A strong earthquake hits Chile on Christmas morning

ONEMI and the USGS both issued a tsunami alert. Chile is in a quake-prone region, lying on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire of frequent seismic activity. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, said in a bulletin that “hazardous tsunami waves are forecast for some coasts.”
The quake had a depth of 15 kilometers (9 miles) according to the PTWC. A coastal evacuation order had limited the number of casualties. Chile’s capital Santiago was around 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) from the epicenter. The quake registered 7.7 on the Moment Magnitude scale according to seismologists at the US Geological Survey, and 7.6 for the Chilean government’s national emergencies office ONEMI. The closest population center was Castro, a town on the island of 40,000 inhabitants. The epicenter was on the southern part of Chiloé   island, in a zone of several national parks. The last big quake to shake Chile was on Sept. 16, 2015, when an 8.3 temblor followed by a tsunami hit the north of the country, killing 15 people. Chilean officials called for coastal areas nearby to be evacuated. A powerful Christmas Day earthquake hit southern Chile on Sunday, triggering tsunami warnings and an evacuation order. We’ll update this story with information as we get it.

Netanyahu: Obama failed to protect Israel against UN ‘gang-up’ and ‘colluded behind the scenes’

It is Israel’s most important ally, providing it with more than $3 billion each year in defense aid. But the Obama administration has grown increasingly frustrated with settlement building in the West Bank, which Israel has occupied for nearly 50 years. They are also worried it could encourage some countries to impose sanctions against Israeli settlers and products produced in the settlements. After the resolution passed, Israel recalling its ambassadors to Senegal and New Zealand for consultations. By deciding not to veto the move, the US took a rare step that deeply angered Israel, which accused Obama of abandoning its closest Middle East ally in the waning days of his administration. — Donald J. “We cannot stand in the way of this resolution as we seek to preserve a chance of attaining our longstanding objective of two states living side by side in peace and security,” said Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the UN. Settlements are built on land the Palestinians view as part of their future state and seen as illegal under international law. “As to the UN, things will be different after Jan. A spokesman for Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas called the resolution a “big blow for Israeli policies.”
The move was “an international and unanimous condemnation of settlements and strong support for the two-state solution,” Nabil Abu Rudeina said. “Israel rejects this shameful anti-Israel resolution at the UN and will not abide by its terms,” read a statement from his office. “The settlement problem has gotten so much worse that it is now putting at risk the very viability of that two-state solution.”
But she also said in Israel’s defense, “the simple truth is,   as long as Israel has been a member of this institution, Israel has been treated differently from other nations at the United Nations.”

Speculation has mounted that Obama would allow such a resolution to pass before he leaves office on Jan. Saeb Erekat, a former peace negotiator and the No. The resolution demands that “Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.”
It states that Israeli settlements have “no legal validity” and are “dangerously imperilling the viability of the two-state solution.”
Friday’s vote was scheduled at the request of New Zealand, Malaysia, Senegal and Venezuela, who stepped in to push for action after Egypt put the draft resolution on hold. Some 430,000 Israeli settlers currently live in the West Bank and a further 200,000 Israelis live in annexed east Jerusalem, which Palestinians see as the capital of their future state. The text was passed with support from all remaining members of the 15-member council, with applause breaking out in the chamber. David Friedman, his nominee for ambassador to Israel, favors moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and has voiced support for settlement building. Where is America?” And the answer is “Beating up on the Middle East’s only democracy”
— Michael Oren (@DrMichaelOren) December 24, 2016
Trump reacted after the vote by promising change at the UN. While the resolution contains no   sanctions, Israeli officials are concerned it could widen the possibility of prosecution at the International Criminal Court. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected the resolution and criticized Obama in especially harsh language. The landmark vote came despite intense lobbying efforts by Israel and calls from US President-elect Donald Trump to block the text. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 23, 2016
Threat to two-state solution
The US has traditionally served as Israel’s diplomatic shield, protecting it from resolutions it opposes. “Israel looks forward to working with President-elect Trump and with all our friends in Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, to negate the harmful effects of this absurd resolution.”
Michael Oren, the deputy minister for diplomacy in the premier’s officer and a former Israeli envoy to Washington, said he saw the resolution as “a lot like anti-Semitism.”
“Of all the conflicts in the world, just one party’s being singled out, and that’s the Jewish party,” said Oren. There have been growing warnings that settlement expansion is fast eroding the possibility of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the basis of years of negotiations. The council passed the measure Friday after the United States abstained, enabling the adoption of the first UN resolution since 1979 to condemn Israel over its settlement policy. Trump has signalled he is likely to be far more favorable to Israel. 20. Millions in Syria cry out “where is the UN? As to the U.N., things will be different after Jan. It has no diplomatic relations with Venezuela or Malaysia. Israel scrambled Saturday to contain the fallout from the UN Security Council vote to halt settlements in Palestinian territory after lashing out at US President Barack Obama over the “shameful” resolution. 20th,” he tweeted referring to the date of his inauguration. 20th. 2 in the Palestine Liberation Organisation, spoke of a “historic day.”
By AFP’s   Mike Smith in Jerusalem. “The Obama administration not only failed to protect Israel against this gang-up at the UN, it colluded with it behind the scenes,” it said.

This novelist riffs off the fact that Albert Einstein was a ‘true outsider’

“I think another reason that Einstein has become such a popular and enduring icon is that, when he began to publish his theories, and even to this day, a lot of people are a little bit frightened by science,” Wray says. Credit:

johnwray.net

“He’s the name that must not be spoken,” Wray says, adding that in the book, it was a comic decision to keep Einstein on the outskirts. “Einstein was completely alone in his resistance to the implications of his own earlier work.”
For Wray, that closing epoch brings a certain symmetry to Einstein’s career trajectory. “Einstein’s scientific career evolved almost in parallel with various forms of modern media, with you know, the newsreel and radio and then later film,” he says. The writer John Wray learned a thing or two about Albert Einstein while researching his new novel, “The Lost Time Accidents.” For one, he says that despite Einstein’s fame and charming persona, the physicist always had a surprising quality — a lack of interest in popularity.Player utilitiesPopout
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downloadThis story is based on a radio interview. And then after that relatively brief period of a decade or two, he moved farther and farther out of relevance, essentially.”
“And he ended up in a very similar position to that in which he began — that of a total outsider.”
This article is based on an interview that aired on PRI’s   Studio 360. PRI.org

“He really truly had no interest in the trappings of fame or fortune,” Wray says. “He truly was an outsider, even in Princeton. But he notes that in Einstein’s lifetime, science had an aura of mystery to it. “And the implications of science seem to be very cold and forbidding, and they seem to be negating a lot of the things that people hold dear, their spirituality and their religion. “Suddenly, he became the absolute, utter, total insider in the sense that his ideas and work could not have been more central to every aspect of physics. And that I think caused him to be very effectively transmitted worldwide as this kind of concept.”
But even as Einstein became globally synonymous with “genius,” his controversial ideas about quantum theory once again placed him in the fringes of his field. Listen to the full interview. … “The very … willingness on Einstein’s part to tilt at windmills and risk the disapproval and sort of incredulity of his colleagues in the last third of his life became this truly quixotic quest to disprove various innovations and discoveries and theories that had directly sprung from relativity,” Wray says. “And he was very well-suited to these forms of media   because you couldn’t possibly reduce his theories to a sound bite, but you could certainly reduce his persona to a tidy little caricature. You know, he spent most of his time alone, and he truly had a remarkable sense of humor — about himself, as well as the society he was in.”
This is something that Wray plays with, in his novel, centered on an Eastern European family in the early 1900s, who are convinced that they’ve discovered the secret to time travel. “He began as a complete outsider who was not taken seriously,” he says. And as a public figure, Einstein, despite his reserve, was in some ways a messenger for that mystery. The protagonists also believe that Einstein is their archenemy, so much so that they refuse to mention the physicist by name, referring to him instead as “the patent clerk.”

Novelist John Wray, a US and Austrian citizen living in New York City. And here comes Einstein, who’s so warm and generous and modest and almost saint-like in a certain way.”
That helped cement   him as a pop-culture icon, despite the complexity — or controversy — of his theories.

