Connect with us

Global News

After 40 Days in a Bomb Shelter, Two Ukrainian Refugees and 17 Dogs Are Ready to Start a New Life in Poland

Carlos Lawson




When CNN Hero Aaron Jackson welcomed the first group of dogs from Ukraine to the abandoned animal shelter he’s reopened in Poland, he also took in two refugees who shared an amazing story of survival.

Jackson, the founder of the non-profit Planting Peace, traveled from his Florida home to Poland shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine. He estimates that he has helped find housing for some 300 refugees, including many dog owners who struggled to stay with their pets.

“If you were walking through the camps, there were just so many refugees that had brought their dogs over. And that only makes sense. It’s an extension of their family,” Jackson told CNN

Jackson learned that dogs coming from Ukraine had not been allowed to mix with local dogs in Polish shelters due to concerns about disease. So, he recently found an animal shelter sitting empty in the city of Poznan and received permission to take it over.

An overwhelmed rescue organization in Ukraine was the first to send dogs to Jackson’s shelter. A van carrying 17 dogs arrived, along with two refugees, Valerie Liscratenko and her mother, Liliana.

“When they came to us, all I knew was that they had no money and nowhere to go,” Jackson said. “And I could see right away that they were good with dogs. … I couldn’t help but notice that all the dogs really loved (them).”

He later learned that the two women spent 40 days in a Ukrainian bomb shelter caring for these dogs.

“The dogs helped (them) get through the worst 40 days of (their lives), and (they) helped get those dogs through the worst 40 days of their lives,” Jackson said.

Through a translator, Liscratenko told CNN that she and her mother have a love for dogs in their blood. Since she was young, they had puppies at home and her mother would sometimes bring home stray dogs to provide food and medical care.

The day before the war started, they moved into the bomb shelter with the puppies in their care and secured some older dogs in the nearby factory where Liscratenko worked as a guard.

They would run back and forth from the shelter to the factory to feed them. But when the shelling got too intense to keep making the trip, they decided to bring the rest of the dogs to the bomb shelter.

Liscratenko said she and her mother waited for the right moment one morning – after the overnight curfew ended and before the shelling usually began – to make their final factory run. They found some dogs were too sick or injured to come with them, but they rounded up all the dogs they could and ran them back to the bomb shelter. She said after they reached safety, a bomb exploded right where they had been running.

They did not want to leave the bomb shelter, but on May 4, Liscratenko decided to go when the drinking water became contaminated, and the people and dogs there began to get sick.

They found an animal shelter in Ukraine, and the people working there had seen Jackson’s social media posts about taking in dogs coming across the border. So, they reached out to him and arranged travel for the Liscratenkos to accompany the dogs to Poland.

When Liscratenko and her mother arrived at Planting Peace’s animal shelter in Poland, Jackson said he could tell they were nervous and scared.

“They didn’t know Planting Peace … they’re in a new country. They don’t speak the language. We don’t speak their language,” he said.

As refugees, Jackson said Planting Peace would have helped the Liscratenkos anyway, but because they were so great with the dogs and had a strong connection with them, he hired them to work at the shelter.

“They know these dogs incredibly well. So, they were able to pass this knowledge on to the vet … ‘this dog hasn’t been eating, this dog hasn’t been drinking.’ So, this was, obviously, incredibly valuable,” he said.

Liscratenko calls the dogs her children and says they had been through hell together and have reached paradise. She says that the people at the shelter do not all speak the same language but understand each other because it’s love that unites us.

Read More


Global News

COVID-19 Deaths Rise, Reversing a 5-Week Decline, WHO Says

Carlos Lawson



GENEVA — After five weeks of declining coronavirus deaths, the number of fatalities reported globally increased by 4% last week, according to the World Health Organization.

In its weekly assessment of the pandemic issued on Thursday, the U.N. health agency said there were 8,700 COVID-19 deaths last week, with a 21% jump in the Americas and a 17% increase in the Western Pacific.

WHO said coronavirus cases continued to fall, with about 3.2 million new cases reported last week, extending a decline in COVID-19 infections since the peak in January. Still, there were significant spikes of infection in some regions, with the Middle East and Southeast Asia reporting increases of 58% and 33% respectively.

Read More: Hit Hard By COVID-19, Black Americans Share Their Grief

“Because many countries have reduced surveillance and testing, we know this number is under-reported,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said earlier this week. He said there was “no acceptable level of deaths from COVID-19,” given that the global community now has the vaccines, medicines and diagnostics to stop the virus.

While many rich countries in Europe and North America have mostly dropped their virus restrictions, China’s extreme COVID-19 policies have meant more mass testing, quarantines and sequestering of anyone who was in contact with a case.

China’s capital put school back online this week in one of its major districts amid a new COVID-19 outbreak linked to a nightclub. Residents in Beijing are still undergoing regular testing — mostly every other day — and must wear masks and swipe a mobile phone app to enter public places and facilitate case tracing.

China has maintained its “zero-COVID” policy despite considerable economic costs and an assertion from the head of the World Health Organization that the policy isn’t sustainable.

