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SUMMER TRAGEDY

Flood and Mudslides
Kill Hundreds in Brazil

Over 500 people got killed in the past few days, as intense rains caused floods and mudslides in five towns around Rio de Janeiro. The death toll is expected to rise as more rain is forecast and an unknown number of victims remains buried under land and debris from collapsed buildings. Here’s a report from a resident of Nova Friburgo, one of the most affected cities.

“Hi Chico,

Things here are really horrible. The rain inundated my mom’s house, she lost almost everything, many barriers broke down, there are many deaths, relatives of Fabio (my husband) lost everything and were left only with the clothes they’re wearing.
We had to leave home because things were getting pretty bad, without running water, power and risking getting sick, for the mud was already at the fourth step leading to my apartment. But thank god, we’re fine now.
We went back today. We now have power but there’s still no water and worse, we can’t find bottled water in the city. There are still a lot of people buried all over.
Here in downtown, two or three buildings have collapsed, we still don’t know how many died in them. There’s a street that was Continue reading

Eye on the Year

RECORDS BROKEN &
VERY LITTLE CHANGE

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The Earth Shook & Burn But
The World Only Moved Sideways
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A year of extremes but no breakthroughs. Records of the wrong kind (U.S.’s longest armed conflict in Afghanistan and worst environmental disaster ever, highest temperature indexes in several regions of the world, increased infection diseases mortality rates in the Caribbean and Africa, and staggering drug trafficking casualties in Latin America) plagued the world, with the additional bonus of a certified freak: a snowstorm in the middle of the Australian summer.
But there was no progress in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks; no curbs on Iranian and North Korean authoritarian antics or scary nuclear ambitions; no meaningful proposals to solve political impasses in the Ivory Coast, Sudan, Rwanda, Nigeria or Zimbabwe.
Disturbing tactics did get deployed, though, by the world’s superpowers but with the only intention of curbing whistle blowers and freedom of information acts such as WikiLeaks. It gave civil rights activists of every stripe a chilling pause to see Continue reading