The U.K. Ban on Ivory Sales And Exports

Time and again, elephants have proven that they are worth more than just their tusks. Back in August, they rescued hundreds of tourists from a flood in Nepal. And while some, like war veteran Col. Faye Cuevas, are doing their best to protect them, it seems the efforts are not enough. Last year, the U.K. has taken a favorable — albeit small — step towards banning almost all sales and exports of ivory products.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove has announced a consultation to end the trade in ivory of all ages — previous attempts at a ban would have excluded antique ivory produced before 1947.

The government says there will be some exemptions, for musical instruments and items of cultural importance.

A lack of clear restrictions is corroborating the fears of environmentalist groups, who are unsatisfied by the ban. They argue that the UK still leads in exporting legal pre-1947 ivory antiques even in the past few years, and though the transactions are technically not punishable by law, the high amount of sales stimulates demand and encourages poaching in Africa.

Nonetheless, pressures from conservationists and Prince William himself — a long-time campaigner against the trade — are pushing the government to impose a total ban. If I were being encouraged by English royalty to head towards a certain direction, I’d probably start walking.

At a wildlife conference in Vietnam, [Prince William] said: “Ivory is not something to be desired and when removed from an elephant it is not beautiful.

“So, the question is: why are we still trading it? We need governments to send a clear signal that trading in ivory is abhorrent.”

Well said, Prince William. I toot my horn (or tusk?) in your favor. While waiting for further updates this 2018 from the government of the UK, perhaps we could share a toast to the greatness of elephants.

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Iceland Enforces Equal Pay For Men And Women

It’s the 21st century and women’s rights are finally becoming a thing of the present. With startups like Xinca employing single mothers and Saudi Arabia getting with the times, things are looking up. Kicking the new year off with an even greater win for the female workforce is Iceland. The Nordic country is deeming it illegal to pay women less than men.

“Holding women back holds our economy back. Tackling gender inequality and discrimination is good for business and for all of us,” … said [Sam Smethers, who campaigns for women’s rights as CEO of the Fawcett Society.]

The law will apply to companies employing more than 25 staffers at a time. Of course, bonuses aren’t out of the question — but they are rewarded only to top performers. Women’s rights campaigners have naturally taken their approval to social media.

Tennis player Billie Jean King added: “Iceland again leading in the equality movement. A new female Prime Minister, and a Parliament where nearly half of its members are women. Equal representation benefits everyone!”

Currently on top of closing gender gaps, it’s no surprise that Iceland is pushing the limits for women. After all, they do run the world (at least according to Beyonce).

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Cops Help Teen Replace Stolen College Money

In the midst of an increasingly problematic society, there are a few hidden gems among the wreckage. Among them is 5-year-old Cassie Gee, who paints for charity. Another is Katryna Robinson, who donates hotel toiletries to the homeless. But police officers at El Segundo are the cherry on top after helping a high school teen crowdfund her stolen college money.

“We started talking and we said, ‘She’s a valedictorian, a really good kid, she’s done everything right in her life, why don’t we set up something so the El Segundo community can help her?’” said Officer Joe Cameron, union president.

Cops set up a GoFundMe page in an attempt to retrieve the $2,000 student Kristin Villanueva had saved. In just a few days, the page had pooled nearly $5,000. It’s an impressive feat, seeing as how the most successful GoFundMe campaigns are for dogs.

“From El Segundo employees to El Segundo residents, everyone pitched in. Community support like this is why I’m proud to be the president of this association and serve this amazing community.”

Villanueva’s newly-raised funds are going to cover her tuition for a bachelor’s degree in engineering.

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