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  • The Know Daily - Wednesday 15 May 2024

The Know Daily - Wednesday 15 May 2024

🇬🇪 The latest from Georgia, the world’s largest carbon capture facility opens + more Swiftonomics.

Read in 5m 24s Listening to Sabrina Carpenter 

🇬🇪 Georgia’s parliament has voted through a controversial bill 

🍃 The pros and cons of carbon capture technology 

🏡 The race for UK rentals

Britain’s butterflies have been given a boost thanks to a new scheme aimed at creating habitats for the endangered Marsh Fritillary Butterfly. Over 600 Devil's-bit-Scabious were planted at a private solar site in Cornwall, in collaboration with the Eden Project and Natural England. 

🇬🇪 The latest from Georgia

Georgia’s parliament yesterday voted through the highly controversial “foreign agents” bill, sparking further protests in the country.

What does the bill say?
It requires independent media and NGOs to register as organisations “pursuing the interests of a foreign power” if they receive more than 20% of their funding from abroad. Under the bill - which passed its final reading on Tuesday with 84 votes against 30 - such organisations would also be monitored and could be forced to share sensitive information.

The country’s PM Irakli Kobakhidze - of the governing Georgian Dream party - said the bill “creates strong guarantees of long-term peace and tranquillity” in the country. But critics argue it could be used by the government to suppress its opponents. They call it the “Russia law”, drawing parallels with an authoritarian bill introduced by President Putin in 2012, said the BBC.

What has the response been?
While hundreds of thousands of demonstrators have gathered on the streets of the capital Tbilisi in recent weeks, the passing of the bill sparked some of the largest protests seen so far. 

They argue it could derail Georgia’s chances of joining the EU and see the country instead move under Russia’s influence. Georgia has been an official EU candidate country since December last year and public support for membership is high, said Euronews.

What happens now?
The bill now faces a likely veto by Georgia’s president - but there are “few doubts” the legislation will pass, said the BBC. Even if the president does veto the law, the parliament can override this by holding an additional vote.

The passing of the bill comes five months ahead of parliamentary elections in the country, which some protestors say offer a chance to vote out the governing party.


The world’s wealthiest cities for 2024 have been revealed - with which city taking top spot for the second year running?

A) San Francisco
B) New York
C) Singapore

Scroll to the very bottom for the answer.

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🍃 Clearing the air

The world’s largest carbon capture facility has just been turned on in Iceland.

How does it work?
“Like a giant vacuum,” explained CNN. Steel fans suck in air, chemicals strip the carbon out of the air, and the carbon is locked away in underground lava where it naturally transforms into stone. The whole operation is powered by Iceland’s “abundant, clean geothermal energy”, CNN added.

How much carbon can it take in?
The plant - operated by Swiss company Climeworks and known as “Mammoth” - is the largest direct air capture (DAC) facility of its kind in the world. But it will still only extract 36,000 tonnes of CO2 a year, equivalent to just 30 seconds of the world’s annual carbon emissions, said The Times.

So are these technologies worth it?
That depends on who you ask. As Futurism pointed out, some climate advocates argue that such technologies are a “dangerous distraction” from policies to cut down on fossil fuel use. They are also “expensive, unproven at scale, and can be hard to sell to a nervous public”, said Reuters in a piece last year. 

But advocates argue that these technologies are a key piece of the puzzle in reducing emissions, and should be used to complement the transition to renewable energy. “Companies such as Climeworks will be needed to suck up emissions from industries that are too difficult or expensive to clean up at source, such as aviation,” opined The Times.

🏡 Home run: The amount of time UK rental listings are up for is getting shorter, according to new figures

🏫 School rules: Sex education in English schools is to be limited to those age nine and over, under new government guidance

🌳 Tree clues: Last summer was the northern hemisphere’s hottest in 2,000 years, ancient tree rings have revealed.

✍️ Alice Munro: The Canadian short-story writer and Nobel prize winner has died aged 92 - here are five of her best stories. 

🕺 Swiftonomics: The Eras Tour will bring nearly £1bn to the UK economy this summer, according to a new report predicting exactly how much each fan will spend on seeing Taylor Swift.

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Trivia answer: B) New York is the wealthiest city in the world, with 1 in 24 people in the city reportedly millionaires 🤯

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