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
- California workers who cut countertops are dying of silicosis:
The disease dates back centuries, but researchers say the booming popularity of countertops made of engineered stone, which has much higher concentrations of silica than many kinds of natural stone, has driven a new epidemic of an accelerated form of the suffocating illness. As the dangerous dust builds up and scars the lungs, the disease can leave workers short of breath, weakened and ultimately suffering from lung failure.
- U.S. airlines make more money from mileage programs than from flying planes:
A 2020 analysis by the Financial Times found that Wall Street lenders valued the major airlines’ mileage programs more highly than the airlines themselves. United’s MileagePlus program, for example, was valued at $22 billion, while the company’s market cap at the time was only $10.6 billion.
- Child labour on the rise in U.S.:
In recent years, poverty worsened in Central America, and the work force changed once again. More than 300,000 migrant children have entered the United States on their own since 2021, by far the largest such influx in memory. Most have ended up working full time, fueling a resurgence in child labor not seen in a century, with children living far from their parents and working illegally in all 50 states. At slaughterhouses, it is no longer only Spanish-speaking adults seeking jobs but also children, most of them from Guatemala, which is one of the most impoverished countries in the region.
But as more children come to the United States to help their families, more are ending up in these plants. Throughout the company towns that stud the “broiler belt,” which stretches from Delaware to East Texas, many have suffered brutal consequences. A Guatemalan eighth grader was killed on the cleaning shift at a Mar-Jac plant in Mississippi in July; a federal investigation had found migrant children working illegally at the company a few years earlier. A 14-year-old was hospitalized in Alabama after being overworked at a chicken operation there. A 17-year-old in Ohio had his leg torn off at the knee while cleaning a Case Farms plant. Another child lost a hand in a meat grinder at a Michigan operation.
- Record numbers of migrants head to U.S. border.
- Dementia among U.S. officials poses national security threat, Pentagon-funded study warns:
The U.S.’s current leadership is not only the oldest in history, but also the number of older people in Congress has grown dramatically in recent years. In 1981, only 4 percent of Congress was over the age of 70. By 2022, that number had spiked to 23 percent.
- U.K.’s Online Safety Bill passed by parliament:
Once the bill receives royal assent and becomes law, social media platforms will be expected to remove illegal content quickly or prevent it from appearing in the first place.
If companies do not comply, media regulator Ofcom will be able to issue fines of up to 18 million pounds ($22.3 million) or 10% of their annual global turnover.
The government, however, has said the bill does not ban end-to-end encryption.
Instead it will require companies to take action to stop child abuse on their platforms and as a last resort develop technology to scan encrypted messages, it has said.
- 90% of “eco-friendly” paper straws contain traces of toxic Forever Chemicals.
- Booz Allen allegedly overcharged U.S. taxpayers to subsidise its money-losing private consulting contracts, whistleblower revealed:
After a yearslong investigation, Booz Allen last month admitted no wrongdoing while paying a $377 million settlement, what DOJ officials said was the third largest contract fraud settlement in history.
- 60% of fresh produce sold globally makes no profit, survey finds:
The report states that producers of fresh fruits and vegetables around the world experienced “unprecedented increases” in production and operating costs during the Covid-19 pandemic, regardless of where in the world they operated. Those increases, the report says, were driven by costs of fertiliser (up 60 per cent worldwide), construction (+48 per cent), fuel and gas (+41 per cent), shipping rates (+40 per cent), and electricity (+40 percent).
- U.K. in grip of a shoplifting epidemic, say store owners:
Shop thefts have more than doubled in the past three years, reaching 8m in 2022 and costing retailers £953m, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC). […] The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), the voice of more than 33,500 shops, said it has recorded its highest-ever levels of shoplifting over the last year, with 1.1m incidents reported to the police.
- U.K. Prime Minister delays petrol car ban by five years in major shift on green policies.
- Four Champagne workers die in heatwave.
- Istanbul facing drastic water shortages brought on by climate change.
- Google says it can’t fix Pixel Watches, recommends to just buy a new one.
- Delinquencies rise for credit cards and auto loans in U.S.:
There are 70 million more credit card accounts open now than there were in 2019, and Americans’ total credit card debt just topped $1 trillion for the first time, according to the New York Fed.
- French reporter arrested over leaked secrets which alleged that French intelligence was used by Egypt to kill civilians.
