BBC News will no longer air "debates" between scientists and climate-change deniers, The Telegraph reports. A new BBC Trust report criticized the network's journalists for devoting "too much" — a.k.a., any — air time to those with "marginal views" about science.
"The Trust wishes to emphasize the importance of attempting to establish where the weight of scientific agreement may be found and make that clear to audiences," said the report. "Science coverage does not simply lie in reflecting a wide range of views but depends on the varying degree of prominence such views should be given."
The Telegraph also reports that roughly 200 of the BBC's staff members are attending workshops to improve their coverage. The BBC Trust report added that the network has devoted too much time to editorial balance when a vast majority of people — and scientists — agree that climate change is happening. Meghan DeMaria
If you would prefer a President Pence to a President Trump — an alluring prospect to many anti-Trump social conservatives, as well as a majority of Democrats per recent polling — the 25th Amendment might sound like just the ticket. It provides that if the president is deemed "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office," Congress can pull some strings to produce our new President Pence.
In the 50 years since the 25th Amendment was ratified, it's been used twice to fill a vice presidential vacancy: when Gerald Ford replaced the disgraced Spiro Agnew in October 1973, and when Nelson Rockefeller replaced Ford in 1974. And on six occasions, the president has invoked the 25th Amendment to (very temporarily) designate his veep as acting president, always during routine medical procedures like a colonoscopy. But it's never been invoked when the president himself was non compos ...
The notion that Pence and a Cabinet majority will look at Trump’s next tweets or telephonic fulminations and decide he’s not fit for the job is beyond absurdity. ... In the midst of a shooting war in Vietnam, and a Cold War on constant simmer, Nixon was often abusing alcohol and prescription drugs, leading to stretches of incoherence and irrationality. No one around him even raised the specter of invoking the 25th Amendment. [Politico]
57-year-old NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson broke the record for the most spacewalks ever performed by a woman when she ventured out of the International Space Station on Thursday. Whitson, who The Associated Press noted is "the world's oldest and most experienced spacewoman," has now completed eight spacewalks, surpassing former space station resident Sunita Williams' record of 50 hours and 40 minutes of spacewalking time.
Whitson also holds the record for the most time a woman has ever spent in space, as she's now up to more than 500 days away from Earth. Whitson departed for her third space station trip in November to set up a docking port for commercial crew ships being developed by Boeing and SpaceX. She is slated to return in June.
Catch a glimpse of Whitson's Thursday morning spacewalk below. Becca Stanek
— Intl. Space Station (@Space_Station) March 30, 2017
Depression is now the leading cause of ill health and disability around the world, the World Health Organization announced Thursday. "A better understanding of depression and how it can be treated, while essential, is just the beginning," explained Dr. Shekhar Saxena, who serves as the director of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse at WHO. "What needs to follow is sustained scale-up of mental health services accessible to everyone, even the most remote populations in the world."
More than 300 million people live with depression, an uptick of more than 18 percent between 2005 and 2015. But worldwide, there is still very little support for mental disorders. On average, governments only spend 3 percent of health budgets on mental health, despite the fact that "every $1 [U.S. dollar] invested in scaling up treatment for depression and anxiety leads to a return of $4 in better health and ability to work," WHO writes. But even in high-income countries, only about half of people suffering from depression get treatment.
Depression is strongly linked to the increased risk of substance abuse as well as diseases like diabetes and heart disease. Hundreds of thousands of people every year additionally commit suicide.
"These new figures are a wake-up call for all countries to re-think their approaches to mental health and to treat it with the urgency that it deserves," said WHO director-general Dr. Margaret Chan. Jeva Lange
Senate Democrats are weighing whether to filibuster or otherwise make trouble for the confirmation vote of President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch. But new NBC News/Survey Monkey poll results released Thursday indicate a majority of Americans would prefer that they didn't.
Only 37 percent of respondents said they would like to see Senate Democrats block the Gorsuch vote, while 54 percent were ready to move ahead to an up-or-down ballot on the SCOTUS candidate. The poll had a 1.7 percent margin of error.
