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    French President Emmanuel Macron sees himself as a global climate crusader but even a watchdog that he created says his government is lagging on its promises to the planet. The High Council for the Climate issued its first report Tuesday night on the French government's climate policy, saying measures are 'too weak' and 'insufficient' to meet Macron's own goals of slashing emissions by 2050. The government promised action within six months. Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said climate policies should be 'amplified, given the urgency to fight against climate destabilization, whose effects we are already feeling' — referring to a heat wave currently hitting France and other European countries. The report came the same day as a landmark court ruling holding the French state responsible for failing to rein in health-damaging pollution.
  • Doctors in Rome are warning of possible health hazards caused by overflowing trash bins in the city's streets, as the Italian capital struggles with a renewed garbage emergency aggravated by the summer heat. Trash disposal is a decades-long problem for the Eternal City. Rome was left with no major site to treat the 1.7 million metric tons of trash it produces every year since the Malagrotta landfill was closed in 2013. Successive mayors from different parties have all proved incapable of solving the city's garbage woes, which have re-emerged dramatically since Mayor Virginia Raggi of the populist 5-Star Movement took the helm three years ago. Raggi's administration is facing frustration and anger from both tourists and Romans over the piles of trash that threaten peoples' health and tarnish the city's image. 'We've become the third, fourth world in my opinion,' said Rome resident Rossana Franza. 'Mrs. Raggi should take a small stroll here once and a while. Because in her neighborhood, which I have been to, it is all in order.' Another woman living in Rome who only gave her name as Alessia told The Associated Press that a rat walked by her the other day and she cannot even go outside in the evenings because 'there's an incredible stink.' Animals like dogs, cats and rats or even birds like seagulls pose a serious health risks as they root around in garbage and spread bacterial infections through their waste or urine, Dr. Roberto Volpe from the National Research Council CNR told The Associated Press. 'The main risk for us comes when we take out and throw the trash away,' Volpe warned. 'There's a risk of taking the contamination back home with us. That's why it's important to wash our hands properly afterward.' Volpe also discouraged angry citizens from setting garbage piles on fire, saying that could cause greater health risks through dioxin contamination, which can lead to cancer. Officials in Rome, who are often at odds over the possible solutions to the constant waste emergency, do agree on one thing: the garbage problem needs a long-term solution. 'Let's be honest ... no waste plan can solve a problem aggravated by 60 years of mismanagement in one year,' said Marco Cacciatore, president of the local commission for environmental and city politics in Rome. 'Let's tell the truth to citizens: We are human. This difficult infrastructural situation cannot be resolved in the short term.
  • San Francisco became the first major U.S. city to ban the sale of electronic cigarettes after supervisors gave the measure its second and final vote Tuesday. Backers say they hope the legislation will curb underage use of e-cigarettes, but critics say the ban will make it harder for adults to purchase an alternative to regular cigarettes. San Francisco is a city that celebrates its marijuana culture, but it appears deeply opposed to other vices. Last year, voters approved a ban on the sale of flavored tobacco and in 2016, a tax on sugar-sweetened drinks. E-cigarette maker Juul Labs, which is based in San Francisco, says it is opposed to youth vaping. The company is working on a ballot initiative that would regulate but not ban e-cigarette sales.
  • It was a small demonstration on a big topic for some Moroccan women trying to make some abortions legal. Two dozen activists gathered in front of the Muslim kingdom's parliament on Tuesday to press lawmakers to legalize abortion in extreme cases. A row of naked dolls on the ground symbolized the fate of children born from unintended pregnancies. One sign read: 'My mother is 15 years old. My father is a rapist.' Morocco has had a law in the making since 2016 that would decriminalize abortions in cases of rape or incest. Lawmaker Leila Amili said the legislation has 'too many points of conflict' for quick passage. Moroccan women sometimes have illegal abortions done by healers. A survey by Morocco's Family Planning Association said 50,000 to 80,000 clandestine abortions are performed annually.
  • A fire at a petrochemical plant in southern Spain has sent a massive plume of black smoke into the air near Gibraltar. The blaze broke out Tuesday at an industrial zone near Algeciras. The Andalusian emergency service said on Twitter that the plant owner, Indorama Ventures, says there have been no injuries arising from the fire. Authorities have evacuated nearby homes and closed roads around the plant, which is located 650 kilometers (400 miles) south of Madrid on the Strait of Gibraltar. The Gibraltar government said in a tweet that it does not know the chemical composition of the smoke and is recommending that people stay indoors with their windows closed as a precaution.