A new Ebola vaccine may be ‘up to 100 percent effective’

Initial tests last year did not include children, while the most recent trials covered those over six years old. It is slated to be submitted by Merck to health authorities in the United States and Europe sometime next year under a fast-track approval process. “With the Canadian Merck vaccine, you have a protection very early after vaccination, but we don’t know if it will last after six months,” Kieny said. “If we compare zero to 23, this strongly suggests that the vaccine is very effective, that it could be up to 100 percent effective,” Marie-Paule Kieny, WHO’s assistant director-general and lead author of the study, told AFP. If all goes well, the vaccine could become available in 2018 under a fast-track approval process, it said. China and Russia have also developed vaccines, with the Russian one having just finished the second phase of three-step clinical trials. The new vaccine was initially developed in Canada by public health authorities before being taken over by pharmaceutical giant Merck. “We may have a vaccine which is registered in 2018,” Kieny told journalists at a press conference Thursday, noting that the standard approval process for a new drug takes a decade, if not more. In a major clinical trial, nearly 6,000 people in Guinea were given the test vaccine last year, at the tail end of a lethal epidemic of Ebola. “That might be better suited to immunise health workers in advance of an outbreak,” Kieny said. ‘Compassionate use’
First identified in 1976 in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Ebola virus   erupted periodically in outbreaks of up to a couple hundred cases, mainly across west and east Africa. Her team of three dozen researchers calculated a 90 percent likelihood during a full-fledged epidemic that the vaccine, dubbed rVSV-ZEBOV, would work in more than 80 percent of cases. Health officials also point to the fact that other strains of the virus — including one in Sudan — will require the development of separate vaccines. In early 2014, however, a handful of infections in southern Guinea mushroomed rapidly into an epidemic. A prototype vaccine for Ebola may be “up to 100 percent effective” in protecting against the deadly virus, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Friday. It causes violent and painful symptoms, including vomiting, diarrhoea, organ failure and internal bleeding. British firm Glaxosmithkline and Johnson & Johnson, based in the United States, each have experimental products in the pipeline. Other Ebola vaccines under development — some of which have been tested in humans — could prove more effective over a longer period. “After 40 years, we appear to now have an effective vaccine for Ebola virus disease to build upon,” Thomas Geisbert, a scientist at Galveston National Laboratory in Texas who did not take part in the study, wrote in a commentary, also in The Lancet. With a mortality rate above 40 percent, the disease — one of a category of so-called hemorrhagic fevers — has an incubation period of up to three weeks. Some 11,300 died. Another unknown is how long innoculation lasts. But in a control group of volunteers that did not receive the vaccine, 23 Ebola cases occurred, researchers reported in The Lancet medical journal. Both recovered fully. Some of these vaccines require two doses three weeks apart, and may confer a longer immunity. Of the more than 6,000 people injected with the Ebola vaccine only two showed serious adverse effects, the study reported. In the meantime, Merck has committed to ensuring that 300,000 doses of the vaccine are available for emergencies under a protocol called “compassionate use.”
“They will be able to produce a million in very short period of time,” Kieny noted. But it is still unknown if the vaccine is safe for children 6 and under, pregnant women, or people with the AIDS virus — all groups that were excluded from the most recent trials. Over the next two years, more than 28,000 people fell ill, mainly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Unanswered questions
There are still questions to be resolved concerning the vaccine, including side effects. Not one of the 6,000 contracted the disease.

A new book explores how to survive the ‘Age of Accelerations’

Friedman says that Arab world was at its height when it was the greatest polyculture on Earth, in Moorish Spain. Monoculture crop fields — corn, wheat and soybeans, for example — were wiped out. Strength comes from patience. The king said, “How can I reward you?” And the man said, “I just want to feed my family.” The king said, “It shall be done. “As I thought about that, I realized we’re not just in the middle of one climate change. Wherever I see an opening in nature, a blank space, I fill it with a plant or animal or both, perfectly adapted to that niche. What would you like?” And the man said, “Your highness, I’d just like you to take one grain of rice and put it on the first square of this chessboard, then put two on the second, four on the next, eight on the next, then 16 on the next, 32, and just keep doubling it, and my family will be fine.” The king said, “Of course. Thomas Friedman’s latest book, “Thank You For Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving In the Age Of Accelerations,” is a manifesto for how to cope with our changing planet.Player utilitiesPopout
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downloadThis story is based on a radio interview. “What Andy and Eric argue is that, in terms of Moore’s Law, we just entered the second half of the chessboard, where the doubling starts to get very big, and the result is you get some very funky stuff,” Friedman says. You don’t want to be just curled up in a ball.”
Friedman came to understand that, in nature as well as in human society, polyculture (or diversity) is the key to resilience. So, Friedman asked himself what the world most needs to survive in the face of such rapid change. I believe things should coevolve — the right plants with the right soils, the right bees with the right flowers. I kill all my failures, return them to the great manufacturer in the sky, and take their energy to nourish my successes.”
“So, the argument I make in the book is that the countries, communities and companies that most closely [and] consciously mirror Mother Nature … are the ones that are going to thrive in what I call the Age of Accelerations,” Friedman concludes. This is what she told him:
“First of all, I’m incredibly adaptive through natural selection, in a very brutal way. I love diversity. “Basically, the story I tell in my book is that we’re in the middle of three nonlinear accelerations all at the same time, with the three largest forces on the planet,” Friedman says. Nothing is wasted in my world. “Second, I love pluralism. In their book, Brynjolfsson and McAfee cite the ancient story   of the man who invented the game of chess and gave it to a king. You need to be able to take a blow, because you don’t know when the disruption is going to come, but there will be disruptions. Eat, food, poop, seed, eat, food, poop, seed. You want to be able to move ahead. It needs two things: “You want resilience. “Third, I’m incredibly sustainable, in a very circular way. We’re in the middle of a change in the climate of the climate, we’re in the middle of the change of the climate of globalization, and we’re in the middle of a change in the climate in technology.”
Friedman’s book was inspired, in part, from an insight   in a book called, “The Second Machine Age,” by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The book examines the exponential acceleration in technology based on Moore’s Law, which states that the speed and power of microchips will double roughly every 24 months. What’s happened today in the Arab world is that al-Qaeda   and these Islamist groups are trying to wipe out that polyculture and replace it with a monoculture that is enormously susceptible to diseased ideas,” he says. PRI.org

Right now, three powerful forces — technology, globalization and climate change — are accelerating exponentially — and “one of the hardest things for the human mind to grasp is the power of an exponential,” says the columnist for the New York Times. I’m very heterodox. “Fourth, I’m incredibly entrepreneurial. It shall be done” — not realizing that when you double something 63 times, the number you get is more than 18 quintillion,   more rice than existed in the world. We’re in the middle of three climate changes at once. “Lastly, I believe in the laws of bankruptcy. I understand you can’t speed up the gestation of an elephant or the growth of a thousand-year-old Baobab tree. “I’m a big believer in biomimicry.”
This article is based on an interview that aired on PRI’s Living on Earth with Steve Curwood. Friedman says he “consulted” Mother Nature directly to understand how to build resilience and move forward in the midst of great changes. Listen to the full interview. Everything is food. At the same time, you want propulsion. “Sixth, and this is very important, I’m very hybrid in my thinking. The Arab world was never more prosperous than then. During the 1930s Dust Bowl, for example, only fields that were natural polycultures, like native prairies, survived. This has been happening now for over 50 years, Friedman says. My most diverse ecosystems are my most resilient, and I love trying 20 different species and see who survives. 

“Fifth, I’m very patient. “It was a polyculture of ideas, of people, of Christians, Muslims and Jews.

For this Venezuelan, Christmas isn’t Christmas without hallaca

Pork, chicken, raisins, olives, capers, onions and pimentos are folded into corn dough, and then wrapped in a banana leaf, says Mora, who now lives in Phoenix. “But I was able to get away with a lot of things. I didn’t like washing them, so I only did 10 leaves and then ran off and played with friends,” he admits, with a laugh. In our search for holiday traditions outside the US, we came across a Venezuelan tradition: Hallaca. Resembling tamales, hallaca is a staple of Venezuelan Christmas. Preparing it is an all-day affair. The leaves are brought in from fields with   bird droppings and other contaminants, so they must first be soaked and cleaned. “Looking at the bag, [the flour]   used to be made in Venezuela and now it says it’s manufactured in the US.”
We’re talking more about hallaca, and all the other wonderful things you can make with banana leaves, in the Global Nation Exchange group on Facebook. It’s that time of year when many Americans turn to time-honored traditions of Christmas carols, eggnog and kissing under the mistletoe. By tradition, family and friends   gather in the morning to chop and prep the ingredients — including   banana leaves. “My mom asked me if I wanted to make hallacas [here] and the answer was ‘of course.'”
This Christmas, hallaca may be hard to find on tables in Venezuela. It’s only made during the holiday, says Juan Freitez Mora, a Venezuelan documentary filmmaker. “That was my job,” says Mora, of the chore handed to the youngest member of his family. Mora says he was lucky enough to bring his mother and father to the United States from Venezuela, where living conditions have become tough. “It’s really interesting because it’s easier to find the ingredients in the US than in Venezuela, where long lines form to buy the flour,” says Mora. Venezuelans are struggling with shortages of basic food items, making many of the hallaca ingredients scarce.

Why Gimli Manitoba is the place to enjoy Icelandic cake

But each cake is time-consuming. It was a self-administering “Icelandic reserve” with its own government, directly responsible to the Canadian government in Ottawa. Credit:

Carrie Arsenault

She makes an apricot version, too. “It took a while. “We still grind the prunes with Amma’s old meat grinder and I roll every layer. Icelandic Vinarterta with apricot filling. Icelandic settlers arrived in what is now Manitoba in   the 1870s and established “New Iceland” in what became Gimli. Between 1870 and 1915 about one-quarter of the population of Iceland left their homeland because of tough economic and environmental conditions, including the 1875 eruption of   Mount Askia. I’ve been in the family for 20 years.”
Now that Arsenault has perfected the cake, she makes about 1,200 of them every year. So you can imagine seven layers for every cake.”
Vinarterta is traditionally made with prune filling, but Arsenault has modernized it a little. Enough about the history —   back to the cake. If you’re celebrating Christmas this weekend, you’re probably starting to stock up on   cookies and cakes.Player utilitiesPopout
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downloadListen to the Story. Her husband’s family is Icelandic and she learned the technique of making it from her mother-in-law. The local specialty is a delicious treat called a “Vinarterta.”
But this cake didn’t originate in Manitoba. Today Gimli (named for the home of the Norse Gods) has become known as the cultural heartland for the largest Icelandic population outside of Iceland. PRI.org

And if you live in Gimli, Manitoba, your holiday favorite may involve seven   layers of cookie dough with prune filling in between. A vinarterta wedding cake. Many get shipped to Icelandic Canadians throughout the country. “I learned about six years ago,” explains Arsenault. It’s actually an Icelandic dessert. Credit:

Carrie Arsenault

Vinarterta is made by hand by bakery owner Carrie Arsenault.

