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The Wednesday Politics Thread Runs Dry

For once I’m putting the header together in a timely fashion and turns out I can only be clever under conditions of extreme procrastination… Some weather we’re having, am I right?


‘Day Zero’: This city is counting down the days until its water taps run dry

Taps ran dry in parts of Kwanobuhle in March, and since then, thousands of residents have been relying on a single communal tap to supply their households with potable water. And the township is just one of many in the affected Nelson Mandela Bay area of Gqeberha city — formerly known as Port Elizabeth — that rely on a system of four dams that have been steadily drying up for months.

Now much of the city is counting down to “Day Zero,” the day all taps run dry, when no meaningful amount of water can be extracted. That’s in around two weeks, unless authorities seriously speed up their response.

CNN [archive]

Dozens dead, thousands homeless in Bangladesh, India floods

Monsoon rains in South Asia typically begin in June. But this year heavy downpours lashed northeastern India and Bangladesh as early as March, triggering floods as early as April in Bangladesh.

With rising global temperatures due to climate change, experts say the monsoon is becoming more variable, meaning that much of the rain that would typically fall in a season is arriving in a shorter period.

AP [archive]

Hundreds of thousands affected by floods, landslides as heaviest rain in 60 years hits southern China

Almost half a million people have been affected by floods and landslides in the Chinese province of Guangdong, according to authorities, after parts of southern China were hit by the heaviest downpours in 60 years over the weekend.

China’s annual flood season traditionally begins in June and is usually most severe in the densely populated agricultural areas along the Yangtze River and its tributaries. But it has been growing more intense and dangerous in recent years and experts have warned things could get worse.

CNN [archive]

Warnings issued over possible EU energy rationing as concerns raised over backsliding to coal

EU Commissioner Mairead McGuinness said that the idea of energy rationing may “be a reality” due to the reduced supplies of gas entering both Germany and Italy, alongside Poland and Bulgaria who have had their gas completely cut off by Russia.

Speaking in Brussels this afternoon, McGuinness, the Commissioner for financial services, warned that while the European Commission will try to avoid any kind of fuel and energy rationing, such measures may be necessary.

“Yesterday in Germany, the German Minister said we may need to look at energy rationing,” she said. “That could be a reality. It’s something we’ll try to avoid.”

The Journal [archive]

Massive rail walkout kicks off in the UK with fears of a summer of strikes over pay

Labor unions say the rail strikes — the worst in a generation — are supported by staff in other sectors, and could galvanize them to step up action in an intensifying stalemate between the government and public sector workers.

That could lead to similar walkouts by teachers, health care workers and local government staff, the TUC, Britain’s main movement for organized labor, told CNBC Tuesday.

CNBC [archive]

Police investigated over response to attack on female diners in Tangshan

Five police officials in the northern Chinese city of Tangshan are being investigated over their handling of a vicious attack on a group of women at a restaurant.

According to the state-owned Global Times, the suspects fled the scene and the police did not arrive until almost half an hour later. Nine men have since been arrested over the attack.

The attack – and violence against women more broadly – has been one of the most discussed topics in China in the past week or so. But as Chinese journalists have tried to report on it, some have complained of their trips to Tangshan being obstructed by local authorities.

The Guardian [archive]

Japan court says ban on same-sex marriage is constitutional

The Osaka District Court ruling is the second decision on the issue, and disagrees with a ruling last year by a Sapporo court that found the ban on same-sex marriages unconstitutional. It underscores how divisive the issue remains in Japan, the only member of the Group of Seven major industrialized nations that does not recognize same-sex unions.

Support for sexual diversity has grown slowly in Japan, but legal protections are still lacking for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. LGBTQ people often face discrimination at school, work and at home, causing many to hide their sexual identities.

NPR [archive]

‘We Are Not Safe’: Ethiopians Flee Massacre That Killed Hundreds

The rampage in Tole on Saturday shook Africa’s second-most-populous nation, where a surge of interethnic violence and a grueling civil war has left millions dead, displaced or in desperate need of humanitarian assistance.

There has been no official confirmation of the number of casualties yet, but witnesses and reports put it at 200 people or more.

The New York Times [archive]

East Africa leaders agree regional force to quell DR Congo crisis

Leaders of the East African Community (EAC) have agreed to send a regional force to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to quell the latest flare-up of violence that is sweeping across the northeast of the country.

The meeting comes as heavy fighting revives decades-old animosity between Kinshasa and Kigali, with the DRC blaming neighbouring Rwanda for the recent resurgence of the M23 militia.

Rwanda has repeatedly denied backing the rebels, while both countries have accused each other of carrying out cross-border shelling.

Al Jazeera [archive]

California is Poised to Ban Prostitution-Related Loitering Arrests

Senate Bill 357, authored by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), would revoke the state’s current law which bans loitering in a public place with the intent to commit prostitution—a law that advocates say is “inherently discriminatory and targets people not for any action but simply how they look.” In turn, this has resulted in the disproportionate criminalization of trans, Black and Brown women, and has also perpetuated violence toward sex workers.

The measure is sponsored in part by groups supporting gay and transgender rights such as the Equality California and Transgender Gender-variant and Intersex Justice Project (TGIJP), civil rights organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), as well as former and current sex workers.

Los Angeles Magazine [archive]


So not quite all bad news. In any event, be cool, don’t threaten anyone, and when in doubt consult the clams. Maybe stumble across something wild and crazy to spiral about?

Katherine Dunham — Born this day 1909