Week 13 of 2023 – YPF Around the Globe (English)

Timeframe: March 26 to April 1, 2022

Contributors: Affan Bin Saber, Anika Bushra, Farhan Uddin Ahmed, GM Sifat Iqbal, and Safin Mahmood

To read Bangla, click here.

1. Politics

Myanmar military dissolves Aung San Suu Kyi’s NLD party

Myanmar’s military-controlled election commission has announced that the party of deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi will be dissolved for failing to re-register under a new electoral law, according to state television.

The National League for Democracy (NLD) party was among 40 political parties that failed to meet the ruling military’s registration deadline for an election, Myawaddy TV said in an evening bulletin on Tuesday.

In January, the military gave political parties two months to re-register under a strict new electoral law ahead of fresh polls it has promised to hold but which its opponents say will be neither free nor fair.

The NLD has said it would not contest what it calls an illegitimate election.

Source: Al Jazeera

Nashville Shooting Rekindles Assault Weapons Ban Debate Along Partisan Lines

The recent Nashville school shooting has reignited the long-standing debate over a federal assault weapons ban, with both Democrats and Republicans taking familiar sides. However, this back-and-forth is unlikely to lead to any tangible action, a reality that has plagued gun reform efforts in the United States for over a decade. The number of mass shootings in 2023 has already surpassed the number of days this year.

The 1994 assault weapons ban, signed into law by President Clinton, prohibited the manufacture, sale, and possession of specific military-style semiautomatic firearms and outlawed most large-capacity magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition. The legislation was introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) after a series of mass shootings committed with assault weapons, including the 1989 Cleveland Elementary School shooting, in which a racially motivated gunman used a semiautomatic rifle to kill five children and injure 30 others, predominantly Southeast Asian.

However, after the law expired in 2004, multiple attempts to revive the ban failed to move beyond partisan lines in Congress. Nonetheless, a March poll conducted by the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School found that 63% of 18- to 29-year-olds in America support stricter gun laws, with 58% backing a ban on assault weapons.

Following the recent Nashville shooting, in which the suspect used two “assault-type guns,” President Biden reiterated the need for Congress to act. “It’s ripping our communities apart, ripping at the very soul of the nation,” Biden said in a speech at a women’s business summit. House Democrats are considering a procedural action to force a vote on gun reform, but GOP lawmakers have shown reluctance to reopen discussions.

Tennessee Rep. Tim Burchett (R) told ABC News, “We’re not going to fix it, criminals are going to be criminals.” However, data from the Gun Violence Archive shows that at least 57 people have died in 38 mass shootings in the U.S. in March alone. Other countries, such as the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand, have enacted stricter gun control laws, including restrictions on assault weapons, following mass shootings.

Source: Axios

2. Economics & Business

Despite Eid and Pahela Baishakh, the sale of yarn declines

Due to the high cost of living for consumers as well as the high costs of various essential commodities, the sale of yarn for creating textiles for the domestic market has decreased during the peak holiday seasons of Eid ul-Fitr and Pahela Baishakh. The decline in yarn demand was also brought on by an unusual rise in gas and electricity rates, which raised the cost of manufacturing.

Stocks of unsold yarn intended to be used to create textiles for the domestic market have been increasing at the factory level as a result of the low demand and poor sales.Also, many small and medium-sized business owners refrained from weaving the textiles in large quantities before to Eid-ul-Fitr because they believed they would not be able to turn a profit after paying increased gas and electricity rates.According to Khorshed Alam, chairman of Little Group, which primarily produces yarn for the domestic market to make three pieces for ladies in addition to lungis and saris, “as a result, the sale has been poor till now.” Stocks of unsold yarn intended to be used to create textiles for the domestic market have been increasing at the factory level as a result of the low demand and poor sales.
The local market has not seen many sales up to this point, but BTMA President Mohammad Ali Khokon predicted that this would change shortly. The sale of yarn was strong up until February of this year, but sales abruptly fell off dramatically at the start of March, he noted. According to him, the market for local clothing is worth $8.37 billion in total, with $6 billion invested in it.

