Tensions are flaring in the Persian Gulf after President Donald Trump said the US is "locked and loaded" to respond to a weekend drone assault on Saudi Arabia's energy infrastructure that his aides blamed on Iran. The attack, which halved the kingdom's oil production and sent crude prices spiking, led Trump to authorize the release of US strategic reserves should they be necessary to stabilize markets. Trump said the US had reason to believe it knew who was behind the attack his secretary of state had blamed on Iran the previous day and said his government was waiting to consult with the Saudis as to who they believe was behind the attack and "under what terms we would proceed!" The tweets Sunday followed a National Security Council meeting at the White House and hours after US officials offered what they said was proof that the attack was inconsistent with claims of responsibility by Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels and instead pointed the finger directly at Tehran. A US official said all options, including a military response, were on the table, but added that no decisions had been made. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the internal deliberations. Iran called the US claims "maximum lies" and threatened American forces in the region. The attack dimmed hopes for potential nuclear talks between Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the UN General Assembly this week. The US government produced satellite photos showing what officials said were at least 19 points of impact at two Saudi energy facilities, including damage at the heart of the kingdom's crucial oil processing plant at Abqaiq. Officials said the photos show impacts consistent with the attack coming from the direction of Iran or Iraq, rather than from Yemen to the south. Iraq denied that its territory was used for an attack on the kingdom. US officials said a strike from there would be a violation of Iraq's sovereignty. The US officials said additional devices, which apparently didn't reach their targets, were recovered northwest of the facilities and are being jointly analyzed by Saudi and American intelligence. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, did not address whether the drone could have been fired from Yemen, then taken a round-about path, but did not explicitly rule it out. The attacks and recriminations are increasing already heightened fears of an escalation in the region, after a prominent US senator suggested striking Iranian oil refineries in response to the assault, and Iran warned of the potential of more violence. "Because of the tension and sensitive situation, our region is like a powder keg," said Iranian Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh. "When these contacts come too close, when forces come into contact with one another, it is possible a conflict happens because of a misunderstanding." Actions on any side could break into the open a twilight war that's been raging just below the surface of the wider Persian Gulf in recent months. Already, there have been mysterious attacks on oil tankers that America blames on Tehran, at least one suspected Israeli strike on Shiite forces in Iraq, and Iran shooting down a US military surveillance drone. The attack Saturday on Saudi Arabia's Abqaiq plant and its Khurais oil field led to the interruption of an estimated 5.7 million barrels of the kingdom's crude oil production per day, equivalent to more than 5% of the world's daily supply. It remains unclear how King Salman and his assertive son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, will respond to an attack targeting the heart of the Saudi oil industry. Crude oil futures shot up 9.5% to $60 as trading opened Sunday evening in New York, a dramatic increase. Saudi Arabia has promised to fill in the cut in production with its reserves, but has not said how long it will take to repair the damage. The Wall Street Journal cited Saudi officials as saying a third of output would be restored on Monday, but a return to full production may take weeks. In Washington, Trump said he had approved the release of US strategic petroleum reserves "if needed" to stabilize energy markets. The president said the final amount of the release, if any, would be "sufficient to keep the markets well-supplied." He later credited himself for expanding US energy exports in a Monday morning tweet, writing: "We don't need Middle Eastern Oil & Gas, & in fact have very few tankers there, but will help our Allies!" Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi dismissed the US allegation of responsibility as "blind and futile comments." "The Americans adopted the 'maximum pressure' policy against Iran, which, due to its failure, is leaning toward 'maximum lies,'" Mousavi said in a statement. Houthi leader Muhammad al-Bukhaiti reiterated his group's claim of responsibility, telling The Associated Press it exploited "vulnerabilities" in Saudi air defenses to strike the targets. He did not elaborate. Iran, meanwhile, kept up its own threats. Hajizadeh, the brigadier general who leads the country's aerospace program, said in an interview published across Iranian media Sunday that Revolutionary Guard forces were ready for a counterattack if America responded, naming the Al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar and Al-Dhafra Air Base near Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates as immediate targets, as well as US Navy ships in the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea. "Wherever they are, it only takes one spark and we hit their vessels, their air bases, their troops," he said in a video published online with English subtitles. Trump insisted that unspecified conditions must be met before he would sit down with the Iranian leader, apparently rejecting the comments of two top advisers. "The Fake News is saying that I am willing to meet with Iran, 'No Conditions.' That is an incorrect statement (as usual!)." In fact, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said last week that "the president has said that he is prepared to meet with no conditions." And Pompeo had told reporters days earlier that "the President has made clear he is happy to take a meeting with no preconditions." Iran has said it was unwilling to meet with Trump while crushing sanctions the American leader imposed on Tehran after unilaterally withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear accord over a year ago remain in place.

