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Live updates: Coronavirus cases top 125,000 globally

Covid-19 vaccines: The unused “miracle”

But by February, when seniors have been being vaccinated in better numbers, the division begun to erase names of the facilities from these outbreak lists. “It was kind of a quite obvious wonder,” Dr. Louise Aronson, a professor with the UCSF Division of Geriatrics, instructed CNN.

These “miracles” were being actively playing out across the nation this spring, according to a report released Tuesday by the US Division of Health and fitness and Human Products and services, which found that vaccinations prevented at least a quarter of a million Covid-19 bacterial infections and tens of countless numbers of deaths amid seniors concerning January and Could of this 12 months.

It is a tragic milestone fueled by the very transmissible Delta variant and unvaccinated folks. In July, authorities warned of the “pandemic of the unvaccinated,” with outbreaks largely witnessed in components of the country with minimal vaccine uptake.

“We’ve missing 700,000 Individuals now and entirely 200,000 of all those individuals have died due to the fact vaccines have been offered nearly to all people in this region, and each and every a person of all those fatalities is unnecessary,” CNN medical analyst Dr. Jonathan Reiner said. “So even nevertheless the news is good for this antiviral agent, definitely the concept that individuals require to obtain is ‘get vaccinated.’ No a single wants to die from this virus.”

Preventable Covid-19 fatalities of little ones is also an shame for a developed country, the US Food and Drug Administration’s (Food and drug administration) best vaccine formal, Dr. Peter Marks, reported Tuesday, including that it must also be a enthusiasm for authorizing a vaccine in small children.

Vaccines are only available to youngsters as younger as 12. That may possibly quickly transform after the FDA’s vaccine advisers meet up with on Oct 26 to explore data from Pfizer’s vaccine trial amid children aged 5 to 11. Nevertheless, parental hesitancy may possibly show to be an obstacle, as only a 3rd of individuals surveyed by Kaiser Relatives Basis Vaccine Observe claimed they would give their boy or girl a jab.


Q: What would an antiviral capsule signify for the struggle versus Covid-19?

A: Early final results for an experimental oral antiviral drug by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, named molnupiravir, observed that it can minimize the danger of hospitalization or loss of life from Covid-19 by half. Merck claims it will request authorization from the Fda, and if it really is granted, the drug could be the initially antiviral therapy accessible orally to fight the sickness.

White Household Covid-19 Reaction Coordinator Jeff Zients claimed in a briefing previous 7 days that the finest way to consider of molnupiravir is as “a likely further instrument … to shield people today from the worst results of Covid” but he extra that vaccination “stays much and absent, our greatest tool versus Covid-19.”

Whilst the prospect of a capsule to prevent intense results of Covid-19 is an thrilling breakthrough in treating the virus, there is even now much to understand about the drug and who it may perform for. Entire info from the molnupiravir demo is nonetheless to be produced, and this info has not been scrutinized, peer-reviewed or posted.

Ship your questions here. Are you a wellbeing care worker fighting Covid-19? Information us on WhatsApp about the worries you happen to be dealing with: +1 347-322-0415.


Anger in excess of United kingdom quarantine rules for absolutely vaccinated vacationers from India and a great deal of Africa

Totally vaccinated vacationers from India and many African nations will deal with necessary quarantine in the United kingdom, irrespective of a rest of the country’s inbound travel guidelines. This has brought about an outcry and accusations of discrimination, CNN’s Nimi Princewill stories.

The update to Uk travel principles took outcome Oct 4 and visitors from its “purple checklist” of “significant hazard” countries — like India, much more than 20 African nations and most Latin American nations — now have to quarantine in a resort for 10 days inspite of becoming fully vaccinated. South Africa’s minister of worldwide relations and cooperation, Naledi Pandor, described it as “a political punishment.”

This will come as India’s top rated court docket on Monday accepted the government’s choice to pay out about $670 for every single Covid-19 death in the country as compensation to the future of kin of all those deceased. The payments will total more than $300 million, centered on India’s recent loss of life toll, according to CNN’s calculation.

New Zealand is set to abandon its zero-Covid approach

New Zealand’s Key Minister Jacinda Ardern introduced Monday that the place will commence to go away from a zero-Covid system, towards residing with the virus. While she has but to announce a date for the shift, New Zealand is the most current country to announce an abandonment of elimination tries in the encounter of the extremely contagious Delta variant, CNN’s Ben Westcott stories.

This arrives soon after a main outbreak in August, sparked by the Delta strain, plunged the town of Auckland into a lengthy lockdown. And even with the metropolis enduring additional than 6 weeks of constraints on motion, New Zealand nonetheless described 24 new cases in the local community on Tuesday — the the greater part in Auckland.

Ardern admitted Monday the virus was “a tentacle that has been very tricky to shake.”

Thousands of Brazilians demand from customers President Bolsonaro’s impeachment over his mishandling of the pandemic

Protesters returned to the streets in big cities across Brazil past weekend, demanding the impeachment of President Jair Bolsonaro amid worsening financial problems, mounting unemployment, and hunger in the Covid-wracked region.

Hundreds of people collected in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro — Brazil’s most populous cities — contacting out his mishandling of the Covid-19 pandemic. They also protested economic woes hitting everyday Brazilians many thanks to surging inflation and superior fuel charges. Brazil continues to be hit tough by the pandemic and virtually 600,000 Brazilians have died from the virus — the optimum demise toll in the globe following the United States.

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Are there any downsides to acquiring the booster shot?

Data from Israel, the place there has been an in depth booster application, displays that the aspect effects from the 3rd dose are comparable to those people from the 2nd dose. The most popular side consequences are local reactions like a sore arm and limited-time period indicators like achiness, exhaustion and chills that are settled within a few of days, mentioned CNN Healthcare Analyst Dr. Leana Wen.

“The 1 relating to — even though very unusual — aspect influence is myocarditis, an irritation of the heart muscle mass, which seems to have the best incidence amid males of adolescent and younger grownup age. It really is significant to observe that the myocarditis involved with the mRNA vaccines is generally delicate and resolves with no prolonged-expression harm — and that Covid-19 alone can result in myocarditis,” she extra.

Read far more about the booster shot right here.


Rely on is hard to create and all too quick to crack. It truly is the crucial basis for all our associations, and the glue that retains our society collectively. But more than the previous two several years, numerous People in america have missing trust in our governing administration, our healthcare establishment, and just about every other. In this episode, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta speaks with have confidence in professional Professor Karen Cook dinner about the good reasons for why we trust, how we can foster it, and how we can restore it when it truly is been misplaced. Hear NOW.

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Live updates on Frances Haugen's testimony

Live updates on Frances Haugen’s testimony

Fb whistleblower Frances Haugen comprehensive how the social media system could turn out to be a superior setting, expressing it could introduce transparency measures and little frictions, and transfer absent from the “unsafe” engagement-based mostly rating process.

This would recenter the techniques of amplification and is not going to concentrate not on “buying winners or losers in the market of thoughts,” she instructed senators on Tuesday.

“On Twitter, you have to simply click via on a hyperlink before you reshare it. Compact steps like that friction never call for choosing good ideas and undesirable concepts, they just make the platform fewer twitchy, a lot less reactive. Facebook’s internal investigation states each just one of these smaller actions, dramatically decreases misinformation, detest speech and violence-inciting information on the platforms,” Haugen explained.

