On the ground, climate change is hitting us where it counts: the stomach — not to mention the forests, plants and animals. A new United Nations scientific report examines how global warming and land interact in a vicious cycle. Human-caused climate change is dramatically degrading the land, while the way people use the land is making global warming worse. Thursday’s science-laden report says the combination is already making food more expensive, scarcer and even less nutritious. “The cycle is accelerating,” said NASA climate scientist Cynthia Rosenzweig, a report co-author. “The threat of climate change affecting people’s food on their dinner table is increasing.” But if people change the way they eat, grow food and manage forests, it could help save the planet from a far warmer future, scientists said Earth’s landmasses, which are only 30% of the globe, are warming twice as fast as the planet as a whole. While heat-trapping gases are causing problems in the atmosphere, the land has been less talked about as part of climate change. A special report, written by more than 100 scientists and unanimously approved by diplomats from nations around the world at a meeting in Geneva, proposed possible fixes and made more dire warnings. “The way we use land is both part of the problem and also part of the solution,” said Valerie Masson-Delmotte, a French climate scientist who co-chairs one of the panel’s working groups. “Sustainable land management can help secure a future that is comfortable.” Scientists in Thursday’s press conference emphasized both the seriousness of the problem and the need to make societal changes soon. “We don’t want a message of despair,” said science panel official Jim Skea, a professor at Imperial College London. “We want to get across the message that every action makes a difference” The report said climate change already has worsened land degradation, caused deserts to grow, permafrost to thaw and made forests more vulnerable to drought, fire, pests and disease. That’s happened even as much of the globe has gotten greener because of extra carbon dioxide in the air. Climate change has also added to other forces that have reduced the number of species on Earth. “Climate change is really slamming the land,” said World Resources Institute researcher Kelly Levin, who wasn’t part of the study but praised it. And the future could be worse. “The stability of food supply is projected to decrease as the magnitude and frequency of extreme weather events that disrupt food chains increases,” the report said. In the worst-case scenario, food security problems change from moderate to high risk with just a few more tenths of a degree of warming from now. They go from high to “very high” risk with just another 1.8 degrees (1 degree Celsius) of warming from now. Scientists had long thought one of the few benefits of higher levels of carbon dioxide, the major heat-trapping gas, was that it made plants grow more and the world greener, Rosenzweig said. But numerous studies show that the high levels of carbon dioxide reduce protein and nutrients in many crops. For example, high levels of carbon in the air in experiments show wheat has 6 to 13% less protein, 4 to 7% less zinc and 5 to 8% less iron, she said. But better farming practices — such as no-till agricultural and better targeted fertilizer application — have the potential to fight global warming too, reducing carbon pollution up to 18% of current emissions levels by 2050, the report said. If people change their diets, reducing red meat and increasing plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables and seeds, the world can save as much as another 15% of current emissions by mid-century. It would also make people more healthy, Rosenzweig said. The science panel said they aren’t telling people what to eat because that’s a personal choice. Still, Hans-Otto Portner, a panel leader from Germany who said he lost weight and felt better after reducing his meat consumption, told a reporter that if she ate less ribs and more vegetables “that’s a good decision and you will help the planet reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” Reducing food waste can fight climate change even more. The report said that between 2010 and 2016 global food waste accounted for 8 to 10% of heat-trapping emissions. “Currently 25-30% of total food produced is lost or wasted,” the report said. Fixing that would free up millions of square miles of land. With just another 0.9 degrees of warming (0.5 degrees Celsius), which could happen in the next 10 to 30 years, the risk of unstable food supplies, wildfire damage, thawing permafrost and water shortages in dry areas “are projected to be high,” the report said. At another 1.8 degrees of warming from now (1 degree Celsius), which could happen in about 50 years, it said those risks “are projected to be very high.” Most scenarios predict the world’s tropical regions will have “unprecedented climatic conditions by the mid to late 20th century,” the report noted. Agriculture and forestry together account for about 23% of the heat-trapping gases that are warming the Earth, slightly less than from cars, trucks, boats and planes. Add in transporting food, energy costs, packaging and that grows to 37%, the report said. But the land is also a great carbon “sink,” which sucks heat-trapping gases out of the air. From about 2007 to 2016, agriculture and forestry every year put 5.7 billion tons (5.2 billion metric tons) of carbon dioxide into the air, but pulled 12.3 billion tons (11.2 billion metric tons) of it out. “This additional gift from nature is limited. It’s not going to continue forever,” said study co-author Luis Verchot , a scientist at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture in Colombia. “If we continue to degrade ecosystems, if we continue to convert natural ecosystems, we continue to deforest and we continued to destroy our soils, we’re going to lose this natural subsidy.” Overall land emissions are increasing, especially because of cutting down forests in the Amazon in places such as Brazil, Colombia and Peru, Verchot said. Recent forest management changes in Brazil “contradicts all the messages that are coming out of the report,” Portner said. Stanford University environmental sciences chief Chris Field, who wasn’t part of the report, said the bottom line is “we ought to recognize that we have profound limits on the amount of land available and we have to be careful about how we utilize it.”

