27 July 2019   Leave a comment

We have witnessed a number of large protests in some places as it appears as if people are becoming unwilling to accept political conditions as unalterable. In two places, Russia and Hong Kong, the central governments have cracked down on the protests. In Moscow, police have arrested hundreds of people protesting the dismissal of candidates for elections for capricious reasons. The BBC explains:

“Candidates were asked to collect 5,000 signatures to stand. This limit was made even harder to match because a signature “means volunteering one’s personal information for the government’s database of opposition supporters”, democracy activist Vladimir Kara-Murza wrote in the Washington Post.

“Many candidates managed to meet the threshold but the electoral commission ruled some signatures ineligible, saying they were unclear or the addresses provided were incomplete, and barred the candidates from taking part.”

In Hong Kong, the government banned protests, but thousands of Hong Kongers showed up to protest the vigilante action by gangs known as triads who were widely suspected of being government-sponsored. Reuters describes how prepared the protesters were:

“Activists held the march in Yuen Long, scene of the attack by club-wielding men, despite a police ban on safety grounds.

“Building barricades out of street furniture and umbrellas, protesters threw rocks and bottles. Many armed themselves with hiking sticks and improvised shields from wood, surfboards, cardboard and other materials.

“Police, widely criticized for failing to better protect the public from last weekend’s attack, responded on Sunday with tear gas, rubber bullets and sponge grenades, a crowd control weapon.

“Several hundred protesters remained as dark fell, fighting with police in the local train station, where blood could be seen spattered on the floor. Earlier, Reuters witnesses saw a hard core group of activists with small metal bats, metal and wooden poles and slingshots moving against the human tide.”

Protesters in Hong Kong Sing “Do You Hear the People Sing?” from Les Miserables

On the other hand, protesters in Puerto Rico scored a major victory after the Governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló, resigned after hundreds of degrading and misogynistic chats were published. What is most interesting is that in China and Russia the protesters are literally putting their careers on the line and are willing to make that sacrifice for the public good. There are other places in the world where large scale protests are warranted, but the public seems to be willing to tolerate wretched behavior.

There are wildfires burning in the Arctic–in Siberia, Greenland, and Alaska which are visible from space. Ecowatch describes the significance of the wildfires:

“Copernicus’ scientists have been tracking more than 100 wildfires raging above the Arctic Circle since the start of June, which was the hottest June on record. July is on pace to break records too as Europe bakes under another heat wave this week.

“The magnitude is unprecedented in the 16-year satellite record,” said Thomas Smith, an assistant professor in environmental geography at the London School of Economics, to USA Today. “The fires appear to be further north than usual, and some appear to have ignited peat soils.”

Peat fires burn deeper in the ground and can last for weeks or even months instead of a few hours or days like most forest fires, according to the UPI.

The researchers at Copernicus track how much greenhouse gas the wildfires emit into the atmosphere as well. So far, the Arctic’s fires have released approximately 100 megatons, 100 million metric tons, of CO2 between June 1 and July 21, which Parrington said on Twitter “is getting close to 2017 fossil fuel CO2 emissions of Belgium” for the entire year, as USA Today reported.

The smoke from the fires extends for hundreds of miles. The world cannot afford to listen to the climate deniers any longer.

Posted July 27, 2019 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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