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Israel shared Iranian General Soleimani's cell phones with US intelligence before drone strike: report

FOX News

Fox News Flash top headlines are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com. Israel shared three cell phone numbers used by Qasem Soleimani with U.S. intelligence in the hours before American drones unleashed Hellfire missiles on the Iranian general last year, Yahoo News reported Saturday. The revelation sheds new light on the role that Israel played in the killing of Soleimani, who the State Department says was responsible for hundreds of U.S. troop deaths as the head of the Revolutionary Guard's elite Quds Force. The drone strike occurred shortly after midnight on Jan. 2, 2020, as Soleimani and his entourage were leaving Baghdad's international airport.


Exclusive: White House launches new artificial intelligence website

#artificialintelligence

Big gaps between the U.S. and Iran over the measures needed to roll back and limit the Iranian nuclear program are stalling the Vienna talks, European diplomats and former U.S. officials briefed on the issue tell me. What's happening: The Biden administration has said any deal to restore the 2015 nuclear accord must include a return by Iran to full compliance with its previous commitments. But that's complicated by the fact that Iran's nuclear program has advanced since 2015.


News at a glance

Science

SCI COMMUN### Planetary science The Wright brothers' storied flight at Kitty Hawk had a sequel this week more than 288 million kilometers away: Ingenuity, NASA's $80 million minihelicopter, took a 1-minute test hop on Mars, the first controlled flight of a powered aircraft on another planet. The autonomous 1.8-kilogram machine, the size of a tissue box, spun up its 1.2-meter rotors to more than 2500 revolutions per minute before ascending about 3 meters and hovering in the thin martian air. Ingenuity rotated and took a picture before alighting back on the surface. NASA plans to send Ingenuity, which first landed on Mars on 18 February with the Perseverance rover, on four more flights of increasing height and distance and to use the resulting data to build larger, more ambitious helicopters to explore the Red Planet. 14 of 15 —U.S. states not requiring people to wear masks in public recorded relatively high rates of new COVID-19 cases from May to October 2020. None of eight states with high mask wearing had high rates of infection. ( PLOS ONE ) ### Natural resources Just 19% of Earth's lands are truly wild, with no history of human impact, a new study shows. In other parts of the globe, however, biodiversity hot spots have survived even where humans thrived, thanks in part to millennia of beneficial land management practices by Indigenous people, these researchers conclude. By 10,000 years ago, humans had already spread across three-quarters of the globe, and their controlled burns, small-scale farming, and other practices may have sustained or even improved biodiversity, according to the analysis of past and present land use, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences . The finding sheds light on a long debate between archaeologists, who cited evidence of this lengthy history, and conservationists, who have insisted that humans did not significantly affect biodiversity until intensive agriculture, urbanization, and deforestation began 200 years ago. Because of the present-day overlap between biodiversity hot spots and lands occupied by Indigenous people, the study bolsters the idea that the growing push to help them regain and retain control over their lands might help protect biodiversity. ### Astronomy The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) collaboration, which in 2019 produced the first image of a black hole's shadow, this week completed another observing campaign, its first in 3 years. Organizers hope their network of radio telescopes will reveal more of the dark heart of the nearby M87 galaxy as well as the Milky Way's center and the quasar 3C 273. EHT must synchronize 10 observatories across the globe in good weather, so its observing window each year is short. Three observatories joined the network this year (including the Kitt Peak 12-meter telescope in Arizona, below), which will sharpen images. Researchers gathered data for more than seven full nights over 2 weeks this month, and EHT spokesperson Eduardo Ros called the results “excellent.” Now begins a long wait as recorded data are shipped to Boston and Bonn, Germany, for months of processing before an image might be revealed. ### Scientific societies The 90-year-old American Association of Physical Anthropologists (AAPA) has rechristened itself in order to separate today's association from the field's racist and colonial past. At AAPA's virtual annual meeting last week, an overwhelming majority of members voted to delete the word “physical” and become the American Association of Biological Anthropologists. They acknowledged that the old name has roots in the 19th century, when early anthropologists helped create damaging concepts of race by quantifying physical differences among people. The new name conveys that anthropology is now a multidisciplinary biological science that deals with the adaptations, variability, and evolution of humans and their living and fossil relatives, as well as their culture and behavior, according to a statement by the current and past AAPA presidents. “Importantly, the change allows us to reflect deeply on issues of racism and colonialism, which, at times, permeated the field of ‘physical anthropology,’” they wrote. ### Climate science California and its partners announced plans last week to launch two satellites by 2023 to spot plumes of planet-warming carbon dioxide and methane. The $100 million Carbon Mapper project, financed by publisher Michael Bloomberg and other philanthropists, will advance efforts to track concentrated emissions of greenhouse gases that rise from sources such as fossil fuel power plants and leaky pipelines. Previous satellites have lacked the resolution, sensitivity, and focus to collect the data officials need in order to regulate the emissions effectively. The new spacecraft will rely on “hyperspectral” imaging spectrometers that can record more than 400 visible and infrared wavelengths, whose patterns can reveal the abundances of certain gases in the atmosphere below. ### Public health A tiny fraction of the U.S. residents fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by 14 April have become infected, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said last week. The agency said it expected some “breakthrough” infections and that the low numbers support the value of the inoculations. CDC said it received 5814 reports of such infections in 75 million people vaccinated in 43 U.S. states and territories. Of the infected people, 65% were female, 45% were 60 or older, and 29% were asymptomatic. Seven percent