In Hawaii, where civil unions become legal today. Apart from being a breakthrough for gay rights in America's 50th state, it's good news for anyone planning to get married in a loud shirt on the beach. Which, thanks to a new EU directive, can no longer be kept in barren battery cages. But "enriched" battery cages are still legal — giving each bird an area the size of a piece of A4 paper. It's the year of the celebribaby.
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She'll be followed by actress Jennifer Garner. Even Hilary Duff is, er, living up to her name. The British Army begins withdrawing troops from Germany. Pets entering the UK will no longer have to undergo six months of quarantine, though all need to be microchipped. As European Football Championships kick off jointly in Poland and Ukraine, Germany will host Europeada, a parallel tournament for "autochthonous, national minorities".
It's going to be longer than usual, as it's a leap year, so there's an extra 24 hours at the end of February. Hollywood has finally run out of ideas, so it's going back to the Nineties. Foreigners will be banned from coffee shops in southern Holland from May in an effort to stop "cannabis tourism". The analogue television signal will be switched off on 24 October. You'll have to buy a flat-screen, and find out how lifeless digital TV actually is.
Annual rail fare rises of up to 6 per cent take effect from today. We're paying more, while the service stays the same. From 6 April, booze outlets in England and Wales will not be able to sell alcohol for less than the tax paid on it. Research from the university of the bleeding obvious has shown boys fare worse in GCSEs when there's a major football tournament on.
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Nine in 10 teenagers in Kenya, Mexico, China, Nigeria, and India reported feeling positive about their future. The world passed 1, GW of cumulative installed wind and solar power this year. Future Crunch. Solar and wind continued their precipitous cost declines. Repsol became the first major fossil fuels producer to say it would no longer be seeking new growth for oil and gas. IPS News. The United States set a new record for coal plant closures this year, with 22 plants in 14 states totalling Clean Technica. It plans to add GW of wind and solar in the next four years.
Spain committed to shutting down most of its coalmines by the end of the year, after the government agreed to early retirement for miners, re-skilling, and environmental restoration.
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Ethiopia and Eritrea signed a peace treaty, signaling the end of a year war, and reuniting thousands of families. Malaysia abolished the death penalty for all crimes and halted all pending executions, a move hailed by human rights groups in Asia as a major victory. Honduras had the highest homicide rate in the world in Murders have decreased by half since then, more than any other nation. Crime falls when you take in millions of refugees too.
The Washington Post. Worried about the kids? Youth crime in the Australian state of New South Wales has plummeted in the last 20 years. Still worried about the kids? According to new data from the Department of Justice, the proportion of people being sent to prison in the United States has fallen to its lowest level in 20 years.
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Damn those pesky millenials. Germany announced one of the most ambitious waste management schemes in history. Denmark became the latest country to announce a ban on internal combustion engines. There are now 16 countries with bans that come into effect before —including China and India, the two biggest car markets in the world.
In , the world surpassed the four million mark for electric vehicles. Adidas expects to sell five million pairs of shoes made from ocean plastic this year, and committed to using only recycled plastic in its products by Four years ago, China declared a war on pollution. The New York Times. It will come into effect in As of the end of , at least 32 countries around the world now have plastic bag bans in place—and nearly half are in Africa.
The Indian Express. Oh, and three years after India made it compulsory to use plastic waste in road construction, there are now , kilometers of plastic roads in the country. Four years after imposing a 5p levy, the United Kingdom said it had used nine billion fewer plastic bags, and the number being found on the seabed has plummeted. NY Post. Credit: Oregon State University via Flickr. So presumably no living whales remembered how to get to New Zealand from their sub-Antarctic feeding grounds. Yet some whales are finding their way home again.
Prior to whaling, 30, whales bred in the sandy bays of Kiwi Land. A few dozen have returned since , hopefully the pioneers of a new wave. Credit: Tamar Assaf via Wikimedia Commons. Charts and maps here.