Galileo Financial raises $77 million for its fintech services that were 19 years in the making

Clay Wilkes had already been retired for six years when he launched Galileo Financial Services in 2000.

The serial entrepreneur, who had been an early pioneer in telecommunications technologies (like voice over internet protocols), saw the need for better connectivity between secondary services and financial institutions 19 years ago, just as new digital services around payroll processing, transit vouchers, store cards and other services were launching.

Now the company runs the backend integrations with financial institutions for some of the biggest names in financial technology and has just raised $77 million in financing from Accel Partners.

Not that Galileo necessarily needed the money. The company has been profitable for years since its bootstrapped beginnings and counts fintech giants like Chime Banking, Robinhood, Monzo and TransferWise among its customers. In fact, the debit and credit card service provider will process nearly $26 billion in financing by the end of the year, according to the company.

For financial services companies that are launching these days there are a few ways to get to market quickly. One is to partner with a financial institution that will handle the money for them in accounts that are FDIC assured; the other is to become a financial provider that’s fully regulated themselves.

Most companies have opted for the second route, and when they do, they need to find a way to hook into a bank’s financial system and the payment technologies that form the backbone of transaction processing through the debit and credit cards that a huge portion of the world relies on to buy things.

Accel partner John Locke, who is joining the Galileo board of directors, calls the company almost the flip side of the Braintree and Stripe investments that power transactions for most online merchants.

Rather than focus on the companies that are taking online orders and processing payments, Galileo deals with the consumers who are spending the money and powers the ways in which companies are trying to offer new services to get those consumers to switch from traditional banks to their upstart challengers (ironically still mostly powered by traditional banks).

“Through the API what they’re doing is creating and managing accounts, authorizing merchant transactions, monitoring fraud, initiating disputes and chargebacks, being able to configure products and a wide variety of product,” said Wilkes. “We support [direct deposit accounts] and we do credit products… all of these capabilities are capabilities that fit on our platform.”

Wilkes wouldn’t talk about the company’s valuation except to say that it’s worth “a substantial amount.”

What he will talk about is how Galileo will use the money it has raised. The Salt Lake City-based startup is planning to greatly expand its geographical reach beyond North America. It’s “actively pursuing opportunities in Brazil and Colombia and Argentina,” according to Wilkes. In fact, the company plans to open an office in Mexico City in the coming months to service new Latin American business.

Meanwhile, it already has something of a stranglehold on the market in the United Kingdom. “The top five largest fintechs in the U.K. are all clients today,” Wilkes said.

Unlike other companies in the market that take a fixed percentage of transactions, Galileo charges a variable amount of a few cents for every transaction that it processes to connect a startup with its banking back end.

“We’re in a golden era of fintech innovation and Galileo has quietly built the API infrastructure layer powering the industry’s most innovative products,” said Locke in a statement. “Clay and his team have built a very impressive business with many parallels to companies like Qualtrics and Atlassian: bootstrapping first to build a quiet, profitable powerhouse and now, ready to go big globally. We’re excited to help Clay and team take Galileo to the next level.”

Desperate to fill teacher shortages, US schools are hiring teachers from overseas

Algorithmia AI Generated Summary

 

(CNN)When Joevie Alvarado became a teacher, she never expected to teach American students 7,600 miles away.

“For the first year, it’s a little bit of a struggle because I’m the kind of person who misses family that easily,” said Alvarado, who taught for a decade in the Philippines before moving to Arizona. com/cnnnext/dam/assets/191004143748-01-international-teachers-us-shortage-super-169.


 

(CNN)When Joevie Alvarado became a teacher, she never expected to teach American students 7,600 miles away.

“For the first year, it’s a little bit of a struggle because I’m the kind of person who misses family that easily,” said Alvarado, who taught for a decade in the Philippines before moving to Arizona.
But “in terms of pay, let’s just say my previous pay was multiplied by eight or 10 when I got here,” she said. “So having that kind of pay, it enticed me to be here.”
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Some parents may be surprised to learn their children are now being taught by international teachers.
Tom Trigalet, who was principal at Casa Grand Union High School when Alvarado was hired, said there’s not much choice.
“When you really don’t have any other applicants, how are you going to fill those spots?” Trigalet said.
But hiring teachers from overseas is only a temporary fix to a widespread problem.

