5 Things to Know (14th – 18th January)

Happy Friday! Here are this week’s new highlights 🙂

  1. The UK promises ‘bold new goal’ to tackle air pollution

Scientists in the UK believe that air pollution cuts British people’s lives by approximately six months. On the 14th of January, the UK government published its ‘clean air strategy’. This ‘bold new goal’ is aimed at significantly reducing air pollution by 2030. This new plan was a response to the death of a nine-year-old girl due to asthma a few weeks ago. 

NHS, the largest single-payer healthcare system, has claimed that about 30% of the preventable deaths in English are due to diseases caused by air pollution. Tiny particulates, known as PM2.5, are around 200 times smaller than a grain of sand. This pollutant is a significant health concern because particulates can penetrate into your lungs, proceed into your bloodstream and accumulate in your organs. 

This “world-leading” strategy involves restrictions on farms and domestic activities such as open fires and wood burning stoves to combat the causes of air pollution in the UK. More specifically, the sale of most polluting power sources will be banned by the government, replacing them with the cleanest stoves by 2022. Additionally, farmers will be adviced, trained and supported to use the most efficient farming techniques to limit emissions and ammonia. 

london

2. Donald Trump’s Fast Food Feast in the White House  

Due to the lack of catering staff considering the partial government shutdown,  US President Donald Trump has hosted a fast food feast in the State Dining Room at the White House. He has reportedly ordered 300 burgers, along with french fries and pizzas. The food packages had a presidential seal of approval.

The partial government shutdown has affected about 800 000 public sector employees as they haven’t received their pay for 24 days, whether it be due to a mandatory leave or working without pay. However, Donald Trump claims to disapprove a federal budget until and unless it does not include funds for the US-Mexico border wall. Mr Trump further expressed his patriotic beliefs when he was asked about his favourite fast food. He replied, “If it’s American, I like it. It’s all American stuff.” He also said, “When it comes to keeping the American people safe, I will never, ever back down,” claiming to ‘continue the fight for his promised border wall.’ 

US President Donald Trump presents fast food to be served to the Clemson Tigers football team

3. Bangkok sees fake rain to combat air pollution 

On Tuesday, the 15th of January, the Thai government took a step forward in reducing Bangkok’s hazardous air pollution by producing artificially induced rain. Rain is believed to ‘wash’ away particulate matter from the sky, reducing air pollution. Experts claim that the main reasons for the existence of smog in Bangkok are pollutants from factories and burning of fields by farmers, and a large number of vehicles causing traffic. Local authorities are cleaning roads with water to get rid of dust particles with can be a potential threat to this capital city. Anadolu Agency has confirmed that “60 water trucks from the Royal Thai Army (RTA) and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) sprayed water on the capital city’s roads.” The Thai government is also considering to bring strict laws in order, regarding vehicles emitting harmful exhaust fumes. However, farmers worry about the damage to crops the rain may have caused in rural areas. 

Image result for artificial rain bangkok

4. YouTube bans dangerous pranks 

This law is a response to some of the life-threatening activities displayed on the platform today. On Tuesday, the 15th of January, a Buzzfeed article brought YouTube’s ‘pledge’ into light and how illegal videos still exist on the platform. The article mentioned that in April 2018, a YouTube spokesperson told BuzzFeed News, “These images are abhorrent to us and have no place on YouTube.” They claimed to disapprove of YouTube’s “flawed” and “contradictory” guidelines that are reportedly not sufficient enough to ensure videos follow the social media platform’s policies. Some of these illegal videos have gained millions of views. YouTube said it “worked to aggressively enforce our monetisation policies to eliminate the incentive for this abuse”. YouTube says that it works with numerous child psychologists to discuss traumtic experiences and how they can restrict such content on their platform. 

Youtube reported that in May, Minnesota woman Monalisa Perez, 20, was sentenced to six months in prison after shooting dead her boyfriend, Mario Ruiz. The couple had hoped video of their stunt, in which an encyclopaedia was meant to protect Mr Ruiz, would go viral on YouTube. It is also believed that this action was a response to the Birdbox challenge where people carried activities while blindfolded.

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5. China’s Cotton Seeds Sprout on Moon 

This phenomenon marks the first time any biological matter has grown on the Moon. China National Space Administration has declared that China’s Chang-e mission has succeeded. Experts also say that such discoveries can allow astronauts to harvest crops on Mars, reducing the need to come back to Earth for food supply. The Chinese Moon lander was reportedly carrying yeast, potato seeds, fruit fly eggs, cotton and cotton. This ‘lunar mini biosphere experiment’ was intended to test whether respiration and photosynthesis are possible on the Moon. The organisms have been given a supply of nutrients, air and water. The experiment’s chief designer also declared that they have considered future survival in space. 

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