War And Pollution

Grind for October 31st, 2018
“When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”

– Mark Twain

Hold Your Breath

The Headline

You are just as likely to die from air pollution as you are from cigarettes

The Grind

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), air pollution is the largest single environmental health risk people face today.

An estimated 7 million people die each year from breathing polluted air (that’s the same number of people who die from smoking cigarettes).

“The world has turned the corner on tobacco,” wrote WHO Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “Now it must do the same for the ‘new tobacco’ – the toxic air that billions breathe every day.”

The Details

Up to 90% of the world’s population is exposed to dangerous levels of air pollution.

The 10 most polluted countries, starting with the worst, are: Pakistan, Qatar, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Egypt, Mongolia, UAE, India, and Bahrain.

Nine of the 10 most polluted cities are located in India, with Kanpur coming in first with an annual PM2.5 level of 173 mcg per cubic meter.

According to the WHO, anything higher than 10 mcg is dangerous.

“Despite the overwhelming evidence, political action is still urgently needed to boost investments and speed up action to reduce air pollution,” wrote Ghebreyesus.

The World Health Organization this week is hosting its very first Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health, and Ghebreyesus hopes the meeting will convince world leaders to commit to reducing pollution in their states.

“No one – rich or poor – can escape air pollution,” he continued. “By cleaning up the air we breathe, we can prevent or at least reduce some of the greatest health risks.”

Shots Fired

The Headline

Chinese President warns military to prepare for war over South China Sea

The Grind

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday put military officials overseeing the South China Sea on high alert.

“It’s necessary to strengthen the mission…and concentrate preparations for fighting a war,” said Xi. “We have to step up combat readiness exercises, joint exercises, and confrontational exercises to enhance servicemen’s capabilities and preparation for war.”

Chinese officials have already warned the US that its air and sea patrols are likely to cause “unexpected accidents.”

On Monday, US Navy Admiral John Richardson made it clear the US would continue patrolling the area as allowed by international rules.

The Background

The South China Sea is a strategic area situated south of China between Vietnam and the Philippines. The area is rich in gas and has massive potential in terms of global trade.

China claims complete sovereignty over the entire region and is actively using sediment from the seafloor to construct artificial islands. According to reports, China has already positioned surface-to-air missiles on existing islands.

China’s claim is based not on international rules but on a map the country issued in 1947.

Six other countries have valid claims on the region, including Japan and the Philippines. And while the United States has no claim, it is bothered by China’s ignorance of international rules and is acutely aware of the consequences for its allies should China’s behavior lead to a regional war.

Did you know… The IRS employees tax manual has instructions for collecting taxes after a nuclear war.