Bombings in a central Baghdad market have killed dozens

Air support by the US-led coalition has been hampered by the continued presence of hundreds of thousands of civilians inside Mosul. ISIS has tried to hit back with major diversionary attacks across the country but has had little success in Baghdad. Two suicide bombers attacked the Al-Sinek market area in central Baghdad Saturday,   killing at least 27 people and wounding 53, a police colonel said. A year on, ISIS appears to be on its last legs and is defending its last bastions in Iraq but the going has been tough for the tens of thousands of Iraqi forces on the ground. One of the top Iraqi commanders in the Mosul area announced on Thursday that the offensive to reconquer the eastern bank of the Tigris in Mosul had entered a new phase. The area is packed with shops, workshops and wholesale markets and usually teeming with delivery trucks and laborers unloading vans or wheeling carts around. Last year revellers turned out for celebrations that lasted most of the night despite an already tense security backdrop. Saturday’s twin bombings were the deadliest in the capital since the start of the Mosul offensive. Mosul slog
Huge crowds were expected to gather on Saturday evening in Baghdad’s streets to celebrate the New Year for only the second time since the lifting in 2015 of a years-old curfew. by Sabah Arar and Jean-Marc Mojon/AFP Baghdad has been on high alert since the start of an offensive on October 17. Torn clothes and mangled iron were strewn across the ground in pools of blood at the site of the wreckage near Rasheed Street, one of the main thoroughfares in Baghdad, an AFP photographer said. The jihadists are vastly outnumbered in Mosul but they have had more than two years to build up their defenses in the city where Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed a “caliphate” in June 2014. This week he told a televised news conference that Iraqi forces would now require at least another three months. Elite Iraqi forces have battled their way into the city mostly from the eastern side, going house-to-house in densely populated areas, but they barely control half of the city’s eastern sector more than 10 weeks into the offensive. “Many of the victims were people from the spare parts shops in the area, they were gathered near a cart selling breakfast when the explosions went off,” said Ibrahim Mohammed Ali, who owns a nearby shop. The Pentagon said Friday Baghdadi and was still alive and leading the organization and stressed that the coalition was actively hunting down the Iraqi-born jihadist. An officer in the interior ministry and a hospital official confirmed the toll from the attack, which was claimed by the ISIS via its propaganda agency Amaq. The offensive is Iraq’s largest military operation in years aimed at retaking the northern jihadist stronghold of Mosul. “On the last day of 2016 and as Iraqi people are preparing to receive the new year with hopes of peace, the terrorists struck once again at innocent civilians,” the UN’s top envoy in Iraq, Jan Kubis, said in a statement. “We’re doing everything we can. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had vowed earlier in 2016 that his forces would rid the country of ISIS by the end of the year but the Mosul operation has been slower moving that expected. This is something we’re spending a lot of time on,” spokesman Peter Cook told CNN.

Australia kicks off a global New Year party defying terror threat

Revellers release balloons as they take part in New Year celebrations in Tokyo, Japan. Japan also ushered in 2017 in style, with thousands packing the streets of Tokyo and releasing balloons into the air in celebration of the new year. In Paris, there will be a firework display again, after muted 2015 celebrations following the massacre of 130 people by jihadists in the French capital. Israel on Friday issued a warning of imminent “terrorist attacks” to tourists and western targets in India. A number of threats
Around 2,000 extra officers were deployed in Sydney after a man was arrested for allegedly making online threats against the celebrations. London will have 3,000 officers on patrol with crowds flocking to line the banks of the Thames to watch the fireworks. In Melbourne, police foiled a “significant” ISIS-inspired Christmas Day terror plot. Shoppers in Japan had earlier filled markets to buy tuna and crabs — seen as expensive items for special feasts — for New Year’s Day family gatherings. But the New South Wales state premier urged “business as usual” as a larger-than-usual crowd gathered due to the weekend timing and warm weather. The German capital has beefed up security after the December 19 carnage, deploying more police, some armed with machine-guns. Up to two million people are expected to party at Rio’s Copacabana beach. Rome has deployed armored vehicles and greater numbers of security forces around the Coliseum and St. With more than a million people expected to turn out to watch the ball drop in Times Square, New York is deploying 165 “blocker” trucks and some 7,000 police. by Barry Parker/AFP Credit:

Issei Kato/Reuters

Truck blockades
Security concerns have hit many New Year events with truck blockades a new tactic to try to prevent vehicles ploughing into crowds, with Sydney using garbage trucks. Brussels has reinstated its firework show after last year’s was cancelled at the last minute due to a terrorist threat. “This year, what’s new is that we will place concrete blocks and position heavy armored vehicles at the entrances” to the zone around Brandenburg Gate, a police spokesman said. Normally boisterous Bangkok will see in the new year on a more sombre note as the nation grieves for King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died in October. Indonesia said it foiled plans by an ISIS-linked group for a Christmas-time suicide bombing, and 52 died in the Philippines in bomb attacks blamed on Islamist militants. Thousands traditionally gather in Red Square, but for the second year in a row, the area will be open solely to 6,000 invitees. in the knowledge that police are doing everything they can to keep us safe,” Premier Mike Baird said. Despite the terror fears, revellers in Hong Kong and Taipei were expected to throng city streets to watch firework performances. Visitors seemed undeterred by recent events as they began to gather under a cold blue sky for a series of concerts ahead of large midnight firework display in the area. Sydney’s visual feast paid tribute to some of the international musical legends who died this year, including David Bowie and Prince, with purple rain pouring off the bridge in an early display and firework “stars” soaring high above the harbor. And, at the stroke of midnight, the celebrations will last one second longer — a leap second — decreed by the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service to allow astronomical time to catch up with atomic clocks that have called the hour since 1967. 2016 has seen repeated bloodshed around the world, most recently a deadly truck attack at a Berlin Christmas market, a similar incident on Bastille Day in France that killed 86 people, and atrocities in Turkey and the Middle East. Around 1.5 million people packed Sydney, Australia’s biggest city, to watch as the midnight fireworks erupt from Sydney Harbour Bridge defying security threats and a year of global terror attacks that cast a pall over 2016. Nearly 100,000 police, gendarmes and soldiers will be deployed across France against the jihadist threat. Moscow police will deploy more than 5,000 officers backed by thousands more from the new national guard and volunteer militia to maintain order. “My encouragement to everyone is to enjoy New Year’s Eve … Peter’s Square, where Pope Francis will celebrate a “Te Deum” hymn of thanksgiving. But with Brazil mired in its worst recession in a century, the fireworks have been cut to just 12 minutes. There were a number of other reported threats during the holiday period, in Asia-Pacific and elsewhere.

This is the official poem of 2016

“To me in times like this, empathy is the one thing we really need to have,” she says. It’s about making the most of a world that is far from perfect. For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
sunk in a lake. I am trying
to sell them the world. The year of Brexit. You could make this place beautiful. It was even   turned into a musical score. Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine
in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,
a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways
I’ll keep from my children. That makes sense to Smith. The world is at least
fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative
estimate, though I keep this from my children. Any decent realtor,
walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
right? “Just doing your best at school, and being kind to others, if we all do those small things, it will make a difference. “She was really disappointed in the outcome of the election, and we have talked a little bit about when things don’t go our way how we can work small to make big change,” says Smith. This has been a tough year.Player utilitiesPopout
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downloadListen to the Story. “When I   wrote the poem,” Smith says, “I didn’t even think it was one of my best poems.”
Maybe “Good Bones” took off like it did because this has been a year of people turning to poetry with a particular sort of urgency. “It was a poem written from the point of one mother feeling anxious about how to raise kids,   and explain a world to them that is as wonderful as it is terrible,” says Smith. PRI.org

All sorts of news publications have even asked if it was the   “Worst Year Ever.”
It’s been the year of a contentious US election season. It was also interpreted by a dance group in India, translated into Spanish, Italian, French, Korean, Tamil   and Telugu to name just a few of the languages. As a fixer-upper. For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird. According to some estimates, it has been read by nearly a million people. “It’s a weird thing,” she says, “to have your poem’s success, and in turn your success, be tied to something that is shared because things are terrible.”
And even though “Good Bones”   was published in the summer of 2016, Smith had actually written it a year previous, and she wasn’t thinking about world events at all. Life is short and the world
is at least half terrible, and for every kind
stranger, there is one who would break you,
though I keep this from my children. “It was sort of this perfect storm of terrible things happening in different places,” says Smith. “I think   poems are sort of empathy machines, they’re there to help us see other people’s points of view.’’
She still hasn’t told her kids that the world is at “at least fifty   percent terrible,” though. The poem is called “Good Bones,” by Maggie Smith, a poet in Bexley, Ohio. “How to keep the worst parts from then while they’re young, while not lying to them.’’  
After finishing the poem, Smith sent it to some journals, got a few rejections, and never dreamt it would become as popular as it is   today.  
After the US presidential election, on November 10 and 11, Smith’s poem started getting traction all over again. Life is short, though I keep this from my children. In the aftermath of many of these tragic or difficult events, there has been one poem —   consistently shared over and over again. Her daughter, though, is 8, and she has read the poem. “My 4-year-old-can’t read yet, so he is completely in the dark,” Smith admits, with a laugh. Her poem travelled across the internet like wildfire, re-shared by people both in the UK and the US. She was thinking about her family. Auden’s “September 1, 1939.”
Smith feels proud of her poem’s popularity, of course, but also a little conflicted. Smith’s poem was first published in the online literary journal Waxwing in June 2016, a couple days both after the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, and after the murder of British politician Jo Cox in West Yorkshire. It was one of the most shared poems on the internet, according to the Academy of American Poets, along with Maya Angelou’s “Still I Rise” and W.H. They’ve discussed it, a little. So that’s sort of my explaining it to an 8-year-old version of things.’’
Smith sounds just as   commited   as when she first wrote her poem   to selling the world to her children. The year of terrorist attacks all over the world.