She advocated for chronologically-purchased content alternatively.

“I’m a solid proponent of chronological ranking, buying by time, with a very little bit of spammed emotion. For the reason that I feel we really don’t want pcs determining what we concentration on, we need to have application that is human-scaled, or individuals have conversations jointly, not pcs facilitating who we get to hear from,” Haugen mentioned.

In addition, she encouraged a privateness-mindful regulatory entire body operating with teachers, researchers and federal government companies to “synthesize requests for data” mainly because now, the social media huge is not obligated to disclose any facts.

“Even data as easy as what integrity techniques exist currently and how nicely do they execute?” she instructed. “Standard actions like transparency would make a substantial big difference.”

What does engagement-dependent rating method necessarily mean?

Facebook, like other platforms, uses algorithms to amplify or raise content material that gets engagement in the kind of likes or shares or responses. In Facebook’s perspective, this allows a consumer “enjoy” their feed, Haugen stated.

“The dangers of engagement-based ranking are that Fb knows that content that elicits an extreme reaction from you is more probably to get a simply click, a comment or reshare,” which aren’t needed for the user’s gain, she extra. “It really is for the reason that they know that other people today will deliver more content if they get the likes and comments and reshares. They prioritize written content in your feed so that you will give little hits of dopamine to your friends so they are going to produce more content.”

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China sent 52 warplanes into Taiwan defense zone on Monday, Taipei says

China sent 52 warplanes into Taiwan defense zone on Monday, Taipei says

The preceding report was posted on Saturday, when 39 Chinese navy planes flew into the zone.
In a assertion, the Taiwanese Defense Ministry mentioned the 52 Chinese aircraft incorporated 34 J-16 fighter jets, 12 H-6 bombers, two SU-30 fighters, two Y-8 anti/submarine warfare planes and two KJ-500 airborne early warning and command planes.

A map produced by the ministry showed all the 52 incursions remaining at the extreme southwestern part of Taiwan’s ADIZ. In reaction, the ministry stated radio warnings were issued and air defense missile devices were deployed to watch the action.

In the radio warnings, the Taiwanese air force could be heard purchasing the plane to “convert around and go away promptly” upon their entry into its ADIZ. All 52 incursions had been manufactured for the duration of daytime hrs on Monday.

The incursions did not violate Taiwan’s sovereign airspace, which extends 12 nautical miles from its coast. The US Federal Aviation Administration defines an ADIZ as “a designated location of airspace above land or drinking water in which a place requires the quick and constructive identification, location and air site visitors regulate of plane in the desire of the country’s countrywide protection.”

Considering that the commencing of October, Taiwan has documented 145 incursions by Chinese warplanes into the ADIZ, figures from the Protection Ministry confirmed.

Following Taiwan documented document-breaking incursions more than the weekend, its air force released a advertising video clip on Fb which reported it is determined to defend its airspace.

“When confronted with our enemy’s aggression and provocation, we will in no way compromise,” the movie stated. “The dedication to defend our sovereignty is unwavering.”

An write-up in China’s condition-run Global Moments on Sunday explained the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) was conducting “expanded drills” around Taiwan.

The US State Section voiced issue about China’s armed forces things to do close to Taiwan on Monday.

“The United States is pretty worried by the People’s Republic of China’s provocative navy exercise in the vicinity of Taiwan, which is destabilizing, hazards miscalculations, and undermines regional peace and steadiness. We urge Beijing to cease its armed forces, diplomatic, and economic stress and coercion in opposition to Taiwan,” State Section spokesman Ned Selling price reported in a assertion.

China’s Ministry of Overseas Affairs responded to the US statement by criticizing what it explained as “irresponsible remarks.”

“The suitable remarks from the United States have severely undermined the Just one-China Basic principle,” ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying was quoted as expressing in a press launch on Monday evening.

“In modern moments, the United States has continued its detrimental steps in selling weapons to Taiwan and boosting its formal armed forces ties between the United States and Taiwan,” she reported. “These provocative steps have broken Sino-US relations and harmed regional peace and stability. China firmly opposes this and takes vital countermeasures.”

Taiwan and mainland China have been governed independently given that the end of a civil war a lot more than 7 decades back, in which the defeated Nationalists fled to Taipei.

However, Beijing sights Taiwan as an inseparable portion of its territory — even nevertheless the Chinese Communist Occasion has by no means ruled the democratic island of about 24 million men and women.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has refused to rule out armed service power to seize Taiwan if essential.

In the past, analysts have reported the flights possible provide quite a few functions for China, both demonstrating the toughness of the PLA to a domestic audience and offering the Chinese armed service intelligence and capabilities it would have to have in any probable conflict involving Taiwan.

But even with the latest surge in Chinese flights around Taiwan, analysts say precise battle is not likely.

“China needs levers to deter Taiwan from taking undesirable programs of action, particularly independence-leaning initiatives,” explained Lionel Fatton, a professor at Webster College in Switzerland. “For these levers to be powerful, China should (1) have the (armed forces) capabilities to activate them if necessary, and (2) the menace to do so should be credible in the eyes of Taipei.”

“The recurrent air routines are focused to deliver a clear information in this regard,” Fatton advised CNN on Sunday.

“As extensive as Taiwan isn’t going to acquire irreversible steps toward independence/greater autonomous presence on the worldwide scene,” fight is not likely, he additional.

Brad Lendon and Wayne Chang contributed to this report.

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South Korean businesses are getting caught up in the country's gender war

South Korean businesses are getting caught up in the country’s gender war

When gamers created their avatars laugh, talk or give the “Ok” sign in “Misplaced Ark,” they clicked an icon that includes a gesture that may possibly have appeared benign to many: an index finger practically touching a thumb.

But some of “Lost Ark’s” users started boasting in August that the gesture was a sexist insult towards adult males, and they demanded its elimination.

Smilegate — the creator of “Misplaced Ark” and just one of South Korea’s major video clip recreation developers — rapidly complied with the requests for removal. The enterprise taken out the icon from the match, and vowed to be more vigilant about policing “recreation-unrelated controversies” in their products and solutions.

A gender war has been unfolding in South Korea for many years, pitting feminists towards offended youthful adult men who really feel they’re being left guiding as the place seeks to tackle gender inequality.

Now, nevertheless, the latest improvement in this war is reaching a fever pitch. Because Could, more than 20 makes and governing administration organizations have removed what some see as feminist symbols from their merchandise, right after mounting strain. At least 12 of all those makes or corporations have issued an apology to placate male consumers.

Anti-feminism has a yrs-long background in South Korea, and investigation indicates that such sentiments are having hold among the the country’s youthful adult men. In May possibly, the Korean advertising and marketing and analysis company Hankook Analysis said it located that more than 77% of gentlemen in their twenties and more than 73% of gentlemen in their 30s had been “repulsed by feminists or feminism,” according to a study. (The firm surveyed 3,000 grown ups, fifty percent of whom were being males.)

The reality that companies are responding to tension to modify their items implies that these anti-feminists are getting impact in a region that is now battling with gender concerns. The Firm for Financial Cooperation and Advancement suggests that South Korea has by far the biggest gender wage gap among OECD countries. And about 5% of board associates at publicly shown businesses in the state are women compared to the OECD average of virtually 27%.

A suspicious sausage

The on-line firestorm that has distribute across South Korea’s corporate landscape kicked off in Could with a very simple camping advertisement.

