Five stories you may have missed because of the coronavirus pandemic

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Five stories you may have missed because of the coronavirus pandemic

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Coronavirus pandemic headlines on TV, social media and digital news can make you believe the world has stopped: all wars, conflicts and developments in climate change are interrupted because of COVID-19 – or so it seems.

Here are some headlines that you may have missed in the middle of coronavirus-mania:

  1. Erdogan compares Greek authorities to Nazis for returning migrants

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that "there is no difference" between the Nazis and the Greek authorities forcibly repelling thousands of migrants trying to reach Greece after the borders were opened by Ankara.

"There is no difference between what the Nazis were doing and the images that arrived from the Greek border," said Erdogan in a speech in Ankara, also calling the Greek authorities "barbarians" and "fascists".

It was the most recent escalation of the crisis, in which the European Border and Coast Guard Agency sent reinforcements to the border between Greece and Turkey.

As the impasse continues, it is an anxious and increasingly tense wait for those involved in the crisis, as authorities use tear gas and water cannons to maintain control.

What may seem like a very dry headline is actually a new and very controversial EU strategy this would make some technology providers, like Apple, very unhappy.

The action plan includes policies to ensure that products have a longer shelf life, provide information to consumers about how products are repairable and also improve waste treatment (especially in electronics).

According to the plan, the EU plans to halve municipal waste by 2030 and offer consumers the "right to repair" computers and smartphones.

The European Commission's idea of ​​requiring a universal charger for cell phones is likely to trigger resistance from Apple, eg.

While the green groups are happy that the EU is taking the circular economy seriously, they once again criticized the lack of targets.

"The new action plan contains other important proposals for the transformation into a circular economy, such as a commitment to address the main product value chains, present waste reduction targets and revise waste shipping rules. However, several indispensable pieces of the puzzle are still missing; we lack clear targets to reduce resource consumption and, disappointingly, the European Commission barely looks at the issue of prices to stimulate the acceptance of circular products for old items, "said Bas Eickhout (Dutch MEP / EFA) in a press statement.

3. Europe reduces efforts to reduce emissions

In Paris, the mayor of the second district, Jacques Boutault, urged pull the plug from external heaters.

Since the ban on smoking indoors was introduced in cafes in 2008, more cafes and restaurants have installed gas and electric heaters abroad.

Boutault says it's time to turn them off, if the goal is to reduce carbon emissions and become carbon neutral.

In the meantime, the Netherlands is starting to implement a new limit of 100 kilometers per hour on its roads, due to the high emissions of nitrogen oxides, which are well above the limits of the EU.

As of Thursday, new road signs will be installed and speed limits will be applied from the moment the road sign is open.

Drivers can only exceed 100 kilometers per hour between 19h and 6h. During these hours, the speed limit is 130 kilometers per hour.

In other good news, Luxembourg introduced free public transport in early March.

It will be the first country in the world to make public transport totally free for tourists and residents.

Vladimir Putin supported a constitutional amendment proposal that would allow him to seek re-election in 2024 and remain in office until 2036, suspending a law that limits Russian presidents to two consecutive terms.

In 2036, Putin would be 83 years old.

Putin and the lower house of parliament quickly endorsed the proposal made by the 83-year-old former Soviet cosmonaut and MP Valentina Tereshkova

Critics of the Kremlin denounced the movement as cynical manipulation and called for protests.

Parliamentarians also approved a set of constitutional amendments proposed by Putin that include the definition of marriage as a heterosexual union and language in honor of "ancestors who bequeathed their ideals and a belief in God".

5. Sheets of ice are melting too fast

Earth's ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are melting six times faster than in the 1990s, scientists say. This speeds up the timeline of climate change and the countermeasures against floods that need to be taken.

Two separate articles published in Nature show that ice loss has raised the global sea level by 17.8 millimeters. 60% of this increase was due to the melting of sheets in Greenland and 40% due to the melting in Antarctica.

Professor Andrew Shepherd, from the University of Leeds (UK), co-leads a project called Ice Sheet Mass Balance Intercomparison Exercise, soon "Imbie"

His team of scientists has been reviewing changes in the volume, flow and gravity of the ice sheets obtained by the probe over nearly three decades.

In 2019, the team found that the Greenland ice sheet melting process is speeding up.

Inside 2014, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) observed in simulations that the global sea level could rise 53 centimeters by 2100, but Imbie scientists offered a more pessimistic perspective. They said it is likely that sea levels could rise 70 centimeters by 2100.

According to Professor Shepherd, "every inch of sea level rise leads to coastal flooding and coastal erosion, disrupting the lives of people around the planet".

The acceleration in the ice cap melting timeline means that "400 million people are at risk of annual coastal flooding by 2100. These events are not unlikely with minor impacts; they are already underway and will be devastating for the coastal communities, "said Professor Shepherd according to ESA.

. (tagsToTranslate) climate change (t) Climate crisis (t) Vladimir Putin (t) Recep Tayyip Erdogan

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