By 10:30 a.m. 7 percent of Dutch voters cast their vote in the Provincial States election, exactly the same turnout as this time in the 2015 election, according to a prognosis by research institute Ipsos. During the previous Provincial States election, the turnout eventually amounted to nearly 48 percent, NOS reports. There are nearly 10 thousand polling stations spread throughout the country, most of which opened smoothly and on time at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning. Over 13 million Dutch can vote for their waterboards and the members of the Provincial States on Wednesday. Multiple Dutch politicians already cast their vote, including Prime Minister Mark Rutte at a primary school in The Hague. He had some trouble getting his ballot into the box, according to NOS. "Whether this is the first of 20th time you make use of your right to vote, it remains a special moment. Also for me", Rutte said on Twitter. GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver voted at a book store … [Read more...] about Photos: Politicians cast their vote in Provincial States election; national turnout currently 7%
From bento boxes to individually wrapped bananas, plastic reigns supreme in Japan. But amid global concern about single-use waste, new legislation could help end the country's love affair with plastic. The push comes ahead of the G20 summit, which Japan will host in Osaka in June. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government wants to use the meeting to push for an agreement on reducing marine plastic waste. But the country's own record on single-use plastic is hardly exemplary: Japan generates more plastic packaging waste per capita than any other country except the United States, according to the UN. "We believe there is room to reduce that volume and we are now considering ways to do that," said Kentaro Doi, director of plastic waste strategy at Japan's environment ministry. In 2018, Japan's government unveiled a proposal to start tackling the issue, with the goal of reducing the country's 9.4 million tonnes of plastic waste a year by 25 percent by 2030. A key part of the proposal is to … [Read more...] about Not so fantastic: Can Japan end its love affair with plastic?
Loiseau told the French newspaper: “He wakes me up every morning meowing to death because he wants to be let out, then when I open the door he just stays there indecisively, and glowers at me when I put him out.” Her maybe not-so-tongue-in-cheek anecdote comes ahead of a European Union summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday at which UK prime minister Theresa May is expected to ask for an extension of Article 50, beyond the 29 March current exit date. Her decision to ask the lower house of Parliament to vote on her Brexit plan for a third time (it was rejected twice before) on Wednesday was ruled out by Speaker of the House John Bercow. He announced that MPs cannot vote again in this parliamentary session unless the deal is "fundamentally different”. The ruling means May faces the prospect of requesting Brussels for a postponement of several months. But the UK’s self-inflicted quandary is meeting with little sympathy from the likes of Loiseau. She is known for … [Read more...] about France’s catty European Affairs minister names her ‘in-out’ feline Brexit
In honour of Minna Canth Day, Finland's annual effort to promote gender equality, Yle has compiled data from the state-run number cruncher Statistics Finland and other authorities on gender issues in Finland.1. There are more women than men in the Finnish populationAt the end of 2017, there were 5,513,000 people living in Finland, 2,794,000 of which were women and 2,719,000 of which were men. This means that women presently have a majority of about 80,000. Statistics Finland forecasts that by the year 2065, the situation will be reversed and there will be more men than women in the country.2. Women live longerIn the early 1990s, life expectancy at birth in Finland was just over 40 years for both genders. These days, Finnish residents tend to live twice as long. According to figures from 2017, women's current life expectancy at birth is 84.2 years, while for men it is 78.7.3. Women represent the majority of higher education studentsNowadays, 57.4 percent of students completing higher … [Read more...] about Finland celebrates equality: Data reveals current gender realities
French official Nathalie Loiseau shared with Le Journal du Dimanche that she called her pet cat 'Brexit.' Every morning the furry animal meows loudly to be let out, according to his owner, only to refuse to go outside when the door is opened for him. Ms. Loiseau's pet behaviour may to some resonate with the actions of the UK, which in 2016 voted to leave the European Union but has ever since failed to deliver a clear, unanimous will and plan on the nature of such exit. CC0All Things Brexit: What to Expect From Downing Street, Westminster & EU This WeekNathalie Loiseau, known to be tough on Brexit discussions, has previously said that a no-deal divorce would be better than a bad deal. She is one of the top candidates for Emmanuel Macron's party in the upcoming European Parliament elections. Brexit negotiations between London and Brussels, having stretched … [Read more...] about French European Affairs Minister Named Her Cat ‘Brexit’ for This Reason