The death toll in Tianjin continues to mount

GlobalPost
Firefighters work at the site of the explosions in Tianjin on August 15, 2015.
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Need to know:

The death toll as a result of an enormous explosion in Tianjin, China, continues to mount. On Sunday, 112 people were reported dead. More than 700 people have been injured, and 95 are still missing, including dozens of firefighters.

The major explosions occurred Wednesday, when fire ignited a warehouse for hazardous chemicals in the port city, 75 miles east of Beijing. Several more small explosions were heard Saturday. Also on Saturday, authorities evacuated residents within a 3 km radius over fears of sodium cyanide. 

By Sunday, authorities confirmed there were "several hundred" tons of the toxic chemical on the site at the time of the blasts, although AP said there have not been any substantial leaks. Workers are now attempting to clear the site of dangerous chemicals before any rain falls, which would make containing the disaster even harder.

China is notorious for withholding information about disaster zones, and relatives of the missing firefighters in Tianjin are furious at being kept in the dark. On Saturday, they stormed a government news conference, demanding more information. At least 21 firefighters have died so far.

And another tragedy has befallen Indonesian skies. A passenger plane carrying 54 people from Jayapura, the capital of Papua province in eastern Indonesia, lost contact with air traffic control 9 minutes before it was supposed to land. The plane has been declared missing and villagers in Papua say they saw it crash into a mountain, according to CNN

The plane, operated by Trigana Air, was headed to Oksibil, also in Papua, on what was supposed to be only a 45 minute flight. Here's a pic of the plane before it went missing. 

The weather in this mountainous and remote area of eastern Indonesia is unpredictable. Officials suspect bad weather is what caused the difficulties for the plane in this case, as the plane was not significantly over capacity.

Trigana Air, a small domestic airline in Indonesia, doesn't have a great track record. It has suffered 14 serious incidents since it began operations in 1991. The airline is even banned from EU airspace.

The news hurts Indonesia's already poor air safety reputation. An AirAsia plane, flying from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore, crashed in the Java Sea in December, killing all 162 people on board. 

Want to know:

In Leon, Nicaragua, poetry is ubiquitous. “Everyone is either a poet or crazy,” says Ulises Alaniz, a 28-year-old English teacher.

There may be no other city in the world where poetry plays such a powerful role in the collective consciousness. When people from Leon, Nicaragua’s second-largest city, visit other parts of the country, friends automatically call them “Poet.” During bad times, they say, “The verses aren’t coming.”

The historical figure from which this remarkable tradition flows is the 19th century “child poet” Ruben Dario. He’s Nicaragua’s preeminent national hero and widely considered one of the greatest poets ever to write in Spanish.

Although Leon is Nicaragua’s undisputed poetry center, the whole country is infected with this passion. Every generation since Dario has produced world-class poets. Two of the most eminent now living are Ernesto Cardenal, who recently celebrated his 90th birthday, and the introspective feminist Gioconda Belli.

Strange but true:

Australian politician Warren Entsch is a former crocodile farmer, bull catcher, grazier and real estate salesman who now represents one of the most conservative regions Down Under. He’s also a passionate advocate for gay marriage. Seriously.

Entsch represents the North Queensland electorate of Leichhardt, which is generally thought of as red neck territory. He is a member of the same conservative party as Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who strongly opposes same-sex unions. 

For insight into the LGBT attitudes in the part of Australia for which Entsch is responsible, look no further than Bob Katter, who once promised he would ''walk to Bourke backwards if the poof population of North Queensland is any more than 0.001 per cent.'' You get the picture.

Entsch, who has been described as the "Crocodile Dundee" of the Australian federal parliament, acknowledges that he is an unlikely supporter of marriage equality.

"I get calls from families and friends of gay people saying if a 'far north Queensland crocodile-farming, bull-catching Liberal' can stand up for the rights of my gay friend or relative, then I want to come out and do it too," he told BBC. "I'm the least likely advocate and so people can't say it's just some gay person pushing his own agenda." 

It was this YouTube video, posted by an Australian man who hid his homosexuality for years, that got Entsch to take a stand. Feels guaranteed.