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Echo Chamber: News You Could Have Read Anywhere

Outer Harbor

  • The sluggish bureaucracy that is the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) is finally surrendering control of the Outer Harbor, upon which it has sat for nigh on 55 years. The deal, which will lease 111 acres of “prime” waterfront land to the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC), has been in the works for a year and a half. There’s a good possibility of an outright sale of the land at the end of the five-year lease. The two parties signed a memorandum of understanding Monday and hope to complete the transfer by sometime this summer. In the meantime, the ECHDC plans to start “greening” the parcel (no small task) and will soon begin work on a $13.6M “green belt walkway” around the property, which should be completed later this spring.
  • The New York Rangers beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in a 2-1 OT decision last night, lifting them above the Sabres’ reach. As it stands right now, there are only three teams the Sabres can surpass—Boston, Washington and Philadelphia—and they must beat out two of them to make the playoffs. They face the Maple Leafs tonight at 7:30pm.
  • The water wars continue out West, and the biggest losers, it’s no surprise, is wildlife in all of its forms. (In the long, arduous march of human history, that’s always been the case, hasn’t it?) In this case, we’re talking about fish. Prize, cold-water Montana trout. The biggest worry for the fish is that small streams will simply dry up in late summer, and those that don’t will reach lethally high temperatures. Scientists project that Western trout populations in general will drop by as much as 60 percent in some areas, and 90 percent or more of bull trout will die off by 2050. Up to 40 percent of salmon could disappear. The changes are already hitting Montana’s grayling populations, which have dropped by 75 percent or more in the past decade, as temps have risen by an average of 2 percent.
  • Heavy pesticide use in Central and South America is killing off American songbirds like the bobolink (50 percent of them in 40 years, in fact.) The chemicals, which have been banned in the United States, are also poisoning us.
  • North Korea is puffing up its chest like a barroom douche bag, “test-firing” missiles off its west coast in an ongoing effort to frighten South Korea as talks between the two nations continue to heat up.
  • Islamist militiamen overran Somali government troops on Monday, seizing control of Bulo Burti, a small town north of the capital city, Mogadishu. The Islamist movement has been gaining momentum in recent months, wresting control of the countryside from an Ethopian- and American-backed transitional government that was installed in the capital in late 2006. The Islamist movement first came into power in 2006 by uniting the countless clan militias and driving away predatory warlords who’d been terrorizing the general population.
  • GW Bush is backing Ukraine and Georgia’s memberships into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) military alliance in a blatant “fuck you” to Russian President (and soon-to-be Prime Minister) Vladamir Putin. Putin has recently condemned the two countries’ membership bids, even going so far as threatening to target the countries with nuclear missiles should they join the alliance. He’s not comfortable having a “military bloc” so close to his borders. NATO members France and Germany are also against admitting Ukraine and Georgia, saying they’re worried it would disrupt the delicate balance of power between Europe and Russia. Beware a cornered wolf…