Sep 14 – 20 Weekly News


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Pringles reveals new recyclable paper packaging

Pringles has made its packaging better. Pringles is famous for its potato chips and the tube they come in. However, the tube is bad for the environment. It looks simple, but it is made of many things. It has a plastic cap, a metal base, an aluminum cover, and foil-lined cardboard. It is difficult for people to separate and recycle. The Recycling Association called it one of the "villains" of the recycling world. The BBC called it "a recycler's nightmare".

Pringles made the tube easier to recycle. It promised 100 percent reusable and recyclable packaging by 2025. A spokesman said: "We are eager to reduce our impact on the planet... We've worked hard to come up with this new can, which is widely recyclable and keeps our chips fresh and tasty and protects them from breaking up – which helps to reduce food waste." However, the new tube still has a plastic lid. This will add to plastic pollution.


Mining CEO quits after the destruction of ancient caves  

The CEO of a mining company resigned after the destruction of sacred Aboriginal sites. The CEO of Rio Tinto has until March to empty his desk. He quit because of the anger created by the destruction of 46,000-year-old caves in the Juukan Gorge in Australia. They are sacred to indigenous people. Evidence shows people lived in them in the Stone Age. The company was mining for iron ore. The CEO said he could have made "better decisions".

The explosions caused global anger and damaged Rio Tinto's image. The mining was against the wishes of the traditional owners of the site. They said Tinto disregarded their traditions to get big profits. They said: "We cannot and will not allow this type of devastation to occur ever again." Rio Tinto apologized and said what happened was wrong. It said the destruction of a heritage site of such exceptional archaeological significance would never happen again.


Photo of Andromeda Galaxy wins astronomy prize

A French photographer won a photo contest - the Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition. This is run by the UK's Royal Observatory. Nicolas Lefaudeux won $17,000 for his photo of our closest galaxy - Andromeda. This is two million light-years from Earth. He used a special technique to take his photo. It makes Andromeda look really close to us. In the photo, we can clearly see the bright galaxy in the darkness of space, surrounded by other stars.

Mr. Lefaudeux is a famous photographer. His photo is titled "Andromeda Galaxy at Arm's Length". It beat thousands of other photos. Lefaudeux was very surprised at winning the top prize. He said: "I was really not expecting to be the overall winner. I had some hopes for being placed in the galaxy category." He joked that he was "over the Moon" when he got the news. Reporters said he could now "reach for the stars".


US Bans Chinese Apps WeChat, TikTok

The United States will ban downloads of the Chinese-owned messaging app WeChat and video-sharing app TikTok starting this Sunday. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement that the U.S. move was taken “to combat China’s malicious collection of American citizens’ personal data.” He added, “The President has provided until November 12 for the national security concerns posed by TikTok to be resolved. If they are, the prohibitions in this order may be lifted.” Trump has been pushing for a sale of TikTok to a U.S.-based company. The later date appears to give the app’s Chinese owner, ByteDance, more time to reach a deal for its U.S. operations.

Like most social networks, TikTok collects data of its users and where they are in the United States to target advertisements. Similar concerns have also been raised about the U.S.-based networks Facebook and Twitter. TikTok says it does not store U.S. user data in China and that it would not give user data to the Chinese government. But experts say the government can get any information it wants from companies there, creating a security risk. The Commerce Department order will remove WeChat and TikTok from U.S. app stores, but it does not affect the use of these apps in other countries.


COVID-19 Vaccine Maker Says It Will Know if Treatment Works by November

The leader of drug maker Moderna says the company should know in November whether its experimental COVID-19 vaccine works. Stephane Bancel told Reuters that if its COVID-19 vaccine proves to be at least 70 percent effective, the company would seek Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for people in high-risk groups. The high-risk groups would include healthcare workers and older people. U.S. government officials say a vaccine candidate must show it is at least 50 percent more effective than a placebo before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would consider it for approval.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the United States, said at the time that even if early tests go well, “you’re talking about a year to a year and a half” before any vaccine could be ready for widespread use. Last week, AstraZeneca also temporarily suspended its Phase 3 trial after a volunteer in Britain developed inflammation. The trial has since restarted in Britain and other countries but is still on hold in the U.S. The World Health Organization (WHO) has described that experimental treatment as probably the world’s leading vaccine candidate to fight COVID-19.


COVID-19 Caused 7 Percent Rise in Extreme Poverty

A new report says the COVID-19 health crisis has greatly harmed worldwide efforts to reduce poverty and improve healthcare. The Goalkeepers Report was released this week by the nonprofit Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. An introductory statement notes that, in past reports, the organization has “celebrated decades of historic progress in fighting poverty and disease.” This year, however, “We have to face the current reality with honesty: This progress has now stopped.”

The report said progress was stopped or slowed in nearly all areas of the UN goals. The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the extreme poverty level worldwide to 7 percent. The health crisis has ended a 20-year run of progress, the report found. “Already in 2020, the pandemic has pushed almost 37 million people below the $1.90 a day extreme poverty line (IHME).” The report also noted International Monetary Fund predictions that the world economy will lose $12 trillion or more by the end of 2021. The report said, “There is no such thing as a national solution to a global crisis. All countries must work together to end the pandemic and begin rebuilding economies.”


NASA Seeks Companies to Mine Resources on the Moon

The United States is offering to pay private companies to mine rocks and other resources on the moon. NASA officials are asking interested companies to collect rocks, soil, and other objects from the surface of the moon. The lunar materials would then be sold to the space agency. NASA administrator says the project was created “for the purpose of demonstrating” that mined resources can be collected. The proposals would not involve private companies sending workers to the moon. Instead, NASA wants the businesses to provide robots to be launched into space by the space agency or private companies.

NASA has asked companies from around the world to present proposals to collect 50 to 500 grams of lunar material. The companies will be required to provide images showing how the material is collected. In a statement, Bridenstine said the agency’s goal is to gain control of the collected materials “before 2024.”  Gabrynowicz, former chief editor of The Journal of Space Law spoke  “A company has to decide for itself if it’s worth taking the financial and technological risk to do this to sell a rock.”


Thai parks mail litter back to tourists

People who litter in Thai national parks may get a surprise in their mail - their litter may be returned to them. Thailand decided to act on the increasing amount of wrappers, plastic bottles, and paper thrown away in national parks. It asked park keepers to mail litter back to tourists. Litterbugs get a letter saying: "We collected your garbage and sent it to your home. This should be a lesson to never again throw away waste." People can also get a $16,000 fine.

Litter is an eyesore in many of Thailand's beauty spots. It is easy to find litterbugs because visitors to parks must register their addresses. Anyone who leaves litter near their camping spot will get their waste back. The head of a park said: "It can be dangerous for animals like deer if they eat the rubbish and try to digest plastic waste that people leave behind." The government said people should only leave footprints behind.


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