A greener vehicle petrol that could cut transport CO2 emissions by 750,000 tonnes a year is to be introduced across Britain in September 2021, the British government has announced.
The British Department for Transport (DfT) said the greener fuel E10 petrol could cut transport emissions equivalent to 350,000 fewer cars on the roads of Britain.
The DfT said the move follows consultations with drivers and industry over the introduction of E10 fuel, which is a mixture of petrol and ethanol made from materials including low-grade grains, sugars and waste wood.
British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said, "The small switch to E10 petrol will help drivers across the country reduce the environmental impact of every journey."
"A small number of older vehicles, including classic cars and some from the early 2000s, will continue to need E5 fuel (containing no more than 5 percent ethanol), which is why supplies of E5 petrol will be maintained," said the DfT.
Introduction of E10 will boost job opportunities in the northeast England as biofuel plant reopens -- securing up to 100 jobs, said the DfT.
Britain plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030 as part of its effort to deliver its legally binding commitment to bring greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.
The international community, including both developing and developed countries, already recognized the importance of joining hands in tackling climate change. In 2021, China and Britain will host the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15) and the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), respectively.
Prince Charles went to a London hospital on Saturday to visit his father, Prince Philip, who was admitted earlier his week for “observation and rest” after falling ill.
Charles arrived at the private King Edward VII’s Hospital by car in the afternoon and stayed for about half an hour. The hospital’s website says visits are only allowed in “exceptional circumstances” because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Philip, 99, was admitted to the hospital on Tuesday on the advice of his doctor in what Buckingham Palace described as “a precautionary measure.”
The husband of Queen Elizabeth II is expected to remain through the weekend and into next week.
Philip’s illness is not believed to be related to COVID-19. Both he and the queen, 94, received a first dose of a vaccine against the coronavirus in early January.
Philip, who retired from public duties in 2017, rarely appears in public. His most recent public event was a military ceremony at Buckingham Palace in July.
During England’s current coronavirus lockdown, Philip, also known as the Duke of Edinburgh, has been staying at Windsor Castle, west of London, with the queen, who has performed duties such as meetings with dignitaries remotely.
The royal household is planning celebrations to mark Philip’s 100th birthday on June 10, lockdown restrictions permitting.
Philip married the then-Princess Elizabeth in 1947 and is the longest-serving royal consort in British history. He and the queen have four children, eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
The youngest great-grandchild, son of Princess Eugenie and her husband Jack Brooksbank, was born Feb. 9 and has been named Augustus Philip Hawke Brooksbank, with one of his middle names a tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh.
Russia has confirmed the first case of human infection with the avian influenza A(H5N8) virus in the world, a Russian sanitary official announced on Saturday.
Scientists have isolated the genetic material of this bird flu virus in seven workers of a poultry farm in south Russia, where an outbreak among fowls was reported in December, said Anna Popova, head of the country's consumer rights and human well-being watchdog Rospotrebnadzor.
All the necessary measures were taken immediately to protect humans and animals, and the infection did not spread further, she told a briefing.
All of the seven people who were infected are now feeling well, with only mild clinical symptoms, Popova said.
Leaders of the Group of Seven economic powers promised Friday to immunize the world’s neediest people against the coronavirus by giving money, and precious vaccine doses, to a U.N.-backed vaccine distribution effort.
But the leaders, under pressure over their vaccination campaigns at home, were unwilling to say exactly how much vaccine they were willing to share with the developing world, or when.
Chancellor Angela Merkel said after the G-7 leaders held a virtual meeting that fair distribution of vaccines was “an elementary question of fairness.”
But she added, “No vaccination appointment in Germany is going to be endangered.”
After their first meeting of the year -- held remotely because of the pandemic -- the leaders said they would accelerate global vaccine development and deployment” and support “affordable and equitable access to vaccines” and treatments for COVID-19. They cited a collective $7.5 billion from the G-7 to U.N.-backed COVID=19 efforts.
“This is a global pandemic, and it’s no use one country being far ahead of another,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said as he opened the virtual summit with the leaders of the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan. The U.K. holds the G-7 presidency this year.
“We’ve got to move together,” Johnson said, speaking from the prime minister’s 10 Downing St. residence to the other leaders in their far-flung offices. “So, one of the things that I know that colleagues will be wanting to do is to ensure that we distribute vaccines at cost around the world.”
Wealthy nations have snapped up several billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines, while some countries in the developing world have little or none.
G-7 leaders are eager to avoid looking greedy — and don’t want to cede the terrain of vaccine diplomacy to less democratic but faster-moving countries such as China and Russia.
