Jan 11 – 17 Weekly News


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Paris' Champs-Elysees to be 'extraordinary garden'

The mayor of Paris has big plans to change the city's famous street the Champs-Elysees. She wants to turn it into an "extraordinary garden". The Champs-Elysees is in the heart of Paris. People say it is, "the most beautiful avenue in the world". However, many people think it looks old. They want it to look more modern. The mayor wants to cut the number of car lanes to make more room for shoppers and tourists. She wants more trees to make it greener.

The Champs-Elysees was very elegant. There were showrooms full of luxury cars, and designer fashion stores. Many rich people shopped there. Today, it is like other streets in the world, with international chain stores, fast food restaurants and coffee shops. The mayor said: "We will redo [one area] before the Olympic Games, then the full length of the avenue afterwards. It will be an extraordinary garden." The project will cost $305 million.



Free dumplings for motorists stranded in the snow

Record snowfall made driving tough for motorists in Japan this week. Blizzards and snowdrifts left 200 cars stranded on a highway in Fukui, on the Sea of Japan. The manager of a local Chinese restaurant, Keiichi Iwatani acted. He decided to feed those facing a night in freezing temperatures. He delivered hundreds of gyoza dumplings and omelettes to tired, worried and snowbound drivers. Co-workers helped to deliver the provisions to 300 relieved people.

Mr Iwatani spoke about his relief efforts. He saw the snow piling up and knew it would be a problem. Similar bad weather in 2018 stopped him from getting to work. He said: "I regretted not being able to help out then. I'm happy people appreciated our efforts last night." He added: "I wanted to keep drivers warm, even for just a bit." One driver feared the worst when she got stuck in the snow. She said she was very happy when Mr Ishitani appeared.



Harry and Meghan to quit social media 

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex may have stopped using social media. Harry and Meghan want to focus on their life. A UK newspaper wrote that the couple will not use social media for their charity or for their personal lives. It said they are tired of the "hate" they see online. They stopped being active members of the British royal family last year. After that, many people attacked them online.

Harry and Meghan's main social media account has 10 million followers. The couple were "very unlikely" to use it again. Meghan has spoken about the harm social media can do. She was attacked many times after she got married. She said she experienced "almost unsurvivable" online abuse. She said she was the most trolled person in the world. Social media companies are in the news for stopping the accounts of US President Donald Trump.



Identical twins are not so identical

A study shows that while identical twins look alike, they are not clones. Scientists analyzed DNA from 387 pairs of identical twins. They looked for mutations in the early stages of development. A mutation is a change in the sequence of the DNA. This can occur when a cell splits. A change can cause slight differences in the DNA when it splits. A tiny change can create differences in height, intelligence, eye colour and in how easy it is to catch a disease.

The study shows that in about 15 per cent of identical twins, one twin had many mutations that the other did not have. This difference helps explain the "nature versus nurture" debate - whether socializing and upbringing affects human behaviour. The research shows that a tiny difference, and not environmental factors, could be the reason for behavioural characteristics or medical conditions.



Malaysian Researchers Make Drones From Pineapple Leaves

Malaysian researchers have found a new use for waste from processing pineapples: making parts for small, pilotless aircraft drones. Researchers developed a method to use pineapple leaves to make airframes for the drones. Professor Mohamed Thariq Hameed Sultan is the director of the project. He has been trying to find uses for pineapple waste created by farmers in an area around 65 km from the capital Kuala Lumpur. “We are transforming the leaf of the pineapple into a fibre that can be used for a drone,” he told.

 Mohamed Thariq explained that natural materials could be better than human-made ones. They are less costly, lighter and stronger when compared by weight. Experimental drones made of the new material have been able to fly up to about 1,000 meters and stay in the air for about 20 minutes, he added. The research team hopes to create a larger drone that is more profitable to sell. Farmers hope that the new use for pineapple leaves will lead to higher incomes for themselves and their families.



New Trial Results Show Chinese Vaccine only 50 Percent Effective

A new Brazilian trial of one of China’s COVID-19 vaccines found that the treatment was only effective about 50 per cent of the time. The CoronaVac vaccine was developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech company. On Tuesday, researchers said a new late-stage trial in Brazil showed the vaccine was just 50.4 per cent effective at preventing symptomatic infections. The Brazilian trial included data on what the researchers called “very mild” COVID-19 cases.

The developer of that vaccine, Sinopharm, said early test data showed that its shots were 79 per cent effective. However, the company did not release detailed information about the studies and said research and trials were still going on. Several nations have completed agreements with Sinovac Biotech to receive the CoronaVac vaccine. Both Malaysia and Singapore have such agreements. The latest results from the Brazilian trial led those countries to say that they will seek more data on the vaccine’s effectiveness before approving and buying supplies. The chairman of Sinovac Biotech, Yin Weidong, told the Brazilian trial results “are sufficient to prove CoronaVac’s safety and effectiveness around the world.”



Brazilian Scientists Count Carbon in Amazon Rainforest

A small group of scientists carried machetes through the Amazon Rainforest. They cut through dense plant life as the mid-morning temperature rose above 38 Celsius. The group of men and women cut into trees. They dug into the soil and painted words across tree parts. “It’s destructive, but we only do it for a few trees,” said Carlos Roberto Sanquetta. He is a forestry engineering professor at the Federal University of Paraná in Brazil.

Sanquetta led the weeklong research trip in November. The team of scientists included a botanist, agronomist, biologist and other forestry engineers. They took several samples of plants, both living and dead. The Brazilian researchers are studying how much carbon different parts of the world’s largest rainforest can store. Such storage can help remove carbon, a greenhouse gas, from the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases trap heat in the earth’s atmosphere. “We need to understand what is the role that forests play,” said Sanquetta and added it is important to know how much carbon the Amazon’s trees take in when unharmed and how much they can release when destroyed.



Fire Destroys Thousands of Homes in Rohingya Refugee Camp

A huge fire burned through an area of Bangladesh’s Rohingya refugee camp in the early hours of Thursday. The fired destroyed about 550 shelters, the poor homes of an estimated 3,500 refugees from Myanmar. Another 150 refugee shops also burned to the ground. Bangladeshi officials said there were no deaths or injuries. A Rohingya refugee in the affected area gave photographs and video recordings of the disaster to the Reuters news agency. The images show families -- including children -- digging through the smoking ruins of their neighbourhood, searching for anything that might still be of value.

The UNHCR said it is providing shelter, clothing, hot meals, and medical care for the refugees in the affected area. Many aid organizations have established offices in Bangladesh to help the Rohingya refugees. Experts and officials are investigating the disaster. Mohammed Shamsud Douza is a top Bangladeshi official for refugee issues. He said the fire department spent two hours putting out the fire. He said the fire grew when gas containers inside the homes began to explode.


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