- British journalist held by police for five hours without arrest:
Matt Broomfield, 29, said he was met by police as he got off a plane from Belgrade […] and was taken aside for questioning, where he was asked “do you consider your reporting objective” and his opinions of the British state. […] They seized his phone and laptop and have since refused to return them. […]
Broomfield was detained under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000, used routinely by counter-terrorism officers to question people at airports for up to six hours at a time. Police say it is a tool to keep the public safe, but critics say the power is overused to the point of harassment.
Broomfield was held for two months in Greek migrant detention centres in 2021 after being denied permission to cross the border into Italy. He was told he was banned from the EU’s Schengen area at the request of Germany, which he believes was because of his media and advocacy work.
- N.G.O. finds 177 environmental activists murdered worldwide in 2022.
- Car companies collect and sell vast amounts of personal data:
A study of 25 car brands found they all failed consumer privacy tests carried out by internet-focused non-profit Mozilla Foundation. Its research found that 84% of car companies review, share or sell data collected from car owners.
- Storm and floods kill thousands in Libya:
Much of Derna, which has about 100,000 residents, is under water after two dams and four bridges collapsed.
Up to 10,000 people are recorded to be missing after the flooding as a result of Storm Daniel, the Red Cross says.
- U.N. warned that “climate breakdown has begun” after Earth experienced its hottest three months on record.
- Nearly one in five French people are living in debt, survey finds:
A growing number of people are experiencing difficulties paying for food and energy costs, as well as certain medical procedures that are poorly reimbursed by social security, Secours Populaire said.
Almost two-thirds of households with a net monthly income of less than 1,200 euros were in difficulty.
Seventy-two percent of people said they no longer bought meat, while more than half no longer eat three meals a day.
Between 2 million and 4 million people in France are thought to depend on some form of food aid, a number that has climbed with each crisis of the past 15 years – first the 2008 banking collapse, then Covid-19, now inflation.
- Number of beds available to tourists on Venice’s main island has surpassed the number of year-round residents for the first time.
- France, E.U. to spend 200 million euros on destroying surplus wine:
A fall in demand for wine has led to over-production, a sharp fall in prices, and major financial difficulties for up to one in three wine makers in the Bordeaux region, according to the local farmers’ association.
An initial European Union fund of 160 million euros for wine destruction has been topped up to 200 million euros by the French government […].
Europe last suffered a so-called “wine lake” in the mid-2000s, which forced the European Union to reform its farm policy to reduce the massive overproduction of wine which was being stimulated by its own subsidies.
- Milan records hottest day since 1763.
- Phoenix, Arizona experienced the hottest three months since record-keeping began in 1895.
- N.S.A. orders employees to spy on the world “with dignity and respect”.
- Numbers of children sleeping rough in France on the rise:
An increasing number of children in France are left to sleep in the streets, warns Unicef France in a yearly report that shows nearly 2,000 children were sleeping rough at the start of this school year, a nearly 20 percent increase from last year.
- The world has experienced the hottest summer on record.
- Gabon officers declare military coup:
Five other countries in Africa – Mali, Guinea, Sudan, Burkina Faso and Niger – have undergone coups in the last three years, with their new rulers resisting demands for a short timetable for returning to barracks.
- A.I.-generated mushroom foraging books are all over Amazon:
Amazon has an AI-generated books problem that’s been documented by journalists for months. Many of these books are obviously gibberish designed to make money. But experts say that AI-generated foraging books, specifically, could actually kill people if they eat the wrong mushroom because a guidebook written by an AI prompt said it was safe.
- U.N. forced to cut food assistance from 10 million Afghans due to a massive funding shortfall.
- New York police will use drones to monitor backyard parties:
Those attending outdoor parties or barbecues in New York City this weekend may notice an uninvited guest looming over their festivities: a police surveillance drone.
The New York City police department plans to pilot the unmanned aircrafts in response to complaints about large gatherings, including private events, over Labor Day weekend […].
- Two robotaxis in San Francisco blocked ambulance carrying patient who later died:
Two stalled driverless taxis blocked an ambulance carrying a critically injured patient in San Francisco on Aug. 14, causing a delay that contributed to “poor patient outcome” — the person died 20 to 30 minutes after reaching the hospital, according to a report by San Francisco firefighters that the taxi company disputes.
- Most English schools handing out clothes and food to children:
According to a survey of schools in England, nine out of 10 said they were providing clothing and uniforms for students, while seven out of 10 were giving out food in the form of parcels, food bank provisions, vouchers or subsidised breakfasts.
- Undercover U.K. police officer deceived woman into 19-year relationship.
