The 10 most eco-friendly cities for green living

Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen has been voted the most eco-friendly city in the world several times because of its commitment to developing green ways of living and sustainability. Biking is incredibly popular in this town, and it aims to have half of its people cycling to work or school this year.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam is progressive and green in more ways than its famous “coffee shops.” It’s notorious for being the city where there are more bikes than people (bikes are literally piled over each other in the streets!), and holds the title of the most bicycle-friendly capital city in the world. Not only does biking ensure a healthier population, but it reduces carbon emissions and pollution significantly.

Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm is cleaner than any city I’ve ever visited. Litter rarely lines the sidewalk; the streets are always well-maintained, and the air is clear, crisp, and bright. Stockholm is famous for its cleanliness, lack of heavy industry/pollution, and an amazing public transportation system. Not to mention the Swedish countryside… it’s breathtakingly beautiful.

Berlin, Germany

Berlin is a crazy, wild town but it’s also known for its alternative view on keeping things green. Berlin ties green spaces beautifully into the urban landscape, and has more parks than any other city in Europe. Check out the Alternative Berlin Green Tour to learn about all the ways Berlin’s communities are passionate about recycling, resourcing, and creating a sustainable environment.

Portland, Oregon

Portland isn’t just about beautiful views and great coffee shops; it’s also a bustling town filled with environmentalists, hippies, and people who love nature and all things earth-friendly. As a result, it has grown to become one of the greenest places to live in the world, offering 92,000 acres of green space in and 74 miles of hiking and running trails.

San Francisco, California

It’s hard to not be aware of nature when you’re living in one of the most beautiful places on earth. Surrounded by blue waters, a clear blue sky, and miles of California’s natural parks and forests, San Francisco is one of the greenest cities in the U.S. Half of its population either walks, bikes, or uses public transportation to get to work. As one of the most progressive, tolerant, and forward-thinking towns on the West Coast, San Francisco is a good leader in the environmental movement for the rest of America.

Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town is taking the lead for the entire continent of Africa by making major environmental strides, like using energy from South Africa’s first commercial wind farm, transforming the city to provide for bike routes, and supporting farmers markets.

Helsinki, Finland

Leave it to Scandinavia to be the cleanest (and happiest) place in the world. Helsinki also makes it to this list because like Copenhagen and Amsterdam, the city makes it easy for its commuters to cycle through the city and use public transportation which reduces air pollution.

Vancouver, Canada

People flock to Vancouver for its proximity to the mountains and nature, so it’s not surprising that it’s one of the most environmentally-minded places in the world. Vancouver scores well with regards to C02 emissions and quality of air, and is considered the hometown of Greenpeace.

Reykjavik, Iceland

Iceland often seems like something out of a fairytale: utopic and beautiful and pure. But it’s also one of the cleanest places in the world. Reykjavik has hydrogen buses in its streets, and all of its heat and electricity comes from renewable geothermal and hydropower sources (like the rest of the country!) To learn more about where you should go during a trip to Iceland, read this.


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Union opposes reopening U.S. meat plants as more workers die

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The largest union representing U.S. meatpacking workers said on Friday it opposed the reopening of plants as the Trump administration had failed to guarantee workers’ safety.

At least 30 meatpacking workers have died of the novel coronavirus and more than 10,000 have contracted it, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), which represents more than 250,000 meatpacking and food processing workers, said in a statement.

The pandemic caused at least 30 meatpacking plants to temporarily close over the past two months, resulting in a 40% drop in pork production capacity and a 25% drop in beef production capacity, the union said.

Earlier on Friday, the U.S. Agriculture Department said 14 plants that had closed due to outbreaks of the virus were in the process of reopening this week. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue applauded “the safe reopening of critical infrastructure meatpacking facilities across the United States.”

U.S. President Donald Trump on April 28 invoked the 1950 Defense Production Act to mandate meat plants stay opened during the pandemic, after companies warned of meat shortages in the United States. UFCW has previously said more protective equipment and testing would be required to open the plants. On Friday the union adopted a more critical tone.

“Today’s rush by the Trump Administration to re-open 14 meatpacking plants without the urgent safety improvements needed is a reckless move that will put American lives at risk and further endanger the long-term security of our nation’s food supply,” UFCW International President Marc Perrone said in a statement.

