Library thrives in a Pakistan gun town; and the olfactory superpower of AI

1. United States

U.S. military veterans in crisis can now receive free emergency mental health care. The new policy provides acute suicide care even to those who are not already enrolled for health care with the Department of Veterans Affairs. They can seek help at any facility, for up to 30 days of inpatient and 90 days of outpatient treatment. Afterward, the policy directs veterans to other VA services and benefits.

More than 6,000 U.S. veterans died by suicide in 2020, down from a high in 2006. Veterans between the ages of 18 and 24 have a suicide rate three times as high as non-veterans of the same age range. One study found that up to 35% of military health care recipients don’t have access to adequate psychiatric care, despite government insurance.

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The new measure, which also provides support for service members who survive sexual assault, battery, or harassment during their time in the military, attempts to help fill the gap.
“This expansion of care will save veterans’ lives, and there’s nothing more important than that,” said Secretary for Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough. The emergency care provision is part of the 10-year National Strategy for Preventing Veteran Suicide.

Charles Dharapak/AP/File

The Veterans Health Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, serves 9 million veterans each year and is easing the path for those who are not already enrolled for health care benefits by extending some crisis care.

Sources: CNN, The Washington Post

2. Brazil

As Brazil’s first minister for Indigenous peoples, Sônia Guajajara is also the country’s first Indigenous cabinet member. She leads an organization representing some 300 Indigenous groups across the country and is a member of the Amazon Guajajara. President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who returned to the presidency at the start of the year, fulfilled a campaign promise to create the new ministry.

Andre Penner/AP/File

Sônia Guajajara took part in demonstrations Sept. 4, 2022, for more government protection of Indigenous reserves in São Paulo, Brazil.

Ms. Guajajara is also a well-known environmentalist and Indigenous rights activist, named by Time magazine as one of the world’s most influential people in 2022. For supporters, the commitment to Indigenous affairs is about more than just one group of people. “The Ministry of Indigenous Peoples could also be – and is also – the ministry of the forest, of the land. [It] could be called … the ministry of life. This is the size of the responsibility,” said activist Celia Xakriabá.
Sources: AP, Globo

3. United Kingdom

Renewables generated a higher share of electricity than gas in the U.K. between October and February. Energy sources like wind, hydro, and solar provided 40 terawatt-hours of electricity, while gas generated 39 TWh. Other sources, such as nuclear and biomass, produced another 24 TWh.  

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