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Pollution

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The UK’s government is set to announce that new diesel and gasoline cars and vans will be banned in the country from 2040 in a bid to tackle air pollution.

Ministers will also unveil a £255 million ($332 million) fund to help councils tackle emissions from diesel vehicles, as part of a £3 billion ($3.9 billion) package of spending on air quality.

The government will later publish its clean air strategy, favoring electric cars, before a High Court deadline.

Campaigners said the measures were promising, but more detail was needed.

They had wanted government-funded and mandated clean air zones, with charges for the most-polluting vehicles to enter areas with high pollution, included in the plans.

Image source Geograph

After a protracted legal battle, the UK’s government was ordered by the courts to produce new plans to tackle illegal levels of harmful pollutant nitrogen dioxide.

Judges agreed with environmental campaigners that previous plans were insufficient to meet EU pollution limits.

Ministers had to set out their draft clean air strategy plans in May, with the final measures due by July 31.

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UK’s Environment Secretary Michael Gove said the government would give more than £200 million ($260 million) to local authorities to draw up plans to tackle particular roads with high pollution.

Local measures could include altering buses and other transport to make them cleaner, changing road layouts, altering features such as speed humps, and re-programming traffic lights to make vehicle-flow smoother.

It is thought ministers will consult on a scrappage scheme later this year, but there is no firm commitment.

Ministers have been wary of being seen to “punish” drivers of diesel cars, who, they argue, bought the vehicles after being encouraged to by the last Labour government because they produced lower carbon emissions.


The industry trade body, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said it was important to avoid outright bans on diesels, which would hurt the sector.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said demand for alternatively fuelled vehicles was growing but still at a very low level.

The AA said significant investment would be needed to install charging points across the UK and warned the National Grid would come under pressure with a mass switch-on of recharging after the rush hour.

The UK announcement comes amid signs of an accelerating shift towards electric cars instead of petrol and diesel ones, at home and abroad.

 

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It’s a sad truth that being healthy can cost a lot of money when it comes to our health. But even though that is the case there are some things with regards to your health that you should never scrimp and save on. Read on to find out more.

Food

You have a choice when you go to the supermarket. You can choose to go down the candy, cookie and ready meal files, and be tempted by lots of sweet treats that contain buckets of sugar and fat.

Or you can step away from the chocolate bars and head on over to the fresh produce aisle and pick up high fiber, fresh and nutritional options instead. Ok, so they may seem a little more expensive at first glance. But if you plan your meals carefully for the week you can definitely accommodate a healthier food shop, and just think of the benefits that your mind and body that you will gain.  

Bed

They always say if you have any money you should invest it in your bed, and when you realize that you spend at least a third of your life actually in bed, you can see why.

Getting enough rest is vital to our functioning on a day to day basis. As well as being important for physical repairs and psychological stability. So the question should really be can you afford not to spend money on a decent bed?

Medical care

Something that you should never scrimp on in regard to your health is medical care. No matter what stage of the process you are at.

For example scrimping at the beginning of the process may mean that any medical condition that you have, can go undiagnosed for long time, further damaging your health. Or scrimping on treatment can mean, at best that you are ill for longer, and at worst, put your life at serious risk.

Lastly, even if there’s nothing to be done about the illness you have, you still don’t want to be scrimping on palliative and end of life care. This is because it’s this care that makes you as comfortable as possible in your last days.

Skincare

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Now you may see skin care as a luxury. But you need to be aware that your skin takes a real bashing in modern life. With things like pollution, UVA and UVB rays, and air conditioning making it more susceptible to all sorts of problems.

That is why smart people choose to invest a little money in their skin care routine. Of course, you don’t have to break the bank and get a $250 pot of face cream. But a decent brand, used regularly every morning and night; should help your skin retain its bounce and clarity.  

Time to relax

Lastly, having down time is something you should not scrimp on. I know that in this hectic modern world, time is money, and it can be hard to take time off work. Let alone get away for a bit. But it really is important to take a break now and again.

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Without this, you aren’t going to be on top of your game, and it could even endanger your position in the long run. So it definitely worth investing a little time and money in a holiday or two.  

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Volkswagen has announced it set aside more than double provisions for the diesel emissions scandal to €16.2 billion.

In 2015, VW told shareholders that €6.7 billion had been set aside for potential costs or recalls.

The increased sum included the cost of fixing cars that violate air pollution standards, buying back vehicles and legal costs.

