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CLARIN

Zika Scam In Buenos Aires: Fake Fumigators Robbing Homes

Bonafide fumigators in Formosa, Argentina
Bonafide fumigators in Formosa, Argentina

BUENOS AIRES — Every crisis is an opportunity, they say. In several neighborhoods in the Argentine capital, moves to curb the spread of the mosquito-borne Zika virus or dengue fever in several South American countries, have provided a perfect ruse for thieves to enter properties posing as municipal fumigators, Clarín reports.

Authorities have warned residents to be alert in at least six Buenos Aires districts where thieves have put on the full fumigating garb and come knocking on doors. The first to sound the alarm was a family who refused to open and immediately wrote their concerns on networking sites. "They're ringing bells saying they've come to fumigate over dengue, and they'll rip you off," one would-be victim warned.

The Neighbors' Network in the East Florida district issues an alert on Facebook. Local authorities then put out notices saying they did not just "come around" door-to-door, and people should call the police if suspicious. House calls would only happen if authorities suspected a home to be a source of Aedes Aegypti mosquitos, they stated.

The city and most of Argentina have had a particularly hot and muggy summer, while Spain's EFE agency has reported 2016 as seeing the worst dengue epidemic since 2009, with 4,000 or so registered cases. One of the worst-hit provinces, San Luis east of Buenos Aires, has put out an application allowing locals to alert authorities to the presence of stagnant pools and other mosquito hideouts.

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Ideas

Joshimath, The Sinking Indian City Has Also Become A Hotbed Of Government Censorship

The Indian authorities' decision to hide factual reports on the land subsidence in Joshimath only furthers a sense of paranoia.

Photo of people standing next to a cracked road in Joshimath, India

Cracked road in Joshimath

@IndianCongressO via Twitter
Rohan Banerjee*

MUMBAI — Midway through the movie Don’t Look Up (2021), the outspoken PhD candidate Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence) is bundled into a car, a bag over her head. The White House, we are told, wants her “off the grid”. She is taken to a warehouse – the sort of place where CIA and FBI agents seem to spend an inordinate amount of time in Hollywood movies – and charged with violating national security secrets.

The Hobson’s choice offered to her is to either face prosecution or suspend “all public media appearances and incendiary language relating to Comet Dibiasky”, an interstellar object on a collision course with earth. Exasperated, she acquiesces to the gag order.

Don’t Look Upis a satirical take on the collective apathy towards climate change; only, the slow burn of fossil fuel is replaced by the more imminent threat of a comet crashing into our planet. As a couple of scientists try to warn humanity about its potential extinction, they discover a media, an administration, and indeed, a society that is not just unwilling to face the truth but would even deny it.

This premise and the caricatured characters border on the farcical, with plot devices designed to produce absurd scenarios that would be inconceivable in the real world we inhabit. After all, would any government dealing with a natural disaster, issue an edict prohibiting researchers and scientists from talking about the event? Surely not. Right?

On January 11, the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), one of the centers of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), issued a preliminary report on the land subsidence issue occurring in Joshimath, the mountainside city in the Himalayas.

The word ‘subsidence’ entered the public lexicon at the turn of the year as disturbing images of cracked roads and tilted buildings began to emanate from Joshimath.

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