Marathon reading of Melville
Moby-Dick fans from around the world are getting ready for their own grueling quest — a marathon reading of Herman Melville’s classic. The New Bedford Whaling Museum this weekend is holding its 20th annual nonstop reading of the man versus whale novel. More than 150 volunteers are to recite snippets of the novel aloud in a cover-to-cover reading that starts at midday tomorrow, goes through the night and ends on Sunday about 25 hours later. Hundreds are expected to attend the reading while thousands more follow online. This year’s celebrity reader, who always reads the first section of the book and its famous first line “Call me Ishmael,” is author Nathaniel Philbrick.
Florida executes Oscar Ray
Florida put to death on Thursday a former truck driver who murdered three young women in 1986 and made headlines again after one of his defense team fell in love with him. Convicted serial killer Oscar Ray Bolin, 53, became the first person to be executed in the US this year after receiving a lethal injection at 10:16pm, a local prison administration official said. Bolin was also convicted of kidnapping and rape in another case. His victims were aged 17, 25 and 26.
Titicaca to be cleaned up
Bolivia and Peru on Thursday agreed to provide more than US$500 million toward cleaning up Lake Titicaca, whose polluted waters are home to some animals nearing extinction, a Bolivian environment official said. The deal, which is meant to improve the lake’s biodiversity, includes environmental management and recovery through to 2025. Lake Titicaca, the highest in the world, at an altitude of 3,800m above sea level, provides a habitat for a number of frogs, birds and fish, including two species that are close to extinction. Minister for the Environment and Water Alexandra Moreira and Peruvian Minister of State for the Environment Manuel Pulgar signed the agreement during a public event. “For the short term we have a limit of US$117 million and for the long term US$400 million,” Moreira’s advisor Sergio Arispe said. “It’s a logistical matter we are trying to manage through 2025,” he said. Part of the waste in the lake is generated by the Bolivian city of El Alto, near La Paz, which is home to about 800,000 people.
‘White City’ search begins
Honduras on Thursday said it was starting a major archeological dig for a mysterious, ancient “White City” supposedly hidden in jungle in its northeast that explorers and legends have spoken of for centuries. “Today a group of archeologists and scientists is traveling to the White City to start excavations in coming days,” President Juan Orlando Hernandez said in a speech. The hope is that they might uncover incontrovertible proof of the existence of the fabled site, which has also been called “the City of the Monkey God” and, in Spanish, la Ciudad Blanca. According to 16th-century Spanish conquistadors and to legend, the settlement, dating back thousands of years, is meant to be filled with fabulous riches. Explorers over the past century have claimed several times to have spotted the White City in the thick jungle inside the Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve on Honduras’ Caribbean coast. Archeologists in recent decades found what looked like ancient mounds. Then in 2012 an American documentary team using mapping technology in a small plane discovered what appeared to be the overgrown remains of an ancient civilization.
VULNERABLE: Many women do not report sexual harassment by their landlord over fears they could lose the roof over their head, an expert said A growing number of landlords are asking tenants for sex in exchange for housing as COVID-19 lockdowns and job cuts have left many struggling to pay their rent, housing experts said. A survey by the National Fair Housing Alliance of more than 100 fair housing groups combating discrimination across the US found that 13 percent had seen an increase in sexual harassment complaints during the pandemic. “If I did not have sex with him, he was going to put me out,” one woman facing eviction by her property manager told the alliance in an podcast on its Web site. “As a single
HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES? An institute of the Chinese Ministry of Public Security and a company are to be sanctioned over ‘human rights violations and abuses’ The US Department of Commerce on Friday said that it would sanction a Chinese government institute and eight companies over alleged human rights abuses against Uighurs and other minorities in China’s western Xinjiang region. “These nine parties are complicit in human rights violations and abuses committed in China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, forced labor and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs and other members of Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region,” the department said in a statement. The Chinese Ministry of Public Security’s Institute of Forensic Science and Aksu Huafu Textiles Co are to be sanctioned “for
‘OBVIOUS DIFFERENCE’: The Wuhan Institute of Virology has been researching bat coronaviruses to trace the SARS pathogen, which is 80 percent similar to SARS-CoV-2 The Chinese virology institute in the city where COVID-19 first emerged has three live strains of bat coronavirus on-site, but none match the new contagion wreaking havoc around the world, its director has said. Scientists think COVID-19 — which first emerged in Wuhan and has killed more than 340,000 people worldwide — originated in bats and could have been transmitted to people via another mammal. However, the director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology told state broadcaster China Global Television Network that claims made by US President Donald Trump and others that the novel coronavirus could have escaped from the facility were
Former US vice president Joe Biden on Friday said he “should not have been so cavalier” after he told a radio host that African Americans who back US President Donald Trump “ain’t black.” In a call with the US Black Chamber of Commerce that was added to his public schedule, Biden said he would never “take the African American community for granted.” “I shouldn’t have been such a wise guy,” Biden said. “No one should have to vote for any party based on their race or religion or background.” Biden faced criticism after his comments earlier on Friday on The Breakfast Club, a