In 2015 alone, 33,000 Americans died of an opioid-related overdose. What’s fueling the epidemic?

And we have maybe 10 [million] to 12 million Americans who are on opioids chronically. Injected drugs like heroin carry other risks. “They’re being massively overprescribed.”
States like Kentucky, West Virginia   and Ohio have been hit hard by the opioid epidemic. For example, with young people, he says, addiction stems mainly from the   recreational use of pain medications. But over the long run, he argues, prescribed opioids — which he says are “good medicines for end-of-life care” — do more harm than good. Listen to the full interview. PRI.org

Nationwide, more than 52,000 people died of a drug overdose in 2015. So many Americans on opioids chronically, that we see ads during the Super Bowl for medicines like an opioid-induced constipation drug to treat the side effects of being on opioids,” he adds. “That group does not have a hard time finding doctors who will maintain them on a large quantity of pills on a monthly basis,” he says. Early results of that and other efforts have been promising: In the first quarter of 2016, overdose deaths were down 40 percent over the same period a year earlier. “And since 2011, we’ve seen a sharp increase in overdose deaths among heroin users. “We do immunizations against hepatitis B if they don’t already have that, and we act as an entry point into a more comprehensive health service.”
But such programs require funding. The market has responded: In the past two decades, Kolodny notes, growing demand for cheap heroin has made the drug more widely available — and more lethal. “Our switch away from prescription opioids, that we definitely were overprescribing, was not met with the response that we thought it would be, and that is people stopping using opioids,” he says. “When they’re taken every day for weeks and months and years, they’re more likely to harm the patient than help the patient. “The heroin supply now has another drug mixed into it, a completely synthetic opioid called fentanyl, which is far more potent,” he says. “And if the patient comes in and wants that prescription, that’s the easiest thing to do,” he says. The 21st   Century Cures Act, signed by President Barack Obama in mid-December, earmarks $1 billion   to help states expand treatment and prevent opioid abuse. In recent years, the opioid epidemic has   touched a staggering number of American families.Player utilitiesPopout
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downloadThis story is based on a radio interview. Kolodny calls the expanded access to treatment, particularly medication like buprenorphine, “the right approach.”   
“We need treatment to be easier to access than pills or heroin if we’re going to get anywhere in this crisis,” he says, adding, “We’re going to need a much bigger federal investment in this problem if we want to tackle it properly.”
This article is based on an interview that aired on PRI’s   Science Friday. “When they get addicted, they have a hard time finding doctors who will maintain them on a large quantity of pills — doctors don’t like giving healthy-looking 25-year-olds lots of pain medicines.”
That can drive younger users to the black market, where heroin is often cheaper than pills. “Instead, I think we underestimated their dependence on the drug, and they did switch to heroin.”
Last August, the city of Huntington saw 26 opioid overdoses   in a matter of hours. The Cabell-Huntington Health Department launched a needle exchange in September 2015. “The problem is that we’ve had this sharp increase in the number of people with addiction.”
And as Kolodny explains, opioid addiction is affecting a broad age range of Americans who are coming to it   through very different means. But Michael Kilkenny, physician director for the   Cabell-Huntington Health Department in Huntington, West Virginia, says that the crackdown on pills has had unforeseen consequences: a turn toward heroin. In West Virginia, efforts to tackle prescription pill addiction have focused on shutting down “pill mills” that improperly dispense pills. “The problem isn’t that there are a bunch of people out there taking dangerous drugs because it feels good, and they’re accidentally killing themselves,” says Andrew Kolodny, co-director of the Opioid Policy Research Collaborative at Brandeis University. Not because people have suddenly switched to heroin, but because the heroin supply became much more dangerous.”
But Kolodny adds that an older group of Americans — aged anywhere from 40-80 — also suffers from opioid addiction   and gets pain relievers through another route: their doctors’ prescription pads. Kilkenny says that such programs can “take that carrot of a clean syringe and introduce other harm reduction tools: education about proper injection, access to recovery coaches   and entry into treatment, where it’s available.”
“And it goes on from there,” he adds. In 2015, the rural town of Austin, Indiana, was slammed by an HIV outbreak that infected at least 194 people —   the first known outbreak related to the current American opioid crisis. In all, more than 300,000 Americans have lost their lives to an opioid overdose since 2000. “And we really haven’t been seeing that older group switch to heroin.”
In the case of prescribed opioids, Kolodny points out that primary care doctors sometimes have just 10 or 15 minutes to spend with a patient. Of those deaths, 33,000 involved opioids such as prescription pain relievers or heroin, according to data released in December by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This is the Long Island house the US is letting the Russians keep

“I found out from the man who was taking me around that they were bought by Mr. The name of the mansion itself, Killenworth,   was also allegedly borrowed from England. According to Finkle, Pratt had been charmed by a place named Killenworth that he visited on one of his trips to the UK. They’ll get to keep the Killenworth mansion. Pratt was the son of Charles Pratt, who made his money in petroleum at the turn of the 19th   century and founded the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. As a private compound, very few people from the surrounding community have had the chance to see the mansion. But the house took around two years to build, it was designed by the architectural firm Trowbridge and Ackerman, and the grounds were landscaped by the famous Olmstead Brothers, who designed Central Park. All of the wood paneling was still intact, and beautiful wood fireplaces,” says Finkle. Over the years many famous people came to vacation at the property, according to Finkle — from Nikita Khrushchev to late Cuban leader Fidel Castro. “It reminded me of when I took a trip to England. Obama is shuttering two vacation homes used by Russian diplomats. In fact, around the time Finkle went on his tour in the 1980s residents of Glen Cove had accused the Soviets of using the upper floors to house spying equipment, according to Finkle. A Soviet representative met Finkle at the gates of the mansion one afternoon in May 1985. Most of the furniture he says was stuff that could be found at any furniture store. However the architectural features inside the house were impressive. You give me a tour of the house and I’ll give you a dozen or so 8×10 beautiful photographs.’ Maybe three or four weeks later they called me back and said, ‘It’s a deal,’” Finkle says. So you can see the gate from the street but it’s pretty quiet for the most part,” says Paul Mateyunas a North Shore historian and author of Long Island’s Gold Coast. “They took a big reflecting pool that was in the back [of the property] and turned it into a swimming pool so the people who came out there used the swimming pool instead of going to the beaches,” says Finkle. President Barack Obama evicted the Russians from two vacation homes in the United States —   though mansions may be a more fitting term. The Obama administration is closing the house in Upper Brookville, New York. I wasn’t allowed to go upstairs,” says Finkle. “I asked, ‘If it’s possible I’ll make you a trade. He had collected a series of photographs of the house from when it was built and he contacted the Soviets at the UN. And in response to allegedly using the property for   espionage the Glen Cove City Council revoked all of the Russians’ beach permits. UPDATE: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Killenworth masion was ordered closed. The Long Island home that will be shut down is called the Upper Brookville House, a grand building on Long Island’s Gold Coast. Local historian Orin Finkle was lucky enough to get a three-hour tour back in the 1980s. But this didn’t stop the Russians vacationing at Killenworth from swimming, according to Finkle. “It’s a 14-acre parcel of land and it sits high up on a hill. But the Upper Brookville House isn’t the only Russian owned property on the Gold Coast. Picture the Great Gatsby. Outside in the garden the feature that impressed him most was a low retaining wall embedded with broken pieces of white statuary. Home is an   understatement — these compounds are mansions, one in Maryland and one on New York’s Long Island. Relations between the residents of Glen Cove and the Russians haven’t always been so neighborly. The mansion was purchased by the Soviets from the Pratt family in 1951   to be used as a vacation home for their United Nations delegation. “He gave me a tour room-by-room of all the downstairs rooms. The mansion was built in the town of Glen Cove in 1912 by George Dupont Pratt. Pratt from the ruins of Pompeii in Italy,” Finkle says,   “when he went to visit the ruins he liked   the bits and pieces and brought them back to this country and put them in his garden wall.”
Many of the windows of the mansion were also brought over from overseas — according to Finkle, taken from castles in England. Finkle doesn’t remember the furnishings inside the mansion as anything special.