A nationwide crisis

Across the US, schools are hemorrhaging teachers while fewer college graduates enter the profession.
In 2018, the US had an estimated shortage of 112,000 teachers, according to the Learning Policy Institute.
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Arizona alone had 7,000 teacher vacancies going into this year, said Joe Thomas, president of the Arizona Education Association.
Some of those vacancies are filled by people who don’t have a standard teaching certificate, he said. Others are being plugged by long-term substitutes, contracted agencies or teachers who must add an additional course to their day.
So schools like Casa Grande Union High have hired several Filipino teachers using J-1 visas. Those visas allow teachers to stay in the US for up to five years.
Alvarado is one of several Filipino teachers in their fourth year at Casa Grande teaching science — a notoriously hard subject to fill with US teachers.
“People that have math and science degrees can make so much more money in research and in analytics and in other areas that their degree opens doors to,” Thomas said.
“The average starting pay (for teachers) in Arizona is about $36,300.”
While that salary may seem paltry for many Americans, Filipino teachers like Noel Que say their jobs in the US are much more lucrative, allowing them to live better.
US schools are hiring teachers from overseas - CNN
“You can buy anything here — not like back home,” said Que, who teaches high school biology and biotechnology at Casa Grande
“We can eat whatever we want. We can buy whatever we want of the salary that we’re getting. … We just need to budget that salary that we’re getting.”
The Casa Grande Union High School District says its international teachers are on the same pay scale as its American-born teachers.
Que, like other Filipino teachers at his school, lives with roommates to cut down on expenses.
While teaching in America has brought financial rewards, there are also emotional costs.

Leaving his family behind

Que said he made the difficult decision to move from the Philippines to Arizona about four years ago.
“The economic condition in the Philippines is very different … it’s not really enough,” he said.
“There is always a trade-off in everything that you want to get. I want this job (for) my family, and then the trade-off of that is I need to leave them there first.”
Desperate to fill teacher shortages
But ultimately, Que said he made the right decision.
“I’m a family man, so it’s like my responsibility to provide for my family, for my parents, also for my mom most especially,” he said. “Half of my money goes back home and then half stays with me.”

‘We are not just certified, we are very qualified’

Que and Alvarado came to the US through one of several placement agencies that connects foreign teachers with American schools in need.
It’s a booming business. In some cases, Filipino teachers pay an upfront fee, and the agency sets up the online interviews, tests and paperwork.
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“The whole process just took two months for us to complete everything,” Alvarado said.
Over the past decade, the number of Filipino teachers coming to the US to teach on J1 visas increased from 21 to almost 800, according to the US State Department.
But why do many Filipino teachers get selected to go to the US?
“Filipinos are very known to be patient and hardworking, and that’s probably one of the reasons why mostly Filipinos are the participants of the J1 (visa) teacher program.,” Alvarado said.
And unlike some teachers in the US who aren’t certified in the subjects they teach, both Alvarado and Que have years of expertise in science.
It’s a win-win scenario, Que said.
“It’s a very good opportunity for the Filipinos to come here in America, to experience the life that we have here rather than the one that is being told to us or the one that we look at (in) the movies,” he said.
“I think it is also beneficial for the state (where) the number of teachers are lacking, especially on subjects like science, math, special education, things like that,” Que said.
“And they look into the Philippines, because many of our teachers are actually qualified on the subjects that they are teaching. … We are not just certified, we are very qualified.”

Learning to adapt in the US

When Que came to America, he experienced culture shock — but in a good way.
“This is the first time that I notice that every person that you will pass by, they will ask you, ‘How are you? Good morning!’ Things like that,” he said.
“I don’t know you, why are you asking me how I am?” he joked. “We’re not used to that back home.”
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The cultural differences were obvious in the classroom, too.
“Our students in the Philippines [are] quite different from the students that we have here,” Que said.
In the Philippines, “they are very disciplined in terms of education because they look into education as how they are going to escape poverty,” he said. “Discipline-wise, we don’t really have a problem.”
Alvarado said she also noticed more of an initial challenge when some students pushed back.
“When I came, they were like … ‘Why do (you) have to make us do this, do that?” And I was like, ‘Well my dear, I am here to teach you to make you learn. I am not just here to babysit all of you.’ So that was part of my struggle, classroom management,” Alvarado said.
“But slowly, I get the hang of it, and I was able to adjust it and show that hey, I’m the teacher, not you. What I say, you do,” she said.
Alvarado now makes all her students sign a contract on classroom policies, including cell phone use and requiring everyone be seated and ready to learn before the tardy bell rings.
“You need to get the respect, and once you do that with them, it’s easy to teach American kids,” she said.
Alvarado said she loves hearing students tell her she’s made a positive impact on their lives.
“They come back to you and say, ‘Miss, can you please be in my graduation?’ Or, ‘Miss can you please be in my quinceanera?’ … And I find it so sweet,” Alvarado said.

