Associated Press

American money

U.S. Internal Revenue Service collects milestone $1 billion in back taxes from high-wealth taxpayers

Last year the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) launched a series of initiatives aimed at pursuing high-wealth individuals who have failed to pay their tax debts. The IRS says the campaign is focused on taxpayers with more than $1 million in income and more than $250,000 in recognized tax debt.

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Elderly Indian man

For the first time, India’s elderly and disabled are able to vote from home

India’s election commission now allows and facilitates home voting for the elderly and persons with disabilities in the 2024 national elections. Voters at or above the age of 85 and those with 40% disability have been given the option to vote from home. More than 17 million such voters have registered across the country, the commission said.

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Salmon in stream

The number of fish on U.S. overfishing list reaches an all-time low

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released an updated analysis of American fisheries late last week via its annual “Status of the Stocks” report, which provides an assessment of the populations of the seafood species fishermen catch and customers buy. The report states that 94% of fish stocks are not subject to overfishing. NOAA said it was able to remove Atlantic coast bluefish and a Washington coast stock of coho salmon from the overfished list.

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Spotted owl

Biden administration restores threatened species protections in the U.S. dropped by Trump

Among the changes, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will reinstate a decades-old regulation that mandates blanket protections for animals and plants newly classified as threatened. That means officials won’t have to craft specific plans to shield each individual species while protections are pending, as has been done recently with North American wolverines in the Rocky Mountains, alligator snapping turtles in the Southeast and spotted owls in California.

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Argentinian flag flying near a building

In first, an Argentine court convicts ex-officers of crimes against trans women during dictatorship

Judges overseeing a high-profile human rights trial in Argentina have convicted 11 former officials of crimes against humanity, in the South American nation’s first case to focus on the former military dictatorship’s overlooked practice of committing sexual violence against transgender women.

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Old asbestos roof

U.S. bans last type of asbestos still in use

The Environmental Protection Agency has announced that the U.S. will join 50 others nations worldwide enacting a comprehensive ban on asbestos, a carcinogen that kills tens of thousands of Americans every year but is still used in some chlorine bleach, brake pads, and other products. The final rule marks a major expansion of EPA regulation under a landmark 2016 law that overhauled regulations governing tens of thousands of toxic chemicals in everyday products, from household cleaners to clothing and furniture.

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Orchestra members playing violin

Vienna Philharmonic, once an all-male ensemble, now has 24 female musicians

A male bastion from its founding in 1842 until 1997, the Vienna Philharmonic now has 24 female players among 145 members. It is widely considered among the world’s preeminent orchestras. Harpist Anna Lelkes played with the Philharmonic for 26 years as a nonmember before she became the first woman admitted.

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Wind turbines

Offshore wind sites are delivering power to the grid for the first time in U.S. history

In December 2023, Danish wind energy developer Ørsted and the utility Eversource announced that their first turbine was sending electricity from what will be a 12-turbine wind farm, South Fork Wind, 35 miles east of Montauk Point, New York. Now, the joint owners of the Vineyard Wind project have announced the first electricity from one turbine at what will be a 62-turbine wind farm 15 miles off the coast of Massachusetts.

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A Somali flag

Somalia secures $4.5 billion debt relief deal with international creditors

The deal comes as part of a debt forgiveness program —called the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries initiative— overseen by the IMF and the World Bank. As a result of its participation in the program, Somalia’s external debt will fall from 64% of GDP in 2018 to less than 6% of GDP by the end of 2023.

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