Climate petition: NGOs will file an appeal against the State on 14 March

The four NGOs behind the “The Deal of the Century” petition, not satisfied with the government's response to their “prior petition”, will file their lawsuit against the state for climate inaction on March 14, they announced Tuesday.

“See you in court on March 14 … In the face of the government's wait-and-see attitude, our determination is unchanged: to put an end to the state's inaction on climate change, the case of the century will be settled in court”, they said in an email sent to the 2.1 million signatories and published on the petition website.

The four associations (the Nicolas Hulot Foundation, Greenpeace France, Notre Affaire à Tous and Oxfam France) sent a request on 17 December to the government, accusing the state of “faulty default” by its “failed action” to reduce emissions. of greenhouse gases.

While the state had two months to respond, the Ministry of Ecological Transition had issued Friday a letter accompanied by ten pages of arguments detailing the actions of the state in the fight against climate change.

“France has mobilized to respond to the climate emergency” and “we give ourselves the means” to achieve the goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, wrote François de Rugy, even if “obviously this action will have to be completed, extended and amplified over time “.

This response, which effectively rejected the accusation of inaction, did not satisfy the four NGOs.

“While we called for a jump at the height of the climate emergency, the government simply rejected our request: Friday, February 15, he told us that the state is in no way responsible for the shortcomings we accuse him, “they denounced Tuesday.

They will therefore lodge their appeal before the Paris Administrative Court on 14 March, on the eve of a global call for a youth “climate strike” and two days before a new climate march in France.

In its 10-page memo, the ministry detailed state action on climate change in various areas, from energy production to transportation, agriculture and building insulation.

“These measures are beginning to bear fruit: the emissions of the year 2018 should be again downward, with lower energy consumption,” he says, while they had increased in 2017.

A conclusion challenged by NGOs accusing the government in these pages of “greening its balance sheet”.

“The facts are stubborn!” All experts show that France is on the wrong track. Worse, emissions of greenhouse gases have gone up since 2015 and the carbon footprint of France has not improved since … 1995, “they say.

For their part, they plead for “six major priority measures”, in particular “a socially just tax at the service of the fight against climate change”, actions in favor of the energy renovation of buildings, or the development of renewable energies, cleaner transport and more sustainable agriculture.

USA / China: Trade negotiations resume

By

on 19.02.2019 at 07:56

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, who is leading trade talks with the United States for China, will visit Washington for a new round of talks on Thursday and Friday, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said on Tuesday.

China USA

Donald Trump said the United States was closer than ever to getting a “real trade deal” with China.

Hyungwon Kang

In Washington, the White House has confirmed a new round of talks on Tuesday, with high-level talks scheduled for Thursday, involving Mnuchin and Lighthizer and economic advisers Larry Kudlow and Peter Navarro.

The talks will seek to get China “the necessary structural changes” that affect trade between the two countries, she said in a statement, saying that both parties would also “discuss the promises of the China to buy a substantial amount of goods and services in the United States.

Significant progress

The United States and China reported significant progress last week after five days of talks in Beijing, where Steven Mnuchin and Robert Lighthizer also held talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Xi Jinping then announced that negotiations would continue this week and his US counterpart Donald Trump said the United States was closer than ever to getting a “real trade deal” with China. In a speech Monday evening in Florida, Donald Trump again stressed that Washington and Beijing “are making a lot of progress.” “Nobody imagined that would happen,” he said.

The US administration threatens to raise tariffs by some 10% to 25% on some $ 200 billion worth of Chinese products imported into the United States if no agreement is reached by March 1 on several of its requirements. Donald Trump has however indicated that he could postpone this deadline.

(With Reuters)

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At Brexit delay: Juncker does not rule out British participation in European elections

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker does not consider it completely unthinkable that the British will again participate in the European elections due to a postponement of Brexit.

He could hardly imagine that and would consider it “a joke of history,” Juncker said in an interview with the Stuttgarter Zeitung. “But I can not rule that out.” At Brexit, “so many schedules have already been thrown overboard”.