GS25, one particular of the country’s most important usefulness retailer chains, unveiled an advert that month attractive prospects to order tenting meals on their app, promising cost-free items as a reward. The advert confirmed an index finger and a thumb appearing to pinch a sausage. The finger-pinching motif is routinely applied in advertising and marketing as a way to keep an merchandise without obscuring the merchandise.

Critics, although, observed some thing distinctive in that hand signal. They accused it of currently being a code for feminist sympathies, tracing the use of the finger-pinching motif to 2015, when the symbol was co-opted by Megalia, a now-defunct feminist on line neighborhood, to ridicule the sizing of Korean men’s genitals.

Megalia has considering that shut down, but its logo has outlived the group. Now anti-feminists are trying to purge South Korea of its existence.

Resource: Megalia, @starbucksrtd/Instagram, @gs25_official/Instagram

GS25 removed the hand image from the poster. But critics nonetheless weren’t happy, and commenced trawling the advertisement for other feminist clues. A person man or woman pointed out that the last letter of each individual term highlighted on the poster — “Psychological Tenting Need to-have Merchandise” — spelled “Megal,” a shorthand for “Megalia,” when examine backward.

GS25 removed the textual content from the poster, but that nonetheless wasn’t plenty of. Folks theorized that even the moon in the qualifications of the poster was a feminist symbol, for the reason that a moon is utilised as the brand of a feminist scholar business in South Korea.

Right after revising the poster many periods, GS finally pulled it fully, just a day just after the marketing campaign released. The firm apologized and promised a better editorial system. It also explained it reprimanded the team liable for the ad, and eliminated the marketing and advertising staff chief.

The on the net mob experienced tasted success, and it desired far more.

Other providers and govt businesses soon turned targets. The on-line vogue retailer Musinsa was criticized for providing ladies-only special discounts, as nicely as applying the finger-pinching motif in an advert for a credit history card. The enterprise defended the use of that motif as a neutral factor consistently used in marketing, and claimed its price reduction program was meant to assistance broaden its tiny feminine client foundation. Nevertheless, founder and CEO Cho Man-ho stepped down soon after the backlash.

Dongsuh, the Korean company that licenses a Starbucks completely ready-to-consume line in the country, was attacked in July immediately after 1 of its Korean Instagram accounts printed an impression of fingers pinching a can of coffee. The company pulled the advertisement and apologized, declaring that it “considers these issues severely.” The company also claimed the image experienced no concealed intent.

Even neighborhood governments have been caught up in the pressure campaign. The Pyeongtaek city government was criticized in August soon after uploading an image to its Instagram account that warned inhabitants of a heatwave. It utilised an illustration of a farmer wiping his brow — and critics noticed that the farmer’s hand was formed similarly to the finger pinch.

“How deeply did [feminists] infiltrate?” 1 individual wrote on MLB Park, an web discussion board employed mainly by men. One more particular person shared contact information and facts for the town govt, encouraging men and women to flood their channels with grievances. The image was afterwards taken out from the Instagram account.

Gender wars

At the main of the anti-feminist marketing campaign is a popular concern among youthful men that they are slipping powering their woman peers, in accordance to Professor Park Ju-yeon, professor of sociology at Yonsei University.

The sentiment has developed because of a hyper aggressive task marketplace and skyrocketing housing prices. The authorities has also rolled out applications in current years to bring extra females into the workforce. Proponents of those people programs have explained they are required for closing gender gaps, but some adult males have concerned they give ladies an unfair advantage.
South Korea's President says he's a feminist. Three of his allies have been accused of sex crimes
An additional compounding variable: Compared with ladies, men in South Korea have to entire up to 21 months of army support ahead of they’re 28 decades outdated — a sore stage for some men who come to feel unfairly burdened.
Anti-feminists have also taken umbrage with President Moon Jae-in, who, when elected in 2017, promised to be a “feminist president.” Moon pledged to fix the systemic and cultural limitations that prevented women from taking part much more in the workforce. He also vowed to tackle sexual crimes in the wake of the world wide #MeToo motion.

This year’s corporate pressure campaign adds yet another complication, as makes weigh the attainable fallout.

Youthful adult males are “large spenders,” reported Professor Choi Jae-seob, a marketing and advertising professor at Namseoul University in Seoul. He extra that several youthful people now are driven by individual political values when they invest in items.

Ha, a 23-12 months-aged university college student, said he pays consideration to what businesses say about gender challenges prior to producing a buy.

“Among two stores, I would use the 1 that will not help [feminism],” claimed Ha, who declined to give his complete identify since he reported that gender is a thorny subject among his friends.

Ha explained he’s far from by yourself. When his mates have been speaking about the GS25 tenting poster, for example, he was stunned to find that many of them felt the way he did: “I recognized that several adult males ended up silently seething.”

“I understood that many males ended up silently seething.”Ha, a 23-year-aged university university student

The gender war leaves companies in a tough location, in accordance to Noh Yeong-woo, a marketing consultant at the general public relations company PR A single.

By not responding to allegations that they are taking a stance on gender troubles, that could guide to what Noh called a “continual barrage of accusation” and the generation of a stigma. It also suggests that organizations are actively checking on the net groups and finding out what their customers have selected as hidden codes or associations, to keep away from being called out.

“They are continuously examining for the up coming problematic symbols,” Noh said of brands in South Korea.

Stigmas and battling back again

Some women of all ages, though, say that the corporate apologies are also generating a weather in which some individuals are worried to detect as feminist.

“It truly is the new Crimson Scare. Like McCarthyism,” stated Yonsei University’s Park, referring to the mass hysteria to root out communists in the United States in the 1950s.

Lee Ye-rin, a university college student, said she has been a feminist considering that middle faculty. But in latest years she has located it unachievable to be open about her stance.

“It’s the new Crimson Scare. Like McCarthyism.”Professor Park Ju-yeon, professor of sociology at Yonsei College

She recalled an incident in substantial faculty, when some boys overtly heckled a feminist good friend of hers even though that buddy was giving a course presentation on the depiction of women in the media. Lee and her classmates have been far too frightened to protect the close friend.

“We all knew that a man or woman who would action up and say that feminism is not some odd thing would be stigmatized, far too,” Lee stated.

In reaction to this year’s anti-feminist strain campaigns, while, some feminists have been combating back again. The apology about the camping poster from GS25, for instance, prompted feminists to call for boycotts in opposition to the enterprise. Some folks shared photos on the web of on their own searching at rival outlets, working with hashtags that termed on men and women to prevent shopping at GS25.

Balancing act

As there would not look to be a great deal hope of finding center ground for those people waging South Korea’s gender war, authorities say businesses have to figure out techniques to prevent remaining dragged into a model-harming combat.

Noh, from PR A person, inspired providers and businesses to educate their staff members on gender sensitivity — and even rethink the use of symbols that have turn out to be seriously politicized.

Finger-pinching motifs “are illustrations or photos with complex metaphors and symbols and they previously have a social stigma,” he said. “So, after you get included in it, it is really tough to make clear them away … the concern keeps spreading right until they are eradicated as demanded.”

South Korea's glass ceiling: the women struggling to get hired by companies that only want men

Park, the Yonsei University professor, stated that aspect of the issue is that lots of South Korean businesses are led by more mature gentlemen who really don’t have a agency grasp of current-working day gender concerns. The typical age of an executive-amount staff at the country’s top rated 30 publicly traded firms is 53, in accordance to a 2020 examination by JobKorea, a Korean version of LinkedIn.