Authorities in Gibraltar said they intercepted Thursday a super tanker believed to be breaching European Union sanctions by carrying a shipment of Iranian crude oil to war-ravaged Syria, while a senior Spanish official said the operation was requested by the United States. Gibraltar port and law enforcement agencies, assisted by Britain's Royal Marines, boarded the Grace 1 early Thursday, authorities on the British overseas territory at the tip of Spain said in a statement. It added that the vessel was believed to be headed to the Baniyas Refinery in Syria, which is a government-owned facility under the control of Syrian President Bashar Assad and subject to the EU's Syrian Sanctions Regime. The EU, and others, has imposed sanctions on Assad's government over its continued crackdown against civilians. They currently target 270 people and 70 entities. Spain's caretaker foreign minister said the tanker was stopped by British authorities after a request from the United States. Josep Borrell told reporters in Madrid that Spain is assessing the implications of the operation because the detention took place in waters it considers its own. Britain insists Gibraltar is part of the United Kingdom but Spain argues that it is not, and the tanker operation risks offending the Spanish. "We're looking into how this (operation) affects our sovereignty," said Borrell, who was nominated earlier this week to become the EU's foreign policy chief. The Spanish claim that the U.S. requested the operation switched attention to whether the tanker was carrying Iranian crude. The Gibraltar authorities didn't confirm the origin of the ship's cargo but Lloyd's List, a publication specialized in maritime affairs, reported this week that the Panama-flagged large carrier was laden with Iranian oil. Experts were said to have concluded that it carried oil from Iran because the tanker wasn't sending geographic information while in Iranian waters. According to a U.N. list, the ship is owned by the Singapore-based Grace Tankers Ltd. According to the data firm Refinitv, the vessel likely carried just over 2 million barrels of Iranian crude oil. Tracking data showed that the tanker made a slow trip around the southern tip of Africa before reaching the Mediterranean. The tanker's detention comes at a particularly sensitive time as tensions between the U.S. and Iran grow over the unraveling of a 2015 nuclear deal, which President Donald Trump withdrew from last year. Trump has also slapped sanctions onto Iran and recently approved the passage of a carrier group, bombers and fighter jets to the Persian Gulf. In recent days, Iran has broken through the limit the deal put on its stockpile of low-enriched uranium and plans on Sunday to boost its enrichment. Meanwhile, oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz have been targeted in mysterious attacks as Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen launch bomb-laden drones into Saudi Arabia. The U.S. has rushed thousands of additional troops, an aircraft carrier, B-52 bombers and F-22 fighters to the region, raising fears of a miscalculation sparking a wider conflict. Last month Iran shot down a U.S. surveillance drone, further stoking those fears. Iran's intelligence minister said Thursday that any negotiations with the U.S. would have to be approved by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and would require the lifting of U.S. sanctions. Khamenei has until now ruled out talks with the U.S., saying that Washington cannot be trusted. On Thursday, the official IRNA news agency quoted Information Minister Mahmoud Alavi as saying "if the supreme leader permits, negotiations between Iran and the United States will be held." He added, however, that Tehran would not negotiate under pressure. There was no immediate reaction to the tanker's detention from Syria, which has suffered severe fuel shortages as a result of the civil war and Western sanctions that have crippled the country's oil industry, once the source of 20 percent of government revenues. Iran, which has provided vital military support to Assad, extended a $3 billion credit line for oil supplies beginning in 2013 but the Iranian aid dwindled as Washington restored tough sanctions. In November, the U.S. Treasury Department added a network of Russian and Iranian companies to its blacklist for shipping oil to Syria and warned of "significant risks" for those violating the sanctions. Fabian Picardo, Chief Minister of Gibraltar, which has in the past been a transit port for energy shipments without known buyers, said he has informed the EU about developments. In a statement, the British government welcomed the "firm action" by authorities in Gibraltar.


