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France is poised to implement a ban on disposable e-cigarettes, known locally as ‘puffs,’ due to concerns about their impact on the environment and public health. Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne announced this move as part of a broader anti-smoking plan developed by the government, with the ban expected to take effect by year-end. Similar bans have been announced in several other European countries, including Germany, Belgium, and Ireland, with the UK also reportedly considering such a prohibition.

These disposable vapes, available at tobacconists in France for approximately €9 (equivalent to £7.70), claim to provide around 600 puffs, roughly equivalent to 40 traditional cigarettes. However, France’s National Academy of Medicine has criticized them as a ‘deceptive lure for children and adolescents,’ arguing that they instill smoking-related behaviors in young users.

Critics accuse manufacturers, many of which are based in China, of deliberately targeting teenagers with colorful designs and a variety of flavors reminiscent of a candy store, such as marshmallow, chocolate, hazelnut, watermelon, and ice candy. According to the Alliance Against Tobacco (ACT), 13% of 13-16-year-olds in France have tried disposable e-cigarettes at least once, with most starting around the ages of 11 or 12.

Campaigners argue that the ban is a significant victory, as disposable e-cigarettes serve as a gateway to smoking for young people. Loïc Josseran, ACT president, emphasizes the tobacco industry’s role in this trend, describing it as a deliberate effort to entice children.

Environmental concerns have also been raised, as disposable e-cigarettes contribute to ecological damage. In the UK, a study by the environmental organization Material Focus found that over one million of these devices were discarded weekly. French doctors and environmentalists have called disposable e-cigarettes an ‘environmental plague,’ citing their plastic construction, non-removable lithium batteries, nicotine content, and traces of heavy metals.

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Queen Letizia of Spain is set to travel to Australia to witness the World Cup final between England and Spain in Sydney on Sunday. Notably, no British royals will be present at the event.

The match marks the first-ever final appearance for both England’s Lionesses and the Spanish team in the women’s tournament. Although Prince William, the President of the Football Association, will support the England team from the UK, he has opted out of making the long-distance journey to Australia due to his focus on climate change concerns.

In contrast, Queen Letizia and her 16-year-old daughter, Infanta Sofia, will be attending the final, while King Felipe will be engaged in official obligations and won’t accompany them. The Royal Spanish Football Federation confirmed the queen’s participation, mentioning her prior visit to the team during training where she delivered a speech to the players and coaching staff.

Similarly, Prince William interacted with the Lionesses during training and awarded manager Sarina Wiegman an honorary CBE. Despite his absence from the event, Prince William is expected to watch the final on television. Both Prince William and King Charles conveyed their congratulations to the teams on their achievements and extended their best wishes for the upcoming final match.

Notably, England’s women had previously been awarded their medals by Prince William after winning the European championship, while Queen Elizabeth II had attended England’s men’s team’s World Cup final victory in 1966.

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Global Climate News Trending

Italy is currently experiencing extreme heat, leading to red alerts being issued for 15 cities, including Rome, Florence, and Bologna. This heatwave is part of a larger trend of increasing temperatures and longer heatwaves globally due to global warming.

The European Space Agency (ESA) predicts that Italy, Spain, France, Germany, and Poland may face extreme conditions, with potential record temperatures. Greece has already been experiencing temperatures of 40°C or higher, leading to the closure of tourist attractions like the Acropolis. There are concerns about the increased risk of wildfires in Greece and other areas with high winds.

Central parts of Europe, including Germany and Poland, are also affected by high temperatures. In contrast, the UK is experiencing heavy showers and cooler weather due to the southern shift of the jet stream. The current heatwave in Italy, named Cerberus, is expected to be followed by another heatwave called Charon, pushing temperatures above 40°C.

Heatwaves are also occurring in other parts of the world, including the US, China, North Africa, and Japan. The increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events due to global warming have become the new normal, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

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A scorching heatwave continues to affect several European countries, with temperatures expected to break records in the coming days. Parts of Spain, France, Greece, Croatia, Turkey, and Italy may experience temperatures exceeding 40°C (104°F), with Italy potentially reaching up to 48°C (118.4°F), which could be the highest ever recorded in Europe, according to the European Space Agency. A red alert warning has been issued for 10 cities, including Florence and Rome. Last month was reported as the hottest June on record by the EU’s climate monitoring service Copernicus.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has warned that extreme weather events resulting from climate change are becoming the new norm. While periods of intense heat are part of natural weather patterns, they are increasingly becoming more frequent, intense, and prolonged globally due to global warming.

The heatwave has impacted tourists in Europe, with visitors experiencing symptoms such as nausea and dizziness in Athens. Efforts have been made to provide information on air-conditioned places for people to seek relief from the heat. Tragically, a man in Italy died from heat-related causes, and several visitors, including a British man in Rome, have suffered from heatstroke.

