3 top stories from home and away
By P.M. Fadden
WORLD VIEW – Occupy Rio
Brazil President, Michel Temer has deployed 30,000 troops, to Rio de Janeiro.
In a statement published by Rueters World News, the leader described organized crime to have “taken over the city.”
Admitted criminals already wanted by police for drug violence, gang leaders head heavily armed narcotic militias and are unapologetic for their criminal activities, viewing domestic military presence as a temporary inconvenience, at worst.
Two months into the army’s 10-month deployment, this metropolitan area of more than 12 million people is tenser than ever. Recent recession has gutted Brazil’s economy and Rio’s public security budget, leaving police unpaid and ill-equipped, while violent deaths have surged 35 percent, according to state figures.
Despite their role in Rio drug trade, which ravages communities and spawns bloody turf wars, gangs have long provided authority where the government does not. Gangs are tolerated, even welcomed, by many residents fearful of what they see as trigger-happy police.
Head of Brazil’s army, General Eduardo Villas Boas, says Rio should not expect quick resolution for violence which pits underfunded police against drug gangs and paramilitary militias that control large swathes of the metropolitan region.
NATIONWIDE – Conference Calls
According to recently released U.S. Intelligence reports, U.S. National Security Agency [NSA] collected 534 million records of phone calls and text messages of Americans last year, more than triple gathered in 2016.
The spike in collection of call records coincided with similar increase reported across other surveillance methods, raising questions from privacy advocates who are concerned about potential government overreach and intrusion into the lives of U.S. citizens, reports Reuters U.S. News.
Reported rise cites U.S. agency operations under a warrantless internet surveillance program of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act known as Section 702.
U.S. intelligence agencies, however, consider Section 702 a vital tool to protect national security, yet privacy advocates say the program incidentally collects an unknown number of communications belonging to Americans.
FRONTIER FOCUS – Wild and Sleepless
As climate change leads to warmer winters, later falls and earlier springs — which can disrupt both food supplies and biological rhythms — American black bears are changing their hibernation routines, scientists say.
Studies have found, for every 1 degree Celsius that minimum temperatures increase in winter, bears hibernate for six fewer days. But higher temperatures are not the only reason for lessened sleep. Studies in the Journal of Applied Ecology, found that both higher temperatures and increased food supplies decreased the amount of time bears spent hibernating, reports Alaska Dispatch News.
Human food is accessible when the bears’ natural food sources run out implying interaction between humans and bears may grow even more fraught, since climate change could extend the time bears spend awake as well as disrupt their natural food supplies, drawing them to alternate food resources.
Expansion of a practice known as the human-wildland interface, where developed land and wildlands meet, has resulted in bears and people in close approximation. Researchers at Conservation Science Partners calculated that even in the less densely populated states, as of 2011 the average natural area was just 3.5 miles away from a developed area, figures comparatively distant by State of Alaska standards.