The Guardian • Issue #2102


  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2102
Global briefs

Peru: According to the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the ‘Special Team of Prosecutors’ for cases involving victims during anti-government protests has launched 62 investigations into officials from the police and military. A report investigating 324 people was presented due to 50 deaths and 716 injuries which took place during protests between December 2022 and March 2023. The charges include alleged aggravated homicide, aggravated torture, serious injuries, minor injuries, and abuse of authority. The protests against the government of President Dina Boluarte demanded her resignation, the dissolution of Congress, and the calling of new elections. A figure aligned with many of Peru’s far-right elements, Boluarte has also been handed a constitutional complaint from the Prosecutor’s Office for allegations of bribery following the ‘RolexGate’ scandal. The scandal refers to the revelation that Boluarte owned thousands of dollars’ worth of luxury watches which she had not declared to tax authorities, along with other allegations of illicit enrichment.

UK: Almost 40 former RAF pilots and aircrew have launched a lawsuit against the Ministry of Defence after developing cancer from hazardous fumes produced by helicopters. According to testimony from personnel and their families, the UK government knew about the risks of the fumes since 1999, but refused to take action. At least three of the applicants have already died, while several more have received terminal diagnoses. The number of ex-personnel who have sued the Ministry of Defence is expected to double in the coming weeks. Several applicants have received out-of-court settlements. The issue centres around the Sea King, Westland Wessex, Puma, and CH-47 Chinook helicopters, of which the latter two remain in service. Pilots who travelled in these helicopters have developed lung cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, throat cancer, multiple myeloma, and testicular cancer. According to Jonathan Dingle, a barrister for the case, engine jet efflux gases containing, among other things, benzene carcinogens were being sucked into cockpits. Pilot crews had not been supplied masks, any filtration system, or even a warning about the dangers of the system.

China: China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment has announced the launch of a 7-year biodiversity conservation program. Among the various tasks of the comprehensive strategy will be conducting surveys of key areas, identifying species to prioritise, and investigating biological genetic resources. The plan comes as part of China’s broader ecological strategy, including its goal of establishing a near-complete national botanical garden system within the next decade. China has also announced the Kunming Biodiversity Fund after more than 2 years of preparation. The fund aims to support biodiversity protection in developing countries and has received support from the United Nations Environment Programme. The 7-year plan will begin this year with surveys of key conservation areas, plant growth, wild animal reproduction, ecosystem distribution, and the impacts of human activities on the Yellow River.

Cuba: The UN Development Programme has announced support for programs in Cuba to promote a circular economy. Among the targets of the project is environmentally sustainable management of urban solid waste, with new practices set to begin implementation in Havana. The program will be financially supported by the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation and will include co-operation between Cuba’s Science, Technology and Environment Ministry and local government. The project aims to minimise waste and promote sustainable use of resources through smarter product design, longer use life, recycling, and the regeneration of nature. The project also represents Cuban ingenuity in the face of resource limitations illegally imposed by the United States.

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