People stand by an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019.  (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

Global stock markets were back in positive territory Wednesday as investors looked ahead to a speech by the Federal Reserve chairman for signs of possible plans for more U.S. interest rate cuts. Market benchmarks in London and Frankfurt rose in early trading. On Wall Street, the futures for the S&P 500 index rose 0.7% to 2,918 and futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.6% to 26,085. After a three-day run of gains, U.S. stocks fell Tuesday after a slide in bond yields and a mixed batch of corporate earnings. Financial sector stocks led the declines. Investors are now looking ahead to the Fed's Wednesday release of notes from its policymaking meeting last month and a speech Friday by Chairman Jerome Powell. Markets have "entered a holding pattern" ahead of Powell's afternoon speech at an annual gathering in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a report. Investors expect Powell to signal the Fed "is about to embark on a reinvigorated wave of easing," said Halley. However, he said U.S. data "simply does not support the need for an aggressive easing cycle." London's FTSE 100 rose 1.1% in midday trading to 7,205 and Frankfurt's DAX also climbed 1.1% to 11,784. France's CAC-40 jumped 1.5% to 5,426. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 shed 0.3% to close at 20,618.57. Hong Kong's Hang Seng inched up 0.2% to finish at 26,270.04. The Shanghai Composite Index was little changed at 2,880.33. Seoul's Kospi gained 0.2% to 1,964.65 while Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 fell 0.9% to 6,483.30. India's Sensex lost 0.6% to 37,114.28. Taiwan was higher and New Zealand was lower, while Southeast Asian markets were mixed. The U.S. market has been volatile this month as investors try to parse conflicting signals on the U.S. economy and determine whether a recession is on the horizon. A key concern is that the U.S.-Chinese tariff war will weigh on global economic growth. ON TARGET: After mixed results from retailers on Tuesday, Target Corp. topped expectations Wednesday for its second quarter as it pushes faster delivery and invests heavily in new private label brands. Shares in the retailer jumped 15% in premarket trading. ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 63 cents to $56.76 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract shed 1 cent on Tuesday to close at $56.13. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 96 cents to $60.99 per barrel in London. The contract advanced 27 cents the previous session to $60.03. CURRENCY: The dollar rose to 106.45 yen from Tuesday's 106.22. The euro inched up to $1.1105.

A woman walks by an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo, Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019.  (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

Global shares were mostly higher Tuesday after Wall Street rallied on the U.S. decision to give Chinese telecom giant Huawei another 90 days to buy equipment from American suppliers. That decision appeared to inspire a buying mood among investors eager for any signs of progress in the trade war between the U.S. and China. France's CAC 40 added nearly 0.2% in early trading to 5,380.18, while Germany's DAX inched up nearly 0.1% to 11,723.98. Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.2% to 7,205.60. U.S. shares were set to drift higher with Dow futures edging up 0.1% to 26,143. S&P 500 futures were also up 0.1% at 2,926.50. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 gained 0.6% to finish at 20,677.22. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 1.2% to 6,545.00. South Korea's Kospi rose 1.1% to 1,960.25, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.2% to 26,231.54. The Shanghai Composite was down 0.1% at 2,880.00. Recently, investors have been trying to determine whether a recession is on the horizon in the U.S. A key concern is that the escalating and costly trade conflict between the world's two biggest economies will hamper growth around the globe. Earlier this month, Trump announced plans to extend tariffs across virtually all Chinese imports, many of them consumer products that were exempt from earlier rounds of tariffs. The tariffs have been delayed, but ultimately will raise costs for U.S. companies bringing goods in from China. Huawei has become part of the trade war, with the White House showing a willingness to use sanctions against the company as a bargaining chip. The U.S. government blacklisted Huawei in May, deeming it a national security risk, meaning U.S. companies aren't allowed to sell the company technology without government approval. "While it is not unexpected, the extension for the easing of Huawei sanctions had added to the relief for markets at the start of the week," said Jingyi Pan, market strategist for IG in Singapore. ENERGY: Benchmark crude oil rose 14 cents to $56.28 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 10 cents to $59.84 a barrel. CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 106.43 yen from 106.36 yen on Monday. The euro weakened to $1.1074 from $1.1104.


