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Deadly Heat Waves Like the One in the Southern US Becoming More Frequent and Enduring

Heat waves like the one that engulfed parts of parts of the South and Midwest and killed more than a dozen people are becoming more common, and experts say the extreme weather events, which claim more lives than hurricanes and tornados, will likely increase in the future.

A heat dome that pressured the Texas power grid and killed 13 people there and another in Louisiana pushed eastward Thursday and was expected to be centered over the mid-South by the weekend. Heat index levels of up to 112 degrees (44 Celsius) were forecast in parts of Florida over the next few days.

Eleven of the heat-related deaths in Texas occurred in Webb County, which includes Laredo. The dead ranged in age from 60 to 80 years old, and many had other health conditions, according to the county medical examiner. The other two fatalities were Florida residents who died while hiking in extreme heat at Big Bend National Park.

Scientists and medical experts say such deaths caused by extreme heat will only increase in the U.S. each summer without more action to combat climate change that has pushed up temperatures, making people especially vulnerable in areas unaccustomed to warm weather.

“Here in Boston we prepare for snowstorms. Now we need to learn how to prepare for heat,” said Dr. Gaurab Basu, a primary care physician and the director of education and policy at the Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Planting more trees to increase shade in cities and investing in green technology like heat pumps for home cooling and heating could help, Basu said.

Extreme heat already is the deadliest of all weather events in the United States, including hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires and flooding.

“Heat waves are the deadliest because they affect such large areas and can go on for days or weeks,” said Joellen Russell, a climate scientist who teaches at the University of Arizona in Tucson and is currently on a Fulbright scholarship in Wellington, New Zealand. “And they catch people by surprise.”

Phoenix, the hottest large city in America, faces an excessive heat warning headed into the weekend. Dangerously hot conditions are forecast from Saturday through Tuesday, including temperatures of 107-115 degrees (41.6-46.1 Celsius) across south-central Arizona.

“Arizona already understands heat to a certain extent, but it’s getting hotter for us, too,” said Russell. “That means a lot of people will continue to die.”

Counting heat deaths has become a science in Arizona’s Maricopa County, which includes metro Phoenix. The county tallied 425 heat-associated deaths last year, a 25% increase over 2021.

Located in the Sonoran Desert, Maricopa County counts not just deaths due to exposure but also deaths in which heat is among several major contributing factors, including heart attacks and strokes.

The county’s Office of the Medical Examiner updates suspected and confirmed heat-associated deaths every week through the warm season, which runs from May through October. So far this season, there have been six heat-associated deaths in Maricopa County, home to nearly 4.5 million people.

Dr. Sameed Khatana, a staff cardiologist at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center and assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, said deaths in which heat contributed significantly to fatalities from causes like heart failure should also be considered to provide a more complete picture.

Khatana participated in research published last year that suggested that from 2008 and 2017 between 13,000 to 20,000 adult deaths were linked to extreme heat, about half due to heart disease.

Older people and those with diabetes, obesity, heart disease and other serious health conditions are most at risk, he said.

“Hurricanes, flooding and wildfires are very dramatic,” said Khatana. “Heat is harder to see and especially affects people who are socially isolated or living on the margins.”

The city of Phoenix’s Office of Heat Response and Mitigation has opened summertime shelters for homeless people, operates cooling centers in libraries and other community spaces to help people get out of the sun and distributes bottled water, hats and sunscreen. The city also has a “Cool Callers” program with volunteers dialing vulnerable residents who ask to be checked on during hot periods.

Even the Phoenix Zoo is taking measures to cool off the monkeys, big cats and rhinos, spraying them with water, delivering frozen treats, and providing shaded areas and cooled water pools.

Extreme heat deaths are a global problem.

Mexican health authorities this week said there have been at least 112 heat-related deaths so far this year, acknowledging for the first time the deadliness of a recent heat wave that President Andrés Manuel López Obrador previously dismissed as an invention of alarmists.

The report released Wednesday also shows a significant spike in heat-related fatalities in the last two weeks. So far this year, Mexico’s overall heat-related deaths are almost triple the figures seen in 2022.