This woman was attacked for speaking Swahili. In court she forgave her attacker.

Asma Jama’s face still bears the scars from the   attack that took place in October 2015. We’re fighting for the same rights.”
Jama says   this was her chance to follow the teachings of her faith, Islam, which encourages forgiveness. Jama was left with deep gashes on the lower part of her lip, which   needed 17 stitches. It’s not that they don’t know English. It happened at an   Applebee’s restaurant in Coon Rapids, Minnesota. The woman, Asma Jama, spoke after the hearing: “I’m not going to be the first victim, nor will I be the last if things don’t change.” pic.twitter.com/pefIkwE0Ji
— Hannah Covington (@Hannah_Cov) October 17, 2016
The attacker, Jodie Burchard-Risch, ran away, but Applebee’s employees chased her and later police took her   into custody. She wanted to forgive. at the end of all this to understand that we’re all the same,” she said. She didn’t like that they were speaking Swahili and not English. She was having dinner with her family and they were speaking in their native language: Swahili. “It doesn’t matter what’s on my head, it doesn’t matter … This week, Jama and   Burchard-Risch faced each other in court. Join our on-going discussion about Asma Jama on the   Global Nation Exchange Facebook page. “She said ‘speak English or get out of the country,'” Jama recalls. the color of my skin. Her nose and eye were left bloodied as well. When her family gets together, they speak Swahili instead of English. Jama   got the chance to speak directly to her attacker. “I just want you to … We’re all the same human beings. So much   that she smashed a beer mug in Jama’s face. “She continued to say the same thing,” Jama says, “and I had to turn around and tell her ‘ma’am, we can speak English, we choose not to when we’re with family.'”
But she got more aggressive. I used to be a care-free person and now I can’t go anywhere by myself.”
But for Jama this wasn’t a day for revenge. As they were chatting, another customer   who was sitting at the next table got agitated. In fact, she is a US citizen and her kids were born here. “What happened to me on that day is unacceptable,” an emotional Jama told the court, “it shouldn’t happen to anybody else. Burchard-Risch was sentenced to six months in prison and   up to five years of probation.

Will a new nuclear arms race undo decades of teamwork between the US and Russia?

But in both places, there’s still hope for collaboration. “You are very vulnerable right now.”
Lugar had long been conscious of the risks that nuclear weapons posed. “The lessons are, very clearly, the need for members of Congress to be able to work together,” he said. “To form bipartisan coalitions where national defense and the security of the world is at stake.”
As tensions between the US and Russia again take center stage, Lugar emphasized the importance of coalitions not only across party lines but also across the Atlantic. When the Soviet Union started to fall apart, a group of Russian officials flew to Washington to meet with him. He hopes that a sense of shared interests will one day help Russia and the US to further reduce the size of their nuclear arsenals. He once visited a Soviet missile silo   and learned that even small cities like his hometown of Indianapolis had been considered targets. “We always considered ourselves rivals,” said Esin. Viktor Esin, the Russian general, remembered that when he visited American missile silos more than two decades ago, he was surprised by how much the two sides had in common. In November of 1991, the two of them convinced members of both parties to support a partnership with the Soviet Union. Although that spirit of teamwork eroded, particularly after Russian actions in Crimea and Ukraine, Lugar said it’s possible to learn from the past. But the two powers eventually found a way to reduce their arsenals through a series of treaties and partnerships that continued into recent years. “It never occurred to me during that period of time that we might have been a target, that one or two of those warheads could have obliterated the whole city.”
With that sense of vulnerability in mind, Lugar found an unlikely ally in former Democratic Senator Sam Nunn. “But after the cooperation began, we understood that we weren’t enemies.” Soon afterward, President-elect Donald Trump tweeted that the United States “must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability.”
For anyone who remembers the rhetoric of the Cold War, this sort of exchange will seem familiar. “They said, ‘Well, essentially, you are the targets of our nuclear weapons,'” Lugar recalled. According to the officials, disunity in the military had left Soviet nuclear weapons insecure: “The people that have been guarding the weapons have been deserting,” they told Lugar. “There is a feeling of nostalgia,” said General Viktor Esin, former commander of Russia Strategic Rocket Forces. It specifically targeted “loose nukes,” or weapons that were poorly secured after the Cold War ended. Today, nuclear experts in the two countries don’t talk very much with one another. Looking back, many lamented the breakdown in US-Russia relations. This month, the architects of one of those partnerships, the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, met in Washington for a 25th-anniversary conference. “I really wish that the times when the US and Russia cooperated would come back.”
Richard Lugar, who served as a Republican senator for 36 years, remembered how the project began. After more than 20 years of teamwork between the US and Russia on nuclear arms control, experts are worried that the two countries could face another nuclear arms race — leaving some Russians and Americans nostalgic for the years after the Cold War. Read more:   America’s missileers stand ready to launch nuclear weapons — and pray they won’t have to  
The latest flare-up in US-Russia relations began when Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested that Russia should upgrade its nuclear arsenal. “I had been mayor of Indianapolis, Indiana, for eight years,” Lugar said. The US and the Soviet Union spent decades threatening each other with nuclear destruction.

This millennial activist has been fighting her entire life, and isn’t backing down now

“The power of the people is greater than the people in power — but we must mobilize, act concretely   and put change into motion. I’ve Just Never Said That Publicly Until Today,” the 25-year-old   connected her own experience of being sexually assaulted to Trump’s statement to Billy Bush that he liked to grab women by the pussy. “What I admire most about Erin is her willingness to walk up to the greatest injustices on our planet, meet them head on, and ask what she can do to help — from pulling Syrian refugees out of sinking boats in Greece to getting shot with a rubber bullet at Standing Rock. Credit:

Erin Schrode

Combating this sense of powerlessness has been a key point in all the work Schrode has done, especially in recent months. Stacy Malkin, 48, the co-founder and co-director of US Right to Know and author of “Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry,” met Schrode during this formative time   and remembers how inspired she was.  
She wrote: “It is up to us to recognize, name and denounce hate speech and discrimination when we see it, to drive out a wave of darkness that has the power to poison hearts and minds, bring down institutions and society, and reverse centuries of progress and victories — while posing imminent danger to the safety and wellbeing of millions of human beings.”

This article is part of   The UnConvention, coverage and conversation that highlights the issues   and voices of young voters, in partnership with   92Y and Mic. Credit:

Erin Schrode

In a climate where millennials are often painted as apathetic, many might consider Schrode an outlier — but she doesn’t see it that way. The following spring, she launched a campaign in her hometown of Marin County, aiming to become the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, noting that there are no people under 30 currently serving in Congress, and no woman under 30 has ever been elected to office. She believes young people are more informed, more concerned   and more active than ever before. We need to build up alternative legal, financial   and advocacy frameworks to protect and defend the most vulnerable among us.”
A graduate of New York University, Schrode has been involved in some form of activism her entire life. In another article, “This Filthy Jewess Is Done With ‘Alt-Right’ B******t,” Schrode cataloged the myriad ways she had been harassed online, particularly for being a Jewish female activist. Schrode hopes this inspires people to take action themselves   and not wait around for a hero. In September, she was interviewing one of the protesters at Standing Rock when police shot her in the back with a rubber bullet. “People make assumptions about my motives or abilities based upon what they see — but I stay the course,” she says. She seems fearless, but I think it’s more that she is committed to doing what needs to be done, even if it’s scary.”

Erin Schrode with a young Syrian girl rescued by the Greek coast guard when her family’s ship sunk while making the refugee crossing into Europe (Lesvos, Greece). This sentiment has been at the core of Schrode’s work — to call things as she sees them, to be present and active at all times. And she leads by example: In the fall of 2015, Schrode was in Lesvos, Greece, helping refugees off of lifeboats. “The decisions being made today will disproportionately affect us, yet we have no place at that decision-making table.”
READ MORE:   Millennial activist Blair Imani is fighting for equality, and wants all generations to join her
While she lost in the primary to a much older male incumbent, Schrode’s platform of increasing eco-awareness and economic justice for women and minorities struck a chord with many millennials, as well as older folks looking for a change. During the 2016 election   and the weeks that followed, millennial activist Erin Schrode wrote a series of pointed articles addressing her concerns over the looming administration of President-elect Donald Trump. “[Over the next four years], local and state government will be more important than ever before,” Schrode says. “I ran for Congress earlier this year to redefine civic engagement, to reinvigorate a culture of public service   and to expand the definition of who can be a politician,” says Schrode. In “I’m a Survivor of Sexual Assault. I found it so inspiring to see teen girls speaking out with powerful voices against an industry that has made so many girls feel so powerless.”