were hospitalized, and 1% died, some from causes unrelated to COVID-19. CDC cautioned that the data from the states reporting might be incomplete. Public health specialists say the infections were more likely to have resulted from weak immune responses to vaccination than to mutations in the virus that let it evade those defenses. ### COVID-19 Researchers at the University of Oxford will intentionally reinfect people previously infected by the virus that causes COVID-19 to study their immune responses and symptoms. The “human challenge trial,” announced on 19 April, will initially re-expose up to 64 volunteers who previously tested positive for the virus and measure what viral dose triggers new infections. A U.K. government ethics panel approved the study and a similar one led by Imperial College London scientists who are evaluating the performance of COVID-19 vaccines. Such experiments may provide results faster than other trial methods allow. ### Anthropology More than 1300 skulls held in a museum collection that was used to justify racism will now be available for return to communities of the people's descendants, the University of Pennsylvania said last week. Samuel Morton started the collection in the 19th century and used studies of its contents to support the idea of white superiority. Many of the crania belonged to enslaved Africans and Indigenous people. In a statement, Christopher Woods, director of the university's Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, where the Morton Cranial Collection is held, apologized for the “unethical possession of human remains.” The museum will work to identify descendant communities and accept requests for the return of any crania in the collection. Repatriation of human remains, especially Black and Indigenous ancestors, “is part of a cultural and social reckoning” about how to address anthropology's history of racism, Woods says. ### Scientific meetings A talk last week at the virtual annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology (SAA) sparked criticism for arguing against a key U.S. law giving Native Americans rights to the human remains and artifacts of their ancestors. Many society members were outraged that SAA gave a platform to what they considered a racist and anti-Indigenous presentation. Some note that this incident comes after a sexual harassment scandal at the organization's 2019 conference. In her talk, SAA member and anthropologist Elizabeth Weiss of San Jose State University said archaeologists “have let creationism into the heart of our discipline” because the law, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), allows Indigenous communities to request repatriation of remains, which they may do partly because of religious beliefs. But archaeologists widely support the law, under which many tribes have collaborated with researchers. In response to the criticism, SAA issued a statement encouraging “the rigorous interrogation of diverse views.” SAA President Deborah Nichols later told Science the organization's board rejects the viewpoint of Weiss and her co-author and supports NAGPRA. ### Policy The relatively modest research investments outlined in Canada's new federal budget could make it difficult for the nation to recruit and retain scientific talent, Canadian science advocates fear. The multiyear spending plan, announced on 19 April, includes CA$2.2 billion in mostly new funding for life sciences, with much of the money aimed at boosting biomedical applications and vaccine development. (Canada will continue to provide other spending for research this year under multiyear budgets approved in 2018 and 2019.) But analysts worry the increases are too modest compared with much larger ones proposed for the United States by President Joe Biden, and that some Canadian scientists will look for work south of the border. Under Canada's budget, three main research councils will share CA$250 million for a new joint biomedical research program, and the Canadian Institutes for Health Research will get an additional CA$250 million to fund clinical trials. Universities and research hospitals will get CA$500 million for infrastructure such as equipment and buildings. Three programs—an existing artificial intelligence program and two new ones in genomics and quantum science—will each receive CA$400 million in new funding. ### Publishing Egypt, Iran, Turkey, and other countries in the Middle East and North Africa have boosted their share of scholarly articles in international journals and citations to those papers during the past 4 decades, the Clarivate analytics firm said this month. From 1981 to 2019, the region quadrupled its share of research articles and reviews to 8%; among regions and large countries, only China grew by more. Fifteen of the region's 19 countries had a citation score in 2019 higher than the world average, when adjusted for differences across disciplines; in 2000, almost all had scores well below average. ### Reckoning with climate blues Sustainability scientist Kimberly Nicholas of Lund University found herself struggling with feelings of grief as research by her and others revealed how much climate change will harm agriculture, ecosystems, and human communities. And she discovered she is not alone. In her new book, Under the Sky We Make: How to Be Human in a Warming World , she offers insight into how people and institutions can respond to those feelings and the climate challenge. (A longer version of this interview is at .) > Q: How does your experience with grief inform your thinking about climate change? > A: Things are changing beyond recognition right now from climate change. To me, grieving is an important part of the process of acknowledging that. It does draw from my experience of losing a dear friend to cancer, who died at 37. It was a kind of wake-up call [that prompted me] to think about my core values and what matters. But it shouldn't take a terminal diagnosis for life on Earth to wake us up to the urgency of working for climate stability. > Q: Students come to you distraught about harm to ecosystems they hope to study. What do you tell them? > A: The main thing is not to shy away from those conversations. It's not really helpful to deny the reality or not equip them with the tools to face that reality. You have to acknowledge that they're running into a house that is on fire. > Q: You argue for a shift from what you call the “exploitation mindset.” What's an example? > A: A big wake-up moment for me came at a climate science conference. Pretty much everyone there, including me, had flown in. The presentations were a litany of depressing things happening because of climate change. I felt like I was at this conference of doctors puffing on cigarettes, but telling our patients to quit smoking! I realized we really have an obligation to model the change that we want to see. So, I have pretty much stopped flying for work. It hasn't meant I can't be a productive researcher.