A French beekeeper makes mead in the Paris catacombs

Beekeeping has something of a tradition in Paris. Mead is the perfect combination of de Campeau’s two passions: Beekeeping and winemaking — which he began experimenting with as a teenager. “I grow my bees 20-25 meters above Paris and I grow my mead 20-25 meters under Paris,” de Campeau likes to say (or about six to eight stories). And somewhere in that network — the exact location will remain a secret — is where Audric de Campeau’s mead is aging. So it’s the perfect place to grow mead.”
Mead, sometimes known as honey wine, is a mix of water and honey that, like wine, must be fermented in a cool, quiet place that is humid and perfectly still. He’s also experimenting with making honey-based candies and nougat, another sweet French specialty. Deep below Paris is a web of crypts and tunnels, former quarries that were excavated to build some of Paris’s most famous buildings hundreds of years ago. “We are   20 meters under Paris,” says de Campeau, below the metro, “and absolutely nothing comes to trouble us and my barrels. “They’re not winemakers, but it was a dream as I was thinking, maybe, if I do one or two bottles would be fun.”
His tiny vineyard grew over the years. “I have other ideas,” de Campeau adds, unsurprisingly. “My parents had a house in Champagne,” he explains. They multiplied while de Campeau, still living in Paris, began dreaming about raising bees in the city. But de Campeau shared a video from the roof of a massive 18th century building, the military college. But de Campeau, who you can probably tell by now has a bit of a taste for the dramatic, set his sights on a building in his neighborhood, Les Invalides, the site of Napoleon’s tomb. The honey, which he sells, has become his regular day-job. Credit:

Pierre Torset for Le Miel de Paris Down in the catacombs, the humidity hovers around 90 percent and the walls and ceiling are damp to the touch. So I asked my parents [for permission] to install my first bee hive,” he says, which posed a problem, “because my father was absolutely allergic to bee venom.”

Audric de Campeau and his beagle Filou on the roof of the Ecole Militaire in Paris. Today, he has hives on many of the best-known monuments in Paris, including the Musee D’Orsay and the Paris mint. They’re collectively known as the catacombs. A beekeeping school has operated in the Luxembourg Gardens for more than 100 years. If you disturb the hives, the cold could kill them. “Then, naturally, I thought about bees. De Campeau went on to study philosophy at the Sorbonne in Paris but returned to Champagne every weekend to tend his vines and growing garden. While his next batch of mead slowly ages below the ground, he should have no trouble keeping busy. Credit:

Eric Tourneret for Le Miel de Paris

While this might have given others pause, de Campeau persisted, installing his first hive in the woods far from the house. Audric de Campeau with his hives on the roof of the Musee d’Orsay, a museum in a converted train station in Paris. The bees hibernate this time of year.

A glimpse into a Russian mansion at the height of the Cold War

According to Finkle, Pratt had been charmed by a place named Killenworth that he visited on one of his trips to the UK. Picture the Great Gatsby. I wasn’t allowed to go upstairs,” says Finkle. You give me a tour of the house and I’ll give you a dozen or so 8×10 beautiful photographs.’ Maybe three or four weeks later they called me back and said, ‘It’s a deal,’” Finkle says. “I asked, ‘If it’s possible I’ll make you a trade. One of the mansions is in New York, on what’s known as Long Island’s Gold Coast, an area littered with extravagant homes built for wealthy New York tycoons. The Russian mansion is so grand that it even has a name, Killenworth. “I found out from the man who was taking me around that they were bought by Mr. Most of the furniture he says was stuff that could be found at any furniture store. “He gave me a tour room-by-room of all the downstairs rooms. The name of the mansion itself, Killenworth,   was also allegedly borrowed from England. “It reminded me of when I took a trip to England. Outside in the garden the feature that impressed him most was a low retaining wall embedded with broken pieces of white statuary. Who knows who’ll grace its hallways next? Relations between the residents of Glen Cove and the Russians haven’t always been so neighborly. Pratt from the ruins of Pompeii in Italy,” Finkle says,   “when he went to visit the ruins he liked   the bits and pieces and brought them back to this country and put them in his garden wall.”
Many of the windows of the mansion were also brought over from overseas — according to Finkle, taken from castles in England. The house took around two years to build, it was designed by the architectural firm Trowbridge and Ackerman, and the grounds were landscaped by the famous Olmstead Brothers, who designed Central Park. And in response to allegedly using the property for   espionage the Glen Cove City Council revoked all of the Russians’ beach permits. Finkle doesn’t remember the furnishings inside the mansion as anything special. But this didn’t stop the Russians vacationing at Killenworth from swimming, according to Finkle. He had collected a series of photographs of the house from when it was built and he contacted the Soviets at the UN. Over the years many famous people came to vacation at the property, according to Finkle — from Nikita Khrushchev to late Cuban leader Fidel Castro. However the architectural features inside the house were impressive. The mansion was purchased by the Soviets from the Pratt family in 1951   to be used as a vacation home for their United Nations delegation. “They took a big reflecting pool that was in the back [of the property] and turned it into a swimming pool so the people who came out there used the swimming pool instead of going to the beaches,” says Finkle. Obama evicted the Russians from two vacation homes in the United States —   though mansions may be a more fitting term. A Soviet representative met Finkle at the gates of the mansion one afternoon in May 1985. Local historian Orin Finkle was lucky enough to get a three-hour tour back in the 1980s. All of the wood paneling was still intact, and beautiful wood fireplaces,” says Finkle. It was built in the town of Glen Cove in 1912 by George Dupont Pratt. In fact, around the time Finkle went on his tour in the 1980s residents of Glen Cove had accused the Soviets of using the upper floors to house spying equipment, according to Finkle. As a private compound, very few people from the surrounding community have had the chance to see the mansion. Pratt was the son of Charles Pratt, who made his money in petroleum at the turn of the 19th   century and founded the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.

Putin plays it cool, but Russia is worried about a US cyberattack

President Obama has said the US reserves the right to retaliate in kind — something he says the public will not see and might never know about. “Now,” says Maynes, “whether that’s true or not, I have no idea. Putin) – I always knew he was very smart!” the president-elect tweeted. “If they [US intelligence] can drop a bombshell, maybe anything goes. “This seems to me anyway as an opportunity seized to make Obama look petty.”
However, Russian officials are reported to be concerned about the possibility of a US cyberattack in retaliation for the election hacking. “They’re concerned about what US hacking might do to Russia’s banking sector   [and] central bank, things like that.”
“There was also recently the hacking of Vladislav Surkov’s email,” Maynes adds. And it was rather embarrassing.”
Russia first responded to the leaks by denying it was Surkov’s email account. And that, says Maynes, has the Kremlin worried. “This is a key Putin adviser [who] currently has the Ukraine portfolio in Russia. But Russian President Vladimir Putin is not taking the bait, preferring to wait for Donald Trump to become president and open a new day in Russian-US relations. Putin says Russia reserves the right to retaliate, but Moscow-based correspondent Charles Maynes says “he took the high ground by refusing to do so.”
“I think Putin essentially saw this as an opportunity to do a little bit of holiday trolling,” Maynes says. Then they blamed US intelligence working through Ukrainian hackers. The United States has retaliated against Russia for what the CIA says was a Kremlin-directed cyber campaign to influence the US election. It basically seemed to show the Kremlin was involved in stirring up trouble in east Ukraine, and had that plan in place quite a long time ago. “So we’ll have to wait and see what happens,” Maynes says. But at this point, I’m pretty skeptical.” The US is expelling dozens of Russian diplomats and sanctioning individuals suspected of involvement in the alleged campaign. But Russia is refusing to take it seriously. But it was instructive in another way.”
He says it became clear that a lot of key Kremlin insiders, including the Russian president, do not use email. But he said Russia would feel it. “The Russian president’s internet adviser, a guy named German Klimenko, was talking recently about trying to secure key infrastructure,” Maynes says. Trump took to Twitter Friday afternoon to praise Putin’s restraint:
“Great move on delay (by V. “They’re very attuned to this idea of kompromata,   of compromising material, and I think they’re very attuned to the idea of leaks and hacks in a way that clearly the Democratic Party was not in the US.” That will make it harder for the US to get good dirt on Russia’s leaders.

