World leaders have promised to end and start reversing deforestation by 2030, pledging £14bn to help. China and Brazil are on board, but whether Brazil will follow through is another matter: deforestation there is at its highest level since 2012. “The satellites don’t lie,” environmental analyst Carlos Rittl tells The Guardian. Emmanuel Macron has backed down on threats to put new checks on British goods. This fishing spat is “time wasting”, says writer Ben Judah on Twitter: British and French grandees need to get together and revive the Entente Cordiale of 1904. Arizona computer company Meta PCs, which trademarked “Meta” last year, says it won’t take less than $20m if Mark Zuckerberg wants the name.
California condors are capable of virgin births. Researchers in San Diego made the discovery by chance while tracking the endangered birds – only 500 remain in the wild. Routine DNA tests revealed that two condors had hatched from unfertilised eggs. Parthenogenesis also occurs in poultry, including 16.9% of Beltsville Small White turkeys.
On the money
A delivery of 45 tons of Afghan pine nuts is on its way from Kabul to China, the first shipment since the Taliban seized power. This “pine nut air corridor” is worth about $700m a year – money that the Taliban, frozen out of Afghan central-bank reserves held in the US, sorely needs. In return, Beijing gets strategic influence in the region and a tasty snack. “The little pine nuts bring happiness to Afghan people and good taste to Chinese people,” tweeted Wang Yu, China’s ambassador to Afghanistan.
The statue of Edward Colston that protesters unceremoniously dumped in Bristol Harbour last year is now on display in a local museum. “I didn’t expect it to be so electrifying,” says Carol Midgley in The Times. There he lies, prostrate on two wooden boxes, the word “prick” sprayed on his right leg and his hands “blood-red”. Tourists like me queued up to see it, then “gazed rapt as if at the Mona Lisa”. Almost nobody knew who Colston was two years ago; now we all do. This is the “protesters’ great triumph: vandalism as education”.
On the way back
Black cabs – business is booming for cabbies “after nearly a decade of Uber-induced gloom”, says James Tapper in The Observer. Uber prices are up by a third this year and the black-cab app Gett is seeing 40% more traditional taxi rides every day than it did in the first quarter of 2020.
It’s Heinz’s “Christmas dinner in a can”, a festive tin of soup containing chunks of turkey, pigs in blankets, roast potatoes, sprouts and balls of stuffing. The limited-edition cans were available yesterday for £1.50 a pop, and sold out within hours.
Women who regularly wear 2in heels are more likely to have happy sex lives, according to a study by Chinese researchers. Shoes with a low heel work the pelvic floor muscles, and a stronger pelvic floor increases the chance of having an orgasm.
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you annoy the French for a lifetime.”