New Zeland elected one of the most diverse parliaments as Apple cuts App store fees for most developers
New Zeland elected one of the most diverse parliaments. Apple cuts App store fees for most developers with sales under $1 million. The UK plans to ban new gas cars by 2030 and hybrid cars by 2035. The US clears Boeing’s 737 Max to fly after it was grounded in March 2019. China launches a mission to collect rocks from the lunar surface. Here are this week's top stories.
1. New Zeland elected one of the most diverse parliaments
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was reelected in a landslide last month. After her victory, she set up the most diverse and inclusive parliament. Almost half the members are female, 11 percent are LGBTQ, and Indigenous people like the Māori are also represented. Ardern’s 20 strong cabinet, the highest-ranked lawmakers in New Zealand, consists of 8 women, and 5 are Māori. Women in the Parliament have increased by 10% while LGBTQ lawmakers have increased by 4%. Māori representation went down from 23% to 21% but that number is still higher than the percentage of Māori in New Zealand’s population. 15% of their population consists of Asians but they currently only have 7% of the seats in Parliament. 25% of New Zealanders have a disability and they have no representation. The country has one of the highest proportion of LGBTQ and female lawmakers. But Rwanda has the highest proportion of female lawmakers in the world. 61% of the seats in Rwanda’s lower house are occupied by women due to the 1994 genocide which killed thousands of men. Women in Rwanda decided to fill important key leadership roles in the country and they have been there ever since.
2. Apple cuts App store fees for most developers
Apple is cutting its 30% App store fee in half for small developers. Apple currently takes 30% of sales from almost all apps and services bought from an Apple device. Epic Games, a video game company known for Fortnite, recently had a dispute with Apple over this charge. Fortnite was removed from the App store and they are still in court. Streaming services like Netflix and Amazon prime require to pay online or through a computer to bypass Apple’s fee. Apple will now charge 15% instead of 30% for developers with sales under $1 million which includes about 98% of all developers. Apple says it’s doing this to help small businesses grow during this recession but businesses are still not happy with Apple's decision to keep the ‘tax’. Basecamp Chief Technology Officer David Heinemeier Hansson tweeted “If you’re a developer making $1m, Apple is still asking to be paid $150,000 just to process payments on the monopoly computing platform in the US. That’s obscene!”
3. The UK plans to ban new gas cars by 2030
The United Kingdom will ban the sale of new gasoline and diesel cars by 2030 and hybrid cars will be banned 5 years later. This is a major step forward and it's a decade earlier than their previous commitment. This plan is five years more ambitious than California’s plan which will ban the sale of new gas cars in 2035. Automakers are concerned about that target and they are opposed to changing to electric. The government’s green plans include investments in hydrogen energy, wind energy, and carbon capture technology. Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged to launch a green industrial revolution that will create up to 250,000 jobs in energy. The UK will have a ‘fresh start’ after Brexit and the Pandemic which will create the perfect time to launch a green industrial revolution. Britain has also pledged to reduce its carbon emissions to net-zero by 2050. These are major steps forward and hopefully, it will push more countries to take climate change more seriously. The UK will likely host the COP26 global climate conference next year after a 12 month delay due to the pandemic.
4. The US clears Boeing’s 737 Max to fly
Safety regulators in the US have cleared Boeing’s 737 Max to fly again after it was grounded in March 2019. The planes were grounded after 2 deadly crashes that killed 346 people. The crashes were caused by a safety feature meant to stop the plane from climbing too fast but it improperly forced the nose of the plane down. Boeing lost an estimated $20 billion and it was one of the most expensive mistakes made by the company. Boeing has been working for over a year now and they were finally able to resolve the issue. Boeing made many software, design, and wiring changes. They will also train pilots on the specific mechanics of the plane. The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is confident in Boeing and they think the changes have resolved the problem. The only problem left is to make customers feel safe flying on the plane. People already don't feel safe flying with the coronavirus and they don't want to add another risk factor.
5. China launching a mission to collect rocks from the moon
China is making its first attempt to retrieve rocks from the Moon by launching an unmanned Chang’e-5 spacecraft this week. If the mission is successful, it will make China the third country to have retrieved lunar rock, after the US and the USSR. The Soviet Union was the last country to collect rocks from the lunar surface. They launched Luna 24 in 1976, almost 45 years ago. The Chang’e-5 probe is named after the ancient Chinese goddess of the Moon. The spacecraft is expected to collect approximately 2,000 grams of lunar soil from an unvisited area in a massive lava plain. Scientists are hoping the samples can answer questions like when the moon's magnetic field dissipated or how long the moon remained volcanically active in its interior. The USSR collected a total of 176 grams while the US collected 382,000 grams over the span of six missions. By the next decade, China plans to set up a robotic base station that will help it continue exploring the moon. The country recently put a rover on Mars and now they are planning on collecting samples from Mars by 2030.