EU takes U.S. off its safe travel list

The European Union has recommended that its 27 nations reinstate restrictions on tourists from the U.S. because of rising coronavirus infections there, but EU nations can still allow fully vaccinated U.S. travelers in if they want.

The decision by the European Council to remove the U.S. from a safe list of countries for nonessential travel reverses its advice in June, when the bloc recommended lifting restrictions on U.S. travelers before the summer tourism season. The guidance is nonbinding, though, and U.S. travelers should expect a mishmash of travel rules across the continent.

Coronavirus deaths have surged in the U.S. recently, rising to over 1,200 a day, and new daily cases are over 150,000 a day.


China limits children's online gambling time

China is banning children from playing online games for more than three hours a week, the harshest restriction so far on the game industry as Chinese regulators continue cracking down on the technology sector.

Regulators announced that minors in China can only play games between 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Fridays, weekends and on public holidays starting Sept. 1. That limits gaming to three hours a week for most weeks of the year, down from a previous restriction set in 2019 that allowed minors to play games for an hour and a half per day and three hours on public holidays.

The restriction is part of an ongoing crackdown on technology companies amid concerns that they may have an outsized influence on society.


EV demand spurs revival of large California lake

Demand for electric vehicles has shifted investments into high gear to extract lithium from geothermal wastewater around California's dying Salton Sea.

The ultralight metal is critical to rechargeable batteries. Despite widespread availability in the United States, Nevada has the country's only lithium plant, and U.S. production lags far behind Australia, Chile, Argentina and China

California's largest but rapidly shrinking lake is at the forefront of efforts to make the U.S. a major global player, though decades of economic stagnation and environmental ruin have left some residents on the Salton Sea's receding shores indifferent or wary.


U.N. hails end of leaded gas use

The U.N. environment office says Algeria has become the final country in the world to stop selling highly toxic leaded gasoline.

The U.N. Environment Agency said that marks the "official end" of the use in cars of a fuel that's been blamed for a wide range of human health problems. Petroleum containing tetraethyllead, a form of lead, was first sold almost 100 years ago to increase engine performance. It was widely used for decades until researchers discovered that it could cause heart disease, strokes and brain damage. UNEP cited studies suggesting leaded gas caused measurable intellectual impairment in children and millions of premature deaths. Most rich nations started phasing out the fuel in the 1980s.

— Compiled by Dave Flessner