Desert Local News September 6, 2023 'Elisabeth' issue!

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The Future of the Salton Sea Bhakti



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Chris Rock and DJ Diplo in the mud!
Festival pages 2-5
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Despite a brief setback caused by Tropical Storm Hilary, the playa is back in business as Burning Man 2023 gets underway. The annual desert bacchanal is renowned for its inspiring art, towering metallic sculptures, and communal living in the Black Rock Desert 80 miles north of Reno. And this year is no exception. But beneath the fun, there’s a severe philosophy at work.

The Ten Principles inspire the event, emphasizing radical inclusion, community-sharing, self-expression, personal growth, and environmental respect. They serve as guidelines for the many participants who create and inhabit their camps in the city, built each September. These tenets are also at the heart of every act of art, drama, exhibition, or spectacle.

Black Rock City is a testament to human imagination and spirit, rising from the dust each year embodying the festival’s core ethos of community, creativity, and self-reliance. In recent years, it’s expanded to include a variety of subthemes and dozens of neighborhoods anchored by specific interests such as music, cooking, sports, learning disciplines, or arts.

Each neighborhood in the city is further divided into streets and blocks with names related to the theme. The streets are lined with art, performance spaces, and other installations. In

addition, many encampments have articles about their location, including health, sustainability, and art.

The city is created to be a space for community, collaboration, and self-expression, a place of gifting, selflessness, and decommodification. Its enduring symbol is the burning of

production. The onsite operations are overseen by the Burning Man Project, a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco. The organization’s mission is “to inspire and cultivate the evolution of a culture that fosters individual and collective expression of humanity.”

a wooden statue, or effigy, at the end of the weeklong event, traditionally on Labor Day. It is a tradition that dates back to 1986 when Larry Harvey and Jerry James burned an eight-foot (two-meter) wooden man on San Francisco’s Baker Beach.

This year’s gathering edition runs from August 27 to September 4. It is expected to attract more than 70,000 people from all over the world. Those with tickets can come and go at their leisure, but it is essential to know some basic rules of the event.

While the event is primarily a volunteer-run operation, some paid staff members are needed to facilitate

It’s common for tickets to be available through resale channels in the days leading up to Burning Man, but veteran attendees tell us this year is a little different. The number of available tickets is far higher than usual, and prices are close to face value.

Why there’s been such a significant spike in ticket availability needs to be clarified. Still, speculation is rife on social media groups and among Burner friends that a few things are at play. For one, the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international travel have prompted some to postpone their plans for the late-summer festival. he was.

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Over 70,000 people are stranded in the Nevada desert after heavy rains swamped the annual Burning Man festival, leaving thick, ankle-deep mud. Officials have told attendees to stay put and conserve water, food, and fuel.

The rainstorm swamped the Black Rock Desert, turning a dusty playground into a thick, clay-like mud that festivalgoers struggled to move through. Some vehicles became stuck in the muck, and officials stopped allowing cars or RVs into or out of the event site, known as Black Rock City.

Officials didn’t specify a time when the roads could open up. The airport closest to the site was also closed, and the National Weather Service forecasts more rain Sunday. Despite the difficulty, attendees say they’re staying positive and that morale at the desert event is still good.

Photos and videos on social media show muddy outdoor dance floors, impassable campsites, and stage areas. Some people were tying garbage bags around their feet and legs to help them maneuver through the thick muck, while others sat in their RVs waiting for the situation to improve.

Some people, including comedian Chris Rock and DJ Diplo, have made it out on foot. The latter posted a video on X, the app formerly called Twitter, showing him hitching a ride out of Burning Man with a fan. “It was an incredibly harrowing 6-mile hike through heavy mud at midnight, but I got out safely! Hopefully, I can help others do the same,” he wrote.

Thousands of people are trapped at the Burning Man festival after the ground was swamped by rain, leaving

thick, ankle-deep mud sticking to their shoes and vehicle tires. Authorities have told attendees to stay put and conserve water, but some try to go alone.

The festival, which mixes counterculture with art and music, kicked off on August 27 and was slated to end Monday. The event is held in the Black Rock Desert in northwest Nevada and was first launched in San Francisco in 1986 before moving to Nevada in 1991.

