Top Stories

March 07, 2022


Inditex, Paypal, Samsung suspend business in Russia over Ukraine

Inditex, Paypal and Samsung are the latest international firms to suspend trading in Russia after its invasion of Ukraine. Clothes retailer owner Inditex has announced it will shut all 502 stores of its eight brands, including Zara, Bershka, Stradivarius and Oysho. Inditex said it is drawing up plans to support its more than 9,000 employees in Russia who are expected to be affected by the store closures. Payment giant Paypal cited “violent military aggression in Ukraine” as justification for terminating business activity in Russia, stating that it would support withdrawals “for a period of time” to ensure that account balances were aligned with regulations. In addition, electronics company Samsung, Russia’s top supplier of smartphones, is suspending all shipments to Russia over what it calls “geopolitical developments”. (BBC News)


Corporate tree-planting drive in Scotland ‘risks widening rural inequality’

New analysis has found that corporate activity to plant forests in the Scottish Highlands to offset emissions, risks exacerbating rural inequalities. Analysis by land reform body Community Land Scotland has found that estate sales to cash-rich investors, such as Aviva, Standard Life and BrewDog, have driven up land prices and increased land scarcity, while aiming to limit climate heating. Author of the report John Hollingdale argues that stricter rules on land ownership are needed to ensure the incentives to meet government forestry and net-zero targets have the widest public benefit. An increase in natural capital investment – buying land for forestry, peatland restoration and woodland creation to offset carbon emissions – has led to land prices more than doubling in some areas of Scotland as competition for upland estates and farmland intensifies. (The Guardian)


UK lacks “credible plans” to drive net-zero transition, Lords report warns

A study by the House of Lords Industry and Regulators Committee expects that the UK will miss its net-zero carbon targets. The study stipulates that the government has failed to introduce “credible plans” to drive investment in alternative technologies, such as heat pumps, and argues that Ministers have not yet explained how the transition will be funded or what policies and financial incentives they will use to deliver on their targets to reduce emissions. The report urges the government to review its opposition to the use of state borrowing, warning that the amount that can realistically be raised via surcharges on energy bills will not pay for the net-zero transition. The committee also cautions that adding transition costs onto energy bills will place unfair pressure on consumers and low-income groups. (Financial Times)*


China to build 450 GW of solar and wind power capacity on Gobi Desert

China plans to build 450 gigawatts (GW) of solar and wind power generation capacity on the Gobi and other desert regions. Authorities said the plans were part of its effort to boost renewable power use to meet climate change goals. President Xi Jinping has pledged to bring China’s total wind and solar capacity to at least 1,200 GW and to cap its carbon emissions to a peak by 2030. The construction of 100 GW of solar power capacity is already underway in the desert area. Authorities said the country will leverage its coal-fired power plants to support the operation of grid systems amid large scale renewable power installation, including generating a stable baseload power supply as renewable power production fluctuates with changing weather conditions. (Reuters)


UN Human Rights Council to investigate alleged Russian rights violations

The UN Human Rights Council has condemned alleged human rights abuses by Russia amid its ongoing invasion of Ukraine. The Council has agreed to set up a commission to investigate the abuses, including possible war crimes. Thirty-two of the council’s 47 members voted to establish the highest-level probe possible in a bid to hold perpetrators responsible. Only Russia itself and Eritrea voted against, with 13 countries abstaining, including China, Venezuela and Cuba. The council cannot make legally binding decisions, but its decisions send important diplomatic messages and can authorise investigations. The commission, set up for an initial period of one year and tasked with producing a report by 2023, will work alongside a large existing UN rights team for Ukraine which has 60 members. (Al Jazeera)

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