IN A NUTSHELL 30/2019-20
WOMEN PROTEST AGAINST STRICTER ABORTION LAWS
Even though the fight with the coronavirus successfully keeps nearly everybody at home, streets of some Polish cities were quite busy on April 14. This is because of a protest against stricter abortion laws which are about to be considered by the Sejm on April 15. The changes were proposed by Kaja Godek and suggest, among others, making it impossible to have an abortion even when there is medical ground to think that the child will be born with serious illnesses or defects. The protesters blocked the streets with their cars and bikes claiming to have left houses in order to meet their basic needs, many went for a walk with their dogs or to a shop, creating fake lines to shops. The cars had posters on them, women wore T-shirts with slogans supporting their views or just stuck pieces of paper with hashtags #piekłokobiet to their jackets or backpacks. Others just used umbrellas which have become the symbol of the Strajk Kobiet initiative. Protesters said that proceeding such bills in times when the right to protest is severely limited is just not right.
POLAND FACES THE WORST DROUGHT IN 50 YEARS
Over the last years scientists have warned us multiple times that the hydrological situation of Poland is bad. This winter we witnessed the lowest rainfall for decades (some say the lowest in recorded history) — in many regions there was either no snow at all or it snowed only for a couple of days. Historically, a regular cover of snow should be present for at least 90 days. This must have led to the ground being dry and rivers carrying very little water. BusinessInsider claims that our biggest river, the Vistula, now is only 70cm deep and when it carried 100cm a year ago a serious drought was already reported. The condition now means it would have to rain for 20 days straight for the situation to be come back to the normal state. The problem is made worse by the fact that Poland ignored the problem for many years and did not try to keep as much water as possible in the country. The water retention ratio is only 6% whereas countries like Spain have learnt to keep as much as 45% of it. The drought will surely influence prices of food, especially vegetables.
VIRUS AFFECTS ANIMALS, TOO – IN A DIFFERENT WAY
The coronavirus is spreading not only between people, but is also affecting the next aspects of our lives. This time it managed to shake the situation so much that even the animals got hit. Or may shortly be. Usually at this period zoos are crowded. This year obviously due to the lockdown they are closed. The VdS, German Association of Zoological Gardens pointed out that zoos cannot go into hibernation in order to reduce the costs. Animals have to be fed and looked after. For example seals and penguins consume big amounts of fresh fish. Some of the tropical species need heating. Jörg Junhold, the boss of VdS, said the lockdown costs a typical German zoo around half a million euros weekly in lost turnover. The Schönbrunn Zoo in Vienna can manage by drawing on existing savings. The situation in Neumünster Zoo in northern Germany looks much worse. They admitted they might have to euthanize some animals instead of making them starve, but in the worst case scenario they would have to feed some animals with the others. The Neumünster Zoo is not covered by the state emergency fund. German zoos are asking the government for help of 100 million euros donation. On the other hand, some zookeepers say that the current situation can also bear the emotional cost for certain animals. Ms Hachmeister at Berlin Zoo said that especially apes, but also seals and parrots were interested in the viewers and now they are bored. The Moscow Zoo has noticed that their pandas started to be much more interested in every single person passing them.
GERMANY TO RESCUE 50 MINORS FROM GREEK REFUGEE CAMPS
Some burning problems of today’s world may seem to have disappeared from view in comparison with the virus, but in fact most of them haven’t. They have simply become more burning. There are currently around 40,000 refugees on Greek islands rounded up on a ridiculously small area with no heating (thank God for the mild winter) and often with very limited access to water. Social distancing, maintaining the 2-meter gap, enhanced hygiene are nothing but an ill-advised joke in those circumstances. Clearly, if the virus strikes there, these people will be very likely left alone to … (fill in the blank: fight it/die). Over the Easter holiday the German federal government announced that it was preparing to put 50 underaged persons from those camps up. It sparked mixed reactions from German NGO’s, some of them requesting Munich alone to give shelter to 500 people, making use of hotel rooms which – for the most part and for obvious reasons – are and will likely remain empty anyway. This would be done after performing adequate coronavirus tests, to make the operation as safe as possible. According to Saskia Weishaupt, press secretary for the Bavaria’s „Green Youth” movement, it is not the time to blame the EU or ask why other EU member states aren’t helping. „It really comes down to a simple question now: do we want to help those people or not” – she says.
1. Every woman should be able to have an abortion anytime she wants.
2. People can do nothing to stop the drought.
3. States should care about people first, not zoos.
4. There is no immediate danger to developed countries if we ignore the refugee crisis during the coronavirus pandemic.