Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. Picture: REUTERS/RICARDO MORAES
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. Picture: REUTERS/RICARDO MORAES

1. Thorough hand-washing

Swiss voters rejected a proposal that would have made businesses liable for human rights or environmental violations they cause around the world. Though 50.7% backed the Responsible Business Initiative (RBI), it failed to win support in a majority of cantons as required. The government and many business leaders opposed the plan. A proposal to ban public financing of arms manufacturers was also rejected. If passed, the RBI would have had a major impact on Swiss businesses such as Nestlé, Syngenta, Glencore and Novartis that source products all over the world. A third of all commodities consumed worldwide are traded by Swiss-based companies.

2. Wallaby vs panda

A fake image of an Australian soldier holding a knife to the neck of an Afghan child posted by China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Lijian Zhao has outraged Canberra and worsened already-tense bilateral relations. Last month the Australian Defence Force said it had credible information that 25 Australian soldiers were involved in the murders of 39 Afghan civilians and prisoners between 2009 and 2013. China joined in condemnation of the murders, but it has refused to apologise for the fabricated photo. It also slapped higher tariffs on Australian imports. Behind it all seems to be a call, led by Australia, for an international probe into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic.

3. Jair doesn’t care

Deforestation of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil has surged to its highest level since 2008. Brazil’s space agency says 11,088km² of rainforest was destroyed between August 2019 and July 2020 — 9.5% more than the previous year. The Amazon jungle, the world’s largest rainforest, is a vital carbon store that slows down global warming. The destruction has worsened since Jair Bolsonaro became Brazil’s president in January 2019.

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments?
Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.