Also trending on your Thursday: Dietary changes could help save the planet, dire UN report says, El Paso suspect's mother called police concerned about gun and Tucker Carlson calls white supremacy 'a hoax.'
Dietary changes could help save the planet, dire UN report says
WASHINGTON (AP) — 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
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.
Earth's land masses, 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."
"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.
El Paso suspect's mother called police concerned about gun
(CNN) -- The El Paso shooting suspect's mother called the Allen, Texas, Police Department weeks before the shooting because she was concerned about her son owning an "AK" type firearm, lawyers for the family confirmed to CNN.
The mother contacted police because she was worried about her son owning the weapon given his age, maturity level and lack of experience handling such a firearm, attorneys Chris Ayres and R. Jack Ayres said.
During the call, the mother was transferred to a public safety officer who told her that -- based on her description of the situation -- her son, 21, was legally allowed to purchase the weapon, the attorneys said. The mother did not provide her name or her son's name, and police did not seek any additional information from her before the call concluded, they added.
It is not known whether the gun the mother inquired about is the weapon used in the attack.
In response to public records requests for information on alleged shooter Patrick Crusius, the Allen Police Department provided no reports documenting the call from the mother.
The police said in a statement only three minor incidents -- one, a false burglar alarm at the family home, another when Crusius was a passenger in a bus involved in a minor traffic accident and a third when he ran away from home but returned 30 minutes later -- "are the entirety of our dealings with Mr. Crusius, in any capacity, be it suspect, witness, reporting party, or in any other manner."
According to the family's attorneys, the mother's inquiry was "informational" in nature and was not motivated out of a concern that her son posed a threat to anybody.
"This was not a volatile, explosive, erratic behaving kid," said Chris Ayres. "It's not like alarm bells were going off."
According to police, Crusius opened fire at an El Paso Walmart last Saturday killing 22 people and injuring more than two dozen others. He has been charged with capital murder and is being held without bond at the El Paso County Detention Facility. District Attorney Jaime Esparza said his office will seek the death penalty.
Additionally, US Attorney John Bash said the Justice Department is "seriously considering" bringing federal hate crime and federal firearm charges.
A manifesto proclaiming white nationalist and racists views believed to be written by Crusius was posted on 8chan, an online messaging board, less than 20 minutes before the first 911 calls came in. The four-page document rails against Hispanics and immigrants, blaming them for taking jobs away and the blending of cultures in the US.
Largest US immigration raids in a decade net 680 arrests
MORTON, Miss. (AP) — U.S. immigration officials raided seven Mississippi chicken processing plants Wednesday, arresting 680 mostly Latino workers in the largest workplace sting in at least a decade.
The raids, planned months ago, happened just hours before President Donald Trump was scheduled to visit El Paso, Texas, the majority-Latino border city where a man linked to an online screed about a "Hispanic invasion" was charged in a shooting that left 22 people dead.
About 600 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents fanned out across the plants operated by five companies, surrounding the perimeters to prevent workers from fleeing.
In Morton, about 40 miles (65 kilometers) east of the capital of Jackson, workers filled three buses — two for men and one for women — at a Koch Foods Inc. plant.
Those arrested were taken to a military hangar to be processed for immigration violations. About 70 family, friends and residents waved goodbye and shouted, "Let them go! Let them go!" Later, two more buses arrived.
A tearful 13-year-old boy whose parents are from Guatemala waved goodbye to his mother, a Koch worker, as he stood beside his father. Some employees tried to flee on foot but were captured in the parking lot.
Workers, including Domingo Candelaria, who could show they were in the country legally were allowed to leave the plant after agents searched the trunks of their vehicles.
"It was a sad situation inside," Candelaria said.
Mississippi is the nation's fifth-largest chicken producing state and the plants' tough processing jobs have mainly been filled by Latino immigrants eager to take whatever work they can get. Chicken plants dominate the economies of Morton and other small towns east of Jackson.
Matthew Albence, ICE's acting director, told The Associated Press in an interview Wednesday in Pearl, just down the road from the Koch plant, that the raids could be the largest-ever workplace operation in any single state. Asked about their coinciding with Trump's visit to El Paso, Albence responded, "This is a long-term operation that's been going on." He said raids are "racially neutral" and based on evidence of illegal residency.
The companies involved could be charged with knowingly hiring workers who are in the county illegally and will be scrutinized for tax, document and wage fraud, Albence said.
