Monthly Archives: September 2019

So-Called “Limited” Nuclear War Would Actually Be Very Bad and Kill Tens of Millions, Warns New Report

“We urgently need sensible action to reduce and eliminate nuclear risk.”

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-17-2019

A nuclear war would kill millions of people, a new report reminds the Pentagon. (Photo: Department of Energy/cc)

Even a limited nuclear war would be catastrophic and kill millions, a new study finds, despite the belief of the Pentagon that the U.S. military could effectively and safely use nuclear weapons in a conflict.

The report, which Princeton University’s Science and Global Security Lab presents in video form, affirms the position of anti-nuclear war activists that no use of nuclear weapons is sensible—or safe. Continue reading

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Fears of ‘Collateral Damage to Democracy’ as Trump Weighs Withdrawing From Global Postal Pact

Election officials fear thousands of votes could go uncounted if the president leaves the Universal Postal Union

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-16-2019

Universal Postal Union headquarters in Berne, Switzerland. Photo: UPU

Thousands of absentee ballots could be uncounted in upcoming elections thanks to President Donald Trump’s objection to a treaty which governs the international mail exchange for nearly 200 countries.

Citing disapproval of shipping rates it says unfairly favor China, the White House is weighing a potential withdrawal next month from the Universal Postal Union (UPU), a United Nations agency which allows for global postal service. Continue reading

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US ‘Lies’ Slammed After Pompeo, Without Proof, Blames Iran for Drone Attacks

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) threatens to “break the regime’s back”

By Common Dreams. Published 9-15-2019

An Aramco petrochemical facility, Jubail, Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia raced today to restart operations at oil plants hit by drone attacks which slashed its production by half, as Iran dismissed US claims it was behind the assault. The Tehran-backed Huthi rebels in neighbouring Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is bogged down in a five-year war, have claimed thi weekend’s strikes on two plants owned by state giant Aramco in eastern Saudi Arabia. Photo: Suresh Babunair [CC BY 3.0]

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi forcefully rejected Sunday unsubstantiated charges by by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and US Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) regarding the recent drone attacks that caused serious damage to two crucial Saudi Arabian oil installations.

“It has been around 5 years that the Saudi-led coalition has kept the flames of war alive in the region by repeatedly launching aggression against Yemen and committing different types of war crimes, and the Yemenis have also shown that they are standing up to war and aggression,” Seyyed Abbas Mousavi said in a statement. Continue reading

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German Study: Alarming Levels of Dangerous Plastics in Children’s Bodies

Children from poorer families had more plastic residue in their bodies than those from higher-income homes.

By Common Dreams. Published 9-14-2019

In urine samples, residues of various plastic ingredients were found in 97 to 100 percent of the children examined. Researchers said that they were especially concerned about high levels of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) that were found. Photo: Hong Zhang/Pixabay

Plastic by-products were found in an alarming 97-100% of blood and urine samples from 2,500 children tested between 2014 and 2017, according to a new study by the German Environment Ministry and the Robert Koch Institute.

Der Spiegel, the German weekly magazine, published the findings Saturday, which were part of a federal study focused on “human biomonitoring” of 3 to 17-year-olds. Traces from 11 out of 15 plastic ingredients were found in the test samples. Continue reading

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At #SandtonShutdown, South African Women Disrupt Business as Usual as Fury Over Gender-Based Violence Boils Over

“My body is not your war zone,” read one protest signs.

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-13-2019

Protesters march against gender-based violence, organised by several NGO?s and organisations at the JSE in Sandton on September 13, 2019 in Sandton, South Africa. There has been a public outcry after the rape and murder of UCT student Uyinene Mrwetyana in Cape Town. Several protests and marches have been held across the country to highlight the plight of women and children wh o are constantly fall victims of gender-based violence. Photo: Ndebele Superhero/Twitter

Thousands of protesters rallied outside the Johannesburg Stock Exchange Friday to protest staggering levels of violence against women in South Africa after a spate of recent killings and rapes fueled civil unrest over the issue.