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.”


Amidst ongoing cooperation from the Government of Taiwan to sustain growth within the agriculture sector, Minister for Agriculture, Hon. Ezechiel Joseph said efforts by the ministry to improve the international market share for bananas must be met with vigour by the lead exporter. Minister Joseph said a recent review of Winfresh’s records of exports to the UK market is not reflective of banana production on the island. He is concerned that the increase in production did not result in increased exports, consequently resulting in losses for farmers who were unable to reap the financial benefits of actions initiated under the new agriculture policy. The policy addresses the substantial deficiencies found in agricultural trade, investments and international product placements. “We have a challenge,” Minister Joseph said. “The challenge is that the market under the current leadership is not providing the kind of support that we believe the company can give. As a government we have met with the leadership of Winfresh, during which the prime minister clearly articulated his concerns, so much so that we took a team to England to meet with stakeholders to get a firsthand appreciation of the challenges. Coming from that meeting we again met with Winfresh and informed them that we will not allow our efforts to increase exports to be stifled.” In apportioning responsibilities and breaches to this new export agreement, Minister Joseph said all partners need to be held accountable for targets that are not reached. “As a ministry, we try to be understanding, but the time has come now for us to speak out about our frustrations. If the current leadership is not in a position to support our initiatives and programs, it will have to allow persons who have the willpower and the energy, to provide that support. We need to see the benefits trickling down to our farmers.” The strategic approach taken by the Ministry of Agriculture to expand banana production and exports is seen as a model to replicate in other Windward Island states. Minister Joseph said it should serve as testimony to banana stakeholders that the ministry’s efforts to improve the quality and availability of bananas is well placed. “What we are doing in Saint Lucia is being recognized by the other Windward Island countries,” he said. “The Minister for Agriculture in Saint Vincent called me, urged by his banana farmers, to speak to Saint Lucia so that they can return to international markets. And if the current exporter cannot, at this time, accommodate Saint Lucia, what will happen when Saint Vincent and Dominica get back into production? I want to make it clear that the time has come for a serious review.” The Ministry of Agriculture will be working with the management of Winfresh in the coming weeks to ascertain what actions can be applied to address the issue.

Gary Allison, left, waves while standing with other union members picketing outside the General Motors Plant in Arlington, Texas, Monday, Sept. 16, 2019. More than 49,000 members of the United Auto Workers walked off General Motors factory floors or set up picket lines as contract talks with the company deteriorated into a strike. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Talks are set to resume Tuesday after a pause overnight, but there was no end to the strike against General Motors. Brian Rothenberg, spokesman for the UAW, said Tuesday "They are talking, they've made progress, we'll see how long it takes." The walkout by upward of 49,000 United Auto Workers members has brought to a standstill more than 50 factories and parts warehouses in the union's first strike against the No. 1 USautomaker in over a decade. Workers left factories and formed picket lines shortly after midnight Monday in the dispute over a new four-year contract. The union's top negotiator said in a letter to the company that the strike could have been averted had the company made its latest offer sooner. The letter dated Sunday suggests that the company and union are not as far apart as the rhetoric leading up to the strike had indicated. Negotiations continued Monday in Detroit after breaking off during the weekend. But Rothenberg said the two sides have come to terms on only two percent of the contract. "We've got 98 percentto go," he said Monday. GM on Monday cancelled the workers' company-sponsored health insurance, Rothenberg said, but the UAW had policies in place and is covering striking workers. GM said that under the UAW contract, responsibility for health insurance shifts from the company to the union if there is a strike. "We understand strikes are difficult and disruptive to families," said Daniel Flores, GM spokesman. "While on strike, some benefits shift to being funded by the union's strike fund, and in this case hourly employees are eligible for union-paid COBRA so their health care benefits can continue." Asked about the possibility of federal mediation, President Donald Trump, said it's possible if the company and union want it. "Hopefully they'll be able to work out the GM strike quickly," Trump said Monday before leaving the White House for New Mexico. "Hopefully, they're going to work it out quickly and solidly." Wall Street did not like seeing the union picketers. GM shares closed Monday down more than four percent, and edged down 15 cents to $37.06 Tuesday morning. On the picket line Monday at GM's transmission plant in Toledo, Ohio, workers who said they have been with the company for more than 30 years were concerned for younger colleagues who are making less money under GM's two-tier wage scale and have fewer benefits. Paul Kane, from South Lyon, Michigan, a 42-year GM employee, said much of what the union is fighting for will not affect him. "It's not right when