“Since the executive order was announced by President Trump, the Administration has failed to take the urgent action needed to enact clear and enforceable safety standards at these meatpacking plants.”

The 14 plants included a Smithfield Foods Inc pork facility in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, that started operating on May 7 and another in Waterloo, Iowa, that Tyson Foods said earlier in the week would resume limited operations.

The agriculture department also said meat facilities operated by JBS USA [JBS.UL] in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and six other Tyson plants were reopening.

As of Thursday, about 35% of U.S. slaughter capacity for hogs still remained idle, said Steve Meyer, economist for Kerns and Associates. He estimated that about 32% to 33% was idle on Friday.

Global interest in recombinant human Interferon Alpha 2b, one of Cuba’s leading biotech product

Cited official figures indicate that of the patients treated in Cuba with this medicine until mid-April, only 5.5% reached the state of seriousness, and among them the mortality rate was just 0.9%, indices well below those registered in the rest of the world.

Global interest in recombinant human Interferon Alpha 2b, one of Cuba’s leading biotech products, continues to grow. Photo: Otmaro Rodríguez.
Global interest in recombinant human Interferon Alpha 2b, one of Cuba’s leading biotech products, continues to grow. Photo: Otmaro Rodríguez.

More than 80 countries have expressed interest in acquiring Recombinant Human Interferon Alpha 2b, a Cuban product that has gained fame for its results in the therapy of coronavirus positive patients.

Of the patients with COVID-19 on the island, 93.4% had been treated with Heberon―trade name of Interferon Alfa 2b―, according to data revealed by the Cuban Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP) cited by the official newspaper Granma.

The cited official figures indicate that of the patients treated in Cuba with this medicine until mid-April, only 5.5% reached the state of seriousness, and among them the mortality rate was just 0.9%, indices well below those registered in the rest of the world.

The care protocol established by MINSAP to face the pandemic foresees the use of interferon, along with other drugs, in patients confirmed with the virus, but not in those who develop severe or critical states of the disease.

U.S. women’s soccer team file to appeal equal pay ruling

(Reuters) – The U.S. women’s soccer team have filed to appeal a district court decision handed down last week that dismissed their claims for equal pay, a spokesperson for the team said on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football – Women’s World Cup Final – United States v Netherlands – Groupama Stadium, Lyon, France – July 7, 2019 Megan Rapinoe of the U.S. scores their first goal from the penalty spot REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
The team suffered an unexpected blow to their high-profile case against their federation when the court threw out the players’ claims that they were under paid in comparison with the men’s national team.

District Court Judge R. Gary Klausner said the World Cup champions were paid more on both a cumulative and an average per-game basis than their male counterparts, who failed to qualify for the last World Cup.

The women’s team on Friday vowed to continue their fight.

“Equal pay means paying women players the same rate for winning a game as men get paid,” said Molly Levinson, spokesperson for the players.

“The argument that women are paid enough if they make close to the same amount as men while winning more than twice as often is not equal pay,” she said.

The players had been seeking $66 million in damages under the Equal Pay Act.

Klausner’s ruling, however, allowed the players’ claims that they do not receive equal treatment when it comes to travel, training, housing and other areas to proceed.

Those claims will be adjudicated at a trial set for June 16.

The women’s national team beat the Netherlands to claim its fourth World Cup title last summer, as the stadium rang with chants of “Equal Pay, Equal Pay”, catapulting its players into the spotlight.

The U.S national team’s long-running feud with U.S. Soccer has been a very public and bitter battle with athletes and celebrities, from Billie Jean King to Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez rallying around the women’s cause.

Last month, U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro resigned over language used in a court filing suggesting women possess less ability than men when it comes to soccer.

The language prompted an on-field protest by players, who wore their warmup jerseys inside out to obscure the U.S. Soccer logo prior to a game, and a critical response from several of the team’s commercial sponsors.

Ted Cruz gets haircut from Texas salon owner jailed for violating coronavirus lockdown


Sen. Ted Cruz showed his support Friday for a Dallas hair salon owner after she was jailed for opening in violation of the state’s coronavirus rule — by dropping by for a haircut that led her to shed tears of relief.

