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Global Brands Pledged to Curb Their Plastic Addiction. Last Year Shows Their Promises Don’t Add Up




Multinational corporations are failing to reduce their use of plastics fast enough, according to a report released today, despite having pledged to use only reusable, recyclable, or compostable packaging by 2025.

The annual progress report, compiled by the U.N. Environment Programme and the Ellen Macarthur Foundation, a nonprofit focused on creating sustainable business models, warns this packaging target “will almost certainly be missed.” Signatories of the Global Commitment pact, which includes companies like Nestl? and Mars, Inc., along with governments and other organizations, account for about 20% of the world’s plastic packaging market. Plastic waste has become an increasingly significant environmental concern in recent years due to effects on ecosystems and potential repercussions for human health. Researchers found plastic particles in human blood for the first time earlier this year.

But the companies in the pact have made only slight progress toward the goal, increasing the percentage of their packaging materials that won’t have to be thrown in landfills from 63.2% to 65.4% between 2019, when the first Global Commitment report was released, and 2021.

At the same time, the use of so-called “virgin” plastics–derived from new oil and natural gas rather than from recycled materials in a process that releases large quantities of greenhouse gas–is on the rise. This past year has seen a global leap in virgin plastic use, erasing a reduction of about 2.5% from the previous two years. Increases in the amount of recycled packaging the companies used were undone by a spike in their overall plastic consumption, which caused overall virgin plastic use to rise.

Read more: U.S. Plastic Recycling Rates Are Even Worse Than We Thought

This comes after last year’s report framed progress around virgin plastics in optimistic terms. “After decades of growth, virgin plastic use appears to have peaked for Global Commitment brands and retailers, and is set to fall faster by 2025,” read the 2021 update.

This year’s report cites an economic rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic as a small part of the reason for the increased plastic use. More important, perhaps, is the fact that there has been “alarmingly little” progress by companies toward designing systems that eliminate the need for single-use packaging at all. “Without curbing the growth in overall plastic packaging use, it is unlikely that virgin plastic consumption will be significantly reduced,” the report said.

Fossil fuel companies have also been investing hundreds of billions of dollars in new facilities to produce plastics, seeing it as a growth market for oil and natural gas as countries seek to phase out fossil fuel use in transportation.

Read more: Big Oil Sold the World on a Plastics Recycling Myth. It May Be Too Late to Undo the Damage

Negotiators are meeting in Uruguay this month to debate a treaty to limit global plastic use. “[The] report pours cold water on the celebrated commitments made by big corporations who signed on to this high-profile project to eliminate plastic pollution,” Graham Forbes, head of Greenpeace’s global plastics project said in a statement. “This underlines the need for governments to ensure that the global plastic treaty…delivers major reductions in plastic production and use and accelerates a just transition to the reuse economy we need.”

Not all the signatories of the pact, however, are equally to blame. Unilever, for instance, managed to cut its substantial virgin plastic consumption by 15%–or, more than 100,000 metric tons of plastic–between 2018 and 2021. Coca-Cola, meanwhile, increased its use of virgin plastic by almost 100,000 metric tons between 2019 and 2021. The company is a sponsor of the upcoming COP27 climate conference in Egypt, which starts on Sunday.

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Ukraine Helicopter Crash: Facts and Unanswered Questions




BROVARY, Ukraine — The helicopter crash that killed Ukraine’s interior minister and about a dozen other people outside the capital, Kyiv, on Wednesday is the latest devastating development in the nearly yearlong war that began with Russia’s invasion.

The crash came four days after a Russian missile struck an apartment building in Ukraine’s southeastern city of Dnipro, killing dozens of civilians, including six children. That attack was the deadliest on civilians since the spring.

Authorities continued identifying remains from the crash and warned that the death toll could rise.

What We Know

The crash killed all nine people aboard the helicopter: Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky and four other ministry officials, including Monastyrsky’s deputy, Yevhen Yenin, and State Secretary of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Yurii Lubkovych; a national police official and the three crew members. The officials were flying to Ukraine’s northeastern Kharkiv region.

