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Colorado’s domestic violence deaths spiked 44% in 2021, new report finds

DENVER — Six family members gunned down at a birthday party in Colorado Springs. A woman going through a breakup who’d sought support from her brother and a friend. A 1 month old baby.

All are among the 91 people who died in domestic violence incidents in Colorado in 2021 — more deaths than any year since at least 2016, according to a new report released Friday by the state’s Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board.

In 2020, the state saw 63 domestic violence-related deaths, compared to 70 in 2019, 43 in 2018, 40 in 2017 and 58 in 2016, according to the review board, which first began tallying the deaths of both victims and perpetrators of domestic violence in 2016.

The 91 deaths in 2021 make for a 44% year-over-year increase, a spike that could be driven by the COVID-19 pandemic and seems to validate concerns from advocates who warned early on that the lockdowns, isolation and financial insecurity would be cut off domestic violence victims from help and escape routes.

—The Denver Post

Why is drought-weary Los Angeles letting stormwater flow into the Pacific Ocean?

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles River roared to life this week as a series of powerful storms moved through the Southland. In Long Beach, 3 feet of water shut down the 710 Freeway in both directions, while flooding in the San Fernando Valley forced the closure of the Sepulveda Basin.

It was by all accounts a washout, but despite heaps of water pouring into the area, drought-weary Los Angeles won’t be able to save even half of it. The region’s system of engineered waterways is designed to whisk LA’s stormwater out to sea — a strategy intended to reduce flooding that nonetheless sacrifices countless precious gallons.

Voters in 2018 approved Measure W, which is aimed at improving LA’s aging stormwater capture system. Officials are making progress, but experts say there’s a long way to go. Of an estimated 5 billion to 10 billion gallons pouring into the Los Angeles Basin from current storms, only about 20% will be captured by the county.

“In a region that imports 60% of our water, it’s just a huge untapped potential for a local water supply,” said Bruce Reznik, executive director of LA Waterkeeper. “We passed the Safe Clean Water Program to get us there, but we’re just not there yet. It’s going to take us some years.”

—Los Angeles Times

Global loss of glaciers more substantial than previously thought, new study says

A global loss of glaciers resulting in rising sea levels is far more substantial than previously thought, a study published Thursday in the journal Science reveals.

Scientists from around the world — including one from Carnegie Mellon University — used what is called a glacier evolution model, inputting different temperatures and precipitation levels into a coding program to glean context about the worst- and best-case scenarios for the world’s glaciers. The study was partly funded by NASA.

Given current warming trends, the planet’s glaciers are on track to lose at least a quarter of their mass by 2100, and that is a best-case scenario that would involve “considerably more (climate) targets set by other countries, now,” said David Rounce, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at CMU.

Not just a scientific exercise, the modeling could predict a massive impact on iconic places on the map like the Alps and the Andes mountain ranges and on resources such as freshwater supplies to communities near them.

—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

US keeps offering China its COVID vaccines. China keeps saying no

China has rebuffed repeated US offers to share advanced vaccines as Beijing battles a fast-spreading wave of COVID-19, a rejection that’s led to growing frustration among American officials concerned about a resurgence of the pandemic.

Worried about the rise of new variants and impact on China’s economy, the US has repeatedly offered mRNA vaccines and other assistance to President Xi Jinping’s government through private channels, according to US officials who asked not to be identified discussing the deliberations.

US officials have also proposed indirect ways to supply the vaccines in an effort to accommodate political sensitivities in China on accepting foreign aid, they said, without providing more details.

The US offers have been made by senior diplomats, including during a December trip to China by Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Kritenbrink and National Security Council Senior Director Laura Rosenberger, as well as through public health officials and intermediaries. Although US officials have said publicly that they’ve offered vaccines to China, the full extent of that outreach hasn’t been previously reported.

—Bloomberg News

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