A Significant Lack Of Grain & How To Talk To Animals
November 1, 2022
Russian To Starve People
On Saturday, Russia announced that it would be suspending its participation in a U.N.-brokered grain export deal with Ukraine. The deal involved Turkey, Ukraine, and Russia, allowing Ukrainian ships carrying grain, fertilizer, and other food items safe passage through the Black Sea. Through the deal, all ships moving through the Black Sea to or from Ukrainian ports were inspected by international teams with members from the U.N. and the three other countries involved in the deal.
During normal years, Ukraine supplies the world with roughly 45 million metric tons of grain. Roughly three-quarters of this grain is exported annually, with 90% of exports moving through Ukraine’s Black Sea ports. The country also is a top exporter of sunflower oil, accounting for 46% of the world’s exports. The Russian invasion of Ukraine essentially cut the world off from these exports initially. According to the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization, up to 47 million people could be forced to experience “acute food insecurity” due to the war, especially considering Ukraine is a major grain supplier to the World Food Program.
According to the U.N., the Black Sea deal led to a reduction of prices for food staples, indirectly protecting around 100 million people from falling into extreme poverty. Since the deal’s passage, the U.N. estimates around 9.5 million metric tons of food have been shipped out of Ukraine. Shashwat Saraf, the East Africa Emergency Director at the International Rescue Committee, said that a full collapse of the Black Sea deal would “hit those on the brink of starvation the most.” Russia allowed 12 ships carrying grain to leave Ukraine’s Black Sea ports Monday, but has also stated that it is withdrawing from the pact “for an indefinite period of time.” One of those ships was the Ikaria Angel, a World Food Programme ship loaded with 30,000 metric tons of food headed for the Horn of Africa, an area currently facing a food crisis. (CNN)
Some Good News
- China to revise women’s protection law for first time in decades (Reuters)
- How two strangers met in Peru on Halloween and fell in love (CNN)
The Name’s Lula, Not Loser
- On Sunday, Brazilian presidential candidate Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva pulled ahead of incumbent Jair Bolsonaro in a run-off race, securing his third term as president. Lula had previously led Brazil for two consecutive terms from 2003 to 2010.
- “Starting on January 1, 2023, I will govern for the 215 million Brazilians, not just the ones who voted for me. There are not two Brazils. We are one country, one people, one great nation,” he declared in a speech following his victory. According to Brazil’s electoral authority, the election was tight – Lula won 50.90% (60,345,999 votes) of the electorate, while Bolsonaro lost with 49.10% (58,206,354 votes).
- Hours after Brazil’s government announced the election results, Bolsonaro did not appear to make any public statement. Social media videos showed Bolsonaro supporters blocking highways in two states in protest of Lula’s victory. (CNN)
A Troubled Bridge Over Waters
- A 143-year-old suspension bridge in the western Indian state of Gujarat collapsed Sunday, just days after it was reopened to the public. The accident involved hundreds of pedestrians, with 133 killed and another 177 saved from the waters of the Machchu River. Many survivors are being held in hospitals with serious injuries.
- The bridge collapse marks the third crowd-related disaster in Asia this month. On Saturday evening, over 150 partygoers in Seoul, South Korea were killed in a crowd surge during Halloween festivities. On October 1, Indonesian police fired tear gas at a soccer match, sparking another crowd crush that caused 132 deaths.
- A company based out of Morbi (a nearby town), Ajanta Manufacturing Pvt. Ltd, reportedly received a 15-year contract to maintain the bridge. The company is mainly known for making clocks, mosquito racquets, and electric bikes. According to a Morbi city official, the company also did not receive a “fitness certificate” before reopening the bridge. State officials have formed a special team to investigate the incident. (NBC)
Additional World News
- At least 60 people killed in bridge collapse in India (Al Jazeera)
- Haitian ambassador warns criminal gangs may overrun country (Guardian)
- Pakistani journalist crushed by Imran Khan’s truck during coverage (Reuters)
- Dover migrant centre: Police search house over fire attack (BBC)
- Violent clashes break out between students and security forces across Iran, rights groups say (CNN)
- Braverman admits using private emails for official papers six times (BBC)
- Philippine death toll from storm Nalgae rises to 98, disaster agency says (CNN)
“Life is a dream for the wise, a game for the fool, a comedy for the rich, a tragedy for the poor.” – Sholem Aleichem
Shocking Decision, Shock To The System
- A new organization called WeCount, which is led by the pro-choice Society of Family Planning, released a report about how the overturning of Roe v Wade affected access to abortions. In the first two months after the June 24 decision from the Supreme Court, legal abortions nationwide declined by more than 10,000, a drop of about 6%. A co-author of the report called this “a shock to the system.”
