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The Spill: Flooding Out the Oysters

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Oysters Are Latest Victims of Australian Floods

Historic flooding on the eastern coast of Australia has forced more than 40,000 to leave, destroyed homes, and stranded livestock and wildlife. Millions of oysters are feared dead as freshwater flows through their delicate habitats, bound for the ocean. The salt concentrations are altered by the floodwaters. This makes the water almost impossible for oysters to survive in. The rains have also increased algal blooms. That’s harmful to oysters, but it also means the North-South Wales Food Authority has to stop allowing the sale of the surviving oysters.

Oyster leases in waterways along the coast have been nearly swept away because of the flooding. Over 40 inches of rain fell in four days – that’s about five times what usually falls in the entire month of March. Experts say the probability for this kind of rainfall in any given year is less than 1%. After last year’s brushfires displaced thousands, caused 33 deaths, and the deaths of an estimated one billion animals, the oyster and oyster farms are simply another casualty.

The Suez Canal Seems Too Small These Days

The Ever Given ship seemed to be ever-stuck in the Suez Canal. The ship is almost as long as the Empire State Building is tall, and it was stuck for nearly a week in the canal. The ship was caught up in 40-knot winds coupled with a blackout sandstorm causing poor visibility.

The Suez Canal is an artificial sea leveling waterway in Egypt that connects the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. Construction took ten years. It was completed and opened in 1869. Under the Convention of Constantinople, the canal could be traveled “by every vessel of commerce or war, without distinction of flag.” That means any country can send any ship through for any reason.

But all traffic was officially stopped once the Ever Given went aground. Finally, after six days and nights, the 220,000-ton ship was afloat once again, and the canal was cleared.

An average of 51 ships use the Suez Canal each day. Though the canal is finally clear, there’s still a backlog to process.

After 64 Days Biden Speaks to the Press

President Joe Biden appeared at his first press conference since taking office 64 days ago. He talked about the COVID-19 pandemic, the immigration crisis on the southern border, and several other issues. Biden praised scientists’ efforts in readying the now-available vaccine, tried to calm fears of an increase in unaccompanied migrant children, and spoke of taxes and the hotly debated filibuster.

Mr. Biden did brag about the record number of COVID-19 vaccinations already administered, but he did not acknowledge the past administration in creating Operation Warp Speed.

He talked a little about recent reports that there was an increase in migrant children trying to cross into the U.S. without guardians – 500 each day. Biden said it was just the usual winter increase.

Joe Biden

However, the number of unaccompanied minors went up considerably during January-February 2021, increasing by 63% to 9,297 – which is a lot more than the expected seasonal increase.

The president spoke on taxes, too. He said that when working people in the middle class pay more in taxes than a billionaire, something’s wrong.

The whole vent was unusual. Most presidents would have already talked to the press by this point. Most presidents wouldn’t need the flashcard-type notes or the photos and names for the members of the press who were there. It’s certainly different from how President Trump did things.

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