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security uses A.I. surveillance tool to detect sentiment and emotion:
CBP told 404 Media it is using technology to analyze open source information related to inbound and outbound travelers who the agency believes may threaten public safety, national security, or lawful trade and travel. In this case, the specific company called Fivecast also offers “AI-enabled” object recognition in images and video, and detection of “risk terms and phrases” across multiple languages, according to one of the documents.
- Germany set to miss net zero by 2045 target as climate efforts falter.
- The U.S. is getting hit by extreme weather from all sides:
The southwestern U.S. is reeling from record rainfall and extensive flooding from a rare tropical storm. Much of the central and southern parts of the country are in the grips of yet another oppressive heat wave. Nearly two weeks after catastrophic wildfires devastated the Hawaiian island of Maui, more fires are raging in the Pacific Northwest. And after a quiet start to this year’s Atlantic hurricane season, activity in the basin is ramping up.
- Japanese family says young doctor took his life after working 200 hours overtime in a single month.
- Hawaii’s economic toll from wildfires is up to $6 billion, Moody’s estimates.
- Fossil fuels being subsidised at rate of $13m a minute, I.M.F. says. Oil, gas and coal benefited from $7tn in support in 2022 despite being primary cause of climate crisis.
- Argentina’s inflation rate hits 113%, stoking cost-of-living crisis:
The looting […] has seen small groups of people break into stores, stealing food and other items, according to a Reuters witnesses, state TV and officials.
Over 100 people have been detained in different regions, officials have said. Videos and photos show stores broken into and ransacked, emptied shelves, people trying to force their way into supermarkets, and some small fires. Police have been mobilized to guard stores.
A recent sharp devaluation of the peso currency has pushed up consumer prices further this month. J.P. Morgan is forecasting inflation to end the year at 190%.
- British Columbia prisoners seek extension of jail time to stay housed, avoid overdose.
- A draft of TikTok’s plan to avoid a ban gives the U.S. government unprecedented oversight power:
US government regulators reportedly tried to come to an agreement with TikTok to prevent banning the app that would have granted the federal government vast powers over the app. That’s according to a draft of a deal between TikTok and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) […]. Many of the concessions the government asked of TikTok look eerily similar to the surveillance tactics critics have accused Chinese officials of abusing.
- Some 100,000 people evacuated due to flooding in Pakistan’s Punjab province.
- France issues “red alert” over heatwave in southern regions.
- Wildfires ravage 11,600 hectares of Canary Islands, about 6% of the island’s area.
- 18 people killed in Greek wildfire.
- Wildfires in western Canada merge, forcing tens of thousands to flee.
- Saudi border guards killed hundreds of migrants, Human Rights Watch report says:
“Saudi border guards have used explosive weapons and shot people at close range, including women and children, in a pattern that is widespread and systematic. If committed as part of a Saudi government policy to murder migrants, these killings would be a crime against humanity,” notes the report.
In October 2022, the UN published its Expert Communications by special rapporteurs and working groups highlighting cross-border killings, “using artillery shelling and small arms fired by Saudi security forces”. Nearly 430 people were killed between January 1 and April 30, 2022, according to the communique.
In one incident, a survivor recounted that he was part of a group of 170 people who attempted to cross the border when they came under fire. “I know 90 people were killed, because some returned to that place to pick up the dead bodies – they counted around 90 dead bodies,” he explained.
- European cheese makers add microchips to products to fight fake food:
Italian producers of parmesan cheese have been fighting against imitations for years. Now, makers of Parmigiano-Reggiano, as the original parmesan cheese is officially called, are slapping the microchips on their 90-pound cheese wheels as part of an endless cat-and-mouse game between makers of authentic and fake products.
The new silicon chips, made by Chicago-based p-Chip, use blockchain technology to authenticate data that can trace the cheese as far back as the producer of the milk used. The chips have been in advanced testing on more than 100,000 Parmigiano wheels for more than a year.
In lab tests, the chips sat for three weeks in a mock-up of stomach acid without leaking any dangerous material. Eibon went a step further, eating one without suffering any ill effects […].
- New Zealand supermarket A.I. meal planner app suggests recipe that would create chlorine gas.
- Microsoft A.I. suggests food bank as a “cannot miss” tourist spot in Canada.
- Crime is so bad near San Francisco Federal building employees are told to work from home, officials said:
Officials at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services advised hundreds of employees in San Francisco to work remotely for the foreseeable future due to public safety concerns outside the Nancy Pelosi Federal Building on Seventh Street.
