The Darling river in the far west of New South Wales.The third longest river in Australia.

The Darling River in the far west of New South Wales, Australia. The Darling, the country’s third longest river, is in serious trouble. 

Parched farmers blame lax enforcement of sensible rules: The Murray-Darling river basin, which is larger than Ethiopia, gives life to Australia’s arid interior. But these days the Murray River’s main tributary, the Darling River, is reduced to a putrid standstill with alarming regularity. Since the 1970s enormous farms growing irrigated crops such as cotton and nuts had spread across the basin, and when a catastrophic drought struck in the early 2000s, the mouth of the river almost ran dry. Politicians thrashed out a plan to conserve the river, but it hasn’t worked. READ MORE

PUBLIC HEALTH

Homeless deprived of  good way for disposing of poop: San Diego’s recent Hepatitis A epidemic was mishandled by public health officials, according to a newly minted country grand jury report. It charges San Diego County’s Public Health Officer was slow to declare a public health emergency and speculates on the possibility that San Diego’s recent ban on single-use plastic grocery bags might have sparked the outbreak because the action “deprived the homeless of an efficient and relatively sanitary method for containing and disposing of fecal matter.” READ MORE

Fungi resistant to common antifungal agents emerging as threat: An unprecedented increase in the number of emerging pathogenic fungi that are resistant to commonly used antifungal agents is poses a threat to food security as well as to human health. For example, naturally occurring opportunistic fungal pathogens have acquired resistance to the broad class of chemicals known as azoles, for example, which are used in human and animal health care, for crop protection and for antifouling coatings and timber preservation. READ MORE

Environmental contamination with antibiotics contributes to resistance: Our environment is contaminated with antibiotics. While this is often at a dilute level, sometimes the concentrations are surprisingly high. There is a growing recognition that this is a public health issue because antibiotic resistance accounts for hundreds of thousands of deaths each year and is a major global health threat. READ MORE

Some 40 percent of dietary research may be misleading: There’s a reason everyone’s confused about whether coffee causes cancer, or whether butter’s good for you or bad. Food research has some big problems: questionable data,  untrustworthy results, and pervasive bias. There’s reason to hope that scientists and academic journals will clean up their acts, and that journalists will refine their b.s. detectors and stop writing breathlessly about new nutrition “discoveries” that are anything but.  Until that happens, we all need to get better at filtering for ourselves. READ MORE

FOOD SECURITY

Why Qatar is raising cows in the desert: Step inside, and it could be a scene from the English countryside or the American heartland: one hundred well-fed dairy cows spinning slowly on a circular milking parlour. But outside there are no green fields, only sand. Baladna (“Our Country”) is a dairy farm in the desert, 50 km from Doha, the Qatari capital. READ MORE

EMERGENCY RESPONSE

Arizona will be ready if a quake rocks southern Cal: Government agencies, businesses and other organizations in Arizona plan to participate in an exercise to practice how the state would respond to a migration of 400,000 people following a catastrophic earthquake in Southern California. The Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs says participants in the National Mass Care Exercise in the coming week will tackle how to organize operations such as providing food, shelter and medical services. READ MORE

Yet another hazard from erupting volcano: White plumes of acid and extremely fine shards of glass billowed into the sky over Hawaii as molten rock from Kilauea volcano poured into the ocean, creating yet another hazard from an eruption that began more than two weeks ago: A toxic steam cloud. Authorities on Sunday warned the public to stay away the cloud that formed by a chemical reaction when lava touched seawater. READ MORE

RESTAURANT SECURITY

Another murderous restaurant attack: The Sunday lunch rush was underway at the Surf and Turf Lodge in Bessemer City, N.C., a restaurant about 30 miles west of Charlotte. Inside the rustic eatery with wooden plank walls, Roger Self, a former police officer turned private investigator, was eating appetizers with his family. Around noon, the 62-year-old got up from the table,  got in his car and rammed it into the side of the restaurant, colliding with the table where his family sat. READ MORE

The Starbucks saga continues: Everyone is welcome at your neighborhood Starbucks. This includes just hanging out or using the bathroom. The policy change comes five weeks after two black men who did not purchase anything were arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks. Still, both customers and employees voice some concerns. READ MORE

HUMANITARIAN CRISES

Maduro ‘re-elected,’ faces fresh censure: Venezuela’s socialist leader Nicolas Maduro faced fresh international censure on Monday after re-election in a vote foes denounced as a farce cementing autocracy in the crisis-stricken OPEC nation. The 55-year-old successor to former president Hugo Chavez hailed his win as a victory against “imperialism,” but his main rival refused to recognize the result alleging irregularities. Read more HERE, HERE and HERE.

ANIMAL SAFETY

A ‘Noah’s Ark’ of pets saved from volcano’s wrath: When hundreds of residents of Hawaii’s Big Island fled their homes after the Kilauea volcano erupted, some left behind not only most of their belongings, but also their beloved pets. In the two weeks since fountains of lava and poisonous gas spewed from the volcano, volunteers have made heroic efforts to retrieve a veritable Noah’s Ark of dogs and cats, geese and ducks, cows and goats, horses, cattle and exotic birds. Many were reuniting with their owners at evacuation shelters. READ MORE

MISCELLANEOUS

China tariffs on hold: After two days of trade talks with China, the United States has put a hold on $150 billion in threatened tariffs on Chinese goods while the two countries continue to negotiate a deal to reduce America’s trade deficit that could include China agreeing to increase U.S. agricultural imports. Read more HERE and  HERE