15 – 21 June 2015
Picture of the Week
Let’s not forget that a week ago a white man called Dylann Roof killed 6 women and 3 men after he attended service in an African Methodist church with them.
He allegedly wanted to “start a race war”.
While it may seem like the isolated act of a madman, let’s also remember that there are close to 800 hate groups in America, including neo-Nazis, white nationalists and racist skinheads.
There is no easy way to make people less ignorant, less frustrated, less prone to turning to scapegoats, and finding their lost self-esteem and identity by taking part in populist movements that give them already-made answers. But we can encourage dialogue, talk to our family members, friends and friends of friends who may be tempted to believe in incendiary speeches and in the glorification of violence. We also have not to let ourselves forget this tragic event, because it is everything but innocuous and because it should not happen again.
Surreal News of the Week
Officials seize tons of trafficked meat packages, many of them expired or which were frozen, defrozen, refrozen… Picture via SCMP.com
Food safety scandals have been a fairly regular occurrence in the past decade in China. In 2008, contaminated milk powder killed 6 infants and made 300 000 babies sick, with possible long-lasting consequences to their health. If you missed what happened back then, manufacturers of the incriminated milk powder added melamine, a toxic chemical component usually used in paint, to increase the ratio of protein in the milk and therefore use less ‘real’ milk in their mix, hence increasing their profits. For reasons that have a lot to do with how money-hungry and corrupted modern China is, this type of practices is far from being rare.
This week, it was revealed that sanitary authorities confiscated 100 000 tons of spoiled frozen meat (including chicken, beef and pork): according to samples, some of the meat dates back to 40 years ago, meaning that some of the meat still sold today had been cut and had expired while Mao Zedong was in power…
Depressing News of the Week
A study published this week confirmed that even with conservative estimates, the rate of species’ extinction in the 20th century is 100 times faster than what it would have been without human intervention. The fact that we have entered a 6th mass extinction had already been exposed before, but this new publication highlights the unprecedented rate of species losses: for example, since 1900 no less than 477 vertebrates have gone extinct, while 9 vertebrates would have disappeared under ‘natural’ conditions, said the study.
The reasons behind this mass extinction –which will also result in humans going extinct- are notably to be found in the sprawling development of human habitat, as well as the growth of industrial farming and wood production.
The problem with mass extinction of species is not just ethical. For the skeptics out there that are always ready to claim that they do not care if animals disappear from the surface of the Earth, let’s just say it one more time: life is a chain, and removing some of the chain’s links leads to the whole structure of life as we know it being undermined. Disrupting ecosystems concerns all of us, and the future generations of little humans who will inhabit the planet.
Heartwarming News of the Week
A cat has apparently made its way from London to Northern Ireland on its own. The 26 year-old dignified-looking cat was found in Belfast this week as a stray, and identified by its microchip, which showed that the mighty feline had been registered in Sydney in 2000, and that it was born in 1989. It was then taken to the UK in 2004, where it became a stray tomcat, before it apparently tried to reach the more welcoming shores of Ireland. Let’s hope that this well-travelled fellow will find happiness with its new owners.
Special Videos of the Week
This week’s special videos celebrate 2 victories for the US, one historical and the other much less historical, but which also made me happy.
Firstly, Carli Lloyd’s goal against China, which allowed the US team to get a ticket for the semi-final of FIFA’s Women’s World Cup.
Although the match was not particularly spectacular, the team was solid and goalkeeper extraordinaire Hope Solo did not have much work to do to fend off China’s frail attacks.
On the downside of this evening, France lost to Germany on penalty kicks after having led 1-0 and dominating the first half of the match. Germany will face the US for a spot in the final.