That implies a level of irony. Probably it’s not that some of these companies have a certain agenda, as online critics are accusing them. Potentially for some of them, substantial degrees of management are just not in tune with the discussion.

To Park, the vitriol directed at companies has also buried some of the underlying, systemic concerns that add to gender inequality, together with debates about how finest to crack the glass ceiling or address the division of labor at dwelling, amid other concerns.

“Some really essential debates are being buried,” Park stated, introducing that modern gender war is staying fought on the suggestion of the “iceberg.” “It really is not a fight about the fingers.”

— Jae Hee Jung, So-hyun An, So Jung Kim, and Soyeong Oh contributed to this report.

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The climate disasters of summer 2021

The climate disasters of summer 2021

“It was impossible to ignore climate change this summer,” Rachel Licker, a senior climate scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists, told CNN. “And unfortunately, this isn’t a one-time thing … this is what we can expect more of, especially if we don’t get off fossil fuels and invest in measures to build our resilience as soon as possible.”

After months of deadly extremes, Americans’ feelings on the climate crisis has evolved dramatically. For the first time, a majority of Americans now believe that the US is facing the consequences of a warming world, according to a new poll from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.

Here’s what the US experienced this summer.

7. Hurricane Henri

Hurricane Henri, after weakening to a topical storm, flooded parts of the Northeast in late August with a deluge of rain from New Jersey to southern New England.

The storm set a new record for the most rain in a single hour in New York City — nearly two inches of rain fell in Central Park from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. on August 21, according to the National Weather Service. Nearly 5 inches of rain fell in New York City the following day, which also set a record for the date.

Tens of thousands of homes were left without power across the Northeast, with more than 42,000 customers left powerless in Rhode Island alone.

Extreme rainfall rates are becoming more common because of human-caused climate change, scientists say. Scientists reported in August that “the frequency and intensity of heavy precipitation events have increased since the 1950s over most land area.”

6. Tennessee flash flooding

People watch cleanup efforts after buildings were destroyed by flooding in August in Waverly, Tennessee.
In the same week Hurricane Henri unleashed a torrent in the Northeast, a staggering amount of rain, unrelated to the hurricane, led to flash flooding in Tennessee that destroyed more than 270 homes and killed at least 21 people.
Among those killed were 7-month-old twins, according to the Humphreys County Emergency Management Agency. The twins were swept out of their father’s arms during the flood, a family member said.
State emergency-management officials were not prepared for the magnitude of the event. The downed phone lines, coupled with washed out roads, made it harder for them to get into the flood zone. One resident told CNN that even after seeking refuge on the highest room in her house, the water kept rising to the point that the bed she was on began to float.

She said she later called a police officer who urged her to get into the attic and break through to the roof.

5. Water shortage declared

The Glen Canyon Dam was built on the Colorado River near Page, Arizona, to create Lake Powell in the 1960s.

While flooding tore through the East, a water shortage was declared in the West.

Plagued by extreme, climate change-fueled drought and increasing demand for water, the federal government in August declared a water shortage on the Colorado River for the first time, triggering mandatory water consumption cuts for states in the Southwest beginning in 2022.
Two of the nation’s largest reservoirs fed by the Colorado River — Lake Powell and Lake Mead — have been draining at alarming rates. California’s Lake Oroville dropped so low that the reservoir’s hydroelectric power plant was shut down for the first time since it opened in the 1960s.
Brad Udall, senior water and climate scientist at Colorado State University, told CNN that the West should prepare for more shortages as the climate crisis intensifies.

“Not only do we have to plan for these undesirable water outcomes, but we also have to get our act together and reduce greenhouse gases as fast as we can,” Udall said.

4. Bootleg, Dixie and Caldor Fires

Smoke from Western wildfires stretched all the way to New York City this summer.
A summer of record-breaking, triple-digit heat and severe drought fueled more than a hundred large wildfires in the West. The three largest fires of 2021 have burned roughly 1.6 million acres, an area half the size of Connecticut.
In July, the Bootleg Fire scorched more than 410,000 acres in southern Oregon, making it the second largest wildfire in the country this year.
At the same time, the Dixie Fire in California was slowly growing and later surpassed Bootleg as the largest fire in the US this year, charring nearly a million acres and making it the second largest fire in California history.
A few weeks later, the Caldor Fire torched its way through the El Dorado National Forest, and its smoke led to exceptionally poor air quality in Lake Tahoe in California and Reno, Nevada. It is now the third largest fire this year.
High-level winds also wafted smoke from the West’s wildfires across the country, stretching from the West Coast to New York City.

“It was shocking to me that huge tracts of the country spent weeks under air quality alerts from the large wildfires in the West and Canada,” Licker said. “No matter where you were, you couldn’t avoid climate change.”

3. The Pacific Northwest heatwave

A helicopter carrying a water bucket flies past a pyrocumulus cloud produced by a wildfire burning in the mountains above Lytton, British Columbia, in August.
Scientists say the unprecedented heatwave that killed hundreds the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia in late June would have been “virtually impossible” without human-caused climate change.
Experts told CNN the normally temperate region is generally unprepared for extreme heat events. Hundreds of people died from heat-related illness in Oregon and Washington, while many visited emergency departments or urgent-care clinics.
Across the border in British Columbia, the same heat wave fueled a fast-moving wildfire that obliterated the town of Lytton just one day after the temperature soared to 121 degrees and broke Canada’s record.
Scientists say the punishing heat also cooked billions of shellfish alive.
This summer was the hottest on record in the US, tied with the Dust Bowl summer of 1936, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

2. Hurricane Ida

A Queens resident walks through his damaged basement-level apartment after flooding from the remnants of Hurricane Ida in September.
In late August, Category 4 Hurricane Ida destroyed homes, uprooted trees and cut off power to more than 1 million residents in Mississippi and the already storm-ravaged state of Louisiana.
Ida checked all the boxes of how climate change is making hurricanes more dangerous, according to scientists: producing more rainfall, moving slower once they make landfall and generating larger storm surges along the coast.
As the storm made its way inland, Ida’s remnants triggered flash flood emergencies in the Northeast. The storm broke Henri’s single-hour rainfall record in Central Park and gave Newark its wettest day ever. The flooding killed at least 50 people in the region, many of whom drowned in basement apartments.

Scientists say storms like this will become more common as the planet warms. Hurricane Ida exposed the dire need to strengthen New York City’s infrastructure against the worsening climate crisis.

1. The West’s historic drought

A tractor tears through dry dirt on land that was unplanted this year due to water shortages in Tulelake, California. This summer for the first time, hundreds of farmers along the California-Oregon border who rely on irrigation from Klamath Lake are not getting any water from it.
Amid all the acute disasters, the Western US has been in the grips of a historic, multi-year drought, which scientists say is a clear sign of how the climate crisis is affecting not only the weather but water supply, food production and electricity generation.

More than 93% of the West is in drought this week, according to the US Drought Monitor, with six states entirely in drought status: California, Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Montana.

