FRANCE BANS GROCERS FROM THROWING OUT LEFTOVER FOOD
French supermarkets will be banned from throwing away or destroying unsold food and must instead donate it to charities or for animal feed, under a law passed unanimously by the French National Assembly to crack down on food waste.
Supermarkets will be banned from deliberately spoiling unsold food so it cannot be eaten. Those with a footprint of 400 square metres or more will have to sign contracts with charities by July next year or face penalties including fines of up to €75,000 or two years in jail.
The supermarkets must also not put an unfair burden on charities, with the unsold food given to them in a way that is ready to use, the new law stipulated. It must not be up to charities to have to sift through the waste to set aside squashed fruit or food that had gone off. The government will also provide charities with fridges and trucks to be able to handle the food donations.
Poor families, students, unemployed and homeless people often forage in supermarket bins at night, taking food that had been thrown out just as their use-by dates approached.
But some supermarkets doused binned food in bleach or deliberately kept food in locked warehouses for collection by refuse trucks to stop scavengers.
The law will also introduce an education programme about food waste in schools and businesses. It follows a measure in February to remove the use-by dates on fresh foods.
The measures are part of wider drive to halve the amount of food waste in France by 2025. Unfortunately, such measures will not significantly reduce the huge amount of wastefulness that is an inherent part of capitalist production and easing the burden on charities only does so much good when unemployment, homelessness and poverty are increasing.
NEBRASKA TO END DEATH PENALTY
The US state of Nebraska abolished the death penalty on May 27, narrowly overriding Republican Governor Pete Rickett's veto. Nebraska is the 19th US state to abolish capital punishment.
State legislators voted 30-19 in favour of replacing the death penalty with a punishment of life in prison without parole. The 30 votes in favour of the repeal were just enough to override death-penalty supporting Governor Rickett's veto against the move.
Nebraska has not carried out the death penalty in almost 20 years, with the last execution of a death row inmate taking place in 1997, according to the Death Penalty Information Centre.
VENEZUELA INCREASES TEACHER SALARIES BY 50%
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced a 50% pay rise for public school teachers across the country.
The Venezuelan leader that that the salary increase, which was proposed in early May, is part of a series of economic measures aimed to combat an “economic war" being carried out by right-wing sectors of society.
Maduro said the Venezuelan education system is designed to protect teachers in exchange for their contribution and service to society.
“Teachers are the treasure of the country because they are responsible for teaching the children of the future,” he said.