The move comes as German carmakers agreed to recall 630,000 diesel vehicles to tweak engine software.

German transport minister Alexander Dobrindt said Mercedes Benz, Opel and Porsche as well as VW and Audi would adjust settings that increased levels of emissions such as nitrogen dioxide in some diesel cars.

Shares in Daimler fell 4.6% in Frankfurt after the Mercedes owner said it had begun an internal investigation into its diesel emissions testing at the request of the US Justice Department.VW buy back deal US

Daimler said net profit for Q1 of 2016 fell by a third to €1.4 billion, held back by costs associated with the launch of the new E-Class range. The bigger-than-expected decline came despite a 2% rise in revenue to €35 billion as sales rose 7% to 683,885 vehicles.

VW CEO Matthias Muller said he could not put a figure on the total cost of the emissions scandal until a final deal was reached with US authorities.

Nor could the company release preliminary findings from an investigation it commissioned from law firm Jones Day until reaching an agreement, it said.

VW still faced the DoJ fines as part of an expected civil settlement, as well as possible criminal charges.

On April 21, a US court disclosed details of a deal between VW and the DoJ for more than 500,000 American owners of its diesel cars affected by the emissions cheating.

The deal will involve buybacks and “substantial” compensation for owners of mostly two-liter vehicles.

The increased emissions provision pushed VW to an annual pre-tax loss of €1.3 billion, compared with a profit of €14.7 billion the previous year.

VW expected group sales to fall by up to 5% in 2016.

Chief financial officer Frank Witter said: “We are again operating in an exceedingly challenging environment in which global demand for new vehicles is declining, exchange rates and interest rates remain highly volatile and competition in many of our markets is intensifying.”

VW shares closed down 1.7% in Frankfurt on April 22 and are more than 40% lower than at this time last year.

The Keystone XL pipeline maker has asked the US government to put its review of the controversial project on hold.

TransCanada says the pause is necessary while it negotiates with Nebraska over the pipeline’s route through the state.

The move came as a surprise as TransCanada executives have pushed hard to get approval.

Environmental groups oppose the 1,179-mile pipeline, saying it will increase greenhouse gas emissions.

President Barack Obama is expected to reject the project, which has also been undermined by falling oil prices.

On November 2, the White House indicated that it would rule on the project before the end of Barack Obama’s term in office in January 2017.Keystone XL pipeline review suspension

However, a delay to the government review might leave a decision in the hands of President Barack Obama’s successor in the White House.

In February 2015, the newly Republican-led Congress voted to begin construction immediately, but Barack Obama vetoed the bill, saying it undermined the necessary review process.

“Our expectation at this point is that the president will make a decision before the end of his administration on the Keystone pipeline, but when exactly that will be, I don’t know at this point,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters on November 2.

In a statement, TransCanada CEO Russ Girling said: “We are asking [the] State [Department] to pause its review of Keystone XL based on the fact that we have applied to the Nebraska Public Service Commission for approval of its preferred route in the state.”

The Keystone XL pipeline would run from the oil sands in Alberta, Canada, to Steele City, Nebraska, where it could join an existing pipeline.

It could carry 830,000 barrels of oil each day, and provide access to international markets.

Many of North America’s oil refineries are based in the Gulf Coast, and industry groups on both sides of the border want to benefit.

However, environmentalists say the Keystone XL pipeline would boost the emission of greenhouse gases and local community groups are concerned about accidents and pollution.

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Volkswagen will “support” the German transport ministry’s investigation into the automaker’s emissions scandal, CEO Martin Winterkorn has said.

VW shares plunged more than 18% on September 21 after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that some of its cars could manipulate official emissions tests.

The EPA found that software in several diesel cars could deceive regulators.

VW was ordered to recall half a million cars in the US on September 18.

In addition to paying for the recall, VW faces fines that could add up to billions of dollars. There may also be criminal charges for VW executives.

The White House in Washington also reportedly said it was “quite concerned” about VW’s conduct.

Martin Winterkorn apologized after the scandal emerged.VW emissions scandal Martin Winterkorn

“I personally am deeply sorry that we have broken the trust of our customers and the public,” he said.

He has launched an investigation into the software that allowed VW cars to emit less during tests than they would while driving normally.

The EPA found the “defeat device” in diesel cars including the Audi A3 and the VW Jetta, Beetle, Golf and Passat models.

VW has stopped selling the relevant diesel models in the US, where diesel cars account for about a quarter of sales.

