US to reopen Guantánamo Bay migrant detention camp


A US migrant detention camp on Guantánamo Bay in Cuba is preparing to reopen. Under the White House’s plans, hundreds of people would be housed in the facility in exceptional circumstances.

The so-called Migrant Operations Center, close to prison compounds housing the “war on terror” detainees, was wound down by the Obama administration and has not been used to hold migrants since 2017. It comes as the government faces criticism for increasing controversial deportation flights to Haiti.

Why now? Uno stimato 14,000 migranti, mostly Haitian, have crossed the Rio Grande in the past fortnight. Many are fleeing recent chaos caused by an earthquake amid political turmoil after the president’s assassination.

Unliveable. The migrants are facing desperate conditions in makeshift camps in Texas, including high temperatures, squalid living conditions, probable deportation and shocking mistreatment by border patrol agents.

Official response. A top Department of Homeland Security official disse it “is not and will not send Haitian nationals being encountered at the south-west border to the Migrant Operations Center (MOC) in Guantánamo Bay”.

Many healthcare workers feel stonewalled by elected officials and scapegoated for the high US Covid death toll after allegedly working the equivalent of three full-time years in 12 months and enduring gruelling 24-hour shifts.

Such conditions are leading many to quit. An official nationwide survey this summer suggested more than half of public health workers were suffering from the symptoms of at least one major mental health condition. Their reported prevalence of PTSD was 10 per 20% higher than in frontline medical workers and the general public.

Brain drain. The public health workforce had been shrinking before the pandemic, which accelerated the downward trend amid budget cuts. Some fear that the toll of the pandemic poses an existential threat to their line of work.

GOP senators are set to block a Democrat spending plan in a move that could set off a never-seen-before US default on its mammoth $28tn debt obligations, while precipitating a government shutdown.

The Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, has said Republicans will vote against the stopgap funding measure to suspend the debt limit, potentially causing a shutdown on 1 October and a default weeks later. Democrats argue that they joined Republicans in raising the debt ceiling when Donald Trump was president.

Debt routine. A spokesperson for the Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, criticized McConnell for refusing to join Democrats for what has in years past been regarded as a usual step that allows the US treasury to meet its debt obligations.

Amid an ongoing legal battle, Apple has blacklisted Fortnite from the App Store until appeals with the game’s maker, Epic Games, are completed, Epic’s CEO has said, as he declared his company would continue to fight.

It comes after the game maker tried to circumvent Apple’s 30% fee on some in-app purchases on the App Store by launching its own in-app payment system. A US judge this month ruled against a core part of Apple’s App Store rules prohibiting developers from telling users where else they could go to pay the developer directly.

‘Opaque’. Developers have long criticized Apple’s commissions of between 15% e 30% on many App Store purchases, and what some developers see as a non-transparent and unpredictable app-vetting process.

A new report has found that more than 100 Paesi face cuts to public spending on health, education and social protection as the Covid-19 pandemic compounds already high levels of debt. Unsustainable rising debt levels have seen inequality widening between high-income countries and those in the global south, researchers said.

A smart toilet using sensors and artificial intelligence to analyse waste is in development. It will analyse and tracks stool samples and send the data to an app and help provide “information related to cancer and many chronic diseases”.

Birds seemingly enjoyed the sudden drop in traffic at the beginning of pandemic lockdowns last year, with the distribution of 80% of studied bird species in North America changing. Research has found that many birds moved back into areas near busy roads once the streets became quieter, suggesting that “if we change our uses of the landscape we can provide more space for declining species”.

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A 57-year-old woman rescued from a Croatian island in a weak, dehydrated and confused state with no idea of how she got there has been identified as a Slovakian former designer who has lived in the US and reportedly made jewellery for celebrities including Diana Ross, Brigitte Bardot and Barbra Streisand.

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