The aircraft, owned by the State Emergency Services, struck a kindergarten in the eastern Kyiv suburb of Brovary. A child on the ground was also killed, and at least 25 people were injured, including 11 children.

Monastyrsky is the most senior official killed since Russia invaded nearly 11 months ago. He was in charge of police and emergency services that dealt with the consequences of Russian strikes and demining, political analyst Volodymyr Fesenko told The Associated Press.

The helicopter was a French-manufactured Super Puma, according to a spokesperson for Ukraine’s air force, Yurii Ihnat. It was sold to Ukraine in 2019, but was not part of the equipment that France has provided since the start of the war on Feb. 24, according to a French official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to be identified.

Senior officials routinely travel by helicopter at low altitudes and high speed during the conflict, increasing the inherent dangers associated with the flights.

Unanswered Questions

There was no immediate word on whether the helicopter crash was an accident or directly related to the war. It happened on a foggy morning and no fighting has been reported recently in the capital region. Ukrainian authorities immediately opened an investigation.

The tragedy may prompt Kyiv to institute a rule many countries and companies follow: that more than one top official shouldn’t fly on the same aircraft, political analyst Fesenko said.

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6 Lessons About Family Dynamics We Can Learn From the Spare Drama




Prince Harry’s memoir Spare has done anything but spare the royal family from scrutiny. In the memoir–which was published Jan. 10 after days of leaks–and surrounding interviews, the Duke of Sussex has accused his brother William, Prince of Wales, of pushing him to the ground; claimed his stepmother, Queen Consort Camilla, planted negative stories about him in the press; and shared that his family left him behind when they took a plane to visit Queen Elizabeth II as she was dying. And yet Harry says that he continues to hold out hope for reconciliation with his father and brother.

The royals are rich, powerful, and lead existences that are in many ways extreme–but much of the squabbling that Harry outlines in Spare will strike readers as utterly mundane and familiar: Who among us hasn’t come into conflict with in-laws during the stressful wedding-planning process? And even more serious wounds Harry describes, like contending with a racist comment from a family member or butting heads with a new stepmother while still grieving the loss of a parent, are the sort of issues family therapists deal with all the time.

Experts say we can learn a lot from the messy fallout of the royal rift. TIME spoke with family therapists and psychologists to gather six lessons about complex family dynamics and how we can avoid drama, resolve conflict, and find happiness outside the often-stressful confines of our relationships with our parents, siblings, and in-laws.

Family members can deal with the same trauma in very different ways

The early chapters of Spare center the 1997 death of Harry and William’s mother, Princess Diana. Harry writes that he clung to the fantasy that Diana might still be alive and in hiding for years. He says now that he understands he wasn’t processing his mother’s death, admitting in an interview with Anderson Cooper that he didn’t cry for nearly 10 years after Diana’s passing. He only sought therapy in his late 20s after two years of “total chaos” in his life.

Experts say waiting so long to seek help is a mistake. “When there is trauma in the family, the trauma needs to be dealt with professionally and quickly,” says Nona Kelly, a licensed marriage and family therapist with the online and in-person therapy group Thriveworks. “The longer the time is between the event occurring and getting help, the messier the relationships will be, and the longer it will take to heal.”

In adulthood, Harry has spoken frequently about the importance of therapy in his life and has become much more open about sharing his emotions. That strikes quite the contrast with the rest of the royal family, who largely stick to their famous edict, “Never complain, never explain.” Kelly says that contrast in attitudes is typical of non-royal families as well. “It’s rare that two people experience the same trauma in the same way,” she says. Harry writes extensively in Spare about how, while he shared many traumatic incidents with his family, from his mother’s death to being hunted by the paparazzi, he struggled to get them to talk openly about the personal and emotional damage it was causing them. “Harry is going, ‘Can’t we just talk about the hurt here?'” Kelly says.

