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What Else Is News?
Checking on headlines you may have missed
This is just a glimpse of what’s happening around the world right now. The Critical Reader encourages you to read various news sources in addition to the ones below to get the most accurate, least biased information possible.
Young Immigrants Found Working at Ohio Poultry Plant
More than two dozen immigrants under the age of 18 were found to be employed illegally at an Ohio poultry plant, according to federal agents. The minors were working in meat processing and sanitation areas at Gerber’s Poultry in Kidron, Ohio. Gerber’s is known for its Amish Farm Chicken.
The children working at the plant were mostly from Guatemala. Federal agents entered the plant and demanded identification and proof of age from workers. Sources say that some of the children worked there voluntarily to help provide for their families, while others may have been forced to work at the poultry plant by non-relatives.
U.S. labor law makes it illegal for people under 18 to work in meatpacking facilities. The use of heavy machines and strong chemicals makes meatpacking facilities particularly dangerous for children and teens. Nevertheless, it is quite common for minors, especially immigrants, to serve as cheap labor at these types of plants. Several recent investigations revealed that teenagers are often tasked with life-threatening jobs like cleaning razor-sharp equipment.
Canada Will Soon Legalize Euthanasia for Drug Addicts
Canada’s medically assisted dying (MAID) laws are about to grow to include people with substance abuse issues but with no other mental or physical illnesses.
According to one Canadian physician, it is only reasonable to offer assisted suicide to those with mental illness or drug addiction. “I don't think it's fair, and the government doesn't think it's fair, to exclude people from eligibility because their medical disorder or their suffering is related to a mental illness,” Dr. David Martell, a physician in addictions medicine at Nova Scotia Health, told Vice News. He has been performing euthanasia services in Canada since 2016.
Other physicians, however, think that assisted suicide for people with addictions is wrong and instead the medical community should be looking at more ways to help these individuals. “I just think that MAID when it has entered the area around mental health and substance use is really rooted in eugenics, said Zoë Dodd, a Toronto-based harm reduction advocate. “And there are people who are really struggling around substance use and people do not actually get the kind of support and help they need.”
Lithium Shortage Expected in a Couple of Years
Experts say that a growing demand for electric vehicles (EVs) would likely lead to a shortage of lithium within two years. This could stall President Biden’s plan to have EVs account for more than half of all cars and pickups sold in the United States by 2030. Lithium is a major component of EV batteries.
One expert told CNBC that she expects a deficit of 40,000 to 60,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent by the end of 2025, and an increase to 768,000 tonnes by the end of 2030.
Increasing sources for lithium mining and refining sooner rather than later could alleviate the problem. To hopefully get ahead of the game, some auto manufacturers like General Motors have bought stakes in lithium miners. Honda and Volkswagen are exploring recycling methods to reduce the need for producing more lithium.
While touted as a solution to using fossil fuels, EV batteries generally need coal, gas and oil for their manufacturing and charging. According to the AP, “about two-thirds of the world’s lithium comes from mines. That involves crushing rock and using acids to extract metals. It leaves toxic heaps of chemical-laced tailings. The rest is extracted from salt lakes or from salt flats called salars in Chile and Bolivia. That can require vast evaporation ponds.”
Environmental concerns are leading some EV manufacturers to find eco-friendly solutions to mining lithium. The AP notes: “VW has a five-year supply contract with Vulcan Energy Resources Ltd., which plans to produce lithium hydroxide from geothermal brine in Germany’s Rhine Valley. Vulcan says its process uses no fossil fuels.”
Potential Terror Threats Entering the U.S. Via Mexico?
Only the Daily Mail has provided lengthy coverage of this story, but the news source reports that four Iranians who could pose terror threats to the United States recently attempted to enter the country via the southern border. This comes as Iran has been accused of having links to the Hamas attack in Israel on October 7.
The Iranians who attempted to come into the U.S. via Mexico were not on terror watch lists; however, as the Daily Mail explains, “Iranians who cross illegally into the U.S. are classed as 'special interest aliens' because the State Department views Iran as a hostile nation that poses a threat to national security.”
As with most issues these days, concerns about special interest aliens entering the U.S. illegally and posing terror threats appear to be divided politically. A recent article in the New York Times suggested that Republicans were using the current turmoil in the Middle East to instill fear in Americans about the safety at the U.S.-Mexico border. The article noted that “the remarkable unity on this front [i.e., the southern border] underscores the degree to which the 2,000-mile dividing line between the United States and Mexico remains a potent political symbol for the party.” The Times article also noted that “Homeland Security officials have said they have found no specific or credible threat to the United States tied to Hamas.”
For those who are curious, U.S. Customs and Border Protection tracks encounters along the southern border.