Starbucks to stop offering plastic straws by 2020

Environmental activists have been pressuring businesses such as Starbucks to ditch plastic straws because they can end up in the ocean and hurt marine life. (AFP)
Updated 09 July 2018
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Starbucks to stop offering plastic straws by 2020

NEW YORK: Starbucks says it will eliminate plastic straws from its stores globally by 2020, a nod to the growing push for businesses to be more environmentally friendly.
The Seattle-based company said Monday it will instead use straws made from other materials, and lids designed not to need straws. McDonald’s also recently said it would switch to paper straws in the United Kingdom and Ireland by next year, and test alternatives to plastic straws in some US locations.
Environmental activists have been pressuring businesses to ditch plastic straws because they can end up in the ocean and hurt marine life. The push gained traction after a viral video in 2015 showed rescuers removing a straw from a sea turtle’s nose in graphic detail.
Local governments have also been looking at the issue. Last week, Seattle’s ban on single-use plastic straws and utensils in food service outlets took effect, and Starbucks says it already offers alternative straws there. Similar proposals are being considered elsewhere, including New York and San Francisco.
While straws have become a high-profile issue, they make up only about 4 percent of the plastic trash by number of pieces, and far less by weight. Straws add up to only about 2,000 tons of the nearly 9 million tons of plastic waste that hits waters a year.
Still, those who support limiting plastic straws say they are generally unnecessary and a ban is good symbol.


Egyptian singer Sherine banned after claiming lack of free speech

Updated 23 March 2019
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Egyptian singer Sherine banned after claiming lack of free speech

  • The singer, who hosts the Arabic version of “The Voice,” apologized again after the latest remarks in a TV interview aired late Friday, saying she was joking
  • Last year, Sherine was sentenced to six months in prison over a similar clip from a concert in which she joked that the Nile is polluted

CAIRO: An Egyptian singer has been banned from performing in her home country after suggesting that it does not respect free speech.
A video clip circulated online shows Sherine Abdel-Wahab, during a performance in Bahrain, saying: “Here I can say whatever I want. In Egypt, anyone who talks gets imprisoned.”
Egypt’s Musicians Union responded late Friday by barring the singer, popularly known by her first name, from performing. It also summoned her for questioning.
Samir Sabry, a pro-government lawyer with a reputation for moral vigilantism and suing celebrities, filed a complaint against the singer accusing her of “insulting Egypt and inviting suspicious rights groups to interfere in Egypt’s affairs.”
Last year, Sherine was sentenced to six months in prison over a similar clip from a concert in which she joked that the Nile is polluted. The sentence was suspended upon appeal. She apologized for the remark, calling it a “bad joke.”
The singer, who hosts the Arabic version of “The Voice,” apologized again after the latest remarks in a TV interview aired late Friday, saying she was joking.
“I am very tired. I made a mistake. I am sorry. I appeal the president of the Arab Republic of Egypt, who is our father. I feel that I was persecuted. I did nothing. I love Egypt,” she said.
Egyptian authorities have waged an unprecedented crackdown on dissent since President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi led the military overthrow of Mohammed Mursi in 2013. The local media is dominated by pro-government outlets that attack anyone seen as criticizing the country or its leaders, and several people have been jailed or fined for violating vaguely written laws outlawing such criticism.