Winning over hearts and minds one pu pu platter at a time

As their kids succeed, they sell the restaurant to newer Chinese immigrants. It’s a cycle that my family is part of. Every year, my family gets together at the restaurant to help out. Kung Pao chicken and Ma Po tofu came in the mid-1900s, with people from Hunan, Szechuan   and Taiwan. He and his team have created a full sensory experience: the sight of a floor-to-ceiling curtain of Chinese takeout boxes, the smell of fresh-baked fortune cookies, menus under museum glass   and clean, modern visuals. My parents sweated, and worked in this restaurant   and sold these dishes, and that is what allowed us to climb the ladder of economic opportunity,’” says Kim. My family has owned and worked in Chinese restaurants around Boston for more than 30 years. You can see that history on any Chinese takeout menu   if you know what you’re looking for. There’s optimism and uncertainty in the immigrant experience. There are about   50,000 Chinese restaurants in America — more than three times   the number of McDonald’s in this country.Player utilitiesPopout
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downloadListen to the Story. From my perspective, it was long hours, low wages   and clothes that always smelled like food. But they’re cooked by recent Chinese immigrants   in restaurants around the country. Credit:

Courtesy of MOFAD

In New England, where I grew up, New Year’s Eve is the biggest day of the year for Chinese restaurants. Kim says early Chinese restaurants “allowed Chinese immigrants to stay in the US when nobody wanted to hire them, when people thought the Chinese were subhuman.” It was a way for Chinese Americans to survive. These aren’t really the foods that people eat in China. I never thought this life was museum worthy. Sometimes it’s a chore to spend New Year’s Eve packing takeout. And some of what’s on the menu now — pad thai, steamed diet dishes — is not Chinese at all. “A lot of times people will tell me, ‘Look, my education was paid for in fried rice and lo mein. But it’s not all sweet — it’s bitter, too. We take hundreds of takeout orders, wash dishes, bus tables and mix hot mustard and duck sauce. Kim is taking a critical lens to chop suey and egg drop soup to tell the story of how Chinese immigrants created a great American comfort food.  

Chinese restaurants “allowed Chinese immigrants to stay in the US when nobody wanted to hire them, when people thought the Chinese were subhuman,” says Peter Kim of the Museum of Food and Drink. They’re the engines that power the American dream. It starts with giving the food some respect. It was respectable work, but not glamorous. “One thing we never want anybody to say again, coming away from this exhibition, is that Chinese food is in any way a fake cuisine. Cantonese immigrants from the 1800s created dishes like egg foo young and egg rolls. The West Coast was hostile, so they fanned out north, east   and south, starting restaurants in cities and towns across America. On a local level, Chinese restaurants are still tools for survival. It’s our New Year’s tradition. The food and flavors evolved through the waves of Chinese immigration. Most Chinese restaurants are owned by recent immigrants. Credit:

Courtesy of MOFAD

Chinese-American cuisine dates back to the mid-1800s   when Chinese migrants came over to work during the Gold Rush. But Peter Kim, executive director of the Museum of Food and Drink, is proving me wrong. And we only have a few more years of our New Year’s Eve ritual   before my dad passes the restaurant to another immigrant family, looking to make its way in America. But the exhibit put it in context for me. The Chinese who came over during the Gold Rush faced racism and violence. Sesame noodles came with the current wave of Fujianese immigrants. PRI.org

Most of these restaurants are independently owned, but there’s a sameness to them: the takeout boxes, the fortune cookies and often, the same menu, with chop suey, lo mein and egg foo young. It’s taken a long time, but as an immigrant population, we’ve won over hearts and minds, one pu pu platter at a time. They were so hated, that the US passed the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, severely restricting immigration for more than 50 years. I spent many afternoons doing my homework in the corner booth and sneaking Peking ravioli from the kitchen. Chinese-American food is a story of adaptation and success. It just fits the gestalt. They took traditional Chinese dishes and adapted them, serving them up sweetened and fried to fit American palates. How this came to be is explored in a current exhibit at the Museum of Food and Drink in Brooklyn called “Chow: The Making of the Chinese American Restaurant.”
It’s a story that’s personal to me. These are historic menus and posters from MOFAD’s show on the evolution of Chinese-American cuisine. It is just its own cuisine,” he says.

The little-known link between Princess Leia’s iconic hairstyle and the Mexican Revolution

A lot of us have been thinking about the late Carrie Fisher and the movie role that made her famous: Princess Leia, the tough Star Wars fighter who helped save the Empire. Oklahoma-based artist and filmmaker Steven Paul Judd created this image, titled   “My Great Great Grandmother Was A Hopi Indian Princess.”  

“My Great Great Grandmother Was A Hopi Indian Princess”  

Credit:

Courtesy of Steven Paul Judd

After Fisher died, Judd   posted on Facebook: “If you look in the sky tonight and see a star shining extra bright in the Milky Way, you know she made it home. The connection between the hairstyle and her own family has also motivated De la Rocha to dig deeper   into her family’s genealogy. Carrie Fisher Oct. It was this battle-worn, historical rebel that director George Lucas had in mind when he created Princess Leia for the first Star Wars film, released in 1977. She died in 1970 and, in the photo, is seen standing next to her father, General Herculano de la Rocha. A famous ballad from that time in Mexican history pays homage to them. “She was a grizzled woman, as her father was. “My mom actually did my hair in buns just like Princess Leia,” she says. 21, 1956 – Dec. He posted it after checking out an exhibit recently at the   Denver Art Museum,   titled “Rebel, Jedi, Princess, Queen: Star Wars and the Power of Costume.” It’s part of a traveling Smithsonian exhibit that goes deep into the Star Wars films’ designs. And there’s that iconic hairdo: two buns on the sides of her head. “And it definitely made me reconnect with my uncle, who knows a lot more about the folklore.”   
But some historians   point out that Mexico’s soldaderas were not the only ones to sport the do. Look to the women of the Hopi tribe of northeastern Arizona. She is one of Alexandra de la Rocha’s ancestors — her dad’s distant cousin. Credit:

Edward Curtis

But whether from   Mexico or the Hopi tribe, the visual similarities with Princess Leia’s buns motivated one artist to create his own image, blending history with Hollywood. She is   known for a key 1911 battle in Sinaloa, in   northern Mexico. His collection is   at the Library of Congress. They were mountain people, and were actually miners and owned a lot of land. In 2002, Lucas   told Time magazine that he was “working very hard to create something different that wasn’t fashion.” Inspiration came, as Lucas put it, from a “turn-of-the-century Mexico” and “kind of Southwestern Pancho Villa   woman revolutionary look.” The soldaderas were considered an important part of Mexico’s rebel force. 27, 2016.” They were business people.”
De la Rocha says her relatives became revolutionaries to fight “for their homeland and for their people.”  
After Fisher’s death, De la Rocha spotted the photo of her relative in a public Facebook post by Eric Tang, a University of Texas associate professor. “I recently just did the DNA test with Ancestry.com hoping to find out a little more about my DNA,” she says. “She actually crossed a river on horseback … But for   Alexandra de la Rocha, a big Star Wars fan, Princess Leia’s look doesn’t just take her back to a distant star — rather to a distant relative, a fighter in the Mexican Revolution — and part of the group of real-life revolutionaries who inspired those famous coiled buns. That’s what Kendra Van Cleave of Frock Flicks, a website that reviews Hollywood historical costuming, told the BBC. and was able to take out a power station in order to allow the rebel forces to attack during night without being seen,” says the younger De la Rocha. Like this:  

A girl with the Hopi tribe photographed circa 1900 by Edward Curtis. She, along with others, point to how some young Hopi women wore a “squash blossom” hairdo. To see why, check out this photograph:  

The woman is Clara de la Rocha, a noted colonel in the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920), a movement against the long dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz. It’s called “La Adelita”:

Looking at the photo, De la Rocha remembers going with her mom to see one of the Star Wars films by her house in San Jose, California.

