Sept 7 – 13 Weekly News


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Sep 13, 2020


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Delivery of COVID vaccine needs 8,000 jumbo jets

If a vaccine for COVID-19 arrives, governments will need many aircraft. Distributing the vaccine will be a huge logistical operation. Experts say transporting 7.8 billion doses of a vaccine - one dose for everyone on Earth - will need 8,000 Boeing 747 cargo planes. Governments must start planning for the "mission of the century". Even if half the vaccines can be transported by land, the air cargo industry will still face its largest single transport challenge ever.

The experts said many obstacles must be overcome. One key element is to create temperature-controlled cargo centers to keep the vaccine at the same temperature. Staff must quickly become experts at safely handling the vaccine. Another challenge would be security and cross-border controls. The experts said: "Vaccines will be highly valuable products. Arrangements must be in place to ensure that shipments remain secure from tampering and theft."


Pope says gossiping is 'worse than COVID'

Pope Francis said gossip is worse than COVID-19. He said the devil is the "biggest gossiper," who divides communities with his lies. He spoke about the dangers of gossip, saying: "Let's try to not gossip. Gossip is a plague worse than COVID. Let's make a big effort. No gossiping." The Pope says gossiping is dangerous on social media. He tells people not to listen to Internet trolls. He said: "If something goes wrong, offer prayer but never gossip."

The Pope made his first speech since the pandemic started. It is not the first time he talked about gossip. In 2016, he warned people not to "fuel the terrorism of gossip". He said: "If you get an drop a gossip bomb, bite your tongue." Two years later he talked about gossip again. He said gossip is deadly "because the tongue kills, like a knife". A visitor to the Vatican agreed. She said gossips were just "scandalmongers and busybodies".


52% of young adults in the US live with parents

A new study reveals that most young adults now live with their parents. The number of 18- to 30-year-olds living at home has hit an 80-year high. Around 52 percent are at home with one or both parents. Only in the Great Depression of the 1930s was the percentage higher. The recent rise in the number of young adults moving back in with their parents is due to the economic downturn and a rise in unemployment caused by the coronavirus.

An analyst said adults were living with parents because of loan debts and a lack of jobs. He said this has been exacerbated by the pandemic. He said: "It may take the better part of a decade for this to recover and be financially stable enough to leave home." He concluded: "For the most part, nobody wants to be living at home with mom and dad." Another analyst said young people not moving into cities could affect the property rental market.


Disney criticized for filming new 'Mulan' in China's Xinjiang

The Walt Disney Company is receiving criticism for filming part of its new live-action movie Mulan in the Xinjiang area of China. The Chinese government has been accused of human rights violations against Uyghurs and other mostly Muslim minorities in the area. At the end of the film is a message thanking official communications departments in Xinjiang. Human rights activists and China experts have expressed condemnation on social media sites. They say Disney behaved unethically to gain entrance to China’s profitable movie market, the second largest in the world.

Amnesty International tweeted a link to a media report on the issue and asked Disney, “Can you show us your human rights due to care report?” A Washington Post opinion writer called the movie a scandal. A widely shared tweet suggested the Mulan film crew would have seen re-education camps for Uyghurs on their way to filming locations. Disney did not answer The Associated Press's request for comment. In August, Disney reported sharp financial losses because of the coronavirus. Disney has high hopes for the Mulan remake.


Bering Sea's Ice at lowest levels in thousands of years

Scientists are reporting that ice cover in the Bering Sea decreased during the winters of 2018 and 2019 to levels not seen in thousands of years. The Bering Sea is in the northern Pacific Ocean, between Russia and the American state of Alaska. The scientists said satellite images and records provide a clear picture of how the sea ice has changed over the past 40 years. The researchers studied different forms of oxygen molecules trapped in the peatland.

This year, the summertime Arctic sea ice reached its lowest level for the month of July in 40 years of record keeping. The loss of sea ice is already hurting Arctic wildlife, such as walruses, polar bears, and seals. Shrinking sea ice intensifies warming in the Arctic. That is because areas of dark water take the place of the sea ice. The dark water absorbs, or takes in, solar radiation instead of reflecting it back into the atmosphere. In addition, the study suggests that changes in sea ice take place at least 20 or more years after changes in carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases.


The experimental treatment helped ‘Mighty Mice’ keep the healthy muscle in Space

Scientists say an experimental treatment helped “mighty mice” keep healthy muscle mass during a recent stay in space of one month. The treatment might one day prevent muscle and bone loss in astronauts during long periods in space. It could also be used to treat people suffering from muscle or bone loss on Earth. Astronauts in space live in an environment of microgravity, or weightlessness. This environment can cause muscles and bones to weaken and lose mass over time.

The U.S. space agency NASA’s specialized exercise programs to limit muscle and bone loss are likely to be ineffective during very long space missions planned by NASA for the future. The “Mighty Mice in Space” experiment was created to test a possible preventive treatment for muscle and bone loss during long space missions. The project involved 40 female mice that were launched into space on a SpaceX rocket last December. Sixteen mice were given the experimental treatment, which involved a genetic engineering method. The mice that lacked the myostatin gene – the so-called mighty mice – showed muscle growth during the experiment.


Australian youngsters take legal action to stop coal mine expansion

A group of young people in Australia has launched a lawsuit in the name of all children to block the expansion of a coal mine. Worry over climate change is pushing the youngsters’ campaign. Youngsters argue that burning coal will worsen climate change and harm their future. The case is not based on Australian environmental laws. Instead, it states that the government has a common law duty of care. The high school students asked an injunction on September 8 in Australia’s Federal Court. An injunction is a court order to begin or stop an action.

Legal experts believe that, because of its complexity, the case will be hard for the students to win. If they do, it could affect other new coal mines in Australia. The country is one of the world’s major coal producers, selling mostly to India, China, and Japan. Australia depends on cheap supplies of coal within the country to produce much of its electricity. And, for the size of its population, the country puts out some of the world’s highest levels of greenhouse gases.


Male elephants are not loners after all

Male elephants were thought to be loners - creatures that are often alone. They often leave their mother’s herd when they reach 10 to 20 years of age. However, a new study shows that young males are not always loners. Younger male elephants were seen following older males as they traveled from place to place. The findings support other research that suggests older males play an important part in elephants’ complex society. Researchers studied videos of 1,264 sightings of male African elephants. They found that younger males rarely traveled alone. Older males most often led groups of mixed ages.

Connie Allen, a biologist said that males have complex social lives, and their groupings are not only shaped by family ties. When several young male elephants were introduced into a park in Pilanesberg, South Africa in the mid-1990s, they were very aggressive. They killed 40 white rhinoceros. But their behavior changed after six older male elephants were added to the park. Males are more mysterious, she said, “but it turns out they aren’t such loners.”

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