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Thursday, Dec 08th

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Fears for all Ukraine’s nuclear plants after emergency shutdowns

Ukraine's chief inspector for nuclear safety

There are growing fears that Russia’s relentless targeting of Ukraine’s electricity grid will threaten the safety of the country’s nuclear power plants, in the wake of an unprecedented emergency shutdown on Wednesday.

Petro Kotin, the president of Ukraine’s nuclear power company, Energoatom, said that all safety mechanisms had worked as intended on Wednesday, but two generators were damaged in the process, delaying the restart of two reactors. Kotin said repeated shutdowns caused by more Russian missile attacks could cause extensive damage, with a potentially severe impact on Ukraine’s power supply and possibly on nuclear safety.

Russia kept up its onslaught on Ukrainian cities on Saturday with an attack on a residential area in the city of Dnipro which injured six people and destroyed seven houses, according to the governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region, Valentyn Reznichenko.

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Deadly Bird Flu Outbreak Is The Worst In U.S. History

Turkeys in danger of bird flu

An ongoing outbreak of a deadly strain of bird flu has now killed more birds than any past flare-up in U.S. history.

The virus, known as highly pathogenic avian influenza, has led to the deaths of 50.54 million domestic birds in the country this year, according to Agriculture Department data reported by Reuters on Thursday. That figure represents birds like chickens, ducks and turkeys from commercial poultry farms, backyard flocks and facilities such as petting zoos.

On farms, some birds die from the flu directly, while in other cases, farmers kill their entire flocks to prevent the virus from spreading after one bird tests positive. Such farmers have occasionally drawn condemnation from animal welfare advocates for using a culling method known as “ventilation shutdown plus,” which involves sealing off the airways to a barn and pumping in heat to kill the animals.

 

Heavy rain triggers landslides on Italian island, up to 12 missing as buildings collapse

Landslides on Italy's Ischia islandHeavy rainfall triggered landslides early Saturday on the southern Italian island of Ischia that left as many as 12 people missing as it cut a muddy swath through a port town, collapsing buildings and sweeping cars into the sea.

The force of the mud sliding down mountainsides was strong enough to send cars and buses into the sea at the port of Casamicciola, on the north end of the island. Streets were impassable and mayors on the island urged people to stay at home. At least 100 people were reported stranded.

There was confusion over the death toll. Italian Vice Premier Matteo Salvini initially said that eight people had been confirmed dead. The interior minister later said that no deaths had yet been confirmed, while 10-12 were missing.

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Irene Cara, Oscar-winning 'Flashdance' singer and actress, dies at 63: 'Beautiful genius'

irene Cara dies at 63Irene Cara, the voice behind Oscar-winning original song and era-defining hit "Flashdance ... What A Feeling" has died. She was 63.

News of her death was announced on her official Twitter account by her publicist, Judith A. Moose. Cara died in her Florida home of an unknown cause, the announcement said.

"It is with profound sadness that on behalf of her family I announce the death of Irene Cara," Moose wrote. "She was a beautifully gifted soul whose legacy will live forever through her music and films."

Born in New York City, Cara possessed an early talent for music and performance as a finalist in the "Little Miss America" pageant when she was 3 years old. When she was in third grade she appeared on the "Ted Mack Amateur Hour" singing "Ola, Ola, Ola."

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Greta Thunberg joins climate lawsuit against Sweden

Greta Thunberg

Climate activist Greta Thunberg joined hundreds of other youth activists in Stockholm on Friday to file a lawsuit against the Swedish government over its alleged inaction on climate change.

“Today on Black Friday is the perfect day to sue the state over its insufficient climate policies,” Thunberg said on Twitter. “So that’s what we did. See you in court!”

The 19-year-old was one of more than 600 young people who signed on to the lawsuit, which was organized and filed by the Swedish youth-led organization Aurora. The group marched to Stockholm District Court on Friday to file the suit.

“Sweden has never treated the climate crisis like a crisis,” Aurora spokesperson Anton Foley said in a statement, per The Associated Press. “Sweden is failing in its responsibility and breaking the law.”

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‘Immunity debt’ is a misguided and dangerous concept

Immunity debt is a misguided and dangerous conceptRespiratory syncytial virus is a little-known and hard-to-spell seasonal scourge that, like flu, most seriously affects children and older people. It usually triggers coughs and colds but can cause serious breathing difficulties in a small minority of infants.

RSV is so common that more than 80 per cent of UK children are infected by their second birthday — but case numbers plummeted during the Covid-19 pandemic. Measures such as masking, plus school and nursery closures, intended to slow the spread of Covid, also put the brakes on infection rates. Now the virus is resurgent, particularly in the US, with the wave hitting earlier than expected.

That has fuelled speculation that pandemic mitigations, including lockdowns, created a harmful “immunity debt”, with children left vulnerable through a lack of exposure to the usual cut and thrust of viral infections. But scientists have dismissed the concept, as applied to individual immunity, as misguided.

The discussion swirling around immunity debt shows how easy it is for a plausible-sounding theory to circulate as misinformation. In this case, misinformation risks promoting the unfounded assertion that infections are clinically beneficial to children, as well as feeding the revisionist narrative that Covid measures did more harm than good.

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Trump reportedly dines with white nationalist at Mar-a-Lago

Trump dines with white nationalist at Mari Lago

Donald Trump reportedly “dined and conversed” with infamous white nationalist Nick Fuentes at the former president’s Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach on Tuesday.

Trump’s encounter with the openly racist Fuentes – who was in the company of disgraced rapper Kanye West, now known as Ye – came one week after the former US president declared his 2024 campaign.

The interaction has prompted concerns about Trump’s willingness to engage with far-right extremists.

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Kanye West announces 2024 presidential bid amid far-right ties

Kanye West to run for prez in 2024The disgraced rapper and designer formerly known as Kanye West has said he plans to run for president in 2024, amid a series of antisemitic tirades and new far-right associations.

The declaration of his candidacy, which referenced several political figures and aides associated with US white supremacist and anti-democracy movements, would make him the second person to enter the race after Donald Trump.

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Parents File Wrongful Death Suit Against Stanford In Soccer Goalie's Suicide

Parents file wrongful death suit against Stanford

The heartbroken parents of Stanford star goalie Katie Meyer have filed a wrongful death suit against the university and officials over her suicide, according to Sports Illustrated and USA Today, which obtained copies of the suit.

Meyer, 22, was facing a formal disciplinary charge at the time for allegedly spilling coffee on an unidentified Stanford football player who had been accused of sexually assaulting another female soccer player. Meyer’s father had previously said that the teammate was a minor at the time, and his daughter was defending her.

The football player faced no “real consequence” for the accusation against him, according to the complaint.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday, reportedly states that the night Meyer died in February, Stanford “negligently” and “recklessly” sent her the formal disciplinary notice in a lengthy letter that “contained threatening language regarding sanctions and potential ‘removal from the university.’”

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