This year, the festival is focused on the theme of “Leaving No Trace.” The sand sculptures and structures created by attendees are typically burned at the end of the festival as a symbol of the ten principles of the event. But this year’s event was marred by severe weather, with the final burning of a wooden effigy delayed until Monday.

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Chris Rock and DJ Diplo, have made it out on foot.

The mud and floods have ruined a lot of equipment, including generators and other vital equipment used by organizers to run the event. The earth has also submerged some tents, trailers, and RVs underwater. A few festivalgoers have found refuge in an abandoned hotel, while most stay at their camps. Hundreds of volunteers are helping to care for the stranded attendees, with some even bringing their showers to the hotel, housing them as they wait for conditions to improve.

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The Beauty and the Mud


The battle for the White House begins!

Eight presidential candidates from America’s Republicans argued in Milwaukee (Wisconsin) last night during their first TV debate on the 2024 US election. The elephant in the room was absent: Ex-President Donald Trump, the overwhelming favorite with 51 percent, skipped the debate because he wanted to avoid the attacks of the others.

His tactic worked.

It was almost an hour before Fox News anchors Bret Baier, 53, and Martha MacCallum, 59, talked about Trump and his four criminal cases. And immediately, the hall trembled.

These Republicans would support Trump.

“If Donald Trump were found guilty in a criminal court, would you still support him as your party’s choice? If so, raise your hand,” Baier said.

Biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy (38) immediately shot up his hand. It was followed by Trump’s UN ambassador Nikki Haley (51).

As the crowd erupted in cheers, the writings of South Carolina Senator Tim Scotts (57), North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgums (67), and Mike Pence (64, Trump’s ex-Vice President) also went up.

Meanwhile, Trump’s most dangerous opponent, Ron DeSantis (44), first looked at what the others were doing. Then he, the governor of Florida, raised his hand too. Trump happily posted the situation on his social network.

Chris Christie (60, ex-governor of New Jersey) also raised his hand but shook it. What now?

Only Asa Hutchinson (72, ex-governor of Arkansas) held back. But he is considered an extra without a chance anyway, who also wanted to stand in front of an audience of millions.

The moment summed up the core of the debate: Almost none of the candidates dared to criticize Donald Trump. Only his intimate enemy, Chris Christie, said at one point: “Regardless of whether one believes the criminal

process to be right or wrong, his conduct was beneath the dignity of the Office of the President of the United States.”

He earned angry boos.

Of course, the debate was also about issues. But mostly everyone agreed. All were in favor of an abortion ban. Everyone wants to close America’s border. Everyone wants less debt and lower taxes at the same time. And everyone agreed: Joe Biden (80) has to go!

Opinions differed only on the subject of Ukraine. Ron DeSantis and Vivek Ramaswamy said they oppose military aid to Kyiv. That puts them in line with Trump.

The other insights

The significant challenger, Ron DeSantis, remained pale and was ignored by the other candidates. Signal: You need to take the number two seriously.

Vivek Ramaswamy (9 percent) was the winner of the round. He got laughs when he introduced himself

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‘The winner is Donald J. Trump (77). And then another “skinny guy with a weird name.” And a Lady.’

(“Who’s that skinny guy with the weird name?”). When he explained that America was in a “dark moment” and meant crime and the woke movement, there was even an ovation from the audience. Ramaswamy also repeatedly defended Donald Trump and his policies, distinguishing himself as his possible deputy.

Nikki Haley was the second winner. She criticized Trump’s spending policy and distanced herself from her old boss. She admitted there is climate change, called for more military aid to Ukraine, and favors an abortion ban - but only after 15 weeks. A center candidate who could take undecided voters from Biden. Message: I don’t want to be Vice President; I want to be the first woman in the Oval Office.

Mike Pence was also strong. His problem: he has to defend Trump’s policy since he was his deputy. Referring to the fact that he broke with Trump in storming the US Capitol, he said: “I will always vote for the Constitution.”

Nevertheless, Trump remains the favorite. The audience’s reactions- and his opponents’ raised hands - left no doubt about that.

