Agricultural Researchers Propose Agri-CERN, Europe-Wide Community Of Shared Research And Equipment

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ECOFE (European Consortium for Open Field Experimentation), a network of agricultural resources at various locations around Europe, has been proposed by a group of scientists in order to do for agricultural science what CERN has done for nuclear research.

The organization would be a community of research stations across Europe — from an outpost in Sicily to a field in Scotland. Among the benefits looked forward to by the researchers behind the project are the ability to study a wide range of soil properties, atmospheric conditions, and temperatures, and, prospectively, the ability to finance more expensive equipment, which would be shared.

For example, open-field installations that allow researchers to study the effects of artificially elevated levels of carbon dioxide, would be a shared cost and a shared tool.

“Present field research facilities are aimed at making regional agriculture prosperous,” said co-author Hartmut Stützel of Leibniz Universität Hannover in Germany. “To us, it is obvious that the ‘challenges’ of the 21st century–productivity increase, climate change, and environmental sustainability–will require more advanced research infrastructures covering a wider range of environments.”

The benefits of community research are also associated with potential downsides: researchers would have to sacrifice some of their scientific autonomy in order to focus on targeted research goals.

“It will be a rather new paradigm for many traditional scientists,” said Stützel but I think the communities are ready to accept this challenge and understand that research in the 21st century requires these types of infrastructures. We must now try to make political decision makers aware that a speedy implementation of a network for open field experimentation is fundamental for future agricultural research.

The report is titled “The Future of Field Trials in Europe: Establishing a Network Beyond Boundaries.” It was completed by Drs. Stutzel, Nicolas Bruggermann, and Dirk Inze, and was published in the journal Cell.

By Andy Stern

Ethiopian government allows seven international media outlets to report in the Tigray region

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ADDIS ABABA – The Ethiopian government has given permission to seven international media outlets, including the BBC, Reuters and Al Jazeera, to report on the situation in Tigray.

The government said in a statement that it was concerned about the baseless and politically motivated information being spread about the situation in Tigray State.

Additionally, of the 135 international organizations that have applied for humanitarian assistance in the region, 29 are said to be already operating there.

Meanwhile, the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPC) announced that the power supply that was cut off was due to the attack on the main power transmission line in Tigray State and has since been restored. Electricity has been cut off across the region for more than a week.

According to the government, electricity was cut off by TPLF militants during an attack on a high-voltage transmission line from Alamata-Mehoni-Mekele in the area known as Adigudom.

EEPC announced that power supply repairs were successfully completed in days following the power outage in the region.

By Henok Alemayehu

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Police rescue 81-year-old monarch from kidnappers as gunmen abduct mother-in-law of business mogul

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OSHODI, Nigeria – Police have rescued 81-year-old monarch Muri Bassey Iyamba from the kidnappers den where he was being held. Iyamba was whisked away from his house on Monday night, and with the intervention of police and some community youths he was rescued around 4 a.m. the next morning.

Meanwhile gunmen in the early hours yesterday stormed Matazu Local Government Area in Katsina State and kidnapped Hajiya Rabi, the mother-in-law of renowned business mogul, Alhaji Dahiru Barau Mangal.

According to a family source in Kano, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the hoodlums arrived in the town around 1 a.m. and went straight to the matrimonial home of Hajiya Rabi, where she was whisked away to an unknown destination.

By Jesutomi Akomolafe

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US Evangelicals raise alarm about “Radicalized Christian Nationalism” in their midst, call for opposition in wake of the Jan 6 insurrection

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More than 100 pastors, ministry and seminary leaders, and other prominent American evangelicals have penned an open letter calling on other Christians to take a public stand: “We recognize that evangelicalism, and white evangelicalism in particular, has been susceptible to the heresy of Christian nationalism because of a long history of faith leaders accommodating white supremacy. We choose to speak out now because we do not want to be quiet accomplices in this ongoing sin.”

Quoting Jesus Christ, the letter says, “No Christian can defend the un-Christlike behavior of those who committed the violence on January 6. Not only was it anti-democratic, but it was also anti-Christian,” urging other evangelical leaders “to boldly make it clear that a commitment to Jesus Christ is incompatible with calls to violence, support of white Christian nationalism, conspiracy theories, and all religious and racial prejudice.”

The progressive evangelical group VoteCommonGood is behind the action.

by Milan Sime Martinic

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Commodity demand growth will go up, due to low-income households and green energy – Goldman Sachs

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Global head of commodities research at Goldman, Jeff Currie, stated his position on the future of the sector this week, citing two big factors why commodities would continue to go up.

One was that while historically stimulus benefited high-income households, current stimulus benefits low-income, who spend a lot more on commodities.

The second factor was the future prospects of oil. Because oil will be less in demand in the future, companies won’t be investing in bringing more oil to the market, even if oil prices rise.

Demand growth for oil, Currie said, would start to slow in 2024-2025 and after 2030 would decline. “What that means, the stimulus effect of all this green spending actually amplifies oil demand,” Curry posited, but, “If we know we have a blueprint for energy transition in the U.S., Europe and China, and the clock is ticking on oil, are you going to invest in long-lived oil production? The answer is ‘no.’ So the only thing you’re going to invest in is short cycle production in the U.S., Middle East and Russia. Everything else is too risky to make investments. The hurdle rate to get investment in this sector is substantially higher than what it was historically.”

Currie saw some potential inflation risk accompanying the demand-pull factors that are driving commodity prices. Commodities prices increases, he said, are in part due to the hedging of bond-holding portfolio managers dealing with inflation possibly creeping up into the 2% range.

By Sid Douglas

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73% drop in migration from Horn of Africa to Gulf countries due to pandemic

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ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia – New data published by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) this week confirms a nearly three-fourths decline in migration from the East and Horn of Africa regions toward Gulf countries through Yemen during 2020.

These findings are especially significant because African migration through Yemen to the Gulf of Arabia has been high for the past four years. Despite reduced arrivals in 2020 — due in part to Coronavirus-related restrictions — risks for migrants increased, with more detentions, exploitation and forced transfers.

Data released by IOM show that the number of migrants crossing via Yemen from the Horn dropped from a high of 138k in 2019 to 37k in 2020. Forced returns from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia were also significantly reduced, passing from nearly 121k Ethiopian migrants in 2019 to 37k in 2020.

Border closures, which have left thousands of workers stranded, resulted in many workers from the East African countries facing exploitation from people smugglers when trying to get home. As of September 2020, some 3,000 migrants were stranded within the East and Horn of Africa, in addition to tens of thousands of other migrants from the region stranded in Yemen.

By Henok Alemayehu

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