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Environmental Scientist

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World's rarest big cat could be making a comeback

Things are starting to look up for the rarest big cat on the planet: The critically endangered Amur leopard, which is indigenous to southeastern Russia and parts of northeastern China, has doubled in population since 2007, according to a new report by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

Census data from Russia's Land of the Leopard National Park, which covers about 60 percent of the Amur leopard's habitat, puts the number of these wild cats at 57. That's up from the 30 leopards counted in the area in 2007, according to the WWF.

Eight to 12 additional cats were also counted in adjacent areas of China during the census, which means the total population of Amur leopards has, in fact, doubled in less than a decade.



Netanyahu Invites Arab Diplomats to His Big Speech—and Gets Rejected

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is refusing to meet with a group of ardently pro-Israel Democratic senators next week in Washington, but he very much wants to see the faces of Arab ambassadors in the audience during his controversial address to Congress.

Netanyahu's ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, has tried, without success, to recruit Arab ambassadors to come to his boss’s speech, e-mailing them personally to plead for their attendance. Dermer, who is not a trained diplomat, is the man who helped engineer the invitation to Netanyahu to speak to Congress in opposition to President Obama’s (so far theoretical) Iran nuclear deal.

Israeli sources tell me that Dermer in recent days has e-mailed at least two Arab ambassadors, those of Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. He made the case in these e-mails that Sunni-majority Arab states and Israel have a common interest in thwarting a nuclear agreement with Shiite Iran—and that presenting a united and public front on Capitol Hill will help convince Congress to stop the Iran deal before it’s too late.

It is true that Israel and such countries as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Kuwait see Iran as an enemy, and believe that the Obama administration might be inadvertently (or, for the more conspiratorially minded, advertently) setting Iran on the path to nuclearization. It is also true that no Arab ambassador would allow himself to be used as a prop in Netanyahu’s controversial address, and I'm told that neither ambassador will be in attendance. (A related, subsidiary question is this: Just who from the diplomatic corps will actually attend the speech? Will any ambassador show up?)



Wednesday Toon Roundup 3- The Rest

The Issue




Wednesday Toon Roundup 2- Nopeland Party

Wednesday Toon Roundup 1-Liars and Haters

Report: Saudis might help Israel attack Iran in exchange for progress in peace process

In private talks with European sources, the Saudis have expressed their willingness to cooperate with Israel on Iran, including use of Saudi air space by the IDF for a possible air strike, according to a report by Channel 2.

Cooperation with Saudi Arabia would not come free, however. According to the report, the Saudi officials said they would need to see progress between Israelis and Palestinians before having enough legitimacy to allow Israel to use their air space.

Arab governments, not only Israel, have been expressing concern over the development of a deal with Iran over its nuclear program, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

Talks with Iran over its nuclear program have instilled fear within some major Sunni states, such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates that a nuclear arms race will break out in the region, and brought about speculation regarding the possible extension of a US nuclear umbrella to its non-nuclear-armed Middle East allies.




Grandma Maced By Police For Bringing Cupcakes To Granddaughter’s Classroom

Apparently not everyone likes grandma’s cupcakes.

Mary Poole, 78, is still recovering from injuries after what she claims was a violent attack from a school district police officer last year, ABC30 reports. Now the California woman has finally filed a lawsuit, citing $180,000 in medical bills, a dislocated shoulder and fracture and the intense pain of being maced in the face twice.

Poole is alleging a litany of wrongdoing by the district’s officer: excessive force, elder abuse, assault and false arrest.

“I hadn’t seen my granddaughters for some time, and I wanted to see them, and so I baked some cupcakes and bought some cookies for my granddaughters’ classroom,” Poole told ABC30.

Poole says when she arrived at her granddaughter’s school, a Clovis Unified police officer stopped her, saying there was a restraining order against her.

Poole says she tried to explain, but says the officer then sprayed her in the face with mace twice, threw her down and dragged her across the ground. Poole was not arrested, and there was not a restraining order against her. The officer still works for the district.


Like to origonal story


Luckovich Toon- Lucky for Republicans...

These billboards tell the stories of London's housing crisis

London is in the middle of a monumental metamorphosis, as anyone who lives here knows. Whether it's astronomical rent prices, the Canary Wharf-isation of every area in sight, or the growing economic divide between the UK capital and the rest of the country, it's apparent that London is becoming a monster. Basically, some can live here and some can't. How is this shift affecting the people who still call this place home?

Rebecca Ross, the Communication Design Course Leader at Central St Martins, and her assistant Duarte Carrilho da Graça have created a project called London Is Changing, a public artwork using two billboards in Holborn and Aldgate that tell the story of those Londoners that have fled the city after being priced out, those still here that fear for the city's future and a few that still feel the love.

Speaking to Dazed, Ross said: "I wanted to frame a response to the socio-economic changes in London using this medium to try and facilitate a city-wide conversation about an issue that I think is on everyone's minds but doesn't always get studied or reported on in the right ways. I wanted to put it on the street at a large scale in a way that's normally reserved for one-way corporate conversations".

Ross is keen to stress that this project is intended to highlight change in the city, not necessarily its decline or the notion that it's becoming too expensive. However, she also describes herself as "pretty aware that the people who were going to be most responsive to were the ones who being priced out, who can't afford to be here anymore. Most of the response has been from people who have to leave, but wish they didn't; mostly socio-economic reasons."



Coal Miner's Slaughter

In the final scene of How Green Was My Valley, a boy cradles the body of his dead father as the two are lifted out of a collapsed coal mine. Audiences wept as the Welsh lad mourned everything the coal industry had taken from him: his father, his innocence, his once beautiful hometown.

The film won the Oscar for Best Picture in 1941. Today, with its black-and-white scenery, old-fashioned score, and crude editing, it looks like a relic from a bygone era. Watching the film, we might imagine the exploitation blighting the South Wales coal town has been left in the distant past.

That kind of reverse nostalgia—pretending we’ve solved all our grandparents’ problems—is a major obstacle to continued progress.

Case in point: Recently, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection reported that mining in coal counties had damaged half of nearby streams and polluted groundwater. The report triggered this response from a local government official: “No one wants to see a repeat of non-responsible resource extraction as it happened in the late 1800s and early 1900s.... Companies today must not and cannot get away with what they did 100 years ago.”

In other words, let’s not go back to the days of How Green Was My Valley. Take a brief tour through the epidemiological literature, though, and you’ll see that the coal-town problem exists very much in the present.


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