Sixty percent of Europe's surface waters are in poor environmental condition, according to the latest water quality report for the continent from the European Environment Agency. The nongovernmental organization Dam Removal Europe directly attributes this to the roughly 30,000 dams blocking the continent's rivers and waterways. The nongovernmental organization argues that the structures not only harm the environment, but that they are expensive to maintain, which is why its calling for their removal. According to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the World Fish Migration Foundation, fewer than 1 percent of the rivers in Europe now flow freely. For fish, this means battling obstacles every few meters. When aquatic fauna are unable to make their way into certain regions, that can hamper their reproduction. Several species of fish, including salmon and sturgeon, have already disappeared entirely from some countries, impacting the livelihood of fishermen. Read more: … [Read more...] about Could removing Europe’s dams revive its rivers?
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Former French President Jacques Chirac has died at the age of 86. Chirac, who had suffered a series of health problems in recent years, died this morning 'surrounded by his family', his son-in-law Frederic Salat-Baroux said today. In Paris a minute's silence was held in the National Assembly when the former President's death was announced this morning while mourners have brought flowers to his home in the capital. In a long career on the French right, Chirac was twice Prime Minister of France before serving as head of state from 1995 to 2007. Chirac's opposition to the Iraq War put him at loggerheads with George W. Bush and Tony Blair. As President he made a historic apology for France's role in the Holocaust but his term was also marked by riots and a stinging defeat over EU integration. He also had a reputation as a womaniser and philanderer who repeatedly cheated on his long-suffering wife Bernadette during their 63 years of … [Read more...] about Death of a playboy president: France mourns as former head of state Jacques Chirac – famed for his love of fine living and many rumoured affairs – passes away aged 86
IbirapueraSao Paulo, 1954 Sao Paulo is a harsh city, brooding and landlocked, which makes the 221 hectares of Ibirapuera Park all the more essential. It is the work of Roberto Burle Marx, the great landscape architect who combined cubist and surrealist inspiration with a deep knowledge of Brazilian botany. The park is lush, curvilinear in every direction, sometimes mysterious, sometimes breaking out into powerful colour. Burle Marx often played second fiddle to the architect Oscar Niemeyer, with whom he frequently collaborated. Here, the park is the star, even though it contains the huge and dazzling pavilion that Niemeyer designed for the city’s art biennial. Buttes-ChaumontParis, 1867 A vertiginous work of ravines, rocks, follies and bridges, 25 hectares of toy savage landscape formed out of old quarries by the engineer Adolphe Alphand under the direction of Baron Haussmann, the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont is the alter ego of the straight-lined order of the Baron’s famous … [Read more...] about The 10 best parks
President Macron is right. Any extension of the article 50 process should be for a reason. It should be to eliminate the blind Brexit Theresa May proposes. But first her deal must be defeated. The Brexiters will fall into line with her deal because they believe they can win the subsequent battle and impose a hard Brexit. The soft Brexit supporters and those who want a fresh referendum should unite to insist Britain knows the direction of its future relationship with Europe before we leave. We have learned a lot during this Brexit debacle. It has been a masterclass in political risk. We are now in a state of confusion, in which even those whose day job is to study the details find it hard to explain. The May deal is bad for one central reason. In the name of resolving the issue so we can move on, it does no such thing. The political declaration is deliberately vague. It is unclear if the framework for the future is hard Brexit, ie a Canada-style conventional free-trade agreement, or … [Read more...] about Europe can only give us more time if we have a clear Brexit plan
One of Ireland’s most respected obstetricians has resigned from the board of a maternity hospital over plans to transfer its ownership to a religious order that ran institutions where women were enslaved and children abused for decades. Secular campaigners have been leading the opposition to the government’s plan – which emerged earlier this month – to move the National maternity hospital in Dublin to the St Vincent’s Elm Park campus, which is owned by the Sisters of Charity. Dr Peter Boylan’s resignation is the latest flashpoint in a row that has reignited a debate about church-state relations and the influence of Catholic institutions in provision of public services. Proponents of the move have argued that the Catholic order – which still owes €3m (£2.5m) to a government compensation scheme for victims of institutional abuse – will not have a say in the medical decisions at the new site. Boylan told Irish radio: “I … [Read more...] about Senior doctor resigns over plan to hand Dublin hospital to order of nuns