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Headline Reads

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Headline Reads

3 Compelling Stories from Home & Away

By Emily Maxwell
Associate Editor

INTERNATIONAL – from cnn.com

globe-icon-blackChina tells gaming arcades to ban children outside school holidays

China is taking steps to curb online gaming addiction by ordering arcades and computer cafes to deny access to minors outside public holidays.

From January 2020, entertainment businesses should not allow minors to log on, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism said in a statement posted on its website Wednesday.

“(This will) promote the healthy development of the industry and meet the growing needs of the people for a better life,” the statement said.

Enterprises that create gaming equipment are encouraged to tap into China’s “traditional culture” and “actively promote the core socialist values,” the statement added.

Sun Lei, a senior consultant at Beijing’s TA law firm, said a ban was already in place but it had rarely been enforced. He saw the announcement as a warning by Beijing that it is serious about addressing the problem.

“It is certainly a part of re-emphasis of the government on gaming addiction,” he said. “But whether it will be effective is still unclear.”

In recent years, the Chinese government has sought to reverse what it sees as a growing trend of gaming addiction in people under 18. Earlier in November, it announced a curfew, banning gamers whose registered age is under 18 from playing online between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m.

On weekdays, minors are only allowed to play up to 90 minutes, and up to three hours during weekends and holidays.

Sun said it was not clear whether the law could be enforced, given the number of machines that would have to be monitored.

NATIONAL – from npr.org

united-states-icon-blackBarr Announces Plan To Address Crisis Of Missing And Murdered Native Americans

U.S. Attorney General William Barr announced a national plan on Friday to increase the federal government’s role in reducing the number of Native Americans who are murdered or reported missing every year.

Barr announced the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Initiative after a meeting with tribal leaders and law enforcement officials at the Flathead Reservation in Montana, home of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.

“American Indian and Alaska Native people suffer from unacceptable and disproportionately high levels of violence, which can have lasting impacts on families and communities,” Barr said in a statement. “Native American women face particularly high rates of violence, with at least half suffering sexual or intimate-partner violence in their lifetime. Too many of these families have experienced the loss of loved ones who went missing or were murdered.”

As NPR’s Camila Domonoske reported last year, “Native women living on tribal lands are murdered at an extremely high rate — in some communities, more than 10 times the national average, according to research funded by the Department of Justice. And in part because of jurisdictional challenges, the disappearances can be hard to track and prosecute.”

And the crisis is not confined to reservations since more than 70 percent of Native Americans in the U.S. live in urban areas. A study by the Urban Indian Health Institute found that in 2016 there were 5,712 reports of missing American Indian and Alaska Native women and girls, but the Justice Department’s database of missing persons database only logged 116 cases

ALASKA – from ktoo.org

alaska-icon-blackStudy finds marine mammal viruses are traveling between oceans as sea ice recedes

As sea ice in the Arctic decreases due to climate change, it’s opening the way for more than cruise ship travel. Scientists have found evidence that links the decline of sea ice to the emergence of a virus in Arctic marine mammals that has killed thousands of seals in European waters.

While the virus isn’t proving harmful to Arctic species and those who subsist on them, its presence highlights a new disease risk for the region.

In two outbreaks — one in 1988 and another in 2002 — the Phocine distemper virus, PDV, killed thousands of European harbor seals in the North Atlantic Ocean. University of California Davis researcher Tracey Goldstein said the virus spread to multiple species but hit seals the hardest.

“The virus in seals causes them to have respiratory disease. They get pneumonia,” Goldstein said. “It also affects their neurologic systems, so you’ll see animals coming up on the beaches coughing, some of them having seizures, being unaware of their surroundings.”

The disease is native to the Atlantic Ocean, but in 2004, PDV was found in Arctic sea otters for the first time.

Since the early 2000s, the Arctic has seen declining sea ice, opening new open water pathways between the Arctic and Pacific Oceans. A 15-year study published this month by Goldstein and other UC Davis researchers found that the new pathways are allowing contact between Arctic and sub-Arctic populations. Goldstein says that means diseases can also be carried across oceans.

“As ice changes, and animals move further, they will come in contact with new species and bring whatever it is that they normally have that may not be killing them into the Arctic,” Goldstein said. “And so we just have to be aware of that and continue to monitor for that.”