U.S. Aircraft Carrier Returning Home After Long Sea Tour Watching Iran

NYT > Middle East

The aircraft carrier Nimitz is finally going home. The Pentagon last month ordered the warship to remain in the Middle East because of Iranian threats against President Donald J. Trump and other American officials, just three days after announcing the ship was returning home as a signal to de-escalate rising tensions with Tehran. With those immediate tensions seeming to ease a bit, and President Biden looking to renew discussions with Iran on the 2015 nuclear accord that Mr. Trump withdrew from, three Defense Department officials said on Monday that the Nimitz and its 5,000-member crew were ordered on Sunday to return to the ship's home port of Bremerton, Wash., after a longer-than-usual 10-month deployment. The Pentagon for weeks had been engaged in a muscle-flexing strategy aimed at deterring Iran and its Shia proxies in Iraq from attacking American personnel in the Persian Gulf to avenge the death of Maj. General Suleimani, the commander of Iran's elite Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, was killed in an American drone strike in January 2020.


In Abrupt Reversal of Iran Strategy, Pentagon Orders Aircraft Carrier Home

NYT > Middle East

The Pentagon has abruptly sent the aircraft carrier Nimitz home from the Middle East and Africa over the objections of top military advisers, marking a reversal of a weekslong muscle-flexing strategy aimed at deterring Iran from attacking American troops and diplomats in the Persian Gulf. Officials said on Friday that the acting defense secretary, Christopher C. Miller, had ordered the redeployment of the ship in part as a "de-escalatory" signal to Tehran to avoid stumbling into a crisis in President Trump's waning days in office. American intelligence reports indicate that Iran and its proxies may be preparing a strike as early as this weekend to avenge the death of Maj. Senior Pentagon officials said that Mr. Miller assessed that dispatching the Nimitz now, before the first anniversary this Sunday of General Suleimani's death in an American drone strike in Iraq, could remove what Iranian hard-liners see as a provocation that justifies their threats against American military targets. Some analysts said the return of the Nimitz to its home port of Bremerton, Wash., was a welcome reduction in tensions between the two countries.


