Connect with us

Buzz

Greek government splits over Macedonia name change | News

Editor

Published

on

[ad_1]

Athens, Greece – Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has asked parliament for a vote of confidence after a senior minister resigned over the Macedonia name change agreement, potentially leaving the governing coalition without a workable majority in parliament.

Defence Minister Panos Kammenos and his Independent Greeks party quit Greece‘s ruling coalition on Sunday, over a deal struck with former Yugoslav Macedonia last June, which would rename that country North Macedonia.

Many Greeks believe that any name containing the term Macedonia would imply territorial claims on Greece’s northern province of the same name, incorporated into the Greek state in the Balkan Wars of 1912-13.

“We cannot, for the sake of membership in the government, sacrifice Macedonia for which blood has been spilled,” Kammenos said on Sunday.

With the confidence vote scheduled for Wednesday, the prime minister’s Syriza party is six votes short of the 151 votes needed for a majority in the 300-seat chamber.

“I have made it absolutely clear… that faced with what is obviously beneficial to the nation, what is in the national interest, I shall not turn back, I shall not show cowardice, I shall not count the political cost,” Tsipras said on Sunday.

Kammenos has been in open disagreement with Tsipras since talks with former Yugoslav Macedonia began a year ago. When the deal was announced last June, the opposition conservatives brought a vote of no-confidence. Kammenos took an ambivalent stance, supporting the government even as he opposed the deal.

That stance split the party. At least two Independent Greeks MPs now say they will defect and side with the government. Another two votes could come from Independent Greeks MPs who are cabinet members and have not yet resigned, suggesting they will remain loyal to the government rather than their party. Tsipras could hope to pick up another two votes from among nine independents.

Should the government survive Wednesday’s vote, it has hopes of passing the Macedonia deal by virtue of the same minority.

Kammenos’ departure was triggered by the ratification of the agreement in the former Yugoslav Macedonian parliament on Friday. Kammenos had said he didn’t believe either parliament would ratify it, and was apparently surprised.

Greeks who oppose the name deal applaud what Kammenos did, even if the action came late.

“The government should fall and the agreement should not pass. There is only one Macedonia and it is Greek,” said lawyer, Zoi Perili. “This agreement, in the distant future, could prove to be against our country. Sooner or later Skopje will seek an outlet to the sea. The nearest port is Thessaloniki.”

Others believe Kammenos’ departure came too late to prevent the deal.

“The agreement has been in process for a year. We knew Skopje would pass it… [Independent Greeks] waited until the last possible minute,” says Dimitris Bovaris. “When you make promises as a country, you have to come through on them. The Greek government undertook a commitment to ratify this agreement if it was ratified by the other side. So this is theatre. It won’t end well.”

The constitution allows for a minority government for as long as opposition parties will tolerate it. It also allows bills to pass on the basis of a majority of MPs present, rather than absolute majorities.

On the basis of these minimum standards, the Syriza government could technically continue to govern and attempt to bring the Macedonia name deal to the floor without securing 151 votes. However, the government has said that it does not consider this option politically viable.

[ad_2]

Source link

قالب وردپرس

Buzz

Canadian report reveals spike in food-related litter during pandemic

Editor

Published

on

By

TORONTO — Restaurants’ inability to offer their usual dine-in service during much of 2020 may explain why an unusually high amount of food-related litter was found across the country, a new report says.

The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup (GCSC) is an annual program in which volunteers are encouraged to clean up green spaces and other natural areas.

Last year, single-use food and beverage containers made up 26.6 per cent of waste collected through the program – nearly twice as high a percentage as in 2019, before the pandemic.

“We suspect the change may be one of the many implications of COVID-19, including more people ordering restaurant takeaway and consuming more individually packaged foods,” GCSC spokesperson Julia Wakeling said in a press release.

While food- and beverage-related litter accounted for a greater percentage of waste uncovered by GCSC than in the past, it wasn’t the single largest category of items picked up through the program last year.

That dubious honour goes to cigarette butts and other smoking-related paraphernalia, which comprised nearly 29 per cent of all items collected. There were more than 83,000 cigarette butts among the 42,000 kilograms of waste found and clean up last year.

So-called “tiny trash” – little pieces of plastic and foam – also accounted for a sizeable share of the waste, making up 26.8 per cent of the total haul.

In addition to smoking-related items and tiny trash, the main pieces of litter removed by GCSC volunteers last year included nearly 22,000 food wrappers, more than 17,500 pieces of paper, more than 13,000 bottle caps and more than 10,000 beverage cans.

Discarded face masks and other forms of personal protective equipment were also detected and cleaned up, although not tallied in their own category.  PPE waste has been repeatedly cited as a concern by environmental advocates during the pandemic; a robin in Chilliwack, B.C. is the earliest known example of an animal that died due to coronavirus-related litter.

The GCSC is an annual program organized by Ocean Wise and the World Wildlife Fund Canada. Its operations were disrupted by the pandemic as well; only 15,000 volunteers took part in the program last year, versus 85,000 in 2019, due to delays and public health restrictions making large group clean-ups impossible.

Still, there was GCSC participation from every province and the Northwest Territories in 2020. Nearly half of the volunteers who took part were based in B.C., where the program began in 1994.