Source: The Daily Star

U.S. and Japan strike deal on supply of minerals for EV batteries

The president of the United States agreed to boost cooperation with Japan on mineral supply chains while expanding access to tax breaks. The cooperation aims to challenge China’s hegemony in the electric vehicle battery sector.

The Japanese trade minister informed that the materials collected or processed in Japan used for EVs will be qualified for incentives under the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act under the deal. Furthermore, it disallows Japan and the U.S. from enacting bilateral export restrictions on minerals vital for EV batteries. Most importantly, the agreement aims to curb U.S-Japanese dependence on China for materials required for EVs by combatting ‘non-market policies and practices’ of other countries involved in this sector while jointly performing foreign evaluations on critical mineral supply chains.

The Biden administration plans to provide trustworthy partners access to the $7,500 per vehicle EV tax incentives in last year’s climate-focused IRA through mineral-focused trade deals.

Source: Japan Times

3. Science & Technology

High efficiency of safe, sustainable zinc batteries enabled by new electrolyte

Scientists working under the direction of a researcher from Oregon State University have created a novel electrolyte that boosts the zinc metal anode’s efficiency in zinc batteries to nearly 100%, paving the path for a lithium-ion battery replacement for large-scale energy storage. The study is a component of an ongoing global search for novel battery chemistries that can be used to store renewable solar and wind energy on the electrical grid for use when it is cloudy and the wind isn’t blowing.

The results were published in Nature Sustainability by Xiulei “David” Ji of the OSU Faculty of Science and a team that comprised HP Inc. and GROTTHUSS INC., an Oregon State spinout firm .According to Ji, “The discovery is a critical step toward increasing consumer access to zinc metal batteries.” “The development of further solar and wind farms requires these batteries. They also provide energy storage modules for populations at risk from natural catastrophes, as well as a safe and effective option for household energy storage. “A battery stores electrical energy in the form of chemical energy, which is then transformed into electrical energy through reactions. Batteries come in a wide variety of forms, but the majority of them function and are made up of the same fundamental elements. Each battery consists of two electrodes: the anode, from which electrons flow into an external circuit, and the cathode, which receives electrons from the external circuit. The electrolyte, a chemical medium that separates the electrodes and permits the flow of ions between them, also exists in every battery. Zinc-based batteries, which are energy dense and rely on a metal that is safe and abundant, are being considered as a potential substitute for commonly used lithium-ion batteries, whose manufacturing is dependent on dwindling supply of rare metals like cobalt and nickel. Nickel and cobalt are also hazardous metals that, if they leak out of landfills, may pollute ecosystems and water supplies.

Ji gives thanks to Alex Greaney from UC Riverside for establishing the passivation process as well as his OSU chemistry classmate Chong Fang for employing femtosecond Raman spectroscopy to determine the atomic structure of the electrolyte.Furthermore, Ji noted that the efficiency was assessed under challenging circumstances that did not cover up any harm brought on by the hydrogen evolution reaction. The innovation described here signals the impending commercialisation of large-scale grid storage using zinc metal batteries.

Source: Techxplore

4. Environment

World’s highest court can set out countries’ climate obligations after Vanuatu secures historic UN vote

Pacific Island nation of Vanuatu on Wednesday won a historic vote at the United Nations that calls on the world’s highest court to establish for the first time the obligations countries have to address the climate crisis — and the consequences if they don’t.

Vanuatu has long faced the disproportionate impacts of rising seas and intensifying storms. And in 2021, it launched its call for the UN International Court of Justice to provide an “advisory opinion” on the legal responsibility of governments to fight the climate crisis, arguing that climate change has become a human rights issue for Pacific Islanders.

Although the advisory opinion will be non-binding, it will carry significant weight and authority and could inform climate negotiations as well as future climate lawsuits around the world. It could also strengthen the position of climate-vulnerable countries in international negotiations.

Wednesday’s resolution for an advisory opinion passed by majority, backed by more than 130 countries. Two of the world’s largest climate polluters, the US and China, did not express support, but did not object meaning the measure passed by consensus.

Source: CNN

Disclaimer: The information provided here is obtained solely from the aforementioned third parties. Youth Policy Forum (YPF) is not responsible for any misinformation or misrepresentation.

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