North Korea: Kim Jong Un travels to Hanoi on the train to meet Donald Trump

A high-profile staging. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un travels to his second summit meeting with US President Donald Trump, due to take place in Vietnam next week. Kim had already left on Saturday, reported the official news agency of North Korea. The track is thousands of kilometers long. Kim is accompanied by a high-level delegation. Images of his departure were spread by the North Korean state media. Trump insists that North Korea abandons its nuclear program. The Republican and Kim want to gather in Hanoi on February 27th and 28th. There were already taken on the weekend security precautions. A first meeting between the two took place last June in Singapore. Trump and Kim had agreed to make the Korean peninsula nuclear weapons free. However, according to US data, barely any progress has been made in the negotiations so far, which is why the US is maintaining its sanction pressure on North Korea. Shortly before Kim's departure, there had been a sign of weakness from Pyongyang. Ruler Kim cut the food rations of the population by almost half. Reasons include high temperatures in the country and the UN sanctions.

Urgent teacher shortage: the director as a substitute teacher

On the site www.lerarentekortisnu.nl teacher Eddy Erkelens tries to make the problem clear. This week almost seventeen thousand children have been confronted with the teacher shortage. But the North region had a holiday. The week before, when all schools were still open, more than 33,000 students were confronted with the consequences of the shortage.

Last week, 6495 children were sent home because no teacher was found for their group. According to Erkelens, the figures represent only a fraction of the problem, because only 12 percent of the schools provided data in the past month.

Solutions

Other short-term solutions that he registers a lot: dividing children into other classes, part-timers who work one extra day, unauthorized persons in front of the class and a member of the management or the internal supervisor who teaches the group.

Responsible Minister Arie Slob acknowledges that due to the teacher shortage the situation in schools is dire. The ministry is working hard to find solutions, such as attracting more PABO students, side entrants and encouraging people with a teaching qualification to stand in front of the class again. But Slob does not have a short-term solution.

Maaike (21) wants to give children from home a permanent home

Finally, according to Margot Ende of Stichting Het Vergeten Kind, there is also room for improvement in the policy of foster care institutions and municipalities that take care of children who can no longer live at home. “Protocols, financing agreements, policy: all together it does not lead to a system where the child is central, which has been the case for a long time and that really has to change.”

Maaike does have an idea how that should be done. “More money needs to be spent on long-term places, more needs to be done on foster care instead of living groups or family homes, and older children, from 12 to 16 years old, should be able to get into a foster family, because if you're sixteen, you are often too old for a foster family and you end up in the carousel. “

Maaike certainly knows for sure. “I also want to start a foster family myself, and then I would take that older child into the home that otherwise would not have a chance to get a foster family.”

PERU. (On) live in the city the highest city in the world

240 hours. For ten days, our team of scientific explorers is still in the highest city in the world, in Peru, at 5300 m altitude. It's hard to imagine what that means until you've lived it. It is there, with marked faces and strong rings, that we continue to help and study the population accustomed to these extreme conditions. At the limits of the human body, where the permanent habitat is considered impossible, in theory.

If my body is still struggling to adapt to the lack of oxygen, I begin to take my bearings in this city of 50,000 inhabitants. I will even say that I am attached to it and that my eyes have changed. Less in surprise and more in sharing. As often, what makes the beauty of an expedition, a journey or an epic, is the meeting. The one that comes to offer a story to the decor.

Credits: Axel PITTET and Tom BOUYER – Expedition 5300.

A miner with swollen, purplified hands and lips

Behind science are hiding humans. Lives. And contrasts. Where for us Westerners, accustomed to comfort, this daily seems unthinkable, La Rinconada continues to grow. Like a city out of time. With its mysteries and its problems.

In the vicinity of the ephemeral laboratory, I meet a miner, Juan Carlos, with swollen hands and lips, violaceous. He is lining up to meet our team of scientists. I ask him how he is doing. I try to understand somehow, with my wobbly Spanish, what he describes. He shows me his head first then his heart … We end up discussing everything and nothing, like two old friends over a drink. Juan Carlos explains to me that he works at the mine to pay for the law studies of his daughter, in Lima. And it's easier to find work here than in the big cities around.