Inspiring a new generation

Marissa Yap, another Filipino teacher in Arizona, said she also had challenges with some students who weren’t as well behaved as those she taught in the Philippines.
Despite her small frame, she commands attention in the classroom where she teaches chemistry and AP physics.
But the secret to making students behave isn’t just about being strict. It’s also about listening to students.
US schools are hiring teachers from overseas - CNN
“I have observed that kids over the world … they have common thing(s). They want to be listened to, and they want to be stay motivated and be interested,” Yap said.
“Some of the kids are actually working (jobs), so in my case like when the student is sleepy, I just talk to her: ‘So, how are you doing? So did you work last night?’ “
The drowsy student responded: “I just arrived at home at 12 a.m.”
That’s when Yap turns the problem into a moment of positive reinforcement:
“So you’re very sleepy, but you’re still doing your work. I really appreciate that,” she told the student.
Desperate to fill teacher shortages
Since then, “I have (had) no problem with her.”
“Whenever I talk to the kid(s), they feel like a connection that I care for them, and I realize that’s … way back home, also the same time. It’s actually just the same,” Yap said.
“When you talk to the kid and you establish that good relationship, the kids will actually also give you the respect that you deserve.”
Elizabeth Vitela said Yap has made a profound impact on her daughter, Genevieve, who was in Yap’s chemistry class last year. On some days, the teacher stayed late to work with Genevieve until 6 p.m. or later.
“My daughter didn’t know what she wanted to do. Because of (Yap), she’s choosing science as something she wants to do for a career,” Vitela said.
She said Yap “just has the passion and the love to teach kids … to bring something out of them that they didn’t even know they had.”

The clock is ticking

Regardless of how much the Filipino teachers love their students, or how much student and school districts love them, everyone knows their time in the US is limited.
Yap, Alvarado and Que all have less than two years before their visas expire.
“That would probably be a sad day for us,” Yap said. “One kid already told me, ‘Oh, Miss Yap, how long are you going to be here? Are you going to be in my graduation?’ “
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Alvarado said some of her students know she has to go back to the Philippines. They make it a point to tell her how grateful they are.
“It makes me feel so good when they would say, ‘Miss I am very happy that you are one of my teachers because I’ve learned a lot from you.’ ” Alvarado said.
“When it comes to that point, when they would say thank you, it’s a reward to myself that I have touched probably some lives of these people. But it’s just so sad that we have to say goodbye.”
Vitela, whose daughter didn’t know what she wanted to do before she met Yap, started crying when she learned the Filipino teachers at Genevieve’s school had to leave in two years.
“I think we need to change that,” Vitela said. “Seriously.”
“Because if you don’t change that … we’re going to be doomed with education here in Arizona.”

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Miss out on Startup Battlefield? Apply to TC Top Picks at Disrupt Berlin 2019

Did you miss the deadline to apply for Startup Battlefield at Disrupt Berlin 2019? Well don’t despair, founders. There’s more than one way to place your early-stage startup in front of thousands of influential technologists, investors and global media. Apply to be considered for our TC Top Picks program and the opportunity to exhibit in Startup Alley for free.

Deadline alert: You must apply to be a TC Top Pick by 18 October at 12 p.m. (PT). It’s simple to do and it’s free. Don’t let this opportunity slip through your time-strapped fingers.

TC Top Picks is a pre-conference competition. To be considered, your early-stage startup must fall within one of the following categories: AI/Machine Learning, Biotech/Healthtech, Blockchain, Fintech, Mobility, Privacy/Security, Retail/E-commerce, Robotics/IoT/Hardware, CRM/Enterprise and Education.

Our TechCrunch editors — always on the hunt for the best early-stage startups — will vet each application and select up to five startups in each category. If you’re named a TC Top Pick, you’ll receive a free Startup Alley Exhibitor Package and a VIP experience at Disrupt Berlin.

What sort of startup catches TechCrunch’s discerning editorial eyes? Great question. Take a look at the list of TC Top Picks from Disrupt Berlin 2018.

The exclusive TC Top Pick cadre will exhibit in a prime location within Startup Alley and — thanks to plenty of pre-conference marketing — be on the receiving end of intense investor and media interest. One of the best perks is the live Showcase Stage interview. TechCrunch editors interview each Top Pick to showcase their company and product. We record the interview and promote the video across our social media platforms.

If you’re still kicking yourself for missing the Startup Battlefield deadline, here’s more good news. There’s always the possibility that you’ll compete as a Wild Card. Say what, now?

Out of all the startups exhibiting in Startup Alley, TechCrunch editors will choose one — the Wild Card — to compete in the Startup Battlefield. At Disrupt Berlin 2018, TC editors chose Legacy, and the feisty startup went on to win the Startup Battlefield and the $50,000 prize.

