UK plans to make plastic packaging producers pay for waste disposal

Britain is to set out plans to overhaul its recycling system on Monday, including making plastic packaging producers pay the full cost of dealing with their waste and introducing a deposit return scheme for cans and bottles.

The plans, which also aim to make household rubbish collections more consistent around the country, will be introduced by Environment Secretary Michael Gove and go out for consultation for three months.

“We will introduce a world-leading tax to boost recycled content in plastic packaging, make producers foot the bill for handling their packaging waste, and end the confusion over household recycling,” Gove said in a statement.

The tax will be payable by producers who fail to use enough recycled material.

At present, producers pay only around 10 percent of the cost of dealing with plastic packaging waste, the environment ministry said.

Under an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) system, the industry will pay higher fees if its packaging is harder to reuse or recycle.

EPR for packaging will raise between 800 million and one billion pounds ($1 billion-1.3 billion) a year for recycling and disposal, the ministry said.

Government will seek views on two options for how a deposit return scheme might work for cans and glass or plastic bottles, it added.

The first would target a large amount of drinks on the market, irrespective of container size. The second, known as the “on-the-go” model, would concern smaller container sizes – those most often sold for consumption outside the home.

“This could drive up the recycling of an estimated three billion plastic bottles which are currently incinerated, sent to landfill or left to pollute streets, countryside and the marine environment,” the ministry said.

Household waste recycling rates in England have risen from around 11 percent in 2000/1 to about 45 percent, but since 2013 rates have plateaued, according to ministry figures.

A MUST READ! Son wants to sue his parents because they gave birth to Him.

Raphael Samuel is reportedly planning on taking legal action against his parents in Mumbai, India

A 27-year-old man plans to sue his parents because they did not ask for his consent to bring him into the world, it is reported.

Raphael Samuel, from Mumbai, India, is reportedly part of a so-called ‘child-free’ advocate who believes children shouldn’t be made to suffer life.

He has been described as an ‘anti-natalist’ who thinks parents don’t have the right to give birth if a child has not agreed to being born.

And he is planning on taking legal action against his own parents for giving birth to him without his permission

Remarkably, he claims he has a “great relationship” with the pair.

“I want to tell all Indian kids that they don’t owe their parents anything,” he said.

“I love my parents, and we have a great relationship, but they had me for their joy and their pleasure.

“My life has been amazing, but I don’t see why I should put another life through the rigamarole of school and finding a career, especially when they didn’t ask to exist.”

Raphael said that people must know it is an option to not have children and to ask your parents for an explanation as to why they have birth to you.

In a video posted on YouTube, he talks about a ‘myth’ of respecting elders in India, but says what we should be respecting is people’s actions.

He asks: “Has that person treated you well? Is that person giving you freedom? Is that person encouraging your growth?”

“Your parents are two people at the age of 20-25 who just wanted a good night together and then they had you,” he adds.

He thinks parents owe children for bringing them joy, rather than the other way round.

“You must love them if you feel like loving them,” he says.

Raphael talks about respecting a person for who they are instead of merely because of their position.

Gunmen kill Ghanaian journalist who helped expose soccer graft

Gunmen in Ghana killed an investigative journalist who had helped uncover corruption in football, rights groups and his employer said on Thursday.

Ahmed Hussein-Suale was shot three times by men on a motorbike while driving home from work on Wednesday in the capital Accra, said his production company Tiger Eye PI.

“We … are terribly devastated by this dastardly act, but remain unshaken in our resolve to make … corruption a high-risk activity in this country,” it said in a statement.

Hussein-Suale was part of a team led by well-known undercover journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas. Their crew is famous for a documentary last year that accused 77 referees and Ghana’s then soccer chief Kwesi Nyantakyi of taking bribes.

The film prompted Ghana to dissolve its Football Association. Nyantakyi was suspended by world soccer’s governing body FIFA and stepped down shortly after, apologizing for what he called his “indiscretion”.

The killing came as a shock in Ghana, whose vibrant press enjoys relative freedom compared to many African nations.

“I expect the police to bring to book, as soon as possible, the perpetrators of this heinous crime,” said President Afuko-Addo on Twitter.

Ghana’s police and government officials were not immediately available for further comment.

Ghana is ranked 23rd out of 180 countries in a world press freedom index compiled by Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF), which is Africa’s highest ranking.

