Several heatwaves in the Indian Ocean have killed more than two-thirds of corals in two years, a study has shown.
Research from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) suggests some corals were more resilient to high temperatures, despite 70% of the hard corals in the ocean being lost between 2015 and 2017.
But, as these sorts of heatwaves become more frequent, the ability to recover will become “increasingly compromised”, the study says.
Seawater temperatures around the reefs in the Chagos Archipelago, part of the British Indian Ocean territory, were unusually high for eight weeks in 2015. Another heatwave hit the region before the corals could recover in 2016, this time lasting for four months.
The seafloor surveys before and after the heatwave saw the amount of healthy coral fall by 60% in 2015. Although scientists were unable to judge the impact of the 2016 heatwave across all the islands, data from the Peros Banhos atoll suggests that 70% of hard corals were lost due to the rise in temperature.
But, while the second heatwave was longer, fewer of the surviving corals were killed.
Lead author of the study, Dr Catherine Head, a marine biologist at ZSL’s Institute of Zoology, said: “We know it has taken about 10 years for these reefs to recover in the past.
“But, with global temperatures rising, severe heatwaves are becoming a more regular occurrence, which will hinder the reef’s ability to bounce back.”
She said preliminary reports from April 2019 suggested further high sea temperatures had led to more coral bleaching in the British Indian Ocean Territory, though it is not known yet how serious it is.
“It is encouraging that reefs may have some degree of natural resilience, though further research is needed to understand the mechanisms by which some corals are able to protect themselves,” said Dr Head.
“This may be our best hope to save these vital habitats from the catastrophic effects of climate change.”
Similar coral death and changes to the reef’s make-up were seen in the Chagos Archipelago after global coral bleaching in 1998. Recovery took 10 years, according to the study.
The relatively fast recovery of the coral suggests the reef is highly resilient. It has also benefited from a lack of disturbance from humans, a result of the controversial removal of the Chagossian people by the UK in 1971 to make way for a US military base.
:: Sky’s Ocean Rescue campaign encourages people to reduce their single-use plastics. You can find out more about the campaign and how to get involved at www.skyoceanrescue.com
Lukaku and Smalling criticise Italian sports paper’s ‘Black Friday’ headline | UK News
Romelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling have criticised an Italian sports newspaper after it published images of them next to a “Black Friday” headline.
The former Manchester United teammates were pictured on the front page of the Corriere dello Sport ahead of Friday’s match between Roma and Inter Milan.
The paper has defended the headline saying it was intended to “celebrate diversity”, but the cover attracted widespread criticism on Twitter after the paper was published on Thursday.
English defender Smalling, who is on loan at Roma, tweeted: “Whilst I would have liked to spend the day focusing on the big game tomorrow, it is important that I acknowledge that what occurred this morning was wrong and highly insensitive.
“I hope the editors involved in running this headline take responsibility and understand the power they possess through words, and the impact those words can have.”
Belgian striker Lukaku, who plays for Inter Milan, called it the “dumbest of headlines” and added: “You guys keep fuelling the negativity and the racisme (sic) issue.
“Instead of talking about the beautiful game that’s going to be played at San Siro between two great clubs.
“Education is key.
“You guys of Corriere dello Sport (sic) should do a better job at that.”
Roma has released a joint statement with AC Milan, Inter’s co-tenants at San Siro, stating Corriere dello Sport has been banned from both clubs’ training facilities for the rest of 2019.
Inter tweeted: “Football is passion, culture and brotherhood. We are and will always be against all forms of discrimination.”
Piara Powar, chief executive of the anti-discrimination organisation the Fare network, has branded the front page as “at the very least clumsy”.
He said: “Part of the problem we have with Italy and countries like that at the moment is people do not know where to draw a line.
“They don’t know what is the right or wrong thing to do, what is appropriate or inappropriate and what might be racism and what might be acceptable.