© Axel PITTET – Expedition 5300

As the snow tips his nose, Juan Carlos and I arrive at the entrance of the laboratory. Objective: collection of first information. To put it simply, the ephemeral laboratory is cut in half, with a yellow tarpaulin as separation. A bit spartan but it does the trick. This is where our paths separate and through a last handshake and a look, I hope unconsciously to transmit all my energy and my courage for the future.

Expectations and meetings: unbelievable on all levels!

The patience of the miners is incredible. Every morning, upon our arrival, the Peruvians queue to be evaluated. To understand what they have. With their own story. Some have never seen doctors or needles. A world separates us and yet, we live well on the same planet.

Concentrated, writing on paper probably first results, I meet the eye of Ivan Hancco, Peruvian doctor. I allow myself to steal a little time to know the criteria that are taken into account in the context of Expedition 5300: men, aged between 18 and 55 years with a BMI (body mass index) less than 27 who were born at an altitude above 3500 m and who have lived in La Rinconada for at least 3 years.

© Axel PITTET – Expedition 5300

After initial assessments, two groups are created: twenty-five Peruvians with a chronic mountain sickness score greater than 10 and twenty-five peruvians with no chronic mountain sickness, that is, with little or no specific symptoms associated with altitude.

Hypoxia: different facets?

What is happening among the inhabitants of La Rinconanda? I see them sitting in what looks like a waiting room. Singular faces, swollen cheekbones, bulging eyes but an expression that does not change when you take the time to talk to them: a smile masking the harshness of their daily lives. Some are proud to be here, others probably do not have a choice and do not know other horizons of life. At each meeting of a new patient, I discover a Samuel Vergès, the person in charge of Expedition 5300, more human than scientist. A look that does not deviate during exchanges, almost sorry not to be able to respond to everyone's requests.

© Axel PITTET – Expedition 5300

Fifty. It is the number of Peruvians who will be able to pass on the other side of this yellow tarpaulin. The others, nearly a thousand will still receive a health check from medical students in Puno, under the leadership of Dr. Ivan Hancco. It is this comparison of scientific data, between two groups, which must make it possible to understand what are the differences involved in chronic mountain sickness. In a second step, the analysis of the data should lead to determine the therapeutic solutions to help the Peruvians to live better in these conditions.

© Axel PITTET – Expedition 5300

And for us, inhabitants of the plain, how is acclimation going?

As every morning, we find ourselves in the laboratory after a walk of ten minutes we climb some stairs, always trying … We cross a small market where already at 7:30, the smells of fries are felt as if life did not stop here. And as every morning, the faces, each time, become a little deeper, the eyes a little more closed even if the team is one.

One of the members, around what looks like a coffee launches, “Today, one more notch at the belt level”. We laugh and we say that altitude is a good solution to lose weight. Emeric Stauffer, doctor, explains that altitude is known to reduce the feeling of hunger (reduction of a hormone that stimulates hunger, Ghrelin), phenomenon known as “altitude anorexia”. In digging a little bit, I even read that a study in the United States found that when the altitude of residence increases, the rate of obesity drops. However, here, the inhabitants are rather corpulent. A genetic heritage to protect oneself from the cold? inappropriate eating habits? Good questions …

© Axel PITTET – Expedition 5300

On a quieter afternoon, Samuel and I decide to go for a walk in the mountains and discover the secrets that are hidden above the Rinconada while the rest of the team is resting. We need it. We discover another world. More wild. Probably more authentic. Although after every step, I feel the lack of oxygen gnaw my muscles, my heart beat faster, the desire to explore takes over and allows us to decompress. It must be said that hypoxia – by all that it induces – must necessarily affect morale. Even after ten days, our body did not adapt completely. The nights for some remain chaotic. The spirit a little elsewhere.

Hypoxia: behind myths, reality.

