European governments shrinking railways in favour of road-building, report finds
European governments have prioritized road expansion over investment in railways, according to a report from the German think tanks Wuppertal Institute and T3 Transportation. Between 1995 and 2020, the length of motorways in Europe grew by 60% while railways shrank by 6.5%. The EU, Norway, Switzerland, and the UK spent €1.5tn on road extensions between 1995 and 2018, compared to just €0.93tn on rail extensions. The report also found that European governments had closed over 2,500 train stations and 8,523 miles of regional passenger railway lines since the mid-1990s.
US finds debris from F-35 fighter jet, day after it went missing
South China Morning Post
Debris from an F-35 stealth jet that went missing after the pilot ejected has been found in South Carolina, according to the US military. The F-35, which is valued at $80m, disappeared on 28 April and prompted a search operation. The jet was found in Williamsburg County, two hours northeast of Joint Base Charleston. The pilot safely parachuted into a North Charleston neighbourhood. Members of the public were asked to avoid the area as the wreckage was secured. The F-35 is highly coveted by US allies, including Ukraine, for its radar-detection features.
The Portugal trick play that shows the way for World Cup underdogs
Portugal's return to the Rugby World Cup has showcased their unique playing style and identity. Despite their loss to Wales, Portugal's fast and skillful style of play has impressed and entertained fans. Their try against Wales was the first of the tournament for the team and demonstrated their well-worked team performance. Portugal's forwards coach, David Gérard, was credited for his pre-game analysis and planning, which led to the try. Portugal's players were spurred on by the rousing crowd and executed their set-piece play effectively. Portugal's outstanding flanker, Nicolas Martins, played a key role in the team's performance and was involved in bright moments throughout the game. Martins highlighted the importance of smaller nations like Portugal and Uruguay being able to compete against bigger nations, as it adds variety and excitement to the sport. He stressed the need for more opportunities for tier two nations to level the playing field and thrive. In the short term, Portugal will face Georgia in their next pool match and hope to rectify their weaknesses and continue to showcase their strengths.
Belgian school arson linked to anger over sex education programme
A spate of arson attacks against schools in Belgium has been linked to extremist opposition to mandatory sex education lessons, some of which address transgenderism. The Evras programme is designed to provide information on gender identity and sexual orientation to children as young as nine. Islamic groups have claimed the lessons undermine parents' freedom to educate children in accordance with their beliefs. Despite a terror investigation, 1,500 demonstrators, including Muslim and far-right activists, protested against the education outside the central station in Brussels.
No evidence banks are closing accounts due to political beliefs, says UK watchdog
The UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has said there is no evidence to suggest that banks have been closing accounts due to customers' political views. However, the FCA added that more detailed scrutiny is needed, as there are gaps, limitations, and inconsistencies in the data it has received so far. The FCA's investigation was prompted by former Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage's claim that his account at Coutts bank was closed because of his political views. Farage has dismissed the FCA's findings, calling its report a "whitewash and a joke."
Great Britain face Novak Djokovic’s Serbia in Davis Cup quarter-finals
Great Britain has been drawn to play Serbia in the Davis Cup quarter-finals in Malaga. Britain secured their place in the knockout stage by finishing top of qualifying Group B with a thrilling win against France. Defending champions Canada will face Finland, the Czech Republic will play Australia, and the Netherlands will take on Italy. The final eight nations will compete for the 2023 Davis Cup in Malaga from November 21-26. Britain's captain, Leon Smith, is confident that the team can mount a serious challenge to repeat their success of 2015.
France to seek minimum price for flights in Europe
France is seeking support from other European Union (EU) countries for a minimum price on flights within Europe in an effort to reduce the aviation sector's contribution to climate change. The move could impact airlines that offer super-cheap fares, but it may face resistance from EU countries that rely on air transport and have tourism sectors supported by low-cost flights. France aims to open a debate on the fair social and environmental price of a flight ticket, without drastically increasing prices. Some countries such as the Netherlands and Belgium support the idea, but broader support may be challenging to achieve. The proposal could disrupt the business model of carriers like Ryanair, which offers low-cost fares on European routes. Talks on taxing polluting aviation fuel have also stalled among EU countries.