Plot twist! Putin refuses to expel US diplomats from Russia

The Kremlin strongman’s surprise decision came after the foreign ministry asked him to send home 35 US diplomats in retaliation for the expulsion of the same number of its staff by President Barack Obama on Thursday. That reflects growing concerns that   Russia   could target elections next year in France, Germany and the Netherlands.​ The sanctions freeze any assets they may have in the United States and block US companies from doing business with them. In response to the alleged hacks, dubbed “Grizzly Steppe” by US officials, Obama announced sanctions against   Russia’s military and domestic intelligence agencies, and gave the 35 suspected “intelligence operatives” 72 hours to leave. President Vladimir Putin on Friday ruled out any tit-for-tat expulsion of Americans after Washington turfed out dozens of Russian diplomats over alleged interference in the US presidential election. The move came after years of bad blood with Putin that has seen Washington slap sanctions on Moscow over its interference in Ukraine and Syria. We will not expel anyone,” Putin said in a statement, also inviting children of US diplomats to a holiday party at the Kremlin. US officials played down the impact that sanctions against the GRU and the FSB could have on intelligence-sharing on issues like counterterrorism, saying cooperation was already limited. Both agencies will face sanctions, along with GRU agency chief Igor Korobov and three of his deputies. “We will not create problems for American diplomats. Foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told Russian news agencies that a total of 96 people will be leaving the United States, but declined to give details on their flight. The US government is also declassifying technical information on Russian cyber activity to help companies defend against future attacks. Moscow has repeatedly denied the hacking allegations and Trump too has questioned whether   Russia   really tipped the electoral scale, painting Obama’s accusations as a thinly veiled effort by a Democratic president to cover up for his party’s loss. Obama also linked the fresh sanctions to harassment of US diplomats in Moscow, which Washington described as “unprecedented” in the post-Cold War era. Obama — who has also clashed with Trump over his Israel policy in recent days — has pointedly stated that “all Americans should be alarmed by   Russia’s actions.”  
‘Unprecedented’
It remains to be seen whether Trump would move to roll back the sanctions against Moscow, with many leading Republican lawmakers publicly warning him to stay tough on Putin. Putin ended his message by wishing both Obama and Trump a Happy New Year and separately congratulated Trump in his New Year’s message to heads of state around the world. Trump said that while he believes the US should “move on to bigger and better things,” he would meet intelligence leaders next week for a briefing on the situation. “The United States and friends and allies around the world must work together to oppose   Russia’s efforts to undermine established international norms of behaviour and interfere with democratic governance,” Obama said. US intelligence concluded that the Kremlin had ordered a hack-and-release of Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton campaign staff emails in a bid to put Republican real estate mogul Trump in the Oval Office. ‘Grizzly Steppe’
Obama on Thursday unleashed a barrage of sanctions against   Russia   over alleged cyberattacks aimed at tilting the election in Trump’s favour. Obama’s moves have put him at odds with his successor, who has expressed his admiration for Putin and desire to improve ties with   Russia. The Kremlin’s administration said it is sending a special plane to fly diplomats and their families from the US, following reports they are not able to purchase plane tickets on such short notice. He said Moscow would plan its next steps “based on the policies pursued by the administration of president Donald Trump”, while warning that the Kremlin reserves the right to hit back. In addition, the US Treasury hit two individuals, Evgeniy Bogachev and Aleksey Belan, with sanctions for “involvement in malicious cyber-enabled activities”. Putin’s move was a clear sign that Moscow is pinning its hopes on President-elect Donald Trump to help rebuild ties — which have plunged to their lowest point since the Cold War — when he takes office next month. “We evaluate the new unfriendly steps by the outgoing US administration as a provocation aimed at further undermining Russian-American relations,” Putin said.

India’s demonetization deadline approaches, causing stress and confusion

“Every day we are trying to make sense of what this means,” Arya says. Demonetization is an example. It has short-term pain, but will bring long-term gain.”   “Cash forms such a crucial part of the economy.”
Plus, many ATMs were reported to have run out of new currency notes because of the demand for different denominations of cash. The government is   phasing out two of the most popular banknotes in India — the 500 and 1,000 rupee bills — as a measure to reduce corruption, encourage use of the banking system and curb tax avoidance. Arya also points out that access to middle-class banking institutions is severely limited for disabled people. “They said that this government came to power saying, ‘Development for Everyone.’   And they said that in this exercise they felt completely left behind.”
In a speech last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi defended the policy as the right choice to ensure India’s economic future:   “We will not shy away from taking difficult decisions, if those decisions are in the interest of the country. Lines formed around ATMs in Delhi and other major Indian cities on Friday as the deadline approached for people to deposit old banknotes or risk having their currency declared worthless. According to the BBC’s Divya Arya, the speed of the change and the lack of warning has also caused confusion. However, the move has been heavily criticized as penalizing poor and rural communities, where the economy is overwhelmingly focused on cash. The change in banknotes has had a disproportionate effect on poor women, whose access to the banking sector is particularly limited. “They have a very sad story to tell,” Arya says.

A tribute to world musicians we lost in 2016

He had just turned 69. As reporter Betto Arcos told us, “He wrote simple, yet poetic and powerful songs, and his large repertoire — more than 1,500 songs — was covered by all the major pop singers of the Spanish-speaking world.”

Leonard Cohen (September 21, 1934 – November 7, 2016)
Leonard Cohen had one of the most evocative voices ever. 10. In addition to the big-name performers, throughout the year we often noted musicians we lost who were less well-known to American audiences, but whose careers made big   impacts elsewhere in the world. But he had collapsed in front of the drummer, who was lost in the music. We recalled how Cohen, a Canadian, won many hearts in Israel when he performed in the country during the 1973 Arab-Israeli war. He was the king of Latin pop music. Thankfully, we’ll always remember these supreme talents through the music they left behind. We lost a lot of musicians this year. Leonardo “Gato” Barbieri (November 28, 1932 – April 2, 2016)
Gato Barbieri was one cool cat, and not just because of his trademark fedora. In 2016 we also said goodbye to Brazilian percussionist   Nana Vasconcelos, Beatles producer George Martin, Belgian jazz musician   Toots Thielemans, Pakistani singer   Amjad Sabri, Jamaican ska legend Prince Buster, French composer Pierre Boulez, and Malian musician Issa Bagayogo. Check it out in two ways: You can listen to this playlist to see if you can recognize the artists on your own — let us know what you hear in the Soundcloud comments. Or, walk through some of the music with us below. The dancers rushed over to him. We also unearthed global influences in some American artists’ songs — for instance, how ancient Egypt made an impact on Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire, or how rapper Phife Dawg tapped into his Caribbean roots. His singers had been dancing a routine over a guitar solo that appeared to have concluded. And it looked like everyone in the band was waiting for lead singer Papa Wemba to come back with another verse. He earned his nickname (meaning “cat” in Spanish) while sneaking in and out of nightclubs around Buenos Aires when he was a kid. He went on to be regarded as a master saxophonist and bandleader. And then the music stopped. And it’s his distinctive sound and style as a musician that we’ll remember most. American soul singer Sharon Jones was 60 when she died, and Prince was only 57. Here’s a collection of some of the finest tunes from artists who passed away in 2016. And just this week, we lost English pop singer George Michael at the age of 53. May their music live on, always. And many of them much too soon. Many of us were unware that yet another icon, David Bowie, had   cancer until his death was announced on Jan. Juan Gabriel (January 7, 1950 – August 28, 2016)
Mexican crooner Juan Gabriel died from a heart attack at the age of 66. Papa Wemba (June 14, 1949 – April 24, 2016)
Papa Wemba died while performing in Ivory Coast.

