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Ukraine Mine Blast, Boston Trial, Roman Smog

Ukraine Mine Blast, Boston Trial, Roman Smog

An explosion believed to be gas-related at the Zasyadko coal mine in rebel-held Donetsk, Ukraine, has killed at least 32 people, local officials said Wednesday. Reuters reported some 70 miners were working in the mine at the time of the blast, and that dozens more people are still trapped underground and unaccounted for, and a rescue operation is underway. At least 160 people have already been evacuated from the mine, according to RT. The blast is not believed to be related to clashes between the Ukrainian army and pro-Russian separatists. Mikhail Volynets, a mine union official, said there had been no fighting in the area in recent days. Zasyadko is said to have one of the region’s better-equipped coal mines. But in Nov. 2007, it also suffered Ukraine’s worst mining accident, when 101 people were killed, the BBC reports.

Just hours after the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a divisive speech at the American Congress (Photo above: Yin Bogu/Xinhua/ZUMA) criticizing Iran’s nuclear program, the U.S. and Iranian Foreign Ministers John Kerry and Mohammad Javad Zarif began a third day of nuclear talks in Switzerland on Wednesday morning. Both parties hope to “work out a framework deal by late March,” the Iranian news agency IRNA reports.

  • Netanyahu’s speech Tuesday “will make it harder for the Obama administration to sell the potential deal back home,” Reuters explains.
  • The Israeli leader said such a deal would guarantee Iran the means to acquire the atomic bomb, putting the U.S., Israel and other countries at great risk.
  • However, Iran has always argued its civil nuclear program has no weapon-related purpose, claiming it has peaceful ambitions such as generating electricity.

At least 10 people died when their boat overturned in the southern Mediterranean while trying to reach Europe, Italian coast guards said Wednesday. The boat was reportedly carrying about 130 migrants and capsized 50 miles north of Libya. All the other people on board were rescued by a coast guard ship. Last month, more than 300 people died in similar conditions.

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“Sweet Home Chicago” … since this day in 1887! Get ready for the four factoids in your 57-second shot of History.

The trial is set to begin today for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the 21-year-old surviving brother of the fraternal duo accused of perpetrating the 2013 Boston marathon bombings that killed three and injured at least 260. The elder brother Tamerlan was killed in shootout with the police four days after the attack. According to The Boston Globe, the U.S. District Judge George A. O’Toole Jr. told the 12 chosen jurors that the trial could last up to four months. Tsarnaev faces 30 charges, including 17 that could lead to the death penalty.

The director of Russia's Federal Security Service said Wednesday that an investigation into the murder of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov had identified several suspects, Reuters reports.

The Villarrica volcano, one of the most active in southern Chile, erupted Tuesday, prompting authorities to evacuate thousands of people from the region.

Leaders of Syria's Nusra Front are considering cutting their links with al-Qaeda to form a new entity backed by some Gulf states trying to topple President Bashar al-Assad, Al Arabiya reports.

Pope Francis has been surprisingly progressive on such issues as gay rights. But so far he's taken the hard line on denouncing drugs. That could change if he sees that legalization is the best chance for reducing violence, writes El Espectador’s Rodrigo Uprimny: “Decriminalization, which doesn't mean a free-for-all but a strictly controlled and regulated market, is one way of confronting the abuses without giving way to a prohibition's vicious effects, like trafficking. If Pope Francis wants to avoid Argentina ‘going the Mexican way,’ there is an obvious solution: Legalize drugs.”
Read the full article, And If The Pope Called For Drug Legalization?


At least 3,600 historical landmarks in Rome could be threatened by air pollution, an Italian study has found. Across the entire country, the figure could rise up to 42,000.

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The Unsustainable Future Of Fish Farming — On Vivid Display In Turkish Waters

Currently, 60% of Turkey's fish currently comes from cultivation, also known as fish farming, compared to just 10% two decades ago. The short-sightedness of this shift risks eliminating fishing output from both the farms and the open seas along Turkey's 5,200 miles of coastline.

Photograph of two fishermen throwing a net into the Tigris river in Turkey.

Traditional fishermen on the Tigris river, Turkey.

Dûrzan Cîrano/Wikimeidia
İrfan Donat

ISTANBUL — Turkey's annual fish production includes 515,000 tons from cultivation and 335,000 tons came from fishing in open waters. In other words, 60% of Turkey's fish currently comes from cultivation, also known as fish farming.

It's a radical shift from just 20 years ago when some 600,000 tons, or 90% of the total output, came from fishing. Now, researchers are warning the current system dominated by fish farming is ultimately unsustainable in the country with 8,333 kilometers (5,177 miles) long.

Professor Mustafa Sarı from the Maritime Studies Faculty of Bandırma 17 Eylül University believes urgent action is needed: “Why were we getting 600,000 tons of fish from the seas in the 2000’s and only 300,000 now? Where did the other 300,000 tons of fish go?”

Professor Sarı is challenging the argument from certain sectors of the industry that cultivation is the more sustainable approach. “Now we are feeding the fish that we cultivate at the farms with the fish that we catch from nature," he explained. "The fish types that we cultivate at the farms are sea bass, sea bram, trout and salmon, which are fed with artificial feed produced at fish-feed factories. All of these fish-feeds must have a significant amount of fish flour and fish oil in them.”

That fish flour and fish oil inevitably must come from the sea. "We have to get them from natural sources. We need to catch 5.7 kilogram of fish from the seas in order to cultivate a sea bream of 1 kg," Sarı said. "Therefore, we are feeding the fish to the fish. We cannot cultivate fish at the farms if the fish in nature becomes extinct. The natural fish need to be protected. The consequences would be severe if the current policy is continued.”

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