News & Features

California Agriculture Is at Risk of Greatest Water Loss To Date

Kat Kerlin

The study found that the drought — the third most severe on record — is responsible for the greatest water loss ever seen in California agriculture, with river water for Central Valley farms reduced by roughly one-third. Groundwater pumping is expected to replace most river water losses, with some areas more than doubling their pumping rate over the previous year, the study said. More than 80 percent of this replacement pumping occurs in the San Joaquin Valley and Tulare Basin.

High Rents Force New York Chinatown Retailers to Seek Out Other Locations

Rong Xiaoqing

Just a few blocks north of Chen’s crammed shop is a different world. Ten or so spacious storefronts are completely empty, with “for rent” banners on the awnings covered in dust. Some of them have been left like that for more than a year, as new tenants can’t afford the increased rents after former tenants are pushed out. Thanks to skyrocketing rents in recent years, this eerie contrast – shops crammed into tiny spaces next door to vacancies of spacious storefronts -- has become a fixed image in Chinatown. 

Facebook and the Powers of Media Manipulation

Marty Kaplan

The average Facebook user sees only 20 percent of the 1,500 stories per day that could have shown up in their news feed.  The posts you receive are determined by algorithms whose bottom line is Facebook’s bottom line.  The company is constantly adjusting all kinds of dials, quietly looking for the optimal mix to make us spend more of our time and money on Facebook.  Of course the more we’re on Facebook, the more information they have about us to fine-tune their formulas for picking ads to show us.  

San Francisco Considers Resolution to Help Migrant Children

Elena Shore

About 200 to 250 children each month are coming to the Bay Area to be reunited with family members or sponsors, according to CARECEN. The organization has seen a tripling in the number of minors seeking its immigration legal services, from 20 to 60 minors per month – more than they have the capacity to serve. A resolution introduced last week by Supervisor David Campos would ensure that while these children await immigration proceedings, they have access to housing and social services.

Should Women Have Paid Menstrual Leave?

Stephanie Stark

A handful of East Asian countries seem to think so. Women in Taiwan get three paid days off per year for menstrual leave. Indonesian women are given two days per month. In South Korea, they are awarded back pay if they do not take their allotted days. The Philippines order “mandatory menstruation leave” to female private and government employees, and provide half pay for those who are menopausal and pregnant. And last year in Russia, a lawmaker attempted to pass two days off monthly for women during their menstruation cycle, claiming women’s memories and efficiency at work are deterred.

The Caribbean’s Clean Energy Revolution

Richard Schiffman

This move to solar is being driven by tax incentives for green businesses and consumers. In an address marking the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) “World Environment Day” in Bridgetown’s Independence Square, Barbados Prime Minister Freundel Stuart recently pledged that the island nation would produce 29 percent of its energy from renewables by the end of the next decade. That rather conservative goal is still over twice what the United States currently produces with renewables. 

Obama’s Quick Fix Won’t Solve the Refugee Crisis

Michelle Brané

Particularly concerning about the recent surge is that the children making the perilous migration journey are now younger than in years past. It has become common for children as young as 4-10 years old to be picked up and arrested by the U.S. Border Patrol. Additionally, a higher percentage of the children are girls, many of whom arrive pregnant as a result of sexual violence. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) recently conducted research with this population and found that 58 percent of the children interviewed raised international protection concerns.

Note to U.S.: Stop Defending Israel’s Crimes

Mitchell Plitnick

“…That’s the difference between us and our neighbors,” Netanyahu said. “They consider murderers to be heroes. They name public squares after them. We don’t. We condemn them and we put them on trial and we’ll put them in prison.” Not only is that rhetoric dehumanizing, it is also false. For example, the town of Kochav Yair in central Israel is named after the leader of the notorious LEHI, or “Stern Gang,” Avraham Stern, a terrorist who was summarily executed by the British. LEHI, along with the Irgun Z’Vai Leumi (or Irgun for short) was responsible for the massacre of the Palestinian Deir Yassin village in 1948, though this was after Stern’s death. 

A Different Story: The State of Black Immigrant Tales in the Digital Age

Sophia Dorval

the state of first and second generation narratives in the African diaspora is sorely lacking in comparison.  The dominant Black voice in mainstream cinema and television is overwhelmingly American.  It is no secret that nuanced portraits of Black immigrants and the experience of their offspring in mainstream media are few and far between. During the Reagan era, the sitcoms The Cosby Show and A Different World would occasionally feature characters from the Caribbean or South Africa, particularly during the country’s apartheid years.  

The Limits of Brazil’s Soft (or Soccer) Power

Johanna Mendelson Forman

The painful rout of Brazil’s soccer team by Germany may be a metaphor for the deeper political losses that Brazil has experienced in the past year. Last summer students were marching down the streets of major cities like Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, and Sao Paulo protesting higher transport costs.These demonstrations, coupled with public outcries about the cost of hosting a World Cup and an Olympics in 2016 marked a turning point in the Brazilian success story. 

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