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Vox Sentences: Endangering species – Vox

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Vox Sentences is your daily digest for what’s happening in the world. Sign up for the Vox Sentences newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday, or view the Vox Sentences archive for past editions.

The Trump administration rolls back protections for endangered species; an attempted attack on a mosque in Norway is thwarted.


Fewer protections for endangered species


Mark Conlin/VW PICS/UIG via Getty Image

  • The Trump administration is rolling back protections for endangered species in ways that will benefit oil, mining, and coal companies. [Gizmodo / Brian Kahn]
  • Under changes to the Endangered Species Act, it could be harder to designate threatened species — those that are at risk of becoming endangered — and allows economic factors to be considered during the process. Experts are worried that business interests will taint the process of identifying species at risk of extinction. [BBC]
  • California and Massachusetts have already announced their plans to sue the administration, along with several other environmental groups. [The Hill / Rebecca Beitsch]
  • The ESA is popular among the general public: About 83 percent of Americans, including a majority of conservatives, support the act, according to an Ohio State University poll. It’s also effective: It’s credited with restoring a number of species like bald eagles and humpback whales. [Vox / Brian Resnick]
  • It’s the mining and fossil fuel industry that doesn’t like the act. Not only does it bar them from developing certain lands, but the cost of complying with the rules can also be expensive — which is why they complain that ESA places undue burden on them. [NYT / Lisa Friedman]
  • These changes have dangerous implications because they may ultimately speed up extinction. The UN already reported earlier this year that 1 million species are threatened by human activity. [CNN / Gregory Wallace and Ellie Kaufman]
  • ”Life on Earth is in peril,” as Vox’s Brian Resnick writes, and the biodiversity crisis could potentially have permanent effects if swift action is not taken. [Vox / Brian Resnick]

A white nationalist targets a Norwegian mosque

  • A Norweigan white nationalist tried, and failed, to attack a mosque near Oslo Saturday after reportedly being inspired by the recent mass shooting in El Paso. [BBC]
  • He open fired in the mosque while heavily armed and wearing body armor, but his attack was foiled by two men who tackled him to the ground. One of the men is 65-year-old Mohammad Rafiq, a retired Pakistani Air Force officer. Several shots were fired but only one minor injury was sustained. [BuzzFeed News / Claudia Koerner]
  • Authorities are also looking into the death of the suspect’s 17-year-old stepsister, whose body was found in his house. [CNN / Ray Sanchez and Frode Stang]
  • In a post on an online forum, the attacker referenced being “chosen” by the Christchurch, New Zealand, shooter who killed 51 people. Officials are also linking him to posts that praised the El Paso shooter, who had targeted the Latinx community. [Guardian / Jason Burke]
  • The timing of the attack was also significant: Sunday marked the beginning of Eid al-Adha, an Islamic holiday that marks the height of the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Extra security has now been set up to protect Norway’s 200,000 Muslims. [Vox / Alex Ward]
  • Prime Minister Erna Solberg has vowed to combat hate speech, but that remains a questionable claim when her ruling coalition inlcudes the far-right Progress Party, which is anti-immigrant and anti-Islam. [NYT / Henrik Pryser Libell]
  • Experts say the latest attack in Norway points to a concerning fact: A growing number of extremists believe that a race war is imminent and they’re feeding off each other’s fears — which means there’s a chance similar acts of violence could follow. [Vox / Alex Ward]

Miscellaneous

  • Robert Ballard found the remains of the Titanic in 1985. He now thinks he has enough clues to find Amelia Earhart’s plane. [NYT / Julie Cohn]
  • Germany’s environment minister said she’s planning to officially ban plastic bags because not enough people have voluntarily reduced their use. The EU is already set to ban single-use plastic by 2021. [Reuters]
  • After the Christchurch, New Zealand, mosque shootings in March that killed 51 people, the government launched a gun buyback scheme. In the span of just about a month, more than 10,000 firearms have been collected. [Guardian / Eleanor Ainge Roy]
  • Coach, Givenchy, and Versace are apologizing to their Chinese customers, who have threatened to boycott the companies for recognizing Hong Kong as an independent country in their T-shirt designs, contradicting Beijing’s “One China” policy. [CNN / Oscar Holland and Serenitie Wang]
  • Olympic champion gymnast Simone Biles has once again made history by being the first person to accomplish a triple-double (two flips and three twists). Here’s a video of it in slow motion. [Twitter / NBC Olympics]

Verbatim

“[The Endangered Species Act’s] success — and its support among the American people — are undeniable. But this administration’s determination to dismantle bedrock environmental laws, turn a blind eye to science, and roll over for special interests apparently knows no bounds.” [Sen. Tom Udall’s (D-NM) critcism of the recent changes to the Endangered Species Act]


Watch this: How poaching is changing the face of African elephants

Today is World Elephant Day. African elephants have been hunted by humans for centuries. And now the animals’ faces are changing because of it. [YouTube / Gina Barton]


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11 Exercises to Fix Rounded Shoulders and Sculpt Beautiful Posture

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Modern life takes its toll on our posture when we spend hours sitting and neglect the position of our spine. Poor posture leads to an imbalance in our muscles which means that they can’t support the body properly. Luckily, this can be fixed by doing a set of effective exercises. Moreover, they can help you to reduce back pain, stop headaches, increase energy, and improve circulation and digestion.

