13-17 Jan Weekly News


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Brake pads could harm our immune system

Brake pads are a new danger on the roads. Scientists discovered that toxic dust and metal from brake pads could harm our bodies as much as diesel emissions. The fine dust released when a car brakes could inflame the lungs, reduce immunity, and cause serious infections like bronchitis or pneumonia. Scientists estimate that 93 per cent of particulate pollution from traffic comes from tyres, clutches, brake pads, and road dust.

Scientists say that inhaling brake dust could cause "London throat". This causes runny noses, coughs and colds. Metal particles from brakes cover the lungs and stop cells in our immune system from removing bad bacteria. Brake pad dust casts doubt on claims by the motor industry of there being zero-emission cars. A researcher said: "There is no such thing as a zero-emission vehicle." He said the brake dust problem is going to get worse.


Japan tycoon needs 'life partner' for moon visit

People often say, "I love you to the moon and back" to tell someone special how strong their love is. A Japanese fashion billionaire will go to the moon and back with his love. The only problem is that he doesn't yet have a love. Yusaku Maezawa, 44, is looking for a "special someone" to join him on a trip to the moon in 2023. Mr Maezawa made his billions from his fashion company Zozo Inc. He has paid to be the very first private passenger to fly to the moon. He will be the first customer of Elon Musk's space travel company SpaceX. He will be the universe's first space tourist. However, he does not want to go on his own. He said he wants to "visit such a special place with someone special".

Mr Maezawa has created a television documentary to look for a female friend to fly into space with. The documentary is called "Full Moon Lovers". On a website for the TV show, he wrote: "I'm 44 now. As feelings of loneliness and emptiness slowly begin to come to me, there's one thing that I think about - continuing to love one woman. I want to find a 'life partner'. With that future partner of mine, I want to shout our love and shout for world peace from outer space." Maezawa's ideal candidate is aged 20 or above, single, and must be "always positive". She must also be interested in going into space. He tweeted: "Wanted! Why not be the 'first woman' to travel to the moon?"


Denmark is the best country to raise kids

Scandinavia is the best place to raise children. The top three places on an annual list of the best countries to raise kids are Nordic nations. The list is from the U.S. News & World Report and University of Pennsylvania. Denmark topped the list, Sweden was runner-up, and Norway edged out Canada for third place. The three nations topped the list in 2019. They all have "generous" paternity and maternity leave, free preschool and good education.

The report included the "Best Countries" list. Researchers used "a global perceptions-based" approach to look at data from the World Bank and the attitudes of 20,000 people on four continents. They used 65 different metrics to measure income and gender equality, public education, healthcare, human rights, safety, family friendliness and levels of perceived happiness. Switzerland once again topped this list. Canada was second; Japan was third.


Australia fires

Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison has admitted there were things he "could have handled much better" in his country's deadly bushfire crisis. The prime minister has been heavily criticized for his tone-deaf interactions with fire-ravaged communities. Just days before Morrison spoke publicly about his government's responsibility in the crisis, thousands of Australians marched across several capitol cities pleading for the government to acknowledge the role climate change may have played in the fires. The blazes have burned more than 18 million acres, killed dozens of people and left behind billions of dollars in damages.



The World Health Organization released a list of urgent health challenges that the world will be likely to face in the coming decade, and it's a serious reality check. Climate crisis as a health crisis headlines the list. The WHO noted that air pollution kills an estimated 7 million people a year, a figure that may worsen as air quality continues to degrade. Climate change also contributes to more extreme (read: deadly) weather events. Access to health care is another top threat, as is the possibility of drug resistance and widespread epidemics. And speaking of drugs, the nation's top infectious disease doctor says this year's vaccine is not a very good match for a strain of flu that's common in children. It isn't necessarily bad, he said; just not very good. But while it may not keep kids from developing the flu, it can stop them from getting seriously ill from it.


Food stamps

Fourteen states, plus New York City and the District of Columbia, are suing the US Department of Agriculture over regulations that will require more food stamp recipients to work in order to receive benefits. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, already requires working-age adults without dependents or disabilities to consistently hold a job to benefit from the program. But states can waive the work requirement in areas where there's high unemployment or few jobs. These new regulations would put an end to that option and could result in 688,000 people losing aid when the policy takes effect in April. The administration argues these regulations keep people from becoming dependent in the long term. Attorneys general in states represented in the suit called the proposed policy "heartless" and "cruel to its core."


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