But “this shooting is a grave signal that journalists cannot work safely to keep the public informed or hold power to account in Ghana,” said the Committee to Protect Journalists, another press freedom group based in the United States.

The killing came after a campaign of abuse against the documentary team. After its airing, government legislator Kennedy Agyapong called Hussein-Suale “dangerous”, shared photos of him and told viewers he would pay for them to “beat him”.

He was not immediately available for comment on Thursday.

Anas, who covers his face in public for safety reasons, posted about the death on his Facebook and Twitter feed.

“Sad news, but we shall not be silenced,” he said.

“Rest in peace, Ahmed.”

reuters report

China issues ‘stern’ warning to the US after destroyer sails close to islands which it claims in disputed South China Sea as trade talks get underway

China has made ‘stern representations’ to the US after an American destroyer sailed through waters claimed by Beijing in the disputed South China Sea.

Chinese officials spoke to their US counterparts as they arrived in Beijing for talks aimed at deescalating an ongoing trade war.

China has long claimed territorial rights over the South China Sea, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, but the US argues it is international waters.

To that end, America carries out what it calls ‘freedom of navigation operations’ by sailing within 12 nautical miles of islands claimed by the Chinese – but which also have rival claims from other nations, including US allies.

The U.N. defines territorial waters as being within 12 nautical miles of a country’s coastline.

On Monday the USS McCampbell, a guided missile destroyer, sailed within 12 nautical miles of the Paracel Islands ‘to challenge excessive maritime claims’ by China, Pacific Fleet spokeswoman Rachel McMarr said.

China has controlled the islands since seizing control of them from Vietnamese forces in 1974, but Vietnam and Taiwan still lay claim to them.

Daily mail report

Michelle Obama takes ‘most admired woman’ title

Former US first lady Michelle Obama has ended Hillary Clinton’s 17-year run as America’s most admired woman.

Mrs Clinton, ex-presidential candidate, secretary of state and first lady, came third in the annual Gallup poll, with talk-show host Oprah Winfrey in second.

The Queen finished in the top 10 for the 50th time, Gallup said.

Former President Barack Obama was most admired man for the 11th year in a row. President Donald Trump finished second for the fourth consecutive year.

The poll has been carried out every year since 1946, with the exception of 1976.

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The 1,025 adults surveyed were asked to name the man and woman living anywhere in the world whom they admire the most.


Most Admired Woman

Michelle Obama – 15%

Oprah Winfrey – 5%

Hillary Clinton – 4%

Melania Trump – 4%

Queen Elizabeth II – 2%


Most Admired Man

Barack Obama – 19%

Donald Trump – 13%

George W Bush – 2%

Pope Francis – 2%

Bill Gates 1%


Figures: Gallup

Mrs Clinton, a former US Democratic senator and secretary of state who ran for the White House in 2016, has come top of the list 22 times including the past 17 years in a row.

Although Oprah Winfrey has never finished top she has been second on 14 occasions.

If Mr Obama comes top again next year he will tie with the record holder – former president Dwight Eisenhower who won the most admired man title 12 times, Gallup said.

Mr Trump is, so far, one of only two presidents not to have won the title while in office, the other being Gerald Ford.

Gallup said the survey, which was carried out between 3-12 December, had a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points.

BBC reports

Madagascar ex-leader Andry Rajoelina wins presidential run-off vote

A former leader of Madagascar, Andry Rajoelina, has won the country’s presidential run-off vote, electoral authorities say.

He won nearly 56% to defeat another former president, Marc Ravalomanana.

Both candidates had previously promised to accept the result.

However Mr Ravalomanana – who was ousted by Mr Rajoelina in a coup almost 10 years ago – has since made allegations of what he calls “massive fraud”.

Mr Ravalomanana did not attend the electoral commission’s results announcement, made amid high security in the capital Antananarivo.

The constitutional court now has nine days to decide whether to confirm the commission’s results.


More about Madagascar

During the first round of the election, Mr Rajoelina took 39% of the vote and Mr Ravalomanana 35%.

Both candidates had promised to boost the economy in a country where 75% of the population live in poverty.

Outgoing president Hery Rajaonarimampianina was eliminated in the first round, getting just 9% of the vote.

Mr Rajoelina and Mr Ravalomanana are both wealthy men, fuelling claims by civil society groups that they used their time in office to enrich themselves – which they deny.

The two men were barred from entering the 2013 presidential race because the international community feared it would reignite a political crisis.


