The world was not on track to meet the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) before COVID-19 struck, and now the challenge has been magnified many times over, according to a new flagship UN report that indicates countries must take ‘critical’ steps on the road out of the pandemic, during the next 18 months.
In addition to the almost four million deaths due to the coronavirus, between 119-124 million people were pushed back into poverty and chronic hunger, and the equivalent of 255 million full-time jobs were lost, the report indicates.
“The pandemic has halted, or reversed, years, or even decades of development progress. Global extreme poverty rose for the first time since 1998”, said UN Under-Secretary-General Liu Zhenmin, during the launch.
Moreover, disruptions to essential health services have threatened years of progress in improving maternal and child health, increasing immunization coverage, and reducing communicable and non-communicable diseases. Around 90% of countries are still reporting one or more significant disruptions to essential health services.
Small-scale farmers in Tanzania are receiving support to improve food security in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report also indicates that the pandemic has exposed and intensified inequalities within and between countries.
As of 17 June, around 68 vaccine shots were administered for every 100 people in Europe and Northern America – compared with fewer than two, in sub-Saharan Africa.
Millions of children risk never returning to school; while rising numbers have been forced into child marriage and child labour. With trillions of tourist dollars lost during the pandemic shutdowns, the collapse of international tourism has disproportionally impacted struggling Small Island Developing States.
“The poorest and most vulnerable continue to be at greater risk of becoming infected by the virus and have borne the brunt of the economic fallout”, highlighted Mr. Zhenmin.
While an economic recovery is under way, led by China and the United States, in many other countries, economic growth is not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels before 2022 or 2023.
UNEP GRID Arendal/Peter Prokosch
African elephants are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), as the animals are poached for their ivory tusks.
Climate and biodiversity challenges
The report also confirms what UN agencies such as the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) have been sounding the alarm over: the economic slowdown in 2020 did little to slow the climate crisis, which continues largely unabated.
Concentrations of major greenhouse gases continued to increase, while the global average temperature was about 1.2°C above pre-industrial levels, dangerously close to the 1.5°C threshold, established in the Paris Agreement.
The world fell short as well on 2020 targets to halt biodiversity loss and a reversal of the 10 million hectares of forest which was lost each year, between 2015-2020.
Equality and finance The COVID-19 pandemic has also adversely affected progress towards gender equality. Violence against women and girls has intensified, child marriage is expected to increase, and women have suffered a disproportionate share of job losses and increased care responsibilities at home.
Meanwhile, global flows of foreign direct investment fell by 40% in 2020 compared to 2019. The document shows the pandemic has brought immense financial challenges, especially for developing countries – with a significant rise in debt distress.
Brighter future still possible
“This report paints a worrying picture regarding the state of the SDGs. Yet, it also highlights stories of resilience, adaptability and innovation during the crisis, which indicate a brighter future is possible”, underscored Mr. Zhenmin.
He added that there are signs that countries are taking steps under their recovery plans, that could improve SDG action, and that the next 18 months are critical.
According to the report, to get the SDGs back on track, governments, cities, businesses and industries have to use the recovery to adopt low-carbon, resilient and inclusive development pathways that will reduce carbon emissions, conserve natural resources, create better jobs, advance gender equality and tackle growing inequities
“We are at a critical juncture in human history. The decisions and actions we take today will have momentous consequences for future generations. Lessons learned from the pandemic will help us rise to current and future challenges”, Mr. Zhenmin urged.
The Under-Secretary General explained that the upcoming months will determine whether the COVID-19 crisis serves as a ‘much-needed wake-up call’.
“The global community, first and foremost, needs to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. This is a critical step that can truly spur a decade of action”.
High Level Political Forum
The 2030 Agenda, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.
At its heart are the 17 Goals, to improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.
The launch of the 2021 SDG report coincides with the start of the High-Level Forum on Sustainable Development on Tuesday. The event is the core UN platform for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda.
The meeting will continue through July 15th, under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). This includes the three-day ministerial meeting that started today.