you're working next to someone, doing the same job and they're making a lot more money," he said. "They should be making the same as me. They've got families to support." Kane said GM workers gave up pay raises and made other concessions to keep GM afloat during its 2009 trip through bankruptcy protection. "Now it's their turn to pay us back," he said. "That was the promise they gave." UAW Vice President Terry Dittes told GM that the company's latest offer might have made it possible to reach an agreement if it had come earlier. "We are disappointed that the company waited until just two hours before the contract expired to make what we regard as its first serious offer," Dittes wrote in the letter to Scott Sandefur, GM's vice president of labour relations. There are many important items left in the talks, including wage increases, pay for new hires, job security, profit sharing and treatment of temporary workers, Dittes wrote. "We are willing to meet as frequently, and for as long as it takes, to reach an agreement that treats our members fairly," the letter said. GM issued a statement saying it wants to reach a deal that builds a strong future for workers and the business. The automaker said Sunday that it offered pay raises and $7 billion worth of USfactory investments resulting in 5400 new positions, a minority of which would be filled by existing employees. GM would not give a precise number. The company also said it offered higher profit sharing, "nationally leading" health benefits and an $8000 payment to each worker upon ratification. Before the talks broke off, GM offered new products to replace work at two of four USfactories that it intends to close. The company pledged to build a new all-electric pickup truck at a factory in Detroit, according to a person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. The person was not authorised to disclose details of the negotiations. The automaker also offered to open an electric vehicle battery plant in Lordstown, Ohio, where it has a huge factory that has already stopped making cars and will be closed. The new factory would be in addition to a proposal to make electric vehicles for a company called Workhorse, the person said. It's unclear how many workers the two plants would employ. The closures, especially of the Ohio plant, have become issues in the 2020 presidential campaign. President Donald Trump has consistently criticised the company and demanded that Lordstown be reopened. Kristin Dziczek, vice president of labour and industry for the Center for Automotive Research, an industry think tank, said the letter and resumption of contract talks are encouraging signs. "It makes me think that both sides are probably closer than it might have seemed before," she said. But both Dziczek and Art Wheaton, an auto industry expert at the Worker Institute at Cornell University, say GM left out key details when it made part of its offer public, and working out those details could make the strike last longer. "I think GM kind of sabotaged some of the negotiations by going immediately to the public," Wheaton said. "It really distorts the offer." The strike shut down 33 manufacturing plants in nine states across the US, as well as 22 parts-distribution warehouses. It's the first national strike by the union since a two-day walkout in 2007 that had little impact on the company. Workers at Fiat Chrysler and Ford continued working under contract extensions. Any agreement reached with GM will serve as a template for talks with the other two companies.


Diver Lenford DaCosta cleans up lines of staghorn coral at an underwater coral nursery inside the Oracabessa Fish Sanctuary, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019, in Oracabessa, Jamaica.(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Everton Simpson squints at the Caribbean from his motorboat, scanning the dazzling bands of colour for hints of what lies beneath. Emerald green indicates sandy bottoms. Sapphire blue lies above seagrass meadows. And deep indigo marks coral reefs. That's where he's headed. He steers the boat to an unmarked spot that he knows as the "coral nursery." ''It's like a forest under the sea," he says, strapping on blue flippers and fastening his tank before tipping backward into the azure waters. He swims down 25 feet (7.6 meters) carrying a pair of metal shears, fishing line and a plastic crate. On the ocean floor, small coral fragments dangle from suspended ropes, like socks hung on a laundry line. Simpson and other divers tend to this underwater nursery as gardeners mind a flower bed — slowly and painstakingly plucking off snails and fireworms that feast on immature coral. When each stub grows to about the size of a human hand, Simpson collects them in his crate to individually "transplant" onto a reef, a process akin to planting each blade of grass in a lawn separately. Diver Everton Simpson grabs a handful of staghorn, harvested from a coral nursery, to be planted inside the the White River Fish Sanctuary Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019, in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.