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National Briefs

The Indypendent Aug 10, 2006

SECOND HOTTEST JULY ON RECORD IN U.S.

New Yorkers overheated with the rest of the continental U.S. last month, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. More than 2,300 daily temperature records were set in the heat wave that scorched the nation in the second-hottest July on record, next to 1936. The first seven months of 2006 were also the warmest January-July since record-keeping began in 1895.

New York State’s electricity demands broke previous records, topping more than 33,000 megawatts in a day.

FIGHTING FOR THE TREES

Forest defenders blockaded a road in the Siskiyou National Forest in southern Oregon Aug. 8 in an attempt to stall logging of the first inventoried roadless area since the Roadless Area Conservation rule was issued in 2001. One activist was arrested while attaching himself to a large log that blocked the access road to the Mike’s Gulch Timber Sale. The blockade happened a day after 11 demonstrators were arrested for blocking traffic in front of a federal forest service office. The Roadless Rule aimed to protect 60 million acres of wild public lands from logging and mining. More than 100 people have been arrested over the last decade while engaged in nonviolent civil disobedience to protect forests in the Pacific Northwest.

Joan Norman, 72, sits in front of the Green Bridge, leading into the Siskiyou National Forest. She was arrested shortly after this photo was taken.

PHOTO: COUNTERPUNCH.ORG

HIGH SCHOOL GAY-STRAIGHT CLUB WINS ANTI-DISCRIMINATION FIGHT

Georgia high school students claimed a victory Aug. 4 when a federal judge ruled that the school must allow students involved in a gay-straight alliance club to hold meetings on campus, reported The New Standard. White County High School officials in Cleveland, Georgia, attempted to silence the club, PRIDE, by shutting down all on-campus extracurricular activities. Students say the club was created to provide a safe space to educate peers about sexuality and gender. The courts’ decision is consistent with other recent cases that found against school administrations that have attempted to “squelch gay-straight alliance clubs.”

NINE UNDOCUMENTED MIGRANTS DIE IN ARIZONA CAR CRASH

A suspected smuggler transporting 22 undocumented migrants rolled an SUV near Yuma, Arizona, killing nine of the travelers and injuring all the other passengers on Aug. 7. The vehicle reportedly attempted to evade U.S. Border Patrol agents and a spike strip set out across the road. Six of the nine individuals killed were women. No More Deaths, a humanitarian aid organization, reports 124 migrant deaths in Arizona since Oct. 1, 2005. More than 4,000 migrants have died along the U.S.-Mexico border in the last 10 years.

INDIAN STATES BAN COCA-COLA AND PEPSI

Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, Inc. faced public outrage in India after the Centre for Science and Environment reported Aug. 2 that it had found “dangerous levels of pesticides in all samples of soft drinks tested.” As a result, partial or complete bans on selling and producing the soda beverages were enacted in several states in India. Both companies contested the results, stating that the standard pesticide testing practices were developed to test water, not carbonated drinks. The firms have six weeks to reveal the ingredients of their products to India’s Supreme Court.