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Prehistoric Bird Once Thought Extinct Returns to New Zealand Wild (Maria)

The author writes, “In New Zealand, the return of wild takahē populations marks a cautiously celebrated conservation victory, and the return of one of the world’s rarest creatures. The birds had been formally declared extinct in 1898. … After their rediscovery in 1948, their numbers are now at about 500, growing at about 8% a year. Initially, conservationists gathered and artificially incubated the eggs, to prevent them being eaten by predators. As they hatched, the chicks were fed and raised by workers wearing sock puppets with the birds’ distinctive red beaks.”

Under Pressure From Progressives, US Declassifies Documents Related to Chile Coup (DonkeyHotey)

The author writes, “The U.S. State Department has declassified a pair of documents related to events leading up to the 1973 coup in Chile, a violent assault on democracy covertly backed by the Central Intelligence Agency. The two documents were made public late last week following renewed calls for transparency by U.S. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Greg Casar (D-Texas), and other progressive lawmakers who visited Chile earlier this month as part of a broader Latin America trip. The Chilean government and international human rights groups have also been calling for the declassification of documents containing details about the U.S.-backed coup for years.”

A Black Man Was Elected Mayor in Rural Alabama, but the White Town Leaders Won’t Let Him Serve (Al)

From Capital B: “There’s a power struggle in Newbern, Alabama, and the rural town’s first Black mayor is at war with the previous administration who he says locked him out of Town Hall. After years of racist harassment and intimidation, Patrick Braxton is fed up, and in a federal civil rights lawsuit he is accusing town officials of conspiring to deny his civil rights and his position because of his race.”

Russia’s Ghost Ships and the Evolution of a Grain Smuggling Operation (Sean)

From Bellingcat: “On June 3, 2023, the Mikhail Nenashev was heading north in the Black Sea towards the Kerch Strait between occupied Crimea and Russia. The 169 meter-long handysize vessel has long been of interest to ship and sanction watchers. It is one of several that has been accused of transporting grain from occupied eastern Ukraine via the sanctioned Port of Sevastopol in Crimea. … On June 16 it disappeared from ship monitoring services, going dark and creating what is known as an [automatic identification system] gap.”

End of an Epoch? King County, WA, May Be Down to Its Last Glacier (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “The last cluster of glaciers left in King County, which have lived on the Cascade crest only 50 miles from downtown Seattle for thousands of years, are losing their final struggles with global warming. The largest one, the Hinman Glacier, died last year. By ‘died,’ it means it melted away to the point that it’s no longer a thick river of ice that moves and flows. It thinned so much it disintegrated into fragments.”

Microplastic Pollution: Plants Could Be the Answer (Mili)

The author writes, “Could plants be the answer to the looming threat of microplastic pollution? Scientists found that if you add tannins (natural plant compounds that make your mouth pucker if you bite into an unripe fruit) to a layer of wood dust, you can create a filter that can trap virtually all microplastic particles present in water.” 

‘His Name Was Bélizaire’: Rare Portrait of Enslaved Child Arrives at the Met (Laura)

From The New York Times: “For many years, a 19th century painting of three white children in a Louisiana landscape held a secret. Beneath a layer of overpaint meant to look like the sky: the figure of an enslaved youth. Covered up for reasons that remain unspecified, the image of the young man of African descent was erased from the work around the turn of the last century, and languished for decades in attics and a museum basement. But a 2005 restoration revealed him and now the painting has a new, very prominent home at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.”


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