Dozens of dealers routinely plant themselves on, next to or across the street from the property, operating in shifts as users smoke, snort or shoot up their recent purchases. The property’s concrete benches are an especially popular site for users to get high, socialize or pass out.
- Canadian and Ontario governments to give $15 billion in subsidies to automobile manufacturers.
- An Iowa school district is using ChatGPT to decide which books to ban:
Against a nationwide backdrop of book bans and censorship campaigns, Iowa educators are turning to ChatGPT to help decide which titles should be removed from their school library shelves in order to legally comply with recent Republican-backed state legislation […].
- Hawaii wildfire kills at least 80:
The fires became the deadliest natural disaster in the state’s history, surpassing that of a tsunami that killed 61 people on the Big Island of Hawaii in 1960, a year after Hawaii joined the United States.
Officials have warned that search teams with cadaver dogs could still find more dead from the fire that torched 1,000 buildings and left thousands homeless, likely requiring many years and billions of dollars to rebuild.
- Concerns over sex content leads Florida schools to pull Shakespeare:
Hillsborough County became the latest to take this step, telling teachers they could assign excerpts of plays such as “Romeo and Juliet,” but not the full text.
- German government to give €5 billion in subsidies to chip maker.
- 41 migrants die in shipwreck off Lampedusa.
- Britain began housing migrants on board a barge docked off the southwest English coast:
It was previously used by Germany and the Netherlands to house homeless people and asylum-seekers, but opponents in Britain have noted it was previously described as an “oppressive environment”.
- Eight months pregnant woman arrested in U.S. after false facial recognition match:
Handcuffed in front of her home […] last February, leaving her crying children with her fiancé, Ms. Woodruff was taken to the Detroit Detention Center. She said she was held for 11 hours, questioned about a crime she said she had no knowledge of, and had her iPhone seized to be searched for evidence.
After being charged in court with robbery and carjacking, Ms. Woodruff was released that evening on a $100,000 personal bond. In an interview, she said she went straight to the hospital where she was diagnosed with dehydration and given two bags of intravenous fluids. A month later, the Wayne County prosecutor dismissed the case against her.
- 57 swimmers fall sick and get diarrhoea at world triathlon championship in U.K. due to raw sewage discharges to the waters.
- Catastrophic floods in Slovenia have been described as the worst disaster in country’s modern history:
At least four people have lost their lives and damage to property is estimated to be over 500 million euros.
According to the government, huge parts of the country have been hit by the flooding.
- Mid-winter temperatures above 35 degrees Celsius in South America.
- Ocean surface hits highest ever recorded temperature and set to rise further.
- Many people feel they work in pointless, meaningless jobs, research confirms:
The theory that many people feel the work they do is pointless because their jobs are “bullshit” has been confirmed by a new study.
The research found that people working in finance, sales and managerial roles are much more likely than others on average to think their jobs are useless or unhelpful to others.
- U.K. Prime Minister’s family firm signed a billion-dollar deal with BP before government opened new North Sea licences.
- Over-50s could deliver takeaways, says U.K. work and pensions secretary.
- London’s housing crisis “unmanageable” as one in 50 now homeless:
Boroughs are housing almost 170,000 people in temporary accommodation, including 83,500 children, according to data collected by cross-party umbrella group London Councils.
The number of households needing homelessness support swelled by over 15 per cent in the last year due to cost of living pressures, figures show.
- More than 6 million people a step away from famine in Sudan, U.N. warns.
- Turkey’s official inflation rate jumps to almost 50%.
- U.K. to run up highest debt interest bill in developed world. Treasury on course to spend 10% of government revenue on bond costs this year, according to forecast by Fitch.
- U.K.’s care sector sees reports of modern slavery double, charity says:
There has been a staggering increase of over 100 per cent in the number of modern slavery cases reported in the UK’s care industry in the past year.
Unseen, an anti-slavery charity in the UK, had earlier said 2022 was their helpline’s “busiest year ever”. It said “sex trafficking, forced labour and domestic servitude” were at a “record high”.
In May, the anti-slavery charity said there were a potential 6,516 victims of modern slavery in 2022 – an increase of 116 per cent compared to 2021.
- In Ukraine, amputations already evoke scale of World War I. Tens of thousands estimated to have lost limbs since the start of the war, a toll not seen in recent armed conflicts in the West.
- Ukraine is now the most mined country.
- July was the hottest month ever recorded on Earth.