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Former Vice-President Mike Pence and Gonvernor DeSantis Vivek Ramaswamy and former US Ambassador Nikki Haley Former President Donald Trump

Sustainable tourism amplifies bear welfare in Ninh Binh

Visitors will notice the construction of the second phase of the tourism project underway. The sanctuary Skywalk has recently been updated to accommodate diverse visitors. Detailed stories of some of Ninh Binh’s most prolific bears, including Nhai, Thia La, and An, are featured.

Bear Nhai, a shy and sensitive bear, has overcome adversity to thrive in the sanctuary. Nhai enjoys tree-climbing and is often seen with her “emotional support bear,” Thu.

In Ninh Binh, Vietnam, BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh was acknowledged as the first official tourist destination in the region. This sanctuary is the largest of its kind by FOUR PAWS that currently houses 45 bears that were previously captive for their bile and illegal trade. The refuge is located 8 km from Cuc Phuong National Park, in the picturesque Red River Delta province, and can be reached within two hours from Hanoi.

The Bear Sanctuary Ninh Binh has made significant strides in its efforts to forge strong connections with the local community since receiving its first bears in 2017. Its animal welfare education program has been instrumental in achieving this goal, having already educated over 4000 children in the Cuc Phuong and Ky Phu regions. The sanctuary’s team

comprises more than eighty percent of Ninh Binh locals, allowing visitors to gain valuable local insights and experiences in addition to their bear education.

Last year, more than 10,000 visitors had the opportunity to visit the sanctuary and learn about the emotional stories of bear rescues. The expert social and health rehabilitation processes were detailed, providing an informative and educational experience for all visitors.

To develop a sustainable tourism model, it is crucial to establish an authentic connection with each visitor. There is a renewed focus on empowering visitors to become a voice for the bears through demand reduction, ambassadors and influencers, and donations to the cause. Wildlife protection is a priority for the sanctuary, becoming destination-oriented toward sustainable tourism.

Bear Thia La is a female bear known for her unique and protective nature. She gained popularity due to her distinct frown, caused by a noticeable wrinkle on her forehead.

In 2022, a female bear named Bear An was rescued but was missing one of her hind legs. The expert bear and facilities teams moved her to an outdoor enclosure with flatter terrain. They also redesigned her platforms and pool to accommodate her three legs. Now, Bear An can be seen exploring, swimming, and thriving in her new space.

These positive changes make BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh an appealing option for tourists seeking a sustainable and ethical experience.


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Although it has only existed for about 100 years, the Salton Sea has become an extremely critical resource for many species. It is home to many fish, birds, and even reptiles that need the sea’s brine to survive. The evaporating lake also provides water for the farms of Southern California. The area has a rich history that has inspired many films, books, and songs. But now the once popular destination is on the verge of collapse and danger of disappearing entirely.

The artificial lake, created in 1905 by a canal breach, attracted thousands to purchase lots and build trailers or vacation homes. But as the century progressed, the Salton Sea entered a death spiral. As the saline water evaporated, sewage and agricul-

tural wastes flowed in, creating algae blooms that consumed oxygen, killing off the fish. In the 1990s, the nitrates in fertilizers started to suffocate even more of the remaining fish, leading to mass die-offs and the shorelines littered with dead fish.

At the time, Congressman Sonny Bono championed a massive plan to save and restore the Salton Sea. But after his untimely death from a skiing accident, the political will and capital to pursue his cause waned. California passed a law in 2000 that would have required regular data collection from the lake. It used to develop a model of the lake system, but implementation was only partially realized.

In recent years, residents have planned to pump fresh seawater from

the Pacific and turn the tides. The project, however, faces numerous roadblocks and a need for more funding. The filmmakers use a mix of stunning stock footage from the sea’s heyday, paired with today’s deserted towns and fish and bird die-offs, to put the scale of the problem into perspective.

In addition to the facts and figures, Plagues and Pleasures offers an insightful glimpse into the diverse lives of those who still live in the shadow of the fading oasis. The film introduces us to a fascinating cast of characters, from a Christian mountain painting artist to a nude peace advertising senior citizen. It is often humorous, occasionally humbling, and always thought-provoking. With its attention to detail and beautiful photography, this film is a must-see.

