Five dead as car ploughs through Waukesha parade

Good morning.

A vehicle has ploughed into crowds at a Christmas parade in a town in Wisconsin, killing five people and injuring more than 40 adults and children, including some from dance troupes and marching bands.

A red sport SUV drove at speed into crowds in a “tragic incident” in Waukesha about 20 miles west of Milwaukee on Sunday afternoon, the town’s police chief, Dan Thompson, told a media conference on Sunday night.

Eleven adults and 12 children were taken to hospital, Thompson said, who declined to give any more details about the casualties until families were notified.

“Some of the individuals were children and there are some fatalities as a result of this incident,” Thompson told reporters. “We’re working with the families, that is our priority in this tragic incident.”

More than 100,000 people died from overdoses in a 12-month period ending in April, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is the biggest-ever increase – and that figure is rising each month, drug researchers say.

Fentanyl is driving the majority of these deaths, associated with at least 60% of the fatal overdoses – a 50% increase in a single year, Nora Volkow, the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, told the Guardian.

“It’s devastating,” she said. “It’s an epidemic within the pandemic.” Deaths from fentanyl were already on the rise across the country, but the pandemic supercharged their speed and intensity.”

“It’s not unusual to see people turn to drugs or alcohol during times of crisis. But what we didn’t expect was that during that period, there will be a massive increase in the entry of these illicit substances into the country.”

The fiancee of the murdered Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi has called on Justin Bieber to cancel his performance in the kingdom’s second-largest city, Jeddah, scheduled for 5 December.

Khashoggi was killed and dismembered in 2018 after walking into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul the day before his wedding. His fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, was waiting outside.

The Turkish scholar and activist has written an open letter to the singer, urging him to not perform for Khashoggi’s “murderers”.

In the letter, published on Saturday in the Washington Post, Cengiz asks Bieber to cancel the performance to “send a powerful message to the world that your name and talent will not be used to restore the reputation of a regime that kills its critics”.

Costs of the traditional Christmas feast have risen 14% over the past year, the American Farm Bureau Federation said last week. The increase, up from an average of $46.90 for a family of 10 last year to $53.31 in 2021, works out at $6 a person.

Within the overall 6.6% rise in the cost of the family sit-down – including stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and coffee and milk – the cost of the bird has increased by 24% more than any other factor. But fears of shortages appear overblown.

Glennon Doyle is the writer who transformed from a Christian mommy-blogger into a feminist mentor, and who has been hailed by Adele as her go-to emotional guru. Oprah and Reese Witherspoon have also sung her praises; and Doyle campaigned for the white female vote for Joe Biden (another fan). Her close friend Elizabeth Gilbert (the author of Eat, Pray, Love fame) has predicted Doyle’s star will rise still further, and called her “the next Gloria Steinem”. Here she discusses her memoir Untamed, which was an instant New York Times bestseller, and more.

Standing in front of the Colosseum in Rome, the British prime minister, Boris Johnson, explained before Cop26 that a motive to tackle the climate crisis was uncontrolled immigration. This wrapping of ecological disaster with fears of rampant immigration is a narrative that has flourished in far-right fringe movements and is spilling into the discourse of mainstream politics. Whatever his intent, Johnson was following a current of rightwing thought that has shifted from outright dismissal to using its impacts to fortify ideological, and often racist, battle lines.

Want more environmental stories delivered to your inbox? Sign up to our new newsletter Down to Earth to get original and essential reporting on the climate crisis every week

Japan’s government is hoping that children’s fascination with bodily functions will help them appreciate the importance of paying taxes when they reach adulthood. Years after he fueled huge sales of school textbooks, Unko Sensei (Professor Poo) has been enlisted by the finance ministry to appear in a brochure as part of a campaign to engender an appreciation of the role of the treasury among the country’s youngest citizens. One of the questions he poses: what do poo and tax have in common? The answer: fertiliser, since both are used to grow things.

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