(AP Photo/David J. Phillip) Even fast-growing coral species add just a few inches a year. And it's not possible to simply scatter seeds. A few hours later, at a site called Dickie's Reef, Simpson dives again and uses bits of fishing line to tie clusters of staghorn coral onto rocky outcroppings — a temporary binding until the coral's limestone skeleton grows and fixes itself onto the rock. The goal is to jumpstart the natural growth of a coral reef. And so far, it's working. Almost everyone in Jamaica depends on the sea, including Simpson, who lives in a modest house he built himself near the island's northern coast. The energetic 68-year-old has reinvented himself several times, but always made a living from the ocean. Once a spear fisherman and later a scuba-diving instructor, Simpson started working as a "coral gardener" two years ago — part of grassroots efforts to bring Jamaica's coral reefs back from the brink. White River Fish Sanctuary warden and diver Everton Simpson heads out to sea to patrol against illegal fishing at dawn in White River, Jamaica, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/David Goldman) Coral reefs are often called "rainforests of the sea" for the astonishing diversity of life they shelter. Just 2% of the ocean floor is filled with coral, but the branching structures — shaped like everything from reindeer antlers to human brains — sustain a quarter of all marine species. Clown fish, parrotfish, groupers and snappers lay eggs and hide from predators in the reef's nooks and crannies, and their presence draws eels, sea snakes, octopuses and even sharks. In healthy reefs, jellyfish and sea turtles are regular visitors. With fish and coral, it's a codependent relationship — the fish rely upon the reef structure to evade danger and lay eggs, and they also eat up the coral's rivals. Life on the ocean floor is like a slow-motion competition for space, or an underwater game of musical chairs. Tropical fish and other marine animals, like black sea urchins, munch on fast-growing algae and seaweed that may otherwise outcompete the slow-growing coral for space. When too many fish disappear, the coral suffers — and vice-versa. After a series of natural and man-made disasters in the 1980s and 1990s, Jamaica lost 85% of its once-bountiful coral reefs. Meanwhile, fish catches declined to a sixth of what they had been in the 1950s, pushing families that depend on seafood closer to poverty. Many scientists thought that most of Jamaica's coral reef had been permanently replaced by seaweed, like jungle overtaking a ruined cathedral. But today, the corals and tropical fish are slowly reappearing, thanks in part to a series of careful interventions. The delicate labour of the coral gardener is only one part of restoring a reef — and for all its intricacy, it's actually the most straightforward part. Convincing lifelong fishermen to curtail when and where they fish and controlling the surging waste dumped into the ocean are trickier endeavours. Still, slowly, the comeback effort is gaining momentum. "The coral are coming back; the fish are coming back," says Stuart Sandin, a marine biologist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California. "It's probably some of the most vibrant coral reefs we've seen in Jamaica since the 1970s." "When you give nature a chance, she can repair herself," he adds. "It's not too late." Sandin is studying the health of coral reefs around the world as part of a research project called the "100 Island Challenge." His starting assumption was that the most populated islands would have the most degraded habitats, but what he found instead is that humans can be either a blessing or a curse, depending on how they manage resources. In Jamaica, more than a dozen grassroots-run coral nurseries and fish sanctuaries have sprung up in the past decade, supported by small grants from foundations, local businesses such as hotels and scuba clinics, and the Jamaican government. At White River Fish Sanctuary, which is only about 2 years old and where Simpson works, the clearest proof of early success is the return of tropical fish that inhabit the reefs, as well as hungry pelicans, skimming the surface of the water to feed on them. Jamaica's coral reefs were once among the world's most celebrated, with their golden branching structures and resident bright-coloured fish drawing the attention of travellers from Christopher Columbus to Ian Fleming, who wrote most of his James Bond novels on the island nation's northern coast in the 1950s and '60s. In 1965, the country became the site of the first global research hub for coral reefs, the Discovery Bay Marine Lab, now associated with the University of the West Indies. The pathbreaking marine biologist couple Thomas and Nora Goreau completed fundamental research here, including describing the symbiotic relationship between coral and algae and pioneering the use of scuba equipment for marine studies. The same lab also provided a vantage point as the coral disappeared. Peter Gayle has been a marine biologist at Discovery Bay since 1985. From the yard outside his office, he points toward the reef crest about 300 meters away — a thin brown line splashed with white waves. "Before 1980, Jamaica had healthy coral," he notes. Then several disasters struck. The first calamity was 1980's Hurricane Allen, one of the most powerful cyclones in recorded history. "Its 40-foot waves crashed against the shore and basically chewed up the reef," Gayle says. Coral can grow back after natural disasters, but only when given a chance to recover — which it never got. That same decade, a mysterious epidemic killed more than 95% of the black sea urchins in the Caribbean, while overfishing ravaged fish populations. And surging waste from the island's growing human population, which nearly doubled between 1960 and 2010, released chemicals and nutrients into the water that spur faster algae growth. The result: Seaweed and algae took over. "There was a tipping point in the 1980s, when it switched from being a coral-dominated system to being an algae-dominated system," Gayle says. "Scientists call it a 'phase shift.'" That seemed like the end of the story, until an unlikely alliance started to tip the ecosystem back in the other direction, with help from residents like Everton Simpson and his fellow fisherman Lipton Bailey. The fishing community of White River revolves around a small boat-docking area about a quarter-mile from where the river flows into the