Erin Schrode leads a panel discussion at a Whole Foods in New York City. When this story was spread across social media, particularly in the darker corners of the internet, Schrode took it upon herself to ensure the focus wasn’t on her, but rather on the broader issue of the Dakota Access Pipeline   and the ways   Native communities have been disrespected. “I see Standing Rock as the movement of our times — the convergence of the fights for our environment, human rights, peace and justice   and so much more,” says Schrode. “I have been a proud activist for over a decade, taking on issues that are relevant to a far wider demographic than youth or women, collaborating with diverse stakeholders, making a tangible difference — and I have no plans on ceasing anytime soon.” “Technology has provided us with such a powerful platform with which to organize and connect — and we are and will use it for good in the real world.”
And for those who want to discount her because of her youth, she reminds them that the proof is in the pudding — she’s out there doing the work every day. “About 10 years ago, Erin invited me to attend an event she helped organize, Project Prom, at Union Square in San Francisco,” says Malkan. “It was an honor to be able to stand shoulder to shoulder, arm in arm, side by side with my fellow water protectors and brave brothers and sisters on the frontlines.”
READ MORE:   Across the US on Monday, women and allies gathered to protest Donald Trump
“Erin was raised to believe that one person can change the world,” says Malkan. “We are the most well-connected, collaborative generation to date,” she says. When she was in her early teens, she and her mother began Teens for Safe Cosmetics, which later became Turning Green   — a nonprofit aimed at getting young people to reconsider the toxic chemicals in many of their household and personal care products. “I arrived to find a bunch of teen girls standing onstage wearing prom dresses and combat boots, vowing to wage war on the $50 billion beauty industry until they get toxic chemicals out of products.

With US abstaining, UN Security Council demands Israelis end West Bank settlements

In a rare step, the United States instead abstained, allowing the measure to pass by a vote of 14-0   in the 15-member council. The UN Security Council on Friday demanded that Israel halt its settlement activities in Palestinian territory, in a resolution adopted after the United States refrained from vetoing the measure condemning its closest Middle East ally. The United Nations maintains that settlements are illegal, but UN officials have reported a surge in construction over the past months. Some 430,000 Israeli settlers currently live in the West Bank and a further 200,000 Israelis live in east Jerusalem, which the Palestinians see as the capital of their future state. The resolution demands that “Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.”
It states that Israeli settlements have “no legal validity” and are “dangerously imperiling the viability of the two-state solution” that would see an independent Palestine co-exist alongside Israel. Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon said his government had expected a US veto of “this disgraceful resolution.”
“I have no doubt that the new US administration and the incoming UN secretary general will usher in a new era in terms of the UN’s relationship with Israel,” said Danon. Israeli settlements are seen as a major stumbling block to peace efforts, as they are built on land the Palestinians see as part of their future state. Applause broke out in the council chamber after the adoption of the resolution, the first measure on the Middle East passed at the council in eight years. The vote was scheduled at the request of four countries — New Zealand, Malaysia, Senegal and Venezuela — who stepped in to push for action after Egypt on Thursday put the draft resolution on hold. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi had backtracked on the move to condemn Israel’s settlement policy after receiving a phone call from US President-elect Donald Trump, who spoke out in favour of a US veto.

These were our favorite albums of 2016

Fonseca wrote or co-wrote most of the tunes, so they’re new, but   with a vintage twist. Joe Driscoll is a rapper and songwriter from Syracuse, New York, while Sekou Kouyate is a master kora player from Guinea. Nigerian Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen was invited to Haiti to give a one-off concert with local musicians back in 2014. 3. They met as roommates and soon discovered they both loved to write songs, and sing them together. But the British-born, Sri Lankan rapper writes songs that are innovative and make a point, whether it’s exposing what it’s like to really be on the run as a refugee, or creating new language and sounds to express herself. Cocofunka is an indie band from Costa Rica, and here they’ve released an album that’s high in energy, polish and production. Now, you may think this is a retrospective — some best-of   1950s/60s Cuban music — but it’s not. Their   backgrounds may be worlds apart, but their   music shows what can happen   when two worlds collide. At 79 years old, she can do what she wants. 4. M.I.A. They enlisted local producer Mario Miranda and Felipe Álvarez, who produced last year’s release from Bomba Estereo, to help with the production. M.I.A, “AIM”

M.I.A.’s “AIM” is protest music for the new century (and protest music isn’t always pretty to listen to). 4. Cocofunka, “Chúcaro”

This is hands-down my favorite release of the year. Afro-Haitian Experimental Orchestra, “AHEO”

The Afro-Haitian Experimental Orchestra released their self-titled album this year. He recorded “Azel” in Woodstock, New York. This album is truly “world rock.”
2. You can listen here to our tribute to Toussaint, who passed away in November 2015. Roberto Fonseca, “Abuc”

A celebration of Cuban music from the island nation’s jazz pianist Roberto Fonseca. Now I can relive the moment with this   release. Bombino, “Azel”

Bombino’s a terrific guitarist from Niger in West Africa. 5. Allen Toussaint, “American Tunes”

We play a lot of music that is not American on the show, but when I got this posthumous release from the great New Orleans pianist, singer and composer Allen Toussaint, I just had to include it. It was hard to narrow down our favorites to a Top 20   list, but here it is. When they harmonize the sound is delicate and soothing. Kate Bush, “Before the Dawn (Live)”

Fans from around the globe flew to London to catch Kate Bush in concert back in 2014. Together they are the compelling duo My Bubba. It was her first series of concerts in 35 years, and   I was lucky to catch one of those shows. Each of us picked five of our favorites to highlight. April wants you to check out these albums, too:  
Michael Kiwanuka, “Love & Hate”
Leyla McCalla, “A Day for the Hunter, A Day for the Prey”
Leonard Cohen, “You Want it Darker”
Harold López-Nussa, “El Viaje”
Case/Lang/Veirs, “Case/Lang/Veirs”
Listen to a selection of the songs from our favorite albums on Spotify: After several releases, he’s cemented a reputation in rock circles with his inexhaustible guitar licks. 5. It’s been a trying year for many of us, and Toussaint’s music helped make things a little better. is unique and more articulate than most artists on the pop scene today. Elza Soares, “A Mulher Do Fim Do Mundo”

Elza Soares is a national icon in Brazil. There was a lot of great music released in 2016. 3. Marco’s picks:  
1. 2. Marco doesn’t want you to miss these albums, either:  
La Yegros, “Magnetismo”
Blitz the Ambassador, “Diasporadical”
Gaby Moreno, “Ilusión”
Lakou Mizik, “Wa Di Yo”
Hannah Williams and the Affirmations, “Late Nights and Heartbreaks”
April’s picks:  
1. And as a “woman at the end of the world,” as the   name says, she’s released a bold and brash album. My Bubba, “Big Bad Good”

Gudbjörg Tómasdóttir is from Iceland and My Larsdotter is from Sweden. Allen and the Haitian musicians had just five days to rehearse for the show — and the results can be heard on the group’s one and only album. I love it. Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate, “Monistic Theory”

This is the second album from a dynamic duo.

The first cousin of the English language is alive and well in the Netherlands

And increasingly, young people write in Frisian, especially when using social media. The offenses and the punishments are remarkably similar in the two sets of documents. 29:30 Why novelist Willem Schoorstra never corrects people’s written Frisian on Facebook. 4:02 Frisian in America. 30:30 “In 100 years, our language will be very different.”
31:00 Willem Schoorstra’s first novel is being made into a film. Credit:

Patrick Cox

14:52 Frisian-speaking Dutch MP Lutz Jacobi gets cute with the new king of the Netherlands.  
It’s less clear today. “The list goes on and on,” says Nijdam. You can follow The World in Words stories on   Facebook   or subscribe to the podcast on   iTunes. 29:10 Standard written Frisian may not remain standard. It’s now making a comeback, partly thanks to the European Union and Dutch government support (sometimes begrudgingly) for Frisian language schools, news media and performance arts. The Norman invasion of England in 1066 resulted in a French invasion of English, while Dutch has rubbed off on Frisian, or at least the version of Frisian that is spoken in the Netherlands. The language too. Credit:

Patrick Cox

25:20 Learning in three languages. Ira Judkovskaja is the artistic director of Frisian-language theater company Tryater. it has managed to hang on, against the odds. 27:08 Weirded out at the very idea of writing in Frisian. Not what you think. Credit:

Patrick Cox

Podcast Contents
00:30 The Kentish Laws and the Frisian connection
1:05 Soundtrack provided by “Furious Frisian folk” band   Baldrs Draumar. There are sections that deal with compensation for acts of violence —   eye-gouging, nose-piercing (“one nostril or two”) and beard-burning. Frisian teacher Anna Marije Bloem discusses an essay topic with students. Player utilitiesPopout
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downloadListen to the Story. The Kentish Laws are the oldest surviving documents in Old English. So what about that connection with English? Credit:

Courtesy of Han Nijdam

Medievalist scholar Han Nijdam of the Frisian Academy in the Netherlands has studied both these and a similar set of laws written in Old Frisian. I spoke with Nijdam and many others in Friesland about the Frisian language: writers, artists, teachers, students   and just plain old speakers of a language that has refused to die. People who study the evolution of the English language have always had a fascination with Frisian. 28:10 Social media is reintroducing Frisians to written Frisian. Non-Frisians in the Netherlands sometimes characterize this as stubbornness. 12:26 Clubbing Friday. You can hear it, if you’re lucky. Novelist Willem Schoorstra at his home in Ternaard, Friesland. And Frisian … The English king Ethelbert   oversaw the establishment of the so-called Kentish laws, the first laws that we know of written in any Germanic language. It was sold by Sotheby’s in 2014 and bought by a private collector in Belgium. Subscribe

Many children’s books are translated into Frisian. Dutch MP Lutz Jacobi raised eyebrows when she pledged allegiance in Frisian at the coronation of Dutch King Willem-Alexander in 2013. Credit:

Omrop Fryslân/Annet Huisman

20:46 Theater director Ira Judkovskaja: “There are some people who call me ‘Our Frisian Russian.'”
21:52 A play about Friesland’s epic speedskating race. It goes back at least 1,400 years. Frisians themselves are more likely to say their language has   survived because of the determination of the Frisian people. Credit:

Patrick Cox

English has become the world’s premier language. 19:30 Why Frisian today sounds so similar to Dutch. The words for “hairpulling” for example are almost identical in Old English and Old Frisian. This is the oldest fragment of Old Frisian, circa   1100-1125. Whatever it is, people in villages across the province of Friesland still speak Frisian. PRI.org

In their older forms, the two languages shared vocabulary and grammar patterns that differed from other Germanic languages. 6:22 The Frisian view: “Dutch people can really be so stuck up.”
7:20 The Dutch view: “I get a bit tired by Frisians going on about how special their language is.”
8:50 Teaching and language activist Anna Marije Bloem: “Do you think we are stubborn?”
9:30 I am on Frisian TV. 17:30 English and Frisian are grammatical bedfellows. Catch our podcast: The World in Words

Each week on The World in Words, Patrick Cox and Nina Porzucki tell stories about languages and the people who speak them.

