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Anti-Fracking Activist Sandra Steingraber: Why I am in Jail

Sandra SteingraberBreakfast in the Chemung County Jail is served at 5 a.m. This morning—Friday, November 21, 2014—it was Cheerios and milk plus two slaps of universally-despised “breakfast cake.” Along with trays of food—which are passed through the bars—arrive the morning rounds of meds for the inmates who take them.

Now comes my favorite time of day in jail—the two quiet hours between breakfast and 7 a.m. before the television clicks on and we are ordered to make our beds and the loud day begins. Between the end of breakfast and 7 a.m., most women go back to sleep. Now I can hear only the sounds of their breathing—different rhythms all—and, on the far side of the steel door—the occasional voices of the C.O.s (correction officers, a.k.a. the guards) and the walkie-talkie orders they themselves are receiving.

Meanwhile, my bed is already made and I have repurposed my small laundry basket—by flipping it upside down—into a table on which I am writing. And because I am a writer who is writing, I am happy.

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U.S.-China Climate Agreement Won’t Slow Warming Enough, World Bank Says

Global warmingAn agreement between the U.S. and China to curb greenhouse-gas emissions won’t slow global warming enough to prevent extreme weather that damages crops, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said.

President Barack Obama committed the U.S. to cut emissions more quickly under the deal, announced Nov. 12 in Beijing with Chinese President Xi Jinping. For its part, China pledged for the first time to cap its emissions.

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Fracking: The Downside of the Boom

Fracking downsideIn early August 2013, Arlene Skurupey of Blacksburg, Va., got an animated call from the normally taciturn farmer who rents her family land in Billings County, N.D. There had been an accident at the Skurupey 1-9H oil well. “Oh, my gosh, the gold is blowing,” she said he told her. “Bakken gold.”

It was the 11th blowout since 2006 at a North Dakota well operated by Continental Resources, the most prolific producer in the booming Bakken oil patch. Spewing some 173,250 gallons of potential pollutants, the eruption, undisclosed at the time, was serious enough to bring the Oklahoma-based company’s chairman and chief executive, Harold G. Hamm, to the remote scene.

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Polar bear population in parts of Alaska, Canada down by 40 percent

polar bearThe population of polar bears in parts of Alaska and northwestern Canada has declined by about 40 percent in the first decade of the 2000s, a new study says.

The number of polar bears found near the southern Beaufort Sea dropped to 900 from 2000 to 2010, most drastically between 2004 and 2006. The population recovered in 2007 and began stabilizing in 2009, the study, conducted by researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey, found.

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UN: World not close to avoiding dangerous warming

Climate changeThe world still isn't close to preventing what leaders call a dangerous level of man-made warming, a new United Nations report says. That's despite some nations' recent pledges to cut back on carbon dioxide emissions.

The report looks at the gap between what countries promise to do about carbon pollution and what scientists say needs to be done to prevent temperatures rising another two degrees. That two-degree level is a goal that world leaders set in 2009.

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Fracking to be allowed in largest national forest on US east coast

fracking to be allowedOver the objection of environmental groups and Virginia’s governor, a federal management plan released on Tuesday will allow a form of natural gas drilling known as fracking to occur in parts of the largest national forest on the east coast.

The US Forest Service originally planned to ban fracking in the 1.1m-acre George Washington National Forest, but energy companies cried foul after a draft of the plan was released in 2011. It would have been the first outright ban on the practice in a national forest.

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White-out conditions, bitter cold blast North, East

White ot conditions cover most of eastPlummeting temperatures and lake-effect snow brought weather havoc to much of the North and East on Tuesday, with some areas battling snow measured in feet and white-out highway conditions.

Tuesday, the U.S. awoke to its coldest November morning since 1976 , reported WeatherBell meteorologist Ryan Maue. "More than 85% of the surface area of the Lower 48 reached or fell below freezing Tuesday morning," he said.

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