Six In The Morning Wednesday 17 July 2019

US House condemns Trump attacks on congresswomen as racist

The US House of Representatives has voted to condemn President Donald Trump after a series of attacks aimed at four congresswomen.

The resolution denounced Mr Trump’s “racist comments that have legitimised fear and hatred of New Americans and people of colour”.

Mr Trump had been accused of racism and xenophobia for telling the members of congress to leave the country.

The president has since tweeted: “I don’t have a Racist bone in my body!”

Tuesday’s debate in the Democratic-controlled chamber was a highly polarised debate, with various Republicans insisting the vote itself was a breach of decorum.

A city suffocating: most polluted city in Americas struggles to change

Wood smoke smothers Coyhaique, Chile, in June and July. Yet despite the WHO ranking its air worst in the Americas, residents are reluctant to alter their habits

Photographs by Claudio Frías

by John Bartlett in Coyhaique

Wed 17 Jul 2019 

“Iwas born and raised beside a roaring fire,” says Yasna Seguel proudly, as wet snowflakes tap against the kitchen window behind her and orange flames warm an outstretched palm. A tobacco-yellow stain soaks into the table cloth as she sets her mate gourd down to select a fresh log for the fire.

Every evening through the bitterly cold winter months of June and July, the southern city of Coyhaique, the most populous in the region of Aysén in Chilean Patagonia, is smothered by a thick, fragrant blanket of damp wood smoke that clings to the hillsides.

With the city lying between two mountainous ridges – to the east lies the Pacific Ocean and behind the steep rise on the other side of the valley is Argentina – there is very little wind to sweep the smoke down the valley and away. Instead, heat inversion compresses the cloud into a dense shield that suffocates the city.

Overcrowded destinations reduced to stage sets

The tourist paradox

Getting onto Unesco’s World Heritage List means mass tourism. It can make things better or worse.

by Geneviève Clastres

Marie-Eve Cortés, cultural affairs and international relations director for Albi, in southern France, clearly remembers 31 July 2010, when the Episcopal City was added to the Unesco World Heritage List and life changed for its 52,000 inhabitants: ‘The next day, there were crowds in the streets. People were making a detour to come and see it.’ Since then tourist numbers have more than doubled, from 700,000 to 1.5 million in 2016, though there was a slight drop in 2017.

Inscription is often a seal of approval for sites that are already popular, but the ‘Unesco effect’ is real. ‘Inscription recognises the site’s quality, whether it is natural or cultural. For potential visitors, it’s like a guarantee,’ said Maria Gravari-Barbas, coordinator of the Unesco Culture, Tourism and Development chair at University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. One or two sites are added to the list each year and France has 44: 39 cultural, four natural, one mixed.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe: British-Iranian woman moved to Tehran mental ward

The family of a jailed British-Iranian woman says she has been taken to the psychiatric ward of a hospital in Tehran. The case has fueled tensions between Iran and the UK amid attempts to salvage a 2015 nuclear deal.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 40, was transferred from Evin prison to the psychiatric ward at Imam Khomeini hospital, where she is being held by the Revolutionary Guard, her father said Wednesday.

The British-American aid worker was detained in April 2016 at a Tehran airport as she was leaving the country to return to the United Kingdom with her young daughter after a family visit. She was subsequently sentenced to five years in prison for allegedly trying to overthrow the Iranian government.

She has denied all charges.

What happens when parts of South Asia become unlivable? The climate crisis is already displacing millions

Updated 0615 GMT (1415 HKT) July 17, 2019

Almost six million people are under threat from rising flood waters across South Asia, where hundreds of thousands of people have already been displaced as a result of heavy monsoon rains.

The flooding comes as India was still reeling from a weeks-long water crisis amid heavy droughts and heatwaves across the country which killed at least 137 people. Experts said the country has five years to address severe water shortages, caused by steadily depleting groundwater supplies, or over 100 million people will left be without ready access to water.
In Afghanistan, drought has devastated traditional farming areas, forcing millions of people to move or face starvation, while in Bangladesh, heavy monsoon flooding has marooned entire communities and cut-off vital roads. Especially at risk are the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees living in fragile, makeshift camps along the country’s border with Myanmar.


July 17 2019

THIS WEEK, THE Trump administration announced an unprecedented rule that would deny tens of thousands of asylum-seekers the chance to find refuge in the United States, imposing a bar to asylum for anybody who has passed through another country without applying for protection and being denied it there. The rule went into effect Tuesday, the day after it was announced, and set off an immediate storm of criticism and outcry.

Heather Axford, an attorney with Central American Legal Assistance, told The Intercept that the rule would apply to almost all of her clients. Axford described the case of Blanca — a pseudonym — who fled El Salvador after she had been “green lit” to be killed by MS-13 because she had testified against the gang members who had murdered her uncle. Blanca initially went to Mexico but was tracked down by a woman from MS-13 in the migrant shelter where she was staying. Blanca and her infant daughter were forced to continue their flight to the United States, where, this March, she was granted asylum. Axford put it simply: “She should not be required to seek asylum in Mexico if she has not found safe haven there.”