Bright Side is ready to help our readers achieve a beautiful and healthy body, and found 11 simple exercises that can be done at home by anyone. At the end we included a small tip, as a bonus for those who enjoy massage.

1. Upper trapezius stretch

It’s better to start from your shoulders first to relax your upper muscles. An upper trapezius stretch is just perfect for this.

Initial position: For this exercise, you can stand or sit on your yoga mat, whatever you like. Keep your head straight.

What to do:

  • Slowly move your right ear toward your right shoulder. When you do this, it’s normal that your left shoulder might lift as well. If it does, bring your head back to the initial position and try to relax your left shoulder.
  • Put your right hand over your head and place it on your left cheekbone. Don’t push your head down with it, it should just lie there. This will stretch your upper trapezius muscles very gently.
  • Calmly breathe and sit in this position for 30 seconds.
  • Slowly remove your hand, come back to the initial position and repeat the same on the other side.

2. Superman

The Superman exercise engages your upper and lower back. It helps you fight lower back pain and prevents a curved spine.

Initial position: Lie face down on your stomach, on your yoga mat.

What to do:

  • Extend your arms and legs. Keep your neck neutral.
  • Keep your torso stationary and lift your arms and legs up toward the ceiling. Try forming a “U” shape with your body.
  • Hold the position for 5 seconds, lower your arms and legs, and go back to the initial position.
  • Repeat 10 times.

3. Bridge

The bridge works out glutes and strengthens the lower back, which is important for good posture.

Initial position: Lie on your yoga mat, bend your knees, and place your feet hip-width apart. Place your arms by your sides.

What to do:

  • Engage your buttocks and raise them up, creating a straight line with your body. Your shoulders should be on the floor.
  • Hold this position for 10 seconds and slowly lower your body back to the initial position.
  • Repeat 15-20 times. Give yourself a rest for 30 seconds after every 5 reps.

4. Reverse shoulder stretch

This is an effective exercise to stretch your back and shoulder muscles and remove tension and pain in them.

Initial position: Stand on a yoga mat, with your feet wider than your shoulders, place your straightened hands behind you, and lock your palms together.

What to do:

  • Bring your shoulder blades together and start putting your arms up. Try to feel the tension in your spine and shoulder muscles.
  • For more spine stretch bend forward and bring your locked hands up. Hold this position for 10-15 seconds.
  • Slowly return back to the initial position.
  • Repeat 20 times.

5. Foam roller exercise for upper back

A foam roller will help you to relieve pain in your back muscles, fix rounded shoulders, and improve your overall posture.

Initial position: Get a yoga mat and lie on it with your hips apart and your feet on the floor. Place your foam roller right under your upper middle back, in your shoulder blade area.

What to do:

  • Bring your hands behind your head, this will support it. Bring your hips into a bridge pose, and hold your balance, supporting your body with your legs.
  • Inhale, push your body from your heels, and roll on your spine. Stop when the roller reaches the top of your shoulder blades.
  • Exhale and roll back until the roller reaches the bottom if your rib cage.
  • Repeat this for 30-45 seconds.

6. Cat-cow exercise

The cat-cow exercise is perfect for stretching your back, lower spine, and core muscles.

Initial position: Stand on all fours on the yoga mat, place your hands right under your shoulders, and knees and feet hip-width apart. Keep your toes pointing toward your body. Your spine should be natural and straight, no bending or arching.

What to do:

  • Cat position: exhale and engage your abdominal muscles. Arch your spine up toward the ceiling, bringing your head to your chest, aligned with your spine. Hold this for 10 seconds.
  • Cow position: slowly start bringing your stomach toward the floor and try to feel the tension in your lower back. Bring your shoulder blades together. Hold this for 10 seconds and go back to the initial position.
  • Repeat 15 times.

7. Kneeling hip-flexor stretch

The kneeling hip flexor stretch will help to remove tension from your pelvic and lower back muscles.

Initial position: Kneel on a yoga mat, bring your right leg in front of you, and bend it at a 90 degree angle. Your foot is flat on the ground. Support yourself by standing on your left knee that is also bent at 90 degrees.

