With Tanzania, a 34th African country bans plastic bags

The ban on the use and production of plastic bags comes into effect Saturday in Tanzania, the 34th African country to apply this type of measures to try to stop pollution on the continent.

Tanzania has decided to ban the import, production, sale and use of plastic bags. It thus becomes the 34th African country to implement this kind of regulation, according to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).

“Let me be very clear on this: after June 1, the government does not intend to add any day and it will not allow anyone to use them.No plastic bag will be allowed in the country,” he said. Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan, announcing the measure in April.

The Tanzanian authorities have also issued a notice to tourists, saying they will have to “get rid of” their plastic bags before entering the country.

“The government hopes that, aware of the imperative to protect the environment and keep our country clean and beautiful, our visitors will accept some minor inconvenience with the ban on plastic bags,” says this text.

According to local media reports, anyone accused of producing or importing plastic bags or packaging is liable to a fine of one billion Tanzanian shillings (390,000 euros) or a prison term of up to two years.

The possession and use of plastic bags may result in a fine of $ 87 and / or a seven-day prison term.

Worldwide, 127 countries have legislation that regulates in one way or another the use of plastic bags, according to UNEP. Of these, 91 countries, including 34 in Africa and 29 in Europe, prohibit or restrict production, importation or commercial distribution.

– Various successes –

Patrick Mwesigye, regional program manager at UNEP, told AFP that the degree of success of these regulations varies from country to country.

Rwanda, where plastic bags have been banned for more than a decade, is considered one of the greatest successes.

“But Rwanda had the advantage that they did not make a lot of plastic,” when the ban came into effect, says Mwesigye.

Countries with plastic manufacturing or import industries have had a harder time implementing these measures because they have an impact on employment.

“In Kenya (…), it worked very well, but you still have plastic that is smuggled from neighboring countries”, like Uganda, he adds.

The Kenya ban, introduced in 2017, imposed particularly harsh penalties, with fines of up to $ 38,000 (32,000 euros) and up to four years' imprisonment for using plastic bags.

But in reality, while many people have been arrested in Kenya, the number of fines and prison sentences has been much lower.

– Single use plastic –

Mr Mwesigye observed that some countries have put in place these bans even before finding appropriate alternatives, and that monitoring and practical implementation are sometimes problematic.

UNEP Acting Director Joyce Msuya congratulated Tanzania for its initiative. “It is extremely important that bans come with efforts to identify effective alternatives to the single use of plastics,” she warned.

Nearly 300 million tons of plastic are produced annually in the world, and there are 5,000 billion pieces of plastic floating in the oceans, scientists said.

Most objects that pollute the world's most isolated places or the depths of the oceans, are made of disposable plastic, such as bags, straws, food packaging, which cause dramatic economic and environmental damage.

In March, the international community failed to agree on a timetable for phasing out single-use plastics, instead deciding to “significantly reduce” their production.

Countries like the United States, Canada or Australia have no national regulations for plastic bags, although some US states, including Hawaii and California, have banned them.

In March, the European Parliament endorsed the end of single-use plastic products in the European Union from 2021.

US Secretary of State meets Merkel for talks on crisis areas in the Middle East

German Chancellor Angela Merkel met US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday in Berlin. Pompeo is catching up with his visit to Germany, originally scheduled for 7 May, which he canceled because of growing tensions between Iran and the United States. Merkel said Pompeo and she had a lot of issues to discuss. “The world is in great turmoil, most notably Iran's questions, how do we prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, and how do we prevent other aggressive actions by Iran?” We will talk about Afghanistan, where we both are We will talk about the situation in Syria and of course the very fragile situation in Libya. ” “Germany is an important partner of the US, so I'm happy with Chancellor Merkel over the time I had a good conversation with the Foreign Minister.” Besides Merkel, the US Secretary of State met his German colleague Heiko Maas. Germany had offered to mediate in the dispute over the Iranian nuclear program.

The broadcast of 31 May

Amsterdam looking for a location for receiving illegal immigrants

Asylum seekers who have exhausted all legal remedies and who live illegally on the streets or in groups of buildings regularly cause political fuss. Amsterdam wants to do something about this by offering support to 500 undocumented migrants. The plan led to much protest, but in the end the government decided to help pay for the relief.

Nieuwsuur joins Amsterdam councilor Rutger Groot Wassink (GroenLinks) in search of suitable locations for the reception of illegal immigrants.