Disrupt Berlin 2019 takes place on 11-12 December, and TC Top Picks is your chance to place your extraordinary startup in front of the people who can move your business forward. If you want to exhibit in Startup Alley for free, do not miss this deadline. Apply to be a TC Top Pick before 18 October at 12 p.m. (PT). We’ll see you in Berlin!

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at Disrupt Berlin 2019? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.

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Mitto, the payment card and app for Gen Z teens, raises 2M seed round

Mitto, a debit card and app designed for “Generation Z” teens, has raised €2 million in seed funding.

Backing the round is Spanish bank Banco Sabadell via its innovation and venture arm InnoCells, along with Athos Capital and Spanish social media influencers “AuronPlay” and “Wismichu,” among others.

Claiming to plug a gap in existing payment solutions for Generation Z (from 14 years old), Mitto offers a digital wallet and/or physical card for spending online or offline. Parents can send instant money to their children by topping up the wallet, and get an overview of their “purchasing” profile.

In turn, the idea is that children gain a degree of financial independence by using Mitto, as well as a better understanding of their spending habits. More broadly, Mitto says it want to help develop financial literacy amongst Gen Z kids.

“Despite being born digital, Gen Z today don’t have easy access to a tool to use digital money,” says Mitto co-founder Marcos Cuevas. “Mitto is born to fix this by allowing them to own a digital wallet and virtual and physical cards. At the same time, we allow parents to educate and support financially their children in their first steps using a digital financial product.”

Cuevas says that the longer-term mission of Mitto is to deliver the best payment solution experience for Generation Z and to help them understand the impact their spending has on the planet — as lofty as that sounds.

“We are committed to helping this new generation to change their mind about finance, to succeed by giving them the tools to understand their purchasing habits and — in the future — the impact of their decisions in the world, and how they can help to make it more sustainable,” he adds.

To that end, Mitto says the funding will allow it to further invest in its product and partnerships to become “the financial platform of choice” for Generation Z.

The Spanish fintech wants to launch its proposition in other European and LatAm countries where it says demand exists. It claims a waiting list of more than 80,000 users in several countries, and says it currently has 150,000 registered users.

Meanwhile, directly comparable competitors include GoHenry and Osper in the U.K., and Current, Step and Greenlight in the U.S., to name a few.

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Climate change and the US south for a year

I crisscrossed a region my own that is mired in a culture of denial and delay. The conversation on the climate crisis has not changed fast enough

atmosphere

Its 96 degrees in downtown Beaufort, North Carolina, a place where I spent much of my childhood. The sidewalk is too hot for dogs to walk on. The iconic wild horses, visible on Shackleford Banks, wade in the marsh, munching cordgrass. Ive been watching the horses since I was in elementary school, and now Im sharing them with my elementary school-aged daughters on summer vacation.

My girls love them, as I did. The legend is that the horses swam to safety from an old Spanish shipwreck. Its moving to watch the small, strong horses grazing on the dunes. For now, theyve survived the latest big hurricane, and theyre free.

The 100 or so wild horses have one square kilometer of high ground on which to weather hurricanes and sea level rise, and a shortage of fresh water endangered by encroaching salt water and storm surge. Some scientists recommend that the Shackleford horses be relocated, although they have been there for centuries.

The story is a familiar one that will be told in a thousand different ways as the atmosphere warms in the years to come: we must think creatively and quickly to save the things we love.

I wrote my Climate Changed column between hurricane seasons, in the wake of Hurricane Florence and before the start of Hurricane Barry. I close the column from Beaufort, a place where Florence brought a record storm surge; it caused $17bn in damage to the state. As my daughters and I drive over the bridge into Morehead City, I see bulldozers still clearing the last of the Channel Marker restaurant, a fixture of Atlantic Beach flooded during Florence.

I thought that Hurricane Florence might serve as a turning point in the conversation about the realities of climate change in a region still mired in a culture of denial and delay. After a year of research and reporting, I am not convinced that the conversation has changed fast enough, if much at all. Here in Beaufort, like Miami and Charleston, I encounter deniers, continued waterfront development, hurricane damage and blistering temperatures.

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A great blue heron is silhouetted by the reflection of the rising sun at Lake Johnson Park in Raleigh. Photograph: Alamy

 

If there is any part of the south where technology, tax dollars and public opinion are aligning to make changes, its Miami, even though new waterfront real estate is still being built. But for the most part, climate change discussions continue to fall along party lines in a divided nation. To many rural southerners, the bigger, well-funded environmental movements seem to be rooted in California and New England. The conversations appear to be taking place in the echo chamber of privileged believers.