What to do:

  • Slowly start bringing your right knee forward and brace your core. Engage your glutes and keep bringing your hips forward.
  • Your left knee is already bent at more than 90 degrees. Keep your spine straight, don’t bend it forward or backward.
  • Hold this position for 10 seconds to feel the stretch in the muscles then slowly return to the initial position.
  • Repeat 10 times for both sides.

8. Bird dog exercise

Bird dog helps to remove back pain, strengthens the core, and promotes proper posture.

Initial position: Stand on all fours on the yoga mat, your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Your spine should be straight and neutral.

What to do:

  • Raise your right hand and your left leg at the same time, bringing them parallel to the floor.
  • As you do this, lengthen your neck and bring your chin to your chest. Look down at the floor and remain like this for 10 seconds.
  • Return to the starting position and then repeat the same exercise with your left hand and right leg.
  • Repeat 10-15 times.

9. Forearm plank

Plank is not only effective at burning fat, but it also helps to strengthen the spine muscles, it prevents back pain, and it helps to improve your posture.

Initial position: Place your forearms on the yoga mat and align your elbows below your shoulders. Your arms should be parallel to your body at about shoulder-width distance.

What to do:

  • You can clasp your hands together for more comfort. Correct your neck and spine by looking at one spot on the floor somewhere about 30 centimeters in front of your hands.
  • Pay attention, so that your head is in line with your back.
  • Hold this position for 20 seconds.

10. T-Spine windmill stretch

The t-spine windmill stretch can help you fight pain and tension in your lower back and trunk. Moreover, it works out your shoulder muscles.

Initial position: Lie on your side on a yoga mat and bend your knees and hips at 90 degrees. Extend and stack your arms together on your right side.

What to do:

  • Raise your left arm up and then place it out to the left, opening your body up. Right now, your shoulder blades should be on the floor and your legs should remain in the same position.
  • Hold it for a couple of seconds and return to your initial position.
  • Do 30 repetitions on each side.

11. Tight shoulder massage

A simple tennis ball can help you to remove pain in your shoulders in different areas and relax them. All you need here is a tennis ball and a wall.

Initial position: Stand next to the wall and face it. Place a tennis ball on the wall and lean on it. Your chest should push the ball inside your shoulder.

What to do:

  • Start making a circular movement around this muscle and try to find a trigger point.
  • Hold a ball on this point until you feel that the tension and pain are gone.
  • Keep doing this until you relax all of your trigger points.
  • Repeat on the other shoulder.

Bonus: Thai massage is amazing for your back and shoulders.

Thai massage is an ancient form of massage that uses stretching and gentle pressure on the body to relieve muscle and joint pain, and balance your body. This massage helps to make muscles more flexible and removes chronic stiffness. For better results in achieving a healthy back and good posture, you can try this type of massage, focusing on your spine muscles.

Exercises can be effective, but it’s also important to pay attention to your posture throughout the day and strive to keep your spine straight. Do you have good posture? Maybe, you have a couple of exercises that help you relieve back and shoulder pain? Let’s share in the comments!

Illustrated by Alena Tsarkova and Marat Nugumanov for BrightSide.me

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8 Top Technology Trends To Watch In China

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This is a preview of 2019 Technology Trends Report in China from Business Insider Intelligence and EqualOcean. Chinese high tech firms have been leading the way in innovation for many technologies, such as 5G. These technologies are either currently undergoing or about to undergo major phases of change.

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Why Iran is attacking oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz

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The Strait of Hormuz is a narrow waterway that lies between Iran and Oman. Dozens of tankers carry oil through the 21-mile-wide passage each day. This flow of oil represents 20 percent of the world’s supply.

Most of the tankers traveling through the Strait of Hormuz are bound for Asia. But an attack on any tanker there, regardless of its destination, can affect the price of oil everywhere. That’s because oil is a globally traded product — a drop in supply from the Persian Gulf can drive up prices from other sources around the world. After two tankers were attacked in June, the price of Brent Crude — oil sourced from the North Sea — jumped by nearly $2 per barrel.


The price of Brent crude, a global benchmark, jumped in response to the attack of two oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz.

Vox/Danush Parvaneh

The attacks in June weren’t the only incidents in Hormuz in recent months. Several other oil tankers have been seized, attacked, and harassed. These tankers — and this narrow water passage — have become a center of conflict between the US and Iran. It’s a conflict with the potential to escalate in one of the world’s most important oil chokepoints, sending the global economy into a tailspin.

You can find this video and all of Vox’s videos on YouTube. And if you’re interested in supporting our video journalism, you can become a member of the Vox Video Lab on YouTube.

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