A village’s first female chief ended illegal logging with spies and checkpoints

“The road was so bad   when kids went to school, they came back with their legs covered in mud,” says a resident named Hamisah. “He argued a lot, but finally he left.”  
Hamisah’s spy network caught five loggers in this way in the first year and a half she served as village leader. Just six loggers have been stopped there so far. He gave up his chainsaw and got a job doing construction. “This was really sad to me.”
Hamisah, 43, has two sons and lives in one of the small houses nestled along that dirt road. She spoke emphatically and with her hands, looking crisp and professional in the withering tropical heat, even while getting up every few minutes to shoo chickens out her front door. “She asked me to tell if I saw anyone with a chainsaw driving by,” Selamat says, standing among the individually wrapped snacks hanging in his shop. “I started to make the wife talk to her husband about this, and push him to stop logging,” Hamisah says. “Because of illegal logging, some hills don’t have a lot of trees anymore, so the land cannot absorb the water from the rain,” Hamisah says. (The clinic incentivizes conservation by giving discounts to people who live in villages that have stopped or decreased illegal logging activity.)  
Hamisah’s village is just one small place. Hamisah set to work trying to stop the illegal logging, beginning with the village’s women. All that deforestation has helped the country become one of the biggest greenhouse gas emitters in the world. And those small differences can add up to something big. “She’s not like a man who can get angry easily, she has more discipline,” Ridwan says. “All of the women around here feel like we’re winners because we’ve been able to stop this logging.”
Hamisah says her experience is proof that if she can make a small difference in her own community, just about anyone can. Ridwan recalled one of the stops he made in August   2014. Ridwan says people don’t try to log around the village anymore, and he attributes the change in large part to Hamisah’s leadership. There had never been a female village leader in the area. “I said yes   because I want to help.”
When Selamat spotted a logger, he would call the next spy down the line. What if her husband cut himself with his chainsaw, she asked? Hamisah never went to high school, and people say she used to be shy. From her yard, you can see some of the hills of the roughly 400-square-mile Gunung Palung national park rising in the distance. “So this is my strategy, telling the women about why we need to protect the village.”
A system of checkpoints and spies
But most of the loggers who were cutting down trees in the forested land surrounding Hamisah’s village actually came from outside of it. Meanwhile, forests across Indonesia are still being lost on a massive scale, and much of that’s happening legally. So once Hamisah had the locals on her side, she recruited some of them to help her catch outsiders driving through the village to get to the adjacent forests. A main road through the district of Sedahan Jaya in western Borneo is just a ribbon of brown dirt. What if a tree fell on him? “She’s direct   and tough, but she’s the kind of leader who can get everyone to cooperate with her, follow her lead.”
The village also got cheaper health care at the clinic where Hamisah works   because they stopped the logging. “And so every year, there were big floods.”
A village gets its first female leader
I spoke with Hamisah in the front room of her small wooden house, where she rolled out a thick purple carpet for us to sit on. But Hamisah had some built-in support. The problem, Hamisah says, was made worse by illegal logging in the park. “And not just me,” Hamisah says. “In other cases, I talk to women about the future they want for their kids, with the forests and the same kinds of wildlife they had growing up,” Hamisah says. “I thought it was time for me to be brave   and run for village leader,” Hamisah says. “I listened and tried to suggest solutions. And so after a while, people started telling me I should run for office.”
She did, and she won, in 2013 becoming village leader of Sidorejo in the district of Sedahan Jaya. A guy named Ridwan, down the road,   would stop the car and try to convince the logger or loggers to turn around. Hamisah called her helpers her “spies.”

One was a shopkeeper named Selamat, who works in a little snack stand a few minutes down the road from Hamisah’s house. It worked. She knew a lot of people through her work as a health aide, working for a local clinic to help people take their tuberculosis medication. “[The logger] was angry, he told me he didn’t want to sell the wood, he just wanted to use it to build a house,” Ridwan says. Hamisah knows all this, but she says she’s been happy with what she’s been able to achieve. Many of the 900 or so residents of Hamisah’s village are farmers, who work iridescent green rice fields that sit below the park. “It always flooded when the farmers were about to harvest their rice, so we would lose our crops,” Hamisah says. “Maybe because I’m a woman, I’m a mom, a lot of people came to me when they had a problem,” Hamisah says. Hamisah says at the time, there was only one logger who actually lived in her village, and so she talked to his wife about the dangers of his job. But that’s better than the muddy mess it used to turn into after heavy rains. That’s where the floodwaters would come from, and they caused problems bigger than muddied legs. But the flooding and the problems it was causing her community pushed her out of her comfort zone.

Fish caught by slaves may be tainting your cat food

Now try to guess where those gloopy bits of meat originate. The corporation was sued in late 2015 in a class-action lawsuit filed by consumers, whose attorneys contend Meow Mix is effectively “supporting and encouraging slave labor.”
As for these mysterious motherships — an integral part of Thailand’s massive seafood industry — Thailand’s government intends to clean up their reputation by placing trained monitors on board the vessels. This sort of corporate confession is rare — and has, in fact, generated lawsuits from irate American consumers. “Forced labor and human rights abuses have no place in our supply chain.”

Migrants from Cambodia and Myanmar unload fish off a boat Feb. This is what a mothership looks like. The observers’ mission, according to the government, is seeking out abuses both on the mothership and the trawlers that pull up alongside them to offload fish. Anyone caught breaking the law could potentially face crushing fines   — such as $22,000 for using an illegal worker. Here’s how the scam works. This is where fish netted by slaves can mix with legitimate catch. The products most strongly implicated in labor abuses include fish sauce, fish oil pills and fish sticks. Not even the multinational corporations who sell it on supermarket shelves. Sure, pet food conglomerates can tell you which factories ground up the fish. That’s unfortunate. Credit:

Nicolas Asfouri

In recent years, various watchdog groups have attempted to track fish caught by abused fishermen to see where it ends up. They’re usually anonymous, obscured by a murky supply chain. The victims are men from Myanmar and Cambodia, duped by human traffickers. Trash fish caught by forced laborers is a key ingredient in fish sauce, pet food and shrimp feed. The trawlers can stay at sea for more than a year. Nothing indicates the makers of Fancy Feast or Meow Mix are the sole offenders. Greenpeace’s advice to consumers? But there is no legit job. Yet Greenpeace’s accusations suggest that, despite Nestle’s efforts, fish caught by forced labor victims could still be sneaking into its cat food. Five were ultimately killed by the illness. Crack open a can of seafood-flavored cat food and whiff that fishy broth. Or cat food bowls. The dodgy fish and the legit catch is all jumbled together out on the open sea. Oftentimes, no one knows quite how they got there, or who hauled those fish aboard which boat. All had contracted an ailment associated with malnourishment and extreme toil: Beri Beri disease, a B1 vitamin deficiency. Thailand’s $7 billion fishing industry deploys thousands of trawlers each year. This dispute is typical of a Thai seafood industry that remains murky despite the glare of lawyers, activists and corporations fearing the next PR nightmare. It’s all a big mess of fish, bought up by factories and processed into products bound for American plates. In fact, on motherships, captives can be traded around like chattel. They get resupplied by massive boats — called “motherships” in Thai — that provide fuel, food, water and booze. As one deputy boat captain of a Thai trawler explained to PRI: “Once a captain is tired of a [captive], he’s sold to another captain for profit. “If there’s no traceability,” Dia says, “you’re never guaranteed it’s coming from clean sources.” Despite Greenpeace’s recent findings, Dia says Nestle is actually moving in the right direction. They can simply pull up to a mothership, which functions like a floating city center. But it will remain extremely difficult to nail down unscrupulous boat captains, churning through international waters, wielding tyrannical power over their subordinates. Nestle is refuting this. It’s a futile task. Greenpeace is the latest to unveil its findings. Ever eat “imitation crab stick” — those cold, damp, pinkish rectangles of fishiness sold in sushi joints? “They combine all the fish, fillet them and then shape it into the crab stick or cat food that we buy.”
But it is impossible to crack open a can of cat food and say which glob of meat was caught by a starving Cambodian. The J.M. Given the “opaque nature of offshore fishing practices,” Nestle Purina “supports banning all trans-shipments at sea,” says Keith Schopp, the corporation’s vice president of public relations. Credit:

Courtesy of Greenpeace

This provides sea slaves few opportunities to escape. It’s being mashed up into a paste called “surimi,” which is then ladled into pet food. As one escaped ex-slave from Cambodia named Kim Net told PRI, beatings and murder are routine amid the anarchy of the open waters. Trawler captains fill these chambers with tons of sea life. There was blood everywhere. In 2015, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, the US imported more than $190 million worth of cat and dog food from the country — much of it seafood-flavored and flecked with bits of marine life caught by Thai vessels. That stuff can double as kitty chum. Many Western conglomerates still have these opaque mothership transactions — known as “trans-shipments at sea” — in their supply chains. These days, Nestle insists that “over 99 percent of the seafood ingredients” it sources from its Thai-based seafood supply chain can be traced back to clean sources. American cats eat loads of pre-packaged food supplied from Thailand. That’s not crab. Smucker Company. It was either keep working or get shot.”