“If this was two English players – Lukaku is Belgian obviously – and they had said it was a ‘St George’s Day clash’ or both were Belgians and it was the ‘Battle of Brussels’ that would be different, but they are highlighting their race.”
Corriere dello Sport ran a subhead above its headline which read: “Lukaku and Smalling, former team-mates at United – and today idols at Inter and Roma – go head to head tomorrow: the scudetto and Champions League football are up for grabs.”
The paper’s article appeared to attempt to address the league’s racism problem.
It read: “In the faces of those idiots who boo, tomorrow everyone must instead go ‘oooh’ like children. It will be a Black Friday, but this is not an end-of-season sale.”
It went on to describe Lukaku and Smalling as “two giants of colour”.
Mr Powar continued: “We have been told by our colleagues in Italy that in fact inside the paper the story is about how these are old colleagues from United and have both been standing up to racism, but the front cover is at the very least clumsy.
“We would argue this is the sort of thing that fuels racism – the way in which Corriere dello Sport has made a point of their race.”
Corriere dello Sport editor Ivan Zazzaroni subsequently posted a statement on his paper’s website, claiming the writer’s intention was to celebrate the “magnificent wealth of diversity” in football.
Lukaku’s Italian agent Federico Pastorello told Sky Sports News: “Being an agent we are trying to protect our clients from this huge problem (racism) because it’s not only a newspaper but it’s a problem you can breathe in the stadium, in social media, on the street.”
Lukaku and Brescia forward Mario Balotelli is among those to make allegations of being racially abused by supporters during Serie A games this season.
Only last week, all 20 clubs in Italy’s top tier signed an open letter which called on “all those who love Italian football” to unite to try to eradicate the “serious problem”.
SMS Scharnhorst: Wreck of WWI German battlecruiser found near Falkland Islands | UK News
The wreck of a German battlecruiser that was sunk by the British during the First World War has been found off the coast of the Falkland Islands.
SMS Scharnhorst was the flagship of Admiral Maximilian Graf von Spee’s East Asia Squadron.
The armoured cruiser was sunk during the Battle of the Falkland Islands, a crucial naval battle in the early days of the First World War, on 8 December 1914.
The Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust said the discovery is a major breakthrough in the “quest to locate all of the ships that comprised the German squadron lost during the battle”.
The search for the vessel began on the centenary of the battle in December 2014 but it was initially unsuccessful.
It was resumed this year using state-of-the-art subsea search equipment.
The operation, working from the subsea search vessel Seabed Constructor, involved the deployment of four Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs).
The vehicles, which used sonar equipment and a multi-beam echo-sounder, explored a search area of roughly 4,500km2 (1,737m2) of seabed.
SMS Scharnhorst was discovered on the third day of the search, 98 nautical miles south east of Port Stanley, capital of the Falkland Islands, at a depth of 1610 metres.
Donald Lamont, chairman of The Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust, said: “You could even see the impact crater.
“We sent down a remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) to explore and almost straight away we were into a debris field that said ‘battle’.
“Suddenly she just came out of the gloom with great guns poking in every direction.
“As a Falkland Islander and a marine archaeologist, a discovery of this significance is an unforgettable, poignant moment in my life. Our work on this important project is not done.
“We will continue to assess the images that we have captured and, in time, continue to search for the remainder of the fleet, in order to provide greater understanding of the events of that day, and to ensure the protection of the site.”
Graf von Spee’s fleet overpowered the Royal Navy, causing the deaths of 1600 British sailors, in the Battle of Coronel off the coast of Chile in November 1914.
A month later a British squadron under the command of Vice-Admiral Doveton Sturdee, pursued, engaged and defeated Graf von Spee’s squadron in the Battle of the Falkland Islands.
Graf von Spee’s fleet comprised of the Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, Nürnberg and Leipzig.
The British success was important because the German East Asia Squadron, Germany’s only permanent overseas naval formation, effectively ceased to exist.
It therefore brought an end to German warship attacks on merchant vessels.
