Today (2017 C.E. - 2024 C.E.)

San Francisco and Golden Gate Bridge at sunset

San Francisco votes unanimously to become a sanctuary city for trans & nonbinary people

San Francisco, California has become the largest city in the United States to declare itself a sanctuary city for transgender, gender nonconforming, nonbinary, and Two Spirit people to safely receive gender-affirming healthcare. The city’s Board of Supervisors has voted unanimously to bar city officials from assisting any out-of-state investigations into individuals who obtain, provide, or help others access gender-affirming care.

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Rainforest scene

Landmark ruling in Suriname grants protections to local and Indigenous communities

A court in Suriname approved an injunction filed on behalf of twelve Indigenous and maroon groups concerned about losing approximately 1,322,013 acres of rainforest to agricultural development. The court said the government doesn’t have the right to grant land without free, prior and informed consent, a process in which developers meet with residents to explain how projects would impact daily life.

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Beach at sunset

China announces 3-year plan to combat ocean litter and clean up coastal areas

The Ministry of Ecology and Environment and three other government bodies have announced a campaign that aims to substantially clear the garbage in coastal areas by 2025, with ongoing, regular clean-ups established by 2027, Chinese news site Sixth Tone reported. It also calls for measures to be bolstered to prevent inland waste from reaching the sea.

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Credit cards in front of laptop

United States to ban medical debt from credit reports

In a sweeping change that could improve millions of Americans’ ability to own a home or buy a car, the Biden administration proposed a rule to ban medical debt from credit reports. The rule, announced by Vice President Kamala Harris and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Rohit Chopra, comes as President Joe Biden beefs up his efforts to persuade Americans his administration is lowering costs, a chief concern for voters in the upcoming election.

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03 ozone graphic

For the first time, researchers detect significant dip in global atmospheric levels of HCFCs

Almost 30 years after nations first agreed to phase out these chemicals, which were widely used for air conditioning and refrigeration, scientists say global concentrations peaked in 2021. Since then, the ozone-depleting potential of HCFCs in the atmosphere has fallen by about three-quarters of a percentage point. Though small, that decline comes sooner than expected and represents a significant milestone for the international effort to preserve the ozone layer.

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Horses on grassland

Wild horses return to Kazakhstan steppes after two-century absence

The seven horses, four mares from Berlin and a stallion and two other mares from Prague, were flown to the central Asian country on a Czech air force transport plane. The wild horses, known as Przewalski’s horses, once roamed the vast steppe grasslands of central Asia, where horses are believed to have been first domesticated about 5,500 years ago.

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Sick woman, stomach pain and hands on abdomen

U.K. researchers identify and treat major cause of inflammatory bowel disease

For the first time, a major trigger in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and related conditions has been identified, and existing drugs can stamp it out, in what scientists call a “massive step” in successfully treating these debilitating chronic conditions. Researchers at the Francis Crick Institute, in collaboration with University College London (UCL) and Imperial College London (ICL), have uncovered a problem gene enhancer that stimulates action along a specific biological pathway that causes IBD inflammation.

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Bison

Portugal welcomes first wild bison in 10,000 years as part of plan to rewild a quarter-million acres

From Poland to Romania to the U.K., European wood bison are now firmly recognized as one of the best tools for returning what little wilderness Europe has left to as wild a state as possible. In Portugal, the gradual abandonment of the Greater Côa Valley has presented an unprecedented opportunity for rewilding in the small country. The government has already set aside a quarter million acres of land for conservation.

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Tetanus vaccination

Global deaths from tetanus have been reduced massively since 1990s

Tetanus is a bacterial disease that causes paralysis and can lead to death. Globally, it was estimated to kill more than 250,000 people each year in the early 1990s. Most of these deaths were in children. By 2019, annual deaths had fallen to less than 35,000. The rollout of the combined vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis among children has been crucial in driving this.

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School of herring

Sweden to ban bottom fishing in territorial waters

Bottom trawling, a practice criticized by NGOs for impacting ecosystems, involves dragging heavy nets over the seabed, damaging ecosystems, and releasing carbon into the oceans. Sweden is set to become the second EU country to ban bottom fishing in marine protected areas, going a step further than Greece’s April decision by banning it in all territorial waters.

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