In southern Oregon, the drying of the Klamath Basin exploded into a water war this year that has pitted local farmers against Native American tribes, government agencies and conservationists. It’s reflective of the dire situation engulfing the West.
The drought has “definitely made it a lot harder for us to get by year after year, and it’s making an already tight margin a lot tighter,” Tricia Hill, a 4th-generation farmer, told CNN in June. “For all of us, we’ve got families, employees, customers — people we have to figure out how to take care of.”
Scientists told CNN that the unrelenting drought is about to get worse with La Niña on the horizon, and that it could last into 2022 — or potentially longer.

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Vaccine hesitancy: These EU nations are still miles behind their neighbors

Vaccine hesitancy: These EU nations are still miles behind their neighbors

Some nations around the world, such as Eire, Malta, Portugal and Denmark, have attained around common vaccination, boasting coverage fees of all over 90%, in accordance to the European Center for Disease Manage (ECDC). On the other side of the bloc, Romania and Bulgaria have totally vaccinated only 33% and 22% of their adults, respectively.

The trouble isn’t down to vaccine shortages. All EU international locations have accessibility to all of the shots permitted by the EU — Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson. Personal international locations are also no cost to get other photographs. Hungary, for illustration, has acquired Russian Sputnik vaccines for its population.

“They have the vaccines. Any individual who needs to get vaccinated can,” Ivan Krastev, a Bulgarian political scientist and a founding board member of the European Council on International Relations, instructed CNN.

As a substitute, Krastev claimed, Bulgaria struggles with deep-seated vaccine hesitancy that is fueled by political instability, conspiracy theories and a absence of religion in the authorities.

“You can find superior amount of distrust, and that goes each for Bulgaria and Romania,” he said. “Even the clinical group, medical professionals, nurses, many are hesitant to get vaccinated, so it really is not a surprise that the culture as a total is too,” he explained.

Each Romania and Bulgaria have been battling spikes in new coronavirus instances considering that early September. Romania has noted about 45,000 new cases and much more than 800 fatalities in the 7 days to Sunday, about the exact stage it noticed at the peak of its second wave of the epidemic in April.

The ECDC warned Thursday that states with small vaccination prices are risking surges in hospitalizations and deaths this tumble if they loosen up social distancing actions.

“In this sort of a circumstance, because of to very substantial virus circulation, completely vaccinated susceptible populations are also at hazard of going through an infection with a severe final result,” the ECDC claimed in its most up-to-date Covid-19 possibility assessment, urging the nations that are struggling with inoculations to try out to fully grasp why their populace remain hesitant and then address individuals problems.

Bulgaria is keeping its 3rd parliamentary election this 12 months in November. Two past votes, in April and then in July, finished in a stalemate, with no governing administration shaped. As a outcome, the state is trapped in a perpetual election campaign with small space for anything at all else.

“There has been significantly more election campaigning than vaccine campaigning,” Krastev said. “Neither the govt that was in electricity nor the caretaker govt designed vaccination a priority.”

Krastev explained the problem of vaccines hadn’t divided Bulgarian modern society along partisan strains, because most folks ended up usually united in their distrust of the political class. “The US has a significant level of polarization here it is not so a great deal political polarization, but confusion and disgust with nearly anything political that really a lot harm the good results of the [vaccination] campaign,” he informed CNN.

Allegations of govt corruption sparked prevalent protests throughout Bulgaria past 12 months. Police reacted with violence that stunned the nation — and manufactured men and women even much more suspicious of the authorities.

The media also performed a function, Krastev mentioned. “In order to make the debate far more attention-grabbing, they would current the professional-vaccine and anti-vaccine views as equally precious, so folks get confused,” he stated.

A healthcare worker is waiting for patients at a Covid-19 vaccination centre at The Military Medical Academy in Sofia.

The Romanian federal government has blamed its very poor vaccination rollout on faux news and conspiracy theories that are getting unfold online.

There are also stark inequalities in the two nations around the world. Roma communities in Romania and Bulgaria are among the the least vaccinated. Dimitar Dimitrov, the director of the Roma Method at the Open up Modern society Institute in Sofia, said the challenge is down to strained associations between the communities and wider society.

“Many Roma neighborhoods in Bulgaria have been issue to lockdowns without the need of proper [explanation] even however the degree of bacterial infections in other parts of the exact municipalities has been bigger. So this attitude from institutions in the direction of Roma persons and Roma neighborhoods demonstrates why Roma you should not rely on establishments,” Dimitrov informed CNN.

Dimitrov reported numerous people, especially in rural areas, might also uncover it tough to entry vaccination clinics. “If you have to get a bus or practice and vacation 100 kilometers to get to the medical center and then wait in the line, that normally takes time and income. The vaccination itself is free of charge but to get to the vaccination level charges dollars,” Dimitrov mentioned.

The Romanian govt recently announced it would set additional sources into guaranteeing people who are unable to entry clinics are capable to get the shots — for case in point by requesting a medical professional to visit them at dwelling.

The East-West divide

But Bulgaria and Romania usually are not the only ones dealing with a hesitancy problem. The European Union seems to be divided into two areas. One particular half has embraced inoculation and received just about anyone immunized. The other is battling to persuade large numbers amid deep distrust in the vaccines.

The dividing line sits around together the Iron Curtain boundary that as soon as break up Europe into East and West.

Of the bloc’s 27 member states, the 15 top rated performers in phrases of inoculation costs are all component of what made use of to be the Western bloc, whilst the base 10 are all previous Communist nations around the world. Greece and Lithuania are the only two international locations bucking the craze, with Lithuania placing 16th and Greece 17th.

All of the previous Western nations around the world, with the exception of Greece, have entirely vaccinated at minimum 70% of their grownups. None of the Eastern states have arrived at that threshold however.

Krastev mentioned the way the pandemic unfolded across distinct nations around the world could be a single factor detailing the dissimilarities. “The international locations that bought hit by the 1st wave a lot more, in 2020, when the shock was stronger, international locations like Italy or Spain, they have additional achievements with vaccination in general than the nations that ended up strike by the second wave,” he explained, introducing that the Bulgarian federal government never ever managed to encourage individuals that a high vaccination charge was a top precedence.

“Alternatively it grew to become the issue of national pleasure that we hardly ever had lockdown,” he said.

Anna Nicińska, an assistant professor at the School of Financial Sciences at the University of Warsaw, has studied the causes for vaccine hesitancy and stated that historical past also plays a main function in influencing people’s selections.

Nicińska and her colleagues looked at details on trust in health and fitness treatment devices and healthcare authorities from 100 nations around the world and identified that distrust was a great deal increased in nations that experienced skilled Soviet-design communism in the previous. People who experienced had firsthand working experience of staying lied to by their governments struggled to have confidence in the authorities, even several years right after revolution, she stated. The extended folks lived less than communism, the increased the mistrust.

'A Band-Aid over a gaping hole': Booster shots for the rich world won't end the pandemic, experts warn

“Persons exposed to Soviet Communism are less trustful in other men and women, the government and also the well being treatment techniques, [the experience] instills mistrust in the general public area and [anything] formal,” she stated.

Nicińska said this was one cause why rigid vaccine requirements may well not guide to noticeably increased uptakes in this kind of international locations.

“A vaccination choice is dependent on have faith in and earning it obligatory would be counterproductive, you have to don’t forget that in a lot of international locations there is certainly a extensive tradition of resistance to the state, so men and women would obtain a way to stay away from obligatory vaccination.”

The European Commission has acknowledged the very low vaccination costs in some of its member states as an problem.