- Record labels hit Internet Archive with new $400m+ copyright lawsuit:
The plaintiffs’ complaint focuses on the Internet Archive’s “Great 78 Project” which aims to preserve, research and discover 78rpm records produced between 1898 and the 1950s.
- British Columbia woman buried in Amazon packages she did not ask for and does not want. UPS charging more than $300 worth of customs charges:
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) says it sounds like a vendor-return scheme, where sellers, usually from overseas countries like China or India, skirt shipping and warehouse fees by using a residence to ship their returned products.
If an Amazon customer wishes to return a product to a third-party seller, the BBB says a company might try to save money by choosing a private return address rather than having to pay the cost of shipping packages overseas or having them processed in fulfilment centres.
- Arizona allows Saudi company to pump water while residents are cut off:
A drought-stricken Arizona allows a company to pump enough water that could support a city of 50,000 people to grow a crop that feeds Saudi Arabia’s dairy cows. At the same time, the state’s residents are being told to cut back on consumption […].
Fondomonte Arizona LLC, a Saudi-owned firm, is one of several companies that takes advantage of the state’s agricultural lease program, allowing entities to lease state-owned land for ten years to grow crops. In 2015, Fondomonte leased 3,500 acres of land in Butler Valley […] for a below-market-rate price and has since had unregulated access to the state’s groundwater […].
In January, Scottsdale also cut off the water supply for about a thousand Rio Verde residents, citing extreme drought conditions.
- Italy investigates rock star for calling far-right Prime Minister “racist” and “fascist”:
Meloni, 46, heads Italy’s most rightwing government since the second world war. Italy’s criminal code punishes with a fine ranging from €1,000 to €5,000 (£858 to £4,290) anyone who “publicly defames the republic”, which includes the government, parliament, the courts and the army.
- Beijing reports heaviest rain in 140 years.
- Protests erupt in Italy over cuts to poverty relief scheme:
INPS last week sent a text message to roughly 160,000 people to warn them they would be excluded from the scheme - a method of communication that has been criticised as “brutal” by the leader of the opposition Democratic Party […].
- U.S. rating cut to AA+ from AAA by Fitch, citing expected fiscal deterioration.
- Overcrowding in French prisons reaches all-time high.
- One-third of U.S. graduate schools leave their alums drowning in debt:
Among the 1,661 institutions analyzed, students at 528, or 32%, owed more on their loans five years after graduation than they had first borrowed. The worst offenders are for-profit and private non-profit institutions, the analysis found.
- U.S. opens probe into 280,000 new Tesla vehicles over steering issue:
One Model 3 driver reported in May the “car steering felt stuck and slid off the road which resulted in crashing into a tree.”
- Four Nigerians, rescued in Brazil, survived 14 days on a ship’s rudder:
Their remarkable, death-defying journey across some 5,600 kilometers (3,500 miles) of ocean underlines the risks some migrants are prepared to take for a shot at a better life.
Both men said economic hardship, political instability and crime had left them with little option but to abandon their native Nigeria. Africa’s most populous country has longstanding issues of violence and poverty, and kidnappings are endemic.
- Homeless camps are being cleared in California:
Nearly half of the nation’s unsheltered population — those who sleep on the streets, in tents, in cars or in other places not intended for human habitation — resides in California, according to last year’s federal tally of homelessness. The state makes up about 12 percent of the country’s overall population.
Despite the state’s spending of more than $30 billion since 2019 on housing-related programs, the homeless population there has continued to grow.
According to a September audit of Oakland’s homelessness services, close to half of the people housed in community cabins ended up back on the street in the 2020-21 fiscal year.
- New York City paid $432 million to medical services firm for moving asylum seekers outside the city:
More than 1,500 migrants have been sent to places as far as Buffalo, with more on the way. But many of the migrants have been greeted by protests at their new homes, as well as mistreatment and the false hope of jobs.
The city awarded DocGo a $432 million contract, which took effect in early May, without subjecting it to competitive bidding. The contract called for DocGo to house migrants and provide them with services including case management, medical care, food, transportation, lodging and round-the-clock security.
- Antarctica is missing an Argentina-sized amount of sea ice.
- More people unable to afford good meals in Germany:
More than 11% of people in Germany are too poor to eat fully rounded meals even every two days, with meat, fish or equivalent vegetarian alternatives putting in only rare appearances on their dinner tables, according to new data.
That figure rises to 19.3% among single parents — an increase of 2.6% over the year before.
- Canada’s record-breaking wildfires burned more than 10 million hectares this year.
- U.K. to grant 100 new licences for North Sea oil and gas exploration.