Merkel orders security review after botched Amri case

Peter Neumann, professor of security studies at the King’s College, pointed to “a systemic failure”, as security services lacked the manpower for around-the-clock surveillance of Germany’s 550 known radical Islamists considered potentially violent. Anger has also focused on the investigation since Monday’s truck attack. Merkel — already under fire from right-wing populists over her liberal migrant policies —   can now expect the security debate to heat up ahead of an election expected in September. Justice Minister Heiko Maas meanwhile pledged to examine “how to improve surveillance of potentially dangerous persons” and concrete steps to speed up deportations of illegal migrants. “The Amri case raises questions — questions that are not only tied to this crime but also to the time before, since he came to Germany in July 2015” from Italy, she said. Amri’s asylum request was denied in June but because Tunisia refused to take him back, denying he was a citizen, he was issued a stay of deportation paper — the document that police found in the mangled truck cabin. “We will now intensively examine to what extent official procedures need to be changed.”  
Merkel said she had ordered justice and interior ministers at the federal and state level to “analyse every aspect of the case and present their conclusions as soon as possible” so that reforms, where needed, could be agreed and implemented quickly. Amid the fierce criticism, Merkel pledged a “comprehensive” analysis of what went wrong. “Once the dust settles, it will be important to have a fundamental rethink.”
German police can point to several attacks they have, or may have, prevented this year. They did nothing.”
Conservative lawmaker Stephan Mayer said the case “held up a magnifying glass” to the failings of Merkel’s migration policy, and Christian Lindner, head of the Free Democrats opposition party, charged that “catastrophic mistakes” had been made. Germany has repeatedly accused Tunisia and other north African states of stalling on the repatriation of their nationals. “Germany’s anti-terrorism structure is failing to match the scale of the problem,” he said. German police had monitored Amri since March but dropped the surveillance in September thinking he was primarily as a small-time drug dealer. And last month Germany’s domestic spy service unmasked a Spanish-born agent in its own ranks as a suspected Islamist. On Friday they said they detained two Kosovo-born brothers on suspicion they planned to attack a shopping centre in Oberhausen near the Dutch border. Media reports said he was also a former gay porn actor. Criticism has also focused on Germany’s over-burdened asylum and immigration services. A law to designate Tunisia, as well as Morocco and Algeria, as “safe countries of origin”, to raise the bar for asylum requests, has been held up for months in Germany’s upper house, over human rights concerns in the North African countries. Critics have also pointed to a two-day delay before authorities issued a public wanted notice for the fugitive, as well as the fact the rejected asylum seeker should have been deported long ago. Berlin’s B.Z. Politicians and newspapers have deplored the fact that Amri had slipped through the net of security services, who knew he had been in contact with Islamist “hate preachers” and, according to news weekly Der Spiegel, that he had offered himself for a suicide mission. Days after his arrest, he was found hanged in his cell. In October, Syrian bomb plot suspect Jaber al-Bakr escaped a police raid and was only caught thanks to the help of other refugees who apprehended and bound him. tabloid charged in a blistering headline this week: “They knew him. Anger has mounted since it emerged chief suspect Tunisian Anis Amri, 24 — who was shot dead Friday by police in Milan —   was a known radical Islamist and criminal who had long been under counter-terrorism surveillance on suspicion he was plotting an attack. The German leader said she had also spoken with Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi by telephone to discuss anti-terror efforts and inform him that Germany would be “significantly accelerating” deportation of rejected asylum seekers. The new Tunisian travel document only arrived on Wednesday, two days after the attack. After following an initial false lead, police only found Amri’s identity papers in the lorry’s cabin a day after the attack, and authorities took another day before issuing a Europe-wide public wanted notice. Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday ordered a sweeping review of Germany’s security apparatus, which has drawn withering criticism after a known jihadist killed 12 people in a Berlin Christmas market. But the security services have also suffered a number of embarrassing failures.

One man is planting mangroves in Indonesia to stave off tragedy

“So that’s why I started doing this [conservation]   work.”
Tongke-Tongke, an early mangrove success story
In the 1980s, Tongke-Tongke was starting to look a lot like Palaloi’s hometown. Credit:

Carolyn Beeler

Brown says most of that money is going to waste.  
Palaloi grew up about 150 miles up the coast from Tongke-Tongke, in another coastal village in the province of South Sulawesi.   
“Almost all of the people around here are crab farmers,” Bachtiar says. But eventually, because mangrove forests had been torn down to make way for aquaculture in the village, erosion ate away at the coast until the ponds were enveloped by the sea. Palaloi’s method is to tap local leaders like Saenuden to plant mangroves and then monitor the health of the trees. “The floods happened from January until April,” says Tongke-Tongke resident Saenuden, who lived not far from the coast in the 1980s. The somewhat stern 51-year-old’s motivation comes from a childhood tinged with tragedy. “People say some houses on the coastline disappeared and people had to move inland.”
Now, there are miles of mangroves that protect the village here. The protected waters around mangrove roots serve as excellent nurseries for one type   of crab   harvested in the region. Bachtiar says telling his neighbors that mangroves are good for business was key in getting them to help plant and maintain the coastal trees.    
“After we planted all the mangroves, our business started to grow,” Bachtiar says. Mangrove seedlings grow in a nursery outside of Makassar, Indonesia. Teenagers in this town of roughly 3,000 people take selfies with the dense leafy canopy as a backdrop, while   families stroll along the boardwalk. Palaloi says he’s glad the mangroves he’s planted since the early ’90s are trapping carbon and serving as some tiny buffer against global warming and future sea level rise. This story is part of a series on social entrepreneurs working to limit or reverse deforestation in Indonesia. Before, you could just catch one or two kilograms.”
Bachtiar has opened a crab processing facility since the mangrove project launched. Credit:

Carolyn Beeler

After many of Indonesia’s mangroves were stripped away, erosion hit coastal communities hard. In Tongke-Tongke, villagers have a co-op to grow and sell mangrove seedlings to other villages looking to emulate their success. Palaloi stepped in to mediate in the late ’90s.  

The conversion of mangrove forests to aquaculture ponds like this one in Tongke-Tongke has accelerated erosion on the Indonesian coastline. “Otherwise they wouldn’t put in the work to maintain the mangroves.”
Many planting efforts marred by failure and wasted resources
After the Indonesian government supported the destruction of mangrove forests during the “blue revolution,” it has since reversed its course and now spends millions of dollars a year trying to replant them. Credit:

Carolyn Beeler

Palaloi pitches mangrove projects based on their economic benefits in most of the villages where he works, just like he did outside of Makassar. He’s spread the gospel of mangroves to roughly 20 different communities around South Sulawesi. But Brown says they still might not fare well in the future. A long history of mangrove removal
In the 1980s and ’90s, the Indonesian government backed the large-scale conversion of mangroves into ponds for raising fish and shrimp in what was called the “blue revolution.”
This aquaculture strategy is part of the reason why the country has lost 40 percent of its mangroves in the past three decades. He and two of his staffers lived in Tongke-Tongke for years, staying with local residents on a rotational basis to build alliances with residents all over town. “So there are economic and also conservation motivations to continue this project.”

Crab pickers at a processing facility on the outskirts of Makassar, South Sulawesi, Indonesia. “The erosion was constant,” Palaloi says.   
The mangroves are often planted in places where they can’t survive, or they’re not maintained, Brown says. His data suggest   the vast majority of the mangroves planted by the ministry die. “One person can catch about 10 kilograms per day. None of this may have been here if it weren’t for Hidayat Palaloi. “My family tried to get other work, but it wasn’t enough.”
His family wasn’t alone. Palaloi successfully politicked enough to get community members working together, helping them to create a master plan for their village and expand their mangrove planting efforts. A boardwalk cuts through a mangrove forest in the village of Tongke-Tongke, in South Sulawesi, Indonesia. Read more: Indonesia’s forests are key for saving orangutans — and slowing climate change
Palaloi’s family raised fish in ponds.  
“People who live in coastal areas need to understand that this conservation effort isn’t just aimed at conservation itself, but at helping people who live around the conservation area to improve their economic situation,” Palaloi says. “And so the whole coastal area, and that whole restoration — if sea level continues to rise —   is at risk of drowning.”  
The residents of Tongke-Tongke don’t seem to be worried about the more distant threat of sea level rise now that waves are no longer washing into their living rooms. Tongke-Tongke was largely planted with one type of mangrove species, rather than the dozens of different species that records show are native to the east and west coasts of South Sulawesi. There’s a spot in the Indonesian seaside village of Tongke-Tongke where people like to hang out at sunset. He sees his role as enabling community members to envision and complete their own projects, rather than dictating what communities should do. Credit:

