Author:Gajewski, Karen Ann

Climate change is resulting in hundreds of wildfires ravaging the Arctic. According to a July 26, 2019, BBC report, many acres (mostly uninhabited) across Alaska, Greenland, northern Scandinavia, and northern Siberia are engulfed in flames thanks to above-average temperatures, extremely dry ground, strong winds, and intensified-heat lightning. Smoke plumes can actually be seen from space and have reached cities several time zones away, affecting air quality. According to the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service, the unprecedented number of fires in June alone released an estimated fifty megatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere--the equivalent of Sweden's annual carbon output.

Monsoon rains across southern Asia are devastating lives, including children's. According to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), severe flooding and landslides across Nepal, India, and Bangladesh have killed at least ninety-three children and put millions more people at risk. In India, more than ten million people have been affected, including more than 4.3 million children. In Nepal, over 68,000 people have been displaced, 41 percent of them children. Of the eighty-eight reported deaths there, forty-seven were children. In Bangladesh, more than two million people have been affected by flooding, including over 700,000 children. Damage to roads, bridges, and railways has made many areas inaccessible; over 300,000 homes and close to 2,000 schools have been damaged or destroyed.

A drug-resistant superbug is reportedly spreading through Europe's hospitals. Researchers from the Sanger Institute warn that a new strain of Klebsiella pneumoniae is becoming resistant to carbapenem drugs (antibiotics of last resort) and has increased mortality by 600 percent (2,094 deaths in 2015 compared to 341 in 2007). According to the results of a large study published in Nature Microbiology that involved 244 hospitals from Ireland to Israel, the K. pneumoniae bacteria can inhabit the intestines of a healthy person and never cause a problem, however if the host body becomes unwell, the bacteria can cause pneumonia and even meningitis.

The Netherlands is the fifteenth nation to pass a "burqa ban," joining Austria, Denmark, France, Belgium, Tajikistan, Latvia, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Chad, Congo-Brazzaville, Gabon, China, Morocco, and Sri Lanka in restricting face coverings. Under the new Dutch law announced in August, face-coverings--including burqas, veils, ski masks...

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