5 Things to Know (19th August – 23rd August)

Hi guys, hope you all are happy to be back! Here are 5 highlights of this week:

Worst-case scenario for no-deal Brexit

There is a leaked government study that shows the impact of no-deal Brexit and warns the UK about it. However, the document is old and the planning of Brexit has accelerated since Boris Johnson became Prime Minister. The dossier that was leaked to Sunday Times demonstrates that leaving the EU without a deal could lead to fresh food being less available in the UK as well as its prices rising. Not only that, but fuel will also be less available and 2000 jobs will be lost if the government sets petrol import tariffs to 0%, which would lead to two oil refineries closing. The consequence of this would be a rise in public disorder due to community tensions regarding shortage of food and drugs. 

Scientists to proceed working on The Europa Clipper Mission

According to NASA, scientists who are working on a mission to the ocean world of Europea can proceed with the construction of the spacecraft. This mission is targeting the ice-encrusted moon of Jupiter as scientists are researching more about life beyond Earth. Europa Clipper will investigate into the watery world, to help us understand whether it can support life there or not. Gravitational interactions with Jupiter also generate tidal forces and heat, keeping Europa’s ocean in liquid form. This heating then can drive volcanic vents on the seafloor, which have shown to support an array of life forms. However, it is important to note that it took a few decades to bring this mission into practice mainly because of cost considerations and challenges that are posed by the surrounding space environment of Jupiter. 

View of Europa taken in the 1990s by the Galileo spacecraft

Amazon Rain-forest Fires

The National Institute for Space Research claimed that its satellite data showed a 84 percent increase in the number of fires in Brazil’s Amazon Rainforest. On Monday, the smoke resulting from fires caused a blackout in the city of Sao Paulo. This daytime blackout lasted for about an hour and came after the forest fires burning in the states of Amazonas and Rondonia, which are about 2700 km away. The Amazon Rainforest is not only the largest rainforest in the world, but is also home to about three million species of plants and animals, as well as one million indigenous people. Usually, wildfires occur in the dry season in Brazil but these days, they are started in order to illegally deforest land for cattle ranching. Over 72,000 fires took place between January and August, which is one of the highest numbers since 2013. 

Google to shut down Youtube Channels posting material about HK protests

Google has shut down about 210 Youtube channels that were posting material about the ongoing protests in Hong Kong. Similar action has also been taken by Twitter and Facebook earlier this week. Google believed that these accounts were linked to a state-backed disinformation campaign originating from inside China. They found the use of VPNs to disguise the origin of these accounts. In addition to this, Twitter also announced that it would not allow ads from broadcasters who are financially and editorially controlled by the government. 

Microplastics are not as risky as people think

According to World Health Organization, microplastics in drinking water are not posing any health risks at current levels. However, the findings were based on limited information and more research needs to be done to confirm this statement. Another problem with the approach was the fact that the studies that were undertaken were not standardized as different researchers utilized different filters to assess the plastic particles present in different sources of water. WHO also said that proper waste water treatment which involves removing the fecal content and chemicals will successfully remove 90 percent of microplastics from the water. They want the focus to not only be conduction of research on this matter, but rather considering the fact that one million deaths are caused per year due to drinking contaminated water. 

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