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State Leaders Discuss Future of Salton Sea

The State Water Resources Control Board (Board) is holding a series of meetings to discuss the Salton Sea’s future. The first was held this Tuesday. Board staff members and local and federal officials spoke about their efforts to avert ecological collapse at the Sea and what the future could look like. Representatives from the Imperial Irrigation District, the Board’s Office of the General Counsel, and environmental agencies participated.

The conversation focused on the possibility of extracting lithium from the Sea to make batteries for electric vehicles. Several companies are interested in doing so, and demand for the battery metal is expected to grow substantially as cars with rechargeable batteries replace gasoline-powered vehicles.

But the extraction of lithium is only one piece of the puzzle. It will also require constructing all the supporting infrastructure to make the projects viable. That includes pipelines to transport the mineral, plants to turn it

into batteries, power generation, and a network of distribution centers.

That is a lot of work. And it will need to happen in a way compatible with the environment and communities. The Board is working to find ways to do that, but it won’t be easy.

The Board is taking a fresh approach to managing the Salton Sea. In November, the Board approved a new water order for the Sea that shifts its jurisdiction in the future from the Imperial Irrigation District to the Board, sets annual milestones over the ten-year phase one of the Sea’s restoration, and establishes funding for habitat and air quality projects.

The move has prompted hope among some local leaders that the Sea can be saved. But it’s too early to say for sure. The long-term plans the IID and DWR developed are still proposals that need funding and implementation.

As reported, many community leaders must be more confident about the proposed projects. They are worried that the projects won’t do enough to restore the sea or help address the is-

sues that caused it to shrink and swell in the first place.

They are also concerned about what happens when the projects are built and begin operations. For example, they are worried that the dust generated by the lithium production activities will impact the health of residents living nearby. Katie Burnworth, who monitors the geothermal activity at CE Generation’s Salton Sea power plant for the Imperial County Air Pollution Control District, says that the process is messy and the waste might contain hazardous materials.

Congressman Raul Ruiz (D-25) knows all of this. He grew up in the Coachella Valley, where his mother picked crops, and his father fixed farm machinery. He has seen what can happen when the area gets its act together, but he also knows that the region’s most important resource is not oil, gas, or solar power; it is its people and the community they built around their shared love of the desert.

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The Future of the Salton Sea

State lawmakers and federal officials are focusing on the future of the Salton Sea, with many saying the lithium deposits could change the economic landscape of the Coachella and Imperial Valley. However, those who live in the area have a different perspective on what’s at stake for their communities.

The Salton Sea lies between Coachella and Imperial Valley, agriculture hubs that only exist because of massive irrigation. The region has hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland producing millions of dollars worth of food. And those who work that land -- 85% of whom are Latinx and pockets of Indigenous Mexicans, according to local advocates and data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau -- are mainly living in poverty.

Their homes and air are polluted by salty dust from the dry lake bed, contaminated with agricultural chemicals

left over decades of farming. The salts and other contaminants, like copper, arsenic, and selenium, are carried by wind to nearby towns and cities, where it is sucked into the lungs of residents. This is a significant factor in a region where pediatric asthma hospitalizations exceed the state average.

The state has a plan for the future of the Salton Sea, which includes building thousands of acres of dust suppression and habitat projects to limit how much contamination is carried into the communities. But it’s a race against time, with experts saying it’ll be 2047 at the latest before the sea can reach a level of equilibrium, where the inflow of water from three small streams and agricultural runoff will keep the lake smaller and at a lower elevation.

Until then, the water from the All-American Canal, other irrigation canals, and drainage from Mexico will continue to balance evaporation by supplying constant water. This will lead to a decline in the fishery and expose the soil to erosion as the salinity con-

centration rises. As the Salton Sea loses its height, it will be exposed to toxic algae and nutrient runoff that harms wildlife and human health.

The Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Tribe, which administers thousands of acres, including wetlands, critical habitat, lake shore, and lands underlying the Sea, is an essential partner in this effort. The tribe’s history and unique relationship with the area ensures that its concerns are considered as a phased approach to restoration is implemented and that the most pressing issue — salinity — is addressed with due haste. Delaying this will accelerate the decline of critical components of the ecosystem, including the collapse of the fishery and the loss of birds that depend on the Sea for their survival. For these reasons, the Department supports the Phase One options. But a successful project will also require continued partnerships and cooperation between federal, state, and local agencies, scientists, and project management teams.

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The Salton Sea & Lithium

In the meantime, investors at the Salton Sea hope their new lithium mine will significantly boost the economy and help restore a lake fouled by toxic runoff from area farms for decades. But the effort has run into some rocky waters. Just a few days after Biden praised the project, Berkshire privately asked the Energy Department to change its grant scope and let it make carbonate instead of hydroxide, according to emails and documents obtained by Reuters. The company was denied, and the request was deemed a substantial deviation from its original proposal and unfair to other applicants.

If the lithium mining venture succeeds, it could set an example of how to mine geothermal energy at scale and help meet the rising global demand for electric vehicles and other green technologies that use lithium-ion batteries. Investors are already betting the technology will become a

dominant source of electricity in a few years, replacing coal and natural gas. That prospect draws investors to the Salton Sea, where geothermal water is pumped up from an aquifer more than 4,000 feet below the surface. The brine is rich in hot, mineral-abundant liquids that hold the potential to be mined for lithium, as well as other valuable minerals.

Investors envision self-contained systems that will extract the minerals — including lithium — from the hot liquid pumped up from the earth. Then, the system will lower the water back into the aquifer and recycle the minerals, leaving behind a clean, renewable energy resource.

The process differs from what has been done at many other lithium mines worldwide. At Chile’s biggest mine, miners dig a series of pools in the desert and let the sun evaporate the water, moving from collection to pool as they concentrate. Australia’s open-pit mines use acids to dissolve rock and get at the lithium. The investors at the Salton Sea plan to make the process much more water-efficient, allowing the evaporating brine to feed a geo-

thermal power plant that will generate emission-free electricity.

The investors at the Salton Sea also plan to sell some of the electricity they produce on the public grid, which could bolster the local economy and help keep the mining operation solvent. Ultimately, they hope to generate the revenue to restore the lake, a toxic mess since the state drained it in 1931.

As the brine evaporates, people are sickened, and wildlife is losing its habitat. The environmental justice advocate Scott Meyer says it’s a clear sign the area is being treated poorly, and he believes that if the community were white or wealthier, the government would be doing more to fix the problems. “This is an unjust system, and we need to do something about it,” he said. “If they’re going to make money on this, they should be investing some of that back into the communities.” For now, it remains to be seen whether the Salton Sea’s newfound lithium-ion battery fortune will pay off for everyone involved.

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How is Lithium Mined?

Lithium is the metal driving the battery revolution, making EVs and power tools more affordable and sustainable. But it’s also a reactive element that quickly gives up its electrons. That means it’s a precious resource. And mining is a tricky business. A single tonne of lithium requires digging up as much earth as coal would need in the United States for one year. That dirt can damage the surrounding environment, contaminating water sources and depleting soil nutrients, which could lead to plant death.

Most of the world’s lithium is extracted from briny lakes, known as salars, in South America. Lithium is found in these lakes primarily in the form of lithium salts. The metal can’t be mined directly because it is too reactive. Instead, large volumes of underground water are pumped to the surface and left to evaporate in open-air evaporation pools. The resulting mixture contains a variety of salts, but it is the lithium that’s harvested for saleable production.

But mining lithium has also creat-

ed a lot of controversy because it’s very water intensive, often using ten times as much liquid as it produces. That’s why many communities near these salars oppose large-scale lithium mining, citing environmental and social impacts. These include displacing residents, disrupting ecosystems, and depleting water sources for other activities such as livestock grazing or drinking. However, significant advances in extraction methods could reduce land disruption, environmental impact, and water consumption. One technique uses natural underground steam, and another immerses reusable ion-exchange beads into the salts.

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More Performers added to Bhakti Fest

opportunity to learn from some of the top speakers in the field, including Michael Brian Baker, Radhanath Swami, and Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji. There are also new workshop leaders to explore and learn from.

