Top Stories

July 25, 2022


Pharma companies begin payment of $26bn opioid settlement

Connecticut has received an initial instalment of $11 million from a landmark $26 billon multistate settlement with pharmaceutical companies Johnson & Johnson, AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson. The four companies were sued for their roles in the opioid crisis. Over the next 18 years, Connecticut will receive $300 million as part of the settlement deal. The settlement funds will be distributed to cities and town authorities directly to be used to finance treatment programmes. Individual towns will receive annual payments, with Waterbury to be paid $73,281. The Mayor of Waterbury said funds will go to a city programme that deploys technicians to overdoses. Greenwich, another affected town, will receive annual payments of $24,819 with town authorities working with the Board of Education to fund programmes to combat opioid addiction. (Maine Public; Patch)


IMF creates first global gender strategy to address inequalities

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has adopted a strategy to better integrate gender policies into its work as global crises have disproportionately affected women and further exacerbated inequalities. The fund will begin implementing the four-pillar strategy immediately, assessing the macroeconomic impact of gender gaps, evaluating the gender-differentiated impact of shocks and policies, and providing tailored policy advice. The gender strategy is designed to empower IMF staff with access to relevant gender-disaggregated data and set up a framework to integrate macro-critical aspects of gender into the IMF’s country work. It will also improve collaboration with the IMF's external partners to benefit from knowledge-sharing and will aim to efficiently use resources allocated to gender through economies of scale and avoiding duplicated efforts. (The National)


Government reveals £3m funding boost for space solar project

The UK government has announced new grant funding for two cutting-edge orbital clean technologies. The Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) confirmed that £3 million of grant funding is to be made available for space-based solar power projects that collect the Sun’s energy using orbiting solar panels before transmitting it for use on Earth. In addition, grant funding will be made available for new weather monitoring sensors to aid more accurate weather forecasts, which are to be put into orbit for the first time as part of a partnership with data and analytics company Spire Global. The Hyperspectral Microwave Sounder, developed by research institute RAL Space, will help meteorological agencies and businesses around the world involved with planning, shipping, and flood warnings. (Business Green)*


DRC to auction oil and gas permits in endangered gorilla habitat

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has announced it will auction oil and gas permits in critically endangered gorilla habitat and the world’s largest tropical peatlands. The sale raises concerns about the credibility of a forest protection deal signed with the country by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson at COP26. The DRC is expanding an auction of oil exploration blocks to include two sites that overlap with Virunga national park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site home to Earth’s last remaining mountain gorillas. The planned sale also includes permits in the Cuvette Centrale tropical peatlands in north-west DRC. The Congo basin is the only major rainforest that sucks in more carbon than it emits. Experts have described it as “the worst place in the world” to explore for fossil fuels. (The Guardian)


Businesses report surge in food waste due to supply chain issues

According to a study commissioned by hospitality company Sodexo, more than 60% of food buyers in the UK have reported an increase in food waste over the last six months. Respondents to the survey cited the current supply chain crisis as the main reason, with more than 35% of respondents admitting to deprioritising food waste as a result. While the study found that 83% of respondents believed they had more resilient supply chains following major disruptions in the pandemic, findings show this has come at the cost of waste targets. Meanwhile, a more positive finding from Sodexo’s study was that 38% of food buyers are moving to diversify their supply chains by working with smaller firms, with 35% looing to source more local, domestic food. (edie)

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