I saw more of the south while reporting for this column than I ever saw in my 30 years of living there. My travel reinforced what I already knew: there is no one south. In 2019 it is multitudinous, diverse and still reckoning with its plantation economy and cruel social history. It has PhDs, evangelicals, Trump enthusiasts, environmentalists, artists and activists. Its this very tension that has often made the south the genesis of social movements; one hopes it might happen again, and soon.

Social and environmental racism, income inequality and poverty are as present as they have ever been, and are only weaponized by climate change, as I reported from Virginia and Natchez, Mississippi.

I found that in places like eastern North Carolina, the river parishes of Louisiana, Miami, and Mississippis Gulf coast, chronic exposure to natural disasters has resulted in psychological resilience, and created a desire in some to go down with the ship. In places like New Orleans, trauma strengthens the sense of community. As Tropical Storm Barry moved in to New Orleans, I emailed with former interviewees who shared forecasts and concerns. Im gritting my teeth, one wrote. But Im not evacuating. Home is sometimes more an emotional than a rational commitment.

In eastern North Carolina, where I grew up and write from, climate change was never a polite topic of conversation. I was told the same in a coffee shop in Mississippi, and by a minister in Georgia. Too many southerners are still dancing around the reality of climate change, and the cost of avoiding the conversation is going to be steep.

What does a better and more inclusive conversation look like? Non-traditional environmentalists can be critical allies in addressing the culture of climate change denial below the Mason-Dixon Line, like hunters in Arkansas and evangelical Christians in places like St Simons, Georgia. But too often, the perspectives and interests of frontline communities are ignored, further exacerbating the environmental racism so pervasive in the south.

When it comes to climate change preparedness in this region, part of the continued challenge is that the power structures of the old south remain in place. A Pew survey indicated that white evangelical protestants are the least likely to profess a belief in climate change. Power companies, developers and conservative politicians have a vested interest in deregulation and maintaining the environmental status quo, and many paint environmental concerns as nothing but liberal pagan ideas.

When I began this column, I felt more of a duty to listen to all sides, but frankly I do not believe that climate change is an issue of which one can pretend, or afford, to hear both sides. I believe that to deny climate change and delay productive action in 2019 is malicious and akin to governmental malpractice. A government that is not actively protecting its citizens from the future challenges of climate change (property loss, food system collapse, increased intensity of storms, flooded infrastructure, extreme heat, economic disruption) is not acting in the interests of its citizens. A politician who delays climate action is not acting in his or her constituents best interests, and may be going so far as to actually cause harm.

We do not need to hear another word from deniers, or cater to their anti-science position. Something the progressive south has always struggled to do: take the megaphone away from the people who want to live in the past.

Now that Ive seen more of the south, I cant help but feel losses and concerns in a specific way. As I began to write this final column, a fire raged through the Everglades, which I had driven through just months before. Storms threatened to challenge the already saturated Mississippi and its river control structures. I thought about the gators in the marsh, the last wild panthers darting to safety in the Everglades, the bartender who was kind to me in an ancient pub on Natchez-under-the-hill. The loss of life and landscape in climate change scenarios has always troubled me, but now it is real and urgent in a way it has never been before.

When the wild horses of Shackleford Banks weather storms, the dominant male gathers his harem on high ground or in the deep parts of the maritime forest, and they turn their backs to the wind and rain. A researcher observed that while wild herds are typically divided into harems, the divisions break down in extreme weather. The horses gave up their internal political dynamics, he said, staying together on the relatively highest ground of that site. That is how they survive.

To navigate the decades ahead, and save the places we love and call home, southerners will need to dismantle old political dynamics and build new, inclusive alliances.

 

 

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RAF and a damaged dam

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionAn RAF Chinook is dropping 400 tonnes of aggregate to shore up the dam and divert water

Emergency crews are racing to save a damaged reservoir, as “terrified” residents fear their Derbyshire town could be flooded.

Police say the wall holding back the 300-million-gallon Toddbrook Reservoir could still fail despite about 24 hours of efforts to shore it up.

Part of the dam wall collapsed on Thursday afternoon.

The 1,500 people evacuated from Whaley Bridge amid “mortal danger” warnings will not be allowed home tonight.

But the water level has dropped by half a meter thanks to ten fire service pumps moving 4.2 million litres of water every hour – with more pumps on the way.

An RAF helicopter is also halfway through dropping 400 tonnes of aggregate on the collapsed section.

How dangerous is it?

BBC Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The clay under the slipway has been undermined

Police, the Environment Agency, and the Canal and River Trust have all said there is a “real risk” the dam could collapse.

Julie Sharman, from the Canal and Rivers Trust, said it was “a critical situation” but added the weather had improved and the water levels had reduced by 20cm.

