Welcome to Wednesday, where the death toll in Libya floods surpasses 6,000, Kim Jong-un offers Vladimir Putin his “full and unconditional support,” and NASA sees potential signs of extraterrestrial life some 120 light years away. Meanwhile, Carmen Contreras Tellez in Spanish online media Ethic worries that green energy-linked practices like lithium extraction may repeat the same indigenous exploitation mistakes of the past.
[*Frisian, The Netherlands and Germany]
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• Kim Jong-un meets Putin in Russia as missiles launch from North Korea: North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has offered Russian President Vladimir Putin his country’s “full and unconditional support” for Russia’s “sacred fight” to defend its security interests. The comments came as the pair met on Wednesday at a Russian cosmodrome during Kim’s first foreign trip in four years. Coinciding with the summit, North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles from an area near the capital, Pyongyang, into the sea.
• Death toll in Libyan floods at 6,000: The death toll from devastating floods in Libya’s eastern city of Derna has risen to an estimated 6,000, according to local officials. The figure is expected to rise as rescue operations continue in the coastal city that was hit by Storm Daniel.
• Residents trapped in deadly Hanoi apartment blaze: An overnight fire in an apartment block in Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi, has killed at least 8 people, with local media reporting the toll may be more than 30, including a number of children.
• India’s Kerala declares containment zones after Nipah virus deaths: Authorities in Kerala, India have closed down schools and offices and declared more than seven villages as containment zones in the southern state after it recorded two deaths from the rare and deadly brain-damaging Nipah virus. An adult and a child are still infected and in hospital, and more than 130 people have so far been tested for the virus, which is transmitted to humans through direct contact with the bodily fluids of infected bats, pigs or other people.
• Mexico migrant route world’s deadliest: According to U.N. migration agency figures, the U.S.-Mexico border is the world’s deadliest land migration route with hundreds losing their lives attempting to make perilous desert crossings. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) documented 686 deaths and disappearances among migrants on the frontier last year, but the actual figure is likely higher due to missing data.
• New JFK assassination details come to light: Six decades later, new details are coming to light in the assassination of President John F Kennedy. Paul Landis, an 88-year-old former Secret Service agent who witnessed the president's death at close range, says in an upcoming memoir that he picked up a bullet from the car after Kennedy was shot, and then left it on the former president's stretcher at the hospital.
• In a galaxy far, far away: NASA's James Webb Space Telescope may have discovered evidence of a sign of life on a faraway planet, as it reportedly detected a molecule called dimethyl sulfide (DMS), which — on Earth at least — is only produced by life. The researchers said that the detection on the planet 120 light years away is "not robust" and more data is needed to confirm its presence.
Casablanca-based daily Le Matin dedicates its front page to the visit of King Mohammed VI to victims of the deadly 6.8 earthquake that occurred on Sept. 8 in Morocco. The king went to the Mohammed VI University Hospital Center in Marrakech to talk to injured people and donate blood. At least 2,900 people died from the catastrophe and more than 5,500 were injured.
American country-pop icon Taylor Swift won big at the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards held in Newark, New Jersey yesterday. IN addition to artist of the year, Swift also went home with “video of the year” and “song of the year” awards for her song “Anti-Hero” as well as “best album of the year” for her album Midnights, for a record-equalling total of nine statuettes. She also became the first artist ever to win “video of the year” two years in a row.
Lithium mining: How the clean energy rush repeats old cycles of global exploitation
The search for clean energy is essential in an age of alarming climate change. Lithium extraction represents a great opportunity, but the maltreatment of communities affected by this extraction must be considered if we want to interrupt the vicious cycle of wealthy countries exploiting resource-rich countries, writes Carmen Contreras Tellez in Spanish online media Ethic.
⛏️ The largest sources of lithium in the world are found in brine deposits in Argentina, Bolivia and Chile, making them the focus of attention for investors. But indigenous communities that depend on these territories and the resources found there demand prior dialogue and informed consultation before allowing the extraction of the mineral. "To us, the salt flat represents our entire life," explains Lesley Muñoz Rivera, a representative of the Colla community in Copiapo, Chile.
🔋 "Before, there wasn't much connection between the mining discussion and the energy equation, but now the energy transition has given a strong boost to mining activity because renewable energies require more technology and are mineral-intensive. So, that's a first component, that there is more demand," says Juan Luis Dammert, director of the Institute for Natural Resource Governance in Latin America.
🤝 The President of Chile, Gabriel Boric, announced a National Lithium Strategy, which proposes the creation of a state-owned company, but with public-private participation. It includes not only development and scientific research but also allows communities and indigenous people in the area to participate in joint dialogues with all stakeholders. The first meeting was already held in early June.
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“Extreme politics at its worst.”
— Ian Sams, White House spokesperson for oversight and investigations, criticized House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s call on his committees to open a formal impeachment inquiry into the U.S. President Joe Biden. “House Republicans have been investigating the President for nine months, and they’ve turned up no evidence of wrongdoing,” Sams wrote in a post on X, formerly Twitter. The House-led GOP investigations shed light on business dealings by the president's son Hunter Biden, who is currently under federal investigation for possible tax crimes, but have yet to provide direct evidence that Biden financially benefited from his son’s career overseas.
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