A flash study released this spring said record-breaking April temperatures in Spain, Portugal and northern Africa were made 100 times more likely by human-caused climate change.

Deaths and widespread hospitalizations were caused by searing heat wave that broiled parts of southern Asia in April with temperatures of up to 113 degrees (45 Celsius) was made at least 30 times more likely by climate change, according to a rapid study by international scientists.

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Australia to Use Psychedelic Drugs as Approved Medicines

SYDNEY – Australia on Saturday will become one of the first countries to recognize psychedelic drugs as medicines. In February, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, Australia’s medical regulator, sanctioned use of psychedelics for some mental health conditions. Experts agree that psychedelic-assisted therapies in Australia are in their infancy.

Starting Saturday, authorized psychiatrists in Australia will be able to prescribe methylenedioxy methamphetamine – MDMA, the active ingredient in such party drugs as ecstasy or molly — to treat post-traumatic stress disorder.

They will also be allowed to prescribe psilocybin, a compound found in psychotropic “magic” mushrooms, to treat depression that has not responded to other therapies.

Susan Rossell, a cognitive neuropsychologist at Swinburne University in Melbourne, is conducting one of Australia’s biggest clinical trials of psilocybin. Preliminary results show significant improvements in some patients’ mental health while others have shown no signs of getting better.

Rossell told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. that psychedelic therapies research is still in its early stages.

“We have been stuck for very many years in terms of mental health treatments for people with treatment-resistant conditions,” she said. “So, the fact that psychedelic medicines do seem to be working for a number of people is fantastic. However, they are not working for some people as well, and that is where I would note a great deal of caution in this field at the moment.”

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists has issued new guidelines for its members’ use of psychedelic drugs. They must only be administered in a hospital or clinic, where two psychotherapists must stay with the patient for six to eight hours to ensure their safety.

The organization has said that with a lack of mental health professionals in Australia, it is likely that few providers will be able to meet these conditions.

Other experts fear that the new regulations that permit the use of MDMA and psilocybin in Australia have been approved too quickly. They believe there is potential for psychedelic substances to provoke anxiety, panic or cause psychological damage to patients.

Australia’s official medical regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, approved the use of psychedelics to treat some mental health conditions in February, making the country one of the first in the world to recognize the drugs as medicines.

In announcing its decision, the regulators said the “benefits to patients and public health … outweigh the risks.”

Столиця Шляхта

«Обіцяв «відмазати» іноземця від екстрадиції»: СБУ повідомила про затримання народного депутата

У відомстві не називають імені депутата. Водночас видання «Українська правда» із посиланням на свої джерела пише, що йдеться про Сергія Алєксєєва від партії «Європейська солідарність»

Політика Столиця Шляхта

Зеленський підписав закон про відпустки та доплати для військових

Ухвалений Верховною Радою 28 червня законопроєкт був скерований на підпис президенту 29 червня, і 30 червня повернувся до законодавчого органу з підписом Володимира Зеленського

Політика Столиця Шляхта

Майже третина росіян продовжують підтримувати Пригожина – «Левада-центр»

До заколоту росіяни називали Пригожина «борцем за правду», «справжнім лідером» та «переможним генералом», а потім – «влаштував смуту», «пішов проти Росії», «рветься до влади»

Політика Столиця Шляхта

У Польщі заарештували російського хокеїста за звинуваченням у шпигунстві на користь РФ

Агентство внутрішньої безпеки Польщі заарештувало російського хокеїста, звинувативши його у шпигунстві на користь Росії.

«Російські шпигуни трапляються один за одним… Спіймали шпигуна, який діяв під виглядом спортсмена. Росіянин був гравцем клубу 1-ї ліги. Це 14-й член опрацьованої нами шпигунської мережі», – повідомив у твіттрі генпрокурор Польщі та міністр юстиції Збігнєв Зебро.

Підозрюваного у шпигунстві 28-річного чоловіка затримали у Сілезькому воєводстві, але він мав діяти по всій Польщі, зазначає газета Wyborcza.

За даними слідства, заарештований перебував у Польщі з жовтня 2021 року. Йому звинуватили в участі в організованій злочинній групі та роботі на іноземну розвідку. Суд заарештував його на три місяці. Чоловіку загрожує до 10 років позбавлення волі.

