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co-founder of Pendect. Trying to protect free speech and democracies by creating a global news platform that is built through expert contribution. In love with vinyl, psytrance and penguins.
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Science • Animals
12 endangered Magellanic penguins return to sea after researchers nurse them back to health
12 endangered Magellanic penguins return to sea after researchers nurse them back to health
Credit: Courtesy of Mundo Marino

Last November, the twelve Magellanic penguins were found completely emaciated, dehydrated, and hypothermic by tourists at several stands in the La Costa district south of Buenos Aires. Several animal rescue organizations took care of the penguins for weeks.

"We found these animals in a state of malnutrition and dehydration," said biologist Sergio Rodriguez Heredia to the Argentinean portal "Infobae". He heads the Mundo Marino rescue and rehabilitation centre in San Clemente del Tuyú.

The penguins have now been released at the beach of San Clemente del Tuyú.

Regional News • Asia • China
China's economy grows at a record 18.3 percent
Shenwumen Gate of Forbidden City, Beijing
Shenwumen Gate of Forbidden City, Beijing Credit: kallgan (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0)

China's economy has largely overcome the Covid-19 crisis and started the new year with record growth. According to the Beijing statistics office, the second-largest economy grew by 18.3 percent in the first three months compared to the first quarter of last year. This is the biggest jump since quarterly evaluations began a good 30 years ago.

The unusually strong growth can be explained by the fact that the Chinese economy slumped sharply last spring due to the Covid-19 pandemic. At that time, the world's most populous country came to an almost complete standstill for several weeks.

Regional News • Asia • China
Beijing critic and Hong Kong activist Jimmy Lai to be jailed for a year
Jimmy Lai
Jimmy Lai Credit: Studio Incendo (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Hong Kong media entrepreneur Jimmy Lai has been sentenced to one year in prison. The sentence was handed down on Friday. The reason is the media entrepreneur's role in the mass protests in the Chinese special administrative region, in which an estimated 1.7 million people took part in the summer of 2019. It is the first time Lai has been sentenced to prison.

Science • Animals
Pensioner fulfils old promise by donating €750,000 to German zoo
Pensioner fulfils old promise by donating €750,000 to German zoo
Credit: Dietmar Rabich / Wikimedia Commons / “Münster, Allwetterzoo -- 2014 -- 8244” (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

An 82-year-old man from Münster (Germany) has fulfilled an old promise he made to his wife who died years ago - and has given Münster Zoo the largest single donation in its history: the zoo has now received 750,000 euros from Horst Eschler.

Zoo director Simone Schehka thanked the donor at a press event on Thursday. The zoo wants to use the money to finance the renovation of its bear house, among other things, she said. A trip to Australia was the deciding factor, the donor said. There he had seen how animals suffered from the devastating bush fires and how many people had helped them.

Climate & Environment
Japan wants to discharge one million tonnes of contaminated Fukushima water into the sea
IAEA Experts at Fukushima
IAEA Experts at Fukushima Credit: IAEA Imagebank (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

Japan will discharge over one million tonnes of treated water from the Fukushima disaster reactor into the sea. Head of government Yoshihide Suga announced this decision to dispose of the water on Tuesday. The plans have already sparked protests from environmentalists, fishermen and farmers in the region, as well as concern in Beijing and Seoul. Dumping the water is expected to take years.

Regional News • Europe • France
France bans domestic flights along many TGV routes
France bans domestic flights along many TGV routes
Credit: unsplash.com / William Hook

The French parliamentarians voted by a majority for a ban on domestic flights on routes that can be covered by train in less than two and a half hours. Flights from Paris to Lyon or Bordeaux could thus soon be a thing of the past.

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire had already voiced such ideas in May 2020, when state aid for AirFrance-KLM was decided. The weekend's vote picks up on these plans and aims to help reduce CO₂ emissions permanently - even if the air travel industry picks up again after the global pandemic. The ban is part of a broader climate law that aims to reduce French carbon dioxide emissions by 40 per cent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.

Climate & Environment
Volcano on Caribbean island of St. Vincent erupts
Volcano on Caribbean island of St. Vincent erupts
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter

The volcano La Soufrière has erupted on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent. An explosive eruption was registered on the mountain in the north of the island, the disaster control authority Nemo announced on Friday. A column of smoke up to eight kilometers high was building up over the volcano. A shower of ash is to be expected, it said. Subterranean tremors had previously been detected at the volcano, indicating that magma was moving towards the earth's surface.

The government of the island state of St. Vincent and the Grenadines had already begun evacuating the so-called Red Zone around the volcano on Thursday. In 1902, an eruption of La Soufrière killed about 1,500 people. The current volcanic activity began last December, according to Nemo.

Regional News • Europe • France
Macron dissolves French elite university École Nationale d'Administration
École Nationale d'Administration
École Nationale d'Administration Credit: Fred Romero (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

French President Emmanuel Macron is closing the elite French university École Nationale d'Administration, or Ena for short, as he announced on Thursday. The elite cadre school is to be replaced by the Institute of Public Service (ISP).

The aim of the reform is to make the French civil service "more efficient, more transparent and more benevolent", according to sources close to the president. In addition, more young people from educationally disadvantaged backgrounds are to be recruited for the civil service. The "social lift" works "less well today than it did 50 years ago", Macron had complained at the beginning of this year.

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
Boeing warns customers of new problems with broken-down 737 Max aircraft
Boeing warns customers of new problems with broken-down 737 Max aircraft
Credit: SounderBruce / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Just a few months ago, aircraft manufacturer Boeing had been given permission by regulators to ground the 737 Max again - but now there are new problems. This time it is about difficulties with the power supply on some aircraft, as the company announced.

Customers would have to check whether a certain component was sufficiently earthed. The 16 airlines affected are to suspend operations for the time being. Boeing is working closely with regulators, it said.

Regional News • Europe
Russia threatens to intervene in eastern Ukraine

The Kremlin has threatened military intervention in eastern Ukraine. In the event of a flare-up of fighting, Russia will not stand idly by and watch a possible "human catastrophe", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, according to the Interfax agency.

Russia will take measures to protect its citizens, he added. Peskov also said there was a concentration of Russian troops in the region because the country's security was at stake.