Carolyn Beeler

Selling the economic advantages of mangroves
Palaloi recruited a crab fisherman named Bachtiar to lead mangrove planting in an industrial area on the outskirts of the city of Makassar about eight years ago. “Before, this area was not like this, it was just empty land, coastline and a beach,” says Palaloi, the head of a mid-sized conservation nonprofit based in Makassar, Indonesia, called the Indonesian Self Growth Foundation. “When undertaking this successful restoration, they failed to restore the original biodiversity,” Brown says.  
It’s a boardwalk winding through a dense forest of mangroves along the coast. In the communities where he works, Palaloi stresses the economic advantages of mangrove restoration projects, including higher crab and fish yields. “Every day, the water came into the house almost two feet above the floor,” Saenuden says. “It was uncomfortable, to say the least.”  
Saenuden and other villagers started planting mangrove seedlings in tidal zones, but there was infighting among the different conservation groups and fishermen, and people threatened to chop the trees down for firewood. The tangled root systems of the trees poke out of the water, like tent poles holding up the tree trunks. That’s partly thanks to Palaloi, who’s been helping towns like Tongke-Tongke plant mangroves on the island of Sulawesi for more than two decades. The day I visited he was buying crabs from local fishermen, and about a dozen women were picking the meat out of the shells of cooked crabs to pack them for freezing and shipment. Meanwhile, the mangroves in Tongke-Tongke are thriving. They’re sprawling and sturdy. “The Ministry of Forestry spends around $13 million a year planting mangroves in every coastal district in Indonesia,” says Ben Brown, Indonesian mangrove expert and co-founder of Blue Forests, a nonprofit that focuses on building resilience in coastal areas.   
“I think if he didn’t help us to resolve the conflict, I’m not sure that this mangrove forest would be here now,” Saenuden says.  
“I saw for myself how erosion hurts people, and I knew I didn’t want to see another community experience what mine did,” Palaloi says. The sprawling island nation of Indonesia still has about a quarter of the world’s mangrove forests, but they’re disappearing faster there than anywhere else. And that’s a problem, because each type of mangrove survives only in a very specific depth of water. He wishes he could have done that for his own family, before their business got swept into the sea. Find more stories here. Mangrove restoration projects led by other government agencies, countless conservation groups and corporate social responsibility programs are often largely unsuccessful as well.   
“For my family, these fish ponds were the main income, and when they failed, our income was gone,” Palaloi says. But his main priority is hyper-local —   helping coastal communities protect themselves and make a better living. Credit:

Carolyn Beeler

Without the natural wave protection offered by the mangroves, the coastline in Tongke-Tongke was being eroded. And they’re not the only ones.

Putin: Nobody believed Trump would win ‘except us’

“The next step must be the conclusion of a ceasefire agreement on all of Syria’s territory,” he said. “Trump during the campaign was saying that he thinks it’s right to normalize Russian-American ties and said it for sure won’t get worse as it can’t get any worse,” Putin said.  
Ties between Moscow and Washington hit their lowest point since the Cold War under President Barack Obama due to the Ukraine crisis and Russia’s military intervention in Syria. “He went to the end, though nobody believed that he would win except us,” Putin said. Moscow has been conducting an air campaign in Syria in support of long-time ally Assad since September 2015 and has taken steps to boost its presence in the country. ‘Liberation’ of Aleppo
While Putin was offering warm words for the incoming US leader, he was also flexing Russia’s muscles as the key power broker on the conflict in Syria. “The liberation of Aleppo from radical elements is a very important part of the normalization in Syria, and I hope, for the region overall,” Putin told defense minister Sergei Shoigu in a meeting aired just as the press conference was starting. “I agree and together we’ll think about how to make them better,” he said, adding he would head to the US for talks if Trump invited him. But the election of Trump, whom praised Putin as a strong leader, has provided a surprise boost for the Kremlin, though the Russian economy is still struggling due to Western sanctions and lower oil prices. Putin, however, backed Trump’s rejection of the allegations, insisting “as the president-elect said entirely correctly, who knows who these hackers were?”
The Russian leader also sought to play down a potential nuclear stand-off with the future US president, a day after they both pledged to bolster their nuclear capabilities. Russia forged a deal with Turkey — which supports groups seeking to topple Assad — that saw rebel fighters and civilians leave Aleppo. Russia’s defense ministry said in October that Moscow was poised to transform the Tartus facility into a permanent base, without providing a timeline for its transformation. At his annual end-of-year press conference, the confident Kremlin strongman praised Trump for tapping into the public mood in the US to claim his surprise win in November. Putin said later during his marathon press conference that he hoped that fresh peace talks could get all sides in the conflict to agree to a nationwide ceasefire. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday appeared to cozy up to US President-elect Donald Trump while asserting his authority as the key powerbroker in Syria. In another sign of strength, as he was addressing journalists, the Kremlin said Putin had signed an order to expand Russia’s naval facility in the Syrian city of Tartus. Officials in the US have accused Russia of cyberattacks aimed at interfering with the US vote, with some alleging Moscow sought to tip the balance in favor of Trump. Putin said that the presidents of Turkey, Iran and Syria had agreed to take part in new peace talks, which Russia had proposed take place in the Kazakh capital Astana. The Syrian army said late Thursday that it had retaken full control of Aleppo, scoring its biggest victory against opposition forces since the civil war erupted in 2011. Putin insisted there was “nothing unusual” about Trump’s call in a tweet Thursday to bolster America’s nuclear capability, hours after the Russian leader ordered his top brass to strengthen Moscow’s “nuclear potential.”
“We will never look to be dragged into an armed race and to spend resources that we can’t afford,” Putin said, after insisting he understood the US was the stronger military power but “we just say that we are stronger than any aggressor.”

Credit:

Ploughshares fund, based on data from the Federation of American Scientists.

Pozole, songs and the things that survived colonization

The language, well, things are better now, but when people would hear my accent they’d look at me like I was from another planet. Just a mortar and pestle, that was all we had. “But honestly, the hardest part was being without your grandma. You can build a home here. My grandmother is singing. Generations later, the legacy of Europeanization is still strong. “Your mom and I found so much joy here. When slightly browned, toss into blender with 6 cups of water. “Of course it was hard,” says my mother. A small part of you knows you’ll never be home again. They say you can never really go back home once you leave. Mom came to Arizona in 1981; grandmother followed two years later. Garnish with limes and chopped cabbage and serve. And speaking their language. Even the slights, you learn to laugh at them. Our ancestors have eaten it for generations dating back to the Aztecs, and it’s been passed down almost religiously since. Something you can’t put your finger on, and you’re happy, but it’s always there in the background. The years pass, but inevitably each Christmas I find myself back in our little space. But somehow the kitchen is just as it’s ever been. Attempts to keep our indigenous traditions alive are met with skepticism   and, sometimes, violence. People who had met her multiple times! Well, you three have pale skin and she didn’t, so of course, she had to be hired help.”

Natascha Uhlmann’s mother as a young girl in rural Mexico. A man in line didn’t like that she was using coupons — so he called her a “f*****g beaner”. “Mostly though, right now anyway, it’s funny to us. Makes 4 servings. She’d packed one shirt, maybe two, and a suitcase filled to the brim with those damn peppers. I couldn’t stand to be away from her, alone in this new place, learning a new tongue, thrust in the middle of a new culture. She never sings any more —   she says she’s no good at it. I think back to my grandmother’s skin lightening cream — and the news from family that a Nahuatl man was assaulted this month while practicing his Sun Dance in a public square in Obregon, Mexico. What would you do when things got lonely?”
“It was hard, but your mom was brave for doing it. Capitalizing on internal strife within the Aztec Empire, the conquistadors quickly formed alliances with nearby indigenous groups. But it’s never really home.”
The pozole bubbles, the scent starts to fill the kitchen. I start humming, Aca Entre Nos, a song I haven’t heard in a while. It’s easy to forget how much things have changed since then. Mom and I are making pozole, and the scent of roasted chilies brings family wafting in and out, hoping for the first taste. Reduce to medium heat and stir constantly. Your mom and I would spend hours peeling the chilies, grinding the peanuts — it was all by hand, in those days. I’d never laughed so hard in my life.”
“Was it hard?” I ask, though of course I know the answer. Once liquefied, return to stove and add the hominy, allowing the stew to simmer for 30 minutes. One time your aunt came with a suitcase full. So this store-bought stuff, well of course it just wasn’t the same.”
My mom steps in: “When your cousins would visit us from down south, we wouldn’t ask for gifts or souvenirs or anything. But you’ll still find yourself grasping for something. People who knew your names! When the Europeans came, they brought cows, pigs and chickens, fearing that the indigenous, plant-centered diet would make them like us. And wearing their clothing. “Did you ever feel unwelcome here? That it was why our kids were small and weak. Just chilies. I’ve been begging her for weeks to teach me to make pozole. She knows I worry, so she’ll say that things have changed, but just last week someone made a racial slur to her while she was in line at the grocery store. How could it be? And we almost forgot how to speak our own.”

