In the spotlight
Veganuary: farmers in Scotland say both sides ‘can co-exist side by side’
Veganuary – the campaign highlighting avoiding animal products in the first month of the year – has risen in popularity since it began in 2014. Campaigners claim thousands of people are swapping meat and dairy for plant-based diets. However, Scottish farming groups are trying to change the conversation.
Eating more vegetables did not affect prostate cancer progression
Men with early stage prostate cancer are often advised to increase their intake of vegetables to lower the risk for progression to more serious disease. But now a randomized trial has found that vegetables, whatever other health benefits they may confer, have no discernible effect on prostate cancer progression.
Animals farmed investigates: the huge global trade in live animals
Live animal export raises a number of key issues, but is often sidelined in debates about meat consumption. This series will focus on the global live animal export trade, which, despite welfare and disease concerns, has been growing at a pretty steady pace over the past 50 years.
Cultured meat could be on the EU market ‘as early as 2022’
In Europe, food consisting of, isolated from, or produced from cell culture or tissue culture derived from animals, plants, micro-organisms, fungi or algae falls within the scope of the EU Novel Foods Regulation. Cultured meat would, therefore, require a pre-market authorisation, as well as approval by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), although it is not yet clear what type of nutritional and toxicological evidence EFSA would require to approve cultured meat.
Agriculture & Environment
Humans risk living in an empty world, warns UN biodiversity chief
Humanity will have given up on planet Earth if world leaders cannot reach an agreement this year to stop the mass extinction of wildlife and destruction of life-supporting ecosystems, the United Nation’s new biodiversity chief has warned. the acting executive secretary of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, has implored governments to ensure 2020 is not just another “year of conferences” on the ongoing ecological destruction of the planet, urging countries to take definitive action on deforestation, pollution and the climate crisis.
China issues plan for digital agricultural, rural development
China on Monday unveiled a plan to push forward the digitalization of its agricultural development and rural governance, amid the country’s solid steps toward rural vitalization. The 2019-2025 development plan was jointly released by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs and the Office of the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission.
Japan looks to protect intellectual property in wagyu beef cattle
Japan’s farm ministry on Monday proposed legislation to protect the intellectual property in fertilized eggs and sperm taken from Japan’s famous wagyu beef cattle as concerns grow about overseas breeding efforts. The envisioned law allows for injunctions against unauthorized trading, production and export and will penalize business operators who obtain and sell materials without following required procedures as well as third parties who knowingly export such materials.
New Imperial centre to put London at heart of zero-carbon revolution
Imperial has outlined plans to transform the capital’s global response to climate change through a new collaboration with the Mayor of London. ‘I’m proud to support this initiative with Imperial College London that will nurture talent and drive growth in the cleantech sector.’ said Sadiq Khan Mayor of London.
Transport & Energy
Tesla moves a step closer to opening first European factory with German property deal
U.S. electric car pioneer Tesla (TSLA.O) has agreed to buy a property on the outskirts of Berlin, bringing it a step closer to opening its first European factory, local authorities said on Sunday.
Phantom of the operator: self-driving tech’s slowing timetable creates opening for this monitoring and guidance startup
The 2020s may yet be the decade of self-driving cars, but early predictions from automakers and tech developers including Tesla, Nissan, Nvidia and Ford that autonomous vehicles would be ready as soon as this year or next don’t seem to be panning out.
Hoping to shape the conversation at Davos
Members of the Global Shapers Community, a network of young people at the World Economic Forum, talk about what they’re hoping to accomplish at this year’s summit. Several members of the Global Shapers Community answered questions from The New York Times. Their responses have been edited and condensed.
Agriculture ministers meeting in Berlin welcomes the FAO-designed concept for an International Digital Council for Food and Agriculture
The Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) drew to a close today with the agriculture ministers of 71 nations, thanking FAO and the other International Organisations for developing a concept for the establishment of an International Digital Council for Food and Agriculture, as requested in the 2019 GFFA Final Communiqué.
Food & Health
New China virus: number of cases jumps as virus spreads to new cities
The number of people infected with a new virus in China tripled over the weekend, with the outbreak spreading from Wuhan to other major cities. There are now more than 200 cases, mostly in Wuhan, though the respiratory illness has also been detected in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen.
Study: neuron found in mice could have implications for effective diet drugs
Ever eaten something, gotten sick and then didn’t want to eat that food again because of how it made you feel? That’s because a signal from the gut to the brain produced that sickness, creating a taste aversion.
Science policy & Communication
Why think tanks matter in Japan
Most of Japan’s major think tanks are either government-affiliated research institutes or subsidiaries of megabanks, huge financial institutions, global trading firms and other big private corporations. Many executives in these think tanks have recently retired from such their “mother” organizations.
Follow news you can trust, not false forwards
Have you ever forwarded a message on social media that you found amazing, only to later discover it was false? If you can honestly answer that with a “no”, you are part of a minuscule minority. In an age in which ‘information’ is anything but scarce, a lot of it is also unfortunately false.
Right fire for right future: how cultural burning can protect Australia from catastrophic blazes
Indigenous fire practitioners have warned that Australia’s bush will regenerate as a “time bomb” prone to catastrophic blazes, and issued a plea to put to use traditional knowledge which is already working across the top end to reduce bushfires and greenhouse gas emissions.
MEPs urge binding targets to protect biodiversity
MEPs have called on the European Commission to move away from voluntary commitments on biodiversity protection and to propose an “ambitious and inclusive” strategy for 2030 that sets legally binding targets for the EU and its member states. The European Parliament on Thursday (16 January) voted to make the protection and restoration of species a top priority in the European Green Deal alongside climate change, since about 25 percent of European animal species are currently threatened with extinction.
Cat-loving grandad with dementia gets robotic kitty to comfort him in his final days
A cat-loving grandfather with dementia was given a cuddly robotic pet he thought was real to comfort him in his final days. The great great grandfather was hospitalised permanently in August last year after a decade living with dementia and he desperately missed having a pet.
My old pub has banned mobiles. I cherish the return of tranquillity.
It was during the pouring of my first pint that I began to realise that at the Commercial Hotel in Knaresborough they do things a little differently. Standing at the bar, I was briefly texting my whereabouts to a friend. “You’ll have to put that phone away,” the barman told me. “This is a digital detox pub.