When I talk with people of the plain, all, without exception or almost, tell me “to hang on”, that I will come back with “a box of hell”. I think it's more complicated. I like to remind myself that “it's the dose that makes the poison” as Paracelsus wrote, one of the pioneers of medicine from the sixteenth century. Complex.

Will the increase of red blood cells that I produce today by the lack of oxygen will allow me to be less tired, run faster? Not sure. Conditions-related days are difficult and prolonged exposure to hypoxia can be deleterious. A small drop in our energy production capacity due to a lack of oxygen can be responsible for fatigue, impaired immune defenses and cognitive difficulties.

© Axel PITTET – Expedition 5300

Everything seems to matter of dosage. For example, Samuel explains that living and aging at moderate altitude (1500 m) could delay or offset several pathologies and reduce some mortality factors. Several studies have shown that with altitude training, one can obtain superior benefits (cardio-respiratory, physical condition, body composition) to a normoxia (plain) exercise training program.

And the reality of everyday life …

Be that as it may, here the altitude is queen. The people of La Rinconada are aware that something is wrong. But they relativize and continue to celebrate life. Despite the difficulties of everyday life. Where Anne Sauvy wrote in Mountain rescue (1998) that “the mountain was a mixture of concrete and real horizons in the distance of mist and light – but also horizons of balance, wonder, joy, inner plenitude.” It is, for them, a test that must be faced every day and which imposes the understanding and respect of all of us.

Axel PITTET, mountaineer and shipping communication manager 5300

Warren Buffet always dumb on the name of his successor

Warren Buffet, one of the world's most famous and celebrated investors, has not yet named his successor in his famous annual letter to shareholders, but at age 88, he always says he dreams of an “elephantine” acquisition. Buffett's letter to shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway, his holding at the head of multiple companies in a wide variety of sectors but also a huge portfolio in various stocks, is read with attention by Wall Street and beyond, ” the oracle of Omaha “having the habit of distilling his opinion on the state of the economy or on the wisdom of investing in this or that investment product.

In the 2018 edition, he explains that his heart, like that of his partner forever, Charlie Munger, 95, “continues to beat faster” to the idea of ​​an “elephantine” acquisition. “In the coming years, we hope to be able to put our excess cash into companies that Berkshire will hold sustainably.The likelihood that this will happen in the immediate future is not good: prices are staggering for companies that offer good perspectives, “Buffett writes.

For the time being, the holding company has more than $ 100 billion in cash readily available should an opportunity arise.

Mute on the name of his successor

The investor also remains silent on the name of his successor but has not dried up praise for his two lieutenants who, since 2018, have taken the reins of most day-to-day operations: Ajit Jain and Greg Abel. The decision to give them a more central role “should have been taken sooner,” notes the legendary investor. One of these two men should succeed Mr. Buffet. “Berkshire is now much better managed than when I oversaw operations alone,” he said.

In terms of results, Buffett's year was rather bad, his bet on Kraft Heinz, the maker of the famous ketchup and instant macaroni cheese, having erased almost $ 3 billion of Berkshire profits, are raised to 4 billion dollars in 2018. Kraft Heinz, of which Berkshire controls 25%, had to announce on Thursday a depreciation of some 15 billion dollars of its assets for lack of having adapted to the new tastes of the consumers.

Mr. Buffett also criticized a new accounting rule that requires unrealized gains or losses to be included in GAAP net earnings.

With a portfolio of $ 173 billion at the end of 2018 in equities, “the large-scale variations in our quarterly results will inevitably continue”. “In fact, in the fourth quarter, a period of very high volatility in the stock price, we have seen several days with” + profits + “+ + + losses of more than 4 billion dollars,” insists Mr. Buffet.

