Newsletter

Newsletter of December 10, 2021

Today's newsletter covers Russia's waste management system, Nicaragua and China, roaming fees in the European Union, and more.

Waste management of plastic bottles
In 2022, 100% of packaging was supposed to be recycled in Russia. But the reform has been postponed | © Nick Fewings

Russia postpones packaging recycling and waste management reform

In January 2022, Russia was supposed to implement a reform where manufacturers should recycle all product packaging, pay a tax for waste management or have their products removed from stores. But it is postponed as several ministers find it unfeasible. Waste management is deficient in Russia and companies barely participate in the effort. The corporate environmental tax only brings 3 billion rubles a year (US $40m) to the country's waste management system. In the meantime, Russians pay about 180 billion rubles a year ($2.45bn) for it.


Nicaragua breaks ties with Taiwan and goes with China

Nicaragua terminated diplomatic relations with Taiwan. And on December 10, China and Nicaragua signed a join communiqué on the resumption of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Nicaragua is the latest country to change its position since Kiribati and the Solomon Islands in 2019. Only 14 countries now officially recognize Taiwan as a country.


Free mobile roaming in the EU to be extended until 2032

The current agreement to use a mobile phone at no extra cost when traveling within the European Union expires in 2022. Data needs to be charged at a rather homogeneous price across operators. Before an agreement was signed in 2017, roaming charges were capped at €50 per Gigabyte ($57). Wholesale roaming charges will likely be capped at €2/Gb ($2.2) in 2022.


Somewhere else in the world...

  • In 2021, 293 journalists are in prison across the world according to the Committee to protect journalists. A record for the sixth consecutive year. More than a quarter of them are detained in China.
  • In India, farmers decided to call off their protests and will return home from December 11 as the three farm laws have been repealed. They’ll hold a meeting in January reviewing the progress on the promises made by Narendra Modi.
  • In Saudi Arabia, camels have been disqualified from a beauty pageant because they had received Botox injections and cosmetics enhancements.
  • Evergrande, the giant Chinese real estate company crippled by debt, is officially considered by the credit rating agency Fitch Ratings to have defaulted.
  • In Japan, a team of scientists developed face masks that glow if it contains traces of the coronavirus. A filter has antibodies from ostrich eggs which glows when exposed to ultraviolet light. An experiment will be extended to 150 participants, hoping to seek approval from the government to sell masks next year. The president of Kyoto University says it could become an easy testing kit that anyone can use as they “can mass-produce antibodies from ostriches at a low cost”.

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