Life in Late Stage Capitalism
“It’s much easier to imagine the end of all life on earth than a much more modest radical change in capitalism.”
– Slavoj Žižek
- Amazon to buy vacuum maker iRobot for $1.7 billion.
- Sri Lankan government accused of draconian treatment of protesters:
[…] [A]ctivists and human rights organisations described a systematic targeting of figures who are prominent in the protest movement. More than 100 people, including a Buddhist monk, have been arrested, the courts have issued travel bans, police have raided protesters’ family homes and security agencies have taken activists off the streets and questioned them for hours.
- Spain bans setting the air conditioning below 27 degrees Celsius.
- U.K. Home Office contractor gives children hotel food containing worms.
- Arctic melting four times faster than rest of the planet.
- Texas governor sends migrants to New York City as immigration standoff accelerates:
Abbott, who is running for a third term as governor in November elections, has already sent more than 6,000 migrants to Washington since April in a broader effort to combat illegal immigration and call out Biden for his more welcoming policies.
- U.S. schools add AR-15 rifles to enhance security:
In response to the Texas school shooting that left 19 children dead May 24, the local [Madison County] school system and Sheriff’s Office are rolling out some beefed up security measures in 2022-23, including putting AR-15 rifles in every school.
- At least 24 people dead as flash flooding hits eastern Uganda:
[…] [M]ore than 5,600 people have been displaced by flash flooding in eastern Uganda.
Two rivers burst their banks after heavy rainfall swept through the city of Mbale over the weekend, submerging homes, shops and roads, and uprooting water pipes. About 400,000 people have been left without clean water, and more than 2,000 hectares (5,000 acres) of crops have been destroyed.
- Boston subway in poor condition:
Runaway trains. Subway cars belching smoke and fire. Fatal accidents. Malfunctioning station escalators. Rush hour trains running on weekend schedules. Brand-new subway cars pulled from service. Derailed construction vehicles.
[A] 43-year-old Orange Line subway train caught fire as it was crossing a bridge north of Boston on July 21, prompting one passenger to jump into the Mystic River and others to scramble out of windows.
In September, a 40-year-old Boston University professor plunged to his death through a rusted subway staircase, and nine people were injured when an escalator at a station malfunctioned later that month. In April, a 39-year-old man died when his arm got stuck in a malfunctioning subway car door. More than two dozen people went to the hospital last July when a Green Line train rear-ended another trolley.
In June, a collision involving two trains sent four employees to the hospital. And in May, the MBTA notched three derailments of construction vehicles in three separate incidents on the system’s Blue Line.
More recently, a commuter rail train stalled out for two hours without air conditioning, leading some riders to force open the train doors and clamber over a chain link fence to escape.
- Facial recognition smartwatches to be used to monitor foreign offenders in U.K.
- Flash flooding in Death Valley:
The park weathered 1.46 inches (3.71 centimeters) of rain at the Furnace Creek area. That’s about 75% of what the area typically gets in a year, and more than has ever been recorded for the entire month of August.
- Spain hit by ice shortage.
- Hundreds of children subjected to “traumatising” strip-searches by U.K. Metropolitan Police:
Some 650 10 to 17-year-olds were strip-searched by Met officers between 2018 and 2020, according to data obtained from Scotland Yard by the Children’s Commissioner.
In almost a quarter (23%) of cases, strip-searches took place without an “appropriate adult” confirmed to have been present.
- France experiencing worst drought on record.
- OnlyFans bribed Meta to put thousands of porn stars on terror watchlist:
OnlyFans squashed competitors in the online porn industry with the help of a bizarre scheme that bribed Meta employees to throw thousands of porn stars onto a terrorist watchlist […].
Adult performers who sold X-rated photos and videos on rival sites saw their Instagram accounts falsely tagged as containing terrorist content […].
Sellers of smutty pictures were then “shadowbanned” across Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and other sites, the suits allege. Targeted accounts also included businesses, celebrities, influencers and others who “have nothing to do with terrorism,” according to the suits.
- Tesla’s self-driving technology fails to detect children in the road, test shows.
- Facebook gave Nebraska police a teen’s messages. They used them to prosecute her for having an abortion:
A Nebraska teenager is facing criminal charges alleging she aborted a fetus in violation of state law, after authorities obtained her Facebook messages using a search warrant.
- Meta’s chatbot says the company “exploits people”:
The chatbot, called BlenderBot 3, was released to the public on Friday.
When asked about Mark Zuckerberg, the chatbot told the BBC: “He did a terrible job at testifying before congress. It makes me concerned about our country.”
“His company exploits people for money and he doesn’t care. It needs to stop!” it said.
- Sierra Leone imposes curfew as anti-government protests turn deadly:
Long-standing frustration has also been exacerbated by rising prices for basic goods in Sierra Leone, where more than half the population of around 8 million lives below the poverty line, according to the World Bank.
- Video game engine maker Unity signs multi-million dollar defense contract with U.S. government:
[…] [A] number of Unity developers said that some workers might be developing technology that is used for military purposes without realizing it, and called on the engine maker to be more transparent about its practices.
- Ubisoft to pull online from older video games, which also takes away D.L.C.:
However, cutting off DLC and, in one case, an entire game is troubling. Space Junkies, the multiplayer VR shooter, cost $40 at release and remains available for sale on Steam, with no notice that it will be rendered unplayable in two months.
- 22 killed in anti-U.N. protests in D.R. Congo:
They accuse the UN peacekeepers, who have been deployed in eastern Congo for over 20 years, of failing to protect them from deadly attacks by the myriad armed groups active in the region.
- Shell and Centrica post oil and gas profits totalling £11 billions.
- U.N. calls on member states to stop weapons supply to Haiti gangs:
Bloodshed in the Caribbean nation has been soaring — alongside fuel shortages and rising food prices — with at least 89 people killed in the Port-au-Prince capital region alone this week. Aid agencies have said many areas are dangerous to access.
The resolution came after Haiti announced Thursday night a rare seizure of weapons in cargo containers: 18 military grade weapons, four 9mm handguns, 14,646 rounds of ammunition and $50,000 in counterfeit money.
- Facebook accused of “whitewashing” long-awaited human rights report on India:
Facebook adds that the full report does not make any judgment on the most contentious allegation stemming from the Das controversy in 2020: that its moderation of hateful content in India is biased toward the ruling party so as to maintain market access.
- Canadian village destroyed by wildfire in 2021 evacuated due to wildfire.
- Energy use from U.S. cryptomining firms is contributing to rising utility bills:
Energy use in the industry is greater than that of entire countries. The US has become the center of cryptomining after it was banned in China. More than a third of the global computing power dedicated to mining bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency, comes from the US […].
- Heat wave kills more than 2,000 people in Spain and Portugal.
- Wildfires continue to rage in France and Spain.
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security (D.H.S.) purchases and uses vast quantities of cell phone location data.
- U.K. pay falls at fastest rate on record as inflation hits.
- Australia’s environment in “shocking” decline, report finds:
The 2,000-page State of the Environment report, commissioned by the government, found or reiterated:
- Nineteen ecosystems are on the brink of collapse
- There are now more non-native plant species in Australia than native ones
- Australia has lost more species to extinction than any other continent
- All bar one category of environment examined has deteriorated since 2016, and more than half are now in a “poor” state.
- Brazilian Amazon lost 18 trees per second in 2021.
- Media confidence ratings at record lows in U.S.:
Just 16% of U.S. adults now say they have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in newspapers and 11% in television news. Both readings are down five percentage points since last year.
- Europe’s heatwave is forcing nuclear power plants to shut down:
Europe’s heatwave—which led to wildfires in Greece and Sweden, droughts in central and northern parts, and made the normally green UK look brown from space—is forcing nuclear plants to shut down or curtail the amount of power they produce. French utility EDF shut four reactors at three power plants on Saturday, Swedish utility Vattenfall shut one of two reactors at a power plant earlier last week, and nuclear plants in Finland, Germany, and Switzerland have cut back the amount of power they produce.
- British Ph.D. students told to consider selling cosmetics, pet-sitting and joining clinical trials to cope with the cost of living crisis.
- Hyundai subsidiary has used child labour at Alabama factory:
Underage workers, in some cases as young as 12, have recently worked at a metal stamping plant operated by SMART Alabama LLC, these people said. SMART, listed by Hyundai in corporate filings as a majority-owned unit, supplies parts for some of the most popular cars and SUVs built by the automaker in Montgomery, its flagship U.S. assembly plant.
- Three weeks of continuous demonstrations and road blockades to protest high fuel and food costs in Panama have begun to cause shortages of some food products, fuel and medicine.
- Melting glacier in Alps shifts border between Switzerland and Italy.
- Shoppers at a supermarket chain in southern England are being tracked by facial recognition cameras:
[…] [T]he facial recognition system, sold by surveillance company Facewatch, creates a biometric profile of every visitor to stores where the cameras are installed, enabling Southern Co-operative to create a “blacklist” of customers. If a customer on the list enters the store, staff are alerted.
- Amazon, Inc. admits giving Ring camera footage to police without a warrant or consent.
- New Arizona law makes it illegal to film within 8 feet, about 2.5 metres, of police.
- Uber broke laws, duped police and secretly lobbied governments, leak reveals:
Leaked messages suggest Uber executives were at the same time under no illusions about the company’s law-breaking, with one executive joking they had become “pirates” and another conceding: “We’re just fucking illegal.”
In one exchange, [co-founder] Kalanick dismissed concerns from other executives that sending Uber drivers to a protest in France put them at risk of violence from angry opponents in the taxi industry. “I think it’s worth it,” he shot back. “Violence guarantee[s] success.”
The leak also contains texts between Kalanick and Emmanuel Macron, who secretly helped the company in France when he was economy minister, allowing Uber frequent and direct access to him and his staff.
- U.S. inflation rose 9.1% in June, highest since November 1981.
- BMW starts selling heated seat subscriptions for $18 a month.
- U.S. border agents used “unnecessary force” on Haitians:
Video footage and photos of the September 19 incident made it appear that US agents were whipping Haitian migrants, which caused outrage among advocacy groups and civil rights leaders.
