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Iceland’s New Prime Minister is a 41-Year-Old Anti-War, Pro-Environment Feminist

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Go, Iceland! The country that gained notoriety for jailing 29 corrupt bankers has a new prime minister, and she is a pacifist environmentalist who believes in gender equality.

Katrin Jakobsdottir, 41, was elected to lead the small nation island of 340,000 residents after elections in October. Due to a series of scandals in the country, she is the third prime minister in the past four years.

Metro reports that an election was called by former PM Bjarni Benediktsson in September after his father suggested a pedophile, who repeatedly raped his stepdaughter for 12 years, should have his “honour restored.” Not even a year earlier, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson resigned as PM once the public found out that his family had sheltered money in offshore tax havens.

Credit: REUTERS/Geirix

Unlike her predecessors, Jakobsdottir campaigned on a platform to restore trust in government as well as leverage a boom in tourism to increase the public’s spending. Said Jakobsdottir at a news conference in Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital:

“It is important that we try to change the way we work together. This agreement strikes a new chord.” 

The 41-year-old is among the world’s youngest leaders. Jakobsdottir’s cabinet will be made up of three members of her Left-Green party, five from the right-wing Independence Party, and three from the Progressive Party. By “spanning the political spectrum from left to right,” a new tone will be established, says a statement issued by the new prime minister’s office.

“She is the party leader who can best unite voters from the left and right,” said Eva H. Onnudottir, a political scientist at the University of Iceland. “Because this coalition includes parties from the left to the right, their work will be more about managing the system instead of making ‘revolutionary’ changes. This could work quite well as long as the economy is stable and prosperous.”

Credit: World Travel Guide

Jakobsdottir comes from a prominent Icelandic family of poets, professors, and politicians. Before she entered politics, she wrote a thesis on an Icelandic crime novelist, Arnaldur Indridason and worked at the national broadcaster, RUV. The former education minister is often cited by opinion polls to be one of the most trusted and well-liked politicians in the small country. She is Iceland’s second female prime minister. Johanna Sigurdardottir was the first and took the post in 2009.

One of Jakobsdottir’s campaign goals is to make Iceland carbon neutral by 2040. At the news conference in Reykjavik, Jakobsdottir also stressed the importance of gender equality, vowed to counter the effects of climate change, and expressed willingness to welcome more immigrants. Her party also called for the implementation of a Constitution partly crowdsourced through social media. She continues to oppose the country’s membership in NATO.

Credit: Birgir Thor Hardarson/European Pressphoto Agency

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h/t The Huffington Post, Metro

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Animals

Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida

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A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.

In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.

“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.

Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.

Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.

Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.

Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.

However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.

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Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son

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A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.

The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.

The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.

“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.

“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.

The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.

The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.

“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.

The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.

The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.

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Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter

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The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.

However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.

In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.

It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.

The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.

Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.

The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.

Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.

The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.

The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.

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