  • Researchers say they may have identified a new kind of plastic pollution in the sea and they're calling it 'plasticrust.' Scientists working in Madeira, a volcanic Portuguese island off northwest Africa, have found small patches of what looks like melted plastic encrusted on rocks along the shoreline. They first spotted the mostly blue and gray patches of various sizes in 2016. They are now reporting that the area the patches cover has increased substantially since then. Tests showed the material is polyethylene, the world's most widely used plastic. The crusts, on a specific part of the shore, are exposed at low tide. Scientists at Portugal's Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre say they don't know yet where the plastic comes from or how it could affect marine life.
  • The U.S. government has removed most children from a remote Border Patrol station in Texas near the border with Mexico following reports that more than 300 children were detained there and caring for each other with inadequate food, water and sanitation. Only about 30 children remained at the station outside El Paso on Monday, Rep. Veronica Escobar said after her office was briefed on the situation by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection official. Most of the infants, toddlers and teens who were held at the Border Patrol station in Clint, Texas, were scheduled to be transferred by Tuesday to shelters and other facilities run by a separate federal agency, the Office of Refugee Resettlement said. Attorneys involved in monitoring care for migrant children who visited Clint last week said older children were trying to take care of toddlers, The Associated Press reported Thursday. They described a 4-year-old with matted hair who had gone without a shower for days, and hungry, inconsolable children struggling to soothe one another. Some had been locked for three weeks inside the facility, where 15 children were sick with the flu and another 10 were in medical quarantine. 'How is it possible that you both were unaware of the inhumane conditions for children, especially tender-age children at the Clint Station?' Escobar, a Democrat, said in a letter sent Friday to U.S. Customs and Border Protection acting commissioner John Sanders and U.S. Border Patrol chief Carla Provost. Escobar asked to be informed by the end of this week what steps the officials are taking to end what she called 'these humanitarian abuses.' Lawmakers from both parties decried the situation last week. Border Patrol officials have not responded to AP's questions about the conditions at the Clint facility, but emailed a statement Monday that said: 'Our short-term holding facilities were not designed to hold vulnerable populations and we urgently need additional humanitarian funding to manage this crisis.' Although it's unclear where all the children held at Clint were moved, Escobar said some were sent to another facility on the north side of El Paso called Border Patrol Station 1. Escobar said it's a temporary site with roll-out mattresses, showers, medical facilities and air conditioning. But Clara Long, an attorney who interviewed children at Border Patrol Station 1 last week, said conditions were not necessarily better there. 'One boy I spoke with said his family didn't get mattresses or blankets for the first two nights, and he and his mom came down with a fever,' said Long, a senior researcher with Human Rights Watch. 'He said there were no toothbrushes, and it was very, very cold.' Vice President Mike Pence, asked about the unsafe, unsanitary conditions for the children on 'Face the Nation' on Sunday, said 'it's totally unacceptable' and added that he hopes Congress will allocate more resources to border security. Long and a group of lawyers inspected the facilities because they are involved in the Flores settlement, a Clinton-era legal agreement that governs detention conditions for migrant children and families. The lawyers negotiated access to the Clint facility with officials and say Border Patrol knew the dates of their visit three weeks in advance. Many children interviewed had arrived alone at the U.S.-Mexico border, but some had been separated from their parents or other adult caregivers including aunts and uncles, the attorneys said. Government facilities are overcrowded and five immigrant children have died since late last year after being detained by Customs and Border Protection. Two weeks ago, a teenage mother with a premature baby was found in a Border Patrol processing center in McAllen, Texas after being held for nine days by the government. Government rules call for children to be held by the Border Patrol in their short-term stations for no longer than 72 hours before they are transferred to the custody of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which houses migrant youth in facilities around the country through its Office of Refugee Resettlement while authorities determine if they can be released to relatives or family friends. Customs and Border Protection referred AP's questions about the Clint Facility to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which said Monday that 249 children previously held in Clint would be moved to the agency's network of shelters and other facilities by Tuesday. '(Unaccompanied children) are waiting too long in CBP facilities that are not designed to care for children,' ORR spokeswoman Evelyn Stauffer said. 'These children should now all be in HHS care as of Tuesday.' ___ This story has been corrected to show Pence was on 'Face the Nation,' not 'Meet the Press.