- Cruise’s robot car outages are jamming up San Francisco. In a series of incidents, the GM subsidiary lost contact with its autonomous vehicles, leaving them frozen in traffic and trapping human drivers.
- Google’s “Democratic A.I.” is better at redistributing wealth than America, Google researchers say.
- Inflation plunged 71 million into poverty since Ukraine war, U.N. report finds.
- Tenth of world’s population now chronically undernourished, with spectre of widespread famine drawing closer:
Globally, the number suffering from chronic undernourishment rose to as many as 828 million last year, a rise of about 46 million on the previous year, and three times that increase if measured since the world shut down due to Covid, a report has found.
With the price of fuel, food staples and fertiliser soaring since the invasion of Ukraine, however, that total is expected to rise even further in the next year – a scenario that could see some of the world’s poorest fall into famine, the most extreme form of food deprivation.
- Dutch police fires shots at protesting farmers.
- U.K. prime minister explores plans to introduce 50-year mortgages that children can inherit:
Buyers could be offered mortgages for 50 years or more, with the outstanding debt when they die passed to their children, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. Longer loan durations would allow home buyers to pay more for properties because they would have lower monthly payments.
- PlayStation Store removes purchased movies from libraries after service shutdown.
- Bill Gates buys more farmland in U.S.:
Gates is considered the largest private owner of farmland in the country with some 269,000 acres (108,860 hectares) across dozens of states, according to last year’s edition of the Land Report 100, an annual survey of the nation’s largest landowners.
- Germany is rationing hot water, dimming its street lights and shutting down swimming pools to cope with Russia gas supply crunch.
- Many economies around the world, from Laos and Pakistan to Venezuela and Guinea, are in serious trouble as prices of food, fuel and other staples have soared:
Some 1.6 billion people in 94 countries face at least one dimension of the crisis in food, energy and financial systems, and about 1.2 billion of them live in “perfect-storm” countries, severely vulnerable to a cost-of-living crisis plus other longer-term strains, according to a report last month by the Global Crisis Response Group of the United Nations Secretary-General.
The economic strains are fueling protests in many countries, as meanwhile, short-term, higher interest borrowing to help finance pandemic relief packages has heaped more debt on countries already struggling to meet repayment obligations. More than half of the world’s poorest countries are in debt distress or at high risk of it, according to the U.N.
Some of the worst crises are in countries already devastated by corruption, civil war, coups or other calamities. They muddle along, but with an undue burden of suffering.
- A record 345 million people are now acutely hungry amid soaring fuel and food prices.
- E.U. lawmakers declare gas, nuclear energy as sustainable.
- 22 Malians, including children, die in boat disaster off Libya:
While many have drowned at sea, thousands have been intercepted by the Libyan coastguard, which has been backed by Italy and the European Union, and returned to Libya.
Thousands of refugees and asylum seekers in Libya are languishing in crammed detention centres under unhygienic and inhumane conditions, with abuse and violence being rampant.
- BP accused of dumping industrial waste in marine-protected area in Scotland.
- U.S. seeks to ban Dutch supplier ASML from selling chipmaking gear to China:
ASML is the world’s top maker of lithography systems, machines that perform a crucial step in the process of creating semiconductors. ASML’s dominance of the market for that type of equipment means that further cutting China off from access to its products would undermine the Asian country’s ambitions to make itself more self-sufficient in production of the crucial electronic components.
- California sends stimulus checks of up to $1,050 per family in inflation relief.
- Colorado funeral home harvested and sold body parts to increase profits:
Hess charged families up to $1,000 for cremations that never occurred, prosecutors said, and she also offered others a free cremation in exchange for a body donation. Many families received ashes from bins mixed with the remains of different cadavers, authorities said, and one client received concrete mix instead of a relative’s ashes.
FBI agents found that Hess forged dozens of body-donor consent forms. In court documents, a former employee accused Hess of earning $40,000 by extracting and selling the gold teeth of some of the deceased […].
- Sri Lanka’s economic crisis is driving people to flee the country in desperation:
Sri Lanka’s economic crisis is worsening, and the daily lives of people living in the small island nation have been severely disrupted. Due to rising prices of essential items, as well as fuel and medicine shortages, many Sri Lankans desperately want to leave the country.
[…] Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that with debts now totalling over $50 billion, Sri Lanka is “a bankrupt country.”
- U.S. police used texts, web searches for abortion to prosecute women.
- Several protesters killed in Sudan amid mass rallies against military rule.
- U.K. food delivery drivers fired after GPS app sent them on “impossible” routes.
- Boeing 737 MAX mid-air emergencies revealed:
Boeing’s troubled 737 MAX planes — which have twice crashed, killing 346 people — have experienced at least six mid-air emergencies and dozens of groundings in the year after an extensive probe cleared them to fly.
Former employees of both Boeing and the FAA characterised the reports — which included engine shutdowns and pilots losing partial control of the plane — as serious and with the potential to end in tragedy.
- South Africans are struggling with increased power cuts that have hit households and businesses across the country:
The rolling power cuts have been experienced for years but this week the country’s state-owned power utility Eskom extended them so that some residents and businesses have gone without power for more than 9 hours a day.
- Inflation and rent increases are making homelessness worse in U.S.:
There is limited national data on how many people are unhoused, especially since the pandemic began. In January 2020, there were more than 580,000 people in America experiencing homelessness, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness.
In interviews, shelter officials in 15 states all reported a dramatic increase in the number of people, particularly single mothers, seeking services this year. In some cases, waitlists have doubled or tripled in a matter of months.
In the past, homelessness has often befallen those going through hard times after losing a job, shouldering unexpected medical expenses or dealing with ongoing health problems. However, this time around, shelters say they’re seeing a rise in families who still have steady, even good-paying, jobs but cannot find a home they can afford.
- Spain and Portugal suffering driest climate for 1,200 years, research shows.
- Italy declares state of emergency in drought-hit northern regions.
- Gangs are fake-killing people in India for insurance payouts:
India offers its citizens a basic life insurance policy that’s rare for any government to provide. It costs the equivalent of about $4 a year and pays out roughly $2,600 when a policyholder dies, easily enough to cover two years of wages for a typical worker. In 2000 the government opened the system to private insurers, who crowded in and began to cut corners. Lacking even the most basic of checks and balances, the industry lost an estimated $28 billion to scams in the seven years through 2012, according to Deloitte.
- U.S. police sweep Google searches to find suspects.
- 50,000 people told to evacuate as floods in Syndney worsen.
- Exxon Mobil Corp.’s oil-refining earnings surged by $5.5 billion.
- Housing shortage blamed for tripled homeless population in France:
In its 2022 report, the Abbé Pierre foundation estimated France’s homeless population to be at least 300,000, thrice as many as in 2001.
Just before the coronavirus pandemic, the national statistics bureau (INSEE) found that 146 children had been born in the streets, four times more than in 2017.
- Poland completes Belarus border wall to keep migrants out.
- The European Commission has said it cannot find text messages that its president, Ursula von der Leyen, exchanged with the boss of Pfizer at the height of the pandemic:
The saga, known to critics as Deletegate, arose after the New York Times reported in April 2021 that Von der Leyen had exchanged text messages with the Pfizer chief executive, Albert Bourla, forging a relationship that unlocked lucrative deals for life-saving coronavirus vaccines.
- Nearly 1 in 4 of world’s population at risk from severe flooding, says study.
- Extreme temperatures in major Latin American cities could be linked to nearly 900,000 deaths:
With climate change, heat waves and cold fronts are worsening and taking lives worldwide: about 5 million in the past 20 years, according to at least one study. In a new study published today in Nature Medicine, an international team of researchers estimates that almost 900,000 deaths in the years between 2002 and 2015 could be attributable to extreme temperatures alone in major Latin American cities. This is the most detailed estimate in Latin America, and the first ever for some cities.
- U.K. quietly drops “human rights” and “rule of law” from list of goals in Gulf trade deal.
- 12th journalist murdered in Mexico this year:
More than 150 journalists have been murdered since 2000 in Mexico, one of the world’s most dangerous countries for the media, with only a fraction of the crimes resulting in convictions.
- U.K. police seize protester’s speakers 12 hours after new law takes force that allows police to intervene against noisy protest.
- Italy hits record June temperatures as another heat wave sweeps Europe.
- Japan swelters in worst heatwave since 1875.
- At least 51 migrants have died after being trapped inside a trailer truck found abandoned in Texas.
- Italian hairdressers face fines for shampooing amid heatwave.
- U.S. retail workers increasingly fear for their safety:
From 2018 to 2020, assaults overall rose 42 percent; they increased 63 percent in grocery stores and 75 percent in convenience stores.
The crime is also a byproduct, in many ways, of the modern retailer’s business model, which arranges products out in the open in a spacious store to entice shoppers to buy more. Thin staffing and increased automation have boosted profits but make it easier for crime to flourish, workers say.
- World pledged to cut methane. Emissions rising instead, study finds.
- At least 49 people dead in Colombia prison riot.
- Greek police coerce asylum seekers into pushing fellow migrants back to Turkey:
Six migrants, Syrian and Moroccan, have told how they participated in pushback operations on the Evros river under duress, in return for a police note permitting them a month’s stay in Greece. Two of the men described themselves as “slaves”. They said they witnessed Greek police strip, rob and assault asylum seekers before they were put back into overcrowded inflatable boats that the men were then ordered to transport back across the deep and fast-running river to the Turkish bank.
- Celebrity-endorsed crypto scams soaring in U.K.
- Rental listing in inner Melbourne is offering capsules that contain just a single bed for up to $900 a month, as Australian rental crisis worsens.
- Credit Suisse found guilty in cocaine cash laundering case:
Credit Suisse was fined 2 million Swiss francs ($2.1 million). The court also ordered the confiscation of assets worth more than 12 million francs that the drug gang held in accounts at Credit Suisse, and ordered the bank to relinquish more than 19 million francs – the amount that could not be confiscated due to internal deficiencies at Credit Suisse.
- Instagram scans users’ faces for proof they are over 18 years old.