Read More: The Rising Costs of China’s Zero-COVID Policy

This week, U.S. officials moved a step closer to authorizing coronavirus vaccines for the youngest children, after the Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine advisers gave a thumbs-up to vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech for children under 5.

The outside experts voted unanimously that the benefits of the shots outweigh any risks for children under 5 — that’s roughly 18 million youngsters. They are the last age group in the U.S. without access to COVID-19 vaccines, and many parents have been anxious to protect their little children.

If all the regulatory steps are cleared, shots should be available next week.

More Must-Read Stories From TIME

The Big Business of Being a Peloton Instructor How the ‘MAGA Squad’ Is Building Power to Control the Next Congress A New Test Can Help Reveal If You’re Immune to COVID-19 On the Campaign Trail With Marjorie Taylor Greene Column: Coming Out to My Kid Helped Me Come Out to Myself Joe Neguse Didn’t Come to Congress to Fight Wildfires. Climate Change Had Other Plans A Strawberry Moon Is Coming. Why the Rare Astrological Event Is So Exciting Hit Hard By COVID-19, Black Americans Share Their Grief

Read More

Original Post:

Continue Reading

Global News

Homes Made From Straw or Fungi Can Now Get You a Cheaper Mortgage in the Netherlands

Carlos Lawson



Lots of things can affect the interest rate you pay on your mortgage: your deposit amount, the state of the economy, your credit score. Now, there’s a new factor for Dutch homebuyers: what your home is made of.

This month Triodos, a Netherlands-headquartered bank, launched what it calls a “bio-based mortgage.” Customers who buy or build homes made from natural materials like wood, flax, straw, and even fungi will pay lower interest rates than those who use other materials. The aim, Triodos says, is to stimulate the use of those plant-based substances in construction because they produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions than conventional steel, concrete, and cement.

This isn’t the first time a bank has tied interest rates to the environmental performance of buildings. In recent years, as the fight against climate change has gathered pace and banks have sought to bolster green credentials, the market for energy efficiency mortgages has expanded rapidly. These so-called “green mortgages” charge lower interest rates for homes that need less energy to run because they are well insulated or use technology to control energy use. The logic is two-fold: First, homeowners who pay less for energy will have more money to pay their mortgages, and are therefore a safer bet for banks. Second, offering cheaper mortgages for more energy efficient homes makes them more desirable and encourages developers to build them, which generates housing stock that produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

Since the 1990s, state and local governments in the U.S. have also facilitated a series of energy efficient mortgage programs, in which homebuyers can borrow extra money to cover the cost of energy efficiency retrofits. In the Netherlands, Triodos offered the country’s first energy efficiency mortgage in 2012, and in 2020 the bank stopped offering full mortgages on all buildings with low energy efficiency ratings.

But climate advocates say focusing only on reducing energy use in homes ignores a big part of the carbon footprint of buildings. Before you even get the keys to your home, huge quantities of planet-warming pollution have already been pumped into the atmosphere to produce and assemble the building materials. Those emissions from the construction industry are known as “embodied” or “embedded” carbon. They make up a staggering 11% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to the World Green Building Council.

In the Netherlands, tackling embodied carbon is a particularly hot topic. Because the country has already gotten good at building well-insulated buildings powered by renewable energy, the carbon emitted during construction accounts for a larger share of a building’s lifetime footprint than in the rest of Europe–as much as 90%, according to Triodos.

The plant-based construction methods encouraged by Triodos’ new mortgage are one option for reducing emissions from construction: where steel factories emit large amounts of carbon dioxide to produce the metal, for example, plants absorb carbon dioxide as they grow, and materials made from them can store it for hundreds of years, if treated properly. Wood is the most popular bio-based option, but engineers have also developed new materials such as bricks made from algae and foams made from fungi.

A 2020 study in IOPScience by researchers in Finland found that, in a scenario where the percentage of new buildings in Europe made from wood increased from 10% in 2020 to 80% by 2040, and if wood was used in more building elements than it currently is, 0.42 gigatonnes of carbon could be removed from the atmosphere over that 20 year period–about a fifth of the E.U.’s emissions for 2020. At the same time, thousands of metric tons of carbon dioxide that would be generated by producing steel and concrete would be avoided.

In the U.S., some have raised concerns about using already-popular traditional wooden methods for homes in wildfire-prone areas. But wood advocates say that newer forms of the material, such as cross-laminated timber, perform well in fires, and that creating a larger market for timber for building would actually improve forest management and reduce fire risk.

The push to expand the use of plant-based materials is gaining traction in the U.S. In June, the Department of Energy announced $39 million in grants for companies producing bio-based carbon-absorbing building materials. “There’s huge, untapped potential in reimagining building materials and construction techniques as carbon sinks,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm.

In the Netherlands, meanwhile, Triodos estimates that only around 1 or 2% of buildings are made from bio-based materials. But government initiatives already aim to increase that number; officials in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area struck a deal to make sure one in five new-build homes are made from wood by 2025.

