Category Archives: Around the World

“They’re in cover-up mode, I’ve been cut off from any kind of information.”

AZ Central: Grand Canyon tourists exposed for years to radiation in museum building, safety manager says.

“For nearly two decades at the Grand Canyon, tourists, employees, and children on tours passed by three paint buckets stored in the National Park’s museum collection building, unaware that they were being exposed to radiation.

Although federal officials learned last year that the 5-gallon containers were brimming with uranium ore, then removed the radioactive specimens, the park’s safety director alleges nothing was done to warn park workers or the public that they might have been exposed to unsafe levels of radiation.

In a rogue email sent to all Park Service employees on Feb. 4, Elston “Swede” Stephenson — the safety, health and wellness manager — described the alleged cover-up as “a top management failure” and warned of possible health consequences.
[…]
In his letter to colleagues, Stephenson apologized for the untimely notice. He stressed that exposure may not be severe depending on how close individuals got to the source, how long they were exposed, what they were wearing, and other factors. He also emphasized that employees will not necessarily suffer health consequences, but should consider receiving a medical screening.

“Of particular concern are 1000s of children attending ‘shows’ in very close proximity to the uranium,” he wrote. Those presentations lasted a half hour or more, he said, yet radiation dosages could have exceeded federal safety standards within seconds.

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“Bus Justice Is Awesome.”

Chicago Magazine: What CTA Workers Know. “Train operators, bus drivers, and station agents are the eyes, ears, and heart of Chicago’s circulatory system. Seeing the city from their point of view reveals us at our best and our worst.”

Also:

What Cops Know. “You can learn a lot about a city by seeing it through the eyes of police officers who patrol it.” (June 26, 2017)

What Teachers Know. “Chicago’s public school instructors have one of the toughest—and most rewarding—jobs in the city. Here’s what they talk about when parents and principals aren’t listening.” (December 4, 2017)

What Trauma Docs Know. “At Chicago’s most intense ERs, the degree of mayhem rivals that of a war zone. Working there can take a heavy toll — and yield immense rewards.” (August, 2018)

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“He just can’t help himself.”

The New Yorker: A Weak and Rambling President Declares a Fake National Emergency. By John Cassidy.

“Trump’s description of the situation at the border is almost entirely fictitious, of course, but in one sense it is real. It’s a central element of the political narrative he has constructed for his white-nationalist base over the past three and a half years, and, as he helpfully sought to explain, it’s one he can’t easily back away from at this stage. “I ran on a very simple slogan: ‘Make America Great Again,’ ” he said. “If you’re going to have drugs pouring across the border, if you’re going to have human traffickers pouring across the border in areas where we have no protection, in areas where we don’t have a barrier, then it’s very hard to make America great again.”

In this carefully concocted narrative, the wall isn’t a mere stretch of concrete or steel fencing stretching along the border; it’s a symbol of national sovereignty and regeneration. But, if it’s so important, why didn’t Trump get it built during his first two years in office, when the Republicans controlled both houses of Congress? Trump’s failure to get his own party to support what was arguably his signature campaign pledge demonstrates that he is fundamentally a weak and isolated President. But, of course, he can’t admit that publicly, either. Instead, he said, “It would have been great to have done it earlier. But I was a little new to the job, a little new to the profession. And we had a little disappointment for the first year and a half. People that should have stepped up did not step up. But we’re stepping up now.” Take that, Paul Ryan!”

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“More than 5,000 migrant children in January”

NPR: Inside The Largest And Most Controversial Shelter For Migrant Children In The U.S.

“”We see a very different picture,” says Leecia Welch, senior director of legal advocacy and child welfare at the National Center for Youth Law. “We see extremely traumatized children, some of whom sit across from us and can’t stop crying over what they’re experiencing.”

She continues, “We hear stories of children who are told from the first day of their orientation that under no circumstances can they touch another child in the facility, even their own sibling, even friends who they’re saying goodbye to after many months of shared intense experience. They can’t hug them goodbye. If they do, they’re told they will be written up and it could affect their immigration case.”

Welch concludes, “We see a very different picture than the reporters see.””

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The Heroes of the Thai Cave Rescue

Maclean’s: Into the dark – The inside story of an improbable team of divers, a near-impossible plan and the rescue of 12 boys from a Thai cave.

“We were foreigners and we weren’t going somewhere foreigners often go, so when I saw the blond man across the Bangkok airport shuttle bus on our way to the remote mountains of Chiang Rai, a one-hour flight away, I asked whether he was about to do the one thing or the other: “Are you rescuing the boys or covering the rescue?”

“Well, we’re hoping we can help rescue them,” he said. He didn’t seem hopeful. He seemed grim. We stepped off the bus onto the hot tarmac and walked toward the plane.

“You never know,” I said. “It could happen.” Save 12 children and their soccer coach who got stranded three kilometres inside a flooded cave in northern Thailand at the start of the rainy season with no known food, water or swimming skills: It could never happen.

He nodded. “You never know.””

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