Authorities are advising people to stay hydrated by drinking at least two liters of water per day and to avoid dehydrating beverages like coffee and alcohol. Tourists in Rome expressed surprise at the extreme heat and stated they were trying to avoid going out during the hottest hours of the day. Some individuals emphasized the need for collective action to address climate change, urging governments and individuals to take responsibility and make changes such as reducing plastic usage, limiting air conditioning, and using electric cars.

The current heatwave, named Cerberus after the mythical three-headed dog from Dante’s Inferno, is expected to continue intensifying in the coming days. Spain has already experienced temperatures reaching 45°C (113°F), and the European Space Agency has predicted potential temperatures of 48°C (118.4°F) in Sicily and Sardinia, which could be the hottest ever recorded in Europe.

Additionally, other regions outside Europe, including parts of Canada, the United States, India, and China, have also witnessed record-breaking temperatures this summer. Sea temperatures in the Atlantic have reached record highs, while Antarctic sea ice is at its lowest extent on record. Furthermore, the development of El Niño, a weather pattern in the tropical Pacific, is expected to contribute to rising temperatures by an average of 0.2°C, exacerbating the effects of climate change, which has already increased average temperatures worldwide by approximately 1.1°C.

To put the current heatwave in historical context, scientists can analyze air bubbles trapped in ancient Antarctic ice, which suggests that the first week of July was the hottest week in around 125,000 years. During the Eemian period, which occurred over a million years ago, temperatures were estimated to be significantly higher, resulting in hippos inhabiting the Thames and sea levels being approximately 5 meters (16.4 feet) higher.

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News Politics Trending

354 members of the House of Commons vote in favour of a report from the COVID epidemic ‘Partygate’ incident that said the former prime minister lied about it.

A study that suggested punishing former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson for misleading the legislature about illegal, intoxicated parties hosted during the COVID-19 outbreak was approved by lawmakers in the country.

The report from the privileges committee, which recommended that the former leader should have his parliamentary pass removed, was approved by the House of Commons on Monday by a vote of 354 to 7. It would have also suggested a 90-day suspension from the legislature if he hadn’t already resigned.

Johnson abruptly left the House of Commons ten days ago after reading a draught of the report and branding the investigation a “witch hunt.”

Theresa May, a member of the Conservative Party and Johnson’s predecessor as prime minister, remarked, “It is important to show the public that there is not one rule for them and another for us.”

House of Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt urged lawmakers to “do what they think is right” as she opened the five-hour discussion. Mordaunt, a Conservative like Johnson, declared she will support the Commons Privileges Committee’s findings with her vote.

“This matters because the integrity of our institutions matter. The respect and trust afforded to them matters,” said Mordaunt. “This has real-world consequences for the accountability of members of Parliament to each other and the members of the public they represent.”

A few Johnson supporters stood forward to support the former leader. “I cannot see the evidence where Boris Johnson misled Parliament knowing, intentionally, or carelessly,” said MP Lia Nici.

Rishi Sunak, the prime minister of India, was among the several Conservative MPs who skipped the discussion. He remained aside out of concern for upsetting Johnson’s surviving fans.

The prime minister had “a number of commitments,” according to Sunak’s spokesperson Max Blain, including a meeting with the president of Sweden.

Johnson, who celebrated his 59th birthday on Monday, wasn’t either. He left his position as prime minister in September 2022, although he continued to serve as a member of parliament until June 9, when he resigned after learning of the Privileges Committee’s conclusions.

The debate on Monday was the most recent repercussion of the “Partygate” affair concerning events at Downing Street and other government facilities in 2020 and 2021.

When it was revealed that political staffers had birthday parties, garden parties, and “wine time Fridays” during the pandemic, it infuriated Britons who had abided by the regulations put in place to stop the coronavirus’s spread but were unable to visit friends and family or even say goodbye to relatives who were dying in hospitals.

In response to Partygate, Labour Party MP Chris Bryant claimed that “there is visceral anger” among people.

The Sunday Mirror newspaper’s publishing of a video this week of staff members dancing and drinking at a Conservative Party headquarters event in December 2020, when mingling between different families was prohibited indoors, brought back memories.

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Crime News Trending

According to police, a suspect has been apprehended for murder after at least three persons were discovered dead in Nottingham.

Officers said in a statement on Tuesday that a 31-year-old man was detained in the city on suspicion of murder after a van attempted to run over three others.

Initially, two persons were discovered dead in the city core. Police were summoned to another incident near where a van attempted to run over three persons shortly after 4 a.m. local time (03:00 GMT). They are receiving medical attention in a hospital.

Another man was discovered dead in a different road close outside the city core.

“This is a horrific and tragic incident that has taken three lives,” Chief Constable Kate Meynell said in a statement.

“We believe these three incidents are connected, and we have a suspect in custody.” “This investigation is still in its early stages, and a team of detectives is working to determine exactly what happened,” she continued.

“At this time, a number of roads in the city will remain closed as this investigation progresses,” she added.

