World Briefs: Expect more Arctic cold

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WASHINGTON — A new study says that as the world gets warmer, parts of North Amer­ica, Europe and Asia could see more fre­quent and stron­ger vis­its of po­lar vor­tex chills. Re­search­ers say that’s be­cause of shrink­ing ice in the seas off Rus­sia.

Nor­mally, sea ice keeps heat en­ergy from es­cap­ing the ocean and en­ter­ing the at­mo­sphere. When there’s less ice, more en­ergy gets into the at­mo­sphere and weak­ens the jet stream, the high-al­ti­tude river of air that usu­ally keeps Arc­tic air from wan­der­ing south, said study co-au­thor Jin-Ho Yoon of the Pa­cific North­west Na­tional Lab­o­ra­tory in Rich­land, Wash. So the cold air es­capes in­stead.

That hap­pened rel­a­tively in­fre­quently in the 1990s, but since 2000 it has hap­pened nearly ev­ery year, ac­cord­ing to a study pub­lished Tues­day in the jour­nal Na­ture Com­mu­ni­ca­tions. A team of sci­en­tists from South Korea and United States found that many such cold out­breaks hap­pened a few months af­ter un­usu­ally low sea ice lev­els in the Bar­ents and Kara seas, off Rus­sia.

Is­raeli oc­cu­pa­tion

UNITED NATIONS — Pres­i­dent Mahmoud Ab­bas of the Pal­es­tin­ian Au­thor­ity plans to ask the United Na­tions Se­cu­rity Coun­cil to com­pel Is­rael to end its oc­cu­pa­tion within three years as part of his new ini­tia­tive to over­come dip­lo­matic dead­lock and move to­ward a two-state solu­tion, one of his top aides said Tues­day.

The as­ser­tion by the aide, Hanan Ashrawi, was the most spe­cific time frame given for Mr. Ab­bas’ de­mand for a dead­line, which he be­gan to float last month in the midst of fight­ing be­tween Is­rael and Ha­mas mil­i­tants in the Gaza Strip.

Mr. Ashrawi also gave one of the clear­est sig­nals yet that the Pal­es­tin­ians would use Pal­es­tine’s ob­server sta­tus at the United Na­tions, an up­grade won nearly two years ago over Is­raeli and U.S. op­po­si­tion, to join the In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court and seek the pros­e­cu­tion of Is­raeli be­hav­ior in the oc­cu­pied ter­ri­to­ries.

U.S. crit­i­cizes Is­rael

WASHINGTON—The United States on Tues­day took the un­usual step of pub­licly crit­i­ciz­ing Is­rael for plans to ap­pro­pri­ate land in the oc­cu­pied West Bank and call­ing for it to re­verse the de­ci­sion.

Some 988 acres in the Etzion Jew­ish set­tle­ment bloc near Beth­le­hem were de­clared “state land, on the in­struc­tions of the po­lit­i­cal ech­e­lon” by the mil­i­tary-run Civil Ad­min­is­tra­tion on Sun­day.

The U.S. State Depart­ment called on Is­rael to re­verse its de­ci­sion.

Law­mak­ers back PM

ISLAMABAD, Paki­stan — Law­mak­ers in Paki­stan ral­lied around em­bat­tled Prime Min­is­ter Nawaz Sharif on Tues­day, and his gov­ern­ment said it was ready to con­front the “ter­ror­ists” who are try­ing to oust him from power.

Dur­ing a day-long ses­sion of the par­lia­ment, leg­is­la­tors from across Paki­stan’s po­lit­i­cal spec­trum con­demned what they view as a grow­ing threat to the coun­try’s frag­ile de­moc­racy. They ac­cused for­mer cricket star Im­ran Khan and fire­brand Muslim preacher Tahirul Qadri of con­spir­ing to en­gi­neer an un­con­sti­tu­tional power grab.

Also in the world ...

Phil­ip­pine au­thor­i­ties said they thwarted a plot to set off home-made ex­plo­sive de­vices at Manila’s in­ter­na­tional air­port and a nearby mall, ar­rest­ing three men who planned the at­tack to pro­test China’s as­ser­tive­ness in the re­gion. ... A Brit­ish com­mis­sion Tues­day re­jected as too costly a pro­posal backed by the mayor of Lon­don to build a new four-run­way air­port on an ar­ti­fi­cial is­land in the es­tu­ary of the River Thames, say­ing the plan was too costly.

Com­piled from wire re­ports

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