Guantánamo’s Youngest Prisoner Cleared for Release 20 Years After He Was Jailed Without Charges

The U.S. government has cleared Guantánamo’s youngest prisoner for release. Hassan bin Attash has been jailed by the U.S. for the last 20 years, even though has never been charged with a crime. He was just 17 years old when he was captured in Karachi by Pakistani security services in 2002 and turned over to the United States. Attorneys say Attash was tortured by the U.S. and its allies for up to 12 hours a day over a two-year period, including at a CIA black site. The Biden administration says Attash will remain at the Guantánamo Bay prison while it tries to find a country willing to offer him rehabilitation.

— source | Apr 28, 2022

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Saharan dust turns skies orange over Europe

A large, brown swath of Saharan dust can be seen in numerous satellite images blanketing much of Portugal, Spain and France, leading to air quality concerns and hazy skies. The strong winds from Storm Celia off the northwest coast of Africa picked up dust from the Sahara desert and lofted it into the atmosphere. The southerly winds then pushed the dust northward into Europe, creating haunting scenes across the region.

On Tuesday, the European Environment Agency already measured dust concentrations in Spain over five times the European Union’s recommended threshold for air quality, according to Copernicus, the EU’s Earth observation program. Air quality continues to be poor in the region today as well.

We will likely see more of these events in the near future. Climate change could be worsening the Saharan dust transport to Europe, as wind and precipitation patterns change as a result of warming temperatures of the land and ocean. Widespread desertification in Northern Africa and stronger winds over the Mediterranean could be making these dust events more intense, research has shown.

Satellite imagery from NASA shows the blanket of Saharan dust over Western and Central Europe.

— source | Mar 16, 2022

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Argentina Honors Scientists Killed by the Dictatorship

On Thursday, Argentine President Alberto Fernandez led a tribute in memory of scientists Alicia Cardoso, Dante Guede, Roberto Lopez, Liliana Galletti, Mario Galuppo, Federico Lüdden, Manuel Saavedra, and Martin Toursarkissian, who disappeared during Jorge Videla’s dictatorship (1976-1981).

“If the dictator Videla feared anything, it was ‘thought’,” Fernandez said while delivering documents with detailed information about the eight researchers to the audience.

“Regardless of their political affiliation, all Argentinians must unite to condemn the dictatorship’s brutality,” he stressed, adding that those who do not so are denying the greatest tragedy in Argentine history.

The tribute was possible thanks to the investigations carried out by Memory Commission of the National Council for Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET), which listed the researchers who disappeared during the dictatorship.

On Thursday, Argentina celebrates the National Remembrance Day for Truth and Justice to recall the March 24, 1976 coup d’état, which overthrew the government of Maria Martinez de Peron.

— source | 24 Mar 2022

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Stanford Threatens to Cut Health Care for Nurses Who Go on Strike

Nurses at Stanford Health Care and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital are ready to exchange thermometers and scrubs for picket signs in a planned strike starting on April 25. To avoid burnout and to continue to offer care during the chaos of the pandemic, the nurses say they need more staff, better mental health resources, better pay, and more paid time-off. More than ninety percent of the 5,000 nurses who belong to the Committee for Recognition of Nursing Achievement (CRONA) union at the two hospitals voted for the strike.

Rather than cave to their demands, Stanford had another message for them: Be prepared to lose your health care. On April 15, right before the Easter weekend and amid Passover and Ramadan, Stanford Health Care announced that in addition to withholding pay, it would also be suspending health insurance benefits for striking nurses and their families beginning on May 1.

— source | Apr 19, 2022

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Global Military Spending Tops $2 Trillion for First Time in History

Global military expenditures surpassed $2 trillion for the first time ever last year, with the United States spending more on its war-making capacity than the next nine nations combined, according to new data published Monday. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) reported an all-time high of $2.1 trillion in worldwide military spending for 2021, a 0.7% increase from 2020 levels and the seventh straight year of increased expenditures. With $801 billion—or 38% of total global military spending—the United States spent more in 2021 than the next nine nations combined: China ($293 billion), India ($76.6 billion), the United Kingdom ($68.4 billion), Russia ($65.9 billion), France ($56.6 billion), Germany ($56 billion), Saudi Arabia ($55.6 billion), Japan ($54.1 billion), and South Korea ($50.2 billion).