 In this Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, file photo, New England Patriots' Patrick Chung gestures before the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game in Atlanta. Chung has been indicted in New Hampshire on a charge of cocaine possession. A Belknap County grand jury indicted the 32-year-old Chung on Aug. 8, 2019. Authorities said Chung knowingly possessed cocaine on June 25 while in Meredith, N.H. (AP Photo/Gregory Payan, File)

Jamaican-born NFL star Patrick Chung has been indicted in New Hampshire on a charge of cocaine possession. A Belknap County grand jury indicted the 32-year-old New England Patriots safetyon August8. Authorities say Chung knowingly possessed cocaine on June 25 while in Meredith. Chung's arraignment is scheduled for Wednesday. Chung, whose mother is Jamaican singer Sophia George, best known for the 1980s hit 'Girlie Girlie', has played for the Patriots for nine of his 10 NFL seasons and won three Super Bowls. The Laconia Sunreportstown records show that Chung owns a lakeside home in Meredith. It is not clear whether Chung has an attorney who can speak for him. The court file doesn't list one. The Associated Press left a message seeking comment with a spokesperson for the Patriots. The voicemail box for Chung's agent was full.

The Earthquake Unit has confirmed that a minor earthquake was felt in several sections of the island Thursdaymorning. Nine parishes reported feeling the effects of the tremor. "The unit quake struck at 6:45 am approximately four kilometres northwest of Guys Hills in St Catherine, close to the border with St. Ann.It had a magnitude of 4.2 and a focal depth of 15.1 kilometres, and was felt in Clarendon, St Thomas, St Elizabeth, Manchester, St Catherine, Portland, St Mary, and Kingston and StAndrew," Karlene Black, an analyst in the earthquake unit at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus, told Loop News reporter Claude Mills. "The area which is affected depends largely on the direction that a lot of the energy was directed. A lot of people felt it. Since the start of the year, we have had several earthquakes, but six of those were really felt by the public who we rely on to call us with information," she added. There have been no reports of damage or injuries yet.


In this Jan. 21, 2019, file photo, Serena Williams serves to Romania's Simona Halep during their fourth round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia.

Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova will finally meet in the U.S. Open, and they'll do it in their very first match. A long-awaited Roger Federer-Rafael Nadal showdown could come only in the final. Williams and Sharapova, past U.S. Open champions and two of the biggest stars in women's tennis, were scheduled for an opening-round matchup when the draws were conducted Thursday for the final major of the year. Williams and Sharapova have met in the finals of the other three majors and the 2012 Olympics but have never played each other in the U.S. Open. Williams owns a 19-2 record in their WTA Tour matchups and has won 18 in a row, but that lopsided number shouldn't do much to dampen the hype around what will be the marquee match of the opening round at Flushing Meadows, which starts Monday. Williams will begin another bid for a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title. Sharapova isn't the same player she was when she won the 2006 U.S. Open championship — or beat Williams two years earlier in the final at Wimbledon — but remains one of the most popular players among fans in New York. She was given a wild card into the tournament two years ago shortly after returning from a doping suspension and promptly scheduled for a match on Arthur Ashe Stadium, where she upset No. 2 seed Simona Halep. U.S. Open officials kept putting Sharapova on the main court in her next couple of matches, drawing complaints from some players who felt an unseeded player wasn't worthy of such a prime position. That shouldn't be a problem this time, as a Williams-Sharapova matchup is too big for anywhere other than Ashe. They haven't played since the 2016 Australian Open. They were scheduled to meet last year in the fourth round at the French Open in what was Williams' first major tournament after returning to tennis following the birth of her daughter, but she pulled out of the match with a pectoral muscle injury. The men's draw sent No. 3 seed Federer into the top half, meaning he could play top-ranked Novak Djokovic in the semifinals. They met in a classic final at Wimbledon, where Djokovic won in a fifth-set tiebreaker. Federer and No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal have never played each other in New York and could do so this year only if both make the final. Djokovic might have to beat both to repeat as U.S. Open champion — and could face a tough obstacle just to get there with a potential quarterfinal against No. 5 seed Daniil Medvedev. Medvedev upset Djokovic in the semifinals of the Western & Southern Open en route to the title in what was his third straight week reaching a final. Unlike some players, Djokovic said he does look at his draw beyond the next match to see his potential path. But he resisted the first opportunity to do it, declining an offer to peek at his bracket during an interview on ESPN when the draws were unveiled. "I need my alone time," Djokovic said. Nadal faces a potential first-round test against John Millman, the Australian who knocked Federer out in the fourth round at Flushing Meadows last year. Nadal could possibly face fourth-seeded Dominic Thiem in the semifinals. Other interesting first-round matches on the men's side include an all-Canadian affair between No. 18 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov, and eighth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas against Andrey Rublev, who routed Federer last week in the Western & Southern Open. The other potential men's quarters: Federer against No. 7 Kei Nishikori, Nadal against No. 6 seed Alexander Zverev and Thiem against Tsitsipas. Women's top seed Naomi Osaka, who beat Williams in last year's final for her first major title, could face a third-round match against Coco Gauff, the 15-year-old American who made it to the fourth round at Wimbledon and was given a wild card into the U.S. Open. The potential women's quarterfinals: Osaka against No. 7 Kiki Bertens, Williams against No. 2 Ash Barty, No. 3 Karolina Pliskova against No. 5 Elina Svitolina and Halep against No. 6 Petra Kvitova. Vera Zvonareva, the 2010 U.S. Open runner-up, and Anna Karolina Schmiedlova withdrew with injuries before the draw was conducted. With Amanda Anisimova's earlier withdrawal, the women's draw will feature three players who lose in qualifying.