The Scharnhorst, built in Hamburg in 1905, was the first to be sunk after sustaining substantial damage inflicted by HMS Invincible and HMS Inflexible.
The attack on the squadron left 2,200 German sailors dead, including Gran von Spee himself and his two sons.
Wilhelm Graf von Spee, head of the von Spee family, said: “Speaking as one of the many families affected by the heavy casualties suffered on 8 December 1914 at the Battle of the Falkland Islands, the discovery of SMS Scharnhorst is bittersweet.
“We take comfort from the knowledge that the final resting place of so many has been found, and can now be preserved, whilst also being reminded of the huge waste of life.”
The Falkland Maritime Heritage Trust is now seeking to have the site formerly protected in law.
The film production company TVT recorded the search from its inception five years ago.
Experts who viewed unedited clips have said they reveal new information about the battle and the history of the Falkland Islands.
Cyber criminal charged with stealing £76m while working for Russian intelligence | Science & Tech News
A cyber criminal indicted in the US has been accused of working with Russian intelligence to steal classified government documents, according to a senior official at the US Treasury.
The man was one of two men in Russia indicted by the US on Thursday for their part in developing the Dridex banking malware which has stolen millions from victims in the West.
Victim organisations in more than 40 countries were hit by the Dridex malware, which allowed the alleged criminals to steal more than $100m (£76m) in one hacking campaign dating back to 2011.
Maksim Yakubets is accused of being the leader of the hacking group calling itself “Evil Corp” while Igor Turashev has been accused of being one of the group’s key administrators.
American and British authorities collaborated to identify and charge the criminals, who were accused of being behind “two of the worst computer hacking and bank fraud schemes of the past decade”.
Sanctions from the US Treasury target 17 individuals and seven entities tied to Evil Corp, including its “core cyber operators, multiple businesses associated with a group member” and financial organisations used by the group.
Yakubets was accused of providing “direct assistance to the Russian government” by working for the FSB, Russia’s federal security service, to acquire “confidential documents” for the intelligence agency as well as conduct other cyber operations.
He is currently believed to be at large in Russia. The US State Department has announced a $5m (£3.8m) reward for information leading to his capture.
Yakubets is also accused of committing bank fraud in connection with a second hacking campaign using the Zeus malware, which began in 2009.
Zeus has been tied to thefts of an estimated $70m (£53m) occurring as recently as March this year.
Additional core members of the group sanctioned by the US Treasury include Dmitriy Smirnov, Artem Yakubets, Ivan Tuchkov, Andrey Plotnitskiy, Dmitriy Slobodskoy, and Kirill Slobodskoy.
Lifestyle images of the extravagant holidays and cars purchased by the criminals were released by the National Crime Agency (NCA) in the UK, which was thanked by the US DoJ for its contribution to the investigation.
Paul Chichester, the director of operations for the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre, said: “Today’s announcement is the result of a multi-year investigation with our law enforcement and international partners.
“Dridex has been targeting UK victims since at least 2014, compromising and stealing from large organisations, SMEs and the general public.
“Malware is a continuing cyber threat but we can all reduce our risk of becoming victims to cyber criminals by ensuring our devices are patched, anti-virus is turned on and up to date and files are backed up.”
The US assistant attorney general Brian Benczkowski said: “These two cases demonstrate our commitment to unmasking the perpetrators behind the world’s most egregious cyberattacks.
“The assistance of our international partners, in particular the National Crime Agency of the United Kingdom, was crucial to our efforts to identify Yakubets and his co-conspirators.”
The FBI’s deputy director David Bowdich added: “Today’s announcement involved a long running investigation of a sophisticated organized cyber-crime syndicate.
“The charges highlight the persistence of the FBI and our partners to vigorously pursue those who desire to profit from innocent people through deception and theft.
“By calling out those who threaten American businesses and citizens, we expose criminals who hide behind devices and launch attacks that threaten our public safety and economic stability.”
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