— source | Apr 25, 2022

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Florida House Black Caucus members took direct action on the House floor

In an extraordinary display this week in the state House chamber, Black Democrats loudly chanted, wore T-shirts that read “Stop the Black Attack,” and staged a sit-in protest that shut down debate over African American representation in the redistricting process. “When Black votes are under attack, we stand up and fight back,” the crowd of Black lawmakers yelled on the House floor. For years now, that’s not always been the case in the GOP-controlled Legislature, where Black lawmakers and Democrats often get rolled over as Republican legislators approve their conservative agendas.

— source | Apr 27, 2022

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The US only recycled about 5% of plastic waste last year

By now, many of us have heard the depressing statistic about plastic recycling: Of the 5.8 billion metric tons of plastic waste that the world generated between 1950 and 2015, only about 9 percent has been recycled, leaving the rest to be incinerated, landfilled, or littered directly into the environment.

Until recently, that number was still accurate for the United States, which — according to the most recent data from the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA — recycled about 8.7 percent of its plastic refuse in 2018. But a new report from the nonprofit The Last Beach Cleanup and the advocacy group Beyond Plastics finds that the U.S.’s plastic recycling rate is now significantly lower, with just 5 or 6 percent of the country’s plastic waste converted into new products in 2021.

— source | May 04, 2022

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Pharmaceutical pollution in the world’s rivers

The new study looked at 258 rivers across the globe, including the Thames in London and the Amazon in Brazil, to measure the presence of 61 pharmaceuticals, such as carbamazepine, metformin and caffeine. strong correlations between the socioeconomic status of a country and higher pollution of pharmaceuticals in its rivers (with lower-middle income nations the most polluted). the most polluted countries and regions of the world are the ones that have been researched the least (namely sub-saharan Africa, South America and parts of southern Asia). The study revealed that a quarter of the sites contained contaminants (such as sulfamethoxazole, propranolol, ciprofloxacin and loratadine) at potentially harmful concentrations. The study included noteworthy rivers such as the Amazon, Mississippi, Thames and the Mekong. Water samples were obtained from sites spanning from a Yanomami Village in Venezuela, where modern medicines are not used, to some of the most populated cities on the planet, such as Delhi, London, New York, Lagos, Las Vegas, and Guangzhou. The study forms part of the University of York-led Global Monitoring of Pharmaceuticals Project, which has expanded significantly over the last two years

The contaminants found at potentially harmful concentrations include:[]–

propranolol (a beta-blocker for heart problems such as high blood pressure)
sulfamethoxazole (an antibiotic for bacterial infection)
ciprofloxacin (an antibiotic for bacterial infection)
loratadine (an antihistamine for allergies)

— source University of York | Feb 14, 2022

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Climate scientist on hunger strike ‘after being refused bail’

A scientist who was arrested during a climate change protest is on hunger strike after being denied bail, it has been claimed. Activist group Extinction Rebellion claims Emma Smart, an ecologist, was detained on Thursday during a protest with 24 fellow scientists at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in London. Smart, who is also refusing water, is being held at Charing Cross Police Station waiting for a court hearing on Saturday, the group said. Along with eight other scientists, Smart has been charged with criminal damage after pasting scientific papers to the government building and glueing themselves to its glass frontage.

— source | Apr 15, 2022

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Cheetahs in, Adivasis out

The poster was put up six months ago by the Forest Department of Madhya Pradesh acting on official orders from higher-ups. It has found its way into all the villages surrounding the Kuno National Park, where ‘Chintu Cheetah’, the friendly character in the poster, is planning to make his home.

Located on the western edge of Madhya Pradesh’s Sheopur district, Bagcha is a village of Sahariya Adivasis, who are ranked as a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG) in Madhya Pradesh with a literacy rate of 42 per cent. This village in Vijaypur block has a population of 556 people (Census 2011), who live in mostly mud and brick homes with stone slabs as roofing, surrounded by the national park (which is also referred to as Kuno Palpur) where the Kuno river flows.

— source | Apr 26, 2022

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