- Millions of Yemenis to go hungry as U.N. forced to slash food aid:
The WFP provides food aid to 13 million people in Yemen, but the new cuts mean it will only be able to provide five million of them with 50 percent of their daily food requirements, with the remaining eight million only getting 25 percent.
- Louisiana’s insurance market is collapsing, just before hurricane season:
A few months earlier, a major insurance company called Lighthouse had gone bankrupt, leaving almost 30,000 homeowners in the state without storm coverage. The company went under thanks to last year’s Hurricane Ida, which led to $400 million in damage claims, far more money than the company had on hand. It had been up to [Louisiana insurance commissioner] Donelon to find a new company to take over these abandoned policies, but no other company wanted them. In fact, other companies were fleeing the state en masse.
The damage from Hurricane Ida caused at least seven private insurance companies to collapse or cancel their policies, and several more could be on their way out, with dire implications for the state’s housing market. The market collapse threatens to leave tens of thousands of homeowners uninsured during the most dangerous time of year. Following on the heels of upheaval in the fire and flood insurance markets, the turmoil in Louisiana is yet another glaring signal that property and insurance markets aren’t prepared to deal with the financial fallout of climate-driven disasters.
- Hundreds of homeless in U.S. die in extreme heat:
Around the country, heat contributes to some 1,500 deaths annually, and advocates estimate about half of those people are homeless.
Just in the county that includes Phoenix, at least 130 homeless people were among the 339 individuals who died from heat-associated causes in 2021.
- European politicians duped into deepfake video calls with mayor of Kyiv.
- At least 23 migrants died during an attempted mass crossing into the Spanish enclave of Melilla in northern Africa:
The footage showed dozens of people lying by the border fence, some bleeding and many apparently lifeless as Moroccan security forces stood over them. In one of the clips, a Moroccan security officer appeared to use a baton to strike a person lying on the ground.
The AMDH said many of those wounded “were left there without help for hours, which increased the number of deaths”.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez meanwhile condemned the attempted mass crossing as a “violent assault” and an “attack on the territorial integrity” of Spain.
- The Ohio State University officially trademarks the word “THE”.
- Ecuador at standstill after two weeks of protests over cost of living crisis:
Ecuador has been brought to a near standstill after two weeks of tumultuous protests over a spike in fuel and food prices as global inflation inflames discontent over widening inequality across Latin America.
At least five people have died after demonstrators blocked roads, torched vehicles and hurled stones, while police responded with teargas during several days of clashes.
The government’s austerity measures – which include tax hikes and slashing fuel subsidies, part of a $6.5bn deal with the International Monetary Fund – have been worsened by the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic and the spiralling costs of fuel, cooking oil, bread and fertiliser, driven by global inflation.
- U.S. to proceed with production of biofuels despite global food crisis.
- Unpaid social media moderators perform labour worth at least $3.4 million a year on Reddit alone.
- Somalia faces famine:
The Horn of Africa has suffered four consecutive failed rainy seasons and is experiencing its worst drought in four decades, a climate shock exacerbated by ongoing conflict and price rises caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Across the whole of east Africa, 89 million people are now considered “acutely food insecure” by the WFP, a number that has grown by almost 90% in the past year.
In 2011, Somalia experienced a famine that killed more than 250,000 people, mostly children, but Sanford said many of the people she met said the conditions now were even worse.
In April, the UN had received only 3% of funds for its $6bn appeal for Ethiopia, Somalia and South Sudan.
- Extreme weather hits China with massive floods and scorching heat.
- Dozens die in custody under El Salvador’s state of exception:
More than 40,000 people have since been arrested. Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele called for the emergency measures as part of a crackdown on gangs, following a surge in homicides that left more than 80 people dead in a single March weekend.
Human rights groups say the policy has led to widespread human rights abuses, including deaths in state care as the already overpopulated prison system has extended even further past its breaking point.
- Food bank demand rising in Germany amid record-high inflation.
- Unfinished and unwanted 9,000-passenger cruise ship to be scrapped:
Global Dream II, which was designed to hold more than 9,000 passengers, had almost been completed at a shipyard on Germany’s Baltic coast. However, the shipbuilder MV Werften filed for bankruptcy in January 2022 and the administrators cannot find a buyer for Global Dream II.
- Extreme heat that spread across Europe broke all-time records in France.
- Ukrainian soldiers raise money by writing custom notes on artillery shells for $40 before firing them at Russians.
- Sri Lankan troops open fire to contain unrest over fuel shortages:
The nation’s population of 22 million has been enduring acute shortages and long queues for scarce supplies while president Gotabaya Rajapaksa has for months resisted calls to step down over mismanagement.
Sri Lanka has deployed armed police and troops to guard fuel stations.
The country is also facing record high inflation and lengthy power blackouts, all of which have contributed to months of protests.
- Ethereum miners spent $15 billion on GPUs in the last two years.
- People arriving in U.K. on small boats to be electronically tagged.
- Private rocket company SpaceX fired employees who helped write and distribute an open letter criticising C.E.O. Elon Musk.
- South Asia in the grip of an extreme heatwave, with parts of Pakistan reaching a temperature of 50 degrees Celsius as officials warned of acute water shortages and a health threat.
- Floods devastate India and Bangladesh, leaving millions of homes underwater:
Bangladesh, a nation of 160 million people, is low-lying and faces threats from climate change-related natural disasters such as floods and cyclones. According to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, about 17% of people in Bangladesh would need to be relocated over the next decade or so if global warming persists at the present rate.
- Amazon, Inc. calls cops, fires workers in attempts to stop unionisation in U.S.:
Employees at Amazon facilities around the country whose union hopes were buoyed by the labor victory at a warehouse in Staten Island in April say in labor board filings and interviews that the company has been calling police, firing workers and generally cracking down on labor organizing since that historic win. Amazon has been accused of illegally firing workers in Chicago, New York and Ohio, calling the police on workers in Kentucky and New York, and retaliating against workers in New York and Pennsylvania, in what workers say is an escalation of long-running union-busting activities by the company.
- Ecuador declares state of emergency in three provinces amid Indigenous protests against rising inflation, unemployment and poverty.
- France suffers from record heat wave.
- Teslas running Autopilot have been in 273 crashes in less than a year:
The new data set stems from a federal order last summer requiring automakers to report crashes involving driver assistance to assess whether the technology presented safety risks. Tesla’s vehicles have been found to shut off the advanced driver-assistance system, Autopilot, around one second before impact, according to the regulators.
- Phoenix, Las Vegas, Denver and California’s Death Valley hit record temperature levels, while over 100 million Americans urged to stay indoors over extreme heat and humidity.
- 100 million people in the U.S. live with medical debt:
In the past five years, more than half of U.S. adults report they’ve gone into debt because of medical or dental bills, the KFF poll found.
A quarter of adults with health care debt owe more than $5,000. And about 1 in 5 with any amount of debt said they don’t expect to ever pay it off.
The burden is forcing families to cut spending on food and other essentials. Millions are being driven from their homes or into bankruptcy, the poll found.
About 1 in 7 people with debt said they’ve been denied access to a hospital, doctor, or other provider because of unpaid bills, according to the poll. An even greater share – about two-thirds – have put off care they or a family member need because of cost.
Hospitals recorded their most profitable year on record in 2019, notching an aggregate profit margin of 7.6%, according to the federal Medicare Payment Advisory Committee. Many hospitals thrived even through the pandemic.
America’s debt crisis is driven by a simple reality: Half of U.S. adults don’t have the cash to cover an unexpected $500 health care bill, according to the KFF poll.
- South Korea deploys military to carry goods into major ports amid truck driver strike.
- Nationwide tampon and Sriracha sauce shortage in U.S.
- Indian police linked to hacking campaign to frame activists:
More than a year ago, forensic analysts revealed that unidentified hackers fabricated evidence on the computers of at least two activists arrested in Pune, India, in 2018, both of whom have languished in jail and, along with 13 others, face terrorism charges. Researchers at security firm SentinelOne and nonprofits Citizen Lab and Amnesty International have since linked that evidence fabrication to a broader hacking operation that targeted hundreds of individuals over nearly a decade, using phishing emails to infect targeted computers with spyware, as well as smartphone hacking tools sold by the Israeli hacking contractor NSO Group.
- Facebook is receiving sensitive medical information from hospital websites.
- Part of northern Italy suffers from worst drought in 70 years.
- At least 2,000 cattle die in intense Kansas heat wave:
The new losses come as farmers across the Great Plains region are already struggling to cope with drought and high winds, along with the increased threat of wildfires.
The figure from the state health and environment agency reflects only the losses at farms that asked for help in disposing of carcasses, suggesting the actual tally could be higher.
- Tim Hortons coffee app constantly recorded users’ movements.
- Estonia clocks fastest inflation in the Eurozone at 20.1%.
- 20 members of U.S. Congress personally invest in top weapons contractors that will profit from the just-passed $40 billion Ukraine aid package.
- Chad declares food and nutrition emergency as grain supplies fall.
- U.S. police technology company Axon announced taser drones in the wake of a series of deadly mass shootings.
- Ph.D. students in U.S. face cash crisis with wages that don’t cover living costs:
[J]ust 2% of the 178 institutions and departments in the data set guaranteed graduate students salaries that exceed the cost of living.
- Germany to change constitution to enable $110 billion military fund:
The money is to be used over several years to increase Germany’s regular defense budget of around 50 billion euros […].
- Thousands are estimated to be living on the streets just a few miles from gates of Disney World, Florida:
Among them are locals as well as newcomers that moved to the Sunshine State believing their lives would improve in an area dominated by Disney’s wealth, only to find rocketing rent prices beyond their reach.
Many have moved into one of the run-down motels lining the busy US Route 192 that runs past the direction of the theme park, while others are living in encampments in the woods or even in their cars.
- Hundreds have died in a series of recent prison massacres in Ecuador:
The government has acknowledged the deaths of around 400 prisoners in a series of riots in Ecuador’s penitentiaries since February of last year. But family members believe the real number is much higher, citing a steady stream of news about violence and assassinations of inmates.
