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Wed Feb 15 2017 (Updated 03/21/17)
Monarch Butterfly Population Drops by Nearly One Third
The annual overwintering count of monarch butterflies released on February 9 confirms Monarch numbers fell by nearly one-third from last year’s count, indicating an ongoing risk of extinction for America’s most well-known butterfly. Scientists report that this year’s population is down by 27 percent from last year’s count, and down by more than 80 percent from the mid-1990s. A survey of monarch butterflies overwintering in California shows that the Western population has not rebounded. On the West Coast of California, key sites such as Pismo Beach and Natural Bridges saw lower populations this year than in the prior year.
On January 26, Fordham University reaffirmed its ban on Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). In a letter to civil rights groups, Fordham stated its decision to ban SJP was made because the group had a “singular focus of which is the political agenda of one nation,” “is more akin to a lobbying organization,” and that SJPs on other campuses were “disruptive.” Palestine Legal and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) wrote Fordham, stating the university “misconstrues the facts, misunderstands the law, and ignores Fordham’s contractual obligations to respect students’ freedom of expression.”
Mon Feb 13 2017 (Updated 02/14/17)
Marchers in Palo Alto Demand Banks Defund DAPL
Hundreds of demonstrators took their Rolling March and Rally through downtown Palo Alto on February 11. They hit up eight banks that are responsible for helping to fund the Dakota Access Pipeline. Things got started in front of City Hall with a rally featuring indigenous speakers Dr. Maria Michael, Hartman Deetz, and Delphine Red Shirt amongst others. Marchers then made their way to Citibank, Morgan Stanley, Comerica, Bank of America, Union Bank, HSBC, Wells Fargo, and Chase banks. To the end demonstrators cried out "Mni Wiconi - Water is Life!"
On March 8, International Women's Day events are scheduled for Berkeley/Albany, Oakland, San Francisco, Cupertino, Santa Cruz and throughout Northern California. A diverse group of radical feminists issuing a call-out for an international women's strike write: In our view, it is not enough to oppose Trump and his aggressively misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic and racist policies. We also need to target the ongoing neoliberal attack on social provision and labor rights. Let us use the occasion to build a feminism for the 99%, a grassroots, anti-capitalist feminism – a feminism in solidarity with working women, their families and their allies throughout the world.
Tue Feb 7 2017 (Updated 02/10/17)
Trump's Muslim Ban Protested Nationwide
On Friday, January 27, Donald Trump issued an executive order banning refugees and other visitors from seven predominantly Muslim countries. The following day, thousands of people began to gather at airports across the United States to protest. At San Francisco International Airport, over four thousand protesters showed up in support of migrants and against the Muslim ban, virtually shutting down the airport. On Monday, courts across the nation began to weigh in, halting parts of the ban in differing regions. On February 3, a US District Court judge in Seattle ordered a nationwide stay on Trump's entire executive order.
President Trump signed executive orders on January 24 to push ahead with the controversial Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines. Both projects sparked widespread opposition and protests, especially because of their risks to water, wildlife, climate and people. On January 27, attorneys representing the first ten water protectors arrested in actions against the Dakota Access Pipeline in early August 2016 renewed their motion for a change of venue, on grounds that the state did not adequately respond to their motion and is not taking basic steps to assess bias among jurors.
A warrant from police in Arkansas seeking audio records of a man’s Amazon Echo has sparked an overdue conversation about the privacy implications of “always-on” recording devices. The story serves as a wakeup call about the potential surveillance devices that many people are starting to allow into their own homes. The Amazon echo is not the only such device; others include personal assistants like Google Home, Google Now, Apple’s Siri, Windows Cortana, as well as other devices. Digital assistants and other IoT devices create a triple threat to privacy: from government, corporations, and hackers.
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