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South Sudan Ferry Tragedy, Egypt Referendum, Lost Johnny Cash Song

A man carries a child in the floodwaters that have hit Jakarta this week.
A man carries a child in the floodwaters that have hit Jakarta this week.

Between 200 and 300 people are believed to have drowned in a ferry accident on the White Nile river, AFP reports an army spokesman as saying. The civilians were trying to flee from the town of Malakal where there is intense fighting, but the boat was overcrowded.

Egyptians are voting across the country today and tomorrow in a referendum on a new constitution, Al Jazeera reports. The government, which expects the constitution to be approved, has set up a massive security operation to prevent disruptions, with some 200,000 security forces deployed. Still, a man was killed this morning in clashes outside a polling station in Cairo, while a courthouse in the capital was hit by an explosion. Read more from The Guardian.

Anti-government protesters in Thailand are continuing their “Bangkok shutdown” and today extended their blockade to ministries and bank branches, The Bangkok Post reports. Suthep Thaugsuban, one of the movement’s leaders and head of opposition party PDRC, warned that the protests would intensify and that they could take ministers into custody.

Congressional negotiators reached agreement yesterday on a spending bill worth $1.1 trillion, The Washington Post reports. While providing the federal government with funding until the end of September, the bill reverses some of the spending cuts that were approved last month and gives a 1% raise to all federal workers.

Floodwaters have hit Indonesia's capital, and several thousand Jakarta residents have been displaced, though rains appear to be subsiding.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki rejected UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s call for the country to halt executions during a joint press conference Monday. Read here what he had to say.

Chechnya is rewarding parents with $1,000 in cash for naming newborns after the Prophet “Muhammad,” Islam’s founder.

A previously unreleased album recorded by Johnny Cash in the early 1980s has been found and will go on sale March 25. A first excerpt has already been published online, a beautiful love song entitled “She Used to Love Me A Lot.”

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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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