About a week or so ago, I was startled after watching a video that appeared to be showing dolphins bobbing about in my local seas. I found myself having to play it back at least twice, and then checking its source before I was fully convinced that this was in my area, in spite of instantly recognising the distinctive landscape which paints the map of where I live. Flabbergasted, I “reposted” the video then wandered how many people where I am are still ignorant of knowing that OUR OWN water has now been home to these beautiful creatures. Considering that the nearest to me that I was aware of there being dolphins was in West Wales, well over 200 miles away. With this in mind, I wondered how many other crazy stories we have been missing, local to us and far afield. Yet even when I type in “News we have missed due to Corona-virus”, the first result is the number of confirmed cases of the virus! But the world still remains upon us with crazy, exquisite, mind-blowing things happening upon it, perhaps more so as humans have been forced to take a few steps back…
- The worlds longest animal- described as a “Spiral UFO”, has been discovered in the Australian seas
This is along with 30 new marine species which have been discovered by scientists resulting from the “Schmidt Ocean institution 2020 expeditions.” This is part of their “Deep sea” exploration, partly to attain more knowledge about the biodiversity in the deep seas, of the Western Australian Coast. The Website states that the coast is known already for its “extensive karst System” yet the deep sea environment adjacent to it remains unexplored”. However this specie, known as a siphonophore, is 46 metres long and is “made up of many small clones, that act together as one and spread out like a long string in the water”. Though this one, may well be the longest one ever found. Apparently these species also act like Jellyfish, and are capable of tantalizing tiny fish in the water.
Now if this isn’t enough to either cause you to be immensely fascinated, or to put you off ever entering the Australian seas, they also discovered an “Octopus squid”, a “Long tailed sea cucumber” and a colony of animals that looks like an upside-down jellyfish. Just a little bit further fetched than dolphins..
2. Colorado has become the 22nd State to repeal the death penalty
Democratic Gov, Jared Polis signed this into law making it a growing trend of enlimiting the Death penalty there. As a survey showed in 2019 showed, 60% of Americans had a preference for imprisonment as opposed to long term death for the most severe cases of crime.
Although this still doesn’t make this half and half, being further western may possibly lead to more Western states to follow their direction, yet this remains unclear…
3. No more UK Tampon Tax!
During the March 2020 budget, which focused heavily on schemes to (hopefully) help people and businesses stay afloat during this pandemic, Chancellor Rishi Sunak also proposed to scrap the Tampon Tax. This will be from January 2021 onwards, when the UK is currently proposed to leave the EU. With the EU deeming tampons as an “unessential good”, the UK currently spends the raised revenue on helping vulnerable women, and for aid. Thus some have voiced their concern about where the surplus will come from in the future, to help these people. While it is predicted to save women a mere £40 during their lifetime, many women in the UK do currently struggle to afford these items. Meanwhile will a few pence off per item really eliminate this problem? While my gut instinct tells me that these ESSENTIAL products should not be deemed a luxury as I’m sure this conjecture infuriates many of us as well as just myself; perhaps it is more important to ensure that we all have easy access to these essential items. Whether we can afford to the pay the price or not. And while women tend to have to pay more for needs in general; including the “pink” tax on razors, shampoo and generally pay more for childcare- this all adds up. While a slight tax cut may seem like a gesture, or a small step to tackle the immense inequalities- it isn’t exactly going to lift everyone’s living standards! Possibly a more compromising act would be to have a smaller amount of tax, on both women’s items and men’s! Ensuring there is tax revenue to tackle the needs of those most impoverished.
4. EU to issue new guidelines on sustainability of electronic items
On the subject of the EU, the EU have come up with a “circular economy plan!” As dry as this sounds, it basically means “to ensure that resources are kept in the economy for longer”. This is part of the “European green deal”, which aims for “climate neutrality by 2050”.
The “circular economy plan” includes policies, to make sure products (especially electronics), “have a longer shelf life”, improving treatment of waste and informing consumers on how repairable different items are.
However promising this may sound to environmentally concerned consumers, these regulations are highly likely to receive a backlash from some of the top ICT firms, such as Apple whilst environmentalists are likely to still feel dissatisfied. Dutch green MP, Bas Eickhout, stated in a press conference that “we lack clear targets for reducing resource consumption” saying the European commission “barely looks at pricing” to increase “the uptake of circular products” over those we currently use. Whilst this is definitely a leap in the right direction, I’m sure it will leave many feeling ambivalent, wondering how and when this will be achieved.
5. Putin supports a constitutional amendment which could have him re-elected in 2024- then have him stay in office until 2036!