A laborer from Myanmar works in the hull of a Thai fishing vessel. He just went back to sorting fish. Shrimp, though farmed on land, are indirectly implicated when they’re fed mushed-up fish caught by slaves. Their misery was discovered in early 2016 when the boat returned from fishing in the middle of the Indian Ocean. The victims are instead forced onto squalid trawlers. Fish caught by abused men is seeping into this cat food supply chain, according to Mark Dia, a campaign manager for Greenpeace Southeast Asia. It doesn’t help that these trawlers can indefinitely remain in remote waters that are difficult to police. And so far, only a handful of observers have been trained for the job. One of the brands is Fancy Feast, produced by Nestle Purina PetCare, based in St. Their investigation followed a trawler filled with 30 Cambodian men trapped in forced-labor conditions. But the men who actually yanked it out of the sea? Explore the in-depth series: Seafood Slavery
For years, this industry has been scandalized by reports of human trafficking and even outright slavery. They know who mixes in the additives, like tricalcium phosphate, and then dumps it into a can. This has compelled Nestle — one of the planet’s largest food conglomerates — to veer away from this method altogether. But many are — and tracking them down is horrendously difficult. It’s basically a floating city center for trawlers on the open water. Unfortunately, the problem is much, much larger than two companies. The other is Meow Mix, produced by the Ohio-based J.M. They just happened to source from factories staked out by activists. Once the mothership carries it all back to shore, there is no way to identify which sea creatures were handled by captives. And if they do, they have no way of proving that their products are not enmeshed in slavery. A growing body of research into Thailand’s seafood trade indicates fish tainted by abuse ends up in a variety of products shipped to America and Europe. Most are not complicit in cruelty. After all, they’re often motoring around, thousands of miles from civilization. The trawlers never need to dock on land. Traffickers promise desperate men a job on a factory or farm in Thailand — a relatively prosperous country compared to its poverty-stricken neighbors. A guy can be out there for 10 years just getting sold over and over.”
Each mothership contains a massive freezer room. According to Schopp, “our Thai seafood suppliers have confirmed to us that they have not purchased any products from the boats” tracked by Greenpeace. Louis. And then there’s cat food. 25, 2010, in Mahachai, Thailand. Credit:

Paula Bronstein

In late 2015, Nestle actually admitted that its own internal investigations turned up forced labor in its seafood supply chain. Because much of the pet food sold in the West is supplied by a Southeast Asian seafood industry, centered in Thailand, that is infamous for its use of forced labor. Smucker Company, makers of Meow Mix, did not respond to PRI’s requests for comment. “Surimi is an amalgamation of different species caught in trawlers,” Dia says. Demand that your supermarket stop stocking cat food from companies that still rely on untraceable fish. “His arm snapped. That’s surimi. Once the boats leave port, they enter a lawless sea, and the men are forced to toil without pay — sometimes for years on end. There are tens of thousands of motherships and trawlers to monitor. Fish from that trawler, according to Greenpeace, ultimately ended up in Thai factories — and some of them routinely supply ingredients to major pet food brands sold in America. “One guy misunderstood an order and got clubbed with an iron bar,” Kim Net said.

After Trump’s victory, a city debates offering ‘sanctuary’ to undocumented immigrants

Here, though, the television   is on and the mood is jubilant. They always had his coffee ready for him when he arrived. “And rightfully so. “If it’s my life mission, it’s to destroy that organization.”
As residents wait for city councilors to put the Trust Act to a vote yet again, next month, there’s a feeling in the air, kind of like something might snap. “All of a sudden, one evening, they were all gone,” Healy remembers. Credit:

Lidia Jean Kott

For longtime Brockton Police officer Bill Healy, though, the issue is complicated. This will not be   an easy ordinance to get passed. Being in the US without proper paperwork is a civil offense, not a crime (and, today, many immigrants out of status in the US have overstayed their visa). A couple years back, he says, he got to know a group of Brazilian women who worked at a Dunkin’   Donuts. But then Trump won. The proposed Trust Act would make these immigrants feel safer, at least in Brockton, advocates say. “I see it every day, undocumented immigrants driving, causing hit-and-run accidents, some of these things aren’t recorded because you can’t record a hit-and-run accident,” says Pina. Craig Pina is an activist for a group opposed to the Trust Act called No Sanctuary for Brockton  

Credit:

Lidia Jean Kott

There is none of this ambivalence at a pizza parlor across town, where members of the Brockton Republican Committee gather. They are hiding. If anything, it’s a sign that passing the measure   is more important than ever. “The reason you don’t see people from the immigrant community right now, guess why?” she asks. But the debate here seems to be less about facts than   political views. “It was kind of heart breaking,” says Healy, “because personally, all I care about is how that coffee’s made.”
Healy says he would never want to get anyone in trouble for their immigration status. Police department only,” Healy says. Many feared that if the Trust Act passed, Brockton would be considered such a place. “Right!” says Lopez. They disappeared.”
Those women, they were hiding from him. PRI.org

Isabel Lopez, an immigrant rights activist, stands in front of a chalkboard at a meeting in the back of a church in Brockton, Massachusetts, a town just an hour’s drive south of Boston. A feeling not so different, maybe, from the national mood. For January. He just worries   what formalizing that policy could mean. Lopez, the leader of a group called the Brockton Interfaith Community, has been fighting for months to get a city ordinance passed that would make life easier for undocumented immigrants. He worries that if the Trust Act passes, the police department will lose thousands of dollars in federal funding. “To say they commit less crimes? There are so many ideas on the chalkboard they hardly all fit. It was on the docket in Brockton in October. Yet decades of research   show   that immigrants, regardless of their legal status, commit fewer crimes than people born in the US. “There was talk of a raid coming. Bill Healy says he could not bring himself to vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. We can’t codify disobeying federal law — then the whole system crumbles.”
Bob Wisgirda, a local radio host, says he opposes the Trust Act because he thinks undocumented immigrants make his city dangerous. Do we create a timeline?”Player utilitiesPopout
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downloadListen to the Story. Many undocumented immigrants, Lopez says, have been too afraid to leave their homes since the election, worried what the Trump presidency might mean for them. And the Trust Act is on the docket yet again. You realize just being here is a crime.”
However, that assumption is not accurate. But then, on the campaign trail, Donald Trump said he would cut off funding to “sanctuary cities” — cities where local officials have vowed not to help enforce federal immigration law. But tonight she is loud. In response, city councilors in Brockton decided to wait until after the presidential election. So he wrote in his friend and took a picture of the ballot on his phone. “Brockton Interfaith, that’s another problem,” says Pina, when someone mentions the group that’s fighting to get the Trust Act passed. “They are scared,” somebody whispers. ”Hundreds of thousands. “So, how do we go about this? Specifics aside, tension between longtime Brockton residents and some immigrants since the presidential election has been palpable. They are not going to parks.”
Lopez’s point is that nobody should interpret a half-empty room as a sign that passing the Trust Act is no longer important for the immigrant community. “All of a sudden to be told by the feds you’re getting nothing?”
At the same time, Healy wants everyone in Brockton to feel like they can come to him with their problems. They sit in a semi-circle on foldout chairs. They are not going to work. That’s a   job for immigration officials, not his. This ordinance —   called the Trust Act — states that local police will not detain undocumented immigrants on behalf of immigration authorities   — unless a criminal warrant has been issued. “They are scared. They are not taking public transportation. This is the same night that Lopez and her group hold their meeting in the back of the church. “These are hardened criminals because they are on a daily basis killing people in the city of Brockton,” he says, his voice rising. “We were just looking at President Trump on the news talking about defunding sanctuary cities,” says Craig Pina, a real estate agent. And this small group of people, huddled together in the back of a church, seem determined to make sure that it passes. Only a few people attend Lopez’s meeting. Isabel Lopez takes notes

Credit:

Lidia Jean Kott

Usually, Lopez speaks quietly. He saw their English get better and better. However, crossing the border illegally is a federal misdemeanor and punishable by a fine or jail time. This time around, though, the debate around it is even more complicated, even more contentious, even more emotional than before.