(With AFP)

Fridays for Future: Parents and teachers support students in truing for the climate

“Who does not jump, that's for fine dust” – one of the slogans with which students in Berlin again demonstrated on Friday for more climate and environmental protection. For weeks, teenagers have been gathering every Friday before the Federal Ministry of Economics to keep up the pressure on the government. But many of them skip school. A strike in the name of climate protection, under the motto “Fridays For Future”. “It just shows quite strongly that we rebel as an entire generation and from everywhere – from the smallest village in Hessen, with 400 souls, with whom I spoke recently – we show that we are on strike and that we do not accept it, that our future has been lost for 40 years, ignoring for 40 years that we are facing a climate crisis and that we have no chance to act except now, and we are telling you all in the Federal Ministry of Economics, in the Bundestag: act now, do something for the climate, and good enough and not just a bit, it's a climate crisis and not climate change, we need to act now. ” From all parts of Germany, the students had arrived, some in class, accompanied by their teachers. So also by Erik Klausch from Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. “I believe that on days like today, students learn more than I can teach them, in three or four weeks of lessons, because here are the students learning skills and the opportunity to get involved, and that is much more important in our society and society in our time and for the future, as dry matter that I can teach you in class. ” Parents have also joined in the student strike. Under the hashtag Parents for Future, an association of quote “parents, friends and dedicated people” encourages students on the Internet. They should continue the protests. The students in Berlin seemed to leave no doubt about that on Friday. Not only in German cities did students take to the streets – elsewhere in Europe, as here in Paris, young people demanded more climate protection. Among them was 16-year-old Grete Thunberg, who had been washing the heads of politics and business at the World Economic Forum in Davos – she had first called for student strikes.

'Shooting elephants Botswana is not necessary, there are other solutions'

Jacob Konter, manager of a hunting specialist, says that Botswana closed the hunt for elephants several years ago. “And now you see the same thing happening there as in the Dutch Oostvaardersplassen.A population, be it elephants or deer, can not let you grow unrestrained.”

Then you run the risk that the carrying capacity of the habitat is exceeded, says Konter. “This often happens at the expense of animal welfare or biodiversity: if a certain animal species predominates, other species will suffer.” And then shooting is a good solution.

He has never shot an elephant himself. “I would not want that at the moment either, I've been to Africa and walked among the elephants there, it was fantastic, I did not feel the aspiration to shoot them, we sell rifles and ammunition in the store being able.”

Can Dutchman Charly T. (17) leave his Spanish cell?

“The age difference between T. and the girls plays a very important role in this case”, stresses T.'s lawyer Salvador Estevan. “If someone of 12 or 13 gives permission for sex, the Spanish court will still assume that the person is not mature enough to make such a decision.”

No yes is no

Since 2016, there has been more serious action in Spain about sexual abuse. In that year an 18-year-old woman was forced to have sex with five men. The men received a prison sentence for sexual abuse, not for rape. In the weeks after the verdict, in several Spanish cities, black was seen of demonstrators who disagreed with the verdict.

Since then, Spain has been working on a new law on sexual consent, which makes it easier to prove rape in court. Sex without explicit approval is seen as rape in the new law. If a person says 'no', that means no, but if no yes is said, that also means no.

Urban farming in search of sustainability and profitability

From collective gardens to socialize a neglected neighborhood to connected vertical farms, urban agriculture, which has a myriad of realities in different countries and cities, is in full development, but in search of sustainability and profitability.

Practiced by 800 million people worldwide, “urban food production” must be encouraged by public policies, says the UN Agency for Agriculture and Food (FAO).

In Western countries, urban food production models vary, more or less financialized.

Yves Christol, one of the leaders of the largest French agricultural cooperative In Vivo, discerns at least six different models, after a round of the world only to study the question:

-In the northern European countries, the dominant model recreates indoor climates completely electronically controlled, without pesticides, but without direct soil and without sun either.

– To produce beans in Iceland … –

“This makes Iceland a big producer of green beans,” says Christol, “thanks to the water heating of the basement”.

– In Singapore, urban agriculture, also very high tech, is “political”, intended to ensure the food autonomy of the city-state, whatever the price.

– In Japan, it has developed on repackaging of old electronic plants in vegetable factories, but this model is also very expensive.

– China, for its part has launched urban farms on old soils polluted by heavy metals, it would be too expensive to clean up.

