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Recent News

Science • Animals
Killing chicks will be banned in Germany from 2022

The killing of millions of male chicks in laying hen farming in Germany will be banned from the beginning of 2022. The German government has passed a draft law by Federal Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner (CDU). At the end of the year, this common practice is to be ended. Until now, male chicks have been killed immediately after hatching because raising them is economically unviable.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Brazilians celebrate arrival of Venezuelan oxygen supplies to struggling Manaus
Brazilians celebrate arrival of Venezuelan oxygen supplies to struggling Manaus
Credit: Twitter Reproduction

Venezuela had announced on January 14 that in light of the humanitarian crisis provoked by a drastic increase in Covid-19 cases in Amazonas, it would send 130,000 litres of oxygen to support the struggling public health system. In addition to the oxygen tanks, the Venezuelan government also formed a brigade with 107 Brazilian and Venezuelan doctors, graduates of the Salvador Allende Latin American School of Medicine in Caracas, to help combat the pandemic in the State.

Brazil has been one of the worst impacted countries during the pandemic, which progressive movements have largely attributed to the mismanagement of the public health crisis by the federal government under far-right Jair Bolsonaro.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Trump has handed out last minute series of 143 pardons
Trump has handed out last minute series of 143 pardons

United States President Donald Trump has handed out 143 pardons shortly before leaving office. The list includes former advisor Steve Bannon, rappers Lil Wayne and Kodak Black (illegal gun possession), Kwame Kilpatrick the former mayor of Detroit (corruption), Elliott Broidy the ex-Vice-Chairman of the Republican Party (illegal lobbying for Malaysia), Solomon Melgen a prominent ophthalmologist and Trump's neighbour from Palm Beach, Florida (health insurance fraud against senior citizens) and Paul Erickson, conservative activist and ex-boyfriend of alleged Russian spy Maria Butina (money laundering).

Technology • Internet & Web
Google competitor DuckDuckGo increased its traffic by 62% in 2020
DuckDuckGo on desktop and mobile
DuckDuckGo on desktop and mobile Credit: DuckDuckGo

The privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo, increased its average number of daily searches by 62% in 2020 as users seek alternatives to impede data tracking.

In an interview with USA TODAY, Kamyl Bazbaz, DuckDuckGo vice president of communications said: "People are coming to us because they want more privacy, and it's generally spreading through word of mouth."

Regional News • Americas • United States
Joe Biden has been sworn in as 46th President of the United States
Joe Biden has been sworn in as 46th President of the United States
Credit: Ashley Winkler for Pendect

Joseph Robinette „Joe“ Biden, Jr. has been sworn in as 46th President of the United States of America. He is succeeding President Donald Trump.

As the first woman of color, the first woman of South Asian descent Kamala Harris has also been sworn in to hold the office of Vice President of the United States.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Kamala Harris has been sworn in as Vice President of the United States

As the first woman of color, the first woman of South Asian descent Kamala Harris has been sworn in to hold the office of Vice President of the United States.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Capitol Hill mob was "fed lies" and "provoked" by Trump, Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell says
President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence walk with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senator Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Tuesday, March 10, 2020
President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence walk with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senator Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Tuesday, March 10, 2020 Credit: The White House from Washington, DC, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor that President Donald Trump helped provoke the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol, blaming the president directly for the attack on the Capitol.

"The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the president and other powerful people," so McConnell.

Regional News • Europe • Spain
An explosion in Madrid destroys building
Picture of Calle de Toledo, after the explosion
Picture of Calle de Toledo, after the explosion Credit: Twitter Reproduction

A large explosion destroyed most of a building at about 14:00 (UTC) in Calle de Toledo, in the Spanish capital Madrid on Wednesday.

There are reports that firefighters, police and specialized emergency workers were at the scene, and residents were evacuated from the area.

Madrid mayor says at least two people have died in the explosion that caused the collapse of a building in the central Madrid area. A gas leak likely caused the explosion, the mayor said.

Regional News • Americas • United States
President-elect Joe Biden leaves Blair House for a pre-inauguration church service

The soon to be United States President Joe Biden has left Blair House for a church service before the presidential inauguration in "The Beast," the presidential limo. Together with his wife Dr. Jill Biden and high-ranking politicians such as Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell he will attend a mass.

Business • Markets
Office Depot rejected a takeover attempt by office supply rival, Staples
Office Depot store
Office Depot store Credit: The ODP Corporation

However, the parent company of Office Depot said it is open to a different kind of a deal, such as selling its retail and e-commerce businesses to Staples or agreeing to a joint venture, according to the report.

In a letter, ODP Chairman Joseph Vassalluzzo wrote that a deal that's not a full takeover "could be executed more efficiently and with far greater certainty and less regulatory risk than your proposal." He wrote the letter to Stefan Kaluzny, the managing director of Sycamore Partners and a board member of USR Parent, the subsidiary over Staples.

This was the third attempt by Staples to acquire Office Depot.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Trump leaves the White House for the last time, hours before Biden's inauguration

Donald Trump has left the White House for the last time of his presidency, hours before President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration. Trump boarded Marine One accompanied by Melania Trump and left for the Joint Base Andrews where he's attending his departure ceremony.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Biden plans to make masks mandatory nationwide
Biden plans to make masks mandatory nationwide
Credit: unsplash.com/Anton

President-elect Joe Biden's first executive order will be a nationwide mask mandate, not as a "political statement" but for the "health of our families, and economic recovery of our country."

"This executive action will direct the agencies to take action to require compliance with CDC guidance on mask wearing and physical distancing in federal buildings, on federal lands, and by federal employees and contractors," Biden’s counselor and Covid-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said. "And the President will call on governors, public health officials, mayors, business leaders and others to implement masking, physical distancing and other public measures to control Covid-19."

Health
Research: Possible cure for malaria transmission discovered

Researchers at the University of Pretoria in South Africa report that they have found substances that could prevent tmalaria ransmission. They write in the journal Nature Communications that two substances that have been studied for their effectiveness against tuberculosis and cancer can kill malaria parasites - even when it is infectious. For the past year, the WHO fears even more victims because many prevention measures could not be implemented due to the Corona pandemic.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Two members of National Guard have been removed from inauguration mission over ties to right-wing militias
Two members of National Guard have been removed from inauguration mission over ties to right-wing militias
Credit: unsplash.com / Chris Henry

Two members of the U.S. Army National Guard have been found to have ties to fringe right group militias. Consequently, they will be removed from the security mission to secure Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration.

No plot against Biden was found.

Technology • Internet & Web
Parler website is back online
Parler.com screenshot
Parler.com screenshot Credit: Parler

After Amazon, Google, and Apple forced Parler offline, the social network managed to make an online comeback on Sunday, even if not fully operational.

Parler's CEO John Matze wrote a post on the platform saying: "Our return is inevitable due to hard work, and persistence against all odds."

The social networking site went dark when Amazon stopped providing it cloud hosting services after it was revealed the platform was used to help organize the Capitol Hill attack on Jan. 6, which left five people dead.

Law
Samsung's Lee Jae-yong sentenced to 30 months in prison for bribery
Lee Jae-yong
Lee Jae-yong Credit: KBS (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0)

Lee Jae-yong, executive of South Korea’s giant Samsung group, was sentenced to 30 months in prison and sent to jail on Monday. He was found guilty of bribery involving the country’s former president Park Geun-hye, who is already behind bars.

Initially, in 2017, Lee was sentenced to five years in jail, but Lee was released from jail the following year after an appeal court decided that the bribes paid were significantly smaller than previously thought. The case wound its way all the way up to the South Korean Supreme Court, which, in 2019, ordered the retrial.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Son of Martin Luther King Jr. endorses New York City mayoral candidate Andrew Yang
Son of Martin Luther King Jr. endorses New York City mayoral candidate Andrew Yang
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter

Martin Luther King III shared his endorsement in a video message posted online by Yang, a former Democratic presidential contender and New York City-based businessman.

One of Yang's most prominent policies is the call for a guaranteed income, a policy that King Jr. advocated for in his book from 1967.

Regional News • Europe • Italy
Giuseppe Conte wins confidence vote in Italy's senate by slim margin
Giuseppe Conte wins confidence vote in Italy's senate by slim margin
Credit: Presidency of the Italian Republic / via Wikimedia Commons

The victory ends the turmoil triggered by former prime minister Matteo Renzi, who last week yanked his small Italia Viva party from the ruling coalition, which includes the Five Star Movement (M5S) and Democratic party (PD), over disagreements about the handling of the pandemic and a post-Covid-19 economic recovery plan.

Conte, who has led two different administrations since 2018, was supported today by 156 lawmakers in the senate on Tuesday, with 140 voting against and 16 abstaining. Conte also won a vote of confidence in the lower house on Monday.

Thus, Italy’s prime minister, has managed to cling to power, but he will plough ahead with an even more fragile government as the country battles to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic and recession.

While minority governments are nothing new in Italy, what will be unprecedented is a minority government (backed by an unwieldly coalition) attempting to lead the country out of the deepest economic crisis since the second world war in the middle of a pandemic that has claimed more than 83000 victims while also trying to create a multi-year plan to manage €209bn (£185bn) of recovery funding from the EU.

Climate & Environment
Research: Chilli makes solar cells more effective
Research: Chilli makes solar cells more effective
Credit: unsplash.com / Possessed Photography

The plant substance capsaicin makes chilies hot and it makes solar cells more effective, as scientists from Sweden and China have now discovered: capsaicin is said to minimize power loss and make solar cells more resistant to water. They have processed capsaicin in a perovskite solar cell.

This type of solar cell is seen as the hope for a new generation of photovoltaic systems. They are easy to manufacture with inexpensive materials. Adding the chili ingredient increased the solar cell's efficiency from 19.1 to nearly 22 percent.

Lifestyle • Travel
Disneyland Paris reopening delayed until April
Disneyland Paris reopening delayed until April
Credit: unsplash.com/Lyle Hastie

Disneyland Paris announced on Monday that it would delay reopening until at least April 2nd. The park had initially planned to reopen on February 13th.

The company said in a statement that "due to the prevailing conditions in Europe, Disneyland Paris will not reopen on the 13th of February as initially planned. If conditions permit, we will reopen Disneyland Paris on the 2nd of April, 2021 and will welcome reservations from that date forward."