by Tom Bosschaert

June 3, 2014

Tom Bosschaert

New antibiotics might divert threat of multiresistant bacteria, great footage of a rare supercell thunderstorm, and China establishes their first environmental court. Read all about it in this Wormfood.

Science, Tech & Design: New antibiotics might solve problem of multi-resistant bacteria

  • Danish scientists are developing a brand new class of antibiotics that hopefully will put an end to the progression of multi-resistant bacteria. The new class of antibiotics consists of tiny protein fragments called peptides that rip the outer shell of the bacteria apart. Bacteria are not able to develop resistance to the peptides the way they do to existing antibiotics.

  • Artist Gregory Kloehn repurposes trash into houses for the homeless. As the founder of the ‘homeless homes project‘ — a community driven initiative — Kloehn has realized a low-cost, practical and imaginative solution for the construction of habitable shelters for those living on the streets.

Global News: Big ten food companies amongst world's worst polluters

  • If the ten largest food and beverage companies were a single country, it would be the 25th most polluting country in the world, according to a recent report by Oxfam. The companies are Associated British Foods, Coca-Cola, Danone, General Mills, Kellogg, Mars, Mondelez International, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever. Oxfam recommends them to use their influence to call for urgent climate action from other industries and governments.

  • The Environment minister of Ecuador authorized environmental permits for oil drilling in the Yasuní National Park, one of the most biodiverse places in the world. In August last year, Ecuador announced that it was abandoning its plan to use international funds to leave the oil in the ground in the preserve, citing a lack of necessary funds raised.

Energy & Environment: Australia cuts global warming budget by 92%

  • Australia’s conservative coalition is set to cut more than 90 percent of the funding related to global warming from their budget, from $5.75 billion this year to $500 million, over the next four years. Abbott’s Liberal-National coalition won a landslide victory in Australia’s election last fall. One of the main promises of Abbott’s coalition was to repeal the country’s carbon tax and costly environmental agenda.

  • See the landscape of the Alberta tar sands from 1,000 feet above. “From the aerial view, you can see it at scale,” the photographer MacLean says. “We really had to get up off the ground to see how extensive it is and where it’s happening. Hopefully the pictures, with captions, will expose why this fuel is so carbon intensive and how the extraction process is polluting both the water and air.”

  • A group of storm chasers captured footage of a rare supercell thunderstorm.

Business & Economy: Poverty in Venezuela

  • The number of households living in poverty in Venezuela jumped from 21.2% to 27.3% in one year, based on data disclosed by the National Statistics Institute. The rise in poverty takes place after Venezuela's inflation hit 56% in 2013, which eroded household income, pushing them into poverty. Airlines, such as Alitalia and Air Canada, are suspending their flights to Venezuela “due to the ongoing critical currency situation" in the country," which is "no longer economically sustainable."

  • European Union antitrust regulators charged banks HSBC, JPMorgan and Credit Agricole with rigging financial benchmarks linked to the euro, exposing them to potential fines. U.S. and European regulators have so far handed down some $6 billion in fines to 10 banks and brokerages for rigging the London interbank offered rate (Libor) and its euro cousin Euribor while prosecutors have also charged 16 men with fraud-related offences.

Urban Environment: Bosnia floods create new land mine risk

  • Landslides and mudslides have altered fields of land mines in Bosnia. "All flooded areas have become mine and unexploded ordnance suspected area," says Jasmin Porobic, the United Nations' point person in Bosnia for explosive ordnance destruction.

  • China opened its first environmental court on Friday, state media reported, as the country looks for new ways to tackle crippling air, water and soil pollution. Also, they plan to take five million ageing vehicles off the roads this year to improve air quality.

Unexpected and Intriguing: Priest lovers ask Pope to end celibacy rule

  • 26 Italian women appeal to Pope Francis to end priests' celibacy vow. "We love these men, they love us, and in most cases, despite all efforts to renounce it, one cannot manage to give up such a solid and beautiful bond," according to the women.

  • A Chilean artist burned tuition contracts, freeing students from their debt.

  • Liberal senator Bill Heffernan has taken a mocked-up pipe bomb into the Australian Parliament House to show that their new security arrangements are "a joke".

  • Iran hangs billionaire over $2.6 billion bank fraud.

This bi-weekly digest is assembled from items sent to us by Except members. Have questions, comments, or news items to suggest? E-mail Read past Wormfood global news reports here.

June 3, 2014