- Big Tobacco knew radioactive particles in cigarettes posed cancer risk for more than four decades but kept quiet.
- More U.S. kids are working dangerous jobs amid weaker labour laws, child migration:
In the last 10 months, federal regulators have found almost 4,500 children working in violation of federal child labor laws, an increase of 44% from a year earlier, the Labor Department said […]. Some of the children were operating dangerous machinery, such as deep fryers and meat-processing equipment, the agency noted.
- Man attacked by Marseille police left with disfigured head:
He said he had not taken part in any unrest, and he and a friend had been in Marseille city centre when they saw a police unit at the corner of a street. “We said ‘good evening’. We saw they didn’t want to talk to us. Then it started,” he said. “As I turned around, I received an impact to the head. […] When I wanted to get up, they caught me and dragged me into a dark corner, then they started to hit me.”
He said one officer held him down and others beat him with fists and batons. He said he was left on the ground bleeding. He managed to move towards a local shop, vomiting and soiling himself and unable to feel his skull. Shop workers drove him to hospital where he fell into a coma.
During emergency surgery, doctors had to remove part of his skull. After several weeks in hospital, he has not yet regained sight in his left eye and faces further operations to come. He said he had to wear a helmet to protect his head and often had to lie in the dark with no sound or light due to constant migraines.
- Google alert failed to warn people of Turkey earthquake.
- Seawater temperatures in Florida at hot tub levels:
Seawater along the tip of Florida has exceeded hot tub temperatures of 37.8C (100F) in recent days, making it potentially the hottest ever measured.
- West Africa recorded over 1,800 terrorist attacks in the first six months of the year resulting in nearly 4,600 deaths with dire humanitarian consequences.
- Niger soldiers declare coup:
Speaking in a televised address, Gen Tchiani said his junta took over because of several problems in Niger, including insecurity, economic woes and corruption, among other matters.
Niger’s coup is the latest in a wave of military takeovers that have hit the West African region in recent years, toppling governments in countries including Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso.
- CNN witnesses three alleged thefts in 30 minutes while reporting on shoplifting in San Francisco.
- San Francisco stores lock up frozen food to deter shoplifters.
- Family who own OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma protected from civil lawsuits over the toll of opioids:
The Purdue deal is one of the bigger ones in a series of corporate opioid settlements worth a total of more than $50 billion so far. Unlike most of them, it includes funds for people who were victims of the crisis and their families.
In exchange, the members of the wealthy Sackler family, who are not themselves seeking bankruptcy protections, are to be shielded from lawsuits.
Opioids have been linked to more than 70,000 fatal overdoses annually in the U.S. in recent years. Most of those are from fentanyl and other synthetic drugs, but the crisis widened in the early 2000s as OxyContin and other powerful prescription painkillers became prevalent.
- Ecuador declares state of emergency in prisons amid gang war:
Around 2,700 soldiers stormed a prison to retake control following riots that started on Sunday between rival gangs in the Guayas 1 prison in the port city of Guayaquil. The complex houses over 5,600 prisoners.
- Mediterranean Sea breaks new heat record.
- Catastrophic wildfires hit Portugal, Spain, Greece, Algeria, Croatia, Italy:
In Algeria, at least 34 people have died. In Croatia, flames came within 12 km (7.5 miles) of the medieval town of Dubrovnik […].
Greece has been particularly hard hit, with authorities evacuating more than 20,000 people in recent days from homes and resorts in the south of the holiday island of Rhodes.
Italy suffered a twin pounding from the elements when severe storms battered the north, killing a woman and a 16-year-old girl scout, while southern regions sweltered. […]
Fires also swept across Portugal and Spain’s Gran Canaria.
- Insurers withdraw from riskiest areas in U.S. as threats from climate change grow:
Over the past two years, several big insurers, including Allstate and State Farm, have scaled back their home insurance businesses in California to avoid paying billions for wildfire damage, or have halted sales of new policies altogether. Homeowners […] are finding out that their longtime insurers have decided not to renew coverage.
Earlier this month, the insurance arm of AAA announced it would not renew some “higher exposure” home insurance policies in Florida, and Farmers Insurance announced it will stop offering new home insurance policies in the state and won’t renew thousands of existing ones, in part because of rising losses from hurricanes.
- G20 bloc fails to reach agreement on cutting fossil fuels.
- Extreme heat is killing mobile phones in Italy’s Sardinia island.
