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climate change 2254711 960 720 TheDigitalArtist / Flickr 

The United Nations' 48th session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) opened its crucial meeting in Incheon, South Korea on Monday to deliver the authoritative, scientific guide for governments to stave off disastrous climate change.

"This is one of the most important meetings in the IPCC's history," chair Hoesung Lee of South Korea said in his opening remarks.

South Korea is a fitting host country for the session after experiencing its hottest summer on record, highest ever number of daytime heatwaves and tropical nights and new maximum temperature record of above 40°C (104°C) in 2018, the World Meteorological Organization noted.

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animal testing Richard Schatzberger / Flickr

California Governor Jerry Brown signed a first-of-its-kind law banning the sale of animal tested cosmetics Friday, the Huffington Post reported.

"We are grateful to Governor Brown for signing this bill," California state director for the Humane Society of the United States Crystal Moreland said in a press release. "I am proud that California is the first state in the nation to take a stand against cruel cosmetic animal testing."

The California Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act, which was written by Democratic state Senator Cathleen Galgiani, passed the state legislature earlier in September, The Hill reported. It stipulates that manufacturers cannot "import for profit, sell or offer for sale" any cosmetics tested on animals once the law goes into effect Jan. 1, 2020.

Dont 1001wrp(Photo: Joe Flood / Flickr)


Racially and ethnically speaking, I'm not sure who I am: Irish, Black, Anglo, Native American, Italian? Yes ... and more. My father always said that our family was "Heinz 57," a zesty blend of 57 ingredients. Good enough for me!

One of America's great strengths is our highly diversified population, continually fueled by generations of immigrants who come here as refugees or who simply seek opportunity. Consider the example of Fredrich, a 16-year-old boy who fled his tiny German village, where he faced a dreary future of poverty. He arrived in Manhattan in 1885 with no money and little education. An unaccompanied minor, he was nonetheless greeted by America's open immigration policy of the time and welcomed into citizenship. The enterprising Friedrich soon prospered, eventually opening hotels and taverns. And — God bless America — only three generations later, Friedrich Trump's grandson would become president of the USA!


planet Qimono / Pixnio

Political and business leaders met in New York Wednesday to reaffirm their commitment to fighting climate change at the second annual One Planet Summit.

The summit was hosted as part of Climate Week NYC by French President Emmanuel Macron, United Nations Secretary General António Guterres, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and UN Special Envoy for Climate Action Michael R. Bloomberg to mobilize finance behind climate action, according to a press release.

It also comes as world leaders are gathered in New York for the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly and follows a harsh UN address by Macron Tuesday during which he said he would refuse to negotiate commercial deals with any country that did not join the Paris agreement.

The U.S. is currently the only country not pledging to follow the agreement after President Donald Trump announced plans to withdraw last year.


islamophobia Photo from a 2016 peace rally in Minnesota. Fibonacci Blue / Flickr

Mounting debt, numerous store closures, and the challenge of digital retailing is causing Sears, once one of America's iconic retailers, to struggle mightily to stay afloat. Meanwhile, Nina Rosenwald, an heiress to the Sears Roebuck fortune, whose grandfather Julius Rosenwald was an early investor in Sears, Roebuck & Company, is spreading millions of dollars around, helping anti-Muslim organizations and projects at home and abroad, stay afloat. Through the William Rosenwald Family Fund, a nonprofit foundation named for her father, a famed Jewish philanthropist who created the United Jewish Appeal in 1939, Nina Rosenwald, has along with her sister, Elizabeth Varet -- a co-director of the family foundation -- have donated millions of dollars to "organizations that fan the flames of Islamophobia," according to a Center for American Progress report titled "Fear." 

Through the founding and funding of the New York-based Gatestone Institute, Nina Rosenwald – who has been labeled "the sugar mama of anti-Muslim hate" -- was neck deep in the German elections, with Gatestone supporting the anti-Muslim Alternative for Germany, "the new far-right political party competing in the … election," The Intercept's Lee Fang reported.

Macron 0926wrpFrench President Emmanuel Macron. (Photo: OECD | Andrew Wheeler / Flickr


French President Emmanuel Macron pledged on Tuesday that his country would not make trade deals with any country not signed on to the Paris agreement to limit global warming to "well below" two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, The Hill reported.

"We will no longer sign commercial agreements with powers that do not respect the Paris accord," he told the UN General Assembly.

Wednesday, 26 September 2018 06:49

It's Time to Ban Nuclear Weapons for Good

Missile 0926wrpA nuclear missile in a museum, where it belongs. (Photo: Clay Gilliland / Flickr)


September 26 is "International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons," a day designated by the United Nations (UN) to draw attention to one of its oldest goals: achieving global nuclear disarmament. My organization, Physicians for Social Responsibility, honors the occasion by calling once again for the total abolition of nuclear weapons. We are committed to working for a nuclear-free world, and we are proud to join our partners and allies in envisioning a better, safer future.


Veggie Loaf Prison FoodNutraloaf is a food served in prisons in the United States and Canada to prisoners as a punishment. Scott Veg / Flickr

Pardon the interruption, but let's talk food. There's fine-dining restaurants, fast food joints, nouveau fast-food joints, pop-ups, food trucks, farmer's markets. There is much made of the farm-to-table pipeline, and gluten-free alternatives. Some are calling it a foodie revolution. Where once a few culinary luminaries like Julia Child, Martin Yan, Jacques Pepin, dominated the kitchens of public television, these days the Food Network and others fill the airwaves with programming ranging from "Chopped," "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives," "The Next Food Network Star," and "Worst Cooks in America,"  to "Top Chef," "Iron Chef America," and "America's Test Kitchen." Dozens of previously unknown and unheralded chefs from around the country are now household names.

The foodie revolution may be televised, but it hasn't touched the chow consumed by the incarcerated in prisons and jails across the country. America's incarcerated are subject to overcooked, foul-tasting, soggy, nitrite-heavy, nutrient-lacking, spoiled, unhealthy food. The only pop-ups in prison food is wondering what in the heck might pop out of a typical unpalatable dinner tray.


California Spiny Lobster Magnus Kjærgaard ‘ WikiCommons

At the prompting of a group of New England senators, September 25 has been declared "National Lobster Day." If this day were intended to celebrate the fascinating attributes of lobsters -- like the fact that they can live to be more than 100 years old or that they use complicated signals to explore their surroundings and establish relationships -- I'd be all for it. But it isn't meant to celebrate lobsters -- the intent is to celebrate killing them, and that has true "lobster lovers" like me steaming.

Yes, I once ate lobsters -- back when they were a "splurge" meal on a special occasion. I think it was at my 20th birthday dinner. I went to a well-known restaurant specializing in lobster. We were drinking wine when the live lobsters were presented to us on a tray at the table so that I could pick out the one I would eat. I remember that he wiggled his antennae at me -- all he could do -- as I replied, "Broiled, please," when asked how I wanted my lobster cooked. Perhaps it was because he had tried in his own sad way to communicate (Was it a threat? A plea?) that when I took that first bite of his flesh, it hit me: He had been broiled alive just for my fleeting pleasure. I burst into tears -- my birthday evening ruined -- and never ate a lobster again.

MFA 0924wrp(Photo: Molly Adams / Flickr)


With growing support among the public and with many Democratic candidates taking strong positions for single-payer Medicare for All, a battle is being engaged again between supporters and opponents in the Democratic Party. Support for universal coverage through Medicare for All, or national health insurance (NHI), should become a litmus test for Democrats and their platform for 2020, but already we are seeing vacillation among centrists in the party establishment reminiscent of the surrender in advance strategy that prevailed in the run-up to the 2008 elections.

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