  • Environmental groups called on Tuesday for urgent measures to combat air pollution in the central Bosnian city of Tuzla, saying dust concentration far exceeds legal limits and causes premature deaths. The CEE Bankwatch Network group, the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) and the Center for Ecology and Energy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, also urged authorities in a report to scrap plans to build another coal-fired unit in addition to the local lignite power plant. The report says the plant and its adjacent open-cast mines and ash disposal site are the main sources of pollution in Tuzla. There has been no immediate official reaction. The report says dust pollution in Tuzla has been twice the legal limit on two thirds of monitored days in 2018, causing more than 100 premature deaths. 'People in Tuzla have already been protesting against air pollution, feeling that their city is one of the most polluted in the world,' said Denis Zisko from the Center for Energy and Ecology. 'The data we publish today shows just how serious the problem is and how authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, who are failing to even do proper monitoring of smog levels, are directly responsible for hundreds of deaths and thousands of cases of illness.' The report urged the authorities to introduce short- and long-term measures to reduce coal pollution and upgrade the air monitoring network to identify the true magnitude of the impact on health. The new planned coal plant unit — which will be financed by China and has been criticized by European Union officials — would add to the total installed capacity at the existing plant and come with another polluting ash pond, which would only increase air pollution when dry, warned Ioana Ciuta from CEE Bankwatch Network. 'One of the most shocking aspects is that authorities are presenting the construction of a new coal unit in Tuzla as part of the solution,' she said. 'People in Tuzla must not fall for such a lie.
  • The California Legislature voted Monday to tax people who refuse to buy health insurance, bringing back a key part of former President Barack Obama's health care law in the country's most populous state after it was eliminated by Republicans in Congress. The tax now heads to Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, who proposed a similar plan in January — an indication he will likely approve it. The federal Affordable Care Act required everyone to buy health insurance or pay a penalty. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law, ruling the penalty was a tax. In 2017, Republicans in Congress eliminated the penalty — beginning this year — as part of an overhaul of the federal tax code. The bill passed by Democrats in California would reinstate the tax, effective Jan. 1. No Republicans voted for it. One Democrat in the state Assembly — Rudy Salas Jr. — voted against it. The penalty won't apply to everyone, including people living in the country illegally. Lawmakers on Monday also approved a bill that would expand government-funded health insurance to low-income young adults living in the U.S. illegally. People in prison and those who are members of an American Indian tribe are also exempt, mirroring what had been in the federal law. Democrats say the plan is part of their efforts to make sure everyone in California has health insurance. If the bill becomes law, California would join Massachusetts, New Jersey, Vermont and Washington, D.C., next year as the only governments in the U.S. to penalize people who don't buy health insurance. It would also make California the only state to use money it gets from the penalty to help people who earn as much as six times the federal poverty limit pay their monthly health insurance premiums. That means a family of four earning up to $150,000 a year would be eligible. 'These new subsidies will impact almost 1 million Californians and help them get the health care access that they deserve,' said Democratic Assemblyman Phil Ting of San Francisco. Republican state Sen. John Moorlach said in 2014 that 82% of Californians who paid the penalty for not having health insurance had taxable incomes of $50,000 or less. 'This trailer bill will take money away from people making $30,000 to $50,000 a year and give it to people making between $75,000 and $130,000 a year,' GOP Assemblyman Jay Obernolte said. 'That makes no sense.' The state has already extended government health benefits to children living in the country illegally. The plan approved Monday would extend that coverage to people as old as 25. While the proposal easily passed the Legislature, it brought a rebuke from Democratic Sen. Maria Elena Durazo from Los Angeles. She criticized the bill for not providing health care coverage to people 65 and older living in the country illegally. 'We've missed an opportunity to create fairness and inclusion,' she said.
  • A driver working with an Ebola response team is in critical condition after angry crowds hurled rocks at him and set his vehicle on fire. Monday's attack in Beni is the latest against health workers trying to combat the virus that has killed more than 1,500 people in eastern Congo since the outbreak began last August. Col. Safari Kazingufu told The Associated Press that authorities were working to find the attackers and to protect the health teams out in the field. Ebola response efforts have been severely hindered by community mistrust and fear. Health centers have come under deadly attack and teams in the field have been threatened and injured. As a result, Ebola has spread in areas where vaccination efforts have stopped because of the dangers.