Tag Archive for: food shortages



SW VA floods leave dozens unaccounted for. Uvalde residents angry over leaked video of school shooting. Sri Lanka: Confusion and chaos reign after reviled president flees without resigning.




SW VA floods leave dozens unaccounted for

Yesterday morning, devastating floods struck Buchanan County, VA, leaving at least 44 people still unaccounted for. So far no deaths have been confirmed. In the community of Pilgrim’s Knob, the flooding was powerful enough to sweep several homes off their foundations. The entire area suffered power outages and other extensive infrastructure damage. In some areas, homes were left with flood marks 11 feet 6 inches off the ground. 

Buchanan is a rural county in southwest Virginia situated in the Appalachian Plateau portion of the Appalachian Mountains. The county is home to about 21,000 people and its county seat Grundy is home to just over 1000.

The “unaccounted for” people have been reported by family members as unreachable. However, cellular and landline telephone service is out in much of the flood-hit area. Rescue and search efforts are ongoing with help from neighboring police and fire departments.

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Uvalde residents express anger over leaked video of school shooting

Citizens of Uvalde, TX, find themselves facing yet another upsetting development and revelation in the aftermath of the May school shooting that left 21 people dead. After fighting for weeks to force the local powers-that-be to release security and body cam footage from the shooting, officials had finally agreed to allow the families to view surveillance footage from the school. A Texas senate panel was to allow family members to view the footage on Sunday. But, before that could happen, the footage was leaked to an Austin newspaper.

Many of the families are upset that the footage found its way into the public sphere after being promised they’d be allowed to see it first. Others are just glad the footage is finally out there after weeks of stonewalling from local officials. The video shows the shooter entering the school and more than a dozen police officers waiting in the hallway for 77 minutes to confront the gunman. The video redacts screams from children, but gunfire is clearly audible throughout.

Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin called the police conduct “one of the most chicken things I’ve seen”.

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Sri Lanka: Confusion and chaos reign after reviled president flees without resigning

Days after tens of thousands of Sri Lankan protesters stormed and occupied the presidential palace, the president they hope to oust has arrived in Singapore after first fleeing to the Maldives. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had pledged to formally resign his position on Wednesday following mass protests of his rule throughout the country. However, Rajapaksa so far has not resigned, and the interim president he left in his place may not be able to get a handle on things.

Sri Lanka has experienced a steep economic decline in the past two years since Rajapaksa took power. The country is essentially bankrupt, unable to meet its staggering $51 billion international debt obligations. In recent weeks, the country has not been able even to import food or fuel. Many families are skipping meals and are unable to obtain enough food at any price. Inflation in the country has topped 54%.

Most blame Rajapaksa’s mismanagement of the country’s finances for the current crisis. Rajapaksa gave the wealthy a huge tax cut and then abruptly banned chemical fertilizers and pesticides. As a result, the country’s crop yields dropped by more than half. Tea is one of the country’s main exports, and this has left Sri Lanka with a major import/export deficit.

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Strippers campaign for nation’s first unionized strip club. Jan. 6: 2 more hearings this week; Bannon agrees to testify. Sri Lankans occupy president’s palace demanding his resignation.



LA strippers campaign for nation’s first unionized strip club

Strippers who formerly worked at LA’s Star Garden strip club have been picketing their former workplace since March. When many strip clubs shut down during the pandemic, many exotic entertainers opened their own online subscription businesses and enjoyed a high degree of autonomy and control. Once clubs reopened, dancers had to once again contend with lax security, stolen wages, and exploitative labor contracts. Two of the dancers at Star Garden were immediately fired when they called for establishing a union. Since then, other Star Garden dancers have walked out and joined in demonstrations outside the club. 

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Click here for a video about the strippers’ union effort (about 7 minutes).


Jan. 6: 2 more hearings this week; Bannon agrees to testify

Over the weekend, the news broke that Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, conservative firebrand Steve Bannon, had agreed to testify before the Jan. 6 committee. The committee had previously subpoenaed Bannon, who refused to testify claiming executive privilege. The Justice Department subsequently charged Bannon with contempt. However, according to former Trump attorney Jason Clark, expectations should not be high for Bannon’s intent to cooperate. In an interview with the DOJ, Clark testified that Trump had never invoked executive privilege in Bannon’s case. The DOJ believes that Bannon’s change of heart with regard to testifying may be a ploy to gain sympathy he will soon face in connection with his criminal contempt charges.

2 more Jan. 6 hearings this week

The Jan. 6 select committee plans to hold two more public televised hearings this week. The first will be tomorrow, Tuesday 1 p.m. ET/ noon CT, and will focus on the role of extremist groups like the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys in the violence at the Capitol. The hearing will also address inflammatory Trump tweets that the committee maintains were directed at the rioters.

The second hearing will take place Thursday, possible during primetime, though these schedules are subject to change. The committee has not yet announced the subject of Thursday’s hearing.



Sri Lankans occupy president’s palace to demand his resignation

Sri Lanka’s tumultuous recent history includes a bloody 26-year civil war (1983-2009), followed by an authoritarian military dictatorship that has held power up to this day. In 2019, the country began experiencing a sharp economic downturn which has only deepened in the time since. Recently, Sri Lanka has been unable to purchase imported food and fuel, leading to critical shortages. 

Months of protests recently culminated on attacks at the homes of the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Saturday. The protesters have since occupied Rajapaksa’s palatial home and say they won’t leave until he formally resigns. 

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Miami: Residents evacuate condo near site of last year’s deadly collapse. California crafts gun-control bill based on Texas abortion law. World food prices shooting up due to Ukraine war.




Miami: Residents ordered to evacuate a condo near the site of last year’s deadly collapse

Nearly a year after the collapse of a condo building in Surfside, FL, killed 98 people, residents of another Miami condo building have been ordered to evacuate. The 5-storey building in North Miami Beach contains 60 units and is home to 55 families. The building was undergoing construction as part of its 50-year recertification process. 

Bronislaus P. Taurinski Structural Engineers sent a letter to the city of North Miami Beach on Friday, April 1, condemning the building due to a problem with the building’s floor slabs. The letter declared the building “structurally unsafe” and advised an immediate evacuation. However, city officials did not order an evacuation until Monday. This was because they hadn’t seen the letter since they received it after work hours on Friday.

Officials gave residents little warning and told them to grab only what they needed. Residents received 3-day hotel vouchers. The city’s mayor said the Miami-Dade Homeless Trust and the American Red Cross would help residents with housing.

Last month, residents of the Surfside condo that collapsed last year reached an $83 million settlement with the building’s administrators, inspectors and developers. There has been no official determination as to the cause of that collapse. However, some reports have suggested that saltwater intrusion into the building’s foundations could be responsible.

Shortly after that deadly collapse, residents in another nearby building were forced to evacuate and have not been permitted to return since. State officials in Florida have failed to pass meaningful legislation to prevent another tragedy.

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California crafts gun-control bill based on Texas abortion law

Following the deadly shooting in Sacramento this weekend, California lawmakers are reviving efforts to write a citizen-enforced gun-control bill. Like Texas’ “Heartbeat Act”, which empowers citizens to sue anyone who “aids or abets” an abortion after 6 weeks, the law would encourage private citizens to sue anyone they suspect of violating it. Citizens could sue anyone who distributes illegal assault weapons, parts used to build weapons, guns without serial numbers, or .50 caliber rifles. A successful suit would result in a $10,000 fine per weapon.

California already has some of the nation’s toughest gun laws. But Democratic state Sen. Robert Hertzberg, one of the bill’s sponsors, says the state’s existing laws “are clearly not tough enough”. One of the weapons used in the deadly Sacramento shooting was stolen. Last month, a man used an unregistered homemade weapon to kill his three daughters, a chaperone, and then himself during a supervised visit.

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World food prices shooting up due to Ukraine war

While the US and the rest of the world is already feeling the bite of high gas prices due to the Ukraine conflict, another global crisis is brewing. Ukraine is one of the world’s largest exporters of wheat and corn, with its biggest markets being Africa and the Middle East. That supply has abruptly ceased due to a Russian blockade in the Black Sea. As a result, Lebanon, Somalia and Egypt are already experiencing widespread food shortages and price hikes. However, there are already signs that supplies in the rest of the world will soon be stretched thin. China has bought up a massive supply of US corn, and other wealthy countries are building up their stockpiles. This may be good news in the short term for US farmers, but this could soon translate to even higher food prices for American consumers.



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