Mapping the global threat of land subsidence

Science

Subsidence, the lowering of Earth's land surface, is a potentially destructive hazard that can be caused by a wide range of natural or anthropogenic triggers but mainly results from solid or fluid mobilization underground. Subsidence due to groundwater depletion ([ 1 ][1]) is a slow and gradual process that develops on large time scales (months to years), producing progressive loss of land elevation (centimeters to decimeters per year) typically over very large areas (tens to thousands of square kilometers) and variably affects urban and agricultural areas worldwide. Subsidence permanently reduces aquifer-system storage capacity, causes earth fissures, damages buildings and civil infrastructure, and increases flood susceptibility and risk. During the next decades, global population and economic growth will continue to increase groundwater demand and accompanying groundwater depletion ([ 2 ][2]) and, when exacerbated by droughts ([ 3 ][3]), will probably increase land subsidence occurrence and related damages or impacts. To raise awareness and inform decision-making, we evaluate potential global subsidence due to groundwater depletion, a key first step toward formulating effective land-subsidence policies that are lacking in most countries worldwide. A large-scale systematic literature review reveals that during the past century, land subsidence due to groundwater depletion occurred at 200 locations in 34 countries [see supplementary materials (SM)]. However, subsidence extent is only known for one-third of these records, information on the impacts is scarce, and mitigation measures were implemented only in a few locations. In China, widespread subsidence affects cities developed in the main sedimentary basins. In Indonesia, coastal subsidence in Jakarta is so severe that government authorities are planning to move the capital to the island of Borneo. In Japan, subsidence affected several cities during the 20th century, including more than 4 m of subsidence in Tokyo, before groundwater management practices mitigated further subsidence. Iran currently hosts some of the fastest-sinking cities in the world (25 cm year--1) because of unregulated groundwater pumping. In Europe, the greatest impact of subsidence occurs in the Netherlands, where subsidence is primarily responsible for placing 25% of the country below the mean sea level and increasing the flooding risk. Subsidence in the Po River Plain in Italy started during the second half of the 20th century and currently threatens 30% of the Italian population, contributing to recurrent coastal flooding during extreme high tides in Venice. In North America, intense groundwater depletion triggers subsidence from California's Central Valley, with as much as 9 m of subsidence in the past century, to the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastal plains in the United States, where subsidence is increasing flooding risk. In México, subsidence rates are among the highest worldwide (as much as 30 cm year-1), affecting small structurally controlled intermontane basins where the main urban centers developed, causing an important but unaccounted economic impact. Spatial analysis of subsidence locations identified in our global database (see SM) reveals that subsidence has preferentially occurred in very flat areas where unconsolidated sediments accumulated in alluvial basins or coastal plains, and where urban or agricultural areas developed in temperate or arid climates characterized by prolonged dry periods. Land subsidence has generally occurred in water-stressed basins, where the combination of groundwater withdrawal and natural groundwater discharge outpaced groundwater recharge, resulting in groundwater storage losses, groundwater depletion, and compaction of susceptible aquifer systems. In the affected basins, land subsidence mainly occurred in highly populated areas, with half of documented occurrences in areas susceptible to flooding. In coastal zones, the combined effects of absolute sea-level rise and land subsidence contribute to relative sea-level rise ([ 4 ][4]). The contribution from land subsidence may exceed the contribution from absolute sea-level rise by a factor of 10 or more and could be especially critical for 21% of the geographic locations identified in our database, where land elevation is less than 1 m above the mean sea level. On the basis of the spatial analysis findings, a global model is proposed to combine the main variables influencing subsidence to identify environmental settings favoring land subsidence and the anthropogenic factors leading to groundwater depletion (see SM). Statistical analyses of lithology, land-surface slope, land cover, and Koppen-Geiger climate classes are used to predict global subsidence susceptibility at a spatial resolution of 1 km2. The probability of groundwater depletion is estimated by identifying urban and irrigated areas suffering water stress and where groundwater demand is high. The analyses do not consider subsidence magnitude and rate, owing to the lack of this information at a global scale. Hence, the combination of subsidence susceptibility and the probability of groundwater depletion is used to predict a “proxy” of subsidence hazard, which permits identification of exposed areas where the probability of land subsidence occurrence is high or very high. Even though these results do not necessarily translate to direct impacts or damages, they are useful for identifying potential subsidence areas where further