Migrants Camp Under Texas Bridge | ‘General Sherman’ at Risk
Fri, Sep 17
Migrants Camp Under Texas Bridge | ‘General Sherman’ at Risk
Tue, Oct 26
Beam Me up, Scottie!
Mon, Oct 25
A Whirlwind of a Weekend
Fri, Oct 22
Reasons to Believe!
Thu, Oct 21
Coming Soon: a November to Remember
Start your day smarter with a dossier on the most important world news, rounded off with a shot of intriguing and offbeat stories. Like the president, you deserve no less.
Sep 17, 2021
Officials are warning of a humanitarian crisis with more than 10,000 migrants, mostly from Haiti, camped out under a bridge in Del Rio, Texas. France has accused President Joe Biden of acting like his predecessor regarding the nuclear submarine deal with Australia. And the world’s biggest tree, the General Sherman in Sequoia National Park, is under threat from California’s wildfires.
There are desperate scenes in South Texas as more than 10,000 Haitian migrants who recently crossed the Rio Grande are now sheltering in a makeshift camp under a border bridge in Del Rio. Many have undertaken grueling journeys fraught with danger in their desperation to make new lives outside volatile Haiti, which saw President Jovenel Moïse assassinated in July and suffered a massive earthquake last month. Border officials say it’s a “logistical nightmare” under the bridge, and they are trying to move families with small children out of the area first. They expect the influx to continue. (Sources: Washington Post, NYT)
It’s about the worst insult President Joe Biden could get from the French. Amid a spat over Washington’s plans to share nuclear submarine technology with Australia and Britain, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian likened Biden to former President Donald Trump. Paris is furious because the new AUKUS deal means France’s prior $66 billion agreement to supply Australia with submarines is effectively void. “This unilateral, sudden and unforeseeable decision very much recalls what Mr. Trump would do,” Le Drian said. China, also furious that the deal aims to counter Beijing’s regional influence, told Australia it should “prepare for the worst.” (Sources: BBC, Washington Post)
3 - Russia’s Sham Elections
Navalny’s Voting App Removed as Putin Seeks to Cement Power
Polls opened today in Russia’s parliamentary elections after crackdowns on the opposition, including jailed dissident Alexei Navalny’s party. Analysts note that while it has the appearance of a democratic vote, the election’s token opposition parties are preapproved by the Kremlin, and it’s widely expected that President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia, which has dominated for decades, will retain control. Meanwhile, an app created by Navalny showing Russians how to vote to unseat United Russia disappeared from Apple and Google today, after pressure from the Kremlin. Polls are open until Sunday and around 108 million Russians are eligible to vote. (Sources: Al Jazeera, CNBC, AFP)
4 - Hilton Boycott
Company Under Fire Over Planned Xinjiang Hotel
American Muslim groups are boycotting the chain over its apparent plans to build a hotel on the site of a bulldozed Uyghur mosque in China’s Xinjiang province. More than 40 civil rights organizations announced the boycott yesterday outside Hilton’s headquarters in Virginia, calling the project a human rights violation. Research shows 16,000 mosques have been destroyed in Beijing’s campaign against the Uyghur ethnic minority, and rights groups believe 1 million Uyghurs are being held in re-education and labor camps. Earlier this year the U.S. banned all cotton and tomato imports from Xinjiang over links to forced labor. (Sources: Al Jazeera, The Telegraph)
5 - Also Important …
Ohio Republican Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, who voted to impeach President Trump after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, has announced he’s retiring, calling Trump “a cancer for the country.” India has told China both countries must pull their troops back from their disputed Himalayan border in order for relations between the two powers to improve. And an Indian teenager was forced to wrap a curtain around her legs when she arrived for an exam wearing shorts.
Coronavirus Update: Cambodia has started vaccinating children over the age of 6, while Cuba is vaccinating children over 2. And statistics show that 1 in every 500 Americans have died of COVID-19.
Are You Riding the Wave of Global Events? Then hang 10 with the PDB News Quiz!
The intersection between art and science can be dazzling — but also educational. Pfizer’s Design for Science contest called upon creatives to represent scientific innovations or the patient experience in artistic design. Six artists were selected for their artistic interpretations of everything from immunology and oncology to vaccines and anti-infective drugs. The goal: to improve health literacy and make health decisions more accessible through engaging, visual language. Because science will only win if it wins for everyone.
First it was the governor, now Californians are fighting to save the general. Firefighters have wrapped the General Sherman, a 2,500-year-old sequoia, in fire-resistant blankets to protect it from the Paradise and Colony fires ravaging the Golden State. Authorities are worried the blaze could spread to the Giant Forest’s ancient trees in Sequoia National Park within hours. More than 7,400 wildfires have been sparked in California this year, driven largely by climate change. As well as wrapping the trees in aluminum, firefighters are clearing the surrounding brush and fire trucks are at the ready. (Sources: BBC, AFP)
2 - Facebook Fake News
Environmentalists Say Platform Allows Misinformation to Flourish
The company vowed yesterday to do more to combat false claims about climate change, pledging $1 million to groups tackling the problem. But activists said that’s not enough, noting Facebook still accepts fossil fuel advertising. One nonprofit, Friends of the Earth, analyzed top posts from “super-spreaders of climate disinformation” that falsely allege green energy is responsible for blackouts. They found less than 1% carried fact check labels. Misinformation about renewable energy avalanched during February’s cold snap and resulting power failures in Texas, as lawmakers in the state blamed frozen wind turbines and pushed bills to boost natural gas. (Sources: The Verge, The Guardian)
3 - S.O.S to the World
Joy in Japan After US Girl Finds Decades-Old Message in Bottle
The Police sang about it, now a real message in a bottle has washed up in Hawaii — after being tossed into the sea in Japan in 1984. Abbie Graham, 9, discovered the mud-caked bottle on a rocky beach, only to find letters inside from students 4,000 miles away. Written in Japanese, English and Spanish, they ask the finder to write back to the school’s science club. Graham did just that, including a drawing of herself eating sushi. Former members of the science club, which released 750 bottles to study ocean currents, say they’re delighted.It’s the 51st bottle found, and the first since 2002. (Sources: Vice, The Mainichi)
4 - Not Kidding
Child Journalists Interrogate Candidates for German Chancellor
Anyone who’s ever conversed with kids knows they ask the hardest questions. So it makes sense that politicians vying to replace Chancellor Angela Merkel got their toughest grilling from preteens. The televised no-holds-barred questions for the Christian Democratic Union’s Armin Laschet and the Social Democratic Party’s Olaf Scholz would make seasoned political journalists green with envy. “What would you be called if you were a dragon?” one child asked. They also asked if Russia’s President Putin was a murderer, and one interviewer chastised Laschet for his “very unhealthy” smoking habit. Germans go to the polls Sept. 26. (Sources: The Guardian, The Independent (sub))
5 - Putting the ‘Run’ in Burundi
Francine Niyonsaba Sets New 2,000-Meter World Record
The Burundian runner’s time of 5 minutes, 21.26 seconds beat the previous record by more than two seconds this week in Zagreb, Croatia. Because of an intersex condition, Niyonsaba is banned by World Athletics from competing in women’s races from 400 meters to one mile. The 28-year-old has hyperandrogenism, which causes naturally higher testosterone levels. She’s called the rules discriminatory, as has intersex South African runner Caster Semenya, and both have refused to take medication to lower their testosterone levels. Semenya took her case to the European Court of Human Rights in February, where it is still pending. (Sources: CNN, SuperSport)
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