Toronto FC's Victor Vazquez rose up the ranks with Lionel Messi in Spain
The Toronto Star
Toronto FC attacking midfielder Victor Vazquez has praised Lionel Messi as "unstoppable" and "special" ahead of their upcoming match against Inter Miami CF. Vazquez, who played alongside Messi in Barcelona's youth system, described the Argentine star as "smart" and noted that he has been playing at a high level since he was 15 years old. Messi's availability for the match is uncertain due to muscle fatigue that has caused him to miss Miami's last two games. Vazquez and Messi have maintained contact through an occasional Instagram exchange and a WhatsApp group chat with their former Barcelona teammates. Vazquez himself has been limited to substitute appearances since returning from a foot injury in mid-August. Despite his limited playing time, Vazquez remains committed to doing whatever is asked of him. Toronto FC has struggled recently, failing to win back-to-back games in 40 matches and losing their last six away games by a combined score of 17-1. In contrast, Inter Miami CF has been on an impressive run, remaining unbeaten in eight consecutive home games and scoring at least three goals in four of their last five home matches.
Leylah Fernandez tops Mertens, reaches final 16 at Guadalajara Open
Canadian tennis player Leylah Fernandez has advanced to the final 16 at the Guadalajara Open after defeating Elise Mertens of Belgium. Fernandez will face the winner of a match between Madison Keys and Emma Navarro. In women's doubles, Eugenie Bouchard and Maria Fernanda Navarro Olivia lost to Tereza Mihalikova and Xu Yifan, while Gabriela Dabrowski and Erin Routliffe will play later in the day.
Roger Whittaker, whistling balladeer who found global fame, dies at 87
Roger Whittaker, an avuncular singer-songwriter whose soothing baritone, virtuosic whistling and gentle interpretations of pop standards earned him an international following for more than four decades, died Sept. 12 at a hospital near Toulouse, France. He was 87.
Fernandez tips Mertens, reaches final 16 in Mexico
The Globe and Mail
Canadian tennis player Leylah Fernandez has advanced to the final 16 at the Guadalajara Open after defeating Elise Mertens of Belgium. Fernandez will face Emma Navarro of New York in her next match. Fernandez also competed in women's doubles with partner Taylor Townsend, winning their match against Peyton Stearns and Ons Jabeur. Additionally, Canadian player Gabriela Dabrowski and her partner Erin Routliffe won their women's doubles match. However, Eugenie Bouchard and her partner Maria Fernanda Navarro Olivia were defeated in their match.
Rwanda genocide sites, WWI cemeteries added to World Heritage list
UNESCO has added the resting place of the victims of the 1994 Rwanda genocide to its World Heritage list. The sites at Nyamata, Murambi, Gisozi, and Bisesero in Rwanda commemorate the mass killings of mainly Tutsi victims during the genocide. The move is seen as a way to safeguard memory, counter denial, and strengthen genocide prevention efforts globally. The UNESCO World Heritage Committee also added World War I cemeteries in Belgium and France, as well as a former torture centre in Argentina to the list. The Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Poland and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial in Japan are currently the only other memorial sites on the list.
Hong Kong drops to 16th place in global talent ranking, lagging behind Singapore
South China Morning Post
Hong Kong has dropped two places to rank 16th in attracting and fostering talent, trailing regional rival Singapore, with the high cost of living and a brain drain taking a toll on the city, according to a global study by a Swiss-based business school. The report evaluated the performance of 64 jurisdictions in three categories: investment and development, appeal and talent readiness. Within these broad categories are 31 specific indicators, including cost of living, quality of life and judicial systems, as well as the standard of primary, secondary and university education.
