By Robert A. Vella
Here’s the news for this hot Sunday in July:
LONDON — It was just hours after Boris Johnson, then Britain’s foreign secretary, returned to London from a whirlwind trip last year to try to persuade the White House to abide by the Iran nuclear accord.
Kim Darroch, then the British ambassador to the United States, fired off a withering assessment of President Trump’s wish to quit the deal. Mr. Trump, he wrote in leaked diplomatic cables that were published on Saturday, was “set upon an act of diplomatic vandalism, seemingly for ideological and personality reasons — it was Obama’s deal.”
The vice president, the national security adviser and the secretary of state had all failed to “articulate why the president was determined to withdraw, beyond his campaign promises,” Mr. Darroch wrote. And the American government had no plan for what would follow.
First came Hurricane Katrina, the 2005 monster storm that devastated her small fishing community in Plaquemines Parish before roaring up the Gulf Coast, killing more than 1,800 people and destroying $125 billion in property. Five years later, BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded 40 miles offshore, spewing nearly 200 million gallons of crude. The fisheries have not fully recovered more than nine years later, nor has her family.
But this year may be worse. A historic slow-moving flood of polluted Mississippi River water loaded with chemicals, pesticides and human waste from 31 states and two Canadian provinces is draining straight into the marshes and bayous of the Gulf of Mexico — the nurseries of Arnesen’s fishing grounds — upsetting the delicate balance of salinity and destroying the fragile ecosystem in the process. As the Gulf waters warm this summer, algae feed on the freshwater brew, smothering oxygen-starved marine life.
The U.S. military’s use of firefighting foam that contains potentially dangerous chemical compounds could have serious health consequences for the workers who handle it and those who live nearby.
The Department of Defense had identified 401 military sites that could be contaminated with the toxic compounds, known as PFAS, as of August 2017. The Environmental Working Group and Northeastern University have mapped at least 712 documented cases of PFAS contamination across 49 states, as of July 2019. That map includes contamination on military bases along with industrial plants, commercial airports and firefighting training sites.
A Louisiana activist who founded an African-American museum was found dead in the trunk of a car.
The body of 75-year-old Sadie Roberts-Joseph was discovered Friday, according to Baton Rouge Police Department officials.
Investigators said Saturday they are probing the case and seeking suspects.
According to station WFAA, Roberts-Joseph also organized the annual Juneteenth festival at the museum, commemorating the June 19, 1865, date when Union soldiers delivered news to Southern slaves that Abraham Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation.