As nations bicker, a greener future evolves in finance

By Jitendra JOSHI Agence France-Presse LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — Away from the toxic atmosphere at climate summit talks, in boardrooms, banks and trading houses, a transformation in green finance is under way. Its backers hope it could profitably help save the planet. Regardless of the politics of climate change, there is real money to be made today in the exploding market for bonds and other instruments invested in environmentally sustainable projects. But in the final […]

Bumble bee numbers tumble with climate change: study

by Marlowe HOOD PARIS, France (AFP) — Climate change has contributed to a sharp drop in bumblebee populations across North America and Europe in recent decades, scientists said Friday. Compared to the period 1900-1974, bumblebee numbers across dozens of distinct species dropped, on average, 46 percent during the first 15 years of the 21st century in Canada and the United States. In Europe, the corresponding decline of the pollinators was 17 percent, they reported in […]

UN calls for donations to tackle desert locusts in Africa

UNITED NATIONS, United States (AFP) — The UN undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs called on the international community Monday to help East African countries affected by locust swarms, expressing his deep concern over the situation. “There are 13 million people in the affected countries who are severely food insecure now,” said Mark Lowcock during a UN press conference. “Ten million of those people are in the places affected by locusts.” Lowcock, who said he had recently […]

Asian markets fall on coronavirus impact woes

  HONG KONG, China (AFP) — Markets across the Asia-Pacific were in the red on Monday with investors worried about the impact of the China coronavirus outbreak on the global economy. The virus has killed more than 900 people, infected 40,000 across mainland China and spread to more than two dozen countries in what has been termed a global health emergency. It has also jolted major supply chains for everything from food and household supplies […]

Destructive locust swarms arrive in Uganda: officials

KAMPALA, Uganda (AFP) — A locust infestation sweeping the Horn of Africa reached Uganda on Sunday, a government minister said as the prime minister convened an emergency meeting to address the pest invasion. “The locusts entered Uganda today” from Kenya, said Moses Kizige, the minister in charge of the northeastern Karamoja border region where the insects were spotted. The locusts have devastated food supplies in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia, with the Food and Agriculture Organization […]

Solar Orbiter set to launch in mission to reveal Sun’s secrets

MIAMI, United States (AFP) — The US-European Solar Orbiter probe launches Sunday night from Florida on a voyage to deepen our understanding of the Sun and how it shapes the space weather that impacts technology back on Earth. The mission, a collaboration between ESA (the European Space Agency) and NASA, is set to blast off from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral at 11:03 pm (0403 GMT Monday) and could last up to nine […]

In war-torn Yemen, zoo animals face daily struggle

by Abdulkarim AL-MARANI with Dana MOUKHALLATI in Dubai Agence France Presse Sanaa, Yemen (AFP) — Yemen’s war makes life a daily struggle for millions of civilians, but creatures in the country’s neglected zoos, including lions, leopards and baboons also face an uncertain future. At the country’s main zoo in Sanaa, the capital seized in 2014 by the Iran-backed Huthi militias who control much of the north, a man unloaded one of a dozen dead donkeys […]

Food-share apps seeking to help environment

by Véronique DUPONT Agence France-Presse London, United Kingdom (AFP) — Jack Convery pops into a London branch of Italian eatery Coco di Mama to grab a cut-price lunch ordered on his smartphone’s food-sharing app Karma. The 27-year-old Amazon employee — with an eye for a bargain and for helping the environment — uses a mobile phone app that sells surplus food from hundreds of UK restaurants at discounted prices. “Anything I can do to help […]

Scientists race to develop vaccine for new coronavirus

  by Catherine Lai Agence France Presse SINGAPORE (AFP) — Scientists from the United States to Australia are using new technology in an ambitious, multi-million-dollar drive to develop a vaccine in record time to tackle China’s coronavirus outbreak. The new virus has spread rapidly since emerging late last year in China, killing more than 800 people in the mainland and infecting over 37,000. Cases have been reported in two dozen other countries. Coming up with […]

Pangolin Suspect #1 as direct source of coronavirus outbreak

  by Paul RICARD and Brigitte CASTELNAU Agence France Presse Chinese researchers investigating the animal origin of the deadly coronavirus outbreak in China said Friday the endangered pangolin may be the “missing link” between bats and humans, but other scientists said the search may not be over. An earlier study — since discredited — pointed to snakes, and there remain numerous candidate species in the Wuhan wildlife market thought to be ground zero of the […]

Bolsonaro’s Amazon ‘dream’ is indigenous ‘nightmare’

by Jorge SVARTZMAN RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AFP) — Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has unveiled a sweeping plan for the Amazon rainforest that would open indigenous lands to mining — a “dream” for the far-right leader, but a “nightmare” for environmentalists and tribal leaders. Bolsonaro proposed a new bill Wednesday that would allow mining, farming, and hydroelectric power projects on formerly protected land in the world’s largest rainforest, saying: “I hope this dream… comes true.” […]

US astronaut returns to Earth after longest mission by woman

by Christopher RICKLETON ALMATY, Kazakhstan (AFP) –NASA’s Christina Koch returned to Earth safely on Thursday after shattering the spaceflight record for female astronauts with a stay of almost 11 months aboard the International Space Station. Koch touched down at 0912 GMT on the Kazakh steppe after 328 days in space, along with Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency and Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian space agency. Koch was shown seated and smiling broadly after […]