‘The Sacrifice Zone’: Myanmar bears cost of green energy
The birds no longer sing. The cows die. And if the people in this northern Myanmar forest complain, they too face the threat of death from militias. This forest is the source of key metallic elements known as rare earths, often called the vitamins of the modern world. Rare earths turn up in everything from hard drives to elevators, and are vital to the fast-growing field of green energy. But an AP investigation found their cost is environmental destruction, the theft of land and the funneling of money to brutal militias. The AP tied rare earths from Myanmar to the supply chains of 78 companies. Nearly all who responded said they took environmental protection and human rights seriously.
Learning from failures: How Biden scored win on climate plan
WASHINGTON (AP) — Many pieces of President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda have been jettisoned over the last year, but his proposals on climate change remain largely intact. The legislation passed by the Senate over the weekend is expected to receive a vote in the House on Friday. The White House says its success reflects an approach to climate policy that’s rooted more in incentives than regulations. The measure includes nearly $400 billion for clean energy initiatives, the country’s largest-ever investment in fighting global warming. Biden tells The Associated Press the bill changes secures America’s future more than almost anything Washington has done in decades.
Estonia, Finland want Europe to end Russian tourist visas
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Estonia and Finland want European countries to stop issuing tourist visas to Russians amid the war in Ukraine. Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said Tuesday that “visiting Europe is a privilege, not a human right.” Her Finnish counterpart, Sanna Marin, says Russians traveling in Europe is “not right.” Estonia and Finland both border Russia and are members of the European Union, which banned air travel from Russia after it invaded Ukraine. But Russians can still travel by land to both countries and then take flights elsewhere in Europe. Finnish broadcaster YLE reports that Russian companies have started offering car trips to airports in Finland, which have direct connections to several Europe destinations.
Billions pour into bioplastics as markets begin ramping up
CLEVELAND (AP) — Billions of dollars in investments are pouring into companies changing the recipe for plastic. Plastics are typically made with natural gas or crude oil as its basic carbon building block. Making these plastics out of hydrocarbons in petrochemical plants release millions of tons of carbon dioxide annually. Bioplastics plants using renewable materials such as corn, sugar and cooking oil have been built around the world to produce a more environmentally safe plastic. Some bioplastic can dissolve in water or soil under correct conditions while other types can be biodegraded in large industrial composters. Market share for bioplastics is expected to nearly triple by 2028.
Europe shares mixed after Asian decline on tech downturn
TOKYO (AP) — European benchmarks are mixed after gains in most Asian markets despite weakness in technology shares, including Japan’s SoftBank. The technology company’s shares dropped more than 7% on Tuesday, a day after it reported hefty losses caused by the market downturn. Such worries come amid concerns about inflation and what central banks might do to bring it under control. U.S. futures edged higher while oil prices fell. Some risk concerns remain in Asia after the recent visit of U.S. House Speak Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan. Fighting in the Ukraine and attacks on Europe’s biggest nuclear plant are other factors hanging over markets.
American Airlines CFO on fixing balance sheet after pandemic
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Derek Kerr might have the hardest job in the airline business. He’s the chief financial officer of American Airlines, and that means it’s his job to fix a balance sheet that has been battered by borrowing money so American could survive the pandemic. American has the most debt among all U.S. airlines, and its credit rating is several notches below investment grade. Kerr talked to The Associated Press recently as American is trying to navigate through a bumpy recovery in which revenue is rising, but so are costs like fuel and labor.
Ukrainian resistance grows in Russian-occupied areas
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Guerrilla forces loyal to Kyiv are killing pro-Moscow officials in a growing challenge to Russia’s grip on areas it occupies in southeastern Ukraine. They are blowing up bridges and trains and identifying key targets for the Ukrainian military. The spreading resistance has eroded Kremlin control of those areas and threatened its plans to hold referendums in various cities as a move toward annexation by Russia. One coordinator of the guerrilla movement in the southern region of Kherson told The Associated Press that its goal is “to make life unbearable for the Russian occupiers and use any means to derail their plans.” The guerrilla activity has increased as Ukrainian forces step up their attacks and reclaim areas west of the Dnieper River.
Biden to sign $280B CHIPS act in bid to boost US over China
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is preparing to sign a $280 billion bipartisan bill to boost domestic high-tech manufacturing. The measure is part of his administration’s push to boost U.S. competitiveness over China. The Rose Garden ceremony Tuesday morning comes as Biden looks to highlight a new law that will incentivize investments in the American semiconductor industry. The aim is to ease U.S. reliance on overseas supply chains for critical, cutting-edge goods. The White House says Micron is announcing a $40 billion plan to boost domestic manufacturing of memory chips. Qualcomm and GlobalFoundries are announcing a $4.2 billion expansion of an upstate New York chip plant.
Pandemic fuels sports biking boom in cycling nation China
BEIJING (AP) — Cycling is growing in popularity in China as a sport, not just a way to get to work. A coronavirus outbreak that shut down indoor sports facilities in Beijing earlier this year encouraged people to try outdoor sports including cycling. Organized rides in the Chinese capital take cyclists to outlying suburbs or city landmarks. Bicycles once outnumbered cars on China’s city streets. Now cycling is increasingly seen as a sport by a newly affluent urban middle class. The sport’s rising popularity has boosted sales of bicycles and signals growing public awareness of environmental protection and low-carbon lifestyles. At least 20 million people are participating in the sport nationwide.
Homegrown foundation leader builds bridges, trust in Flint
FLINT, Mich. (AP) — As CEO of the Community Foundation of Greater Flint, Isaiah Oliver is well known throughout the city. Now as families recover from the water crisis and the pandemic, the foundation and Oliver are building on their reserve of trust and their proximity to the community. As the foundation’s first Flint native and first Black leader since it was founded in 1988, Oliver works to build bridges between marginalized people and wealthy donors. Even more than the erosion of the city’s water pipes, “the erosion of trust was the biggest issue that came out of the water crisis,” Oliver said in an interview in his office. Rebuilding trust in institutions is a continuing process.