1. Goodbye, gas guzzlers
General Motors plans to introduce 30 new electric vehicles by 2025 and to phase out internal combustion engines by 2035. CEO Mary Barra’s announcement, a day after US President Joe Biden signed an executive order on climate change, blindsided rivals in an industry that usually presents a united message on emissions. Behind Barra’s decision, says The New York Times, is Biden’s determination to fight climate change; Wall Street, which thinks Tesla is worth more than GM, Toyota, Ford and Volkswagen combined; and China, the biggest car market, which has set a 15-year deadline for most new cars to be electric.
2. Jabs for Palestine
Israel said it is sending 5,000 Covid-19 vaccines to Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza to immunise frontline health workers. Israel has one of the best vaccination programmes in the world but the Palestinians have yet to see one. UN experts say it’s Israel’s responsibility, but Israel demurs. The Jewish state (population 9.2-million) has recorded 640,000 Covid cases and 4,700 deaths. There have been 160,000 cases in the West Bank and Gaza (total population 4.5-million) and 1,833 deaths. Palestinian officials are in talks for vaccine supplies.
3. Brexit’s sting
A beekeeper trying to bring 15-million bees into the UK has been told they may be seized and incinerated because of post-Brexit laws. The Guardian reports that Patrick Murfet wants to import the baby Italian bees for his Kent business and to help farmers pollinate valuable crops. But since Britain left the single market, only queen bees can be imported into the UK. There’s confusion over whether bees can be brought in via Northern Ireland. Murfet said: "It’s a monumentally stupid situation … for a country supposed to be exporting round the world." The government is trying to find a solution.
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