Ancient city of Babylon heads list of new Unesco world heritage sites

UN also names national park in Iceland among sites protected for their value to humanity The ancient city of Babylon and an Icelandic national park replete with glaciers, ice caves and volcanoes are among the sites that have been added to Unescos world heritage list. More than 1,000 sites around the world some cultural, some natural, some both are protected by listing. Landmarks or areas are chosen for their value to humanity. On Friday, the World Heritage Committee announced the addition of the first of this years batch. More sites will be named over the weekend. Perhaps the most famous site to be added to the list is the city of Babylon in Iraq. The city was first mentioned in …

One year on from pivotal win for Mexico’s left, Amlo is still campaigning

Lpez Obrador remains broadly popular, likely due to success at upending a political system most voters perceived as riddled with corruption His government has just Andrs Manuel Lpez Obrador has long showed a crushing lack of interest in foreign affairs. So instead of hobnobbing with other G20 leaders in Japan, the president known popularly as Amlo was in Mexico City, preparing to address thousands of supporters in the citys central square on Monday. During last years election campaign, Lpez Obrador drew comparisons with Donald Trump for his appeal to ordinary people, his disdain for elites and critical media. And like Trump, Lpez Obrador hasnt stopped campaigning since he took office. Throughout the past year, Lpez Obrador has criss-crossed the country …

Science institute that advised EU and UN ‘actually industry lobby group’

International Life Sciences Institute used by corporate backers to counter public health policies, says study An institute whose experts have occupied key positions on EU and UN regulatory panels is, in reality, an industry lobby group that masquerades as a scientific health charity, according to a peer-reviewed study. The Washington-based a 2015 email copied to ILSIs then director, Suzanne Harris, and executives from firms such as Coca-Cola and Monsanto, ILSIs founder Alex Malaspina, a former Coca-Cola vice-president, complained bitterly about new describes as a longtime scientific and regulatory affairs leader said he expected many nations to follow the new guidelines, adding: We have to consider how to become ready to mount a strong defence. According to ILSIs declared mandatory principles, …

Climate crisis: aviation industry hears clamour for electric planes

Shift from fossil fuels top of agenda for Paris air show, industry having lagged behind other sectors Faced with growing calls for action on the climate crisis, aerospace companies gathering for the Paris air show next week are turning their thoughts to a future run on electricity rather than fossil fuels. The scale of the challenge is considerable. The target for net zero carbon emissions by 2050, recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and emissions laggard compared with the car industry or power generation, but improvements in the German startup Lilium and US firm Bell Helicopter small hybrid-electric commuter aircraft to market in the early 2020s, and Aurora Flight Sciences, which is also targeting air taxis. Yet for …

Unbuilt Tokyo: ‘depthscrapers’ and a million-person pyramid

Had the creators of the underground skyscraper had their way, the Japanese capital might have looked very different indeed Protected by cylindrical walls of reinforced concrete, the steel and glass depthscrapers extend hundreds of metres underground. Only a single floor of each inverted 35-storey skyscraper is visible at ground level. Giant mirrors mounted directly above the central wells reflect sunlight to the apartments below. Prismatic glass ensures even light throughout the day, while fresh, conditioned air is pumped down from the surface. The whole structure, in case of an earthquake, will vibrate together, resisting any crushing strain, declared a 1931 edition of Everyday Science and Mechanics that called the design the product of the best engineering brains of Japan. The …

Nasa to allow commercial access to the International Space Station

Move will allow private astronauts to spend up to 30 days in low-Earth orbit and businesses to shoot film and adverts in space Nasa will allow unprecedented commercial access to the International Space Station (ISS) for marketing, business and space tourism, the agency announced on Friday. The change paves the way for the wealthy to rocket from Earth and spend time aboard the astronaut home and laboratory in space, through trips planned by private enterprise, and for businesses to develop products or shoot film including adverts in space. The move is part of Nasas effort to put the first woman and another man on the moon by 2024. Until now, the space station has only been used for research and …

Italy’s new ruins: heritage sites being lost to neglect and looting

Overgrown and weathered, many historical monuments are disappearing as public funds for culture fail to match modern Italys inheritance Legend has it that the grotto hidden among the craggy cliffs on San Marco hill in Sutera in the heart of Sicily holds a treasure chest full of gold coins. In order to find it, three men must dream simultaneously about the precise place to dig. Treasure or no treasure, the grotto itself is an archaeological gem, its walls adorned with a multi-coloured Byzantine-esque 16th-century fresco depicting Jesus, the Virgin Mary and Saints Paulinus, Luke, Mark and Matthew. One of the first mountain oratories in the world, it was built by Basilian monks in the 9th century. But time has weathered …