- U.S. food banks struggle with inflation costs as demand spikes.
- Parmigiano Reggiano makers are embedding tiny trackers in the rind to fight cheese fraud.
- Brazilian police arrested and killed a mentally ill man in police car “gas chamber”:
Brazilians have responded with outrage to the death of a mentally ill Black man who was bundled into the back of a police car by officers who then released a gas grenade inside the vehicle.
- U.K. Home Office threatens hunger strikers with faster deportation to Rwanda:
At least 17 people from Syria, Egypt and Sudan, who are being held at the Brook House immigration removal centre near Gatwick airport, began the protest when they were told they would be sent to Rwanda on 14 June as part of a controversial new scheme.
[C]harities that support asylum seekers said they had documented a number of suicide attempts among those threatened with being sent to Rwanda.
- Tesla reportedly hired a P.R. firm to monitor employees on Facebook.
- Turkey’s inflation soars to 73%, a 23-year high, as food and energy costs skyrocket.
- Remote learning apps shared children’s data at a “dizzying scale”:
What the researchers found was alarming: nearly 90 percent of the educational tools were designed to send the information they collected to ad-technology companies, which could use it to estimate students’ interests and predict what they might want to buy.
- $1 billion has been lost in cryptocurrency scams since 2021.
- U.S. military airlifts baby formula from Europe:
The shipment, equivalent to about 500,000 eight-ounce bottles, contained a hypoallergenic formula for children with cow’s milk protein allergy, the White House said in a statement. It provides enough formula to take care of 9,000 babies and 18,000 toddlers for a week […].
The transports are part of a series of measures taken by the Biden administration to address the shortage of infant and toddler formula that had threatened to become a political and public health disaster, as frustrated families searched depleted supermarket shelves.
- U.K. government’s £2.9 billion job search scheme fails to find work for 93% of people.
- Nearly 50 killed, hundreds injured in Bangladesh container depot blast:
Industrial fires are common in Bangladesh, and are often blamed on poor safety regulations.
Hospitals in the area are overwhelmed, with crowds of people waiting in hallways for treatment.
[T]he Dhaka Tribune newspaper published a list of 12 industrial disasters – including fires, building collapses and chemical leaks – that have killed over 1,000 people since 2005.
- Flooding and landslides triggered by torrential rain have killed at least 100 people in northeastern Brazil.
- More U.S. consumers with low credit scores are falling behind on payments for car loans, personal loans and credit cards:
The share of subprime credit cards and personal loans that are at least 60 days late is rising faster than normal, according to credit-reporting firm Equifax Inc. In March, those delinquencies rose month over month for the eighth time in a row, nearing their prepandemic levels.
Delinquencies on subprime car loans and leases hit an all-time high in February, based on Equifax’s tracking that goes back to 2007.
- Bulgaria is using police dogs and other violence to illegally push refugees back into Turkey, international rights group says.
- South Africa flood killed nearly 400.
- Hotels started to sell room reservations in the form of nonfungible tokens (N,F.T.s):
Some resort owners think they have found a way to avoid getting stuck with excess inventory when guests cancel at the last minute.
It involves converting room nights for sale into nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, that can be bought or sold by hotel guests, similar to the StubHub market for concert and sporting event tickets.
Owners say this ensures they get paid for the rooms because guests would sell their reservation in the market if they decide not to go, and appeal to the crypto-enthusiastic traveler.
- Somalia suffers worst drought in 40 years.
- In Afghanistan, 1.1 million children under the age of 5 will likely face the most severe form of malnutrition this year, nearly double the number in 2018, according to the U.N.
- At least 21 people killed during police raid in Rio de Janeiro favela:
The deaths included a woman who was hit by a stray bullet in the exchange of gunfire between gang members and police in the Vila Cruzeiro favela.
The death toll puts the incident among Rio’s deadliest police operations in recent history. It comes one year after a raid of the Jacarezinho favela that left 28 people dead, prompting claims of abuse and summary executions.
- Record 420,000 children a month in England treated for mental health problems.
- Cryptocurrency trading firm Coinbase tests app for employees to grade each other during meetings:
In the app, employees review how well their coworkers demonstrate 10 core values at Coinbase, including things like communication and “positive energy” […]. They can share their input in the form of a thumbs up, thumbs down, or neutral review.
- Number of displaced people passes 100 million for the first time, says U.N.
- Food and energy billionaires $453 billion richer than two years ago:
Cargill, which is one of the world’s largest food traders, now counts 12 family members as billionaires, up from eight before the pandemic. The Cargill family, along with three other companies, controls 70% of the global agricultural market.
Food prices, which are up more than 30% over the past year on average, are likely to push more than 263 million more people into acute poverty than before the pandemic. That is equivalent to the populations of the UK, France, Germany, and Spain combined, and would take the number of people living on less than $1.90 a day to 860 million by the end of the year.
- TikTokers are accused of starting forest fires for views.
- As inflation soars, Canadians on social assistance sinking deeper into poverty:
In Toronto, the Daily Bread Food Bank, which runs more than 200 food programs in the city, had around 160,000 visits in March, a 134-per-cent increase compared to the same period before the pandemic and the highest number recorded in a single month. During the same month, the organization also recorded nearly 5,700 registrations from new clients, which it said was a 647-per-cent increase compared to the last wave of COVID-19.
- Parts of Spain are experiencing their hottest May ever.
- Nearly a million homes lose power in Canada storms.
- Heavy rains have caused widespread flooding in parts of Bangladesh and India, leaving millions stranded and at least 57 dead.
- Canadian inflation accelerates to new three-decade high. At 6.8 percent, inflation is the highest since January 1991.
- U.K. inflation hits 9%, highest since 1982.
- Ransomware gang threatens to overthrow Costa Rica government:
A ransomware gang that infiltrated some Costa Rican government computer systems has upped its threat, saying its goal is now to overthrow the government.
[…] [T]he Russian-speaking Conti gang tried to increase the pressure to pay a ransom by raising its demand to $20 million.
- Climate crisis makes extreme Indian heatwaves 100 times more likely, study finds.
- New York now has more Airbnb listings than apartments for rent:
Inventory in all of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and northwest Queens has been hovering well below 10,000 units — as of April, the number was just 7,669. Which is several thousand less than the number of entire-apartment and entire-home Airbnb rentals available in New York City right now: 10,572, according to AirDNA, a third-party site that tracks short-term rentals. Inside Airbnb, another site that scrapes Airbnb for listings data, puts the number even higher, at 20,397.
- Albert Einstein has earned far more posthumously than he ever did in his lifetime:
But his earnings in life were insignificant compared to his earnings in death. From 2006 to 2017, he featured every year in Forbes’ list of the 10 highest-earning historic figures – “dead celebrities” in the publication’s rather diminishing term – bringing in an average of $12.5m a year in licensing fees for the Hebrew University, which is the top-ranking university in Israel. A conservative estimate puts Einstein’s postmortem earnings for the university to date at $250m.
- Nearly 1 in 3 students in Germany live in poverty.
- From Amazon to Apple, tech giants turn to old-school union-busting:
Tech companies have surveilled workers suspected of organizing, posted anti-union propaganda and hired anti-union consultants, according to interviews with workers and organizers. They’ve also forced workers to attend “captive audience” meetings to undermine union talking points, lobbied for laws that will prevent workers from getting the right to unionize and fired employees who drew attention to these tactics.
Amazon has been using anti-union consultants for nearly two decades, defeating efforts to unionize in Britain in 2004 and Virginia in 2016, and releasing an anti-union training video in 2018. It also hired Pinkerton, the private security agency used to infiltrate unions since the late 1800s, to stop Whole Foods workers in 2020, according to internal documents […].
Contract workers at a Google Fiber store in Kansas City, Mo., who voted to unionize in March after they were denied cost-of-living raises during the pandemic, were required to attend “captive audience” meetings with an anti-union consultant who said voting to unionize could force Google to drop its contract.
- Delhi suffers at 49 °C as heatwave sweeps India. Average maximum temperatures for the month were the highest in 122 years.
- San Francisco police are using driverless cars as mobile surveillance cameras.
- Shoot on sight order issued at Sri Lanka unrest as troops deployed in Colombo:
The crisis turned volatile earlier this week after pro-government supporters began attacking a camp of peaceful demonstrators who had been protesting against the government and the devastating economic crisis that has engulfed the island of 22 million people.
Eight people have been killed and more than 200 injured in the violence that has ensued across the country since Monday’s attacks by pro-government supporters. […]
More than 100 buildings were set alight, including the homes of 41 pro-Rajapaksa politicians and a luxury hotel said to be owned by the Rajapaksas, as well as several buses that had been rumoured to be used as transport for pro-Rajapaksa supporters.
- After pleading unsuccessfully for affordable housing to help ease her chronic health condition, a Canadian woman ended her life under the country’s assisted-suicide laws:
In February, a 51-year-old Ontario woman known as Sophia was granted physician-assisted death after her chronic condition became intolerable and her meagre disability stipend left her little to survive on […].
[…] For two years, she and friends had pleaded without success for better living conditions, she said.
Now a second case has emerged with several parallels: another woman, known as Denise, has also applied to end her life after being unable to find suitable housing and struggling to survive on disability payments.
- Scientists give Earth a 50-50 chance of hitting key warming mark by 2026.
- U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) “now operates as a domestic surveillance agency”, study finds:
The agency is said to be using data from the Department of Motor Vehicles and utility companies, along with the likes of call records, child welfare records, phone location data, healthcare records and social media posts. ICE is now said to hold driver’s license data for 74 percent of adults and can track the movement of cars in cities that are home to 70 percent of the adult population in the US.
The study shows that ICE, which falls under the Department of Homeland Security, has already used facial recognition technology to search through driver’s license photos of a third of adults in the US. In 2020, the agency signed a deal with Clearview AI to use that company’s controversial technology. In addition, the report states that when 74 percent of adults hook up gas, electricity, phone or internet utilities in a new residence, ICE was able to automatically find out their updated address.
The authors wrote that ICE is able to carry out these actions in secret and without warrants.
- Pirate site blocking is making its way into Free Trade Agreements:
The new free trade agreement between Australia and the UK includes a site blocking paragraph. The text requires the countries to provide injunctive relief to require ISPs to prevent subscribers from accessing pirate sites. While this doesn’t change much for the two countries, rightsholders are already eying similar requirements for trade deals with other nations.
- A California startup is offering cocoon-like pods to allow 14 residents to share a single house as an escape from soaring rents and real estate prices:
At $800 per month, which includes utilities, the cost of a pod is less than half the rent of a studio apartment in Palo Alto.
Though Stallworth and Lennox expected their Bakersfield residents to be mostly medical students and residents, “it’s honestly just regular people who work and just need a place to live.”
- Warhol portrait of Marilyn Monroe fetches a record $195 million in auction, has become the most expensive 20th-century artwork.
- U.S. baby formula shortage is getting worse. National out-of-stock levels up to 40%:
Prices of baby formula, which three-quarters of babies in the U.S. receive within their first six months, have also spiked. The average cost of the most popular baby formula products is up as much as 18% over the last 12 months.
- Hundreds of suicidal teens in U.S. sleep in emergency rooms every night:
Mental health disorders are surging among adolescents: In 2019, 13 percent of adolescents reported having a major depressive episode, a 60 percent increase from 2007. Suicide rates, stable from 2000 to 2007, leaped nearly 60 percent by 2018, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Nationally, the number of residential treatment facilities for people under the age of 18 fell to 592 in 2020 from 848 in 2012, a 30 percent decline, according to the most recent federal government survey.
- Covid’s toll in the U.S. reaches 1 million deaths.
- W.H.O. estimates 15 million people have died as result of Covid pandemic.
- More than 2,200 dams in U.S. are in poor condition, posing danger to communities.
- Homes in 97% of U.S. cities are overvalued, Moody’s says.
- Unchecked global emissions on track to initiate mass extinction of marine life:
As greenhouse gas emissions continue to warm the world’s oceans, marine biodiversity could be on track to plummet within the next few centuries to levels not seen since the extinction of the dinosaurs, according to a recent study in the journal Science by Princeton University researchers.
- U.S. data broker is selling location data of people who visit abortion clinics.
- User data of gay-dating app Grindr was sold through ad networks:
The precise movements of millions of users of the gay-dating app Grindr were collected from a digital advertising network and made available for sale, according to people familiar with the matter.
- Raw sewage pumped into English bathing waters 25,000 times in 2021.
- Fertilizer prices are at record highs, threatens food security.
- F.B.I. searched data of millions of Americans without warrants.
- More than 3,000 lost at sea trying to reach Europe in 2021, nearly twice the number of lives lost in the previous year:
More than 3,000 migrants, refugees and asylum seekers died or went missing last year while trying to reach Europe via Mediterranean and Atlantic sea routes, according to a new report by the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR).
A report by the UN’s rights office last year said that the EU was partly to blame for deaths in the Mediterranean due to unanswered distress calls and the obstruction of humanitarian rescue efforts.
- Chevron’s profit nearly quadruples:
Chevron Corp […] posted its highest quarterly profit in 10 years as oil and gas prices surged, and said […] it was looking to boost investment in natural gas on rising world demand.
Chevron’s U.S. oil and gas production rose 10% from the year-ago period. In the first quarter, Chevron pumped a record 692,000 barrels of oil and gas per day (boed) in the Permian, the top U.S. unconventional basin, and boosted full-year guidance to a range of 700,000 to 750,000 boed.
- World lost forest area greater than size of U.K. in 2021. Analysts say the rate of deforestation indicates world not on track to meet COP26 commitments.
- Property prices in South Korea explode. The average price of an apartment in Seoul has doubled in five years.
- San Francisco spent millions of dollars to shelter homeless people in hotels:
Where residents have threatened each other with knives, crowbars and guns, sometimes drawing police to the building several times a day.
Where, since 2020, at least nine people have died of drug overdoses. One man was discovered only after a foul stench seeped from his room into the hall.
But because San Francisco leaders have for years neglected the hotels and failed to meaningfully regulate the nonprofits that operate them, many of the buildings — which house roughly 6,000 people — have descended into a pattern of chaos, crime and death, the investigation found. Critically, the homelessness crisis in San Francisco has worsened.
- U.K. seeks controversial deal to relocate asylum-seekers to Rwanda:
The United Kingdom and Rwanda made headlines on April 14 when they announced that migrants arriving in the UK irregularly would be sent some 6,400 kilometers (4,000 miles) away to Rwanda. There, Rwandan authorities would be in charge of processing their asylum claims, and, if successful, they would be allowed to stay there.
London said it will contribute up to £120 million ($157 million, €144 million) towards the controversial pact.
- Humanity entering “spiral of self-destruction”, U.N. warns:
In a fresh report, the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, or UNDRR, found that between 350 and 500 medium- to large-scale disasters took place globally every year over the past two decades.
That is five times more than the average during the three preceding decades, it said.
And amid the changing climate, disastrous events brought on by drought, extreme temperatures and devastating flooding are expected to occur even more frequently going forward.
The report estimated that by 2030, we will be experiencing 560 disasters around the world every year – or 1.5 disasters every day on average.
- Elon Musk buys Twitter for $44 billion.
- Cryptocurrency project Worldcoin is offering $20 worth of its token to volunteers willing to provide their biometric data to the network:
Worldcoin has already scanned the eyes of half a million people worldwide, mostly from developing or third-world countries in Asia and Africa. And the money they are offering has no current real-world value, as the project’s native token has not yet been listed on any exchanges.
- Brazilian military reportedly bought over 30,000 overpriced Viagra pills.
- Dutch tax authority ruined thousands of lives after using an algorithm to spot suspected benefits fraud:
Authorities penalized families over a mere suspicion of fraud based on the system’s risk indicators. Tens of thousands of families — often with lower incomes or belonging to ethnic minorities — were pushed into poverty because of exorbitant debts to the tax agency. Some victims committed suicide. More than a thousand children were taken into foster care.
- Amazon, Inc. workers made up almost half of all warehouse injuries in U.S. last year.
- As smart home companies Insteon and iHome shut down their cloud servers, consumers are left holding useless home automation devices.
- U.S. administration is launching a $6 billion effort to rescue private nuclear power plants at risk of closing.
- Democracies increasingly use spyware against citizens:
In Catalonia, more than sixty phones—owned by Catalan politicians, lawyers, and activists in Spain and across Europe—have been targeted using Pegasus. This is the largest forensically documented cluster of such attacks and infections on record. Among the victims are three members of the European Parliament […]. Catalan politicians believe that the likely perpetrators of the hacking campaign are Spanish officials, and the Citizen Lab’s analysis suggests that the Spanish government has used Pegasus.
Elsewhere in Europe, Pegasus has filled a need for law-enforcement agencies that previously had limited cyber-intelligence capacity. […] German, Polish, and Hungarian authorities have admitted to using Pegasus. Belgian law enforcement uses it, too, though it won’t admit it.
- YouTuber deliberately crashed his own plane for views.
- Turkey’s real inflation hits 142.63%, at official rate of 61.14%.
- Amazon, Inc. Europe paid no taxes on $55 billion sales in 2021.
- Tesla pays $0 in U.S. federal taxes:
Tesla may not plan to pay federal taxes any time in the foreseeable future — even though the company just reported by far its most profitable year ever. In 2021, Tesla recorded net income of $5.5 billion, and adjusted income of $7.6 billion.
- Meta spent a record $27 million on Mark Zuckerberg’s security and private jet travel in 2021.
- World military expenditure passes $2 trillion for first time.
- Evidence shows systematic use of pushbacks on the E.U.’s external border by Frontex:
Since March 2020, the Greek coast guard has been intercepting boats in the area full of refugees from the Middle East and Africa, including many Syrians. In multiple cases, border guards have apparently destroyed the vessels’ motors, pulled the people back toward the Turkish coast and then abandoned them at sea – either in inflatable life rafts or in rubber dinghies. Sometimes, the border guards have even forced back asylum-seekers after they had already reached the Greek islands.
Such operations are referred to among human rights activists as pushbacks, and they are illegal under European Union law.
- U.N. says up to 40% of world’s land now degraded.
- One in five reptiles faces extinction, as more than 1,800 species fight to survive.
- Deutsche Bank extends quarterly net profit to 1.06 billion euros ($1.12 billion), better than analyst expectations of around 950 million euros:
It was a seventh consecutive quarter of profit, the bank’s longest streak in the black since 2012, and marks its highest quarterly income since 2014.
- Virginia police routinely use secret GPS pings to track people’s cell phones.
- Heatwave in India breaks records, still worsening.
- Amazon, Inc. uses Echo smart speaker conversations to target ads:
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C.) warns of a steep decline in teen mental health:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning of an accelerating mental health crisis among adolescents, with more than 4 in 10 teens reporting that they feel “persistently sad or hopeless,” and 1 in 5 saying they have contemplated suicide […].
- New Amazon, Inc. worker chat app would ban words like “union,” “restrooms,” “pay raise,” and “plantation”.
- U.S. life expectancy falls for 2nd year in a row, to the lowest in at least 25 years.
- In Africa, U.S.-trained militaries are ousting civilian governments in coups:
But U.S. commanders have watched with dismay over the past year as military leaders in several African allies—including officers with extensive American schooling—have overthrown civilian governments and seized power for themselves, triggering laws that forbid the U.S. government from providing them with weapons or training.
- Inflation in Peru has reached its highest level in a quarter of a century. Government imposed curfew in Lima, deployed military against protests and blocked highways.
- U.S. consumer prices rose 8.5% in March, the highest since 1981.
- Shadow credit scores prevent people from getting housing in U.S.:
Tenant screening companies compile information beyond what’s in renters’ credit reports, including criminal and eviction filings. They say this data helps give landlords a better idea of who will pay on time and who will be a good tenant. The firms typically assign applicants scores or provide landlords a yes-or-no recommendation.
