In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: Refugee crisis] "Europe is 'on the cusp of a largely self-induced humanitarian crisis' because of a rapid build-up of migrants on Greece's borders, the UN has warned. 'The crowded conditions are leading to shortages of food, shelter, water, and sanitation,' UN refugee agency (UNHCR) spokesman Adrian Edwards said. Close to 24,000 migrants in Greece are in need of housing." Fucking hell.

[CN: Refugee crisis; abuse] Reuters details the horrendous conditions in which the refugees in Greece are trying to survive: "Mohammed Asif and his family have no food, no shelter, and no security. 'Home,' for now, is a thin green blanket spread over a piece of plastic on a pavement in a grimy neighborhood of the Greek capital. ...There are no public facilities and soiled nappies are strewn on a sidewalk next to bins brimming with rubbish. A Christian charity distributes biscuits and orange juice, and the occasional local turns up with a saucepan of food. Further down, young mothers with month-old babies sat on the sidewalk. A man held a child aged about 10 in his arms, looking stonily ahead. 'I'll stay here until Macedonia opens its borders,' said Ali Khan Ranjbar, 28, from Ghazni, a city in central Afghanistan and a Hazara like Asif. As of Feb. 20, crossings of Afghans to Macedonia have ceased, with witnesses reporting migrants being forcibly removed from border outposts and sent by buses back to Athens. On Monday Macedonian police fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of migrants who stormed the border from Greece as a deeply divided Europe traded barbs over how to tackle its biggest humanitarian crisis in decades."

[CN: Domestic violence; austerity] "According to the NNEDV's annual survey of domestic violence service providers, on a given day in 2015, 12,197 victims who sought help had to be turned away. ...Most of the people turned away are seeking shelter: 41 percent of the unmet requests were for emergency shelter, while 22 percent were for transitional housing or some other housing service. Yet 72 programs reduced or eliminated their housing services last year altogether. This left victims exposed and vulnerable to their abusers. ...Beyond cutting programs, many service providers had to eliminate staff. Last year, they laid off 1,235 staff members, or an average of 1.4 people each. That comes on top of 1,392 staff that were cut in 2014. Nearly 80 percent of the staff eliminated last year were in direct service positions, such as case managers, advocates, and shelter staff. These hardships—big cutbacks at providers that leave victims without the help they need—stem from a lack of resources. The most common cause that shelters cited last year for not being able to meet all of the demand, at about a quarter of providers, was a reduction in government funding."

[CN: War on agency] Teddy Wilson has more on the recent report about the dramatic number of abortion clinic closings: "Elizabeth Nash, senior state issues associate at the Guttmacher Institute, told RH Reality Check that numerous clinic closures are due to anti-choice activists pushing state lawmakers to pass measures making it impossible for many clinics to operate. 'Unfortunately the report shows that abortion access is becoming more and more limited and that restrictions do have a direct and negative impact on access,' Nash said. ...These closings disproportionately affect marginalized populations. 'Laws like these impact women across the board, but impact rural women, lower-income women, and women of color in dramatically intensified ways,' [Laura McQuade, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri] said."

[CN: Racism; austerity] This is just devastating: "The Carter G. Woodson Library in Chicago's Washington Heights neighborhood is rooted in history. It was named after the 'Father of Black History' and holds the largest collection of black literature in the entire Midwest. It notably contains the Vivian G. Harsh Collection, named after Chicago's first black librarian, which features slave and genealogy records and original manuscripts from notable black authors. The library is now at risk of closing due to damage to the building after years of not being kept up by the city. ...While the library has been granted nearly $10 million by the state specifically to restore Woodson, nearly $4 million is tied up in the current state budget stalemate between state lawmakers and [Republican] Governor Bruce Rauner."

[CN: Homophobia] Good grief: "Georgia State Senator Greg Kirk has said his anti-gay First Amendment Defense Act is just fine because he's run it past his many, many gay friends. ...'Look, I'm 52 years old. I've grown up with friends who now live a gay lifestyle. But they're still very close friends to me, and I care deeply about them, and I have shared this with some of my friends and asked their viewpoint as well. That's been part of my vetting process.' ...Atlanta Journal Constitution columnist Bill Torpy took it on himself to track down these elusive 'gay friends' of Kirk. ...Torpy pushed Kirk on the issue, going so far as to have the Senator give his number to his numerous gay friends. Obviously, nobody called the reporter back because, according to Kirk 'the only one, and there are only three, that I thought would speak with you said no.'"

Whooooooooops! "On Monday, you may have seen what looked like a New York Times article floating around the internet announcing that Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren had endorsed Bernie Sanders for president. There's just one problem: Warren hasn't endorsed anyone for president. The article was created using a hoax-website creator called Clone Zone, which lets users create fake webpages and articles that look strikingly similar to popular news sites."

RIP George Kennedy: "George Kennedy, who won a supporting actor Oscar for his role alongside Paul Newman in the beloved film Cool Hand Luke, and was also a fixture of 1970s disaster movies including the Airport franchise and Earthquake, died Sunday in Boise, Idaho. He was 91."

Wow: "Fossils of an ancient creature resembling a shrimp with an armored head contain the oldest and best-preserved nervous system ever found, which could help scientists decipher the evolution of nervous systemsin animals alive today, according to a new study. The remarkable remains belonged to Chengjiangocaris kunmingensis, a crustaceanlike creature that lived 520 million years ago in what is now South China. The fossils revealed a long 'ropelike' central nerve cord that extended throughout the body, with visible clusters of nerve tissue arranged along the cord, like beads strung on a thread. Even individual nerve structures could be detected, the scientists discovered."

[CN: Attempted abduction] GOOD DOG: 16-year-old "Joanna Bojorquez was saved by a dog named Willow when a man stopped and tried to abduct her this past Saturday. ...'I start kicking, trying to move him away from me, and luckily Willow saw that we weren't being friendly and she throws herself on him. He moved out of the way and I ran and we were able to get home safe,' said Joanna."

And finally! BABY RHINO! "The Toronto Zoo would like to announce that Ashakiran, an 11-year-old female Indian Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis), gave birth to a male calf on Wednesday, February 17, 2016. The recent birth is very important for Indian Rhinoceros conservation, as the species is currently listed as 'Vulnerable' on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, and there are only approximately 2,000 left in the wild." That is one cute behbeh!

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