Exhibition Act of Nature 'stimulates the senses, mind and heart'

Gallery Reflex in Amsterdam will open an exhibition tomorrow with work by photographer David LaChapelle, known for his bold, explicit portraits of celebrities. He is considered to be one of the most important contemporary photographers. A report in the broadcast.

'Pro-anorexia coach' often turns out to be a man with sexual intentions

Girls with anorexia can exchange tips to lose weight on so-called pro-anorexia sites. A dangerous phenomenon, with a risk now added. 'Coaches' are also active on those sites, who guide girls and even punish or scold them if they are not strict enough for themselves. These 'pro-ana coaches' are often not fellow sufferers, but men who deliberately visit girls with an eating disorder to get nude photos or even sex from them.

This is evident from the first results of a study by the Center against Child Trafficking and Human Trafficking (CKM), GGZ River Dunes Eating Disorders Ursula and Proud2Bme, which NOSop3 was given insight into.

The researchers were shocked by the findings and that is why they are already coming forward with the first conclusions. They want to warn girls, their parents, investigation services and other stakeholders about the risks.

Bullying, manipulating and asking for nude photos. In this video we explain how those pro-ana coaches work:

To find out who those pro-anorexia coaches are, the researchers posted two fake profiles in public forums of girls with anorexia seeking help with weight loss: Jisse, 14 and Sarina, 15. They received 45 responses from pro-ana in a short time. coaches. Almost all of them turned out to be men. More than half asked for photos almost immediately, preferably in underwear or nude, as a 'body check'. A number offered waste assistance in exchange for physical sex.

The researchers were particularly shocked by the compelling nature of the questions about photos. Shamir Ceuleers from the CKM: “The pro-ana coaches were very direct and said things like 'I want to help you, but then you have to deliver nude photos now'. Or: 'I'm going to help you, but then you have to have sex with me '. They clearly respond to the vulnerabilities and uncertainties of the girl. “

If girls didn't cooperate, the coaches were fierce. “With reactions such as:” Do you want to remain a fat pig? ” These are young girls, often with low self-esteem, who are also extra vulnerable because they have an eating disorder. ” Coaches also threatened to publish shared photo material or told them to come by their house if the girls did not do what they asked.

Professor Eric van Furth, also involved in the research, explains that the men make sophisticated use of the girls' disease. “Pro-ana fits in with the strict thoughts that girls have about appearance, food and weight. They themselves describe that they are so taken over by those thoughts that they look for this kind of help. Coaches take those strict thoughts as it were and become the strict master of their eating disorder. “

Sex as a thank you

The researchers have also asked 60 girls about their experiences so far. These are girls who are active on pro-ana sites or in pro-ana groups. About 70 percent were minors. Of that group, 96 percent said they were asked to send photos, almost always in underwear or nude. More than half of the coaches wanted to meet physically and in about 20 percent of the cases the coach also asked sex as a thank you for helping to lose weight. In some cases, that really led to forced sex between a coach and a girl.

Asking and sharing nude photos of underage girls is child pornography and therefore punishable. But none of the girls reported. In fact, many girls talked about their experiences for the first time in this study. They are ashamed of what has happened to them.

The aim of this investigation is to map the problem, not to trace perpetrators, the researchers emphasize. In one case they made an exception. This was an online group to which their 'bait girl' was added and in which men shared child pornography. They immediately reported this to the judiciary.

More research

The research into the pro-ana coaches continues until the summer, just like the interviews with girls, who can still report if they want to share their experiences. But the researchers do not expect their findings to change. “There is hardly any difference in our experience with the fake profiles and the stories we hear from girls. We especially hope to find out more about how these men work exactly.”

The reason for this investigation was a lawsuit in 2016 against Bob J. from Arnhem, a man who lured six girls with an eating disorder to rape them. There were also signals from abroad about men who approached girls with anorexia online. Experts involved wanted to know if there was a broader problem with pro-ana coaches in the Netherlands.

And that appears to be the case. The investigation will be completed after the summer and recommendations will follow, for example about what the police and the judiciary can do to better protect these girls.

Climate: Merkel calls for “all that is humanly possible”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday called for “doing all that is humanly possible” to respond to climate change and promised to do “all that is in her (power)” on this subject, during a speech to the Harvard University.

“We can and must do all that is humanly possible to master this challenge to humanity,” said the Chancellor, whose government is accused of delaying taking the necessary measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions .

“It is still possible, but each of us must do our part, and I say this with a dose of self-criticism, do better,” she added in a speech made mainly in German, during the traditional ceremony of graduation from the prestigious American University.

“That's why I will do everything in my power to get Germany to reach its goal of climate neutrality by 2050,” said the 64-year-old Chancellor, who had just received a doctorate of honor of the University.

