ICYMI: Climate report says we’re fucked, R. Kelly trial starts, Canadian border reopens, and more

Aug 11, 2021 at 1:00 am
click to enlarge This is fine. - Shutterstock
This is fine.

We’re fucked. That’s according to the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which released a searing new report on Monday that paints a grim future. According to the report, even if nations immediately kicked their addictions to fossil fuels, global warming will still probably rise 1.5 degrees Celsius within the next two decades, causing even more of the extreme weather we’ve been seeing in recent years (like this summer’s historic Detroit-area floods). UN Secretary-General António Guterres called the report “a code red for humanity,” and though the report also notes there’s still a chance to prevent the climate from growing even hotter than that, it would require an immediate, coordinated effort to cut carbon emissions by 2050 (and maybe even removing existing carbon from the air with some sort of technology). The 3,500-page report was authored by more than 200 scientists from more than 60 countries.

The trial of R. Kelly started Monday in New York, where, in an unusual legal move, the disgraced R&B star is being tried under RICO laws for essentially running a criminal enterprise made up of his managers, personal assistants, drivers, and others to “recruit women and girls to engage in illegal sexual activity with Kelly,” according to the indictment. The six victims are known only as “Jane Does” in court records, but Jane Doe #1 is reportedly the late Detroit star Aaliyah, who Kelly secretly married when he was 26 and she was only 15. Kelly has pleaded not guilty to all charges, and if convicted, he could spend 20 years in prison. In better news, Blackground Records finally announced the release of Aaliyah’s back catalog after a long dispute with her estate, which means her icky Kelly-produced debut, Age Ain’t Nothin’ But a Number, will no longer be her only available music. Her music is set to return to streaming services starting later this month, as well as CD and vinyl.

Detroit’s beleaguered urban farm project RecoveryPark and its founder Gary Wozniak have been hit with a cease and desist from Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs ordering it to stop offering unregistered securities as promissory notes — essentially writing empty IOUs to investors. The farm became a media darling during the past decade thanks to Wozniak’s mission, which was to provide jobs for the formerly incarcerated by building a large greenhouse in Detroit, after Wozniak found himself unable to find work after a stint in federal prison in the 1980s and ’90s. But curiously, a Crain’s Detroit Business article about the cease and desist failed to mention that Wozniak has a history of fraud — he was sentenced for defrauding investors of at least $800,000, which he has since blamed on cocaine. A May Metro Times cover story found the farm had laid off all its staff last year after investors pulled out, and had fallen into disrepair.

COVID-19 is so widespread that even Michigan white-tailed deer have reportedly been exposed to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes it. A recent study from the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services found antibodies for the virus in 33% of the 481 blood samples collected from deer between January 2020 and March 2021 in Michigan, Illinois, New York, and Pennsylvania, with 113 of the samples coming from Michigan. It’s not known how the virus reached deer, but scientists aren’t worried about the virus jumping from deer to humans.

We can go to Canada again. Officials reopened its border Monday to U.S. travelers for the first time since the pandemic started. Aside from needing a passport or enhanced license, you’ll need to be vaccinated, have a quarantine plan, and might get tested at the border, which is sure to slow already slow wait times. And COVID-deniers, beware: failure to comply with the new rules could result in up to $1 million in fines and three years in prison. Curiously, the Canadian border is now open to Americans, but not vice versa — U.S. officials still haven’t gotten their shit together to hold up their end of the deal. Ironic, don’t you think?

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