Juncker added, “Brexit is like being in court and on the high seas: you're in the hands of God. And it is always uncertain when God gets right. »

Great Britain wants to leave the EU at the end of March, according to the current state of affairs. However, a withdrawal agreement between Prime Minister Theresa May and the other 27 EU member states has met with fierce opposition in the London parliament. In addition to a chaotic break with far-reaching consequences for the economy is therefore currently also a shift of the exit conceivable.

If the Brexit were delayed beyond the summer, the British might have to re-enter the European elections. This will be held from 23 to 26 May 2019. In Germany, the 26th of May is the election date.

In the 'Valentine's letters' of Kaya (20) there were very different stories

“I share them because I am bullied myself,” says Kaya. “So bad that at a certain moment I did not dare to go out for six months and had panic attacks, so I made an appeal to collect as many pest stories as possible, to ask for attention.”

“I would like to say that I did not let the bullies win,” says Kaya. “I think they do it because they themselves are insecure and may have experienced bad things themselves, and I also have a lot to do with peer pressure, I think.”

“I want to tell other victims that they should not give up, they are not worth it, do not let them stop you, because it's always getting better, there's always light at the end of the tunnel.”

Germany prepares law to protect insects

Germany is preparing a law to protect insects to reduce the use of pesticides and to devote funds to research on the subject, said Sunday the Minister of the Environment.

Nearly half of all insect species, which are essential for ecosystems and economies, are in rapid decline worldwide, a study warned on Monday warned of a “catastrophic collapse” of natural environments.

“We humans need insects, they need to be protected with a law especially for them,” Minister Svenja Schulze told the Sunday weekly Bild am Sonntag.

Its “Action Plan to Protect Insects”, which the DPA agency was able to consult, provides for an annual funding of 100 million euros, including 25 million spent on research.

It also proposes to limit concreting and light emissions at night in order to avoid disorienting insects.

The federal government would take steps to “significantly reduce” the use of pesticides “and other harmful substances in insect habitats,” according to the document.

The plan includes a ban on glyphosate, a controversial herbicide by 2023, which the European Union renewed in 2017 for a five-year license.

In France, President Emmanuel Macron had promised to ban him by 2021. But he recently said that his country would not be able to do without “100%” of glyphosate within three years.

The German Social Democrat minister may find it difficult to get her law accepted by the members of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

The CDU holds the Ministry of Agriculture and is traditionally close to farmers.

Last week, a record 1.75 million people in Bavaria signed a petition to “save the bees”, calling for more biodiversity-friendly agriculture.

Washington lacks clarity in its fight against corruption

The US Departments of Justice (DoJ) and the Treasury play a leading global role in the fight against corruption, money laundering and the violation of international sanctions. For ten years, the United States has punished foreign companies for offenses committed outside their territory. Dozens of banks and multinationals have had to pay heavy fines. America has assumed the role of global policeman, both judge and party. Companies that refuse to comply with its jurisdiction may be excluded from the lucrative US market, or banned from using the dollar payment system, and hence the services of the big banks. For the most part, it would just be suicidal.

Three big problems

However, this all-out extraterritorial judicial activity raises three major problems. The first is that the process appears both improvised and opaque. Cases are rarely dealt with in court and, when an arrangement is made, the affected leaders are silenced. The exact definition of the offenses is unclear. It seems that a mere indirect contact with a foreign bank with subsidiaries in the United States is enough to be pilloried. Second, the penalties are sometimes disproportionate. In 2014, BNP Paribas had to pay a record fine of $ 8.9 billion. Thirdly, the lawsuits sometimes appear to be closely linked to US commercial interests. The investigation into possible corruption cases against Alstom helped push the French champion in the arms of the American General Electric. Some US banks have won the market share of European competitors with heavy convictions. This does not mean that American firms are systematically escaping investigations. The DoJ is investigating, for example, the role of Goldman Sachs in the Malaysia Development Berhad scandal in Malaysia. But many executives of foreign companies suspect US companies to benefit from preferential treatment.