“We aren’t putting a figure on any risk of collapse but everything that can be done is being done,” she said.

Engineers are attempting to get the reservoir’s water level down, to reduce pressure on the wall and allow repairs to begin.

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Image caption The dam holds back 1.3 million tonnes of water

What does it mean for residents?

About 1,500 people left their homes after police told them to pack up their medication and pets and gather at an evacuation point.

Some stayed with relatives while others bedded down in pubs and hotels, with lots of businesses offering free rooms.

Police said residents would not be allowed back on Friday so would spend a second night away from their homes.

BBC
Image caption Bev Goodwin has put up friends and family after they left Whaley Bridge

Bev Goodwin lives in Chapel-en-le-Frith and put up her mum and dad, Joy and Steve and two friends – Susie and Angela.

Joy said: “We have nothing. No clothes, no toothbrush, nothing.

“We have been thinking about what’s in our house that we would miss – all our kids’ pictures and of our grandchildren – it’s upsetting.”

Susie said: “It’s just surreal that it’s happening in our town, it’s just bizarre.”

Mike Breslin described it as a “crazy situation”.

“They should never have built a school and a social club at the bottom of a dam. It’s madness,” he said.

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Image caption Resident Mike Breslin said it was ‘madness’ to build a school at the base of the dam

Eric Baker, who has lived in the town for 30 years said: “It’s shocking really, it’s like living next to a ticking bomb. If that goes the devastation will be unimaginable.

“We saw the water coming over at a tremendous rate on Wednesday and the park was flooded but it wasn’t until Thursday the people who look after it started to look worried.

“Then it started to collapse on Thursday and it made a tremendous noise as the concrete slabs began to collapse.

“The disruption is huge, the small shops and businesses are really being hit and of course we don’t know when it will be over.”

BBC Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Public agencies and the army have been praised for their efforts

Another resident, who did not want to be named, said: “We just fled. I managed to take my nightdress and we’ve got the tortoise in the washing up bowl in the car.

“It’s quite terrifying. If the dam goes, it will take out the whole town.”

When will it be fixed?

news Image copyright LincsFireOfficer
Image caption Teams have worked through the night

Nigel Carson, who lives near the dam, said he had been told it would take two or three days to reduce the reservoir to a safe level if it does not rain.

There are no weather warnings in place for Friday, and the Met Office has said it expects much drier conditions.

BBC reporter Richard Stead described the operation to fix the dam as “a two-pronged attack”.

He said: “The Chinook is bringing aggregate on the one hand to shore up the dam, but also to divert water further up the valley away from the reservoir.

“There are also 16 high-volume pumps being used to relieve the pressure on the dam.

“Only when that is done can work start on permanent repairs and finding out what went wrong.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has asked the Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers to chair an emergency meeting.

BBC

Ms Villiers said she was receiving regular updates on the situation and the government’s COBR committee would make sure everything possible was being done to help.

People have shared their admiration for the emergency services on social media, with Twitter user @nmstoker naming the chinook pilots #DamUnbusters.

BBC

Analysis

By David Shukman, BBC science editor

This isn’t the first time communities have faced the nightmare of a dam that could collapse.

Back in 2007 a dam near Rotherham was the cause of a major alert, and the scenario is very similar to now. Torrential rain had filled the Ulley reservoir to overflowing.

Cracks appeared in the dam itself. People downstream were told to leave. The M1 motorway was in the path of a potential burst so part of it was closed.

As with the dam at Whaley Bridge, the one at Ulley was built in the 19th Century with the same combination of clay and mud.

In the end, pumps relieved the pressure and nearly 3000 tonnes of rock strengthened the structure so the emergency passed.

But over the following three years a huge repair operation costing £3.8m was needed. And a major review of the 2007 floods was highly critical of the way many of Britain’s dams are monitored.

Whatever happens at Whaley Bridge, questions will be asked about safety and whether ageing infrastructure can cope with the heavier downpours predicted as the climate warms.

BBC

What happened?

news

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionToddbrook Reservoir: Footage shows fast-flowing water before collapse

Part of the reservoir’s spillway broke away on Thursday.

It was damaged after large swathes of the country were battered by heavy rain and floods earlier in the week.

Police told residents in Whaley Bridge to gather at Chapel High School in neighbouring Chapel-en-le-Frith.

They were told to take pets and medication with them as it was unclear how long it would take to repair the damaged wall.

BBC
BBC

Pumps from fire services across the country have been pumping out 7,000 litres of water a minute.

Army engineers are clearing trees and bushes to get “five or six” more water pumps in on south side of reservoir.

Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service said more than 150 firefighters from across the UK have been supporting the work at the dam and in the town.