The ministers will discuss ways to ensure a sustainable and resilient recovery from COVID-19 that puts the world on track to realize the 2030 Agenda. 43 countries will also present their voluntary national reviews of their implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
The meeting will put the spotlight on nine Global Goals this year: ending poverty, zero hunger, improving health, decent work, reducing inequalities, responsible consumption and production; climate action, sustaining peace, and building partnerships.
A New York Times report said ESPN is fixing damage after Nichols made controversial suggestions on diversity and hiring involving fellow reporter Maria Taylor.
A recording of a phone conversation which happened last year, said to have been leaked, is reportedly creating a tense situation inside sports network ESPN after one of their top reporters made some controversial suggestions on the issue of diversity aimed at a fellow reporter at the network.
A Sunday New York Times report detailed how one of the ESPN’s star sports broadcasters, Rachel Nichols, who is white, was heard on a recording suggesting that her colleague at the network, reporter Maria Taylor — a Black woman — was given a hosting assignment to help the network with its diversity efforts.
The assignment was ESPN’s broadcast of the NBA Finals last year, where executives at the network are said to have selected Taylor over Nichols, making Taylor their primary host for the broadcast.
In a phone conversation that included Adam Mendelsohn, a longtime advisor to LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers, Nichols is heard voicing her frustrations with not getting the assignment, appearing to suggest that the decision to pick one of the two women was made on the basis of race, reports on the recording detailed.
The report from the Times said the call was recorded on a camera that Nichols had in her hotel room at the time. The set up allowed her to appear on-camera from the NBA bubble. The audio recording of her comments were saved to a video server at ESPN’s headquarters. It is not known exactly how many ESPN employees had access, and were able to listen to it, USA Today reported.
Rachel Nichols: “If you need to give her more things to do because you are feeling pressure about your crappy longtime record on diversity — which, by the way, I know personally from the female side of it — like, go for it. Just find it somewhere else.” pic.twitter.com/aB5MifujuX
Nichols is heard saying on the recording, “I wish Maria Taylor all the success in the world — she covers football, she covers basketball.” In the audio take reported on by the New York Times, Nichols then goes on to say, “If you need to give her more things to do because you are feeling pressure about your crappy longtime record on diversity — which, by the way, I know personally from the female side of it — like, go for it. Just find it somewhere else. You are not going to find it from me or taking my thing away.”
The New York Times made contact with employees at ESPN, and at least one expressed that the network’s choice to apparently not discipline Nichols for making the comments had been an “active source of pain,” according to at least one account reported on.
A spokesperson for ESPN named Josh Krulewitz told the Times, “A diverse group of executives thoroughly and fairly considered all the facts related to the incident and then addressed the situation appropriately. We’re proud of the coverage we continue to produce, and our focus will remain on Maria, Rachel and the rest of the talented team collectively serving N.B.A. fans.”
Nichols herself responded to the Times report suggesting that the conversation was simply her venting in private to her friend saying she was just “unloading to a friend about ESPN’s process, not about Maria.” Nichols said, “my own intentions in that conversation, and the opinion of those in charge at ESPN, are not the sum of what matters here — if Maria felt the conversation was upsetting, then it was, and I was the cause of that for her.”
Taylor’s contract at ESPN will reportedly expire in a matter of weeks, which would fall during NBA Finals according to reports. The New York Times said there haven’t been many steps taken to form a new deal with Taylor. ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro reportedly highlighted Taylor as one of the network’s potential next stars.
Krulewitz of ESPN said, “We, of course, are not going to comment on the specifics of any commentator contract.” Pitaro was not made available for comment on the story.
It is rumored that Taylor could possibly leave the network at the end of her current contract, but that could not be confirmed at the time of this report.
This is a developing story and will continue to be updated.
Reading Council had looked into charging drivers for parking their vehicles at work to reduce the number of cars on the roads. The proposals would have also introduced a Clean Air Zone charging drivers of highly-polluting commercial vehicles for using the roads.
The scheme was bookmarked for 2026/27 but new analysis means the plans have been ditched.
A major sticking point came after analysis found almost 100 percent of vehicles would be below the threshold at the time of launch.
