We’re covering violence in Beirut and a high-stakes meeting to stop the collapse of biodiversity.
Beirut shaken by sectarian fighting
At least six people have been killed and dozens injured in clashes between militias that briefly turned Beirut’s neighborhoods into a war zone on Thursday. here is the latest updates.
The violence erupted during a demonstration led by two Shiite Muslim parties – Hezbollah and the Amal Movement. The demonstrators demanded the dismissal of the judge charged with investigating the huge explosion in the port of Beirut last year.
The fighting marked a new low in the descent from Lebanon in political and economic crises.
Conflict: Sunnis, Shiites and Christians are Lebanon’s largest religious groups, and tensions between faiths and Hezbollah have often escalated into violence, catastrophically during the 15-year civil war that ended in 1990 .
The context: The Lebanese currency collapsed, hitting the economy. Infighting among officials blocked the way forward. The explosion at the Port of Beirut revealed the results of what many Lebanese see as decades of bad governance.
The other great crisis that we don’t hear much about
A high-level meeting is underway this week as part of an effort to stop a collapse of biodiversity which scientists believe could equate climate change with an existential crisis.
The United Nations Biodiversity Conference aims to tackle the rapid collapse of the species and systems that collectively support life on Earth, and precedes the Glasgow Global Climate Summit, which will begin on October 31.
The stakes of the two meetings are equally high, according to many leading scientists, but the biodiversity crisis has received far less attention. Humans have destroyed land through agriculture, mining, logging, overfishing and more. Scientists say transformational change is needed.
Quote: “If the global community continues to see it as a side event, and they continue to think climate change is now the thing to really listen to, by the time they wake up to biodiversity, it may be too late. “said Francis Ogwal, one of the leaders of the task force tasked with shaping an accord among nations.
Details: The average abundance of native species in most major terrestrial biomes has fallen by at least 20 percent, mostly since 1900, according to a major report on the state of global biodiversity. Lose too many players in an ecosystem, and it will stop working.
Biden expresses optimism in fight against Covid
President Biden warned that the coronavirus pandemic was not yet over, but said the United States “was headed in the right direction.He called on states and private companies to support vaccination mandates to prevent a further increase in cases.
“We have a critical job to do and we cannot give up now,” Biden said in a White House speech Thursday. “I am calling for more businesses to step up. I call on more parents to get their children vaccinated when they are eligible. “
He projected optimism amid a drop in new cases from a devastating summer wave.
Numbers: The United States now registers around 90,000 new infections a day, down more than 40% since August. Hospitalizations and deaths are also on the decline. Almost 70 percent of adults are fully immunized, and many children under 12 will likely be eligible for their injections within a few weeks.
A new cable car and hundreds of giant murals have brightened up life in one of Mexico City’s most criminal neighborhoods, but poverty and attacks on women are still pervasive. Many wonder if the beautification project will be enough to change the sense of danger.
ARTS AND IDEAS
What Jane Goodall is reading
The primatologist spoke to our book office about what she learned from reading.
What books are on your nightstand?
“The Perfect Gentleman: A Muslim Boy Meets the West,” to remind me to reread. It’s great and I know the author, Imran Ahmad. And “Cult: follow my escape and return to the children of God”, by Bexy Cameron. I have read it and it is an extraordinary autobiography and a frightening truth.
At the end of a day of zooming, Skype and email, my eyes are too tired to read, so I turn to audiobooks. I need something calming. Like an Agatha Christie.
What’s the last great book you read?
Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” – the author has created another world that becomes totally real even when history grabs you.
Did reading occupy much of your life during the decades you lived among wild chimpanzees? What books, or what kinds of books did you read during this time?
I read no books, because I was quite focused on researching first, then watching chimpanzees, and transcribing my field notes in the evening. All day in the mountains at dawn, back at dusk.
What kind of reader were you as a child? Which childhood books and authors mean the most to you?
There was no TV when I was a kid. I learned from books – and from nature. I read every animal book I could find. Doctor Dolittle and Tarzan made me dream of living with animals in Africa.
PLAY, WATCH, EAT
What to cook