In a speech often interrupted by applause, Merkel, whose coalition government was shaken by bad scores in the European elections, praised the benefits of European construction, the transatlantic partnership, multilateralism and respect for human rights.

Without ever mentioning Donald Trump, with whom she has notoriously difficult relations, she lamented attacks on free trade, “walls” of all kinds, “lies presented as truths”.

“We can find good answers to difficult questions if we try to see the world through the eyes of others” and “if we do not act impulsively,” she said, calling students to ” do not consider as acquired “democracy and peace.

The Chancellor in power since 2005 also spoke in enigmatic terms of the end of her mandate, she who must leave power in 2021 after a record longevity in Europe.

“We must be ready to put an end to things, to feel the magic of new beginnings,” she said.

“Who knows what life will bring me after my career in politics?” “It's completely open, only one thing is certain: it will be something different, something new.”

Russian inquiry: why Trump passed between the drops

Speaking for the first time in two years, special prosecutor Robert Mueller said Wednesday that charging Donald Trump would not have been legal, despite strong suspicions of obstructing justice against the US president.

“If we had the conviction that the president had clearly not committed a crime, we would have said,” said Mueller, who investigated for 22 months the Russian interference in 2016 US presidential election.

But to charge him “was not an option,” he continued, citing the legal framework that prohibits the prosecution of a sitting president before the ordinary courts.

“The case is closed! Thank you”, immediately reacted Mr. Trump, eager to close this file that has poisoned the first two years of his mandate. “Nothing changes about the Mueller report,” Donald Trump wrote again on Twitter, repeating that he was “innocent”.

“Return to privacy”

In his rare speech, Robert Mueller, a former FBI leader respected on both sides of the political spectrum, also said he did not consider it “appropriate” to testify in Congress, despite Democrats' wish to hear it.

To the general surprise, this austere and methodical man is out of his reserve to put an end to his investigations, without making a final revelation.

“I leave the Ministry of Justice and go back to private life,” he said, visibly moved, referring to his investigation report “which speaks for itself”. This voluminous document, made public in mid-April under a redacted version of its confidential data, “is my testimony,” said the 74-year-old lawyer.

Resuming his main conclusions, he reiterated that Russia had made “multiple and systematic efforts” to influence the election in 2016.

But the investigation failed to gather “sufficient evidence” of an agreement between Moscow and the Republican billionaire's campaign team, Mueller said.

On the second part of the investigation, the suspicions of obstruction of justice weighing on Donald Trump, the special prosecutor justified his decision not to settle.

“A president can not be prosecuted for a federal offense while he's in. It's unconstitutional,” he said. “It would be unfair to accuse someone of an offense if he can not defend himself in court,” he continued.


Robert Mueller sent the ball back to Congress. “The constitution provides for a procedure outside the judicial system to indict a president in office,” he recalled with reference to the procedure of “impeachment”.

“It is up to Congress to respond to the crimes and lies and other misdeeds of President Trump and we will do so,” said Democrat Jerry Nadler, who chairs the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives.

Some Democrats want to take advantage of their majority in the lower house of Congress to initiate a dismissal procedure against Donald Trump.

But the opposition leaders are cautious about this option, which is doomed to fail given the Republican majority in the Senate and which risks obscuring the other issues of the campaign for 2020.

Party leader Nancy Pelosi remained cautious on Wednesday. “Congress will continue to investigate,” she said. “The Americans deserve to know the truth,” continued the elected, while refraining from mentioning the impeachment procedure.

While waiting to decide, the Democrats have used their powers of investigation to try to gather as many elements as possible. They demanded access to the entire Mueller report and called key witnesses. They also hoped to hear the special prosecutor in public, but no summons was sent to him.

Robert Mueller “hoped” not to have to testify before the parliamentarians. “I will not provide more information than what is public if I were to appear in Congress,” he said.

“After two years, the special prosecutor resumes the course of his life and everyone should do the same,” said presidential spokeswoman Sarah Sanders.

The White House accuses the Democrats of being dissatisfied with the conclusions of the special prosecutor and of wanting to “start all over again”. She refused to cooperate with various requests from the House.

(With AFP)

Support for the US: Syria deployment of the Bundeswehr could take longer

The anti-IS deployment of Bundeswehr jets in Syria could be extended after a “mirror” report beyond the planned time. Accordingly, the federal government has signaled to support the US in securing a security force for northern Syria.

