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Gaza Death Toll, Brazil Shame, Green Vancouver

At leat 28 people have been killed by air strikes in Gaza since Monday.
At leat 28 people have been killed by air strikes in Gaza since Monday.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Israel carried out dozens of air strikes early Wednesday, with at least 28 people reported killed and more than 100 wounded in Gaza since Monday. Palestinian authorities said two women and five children were among the victims killed in what the Israeli military called “Operation Protective Edge”, the AFP reported.

The strikes hit some 160 targets, including some 120 concealed rocket launchers, 10 Hamas command and control centers and tunnels, General Moti Almoz said on Israeli military radio.

Israel said it intercepted five rockets, two in the air above Tel Aviv and three over Ashkelon, according to the BBC. Israel’s Iron Dome interceptor system reportedly shot down 20 of the 117 rockets targeted at the country Tuesday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to "significantly expand our operations against Hamas", while Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas appealed for international help. “What's happening in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem is not a war between two armies. The Palestinian people are an unarmed people, people who live under occupation,” he said on Palestinian television, according to Al Jazeera.

Sunni ISIS jihadists have taken control of an abandoned chemical weapons factory northwest of Baghdad, Iraqi officials have revealed. The UN and U.S. have said the munitions are degraded and the rebels will be unable to make usable chemical arms from them, Reuters reported. The Muthanna complex was first used under Saddam Hussein’s regime in the 1980s and produced mustard gas, sarin and VX nerve agent. The site was reportedly taken over by jihadists on June 11 after they disarmed the soldiers present, Iraq's UN Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim confirmed to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in a letter, according to the Associated Press.
Meanwhile, Iraqi police forces have found 53 unidentified bodies bearing gunshot wounds in the predominantly Shiite town of al-Khamisiya, south of Baghdad, Bloomberg reports.

Brazil’s coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has reacted to his team’s humiliating defeat 7-1 to Germany in the semi-finals of the World Cup.

The two Indonesian presidential candidates, Jakarta governor Joko Widodo, commonly known as Jokowi, and the former special forces general Prabowo Subianto have both claimed victory, according to The Straits Times. Several Indonesian pollsters based on quick count results however show that Jokowi had a clear five percentage point lead over his rival. Official results are set to be released on July 21 or 22.

Severe thunderstorms and high winds have killed five people and left at least 70,000 people without power in U.S. East Coast states Wednesday, Reuters reported. The state of New York was the hardest hit, where four of the deaths were reported. The severe weather started Tuesday in northeastern Ohio before spreading eastward.

Sustainable gastronomy, bike-loan stations, electric-powered ferries … ForDie Welt’s Indra Kley and Thomas Schöneich, “Vancouver continues — again, atypically for North America — to be massively committed to green. Mayor Gregor Robertson’s Greenest City 2020 campaign aims to make Vancouver the world’s greenest city by 2020, with carbon dioxide emissions and water use reduced by a third, and garbage by one-half. The traffic system is being changed to encourage both residents and visitors to use public transportation, walk or cycle as much as possible. ‘It’s up to each individual to do his or her bit, to give this some thought and come up with new ideas about how we want to live our lives in the future,’ says Robertson.”
Read the full article: Birthplace Of Greenpeace: How Green Ideas Sustain Vancouver.

Chinese President Xi Jinping called for mutual respect between China and the U.S. in the annual bilateral encounter in Beijing on Wednesday, saying confrontation would be a “disaster.” The U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who leads the American delegation, said in his opening remarks that the U.S. was not seeking to “contain” China, the BBC reported.

Employees cleaning out a storage room last week at a lab on the National Institutes of Health’s Bethesda campus, Maryland, have discovered 16 forgotten vials containing strains of variola — ie., smallpox. The last smallpox outbreak in the U.S. was back in 1947, in New York. Read more about it from the Washington Post.

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Indigenous Women Of Ecuador Set Example For Sustainable Agriculture

In southern Ecuador, a women-led agricultural program offers valuable lessons on sustainable farming methods, but also how to end violence.

Photo of women walking in Ecuador

Women walking in Guangaje Ecuador

Camila Albuja

SARAGURO — Here in this corner of southern Ecuador, life seems to be like a mandala — everything is cleverly used in this ancestral system of circular production. But the women of Saraguro had to fight and resist to make their way of life, protecting the local water and the seeds. When weaving, the women share and take care of each other, also weaving a sense of community.

With the wrinkled tips of her fingers, Mercedes Quizhpe, an indigenous woman from the Kichwa Saraguro people, washes one by one the freshly harvested vegetables from her garden. Standing on a small bench, with her hands plunged into the strong torrent of icy water and the bone-chilling early morning breeze, she checks that each one of her vegetables is ready for fair day. Her actions hold a life of historical resistance, one that prioritizes the care of life through the defense of territory and food sovereignty.

Mercedes' way of life is also one that holds many potential lessons for how to do agriculture and tourism better.

In the province of Loja, work begins before sunrise. At 5:00 a.m., the barking of dogs, the guardians of each house, starts. There is that characteristic smell of damp earth from the morning dew. Sheep bah uninterruptedly through the day. With all this life around, the crowing of early-rising roosters doesn't sound so lonely.

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