Timeframe: April 9 to April 15, 2022
Contributors: Affan Bin Saber, Anika Bushra, Farhan Uddin Ahmed, GM Sifat Iqbal, and Safin Mahmood
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North Korea has launched a new type of ICBM
North Korea on Thursday conducted its first intercontinental ballistic missile launch in a month, possibly testing a new type of more mobile, harder-to-detect weapons system, its neighbours said, in an extension of the North’s provocative run of missile tests.
The launch prompted Japan to issue an evacuation order on a northern island, and though it was later retracted, it shows the vigilance of North Korea’s neighbours over its evolving missile threats.
Source: TRT World
Norway expels 15 Russian diplomats alleging espionage
Norway has expelled 15 Russian officials accused of spying under diplomatic cover, the latest in a series of diplomatic expulsions following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The Norwegian Foreign Minister has accused Moscow of misusing its embassy for covert intelligence activities, stressing the country’s commitment to maintaining normal diplomatic relations.
Norwegian authorities had monitored the individuals “over time” before declaring them persona non grata, and Russia is expected to respond with an “appropriate answer”. The move comes amid deteriorating security situations in Europe, with Norway citing Russia as the “greatest intelligence threat” to the country.
2. Economics & Business
OPEC’s surprise production cut complicates the Fed’s fight against inflation
Saudi Arabia and other OPEC+ oil producers announced a cut in oil production. Economists state that this will negatively impact the Federal Reserve to stabilize the economy and worsen inflation in the United States.
Due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, oil prices surged to an all-time high, increasing global inflation. However, as energy prices dropped, it helped cool the US inflation. However, inflation will subsequently increase with the probable surge in oil prices.
The FED deems the OPEC decision to be geopolitical; the surge in price will impact the production and transportation of different items. The price surge can impact the core components that the FED prioritizes while setting policies.
Higher energy costs result in falling demand, affecting consumer spending and consumer sentiment. The US has recently observed a cool-off in consumer spending, which was robust at the beginning of the year.
Saudi Arabia has promised to help Pakistan fulfill the IMF agreement
Saudi Arabia has conveyed to International Monetary Fund its commitment to provide financing to Pakistan, a critical support to secure IMF funding, Pakistani junior finance minister Aisha Ghaus Pasha has said.
Saudi Arabia’s $2 billion pledged in external financing support to Pakistan is one of the final conditions for an IMF deal that Islamabad needs to avert a default.
LPG import facilitated for enterprises
A recent move that permits industries not affiliated with a project or operating under industry-based customs stations to carry the fuel eases the import of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). In response to rising fuel demand in the nation, the National Board of Revenue (NBR) loosened its restrictions on the import of LPG.
According to the Customs Act of 1969, only projects or companies committed to a corporation may import LPG through customs stations. The NBR has clarified that importers may discharge LPG provided they have an agreement with the businesses associated with the Land Customs Station (LCS), which was signed by Omar Mobin, Second Secretary for Customs, International Trade, and Agreement. To import the liquid petroleum gas, importers must first receive permission from the Customs, Excise and VAT Commissionerate. But, importers that have received NBR permission would not need to get commissinerate approval. LPG service providers claim that in order to meet a rising demand, the Bangladeshi government granted licenses to 53 additional businesses in 2019. In Bangladesh’s LPG market, there are now 30 companies operating, and more than 15 more are planning to join the fray. The top three bottling businesses in the nation currently control half of the 3.2 billion dollar LPG market in Bangladesh. Total LPG demand in Bangladesh is 1.2 million tons, with the top 10 businesses accounting for more than 70% of this market share.
A source from Apprentice Consulting said that Bashundhara LP Gas is now dominating the market with a 24 percent stake. Omera LPG, on the other hand, controls 19 percent of the market, followed by Jamuna at 10 percent, Totalgaz at 6 percent, Laugfs Gas at 4 percent, BM Energy at 3 percent, and Beximco, Navana, Petromax, and JMI LPG at 2 percent apiece.
Source: The Financial Express
3. Science & Technology
Studies show that air pollution would increase if nuclear powers plants are shut down
The United States currently gets close to 20% of its electricity from nuclear energy. With 92 reactors dispersed around the nation, the United States boasts the biggest nuclear fleet in the world. Many of these power plants have been in operation for longer than 50 years and are nearing the end of their anticipated lifespans. In order to continue providing nuclear energy, which many believe to be a low-carbon substitute for climate-warming coal, oil, and natural gas, policymakers are debating whether to retire the elderly reactors or strengthen their structural integrity.
Air quality is now a criterion to take into account when considering the future of nuclear power, according to MIT experts. Nuclear energy is not just a source with minimal carbon emissions, but it also produces comparatively little air pollution. How would the pattern of air pollution change in the absence of nuclear power, and who would be affected? In a recent research that was published in Nature Energy, the MIT team tackled these issues. They provide a scenario in which all nuclear power plants in the nation have been shut down and analyze how other energy sources, such as coal, natural gas, and renewable energy, might satisfy the consequent energy requirements over the course of a full year. According to their calculations, air pollution would undoubtedly rise as coal, gas, and oil sources ramp up to make up for the loss of nuclear power. This may not be shocking in and of itself, but the team has quantified the hypothesis and predicted that the rise in air pollution will have substantial health consequences, leading to an additional 5,200 pollution-related fatalities in a single year.Air pollution would be reduced, but not completely, if more renewable energy sources become accessible to power the electricity system, as they are anticipated to do by the year 2030. The researchers discovered that there is still a minor rise in air pollution in some regions of the country even under this more optimistic renewable scenario, leading to a total of 260 pollution-related fatalities.
Noelle Selin, a professor at MIT’s Center for Data, Systems, and Society (IDSS) and EAPS, adds, “Air quality has not been a focus of that conversation in the argument over keeping nuclear power facilities running. We discovered that because the air pollution from fossil fuel facilities is so harmful, any increase in it, like a nuclear shutdown, will have a significant impact on certain people more than others. Principal Research Scientist Sebastian Eastham, Guillaume Chossière, SM ’17, Ph.D. ’20, and Alan Jenn of the University of California at Davis are the other MIT-affiliated co-authors of the paper.
Older Swiss women take government to court over climate
A group of older Swiss women aged 64-90 are bringing their government to the European court; they claim the government is violating their human rights as they fail to tackle the climate crisis. Additionally, the government is not upholding the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement to ensure global temperatures are below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
The ruling from the first climate lawsuit from the tribunal will just be applicable in Switzerland, but if the tribunal is successful, many will follow in their footsteps.
The claims include that health and quality of life are compromised by the harsh heat waves resulting from the climate crisis.
Additionally, they asked their government to launch climate protection policies in law and ensure planet heating pollution is reduced by employing additional courses of action.
Climate lawsuits are becoming a popular tool for climate change activists. The outcomes of the case will affect climate litigation across Europe.
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.