Protesters carried placards with messages including “My body is not your war zone,” and “We should not need protection to survive in our streets and our homes.” Continue reading

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Trump Rollback of Key EPA Water Protection Rule Denounced as ‘Callous’ and ‘Immoral’ Giveaway to Big Polluters

“This is shameful and dangerous.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-12-2019

As the Trump administration repealed the 2015 Clean Water Rule Thursday, one critic warned that “the EPA’s callous decision endangers communities and threatens our environment.” (Photo: Varanos/Flickr/cc)

Environmental and public health advocates blasted the Trump administration Thursday for finalizing its rollback of an Obama-era regulation designed to curb the pollution of waterways nationwide.

“Fifty years after the Cuyahoga River fire that inspired the Clean Water Act, President Trump’s administration wants to turn back the clock to the days of poisoned flammable water,” declared Abigail Dillen, president of the non-profit legal group Earthjustice. “This is shameful and dangerous.” Continue reading

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Plan to Release Radioactive Fukushima Wastewater Into Pacific Ocean Panned by Critics

“Another reason to not build nuclear power plants.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-10-2019

Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior sailing past the destroyed Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, five years after the plant’s accident. (Photo: Christian Åslund/Greenpeace)

The far-reaching dangers of nuclear power were on full display Tuesday as Japan’s environmental minister recommended releasing more than one million tons of radioactive wastewater from the Fukushima Daiichi plant into the Pacific Ocean nearly a decade after a tsunami caused a meltdown at the coastal facility.

“There are no other options” other than dumping the water into the ocean and diluting it, Yoshiaki Harada said at a news conference in Tokyo. Continue reading

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Because ‘Everything Is on Fire,’ Nearly 1,000 Amazon Workers Pledge to Walk Out and Join Global Climate Strike on Sept. 20

“We understand the threat of the climate crisis and want to work for a company that makes climate a priority.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-9-2019

More than 940 Amazon employees have pledged to take part in the global climate strike on Sept. 20. (Photo: Amazon Employees for Climate Justice/Twitter)

To protest the retail behemoth’s contributions to the climate crisis and persistent refusal to change course, nearly 1,000 Amazon workers have pledged to walk off the job on Sept. 20 in solidarity with the millions of people across the world expected to take part in this month’s global climate strike.

Wired reported Monday that the demonstration “will mark the first time in Amazon’s 25-year history that workers at its Seattle headquarters have walked off the job.” Continue reading

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How climate change is driving emigration from Central America

A farmer carries firewood during the dry season in Nicaragua, one of the Central American countries affected by a recent drought. Neil Palmer for CIAT/flickr, CC BY-NC-ND

Miranda Cady Hallett, University of Dayton

Clouds of dust rose behind the wheels of the pickup truck as we hurtled over the back road in Palo Verde, El Salvador. When we got to the stone-paved part of the road, the driver slowed as the truck heaved up and down with the uneven terrain. Riding in the back bed of the truck, Ruben (not his real name) and I talked while we held on tight, sitting on sacks of dried beans that he was taking to market.

“It doesn’t come out right,” he said, “it just doesn’t pay anymore to work the land. I take out a loan for seed, and then I can’t count on making it back to pay off my debt.” Continue reading

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Joni Ernst Wants to Cut Social Security Behind Closed Doors

Republicans, Democrats and Independents, of all ages, races and genders, overwhelmingly agree. We understand that Social Security is more important than ever. We overwhelmingly reject any cuts to its modest benefits.

By Nancy J. Altman. Published 9-6-2019 by Common Dreams

Congress should address our nation’s looming retirement income crisis by increasing Social Security’s modest benefits. (Photo: Courtesy of AFGE, Flickr | CC 2.0)

Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) just said out loud what Republican politicians usually only talk about in secret meetings with their billionaire donors: The GOP wants to cut our earned Social Security benefits—and they want to do it behind closed doors so that they don’t have to pay the political price.

At a recent town hall, Ernst stated that Congress needs to “sit down behind closed doors” to “address Social Security.” She vaguely asserted, “A lot of changes need to be made in this system going forward.” But, she complained, if these changes were proposed in public, she would be accused of pushing “granny over a cliff.” It is not hard to figure out what “changes” she has in mind. Continue reading

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