Experience a spiritual journey at Bhakti Fest, featuring yoga, meditation, music, and more. The festival has returned after a COVID hiatus and promises an exciting lineup of talent. Families can enjoy the Kids’ Village, while foodies can relish raw, vegan, and vegetarian options from eco-friendly vendors. Accommodations include glamping, camping, RV parking, and nearby hotels offering attendee discounts. Attendees describe Bhakti Fest as an unforgettable experience that opens the heart and elevates consciousness.

The Bhakti Fest, a famous festival that celebrates yoga and spiritual music in Southern California, is set to take place at the beautiful Joshua Lake & Campground from September 15-17, 2023. Festival organizers have exciting news to share with attendees as they have added some new and impressive talent to the lineup.

Among the notable additions are renowned yoga instructors such as Seane Corn, Shiva Rea, and Kia Miller. You can attend this event as a beginner or an experienced practitioner.

The Bhakti Fest features Kirtan, conscious music, and various genres, including rock, pop, and hip-hop. Notable musical performers include Michael Franti, Pato Banton, Krishna Das, and MC YOGI. You can also enjoy the music of Desert Dwellers, Sol Rising, and David Starfire.

Additionally, the festival offers the

Secure your tickets for Bhakti Fest 2023 now! This non-profit festival donates to global charities that support food, education, and the environment, including Food for Life Vrindavan, Love Serve Remember Foundation, Ramana’s Garden, Share Your Care, and the Seva Foundation. Join us in our mission to make the world a better place.

For more information, please see

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Handicapping control of Congress is always risky, with multiple forces at work and much at stake regarding policy and power. Now, tens of millions of dollars could also be riding on the outcome of House and Senate races, thanks to a New York trading company’s request to allow derivatives betting on election outcomes. It’s a move drawing fire from pro-democracy groups and a coalition of progressive senators, who say it would introduce monetary incentives into politics. But those who support the effort say it is no different than wagering on sports events, which unpredictable factors can influence. A big gaffe by a candidate or a surprising

result from a close race isn’t likely to change the outcome of an election, but gamblers can price those possibilities in.

The idea is to open up a regulated market for so-called political futures, contracts that promise to pay out depending on specific financial outcomes. The founders of the new exchange, Kalshi, argue that such hedging is legal and doesn’t involve gambling but offers investors protection against financial losses. Investors who forecast correctly are paid out based on a predetermined price, with the exchange taking a small fee.

Political betting is uncertain and limited due to federal regulations. The Iowa Electronic Market is the US’s only regulated political futures market and can operate for research purposes.

In recent years, the CFTC has

effectively shut down a New Zealand operation called Predictit and a U.S. exchange called Intrade, which had offered a similar service to the public. The agency argued that the offerings constituted “commodity futures” and, therefore, fell under federal law prohibiting the sale of bets on the “outcome of a contest of others.”

However, the CFTC might not monopolize this kind of wagering. A handful of states have legalized sports betting, and the Supreme Court just threw out PASPA, the federal ban on the practice. If those trends continue, it might be possible that the feds will lose their right to control betting on politics, as well.

While it may be tempting, holding off on election gambling for now is best. However, some states are trying out legalized online gaming and lotteries. Despite the unclear regulations, a state could take a chance and reap big rewards.

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Amid a nationwide crisis over drug addiction, a city known for its progressive, humanitarian self-image has become ground zero for open-air drug dealing. San Francisco Mayor London Breed, who sparked national admiration with her early and robust moves to contain COVID-19, is now confronting the drug overdose death rate in her long-challenged Tenderloin district. Drugs are sold out in the open in sidewalk alleyways and park areas, where the smell of urine permeates the air. Human waste, used needles, and bullet casings litter the sidewalks. The site is teeming with homeless people, many children, and armed dealers who hawk their wares at intersections.

A recent report by a forensic team found that fentanyl, an opioid so deadly it can cause an overdose within

minutes or seconds of taking even a small amount, has played a role in every one of the city’s almost two overdose deaths a day this year. Most of those deaths have occurred in the Tenderloin and neighboring SoMa, which exploded in drug trafficking after COVID-19 emptied businesses and other spots where drugs are traditionally sold, leaving space that’s fertile territory for dealers.