Having been president of Russia for almost 9 years now, having previously been Prime Minister of there for around 5 years, Putin immediately supports a constitutional amendment that would potentially allow him to remain in power for another 16 years. This means he would be 83 years old by the end of his presidency, having suspended a constitutional law which limits presidents to two terms in power. MPs have also passed a set of amendments including to define marriage as a heterosexual union, as well as the authority which belongs to Putin would name Prime Ministers and cabinet members. This has lead to the Prime Minister of Russia actually stepping down. Alexei Navalny, the most prominent opposition leader tweeted that “The only goal for Putin and his regime is to stay in charge for life” adding that his desires are to “have the entire country as his personal asset and seizing its riches for itself and his friends”. There is also the possibility of protests amongst the Russian public due to this constitutional change. This may well leave many people, both citizens of Russia and those living elsewhere very concerned about what may happen if he ends up in power for a further two terms, and the extent to which he will take the country further into a dictatorship.
6. Ice sheets are melting too fast!
This time, evidence tells us that ice sheets are melting too fast in Greenland and the Antarctica- in-fact 6 times faster. We are all aware of the detrimental effects Climate change can have and we have all heard too much evidence proving the hypothesise of these processes having accelerated in recent years. Nevertheless these scientific findings will prove most shocking, even to those of us most environmentally aware, considering how the melting has massively accelerated in recent years… Two separate papers published in “Nature” give more information.
7. Rare Leatherback Sea turtles have been returning to beaches
Largely due to beaches being vastly deserted over these last couple of months, due to lockdown, these rare sea creatures have been found nesting in larger numbers seen for decades, in Beaches in Thailand and Florida. In Florida, 76 nests have been discovered over an almost 10 mile stretch of land over two weeks, by staff from the Loggerhead Marine centre calling this a “significant” increase from the previous year. These turtles can weigh up to a whopping 700 kg, making them the largest of all living turtles and the forth heaviest reptile: only behind three crocodilians. Capable of being able to adapt to cold waters, they have the widest global distribution of all reptile species. While their name is due to having shells which are almost flexible and feel “rubbery” to touch. Moreover these incredible sea creatures have been on Earth for Millions of years before humans.
8. Wales to have been experiencing several grass fires in recent weeks
These have included near Newport by the England/Wales boarder, Snowdonia in north Wales as well as further a field in places including Northern Ireland.
One to have happened very near homes in Rhondda in South Wales, had resulted in the need for “5 fire crews” and “specialist officers” to attend, while people were advised “to keep their windows and doors closed”. Witnesses of this catastrophe, have expressed their experiences of the sighting; describing it as “eerie” “as everything has turned black” while another stated how it “covered the whole of the mountain”. This particular fire has brought in many dramatic photographs…
9. People in the UK to be burning cell phone towers, due to 5g and… apparently the corona-virus
Since we all begun hearing about the “5G” to be launched, many showed antagonism amid concerns and claims concerning negative effects of 5G on health, security and environmental concerns. But the newest thing is a conspiracy theory that 5G could actually be linked to the Corona-virus outbreak. An early version of this theory claimed that 5G technology first begun in Wuhan in China where the outbreak begun- which is responsible for weakening immune systems. Furthermore some celebrities have brought attention to this, just growing the prominence of this strange theory. This could have well been the last straw for many who were already truculent towards this “technological advance”. By the UK government addressing this theory as “dangerous nonsense”, maybe it’s quit rightly so do so, having low tolerance levels for citizens engaging in destructive behaviour during such unprecedented times, however it’s maybe also simply choosing to dismiss people’s genuine anxieties regarding this…
However “MobileUK”, the industry group that unites the UK’s four main networks, published an open letter to customers reassuring them that the there’s no connection between 5G and the Corona-virus and pleading them to help them stop the vandalism. That was by asking that if they were to “witness abuse of” their “keyworkers”, or if they see “misinformation”- to report it…
10. A million Seed grass seeds have been planted along the coast of Wales, to tackle climate change
A stark contrast from the increased carbon emissions resulting from the recent catastrophic fires, this story actually brings in good news for Wales, and will contribute to reducing these emissions. Planted in a new meadow off Pembrokshire, these can absorb carbon dioxide faster than trees, and scientists hope that these can boost sea life. This new “Sea grass”, is found at the bottom of the sea, and was collected by Volunteers last summer, mainly by diving.
So here are the 10 stories. I have tried to keep them as off topic from Corona virus as possible, and being aware that one or two or these stories are related have slipped in, i thought they may have been missed by many amidst everything else. Plus I thought they were pretty interesting.
I tried to include a range of good news and bad news, as I feel that it is equally concerning how easy it is to act and hide the stories during such crazy times, whilst to remember that not everything in this world is bad. That amazing discoveries are being made, people are performing even more miraculous accts of kindness and that the world is still bringing such beautiful things to us.