A ProPublica review found that such ratings have come to serve as shadow credit scores for renters. But compared to credit reporting, tenant screening is less regulated and offers fewer consumer protections — which can have dire consequences for applicants trying to secure housing.
The rapid rise of tenant screening is one of the seismic changes to hit the rental market since the Great Recession. […] [P]rivate equity firms have poured into the multifamily apartment market, often driving up rents in search of greater profits than those typically sought by mom-and-pop landlords. Algorithms now often replace human judgment in deciding who qualifies for housing and how much rent costs.
- 90% of U.S. nurses considering leaving the profession in the next year:
Ninety percent of respondents are considering leaving the nursing profession in the next year, with 71% of nurses that have more than 15 years of nursing experience thinking about leaving as soon as possible or within the next few months. Seventy-two percent of respondents said they were experiencing nurse burnout long before the pandemic.
- Eurozone inflation at record 7.5%. Inflation in Germany is at its highest since reunification in 1990.
- 2021 was the most profitable year for U.S. corporations since 1950, earnings jumped 35%.
- Afghan people selling children, body parts amid economic crisis:
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said in an address […] that people in Afghanistan are “selling their children and their body parts” to provide for their families amid the country’s near economic collapse.
The secretary-general also referenced a prior warning from the U.N. that 97 percent of people in the country could be living below the poverty line by mid-2022.
- Twitter user sentenced to 150 hours of community service in U.K. for posting “offensive” tweet.
- Migrant workers in Qatar forced to pay billions in recruitment fees:
Low-wage migrant workers have been forced to pay billions of dollars in recruitment fees to secure their jobs in World Cup host nation Qatar over the past decade […].
Bangladeshi men migrating to Qatar are likely to have paid about $1.5bn (£1.14bn) in fees, and possibly as high as $2bn, between 2011 and 2020. Nepali men are estimated to have paid around $320m, and possibly more than $400m, in the four years between mid-2015 to mid-2019.
- French government payed at least a billion dollars last year to private consulting firms.
- Fake profiles with A.I.-generated profile pictures on LinkedIn used in marketing tactics:
NPR found that many of the LinkedIn profiles seem to have a far more mundane purpose: drumming up sales for companies big and small. […] Anyone who takes the bait gets connected to a real salesperson who tries to close the deal. Think telemarketing for the digital age.
- U.S. homes earned more for owners than their jobs last year:
Zillow Group Inc.’s home value index, which estimates the value of the typical U.S. home, rose 19.6% in 2021 to $321,634, an increase of $52,667 from 2020. That figure was slightly higher than what the median U.S. full-time worker earned, which was about $50,000 last year before taxes, according to Census Bureau data cited by Zillow.
- Facebook failed to detect blatant hate speech and calls to violence against Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim minority years after such behavior was found to have played a determining role in the genocide against them, report finds.
- U.S. workers are trading staggering amounts of data for “payday loans”:
Tulloch is one of a growing number of US workers turning their personal data over to private companies in exchange for paycheck advances, fueling an industry potentially worth up to $12 billion, by some estimates. In 2020, $9.5 billion in wages were accessed early […] up from $6.3 billion in 2019. These early payouts can be habit-forming; a 2021 report from the Financial Health Network found that more than 70 percent of pay advance users took out consecutive advances.
What Tulloch didn’t know was that when he signed up for the app, a company called Argyle was retrieving the data that would be used to decide how much money to give him. It builds the technology that allows companies like B9 to extract a wealth of data from payroll accounts—up to 140 data points. These can include shifts worked, time off, earnings and promotions history, health care and retirement contributions, even reputational markers like on-time rate or a gig worker’s star rating and deactivation history. […] This makes for a valuable data trove; it’s further upstream than banking data, providing a fuller picture of a worker’s earnings, deductions, and behavior.
- Microsoft accused of spending millions on bribes to seal business deals.
- German states outlaw displays of the letter “Z” which has become synonymous with support for Russia’s war in Ukraine.
- Finnish company Nokia played a key role in enabling Russia’s cyberspying:
The tool was used to track supporters of the Russian opposition leader Aleksei A. Navalny. Investigators said it had intercepted the phone calls of a Kremlin foe who was later assassinated. Called the System for Operative Investigative Activities, or SORM, it is also most likely being employed at this moment as President Vladimir V. Putin culls and silences antiwar voices inside Russia.
- El Salvador declares state of emergency over wave of gang-related killings.
- Cash-strapped Sri Lanka cancels school exams over paper shortage:
Sri Lanka has cancelled exams for millions of school students in the Western Province as the country ran out of printing paper with Colombo short on dollars to finance imports, according to officials.
Long queues have formed across the country for groceries and oil with the government instituting rolling electricity blackouts and rationing of milk powder, sugar, lentils and rice.
- University of Florida changes name of study room dedicated to Karl Marx:
The study room was previously named the “Karl Marx Group Study Room” and was later changed to “Group Study Room 229” […].
The University of Florida told The National Desk that given the current events in Ukraine and elsewhere in the world it determined it was appropriate to remove Karl Marx’s name […].
- 1 in 5 people considering OnlyFans to afford living in New York City as rents skyrocket.
- U.S. inflation hits 40-year high of 7.9%.
- Tinder now offers criminal background checks on potential dates.
- Walgreens and other U.S. retailers have swapped out the clear fridge and freezer doors at thousands of stores, instead adding opaque doors with iPad-like screens showing what’s inside.
- Louisiana juvenile detention center found riddled with abuses:
The Acadiana Center for Youth at St. Martinville, LA locked teens, some with serious mental illness, in round-the-clock solitary confinement for weeks on end, deprived them of an education, in violation of state and federal law, shackled them with handcuffs and leg irons when they were let out to shower, and gave them little more than meals slid through slots in their doors […].
- Chicago anti-violence advocate fatally shot while sitting in parked car.
- San Francisco’s first tiny home village for homeless people opens:
“It’s definitely a lot warmer, and I don’t have to worry about my stuff being taken,” said Bauer, 45, who is known on the street as “Nobody.” “I haven’t had a locked area where I could leave my stuff and not have it stolen for who knows how long.”
Bauer has been homeless for 30 years, since he left Illinois at age 17. He’s one of 30 men and women to be promoted from a tent city on the city-leased lot into the tiny structures where they can live for at least a year. Eventually the site will hold 70 units in modular duplexes.
- Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer, suffers fuel shortages.
- C.I.A. black site detainee served as training prop to teach interrogators torture techniques:
A detainee at a secret CIA detention site in Afghanistan was used as a living prop to teach trainee interrogators, who lined up to take turns at knocking his head against a plywood wall, leaving him with brain damage, according to a US government report.
- Australian private schools reintroduce mandatory masks after spike in Covid-19 cases. Public schools are not looking to bring back any restrictions.
- Health workers in Haiti on strike over surge in gang kidnappings:
The strike came amid a 180-percent increase in kidnappings for ransom in Haiti in the past year, with 655 of them reported to police, according to a United Nations report […] from mid-February. Authorities believe the number is much higher since many kidnappings go unreported.
- The White House is briefing TikTok stars about the war in Ukraine.
- Facebook allows posts urging violence against Russians.
- U.N. raises less than a third of $4.27 billion sought for Yemen to avoid starvation.
- Almost 15,000 “ghost flights” have left U.K. since pandemic began:
The German airline Lufthansa recently warned it would have to fly 18,000 “unnecessary” flights by March in order to keep its landing slots at airports. Under current rules, airlines lose their valuable slots if they are not sufficiently used.
However, during the pandemic-hit period covered by the new UK data, the rules that had required 80% of slots to be used were completely suspended. Airlines did not have to operate flights to retain the slots, but nonetheless flew 14,472 ghost flights.
- Facebook allows praise of neo-Nazi Ukrainian battalion if it fights Russian invasion.
- Amazon nears “tipping point” where rainforest could transform into savanna:
The study […] in the journal Nature Climate Change, suggests that more than 75% of the rainforest has steadily lost “resilience” since the 2000s, meaning those portions of the rainforest now can’t recover as easily from disturbances, such as droughts and wildfires. Regions of the rainforest that show the most profound losses in resilience are located near farms, urban areas and areas used for logging […].
- Tens of thousands of people had been ordered to evacuate their homes as parts of Australia’s southeast coast are inundated by worst flooding in more than a decade.
- Argentina suffers raging wildfires that burn a vast swath of land across its northern region. Eight separate fires in Argentina’s Corrientes province have devastated almost 800,000 hectares.
- London’s smallest microflat sells for 80% above asking price:
A 7-square-metre microflat, cramming in a bed, toilet, shower, sink and a microwave tucked under the pillow, has sold for 80% above its minimum listing price at £90,000.
- Global methane emissions from the energy sector are 70% higher than official figures.
- Leaked files show how Ericsson allegedly helped bribe Islamic State:
Confidential documents have revealed how the telecoms giant Ericsson is alleged to have helped pay bribes to the Islamic State terrorist group in order to continue selling its services after the militants seized control of large parts of Iraq.
- U.S. Sensator calls for Russian President Putin to be assassinated.
- Stoli Vodka, Smirnoff – neither made in Russia – being dumped out as U.S. states boycott.
- Indian students allegedly pushed back into Ukraine from Polish border:
Students at the Ukraine-Poland border have sent out videos alleging that Ukrainian soldiers and police are forcing them back into Ukraine from the border of Poland by firing in the air and attempting to drive their cars into the crowd. They have also alleged that they have been beaten and kicked.
- Ukraine’s Roma, People of colour have aired out racism experiences as they try to flee into Poland to seek refuge.
- Russia invades Ukraine.
- Across the U.S., rents at “insane” levels with no relief in sight:
In the 50 largest U.S. metro areas, median rent rose an astounding 19.3 percent from December 2020 to December 2021 […]. And nowhere was the jump bigger than in the Miami metro area, where the median rent exploded to $2,850, 49.8 percent higher than the previous year.
Other cities across Florida — Tampa, Orlando and Jacksonville — and the Sun Belt destinations of San Diego, Las Vegas, Austin, Texas, and Memphis, Tennessee, all saw spikes of more than 25 percent during that time period.