Johnson, whose country has reported almost 120,000 virus-related deaths, promised to give “the majority of any future surplus vaccines” to the U.N.-backed COVAX effort to vaccinate the world’s most vulnerable people.
But Foreign Office Minister James Cleverly said it was “difficult to say with any kind of certainty” when or how much Britain could donate.
French President Emmanuel Macron gave a firmer target, saying Europe and the U.S. should allocate up to 5% of their current COVID-19 vaccine supplies to the poorest countries quickly.
“This is worth an enormous amount. It is worth our credibility,” Macron said after the meeting,
“If we can do this, then the West will have a presence” in African countries, he said. If not, those countries will turn to Chinese and Russian vaccines and “the power of the West will...not be a reality.”
Macron’s office said France was ready to hand over 5% of its doses but would not give exact numbers or a date.
As the African continent awaits delivery of doses through COVAX, an African Union-created vaccines task force said Friday that it would be getting 300 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine in May. The AU previously secured 270 million doses from AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson for the continent of 1.3 billion people.
The governments of Canada and the European G-7 nations are under pressure to speed up their domestic vaccination campaigns after being outpaced by Britain and the U.S.
Asked later Friday about Macron’s proposal, Germany’s Merkel said that “we have not yet spoken about the percentage.”
“We haven’t yet spoken about the timing” either, the chancellor told reporters in Berlin. “That still has to be discussed.”
Development and aid groups welcomed the commitments but said rich Western countries needed to do more, and soon.
Gayle Smith, chief executive of anti-poverty group the ONE Campaign, said “world leaders are finally waking up to the scale of this crisis.”
“It beggars belief that in the midst of a global pandemic a handful of countries have accumulated over a billion vaccines more than they will need, while 130 countries have no vaccines at all,” she said.
The summit marked Biden’s his first major multilateral engagement since taking office. America’s allies hope that U.S. re-engagement with the world following the “America first” years under former President Donald Trump will mean a more coordinated response on issues such as the pandemic and climate change.
Biden signed the U.S. up to the COVAX initiative, which Trump refused to support, and has pledged to distribute $4 billion in U.S. funding to the program.
The G-7 meeting — and a speech by Biden at the Munich Security Conference on Friday — comes the day the United States officially rejoins the Paris climate agreement, the largest international effort to curb global warming. Trump pulled the U.S. out of the landmark accord in 2017.
The Biden administration also said it was ready to join talks with Iran and world powers to discuss a return to the 2015 deal to curb Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, which was repudiated by Trump.
In a joint statement reflecting the United States’ re-embrace of international institutions, the G-7 leaders vowed to “make 2021 a turning point for multilateralism and to shape a recovery that promotes the health and prosperity of our people and planet.”
They said post-pandemic economic recovery efforts must put the fight against climate change and dwindling biodiversity “at the center of our plans.”
A full G-7 summit is scheduled to take place in June at the Carbis Bay seaside resort in southwest England.
Britain on Thursday imposed sanctions on Myanmar military officers involved in the Feb. 1 coup that ousted the country's elected government, with Canada also slapping on similar sanctions.
The sanctions come as the number of people detained since the coup has reached nearly 500 and arrest warrants have been issued to several celebrities amid an intensifying campaign by authorities against daily protests on the streets of Myanmar cities.
The British sanctions target Defense Minister Gen. Mya Tun Oo, Home Affairs Minister Lt. Gen. Soe Htut and Deputy Home Affairs Minister Lt. Gen. Than Hlaing. The trio has had assets frozen and each is banned from traveling to Britain.
The British government will also prevent its aid from indirectly supporting Myanmar's military-led government and ensure that aid will only reach "the poorest and most vulnerable" in the Southeast Asian country, it said in a statement.
"Myanmar's military and police have committed serious human rights violations, including violating the right to life, the right to freedom of assembly, the right not to be subject to arbitrary arrest or detention, and the right to freedom of expression," the statement said.
Led by Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, the military has detained de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other political figures following the coup.
A total of 495 people have been detained since the coup, a Myanmar-based human rights group said Thursday. Of those, 460 remained in detention.
The military has issued arrest warrants on six celebrities, including film directors, for allegedly encouraging protests and strikes among civil servants.
The military has alleged massive voter fraud took place in last November's general election, in which Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party won another resounding victory.
It says a new election will be held after a state of emergency is lifted, with power transferred to the winning party.
The United States has already imposed sanctions on members of the Myanmar military and related companies.
Tom Andrews, the U.N. special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, has called for the U.N. Security Council to consider sanctions and other measures against Myanmar.