Watch: Upside down car stuck in a Berlin street

Greenpeace protest

Greenpeace held a protest on Wednesday against the position of Germany’s transport ministry on blocking the phasing out of internal combustion engines in Europe ahead of a summit in Brussels.

Germany’s transport minister Volker Wissing had indicated he will not back a planned European Union ban on the sale of new cars with combustion engines from 2035, after failing to get assurances from the bloc’s executive for an exemption on synthetic fuels.

EU lawmakers and member states reached a preliminary deal last year that would force carmakers to reduce new car emissions by 55% in 2030 relative to 2021 levels, and by 100% in 2035.

The plan, which is part of the bloc’s effort to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, effectively means that the sale of new cars which burn hydrocarbon-based fuels such as petroleum would be banned.

Some countries, such as Germany, had asked the EU’s executive Commission to come up with an exemption for cars that burn so-called e-fuels, arguing that they can be produced using renewable energy and carbon captured from the air, so they wouldn’t spew further climate-changing emissions into the atmosphere.

Wissing said the Commission had not made a proposal, so Germany would refrain from supporting the ban.

Wissing said synthetic fuels need to be produced in large amounts as soon as possible to meet the demand from cars sold before 2035, as well as from heavy goods vehicles, ships and planes.

Cherry blossom in Tokyo

Tourists and locals flock to see Tokyo’s famed cherry blossoms as they reach peak bloom. The blooms are traditionally celebrated with hanami, or viewing picnics, which were stopped during the pandemic.

“It’s so beautiful and colourful,” says one tourist from Denmark.

“It’s something we’re going to remember for a very long time,” says another visitor from the UK.

Claudia, a tourist from the UK said “I’d say it has been incredible. We’ve been waiting a long time. We didn’t really know what to expect either, and it certainly been a different trip to anything else we’ve been on. We’ve travelled a lot, we’ve seen a lot, and it’s something we’re going to remember for a very long time.”

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