 points. After stops in the Middle East, the Americas and Asia, the LGCT and GCL series are headed to Europe for the next five months, with Madrid scheduled to open proceedings on May 17-19. Other venues include London, Rome, Saint Tropez, Monaco and Paris. Sourse: https://edition.cnn.com/2019/05/04/sport/global-champions-tour-goldstein-spt-intl/index.html?cid=sportsticker
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https://avalanches.com/us/los_angeles_australia_is_being_devastated_by_climate_change_so_will_it_swing_the_election176_08_05_2019
"This is the climate election," declared Queensland Greens Sen. Larissa Waters at a Brisbane forum, weeks before the Australian election this month. It's unsurprising that Waters would say this: The environment is always at the heart of the Greens' policy. But a series of natural disasters has forced many other Australians to take notice. Fires, floods and the worst drought in living memory have ravaged Australia in the past year, laying waste to thousands of homes, devastating the livelihoods of farmers and wreaking millions of dollars' worth of damage. In January, record-breaking temperatures soared so high, for so long that asphalt roads started to melt. "When I was first elected in 2010, scientists were telling us it was the critical decade," Waters told the audience. "It's nearly the end of that decade and we've bloody wasted it." The electorate is aware. Concern about climate change is now at a 10-year high among Australians, with 64% believing it should be a top priority for the government, according to an Ipsos poll released in April. Thousands of climate striking students recently walked out of class, while Extinction Rebellion activists are stopping coal trains and blocking roads. The Greens have long campaigned for action but remain a minor party without the numbers to govern. But as climate change becomes a key issue in the May 18 election, Australia's two major parties agree that something needs to be done. The questions are what, when -- and crucially -- how much is it going to cost? No clear climate policy Australia is getting hotter. The rise in temperatures, once a future threat, is now an ever present danger, raising the risk of severe droughts, bush fires and intense rainfall across the country, according to the Bureau of Meteorology. On paper, at least, the country is taking action. In 2015, Australia was among the nearly 200 nations that gathered in the French capital and pledged to take decisive action on climate change, under the Paris Climate Agreement. Specifically, Australia agreed to cut its carbon emissions to 26% to 28% below 2005 levels by 2030. The government's doing that by encouraging businesses and the public sector to cut emissions through its Emissions Reduction Fund, while promoting investment in new technologies like renewable energy. Currently, investment in renewable energy is growing fast and renewables -- mostly hydropower, wind and solar -- provide around 21% of Australia's energy needs. In the United States, it's closer to 17%, and in the United Kingdom it's about 20%. Despite this, in its 2018 Emissions Gap Report, the United Nations said there had been "no improvement" in Australia's climate policy since 2017, noted that emission levels for 2030 were projected to be "well above" target. Prime Minister Scott Morrison insists Australia will meet its Paris Agreement targets. But critics say that's only because it's carrying over credits obtained under the Kyoto Protocol, and it's not doing enough to cut emissions now. "Australia has certainly been lagging behind on climate change action, by which I mean the effort to decarbonize the economy and reduce emissions," said Frank Jotzo, director of the Center for Climate Economics and Policy at the Australian National University. Efforts have been held back, he said, by intense political wrangling that has seen policies introduced then revoked. But in this election politics might also help. The opposition Labor Party has seized on climate policy as one of the few points of difference with Morrison's ruling Liberal Party. If elected, it's promising to cut Australia's carbon emissions by 45% on 2005 levels, compared to the government's minimum pledge of 26%. Earlier this year, when it became clear the government's perceived inaction on climate could cost it votes, it introduced a climate policy, which includes a $2 billion Climate Solutions Fund, as well as plans for the world's second largest pumped hydropower station. While climate change expert Jotzo said the new climate policy was light on details, he saw it as a "positive sign." "It's an acknowledgment that a mainstream party in Australia needs to have a climate change policy in order to be electable," he said. The coal face of the issue While both main parties are talking a big game on climate change, their commitment to action is being tested by the prospect of a large, new coal mine planned in north Queensland. The government has long argued that Australia needs coal to sustain its world-leading run of economic growth. In February 2017, Prime Minister Scott Morrison -- then treasurer -- made his position clear when he brought a lump of coal into Parliament. "This is coal. Don't be afraid, don't be scared," he said, to jeers from the opposition. "It's coal that has ensured for over 100 years that Australia has enjoyed an energy-competitive advantage that has delivered prosperity to Australian businesses." For years, Indian mining conglomerate Adani has been pushing for approval for its Carmichael mine in the Galilee Basin, in Queensland. The mine would ship coal to India, China and Vietnam to feed the growing energy needs of those nations and create much-needed jobs in Australia. The Galilee Basin is one of the world's largest unexploited coal reserves and covers 274,000 square kilometers (105,792 square miles) -- an area bigger than the United Kingdom. The issue has divided voters into pro-Adani or anti-Adani camps in Queensland, said Maxine Newlands, political scientist at James Cook University. "But that's really a trope for the whole debate about where does Australia go and its climate change policy," she added. Economy versus environment When the mine was proposed in 2010, the prospect of 10,000 new jobs caused a rush of excitement in Townsville. That opportunity could have helped solve the north Queensland coastal city's high-profile unemployment problem: about 8% of Townsville is unemployed, compared to the national average of 5% -- meaning that about 8,000 people are jobless. Since then, fierce protests and a lack of access to funding and state subsidies have downsized the capacity of the proposed mine from a behemoth producing 60 million metric tons of coal a year to a more