Under the original plans, Reading Council aimed to reduce concerns of ‘rat running’ in the town centre.
Statistics suggested one in three vehicles which used the roads in the town centre had no origin, destination or purpose in Reading.
Brexit: David Frost on chances of financial services agreement
And Leigh Evans, Vice Chairman of The CityUnited Project said there is no threat to London’s “unrivalled” status as Europe’s financial capital – nor to its position as one of the world’s most important financial centres. The report, published by Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen (Helaba), predicts headcount at the city’s financial institutions by the end of 2023 will be roughly 62,200, a fall of 3,300 compared with last autumn, or five percent, as a result of cost-cutting measures.
Mr Evans told: “For the CityUnited Project it’s not a surprise to see a German lending report saying banking jobs in the financial capital of Frankfurt are on the decline and are expected to drop by five percent.
“People will remember that one of the major stories from 2016 – and consistently ever since – was the predicted exodus on an almost biblical scale of banking and financial services jobs from the UK if the people voted to Leave.
“London was forecast to lose hundreds of thousands of jobs to Frankfurt and other EU27 cities.”
Boris Johnson and Angela Merkel at Downing Street yesterday (Image: GETTY)
Angela Merkel steps down as Germany’s Chancellor later this year (Image: GETTY)
In reality, the numbers lost represented a “trickle”, said Mr Evans.
He added: “In April a report by New Financial could only identify 7,400 staff moves or local hires following the referendum.
“In fact, the news for the City and for other UK financial centres has been consistently good.
Boris Johnson at yesterday’s press conference (Image: GETTY)
“Even this month alone, Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs announced it is launching a new UK transaction bank to provide companies with day-to-day treasury operations such as payment processing and payroll.”
Meanwhile, EU companies continued to seek to launch their public listings in London, Mr Evans pointed out.
He cited as an example Swedish company Klarna, which is the most valuable start-up in Europe, having raised £1billon so far.
Sebastian Siemiatkowski, CEO’s Klarna (Image: GETTY)
CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski recently remarked: “Brexit will be great for the UK.
“People expected all the banks will move away. I think it’s the opposite.”
Mr Evans added: “On top of this, just last week the 2021 Global Fintech Rankings report was issued, showing that London is by far the most active city in the whole of Europe and is expanding rapidly, with its ‘challenger bank’ sector thriving.
Frankfurt is home to the European Central Bank (Image: GETTY)
“The CityUnited Project remains confident that with a new and even more attractive regulatory environment in the UK, London’s unrivalled position as Europe’s banking and financial services colossus will remain just that – unrivalled.
“And the new opportunities which have been emerging will make the City an even more exhilarating place to work.”
In her report, Ulrike Bischoff, Helaba’s financial centres expert said: “The regulation of financial services between the EU and the UK is a tough process as is Brexit itself.
Frankfurt is in the west of Germany (Image: GETTY)
“Comprehensive equivalence regulation by the EU for Great Britain is unlikely in the near future, and individual equivalence decisions are also uncertain.
“This would mean British Directives with which the EU would be recognised as equivalent.
“Looking ahead, there is a risk of regulatory arbitrage.
“After all, Brexit offers the opportunity to regulate regulations that have long been considered inappropriate now to change for their own market.”
Cumulative change in jobs since before the pandemic
–6.8 million since February 2020
152.5 million jobs in February 2020
Hiring leapt back up in June as employers added 850,000 workers, the government reported Friday. It was the strongest gain in 10 months and a fresh sign that the labor market’s recovery is gaining momentum.
The unemployment rate rose slightly, to 5.9 percent, the Labor Department said.
“I think it’s a very solid and strong report and very encouraging that we’re seeing over the last few months continued increase in the net job creation,” said Kathy Bostjancic, chief U.S. financial economist for Oxford Economics. She noted that the totals fell below the one million mark that the Federal Reserve chair, Jerome H. Powell, has said he would like to see. Still, she added, “the momentum is moving in the right direction.”
At the moment, 6.8 million fewer jobs exist than before the pandemic. Millions of people have dropped out of the labor force, however, and “job openings far outnumber the applicants,” said Karen Fichuk, chief executive of the staffing company Randstad North America. “It is truly across the board right now.”
