Zack Seckler’s best photograph: wild Iceland from the air

The pilot flew me around the volcanic coast in his tiny homemade plane with the door open and me hanging out taking pictures I shot this off the southern coast of Iceland, from a ultra-light aircraft, in the days before drones were ubiquitous. I love the stark nature of the Icelandic landscape and its contrasts. Deltas form from glacial meltwater running down towards the shoreline, picking up silt and different materials along the way to create these ribbon patterns. Theres all sorts of wildlife too birds, beautiful wild horses, seals. So a few years ago after a lot of research, cross-referencing Google Earth with books and photography by others, I took a red eye from New York to Reykjavik. It …

A city suffocating: most polluted city in Americas struggles to change

Wood smoke smothers Coyhaique, Chile, in June and July. Yet despite the WHO ranking its air worst in the Americas, residents are reluctant to alter their habits I was born and raised beside a roaring fire, says Yasna Seguel proudly, as wet snowflakes tap against the kitchen window behind her and orange flames warm an outstretched palm. A tobacco-yellow stain soaks into the table cloth as she sets her mate gourd down to select a fresh log for the fire. Every evening through the bitterly cold winter months of June and July, the southern city of Coyhaique, the most populous in the region of Aysn in Chilean Patagonia, is smothered by a thick, fragrant blanket of damp wood smoke that …

The new drug highway: Pacific islands at centre of cocaine trafficking boom

Explosion in number of boats carrying cocaine and meth from Latin America to Australia is causing havoc for islands on the way It is the drug route youve never heard of: a multibillion-dollar operation involving cocaine and methamphetamines being packed into the hulls of sailing boats in the US and Latin America and transported to Australia via New Caledonia, whose waters and beaches are being used as storage grounds for billions of dollars worth of illicit drugs. Hundreds of kilograms of cocaine have washed up on remote Pacific beaches, ships laden with drugs have run aground on far-flung coral reefs, and locals have discovered huge caches of drugs stored in underwater nets attached to GPS beacons. Draw a direct line …

America’s corn belt farmers face uncertainty after rain and more rain

Cold, rainy weather has meant severe planting delays for farmers from Ohio to Nebraska and next weeks acreage report takes on heightened importance In his 32 years of farming, Steve Fourez says hes almost never been so late planting corn and soybean crops on the 500 acres he farms in east-central Illinois. Normally by the start of May hes finished planting corn, and soybeans are seeded soon after. This year, Fourez said, he wrapped up planting on 6 June, as cold, grey and rainy weather kept him idle. Fourezs experience is playing out across the corn belt, a deeply fertile agricultural region stretching roughly from Ohio to Nebraska. Planting is so tardy that the US Department of Agricultures June 28 …

Eskilstuna: how a Swedish town became the world capital of recycling

The city was dying. Then somebody had a great idea to save it make it the greenest place on Earth People talk about Eskilstuna as the place where nothing new is invented, says the shopping mall manager Anna Bergstrm. An hours train ride from Stockholm, the Sheffield of Sweden has had something of an image problem in recent years. Once a steel-producing powerhouse, the town has fallen on hard times, thanks to the rapid decline in the industry throughout the 1970s. It now has an unemployment rate that is almost double the national average of 8%. But the town has come up with an answer: recycling. Far from the Scandinavian stereotype of glossy modernity, Eskilstunas wide-paved, near-deserted grey streets are …

This all-male council in Texas just voted to ban abortion

Council in Waskom, Texas, made up only of white men, votes to make town a sanctuary city for the unborn The entirely white male council of Waskom in Texas has voted to make the small town a sanctuary city for the unborn. The five men on the towns council voted this week to pass legislation known as an ordinance, which declared Roe v Wade, the landmark supreme court decision which legalized abortion, unconstitutional. The move, which is itself unconstitutional, comes after a raft of abortion bans have passed in states from Missouri to Ohio. Restrictions on abortion disproportionately affect poor women, who are more likely to seek abortions and less likely to have the resources to obtain one out-of-state. Despite …

‘This is not a

They call it X Day a major earthquake striking the heart of the worlds most populous city in the most calamitous event since the second world war. Can hi-tech solutions save Tokyo? Every day, at 5pm, the gentle melody of the childrens song Yuyake Koyake chimes across the Minato area of Tokyo from a loudspeaker one of hundreds dotted across schools and parks throughout this megacity of 37 million people. The daily jingle does more than signify the arrival of evening. It is a test for the system that is designed to save Tokyoites from what would be one of the worst natural disasters in recorded human history: an earthquake striking the centre of the most populous city on Earth. …

Up to four avocado trucks stolen in Mexican state every day

Packers and exporters took out newspaper adverts to decry situation in Michoacn, a battleground for warring crime factions Up to four trucks carrying avocados are stolen every day in the violent Mexican state of Michoacn, as organized crime groups seek to take advantage of consumers seemingly insatiable appetite for the fruit. Avocado packers and exporters took out newspaper adverts on Friday to decry a worsening security situation in the state, which has long been a battle ground for warring crime factions. The banditry has become so severe that packing plants have promised to pay growers 15 pesos a kilogram (78 cents) for any avocados stolen during the transportation. Its impossible to continue taking these losses, the advert said. Failing to …