“As extended as the virus is not defeated in all member states, the virus is only not defeated,” a Fee spokesperson told CNN in a assertion. The Commission stated countries that are struggling to enhance vaccination concentrations must concentrate on campaigns specifically targeting those who are hesitant, and tension the worth of science.

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Sarah Everard: Wayne Couzens, ex-UK police officer gets life in prison with no chance of parole

Sarah Everard: Wayne Couzens, ex-UK police officer gets life in prison with no chance of parole

Couzens was sentenced Thursday to a entire-everyday living jail expression, which is quite uncommon in the United Kingdom and reserved for exceptionally major crimes. It implies the defendant is by no means deemed for parole.

Providing the sentence in entrance of a packed courtroom, Lord Justice Adrian Fulford explained Everard, a 33-12 months-old promoting government, as a “innocent victim of a grotesque executed sequence of offenses” and referred to as the scenario “devastating, tragic and wholly brutal.”

“You have irretrievably harmed the lives of Sarah Everard’s loved ones and buddies … you have eroded the self confidence that the community are entitled to have in the police forces … you have totally betrayed your relatives,” the judge stated in his sentencing remarks.

Standing in the dock, Couzens held his head bowed and his eyes shut, as he had done through the entire two-working day sentencing hearing. The judge manufactured a stage of criticizing Couzens’ habits in court, declaring he had found “no evidence of genuine contrition on your aspect as opposed to apparent self-pity.”

Everard’s mothers and fathers Jeremy and Susan, her sister Kate, and quite a few of her mates were being in courtroom at London’s Aged Bailey — the central felony court of England and Wales.

A life sentence is necessary in murder cases in the Uk, but it is normally up to the court to decide the minimal length of time to be served just before the likelihood of early launch.

Couzens’ whole-everyday living phrase is exceedingly scarce. In accordance to knowledge from the British isles Ministry of Justice, there have been only 60 complete-existence prisoners in the United kingdom as of June 2021, out of practically 7,000 inmates serving lifestyle sentences.

Couzens’ protection attorney Jim Sturman QC unsuccessful to persuade the court docket that the crimes didn’t meet up with the take a look at for the imposition of a entire-everyday living jail expression. He argued there had been numerous mitigating elements, such as Couzens’ early guilty plea and what he explained was legitimate regret, his fundamental despair and the deficiency of prior convictions.

“He is crammed with self-loathing and abject disgrace, as he should really be,” Sturman told the courtroom soon just before the sentence was sent.

Everard went lacking on the night of March 3 right after leaving a friend’s dwelling in Clapham, south London. Her remains have been found times later on in woodland near Ashford, Kent — additional than 50 miles from in which she was past seen.

Couzens was afterwards arrested at his home in Kent, shut to exactly where Everard’s system was uncovered. Due to his responsible pleas there was no trial, but the sentencing listening to more than the previous two times was an option for the prosecution to present the specifics of what transpired in March and for Everard’s relatives to study impact statements.

Prosecutor Minimal summarized Couzens’ actions as “deception, kidnap, rape, strangulation, fireplace.” Small also detailed what eyewitnesses to the kidnapping on March 3 observed, declaring they noticed Couzens handcuff Everard, who appeared compliant and experienced her head down. They considered he was an undercover police officer arresting a girl.

Murder of young teacher makes women in London worry it could have been them

Everard was alive for hours just after her kidnapping, and was moved to Couzens’ personal car later on that evening, the prosecutor reported. “In purchase to have done so and with no her escaping or hoping to escape or make a noise, it can be inferred that he, at minimum, ought to have threatened her,” Very little explained to the court docket. Prosecutors consider Everard died all over 2.30 a.m. on March 4, many several hours soon after she was kidnapped by Couzens.

Everard’s relatives was presented the possibility to discuss in court on Wednesday, demanding that Couzens, who invested the listening to with his eyes closed and head bowed, search at them although they browse their statements.

Sarah’s mom, Susan, stated her daughter “used the final several hours on this earth with the pretty worst of humanity. She dropped her lifestyle since Wayne Couzens needed to satisfy his perverted needs … He taken care of my daughter as if she was very little and disposed of her as if she was rubbish. I am haunted by the horror of it.”

Everard’s family claimed they were “happy” with the sentence handed to Couzens. “Nothing can make factors far better, absolutely nothing can bring Sarah back, but figuring out he will be imprisoned eternally provides some aid,” they claimed in a statement.

A woman holds a placard outside the London's Old Bailey court on Thursday.

Epidemic of violence

Everard’s disappearance prompted an outpouring of grief and rage across social media from gals sharing their have encounters of sexual assault, while also shining a light on the epidemic of violence versus gals and ladies in the British isles.

“You have really considerably extra to the feeling of insecurity that quite a few have living in our cities, potentially especially women, when traveling by them selves and specifically at night,” Lord Justice Fulford also instructed Couzens throughout the sentencing.

The UK is facing a reckoning on gender-based violence. Boris Johnson's government has botched its response

1 girl is killed by a guy on typical every 3 times in the British isles, in accordance to details from the Femicide Census, an corporation that tracks violence versus females and girls. The team argues that the government’s new strategy to curb such violence “shamefully ignores” victims of femicide.

The government promised to take action to deal with violence from ladies and ladies, but activists and the opposition say the measures it proposed were not ample.

The murder of elementary school trainer Sabina Nessa before this thirty day period persuaded many that very little has modified given that Everard was murdered 6 months back.

The male accused of murdering Nessa, Koci Selamaj, also appeared in the identical courtroom as Couzens afterwards on Thursday. Prosecutor Alison Morgan stated the murder was a “premeditated and predatory” stranger attack and that Selamaj inflicted “extraordinary violence” on Nessa, PA Media documented.

Selamaj was remanded in custody and a plea hearing has been established for December. His attorney Aidan Harvey has beforehand indicated Selamaj would plead not-responsible, PA reported.

Police officers stand on duty outside the Old Bailey, England's central criminal court, as they await the sentencing of Wayne Couzens for the murder.

London’s Metropolitan Law enforcement drive has also faced a barrage of criticism for their actions in the times soon after Everard’s disappearance.

Ladies were reportedly warned by law enforcement officers not to enterprise out by itself as they created doorway-to-doorway inquiries on the circumstance, prompting some to comment that this tactic only fueled the tradition of target blaming.

Meanwhile, the police regulator, the Impartial Business office for Police Conduct (IOPC), is investigating whether the Achieved responded appropriately to a report that Couzens indecently uncovered himself at a South London rapid foods cafe in February. The IOPC is also investigating alleged failures by Kent Law enforcement to look into an additional indecent publicity incident linked to Couzens from 2015.

Speaking outdoors the court docket on Thursday, the Achieved Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said Couzens experienced introduced shame on the law enforcement. “There are no terms that can absolutely categorical the fury… and disappointment that we all come to feel about what transpired to Sarah. I am so sorry,” she explained.

CNN’s Tara John, Laura Smith-Spark, Kara Fox, Livvy Doherty, Allegra Goodwin and Schams Elwazer contributed reporting.

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Afghanistan is the world's opium king. Can the Taliban afford to kill off their 'un-Islamic' cash cow?

Afghanistan is the world’s opium king. Can the Taliban afford to kill off their ‘un-Islamic’ cash cow?

Opium cultivation has long been a source of income for rural communities across the country, a land besieged by decades of war. But for the United States, those same colorful scenes symbolized the enemy.

