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catastrophe

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Imagine you’re a historian 100 years from now -- assuming there are any historians 100 years from now, which is not obvious -- and you’re looking back at what’s happening today. For the first time in the history of the human species, you'd see we have clearly developed the capacity to destroy ourselves.

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Health experts say the coming decades will see an epidemic of asbestos-related diseases in Asian countries where the material is still used in construction. China and India, with their rapidly developing economies and huge populations, are expected to be the hardest hit.

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Pakistan's extraordinarily unfortunate season of flooding has left at least 1,600 people dead and 2 million homeless, and now the Pakistani government's poor response to the disaster has led to threats of social unrest and military takeover.

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Because if it's not in the history books, it didn't happen. Today's Orwell Award goes to the Israeli government, whose education minister has decided to remove references to what Palestinians call the "catastrophe" -- when Israel defeated five Arab nations in a 1948 war and expelled 700,000 Palestinians -- from textbooks given to Arab schoolchildren.

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A study of 7-to-11-year-old Brits found that the climate crisis and terrorism have added to the usual pressures of school and friendships to drive kids batty. Luckily, schools that engaged world-weary children with lessons and activities related to global catastrophe managed to alleviate some of the tension.

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A top Israeli education official has authorized a textbook for exclusive use in Arab Israeli schools that tells a different side of the story of Israel's creation in 1948. For starters, the text acknowledges that Palestinians dubbed the historical event "al nakba" (the catastrophe).

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More than 200 people have died in Karachi, Pakistan, as a result of storms that ravaged the city. Heavy rain, gale-force winds and flooding obliterated many homes, while falling trees, billboards and power lines wreaked further havoc. At least 45 people have also died in southern India.

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