Caribbean Sea. One early morning, as purple dawn light filters into the sky, Simpson and Bailey step onto a 28-foot motorboat called the Interceptor. Both men have lived and fished their whole lives in the community. Recently, they have come to believe that they need to protect the coral reefs that attract tropical fish, while setting limits on fishing to ensure the sea isn't emptied too quickly. In the White River area, the solution was to create a protected area — a "fish sanctuary" — for immature fish to grow and reach reproductive age before they are caught. Two years ago, the fishermen joined with local businesses, including hotel owners, to form a marine association and negotiate the boundaries for a no-fishing zone stretching two miles along the coast. A simple line in the water is hardly a deterrent, however; to make the boundary meaningful, it must be enforced. Today, the local fishermen, including Simpson and Bailey, take turns patrolling the boundary in the Interceptor. On this morning, the men steer the boat just outside a row of orange buoys marked "No Fishing." ''We are looking for violators," Bailey says, his eyes trained on the rocky coast. "Sometimes you find spearmen. They think they're smart. We try to beat them at their game." Most of the older and more established fishermen, who own boats and set out lines and wire cages, have come to accept the no-fishing zone. Besides, the risk of having their equipment confiscated is too great. But not everyone is on board. Some younger men hunt with lightweight spearguns, swimming out to sea and firing at close-range. These men — some of them poor and with few options — are the most likely trespassers. The patrols carry no weapons, so they must master the art of persuasion. "Let them understand this. It's not a you thing or a me thing. This isn't personal," Bailey says of past encounters with violators. These are sometimes risky efforts. Two years ago, Jerlene Layne, a manager at nearby Boscobel Fish Sanctuary, landed in the hospital with a bruised leg after being attacked by a man she had reprimanded for fishing illegally in the sanctuary. "He used a stick to hit my leg because I was doing my job, telling him he cannot fish in the protected area," she says. Layne believes her work would be safer with more formal support from the police, but she isn't going to stop. "Public mindsets can change," she says. "If I back down on this, what kind of message does that send? You have to stand for something." She has pressed charges in court against repeat trespassers, typically resulting in a fine and equipment confiscation. One such violator is Damian Brown, 33, who lives in a coastal neighbourhood called Stewart Town. Sitting outside on a concrete staircase near his modest home, Brown says fishing is his only option for work — and he believes the sanctuary boundaries extend too far. But others who once were sceptical say they've come to see limits as a good thing. Back at the White River docking area, Rick Walker, a 35-year-old spearfisherman, is cleaning his motorboat. He remembers the early opposition to the fish sanctuary, with many people saying, "'No, they're trying to stop our livelihood.'" Two years later, Walker, who is not involved in running the sanctuary but supports its boundary, says he can see the benefits. "It's easier to catch snapper and barracuda," he says. "At least my great-grandkids will get to see some fish." When Columbus landed in Jamaica, he sailed into Oracabessa Bay, today a 20-minute drive from the mouth of the White River. Oracabessa Bay Fish Sanctuary was the first of the grassroots-led efforts to revive Jamaica's coral reefs. Its sanctuary was legally incorporated in 2010, and its approach of enlisting local fishermen as patrols became a model for other regions. "The fishermen are mostly on board and happy, that's the distinction. That's why it's working," sanctuary manager Inilek Wilmot says. David Murray, head of the Oracabessa Fishers' Association, notes that Jamaica's 60,000 fishermen operate without a safety net. "Fishing is like gambling, it's a game. Sometimes you catch something, sometimes you don't," he says. When fish populations began to collapse two decades ago, something had to change. Murray now works as a warden in the Oracabessa sanctuary, while continuing to fish outside its boundary. He also spends time explaining the concept to neighbours. "It's people work — it's a process to get people to agree on a sanctuary boundary," he says. "It's a tough job to tell a man who's been fishing all his life that he can't fish here." But once it became clear that a no-fishing zone actually helped nearby fish populations rebound, it became easier to build support. The number of fish in the sanctuary has doubled between 2011 and 2017, and the individual fish have grown larger — nearly tripling in length on average — according to annual surveys by Jamaica's National Environment and Planning Agency. And that boosts catches in surrounding areas. After word got out about Oracabessa, other regions wanted advice. "We have the data to show success, but even more important than data is word of mouth," says Wilmot, who oversaw training to help start the fish sanctuary at White River. Belinda Morrow, a lifelong water-sports enthusiast often seen paddle-boarding with her dog Shadow, runs the White River Marine Association. She attends fishers' meetings and raises small grants from the Jamaican government and other foundations to support equipment purchases and coral replanting campaigns. "We all depend on the ocean," Morrow says, sitting in a small office decorated with nautical maps in the iconic 70-year-old Jamaica Inn. "If we don't have a good healthy reef and a good healthy marine environment, we will lose too much. Too much of the country relies on the sea."