Aside from ever-present concerns about pay and benefits, workers are particularly interested in jobs that allow them to work remotely at least some of the time. According to a Randstad survey of more than 1,200 people, 54 percent say they prefer a flexible work arrangement that doesn’t require them to be on-site full time.
Health and safety concerns are also very much on the minds of workers whose jobs require face-to-face interactions, the survey found.
The portion of the unemployed who have been out of work for six months or more rose.
Share of unemployed who have been out of work 27 weeks or longer
“This is a trickier phase of the recovery,” said Sarah House, a senior economist with Wells Fargo. Last year, millions of workers were only temporarily laid off and able to slot back into their previous positions with little delay once reopening began.
Now, employers and workers are “having to make new matches and new connections, and that just takes more time,” she said.
Economists also point to a widespread reallocation of labor — like rounds of musical chairs on a mammoth scale — in which workers are re-evaluating their options. During the pandemic, many workers who had held restaurant and retail jobs may have taken positions in warehouses and manufacturing plants.
At the same time, the appetite for pandemic-driven jobs such as couriers and grocery store workers are ebbing as sectors like leisure and hospitality ramp up. A big chunk of June’s gains — 343,000 — were in that sector.
The education sector also showed a big pickup in hiring, although economists caution that seasonal adjustments could inflate the estimated gains. That is because there is normally a large drop in the number of teachers when schools let out for the summer. Accounting for that traditional decline may be complicated by the fact that not as many educators were working because of pandemic-related school closings.
Becky Frankiewicz, president of the staffing company ManpowerGroup North America, said that with so many employers in search of workers, “the core challenge now is enticing workers back to the work force.”
In states where benefits have already been cut off, though, recruiters have not seen a pickup in job searches or hiring. “I would have expected to see more people engage at a higher rate in the work force when the federal subsidies were ended,” Ms. Frankiewicz said. “We have not seen that correlation yet.”
The online job site Indeed surveyed 5,000 people in and out of the labor force and found that child care responsibilities, health concerns, vaccination rates and a financial cushion — from savings or public assistance — had all affected the number looking for work. Many employers are desperate to hire, but only 10 percent of workers surveyed said they were urgently seeking a job.
And even among that group, 20 percent said they didn’t want to take a position immediately.
Trials of Osiris is kicking off in the coming hours and will include a mixture of armour and weapons, one of which could be an Adept variant.
Destiny 2 Guardians will be taking on the latest Crucible challenges in teams of three, and the best rewards will be available to those who can win the most encounters.
A trip to The Lighthouse is the ultimate goal, and the Flawless rewards over recent weeks have included an Adept weapon.
The first Crucible encounters will be kicking off at 6pm BST on Friday, July 2, 2021, across PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and PC.
The new rewards curated by Bungie will be available between now and the next Weekly Reset, which is scheduled for July 6.
Saint-14 is the full-time Trials of Osiris vendor who currently resides in the Tower Hangar with his pigeons and ship.
And visiting him will be worth it for those who can smash through the Crucible and score some wins as Saint’s inventory updates with Trials Passages, Bounties, and the option to turn in Trials Tokens.
The map rotations continue each week, although Bungie has made changes to the weapons you can pick up during an event.
Last week included the following Trials of Osiris rewards:
Three Wins: Sola’s Scar Legendary Sword
Five Wins: Trials Helmet/Armour
Seven Wins: Igneous Hammer Legendary Hand Cannon
Flawless: The Messenger Adept Pulse Rifle
Details on other aspects of the Trials experience can be found below, courtesy of Bungie:
Trials Passages: “There are five unique Passages that can be bought from Saint-14 which offer their own mechanics. Each Passage will track wins and losses in a single Trials run. If three losses appear on a Passage, players will be restricted from the activity and have to either reset the Passage or purchase a new one.”
Mercy: Always available and Forgives one loss per run.
Ferocity: Always available and with zero losses, your Third Win grants a Bonus Win.