The long list of alleged activities by Soviet and Russian spies

The network was allegedly set up by Russian’s foreign intelligence agency to infiltrate US policymaking circles, though the information they transmitted was said by US officials to be virtually valueless. The judge who convicted them said the information they passed on helped the Soviet Union develop a nuclear bomb at the beginning of the Cold War. From sleeper agents in suburban America to an assassination in London and hacking of the US presidential election, the list of alleged activities by Soviet and Russian spies abroad is long. The inquiry said it was deliberately administered to him by two Russian contacts he was meeting. Assassinations
Soviet revolutionary Leon Trotsky was murdered in 1940 in Mexico City with an ice pick to the head in an operation by the NKVD, the KGB’s predecessor, on orders from Joseph Stalin. A public inquiry in Britain into the death by radiation poisoning of former spy Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006 concluded earlier this year that the killing was “probably” approved by the head of the KGB’s successor agency the FSB. Several people working for US intelligence were reportedly executed as a result of his revelations. “That I did regularly, year in, year out,” he said. A report by the Department of Justice’s Inspector General concluded his betrayal led to the “catastrophic and unprecedented loss of Soviet intelligence sources” in 1985 and 1986. Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were executed for conspiracy to commit espionage in 1953 following a controversial trial, were part of that network. Following US accusations that Russian spies tipped the vote in President-elect Donald Trump’s favor   — by stealing Democratic Party information — here are some of the most brazen operations in the West. Julius Rosenberg was accused of smuggling USdefensee secrets with the help of his wife while working on American military technology during World War II. Following his exposure in 1963, he fled to the Soviet Union where he died in 1988 at the age of 76. Litvinenko died after drinking tea laced with radioactive polonium in a London hotel. Atomic spying
The subject of last year’s thriller “Bridge of Spies” starring Mark Rylance, Rudolf Abel was the fake identity of a Soviet intelligence officer captured by FBI agents in New York in 1957. The most famous deep-cover agent in the group was real estate agent Anna Chapman, an attractive redhead who mingled in Manhattan high society. He communicated with his superiors through “dead drops” in New York — pre-arranged locations used to pass information — and was informed of the arrival of an assistant from Moscow with a thumbtack left on a signpost in the city’s Central Park. In the grainy video, Philby revealed how he befriended MI6 archivists so as to take home secret files that would then be copied by his Soviet contact. He was exchanged for shot-down American pilot Francis Gary Powers in 1962 on the Glienicke Bridge which linked West Berlin with Soviet-controlled Potsdam. The suspects included a Spanish-language newspaper columnist and Vladimir and Lidiya Guryev, a married couple operating in the New York financial arena who took on the identities of Richard and Cynthia Murphy. The KGB has also been accused of killing Ukrainian nationalist hero Stepan Bandera with cyanide gas in Munich in 1959 and Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov with a poison-tipped umbrella in London in 1978. Cambridge Five
A former senior British intelligence officer, Kim Philby was revealed in 1963 to be Britain’s biggest Cold War traitor as a member of the spy ring now known as the Cambridge Five. Sleeper agents
A “sleeper cell” network of suspected Russian agents was uncovered in the United States in 2010, with 10 initial arrests. She has since launched a fashion line in   Russia, worked as a television presenter, offered marriage to US whistleblower Edward Snowden and posed in lingerie for the Russian men’s magazine Maxim. Aldrich Ames
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer Aldrich Ames worked in Turkey, Mexico, Italy and in Soviet counter-intelligence in the United States before being exposed as a mole in 1994. He began giving information to the Soviet Union in the 1980s but only aroused suspicion later with his cash purchase of a house in Virginia, expensive dental work, a Jaguar car and tailor-made suits. They were exchanged at Vienna airport for four Russians convicted of spying for the West. Abel, whose real name was William Fisher, was sent by the KGB to the United States in 1948 and lived in New York, posing as an artist and photographer while helping to coordinate a network of spies smuggling nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union. Previously unseen footage of Philby giving a lecture to spies in then communist East Germany in 1981 was broadcast by the BBC earlier this year. Philby and the others — all upper-class men embedded in the British establishment — were recruited to spy for the Soviet Union during their time at Cambridge University in the 1930s and were undetected for years.

Indonesia’s rapidly disappearing forests, in four charts

 
Starting in 2020, developed countries will be able to help finance forest preservation in developing countries through a framework agreed upon at the 2015 UN Paris climate summit. As a result, Indonesia was the sixth-largest greenhouse-gas-emitting country in the world as of 2012, the most recent year for which full data is available. Deforestation in Indonesia has been driven largely by the conversion of forests to industrial plantations producing oil palms and paper pulp. Indonesia has lost almost a quarter of its forest area in the past 25 years. But conservation is happening in other ways too: For example, by a doctor incentivizing conservation with discounted healthcare, and a nonprofit   helping villages protect their communities from erosion. Private businesses are gearing up to capitalize on that funding. Unlike China, the United States, and other nations ahead of it on the list of top emitters, most of Indonesia’s   pollution comes not from transportation or industrial sources, but from deforestation and land-use changes. Russia, the United States, China and the European Union have in fact all   added forest cover in the past 25 years. Here’s a look at how the island of Borneo has transformed since 1973:

When forests are logged or burned, the carbon stored in the trees is released into the atmosphere and eventually contributes to global warming. Both the government of Indonesia and the private sector are working to reduce deforestation in the sprawling island nation. That’s significantly more than has been lost in the other countries with the most forest area.

2016 was rough. Listening to Bach helped.

And as she says in the piece, Bach’s music “has a kind of gravity to it. And I guess you could say I’m a bit orderly too. But as a new year begins, I hope we’ll all   be able to tap into the things that give us hope, strength and meaning. Wickersham lives in Cambridge, across the river from The World’s   studios in Boston, so I asked her to come in and listen with me. Classical music —   in fact, most   music —   provides sustenance and adds meaning to life. Especially   in the news business — there’s been a lot of breaking and heartbreaking news this year.Player utilitiesPopout
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downloadThis story is based on a radio interview. He died in 1750. As well as a grace and an optimism.”
It’s believed that Bach completed   Mass in B Minor during the last years of his life. It seems that the whole world is in a state of weltschmerzen. It had the intriguing title, “Looking for Structure and Order? I like structure. So, I took Wickersham’s question to heart and followed her suggestion. And I went one step further. PRI.org

About a month ago I read a column by Joan Wickersham in The Boston Globe. Listen to Bach.”  
Now, I’m not a classical music aficionado, but I do like Bach. For Wickersham, Bach is the “counterweight to the ugliness of what’s been happening recently.”
Yeah, 2016 has been a rough year. Wickersham suggested we play Bach’s Mass in B Minor. 2016 has been tough for a lot of people. And I recently came across   an essay by the Aylesbury Choral Society, which states: “What is most remarkable about the overall shape of the Mass in B Minor is the fact that Bach managed to shape a coherent sequence of movements from diverse material, whether he intended it or not.”
Wickersham believes “Bach has an underlying structure and order that is very reassuring in disordered times.” And   I can see why she chose this particular piece of music. Take a listen. Her op-ed column appears regularly in The Boston Globe. Listen to the full interview. Joan Wickersham’s most recent book of fiction is “The News from Spain: Seven Variations on a Love Story.” Her memoir, “The Suicide Index,” was a finalist for the National Book Award.

Water is scarce in Damascus, and so is faith in a new ceasefire

If you don’t agree with them, they will kill you.”
Other Syrians challenge that perspective. There are so many Muslim fundamentalists, Islamic fundamentalists, they don’t believe in diversity, they don’t believe in hearing other opinions. PRI.org

Water is being rationed throughout Syria’s capital   city, and it’s unclear who is to blame. Still, he holds out some small hope for the recently proposed ceasefire. He blames Syria’s government for destroying his neighborhood and endangering civilians with aerial bombardments. Most of them are satisfied if it included all the rebel-held areas, and if it included all rebel groups.”
In the meantime, Alhamdo says his former neighborhood in Aleppo is being systematically looted under the watchful eye of Syrian government soldiers. “It’s like a market. “Then we read the news, and the Syrian authorities issued a statement. At least the Syrian army and the Syrian government, they are having a head, they are having institutions,” she says. 29. Here, read about who it will and won’t cover, and why Syria is still far from peace. Listen to the full interview. “By the way, some people went and see their house being stolen, and the soldiers said literally that,   ‘We freed this neighborhood so everything, every piece [of furniture]   in this neighborhood is ours.'”  
The latest ceasefire is set to start at midnight Thursday, Dec. “I hoped that I could hear such a ceasefire when I was in Aleppo,” he says. We have already polluted the water, we are booby-trapping the tunnels, and we are going to blow them up no matter what.'”
The Damascus resident, who is an employee of an international   nongovernmental organization, says she supports the Bashar al-Assad government. He has lived in the   rebel-held territory for years. Abdul Kafi Alhamdo is an English teacher who was evacuated from Aleppo to the western countryside in mid-December. “All the fighters here are listening to this ceasefire. Still, some Damascus residents blame the lack of water on the rebels. We even received some kind of warning from the UN Department for Safety and Security indicating that yes, the water was poisoned using the diesel and other toxic liquid.”
The rebels have denied poisoning the water at the city’s main source in Wadi Barada. “We woke up in the morning. The rebels “even used a lot of bad words to describe the people of Damascus, saying, ‘They were infidels, they deserve to be killed. [They are] bringing back safety and security. Some Damascus residents don’t believe that explanation. The Assad soldiers and officers, they go to a building, and they sell it as a whole,” he says. “On Facebook, rebels are shown booby-trapping the water tunnels, saying that these water tunnels are going to Damascus, we are going to blow them up if they insist to evacuate [rebels] from these villages, or if [government authorities] insist on a reconciliation agreement,” says the Damascus resident who asked not to be identified. “What other option do I have? My mom was trying to make coffee, and she was telling me, ‘The water smells funny,'” says a Damascus resident who asked not to use her name. Some local residents there told Reuters that government bombs knocked out the main Ein al Fija water pumping station that helps provide water to much of Damascus. “I am supporting definitely the Syrian army in the fight against terrorism. In much of Damascus, the water taps are running dry these days.Player utilitiesPopout
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downloadThis story is based on a radio interview. Despite a proposed ceasefire, the Syrian army escalated its bombing runs in a rebel-held area Thursday, which includes the spring that provides water to much of the capital.