More than every second person in the world now has a cellphone, and manufacturers are rolling out bigger, better, slicker models all the time. Many, however, have a bloody history. Though made in large part of plastic, glass, ceramics, gold and copper, they also contain critical resources. The gallium used for LEDs and the camera flash, the tantalum in capacitors and indium that powers the display were all pulled from the ground — at a price for nature and people. "Mining raw materials is always problematic, both with regard to human rights and ecology", said Melanie Müller, raw materials expert of the German think tank SWP, "Their production process is pretty toxic." The gallium and indium in many phones comes from China or South Korea, the tantalum from the Democratic Republic of Congo or Rwanda. All in, such materials comprise less than ten grams of a phone's weight. But these grams finance an international mining industry that causes radioactive earth dumps, poisoned … [Read more...] about Toxic and radioactive: The damage from mining rare elements
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Nocturnal curfews will be applied if the incidence of coronavirus cases of 100 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants is crossed. This is what the draft of Germany's new Infection Protection Act says. So far, curfews in Germany have only been used selectively. Other countries are using them more extensively: France and the Netherlands, for example, but also Turkey, Morocco, and Tunisia. In Argentina, nighttime restrictions have been in effect again since Friday for more than half of the citizens. The argument in favor of nighttime curfews is: Infections often happen in private. According to the theory, such contacts and thus the spread of the virus can be reduced by curfews . A majority of Germans would support them if they were only allowed to temporarily leave their homes at night in exceptional cases to combat the pandemic. At the beginning of April, 56% were in favor of the measure in a survey by the polling institute YouGov, 37% were against it. The results are reported … [Read more...] about Fact check: How effective are nighttime curfews?
More than a million people have not yet taken up the offer of a COVID vaccine in England, analysis shows. It comes after the government said it had reached its goal of offering a coronavirus vaccine to everyone most vulnerable to the disease ahead of the 15 April target . NHS England says 19 out of 20 of those most at risk have had a COVID jab. With roughly 27 million in the top nine priority groups, this means 1 in 20 people - around 1.35 million - have not had a dose, according to the PA news agency. The Department of Health and Social Care says around 95% of people aged 50 and over have received a first dose in England, while 92% of the clinically vulnerable have also been jabbed. Advertisement However, experts believe the outstanding 1.3 million is more likely due to a lack of access than "outright refuseniks". Health officials have stressed that the offer of a vaccination is "evergreen" and does not expire. More from … [Read more...] about COVID-19: More than 1.3 million people in England haven’t yet taken up coronavirus vaccine offer, analysis suggests
A study assessing the benefits of mixing and matching coronavirus vaccines has been extended to include the Moderna and Novavax jabs. The Com-Cov study, led by the University of Oxford, has been investigating the immune responses of volunteers given a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine followed by the Pfizer jab - and vice versa. The additional study will seek to recruit adults aged over 50 who have received their first dose in the past eight to 12 weeks. The volunteers, who will have received either an AstraZeneca or a Pfizer dose, will be randomly allocated to receive either the same vaccine for their second jab, or a dose of the Moderna or Novavax vaccines. Six new "arms" of the trial will each recruit 175 candidates, adding a further 1050 volunteers into programme. Advertisement If someone is known to have had COVID-19 they are not eligible for enrolment. Researchers will be looking for adverse reactions and the immune system responses to … [Read more...] about COVID-19: Mix and match vaccine study extended to include Moderna and Novavax jabs
The parliamentary group of Germany's ruling conservative bloc has called for an end to cooperation with groups suspected of supporting political Islamism , the newspaper Die Welt reported on Tuesday. The bloc, made up of Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) and their Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), proposed cutting all subsidies, support and cooperation with Islamist groups being monitored by Germany's domestic intelligence agency: the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. Christoph de Vries, the parliamentary group's speaker on religious communities, confirmed the proposal on Twitter. "The CDU/CSU will take up a clear position in combating political Islamism ," de Vries wrote. "No tolerance for intolerance. That is the clear message of the paper. There can be no religious discount on our core values." Which organizations would be affected? The paper produced by the parliamentary group was seen by Die Welt . The newspaper … [Read more...] about Germany: Conservatives seek to isolate Islamist groups