According to Al Jazeera’s Nadim Baba, reporting from London, the local tram network has ceased all operations, however other modes of transportation remain operational.

“The police have not given us any more details about any motives of the suspect,” he added.

“Awful news for our city to wake up to today,” Nottingham politician Alex Norris tweeted. “Our community’s thoughts and prayers are with all those who have been affected.”

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News Trending

The UK has confirmed its decision to supply Ukraine with long-range Storm Shadow cruise missiles, which were requested by Ukraine in its fight against Russian forces. The Storm Shadow missile, with a range of over 250km (155 miles), offers a significant advantage compared to the US-supplied Himars missiles, which have a range of approximately 80km (50 miles). The UK Defense Secretary, Ben Wallace, stated that these missiles would provide Ukraine with the best chance of defending itself, as they can be launched from aircraft, allowing Ukrainian pilots to operate at a safer distance from the frontlines.

The Storm Shadow missile operates by dropping to a low altitude to avoid detection by enemy radar and then uses an infrared seeker to lock onto its target. The announcement of this decision was made by Mr. Wallace in the House of Commons, following repeated requests from Ukraine for more support from Western nations. The UK’s decision to provide these missiles was prompted by Russia’s targeting of civilian infrastructure in Ukraine, and the move aims to enable Ukraine to push back Russian forces from its sovereign territory.

Mr. Wallace emphasized that the donation of these missile systems was a response to Russia’s aggression and would not have been necessary if Russia had not invaded Ukraine. However, he acknowledged that the range of the Storm Shadow missiles provided by the UK is not comparable to Russia’s own missile systems, some of which have much greater reach. Earlier, Ukraine’s Defense Minister, Oleksii Reznikov, assured that longer-range missiles would not be used to attack targets within Russia itself and offered guarantees that the weapons would not be involved in attacks on Russian territory.

The Kremlin responded to the UK’s decision by stating that it would take an appropriate military response if Ukrainian forces used the British-supplied Storm Shadow weapons. The Storm Shadow missile has previously been used by the British and French air forces in various conflicts, including the Gulf, Iraq, and Libya. It should be noted that while the British-supplied missiles can only be fired from aircraft, the French missiles can be launched from ships and submarines.

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The Asian country of China has decided not to encourage Hong Kong citizens to travel with British Overseas Citizenship passports.

The BOC passports, as per the latest policy of China, can no longer be presented as an identification document.

The policy has come shorty after the United Kingdom announced its decision to open its doors for its overseas citizens in Hong Kong.

It was the Chinese crackdown on democratic activists in Hong Kong that forced the European superpower to come to the protection of its overseas citizens in the disputed region.

Hong Kong is going through a tough situation. A large section of the population of the Chinese city is at war with its central leadership.

Hong Kong was an overseas territory of the UK. The European country handed over the territory to China as part of an agreement.

Hong Kong inherited western democratic values from its colonial master. It declined to absorb the values of the new leadership.

Though China, while reaching the agreement with the UK, agreed to protect the values Hong Kong inherited from the European country, post the handing over of power it showed little interest to nourish the values.

The ongoing disturbance in Hong Kong is in reality a conflict between the two dominant value structures.  

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News Trending

The Republic of Ireland is expected to allow the publication of a report prepared by a commission on mother and baby homes.

The shocking report has already leaked to a leading newspaper based in the continent of Europe.

The victims have expressed their disappointment in the leakage. The information published by the newspaper has sent shockwaves across the continent.

The commission was appointed to investigate the allegations levelled against the mother and baby homes which were established to home women and girls who became pregnant outside marriage.

The issue came to limelight when a local historian discovered that around 769 children had been buried in a site controlled by the home.

The commission was constituted initially as an attempt to save the government from the ire of the victims.

The sad reality is that it took decades to unearth the crime. Another sad element is that at that time not many were bothered about the crime happening in the home.

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The Asian country of China has launched a severe crackdown in the embattled territory of Hong Kong.

As many as 53 people have been booked in connection with the crackdown launched in the region by the Chinese government.

Those booked in connection with the crackdown includes journalists, activists, opposition leaders, lawmakers, workers and students.

The action has been carried out with the support of the National Security Law, which were imposed over the territory by the Chinese government.

Hong Kong is at present in the state of a severe political turmoil. The city was under the control of the United Kingdom. Hong Kong was handed over to China by the UK several years. At the time of handing over, the country reached an agreement with China. In the agreement, China assured that it would not alter the political framework of the territory which the region acquired from its colonial master.

The recent development indicates that the communist country has stepped back from the assurance it made at the time the territory was handed over to it by the UK.

Hong Kong is technically a part of China. Yet, it is different. It is ruled by a one country two governments formula. The people in Hong Kong are not open to the communist culture shared by the people in the Chinese mainland.

The west, particularly the UK, has raised its voice against the unwelcoming attitude towards the region by China.     

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