- Thirteen states banned or severely restricted abortion during those months, which means legal abortions in those states dropped to nearly zero. In the nine states that added major abortion restrictions, legal abortions fell by a third. In states with bans and restrictions, there were about 22,000 fewer abortions, but in states where abortion remained legal, the number of abortions increased by roughly 12,000, or 11%.
- WeCount gathered data from clinics, hospitals, and telemedicine providers across the country, obtaining detailed abortion counts from 79% of the nation’s abortion providers who were responsible for 82% of all abortions before the court’s Dobbs decision. The total decrease in abortions is likely to be lower than the estimate, however, because the data does not include abortions outside the regulated U.S. health system. (NYT, $)
Please Proceed Away From The Gas Leak
- On Monday, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) closed Terminal 8 after four airport employees fell ill. A woman and three men were working in or near a utility room “when a popping sound was heard, and the apparent release of Carbon Dioxide vapor took place,” an LAFD report said.
- The fire department explained that carbon dioxide from a fire suppression system inside an underground utility room displaced all of the oxygen inside the area. The man who was most critically injured was upgraded from grave to critical earlier on Monday, just before the terminal was deemed safe for use again by the LAFD. (CNN)
Additional USA News
- First look: Mike Pence’s new book reveals key moment before Jan. 6 (Axios)
- Missing Florida boy, 6, found 2,000 miles away in Canada, father and grandmother arrested (NBC)
- US plans to deploy B-52 bombers to northern Australia: Report (Al Jazeera)
- Fetterman leading Oz by 5 points in Pennsylvania Senate race: survey (The Hill)
- Jury selection — and Trump testimony — on tap in protesters’ civil suit against the former president (NBC)
- Five takeaways from the second Georgia gubernatorial debate (CNN)
- Indiana man, 50, arrested on murder charges in 2017 Delphi killings of 2 teenage girls (NBC)
Listening In, From Leopards To Lobsters
- Forget Doctor Dolittle – scientists today have decided that they’re going to communicate with animals using their own methods. What methods, you ask? Well, baby, it’s 2022 – they’re using artificial intelligence. Scientists all around the world have deployed automated listening posts in ecosystems ranging from deep in the oceans to rainforests, with some systems even deployed on animals as small as a honeybee.
- “Digital technologies, so often associated with our alienation from nature, are offering us an opportunity to listen to nonhumans in powerful ways, reviving our connection to the natural world,” writes Karen Bakker in her book, The Sounds of Life: How Digital Technology Is Bringing Us Closer to the Worlds of Animals and Plants. “Combined, these digital devices function like a planetary-scale hearing aid: enabling humans to observe and study nature’s sounds beyond the limits of our sensory capabilities.”
- The technologies being deployed let humans hear ultrasonic sounds emitted by animals that most would think of as silent – for example, coral reefs are home to a symphony of sounds from their underwater inhabitants. To analyze the massive amounts of data collected from these planetwide sound networks, scientists are planning to use artificial intelligence to sort data and derive some form of meaning from the symphony of life. (Vox)
- Onslaught of political ads to hit before midterms (Axios)
- Sparks Fly as Musk Moves Fast to Remake Twitter (NYT, $)
- Two men acquitted of Malcom X murder to receive $36m (Al Jazeera)
- How to survive a crowd crush and why they can become deadly (WaPo, $)
- Scientists reconstruct epic biblical battles in groundbreaking new study (Reuters)
- Luke Bryan defends decision to bring out ‘polarizing’ Gov. Ron DeSantis at Florida show after backlash (USA Today)
- That’s scary: Roaches spoil Halloween on Wyandotte street (CBS)
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