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The Thursday wrap

Letters home ...

Traveling abroad for personal, educational or professional reasons?

Why not share your impressions — and those of residents of foreign countries about the United States — with Trib readers in 150 words?

The world's a big place. Bring it home with Letters Home.

Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Detroit, the great American bankrupt city, has suspended for 15 days water shutoffs for thousands of customers who haven't paid their bills. Some groups are complaining that free water is nothing less than a human right and have gone to court. But as Detroit News columnist Nolan Finley pointed out, while “barely 50 percent of Detroiters pay their water bill ... up to two-thirds of city residents pay to keep their cable or satellite television service current. And 72 percent do the same to maintain their cellphones.” Sounds as if the water scofflaws have their priorities out of whack, doesn't it? ... Samantha Power, President Obama's confidante and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, last week produced a photo of a hotel that had collapsed in the West African nation of Benin, supposedly because of the ravages of global warming. But as CNSNews reported, the photo that she posted on her Twitter account actually was of a hotel that collapsed a dozen years ago, a collapse blamed on the illegal mining of coastal sand. Sigh. What's a climate-clucker to do? ... Speaking of climate change, Australia has repealed its carbon tax as an unworkable economy clobberer. The tax imposed additional average cost of $515 for each consumer. Australia instead will explore moving to a voluntary incentive program to entice industries to use cleaner energy sources. The development creates a conundrum for the Group of 20, whose next meeting just happens to be in Brisbane in November. Perhaps climate-clucking nations will boycott the meeting, not travel to Brisbane and reduce their own substantial carbon footprint?

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