LOS ANGELES: Washington on Tuesday became the first US state to legalize human composting after its eco-friendly governor signed a bill to that effect in a bid to cut carbon emissions from burials and cremations.
Under the new law that will go into effect in May of next year, people who die in the state will have the option to have their bodies transformed into soil suitable for use in gardening in a process called recomposition.
“Recomposition offers an alternative to embalming and burial or cremation that is natural, safe, sustainable, and will result in significant savings in carbon emissions and land usage,” said Katrina Spade, who lobbied for the law and is the founder of Recompose, a Seattle-based company set to be the first to offer the service.
“The idea of returning to nature so directly and being folded back into the cycle of life and death is actually pretty beautiful,” Spade added in a statement.
She said she became interested in the process about 10 years ago after turning 30 and thinking more about her own mortality.
Spade then began examining the technical aspects of creating an environmentally friendly “third option” that could compete with the $20-billion US funeral industry, which offers conventional burial and cremation.
Her approach — developed with Washington State University, which did clinical trials with donor bodies — calls for a dead person to be placed in an hexagonal steel container filled with wood chips, alfalfa and straw.
The container is then shut and the body is decomposed by microbes within 30 days. The end product is a dry, fluffy nutrient-rich soil resembling what one would buy at a local nursery and suitable for vegetable gardens.
“Everything — including bones and teeth — is recomposed,” Spade said. “That’s because our system creates the perfect environment for thermophilic (i.e. heat-loving) microbes and beneficial bacteria to break everything down quite quickly.”
The process used by Recompose is the same as that used for decades with farm animals and the clinical trials carried out by the university in Washington found that it was also safe for use with humans.
US piles pressure on Iran with new troop deployments
WASHINGTON: China and Russia warned Tuesday about escalating Middle East tensions after Washington said it would deploy 1,000 more troops to the region and renewed accusations that Iran was behind a tanker attack.
The US moves came as Iran set a 10-day countdown for world powers to fulfil their commitments under a nuclear deal abandoned by Washington, saying it would otherwise surpass the uranium stockpile limit mandated by the accord.
Tensions between Tehran and Washington have escalated ever since the US quit the deal, with Washington bolstering its military presence in the region and blacklisting Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization.
On Monday, Washington further upped the ante.
“I have authorized approximately 1,000 additional troops for defensive purposes to address air, naval, and ground-based threats in the Middle East,” acting Pentagon chief Patrick Shanahan said in a statement.
“The recent Iranian attacks validate the reliable, credible intelligence we have received on hostile behavior by Iranian forces and their proxy groups that threaten United States personnel and interests across the region,” Shanahan said.
The United States has blamed Iran for last week’s attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman, a charge Tehran denies as “baseless.”
Trump says US to begin removing ‘millions’ of illegal migrants
WASHINGTON: The United States will start removing “millions” of illegal migrants next week, President Donald Trump said Monday, adding that Guatemala is preparing to sign a safe third country deal.
“Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States. They will be removed as fast as they come in,” Trump said on Twitter, referring to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
He added that “Guatemala is getting ready to sign a Safe-Third Agreement,” an apparent reference to a pact in which migrants entering Guatemalan territory would have to apply for refugee status there, not in the United States.
The US is facing a surge in migrant arrivals from Guatemala and other impoverished Central American countries which are plagued by gang violence.
The numbers have overwhelmed the ability of US authorities to temporarily shelter and process them.
Trump has called it “an invasion,” and has made the fight against illegal migration a central plank of his administration.
Earlier Monday the US said it would not offer any more aid to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras unless they take “concrete actions” to deter undocumented migrants from heading for the US.
For fiscal 2019, $370 million initially planned will be allocated to other foreign policy priorities, the State Department said, and all future aid is now conditional.
“We will not provide new funds for programs in those countries until we are satisfied the Northern Triangle governments are taking concrete actions to reduce the number of illegal migrants coming to the US border,” Ortagus said.
Trump to launch 2020 campaign in retiree-friendly Florida
WASHINGTON: Ronald, Don and John are living the good life in this haven of Republican retirees in Florida, a city designed for the aging, with paths everywhere for golf carts and where residents have plenty of time to campaign for their president, Donald Trump.
The Villages is a pleasant, immaculately clean, fast-growing retirement town in central Florida. The average age of its 75,000 inhabitants is 71. Some two-thirds are Republican.
One afternoon not long ago five retirees all wearing Trump pins reviewed lists of recent arrivals in the city in order to send them invitations to join Republican-affiliated clubs.
An hour’s drive to the south, in Orlando, the US president will be formally launching his re-election campaign on Tuesday.
“We’re very proud,” Ronald McMahan, vice president of one of the clubs,said. “We’re proud to be Republicans, we’re proud to be with other Republicans and very proud that Mr. Trump has chosen to open his campaign here.”
Trump’s choice of Florida was no accident. If he is to win a second term in the White House in 2020, he will have to win in Florida again.
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