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What Is Cop15 and Why Does It Matter for All Life on Earth? (Maria)

The author writes, “With only a few short months until Cop15 in Montreal, governments are gearing up to create targets on biodiversity for the next decade. The world has so far failed to meet any UN targets on halting the loss of nature, yet awareness of the challenge is greater than ever. Here we examine why this UN meeting matters and how it could herald meaningful action on nature loss.”

Ginni Thomas Pressed Wisconsin Lawmakers to Overturn Biden’s 2020 Victory (DonkeyHotey)

From The Washington Post: “Virginia ‘Ginni’ Thomas, the conservative activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, pressed lawmakers to overturn Joe Biden’s 2020 victory not only in Arizona, as previously reported, but also in a second battleground state, Wisconsin, according to emails obtained under state public-records law. The Washington Post reported this year that Ginni Thomas emailed 29 Arizona state lawmakers, some of them twice, in November and December 2020. She urged them to set aside Biden’s popular-vote victory and ‘choose’ their own presidential electors, despite the fact that the responsibility for choosing electors rests with voters under Arizona state law. The new emails show that Thomas also messaged two Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin.”

‘Semi-Fascism’: The Shoe Fits (Dana)

The author writes, “Republicans are furious over President Biden’s recent remarks linking Donald Trump and his supporters to ‘semi-fascism.’ For days, they’ve been all over TV and social media, denouncing Biden’s use of the F-word. But Biden was right. Many of the ideas and tactics deployed by Trump and his apologists, including those who decry Biden’s comparison, fit the dictionary definition of fascism. Consider Rep. Jim Jordan, who will chair the House Judiciary Committee if Republicans retake the House this fall. Jordan says Biden is dividing America by ‘calling Republicans “semi-fascists.”’ But three years ago, when Trump committed an openly authoritarian act, Jordan endorsed it.”

Mississippi Is the First State to Confirm It Will Tax Forgiven Student Loan Debt, With More Waiting in the Wings (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “Mississippi is planning to tax residents’ forgiven student loan debt as income, its Department of Revenue confirmed to Bloomberg on Tuesday. The Biden administration’s student loan forgiveness plan is exempt from federal tax but may still be subject to some individual state taxes, according to an analysis by the Tax Foundation. The state’s decision is in contrast to those such as New York, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, which have introduced tax exemptions for residents who qualify for the debt forgiveness, per Bloomberg. Debt cancellations are usually considered as taxable income unless exemptions are made.”

Russian Missile Launched From Its Own Border City Misfires and Slams Into the Ground Near Residential Buildings in Latest Kremlin Blunder (Sean)

From The Daily Mail: “A Russian missile launched from the border city of Belgorod last night misfired and instead fell down on its own territory. The strike was allegedly due to hit Kharkiv but fell down near residential buildings in the city where Kremlin weaponry is stored for attacks on Ukraine. Footage shared online shows the Iskander missile tearing through the sky before it starts its rapid descent down to earth and explodes in a fireball.”

How Melting Glaciers Fueled Pakistan’s Fatal Floods (Mili)

From Vox: “Much of Pakistan is now underwater. A series of extreme floods has utterly devastated the South Asian nation, which is home to some 225 million people, washing away roads and buildings, destroying farms, and stranding hundreds of thousands. Over the weekend, which brought another bout of torrential rain, government officials said the death toll had soared past 1,000 and water had inundated as much as a third of the country. The main fuel for these catastrophic floods is rainfall. Summer is monsoon season, and this has been a particularly wet and wicked one, perhaps made worse by climate change. But there’s another culprit behind the recent devastation: melting glaciers and snow.”

How Reptiles Took Over the World (Sean)

From Mashable: “Climate change is shaping the way animals evolve, be it the way they look or behave. Similarly, climate warming that occurred millions of years ago helped reptiles evolve faster, diversify, and conquer the world, says a new study. Researchers have long believed the extinction of some of our mammalian ancestors at the end of the Permian Period (some 252 million years ago) slashed the competition for food and habitats, ultimately allowing reptiles to flourish in the succeeding Triassic Period. But the rise of the reptiles was not just about less competition, the recent study found. Reptiles started to flourish much earlier, at least 270 million years ago, thanks to intense bouts of global warming.”