Discover the Future of Hearing with Horizon Devices!

Introducing Horizon devices, the revolutionary world's first hearing aids with dual processing. Prepare to experience double the power and double the clarity, bringing you a new dimension of sound quality like never before...

Continue reading...

March 4, 2023

An Unimaginable Tragedy

Rescue workers are searching for survivors after a head-on collision between two trains in central Greece killed dozens of people and left scores injured, raising questions about the country's poor track record of railway safety. The FBI has announced that they believe COVID-19 originated from a Chinese state-controlled lab, and finally, five airlines are suing the Dutch government over plans to reduce the number of flights from Europe's third-busiest airport, Amsterdam Schiphol.

Police and emergency crews, pictured on March 1, 2023 search the debris of a crushed wagon after a deadly train collision in central Greece on Tuesday. - Zekas Leonidas/Eurokinissi/AFP/Getty Images

57 dead as two trains collide in a collision in Greece

A passenger train carrying approximately 350 people crashed into a freight train shortly after departing from Larissa just before midnight on Tuesday. The first four carriages of the passenger train derailed, and the first two caught fire and were "almost completely destroyed," according to Thessaly regional governor Kostas Agorastos. The Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, has attributed the accident to "human error.”

A passenger and freight train collided in a head-on collision close to midnight on Tuesday near the city of Larissa, Greece. Rescuers searched late into the night on Wednesday for survivors amid the mangled, burned-out wrecks of the two trains, with survivors describing the events as "nightmarish seconds".

The death toll of the crash stands at 57, according to Greek coroners.

The collision between the passenger and freight train resulted in two carriages being crushed and a third bursting into flames. The impact was so strong that some passengers were thrown into the air and out of the windows.

Stefanos Gogakos, who was in one of the rear cars, recounted his experience to the state broadcaster ERT, saying "I hit my head on the carriage roof during the jolt." He also reported that the windows shattered, showering people in the carriages with glass.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis called the collision of the passenger train and freight train “a horrific rail accident without precedent in our country,” and pledged a full, independent investigation of the country’s deadliest rail crash in decades.

The route between Thessaloniki and Athens has been plagued by years of safety warnings. Greek railway unions have long complained of slipping safety standards that place both passengers and workers at risk.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Wednesday that “tragic human error” was probably responsible. This announcement caused anger among many Greeks, who saw the crash as ‘an accident waiting to happen’, according to the BBC.

The fire department added that 57 people were still hospitalised, six of them in intensive care, while several people are still missing.

Chinese police stand outside the Wuhan institute of virology - Hector Retamal /AFP/Getty Images

FBI claims Covid-19 originated in a "Chinese state controlled lab"

Once simply labeled as a 'crackpot theory', it has now been called the 'most likely scenario' by FBI Chief Christopher Wray in the search for the Covid-19 origins. Wray has said that the bureau believes Covid-19 most likely originated in a Chinese government-controlled lab, marking the first public confirmation of the FBI's classified judgment of how the pandemic virus emerged.

In an interview with US broadcaster Fox News, FBI Director Christopher Wray stated that the bureau believes Covid-19 most likely originated in a Chinese government-controlled lab, saying that "the FBI has for quite some time now assessed that the origins of the pandemic are most likely a potential lab incident."

The FBI's statement comes in response to the US ambassador for China calling for the country to be “more transparent” about Covid's origins.

While other US government agencies have drawn differing conclusions from the FBI's, with some suggesting that the virus did not start in a lab but instead jumped from animals to humans, the White House has stated that there is no consensus across the US government on the origins.

Despite this, Mr. Wray has accused China of trying to “obstruct” efforts to identify the source of the pandemic, stating that "China has been doing its best to try to thwart and obfuscate."

In turn, Beijing has accused Washington of political manipulation and dismissed the FBI's conclusions as lacking credibility.

Some studies suggest the virus made the leap from animals to humans in Wuhan, China, possibly at the city's seafood and wildlife market.

The market is near a world-leading virus laboratory, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which conducted research into coronaviruses.

In 2021, a team of scientists sent by the World Health Organization on a trip to Wuhan to discover the origins of the virus labeled the lab leak theory as "extremely unlikely."

Despite this, under public scrutiny in recent weeks, the WHO's director-general has since called for a new inquiry into the matter, stating that "all hypotheses remain open and require further study."

Amsterdam Schiphol Airport at sunset - iStock and Getty Images

Five airlines sue Dutch government over planned flight cuts into major airports

Five airlines are taking legal action against the Dutch government's plans to reduce the number of flights departing from Europe's third-busiest airport, Amsterdam Schiphol. The government's decision is based on concerns from local communities about the adverse impact of air travel on noise pollution and the environment.

Five airlines are suing the Dutch government over plans to cut flights from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport due to environmental and noise pollution concerns raised by local communities.

Airlines KLM, Easyjet, Delta, Tui, and Corendon say the plans breach EU and international law.

The cap would reduce the annual number of flights from 500,000 to 440,000.

The government aims to find a balance between the economic benefits of a large airport and maintaining a healthy living environment. One priority is tackling noise pollution.

Global aviation is responsible for 2.4% of global greenhouse gas emissions. These gases contribute to global warming and climate change by warming the atmosphere.

KLM announced its intention to challenge the government's plans on Friday, along with four other airlines. In a statement, the companies expressed confidence in their ability to reduce noise levels and CO2 emissions while continuing to offer a broad range of destinations for millions of passengers and tonnes of cargo to and from Schiphol.

The International Air Transport Association announced they will be supporting the legal action, claiming there has been no "meaningful consultation" with the industry.

A spokesperson for the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure declined to comment on an ongoing case.

The aviation industry globally is wrestling with the challenge of reducing its carbon footprint, including by investing in the development of greener fuels.

"The aviation industry is pursuing a net-zero CO2 emissions goal. This will be achieved primarily through sustainable aviation fuels and new technology. Displacing flights from one airport to another is not going to tackle aviation emissions," an IATA spokesperson told BBC News.

Scientists at the Royal Society recently warned that finding climate-friendly alternatives to jet fuel remains a challenge.

The demand for flights is anticipated to rise, despite the growing concern over the impact of global warming on the planet. Some environmentalists suggest that implementing taxes could be an effective way to discourage frequent flying.

Enjoyed this week's article?

Why not subscribe to get all this direct to your inbox? One email a week, no spam, unsubscribe at any time.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Join our weekly news update. Read our Terms

Enjoyed this article? Share it!