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December 6


Switzerland and European Union at impasse 30 years after split

The Swiss rejected membership of the European Union in 1992, and 30 years on, it risks losing its access to the largest single market in the world if the two sides can’t agree on a new institutional agreement. The tiny country has run into Brussels’ distaste for what it regards as cherry-picking.

Euractiv reports that in May 2021, after seven years of negotiations, the Swiss government pulled the plug on the agreement due to concerns about migration, labour rights, and worries about the authority the agreement would give to the European Court of Justice.

Brussels’ distaste for cherry-picking – claiming rights without the acceptance of obligations – has sharpened in the aftermath of its trade negotiations with Britain accompanying its divorce from the bloc.

Exiting the bloc, Britain negotiated several concessions that prompted the Swiss to push harder for what it wants. Foreign Policy reports that some captains of industry finally started to sound the alarm at the impasse in Apr 2021, reminding fellow citizens in several newspapers that substantial portions of Swiss wealth are earned in the European single market.

#24109 Published: November 1, 2022

December 9


T. rex skull expected to fetch up to $20 million

A Tyrannosaurus rex skull discovered in South Dakota is expected to sell for $15-20m when it is auctioned at Sotheby’s in New York. The 76m-year-old skull, nicknamed Maximus, is being sold by an anonymous seller

December 11


Artemis 1’s Orion capsule returns to Earth

Artemis 1’s uncrewed Orion capsule is due to splash down in the Pacific Ocean after its historic mission to the moon. At its closest approach, the spacecraft skimmed just 130km above the lunar surface, while its more distant, retrograde orbit took Orion 40,000 miles past the moon

December 12


Talisker Whisky Atlantic Rowing Challenge

Around 30 teams will set out on the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Rowing Challenge, a 4,800km trip from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to Antigua that offers one of the toughest challenges in ocean rowing

Teams must battle sleep deprivation, salt sores, and other physical extremes inflicted by the race. Rowers are left with their own thoughts, an expanse of the ocean and the job of getting the boat safely to the other side.

#24206 Published: November 22, 2022

December 14


Decade after Sandy Hook school shooting sees no action on gun control

Adam Lanza shot and killed 20 young children and six adult staff members at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in 2012. The anniversary of one of the most shocking in the string of U.S. school shootings that spans decades will intensify pressure on President Joe Biden to move the needle on gun control.

The most deadly include the shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado, which claimed 13 victims; in Virginia, when 32 people died after being gunned down on the campus of Virginia Tech by a student, who later died by suicide; and in Florida at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which claimed 17 victims.

The 20-year-old Lanza, armed with a semiautomatic rifle, two semiautomatic pistols and multiple rounds of ammunition, fatally shot the children and adults at the school after murdering his mother at their home, then took his own life. Many people thought the killing of elementary school age children and their teachers in 2012 would be a turning point in the fight for gun control, but the attempt to ban assault weapons and require universal background checks for firearm sales failed to pass the Senate.

Since then, federal gun control laws have barely changed. The gun industry continues to produce assault weapons and high-capacity magazines without additional federal restrictions. From all accounts, gun makers are enjoying booming sales. Forbes reported in Apr 2021 that many Americans were buying pistols and shotguns for self-protection. Many others were buying AR-15s to get ahead of Biden, according to the magazine, believing he’ll make good on his threat to ban assault weapons.

Biden, a Democrat, has long expressed support for a ban on modern assault weapons. Despite holding a slim majority in both chambers, Democrats face an uphill battle in the fight to strengthen the nation’s gun restrictions and curb what Biden terms the nation's "international embarrassment" of gun violence.

#24142 Published: November 1, 2022