This is Garrison Hardie with your CrossPolitic Daily News Brief for Thursday, September 28th, , 2023.
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Brazil’s Amazon Rainforest Faces a Severe Drought That May Affect around 500,000 People
The Amazon rainforest in Brazil is facing a severe drought that may affect around 500,000 people by the end of the year, authorities said Tuesday.
Many are already struggling to access essential supplies such as food and water, because the principal means of transportation in the region is waterways, and river levels are historically low. Droughts also impact fishing, a means of subsistence for many riverside communities.
Amazonas state declared an environmental emergency two weeks ago in response to the prolonged drought and launched a response plan valued at $20 million. Authorities will also distribute food and water supplies as well as personal hygiene kits, the state’s civil defense agency said in a statement.
Gov. Wilson Lima was in Brazil’s capital, Brasilia, on Tuesday to meet with representatives of the federal government. Lima spoke with President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to discuss the drought.
The different levels of government will “coordinate measures in support of the people living in the affected municipalities,” Lima said on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, on Sunday.
Fifteen municipalities were in a state of emergency on Tuesday, while 40 others were on a state of alert, the civil defense authority said.
According to the port of Manaus, which monitors water levels, the river stood at 16.7 meters (55 feet) on Tuesday, around six meters (20 feet) below the same day last year. The lowest level of water was recorded on Oct. 24, 2010, when the river dropped to 13.6 meters (about 45 feet).
The drought is forecast to last longer and be more intense because of El Niño climate phenomenon, which inhibits the formation of rain clouds, the civil defense authority said.
House approves bill striking down Biden’s crackdown on hunting and archery in overwhelmingly bipartisan vote
The House voted late Tuesday evening in favor of legislation striking down the Biden administration’s decision to block federal funding for school shooting sports courses.
In a 424-1 vote, the House approved the Protecting Hunting Heritage and Education Act with 216 Republicans and 208 Democrats voting in favor, and just one lawmaker, Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, voting against. Rep. Mark Green, R-Tenn., introduced the bill on Aug. 1, days after a Fox News Digital report in late July revealed the Department of Education was withholding funds for school hunting and archery courses.
“Hunters and fishers are the best conservationists,” Green told Fox News Digital after the vote Tuesday. “Hunting, whether it be with a firearm or bow, is one of the most effective ways to control wildlife populations, protect our beautiful lands, and connect with nature. My Protecting Hunting Heritage and Education Act is critical for our children.”
He added in a separate statement that American students should be encouraged to “participate in enriching athletic activities that foster an appreciation for nature and the ability to focus on a goal.” According to Green, in his state alone, the Biden administration’s funding decision impacts an estimated 50,000 students.
Fox News Digital reported in July that the Education Department shared federal guidance to hunting education groups highlighting that hunting and archery programs in schools would be stripped of funding. The guidance explained that the administration interpreted the 2022 Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) to mean such programs can no longer receive taxpayer funds.
In the guidance, obtained first by Fox News Digital, senior agency official Sarah Martinez wrote that archery, hunter education and wilderness safety courses use weapons that are “technically dangerous weapons” and therefore “may not be funded under” the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which is the primary source of federal aid for elementary and secondary education across the country.
According to advocates, many schools that offer such courses have already nixed them from curriculums due to the federal guidance.
“The Department of Education and Secretary Cardona are blatantly misconstruing the law to withhold funding from schools that choose to teach beneficial courses like hunter safety and archery,” Lawrence Keane, the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s senior vice president, told Fox News Digital in July.
“Congress must hold Secretary Cardona and the department accountable for violating the letter and spirit of the law to unilaterally deny America’s students access to these valuable programs as part of the Administration’s continued attacks on the Second Amendment,” Keane added.
Tommy Floyd, the president of the National Archery in the Schools Program, said his organization boasts roughly 1.3 million students from nearly 9,000 schools across 49 states who are enrolled in archery courses.
However, the Department of Education has doubled down on its interpretation of the BSCA, saying it would only reverse course if legislation was passed explicitly revising the 2022 law to allow funding for shooting sport programs in schools.
The law included an amendment to a subsection in the ESEA listing that prohibited uses for federal school funding. That amendment prohibits ESEA funds from helping provide any person with a dangerous weapon or to provide “training in the use of a dangerous weapon,” but, according to the BSCA’s sponsors, was included to prevent ESEA funding for school resource officer training.
Philadelphia swarmed by alleged juvenile looters targeting the Apple Store, Lululemon, Footlocker and others
Philadelphia police responded to popular retailers like the Apple Store, Lululemon and Footlocker after they were allegedly being ravaged by swarms of looters taking over the City of Brotherly Love Tuesday evening.
