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Plastic crisis needs binding treaty, report says

Plastic crisis needs binding treaty, report says

Science
Getty ImagesPollution from plastics is a global emergency in need of a robust UN treaty, according to a report.The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) says there's a cascade of evidence of harm from plastics.It argues that the plastic pollution threat is almost equivalent to climate change.The air we breathe now contains plastic micro particles, there’s plastic in Arctic snow, plastic in soils and plastic in our food.It's reported, for instance, that about 20 elephants in Thailand have died after eating plastic waste from a rubbish dump.The authors urge nations to agree a UN treaty with binding targets for reducing both plastic production and waste."There is a deadly ticking clock counting swiftly down," said the EIA’s Tom Gammage. "If this tidal wave of pollution continues unchecked,...
Kim Jong-un warns of North Korea crisis similar to deadly 90s famine

Kim Jong-un warns of North Korea crisis similar to deadly 90s famine

World
EPANorth Korean leader Kim Jong-un has urged citizens to prepare for hard times ahead, following warnings from human rights groups that the country faces dire food shortages and economic instability.Speaking at a party conference, Mr Kim appeared to compare the situation to a deadly famine in the 1990s.North Korea has shut its borders due to the coronavirus pandemic.Trade with China, its economic lifeline, has come to a standstill. This is on top of existing international economic sanctions over Pyongyang's nuclear programme. Imagine a North Korean family...North Korea's sidelined human rights crisisThe South Koreans enslaved in the North's minesWhat did Kim say?In a rare admission of looming hardship, the authoritarian leader of the single-party state on Thursday called on officials to "w...
Jobless crisis shows signs of easing but under-25s hit hard

Jobless crisis shows signs of easing but under-25s hit hard

Business
Getty ImagesThe number of workers on company payrolls in the UK climbed by almost 200,000 in the three months to February, amid signs that the jobs market may be stabilising. However, the number on payrolls is still 693,000 lower than last February, before Covid lockdown measures began.People aged under 25 continue to bear the brunt of the job losses, the Office for National Statistics said. It came as the unemployment rate stood at 5%, down from 5.1% previously.Sam Beckett, ONS head of economic statistics, told the BBC's Today programme there was still a lot of uncertainty in the jobs market. "Furlough is still doing a lot of heavy lifting in the labour market. There are around five million people still on furlough, it's down from its peak of nine million but has been rising recently. "Bu...
Factory blaze adds to computer chip supply crisis

Factory blaze adds to computer chip supply crisis

Technology
RenesasOne of the car industry's biggest computer chip suppliers has warned that a major fire at one of its factories in Japan could have a "massive impact" on its ability to fulfil orders.The incident comes at a time when supplies of chips to the auto industry were already running short.Shares in the semiconductors firm Renesas fell, along with its clients including Toyota, Nissan and Honda.Elsewhere, Volkswagen has said chip scarcity might last until the autumn."I think things will get stable by the fall but certainly its going to be complicated, and its going to be challenging but I think we'll navigate it," Scott Keogh, VW's North America chief executive told the BBC.He added that some of the company's plants were likely to run less shifts a day, but added that he hoped factory shutdow...
Cladding crisis: ‘I feel constantly sick and stressed’

Cladding crisis: ‘I feel constantly sick and stressed’

Business
Georgie HulmeGeorgie Hulme inherited her third floor flat in Manchester from her mother, who thought she was providing her daughter with home security for life. Since then, inspections of the building in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire have exposed major fire safety problems, including dangerous cladding.Ms Hulme, 42, who has disabilities and can't work, now fears bankruptcy due to spiralling repair bills. "I feel constantly sick and stressed. These buildings were built unsafe, so no leaseholders should pay for something that's not their fault," said Ms Hulme. Thousands of disabled leaseholders, often on low incomes or benefits, warn they are financially and physically trapped by Britain's cladding crisis.Ms Hulme has Tourette's Syndrome and uses a text to speech device to communicate....