The key to navigating those differences, experts say, is open communication.

Dysfunctional families normalize bad behavior with silence

One of Harry’s major issues with his family, as articulated in Spare, has been their unwillingness to engage in conversation on certain issues, including the British tabloids’ racist treatment of his wife, Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, which has led to online abuse and death threats. When Meghan and Harry were suffering–Meghan has said she even contemplated suicide–the royal family’s response, according to Harry, was to urge them to maintain a stiff upper lip. Eventually, Harry decided to move his family out of England for their safety and well-being.

While teaching one’s children to never explain their feelings may be an extreme stance, Emily Maynard, a licensed marriage and family therapist in California, says that normalizing bad behavior by ignoring it is common–not only in organizations and businesses, but also within families.

“Families use silence to perpetuate dysfunction,” she says. “Like, ‘We don’t talk about that uncle’s racism. We just need to leave him alone.’ Or, ‘Don’t bring your partner to visit grandma and you won’t get the homophobic comment.’ Those things are common, but that doesn’t mean they’re not abuses of power.”

Experts say that broaching taboo topics, and thus changing family dynamics in the process, can be incredibly difficult. According to a popular theory, families reach what’s called “family homeostasis” to establish stability: the household has rules, each member plays a specific role, and everyone knows what to expect. “A family wants to revert to its normal patterns,” says Maynard. “And that force of homeostasis is extremely powerful in trying to force family members back into their roles or behaviors.”

The person who speaks out against the status quo can help the family grow and heal–but they may attract the ire of their relatives. “If you’re the first person in the family to say, ‘This way of being with each other is dangerous to me,’ you’ll get a lot of pushback,” says Maynard. “You’ll be told you’re the problem or you have to suck it up.”

Marriage can challenge the family homeostasis

A reevaluation of family dynamics often occurs as children grow up and get married. Ushering a new partner into the family always disrupts the established order to some extent. Much of the press surrounding Harry’s departure from the royal family has perpetuated a narrative that Meghan ‘stole Harry away.’ Meghan herself addressed this sexist criticism in the Netflix docuseries Harry & Meghan. “Oftentimes, when a guy falls in love with a girl, his buddies are like, ‘Oh my God, he changed. I don’t see him anymore. He’s always with her.’ You blame the girl,” she said. “He wouldn’t have ever been attracted to or interested in me if he hadn’t already been on his own path.” Experts say any new partner of Harry’s would likely have exposed problems that already existed in the family.

“It puts pressure on the areas of our life and it’ll show weaker spaces, the cracks that we need to strengthen,” says Kelly. “When Harry married an American actress, it disrupted the homeostasis. It showed dysfunction.”

The fallout of clashes with a new spouse can be constructive or destructive. “Breaking from homeostasis creates chaos in the family,” she adds, “which sometimes leads to a healthier reconstruction of family dynamics.”

Healthy families can evolve, establishing new rules and roles, with hard work. But Kelly says it’s important to set realistic expectations. Some people simply may not want to change. “We have to ask ourselves, ‘What do we know about that person and the amount of work they’ve done previously, in a relationship or otherwise?”

Telling one’s truth publicly can be healing–and put family on the defensive

Though most of us will not find ourselves airing our grievances in an interview with Oprah Winfrey, we do frequently share our problems with third parties. “The English royal family has media leaks, and we have gossip,” Kelly says. “We go to our sister and share something intimate about our partner. We think it’s safe with her… and then that sister accidentally-on-purpose brings it up to our mother. It’s not done maliciously, but it creates an atmosphere of distrust.”

Many a critic has wondered how Prince Harry can at once share secrets about his brother and hope to reconcile with him. And, indeed, publicizing private drama can backfire when it comes to resolving the issues within the family. “A lot of times, [families] get a lot more upset by the people who talk than the actual abuses they’re talking about,” Maynard says.