- U.S. states lose federal water funds as lawmakers redirect money to pet projects:
Members of Congress have redirected roughly $2.3 billion in federal water funds toward political pet projects over the past two years, cutting at times into the money that could have been made available for poorer, needier communities.
- A.I. is helping U.S. police look for “suspicious” patterns of movement, digging through licence plate databases with billions of records.
- New cryptocurrency offers users tokens for scanning their eyeballs:
People signing up to the Worldcoin scheme via an app this week will receive a “genesis grant” of 25 tokens, equivalent to about £40, after having their iris scanned by one of the bowling ball-sized devices.
Once users scan their eyes they will receive a World ID, which the scheme says will prove they are a “real and unique person” while preserving their privacy, and a crypto wallet on their smartphone.
- Iranians sell kidneys on Instagram to survive economic hardship.
- Tunisia has pushed African migrants to scorching no-man’s lands along its borders with little food and water:
For nearly three weeks now, more than 1,000 men, women and children from Africa have been clinging to survival in the no-man’s lands at Tunisia’s borders. A few scrubby trees offer fitful shade, videos taken by migrants show, and border guards from neighboring Libya and Tunisian aid workers occasionally drop off water and a bit of bread.
Tunisian authorities dumped the African migrants there after rounding them up in the Mediterranean port of Sfax, hours away, where growing numbers have boarded boats to nearby Europe this year. Many were beaten by officers; a few have died in the desert, where there is little to no medical care, migrants and rights groups say.
[…] Italy, the Netherlands and the European Commission signed a deal with Tunisia promising more than $1 billion in European Union aid and investment to stabilize the country’s crumbling economy and strengthen border controls.
- Nebraska teen who used pills to end pregnancy gets 90 days in jail, after the police obtained her private Facebook messages last year.
- A 16-year-old died while working at a poultry plant in Mississippi, the third accidental death at the facility in less than three years.
- Stanford president resigns over manipulated research.
- Tech giants like Amazon can hold customer’s homes and cars hostage:
This past May, a Microsoft engineer named Brandon Jackson claimed he was suddenly locked out of his Amazon account and encountered a “house full of unresponsive devices, a silent Alexa, and a lot of questions.” […]
After he reached out, Amazon told Jackson that a delivery driver “reported receiving racist remarks” from his smart doorbell—and before the company could investigate this claim, he lost access to his Echo devices controlled via Alexa.
The mishap suggests that companies could continue to remotely shut off customers’ smart gadgets for any reason, a symptom of the cloud service-dominated tech industry that has enabled tech giants to further tighten their grip on consumers over the past few years.
- Start-up begun shipping free smart TVs to U.S. homes:
Telly plans to send 500,000 of the devices to consumers by the end of this year.
To receive their TVs, consumers answer questions on subjects including their cellphone network provider, home and vehicle ownership, household income, and their children or pets. Advertisers can use that information to tailor which homes see which ads and when.
The TV contains a sensor that detects whether people are present and in what quantity, partly to validate that an ad impression was delivered when someone was actually in front of the TV.
Though some consumers could be turned off by Telly’s data collection in exchange for the TV, ad-tech experts said some TV makers are already collecting data on consumers who might just not be aware of it. In 2017, for instance, TV brand Vizio settled a lawsuit that accused it of using TVs to track what owners watched and selling that information to marketing firms without customers’ knowledge or consent.
- Credit Suisse inquiry will keep files secret for 50 years:
A parliamentary investigation into the collapse of Credit Suisse will keep its files closed for 50 years, according to a parliamentary committee document, a level of secrecy that has triggered concern among Swiss historians.
- June was the planet’s warmest since global temperature record-keeping began in 1850.
- Train fares are up to 30 times more expensive than planes in Europe, says Greenpeace.
- More than 700 people handed prison sentences over French riots.
- Inhumane abuse in Romanian care centres for disabled:
In one particularly disturbing case that emerged as investigations unfolded, 11 elderly people were transported in bedsheets and abandoned at a construction site in a Bucharest suburb, said Raed Arafat, head of Romanian emergency services.
They had been left there out of fear that an imminent raid would discover overcrowding at the care home they lived in, he said.
In recent days, authorities have reviewed the management of more than 400 retirement homes and on Monday forced the temporary or final closure of two dozen institutions where residents had been beaten, forced to work, denied medication or left suffering in insect-infested rooms.
