Murders, Tsunamis, Bus Singing: What's Ruining Our Cities This Week

Why were so many people shot in Chicago last weekend? Does today's earthquake in Japan mean another Fukushima meltdown? And why does Winnipeg want to fine people $100 for singing in public? These are the questions we address in this week's edition of What's Ruining Our Cities.

Murders are ruining Chicago

Chicago's murder rate has been called a public health epidemic and it sadly made headlines this week when 82 people were shot and 14 killed just over the 4th of July weekend. This includes a staggeringly high count during a single 13-hour period from Sunday afternoon to early Monday when 30 people were shot, four of them fatally. Our colleagues at Gawker convened a conversation between journalists and policy advocates to try to determine what, exactly is going wrong in Chicago, addressing everything from a breakdown in policing tactics to social inequity. [Gawker]

Tsunamis are hopefully not ruining Japan

A 6.8 earthquake struck today off the coast of Japan, sending tsunami warnings rippling up and down the coast as the Japan Meteorological Society instructed residents to move away from the water. So far, the wave generated by the seismic activity seems to be extremely small, and there has been no damage reported, even at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which is less that 100 miles from the epicenter. All seems well in Japan at the moment—except for the fact that Typhoon Neoguri has been wreaking havoc on the country with heavy rains and landslides. The storm was actually predicted to pass near Fukushima today as well. [CNN]

Singing on buses is ruining Winnipeg

What's the most horrible thing you face when you're out traveling through your city? Crime? Pollution? Traffic? How about the worst offender of all: public singing. The city of Winnipeg has decided to take a stand on this issue by instituting a $100 fine for singing, playing a musical instrument or "staging a live musical performance on a Transit bus or on Transit property." After outcry from the public that there were surely other issues that local leaders could be focusing their energies on, the city council has backpedaled a bit, noting that they are amending the new rules and "the intent is not to limit freedom of expression." So if you're expressing yourself, you're okay? [CBC]

Top image: Guns confiscated in Chicago, M. Spencer Green/AP