The neighborhood is a magnet for migrants from Central America and Mexico, and drug deals are done in a gang-like atmosphere. Young boys on electric scooters act as lookouts, whistling to alert dealers if police are nearby. Several dealers told me that they were afraid if they were snitches or lost their supply of drugs or money, they or their family members would be killed. One dealer in his mid-30s said he was forced to give up his business and return to Honduras after a dispute with another dealer.

SFPD officials say they’re trying to crack down on drug dealers by increasing patrols and assigning officers to specific areas. But they

acknowledge that the strategy won’t be effective until it’s backed by consistent enforcement of existing laws that are being ignored. The city has also stepped up its use of marijuana ordinances to punish people for illegally selling and possessing drugs in public places. But it’s unclear how much impact that will have. The rules make it possible to arrest for possessing small amounts of marijuana, but only if a police officer spots the person, and that’s rare.

A new group, Together SF Action, has been holding weekly meetings to discuss dealing with the drug problem in the Tenderloin. At the meeting on Wednesday, Kanishka Cheng, a leader of the organization, handed out templates for people to write letters to supervisors asking them to support police funding. The city faces a budget shortfall and needs more money to hire police officers. The letter asks supervisors to help the town request $18 million in new funds to increase policing efforts. City Hall’s board of supervisors is set to vote on the proposal next week.

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The Russian news agency Tass reports that ten people have died in a private plane crash.

Explosive: According to the report, the head of the “Wagner” mercenary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin (62), was also on the passenger list.

His Telegram channel “Grey Zone” reported that the mercenary leader died late Wednesday evening. The “Hero of Russia” died “due to the

actions of traitors to Russia.” “But even in Hell, he will be the best!”

Wagner chief was on a plane that crashed in Russia, aviation authority says

Russian officials said that the aircraft, which departed Moscow and was en route to St. Petersburg, stopped transmitting data shortly after 6 p.m. local time and crashed near the village of Kuzhenkino.

The fact is, There has been NO official confirmation of Prigozhin’s death so far. Even the US Secret Service was initially unable to verify this.

The Russian aviation authority reported on Wednesday evening, citing the airline, that Prigozhin and his deputy Dmitry Utkin (53) were “on board the plane.” The Russian Emergencies Ministry had previously reported that all passengers had died.

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Ten bodies are said to have been found at the crash site, all badly.

The crashed private jet was en route from Moscow to St. Petersburg. The machine came from the Brazilian manufacturer Embraer.

So far, unconfirmed video recordings are circulating on social networks, which are said to show the plane after the crash. Burning debris can be seen in a field. Other images show an airplane falling from the sky.

The governor of the Tver region, Igor Rudenya, has taken personal control of the incident, according to Russian media reports.

Prigozhin broke with Putin.

Since 2022, Prigozhin’s mercenaries have been fighting for the Russian state against Ukraine. In 2023, the “Wagner” force managed to capture the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut - after a nine-month battle. This brought Prigozhin considerable fame in Russia.

Exactly two months ago, Prigozhin broke with Kremlin dictator Vladimir

Putin. With his fighters, Prigozhin took two major Russian cities and threatened to take Moscow. The coup was averted at the last moment. The

impression that Prigozhin is exposed to great physical risks – and these will only increase.”

mercenary boss made a deal with the Kremlin and left Russia with impunity to go into exile in Belarus.

After the mercenary uprising, experts repeatedly speculated that the Kremlin might have killed Prigozhin.

In July, Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy, told BILD: “Putin’s reputation is to keep everyone in fear. Therefore, it is a personal matter for him to destroy Prigozhin as soon as possible.” The Ukrainian continues: “I have the

Russian experts: Putin had the Prigozhin jet shot down

For Russian experts, it is clear: This was not an accident but murder on behalf of Vladimir Putin. Because: Exactly two months ago, Prigozhin tried to stage a coup against Putin. Revenge now? Russian military experts want significant evidence that Putin had Prigozhin’s plane shot down. The evidence is very concrete - and highly explosive to the Kremlin.

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