IN A NUTSHELL 1/2019-20

 

Image by Ria Sopala, Pixabay

THE WORLD’S LUNGS ON FIRE

It may sound a bit surprising but the Amazon rainforest does have its dry season, too. This year it has been more deadly for the jungle than ever with over 74,000 fires, clearly seen from the space. The blaze has been consuming trees for nearly a month and even though initially the event failed to interest media agencies, today everybody realizes the situation in the region is a problem of every single human being. The Amazon is called the world’s lungs for a reason: it produces nearly 20% of the oxygen for our planet. To make matters worse most of the rainforest is located in Brazil whose newly-elected president, Jair Bolsonaro, openly says his country has the right to use the rainforest the way it wishes. Unluckily, now it wishes to cut down as much of the jungle as possible to make room for pastures and soy farms. That is why there is little doubt that many of the catastrophic fires are in fact deliberate arson. Bolsonaro repeatedly denied this fact. After Norway said they would cut the money for the Amazon Fund, he replied Norway should pay Angela Merkel so that she can plant forest in Germany. After much of international pressure he finally agreed to send troops to fight the fires. World leaders gathered at G7 summit also recognized the importance of the problem and agreed to donate EUR 20 million for the fight with the disaster (a ridiculously small sum, by the way). There is more bad climate news coming: Syberia had previously been on fire for three weeks. Humanity had better take immediate serious action or else it will have to quickly find another planet to devastate.

Image by Fifaliana Joy, Pixabay

 

EL SALVADOR: EVELYN HERNANDEZ RELEASED FROM PRISON

Back in 2016 Evelyn Hernandez, an 18-year-old woman from a small village in El Salvador went to the toilet because she had been having stomach aches and fainted. Her mother found her and took her to a hospital where doctors quickly noticed she had just given birth to a baby. The baby was found in the toilet and Evelyn said she had no idea she had been pregnant. She said she had been raped by a gang member but never interpreted stomach aches as pregnancy. El Salvador has very strict abortion laws: abortion is prohibited in all circumstances and punished with 2-8 years imprisonment. In connection to this the court did not believe Evelyn and found her guilty. In her case, however, it additionally decided the act was not just abortion but murder – this meant Evelyn was sentenced for 30 years behind bars. This August the tragic case has had a happy end, at least for the mother of the baby. For the first time in the history of El Salvador there has been a full second trial in which Evelyn was found innocent. She went out of prison after long 33 months. The story attracted the attention of many women’s right activists whose engagement surely helped the girl during these difficult moments.

Image by Bernd Hildebrandt, Pixabay

 

TRUMP INTERESTED IN BUYING GREENLAND

Donald Trump is doing all he can to become America’s most controversial president so far. Two weeks ago he confirmed he discussed the option of buying Greenland with his advisors. He said the idea is strategically interesting. He added it wasn’t his administration’s priority, though. Danish Prime Minister responded the idea is absurd (rather than strategically interesting). She concluded that Greenland is not for sale because it isn’t Danish nor anybody else’s: Greenland belongs to Greenland. Perhaps unsurprisingly Trump isn’t the first American president who openly said he wanted to buy Greenland – Harry Truman made the first offer in 1946. The territory in question may indeed be economically attractive for the world’s superpowers. Greenland is the world’s largest island and it is rich in many resources, including oil, gas, gold, diamonds, uranium and lead).

 

Image by Michal Jarmoluk, Pixabay

 

AUTOMATION: SOUNDS SCARY

But possibly is not. This summer the Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research (one of Europe’s leading economic research institutes based in Germany) asked 2000 companies about the effect automation is going to have on people’s jobs. The result: there are 560,000 new jobs (net) in sight in Europe until 2021. Earlier studies show that automation in Europe between 1999 and 2010 lead to 1.6 million job cuts, but at the same time created 3.4 million new ones. One of the explanations is that digitization of procedures in services and manufacturing (a process that’s still ongoing) requires companies to hire people who implement new technologies and therefore creates jobs and increases turnover. And even if that implementation process has to end at some point, the good news is that productivity goes up, the prices go down and customers should have more money to spend. The downside of automation? The salary gap between the new jobs (e.g. IT-specialists) and the old ones (routine office workers) is becoming bigger and bigger. The only solution for employees, according to the research, is that they must keep learning and retraining themselves.

/the last article written by Mateusz Pohoryles/

 

DISCUSSION:

  1. Situation in Brazil requires intervention of international community.
  2. Victims of rape should never be punished for abortion.
  3. No country should be allowed to buy Greenland.
  4. People shouldn’t be afraid of automation.

 

 

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