A severe flood warning, which means a threat to life, has been issued for the River Goyt below the reservoir.

BBC Image copyright LincsFireOfficer
Image caption Sandbags are shoring up the structure

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Journalists Under Attack

In May 2019, WIRED joined the One Free Press Coalition, a united group of preeminent editors and publishers using their global reach and social platforms to spotlight journalists under attack worldwide. Today, the coalition is issuing its sixth monthly “10 Most Urgent” list of journalists whose press freedoms are being suppressed or whose cases demand justice.

Paul Chouta, the Cameroon Web reporter who was arrested in May, denied bail, and charged with defamation and spreading false news. His case has been delayed until August 13 and he remains in a maximum-security prison. Aasif Sultan, a reporter for Kashmir Narrator, was arrested on “anti-state” charges and will have been imprisoned for one year on August 27. He has been repeatedly interrogated by police, demanding that he reveal his sources.

Here is the August list, ranked in order of urgency:

1. Jamal Khashoggi (Saudi Arabia): Stonewalling continues after new UN report implicates Saudi prince for journalist’s murder.

Months after his brazen killing, and despite findings from the UN and the CIA that point to the Saudi crown prince’s involvement, there has been no independent criminal investigation. Calls for the White House to release intelligence reports have gone unheeded, along with a deadline to reply to Congress as required under the U.S. Global Magnitsky Act.

2. Azory Gwanda (Tanzania): Tanzanian official claims missing journalist is dead—then backtracks.

Azory Gwanda, a freelance journalist investigating mysterious killings in rural Tanzania, has been missing since November 21, 2017, and the government has failed to conduct an investigation or disclose what it knows. On July 10, Tanzanian Foreign Minister Palamagamba Kabudi said in an interview that Gwanda had “disappeared and died,” but backtracked amid requests for clarification.

3. Juan Pardinas (Mexico): Mexican newspaper editor targeted with death threats for criticizing new president.

Mexican media organizations and journalists have recently reported a sharp increase in threats and online harassment over critical reporting of the López Obrador administration. Juan Pardinas, the editor-in-chief of Mexican newspaper Reforma, received a barrage of online harassment and threats after President Andrés Manuel López Obrador criticized the newspaper in April. López Obrador acknowledged the threats against Pardinas and said that his government had offered protective measures to the journalist.

4. Paul Chouta (Cameroon): Journalist in maximum security prison blocked from seeing family.

Cameroon Web reporter Paul Chouta was arrested in May, denied bail, and charged with defamation and spreading false news. Chouta’s editor said he suspects the case was in retaliation for critical reporting. His case has been delayed until August 13 and he remains in a maximum-security prison.

5. Azimjon Askarov (Kyrgyzstan): Kyrgyz court upholds life sentence for documenting human rights abuses.

Award-winning journalist Azimjon Askarov, who is an ethnic Uzbek, has spent nine years in prison on trumped-up charges for his reporting on human rights violations. Despite persistent international condemnation and calls for his release, a Kyrgyz court that had reviewed his case in light of new legislation ruled to uphold his life sentence on July 30.

6. Ayşe Nazlı Ilıcak (Turkey): Turkish journalist faces 30 years in solitary confinement.

A commentator for opposition newspaper Özgür Düşünce and Can Erzincan TV, Ayşe Nazlı Ilıcak was arrested in 2016 and sentenced in February 2018 to life without parole for trying to overturn the constitution through her journalism. In a separate trial in January, she was sentenced to an additional five years for revealing state secrets. In Turkey, which has been the top jailer of journalists three years in a row, life sentences without parole equate to 30 years in solitary confinement, with limited visits.

7. Marzieh Amiri (Iran): Imprisoned journalist denied healthcare after for covering May Day demonstrations.

Iranian authorities arrested Marzieh Amiri, an economics reporter at Tehran-based newspaper Shargh Daily, as she covered May Day demonstrations, and her family has had limited contact with her since. Authorities have accused Amiri of committing crimes against national security without giving further details.

8. Jones Abiri (Nigeria): Journalist re-arrested on terrorism and cybercrime charges.

Jones Abiri, the publisher and editor-in-chief of the Weekly Source, is behind bars on charges under Nigeria’s cybercrimes act, anti-sabotage act, and terrorism prevention act for crimes allegedly carried out in 2016. The charges are the same ones that a court threw out after he was held without access to his family or a lawyer from 2016 to 2018.

9. Aasif Sultan (India): Journalist imprisoned one year without due process for covering conflict.

Aasif Sultan, a reporter for Kashmir Narrator, will have been imprisoned one year on August 27, arrested in 2018 and months later charged with “complicity” in “harboring known terrorists.” He has been repeatedly interrogated and asked to reveal his sources by police. Sultan continues to be denied due process, with ongoing delays in his hearings.

