In a dramatic June 28 statement, Puerto Rico's governor Alejandro García Padilla said the island's debts are "not payable" and that in order to pull the country out of a "death spiral" it is going to need to refuse to pay them.

The looming default has been somewhat overshadowed by the geopolitical drama in Greece, but the two situations have a lot in common. A poor government was tied up with a larger and richer one. Shortsighted lenders let the poor government borrow a lot of money very cheaply. The poor government took advantage of the cheap money, but didn't spend it very wisely. Then came a global financial crisis, and a major re-evaluation of credit risk. And now the bill is coming due.

Full piece @ Vox.

The world's premier bicycle race, the Tour de France, starts July 4, and there are four big favorites to win it.

Three of them have won the Tour before: Spain's Alberto Contador, in 2007 and 2009; Kenyan-born UK rider Chris Froome, in 2013; and Italy's Vincezno Nibali, the defending champion.

The fourth favorite has never won the race: Colombia's Nairo Quintana. But for many he's still the man to beat, which is remarkable considering it's only his fifth time riding a grand tour, or three-week stage race.

Full piece @ Business Insider.
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True patriots don’t hate the government of the United States. They’re proud of it. They may not like everything it does, and they justifiably worry when special interests gain too much power over it. But true patriots work to improve our government, not destroy it.

Finally, patriots don’t pander to divisiveness. They don’t fuel racist or religious or ethnic divisions. They aren’t homophobic or sexist.

Full piece @ Nation of Change.

Mobilizations that are being hailed as "the first steps towards a new kind of climate movement" will take place across Canada this weekend, bringing together an "unprecedented coalition" of environmental, labor, social justice, public health, and student activists to call for a justice-based transition to a clean energy future.

"It’s not every day you see Canada’s largest public and private sector unions mobilizing alongside Indigenous frontline communities, migrant justice groups, and anti-extractive sector activists," reads a post at the March for Jobs, Justice, and the Climate website.

Full piece @ Common Dreams.

As Germany and Spain sweated and London sweltered through its hottest July day on record this week, scientists said it is "virtually certain" that climate change is increasing the likelihood of such heat waves in Europe.

In real-time data analysis released on Friday, a team of international climate scientists from universities, meteorological services and research organizations said the kind of heat waves hitting Europe this week - defined as three-day periods of excessive heat - are becoming much more frequent in the region.

Full piece @ CBC.

By 2040, the world’s population is predicted to rise to nine billion. That means two billion more mouths to feed. Even now, the earth groans under the weight of those numbers. More than 800 million people are malnourished. Another two billion are short of essential micronutrients, which affect health. A billion more consume too many calories and are obese.  Full piece @ National Geographic. 

In 2013, ProPublica published what became one of the most provocative analyzes of the Fisher case. It highlighted an overlooked, deeply ironic fact about the case: when one actually looked at Fisher’s arguments, she actually had not been denied admission because of her race, but rather because of her inadequate academic achievements. Read that analysis, originally published March 18, 2013, below.  Full piece @ Nation of Change. 

Walmart is known for stellar deals, but these days it has some serious competition from dollar stores. A recent price comparison of 42 products showed Walmart (WMT) neck-and-neck with Family Dollar (FDO) and Dollar General (DG), which sell party supplies and seasonal items, office and school supplies, personal care products, household goods, and other merchandise for less than $10.  Full piece @ Daily Finance.

The chocolate industry is entering crisis mode. You may already know that chocolate prices have been steadily increasing as the industry struggles to keep up with consumer demand. But new analysis from the Cocoa Barometer, a data report that investigates the world’s cocoa sector in Africa, where more than half of the world’s chocolate is grown, has determined that the future of chocolate is in peril. If their research is accurate, there may be no one left to farm and harvest the prized coca bean.  Full piece @ The Daily Meal.

As it turns out, two-thirds of the Americans they interviewed think scientists themselves don't fully understand all of the ways GMOs could affect health. And those people who think scientists don’t understand GMOs are also the ones who are concerned for their safety when eating genetically modified food.  Full piece @ Business Insider.

In a tweet on Thursday, Pataki took the fight a step further, suggesting that if the Republican field can't stand up to Trump, they'll never be able to deal with the extremist group calling itself the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL).  Full piece @ Business Insider.

There are media lessons to be learned from the spectacle of bumptious Donald Trump being stripped of multimillion-dollar relationships with Macy's, Serta, NBC and Univision after making derogatory remarks about Mexican immigrants. Beyond the cost of arrogance and insensitivity, the most important one involves the growth and cultural power of the Hispanic audience.  Full piece @ Baltimore Sun.

Thomas Paine's visionary writings embody the spirit of our nation. Perhaps President Franklin Roosevelt was thinking about Thomas Paine and his timeless words when he described Social Security as "a return to values lost in the course of our economic development and expansion." It indeed marked a return to values. Another of Paine's essays, Agrarian Justice, calls for universal old age pensions as well as pensions for people with disabilities -- ideas enacted a century and a half later in the form of our Social Security system.  Full piece @ The Huffington Post.