European shares lower…potential environmental disaster
BANGKOK (AP) – European shares are lower after a mixed session in Asia. In early trading, Britain’s FTSE 100 dropped 0.7%, while the CAC 40 in Paris slipped 0.1%. Germany’s DAX also fell 0.1%. In Asian markets, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index closed 0.4% higher, while the Shanghai Composite index lost 0.4%. South Korea’s Kospi jumped 0.7%, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost 1.1%. On Wall Street, futures for the S&P 500 and for the Dow industrials are 0.1% lower.
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) – Authorities in Sri Lanka are trying to head off a potential environmental disaster as a fire-damaged container ship that had been carrying chemicals was sinking off of the country’s main port. The Singapore-flagged ship started sinking Wednesday, a day after authorities extinguished fire that raged on the vessel for 12 days. Efforts to tow the ship into deeper waters failed after the ship’s stern became submerged and rested on the seabed. The ship’s operators have said the fire destroyed most of the ship’s cargo, which included 25 tons of nitric acid and other chemicals. But there are fears that remaining chemicals as well as hundreds of tons of oil from the vessel’s fuel tanks could leak into the sea if it sinks.
BERLIN (AP) – The European Union’s top court has ruled that Germany “systematically and persistently” exceeded limits on nitrogen dioxide, a harmful gas produced by diesel engines, in many regions between 2010 and 2016. The European Court of Justice has faulted Germany for exceeding annual limits on NO2 in 26 out of 89 areas assessed – including the Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, Duesseldorf, Munich and Stuttgart areas. It found that hourly limits also were exceeded in Stuttgart and the Rhine-Main area, which includes Frankfurt. The court says Germany failed to ensure that air quality plans provided for measures to keep the periods in which the NO2 limits were exceeded as short as possible.
PIRAEUS, Greece (AP) – Ferry services to the Greek islands have been disrupted after a seamen’s union went ahead with a strike that a court had declared illegal. Union members blockaded the entrance to ferries in the port of Piraeus today, preventing anyone from boarding. Hundreds of passengers with their suitcases gathered at the port, saying the ferry companies had not informed them of the strike. Heated arguments broke out between passengers and striking workers. The seamen’s union had declared a 24-hour strike to protest a draft labor bill being debated in parliament, which workers say will erode their rights. The strikers eventually allowed passengers to board the ferries, which set sail with several hours’ delay.
AMSTERDAM (AP) – Electric cars, meet your competition: fully autonomous electric boats. These boats are being developed to ply the canals of Amsterdam and other waterways around the world. The Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are collaborating on the Roboat project, which looks for new ways of navigating boats without a human hand at the wheel. The 4-meter (13-foot) long Roboats have two orange propellers that are powered by an electric battery. They can go about 4 mph for up to 24 hours. They are steered remotely by a computer, which processes data from cameras and sensors that scan the areas around the vessel. Developers are still perfecting the technology.