China has been steadily increasing its presence in the Arctic since it defined the far north as a “new strategic frontier” in 2015 and began promoting a “Polar Silk Road” three years later. Moreover, in 2018, Beijing declared itself a “Near Arctic State,” a move that primarily served to underscore the interests of its Arctic claim.
The government in Beijing has its eye on lucrative minerals and other raw materials in addition to the Arctic transport link. There is particular interest in interests in the Canadian Arctic and in mining rights in Greenland. This is because the Arctic is rich in natural resources such as fish, precious metals and fossil fuels.
Reuters is reporting that China has unveiled its ambitions to extend President Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road Initiative to the Arctic by developing shipping lanes opened up by global warming. The Chinese are calling it the Polar Silk Road.
“China hopes to work with all parties to build a ‘Polar Silk Road’ through developing the Arctic shipping routes,” the paper, issued by the State Council Information Office, said.
China, despite being a non-Arctic state, is increasingly active in the polar region and became an observer member of the Arctic Council in 2013.
Among its increasing interests in the region is its major stake in Russia’s Yamal liquefied natural gas project which is expected to supply China with four million tonnes of LNG a year, according to the state-run China Daily.
Shipping through the Northern Sea Route would shave almost 20 days off the regular time using the traditional route through the Suez Canal, the newspaper reported last month. COSCO Shipping has also previously sailed vessels through the Arctic’s northeast passage.
UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) on July 10, 2020 at it’s meeting in Paris, designated 15 new Geoparks. There are now 162 designated sites across 44 countries.
UNESCO said »
These sites of exceptional geological and cultural significance showcase the beauty and diversity of planet Earth. Today 162 sites across the world document our planet’s evolution over 4.6 billion years, unlocking our history preserved in the rock record to learn from the past and support local communities.
For Switzerland, the 2020 ranking is the the fourth consecutive yearhas been judged No. 1 by residents of 36 countries. Canada was chosen second, overtaking Japan in the U.S. News’ fifth annual survey.
The Best Countries report, produced from an annual global survey of more than 20,000 people in 36 countries including the United States, reflects increasingly negative views of the world and within countries. Nearly half of survey respondents say conditions around the world have worsened in the past year. Likewise, an increased percentage of people say the gap between the rich and poor has grown and that nationalism is increasing.
According to the ranking, here are the Top 25 Countries in the World
United Arab Emirates
The Bottom 5 of the U.S. News 2020 Best Countries rankings are
The Chernobyl nuclear power plant has seen a huge increase in visitor numbers in recent years as part of a growing global interest in dark tourism.
And now, intrepid travelers be able to get inside the control room where the world’s worst nuclear accident unfolded, Chernobyl tour companies confirmed to CNN.
Those who venture inside the highly radioactive area at the infamous Reactor 4 will be provided with white protective suits, helmets and masks for the brief visits. After leaving, they will be subject to two radiology tests to measure exposure.
This video was shot in the Arctic Ocean in March 2018.
For 7 days the crew passed through the Barents Sea to Karsky around the Novaya Zemlya archipelago on the nuclear icebreaker Yamal. They witnessed the northern lights, polar bears, watched the ships stuck in the ice being towed, and were very cold.
In the video you can see two Russian icebreakers – “50 Years of Victory” and “Yamal” with a capacity of 75,000 horsepower.