November 23, 2018

by Abigail Staggemeier
Director of Operations

California wildfires have raged for nearly two weeks, killing 87 residents, leaving 600 unaccounted for, and leaving state residents confounded as to the best way to recover from inflicted damage.


Recent rains have provided immense aid to firefighters, and are now projected to all but extinguish the blaze. While the downpour is welcomed by all in the threatened areas, some residents have preemptively taken matters into their own hands. The hiring of private firefightersa solution preferred by the likes of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West-is a popular, albeit costly, option. For-hire firefighters have become increasingly common as a part of coverage plans offered by insurance companies which have a contract with the out-of state-company, Wildfire Defense Systems. The Montana-based company dispatches private firefighters and fire-fighting equipment upon receiving clients’ requests.

In what has been referred to by the New York Times as the ‘most significant strike against Chinese interests in Pakistan’ a mix of four local residents and police officers were killed in an attempted terrorist attack at the Chinese consulate in Karachi, Pakistan. Chinese government officials have condemned the attack, and the foreign ministry in Beijing is calling upon Pakistani nationals to increase security measures for Chinese citizens residing in the country. The Balochistan Liberation Army, a militant separatist group, takes credit for the strike. While an official motive remains unclear, it is believed that the attack is a sign of protest against the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a series of investments relating to Chinese/Pakistani infrastructure developments designed to connect Pakistan’s Arabian Port of Gwadar to Xinjiang as part of the One Belt, One Road initiative.

Alabama native John Chau was killed after encountering an island tribe living in one of the world’s most isolated regions. North Sentinel Island, a small territory belonging to India’s Andaman island chain, is home to a tribal group that has remained completely isolated from the rest of the world. Chau, 27, decided to venture about independently after taking a boat ride to the island with local fisherman. The AFP has reported that Chau’s arrival was immediately met with a shower of arrows, and that he was killed almost instantaneously. In the interest of protecting against disease, contact with the tribes is forbidden by the Indian government, while photography and video footage of the tribe is punishable by imprisonment. The Sentinelese tribe, who are likely responsible for Chau’s death, are estimated to have a population of less than 200 people.

In happier news, things are looking up for England’s dwindling frog population thanks to an invention created by scientists at the British Herpetological Society. A growing number of mesh-covered ladders are designed to aid frogs in “get[ting] back out of the drains and back to their breeding pools” are being installed, a representative of The Warwickshire Amphibian and Reptile Team told the Huffington Post. In addition to habitat loss, drain entrapment is attributed to the decline of the country’s toad population by 68%.

Image by Ron Reiring

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