U.S. sends 'message' to Iran and 1 million species under threat: The Morning Rundown

“The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever,” said the chair of a U.N. environmental panel.
Image: Hawksbill turtle
The hawksbill sea turtle is critically endangered. The U.N. report, which did not list individual species, found that 25 percent of mammals are threatened with extinction. Andrey Armyagov / Shutterstock

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
By Petra Cahill

Good morning, NBC News readers.

A U.N. panel has released a disturbing report on humans' "unprecedented" impact on biodiversity — saying about 1 million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction "within decades."

But one expert says the end is not nigh. We have an up to 20-year window to reverse the trend — if we choose to.

Here's what else we're watching today.

U.S. deploying carrier strike group to send 'message' to Iran

The United States is sending ships and a bomber task force to the Middle East to send a "clear and unmistakable message" to Iran, the White House announced Sunday night.

National security adviser John Bolton said in a statement that America wasn't seeking to go to war with Iran. But he said the deployment was meant to send a message to Tehran that "any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force."

Bolton did not say what specific actions or provocations the U.S. was responding to. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also declined to cite specifics.

1 million species are now threatened with extinction — because of us

A report assessing the state of the natural world found that humans are having a devastating effect on global biodiversity, with about 1 million animal and plant species threatened with extinction.

A summary of the report’s findings was released this morning by a U.N. panel that includes representatives from 132 countries.

Robert Watson, the panel’s chair, said evidence collected over the past five decades from roughly 15,000 scientific and government studies paints “an ominous picture.” “The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever,” he added.

Dozens dead after plane makes fiery emergency landing in Moscow

The black box flight recorders of an Aeroflot passenger jet that caught fire at a Moscow airport have been recovered, Russian officials said.

At least 41 people were killed when the Sukhoi Superjet 100 bounced along the tarmac before the rear of the plane suddenly burst into flames on Sunday night.

Russia's Investigative Committee said Monday that 33 passengers and four crew members escaped from the jet.

Video captured at the scene showed passengers leaping from the wreckage onto an inflatable slide and people clinging to their luggage as emergency vehicles sped toward the jet.

Want to receive the Morning Rundown in your inbox? Sign up here.


Science + Tech = MACH

As if the U.N.'s report on the negative impact of humans on the environment wasn't disturbing enough, we have more on a secret source of plastic pollution: our clothes.


Here's what it takes to become a 401(k) millionaire at any age.

Quote of the day

"We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide.”

Robert Watson, chair of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, that released the report on 1 million species under threat of extinction.

One fun thing

Bill Ingalls has served as NASA’s Earth-based photographer for three decades, expertly capturing the space agency’s rocket launches and critical moments — even shooting a vehicle test inside an active volcano.

Thanks for reading the Morning Rundown.

If you have any comments — likes, dislikes — drop me an email at: petra@nbcuni.com

If you'd like to receive the Morning Rundown in your inbox Monday to Friday, please sign-up here.

Thanks, Petra