America can be proud of its fight against corruption. But for its own good and that of others, it must adopt a more transparent, proportionate and border-friendly approach. If she does not, her increasing reliance on extraterritorial proceedings will eventually turn against her. Foreign firms will hesitate to intervene in US capital markets. China and Europe will be tempted to promote their currencies at the expense of the dollar and set up international payment systems that will bypass Uncle Sam. And the DoJ could find that after using its heavy artillery on marginal files, he runs out of ammunition to remedy more serious cases. Far from expressing geopolitical power, US judicial interventionism could eventually undermine the very power of the United States.

Heather Nauert: Trump's candidate for UN ambassador posts is retiring

The candidate for US Ambassador Heather Nauert has surprisingly withdrawn her application. The stated Nauert in a written communication of the US Department of State.

The US Representation in Berlin has since denied a report according to which Ambassador Richard Grenell should instead become the new UN Ambassador to the United States.

Nauert called family reasons for their decision. The 49-year-old stressed she was grateful for the confidence that US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had placed in her. The past two months have been very stressful for her family. Therefore, she withdrew her candidacy in the interest of her family. She did not become more specific.

Several US media reported that the reason for Nauert's retreat was rather a detail from her past: According to Nauert years ago employed a nanny who had their salary but not taxed. For fear of complications in the nomination process because of this case Nauert decided to take himself out of the race, it said in the reports.

Nauert, formerly a presenter at Trump-affiliated Fox News, has spent the past two years working as a spokeswoman for the State Department, first under Rex Tillerson, then under Pompeo. About two months ago, in early December, Trump had announced that she would appoint her as the new UN ambassador following the withdrawal of Nikki Haley. The personality would have to be confirmed by the US Senate. But the official nomination process in Congress is not. Haley announced last October that she would give up her post at the United Nations for personal reasons at the end of the year.

The “Tagesspiegel” reported that US Ambassador Grenell should now take over the vacant post in New York. However, this was rejected by the US representation in Berlin. “We saw the report. There is absolutely nothing true about it, “said a spokesman on Sunday evening the German Press Agency. Grenell was communications director for four US ambassadors in New York from 2001 to 2008.

Grenell is not undisputed as US Ambassador in Berlin because of his appearance. Most recently, the 52-year-old threatened German companies involved in the new German-Russian natural gas route through the Baltic Sea, Nord Stream 2, with blatant sanctions. He also criticized the European mechanism for protecting European companies against Iranian sanctions in the US as “disregard” of US policy. Previously, Grenell had repeatedly violated instructions to allies against diplomatic etiquette. Since May 2018, the confidante of US President Donald Trump has been ambassador to Berlin.

The downside of open borders: from extremely fast aging to brexit voice

When the Eastern European countries joined the European Union, the benefits seemed endless: everyone would benefit from the free movement of goods and people. But there is also another side, which European correspondent Saskia Dekkers explains in the series 'The other side of open borders'.

View the three parts below:

Part 1: Latvia

Joining the EU in 2004 gave Letten the freedom to work wherever they wanted. The economic crisis that hit the Baltic state hard from 2008 gave them a reason to leave.

Latvia is now one of the fastest shrinking countries in Europe. In the early 90s there were 2.6 million inhabitants, now only 1.9 million are left. The country is aging so much that many schools have to be converted into old people's homes.

Part 2: Poland

From 2004, when their country became a member of the European Union, Poland left en masse for richer Western Europe. That had economic consequences for Poland, but it also changes the political climate in the country.

The Polish government has been pursuing a conservative policy for years and receives warm support from the Roman Catholic Church. For progressive Poles a reason to (want to) leave their country, for others a reason to return.

Part 3: the United Kingdom

In 2004, immediately after their accession to the European Union, then Prime Minister Tony Blair gave all Central and Eastern European citizens access to the British labor market. Some 1 million Poles now live in Great Britain.