Confidence: Unlocks after going Flawless and grants a bonus reward from the Flawless chest.
Wealth: Unlocks at 5 wins and Increases Trials tokens from completing and winning Trials matches.
Wisdom: Unlocks at 7 wins and grants bonus XP from Trials Wins, scaling with the number of Wins on a Ticket.
Trials Bounties: Along with Passages, players can also purchase three different Trials Bounties which will reward players for completing them: Weekly Bounties will reward XP, Glimmer, 35 Valor Rank Points, and 5 Trials Tokens; Daily Bounties will reward XP, 15 Valor Rank Points, and 2 Trials Tokens; and Additional Bounties will offer XP and 2 Trials Tokens.
It will likely take at least an hour for gamers to find out all the rewards available from Trials of Osiris this week.
July 6 will be the end of the Trials and will be when the Solstice of Heroes event kicks off, running until August 3.
This will be an event that all Destiny gamers can enjoy, with Bungie telling Guardians this week:
“Eva Levante returns, bringing new armor for Hunters, Titans, and Warlocks to earn. As you upgrade your sets, you’ll once again be able to earn some magnificent white glows to adorn your armor with. If you have a taste for the elements, Eververse will also offer Universal Ornament Bundles for purchase which will shine brightly with glows that reflect your equipped subclass.”
Author: Gary Jones
This post originally appeared on Daily Express
Dozens of riders were taken out in the crash. One was forced to retire from the race.
PARIS, France — Gendarmes in Brittany on Wednesday arrested a fan involved in a massive pileup at the Tour de France during the opening stage at cycling’s biggest event, local media reported.
The fan brandished a large cardboard sign while leaning into the path of oncoming riders. She appeared to be looking in the other direction, apparently at a camera, and not at the approaching peloton.
The woman, not publicly identified, was arrested by gendarmes in the Finistere region who tracked her down based on “solid” accounts from people questioned this week, France Bleu Finistere said, citing a source close to the probe. Investigators had spoken to dozens of people since the incident on Saturday, the local radio station said.
Tour organizers had announced after the crash on the stage from Brest to Landerneau that they would start legal proceedings against the fan, who disappeared from the crash scene. She had leaned into the path of veteran rider Tony Martin, who fell off his bike and took dozens of others down in his slipstream. German rider Jasha Sutterlin was forced to abandon the race.
The Gendarmerie du Landerneau, east of Brest, had put out a call for witnesses shortly after the pileup. It refused to comment on the reported arrest.
Fans gathering on the sides of roads and in villages as riders pass by is part of the tradition and charm of the Tour. But the woman in question leaned into the path of cyclists with her sign that read “Allez Opi-Omi,” a mix of French and German-language terms of endearment for grandparents — “Go Grandpa-Grandma.”
Author: Associated Press
This post originally appeared on CBS8 – Sports
It’s not clear what the alternative plans will be for the torch if it is removed from public streets in Tokyo.
TOKYO, Japan — Some stages of the Tokyo Olympic torch relay will be pulled off the roads of the Japanese capital because of fears about spreading the coronavirus, Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported on Tuesday.
Citing the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Kyodo said the relay would not appear on public streets from July 9-16. Kyodo said organizers would decide on the format for the relay from July 17 until the opening ceremony on July 23.
The relay began in March in northeastern Japan. It has faced numerous detours, scaled back programs, and has been run at times only in public park spaces to avoid spreading the virus.
Tokyo is under a quasi-state of emergency until July 11 with infection cases rising again. Tokyo confirmed 476 new cases on Tuesday, up from 435 last Tuesday. It the 10th straight day that cases were higher than they were seven days previously.
Japan has attributed about 14,500 deaths to COVID-19, better than many countries but not as good as some Asian neighbors.
It’s not clear what the alternative plans will be for the torch if it is removed from public streets in Tokyo.
Initial plans called for 10,000 runners to crisscross Japan for 121 days, winding up at the new National Stadium on July 23.
The relay is heavily sponsored by Coca-Cola and Toyota. Some suggested canceling the relay to save money after the Olympics were postponed 15 months ago, but any such plans were quickly scrapped.