Welcome to Thursday, where double vaccination is found to halve the chances of long COVID, a near-total abortion ban comes into effect in Texas and Brussels doctors know what's good for you (it's not sprouts). French daily Les Echos also *dives* deep to see if the miraculous powers of algae can save our lives and the planet.
• COVID-19 update: Full vaccination nearly halves chance of long COVID, a new study conducted in the UK finds. Meanwhile, Taiwan receives its first shipment of Pfizer vaccines organized by two tech giants and a charity following diplomatic pressure from China, and Australian doctors warn the country's hospitals are not ready to cope with the government's reopening plans.
• Texas abortion ban comes into effect: The U.S. Supreme Court has denied a last-minute motion to block a law in Texas that bans women from aborting after six weeks of pregnancy. The decision means that a near-total ban on the procedure has come into effect in Texas on Wednesday — a first in the country since the landmark 1972 Roe v. Wade ruling.
• New York & New Jersey floods kill at least 9: The governors of New York and New Jersey have declared a state of emergency following record-breaking rains from tropical storm Ida which have killed at least 9 people.
• Taliban to reveal new government: Two weeks after capturing Kabul and just days after the last U.S. troops left Afghanistan after 20 years of military presence, Taliban forces are preparing to announce the composition of its new government. The Islamist group's Supreme Leader Haibatullah Akhundzada will likely hold ultimate power.
• Danish ex-immigration minister faces historic impeachment trial: Danish former immigration minister Inger Stojberg goes on trial on charges of illegally separating asylum-seeking couples where one partner was a minor in 2016. A rare impeachment court will decide whether the ex minister violated the European Convention on Human Rights.
• Zorba the Greek composer dies at 96: Renowned Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis, also a leading figure of resistance to Greece's military junta of the 1970s, has died at the age of 96.
• Brussels doctors to prescribe museum visits: Patients treated for stress in one the largest hospitals in the Belgian capital will be offered free visits to public museums as part of a trial study to rebuild mental health amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Texan daily San Antonio Express News reports on the near-total ban on abortion which has taken effect in the U.S. state after the Supreme Court refused to block the new law. The Heartbeat Act would only allow terminations in the first six weeks of pregnancy, which abortion rights activists point out is a period during which the majority of women do not even know they are pregnant.
Seeing green: How algae can change our diets, health and the climate
Algae could bring solutions to major challenges such as carbon sequestration and world hunger, provided we succeed in building an industrial sector, reports Stefano Lupieri in Paris-based daily Les Echos.
💄 The potential of algae is not new. After having extracted sodium bicarbonate and iodine for a long time, France's coastal Brittany region has used algae since the 1960s for their alginates, the complex sugars that form their extracellular membrane. Alginates are used as texturizers or gelling agents in the food and hygiene-beauty industries. In the 1970s and '80s, the sector experienced a first boom in cosmetic uses. But it is mainly as biofuels that these marine plants rich in oils have raised the most hopes.
🏭 Today, it is estimated that there are several tens of thousands of species of macroalgae present in nature and several hundred thousand species of microalgae in fresh or saltwater. But only a very small number of them have been studied. And we exploit even less. One of the first challenges to go to an industrial scale is to be able to cultivate them. In Asia, where they are consumed fresh, we know how to produce them in mass. In fact, 96% of the 36 million tons cultivated each year are grown on this continent.
🥚 A number of start-ups are increasingly betting on specialized applications, both in macro and microalgae. The company Eranova has set its sights on the packaging plastics market for the food and cosmetics industry while Algama, for its part, is digging into the food sector. Until now, seaweed was consumed either as a condiment for salads or pasta, as a powder in chips or bread or as a texturizer, for example in ham. But this start-up has found a way to make a microalgae-based powder that can replace eggs in the manufacturing of mayonnaise, buns or cookies.
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51 million euros
Germany's central bank offices have received an unusually messy deposit after the floods that plagued the country in July. The Bundesbank, the central government bank, announced that it had been inundated with citizens who provided bank notes soaked in floodwater and contaminated with oil, sewage and mud. People can exchange these damaged notes for fresh ones without charge.
I'm not closing the count just yet.
— Portugal's soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo hinted that he has no intention of retiring in the near future, after he broke the all-time record for goals scored in men's international football by hitting his 110th and 111th goals for Portugal in a World Cup qualifying win against the Republic of Ireland. With this year's Euro 2020, the 36-year-old striker became the first player to feature in five European Championships.