The EPA said that the fine for each vehicle that did not comply with federal clean air rules would be up to $37,500. With 482,000 cars sold since 2008 involved in the allegations, it means the fines could reach $18 billion.

Volkswagen has ordered an external investigation, although it has not revealed who will be conducting it.

“We do not and will not tolerate violations of any kind of our internal rules or of the law,” Martin Winterkorn said.

The scandal comes five months after former VW chairman Ferdinand Piech left the company following disagreements with Martin Winterkorn.

“This disaster is beyond all expectations,” Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, head of the Centre of Automotive Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen, said.

The VW board is due to meet on September 25 to decide whether to renew Martin Winterkorn’s contract until 2018, and some analysts speculated he may be on his way out.

VW had been promoting its diesel cars in the US as being better for the environment.

Class action law firm Hagens Berman is launching a suit against VW on behalf of people who bought the relevant cars.

“While Volkswagen tells consumers that its diesel cars meet California emissions standards, vehicle owners are duped into paying for vehicles that do not meet this standard and unknowingly pay more for quality they never receive,” Hagens Berman alleged.

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Volkswagen has been ordered by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to recall half a million cars because of a device that disguises pollution levels.

The “defeat device” allows cars to pass lab testing even though they actually emit 40 times the emissions standard.

The EPA has been taking a more aggressive stance on car pollution and violations of the Clean Air Act.

The recall could cost Volkswagen up to $18 billion.Volkswagen pollution recall

It affects 2009-2014 Jettas, Beetles, Audi A3s and Golfs and 2014-2015 Passats.

“Using a defeat device in cars to evade clean air standards is illegal and a threat to public health,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.

The illegal system allowed cars to detect when they were undergoing smog emission test and lowered the rate of pollution. Those emission controls were then turned off during ordinary use.

The state of California which assisted in the investigation has also issued a notice of violation to Volkswagen.

In 2014 the EPA fined Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors $300 million for misrepresenting the fuel economy in 1.2 million of their cars. That settlement is the highest to date.

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Colorado’s Animas River turned mustard yellow as a toxic leak of wastewater is three times larger than officials had originally estimated.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) now says that three million gallons of wastewater spilled from an abandoned mine last week.

The EPA does not believe wildlife is in significant danger because the sludge moved so quickly downstream.

Photo Durango Herald

Photo Durango Herald

Local authorities took steps to protect drinking water supplies and farms.

The spill began on August 5 when EPA workers, who were cleaning up the closed Gold King Mine, accidentally sent the toxic water flowing into a tributary of the Animas River.

The Animas River has been closed and local officials have advised people to stay out of the water.

The EPA is meeting with Colorado residents this week and testing local wells for contamination. More than 1,000 wells may have been contaminated.

“We’re going to continue to work until this is cleaned up and hold ourselves to the same standards that we would anyone that would have created this situation,” Shaun McGrath, an EPA official, told residents at one of the community meetings, according the New York Times.

Some residents derided the agency, calling it the “Environmental Pollution Agency”.

The EPA is still investigating the health effects of the leak, which included heavy metals including lead and arsenic.

The discolored water, which is now beginning to dissipate, stretched more than 100 miles into neighboring New Mexico.

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Tens of thousands of Italians have protested in Naples against illegal dumping of toxic waste blamed on the local mafia.

Demonstrators carried photos of relatives who they said had died of cancer as a result of the pollution.

Locals call the area between Naples and Caserta the “Triangle of Death” because of toxic fumes after waste burning.

Some 10 million tonnes of industrial waste has reportedly been dumped in the region over the past 20 years.

Tens of thousands of Italians have protested in Naples against illegal dumping of toxic waste blamed on the local mafia

Tens of thousands of Italians have protested in Naples against illegal dumping of toxic waste blamed on the local mafia

Environmental group Legambiente, which organized Saturday’s protest, said nearly 440 businesses in central and northern Italy had been taking part in the illegal activity.

“It is essential that in addition to waste we find also the truth about who is responsible,” Legambiente’s director Rossella Muroni was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.

The demonstrators also demanded an immediate clean-up of the contaminated land.

As more and more illegal dumps are found, the Italian government says it is starting an extensive project of cleaning the contaminated area.

The local mafia, the Camorra, is suspected of securing lucrative contracts to dispose of waste and then dumping much of it illegally.

Two decades ago doctors noticed that incidences of cancer in towns around Naples were on the rise.

Since then, the number of tumors found in women has risen by 40%, and those in men by 47%.

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