local-scale analysis is necessary. T he comparison of our model predictions with an independent validation dataset reveals a 94% capability to distinguish between subsidence and nonsubsidence areas, according to the value of the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (see SM). The global exposure to potential subsidence is evaluated by calculating the number of inhabitants living in potential subsidence areas, i.e., subsidence hazard proxy, and the equivalent gross domestic product (GDP). T his “proxy” of exposed assets is calculated assuming that GDP per capita is homogeneous within each country. Finally, the evolution of potential global subsidence and the related exposure is predicted for 2040 for a global change scenario based on steady population growth and increasing greenhouse gas emissions (Shared Socioeconomic Pathways 2, Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5), which accounts for the greatest sea-level rise projections. ![Figure][5] Potential global subsidence The color scale indicates the probability intervals classified from very low (VL) to very high (VH), for every 30-arcsec resolution pixel (1 km by 1 km at the Equator). The white hatched polygons indicate countries where groundwater data is unavailable, and the potential subsidence only includes information on the susceptibility. See maps of other regions in supplementary materials. GRAPHIC: N. DESAI/ SCIENCE Our results suggest that potential subsidence threatens 12 million km2 (8%) of the global land surface with a probability greater than 50% (MH to VH in the figure). Potential subsidence areas are concentrated in and near densely urban and irrigated areas with high water stress and high groundwater demand, overlying some of the largest and most depleted aquifer systems ([ 5 ][6]) in Asia (e.g., North China Plain) and North America (e.g., Gulf of Mexico coastal plain); coastal and river delta areas worldwide (e.g., Vietnam, Egypt, or the Netherlands); and inland sedimentary basins of México, Iran, and the Mediterranean countries. Potential subsidence is lower in Africa, Australia, and South America, owing to the lower groundwater depletion ([ 6 ][7]). In central Africa, potential subsidence only includes information on the susceptibility, as groundwater depletion is unknown. In this region, subsidence susceptibility (see fig. S6) could be useful to prevent subsidence impacts on developing cities that during the next decades could rely more on the available groundwater resources. To evaluate the exposure to potential subsidence, we focus on areas where the potential subsidence probability is high or very high (see the figure). The cumulative potential subsidence area amounts to 2.2 million km2, or 1.6% of the land; includes 1.2 billion inhabitants, or 19% of the global population; and has an exposed GDP of US$ 8.19 trillion, or 12% of the global GDP. Hi gh-income countries account for 62% of the global exposed GDP but only 11% of the global exposed population, whereas low-income countries account for 54% of the global exposed population and 12% of the global exposed GDP. It is expected that the capability of low-income countries to implement the political, regulatory, and socioeconomic measures necessary to prevent and mitigate subsidence impact will be less than that for high-income countries. Potential subsidence threatens 484 million inhabitants living in flood-prone areas, 75% of whom live in fluvial areas and 25% of whom live near the coast. This number of threatened inhabitants corresponds to 50% of the global population exposed to flooding hazards according to previous estimates ([ 7 ][8]), demonstrating the importance of considering potential subsidence in global flooding risk analyses. Most of the global population exposed to potential subsidence live in Asia (86%), which is about 10 times the combined exposed population of North America and Europe (9%). The results indicate that 97% of the exposed global population is concentrated in 30 countries (see SM). India and China share the top two rankings of potential subsidence in terms of spatial extent and exposed population. Egypt and the Netherlands have the largest populations living in potential subsidence areas that are below the mean sea level. The greatest population densities in potential subsidence areas occur in Egypt and Indonesia, whereas the relative exposure per country, measured as the exposed population normalized by the total population, is greater than 30% for Egypt, Bangladesh, Netherlands, and Italy. The United States ranks first in terms of GDP exposed to potential subsidence, owing to its high GDP per capita. Combination of the aforementioned metrics permits derivation of a potential subsidence index ranking (see SM). Seven of the first ten ranked countries have the greatest subsidence impact, accounting for the greatest amount of reported damages (Netherlands, China, USA, Japan, Indonesia, México and Italy). During this century, climate change will cause serious impacts on the world's water resources through sea-level rise, more frequent and severe floods and droughts, changes in the mean value and mode of precipitation (rain versus snow), and increased evapotranspiration. Prolonged droughts will decrease groundwater recharge and increase groundwater depletion, intensifying subsidence. The global potential subsidence is predicted for 2040 using the same subsidence metrics and available global projections of water stress, water demand variations, climate, and population (see SM). Although predicted potential subsidence