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Geopolitics

Kurds Vs. ISIS, U.S. Drought, Free Wi-Fi At What Cost?

A duck walks across dried mud near a pond in Oregon.
A duck walks across dried mud near a pond in Oregon.

KURDS LAUNCH ISIS OFFENSIVE
Kurdish Peshmerga fighters are attacking ISIS on three fronts in northern Iraq and are gaining territory on the border with Syria, AFP quotes senior Kurdish officers as saying. Meanwhile, Turkey has sent 35 armored vehicles, including a dozen tanks, to the border with Syria, where fights around the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani are intensifying. After a week of U.S. strikes in Syria, The New York Times reports that fighters in anti-Assad rebel groups are growing angry over the strikes, which they believe are reinforcing the Syrian government.

GLOBAL WARMING AND DROUGHT
The severe drought affecting California and Oregon cannot definitely be linked to climate warming, a study shows. While acknowledging that human behavior contributes to climate change and heat waves across the globe, scientists suggest that "natural variability likely played a much larger role in the extreme precipitation events" such as the drought in the West, the Los Angeles Times reports. The report was published just days after CBS San Francisco warned that at least a dozen communities in northern and central California could run out of water in just 60 days.

HONG KONG PROTESTERS ISSUE DEMAND
As the crowds of protesters grow in Hong Kong ahead of tomorrow’s national holiday, protest leaders have set a 24-hour deadline for the city’s Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to respond to their demands of more democracy and to step down, AP reports. Leung said China “will not rescind its decision” to vet candidates before the 2017 election in Hong Kong, the controversy that is driving the protests. And Beijing continued to describe the demonstrations as “an illegal assembly.”

VERBATIM
“To defeat ISIS and leave Iran as a threshold nuclear power is to win the battle and lose the war,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the UN General Assembly yesterday, as he tried to shift the discussion from ISIS to Iran.

WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO
As Clarin reports, spring, also known as the season of love, has arrived in South America. Experts point to a new kind of approach and natural toys to help heat things up in the bedroom. “We've all heard of Slow Food, which began as a reaction to the culture of fast food,” journalist Gisela Sousa Dias writes. “But lately, the philosophy of slowing down has spread to other areas,” which now also includes our love lives. Read the full article here.

AFGHANISTAN TO LET U.S. TROOPS STAY
Ashraf Ghani, who was yesterday sworn in as the new Afghanistan president, is expected to sign a deal today to allow U.S. troops to stay in the country beyond the end of this year, Reuters reports. Under the bilateral agreement, almost 10,000 American troops will stay, as well as 2,000 military personnel from other NATO countries. In his address yesterday, Ghani called on the Taliban to join peace talks, but they denounced the deal as a “sinister” U.S. plot.

41%
Forty-one percent of Syrian refugees aged between 15-24 have contemplated suicide at one time, according to a study by the UN and Save the Children International. Read more here.

ARGENTINA IN CONTEMPT OF COURT
U.S. Judge Thomas Griesa has ruled that Argentina is in contempt of court for its refusal to abide by a previous ruling ordering the country to repay the debt it owes to two American hedge funds, Bloomberg reports. The Argentinian government responded with a strongly worded statement, published by Clarín, that the decision “violates international law” and only provides “new elements in the defamation campaign being waged against Argentina by vulture funds.” Judge Griesa said he would decide on a penalty later.

READ THE CONDITIONS
A UK experiment meant to raise awareness about the dangers of public Internet access found that at least some people blindly accepted terms and conditions that offered them free Wi-Fi in exchange for their eldest child. Read more from The Guardian.

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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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