According to the news magazine, Berlin should have offered Washington to extend the previous mandate for the Bundeswehr's participation in the coalition against the so-called Islamic State.

Germany is involved in the fight against the terrorist militia in Iraq and Syria with “Tornado” reconnaissance planes and a tanker plane. From Jordan, the Bundeswehr jets launch and deliver pictures, with the help of other allies such as the United States carry out air strikes against the IS. This mission is expected to expire on October 31, 2019. IS has now completely lost its once vast empire in Syria and Iraq. But he is not finally smashed. Cells of the extremists continue to be active and are attacking in both Iraq and Syria. IS chief Abu Bakr al-Bagdadi has also disappeared.

If the Bundestag extends the mandate, the Air Force could in future support a US-planned protection force in northern Syria, writes the “mirror”. Washington is planning a kind of buffer zone there to protect the Kurds both from Turkey and from Syrian government forces, as they fight against the US side of the US.

The Syrian Kurds control a large area in the north and have established a self-government. The area is governed by the Kurdish militia YPG. Turkey sees in the armed group an offshoot of the banned Kurdish workers' party PKK and fights them. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly threatened the Kurds with an offensive. For his part, US President Donald Trump threatened Turkey with economic destruction should it attack the Kurds in Syria. Ankara has long been calling for a buffer zone that it controls. This idea was also taken up by Trump.

Chancellery, Foreign Office and Ministry of Defense had agreed that the United States would not be offended by the question of the protection force, reports Der Spiegel. This is not confirmed in Berlin. A spokesman for the Ministry of Defense told the German press agency on Thursday: “The coalition against IS terror is constantly in talks about the situation and future developments.”

According to the “Spiegel” report, there is no consensus on the subject within the grand coalition: “An extension or adjustment of the mandate is out of the question in our view,” said the foreign policy spokesman of the SPD parliamentary group, Rolf Mützenich, cited. His colleague from the Union faction, Jürgen Hardt (CDU), said: “We should look favorably on the request of the US government to help secure the planned protection zone in northern Syria.”

“Agents can seize Hells Angels vests with this ban”

Fred Westerbeke, chief prosecutor of the national public prosecutor's office, is pleased with the judge's decision to ban motorcycle club Hells Angels. “We are very satisfied. But we had seen the verdict coming. We have been able to build up a file with 1500 pages of incidents and terrible misconduct for many years.”

The Public Prosecution Service had asked for a ban on the motorcycle club because there is a culture of violence within the club that endangers society and the rule of law. The judge therefore agrees.

Take up Hesje

Westerbeke says that the police can now take immediate action against the club. “The police can basically put someone with a Hells Angels cardigan on the side and say 'you have to take off your vest because this is forbidden, you can no longer wear it'. It does depend on the situation and regulations per municipality “But the starting point is, and we have also agreed with the police, that we are going to act and that the vest will go out or be confiscated. Not the engine, it is independent of being a motorcycle club.”

Research from the University of Groningen, on the other hand, showed that the law is inadequate to tackle motorcycle clubs properly even in the case of a ban. But according to Westerbeke it is now really easier for municipalities to tackle Hells Angels members. “They now no longer have to prove that a certain club is misbehavior. With the prohibition in hand they can simply act.”

Westerbeke acknowledges that criminal proceedings, such as issuing fines for wearing a Hells Angels vest, are not yet possible. “That is only possible if there is an irrevocable judgment. This case will be appealed, then another appeal can be made in cassation. That will take years.”

Criminal activities

But today's statement is certainly not an empty case, says Westerbeke. “We can also do the necessary things with this prohibition in hand. We also see members of the Bandidos accepting directions from the police. We really see a difference in the streets.”

Westerbeke doubts whether the ruling will be able to limit crime. “That is really of a different order. What they undertake in criminal activities, drug trafficking, drug production, of course they don't do that in visibility. We have criminal investigations for that.”

New euro notes in circulation, can you find the security measures?

From today, new 100 and 200 euro notes will be in circulation. They replace older 2002 notes. The most important change: new security features. These notes are the most advanced in the fight against counterfeiters.

Each ticket contains security features, intended to show that they are genuine, but also to prevent counterfeiting. Whether you have twenty, fifty or 200 euros in your hand: they are all visibly and invisibly protected against counterfeiting.

The 100 and 200 notes above contain new security features. The glittering band, for example, is even more detailed: “A moving hologram has been printed. If you tilt the bill, you'll see two euro signs spinning in the amount,” explains Esther van den Kommer of De Nederlandsche Bank. A sparkling euro sign has also been applied to the lower left with special ink.