areas increase only by 7% globally, the threatened population is predicted to rise by 30%, affecting 1.6 billion inhabitants, 635 million of whom will be living in flood-prone areas. These changes will not be homogeneous. Between 2010 and 2040, the predicted population exposed to potential subsidence increases more than 80% in the Philippines, Iraq, Indonesia, México, Israel, Netherlands, Algeria, and Bangladesh. The increase will be moderate, less than 30%, for China, the United States, Italy, and Iran. Potential subsidence is forecasted to decrease in Japan and Germany, owing to effective groundwater management policies and population declines. Finally, potential subsidence is predicted to emerge in high-latitude northern countries like Canada and to increase in extent in Russia or Hungary, where climate change will favor longer dry seasons. Further advancements in the global evaluation of subsidence can be made when a global historical database on subsidence rate, magnitude, and extent has been compiled, which could be largely sourced from continental monitoring of surface displacements using satellite radar imagery ([ 8 ][9]). Widespread continuous monitoring of subsidence will permit better evaluation of the potential impact of land subsidence, especially in countries like Indonesia, México, and Iran, where local studies revealed the highest subsidence rates worldwide, but the national dimension of subsidence is still unknown. Further research also is necessary to evaluate the cost of damage caused by current and historical subsidence worldwide. The combination of damage information with hazard estimates will permit improved assessments of potential loss and design of cost-effective countermeasures. Presently, annual subsidence costs are only published for China (US$ 1.5 billion) and the Netherlands (US$ 4.8 billion) ([ 9 ][10]). The greater subsidence costs in the Netherlands owe to the exposed population below the mean sea level and the large investments made to prevent flooding. Our model, which does not yet consider mitigation measures, likely overestimates potential subsidence exposure in the Netherlands and Japan, where groundwater management has effectively controlled subsidence over the past decades ([ 10 ][11]). Our results identify 1596 major cities, or about 22% of the world's 7343 major cities that are in potential subsidence areas, with 57% of these cities also located in flood-prone areas. Moreover, subsidence threatens 15 of the 20 major coastal cities ranked with the highest flood risk worldwide ([ 11 ][12]), where potential subsidence can help delimit areas in which flooding risk could be increased and mitigation measures are necessary. Overall, potential global subsidence results can be useful to better define the spatial extent of poorly documented subsidence occurrences, discover unknown subsiding areas, prevent potential subsidence impacts wherever groundwater depletion occurs, and better identify areas where subsidence could increase the flooding risk. In any of these scenarios, an effective land-subsidence policy should include systematic monitoring and modeling of exposed areas, evaluation of potential damages, and cost-benefit analyses permitting implementation of adequate mitigation or adaptation measures. These measures should consider groundwater regulation and strategic long-term measures, such as the development of alternative water supplies and the protection and (or) enhancement of natural or artificial recharge of aquifers. Considering that the potential subsidence may affect 635 million inhabitants living in flood-prone areas in 2040, it is of prime importance that potential subsidence is quantified and systematically included in flood risk analyses and related mitigation strategies. [science.sciencemag.org/content/371/6524/34/suppl/DC1][13] 1. [↵][14]1. D. L. Galloway, 2. T. J. Burbey , Hydrogeol. J. 19, 1459 (2011). [OpenUrl][15] 2. [↵][16]1. J. S. Famiglietti , Nat. Clim. Chang. 4, 945 (2014). [OpenUrl][17] 3. [↵][18]1. K. E. Trenberth , Clim. Res. 47, 123 (2011). [OpenUrl][19][CrossRef][20][Web of Science][21] 4. [↵][22]1. J. P. M. Syvitski et al ., Nat. Geosci. 2, 681 (2009). [OpenUrl][23][CrossRef][24][Web of Science][25] 5. [↵][26]1. P. Döll, 2. H. Müller Schmied, 3. C. 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Ingebritsen (U.S. Geological Survey) helped to improve the manuscript. Funding for this study was provided partly by the Spanish Research Agency (AQUARISK, PRX19/00065, TEC2017-85244-C2-1-P projects) and PRIMA RESERVOIR project, and by all the institutions represented in the Land Subsidence International Initiative from UNESCO. G.H.-G., P.E., R.T., M.B.-P, and J.L.-V. designed the study, performed the analysis, and wrote the initial manuscript with input from all other authors. R.M.M., E.C.-C., and M.R. advised on the susceptibility analysis. R.M.M., J.L., P.T., and G.E. advised on hazard analysis. D.C.-F., J.L., P.T., E.C.C., G.E., D.G., W.C.H., N.K., M.S., L.T., H.W., and S.Y. advised on global exposure analysis. R.T., M.B.P., R.M.M., J.L., P.T., W.-C.H., N.K., L.T., H.W., and S.Y. contributed essential data for the analysis. All the authors edited and revised the manuscript through the different reviews. Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. government. The authors declare no competing interests. All data included in this study are available at figshare ([ 12 ][45]). 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Pentagon Sends More B-52s to Middle East to Deter Iranian Attacks on U.S. Troops