A history of instability

At the end of 2001, self-made millionaire Mr Ravalomanana won a disputed poll, which led to a seven-month crisis, with the defeated candidate Didier Ratsiraka refusing to step down.

In 2009, after weeks of protests, media mogul Mr Rajoelina ousted Mr Ravalomanana in a power grab that was backed by the army.

This year, President Rajaonarimampianina faced protests over an electoral law that was said to favour him.

The issue sparked protests that quickly escalated to political paralysis which ended in a compromise after the military threatened a takeover.

A unity government took over to pave way for the elections.

News source : BBC news

Ma Jian: China’s ex-intelligence chief jailed for life

The BBC news reports that China’s ex-intelligence chief Ma Jian has been sentenced to life in prison for crimes including taking bribes and insider trading, a court says.

Ma had been put under investigation in 2015 and expelled from the Communist Party one year later.

He pleaded guilty and would not appeal, a court in the north-eastern Liaoning province said.

Many high-ranking officials have been toppled as part of President Xi Jinping’s vast anti-corruption drive.

Ma Jian was vice-minister in the powerful ministry of state security, which oversees foreign and counterintelligence operations.

His case is linked to that of one of China’s most-wanted fugitives, exiled property tycoon Guo Wengui, who has published a series of allegations of corruption among top members of the Communist Party.

Ma used his position to help Guo Wengui, who now lives in New York, further his business interests, the Dalian Intermediate People’s Court said in a statement.

He took more than 100m yuan (£11.4m; $14.5m) in bribes and profited by trading stocks based on insider information, it added.

“The defendant Ma Jian’s bribery amount was extremely large, and the national and people’s interests suffered a particularly heavy loss, which seriously infringed on the integrity of civil servants.”

Ma Jian and Guo Wengui could not be reached for comment.

More than one million officials have been punished in the anti-corruption drive started by Mr Xi when he took power in 2012, the government says.

The campaign has been described by some as a massive internal purge of opponents, on a scale not seen since the days of Mao Zedong, in whose Cultural Revolution many top officials were purged.

Congo Fire Destroys Thousands of Voting Machines for Presidential Election

Smoke burning out of the electoral commission warehouse in Kinshasa

A fire overnight at a warehouse in Congo’s capital destroyed thousands of voting machines and ballot boxes that were due to be used in the country’s long-delayed Dec. 23 presidential election, authorities said on Thursday.

Democratic Republic of Congo’s national electoral commission (CENI) said in a statement the blaze had destroyed 8,000 of 10,368 voting machines due to be used in the capital Kinshasa, but said the election would go ahead as scheduled.

CENI did not say who it believed to be responsible for the fire – which broke out about 2 a.m. (0100 GMT) in the Gombe riverside area of Kinshasa that is also home to President Joseph Kabila’s residence – but the ruling coalition and leading opposition candidates immediately traded accusations of blame.

Kabila’s Common Front for Congo (FCC), which is backing former interior minister Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary in the presidential race, accused opposition candidate Martin Fayulu of inciting violence earlier this month.

“Over the course of this electoral campaign, (Fayulu) called on his supporters and sympathizers to destroy electoral materials,” the FCC said in a statement.

Fayulu rejected the charge and suggested that state security forces might have been behind the blaze.

“The fire erupted in a building guarded by the Republican Guard,” Fayulu told Reuters. “You understand today that the Kabila people do not want to organize elections.”

Felix Tshisekedi, the other leading opposition candidate, also suggested on local radio that the government was responsible. “How is it that what should be the best protected place in the republic at this time can burn so easily?” he said.

Barnabe Kikaya Bin Karubi, a Kabila adviser, said police guarding the warehouse had been arrested and that forensic police had launched an investigation.

Kabila, in power since his father’s assassination in 2001, is due to step down because of constitutional term limits.

The vote has already been delayed by two years due to what authorities said were logistical challenges but the opposition said were obstacles put in place out of Kabila’s reluctance to relinquish power.

This month’s highly anticipated vote could mark Congo’s first peaceful transition of power since independence in 1960, after decades marked by authoritarian rule, assassinations and civil wars in which millions of people are thought to have died.

Damage from the blaze in Kinshasa


CENI president Corneille Nangaa told a news conference the destroyed equipment represented the materials for 19 of 24 voting districts in Kinshasa.

