In our globalized world, climate change, economic collapse and all sorts of warfare (nuclear, biological, cyber, etc.) are viewed as the most terrible and frightening danger threatening our planet. But scientists recently pointed to an imminent threat that could wipe out the human race — the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria or, simply, "superbugs."
Today, the United Nations General Assembly will dedicate a high-level meeting to the issue of "antimicrobial resistance". It would only be the fourth time that the 193 member states discuss public health. With about 700,000 deaths a year attributed to superbugs, including 23,000 in the U.S. alone, scientists believe it's an issue as pressing as climate change. By 2050, the yearly death toll could reach 10 million worldwide.
An article published in Vox rightly warns that our consumption of antibiotics is "out of control," and not just to treat humans, but farm animals too. This bacterial evolution could make some diseases such as gonorrhea untreatable, reversing more than a century of medical progress. And it could have a bone-chilling effect on our economy. The World Bank in a report earlier this week warned that "drug-resistant infections could cause global economic damage on par with the 2008 financial crisis."
As pharmaceutical companies appear more worried about wrapping up big mergers, it's time for the UN to rise to the occasion, show its relevance, and lead the way.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY
U.S. ACCUSES RUSSIA FOR SYRIA AID CONVOY ATTACK
The United States holds Russia responsible for the bombing of a UN humanitarian convoy in the Syrian city of Aleppo on Monday night, after a seven-day ceasefire, The New York Times reports. Some 20 civilians are believed to have been killed in the air strikes, which destroyed 18 of the 31-truck convoy, and the UN suspended all aid convoys in Syria as a result. The Russian Foreign Ministry denied the claims, saying that Russian aircraft weren't in the area and that the Syrian air force doesn't have the capabilities of carrying out night operations, Tass reports. Instead, Moscow accused Washington of trying to "distract attention from a strange â€˜error'" that led to warplanes of the U.S.-led coalition bombing Syrian forces fighting against ISIS in Deir ez-Zor on Saturday.
LULA TO FACE TRIAL
Former Brazilian President Lula da Silva will stand trial over corruption and money laundering charges as part of the ongoing probe around state-oil company Petrobras, Folha de S. Paulo reports. Lula, who is also accused of failing to declare a luxury penthouse in the resort of Guarujá, said the charges were a "farce, a big lie," adding that he was "a man with a clear conscience."
— ON THIS DAY
Who you gonna call? Well, Bill Murray and wish him a happy birthday. That, and more, in your 57-second shot of history.
"Each of us as leaders, each nation can choose to reject those who appeal to our worst impulses and embrace those who appeal to our best," Barack Obama said in his last speech to the UN General Assembly, warning of the dangers of isolationism.
VIOLENT PROTESTS IN NORTH CAROLINA
Twelve police officers were injured in protests in Charlotte, North Carolina, that erupted in reaction to yesterday's fatal shooting of an armed black man by a police officer, USA Todayreports. Police said that 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott was holding a gun and presented "an imminent deadly threat to the officers." The incident followed the release of a video of Oklahoma police shooting an unarmed man.
More and more coffee growers are going organic in Colombia. A boost for the environment, the trend is also improving lives, as producers in the coastal Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta can attest. For Colombian daily El Espectador, Tatiana Pardo Ibarra reports: "The Anei project isn't just friendly to the environment: It also benefits 538 families from the Arhuaco, Kogi, Wiwa and Kankuamo tribes, which now export the fruits of their labor to places like the United States, Japan, Canada and the EU.
The families work in 64 communities or settlements in the Sierra Nevada, using practices that follow the native view of the universe. They engage in rituals, offerings and dances like the zamuyuna to ensure a good quality harvest. They are always protective of seynekun (mother nature) and guided by mamos, spiritual leaders that send their energy toward the earth."
Read the full article, Aroma Of Organic, The Gradual Greening Of Colombian Coffee.
NEW YORK BOMBING SUSPECT CHARGED
The New York bombing suspect, 28-year-old Ahmad Khan Rahami, was charged in federal court yesterday with several crimes, including the use of weapons of mass destruction, The New York Times reports. In his journal, investigators have found references to "Brother Osama bin Laden," and to the killing of "kuffars" (infidels). Police believe Rahami had been "meticulously planning" his attack, at least since June.
Donald Trump used more than a quarter-million dollars from his charity to settle lawsuits in which his businesses were involved, in dealings that The Washington Post says may have violated legislation against "self-dealing".
— MY GRAND-PERE'S WORLD
Enough On My Plate — Rio de Janeiro, 1992
HUMAN WASTE AS CLEAN ENERGY
In its quest for clean, renewable energy, carmaker Toyota is turning to one of the least likely places you'd think of. Read more from Quartz.
BRANGELINA SPLIT, WAX EDITION
Following yesterday's news of Angelina Jolie filing for divorce from Brad Pitt, the Madame Tussaud wax museum had to follow suit.
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Robots have started making music on their own. And we're not even talking about Daft Punk.