NYT > Middle East

Two American B-52 bombers flew another show-of-force mission in the Persian Gulf on Wednesday, a week after President Trump warned Iran that he would hold it accountable "if one American is killed" in rocket attacks in Iraq that the administration and military officials blamed on Tehran. The warplanes' 36-hour round-trip mission from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota was the third time in six weeks that Air Force bombers had conducted long-range flights about 60 miles off the Iranian coast, moves that military officials said were intended to deter Iran from attacking American troops in the region. The United States periodically conducts such quick demonstration missions to the Middle East and Asia to showcase American air power to allies and adversaries. But tensions have been rising in advance of the Jan. 3 anniversary of the American drone strike that killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the commander of Iran's elite Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, and the Iraqi leader of an Iranian-backed militia -- deaths that Iranian leaders repeatedly insist they have not yet avenged.


U.S. nuclear submarine crosses Strait of Hormuz amid tensions

The Japan Times

Dubai/Washington – An American nuclear-powered guided-missile submarine traversed the strategically vital waterway between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula on Monday, the U.S. Navy said, in a rare announcement that comes amid rising tensions with Iran. The Navy's 5th Fleet, based in Bahrain, said the Ohio-class guided-missile submarine USS Georgia, accompanied by two other warships, passed through the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow passageway through which a fifth of the world's oil supplies travel. The unusual transit in the Persian Gulf's shallow waters, aimed at underscoring American military might in the region, follows the killing last month of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, an Iranian scientist named by the West as the leader of the Islamic Republic's disbanded military nuclear program. It also comes some two weeks before the anniversary of the American drone strike near Baghdad airport in Iraq that killed top Iranian military commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani on Jan. 3. Iran has promised to seek revenge for both killings. The Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarine's presence in Mideast waterways signals the U.S. Navy's "commitment to regional partners and maritime security with a full spectrum of capabilities," the Navy said, demonstrating its readiness "to defend against any threat at any time."


How Biden Could Prove His Administration Isn't Just Obama 2.0

Slate

So far, the members of Joe Biden's foreign policy team are all veterans of Barack Obama's administration. They've pledged to revive Obama-era initiatives like the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate agreement that Donald Trump tried to undo, as well as recommit to long-term U.S. alliances. Some U.S. foreign policy critics from the left and the libertarian right are less than fully enthusiastic about this team. They don't particularly relish a return to the approach that led to the intervention in Libya, a ramped-up drone war, and a troop surge in Afghanistan, and are concerned that all the talk of "America is back" broadly suggests an embrace of the interventionist worldview that predated Trump. Progressive concerns about the more hawkish views of Michèle Flournoy (Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna is one representative example), who was thought to be a shoo-in for secretary of defense, are reportedly one reason why that position has not yet been announced.


Gunmen Assassinate Iran's Top Nuclear Scientist in Ambush, Provoking New Crisis

NYT > Middle East

Iranian officials, who have always maintained that their nuclear ambitions are for peaceful purposes, not weapons, expressed fury and vowed revenge over the assassination, calling it an act of terrorism and warmongering that they quickly blamed on Israeli assassins and the United States. The White House, C.I.A. and Israeli officials declined to comment. But Mr. Fakhrizadeh's assassination -- only 10 months after the United States killed the powerful spymaster at the head of Iran's security machinery in a drone attack in Iraq -- could greatly complicate President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.'s plans to reactivate the 2015 nuclear agreement between Tehran and six other nations, which curtailed Iran's nuclear activities. Mr. Biden's transition team had no immediate comment on the assassination. President Trump withdrew the United States from the nuclear accord in 2018, unraveling the signature foreign policy achievement of his predecessor, Barack Obama, and isolating the United States from Western allies who tried to keep the agreement intact.