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'Greta': A young activist's moment, praised and criticized

September 26, 2019

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — She stepped onto the biggest of global stages to face the most diverse of audiences, and she made it count. "How dare you?" she kept saying to some of the world's most powerful people. "You are failing us," she told them.

Sometimes, a moment and a person align. For 16-year-old Greta Thunberg — whether you admire her or dislike her, and there are plenty of passionate partisans in both camps — Monday was that time.

Climate change is a diffuse topic. And in a society trained to consume narratives by movies and TV shows that feature sharp storylines and powerful protagonists and antagonists, it can be difficult to focus on something so vast and all-encompassing.

Thunberg is changing that, and Monday was the pinnacle of her efforts thus far. She navigated the United Nations like a diplomatic pro, her size and age the only indications that she hasn't been around for years.

A Swedish high school student who started by protesting outside her nation's parliament, Thunberg has spent recent months in an accelerating bid to cast attention on global warming and its effects on the rising generation.

She made the most of her time in the spotlight of global politics on Monday. Her approach and words enchanted many and disgusted others.

In the latter camp, it seems, may be President Donald Trump, who appeared to jab at her late Monday after her U.N. climate conference appearance.

At 8:36 p.m., after Thunberg's utterances of doom and gloom reverberated across the warming planet, he produced this tweet: "She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!"

Thunberg's supporters say a voice like hers is pivotal to command attention, and that her cause is both selfless and her own. Detractors have said she is being used by climate-change activists and is swimming in waters out of her depth.

"Kids are powerful pawns," Rich Lowry wrote in the conservative National Review on Tuesday. "There's a reason that we don't look to teenagers for guidance on fraught issues of public policy."

Fox News, meanwhile, apologized for a guest who called Thunberg mentally ill, and said he would never appear on the network again.

Michael Knowles of "The Daily Wire" made the comment Monday during a segment on a Fox evening newscast. He also said Thunberg was being exploited by her parents and the left wing.

Young people around Thunberg have tended to focus on emotional appeals in recent months, saying older generations' refusal to address climate change properly is stealing their futures.

Thunberg, though hardly impassive, has made a point of focusing on the science and being prepared with the facts.

On Monday, though, the emotional appeal took precedence. It was a powerful landing.

"This is all wrong. I shouldn't be up here," Thunberg said. "I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you have come to us young people for hope. How dare you. You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words."

She added: "We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and yet all you can talk about is money. You are failing us."

Where Thunberg goes from here is unclear. She has been positioned as a clarion voice; the question is, will she continue to be considered a "youth climate activist"? Or has her U.N. performance this week — at both youth events and the full-on climate conference — elevated her voice further?

Thunberg seems undeterred by criticism of her activism and her emerging public persona. In an interview with The Associated Press last week, she called such an approach "sad."

"You just have to ignore them because they are just desperately trying to remove the focus from the climate crisis to make it something about me as an individual rather than the crisis itself," she said. "When they do that, they don't have any arguments left."

By Tuesday morning, Thunberg's Twitter profile offered her nearly 2 million followers a fresh description of her: "A very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future."


Ted Anthony, director of digital innovation for The Associated Press, has written about global affairs since 1995. Follow him on Twitter at @anthonyted.


The Truth Behind the BMW 7-Series' Ridiculously Massive Grille

June 27, 2019

To the 8271 Americans who bought a BMW 7-series last year: You're being blamed for this, but it's not really your fault. BMW says that the massive grille on the 2020 7er is a response to customer demand from the car's two largest markets. Yes, you people made America No. 2, but approximately 20,000 buyers made China No. 1. So when BMW says it was responding to those customer groups, the Chinese were about 150 percent louder than the Americans-and restraint is apparently not h...

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Stunning space photos show 'nightmare' Hurricane Florence swirling over the Atlantic

September 13, 2018

Incredible images captured from the International Space Station show Hurricane Florence barreling toward the U.S. East Coast.

European Space Agency astronaut Alexand...

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The surface of Mars

July 26, 2018

Using a radar instrument on an orbiting spacecraft, scientists have spotted what they said on Wednesday appears to be a sizable salt-laden lake under ice on the southern polar plain of Mars, a body of water they called a possible habitat for microbial life.

The reservoir they detected — roughly 12 miles (20 km) in diameter, shaped like a rounded triangle and located about a mile (1.5 km) beneath the ice surface — represents the first stable body of liquid water ever found on Mars.

Whether a...

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CMT Music Awards 2018: The Complete Winners List

June 8, 2018

The CMT Music Awards returned to Nashville on Wednesday, to celebrate country music's biggest stars in the heart of Music City!

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Volkswagen goes full America with its truck concept

March 29, 2018

 Roberto Baldwin,Engadget

Volkswagen automaker really wants you to know that it's building cars for America. In fact, at the New York Auto Show it delivered a concept vehicle that might as well have had the Stars and Stripes painted on the side of it. Get your tailgate parties ready for the Atlas Tanoak truck.

Volkswagen's head of design Klaus Bischoff said that the truck is, "built for America by Americans" in reference to its plant in Tennessee where the Tanoak would be built if the automaker...

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Closing your bedroom door at night could save your life in a fire

October 20, 2017

Fire safety experts are urging people to close their bedroom doors before they go to sleep, saying the simple task can potentially save lives in the event of a fire.

“When you can’t get out, the most important thing you can do, close that door between you and the fire," Stephen Kerber, the director of the UL's Firefighter Safety Research Institute (UL FSRI), told ABC News, adding that the simple act "could save your life.”

Alexis King told ABC News th...

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Missing 115-year-old tortoise returned to New Mexico owner

July 30, 2017

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A 115-year-old desert tortoise that disappeared from its garden at a New Mexico senior living community was returned.

The Albuquerque Journal reports (http://bit.ly/2w9xGQb ) the tortoise, Diablo, was returned Friday to Manzano del Sol Village. He had ventured to the backyard of a nearby home after a family bought the shell-wearing wanderer from kids at a local park.

Millie Tjeltweed, who owns Diablo, says she doesn't know the circumstances of the tortoise's disappear...

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Man who needed air in tires, bought lottery ticket wins $1M

July 1, 2017

A New York man who stopped at a convenience store to put air in his tires and ended up buying a lottery ticket has won a $1 million jackpot.

State lottery officials on Friday introduced 19-year-old Anthony Iavarone as the winner of the jackpot on a $1 million Cashword scratch-off ticket.

Iavarone, of Clifton Park, says he recently stopped at a Stewart's Shops store in the Saratoga County town of Ballston to put air in his tires. While there, he decided to buy a lottery ticket.

Iavarone says he c...

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Who's happy, who's not: Norway tops list, US falls

March 22, 2017

If you want to pursue happiness, grab a winter coat.

A new report shows Norway is the happiest country on Earth, Americans are getting sadder, and it takes more than just money to be happy.

What makes Norway and other northern European countries top the happiness list has a lot to do with a sense of community and broad social welfare support, according to experts and cheerful Norwegians, including one whose job it is to make people laugh.

"The answ...

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