When the Spaniards first reached Mesoamerica in 1517, they saw not a world of rich culture and traditions worth engaging, but one that could be exploited and bent to their will. But when she cooks, she lets go of that sort of thing, if only for a short while. Natascha Uhlmann is a writer and activist from Sonora, Mexico. Credit:

Natascha Uhlmann/PRI

Ingredients:
500 grams of hominy
3 red tomatoes
1 medium sized avocado
1 head of garlic
5 guajillo chilies
3 arbol chilies
3 pasilla peppers
1 1/4 cup onions
1 lime
Cabbage (to taste)
Preparation:
Place the tomatoes in a pan on high heat, letting them blacken on each side. It’s a savory stew brimming with hominy and ancho chilies. Even just for a few months. It was never the same, though. Were people kind? Credit:

Natascha Uhlmann/PRI

“You know,” my grandmother starts to tell me, “when we first moved here, we would eat pozole from a jar. “You know,” she starts to tell me, and I try not to protest the interruption of her singing, “when the colonizers came they told us our food was no good. “You know,” my mother says, “your grandmother used to love this song.”
How to make my grandmother’s pozole

Pozole, a dish that comes from the indigenous people of Mesoamerica. We couldn’t find any of the ingredients, only the store-bought stuff. Everything I’d ever known was suddenly different. I think I’m starting to understand that. You can build a life here and surround yourself with the people you love. We just couldn’t get them here. Eventually, I got braver and started giving it right back!”
She tells me things are better. Moctezuma, ruler of the Aztec Empire, ordered his subjects to welcome the explorers, hoping their hospitality would be repaid in kind. A mariachi croons softly in the background on my grandmother’s old cassette player. When Natascha Elena’s grandmother first moved to the US, they ate the savory stew from a jar. The chilies for pozole. The new livestock upset the delicate ecological balance and it wasn’t long before we had to adapt to their diets. When your mom would go out with you kids, when she’d take you to the park or go grocery shopping with you, they’d always think she was the maid. But would their food make us like them? It was hard, though, the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” my grandmother says. Credit:

Courtesy of Elena Buenrostro

My mom laughs, but I wonder how many times she’s forced that laugh before. Instead, they seized Moctezuma as a hostage and pillaged   the capital of Tenochtitlan, today known as Mexico City. So we started eating their foods. That it will always be different. When sufficiently darkened, throw in minced garlic, whole guajillo and arbol chilies, pasilla peppers and chopped onions. My grandmother is back to singing now, and I’m lost in my thoughts.

It has nothing to do with holiday spirit. Why your Christmas tree loses its needles.

Chastagner says the biggest factor in needle loss actually has to do with tree genetics. “Some tree species are predisposed to shed needles much more so than others,” Chastagner says. While ethylene helps fruits ripen, one Canadian study has found that in cut balsam fir, the hormone seems to signal that it’s time for the tree to drop its needles. “Does it have good color?” he asks. “If you look nationally at what the most common species are, they would be Fraser fir, balsam fir, Douglas fir, noble fir,” he notes. going on that’s associated with needle loss.”
In the future, we may just bring home Christmas trees that are genetically predisposed to keep their needles, even when dry. It’s not clear. And as they dry out, then they become more rubbery, and they bend a lot more.”
If you have questions at the Christmas tree lot, keep an eye out for Chastagner. You shouldn’t see any needle loss on the tree, particularly green needles.”
Chastagner adds that you can also test the needles themselves for freshness: “There are certain species that you can actually take the needles off of the tree and sort of try to bend them between your fingers,” he says. “We see needle loss on trees that are stored outdoors where there’s lots of air movement, and you wouldn’t expect ethylene to be the contributing factor there,” he says. Professional curiosity gets him out to see quite a few tree retailers during the holidays – even on his days off. “At this time of year when I’m on vacation, or like at Thanksgiving [when] I’m visiting my son and his family … I usually take a few days to go visit the Christmas tree lots,” he says, laughing. Pick out the freshest possible tree. According to his research, species like noble fir and Fraser fir naturally come out well, showing very little needle loss for six or more weeks after harvest. would be extremely helpful for the Christmas tree industry and consumers.”
In the meantime, he has some suggestions for shoppers heading to find their perfect tree. “Being able to develop genetic markers that would allow us to test an individual tree and tell genetically whether or not it’s a source that has good needle retention … “Do the needles appear nice and green [and] relatively soft, they’re not falling off? PRI.org

Last year, Americans took home 25.9 million live Christmas trees, according to a survey by the National Christmas Tree Association. “You know, so that under natural conditions it wouldn’t continue to dry to a point where the tree would be damaged,” he says. “It’s sort of a defense mechanism that trees have.”
In his ongoing research, Chastagner is also focusing on a less-understood cause of needle loss in conifers: Ethylene, a naturally-occurring plant hormone. And once indoors, one conifer species doesn’t necessarily stay fresh as long as another does. We all have our own ideas about the qualities that make a winning tree — from the perfect cone shape, to “fits perfectly in the living room.” But for Gary Chastagner, a plant pathologist at Washington State University, there’s another can’t-miss criterion: How long will the tree keep its needles? These studies have just started.”
But early signs in Chastagner’s ethylene research already suggest there might be more to the needle-loss puzzle. “We currently have a project underway to look at the role of ethylene in needle loss in a broader range of species,” he says, “and we sort of have a mixed result at this point in time. With the holidays just around the corner, another tradition is in full swing for many Americans: choosing the perfect Christmas tree.Player utilitiesPopout
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downloadListen to the Story. “So there may be more than one thing … First rule of thumb at the tree lot? Chastagner explains that a tree will drop needles as a protective measure if it begins to dry out. While a fresh, woodsy-smelling fir marks the start of the holidays, a dry, thinning tree can send the fun right out of the room — leaving a trail of crunchy needles in its wake. This article is based on an interview that aired on PRI’s   Science Friday. But properly caring for indoor Christmas trees can also help stave off needle loss, by keeping trees hydrated. “And if the needles are off of a tree that has a really high moisture content, they’ll snap just like a carrot stick.

Fossil hunters have hit pay dirt in northeastern China

Why haven’t we found any bird fossils from those intervening years? Teeth. sanctus fossils don’t sport these plumes, however, suggesting that they’re a male sexual trait used in courtship. The fossil record and the rock record has gaps, and we just don’t know of any rock that dates back to between 150 and 130 million years ago that has avian remains. As a result, most of the bird fossils are nearly complete, with large portions of plumage and, sometimes, the outline of skin etched into the rock. That’s not surprising; animal traits have evolved throughout hundreds of millions of years, and some traits that are found in the fossil record are no longer in existence. I can’t imagine having a toothed bird.It would put your lovebird bite to a new level of pain. The fossil record tells you that these dinosaurs are the closest relatives to birds, and they are not like   T-rex. We talked about the 20 million-year fossil gap between   Archaeopteryx   and the Jehol avifauna. But that’s a hypothesis. The majority of the Mesozoic birds were toothed, but there’s no toothed bird alive today. (The term is a historic reference to a region ruled centuries ago by the Khitan Empire.)
Throughout most of the 20th century, available fossil evidence suggested that birds didn’t flourish until after their close cousins, the dinosaurs, succumbed to a space rock. It seems like that would be quite a find.It would.  

Credit:

Stephanie Abramowicz, from “Birds of Stone”

Feathers, of course, are a defining characteristic of birds. And then you fast-forward 20 million years into the Jehol, and you have an enormous diversity of avians. But there’s also a fact in nature that not all species have the same abundance. Fossil hunters have found many well preserved specimens in shale formations around Sihetun, a village in the countryside of Liaoning Province. How well have feathers been preserved in the Jehol fossils, and how do they compare with those of modern bird feathers?The feathers are beautifully preserved. Credit:

Stephanie Abramowicz, from “Birds of Stone”

Is there a bird species that’s most common to the Jehol fossils?In terms of a species — the way we understand it in modern biology, like   Homo sapiens — there’s   Confuciusornis sanctus   [which translates to, “sacred bird of Confucius”]. They may exist somewhere in vast, unexplored regions of our planet. But a bonanza of specimens from the Jehol “have radically transformed our understanding of the lives of birds,” write the authors of   Birds of Stone, a new book that focuses primarily on the Jehol avifauna. From an anatomical point of view, there’s some evidence of modernity that you see in the skeletons of the birds that are very close to living birds in an evolutionary context, yet they’re not that far from some of the others that became extinct. They don’t realize that there are many dinosaurs that have been found in the fossil record that are very bird-like, that would have been the size of a chicken or something like that, with feathers, some of them even with beaks, and without teeth. There are aspects of the ecology and behavior that could have contributed. Those fossils could answer a number of questions. Like modern birds, Jehol birds of the now-extinct enantiornithine lineage showed lots of variation in skull shape and size. Yanornis martini is a primitive member of the ornithuromorph lineage, the group that includes all living birds. Credit:

Stephanie Abramowicz, from “Birds of Stone”

There were multiple lineages of birds that existed during the time of the Jehol avifauna, but only ornithuromorphs — the group that includes all living   birds — survived. What, in your mind, is the most important revelation about bird evolution that the Jehol Biota has afforded us?It’s hard to say just one. The   discovery of feathered dinosaur fossils in the 1990s then set off a frenzy of digging, and   hunters have since   uncovered thousands of bird fossils in fine shale deposits across western Liaoning Province, northeastern Hebei Province, and southeastern Inner Mongolia. That doesn’t mean that next week someone won’t find them. When you go to Central Park, you’re going to find a lot more of those three species of birds, and then you’re going to find the occasional hawk or the occasional woodpecker. We also know that there was volcanic activity in the area, so you could imagine a mountain range of some size. There are no obvious places where you would go and explore. Occasionally there’s a better preserved skeleton, but by no means are there the feathers, the soft tissues, all the complete skeletons and so on that you have in the other deposits. The fossils are broken up, they’re single bones. For instance, Longipteryx chaoyangensis had an elongated snout with large teeth—the better to catch fish. Where could they be?That’s the million-dollar question. If you take the avian fossil record at face value, you have   Archaeopteryx   150 million years ago, and it’s a poorly diverse avifauna. Many were aquatic birds and perhaps fared better with the catastrophic event that led to the extinction of many of the terrestrial land animals, like the large dinosaurs. So that’s a big gap. “Numerous fossils of Mesozoic birds have been unearthed from sites around the world, but nowhere in such abundance, diversity, or superb preservation as in northeastern China,” the authors write. Fine sediment quickly encased   the carcasses in a benthic tomb, hindering their decomposition. Credit:

