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Atmospheric Carbon Might Turn Lakes More Acidic, Scientists Say (Maria)

The author writes, “The Great Lakes have endured a lot the past century, from supersized algae blobs to invasive mussels and bloodsucking sea lamprey that nearly wiped out fish populations. Now, another danger: They — and other big lakes around the world — might be getting more acidic, which could make them less hospitable for some fish and plants. Scientists are building a sensor network to spot Lake Huron water chemistry trends. It’s a first step toward a hoped-for system that would track carbon dioxide and pH in all five Great Lakes over multiple years, said project co-leader Reagan Errera of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.”

Jan. 6 Committee’s Criminal Referrals: What They Mean for Justice Dept. (Russ)

From The Washington Post: “Criminal referrals increase public awareness that the committee believes the former president or members of his inner circle broke the law. As a result, the referrals could put more pressure on prosecutors to ultimately press charges. … They could serve to hold the Justice Department accountable if prosecutors on their own are not inclined to consider charges.”

Americans Still Support Asylum for Immigrants Fleeing Persecution, Poll Finds (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “As the Biden administration prepares to end the use of a Trump-era border measure that restricts access to asylum, most Americans continue to support protections for immigrants who are fleeing persecution and torture abroad. By 55% to 23%, Americans say the U.S. should continue to offer asylum to people who arrive at the border, if they are found to be fleeing persecution, according to a new survey conducted for The Times by the YouGov polling organization.”

Belarus Leader Says Situation ‘Escalating’ Ahead of Rare Putin Visit (Sean)

The author writes, “Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko is striking a defiant tone ahead of a rare meeting this week with Russian President Vladimir Putin amid growing concerns that Belarus could be pulled into Russia’s war in Ukraine. Lukashenko, emphasizing his country’s sovereignty at a Friday meeting in Minsk on Russia-Belarus cooperation, said the situation was ‘escalating’ as he prepares to talk with Putin on Monday.”

NYC Detainee Death Rate Is Highest in 25 Years (Dana)

From Gothamist: “New York City jails are now deadlier than they have been in more than 25 years, according to an analysis of city data by Gothamist. As of [December 11], 19 people had died in city custody or shortly after being released this year, out of an average daily population of nearly 6,000 people. That is the highest since 1996, when 84 people died and the average daily population was nearly 20,000 people.”

The National Archives Is About to Release More JFK Files. Here’s What to Expect. (Sean)

From Politico: “For this nation’s army of conspiracy theorists, few long-secret government documents have whipped up so much suspicion in the 59 years since President John F. Kennedy’s death as the CIA’s massive, multivolume background file on assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. White House officials hope at least a little of that suspicion will be lifted later today, when President Biden is expected to order the National Archives to release once-classified information from about 8,000 documents related to the assassination, including many drawn from the so-called 201 ‘personality’ file the CIA maintained on Oswald before and after Kennedy’s murder.”

With Training, People in Mind-Controlled Wheelchairs Can Navigate Normal, Cluttered Spaces (Mili)

The author writes, “A mind-controlled wheelchair can help a paralyzed person gain new mobility by translating users’ thoughts into mechanical commands. Researchers now demonstrate that tetraplegic users can operate mind-controlled wheelchairs in a natural, cluttered environment after training for an extended period.”

The Last Vital Ingredient for Life Has Been Discovered on Enceladus (Kiana)

The author writes, “The last key ingredient for life has been discovered on Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus. Phosphorus is a vital building block of life, used to construct DNA and RNA. Now, an analysis of data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft reveals that Enceladus’ underground ocean contains the crucial nutrient. Not only that, its concentrations there may be thousands of times greater than in Earth’s ocean, planetary scientist Yasuhito Sekine reported December 14 at the American Geophysical Union’s fall meeting.”

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