Kemar Roach and Shannon Gabriel got West Indies off to a promising start on a rain-affected day one of the Test series against India before Ajinkya Rahane steadied the ship with a half-century at North Sound. Roach took 3-43 and fellow paceman Gabriel (2-49) also shone in Antigua, where the tourists recovered from 25-3 to 203-6 at stumps on Thursday. Rahane made a patient 81 at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium to rescue the top-ranked side, who left out spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and batsman Rohit Sharma. KL Rahul chipped in with 44 on an opening day in which only 68.5 overs were bowled due to the weather, which brought play to a premature end. India were in trouble on 7-2 after the lively Roach struck twice in the fifth over, snaring Mayank Agarwal and Cheteshwar Pujara caught behind with a hostile display of bowling with the new ball. Gabriel then claimed the prized scalp of India captain Virat Kohli, who was taken by debutant Shamarh Brooks in the gully for just nine to leave the tourists deeper in the mire. Rahul and Rahane prevented any further damage from being done before lunch, digging in as the Windies attack continued to probe. Rahul hung in there following an edgy start and Miguel Cummins was unable to cling on to a difficult chance to see the back of Rahane, who drove with increasing assurance. Roston Chase (1-42) ended a fourth-wicket stand of 68 by getting Rahul caught behind down the leg side and India were 134-4 when tea was taken early due to rain. Hanuma Vihari, playing in only his fifth Test, struck five boundaries in his 32 before edging Roach behind and Rahane missed out on a century when he chopped on attempting to punch Gabriel through the off side. Rishabh Pant was unbeaten on 20 and Ravindra Jadeja dug in for three before stumps were called after the rain returned.


Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has released a $16.3 trillion climate plan that builds on the Green New Deal and calls for the United States to move to renewable energy across the economy by 2050 and declare climate change a national emergency. While the Vermont senator had already endorsed the sweeping Democratic proposal to combat climate change and had teamed up with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York on climate legislation, Sanders' climate plan provides the most detail yet on how he envisions the climate change moonshot taking shape if he is elected president. Sanders describes his plan, released Thursday, as a "ten-year, nationwide mobilization centred on equity and humanity" that would create 20 million new jobs. The Green New Deal resolution, which Ocasio-Cortez put forth with Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts, calls on the nation to eliminate its carbon footprint by 2030 and to shift away from fossil fuels such as oil and coal and replace them with renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power. Among Sanders' ideas is sourcing 100% of the country's electricity from renewable and zero-emissions power. He is calling for committing $2.18 trillion in grants for low- and middle-income families to weatherize and retrofit their homes and businesses, with the goal of reducing residential energy consumption by 30%. He would charge the Energy Department with making sure that both new and existing commercial structures, as well as high-income home owners, meet his administration's energy retrofitting goals. Sanders also is calling for an overhaul of the nation's transportation system by investing in electric vehicles, high-speed rail and expanded public transit. He calls for spending $526 billion in modernizing the electrical grid across the United States. In his plan, Sanders notes that communities of colour are disproportionately affected by the climate emergency. He says the Green New Deal is an "opportunity to uproot historical injustices and inequities to advance social, racial and economic justice." A Northern California community ravaged last November by the state's deadliest wildfire on record will serve as the backdrop for Sanders' climate announcement. Scientists and policymakers have blamed climate change for California's worsening wildfires, which have killed more than 100 people and destroyed tens of thousands of homes in recent years. As scientists warn of the imminent consequences of global warming, the Green New Deal has been a rallying point for liberals in the party's base as well as Democratic presidential contenders in the crowded field. But Republicans have argued that the plan is too radical and would drive the economy off a cliff and lead to a huge tax increase. Sanders is the latest Democratic presidential contender to release details of his climate plans. Former Vice President Joe Biden released a $5 trillion-plus climate proposal that he says would lead the U.S. to net zero emissions of carbon pollution by 2050, and he is calling for $1.7 trillion in federal spending over 10 years. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has proposed investing $2 trillion in federal funding in clean energy programs as part of a Green New Deal, including her Green Apollo Program to invest in clean energy research and development and a Green Marshall Plan devoted to encouraging countries to buy and use American-made clean energy technologies. Before abandoning his presidential bid Wednesday, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who staked his campaign on the issue of climate change, released a $9 trillion plan to cut emissions. Former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke called for spending $5 trillion over 10 years to combat climate change. Sanders' plan calls for a $16.3 trillion investment, and the campaign is proposing covering the costs over 15 years by a patchwork of measures that includes eliminating existing fossil fuel subsidies and taxes on that industry; income tax revenue on the 20 million jobs created by his plan; and an estimated $1.3 trillion saved through a reduced need for safety net programs because of the creation of those jobs.