Bill Chandler, executive director of the Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance, called the "terrible" raids "another effort to drive Latinos out of Mississippi," and he blamed Trump for fanning racism with his past incendiary comments about immigrants.
4 killed, 2 wounded in California stabbing rampage
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A man who was "full of anger" stabbed, slashed and robbed his way across two Southern California cities in a bloody rampage that killed four people and wounded two others who were apparently targeted at random, authorities said.
The 33-year-old man from Garden Grove robbed more than half a dozen businesses and killed two men at his own apartment complex during the two-hour wave of violence Wednesday, police said.
He was arrested as he walked out of a convenience store in neighboring Santa Ana, dropping a knife and a gun he had taken from a security guard he had just killed. The attacker's name wasn't immediately released.
The violence appeared to be random and the only known motives seem to be "robbery, hate, homicide," Garden Grove police Lt. Carl Whitney said at a news conference.
"We know this guy was full of anger and he harmed a lot of people tonight," Whitney said Wednesday.
The attacker and all the victims were Hispanic, police said.
The two people who were wounded were listed in stable condition Wednesday night and were expected to survive.
Surveillance cameras caught some of the carnage.
"We have video showing him attacking these people and conducting these murders," he said.
Whitney said the man lived in a Garden Grove apartment building where he stabbed two men during some kind of confrontation. One man died inside an apartment and another was found wounded on the balcony and died at a hospital.
Whitney said a bakery also was robbed.
The owner, who asked not to be identified, told KCAL-TV that she was charging her cellphone at about 4 p.m. when the man drove up and apparently mistook her for a customer.
"He went directly to the register and tried to open the register ... he showed me a gun," she said. He took all the money and fled.
"I think I was very lucky because he thought I was a customer, not the owner," she said.
The man also robbed an insurance business, where a 54-year-old employee was stabbed several times and was expected to survive.
He was armed with "some sort of machete knives" when he confronted the woman, Whitney said.
The woman "was very brave," Whitney said. "She fought as best she could."
An alarm company saw the robbery on a live television feed and called police.
"They could see that the female victim was on the ground with blood and multiple injuries," Whitney said.
The man fled with cash and also robbed a check-cashing business next door, the lieutenant said.
Shortly after 6 p.m., the attacker drove up to a Chevron station, where he attacked a man pumping gas "for no reason," Whitney said. "There was no robbery."
The man was stabbed in the back and "his nose was nearly severed off his face," the lieutenant said. Bystanders rushed to help the man, he said.
Undercover detectives tracked the suspect's silver Mercedes to the parking lot of the 7-Eleven store in Santa Ana and within a minute of their arrival the man came out of the store, carrying a large knife and a gun that he had cut from the belt of a security guard after stabbing him, Whitney said.
The man had followed the guard into the store and stabbed him several times during a confrontation, Whitney said.
Police ordered the man to drop his weapons and he complied and was arrested.
Police then learned that a male employee of a nearby Subway restaurant also had been fatally stabbed during a robbery, Whitney said.
The brutal and puzzling attack came just days after a pair of mass shootings in Texas and Ohio left 31 people dead and stunned the nation. The shooter in El Paso, Texas, apparently posted an anti-immigrant screed before killing 22 people at a Walmart on Saturday. Less than a day later, a man opened fire on a Dayton, Ohio, entertainment district, killing nine people before police shot him dead.
Crashed spacecraft may have left tiny but tough creatures on the moon
(CNN) -- You've heard of men on the moon -- but what about moss piglets?
Thousands of tardigrades -- also known as "water bears" or "moss piglets" -- were on board the Beresheet spacecraft when it crash landed on the moon in April.
The tiny creatures are incredibly hardy and can survive extremely low temperatures and harsh conditions-- and The Arch Mission Foundation, which sent them into space, believes some may have survived.
Tardigrades are pudgy little animals no longer than one millimeter. They live in water or in the film of water on plants like lichen or moss, and can be found all over the world in some of the most extreme environments, from icy mountains and polar regions to the balmy equator and the depths of the sea.
In an attempt to create a "Noah's ark" or a "back-up" for the Earth, non-profit organization The Arch Mission sent a lunar library -- a stack of DVD-sized disks that acts as an archive of 30 million pages of information about the planet -- to the moon. Along with the library, Arch Mission sent human DNA samples and a payload of tardigrades, which had been dehydrated, into space.
"We chose them because they are special. They are the toughest form of life we know of. They can survive practically any planetary cataclysm. They can survive in the vacuum of space, they can survive radiation," Nova Spivack, co-founder of the Arch Mission Foundation, told CNN.
