NEWS DIGEST 23.08.2020: Aliens, racism and environmental inaction


Good morning! Today’s digest is via the HEM Businesses list on our Twitter account. The council that runs the city of Ahmedabad in India’s Gujarat state has announced it is winding down its COVID-19 hospitalisation programme as cases of the virus in the metro area continue to plummet. The Amdavad Municipal Corporation (AMC) has decided to begin the process of ‘de-notifying’ privately-run hospitals that were designated coronavirus treatment facilities at the height of the Indian pandemic, as the ratio of positive cases in Ahemdabad has fallen drastically from 35 per cent to just 2.5. Private hospitals will now be able to free up COVID-19 units and beds for use by general patients – AMC starts denotifying private hospitals following reduced number of Covid19 cases (DeshGujarat)

Britain’s Media Guardian, a supplement of The Guardian newspaper, examines the documentary ‘John Was Trying to Contact Aliens’, which premiered on the Netflix streaming service last Tuesday. The doc covers the 30-year-long quest of paranormal enthusiast John Shepherd, from the USA, to make contact with space aliens using homemade electronics set up in his grandmother’s living room, beaming music and pulsing signals to the heavens with a complicated system made up of random spare parts, such as a broken ski lift, he scavenged and bought – The man who tried to contact aliens from his grandma’s living room (The Guardian)

The British parliament marked today, International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition, also known as Emancipation Day, with a special blog post by Ugbana Oyet, Serjeant at Arms in the House of Commons (parliamentary ‘lower house’). Oyet talks about the history of slavery in Africa and race relations in the light of the tragedy of George Floyd’s killing in the USA, before finishing by saying that the day should be a time for people to “use our words and actions to fight the injustice of slavery and racism”EMANCIPATION DAY – WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ME? ( Blog)

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has criticised world governments for ‘wasting’ the two years since she began campaigning for more environmental action by not making the environment a key concern of their policies. She said “…over these last two years, the world has also emitted over 80bn tonnes of CO2. We have seen continuous natural disasters taking place across the globe. Many lives and livelihoods have been lost, and this is only the very beginning.”. She praised the global climate change protest movement, which she helped galvanise, but said that world leaders were speaking of an “existential crisis”, yet “when it comes to action, we are still in a state of denial” –  Another two years lost to climate inaction, says Greta Thunberg (The Guardian)

UK trade secretary Liz Truss has vowed to break the impasse with the United States over what she considered ‘unfair and unacceptable’ tariffs it had imposed on import of Scotch whiskey from the UK, PoliticsHome reported last week. The minister said she was “determined to settle the issue as soon as possible” as fears increased of an impact on jobs and finances in Scotland’s distilleries as the US is one of their largest markets. The high tariffs on Scotch as part of a wider trade war with the European Union after the latter imposed extra on American aircraft imports – Liz Truss vows to ‘break the impasse’ with US over ‘unacceptable and unfair’ trade tariffs on Scotch whisky (PoliticsHome)

American shoe retailer Famous Footwear has announced it will be partnering with the charity Ticket to Dream to help give foster children in the U.S. items such as school supplies, holiday gifts, clothes, and shoes. Gina Davis, a senior executive with the retailer, said that the partnership will ‘change lives and leave a lasting impression with every step’, and will bring benefits to both children in the care system as well as the store chain’s employees – Famous Footwear Helping Foster Children with Ticket to Dream Partnership (Loyalty360)

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