Stephanie Abramowicz, from “Birds of Stone”

No one has a good answer for that. And it could be that the abundance of fossils that we have of   Confuciusornis   reflects a real abundance of that species, for whatever reason, in the environment in which it lived. Our picture of bird evolution has changed dramatically over the past three decades, thanks to an avian fossil jackpot in northeastern China. The quality of those fossils has provided information about the evolution of the biology of birds in ways that we did not know before, from aspects that relate to how these animals grew up, to their physiology, to their diet, to their flight performance, and to the way they looked. Perhaps these animals lived by the lakeshore [where lake sediment could have preserved their carcasses], and perhaps they were more gregarious and formed big flocks. Some of the fossils also preserve the ultra-structure of these feathers, like, for example, small organelles called melanosomes — the little sacs that contain the pigment melanin that gives color to many feathers. Some people argue that maybe there’s more than one species of   Archaeopteryx, but the specimens are all very similar. Credit:

Stephanie Abramowicz, from “Birds of Stone”

Researchers dug up the first Jehol fossils in the late 19th century, but it wasn’t until the 1980s that paleontologists found   avian remains in the region. Can you paint a picture of what their environment was like in general?The deposits that contained the fossils are lakebeds, so we know that there were a number of lakes in the area, probably connected by streams, and we know that there were forests, because of the paleobotanical record that we have. Depending on the concentration of the different kinds of melanosomes that you find in a feather, you could infer the color of the fossil feather. The enantiornithine lineage first appeared in the fossil record about 131 million years ago, and Protopteryx fengningensis is perhaps the most primitive known member. Coarsened pads protected the toes of Sapeornis chaoyangensis, which might have used its clawed feed to subdue prey. Those places don’t need to be enormous — they could be as simple as a small pond in some national park in the American West. Confuciusornis sanctus is the most primitive example of a beaked bird. The pristine fossils stem   from a rare confluence of environmental conditions that occurred over millions of years. What do you think is a common misconception that people still have about the relationship between birds and dinosaurs?I think that, for most people, when they hear the word ‘dinosaur,’ they see a   T-rex, a   Triceratops. For example, 120 million years ago, flowering plants — the dominant plants that we see today — were just beginning to evolve. But the enormous paleontological wealth that we have in the Jehol—and that continues to grow—has provided us with a perspective of avian diversity during the Mesozoic that we had no idea existed. Numerous recent fossils, and many from the Jehol Biota, have provided pretty convincing evidence that birds descended from a group of carnivorous dinosaurs. These ancient remains, dating back 120 to 131 million years ago, are part of a diverse assembly of animal and plant fossils collectively known as the Jehol Biota. That tells you that those 20 million years are critical for understanding the pattern of that explosion of avian diversity. It has been proposed that the ecology of the basal ornithuromorphs may have played a role in their survival. Look at how many pigeons, sparrows, and starlings you find in New York City. Credit:

Stephanie Abramowicz, from “Birds of Stone”

The earliest known bird fossils in the Jehol Biota are nearly 20 million years younger than the fossils of the oldest bird we know of,   Archaeopteryx, which lived in what is today southern Germany. I think that there’s a lot of work that needs to be done to answer that question. What were some of the significant traits that kept them going? It had fluffy, down-like feathers covering its body and a pair of long ornamental tail feathers. This story was first published by Science Friday with Ira Flatow. We recently chatted with paleontologist Luis Chiappe, one of the authors of   Birds of Stone   and the vice president for research and collections at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, to learn more about the stories that these shale deposits tell about avian evolution. You get to see the barbs, you get to see the shafts. Of course, the cast of species would have been different. What are some other distinctive features that are present in the Jehol bird fossils that modern birds are missing?The most obvious one? Lakes swallowed many birds (and other organisms) when they died — sometimes en masse, in volcanic eruptions. The latitude was approximately where it is now, in the low 40 degrees, so you’re looking at a temperate setting with warmer summers and cool winters. Are there any other major gaps that hinder our understanding of bird evolution?You have a really long period of time—70–80 million years—after the Jehol in which we do have records of birds, but not with the preservation quality and abundance that we know for either the Jehol or a combination of sites that are in Europe and North America [that date back to around 50 million years]. You’re looking at a critical junction in the story of how birds became birds. Some of the feathers that are found in the Jehol don’t exist in birds anymore — they’re essentially extinct as a type. A defining feature in many of its fossils is a pair of extremely long feathers. Why is there such a preponderance of that particular bird?That’s not an easy question to answer. Interestingly, you can, in the lab, create some of the early phases of tooth formation by stimulating developmental genes in bird embryos that would then produce tooth buds. Overall, ornithuromorph fossils reveal features that are better suited for a terrestrial or semiaquatic lifestyle rather than arboreal living, such as a larger size and lack of perching adaptations. So you would have had a lot more conifers and ferns in the undergrowth of the forest. But that’s very difficult to know. It was probably adapted for an arboreal lifestyle, given its small size and feet capable of perching. Thousands of specimens of that particular species have been collected from the Jehol. Some C. The Jehol birds flourished during the first half of the Cretaceous Period.

Suspect in deadly Berlin market attack shot dead in Italy

But it has suffered a spate of smaller attacks, including two in July that left 20 people injured, both committed by asylum seekers and claimed by the Islamic State group. But her assuring message failed to dampen criticism of what many politicians and newspapers slammed as glaring security failures leading up to Monday’s attack. He was released in 2015 and made his way to Germany. “It’s clear that a lot went wrong… Organisers dimmed festive lights and turned down the Christmas jingles as a mark of respect for those killed. The Tunisian man suspected of carrying out the Berlin truck attack was shot dead by police in Milan on Friday, Italy confirmed. Neumann argued that German security services lacked the manpower to maintain around-the-clock surveillance of the 550 known radical Islamists in Germany. In Tunisia, a brother of the fugitive had appealed to him to surrender and said: “If my brother is behind the attack, I say to him ‘You dishonor us’.”
‘Systemic failure’
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday she was “proud of how calmly most people reacted” to the country’s deadliest attack in years. The government has appealed for people to carry on as normal and not to give in to fear. Victims were also honored with candles, flowers, letters of condolence and signs reading “Love Not Hate”. German police said Amri steered the 40-tonne truck in the attack after finding his identity papers and fingerprints inside the cab, next to the body of its registered Polish driver who was killed with a gunshot to the head. Amri had been missing since escaping after Monday’s attack in central Berlin. Among the dead were six Germans, 60-year-old Israeli Dalia Elyakim, and a young Italian woman called Fabrizia Di Lorenzo. “Germany’s anti-terrorism structure is failing to match the scale of the problem,” he told news channel NTV. Identity checks had established “without a shadow of doubt” that the dead man was Amri, the minister said. News weekly Der Spiegel reported that in wiretaps, Amri could be heard offering to carry out a suicide operation, but that his words were too vague for an arrest warrant. Shortly after his arrival in Italy he was sentenced to a four-year prison term for starting a fire in a refugee centre. On Thursday, Berliners flocked to the reopened Breitscheid square Christmas market that was targeted in Monday’s carnage. Conservative lawmaker Stephan Mayer, a critic of Merkel’s liberal stance on refugees, said the case “held up a magnifying glass” to the failings of her migration policy that brought almost 900,000 asylum seekers to Europe’s top economy last year. Germany had until now been spared the jihadist carnage that has struck neighboring France and Belgium. it is a totally different situation.” A Europe-wide wanted notice had offered a 100,000-euro ($104,000) reward for information leading to Amri’s arrest. Officials earlier revealed that Amri was a rejected asylum seeker with a history of crime, had spent years in an Italian jail and had long been known to German counter-terrorism agencies. “Once the dust settles, it will be important to have a fundamental rethink.”
‘In the crosshairs’
While the security debate rages, and is set to intensify in the election year 2017, many Germans were looking ahead to Christmas Eve on Saturday, the country’s most important festival. Italy’s interior minister Marco Minniti told a press conference in Rome that Amri had been fatally shot after firing at police who had stopped his car for a routine identity check around 3:00 a.m. Berlin public broadcaster RBB reported that police filmed Amri heading into a Berlin mosque on Tuesday —   after the attack —   at a time when the investigation was still focussed on a Pakistani suspect who was later released. Forty-eight others were injured. it was a systemic failure,” said Peter Neumann, professor of security studies at King’s College London. Merkel said Germany had “known for a long time that we are in the crosshairs of Islamic terrorism. On Friday, a memorial concert was planned at the iconic Brandenburg gate under the theme of “Together Berlin”. Amri had been monitored since March, suspected of planning break-ins to raise cash for automatic weapons to carry out an attack —   but the surveillance was stopped in September because Amri was mostly active as a small-time drug dealer. He had links to Italy, having arrived in the country from his native Tunisia in 2011. Anis Amri, 24, was accused of killing 12 people and wounding dozens more in Monday’s assault on a Christmas market, which has been claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group. And yet, when it happens…