Happy Friday, Care2 readers! Here in our California office, it has been windy and rainy all day — we actually had a tornado warning this morning! But that hasn’t stopped us from bringing you the weekly wrap-up.
After a week, the official death toll from the devastating earthquake and tsunami is still rising. Now, the Japanese are worried about the nuclear reactors in Fukushima, which are emitting dangerous levels of radiation as the crisis deepens. Another worry is the earthquake and tsunami survivors, who are badly in need of food and water. Since Japan is the world’s largest food importer, it will need a lot of help from the international community in the coming months.
Take Action: For ways you can help Japan’s victims, click here.
The failure of nuclear reactors in Japan has prompted people around the world to ask if a disaster of this magnitude could happen close to home. Care2′s Kristina Chew asks, “Is the US Ready if a 9.0 Earthquake Struck?” Hopefully, earthquake-prone areas will seriously examine this question. Germany, along with many other countries, is also analyzing their nuclear facilities to make sure they are not at risk.
Nuclear power is so controversial because it is seen as a source of ‘clean energy,’ but radioactive materials are so dangerous to human health that some argue that nuclear energy is too big of a risk. Care2′s Jennifer Mueller asks the important quesiton, “Do we need nuclear power to stop global warming?”
For further Care2 coverage on the Japanese crises, click here. Best wishes to everyone affected by these horrible events. Our thoughts and hopes are with you.
Middle East Conflicts
Libya: Yesterday evening, the United Nations Security Council approved a No-Fly Zone over Libya, much to the dismay of Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi. The No-Fly Zone is a much-needed victory for anti-Gaddafi activists, who have been struggling against Gaddafi’s forces.
Elsewhere in the Middle East, entrenched governments are desparately trying to prevent opposition forces from taking hold. In Bahrain, the government of King Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa has arrested opposition leaders and declared martial law. The government in Yemen has been expelling foreign jounalists from the country for “national security reasons.” Overall, it seems as if governments in the Middle East are trying to protect themselves against further protests — although it seems that violating people’s freedoms might create even more unrest.
For up-to-date Care2 coverage on the Middle East protests, click here.
Yesterday, the House voted to cut funding for National Public Radio, despite admonitions from the Obama Administration, which stated: “Undercutting funding for these radio stations, notably ones in rural areas where such outlets are already scarce, would result in communities losing valuable programming, and some stations could be forced to shut down altogether.” Now that the bill to defund NPR has passed through the House, it moves on to the Senate.
Take Action: sign the petition to urge your Senators to vote against defunding NPR.
As NPR faces censorship, a high school English teacher in Arizona writes about her own experience being censored. Tarah Ausburn was fired from her teaching job for refusing to remove a bumper sticker from her car. In an exclusive Care2 guest post, she talks about how her termination has led her to realize how important it is to stand up for what she believes in.
Another free speech issue comes from southern California this week. As a UCLA alum, I am particularly disappointed to hear this piece of news. UCLA student Alexandra Wallace posted a three minute long racist, offensive rant against Asian Americans, condemning Asians for lacking “American manners” and talking loudly on their phones in the library. The video was quickly condemned by the UCLA community, and Wallace issued an apology, saying “I cannot explain what possessed me to approach the subject as I did.”
Speaking of people who abuse their right to free speech, 90-year-old Republican State Senator in New Hampshire Martin Harty recently stated that “Hitler did something right” when he tried to rid the population of the mentally ill. He elaborated: “I wish we had a Siberia so we could ship them all off to freeze to death and die and clean up the population.” After this outbusrt, he announced his resignation.
Animal Welfare Success Stories
This week, the animal kingdom experienced some very important successes.
Guam’s governor signed a bill to ban the sale, posession and distribution of shark fins. 70 million sharks are killed by finning every year. Hopefully, other countries will follow Guam’s lead by banning the destructive practice.
Los Angeles County passed an ordinance to protect animals raised by breeders or kept in pet stores. This ordinance is an important step against the mistreatment of pets.
After objections from Care2 readers and others, an experiment that would have caged kangaroos in small, confined areas in order to study their farts has been withdrawn from consideration in New South Wales. Thanks for your support!
In a partial victory, hunters in Russia are no longer allowed to wake sleeping bears during winter hibernation in order to shoot them. While this is a big step, the bears will still be hunted during the hunting season.
That’s it for this week! From rainy California, I wish you all a weekend filled with sunshine and sweet dreams.