“When I see a poppy field, I see it turning into money and then into IEDs [improvised explosive devices], AKs [assault rifles], and RPGs [rocket-propelled grenades],” said Gen. Dan McNeill, commander of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.

This narrative contributed to how the United States’ war on drugs was fought — and lost. Over 20 years, the US squandered nearly $9 billion on a counternarcotics policy that — perversely — helped to fill the Taliban’s pockets and, in some regions, fueled support for the insurgents.

Just two days after the fall of Kabul, Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid pledged “full assurances to the world” that Afghanistan under Taliban rule would not be a narco-state.

“Afghanistan will not be a place of cultivation of narcotics, so the international community should help us and we should have an alternative livelihood” for opium growers.

But how the Taliban will do that remains uncertain.

The opium economy

Afghanistan produced an estimated 85% of the world’s opium in 2020, according to the latest United Nations figures. In 2018, the UN estimated that opium economy accounts for up to 11% of Afghanistan’s GDP.

But it’s unclear how much the Taliban have profited — and will continue to do so — from the opium economy, with estimates around these numbers varying widely.

“Clearly drugs are a very important aspect of the Taliban’s profits,” Vanda Felbab-Brown, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, told CNN.

“But just like with many other insurgent groups, there is often way too much … mystique afforded to the drug economies. What competent, even moderately competent insurgents and, frankly, criminal groups do, is to simply tax anything in the area, where they have enough influence to be able to enforce the collection of informal taxation,” Felbab-Brown said, noting this can range from sheep stocks to meth production.

While it’s impossible to pinpoint just how profitable the opium economy is to the Taliban, over the last two decades, estimates have ranged from the tens of millions to low hundreds of millions. Beyond those figures it’s really just “fantasy,” she said.

At the beginning of the US-led invasion in 2001, British coalition forces were tasked with developing a counternarcotics policy, but around 2004, the US muscled its way in, Felbab-Brown said, pushing for a more aggressive eradication effort. That included aerial crop spraying, a campaign from 2005 to 2008 that infuriated some Afghan communities and damaged relations between Kabul and Washington.

The importance of the opium trade in financing the insurgency was “routinely cited as a primary reason” for the US’ increased counternarcotics efforts, according to the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) 2018 report. But the data to support that claim was disputed, and American policy flip-flopped throughout administrations and departments during the 20-year war.

Prior to 2004, the US strategy on drugs was viewed as an “uncoordinated effort [that was] ineffective and in need of significant changes,” the SIGAR report said.

“Everyone did their own thing, not thinking how it fit in with the larger effort. State was trying to eradicate, USAID was marginally trying to do livelihoods, and DEA was going after bad guys,” one senior Department of Defense official was quoted as saying in the report.

In 2004, however, poppy production spiked, leading to some officials calling for a stronger eradication campaign. Robert Charles, the then-assistant secretary of state for international narcotics and law enforcement affairs, testified that spring that there are “no more urgent and fundamental issues than the drug situation, which if left unchecked, will become a cancer that spreads and undermines all we are otherwise achieving in the areas of democracy, stability, anti-terrorism and rule of law.”

“Opium is a source of literally billions of dollars to extremist and criminal groups worldwide,” Charles said, adding that slashing the opium supply was “central to establishing a secure and stable democracy, as well as winning the global war on terrorism.”

An Afghan soldier walks through a field of poppies during an eradication campaign in Kandahar province's Maiwand district in 2005.

The US Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) operating budget in Afghanistan under President George W. Bush’s tenure more than quadrupled from $3.7 million in 2004 to $16.8 million in 2005, then reached $40.6 million in 2008, according to figures from a 2012 Congressional Research Service report.

In 2009, however, the late US special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke called the US eradication program “the least effective program ever.”

That same year, under the Obama administration, the US scaled back poppy eradication attempts. However, they struggled to effectively implement an “alternative livelihoods” approach — a program that incentivized governors in poppy-free provinces and encouraged farmers to grow other crops, such as saffron.

But in 2017, the US military once again revved up eradication, launching Operation Iron Tempest, a mission that used B-52 bombers, F-22 fighters and other high-precision warplanes to strike a network of drug labs the US claimed was helping to generate around $200 million annually for the Taliban. The mission was unsuccessful, with experts concluding they’d largely targeted empty compounds owned by local traders — at the cost of numerous civilian casualties.

An Afghan worker pours gasoline on a large pile of illegal drugs that were destroyed in September 2004 in Kabul.

Ultimately, US policy was dictated by the idea: “Destroy the crop and destroy the insurgency’s primary source of funds,” according to the SIGAR report. The basis of that claim, however, “was disputed,” with “methodological problems with the data on which it was based,” it added.

“Drugs have always had a particularly strong political resonance in the United States and has often been seen as sort of the most damaging, lethal, illegal economies,” Felbab-Brown said, adding: “Whether that’s objectively true is a separate issue.”

Meanwhile, US eradication efforts and interdiction raids — often hitting poor farmers the hardest — “thrust” local populations into the hands of the Taliban, she said.

Taliban taxation system?

David Mansfield, who has studied the Afghan drug economy for more than 20 years, says that one of the fundamental issues that led to “erroneous statistics” is the idea that the Taliban run a taxation system based on price or value.

The international community widely believes that the Taliban take 10% of the value of drugs, he said. But in practice, he says that’s incredibly difficult to administer.

“I don’t see a rural insurgency, where people who have issues of literacy … running a taxation system based on price or value-added tax,” he said. But beyond that, he said it doesn’t make sense economically.

Mansfield said profit margins on a kilogram of heroin range from $80-120 per kilogram (2.2 pounds) and around $30-$50 for a kilogram of meth. If you start imposing a 10% tax on the final price at the point of export — around $1,800 a kilogram for heroin in its base form — considering all other costs, most will have gone out of business, Mansfield explained.

“When people bandy these numbers around and said 10% of gross, they never factored in any of the costs of production or whether this was even economically feasible. And it’s not.”

The last thing you want to do if you want to earn revenues on commodities is break the value chain, at which point production becomes unprofitable and there is nothing left to tax, Mansfield added. “So these figures don’t make sense administratively or economically.”

Political poppies

There are few strands of Afghan society that the drugs economy somehow does not touch.

Last year, Afghan farmers grew poppies across approximately 224,000 hectares (the third highest level ever reported in the country), squeezing out the sticky gum from which heroin and other opiates are made from on a land area 37% bigger than in 2019, according to the UN’s Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Poppy cultivation was estimated to provide up to “590,000 full-time equivalent jobs, more than the number of people employed by the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces,” in 2017 according to the SIGAR report.

While it remains an important part of the Taliban’s funding, Mansfield says that the Taliban are earning far less on drugs than they are on legal goods. He points to recent research conducted in southern Nimruz province, which borders Iran, that found that the Taliban collected an estimated $5.1 million on the drugs industry compared to $40.9 million levied on fuel and transit goods.

Those poppies, and their production, also hold powerful political and cultural capital.

An anti-drug mural is seen at a bus station in Kabul in October 2014.

For generations, Afghan farmers have grown opium and cannabis, an economy that long predates the war. Like other mountain nations, which often provide good climates for poppy growth, opium has been used medicinally and culturally in Afghanistan, according to Jonathan Goodhand, professor in conflict and development studies at SOAS, University of London.