According to two British professors, immigration was the decisive factor for the British to vote in 2016 for a departure from the European Union. “Every analysis shows that people voted with immigration in mind.”

Sports supplements with hard drugs for sale via Instagram and webshops

Despite a ban, sports supplements with the banned substance DMAA, a substance similar to amphetamine, can be bought online online. For example in web shops and via Dutch sports influencers on Instagram, according to research by NOS on 3 and master students from the University of Amsterdam.

The range consists of different powders that you can use for sports to get extra energy. The majority of this is legal, but on Instagram and in foreign web shops these pre-workout shakes are also for sale with banned resources.

NOS on 3 went into the world of pre-workout shakes and searched out what's in those powders.

Hanging on the weights is popular. But dragging yourself to the gym after a long day at work is sometimes a challenge. For an extra boost you can go for a banana or a cup of coffee, but there are also powders that give a boost: pre-workout shakes.

This type of means is increasingly being sold, according to figures from market researcher Euromonitor. Especially young athletes regularly take a portion for training. “It gives me an extra boost if, for example, I have a day when I do not feel like going to the gym”, says Frederik Tiquet.

Most of these powders are relatively harmless. Even though doctors warn of high doses. There is a lot of caffeine in addition to other 'stimulating' drugs such as citrulline and beta-alanine; substances that have not been scientifically proven to actually work.

“But there are often very different substances in powder mixtures,” says Bastiaan Venhuis of the RIVM. He researches pots with sports supplements. “We come across everything, sometimes the amounts of the active substances on the labels are not correct, or there is something else in it than there is on the label, sometimes even the prohibited substance DMAA.”

Medications written down

DMAA was banned in 2012 after deaths were linked to sports abroad. No long-term studies have been performed on the side effects of DMAA, but as a precaution it is then prohibited.

The substance resembles amphetamine (speed). “It is actually a written off drug from the 1930s,” explains Venhuis. “It was used against a stuffy nose, but got out of favor because it had side effects and better drugs came on the market.”

A high dose of DMAA can lead to side effects such as palpitations, insomnia and anxiety attacks. The RIVM is concerned about the different substances that are present in the powders. “It is a sort of cat-and-mouse game where the creators always look for a different substance, when one is forbidden.”

DRC: Virunga National Park reopened to tourists

Virunga National Park (PNVI), the oldest in Africa, is once again open to tourists in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo after more than nine months of closure imposed by several deadly incidents and at the end of an audit of security measures, AFP learned Saturday from its management.

“It is from yesterday (Friday) that tourism is reopened to the public” in the Virunga National Park, told AFP its director, the Belgian Emmanuel De Mérode.

“The security of Virunga National Park has been audited by an internationally respected organization and reports have indicated that all security indicators are good,” he added.

“We are satisfied with this reopening because it is a strong signal that peace and security are guaranteed”, in the PNVI, welcomed Olivier Kamusinzi, North Kivu Provincial Minister for the Environment. (is).

“At first, two sites are open, that of the Nyiragongo volcano and the Kibumba mountain gorilla site,” Kamusinzi said, adding that “two groups of tourists are already on the Nyiragongo site.”

Activities in the PNVI had been suspended since 11 May 2018, after the death of a ranger and the kidnapping of three people including two British tourists, released two days later.

Between April 9 and May 21, 2018, two soldiers, a civilian, five guards and a driver had been killed in the park in attacks by unidentified gunmen.

The PNVI has registered 176 people killed in 20 years, according to a report of June 2018. In 2014, its director Emmanuel de Mérode, had survived an attack.

Located on the border with Rwanda and Uganda, Virunga covers 7,800 km2 in the province of North Kivu, stronghold of several militias and armed groups.

From the shores of Lake Kivu to the Nyiragongo volcano, just outside Goma, to the Rwenzori Mountains on the border with Uganda to the north, Africa's oldest biodiversity-rich natural park serves as a refuge for endangered species. like the mountain gorilla.