Ocasio-Cortez: $2.13 tipped minimum wage is ‘indentured servitude’

The New York congresswoman returned to a restaurant in Queens on Friday, seeking to highlight the plight of workers she knows As she returned to New York to waitress and bartend for the first time since entering Congress, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said the federal tipped rose to national fame as the representative for New Yorks 14th congressional district, the 29-year-old from the Bronx worked at a Mexican restaurant in Manhattan. On Friday she went back to waiting tables and mixing drinks, in support of federal minimum wage for restaurant and bar workers and other tip-reliant jobs such as nail salon workers is just $2.13 an hour. Although the minimum wage in New York is $15 an hour, this does not apply …

McDonald’s investigated over racism and harassment claims in Brazil

Federal prosecutors say complaint presents worrying evidence of sexual harassment and discrimination It was a busy day at a McDonalds branch in So Paulo. Marcelo says he was struggling to keep up with demand while manning the chips and white meat stations when the shift boss called him a damned stupid blackie. Marcelo protested and said he would pursue legal action for racism. The store manager fired him the next day, according to his statement in court documents seen by the Guardian. His is one of 25 individual allegations of racism and sexual harassment found in two of Brazils 26 states, which have sparked an investigation by federal labour prosecutors against McDonalds in the country. The investigation was due to …

Belgium’s King Albert II faces daily fine in paternity dispute

Former king is refusing to undergo DNA test to disprove womans claims he is her father King Albert II, who abdicated from the Belgian throne six years ago, is to be fined 5,000 (4,370) for every day that he refuses to undergo a DNA test to disprove claims he fathered a child during an extramarital affair in the 1960s. An appeals court made the order after rejecting Alberts attempts to delay giving a saliva sample, in the latest twist of a long-running paternity claim by a 50-year-old artist, Delphine Bol. Bol has been fighting in the courts for six years to get proof that Albert, 84, is her biological father. If she is able to prove paternity she could take …

Alvin Sargent, Oscar winner who wrote Spider-Man films, dies at 92

Screenwriter won Oscars for Julia and Ordinary People and won praise for Spider-Man The Oscar-winning screenwriter Alvin Sargent, who also wrote several Spider-Man movies, has died. He was 92. said Sargent was an exemplary screenwriter. Paper Moon, Ordinary People and Spider-Man 2 are all, in their very different ways, master classes tone-perfect, impeccably structured, witty, human, worth visiting and revisiting. Among added: Good night, sir. divorced in 1975. He married the producer Laura Ziskin, who was behind the Spider-Man films, in 2010, after 25 years together. Original Article : HERE ; This post was curated & posted using : RealSpecific

Daimler says it has no idea how North Korea got hold of limousines

Kim Jong-un is using stretch limousines despite UN ban on sale of luxury goods The parent company of Mercedes-Benz has said it has no idea how the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, got hold of armoured limousines manufactured by the German company and said it had no business dealings with the UN-sanctioned country. Kim has raised eyebrows by using stretch limousines manufactured by Stuttgart-based Daimler AG at high-profile summits, including his meeting this week with Vladimir Putin and both of his earlier summits with Donald Trump. The sale of luxury goods, including limousines, is banned under UN sanctions intended to put pressure on North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons. Kim nevertheless had two limos waiting for him at Vladivostok …

Alaska judge blocks Trump on Arctic and Atlantic drilling

Green groups celebrate, justice department declines comment over reversal of April 2017 executive order against Obama protections Donald Trump exceeded his authority when he reversed bans on 2017 executive order reversing the drilling bans. At issue in the case was the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act. Acting assistant US attorney general Jeffrey Wood said in a hearing before Gleason in November environmental groups were misinterpreting the intent of the law written in 1953. He said it is meant to be flexible and sensible and not intended to bind one president with decisions made by another when determining offshore stewardship as needs and realities change over time. In 2015, Obama halted exploration in coastal areas of the Beaufort and Chukchi seas …

The confusion around Russian meddling means theyre already winning | Gabriel Gatehouse

Among the legitimate questions is a swirl of speculation. Vladimir Putin and Vladislav Surkov have got in our heads, says Gabriel Gatehouse, a BBC foreign correspondent It is the fashion these days, in certain circles, to see the hand of Moscow behind all of the political turbulence of the present moment: Brexit, Trump, the rise of the European right. John McCain once even suggested that Vladislav Surkov, also known as Putins Rasputin (in the west) or the grey cardinal (in Russia). He rose from a background in the theatre and PR to become the architect of Putinism the undisputed master of Russias internal politics. At the height of his power, he represented a sort of Kremlin svengali, controlling most of …

Meteor blast over Bering Sea was 10 times size of Hiroshima

Fireball over Kamchatka peninsula in December went largely unnoticed at the time A meteor explosion over the Bering Sea late last year unleashed 10 times as much energy as the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, scientists have revealed. The fireball tore across the sky off Russias Kamchatka peninsula on 18 December and released energy equivalent to 173 kilotons of TNT. It was the largest air blast since another meteor hurtled into the atmosphere over Chelyabinsk, in Russias south-west, six years ago, and the second largest in the past 30 years. Unlike the told BBC News that blasts of this size were expected only two or three times a century. The space agencys analysis shows that the meteor, probably a few …