But multiple invasions of the country have fueled opium cultivation and production, he said. This began with the Soviet occupation in the 1980s when large flows of financial and military assistance to the regime and the mujahideen — from the Soviet Union and the US, respectively — provided the “start-up capital” for commanders to rev up production, processing and trafficking, according to a 2008 paper by Goodhand.

When the Soviet Union dissolved and the Taliban emerged, taking over Kabul in 1996, opium became a “defacto legal commodity,” said Goodhand.

But in 2000, the Taliban changed tack, placing a ban on opium production that reduced production by 90% and virtually eradicated the crop in a year, cutting the world’s supply by 65%, according to UN estimates.

The then-Taliban leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, said growing opium was “un-Islamic,” warning in July 2000 that anyone planting poppy seeds would be severely punished.

Goodhand and other experts hypothesize that the move was likely used as a bargaining chip to gain international recognition — and funding. But the ban backfired spectacularly, running the country into an unemployment crisis and damaging support from poppy farmers, once perhaps sympathetic to the Taliban, who were now in debt. The ban on poppy production was lifted in 2001, with the collapse of the group.

A Taliban militiaman arrests and beats a man who was allegedly found in possession of half a kilogram of opium in Kabul in November 1996.

Since then, poppy production has skyrocketed, with an estimated all-time high recorded in 2017 at roughly 9,900 tons, according to the UNODC, which estimated that its worth was around $1.4 billion at the time, equating to roughly 7% of the country’s GDP.

It’s unlikely that the Taliban will take similar drastic action as in 2000 again, experts say, despite the Taliban’s pledge after their takeover.

While the announcement might signal a return to the previous Taliban eradication plan — an attempt perhaps, to curry favor with Western donors — the Taliban are also likely hoping to keep neighboring Iran and Russia at bay. The two nations, who have been warming to the group over the last few years, both want to eliminate the massive opium production at their borders.

The Taliban have another external factor to weigh: The rise of synthetic opioids. If Afghanistan’s heroin exports plunged as they did back in 2001, it’s very likely that synthetic opioids, like fentanyl — largely from China and India — would quickly flood markets in Europe, Africa and Canada in place of Afghan opium and heroin, potentially pushing out Afghan opium for good.

“The reality is that they also just can’t do it, because the economy’s tanking,” Felbab-Brown said.

An enforced ban could also create potential for violence, she added.

Felbab-Brown said there are around 100,000 to 150,000 Afghan National Security Forces soldiers and police who are now unemployed, and for whom poppy production might provide some source of economic stability.

“Take that away, then you have 150,000 men who were your enemies and who have nothing to eat,” she said.

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Live updates from the Senate

Live updates from the Senate

The Condition Division is operating to facilitate the departure of about 100 American citizens and legal long term inhabitants all set to leave Afghanistan, a senior Condition Division formal mentioned Monday.

The official stressed that the variety “changes each and every day” as people transform their minds or “take edge of other options they may have to get out.”

The official told reporters on a get in touch with that the Condition Section is “constantly touching base” with US citizens believed to however be in Afghanistan, as very well as other governments and air craft carriers to attempt to set up constitution flights.

The Section is also in touch with private teams arranging charter flights to check out to recommend them on complications related with these attempts, the formal said, telling reporters that there have been “challenges” with “every constitution that has arrive to a USG reception issue, principally in Doha.” 

“A bunch of individuals came out that that we were not anticipating, that do not essentially know who they are and we you should not automatically know if who they say they are it traces up with who the charter operators indicated they were,” they reported.

“We’ve had stowaways. We’ve had floor crew that climbed on the aircraft. We’ve experienced any variety of folks get off those people flights who are not on the manifested really don’t essentially have a perception of who they are or why they especially feel they would qualify,” they included. 

“In some circumstances we have experienced unaccompanied minors traveling with out parents, traveling with no a lawful guardian, and some massive query marks about why they were on the plane,” the formal stated.

The official famous that the State Office is performing to see who in that populace “legitimately can say they are at acute risk” – describing that as “people who can demonstrably demonstrate that they’ve bought lively threats against them, they have bought persons hunting for them” – “as opposed to people today who just are not comfortable or worry the mysterious that comes with the Taliban taking regulate of govt and the state.” 

“Once we’ve obtained a exact appear at that population, we can then greater evaluate and ensure that senior leaders are have the possibility to appear at the assortment of implications involved with going all those people into the states or with keeping them out and placing them by way of a standard refugee resettlement approach in which some of them might appear to the states and some of them could go on to other international locations that collaborate with UNHCR and the International Business for Migration,” they mentioned.

The official described the Taliban’s “unpredictability regarding who is permitted to depart” as the most significant impediment to the departure of US citizens and other folks from Afghanistan. The absence of frequent business air services is a different huge constraint, the formal claimed.

“There’s a selection of get in touch with and dialogue ongoing with the Taliban, particularly in Doha, with the remaining members of the Taliban political fee who are primarily based there,” the formal stated. 

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Instagram pauses effort to build version of app for kids amid scrutiny

Instagram pauses effort to build version of app for kids amid scrutiny

“Whilst we stand by the require to acquire this expertise, we’ve made a decision to pause this venture,” Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, wrote in a site write-up posted Monday. “This will give us time to do the job with parents, industry experts, policymakers and regulators, to pay attention to their considerations, and to reveal the price and great importance of this task for young teens online right now.”
The shift comes just times right before the US Senate was established to maintain a listening to entitled “Defending Youngsters On the web: Fb, Instagram, and Psychological Health Harms” to go over the tension present-day youth experience on social media. That listening to arrives right after a Wall Road Journal investigation all around what Facebook is familiar with about how Instagram affects teen end users, including their psychological health and fitness.
In the weblog publish Monday, Mosseri acknowledged that the Journal’s reporting “has raised a lot of questions for folks.” In a statement before this month, an Instagram official pointed out that while Instagram can be a put exactly where individuals have “negative encounters,” the app also provides a voice to marginalized men and women and assists friends and family remain connected.

“This is a watershed for the expanding tech accountability motion and a excellent day for anybody who believes that children’s wellbeing need to come right before Massive Tech’s profits,” Josh Golin, government director at Fairplay, a youngster advocacy group formerly recognised as the Campaign for a Commercial-Free of charge Childhood, reported in a assertion Monday.

“We urge Fb to use this ‘pause’ to truly have interaction with the independent little one enhancement professionals who recognize how Instagram will undermine young children’s wellbeing,” Golin extra. “We will not cease pressuring Facebook until finally they completely pull the plug. “

In March, BuzzFeed Information obtained an interior Instagram memo stating the organization had “identified youth work as a precedence” and was planning to construct a version specially meant for little ones.

In May possibly, 44 lawyers common signed a letter dealt with to Fb (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg, urging him to scrap ideas for an Instagram supposed for younger buyers, citing psychological health and privacy issues. The letter arrived much less than a thirty day period right after youngster security groups and customers of Congress expressed related fears.

In a July site post, the business said it is building “a new Instagram practical experience for tweens” managed by mother and father and guardians as part of its attempts to “lower the incentive for men and women less than the age of 13 to lie about their age.”

“The actuality is that they’re previously on the web, and with no foolproof way to cease individuals from misrepresenting their age, we want to build encounters designed specially for them, managed by mother and father and guardians,” the write-up claimed.

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