Skip to content

Month: January 2016

Local Doctor Tried To Warn About Flint Water Crisis In August

Posted in Journalism, and MintPress News

Though widespread outcry has only recently erupted over the people of Flint, Michigan, being poisoned by lead in the city’s tap water, activists and local medical experts had been sounding the alarm about the issue well before it became a national headline. Lead poisoning leads to irreparable brain damage and may be linked to a recent outbreak of Legionnaires’ Disease.

Gov. Rick Snyder declared a state of emergency earlier this month amid widespread demands for his resignation after it became apparent that the people of Flint have been drinking lead-contaminated water for two years.

Flint’s water crisis stretches back to April 2014, when Darnell Earley, the city’s state-appointed emergency manager, switched Flint’s water supply to the polluted and corrosive Flint River. In January 2015, the city warned 100,000 residents that their water may contain toxic levels of trihalomethanes, or THMs, a byproduct of chlorination that has been linked to cancer, kidney and liver failure, and birth defects.

Residents had been getting sick for months prior to that warning, according to an April 2015 report from Laura Gottesdiener. Writing for Al-Jazeera America, Gottesdiener relayed the experiences of one Flint family:

Myanmar’s Rohingya Genocide Is Aided By Friends In High Places

Posted in Journalism, and MintPress News

In 2012, after centuries of tension, Myanmar’s Buddhist majority began oppressing the nation’s Muslim minority, forcing them into concentration camps and carrying out widespread murder and genocidal acts.

But more than racism and bigotry have inflamed tensions in this South Asian country, as the United States and its allies like Saudi Arabia and Israel enable the atrocities through their foreign aid and military power.

In June, The Economist called the Rohingya “the most persecuted people on earth,” noting that their suffering has intensified since 2012. That year, “140,000 Rohingyas were forced into squalid refugee camps after the local Buddhists turned on them,” and since then, “their situation has been especially dire.”

Cobalt: Mined By Children For Use In Your Favorite Gadgets’ Rechargeable Batteries

Posted in Journalism, and MintPress News

In recent years, activists and independent media have brought attention to “conflict minerals,” key components in technology that are often sourced from war-torn countries. And a recent report from a major human rights group sounds the alarm on a largely overlooked metal that’s being mined by thousands of children and underpaid adults in Africa.

Amnesty International issued the results of its detailed investigation into the sourcing of cobalt, a rare metal that forms a crucial ingredient of lithium-based rechargeable batteries, in a Jan. 19 report. According to the authors, more than half the world’s cobalt comes from Congo, including at least 20 percent which comes from so-called “artisanal miners” in the southern part of the country.

“These artisanal miners, referred to as ‘creuseurs’ in the DRC, mine by hand using the most basic tools to dig out rocks from tunnels deep underground,” according to the report, “This Is What We Die For.” “Artisanal miners include children as young as seven who scavenge for rocks containing cobalt in the discarded by-products of industrial mines, and who wash and sort the ore before it is sold.”

Airbnb Is Renting ‘Illegal’ And ‘Criminal’ Homes In Apartheid Israel’s Settlements

Posted in Journalism, and MintPress News

Though the sharing economy may offer new avenues for income, it’s also contributing to an old problem: Israel’s ever-expanding, illegal occupation of Palestine.

Human rights experts widely agree that apartheid Israel’s settlements in Occupied Palestinian Territoriesviolate international law. This, it seems, is not a problem for Airbnb: The website and smartphone app which lets users rent a room in someone’s house or unused apartment, lists dozens of properties in illegal Israeli settlements.

Kate Shuttleworth and Julia Carrie Wong, writing on Jan. 13 for The Guardian, reported that the listings are “raising questions about the technology platform’s legal position in profiting from rentals on the land.”

Tax Revenue Expected To Reach $125 Million As 2015 Colorado Cannabis Sales Near $1B

Posted in Journalism, and MintPress News

Colorado’s legal marijuana business boomed last year, with total sales in the state nearing the $1 billion mark, according to current estimates.

Official figures for marijuana sales in December won’t be available until next month, but Ricardo Baca, a staff writer for The Denver Post’s The Cannabist, reported on Jan. 13 that total marijuana sales, including for both recreational and medicinal purposes, had reached $895 million by November.

With cannabis taxed in three ways by the state, including two different kinds of sales tax, Colorado had earned $121 million through that month. That figure represents an especially important windfall for education, Baca noted:

Anti-Corruption Gyrocopter Pilot Seeks Return To Congress, This Time By Election

Posted in Archive, Journalism, and MintPress News

After illegally landing a miniature helicopter on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol last year, Doug Hughes is determined to return to the Hill as a member of the House of Representatives.

“I’m coming back to Congress by ground. And this time I’m not going to be outside the building — I’m going to be inside the building!” the former U.S. Postal Service employee from Florida told MintPress News on Monday.

Hughes garnered international attention in April, when he landed a gyrocopter directly on the front lawn of Congress. The personal aerial vehicle contained letters for members of Congress, demanding that they fight the influence of money in politics.