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Drowning Island Nations: ‘This Is How a Pacific Atoll Dies’ (Maria)

The author writes, “While world leaders from wealthy countries acknowledge the ‘existential threat’ of climate change, Tuvalu Prime Minister Kausea Natano is racing to save his tiny island nation from drowning by raising it 13 to 16 feet above sea level through land reclamation. While experts issue warnings about the eventual uninhabitability of the Marshall Islands, President David Kabua must reconcile the inequity of a seawall built to protect one house that is now flooding another one next door.”

What’s in the House, Senate Bills Overhauling January 6 Count (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “The central idea behind House and Senate bills to reform an arcane federal election law is simple: Congress should not decide presidential elections. The bills are a direct response to the Jan. 6 insurrection and former President Donald Trump’s efforts to find a way around the Electoral Count Act, a 19th century law that governs, along with the U.S. Constitution, how states and Congress certify electors and declare presidential election winners. The House passed its version of the legislation on Wednesday, and a Senate committee will consider its bipartisan bill next week.”

Feds: 48 Charged in ‘Brazen’ $250M COVID Spending Fraud Centered in Minnesota (Dana)

From Minnesota Public Radio: “Federal authorities on Tuesday charged 48 people in what they described as the country’s largest COVID-19 funding scam, alleging an elaborate Minnesota-based operation stole at least $250 million in federal funds meant to feed needy children but that went instead to buy cars, luxury goods, jewelry and property in the United States, Kenya and Turkey. The alleged scheme was centered around Feeding Our Future, a Minnesota nonprofit that prosecutors say was a conduit for illegal payments and whose leaders received kickbacks. Charges include conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering and bribery.”

Turkey Braces for Fresh Influx of Russians After Putin Announces Mobilization (Mili)

From Al-Monitor: “Prices of flights to Istanbul from Moscow and other major Russian cities jumped by more than 100% [Wednesday] due to high demand following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement of partial mobilization in the country. The cost of a one-way ticket from Moscow to Istanbul ranges from $1,500 to $4,000, up by more than 100% from a day ago, according to Google Flights search data. All flights of the Turkish airliners, including the country’s flag carrier, Turkish Airlines, and budget carrier Pegasus, are booked until Sunday.” 

Ex-Putin Ally Plunges to His Death ‘From a Great Height’ at Moscow Aviation Institute (Sean)

From The Daily Beast: “An aviation expert has become the latest Russian official to fall to his death in mysterious circumstances. Anatoly Gerashchenko, the former head of Moscow’s Aviation Institute (MAI), died in a mysterious fall inside the institute’s headquarters in the Russian capital on Tuesday. The organization’s press office released a statement describing the 73-year-old’s death as ‘the result of an accident,’ adding that his untimely demise was a ‘a colossal loss for the MAI and the scientific and pedagogical community.’”

How the Climate Crisis Is Fueling the Spread of a Brain-Eating Amoeba (Russ)

The author writes, “The death of a child in Nebraska this summer put the rare but deadly Naegleria fowleri — more commonly known as brain-eating amoeba — back in the headlines. The amoeba lives in warm, fresh water and can enter the body through the nose, where it travels to the brain and starts to destroy tissue. The case underscored a troubling new reality — climate change is encouraging the amoeba to pop up in parts of the US where it isn’t typical, such as the north and west.”

Physicist Claims to Have Solved the Mystery of Consciousness (Sean)

The author writes, “How do 3 pounds of brain tissue create thoughts, feelings, mental images, and a detailed inner world? The ability of the brain to create consciousness has baffled people for millennia. The mystery of consciousness lies in the fact that each of us has subjectivity, with the ability to sense, feel, and think. In contrast to being under anesthesia or in a dreamless deep sleep, while we’re awake we don’t ‘live in the dark’ — we experience the world and ourselves. However, it remains a mystery how the brain creates the conscious experience and what area of the brain is responsible.”