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International Update Volume 45, Issue 31

EUROPEAN UNION APPROVES SCALED-BACK VERSION OF GREEN HOME PLAN

England, EU, France, Netherlands, United Kingdom

The European Union approved a plan to give sub-standard homes a green makeover, but only after a large downgrade of the initial plan. The Energiesprong project planned to give 10-day green makeovers for more than 100,000 public housing units by installing wraparound insulating facades, solar panels, and Ikea kitchens. But the EU approved only 10% of the scope of the original project. The new plan will provide 5,000 remodels in the United Kingdom and 5,000 in France. Energiesprong is now asking the United Kingdom government to help with financing the project.

SOUTH AFRICA TO NAME DROUGHT DISASTER AREAS

South Africa

A South African official announced on November 4 that Northern Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces will be named "drought disaster areas" in the coming two weeks. This will allow the provinces to receive emergency assistance from the National Treasury. According to the Director of Risk Management in the Department of Agriculture, the province of KwaZulu-Natal will also soon be named a disaster area for agriculture. These are not the first provinces declared drought disaster areas in South Africa.

CHINA SEED LAW AMENDMENT MAKES WAY FOR NEW PLANT VARIETIES

China

China amended its seed law on November 4 making it easier for new crop varieties to be introduced into the market. Existing seeds such as oilseed rape, potato, and peanut seeds will now avoid long approval processes and will be able to register directly with authorities. The law goes into effect on January 1, 2016. The approval process, which requires government trials and can take up to four years to complete, will remain unchanged for corn, cotton, rice, and soybeans, some of China’s most important commodity crops.