The updated notes complete the 'Europe series'. This is a new series that is more wear-resistant and moreover better protected against counterfeiters. Because in the money world goes on: stagnation means decline. If you do not renew, counterfeit coins are getting closer.

Other notes, such as the (somewhat older) note of 20 in your wallet, are crammed with security features. Can you find the twelve protections that we have hidden in it?

Partly because it was already so difficult to imitate banknotes, so little was copied: “Last year we intercepted 563,000 counterfeit banknotes,” says Chris Vansteenkiste from Europol. “That sounds like a lot, but there were 22 billion real notes in circulation that same year.”

Here in the Netherlands there are on average more counterfeit notes in circulation than in the rest of Europe. Of every million euros, an average of 80 cents is false. The European average is 55 cents per million euros.

In particular, many do-it-yourselfers are active, says Vansteenkiste. “They have a good inkjet or color printer and are going to run. Many people think that fake notes cannot be distinguished from real ones. That is not the case,” he adds.

“A criminal with a counterfeit note makes it just right enough to get rid of it in a matter of seconds. They use it in places where money goes out: in markets, in pubs, where it is dark, at events and gas stations with long lines. As soon as you see that a ticket is counterfeit, you are already three customers away and the criminal is already gone. “

Organic fruits and vegetables: Spirits warm up around heated greenhouses

Farmers were alarmed Wednesday by a desire of some producers of organic fruit and vegetables to “industrialize” the industry by heating greenhouse crops. False lawsuits, retort those concerned, who claim to simply want to respond to the galloping consumer demand.

“No to the industrialization of bio! No organic tomato in winter,” exclaimed the National Federation of Organic Farmers (FNAB), in a petition launched with the Nicolas Hulot Foundation (FNH), Greenpeace and Climate Action Network , supported by sixty cooks, starred or not.

The object of their anger, the development of “large-scale projects of organic vegetables produced under heated greenhouse”, which are emerging, particularly in Brittany and the Pays de la Loire, which would lead to the production of fruits and vegetables out season, explained the FNAB to AFP.

Organic farmers had not previously used this practice, or very marginally, according to the FNAB, which feared “to find on the stalls of the French organic tomato in the middle of March.A taste aberration, agronomic and environmental! “, according to his petition.

– Regulatory blur –

The FNAB intends to convince the Minister of Agriculture Didier Guillaume to “fight against the industrialization of organic by limiting the use of heating greenhouses to the production of plants and frost preservation”, before the next national committee of organic agriculture, scheduled for July 11, to decide on this issue, a decision already postponed twice.

For its part, the interprofession of fruit and vegetables (Interfel) “is absolutely not favorable to a system of greenhouses heated in organic farming all year round.It simply reminds that the European regulation authorizes the heating of greenhouses” in agriculture biological.

“However, she is not opposed to a possible evolution of this reading guide, in respect of the community framework,” she adds in a statement.

“We are in favor of rules that are equivalent in all countries, we must not achieve a de facto disappearance of national production by constraints that would effectively make us no longer competitive,” he said. AFP the president of Interfel, Laurent Grandin.

“We have the + historical, in the development of organic, who have done a remarkable job and created the conditions of a market,” says Mr. Grandin, for whom there is on their part “a fear that new actors who use different means may be disrupting this market “.

The defenders of the heated greenhouses defended their positions in tight ranks, during the permanent assembly of chambers of agriculture (APCA).

– Carbon balance pointed by the finger –

Among them, Georges Guézenoc, organic farmer in northern Finistère, spoke of “a completely deficit market”, showing the proportion of organic products imported in long circuit in 2017. According to the agency bio, 78% of tomatoes, 70% of cucumbers and 69% of the zucchini on French stalls came from abroad.

Beyond an explosion of volumes, the FNAB points, it, the pollution generated by the heating of greenhouses. Based on a study by Ademe, a tomato produced under a heated greenhouse would emit, with 2.2 kilograms of CO2 per kilo for one kilogram of tomatoes, 7 times more greenhouse gas than a tomato produced in France. in season and almost 4 times more than a tomato imported from Spain.

This argument was disputed by some producers present Wednesday at the APCA.

“It is out of the question that we produce strawberries and tomatoes at Christmas, we respect the cycle of life”, threw Jacques Rouchaussé, president of vegetables of France.

“The consumer wants products from France, help the organic producer to develop, do not shoot us in the foot to allow organic Spanish to come in. The Spanish bio, when you have it in store, it is packed in plastic, I do not know if it's so organic, but you have to think about it, “he concluded.