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Japan Expected to Withdraw From IWC to Resume Whale Hunting
Despite a global ban on commercial whaling more than 30 years ago, Japan has caught about 200-1,200 whales every year since 1987—including pregnant and juvenile ones—under the exception of "scientific research." Opponents have fiercely criticized this research program as just a cover so the whales can be killed for human consumption.
Now, the national broadcaster NHK reports that the Japanese government wants to fully resume commercial whaling by pulling out of the International Whaling Commission (IWC). Commercial whaling was paused in 1986 by the IWC because some whales were hunted to near extinction.
On Thursday the government said that the recovery of some whale stocks justified its withdrawal from the commission, according to NHK.
The government is said to be making preparations to restart commercial whaling in Japan's nearby seas and exclusive economic zones.
Even though most of Japanese citizens no longer eat whale meat, whaling proponents say that eating the mammals is part of their culture.
In September, Japan attempted to lift the 1986 moratorium and pushed for "the sustainable use of whales." Anti-whaling nations ultimately defeated the proposal.
Conservationists condemned the Japanese government's reported plans.
"This is a grave mistake which is out of step with the rest of the world," Sam Annesley, executive director at Greenpeace Japan said in a press release. "We hope that Japan will reverse its decision and take its place beside the nations trying to undo the damage human activities have done to whale populations."
The BBC noted that despite the widespread reporting in Japanese media, there has not yet been an official announcement.
If Japan wants to leave the IWC next year, the commission will need to be notified by Jan. 1, according to Kyodo News.
Humane Society International said that Japan's move could motivate other pro-whaling nations to leave the IWC. The group also warns that the action defies Article 65 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which pushes for the conservation of marine mammals.
"If Japan leaves the International Whaling Commission and continues killing whales in the North Pacific it will be operating completely outside the bounds of international law," Nicola Beynon, head of campaigns at Humane Society International in Australia, said in a press release. "This is the path of a pirate whaling nation, with a troubling disregard for international rule. We're going to continue to press the international community to bring an end to the unjustified persecution of whales for commercial profit wherever it occurs."
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‘Companies Should Not Be Allowed to Use Hazardous Ingredients in Products People Use’: Michelle Pfeiffer Speaks Up for Safer Cosmetics
The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.
Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.
The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.
By Julia Conley
Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.
The climate crisis is a major concern for American voters with nearly 40 percent reporting the issue will help determine how they cast their ballots in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, according to a report compiled by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Of more than 1,000 registered voters surveyed on global warming, climate and energy policies, as well as personal and collective action, 38 percent said that a candidate's position on climate change is "very important" when it comes to determining who will win their vote. Overall, democratic candidates are under more pressure to provide green solutions as part of their campaign promises with 64 percent of Democrat voters saying they prioritize the issue compared with just 34 percent of Independents and 12 percent of Republicans.
President Donald Trump has agreed to sign a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that will help Americans still recovering from the flooding, hurricanes and wildfires that have devastated parts of the country in the past two years. Senate Republicans said they struck a deal with the president to approve the measure, despite the fact that it did not include the funding he wanted for the U.S.-Mexican border, CNN reported.
"The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!" the president tweeted Thursday.