“We’re thrilled to be with you and know the whole state of Texas is standing with you, so thank you for your courage,” Cruz told Shelley Luther, who was released Thursday at the order of the state Supreme Court, CBS 11 News reported.

The Republican senator told Luther he hadn’t had a haircut in about three months — and that his wife, Heidi, even warned he would “start bringing mullets back” if he didn’t take action soon.

At one point during his visit to the Salon à la Mode, Luther began crying and thanked Cruz for his support.

“When people reach out with true authenticity, it’s huge,” she said.

“It’s a nice gesture. His family actually called my boyfriend and prayed for him for 20 minutes while I was in jail,” Luther told the news outlet.

“To me, that’s not political … that’s just really nice people reaching out and making sure that our family is OK,” she said.

Luther was jailed Tuesday by Dallas County State District Judge Eric Moyé, but was sprung through Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order retroactively eliminating jail time for violating the state’s coronavirus restrictions.

The judge sentenced Luther to seven days in the slammer with a fine of $1,000 per day — $500 per day for a contempt charge and $500 per day for each day her business was open.

On Wednesday, Cruz said on Twitter: “7 days in jail for cutting hair?? This is NUTS. And government officials don’t get to order citizens to apologize to them for daring to earn a living.”

Meanwhile, Luther said in an interview on “Hannity” on Thursday night that she felt much better after her brush with the law, adding that she stands by her decision not to apologize as Moyé had instructed her to.

“That was the last thing I was going to do, honestly,” she told Sean Hannity. “… I just couldn’t, I couldn’t bring myself to apologize.”

The judge had given her the option of avoiding prison if she apologized for what he described as her “selfish” behavior, paid a fine and kept her salon closed until Friday, when hair salons across Texas could open with restrictions.

“We were shut down March 22, so it had been several weeks that the government was kind of telling us the [small business] money was coming,” Luther said.

“The Dallas County judge, Clay Jenkins, kept pushing back the date of when we would open weeks out in advance, before we would hear any new comings of what was going on with masks or whatever.

“When he finally pushed it back a final time, I just woke up one day and I said, ‘I have to open, my stylists are calling me, they’re not making their mortgage,’” she continued. “… I’m two months behind on my mortgage.”

“My stylists were telling me that they wanted [to go] underground and go to people’s houses,” Luther added. “I just said, ‘You know, that’s not a good idea because we can’t control the environment there. We don’t know if it’s been disinfected or anything like that,’ and I just decided I would open.”

She stressed that during the time her business was open in defiance of the order, it instituted strict sanitation and social-distancing measures.

Luther said her short stint in jail was “not pleasant,” although she did have a cell to herself.

“The worst thing was that I didn’t get to call anybody when I got there, the whole first night,” she said.

“And that’s kind of scary, because I have a daughter that just turned 17 at home, and if my boyfriend wasn’t there to tell, you know, to talk to her or anything, I would not have come home and she would not have known where I was,” Luther added.


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UN calls to eliminate hate speech in the midst of pandemic


United Nations, May 8 (Prensa Latina) The UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, today called on the international community to join efforts to end the hate speech in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The UN official called on political leaders to show solidarity with all members of their societies and to strengthen cohesion.

In a statement, Guterres called on educational institutions to focus on digital literacy now that billions of young people are online, and when extremists seek to exploit captive and potentially desperate audiences.

He called on the media to do much more to detect and eliminate racist, misogynistic and other harmful content.

‘I call on civil society to strengthen its outreach to vulnerable people and religious actors to serve as models of mutual respect.

I ask everyone, everywhere, Guterres stressed, to oppose hatred, to treat each other with dignity and to take every opportunity to spread friendly messages.

It is urgent to strengthen the immunity of the world’s societies against the virus of hate, which is also spreading in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Portuguese diplomat stressed.

This pandemic continues to unleash a tsunami of hate and xenophobia, scapegoating and scaremongering, he observed.

Journalists, whistleblowers, health professionals, humanitarian workers and human rights defenders are attacked simply for doing their jobs, he said.

Covid-19 doesn’t care who we are or where we live, what religion we have or any other distinction, and we need every ounce of solidarity to stand up to it together, stressed the UN representative


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