Friday, 12 August, 2022
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Serena Williams claims ‘sexism’ in tennis & probiotics are now being called ‘useless’

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Nepal to now access Chinese sea ports, and Spix’s macaw go extinct in the wild.

Boris Johnson calls Brexit plan a ‘suicide vest’, gets slammed 

Former British foreign secretary Boris Johnson was criticised Sunday following his comments in a British newspaper on Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit plan, CNN reported.

Referring to May’s Brexit strategy as a “suicide vest”, Johnson wrote, “We have opened ourselves to perpetual political blackmail… We have wrapped a suicide vest around the British constitution — and handed the detonator to (EU Brexit negotiator) Michel Barnier.”

In the article published in the Mail on Sunday newspaper, Johnson further added that instead of striking a “giant and generous free trade deal,” May said “yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir” to the European Union.

Johnson’s comments were met with criticisms from various circles including the right wing in the Conservative party. A number of Conservative leaders expressed displeasure on Twitter over the former secretary’s comment.

Alan Duncan, foreign office minister and Conservative MP, tweeted:

Calling Johnson a “pound-shop Donald Trump”, opposition Labour MP David Lammy tweeted:

Johnson, a leading figure in the campaign for leaving the EU, which is scheduled for March 2019, is said to be prepared to launch a leadership bid against May, CNN added.

The former foreign secretary resigned from May’s cabinet after disagreements rose over  post-Brexit plan. Johnson strongly opposed the PM’s arrangement with the “Chequers” deal with 27 members of the union and believed that it would leave Britain to abide by rules of the union while having no say in the decision-making process.

Serena Williams calls out ‘sexism’ in tennis 

Tennis star Serena Williams found herself in the middle of a controversy after calling out ‘sexism’ in the tennis world, reported CNN.

The latest row involving the 23-time grand slam champion happened at the US Open women’s final in New York Saturday when she publicly criticised and called out the chair umpire Carlos Ramos. “Williams accused Ramos of sexism after she was handed a series of code violations during Saturday’s match,” reported CNN.

“Ramos first gave Williams a code violation warning for coaching after he ruled that her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, gave her hand signals from the stands. Then she got a point penalty for smashing her racket, followed by a game penalty for verbal abuse after she confronted the umpire,” said the report.

Calling out to Ramos after the penalty ruling, Williams said, “You stole a point from me and you are a thief.”

The US Open fined Williams with a total of $17,000 of fine for three violations, the US Tennis Association told Sunday, added CNN.

In her post-match press conference, Williams is reported to have said, “I’ve seen other men call other umpires several things.”

“I’m here fighting for women’s rights and for women’s equality. For me to say thief and for him to take a game, it made me feel like it was a sexist remark… He’s never taken a game from a man because they said thief. For me, it blows my mind,” she added. “But I’m going to continue to fight for women and to fight for us to have equal rights,” she added.

The 36-year-old received support from various corners for calling out to the flaws in the management. Former world No. 1 Billie Jean King, an outspoken advocate for women’s rights, said Williams was entitled to draw attention to the “double standard” in tennis.

“When a woman is emotional, she’s ‘hysterical’ and she’s penalised for it, when a man does the same, he’s ‘outspoken’ and there are no repercussions,” King tweeted.

Williams lost the match to Japan’s Naomi Osaka 2-6, 4-6.

Nepal will now be able to access Chinese ports 

The Nepalese government announced that China will allow the country to use some of its sea ports. Analysing the arrangement, Global Times wrote that the process may benefit all South-Asian nations.

However, the geography of the region and the cost involved may pose challenges. “The plan could face issues due to long-distance transport. Those Chinese seaports are located more than 2,000 kilometers from Nepal. If logistics costs become a heavy burden for importers and exporters, the proposal will be just a piece of paper,” read the piece.

“China needs to brainstorm with industry experts on how to reduce the transportation expenses on the Chinese side of the border… China and Nepal need to speed up efforts to build a cross-Himalayan connectivity network through railways, roads and air routes,” it added.

Commenting on India-Nepal relations, Global Times said, “One inevitable consequence is that Nepal’s third-country trade plan with China will end India’s monopoly over Nepal’s trade routes and thus dilute the influence of New Delhi in the Himalayan nation. But China’s purpose in pushing forward the plan is not to derail Nepal’s relationship with India… The third-country trade plan between China and Nepal is likely to be a component of economic integration in the region and benefit all South Asian countries.”

The damage Trump may end up causing by pulling out of WTO

Commenting on Donald Trump’s threat to pull out of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Global Times carried an opinion piece staunchly criticising the US President and his ways of politics in the international arena.

The article, authored by Huo Jianguo, vice chairman of the China Society for World Trade Organization Studies, was a commentary on the manner in which Trump conducts his business in the world sphere and how the pullout may affect the US.

Taking on Trump’s threat to move out of the WTO, Jianguo wrote, “Many people used to believe that Trump was not serious about threatening to withdraw from the WTO. But now, quite a few have warned that the world should be prepared for all possibilities. Trump’s ego has received a boost and he is thus highly likely to make irrational decisions. It’s time to discuss the actual possibility of Trump quitting the WTO and the price he must pay for doing so.”

“Trump’s threat to pull the US out of the WTO is blackmail. He wants to warn the organization against opposing US interests,” added Jianguo.

Warning about Washington’s historical role in the organisation’s setup, Jianguo wrote, “Such behavior will seriously affect the dignity and credibility of the US and is totally incompatible with the identity and status of the country.”

“On withdrawing from the WTO, the country will hurt itself but the organisation will be hardly affected. Without Washington, the WTO will continue operating normally, while the US, which would have divorced the organization, will look bizarre,” wrote Jianguo.

The Spix’s macaw is feared extinct in the wild

The Spix’s macaw, a Brazilian variety, is feared extinct in the wild, said a study released last week. Their extinction in the wild was further confirmed in a report by BirdLife International.

Deforestation is said to be the leading cause for the Spix’s macaw’s disappearance from its natural habitat as per the study, reported BBC.

“The report says that although the species is extinct in the wild, 60 to 80 Spix’s macaws still live in captivity,” added BBC.

The Spix’s macaw achieved onscreen fame in Hollywood movie Rio (2011) as a parrot named Blu that travels thousands of miles in an attempt to save his species.

Probiotics may not be doing what we think 

A group of scientists in Israel have claimed that ‘probiotics’, or good bacteria which are understood to improve digestion and the gut, in packaged food are almost useless, reported BBC.

A study conducted by the researchers found that probiotics had little or no impact inside the human body as they don’t always adapt to the body well.

For bacteria to have an impact on the body of an individual, it is supposed to adapt to customised needs of each individual, said the research.

“And in that sense just buying probiotics at the supermarket without any tailoring, without any adjustment to the host, at least in part of the population, is quite useless,” BBC quoted a researcher as saying.

However, an article published by a health news website said the research that the BBC report was based on lacked all the criteria required to firmly establish that probiotics are ‘useless’.

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