Canadian men's soccer team falls 1 spot to No. 44 in latest FIFA rankings
Canada's men's national soccer team dropped one spot to No. 44 in the latest FIFA world rankings. Despite not playing since July, Canada remains third in the CONCACAF region behind the United States and Mexico. Argentina retains the top spot, followed by France, Brazil, England, Belgium, Croatia, and the Netherlands. Canada's highest-ever ranking is No. 33, achieved in February 2022. All three of Canada's opponents at the 2022 World Cup, Argentina, England, and Morocco, are now ranked in the top 13.
Alzheimer: Mystery of dying brain cells solved
Researchers from the Dementia Research Institute at the University College London and KU Leuven in Belgium have discovered a possible explanation as to why brain cells die in Alzheimer's patients. According to their study, there is a direct connection between the abnormal proteins amyloid and tau, which are found in Alzheimer's patients, and the process of necroptosis, or cell death. The researchers hope that their findings will help in the development of new medical treatments for Alzheimer's patients.
Blockbuster Cancer Treatment Stymied by Supply Chain—for Now
Johnson & Johnson and Legend Biotech are working to increase the manufacturing capacity of their multiple myeloma treatment, CAR-T cell therapy Carvykti. The treatment involves removing a patient's T cells, modifying them in a lab to fight cancer, and then reinfusing them back into the patient. The bespoke nature of the process makes scaling up manufacture challenging, but the partners plan to expand capacity from around 1,000 doses annually to 10,000 by 2026. This would equate to roughly $5bn in annual revenue, and RBC Capital analyst Leonid Timashev believes the joint opportunity could eventually reach over $10bn a year.
Ryanair says EU minimum pricing on flights 'politically impossible'
Ryanair does not believe that the European Union (EU) will introduce minimum prices or limits on flights due to the political implications of disenfranchising poorer people. The comments came after the French Transport Minister called for a minimum price on flights in Europe to combat climate change. The Dutch government also plans to cap flights at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport. Ryanair believes the industry should reduce carbon emissions by increasing the use of sustainable aviation fuels and flying larger, less noisy aircraft.
Voyager frontman Danny Estrin shares ‘life-altering news’
Danny Estrin, the lead singer of Australian band Voyager, has been diagnosed with cancer and will be undergoing immediate treatment. As a result, the band has postponed their European tour, with the dates to be rescheduled for October 2024. Estrin stated that cancelling the tour was a difficult decision but one that was necessary for his health. Voyager represented Australia in this year's Eurovision Song Contest and placed ninth in the final. Estrin has received support from fellow Eurovision participants, including Rylan Clark and Gustaph.
Roc Nation splits with Romelu Lukaku after Chelsea striker's loan to Roma
Roc Nation Sports has ended its partnership with Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku. The move is seen as another setback for the player, who is currently on loan at Roma. Lukaku had been working with Roc Nation since the end of 2018. The split between the two parties is believed to have occurred shortly after Lukaku’s loan move to Roma was confirmed. During his association with Roc Nation, Lukaku had some successful periods in his career. However, the player has become a polarising figure among clubs, supporters, managers, and owners. Losing Roc Nation's influence within Chelsea could make life difficult for Lukaku if Roma do not decide to sign him permanently at the end of the season.
India visit next week as G7 looks to take the shine off Russian diamonds
Representatives from Western nations, including the United States and its allies from the G7 group, will travel to India to discuss potential effects of any G7 restrictions on imports of rough Russian diamonds. The G7 countries are working on a tracing system that would allow them to block imports of stones mined in Russia, the world's largest producer of rough gems. However, the implementation of the plan will depend heavily on India, which is home to 90% of the world's cutting and polishing of diamonds. Belgium, the world's No. 1 diamond trading hub, expects the G7 to announce the ban in the coming weeks to tighten the squeeze on Russia's financing of the war in Ukraine. Poland has also called for EU sanctions on Russian diamonds.