At about 8 p.m. Tuesday, police responded to reports of large crowds of juveniles allegedly looting stores in the Center City business corridor of the 9th District.
“In a proactive measure, officers from the 9th District stopped a group of males dressed in black attire and wearing masks at the intersection of 17th and Chestnut Streets,” a police spokesperson said in a statement to Fox News Digital.
As of midnight on Wednesday, police confirmed between 15 and 20 people were arrested during the looting and at least two firearms were recovered.
As officers were speaking with these individuals, they began to receive reports of looting at the Foot Locker on Chestnut Street.
Responding officers arrived at the Foot Locker and discovered the store had been ransacked in a “coordinated attack,” according to the statement. A number of juveniles then fled the scene and at least one adult was arrested.
Subsequent incidents of looting were reported in quick succession.
Officers responded to a report of looting at the Lululemon on Walnut Street, where multiple individuals were apprehended.
A short time later, looting was reported at the Apple Store on Walnut Street. No arrests were made in connection with this incident. Phones and tablets were taken from the store, but several stolen items have since been recovered.
Videos posted to X, showed retail stores like Lululemon, the Apple Store and Footlocker ravaged by crowds of looters.
FOX 29’s Steve Keeley obtained video of a ransacked Apple Store with iPhones and iPads scattered across the display tables. Keeley wrote on X that many of the stolen Apple products were left behind due to the device’s comprehensive anti-theft technology.
A police officer told local outlet WCAU-TV that more than 100 juveniles took items from the Lululemon store. No injuries were immediately reported, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Police also responded to several other reports of property damage and thefts throughout the city.
“The Philadelphia Police Department is committed to maintaining public safety and order,” police said in the statement Wednesday morning. “We are actively investigating these incidents and working diligently to identify and apprehend those responsible for these unlawful acts. We appreciate the cooperation of our community and urge anyone with information related to these incidents to come forward and assist with the ongoing investigations.”
The statement continued: “We would like to thank our dedicated officers who swiftly responded to these incidents, as well as our community members who continue to support law enforcement efforts to keep Philadelphia safe.”
The looting came following a Philadelphia judge dismissed charges against former police officer Mark Dial in the shooting death of 27-year-old Eddie Irizarry. Interim Commissioner John Stanford said in a press conference that the thieves were not part of the peaceful protest against the judge’s decision.
“This had nothing to do with the protests,” Stanford said. “What we had tonight was a bunch of criminal opportunists take advantage of a situation to make an attempt to destroy our city.”
The news comes as Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw resigned in the beginning of September.
Crime data from the Philadelphia Police Department shows there has been a 21% drop in homicides this year to date compared to the same day in 2021, when the city recorded 562 homicides throughout the year. But prior to Outlaw leading the department, the data shows Philadelphia annually recorded between 246 to 391 homicides each year between 2007 and 2019.
In 2020, when she took over, there were 499 homicides, followed by 562 in 2021 and 516 in 2022.
Meanwhile in California….
In August, a Nordstrom store was ransacked by a “flash mob” of more than 30 people in a large smash-and-grab. The thieves made out with nearly $100,000 worth of designer handbags and clothes.
Similarly to Philadelphia, video captured shows a group of 30 to 50 people wearing sweatshirts with hoods over their heads.
The suspects are seen inside the department store as they rush to the front entrance with bags in hand, scooping up whatever merchandise they can while tripping on racks to which some items were still attached.
Police estimate the stolen merchandise to be worth between $60,000 and $100,000.
Wuhan Institute of Virology Warns the World: Prepare for Another COVID-19 Pandemic
As many as 20 coronavirus species are likely to cause a new outbreak, according to a study from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), a stark warning to prepare for another COVID-19 pandemic.
In a study in Emerging Microbes & Infections in July, the WIV has been making headlines, as many social media users have begun coming to their own conclusions online.
The Wuhan scientists documented their study of 40 coronavirus species, identifying 20 as “high risk … including 6 of which jumped to human, 3 with evidence of spillover but not to human and 11 without evidence of spillover yet.”
“It is almost certain that there will be future disease emergence, and it is highly likely a CoV [coronavirus] disease again,” the study said.
“Thus, the early preparation for the animal CoVs with risk of spillover is important for future disease preparedness, regarding the likely animal origin of SARS, MERS, and COVID-19.”
SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) is a disease that caused a deadly outbreak in China over 20 years ago.
MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) is a coronavirus disease first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012.
The study’s auhtors included Shi Zhengli, a Chinese coronavirus expert known as “batwoman” for her academic studies on the coronavirus.
She became a figure of international focus during the coronavirus pandemic.
Shi stopped public appearances in early 2020 but reemerged to defend the Chinese government from claims that the coronavirus came from a lab in Wuhan.