Data from past GCSC reports was used as part of the research backing Canada’s ban on certain single-use plastic items, which is scheduled to take effect by the end of 2021.

Continue Reading

Buzz

Canada: Significant Changes To Canada’s Federal Environmental Protection Regime Proposed

Editor

Published

on

By

On April 13, 2021, the government of Canada proposed significant changes to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (“CEPA”)1 through the introduction of Bill C-28, Strengthening Environmental Protection for a Healthier Canada Act (the “Amendments“).2

With these Amendments, the government hopes to modernize Canada’s environmental regime which has not undergone significant change in over 20 years. CEPA is the primary statute through which the federal government regulates and protects the environment. CEPA and its accompanying regulations regulate among other things the treatment and disposal of chemicals and hazardous waste, vehicle and engine emissions, equipment and other sources of pollution, and the prevention and impact of environmental emergencies such as oil and chemical spills.

This bulletin provides an overview of the major changes to CEPA that have been proposed.

The Right to a Healthy Environment and Certain Soft Rights

Significantly, the Preamble under the Amendments will officially recognize Canadians’ right to a healthy environment. Section 2 of CEPA will require the government to protect that right when making decisions relating to the environment.3

The Amendments set out specific obligations the government must undertake to safeguard this right, including developing an implementation framework to set out how this right will be considered in the administration of CEPA as well as conducting research, studies and monitoring activities to support this goal.

In addition, the Preamble will recognize some additional considerations, including confirming the government’s commitment to implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) as well as recognizing the importance of considering vulnerable persons, reducing or replacing the use of animal testing, and the right of Canadians to have access to information on product labels.

Project Impact Assessment

With respect to risk assessments under CEPA, under the new provisions the federal government must consider impacts on vulnerable populations and possible cumulative effects of the proposed conduct. Vulnerable populations will include groups of people with elevated biological susceptibility, such as children, and groups with elevated exposure risks, such an indigenous communities. Consideration of cumulative effects of proposed conduct takes a holistic approach to substance management by considering the compounding risks of exposure to various chemicals during daily life rather than looking at substances on their own.

Chemicals Management

The federal government has identified the management of chemicals as a key target area under the new CEPA.

The Amendments thus propose to overhaul this regime in order to better protect Canadians from the evolving risks of harmful chemicals and pollution. To accomplish this, the government has proposed wide ranging changes relating to risk assessment, public accountability, management of toxic substances and new substances, which are discussed in turn below.

Risk Assessment

The government must consult, develop and publish a Plan of Chemicals Management Priorities which will set out an integrated plan for the risk assessment of various chemical substances currently being used in Canada. The Plan will establish priorities for the management of substances, taking into account a number of factors including among others the views of stakeholders and partners, public comments, the effects on vulnerable populations, the toxicity of the substance, the ability to disrupt biological reproduction or endocrine systems, and whether there are safer and more sustainable alternatives.4 The government will also be empowered to make geographically targeted regulations to address pollution “hot spots”.

Additionally, the Amendments will establish a mechanism through which any person can submit a request to the Minister to assess a substance to determine its toxicity and risk to the environment. The Minister must provide a response within 90 days, indicating whether they intend to assess the substances and their reasons for their decision.

Public Accountability Framework

The Amendments intend to increase transparency and public participation in risk assessments by the government for the categorization and management of potentially toxic chemicals. Currently, CEPA contains a public accountability framework under section 77 and provides time limits for the government to assess substances under sections 91 and 92. However, these provisions only apply to certain risk assessments being conducted by the government such as substances placed on the Domestic Substances List that in the opinion of the Minister present the greatest potential for exposure to Canadians or are persistent or bio-accumulative. The proposed Amendments plan to amend section 77 to expand these transparency and accountability measures to all substance risk assessments for toxic or capable of being toxic substances, with the exception of assessments for new substances.5

Continue Reading

Buzz

Scientists, Homalco First Nation team up to probe massive B.C. landslide — and its impact on salmon

Editor

Published

on

By

When the side of a B.C. mountain gave way on Nov. 28, 2020, crashing into a glacier fed lake and creating a 100-metre high tsunami, no one was around to see the destruction or hear the sound of rocks and trees tearing through the valley below. 

But scientists say the force, which was picked up by seismographs across North America, was the equivalent of a 4.9-magnitude earthquake. 

Fortunately, no one was in the slide’s path, but experts believe that a melting glacier likely contributed by making the slope less stable — and climate change means it is a growing risk. 

As more of Canada’s glaciers recede, scientists say there is great interest in finding out what exactly triggered this slide, and how the rocks and sediment have impacted the salmon population of nearby Elliot Creek and Southgate River. 

The mountain, which is located about 220 km north west of Vancouver, is on the traditional territory of the Homalco First Nation. 

It’s an area of remote wilderness, only accessible by air or by boating 80 km up Bute Inlet.

When the slide hit last year, more than 18 million cubic meters of rock barrelled down the slope hitting the lake within 30 seconds. 

“That is the equivalent of all of the cars in Canada coming down the hill at once,” said Marten Geertsema, a geomorphologist who works with the B.C. government studying landslides. 

He is one of several scientists, along with members from the Homalco First Nation, who have been studying the landslide and its cascading environmental impact on the watershed and salmon habitat. 

Continue Reading

Chat

Trending