We are covering a high-stakes meeting to stop the violence and biodiversity degradation in Beirut.
Beirut shaken by sectarian fighting
At least six people were killed and dozens injured on Thursday during clashes between militias that turned the Beirut neighborhood into a war zone. Here are the latest updates.
Violence erupted in a protest led by two Shia Muslim parties – Hezbollah and the Amal movement. The protesters were demanding the removal of a judge charged with investigating last year’s massive explosion at the port of Beirut.
The fighting marked a new low in the Lebanese dynasty in political and economic crises.
Collision: Sunnis, Shias and Christians are Lebanon’s largest religious groups, and tensions between the sects and Hezbollah have often escalated into violence, most disastrously during the country’s 15-year civil war that ended in 1990.
Reference: Lebanon’s currency has collapsed, battering the economy. Bitter infighting between the authorities has blocked the way forward. The explosion at the port of Beirut exposed the consequences of what many Lebanese see as decades of poor governance.
We hear very little about the second major crisis
A high-level meeting is underway this week in an effort to halt the decline of biodiversity, which scientists say could equate climate change to an existential crisis.
The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity seeks to tackle the rapid decline of the species and systems that collectively sustain life on Earth, and comes ahead of a global climate summit in Glasgow that begins 31 October.
Many prominent scientists say the stakes are equally high in the two meetings, but the biodiversity crisis has received little attention. Humans have destroyed the land through farming, mining, logging, overfishing and much more. Scientists say transformational change is needed.
Worth quoting: “If the global community continues to see this as a side event, and they keep thinking that climate change is now really a matter of hearing, by the time they wake up to biodiversity, it may be too late,” Francis Ogwal said, leaders of a working group accused of shaping an agreement between the nations.
description: According to a major report on the state of the world’s biodiversity, the average abundance of native species in most major terrestrial biomes has declined by at least 20 percent, mostly since 1900. Lose too many players in an ecosystem, and it will stop working.
Biden expresses optimism about fight against Covid
President Biden warned that the coronavirus pandemic was not over, but said the US was “moving in the right direction.” He called on states and private businesses to support the vaccine mandate in an effort to avoid another surge in cases.
“We have important work to do and we can’t give it up now,” Biden said in a speech at the White House on Thursday. “I am calling on more businesses to step up. I am calling on more parents to get their children vaccinated if they are eligible.”
He forecast optimism amid a drop in new cases compared to a devastating heat wave.
Number: The US is now recording nearly 90,000 new infections a day, a decline of more than 40 percent since August. Hospitalizations and deaths are also falling. About 70 percent of adults are fully vaccinated, and many children under the age of 12 are likely to be eligible for their shots within a few weeks.
A new cable car and hundreds of giant murals have brightened up life in one of Mexico City’s most crime-ridden areas, but poverty and attacks against women are still rampant. Many wonder whether the beautification project will be enough to change the sense of danger.
art and ideas
what is jane goodall reading
primatologist Spoke to our Books Desk What did he learn from reading?
What books are on your nightstand?
“The Perfect Gentleman: A Muslim Boy Meets the West,” to remind me to re-read. It’s fantastic and I know the author Imran Ahmed. and “Cult: Follow My Escape and Return to the Children of God” by Bexie Cameron. I skimmed it and it is an extraordinary and chilling true autobiography.
By the end of a day of Zoom and Skype and email my eyes are too tired to read, so I turn to audiobooks. I need something relaxing. Like an Agatha Christie.
What is the last great book you read?
Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” – the author has created another world that turns out to be completely real, even when the story takes hold of you.
Was reading a big part of your life during your decades of living among wild chimpanzees? What books, or what kinds of books, did you read during that period?
I read No books, because I was completely concentrating first on the search, then watching the chimpanzees, and transcribing my field notes for the evening. each Day up in the mountains at dawn, back in the evening.
What kind of reader were you as a child? Which childhood books and authors stick with you the most?
There was no TV when I was a kid. I learned from books – and from nature. I read every book about animals I could find. Doctor Dolittle and Tarzan inspired me to dream of living with animals in Africa.
play, watch, eat
what to cook
You either like Manhattan Clam Chowder or not. (James Beard called it “awful”.)
what to watch
The subtle drama “Luzu” follows a young Maltese fisherman who is torn between his devotion to his business and the demands of the modern world.