News Update

Davos Agenda Summit: World leaders call for collaborative environment protection

Top world leaders called for international collaboration and urgent steps for environment protection as they discussed the way forward for the global economy at the WEF’s online Davos Agenda summit.

In a special address at the World Economic Forum event, which had to take place online due to the COVID-19 pandemic instead of a physical congregation, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, “Global links and global commitments mean we have to have an interest in how the rest of the world is faring.”

In his unique address at the week-long virtual event, French President Emmanuel Macron said tomorrow’s economy would have to think about innovation and humanity.

Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa, also addressed the summit and suggested that “the task is not to return the world to where it was when the pandemic struck, but to forge a new path and a new design.”

European Commission President von der Leyen, John Nkengasong, Director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission were some of the distinguished speakers present for the event.

The UK will now have a dedicated register of tradeswomen

The not-for-profit project National Register of Tradeswomen is formed by Hattie Hasan MBE, Founder of Stopcocks Women Plumbers. Hasan and her team have 300 verified tradeswomen in their squad with many hundreds still pending. Until now, they have plumbers, electricians, painters, decorators, carpenters, joiners, plasterers, car mechanics, general builders and roofers.

Women are scared to allow tradesmen into their home, not only out of fear of the men themselves but because of the reaction of their abusive partner if they talk to the tradesman or offer him a cup of tea,” said Founder Hattie Hasan. “Being able to access a register of certified, fully qualified tradeswomen is one way they can take back some control.”

A digger operator in Yorkshire, a tree surgeon in the Midlands and a stonemason in Scotland, are among the experts to feature on a national register of tradeswomen, set to launch on 15 March. They aim to ensure that vulnerable householders feel safer with tradeswomen.

Seesaws built at US-Mexico wall win design award

The pink seesaw or the Teeter Totter Wall,  has recently won the 2020 Beazley Design of the Year award, given by London’s Design Museum.

The creators spent a decade working on the project and said they wanted to discuss the border issue in “a very frank way but using humour”. Tim Marlow, the Chief Executive and Director of the Museum said: “The Teeter-Totter Wall encouraged new ways of human connection. It remains an inventive and poignant reminder of how human beings can transcend the forces that seek to divide us.”

The seesaws at the border were placed through sections of the wall and allowed people in both countries to play together. Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello installed these. They were only kept for 20 minutes,  but video footage of people using them went viral.

Starbucks executive Roz Brewer to be named as CEO at Walgreens

Rosalind Brewer is named as the new Chief Executive at Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. In a first, she will be the only Black woman leading a Fortune 500 company.

Starbucks released a statement on 26th January revealing that Ms Brewer, its chief operating officer and group president, was leaving both the company and board of Starbucks at the end of February for a new role at Walgreens. She is also resigning from the board of Inc. on February 16.

Ms Brewer will be replacing Stefano Pessina, who reported in July that he would step down as CEO once the drugstore company found a new leader. He is one of Walgreens’ most prominent individual investors and will stay on the company’s board and serve as executive chairman.

Renewable energy surpassed fossil fuels for European electricity in 2020

In a breakthrough, Europeans got most of their electricity from renewable sources rather than fossil fuels for the first time last year, according to an annual report from Ember and Agora Energiewende. The increase in renewable sources such as wind and solar power have led to a positive shift. Both these sources have nearly doubled since 2015 and last year accounted for one-fifth of electricity generation in EU countries, the report found. Coal power also declined by 20% last year and accounted for only 13% of the electricity generated in Europe.

“Rapid growth in wind and solar has forced coal into decline, but this is just the beginning,” said Dave Jones, Lead Author of the report, in a statement. Europe is relying on wind and solar to ensure several goals including; phasing out coal and gas generation by 2030, replacing the closing nuclear power plants, and meeting rising electricity demand from electric cars, heat pumps and electrolysers.

The milestone sees through the commitments from EU leaders to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 55% from 1990 levels by 2030.

Dollar General will now pay workers to encourage vaccinations against COVID-19

In a first in retail, Dollar General Corp gives workers extra pay to promote and encourage their employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19 at the earliest. Employees that work hourly will be given four hours worth of salary after getting the vaccine. Workers with a salary will receive “additional store labour hours to accommodate their time away from the store,” the discount retailer said in a statement. They will also assist its transportation and distribution teams.

The company said that it doesn’t want workers to have to choose between receiving the vaccine and other basic needs like child care and travel time. Stating that they are merely encouraging and not making it a prerequisite for employees to get vaccinated.

In an attempt to protect and safeguard their employee’s health from the rising number of cases worldwide, essential service companies are negotiating for priority access to the COVID-19 vaccines for all their employees.

Facebook develops A.I. to predict the likelihood of worsening Covid symptoms

Artificial intelligence researchers at Facebook claim they have developed a software that can predict the likelihood of a Covid patient deteriorating or needing oxygen based on their chest X-rays.

Facebook, which worked with academics at NYU Langone Health’s predictive analytics unit and radiology department on the research, says that the software could help doctors avoid sending at-risk patients home too early and assisting hospitals in planning for oxygen demand.

The team of researchers included five Facebook AI researchers and five researchers from the NYU School of Medicine. They further stated that they have developed three machine-learning “models” that are all slightly different.