North & Central America

Fervo Energy geothermal plant

World’s biggest geothermal power purchase agreement completed in western U.S.

It’s only been one year since Fervo Energy unveiled a novel concept in geothermal energy harvesting at its Project Red pilot plant in Nevada. Now the company has signed a 15-year agreement with Southern California Edison to provide 320 MW of power to the utility, which will power about 350,000 homes. The power will be provided by Fervo’s Cape Station project that is currently being built in southwest Utah, with the first 70 MW coming online in 2026 and the balance clicking on in 2028.

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HIV virus

New twice-yearly shot to prevent HIV achieves 100% success rate in late-stage trial

In this double-blind, randomized study of 5,300 cisgender women in South Africa and Uganda, 2,134 got the injection and the others took one of two types of daily PrEP pills. The trial from California-based company Gilead Sciences began on August 2021 and, so far, not a single woman who received the injections has contracted HIV. The participants who received either of the oral PrEP options, Truvada and Descovy, had infection rates of about 2% — consistent with the infection rates of oral PrEP in other clinical trials.

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Chiquita banana

Colombian victims win historic lawsuit in U.S. court over banana giant Chiquita

Following 17 years of legal proceedings, victims of paramilitary violence in Colombia have obtained justice, as a jury found the banana company Chiquita Brands International liable for financing the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) paramilitary group. The ruling is historic because it’s the first time an American jury has held a major U.S. corporation liable for complicity in serious human rights abuses in another country. Victims’ families will receive $38.3 million in compensation.

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Lgbt pride rainbow flag during parade in the city .

Joe Biden to pardon thousands of American veterans convicted of having gay sex

Biden said he was “righting a historic wrong by using my clemency authority to pardon many former service members who were convicted simply for being themselves,” calling the law “a great injustice.” This act of clemency means that thousands of military personnel who were convicted over six decades for engaging in consensual sexual intercourse with someone of the same sex would be able to apply for a certificate of pardon that would help them gain access to benefits that were previously withheld.

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Close up of a Black-faced impala.

South Sudan launches epic effort to protect the world’s largest mammal migration

The migration has enabled animals such as the white-eared kob, tiang, Mongalla gazelle and bohor reedbuck to survive seasonal changes for decades. The South Sudanese government’s partnership with the nonprofit African Parks aims to protect up to six million animals on the east bank of the White Nile, a tributary of the Nile.

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Herd of caribou

Inuvialuit people and Canadian governments sign deal to create massive new conservation area

The Inuvialuit and the Canadian federal and Yukon governments have signed a new conservation agreement to ensure greater protection for more than 2 million acres of the Yukon’s northeast coast, 1.8% of Yukon’s landmass. The agreement provides protection and conservation of wildlife such as the Porcupine caribou herd, polar bears, and migratory birds. It will also help preserve and promote traditional use amongst Inuvialuit mostly living in Aklavik and Inuvik in the Northwest Territories who access the area.

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Silhouette of cannabis leaf

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore set to issue 175,000 pardons for marijuana convictions

During a news conference, Moore said the executive order will affect “tens of thousands of Marylanders” convicted of misdemeanors. Some may have had more than one conviction pardoned through the process. Advocates praised the move as a way of removing barriers to housing, employment, or educational opportunities based on convictions for conduct that is no longer illegal.

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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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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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