WASHINGTON

Most of Greenland’s ice sheet has started melting

Nearly all of Greenland’s massive ice sheet suddenly started melting a bit this month, a freak event that surprised scientists.

Even Greenland’s coldest and highest place, Summit station, showed melting. Ice core records show that last happened in 1889 and occurs about once every 150 years.

Three satellites show what NASA calls unprecedented melting of the ice sheet that blankets the island, starting on July 8 and lasting four days.

Most of the thick ice remains. While some ice usually melts during the summer, what was unusual was that the melting happened in a flash and over a widespread area.

The ice melt area went from 40 percent of the ice sheet to 97 percent in four days, according to NASA.

Until now, the most extensive melt seen by satellites in the past three decades was about 55 percent.

LOS ANGELES

City to ban pot shops until guidelines can be established

Unable to rein in hundreds of medical pot shops that blossomed around the nation’s second-biggest city, lawmakers voted Tuesday to ban them until it has clearer guidance from the state’s highest court.

The 14-0 vote by the Los Angeles City Council drew an angry, profanity-laced response from some medical marijuana advocates who attended the council meeting.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was prepared to sign the ordinance, according to his spokeswoman Vicki Curry.

The storefront ban would then go into effect after 30 days.

In the interim, letters will be sent to as many as 900 dispensaries advising them of the ban.

The city has fumbled with its medical marijuana laws for years, trying to provide safe and affordable access to the drug for legitimate patients while addressing worries by neighborhood groups that streets were being overrun by dispensaries and pot users.

GENEVA

Ex-Rep. Giffords in Alps as part of visit to CERN

Former U.S. congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, recovering from injuries in a mass shooting last year, has ventured into the French Alps.

Officials at the European Center for Nuclear Research said Tuesday the outing by Giffords, her astronaut husband Mark Kelly and daughter Claire was organized as part of a visit to CERN outside Geneva.

Giffords, who held an Arizona seat in Congress for more than four years, rode a cable car Monday up the 12,605-foot Aiguille du Midi outside Chamonix, France.

Giffords gave up her seat to focus on her recovery from a gunshot wound to the head during a Jan. 8, 2011, rampage that left six dead and 13 wounded.

CERN will host a meeting Wednesday of astronauts who carried equipment designed at CERN to the International Space Station.

 


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