modest 27.5 million metric tons per year facility. That cut the job creation prospects, too. No party wants to lose voters in regional seats by appearing to condemn the unemployed. So both parties are trying to avoid the issue. Environmental protesters, however, are facing it head on. A convoy of Stop Adani protesters recently drove up the east coast of Australia from Hobart in Tasmania to the mine in central Queensland, some in electric cars, to spread their message to voters. "If this mine goes ahead, there are half a dozen mines that will surely follow and that will render us with no chance of turning around climate change," Greens Party leader Richard di Natale said when the convoy stopped in Brisbane. Protesters say more mines in North Queensland could boost traffic from coal ships near the Great Barrier Reef, which has already suffered damage from higher emissions caused by warming seas. The natural wonder runs 2,300 kilometers (1,500 miles) down the length of the coast, 350 kilometers (217 miles) from the mine. Adani company says that in stage one, the mine will produce only a small fraction of Australia's annual coal output, and argues that if Australia isn't mining the coal, other countries will step in to meet growing demand from Asia. The government cleared the way for the mine just before calling the election. Now, Labor -- running on its pro-environment platform -- needs to give final approval, at a local level. But the timeline for approval isn't clear. Whatever happens, there is likely to be anger -- and potentially protests -- on the losing side. Climate change expert Jotzo said he hopes that the next Australian Prime Minister, whoever that might be, will soon realize that a faster transition to renewable energy won't lead to economic ruin -- it could, potentially, have the opposite effect. "There is an interesting vision of Australia as the renewable energy superpower, as an exporter of renewable energy. That is a realistic prospect and one that holds significant economic opportunities," Jotzo said. "What you'd see is very large solar parks in the north of Australia producing very large amounts of hydrogen that are then being shipped to east Asia and potentially Europe." Of course, that would take money, time and political will. Right now, the country seems to be short of all three. Sourse: https://edition.cnn.com/2019/05/07/australia/australia-climate-election-intl/index.html
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https://avalanches.com/us/los_angeles_south_africa_is_the_worlds_most_unequal_country_25_years_of_freedom_have_failed_to_bridge_the_divide174_08_05_2019
More than two decades have passed since South Africa overhauled a racist regime designed to keep the country's black population under the thumb of an elite white minority. But while democracy has delivered freedom for all South Africans, not enough has changed for those living in the country's vast townships. In fact, despite 25 years of democracy, South Africa remains the most economically unequal country in the world, according to the World Bank. If anything, the rainbow nation is even more divided now than it was in 1994. In many ways, the legacy of apartheid endures. Previously disadvantaged South Africans hold fewer assets, have fewer skills, earn lower wages, and are still more likely to be unemployed, a 2018 World Bank report on poverty and inequality in South Africa found. And, at the other end of the spectrum, an elite, mainly white minority continues to thrive. While the African National Congress (ANC) is expected to win again in Wednesday's national elections, it may be facing an increasingly disillusioned electorate. The gap between rich and poor is wider in South Africa than in any other country where comparable data exist, the World Bank found. Mthandazo Ndlovu, Oxfam South Africa's democracy and governance manager, say inequality has been exacerbated as a result of "systemic failures at a government level." It's not just income inequality that is cause for concern, he adds, but also unequal access to opportunities and essential public services. "One would have assumed that 25 years into democracy we would have had better access to land, better access to health care, we would not have children falling into pit latrines due to failures in the provision of ablution facilities," he said. This is not to say the government hasn't made significant strides in leveling the playing field, he added. Access to basic services such as electricity, water, education and health care has improved considerably since the ANC came into power, according to the World Bank report. But a fraction of the population still enjoys the lion's share of the spoils while the rest struggle to make ends meet. South Africa's richest households are almost 10 times wealthier than poor households, according to World Bank estimates. "If you look at the number of people who sleep on an empty stomach, these numbers are quite shocking," adds Ndlovu. Poverty levels are highest among the black population, followed by South Africa's "coloured" population -- the accepted term for mixed-race people in the country. n South Africa, the white population makes up the majority of the elite — or top 5% — explained Murray Leibbrandt, economics professor at the University of Cape Town. Read: South Africa's Suidlanders are prepping for a race war Part of Leibbrandt's work has involved tracking the social progress of 30,000 South Africans from 2008 to 2017. "The best signifier of a country that's really on its way isn't a society with no inequality," he said. "It's a society with declining inequality and a growing middle class." By Leibbrandt's estimates, South Africa's middle class is small and sluggish, and comprises approximately one in five South Africans. While the middle class has hardly grown since 2008, the black percentage of the middle class has increased from 47% to 64%, he says. "The picture that we pick up in our statistics is that we haven't been successful in breathing transformation through the country. And it fractures the country." Levels of inequality in South Africa appear to be passed down from generation to generation. "It's a very embedded phenomenon that doesn't change very quickly, because it's the result of the way the whole society coheres," Leibbrandt said. The way forward, he suggested, starts with South Africans recognizing the situation as it is right now. "The point is that this inequality and these livelihoods of people, that is their daily life. And so if we are going to try and flourish together ... then we do need to try and understand that." Sourse: https://edition.cnn.com/2019/05/07/africa/south-africa-elections-inequality-intl/index.html
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