A handful of men hover around Gayle Wallace as she hands out four fish sandwiches with a dab of ketchup on each at the cramped home she rents in Murphy Town. Some are friends, others family. All are part of a new community of survivors emerging nearly three weeks after Hurricane Dorian blasted through the northern Bahamas, killing at least 50 people as one of the strongest Atlantic hurricanes on record. These are the ones who stayed behind as everyone else fled, the ones vowing to rebuild on Great Abaco Island with the help of people like Wallace after the storm decimated neighbourhoods September1 with winds of 185 mph and flooding that reached 25 feet high in some areas. "Basically, she's the tree of the community right now," said 39-year-old Jean Richie. "We're still trying to come to terms this happened. We in a daze." Thousands of people like Wallace and Richie remain in limbo as local officials debate how they will help Bahamians rebuild their lives. Non-profit groups now await directions from the government after blanketing hard-hit Abaco and Grand Bahama islands with food, water and manpower following the Category 5 storm. Carl Smith, spokesman for the Bahamas' National Emergency Management Agency, said the government was nearing the end of the immediate response to Dorian and moving into a phase where it will focus on restoring basic services, including repairing roads, bridges and airports. After that, he said, officials will focus on reconstruction as they assess damage and needs. "Over the past three weeks, our country has been through a traumatic experience," Smith said. "There may still be individuals and groups in remote areas that we are not aware of." Bodies are still being found, including two discovered Sunday under debris in Marsh Harbor, just on the other side of the street where the emergency agency has set up temporary headquarters in a grocery store. In addition, more than 1,300 people have been reported as missing, but the government has said it expects that number to drop because many may be in shelters or staying with family or friends. Rob Jenkins, USAID disaster assistance response team leader, said his agency and others are helping the government go through the list of names to ensure they are indeed missing. "While the list is very scary, we expect based on what has happened in the past to see a dramatic decrease over time," he said, referring to previous natural disasters. He said USAID also is transitioning to provide longer-term support, including finding more permanent shelter, removing debris and placing children into new schools. "At the initial phase of a crisis, people tend to have their hair on fire," he said. "We are past that phase." He said there are still nearly 2,000 people in shelters in the capital of Nassau, but only about 70 on Grand Bahama and three at Abaco, which is nearly deserted. He said it's hard to estimate how long it will take to find more permanent shelter for all those people, adding that officials have talked about public-private partnerships as one preliminary report puts the estimated storm damage at $7 billion and the government faces a $200 million shortfall following Dorian. Jenkins said rebuilding wrecked homes or building elsewhere are some of the options for Abaco. "None of them are easy, and none of them are immediate." Among the organizations that have pledged help is All Hands and Hearts in Massachusetts. David Eisenbaum, director of international response, said it is setting up a two-year program to restore public infrastructure, mostly schools. "It's going to be a long recovery," he said as he squinted under a bright sun in Abaco on a recent morning and looked around. "The island has emptied. The population was unable to stay here." Those most affected by the storm were the couple thousands of people living in the Abaco communities known as Da Mudd and Pigeon Peas, shantytowns that were home to many of those who provided cheap labour in the construction, agricultural, domestic service and marine sectors. While the government has not given any specifics on what it will do to find more permanent shelters for hurricane survivors, it did issue an announcement Sunday prohibiting anyone from building any kind of new home or shelter in those communities for at least six months. It's a decision being challenged by attorney Fred Smith, who said the Bahamas has long discriminated against those poor communities, which have long attracted Haitian immigrants. "Most people have nowhere to go," he said. "What does the government expect them to do? Sit in the bush and burn under the sun?" Among those wondering where he would go next is 42-year-old Jesner Merxius, who is from the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince and lived in Da Mudd for 25 years before Dorian destroyed it and killed five of his family members. On a recent afternoon, he sucked on a hose and siphoned gas out of a dark blue car near what used to be his home, where only one wall remained. The sun had already faded clothes scattered around him, tarnished coins stuck to weathered tiles and began to turn the pages of a planner a slight yellow. "Where are they going to put us?" he said. "I don't know yet."


Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo fights for the ball with Atletico Madrid's Kieran Trippier during the Champions League Group D football  at Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez).

Héctor Herrera scored in the 90th minute as Atlético Madrid salvaged a 2-2 draw against Juventus in the Champions League on Wednesday. Cristiano Ronaldo was held scoreless in his return to Madrid, but Juventus wereable to open a 2-0 lead with goals by Juan Cuadrado and Blaise Matuidi in the second half. Sefan Savic pulled Atlético closer in the 70th and Herrera got the equalizer with a late header. In the other group match, Lokomotiv Moscow won 2-1 at Bayer Leverkusen.

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk.

Virgil van Dijk says he is not in talks with Liverpool over a new contract. Reports have suggested the Netherlands defender is close to signing a six-year deal at Anfield. With Real Madrid and Barcelona said to be interested in the centre-back, fresh terms would see Van Dijk commit his long-term future to the European champions. Van Dijk, though, has denied talks over a new contract are ongoing. "There is nothing going on, so that's it," the 28-year-old told Sky Sports News. Asked if he wanted a contractextension, Van Dijk added:"That's not on me.I saw some reports in the media that I was agreeing a new deal and stuff. But I'm not even discussing anything at the moment. "The only thing I want to do right now is focus on the games and we'll see in the future what may happen." Liverpool are five points clear atop the Premier League but lost the first game of their Champions League defence, going down 2-0 away to Napoli on Tuesday. "Difficult night last night and disappointing result but we must put it behind us and now it's about how we react," Van Dijk wrote on Twitter. "It's time to stand up, be positive and focus on putting in a big performance against Chelsea. Thanks to all of the travelling Reds who came out to support us."


The British government was back at the country's Supreme Court on Wednesday, arguing that Prime Minister Boris Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament just weeks before the country is set to leave the European Union was neither improper nor illegal. It's the second day of a historic three-day hearing that pits the powers of Britain's legislature against those of its executive as the country's scheduled Brexit date of October31 looms over its political landscape and its economy. Government lawyer James Eadie argued that a lower court was right to rule that Johnson's suspension of Parliament was a matter of "high policy" and politics, not law. Eadie called the decision to shut down Parliament "inherently and fundamentally political in nature." He said if the court intervened it would violate the "fundamental constitutional principle" of the separation of powers between courts and the government. "This is, we submit, the territory of political judgment, not legal standards," Eadie said. The government's opponents argue that Johnson illegally shut down Parliament just weeks before the country is due to leave the 28-nation bloc for the "improper purpose" of dodging lawmakers' scrutiny of his Brexit plans. They also accuse Johnson of misleading Queen Elizabeth II, whose formal approval was needed to suspend the legislature. Johnson sent lawmakers home on September 9 until October14, which is barely two weeks before Britain's October31 departure from the EU. He claims the shutdown was a routine measure to enable his Conservative government to launch a fresh legislative agenda and was not related to Brexit. Eadie rejected claims that the prime minister was trying to prevent lawmakers from blocking his Brexit plans. He said "Parliament has had, and has taken, the opportunity to legislate" against the government, and would have more time between October 14 and Brexit day. He said even if Parliament didn't come back until October 31, "there is time" for it to act on Brexit. The prime minister says Britain must leave the EU on October 31 with or without a divorce deal. But many economists and UKlawmakers believe a no-deal Brexit would be economically devastating and socially destabilizing. Members of Parliament have put obstacles in Johnson's way, including a law compelling the government to seek a delay to Brexit if it can't get a divorce deal with the EU. Parliament's suspension spared Johnson further meddling by the House of Commons but sparked legal challenges, to which lower courts gave contradictory rulings. England's High Court said the move was a political rather than legal matter but Scottish court judges ruled Johnson acted illegally "to avoid democratic scrutiny." The Supreme Court is being asked to decide who was right. The justices will give their judgment sometime after the hearing ends on Thursday. A ruling against the government by the 11 Supreme Court judges could force Johnson to recall Parliament. European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker, meanwhile, said Wednesday that the risk of Britain leaving the EU without a divorce deal remained "very real" because Britain had not produced workable alternatives to the deal agreed upon with the EU by ex-British Prime Minister Theresa May. That deal was repeatedly rejected by Britain's Parliament, prompting May to resign and bringing Johnson to power in July. "I asked the British prime minister to specify the alternative arrangements that he could envisage," Juncker told the European Parliament. "As long as such proposals are not made, I cannot tell you — while looking you straight in the eye — that progress is being made." Juncker, who met with Johnson on Monday, told members of the EU legislature in Strasbourg, France, that a no-deal Brexit "might be the choice of the UK, but it will never be ours." The EU parliament on Wednesday adopted a non-binding resolution supporting another extension to the Brexit deadline if Britain requests it. Any further delay to Britain's exit — which has already been postponed twice — needs the approval of the 27 other EU nations. Johnson has said he won't delay Brexit under any circumstances — but also says he will respect the law, which orders the government to seek an extension if there is no deal by October19. He has not explained how that would be done.