– As for the American model, it is in transition, between the vertical farms of aquapony (system mixing plant culture and fish farming) in New York or Chicago, which are struggling to be profitable, and California overheated, “who risk to be a desert in 15 or 20 years “.

Urban agriculture will fail to feed the cities, and will not be profitable “until the price of vegetables has been multiplied by four” to cover energy costs, Mr. Christol asserts.

– … or strawberries in containers in Paris –

For Guillaume Fourdinier, one of the two founders of the Agricool startup in Paris and Dubai, who produces strawberries all year round in connected merchant marine containers equipped with LEDs, urban agriculture must first be used to fight against “the ecological disaster of transport”.

“Today, with our containers, we are 120 times more productive per square meter than in the ground,” he says, “and we produce in a decentralized way closer to the consumers”. But, it does not give the cost price of its strawberries, sold slightly cheaper than organic strawberries.

– The sixth model, developed by the city of Paris, around the project “Pariculteur”, a proactive and social model, moves the lines, with more than 10 hectares grown in Paris, which should increase to 30 hectares in 2020.

For Swen Deral, organizer of the 48 hours of urban agriculture in several European cities, the urbaculteurs “who fare financially” are those “who do something other than produce”.

“Either they recycle, or they create services around urban agriculture, educational activities, restaurants, or whatever,” he says.

Given the price of land in the city, “the projects most at risk are those that are only productive,” he adds.

Meanwhile, researchers argue that urban agriculture initiatives, in addition to revitalizing and creating “common”, are also a way to combat the effects of global warming, by lowering the temperatures of an environment too much. mineral, or by fighting flood risks, and by reinventing urban planning.

In an article published in the journal MDPI, “gardening the city: managing sustainability and adapting to climate change through urban agriculture”, François Mancebo, researcher at the University of Reims, believes that it should be listed in town planning policies, provided that from the outset they are based on a more participatory elaboration of these policies, involving the inhabitants.

US crude output reaches new record

US crude oil production reached a new record of 12 million barrels a day, and exports jumped last week, according to figures released Thursday by the US Energy Information Agency (EIA). During the week ended February 15, US production jumped to 12 million barrels a day (bpd), the highest since these figures were compiled in 1983.

Competition with Saudi Arabia and Russia

This production had stabilized in the previous five EIA weekly reports at 11.9 mbd. “This is above all a strong psychological figure,” responded Matt Smith of ClipperData, the United States already arguing for many months the place of the world's leading crude oil producer with Saudi Arabia and Russia .

US exports have reached a new record since these statistics are compiled in 1991, 3.61 mbj against 2.36 mbj the previous week. “This report shows that the US has officially entered the big leagues in terms of exports,” Smith said. Imports of crude, which fell the previous week to their lowest level since 1997 at 6.21 mbd, rebounded to 7.52 mbd.

In terms of trade reserves, crude inventories increased by 3.7 million barrels to 454.5 million, while analysts surveyed by Bloomberg forecast an increase of 3.05 million barrels. barrels. They are up 8.1% from the same time last year and are 6% above the average of the last five years at this time.

Lower gasoline stocks

Gasoline inventories fell by 1.5 million barrels, while analysts expected a more modest decline of 500,000 barrels. They are up 3% from their level of a year ago and are 4% above the average of the past five years. The reserves of distillate products (heating oil and diesel) also declined by 1.5 million barrels, in line with analysts' expectations. They are down 0.2% from a year ago and down 2% from the five-year average.

The WTI crude oil stocks at the Cushing terminal (Oklahoma, South), which were also scrutinized since they serve as a benchmark for oil quotations in New York, rose sharply by 3.4 million barrels to 45 million barrels. Refineries have stabilized, averaging 85.9% of capacity.

Over the past four weeks, the United States consumed an average of 20.6 mbd of refined products, down 0.1% from the same period last year. Demand for gasoline declined 0.4%, while demand for other distilled products advanced 1.4%. The price of a barrel of American oil, which was declining before the publication of the report of the EIA, hesitated on the direction to be taken after the publication of these figures but still released 34 cents to 56.82 dollars around 1700 GMT on the New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex).

(With AFP)