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Rebuilding Ecuador, New Dollar Bills, Culling Gulls

ECUADOR INTRODUCES REBUILDING TAX

Photo: Guillermo Granja/Reuters/ZUMA

The death toll in Ecuador after Saturday's magnitude-7.8 earthquake continues to rise and now stands at 570, with hundreds more still missing and as many as 4,000 wounded. And with the extensive damage the quake caused, estimated at $3 billion, authorities unveiled yesterday a new series of measures aimed at financing the reconstruction work. Among the measures introduced by President Rafael Correa is a one-time 0.9% tax for people who own more than $1 million in assets. "This is how a modern society responds to this kind of disaster and the way each Ecuadorian, within his ability, contributes to the recovery of his own motherland," Correa said.


EXPLOSION AT MEXICO OIL PLANT

A significant explosion rocked a petrochemical plant on the southern coast of the Gulf of Mexico yesterday, killing three workers and wounding at least 105 people, including 58 workers. According to AP, the blast was felt as far as six miles away. About 2,000 people living in the surrounding areas have been evacuated.


HAPPY BIRTHDAY, QUEEN ELIZABETH

The Yorkshire Post wished Queen Elizabeth II a "happy birthday ma'am" on today's front page as the monarch turns 90. The Leeds-based daily chose one of three pictures taken for the occasion by acclaimed American photographer Annie Leibovitz. The queen is standing on the steps of Windsor Castle with four of her dogs. See the images here.

ON THIS DAY

And happy 69th, Iggy! That, and more, in your 57-second shot of history.


ANOTHER MIGRANT TRAGEDY

The United Nations' Refugee Agency said yesterday that up to 500 migrants died in the Mediterranean Sea last week. If the death toll is as high as believed, it is the worst such tragedy of the last 12 months. According to some of the 41 survivors, who were sailing from Libya, smugglers were transferring the migrants onto a larger boat when it went down. The survivors drifted at sea until they were rescued by a merchant ship, possibly three days later. Read more from The New York Times.


2.2 BILLION

An international team of scientists have shown that close to 2.2 billion people living in tropical and subtropical regions around the globe are at risk, as their environments favor the spread of the mosquito-borne Zika virus.


OBAMA HEADS TO LONDON

After his tense visit to Saudi Arabia yesterday. U.S. President Barack Obama will now travel to London, where he is expected to urge British voters to stay in the European Union ahead of the country's June 23 referendum. A victory for Brexit, Obama will argue, would jeopardize the special relationship between Britain and the U.S as well as diminish the country's influence. It's an argument that London Mayor Boris Johnson, who is campaigning to leave the EU, recently described as an "outrageous and exorbitant hypocrisy."


OLYMPIC FLAME BEGINS JOURNEY TO RIO

The flame of this summer's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro was lit this morning in Athens. Over the next week, athletes will carry the torch around Greece, before it heads to Brazil on April 27. As many as 12,000 runners will relay the flame across Brazil before it reaches Rio for the opening ceremony on Aug. 5. Read more about the Olympic flame's history here.


WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

In America Economia, a Latin American consultant argues that excellence is an end unto itself, something that often gets lost in the pursuit of business. "The reality is that a truly awful carpenter makes tables, a mediocre carpenter makes tables, and an excellent carpenter makes excellent tables, typically with the same supplies in the same amount of time and with the same restrictions," Daniel Mordecki Pupko writes. "Excellence is not the result of the amount of effort or intensity of effort — not even the suffering that produces the effort, even if it reaches heroic levels."

Read the full article, A Rumination On Excellence (Or Why Mediocrity Often Wins).


VERBATIM

"We would never leave our parents, country and leader Kim Jong-un," a tearful North Korean waitress told CNN, having returned to Pyongyang after she and her colleagues were apparently tricked by their manager into defecting to South Korea.


JAPAN RAIDS MITSUBISHI OFFICES

Japanese officials raided the offices of Mitsubishi Motors, sending the national carmaker's shares plunging after the company admitted that employees had falsified fuel-efficiency data. The manipulation affects about 600,000 vehicles and four different models sold in Japan under the Nissan brand. The carmaker has suspended manufacturing and sales of the models. Read more fromThe Japan Times.


MY GRAND-PERE'S WORLD

Entrance Examination — Bangkok, 1993


NEW DOLLAR BILLS

The U.S. Department of Treasury unveiled the new faces of the future $5, $10 and $20 bills yesterday, finally giving women a place in the lineup. But the replacement of Andrew Jackson by former slave and abolitionist Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill has some Tennesseans concerned.


MORE STORIES, EXCLUSIVELY IN ENGLISH BY WORLDCRUNCH

WHEN ANGRY BIRDS BECOME REALITY

Even in the small Danish town of Holbæk, officials have resorted to taking out their enemies with a campaign of drone strikes. The target: the eggs of pooping seagulls.

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Society

How India’s Women Are Fighting Air Pollution — And The Patriarchy

India is one of the world's worst countries for air pollution, with women more likely to be affected by the problem than men. Now, experts and activists are fighting to reframe pollution as a gendered health crisis.

A woman walking through dense fog in New Delhi

*Saumya Kalia

MUMBAI In New Delhi, a city that has topped urban air-pollution charts in recent years, Shakuntala describes a discomfort that has become too familiar. Surrounded by bricks and austere buildings, she tells an interviewer: "The eyes burn and it becomes difficult to breathe". She is referring to the noxious fumes she routinely breathes as a construction worker.

Like Shakuntala, women’s experiences of polluted air fill every corner of their lives – inside homes, in parks and markets, on the way to work. Ambient air in most districts in India has never been worse than it is today. As many as 1.67 million people in the country die prematurely due to polluted air. It is India’s second largest health risk after malnutrition.

This risk of exposure to air pollution is compounded for women. Their experiences of toxic air are more frequent and often more hazardous. Yet “policies around air quality have not yet adequately taken into account gender or other factors that might influence people’s health,” Pallavi Pant, a senior scientist at the Health Effects Institute, a nonprofit in the U.S., told The Wire Science.

“It’s unacceptable that the biggest burden [rests on] those who can least bear it,” Sherebanu Frosh, an activist, added. People like her are building a unique resistance within India.

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