In the spotlight
Death rates have dropped for seriously ill Covid patients
The coronavirus struck the United States earlier this year with devastating force. In April, it killed more than 10,000 people in New York City. By early May, nearly 50,000 nursing home residents and their caregivers across the country had died. But as the virus continued its rampage over the summer and fall, infecting nearly 8.5 million Americans, survival rates, even of seriously ill patients, appeared to be improving.
Cheaper to prevent pandemics than ‘cure’ them
Preventing pandemics could be more than 100 times cheaper than tackling their deadly effects, a report says. It calls on people to stop encroaching on wild land and eat less meat – to cut contact with animals carrying viruses or bacteria that could infect humans.
Study finds over 80 percent of COVID-19 patients vitamin D deficient
More than 80 percent of 200 patients hospitalized in Spain with COVID-19 had low levels of vitamin D, a new study found.
Record 200 days with no local cases of coronavirus makes Taiwan envy of world
While many countries around the world are hitting new highs in coronavirus cases, Taiwan has achieved a different kind of record — 200 days without a locally transmitted case. Taiwan holds the world’s best virus record by far and reached the new landmark on Thursday, even as the pathogen explodes anew in Europe and the U.S.
Agriculture & Environment
In Mediterranean 229,000 tons of plastic waste a year
A reported 229,000 tons of plastic end up each year in the Mediterranean, the equivalent of 500 containers a day, according to a research carried out by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Banks lent £1.9tn linked to ecosystem and wildlife destruction in 2019
The world’s largest investment banks provided more than $2.6tn (£1.9tn) of financing linked to the destruction of ecosystems and wildlife last year, according to a new report.
Amazon fires: Year-on-year numbers doubled in October
The number of fires blazing in Brazil’s Amazon region in October 2020 was more than double those in the same month last year, satellite data suggests. The Institute of Space Research said there were 17,326 fires in the Amazon, compared to 7,855 in October 2019.
Transport & Energy
What is fracking, and where do Trump and Biden stand on it?
With just days until Election Day , President Donald Trump is reportedly considering issuing an executive order that would signal his support for fracking. Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s campaign has said he wouldn’t ban fracking outright but does favor a ban on new fracking on federal land.
EU project Re-Med launched
Turning waste from construction and demolition to build and maintain roads in Mediterranean countries is the objective of the Re-Med project which involves Italy, Tunisia, France and Lebanon.
Why can’t I vote on my phone?
My phone is the digital master key that unlocks my life. Like millions of people, I use it to buy groceries, send cash to family and friends, read sensitive work documents, save passwords, and update social media. So why can’t I use it to vote?
US hospital systems facing ‘imminent’ threat of cyber attacks, FBI warns
Federal agencies have warned that the US healthcare system is facing an “increased and imminent” threat of cybercrime, and that cybercriminals are unleashing a wave of extortion attempts designed to lock up hospital information systems, which could hurt patient care just as nationwide cases of Covid-19 are spiking.
Graphene based computer modeled after the brain to handle big data
The world we live in today is engulfed with data due to the proliferation and usage of various digital technologies that have become essential to our everyday life. As such, it is no surprise that data plays a pivotal role in our society and is used in virtually in all fields, from helping make simple decisions to pushing forward innovation.
Covid-related cybercrime drives attacks on UK to record number
Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has dealt with 194 coronavirus-related incidents involving hostile states and criminal gangs, which led to the overall number of serious hacker attacks reaching an all time record of 723 over the past year.
Food & Health
Making drugs for Parkinson’s from food waste: scientists discover an environmentally friendly way to turn waste into products
Researchers at National University of Singapore have figured out a way to use food waste to derive a drug to treat Parkinson’s disease and amino acid essential for collagen production.
Science policy & Communication
A new normal: How Covid is shaping people’s perception of EU, its leaders
COVID-19 is an unprecedented doom loop between a severe health crisis and grave economic repercussions. Government interventions to handle the outbreak and its aftermath first stopped public life in its tracks and then entirely reshaped it.
How Europe is taking the lead in online identity
Identity has long been a cornerstone of today’s transformative use cases such as blockchain, IoT and e-commerce. It is essential to establishing trust models among devices and end users. However, although these innovative use cases are rapidly gaining maturity worldwide, across many industries, not all regions share the same level of commitment to identity and trust.
Launch of Level(s) – a sustainable buildings framework for all
The EU aims to lead by example on the issues of sustainability, circularity, and zero carbon emissions. Further fuelled by the health and economic effects of the COVID-19 crisis, 2020 is proving to be “the” year for Europe’s green transition.
Colossal reef discovered off Australia’s coast is taller than Empire State Building
Scientists have discovered a new detached coral reef at the northern tip of the Great Barrier Reef – and it stands an impressive 500 metres (1,640 feet) high, taller than the Empire State Building, the Sydney Tower and the Petronas Towers in Malaysia.
Can parrots that speak different dialects understand each other?
Puerto Rico’s endangered parrots may be facing a new challenge to their long-term survival: dialects. Conservation efforts have apparently allowed these iconic parrots to develop different dialects from their wild relatives.