For regular people, social media can be a tempting–and damaging–tool for broadcasting problems to others. “I work with people to figure out: what’s the goal of telling the truth?” says Maynard. “It’s probably not going to be reconciliation, because people don’t usually read a Facebook post of grievances and think, ‘Oh, yeah, I can check myself and really apologize.’ Usually that’s an escalation.”

She adds that while a social media post can cause further damage to the relationship at its center, it can sometimes be helpful for the person who writes it: “For some people saying, ‘This is what happened to me, and I’m not going to be silent about it anymore,’ that can be very healing.”

Resolution does not have to come in the form of an apology

Expectations for apologies, experts say, have to be realistic. Differences in age, background, and life experiences can leave both parties intransigent on issues like race, sexuality, and politics. Meghan said in Harry & Meghan that as a biracial American, her childhood experiences looked little like those of Harry, the ultimate privileged, white British man. Because of their families’ respective worldviews, the couple may never receive the kind of acknowledgement from the royals that they’re looking for. Whether they can reach a place of feeling resolved depends on what Harry hopes to get out of this press tour.

“If you expect your family to take all the blame, that may not be realistic,” says Sue Varma, a psychiatrist in New York. “Maybe they’ll never live up to your expectations. Because if they are saying, ‘I want you to pay for my security, I want you to treat me the same as other family members,’ Harry may not get that.” It may benefit Harry to let go of the idea of being welcomed back into the fold: “When you want to be accepted for being different, it’s exhausting because you’re always monitoring their behavior and realizing, oh, there’s that disrespect again,” Varma says.

Therapists say that if clients want to speak out publicly about family toxicity, they need to be ready to search for a resolution elsewhere. “Usually people want validation–they just want their side of the story to be heard,” says Maynard. “And I say, ‘Great, how can we get you validation without it coming from this one person who probably is never going to agree with your side of the story?'”

Healing means working on yourself

The next stage of healing after speaking out is finding a way to personal happiness, regardless of the response, according to experts. “There’s going to be a time in your life, eventually, where you will not need to talk about their drama because you’ll be focused on other things,” says Maynard.

In Harry and Meghan’s case, that may mean firmly establishing their roles outside of the royal family instead of in relation to them. For non-royal, regular people, healing could consist of focusing on friends, work, or hobbies. It could mean building relationships outside our families of origin that fulfill us.

That’s not to say that any one person–including Harry–should give up on reconciliation entirely. “I have seen miracles happen, so I do believe in the power of family therapy to really change the course,” says Varma. “But people have to have willingness and mutual trust, and you have to play by the rules you create. No more Netflix specials.”

If you or someone you know may be contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to 741741 to reach the Crisis Text Line. In emergencies, call 911, or seek care from a local hospital or mental health provider.

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Why Bolsonaro Fled Brazil and What the U.S. Can Do About It




When hundreds of supporters of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro stormed the country’s government buildings on Sunday, Jan. 8, in an attempted coup, where was Bolsonaro? In Florida, it turned out.

Now U.S. President Joe Biden is facing pressure from congressional Democrats to expel Bolsonaro, who has for two months denied the results of Brazil’s presidential election.

Democratic representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Joaquin Castro of Texas, and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota are among those calling for Bolsonaro’s removal from the U.S. “Nearly 2 years to the day the US Capitol was attacked by fascists, we see fascist movements abroad attempJant to do the same in Brazil,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted on Jan. 8. “The US must cease granting refuge to Bolsonaro in Florida.”

Biden had previously condemned Sunday’s riots on Twitter, calling them “an assault on democracy and on the peaceful transfer of power in Brazil” and affirming his support for Brazilian President Luiz In?cio Lula da Silva. Yet the White House has so far stayed silent on questions of whether it will seek to force the former Brazilian President out of the country.

Bolsonaro tweeted Monday that he had been discharged from a hospital in Orlando, Fla., after a medical procedure related to his 2018 stabbing.

