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Top News: (8/15-8/21)

Here are the top stories for this week all summarized so you can stay informed and save time!

All sources are at the end of the post.

Judge: Prosecutors cannot enforce Michigan’s abortion ban:

On Friday, a Michigan judge blocked county prosecutors from enforcing the state’s 1931 abortion ban. Oakland County Judge Jacob Cunningham came to this decision after two days of testimony from abortion providers and the state’s chief medical officer. During this ruling, he says he found these witnesses to be “extremely credible” while stating those provided by the defense were “unhelpful and biased”. The 1931 law, which bans abortion in all cases except those where the mother’s life is endangered, was retroactively blocked from going to effect by a preliminary injunction. Prior to the latest court ruling, the State Court of Appeals had ruled that county prosecutors were not covered by this injunction, thus allowing them to enforce the 1931 law as they saw fit. David Kallman, an attorney for two Republican county prosecutors working to appeal the case, has stated his opposition to the recent ruling as being because, “the judge ignored all of the clear legal errors and problems in this case…simply because the issue is abortion.” His side believes that laws should not be changed through injunctions and court decisions while their opponents believe that allowing the ban to be enforced would only cause confusion. The issue of abortion in the state is expected to be decided by a ballot seeking to enshrine its protection in Michigan’s constitution. The status of abortion come November will likely have a deciding impact on this battleground state’s general election.

US to hold trade talks with Taiwan, island drills military:

Taiwanese soldiers operate a Oerlikon 35mm twin cannon anti-aircraft gun at a base in Taiwan’s southeastern Hualien county on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Johnson Lai)

The US will hold trade talks with Taiwan as a sign of support for the small nation which China claims to be its own territory. This announcement comes after China blocked imports of Taiwanese food products and fired missiles into the sea as an act of intimidation against Taiwan when US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi visited the island earlier this month. Chinese President Xi Jinping’s government has criticized the negotiations due to its stance being that Taiwan has no right to interact with foreign nations and that these negotiations are a threat to China’s sovereignty. China warned the US that encouraging the island to make its de facto independence permanent will lead to war. A second group of US Senators led by Ed Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, arrived in Taiwan on Sunday and met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen. While the US’s policy regarding Taiwan is not changing, the trade talks can be expected to deepen diplomatic relations and informal ties. If the talks succeed in increasing exports to the US then they will allow Taiwan to blunt China’s efforts to use its status as Taiwan’s largest trading partner as political leverage.

Island is Wonderland for Penguins Once Again After Dog Helps Eradicate 300,000 Invasive Rabbits:

A UNESCO Natural Heritage Site has been saved from a rabbit and rat rampage, and 8 years after being declared free of invasives, the island is looking like its old self again. This island, named Macquarie Island, is an extraordinary place with exposed rock from the Earth’s mantle and a vast network of bird species living on the island. However, just like every other island on Earth, sailors during the 1800s brought cats, rats, mice, and rabbits ashore which decimated the head-high endemic vegetation and insect populations, causing knock-on effects that seriously threatened to turn the island into a barren rock. Melissa Houghton was brought ashore as a dog handler with her black lab “Wags” as part of a $24.6 million effort by Tasmania and Australia to eradicate the invasive mammals from the island launched in 2007. By the end of 2014 native life on the island rebounded spectacularly and happy penguins can be seen in their new rodent-free home.

‘The Five-Million-Year Odyssey’ reveals how migration shaped humankind:

Extensive population movements, including sea voyages from Southeast Asia to Polynesia, have had big impacts on human cultures and languages which archaeologist Peter Bellwood explains in a new book. In this depiction, Hawaiians navigate toward a meeting with European explorers who arrived in 1778.

Archaeologist Peter Bellwood’s academic odyssey of over 50 years around the world has brought new light to how migration has affected the course of human evolution. While his research is not completely comprehensive, he focused on the African australopithecines, a set of upright but partly apelike species thought to have included populations that evolved into members of our own genus, Homo, around 2.5 million to 3 million years ago. He then continued to make an argument based on the rise of food production and domestication in Europe and Asia around 9,000 years ago. During this time, expanding populations of early cultivators migrated to new lands in such great numbers that they spread major language families with them. As a result, Bellwood suggests that the expansion of more standard large language families to the populous may have allowed the fast development in communication, allowing the fast growth of these areas. He also provides an additional example for this idea through the example of farmers in what’s now Turkey spreading Indo-European languages into much of Europe sometime roughly 8,000 years ago. While this information is not entirely conclusive, it does shed light on the continuing mystery of exactly how we came to be, and what came before us.


US to hold trade talks with Taiwan, island drills military - The Washington Post

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