- Explosion reportedly kills 59 near Burkina Faso gold mine.
- Philadelphia police officers fatally shot a 12-year-old boy in his back after a bullet was fired into the officers’ vehicle.
- Half of U.S. adults exposed to harmful lead levels as kids.
- Canadian home prices hit records:
The national average selling price hit a new high at C$748,450 ($588,589) in January, up 4.9% on the month and 21% higher from a year earlier, the Canadian Real Estate Association said.
- Amazon, Inc. suppliers linked to forced labour in China, watchdog group says.
- 64% of Americans are now living paycheck to paycheck:
At the start of 2022, 64% of the U.S. population was living paycheck to paycheck, up from 61% in December and just shy of the high of 65% in 2020, according to a LendingClub report.
Even among those earning six figures, 48% said they are now living paycheck to paycheck, up from 42% in December, the survey of more than 2,600 adults found.
- Attackers can force Amazon Echos to hack themselves with self-issued commands. Popular “smart” device follows commands issued by its own speaker.
- Toxic abuse practises used by Nigeria’s loan sharks:
As a condition for a loan, the application process required access to her contacts, social media accounts, and details of family and friends, where she worked, worshipped and lived.
Debt collectors constantly called and sent texts and WhatsApp broadcast messages to her phone contacts.
- A Royal Air Force aircraft travelled 330 miles from a base in Scotland for a photoshoot with prime minister Boris Johnson, before flying back.
- Leaked data from Credit Suisse is exposing how the bank held hundreds of millions of dollars for heads of state, intelligence officials, sanctioned businessmen and human rights abusers:
A self-described whistle-blower leaked data on more than 18,000 bank accounts, collectively holding more than $100 billion […].
Among the people listed as holding amounts worth millions of dollars in Credit Suisse accounts were King Abdullah II of Jordan and the two sons of the former Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak. Other account holders included sons of a Pakistani intelligence chief who helped funnel billions of dollars from the United States and other countries to the mujahedeen in Afghanistan in the 1980s and Venezuelan officials ensnared in a long-running corruption scandal.
The leak follows the so-called Panama Papers in 2016, the Paradise Papers in 2017 and the Pandora Papers last year. They all shed light on the secretive workings of banks, law firms and offshore financial-services providers that allow wealthy people and institutions — including those accused of crimes — to move huge sums of money, largely outside the purview of tax collectors or law enforcement.
In 2014, Credit Suisse pleaded guilty to conspiring to help Americans file false tax returns and agreed to pay fines, penalties and restitution totaling $2.6 billion.
Three years later, the bank paid the Justice Department $5.3 billion to settle allegations about its marketing of mortgage-backed securities. Last fall, it agreed to pay $475 million to U.S. and British authorities to resolve an investigation into a kickback and bribery scheme in Mozambique. And this month, a trial got underway in Switzerland in which Credit Suisse is accused of allowing drug traffickers to launder millions of euros through the bank.
- The Conservative MP for Dover has claimed that Brexit is benefiting her town because new border bureaucracy is creating jobs there.
- In return for a £250,000 donation to the Conservatives, multimillionaires are being ushered into the U.K. government as part of a secret “advisory board”:
After their large donations, members of the advisory board had been granted privileged access to the prime minister, ministers and advisers at the top of government.
According to a source, board members — whose investments spanned property, construction and big tobacco — were alarmed by the effect of Covid-19 on their businesses.
[…] [A]t least three are billionaires and six have appeared on The Sunday Times Rich List. In total, the combined wealth of the board members, their companies and their families exceeds £30 billion. They have donated £22 million to the Conservatives, including £9.9 million under Johnson.
- Six Tory donors given top cultural posts since Boris Johnson became prime minister of U.K.:
The donors, who have between them contributed more than £3m to party coffers, were appointed by the prime minister to the boards of the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, the Tate and the British Museum.
- A former nurse and her husband who were paid almost £1.85 billion for personal protective equipment during the pandemic have bought themselves a fabulous Caribbean villa for £30 million.
- Bionic eyes turned obsolete after manufacturer discontinued product:
These three patients, and more than 350 other blind people around the world with Second Sight’s implants in their eyes, find themselves in a world in which the technology that transformed their lives is just another obsolete gadget. One technical hiccup, one broken wire, and they lose their artificial vision, possibly forever. To add injury to insult: A defunct Argus system in the eye could cause medical complications or interfere with procedures such as MRI scans, and it could be painful or expensive to remove.
- New Yorkers in high stop-and-frisk areas subject to more facial recognition tech.
- Major banks pledging “net zero” are pouring money into fossil fuel:
Financial institutions channeled more than $1.5 trillion into the coal industry in loans and underwriting from January 2019 to November 2021, even though many have made net-zero pledges, a report by a group of 28 non-government organizations showed.
- Label maker company Dymo announced D.R.M. for printer paper.
- United States’ Department of Homeland Security (D.H.S) announced “robot dogs” to help secure the U.S.–Mexico border:
DHS’ choice of vendor sparked additional concern. While most police departments leased their pups from Boston Dynamics, which forbids customers weaponizing any of their tech, DHS chose Philadelphia-based Ghost Robotics. Late last year, the company debuted a version of its robot dogs equipped with long-range guns capable of hitting targets at a reported 1,200 meters.
- New Mexico deploys National Guard as substitute teachers in public schools, due to a shortage of teachers and school staff members.
- Afghanistan faces widespread hunger amid worsening humanitarian crisis:
Over 22 million people, more than half the country’s population, are facing crisis-levels of hunger, the majority of them unable to guarantee when their next meal is going to be, according to the U.N. World Food Program. This marks a dramatic increase since September, when more than 14 million people were at risk of going hungry. The organization also estimated that in December, 95 percent of the population had insufficient food consumption, adopting measures to cope with their situation by skipping a meal, for example.
- Reality star who allegedly made $200,000 from selling her farts in jars is pivoting to selling them as N.F.T.s.
- Food prices hit two-decade high:
A global index released on Thursday by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization showed food prices in January climbed to their highest level since 2011, when skyrocketing costs contributed to political uprisings in Egypt and Libya. The price of meat, dairy and cereals trended upward from December, while the price of oils reached the highest level since the index’s tracking began in 1990.
The I.M.F.’s data shows that average food inflation across the world reached 6.85 percent on an annualized basis in December, the highest level since their series started in 2014. Between April 2020 and December 2021, the price of soybeans soared 52 percent, and corn and wheat both grew 80 percent, the fund’s data showed, while the price of coffee rose 70 percent […].
Joseph Siegle, the director of research at National Defense University’s Africa Center for Strategic Studies, estimated that 106 million people on the continent are facing food insecurity, double the number since 2018.
- New York City will begin removing homeless people from subways at night:
In addition to the nearly 50,000 people who live in the city’s shelter system, an estimated 2,400 people live unsheltered in the city, many turning to the subways at night for warmth.
Some advocates for unhoused people living in the city say that, given its historic shortage of stable temporary and permanent housing, increased enforcement on the subway does not solve homelessness.
- World spends $1.8 trillion a year on subsidies that harm environment:
From tax breaks for beef production in the Amazon to financial support for unsustainable groundwater pumping in the Middle East, billions of pounds of government spending and other subsidies are harming the environment, says the first cross-sector assessment for more than a decade.
- U.K. deaths linked to prescription anti-anxiety drugs such as Valium are at the highest level for a decade:
Analysis of government data reveals that benzodiazepines – sedatives used for treating anxiety and insomnia – were mentioned on the death certificates of 476 people in England and Wales last year, a 55% increase in 10 years.
Analysis of NHS and government statistics by Turning Point found that deaths linked to diazepam – first marketed as Valium – rose the highest among all benzodiazepine-type drugs in the last decade, from 186 to 304, an increase of 63%.
- Tens of thousands without power in U.K. after worst storm in 32 years.
- U.S. gun maker presents semi-automatic assault rifle aimed at children:
Although it is under 2.5 pounds and 20% smaller than the standard version, the JR-15 “operates just like Mom and Dad’s gun,” WEE1 Tactical said in a statement. The weapon “functions like a modern sporting rifle,” but its “lightweight and rugged polymer construction and ergonomics are geared towards children.”
WEE1 Tactical launched the JR-15 earlier this month at an annual trade show sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which is based in Newtown, Connecticut—where a gunman with an AR-15 murdered 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.
- Mega-drought in Western U.S. and northern Mexico is the worst in 1,200 years.
- Pedestrian deaths spike in U.S. as reckless driving surges:
New Jersey had its highest number of pedestrian fatalities in more than 30 years. Last year was also the deadliest on Utah’s roads since the start of the century, as pedestrian deaths rose 22 percent. Washington State ended 2021 with a 15-year high in traffic fatalities. And pedestrian deaths in Texas climbed last year to a record high.
[…] [T]he group projected that the pedestrian fatality rate spiked about 21 percent in 2020 as deaths climbed sharply even though people drove much less that year, the largest ever year-over-year increase. And preliminary data from 2021 indicates yet another increase in the number of pedestrian deaths.
- I.B.M. executives called older workers “dinobabies” who should be “extinct” in internal emails released in age-discrimination lawsuit.
- Pharmaceutical drugs have dangerously polluted the world’s rivers.
- Trains intended for unbuilt Milwaukee-Madison high-speed rail line going to Nigeria:
In 2009, Wisconsin’s then-Gov. Jim Doyle, a Democrat, announced a deal with Talgo for two new trains to be built in the state and used for a high-speed rail line between Milwaukee and Madison. In the same year, Wisconsin was awarded $810 million for the project in a federal stimulus bill.
The plans died off after Republican Scott Walker became governor. But by 2012, Talgo had built the trains, and sent an invoice to the state for them. Later that year, Talgo terminated the contract and sued the state […].
Ultimately, under the terms of a settlement between Wisconsin and Talgo, the state paid the company a total of $50 million for the trains, which remained under the company’s ownership.
The trains sat unused in an Amtrak facility in Indiana for years, a lasting reminder of the dispute. They eventually returned to Talgo’s plant in Milwaukee in 2019.