To verify the bio credentials of buildings it lends on, Triodos will use environmental performance scores given to all new buildings under Dutch law, allowing the bank to give them a rating between G and A++++, before factoring in a separate measurement on the carbon storage of a building’s materials calculated by their partner Alba Concepts, a real estate consultant. Buildings rated A++++ qualify for a rate 0.15% lower than buildings rated B. And buildings rated A++++ that also use plant-based materials qualify for a further 0.15% rate discount, giving them a rate 0.3% lower than conventional buildings rated B.

More Must-Read Stories From TIME

The Big Business of Being a Peloton Instructor How the ‘MAGA Squad’ Is Building Power to Control the Next Congress A New Test Can Help Reveal If You’re Immune to COVID-19 On the Campaign Trail With Marjorie Taylor Greene Column: Coming Out to My Kid Helped Me Come Out to Myself Joe Neguse Didn’t Come to Congress to Fight Wildfires. Climate Change Had Other Plans A Strawberry Moon Is Coming. Why the Rare Astrological Event Is So Exciting Hit Hard By COVID-19, Black Americans Share Their Grief

Read More


Continue Reading

Global News

Here’s All the World Leaders Who Have Visited Ukraine

Carlos Lawson



Four European leaders became the latest heads of state to visit Ukraine Thursday as it continues to fend off Russian forces that have recently made significant advances in the country’s southern and eastern regions.

French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis arrived in Kyiv amid the country’s bid for E.U. candidate status and a request from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for more arms. “We all four support providing Ukraine E.U. candidacy status,” Macron said after a joint meeting with Zelensky.

Zelensky has previously criticized France, Germany, and Italy for being restrained in their support for Ukraine. He has also previously accused Macron for trying “in vain” to negotiate with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Read more: TIME’s Interview with Volodymyr Zelensky

The visit comes as the European Commission weighs as early as Friday whether to recommend granting Ukraine official E.U. candidate status; doing so would require unanimous approval from all 27 E.U. nations. The European Commission is expected to back Ukraine’s bid for E.U. candidate status but experts say it will take years for Ukraine to meet membership criteria.

Below, a list of world leaders who have visited Ukraine since the war began:

French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron

Macron promised Thursday that France would be sending six more truck-mounted artillery guns, the Associated Press reported.

Macron had recently spoken in support of Ukraine’s attempts to secure E.U. candidate status. “I want us to send a clear and positive signal, but we have to build unanimity among E.U. members,” he said Wednesday. But he also added, “If we applied normal rules, we would not grant [E.U. candidate status]. It’s the context of war that makes us consider this move.”

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz

Scholz has been outspoken in his support for Ukraine’s E.U. candidate status bid. “We came to #Kyiv today with a clear message: Ukraine belongs to the European family. Germany wants a positive decision in favor of Ukraine as a #EU candidate country,” he tweeted Thursday.

Germany has been skeptical about E.U. membership for Ukraine. “Ukraine is an integral part of Europe, I wish that we will find a strong and convincing answer to your desire to join–even if there can be no shortcut on the way to full E.U. membership,” said Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock in May.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi

“The biggest message we want to send in this trip is that Italy wants Ukraine in the E.U.,” Draghi said Thursday, according to Bloomberg News. “Italy, France, and Germany are here to give unconditional support to Ukraine.”

Read more: The Ukraine War Is Becoming Putin’s Vietnam

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a surprise visit to Kyiv in April amid promises of more military aid. “The U.K. will send more defensive weapons to Ukraine and will work with G7 partners to target every pillar of the Russian economy to ensure Putin fails,” he tweeted shortly after the visit.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited Ukraine on May 8 and discussed getting additional humanitarian, financial, and military assistance from the international community. “As Russia continues its ongoing illegal and unjustifiable war against Ukraine, Canada will continue to be there to support Ukraine and its people,” Trudeau said in a statement.

Other world leaders who visited Ukraine

The prime ministers of Poland, Czech Republic, and Slovenia were the first Western leaders to visit Ukraine on Mar. 15. Presidents from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland visited Kyiv on Apr. 13 to meet with Zelensky to rally for military support from the international community and condemn Russia. “This is not war, this is terrorism,” Polish President Andrzej Duda said at a news conference, Reuters reported.

Notable absences

U.S. President Joe Biden’s decision to not visit Ukraine since the war broke out has drawn scrutiny. (First Lady Jill Biden made a surprise visit last month.) The White House has previously cited security concerns as the main deterrent. The U.S. announced Wednesday that it would be sending an additional $1 billion in military aid.

Read more: Ukraine Won’t Get Key Weapons From Biden’s Latest $1 Billion Aid Package For Months

More Must-Read Stories From TIME

The Big Business of Being a Peloton Instructor How the ‘MAGA Squad’ Is Building Power to Control the Next Congress A New Test Can Help Reveal If You’re Immune to COVID-19 On the Campaign Trail With Marjorie Taylor Greene Column: Coming Out to My Kid Helped Me Come Out to Myself Joe Neguse Didn’t Come to Congress to Fight Wildfires. Climate Change Had Other Plans A Strawberry Moon Is Coming. Why the Rare Astrological Event Is So Exciting Hit Hard By COVID-19, Black Americans Share Their Grief

Read More

Source Here:

Continue Reading