FSRN Weekly Edition – August 7, 2015
- White House issues first-ever limits on power plant carbon pollution
- Gulf of Mexico dead zone now as big as Connecticut and Rhode Island combined
- Colorado mine spills at least a million gallons of acidic waste water
- Heavy monsoon rains wreak havoc across India
- Alabama now third state to end funding for Planned Parenthood after national efforts fail
- Senate lawmakers accuse State Dept. of putting trade policy over human rights
- Trafficked in Kuwait: two Cameroonian women share their stories
- Mexican journalists demand justice and a transparent investigation in quintuple homicide
- Brazil’s landless workers demand government re-fund land reform effort
White House issues first-ever limits on power plant carbon pollution
For the first time in US history, the White House issued limits on carbon emissions this week. FSRN’s Nell Abram has more on the Clean Power Plan.
The Gulf Coast Dead Zone is a massive area of water near Louisiana and Texas, where most marine life cannot live at the bottom due to low oxygen levels. It’s caused by an excess of nitrogen and phosphorus pollutants that flow into the Mississippi River and into the Gulf of Mexico. The dead zone is at its largest during the summer months. Researchers just conducted their annual measurements and found this year’s dead zone measures nearly 6,500 square miles. That’s the size of Connecticut and Rhode Island combined. FSRN’s Nell Abram speaks with Dr. Nancy Rabalais. She’s executive director of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium and a leading expert on gulf hypoxia.
A portion of the Animas River that runs through Durango, Colorado was closed this week following a waste water leak at the Gold King Mine above Silverton. At least a million gallons of acidic waste flowed into the river, forcing local officials to warn the public against even physical contact with the water. Hannah Leigh Myers has the story.
Heavy monsoon rains wreak havoc across India
Severe flooding has affected hundreds of thousands people across Bangladesh and Myanmar, where the president is urging residents in the low-lying areas along the Irawaddy river to evacuate. In India, at least 150 people are dead and more than a million displaced by heavy monsoon rains made worse when Cyclone Komen swept the country. Jasvinder Sehgal reports.
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley moved Thursday to de-fund Planned Parenthood via executive order, making Alabama the third state to cut off funding since the release of a series of secretly recorded videos by a pro-life organization.
The videos have fueled legislative efforts to de-fund Planned Parenthood at the national level as well. On Monday, Senate Democrats blocked a bill that would have eliminated federal funding for the nonprofit women’s health care provider. Congress is in recess until September, but the controversy will likely reignite in the Fall. In the meantime, opponents of Planned Parenthood are taking their fight to the states. Jani Actman reports from Washington, D.C.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing Thursday on the U.S. State Department’s recently released report on human trafficking. The bi-partisan committee grilled State Department staff, calling into question the integrity of the 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report, alleging that trade policy had trumped human rights. FSRN’s Nell Abram has more.
Human traffickers often target job seekers in underdeveloped countries willing to migrate for work and use force, fraud or coercion to hold victims in conditions of debt servitude or slavery. The exact scope of the problem is unknown but the Walk Free Global Slavery Index estimates that in the Arabian Gulf countries governed by authoritarian monarchies there are at least two hundred thousand people currently enslaved, many of them trafficked from Africa. FSRN’s Ngala Killian Chimtom spoke with two young Cameroonian women who, using pseudonyms, shared what happened to them in Kuwait.
A multiple homicide in Mexico has once again put violence against women, activists and the press in the international spotlight. This time the crime occurred in the capital city – a metropolis widely considered a safe place for threatened journalists. While Mexico City authorities have made an arrest in connection with the case, the massacre has shaken the city’s hard-won reputation as a relatively secure bubble in a country racked by years of violence. FSRN’s Shannon Young has more.
Militants from Brazil’s landless workers movement mobilized in the capital Brasilia and across the country this week, alleging that the federal government is slashing its budget for agrarian reform. The urban wing of the group, who seek housing, joined the actions Thursday in São Paulo. The group is one of Brazil’s largest and most famous popular social movements. They’re demanding to meet with the government where they will press officials to restore full funding for land reform. From São Paulo, Sam Cowie reports.