East, west or beyond, sooner or later events elsewhere may have a local impact. A recent sampling:
Federal minimum wage today would be $22 an hour, rather than $7.25, had it kept pace with inflation and productivity since 1968, TIME magazine recently reported.
A new book explores external interference in elections — in particular how the U.S. has manipulated or nullified elections in Iran in 1953, Guatemala in 1954, the Congo in 1961, and Chile in 1973. The author of “Courage Grows Strong at the Wound,” Robert Koehler, points out that the U.S. thwarted the will of the people in many countries. Interference typically occurs when corporate and military interests find democracy overseas inconvenient.
With bird populations in North America declining by a third in the last 40 years, ways to reduce mortality rates have garnered new interest. One area where people are focusing efforts is in reducing the number of birds colliding with buildings, which cause up to a billion deaths every year.
The Atlantic noted that the environmental effect of a billion fewer bird deaths annually will impact movement of pollen and seeds all over the planet. The Bird-Safe Building Act before Congress would limit the amount of glass in a building’s first 40 feet (since most birds hit glass below the third story) to 10 percent; require using patterned glass, which birds more easily detect and avoid; and reduce nighttime lighting that can be confusing and fatal to night-flying birds.
New Jersey became the first state to require severance pay in the case of mass layoffs, according to The New York Times. As well, corporations there are required to provide advance notice of layoffs.
The legislation came on the heels of the firing of some 2,000 people employed by five big corporations in the state. Those let go received either minimal or no compensation.
Of active duty military donations, over $185,000 have gone to U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. For President Donald Trump: $113,000, according to figures from the Center for Responsive Politics.
Trending: legal rights for nature. The Yurok Tribe has declared rights of personhood for the Klamath River; the White Earth Band of Ojibway has granted rights to wild rice; and tribes in New Zealand have adopted rights for the Whanganui River. In Ohio, voters approved of personhood rights for Lake Erie.
Rights of nature have also been created in Colombia, Ecuador and India. In a marked departure from human-centric laws, the new rights see nature as more than a resource, High Country News reported.
An international data assessment from MIT Technology Review has found that classroom technology, like online learning and use of laptops, may actually lower outcomes for students.
Trump Administration senior officials were required to sign nondisclosure agreements about their time during and after serving in the White House under Trump. A copy of one agreement, which threatened a $10 million penalty for every violation, was reviewed by the Washington Post. Legal experts said that, even if signed, it is not enforceable since officials were working for the American people rather than Trump.
About two-thirds of imported woods are mislabeled. A portion comes from illegal logging operations, according to a study by World Wildlife Fund, World Resources Institute and the U.S. Forest Service.
While natural gas has been promoted as an essential bridge to a clean energy future, a recent study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shared satellite data showing that a methane “blowout” last February in Ohio, where hydraulic fracking is used, was an “extreme” methane leakage event — one of the largest recorded in the U.S. The EPA says methane, over a 20-year period, is up to 87 times more potent in its greenhouse impact than carbon dioxide.
No more cash cow? Milk consumption has gone down 47 percent since 1970, with sales falling $1.1 billion in 2018. Dairy herds declined 20 percent since 2013, but purchases of yogurt, butter and cheese are increasing, The Week says.
Blast from the past: 60 years ago this month four African-American students ordered coffee at a Woolworth’s lunch counter in North Carolina. They were denied service. More students joined them in the following days, leading to a Woolworth’s boycott across the nation. The chain store rescinded their segregation policies.