10. Truong Duy Nhat (Vietnam): Blogger who disappeared in Thailand imprisoned in Vietnam.

Truong Duy Nhat, a Vietnamese reporter with Radio Free Asia, went missing in January in Bangkok, Thailand, where he had applied for refugee status. In March, his daughter learned he was jailed without charge in a Hanoi detention center. Nhat was previously sentenced to two years in prison in 2013 in connection to his critical reporting on the government.

According to CPJ research, the killers go unpunished in nine out of every 10 journalists murdered.

The One Free Press Coalition contains 33 prominent international members including: AméricaEconomía; The Associated Press; Bloomberg News; The Boston Globe; BuzzFeed; CNN Money Switzerland; Corriere Della Sera; De Standaard; Deutsche Welle; Estadão; EURACTIV; The Financial Times; Forbes; Fortune; HuffPost; India Today; Insider Inc.; Le Temps; Middle East Broadcasting Networks; Office of Cuba Broadcasting; Quartz; Radio Free Asia; Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty; Republik; Reuters; The Straits Times; Süddeutsche Zeitung; TIME; TV Azteca; Voice of America; The Washington Post; WIRED; and Yahoo News.

One Free Press Coalition partners with the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) to identify the most-urgent cases for the list, which is updated and published on the first day of every month. News organizations throughout the world can join the Coalition by emailing info@onefreepresscoalition.com.


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Climatic change and human impact on climate

Scientists say July at least equalled and may have beaten hottest month on record

climate change

The record-breaking heatwave that roasted Europe last month was a one-in-a-thousand-year event made up to 100 times more likely by human-driven climate change, scientists have calculated.

Around the globe, July at least equalled and may have surpassed the hottest month on record, according to data from the World Meteorological Organization. This followed the warmest June on record.

Temperature records were broken in many countries, wildfires continue to devastate vast areas of Siberia, the Greenland ice sheet is melting at a near record rate, and the risk of drought has grown more acute across wide areas of central and eastern Europe.

The extreme heat is particularly unusual because it is not an El Nio year the phenomenon usually associated with prolonged temperature surges. Instead, scientists say it is driven to a large extent by carbon emissions from car exhausts, power plant chimneys, burning forests and other human sources.

How much these factors loaded the dice in the two- to three-day heatwave during the last week of July was the subject of an attribution study by a consortium of meteorologists and climatologists at the UK Met Office, Oxford University and other prominent European institutions.

It found that the extreme heat in France and the Netherlands, where temperatures peaked above 40C, was made at least 10 times and possibly more than 100 times more likely by climate change. In the UK, which set a record of 38.7C on 25 July, the human impact on the climate made the high temperatures at least two to three times more probable.

There was considerable variation from place to place, but in all the studied locations the scientists said it would have been 1.5C to 3C cooler without climate change.

Satellite
A Nasa satellite image shows winds carrying plumes of smoke over Russia, centre right, as wildfires raged in Siberia. Photograph: Joshua Stevens/Nasa/AP

 

Although the recent heat has been described as historic, it is unlikely to remain that way for long, according to the authors of the study. It will not make history. These records will be broken in few years, said Friederike Otto, of the University of Oxford. What we see with European heatwaves is that all the climate models are underestimating the change that we see. She said further study would investigate how likely it was to have two intense heatwaves in the space of two months.

The paper says the extreme heat will have an impact on human wellbeing, though the data on this often lags, which can mean it fails to draw much public attention.

Heatwaves during the height of summer pose a substantial risk to human health and are potentially lethal, the paper says. The full impact is known only after a few weeks when the mortality figures have been analysed. Effective heat emergency plans, together with accurate weather forecasts such as those issued before this heatwave, reduce impacts and are becoming even more important in light of the rising risks.

The UN secretary general, Antnio Guterres, who has called a special climate summit of world leaders in September, said the seasons were moving alarmingly far from their usual path. We have always lived through hot summers, but this is not the summer of our youth. This is not your grandfathers summer, he said. Preventing irreversible climate disruption is the race of our lives, and for our lives. It is a race that we can and must win.

The World Meteorological Organization expects 2015-19 to be the warmest five-year period ever recorded. July has rewritten climate history, with dozens of new temperature records at local, national and global level, said the organisations secretary general, Petteri Taalas. Unprecedented wildfires raged in the Arctic for the second consecutive month, devastating once pristine forests which used to absorb carbon dioxide and instead turning them into fiery sources of greenhouse gases. This is not science fiction. It is the reality of climate change. It is happening now and it will worsen in the future without urgent climate action.

 

 

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