While there is currently no evidence to suggest that Bolsonaro gave any direct order regarding Sunday’s insurrection, “there’s no doubt that Bolsonaro inspired those people … and what they wanted was to create a social chaos so that the army would intervene, throw Lula out and run a new ‘free’ election where Bolsonaro would win,” says Thomas Traumann, a political consultant in Brazil.

Is Bolsonaro in the U.S. to avoid prosecution in Brazil?

“Bolsonaro has kept himself at a safe distance,” says Gustavo Ribeiro, a journalist and the founder of English-language Brazilian politics site The Brazilian Report. “It may give him the argument of plausible deniability. He may say: well, I was not even here; how could I command those mobs?”

Bolsonaro also tweeted on Sunday that while peaceful demonstrations were part of a democracy, invasions of public buildings were antithetical to the rule of law. He has rejected allegations that he bears responsibility for the attempted coup.

Although Bolsonaro was not in Brazil as protesters demanded a military takeover, many analysts blame his rhetoric over the years for inspiring his supporters’ attacks. “Bolsonaro is directly responsible for what we saw,” says Ribeiro, “because he has for years pitted his supporters against democratic institutions [and] sown distrust in the electoral system.” Bolsonaro, he adds, “has essentially equated politics with corruption and instilled the sentiment that the only way to bring any progress to Brazil is by imploding the system.”

Read more: What Brazil’s Failed Coup Means for the Future of Its Democracy

In addition to possible charges being brought forth related to Jan. 8, Bolsonaro is already under investigation in at least four criminal probes, according to Reuters. They include allegations of using federal police to protect his son and spreading misinformation about the elections. “It’s very likely that he will face some legal comeuppance because there are multiple cases against him,” Ribeiro says.

Hundreds of supporters of Bolsonaro broke through police barricades and stormed into Congress, the presidential palace and the Supreme Court.
(EVARISTO SA–AFP/Getty Images)

How would extradition and deportation work?

In order for the U.S. to extradite Bolsonaro to Brazil, a criminal charge and sufficient evidence to show probable cause is necessary, says Jacques Semmelman, an extradition specialist with the Katten law firm in New York. While Bolsonaro is under investigation for several criminal cases in Brazil, he has so far not been indicted in any of them.

If, after an extradition request is made, the U.S. concludes there is sufficient documentation to meet the requirements of its extradition treaty with Brazil, it would begin federal court proceedings to evaluate the request. If all avenues to appeal are exhausted, the matter goes to the U.S. State Department where the final decision regarding extradition rests with the Secretary of State.

Deportation–unlike extradition–does not require a criminal charge. Deportation is linked to foreigners who are admitted to the U.S. and violate certain terms and conditions upon which their stay is contingent, Semmelman explains.

It is possible that Bolsonaro entered the U.S. on an A-1 visa intended for foreign diplomats or heads of state. State Department spokesman Ned Price has not confirmed whether this is the case but has noted that this type of visa could lapse if the individual has a change in position, NBC News reported. In that case, the individual would need to apply for a change in status or leave the country.

What Does Bolsonaro Face Back Home in Brazil?

Whether Bolsonaro will face legal charges related to Sunday’s insurrection remains to be seen. Senators in Brazil’s Congress, which officially begins its session in February, have already started working on an inquiry to investigate the event, though it’s currently unclear whether they will have the votes for an official congressional investigation.

“Bolsonaro must return to Brazil, whether he wants to or not, to answer for his crimes and be interrogated on the terrorist acts he always incited,” said Senator Renan Calheiros of Alagoas, according to The Brazilian Report.

If and when Bolsonaro returns, there will be a lot for him to worry about. The popular leftist former president Lula has been sworn in and promised to punish any “vandals, neo-fascists and fanatics” involved in the insurrection.

Since Bolsonaro is no longer president he is more vulnerable to prosecution, Ribeiro says. As president, Bolsonaro could only be arrested if convicted by the Supreme Court. “Now, the threat exists because he’s fair game to prosecutors in lower courts.”

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