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Malaysia Steps Up, California Emergency, Dave's Farewell

Malaysia Steps Up, California Emergency, Dave's Farewell


After days of fighting, “Palmyra’s fate is now in the hands of IS,” the Lebanese newspaper L’Orient Le Jour writes on Thursday’s front page. Coalition forces thought a few days ago that they had managed to beat back the ISIS terror group from the ancient Syrian city, but the jihadists came back stronger than before. Government and rebel forces fled the city, where ISIS is now in control. Read more in our Extra! feature.


Corey Knowlton, a hunter from Texas, has killed a black rhinoceros, one of the world’s most endangered species, after paying $350,000 for a permit issued by Namibia’s Ministry of Environment and Tourism. According to CNN, which documented the hunt, the man’s aim was “a vital component of Namibia’s effort to save the animal from extinction.” He argues that killing an old rhinoceros that can no longer contribute to the gene pool but is a threat to younger males is part of the science of conservation.


Qatar has failed migrant workers despite insisting it would improve their working and living conditions ahead of the 2022 World Cup, a new Amnesty International report says. “The Qatar government promised reforms to address the widespread exploitation of migrant workers in the country, yet a year on none of the proposed reforms have been implemented,” the report says. Of nine key issues the human rights organization identified, there has been limited progress on only five. “Qatar is failing migrant workers,” Amnesty researcher Mustafa Qadri said.


Photo: Malaysian Maritime Bureau/Xinhua/ZUMA

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced today that his country is launching a search and rescue operation for the Rohingya refugees stranded on boats in the Andaman Sea near the Malaysian coast, The Rakyak Post reports. “It is basic human compassion that we ensure the hungry will be given food and water while the sick will be attended to with medical treatment and supplies,” Razak wrote on his Facebook page. This announcement comes as the Rohingya refugees have already spent weeks at sea after being turned away by Malaysian, Indonesian and Thai authorities. In addition to Malaysia, Indonesia said it would also offer temporary shelter for the refugees if backed by the international community.


As Süddeutsche Zeitung’s Dominik Hutter writes, the city of Munich is considering a different kind of police sweep in its city streets. A proposal aims to record the genetic makeup of all Munich dogs in a single database so authorities can track down offending owners who fail to clean up after their pets. “Munich city council members of the political party Civil Middle are demanding a new system where authorities literally sweep the streets to collect and test samples of dog dumpings in order to find the culprit via DNA analysis,” Hutter writes. “Since a dog is not a legal entity and therefore cannot be prosecuted, its owner will be forced to pay a hefty fine.”

Read the full article, Can DNA Be Used To Bust Owners Of Dog Poop Left Behind?


Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in Southern California yesterday after as much as 105,000 gallons of crude oil was spilled off the Santa Barbara coast, stretching up to nine miles. The spill was caused by a ruptured onshore pipeline and happened in the same location as a 1969 spill that killed thousands of birds and marine animals. The pipeline owner has apologized and said it would pay for cleanup. But The Los Angeles Times reports that it has been slapped with 175 maintenance infractions since 2006. These include pump failure, equipment malfunction, pipeline corrosion and operator error, incidents that have caused $23 million in property damage and have already spilled at least 688,000 gallons of hazardous liquid.


Today marks 88 years since “Lone Eagle” Charles Lindbergh crossed the Atlantic on a nonstop solo flight from New York. Time now for your 57-second shot of history.


French special forces killed four jihadists, including two leaders, during a raid in northern Mali, the French Ministry of Defense said yesterday. Amada Ag Hama, known as “Abdelkrim the Tuareg,” was said to be a commander of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb who was suspected in the 2013 kidnapping and killing of two French journalists. Ibrahim Ag Inawalen, known as “Bana,” was allegedly a leader of al-Qaeda-linked group Ansar Dine. “France has a long memory,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said.



Evany José Metzker, a Brazilian journalist known for denouncing corrupt politicians, investigating child prostitution and drug dealing, was found dead in a rural area near the town of Padre Paraíso, Globo reports. The 67-year-old had been missing for five days. “His hands were tied behind his back, and his body showed signs of torture,” a police spokesperson said.


“Alright, that’s pretty much all I got,” David Letterman said at the end of last night’s Late Show, his final broadcast after 33 years of hosting the show. “The only thing I have left to do, for the last time, on a television program — thank you, and goodnight,” he concluded. Stephen Colbert will replace him in September. In the meantime, to bid Letterman farewell, Worldcrunch put together a video of imitators, “Lettermans” from around the world.

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In Northern Kenya, Where Climate Change Is Measured In Starving Children

The worst drought in 40 years, which has deepened from the effects of climate change, is hitting the young the hardest around the Horn of Africa. A close-up look at the victims, and attempts to save lives and limit lasting effects on an already fragile region in Kenya.

Photo of five mothers holding their malnourished children

At feeding time, nurses and aides encourage mothers to socialize their children and stimulate them to eat.

Georgina Gustin

KAKUMA — The words "Stabilization Ward" are painted in uneven black letters above the entrance, but everyone in this massive refugee camp in Kakuma, Kenya, calls it ya maziwa: The place of milk.

Rescue workers and doctors, mothers and fathers, have carried hundreds of starving children through the doors of this one-room hospital wing, which is sometimes so crowded that babies and toddlers have to share beds. A pediatric unit is only a few steps away, but malnourished children don’t go there. They need special care, and even that doesn’t always save them.

In an office of the International Rescue Committee nearby, Vincent Opinya sits behind a desk with figures on dry-erase boards and a map of the camp on the walls around him. “We’ve lost 45 children this year due to malnutrition,” he says, juggling emergencies, phone calls, and texts. “We’re seeing a significant increase in malnutrition cases as a result of the drought — the worst we’ve faced in 40 years.”

From January to June, the ward experienced an 800 percent rise in admissions of children under 5 who needed treatment for malnourishment — a surge that aid groups blame mostly on a climate change-fueled drought that has turned the region into a parched barren.

Opinya, the nutrition manager for the IRC here, has had to rattle off these statistics many times, but the reality of the numbers is starting to crack his professional armor. “It’s a very sad situation,” he says, wearily. And he believes it will only get worse. A third year of drought is likely on the way.

More children may die. But millions will survive malnutrition and hunger only to live through a compromised future, researchers say. The longer-term health effects of this drought — weakened immune systems, developmental problems — will persist for a generation or more, with consequences that will cascade into communities and societies for decades.

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