Disinfectant solution is sprayed as a precaution against African swine fever at a pig farm in Yanggu, South Korea, Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019. South Korea is culling thousands of pigs after confirming African swine fever at a farm near its border with North Korea, which had an outbreak in May. (Yang Ji-ung/Yonhap via AP)

South Korea is culling thousands of pigs after confirming African swine fever at a farm near its border with North Korea, which had an outbreak in May. Kim Hyun-soo, South Korea's agricultural minister, said the country's first case of the highly contagious disease was confirmed Tuesday in tests on five pigs that died Monday evening at the farm in the city of Paju. His ministry later said it was looking into a suspected second case from a farm in the nearby town of Yeoncheon, where the owner reported the death of a pig, and that test results were expected by Wednesday morning. Officials were planning to complete by Tuesday the culling of some 4000 pigs raised at the Paju farm and two other farms run by the same family. The government also strengthened efforts to disinfect farms and transport vehicles and ordered a 48-hour standstill on all pig farms, slaughterhouses and feed factories across the country to prevent the spread of the disease, which threatens a massive industry that involves 6000 farms raising more than 11 million pigs. African swine fever has decimated pig herds in China and other Asian countries before reaching the Koreas. It is harmless to people but for pigs is highly contagious and fatal. There is no known cure. "We will invest maximum effort to prevent the disease from spreading ... we believe the first week (following the outbreak) would be most dangerous," considering incubation periods, Kim said during a news conference in Sejong City. "We will quickly complete monitoring inspections at the 6300 farms (nationwide) ... checking each pig to see whether it has fever or not and testing on even the slightest of symptoms," he said. South Korean President Moon Jae-in called for fast and stern quarantine measures to prevent the disease from wreaking havoc on the pork industry, the presidential Blue House said. The outbreak in South Korea comes despite months of heightened monitoring efforts at border area farms after the disease spread to North Korea. In May, the North told the World Organization for Animal Health, or OIE, that 77 of the 99 pigs at a cooperative farm near its border with China died of the disease and the remaining 22 pigs were culled. South Korea's agriculture ministry said investigators were sent to the farm to trace the source of the outbreak and it wasn't immediately clear if the disease would have crossed from North Korea. The ministry said in June that blood tests of pigs from some 340 farms near the border with the North came back negative. North Korea has scaled back cooperation with South Korea after a summit between leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump collapsed in February, and it has ignored repeated South Korean calls for joint efforts to stem the spread of the disease. South Korea placed hundreds of fences and traps around border area farms to prevent pigs from being infected by wild boars that roam in and out of North Korea. South Korea's military, which had monitored the movement of wild boars through heat sensors installed along the border, said it would be difficult for wild boars to cross over barbed wire fences in the mine-scattered border zone. But government officials have said the animals could possibly swim across rivers. Kim, the South Korean agricultural minister, said the Paju farm hit by the disease was about 2.5 kilometres (1.5 miles) away from a river that runs across the border. But it is a sealed indoor facility with no windows and is surrounded by fences to fend off wild boars. The farm's owner and four Nepalese workers said they hadn't recently travelled outside of South Korea, Kim said. "We haven't been able to immediately confirm the infection route of the disease," Kim said. "We are trying to identify the cause as soon as possible because that would be crucial for preventing the disease from spreading."