Gorsuch needs 60 votes to take a seat at the court: 52 Senate Republicans plus eight centrist Democrats or independents. While his qualifications for the position are generally not disputed, Democrats are still smarting over Republicans' refusal to allow a vote on President Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland. Bonnie Kristian
Malaysia to release the body of Kim Jong Nam back to North Korea after 'very sensitive' negotiations
After "very sensitive" negotiations, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said Thursday that Malaysia has agreed to release the body of Kim Jong Nam, the assassinated half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, to North Korea. Kim died in February after a woman sprayed him in the face with the banned, lethal VX nerve agent at Malaysia's Kuala Lumpur airport. In exchange for Kim's body, North Korea has agreed to release the nine Malaysian citizens who had been blocked from leaving the country.
Kim's assassination last month, which The Associated Press noted is "widely suspected" to be the work of North Korea, has ratcheted up tensions between North Korea and Malaysia. After the incident at the airport, Malaysia demanded North Korea hand over suspects who were believed to be "hiding in North Korea's embassy in Malaysia," BBC reported. North Korea denied its involvement in the assassination, and called for Malaysia to release Kim's body.
The standoff prompted both countries to remove their ambassadors. After North Korea prevented nine Malaysians from leaving the country, Malaysia responded by barring North Korean citizens from leaving Malaysian soil.
A nationwide first responder network first proposed after 9/11 is finally being announced today by the Trump administration
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is expected to announce a 25-year, $6.5 billion contract with AT&T to build a nationwide wireless network for first responders, The Wall Street Journal reports. The project, called FirstNet, was first proposed following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, but the Trump administration's deal marks the first major step toward it becoming a reality.
First responders use the same wireless networks that regular people do, meaning police channels can get clogged by heavy usage from civilians. This was a problem during 9/11, and many experts believe it was a major reason why so many first responders died. The proposed wireless broadband network would instead allow police, firefighters, and other officials to have their own space for communications during emergencies.
"Public safety has no priority right now," said Nebraska's Buffalo County sheriff, Neil Miller. "We are just another user. We look the same in the network as everybody else."
But others are critical of FirstNet, including the Fraternal Order of Police, which worries that AT&T will neglect rural areas where there is a more limited use of the network. "AT&T is a reputable company. But they're a reputable company doing what reputable companies do: They're trying to make a profit," said Fraternal Order of Police senior adviser Jim Pasco.
"Do you want to be line item 1? Or line item 4,363?" asked Declan Ganley, the chief of Rivada, an upstart that lost the federal contract to build the network to AT&T. "That's where public safety is for the budgets of these carriers." Jeva Lange
President Trump signed an executive order Tuesday aimed at unraveling former President Barack Obama's climate change policies: "My action today is the latest in steps to grow American jobs," Trump said. But some of America's biggest companies are saying thanks but no thanks — and vowing to stick to environmental pledges made to Obama, Bloomberg Politics reports.
Walmart, for example, has already vowed to get half of its power from renewable energy sources by 2025. "This work is embedded in our business," said Walmart spokesman Kevin Gardner. "[It's] good for the business, our shareholders, and customers; if ultimately we are able to positively impact the environment in the process, that's a win too."
The world's biggest beer company, Anheuser-Busch InBev, pledged Tuesday to get 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025, and Mars Inc. wants to eliminate its emissions altogether by 2040, with vice president of corporate affairs Andy Pharoah saying the company is "disappointed the [Trump] administration has decided to roll back climate regulations."
Procter & Gamble, Nestle, Ikea, Levi Strauss & Co., and Best Buy also said they would stick to climate change promises made to the Obama administration. And in a joint statement responding to Trump's executive order, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and Google's parent company, Alphabet, wrote: "We believe that strong clean energy and climate policies, like the Clean Power Plan, can make renewable energy supplies more robust and address the serious threat of climate change while also supporting American competitiveness, innovation, and job growth."
"Most big companies in the U.S. recognize that climate change is real," Columbia Business School professor Geoffrey M. Heal explained to Bloomberg Politics. "They need to move ahead on the climate change front no matter what Trump's government does." Jeva Lange