Пресслужба міністра-координатора спецслужб повідомила, що росіянин «виконував на польській території доручені завдання, серед іншого щодо виявлення критичної інфраструктури у кількох воєводствах».

За даними прокуратури, заарештований росіянин та інші підозрювані, «ідентифіковані як іноземці через східний кордон», входили до шпигунської мережі, яка вела розвідувальну діяльність та «пропаганду проти Польщі», а також готувала «акти саботажу на запит російської розвідки».

У середині березня 2023 року польські спецслужби заявили, що ліквідували російську шпигунську мережу, яка готувала диверсії на залізницях країни.

Агентство внутрішньої безпеки Польщі виявило на залізничних маршрутах та транспортних вузлах приховані камери, які фіксували рух поїздів та передавали зображення в інтернет. Йшлося в основному про ділянки залізничних маршрутів у Підкарпатському воєводстві, поблизу аеропорту на околицях Жешува. Це головний пункт переправки західного озброєння та боєприпасів для України.

Столиця Шляхта

Виїжджають чи ні – сказати складно: голова Запорізької ОВА щодо повідомлень про поступовий вихід окупантів із ЗАЕС

«Наші українські фахівці там працюють і надалі і все роблять, аби Запорізька атомна електростанція працювала в своєму звичайному, штатному режимі»

Політика Столиця Шляхта

В ОП повідомили, за якої умови Зеленський не поїде на саміт НАТО у Вільнюсі

«Президент не поїде… на саміт, якщо лідери будуть схильні до дефіциту мужності чи проявлять його в той час, як Україна з усією своєю мужністю, волею, силою і високим моральним духом бореться з російською агресією»

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Italian Researchers Reach the Edge of Space on Virgin Galactic’s Rocket-Powered Plane

ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO — A team of Italian researchers reached the edge of space Thursday morning, flying aboard Virgin Galactic’s rocket-powered plane as the company prepares for monthly commercial flights.

The flight launched from Spaceport America in the New Mexico desert, with two Italian Air Force officers and an engineer with the National Research Council of Italy focusing on a series of microgravity experiments during their few minutes of weightless.

One wore a special suit that measured biometric data and physiological responses while another conducted tests using sensors to track heart rate, brain function and other metrics while in microgravity. The third studied how certain liquids and solids mix in that very weak gravity.

Virgin Galactic livestreamed the flight on its website, showing the moment when the ship released from its carrier plane and the rocket was ignited. The entire trip took about 90 minutes, with the plane’s touchdown on the runway prompting cheers and claps by Virgin Galactic staff.

With the ship’s copilots, it marked the most Italians in space at the same time. Colonel Walter Villadei, a space engineer with the Italian Air Force, celebrated by unfolding an Italian flag while weightless.

Next up for Virgin Galactic will be the first of hundreds of ticket holders, many who have been waiting years for their chance at weightlessness and to see the curvature of the Earth. Those commercial flights are expected to begin in August and will be scheduled monthly, the space tourism company said.

Virgin Galactic has been working for years to send paying passengers on short space trips and in 2021 finally won the federal government’s approval. The company completed its final test fight in May.

The Italian research flight was initially scheduled for the fall of 2021 but Virgin Galactic at the time said it was forced to push back its timeline due to a potential defect in a component used in its flight control system. Then the company spent months upgrading its rocket ship before resuming testing in early 2023.

After reaching an altitude of nearly 15,000 meters, Virgin Galactic’s space plane is released from a carrier aircraft and drops for a moment before igniting its rocket motor. The rocket shuts off once it reaches space, leaving passengers weight before the ship then glides back to the runway at Spaceport America.

Virgin Galactic has sold about 800 tickets over the past decade, with the initial batch going for $200,000 each. Tickets now cost $450,000 per person.

The company said early fliers have already received their seat assignments.

Політика Столиця Шляхта

Ґрета Тунберґ приїхала до Києва в складі групи з екологічних наслідків війни – ОП

Віцепрезидентка Європарламенту вказала на те, що злочини проти довкілля повинні розслідуватися «як на національному, так і на міжнародному рівні»