“Without minimizing the gravity of this damaging situation for the electoral process, CENI is working to pursue the process in conformity with its calendar,” Nangaa said.

Kikaya said voting machines from elsewhere in Congo would be recalled for use in Kinshasa, which is home to more than 15 percent of the population.

The introduction of the untested tablet-like voting machines for the election has been widely opposed by opposition candidates competing against Shadary.

They say the machines are more vulnerable to vote-rigging than paper and ink, and could be compromised by the unreliability of Congo’s power supply.

The delay in the elections over the past two years has coincided with a breakdown in security across much of the vast mineral-rich country. Militants fight over land and resources in the east near the borders with Uganda and Rwanda.

Campaigning over the past three weeks has been mostly peaceful, but police fired live rounds to disperse opposition supporters this week in the southeast, killing at least one person on Wednesday.

Another person was killed on Thursday by security forces in the central city of Mbuji-Mayi ahead of a campaign visit by Tshisekedi. Vincent Ngoy, a spokesman for the provincial governor, told Reuters a “stray bullet” was to blame.

source: USnews

7-year-old Guatemalan girl died in Border Patrol custody


A 7-year-old Guatemalan girl died last week, hours after she was taken into Border Patrol custody, the Department of Homeland Security said. According to CNN

The Washington Post first reported Thursday that the girl died of dehydration and septic shock last week in El Paso, Texas after she was taken into custody by Border Patrol after crossing illegally with her father into the United States.
“Our sincerest condolences go out to the family of the child,” the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees Border Patrol, said in a statement.
“Border Patrol agents took every possible step to save the child’s life under the most trying of circumstances. As fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, we empathize with the loss of any child.”
The girl and her father were part of a large group of migrants who approached Border Patrol agents in a remote area of the New Mexico desert last Thursday, the newspaper reported, citing US Customs and Border Protection records.
The child began having seizures hours after she was taken into custody and was airlifted to the Providence Children’s Hospital in El Paso, CBP told the Post.

Cardiac arrest

She went into cardiac arrest and was revived by medics but the girl couldn’t recover and died less than 24 hours later, DHS told CNN in a statement.
“Due to patient confidentiality, the hospital is unable to provide any patient information and is referring any inquiries regarding this patient to CBP,” said Monique Poessiger, a hospital spokeswoman.
A DHS spokesperson said an autopsy will be performed but the results could take several weeks.
The CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility has launched an investigation to “ensure all appropriate policies were followed.”
“Unfortunately, despite our best efforts and the best efforts of the medical team treating the child, we were unable to stop this tragedy from occurring. Once again, we are begging parents to not put themselves or their children at risk attempting to enter illegally. Please present yourselves at a port of entry and seek to enter legally and safely,”
The names of the girl and her father were not released. When CNN tried reaching out to local CBP authorities.
Congressman Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, said late Thursday in a statement he was “devastated by reports that a seven-year-old girl who was taken into Customs and Border Patrol custody died of dehydration and exhaustion. I’ll be asking for a full investigation by the Inspector General and Congress into the conditions and circumstances that led to her death.”
“We can do better as a nation,” said Castro, a member of the House Foreign Affairs and House Intelligence Committees.
“This is a humanitarian crisis and we have a moral obligation to ensure these vulnerable families can safely seek asylum, which is legal under immigration and international law at our borders,” Castro’s statement said.

‘Worst possible outcome’

Cynthia Pompa, advocacy manager for the ACLU Border Rights Center, in a statement called for “a rigorous investigation into how this tragedy happened and serious reforms to prevent future deaths.”
“This tragedy represents the worst possible outcome when people, including children, are held in inhumane conditions,” the statement said. “Lack of accountability, and a culture of cruelty within CBP have exacerbated policies that lead to migrant deaths. In 2017, migrant deaths increased even as the number of border crossings dramatically decreased.”
Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas on Thursday called for transparency in the investigation of the child’s death.
“I am deeply saddened by this girl’s death. There must be a complete investigation and the results shared with Congress and the public,” he tweeted.
The girl’s death comes months after a toddler died six weeks after being released from an Immigrations and Customs Enforcement facility in Dilley, Texas. The toddler’s mother and her attorneys alleged she contracted a respiratory infection after they arrived to the detention center and ICE provided substandard medical care for the toddler.
The toddler and her mother came from Guatemala and were detained after crossing into the US via the Rio Grande.