Tardigrades have eight legs with claws at the end, a brain and central nervous system, and a sucker-like pharynx behind their mouth, which can pierce food.
The Arch Mission put the creatures into a state of "suspended animation," where the body dries out and the metabolism slows to as little as 0.01% of its normal rate.
"In that state you can later rehydrate them in a laboratory and they will wake up and be alive again," Spivack explained.
Although the animals won't be able to reproduce or move around in their dehydrated state -- if they have survived the crash -- if rehydrated they could come back to life years later.
"We don't often get a chance to land life on the moon that we decided to seize the day and send some along for the ride," Spivack added.
Researchers hope that along with the tardigrades, the majority of the information from the lunar library survived the impact of the crash -- and could be used to regenerate human life in millions of years.
"Best-case scenario is that the little library is fully intact, sitting on a nice sandy hillside on the moon for a billion years. In the distant future it might be recovered by our descendants or by a future form of intelligent life that might evolve long after we're gone," Spivack said.
"From the DNA and the cells that we included, you could clone us and regenerate the human race and other plants and animals," he added.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson calls white supremacy 'a hoax'
NEW YORK (AP) — Fox News Channel host Tucker Carlson faced criticism Wednesday for declaring white supremacy "a hoax," the same day President Donald Trump visited El Paso, Texas, after a white gunman who had written an anti-Hispanic rant killed 22 people.
Carlson has faced criticism before for his commentary, including a statement that immigration has made America dirtier. His remarks Tuesday came with the nation rubbed raw by two weekend mass shootings and increased concerns by law enforcement officials about violence attached to white nationalism.
"He has used his platform to push out prejudice," said Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO and national director of the Anti-Defamation League. "I think it's disgusting and I don't think it deserves a place on a major news network."
Fox News Channel representatives did not immediately return messages seeking comment on Wednesday.
Carlson's prime-time show routinely draws more than 3 million viewers on weeknights, second only to Sean Hannity on Fox News. Episodes of his program landed among the Nielsen company's list of Top 20 shows last week for both broadcast and cable television.
On Tuesday, he dismissed the concept of white supremacy as a serious problem for the country.
"The combined membership of every white supremacist organization — would they be able to fit into a college football stadium?" Carlson said. "I mean, seriously. This is a country where the average person is getting poorer, where the suicide rate is spiking."
Carlson said he'd "never met anybody who ascribes to white supremacy. I don't know a single person who thinks this is a good idea. They're making this up. It's a talking point that they can use in this election cycle."
The ADL's Greenblatt said that it was "incredibly irresponsible to even make such a statement while we are still burying people who were gunned down by a white supremacist."
In congressional testimony recently, Michael McGarrity, the FBI's top counterterrorism official, said that his organization was conducting roughly 850 domestic terrorism investigations. White supremacists and other domestic terrorists were being arrested more often, and causing more deaths, than international terrorists, he said.
On Sunday after the shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, a group of former National Security Council counterterrorism directors issued a statement calling on the government to address domestic terrorism with the same dedication it used to attack international risks following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Three of 65 killings committed in the United States in 2016 by people associated with bigoted or extremist ideologies were by white supremacists or the far right, according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State-San Bernardino. Last year, 17 of 22 such killings involved white supremacists or the far right. The numbers will be higher this year, the center said.
"I don't know what the heck Tucker Carlson is talking about," said Brian Levin, the center's executive director. "This kind of drivel ends up infecting the socio-political discourse with perspectives that are simply not supported by the facts."
On the same network, Fox News White House correspondent John Roberts, reporting after Trump's Monday speech about the shootings, noted that there were seven mass shootings by white extremists in the past 18 months.
"There are a lot of people out there who will tell you ... that white nationalism, white extremism is a growing threat to this country and perhaps an underreported threat," Roberts said.
Carlson received a tweet of support Wednesday from former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, who wrote that "Tucker is RIGHT!"
"Millions of white activists are NOT 'supremacists,'" Duke wrote. "We seek NOT to oppress or destroy any race! Human rights for all — EVEN FOR WHITE PEOPLE! Stop antiWhite racism!"
Tucker is RIGHT! White Supremacy is a ZioMedia Conspiracy Theory! The term is itself a lie. Millions of White activists are NOT "supremacists" We seek NOT to oppress or destroy any race! Human Rights for all - EVEN FOR WHITE PEOPLE! Stop antiWhite racism!https://t.co/vY0knfD0Xx— David Duke (@DrDavidDuke) August 7, 2019