- Russia sentences teens over “terrorist” plot to blow up F.S.B. building in Minecraft.
- New service wants to track customer’s eyeballs to make sure they are watching ads:
MoviePass is relaunching as a web3-style application where users earn credits to go to the movies by watching ads. The new MoviePass will use facial recognition and eye tracking tech in your phone to make sure that you’re actually watching those ads.
- U.S. customers force delivery drivers to dance, posting videos on TikTok:
Amazon encourages customers to publicize their Ring videos on its safety-minded social network, Neighbors, and makes it easy to share them more widely, too.
Amazon has slain that particular fantasy. Its routes are often serviced by precarious gig workers, its quotas are too punishing to allow for socializing, and all potential human interactions have been replaced by one-way surveillance. […] If delivery drivers were once lightly teased or frequently ogled, now they are simply dehumanized, plugged into machine-run networks and expected to move product with robotic efficiency. The compulsory dance trend on TikTok suggests that customers, too, have come to see drivers as programmable.
- 15 of 23 monkeys with Elon Musk’s Neuralink brain chips reportedly died:
Neuralink chips were implanted by drilling holes into the monkeys’ skulls. One primate developed a bloody skin infection and had to be euthanized. Another was discovered missing fingers and toes, “possibly from self-mutilation or some other unspecified trauma,” and had to be put down. A third began uncontrollably vomiting shortly after surgery, and days later “appeared to collapse from exhaustion/fatigue.” An autopsy revealed the animal suffered from a brain hemorrhage.
- U.S. nuclear power plants contain dangerous counterfeit parts:
The investigation was conducted after unnamed individuals alleged that “most, if not all,” nuclear plants in the US have fake or faulty parts. The inspector general’s office uncovered problems with counterfeit parts at a few different plants as part of its investigation. The report also says that the DOE had separately flagged 100 “incidents” involving counterfeit parts just last year.
- U.K. has world’s biggest stockpile of Plutonium (120 tonnes):
Having spent hundreds of billions of pounds producing plutonium in a series of plants at Sellafield in the Lake District, the UK policy is to store it indefinitely—or until it can come up with a better idea. There is also 90,000 tons of less dangerous depleted uranium in warehouses in the UK, also without an end use.
The closing of the last reprocessing plant, as with all nuclear endeavours, does not mean the end of the industry, in fact it will take at least another century to dismantle the many buildings and clean up the waste. In the meantime, it is costing £3 billion a year to keep the site safe.
- Exercise bike company Peloton lays off 2,800 workers and offers them one-year subscription as severance.
- Credit Suisse faces money laundering charges in Bulgarian cocaine traffickers trial:
The customer, who was later shot dead as he left a restaurant with his wife in Sofia, Bulgaria in 2005, had begun placing suitcases full of cash in a safe deposit box at Credit Suisse, the indictment says.
- Germany’s former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder to join Gazprom board:
His other posts include acting as chairman of the shareholders’ committee for Nord Stream AG and president of the board of directors at Nord Stream 2 AG. Both positions involve gas pipelines that connect Russia and Germany […].
- C.I.A. allegedly has a secret, undisclosed data repository that includes information collected about Americans.
- U.S. legislations restrict what teachers are allowed to discuss in school:
Across the U.S., educators are being censored for broaching controversial topics. Since January 2021, […] 35 states have introduced 137 bills limiting what schools can teach with regard to race, American history, politics, sexual orientation and gender identity.
Meanwhile, in New Hampshire, a conservative mom’s group is offering a $500 bounty to catch teachers who break a state law prohibiting certain teachings about racism and sexism.
Some of the bills […] include a provision that says something to the effect of: Teachers cannot be compelled to discuss a controversial contemporary issue, but if they do, they must do so evenhandedly and without any kind of favoritism. However, many of those same bills also would require teachers to denounce, in the strongest possible terms, ideas like Marxism or socialism.
- Ongoing computer chip shortage forces Canon to tell customers how to break D.R.M. in order to use offical ink:
Unable to procure enough chips, Canon is being forced to sell cartridges without a Digital Rights Management (DRM) chip, or the copy protection component that discourages you from using third-party printer ink.
Lacking a tag to identify as legitimate, official Canon ink is now being flagged as third-party components by the company’s own printers.
- Books on race and sexuality are banned from Texas schools in record numbers.
- Rotterdam bridge to be dismantled so Jeff Bezos’ yacht can pass through.
- America’s Covid-19 job-saving programme gave most of its cash to the rich:
Almost $366bn – 72% of funding in 2020 – went to households making more than $144,000 per year.
- “Real estate” sales on the four major metaverse virtual reality platforms reached $501 million in 2021.
- Gun violence is killing more children in U.S.:
The independent data collection organization Gun Violence Archive counted 1,055 children killed or injured by gunfire in 2021, up from 999 in 2020, and 695 in 2019. So far this year, the tally is at 74.
Some experts caution that, as disturbing as it is to see the rise in shootings of children, it’s important to keep in mind that the numbers are also going up for other age groups.
- Waymo sues California Department of Motor Vehicles (D.M.V.) to keep driverless crash data from being made public:
Waymo is seeking to keep private information about how it handles certain autonomous vehicle emergencies, how it responds when its vehicles attempt to drive somewhere they are not intended to go, and how they handle steep hills or tight curves.
Making public the process by which Waymo analyzes crashes “could provide strategic insight to Waymo’s competitors and third parties regarding Waymo’s assessment of those collisions from a variety of different perspectives, including potential technological remediation,” the company argues.
- U.S. hospital is suing medical workers to stop them from quitting their jobs and taking posts at another hospital.
- FIFA president Gianni Infantino says more World Cups could save African migrants from death in the sea.
- Suicide hotline shares data with for-profit spinoff:
Crisis Text Line is one of the world’s most prominent mental health support lines, a tech-driven nonprofit that uses big data and artificial intelligence to help people cope with traumas such as self-harm, emotional abuse and thoughts of suicide.
[…] The organization’s for-profit spinoff uses a sliced and repackaged version of that information to create and market customer service software.
- Bridge in Pittsburgh collapsed on the day of U.S. President’s planned infrastructure visit:
At least 10 people were injured when a snow-covered bridge in Pittsburgh collapsed early Friday, just hours before President Biden was due to visit the city to highlight his push for infrastructure improvement.
The 447-foot-long bridge is listed in poor condition in the National Bridge Inventory database.
- LG announced targeted ads for smart TVs:
While ads playing on your connected TV might not be anything new, some of the metrics the company plans to hand over to advertisers include targeting viewers by specific demographics, for example, or being able to tie a TV ad view to someone’s in-store purchase down the line.
- Airlines flying near-empty “ghost flights” to retain E.U. airport slots:
At least 100,000 “ghost flights” could be flown across Europe this winter because of EU airport slot usage rules, according to analysis by Greenpeace.
The deserted, unnecessary or unprofitable flights are intended to allow airlines to keep their takeoff and landing runway rights in major airports, but they could also generate up to 2.1 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions – or as much as 1.4 million average petrol or diesel cars emit in a year […].
- Pegasus surveillance technology allegedly used without warrants to target Israeli political activists, mayors and other citizens:
[…] [O]ne of the targets of the Pegasus software was an organizer of protests against then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The target, dubbed “swordtail,” was surveilled without his knowledge, found to be active on the gay dating app Grindr and followed as he went on dates – information that was to be leveraged in future police interrogations, according to the report.
- Workers in Portugal paid less than minimum wage to pick berries:
The workers, mostly from south Asia, are the backbone of Portugal’s £200m berry industry, which employs upwards of 10,000 migrants.
- Military takeover in Burkina Faso is 5th putsch in Africa in 18 months, follows coups in Chad, Mali, Guinea, and Sudan.
- Facebook promised poor countries free Internet. People got charged anyway.
- Britons struggle with rising costs:
The Trust says the number of people receiving three days worth of emergency food from its centres across Britain has risen from some 26,000 in 2009 to over 2.5 million in 2021.
[…] 42 percent of the food bank’s clients were children.
The cost of living in Britain is forecast to soar even higher in April owing to a tax hike and further planned increases of around 50 percent to domestic energy bills.
- Survivor of the 2015 terrorist attack in Paris shocked as surgeon tries to sell her X-ray as N.F.T..
- Greek government blamed for hunger crisis in refugee camps. Aid charity says 6,000 people, many of whom are children, believed to have no food allowance due to cuts in service.
- Increase in railroad heists in California:
The viral images were shocking: railroad tracks in the heart of Los Angeles buried in a blizzard of debris, as scavengers picked at what was left behind by thieves who broke into cargo containers on idle trains.
Union Pacific officials said the “unprecedented” rash of container break-ins in Los Angeles was unlike others they have seen. The company reported that thefts have jumped 160% since December 2020, with an average of 90 containers a day “compromised.”
During October, as suppliers were shipping out for the holiday season, Union Pacific reported that thefts surged 356% compared with the previous year at that time.
- Kazakhstan authorities raise death toll from unrest to 225:
The unprecedented clashes between security forces and anti-government protesters in the energy-rich ex-Soviet state prompted the president […] to declare a state of emergency and call in help from a Russian-led military bloc.
[…] 50,000 people joined the riots throughout the country at their peak on 5 January, when crowds stormed and torched government buildings, cars, banks and shops in several major cities.
- Hundreds stripped of British citizenship in last 15 years, study finds.
- More U.S. suburbs roll out homeowner surveillance camera programs:
Since 2019, dozens of law enforcement agencies across Minnesota from Austin to Crow Wing County have partnered with Amazon’s Ring video doorbell […].
Minneapolis police contracted with Atlanta-based Fusus, which focuses on business surveillance and city-owned surveillance cameras that police can view in real time. The partnership began when the city hosted the Super Bowl in 2018.
- Australia commits to $3.5 billion tank purchase from the U.S.
“[E]mancipatory politics must always destroy the appearance of a ‘natural order’, must reveal what is presented as necessary and inevitable to be a mere contingency, just as it must make what was previously deemed to be impossible seem attainable.”
– Mark Fisher