Denmark's Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen makes a comment about US President's cancellation of his scheduled State Visit, in front of the State Department in Copenhagen, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019. U.S. President Trump announced his decision to postpone a visit to Denmark by tweet on Tuesday Aug. 20, 2019, after Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen dismissed the notion of selling Greenland to the U.S. as "an absurd discussion." (Mads Claus Rasmussen / Ritzau Scanpix)

A former Danish prime minister on Thursday lashed out at U.S. President Donald Trump for his tweet about military spending, saying defence willingness is not just about the amount of money spent. Lars Loekke Rasmussen's comment is the latest in an escalating spat between the U.S. and Denmark after Trump scrapped a visit to the country, saying current Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen was "nasty" when she rejected his idea of buying Greenland as an absurdity. Loekke Rasmussen, who led the country until June, tweeted Thursday to Trump: "We have had (proportionally) exactly the same numbers of casualties in Afghanistan as the US. We always standfirm and ready." Trump, who has urged NATO members to do more to meet the alliance's goal of committing 2 percent of gross domestic product to defence, earlier tweeted that "Denmark is only at 1.35%." "We will not accept that our defence willingness is only about percentages," Loekke Rasmussen tweeted. "I told you at the NATO Summit in Brussels last year." In January, Denmark agreed to increase its long-term defence spending after a coalition in Parliament agreed to add 1.5 billion kroner ($223 million) to the already agreed-upon defence budget for 2023, which would put defence spending at 1.5 percent of gross domestic product for that year. The U.S. spends about 3.4% of its GDP on defence. Trump abruptly cancelled his planned Sept. 2-3 visit to Denmark on Tuesday, after Frederiksen had called Trump's idea to buy Greenland "an absurd discussion." Trump said her comment "was nasty. I thought it was an inappropriate statement. All she had to say was say, 'No, we wouldn't be interested.'" Frederiksen said the U.S. remains one of Denmark's close allies. The political brouhaha over the world's largest island comes from its strategic location in the Arctic. Global warming is making Greenland more accessible to potential oil and mineral resources. Russia, China, the U.S., Canada and other countries are racing to stake as strong a claim as they can to Arctic lands, hoping they will yield future riches. Frederiksen has said that Denmark doesn't own Greenland, which belongs to its people. It is part of the Danish realm along with the Faeroe Islands, another semi-autonomous territory, and has its own government and parliament, the 31-seat Inatsisartut. The sparsely populated island, which is four times zones behind Copenhagen, became a Danish colony in 1775 and remained that way until 1953, when Denmark revised its constitution and made the island a province. In 1979, Greenland and its 56,000 residents, who are mainly indigenous Inuits, got extensive home rule but Denmark still handles its foreign and defence policies, as well as currency issues. Denmark pays annual subsidies of 4.5 billion kroner ($670 million) to Greenland whose economy otherwise depends on fisheries and related industries. On Wednesday, the U.S. State Department said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke with his Danish counterpart and "expressed appreciation for Denmark's cooperation as one of the United States' allies and Denmark's contributions to address shared global security priorities." Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said Pompeo and Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs Jeppe Kofod "also discussed strengthening cooperation with the Kingdom of Denmark — including Greenland — in the Arctic." "Appreciate frank, friendly and constructive talk with @SecPompeo this evening, affirming strong US-DK bond," Kofod tweeted Wednesday evening. "U.S. & Denmark are close friends and allies with long history of active engagement across globe."