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Italy's Emigration Drama: Squirrel Edition

Forget Frontex, Mare Nostrum and Schengen. It's gray squirrels causing major emigration headaches for Italy. Not only has the EU sent the Italian government three official "recommendations" asking it to get rid of its gray squirrels, but France and Switzerland have opened a case file too. They have essentially sent the message, "If we find even one in our woods, there will be war." Diplomatically, that is.

Gray squirrels were brought to Europe from the United States in the 20th century and are healthy carriers of a virus that is deadly to red squirrels. "The risk is that our children and grandchildren will no longer be able to see the native European (red) squirrel, only the U.S. one," says University of Genoa zoologist Andrea Marsan.

Thanks to a lack of environmentalism and excessive and ineffective animal rights laws, Italy is the only European country effectively doing nothing to banish the gray squirrel, La Stampa reports. The UK hasn't managed to eradicate the species either, but it's an island where measures have been taken to control the population in certain areas.

Unless the squirrels learn how to swim across the English Channel, Italy will have to bear the brunt of the blame and begin managing their population so it doesn't invade the rest of Europe. It's a race against time, with gray squirrels predicted to reach the Western Alps this year, France by 2026, and Switzerland between 2031 and 2041.

Photo: MrMoaks

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Ideas

What Links Iran's Killing Protesters And The Routine Of State Executions

Iran has long had a simple and prolific response to political opposition and the worst criminal offenses, namely death by shooting or hanging. Whether opening fire on the streets or leading the world in carrying out the death penalty, the regime insists that morality is on its side.

Protesters linked to the Iranian group Mojahedin-e Khalq demonstrate in Whitehall, London in 2018

Ahmad Ra'fat

-Editorial-

In early September, before Iran's latest bout of anti-government protests sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, there was another, quieter demonstration: Relatives of several prisoners sentenced to death staged a sit-in outside the judiciary headquarters in Tehran, urging the authorities to waive the sentences. The crowd, which doggedly refused to disperse, included the convicts' young children.

Executions have been a part and parcel of the Islamic Republic of Iran since its inception in 1979. The new authorities began shooting cadres of the fallen monarchy with unseemly zeal, usually after a summary trial. On Feb. 14, 1979, barely three days after the regime was installed, the first four of the Shah's generals were shot inside a secondary school in Tehran.

To this day, the regime continues to opt for death by firing squad for its political opponents; the execution method-of-choice for more socio-economic blights like drug trafficking has been death by hanging.

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