- U.N. unable to feed 100,000 Haitians this month amid “catastrophic” conditions, with food programme only 16% funded:
The island nation has been engulfed in brutal gang violence since its then president, Jovenel Moïse, was assassinated in July 2021 and 4.9 million people have been thrust into food insecurity. In October last year “catastrophic” level-five hunger conditions, usually associated with war-torn nations, were recorded in slums in Port-au-Prince for the first time in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Earthquakes and severe flooding last month have exacerbated Haiti’s hunger crisis, but just as NGOs need to ramp up their response programs they are having to scale them back due to funding shortages.
The scale of the country’s humanitarian crises mean that even the largest international organisations now lack the financial resources needed to deliver their programs.
More than half of Haiti’s 11 million people regularly experience hunger and the cost of food has spiked in recent months as gangs take control of rural, food-producing areas.
- British Prime Minister to force English universities to cap numbers of students on “low-value” degrees.
- Evergrande posts losses of $81 billion over two years:
The filing also revealed that Evergrande’s total debts had reached 2.437 trillion yuan ($340 billion) by the end of last year.
That’s roughly 2% of China’s gross domestic product.
- Record-breaking 52.2 °C temperature hit China, stoking fears of drought.
- Georgia, the Peach State, is out of peaches:
The Peach State lost more than 90% of this year’s crop after a February heat wave followed by two late-spring frosts.
- At least 40 dead and thousands evacuated in South Korea due to torrential rain and landslides.
- Italy issues Red Alert for 16 cities as temperatures reach record highs, including Rome, Bologna and Florence.
- In Germany, a record 680,000 pensioners depend on social security.
- Private equity firms own more than half of all specialists in certain U.S. markets, study finds:
The medical groups were associated with higher prices in their respective markets, particularly when they controlled a dominant share, according to a paper by researchers at the Petris Center at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, a progressive think tank in Washington, D.C. When a firm controlled more than 30 percent of the market, the cost of care in three specialties — gastroenterology, dermatology, and obstetrics and gynecology — increased by double digits.
- World experiences hottest week ever recorded.
- French authorities ban protest against police violence in Paris.
- A third of North America’s birds have vanished, study shows.
- San Francisco says incidents by Cruise, Waymo driverless taxis are “skyrocketing”:
The Fire Department has tallied 44 incidents so far this year in which robotaxis entered active fire scenes, ran over fire hoses or blocked fire trucks from responding to emergency calls. That count is double the figure from last year’s informal count, which Nicholson said does not include all incidents.
- Global public debt hits record $92 trillion, U.N. report says:
Domestic and external debt worldwide has increased more than five times in the last two decades, outstripping the rate of economic growth, with gross domestic product only tripling since 2002 […].
- More than 280 children have died trying to cross Mediterranean in 2023, U.N. says.
- Nigeria’s President declares state of emergency over food prices and shortages:
A UN report in January projected that 25 million Nigerians were at high risk of food insecurity this year – meaning they would not be able to afford enough nutritious food every day.
- U.N. says 165 million people fell into poverty in past 3 years of crisis:
Because of the shocks of the past three years, 75 million people will have fallen into extreme poverty, defined as living on less than $2.15 a day, between 2020 and the end of 2023 – and 90 million more will fall below the poverty line of $3.65 a day, according to a study published by the United Nations Development Programme.
The report says that the poorest suffer the most, with their incomes in 2023 projected to remain below pre-pandemic levels.
- Twitter begins paying far-right influencers for their contributions.
- Bank of America to pay $250 million in refunds, fines over customer abuses:
Bank of America will pay more than $250 million in refunds and fines after federal regulators found the company systematically overcharged customers, withheld promised bonuses and opened accounts without customer approval.
- Minnesota and Wisconsin issue air quality alerts amid Canada wildfire smoke.
- U.S. restaurants charging extra for workers’ health plan:
It’s also wise to read the fine print. Pollack noted that his restaurant offers to remove the charge at customers’ request, a fact it prints on every guest check.
- Europe faces alarming medicine shortages crisis:
While the supply chain shortages have recently been attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine by the media, the report highlights that medicine shortages have been increasing for over 20 years.
- U.S. homelessness rises by 40% in cities like New York, Chicago:
Some 72,700 people in families with children were experiencing homelessness in 20 of the largest cities in the nation as of January, a 37.6% jump from a year before, according to an analysis of data provided by jurisdictions. In New York, that figure shot up by two thirds, while Chicago, the District of Columbia and Fort Worth, Texas, also saw outsize increases.
- 9 dead and more than 300 arrested after protests against new taxes in Kenya.
- Indian developer fired 90 percent of tech support team, outsourced the job to A.I.
- Number of people going hungry has risen by 122 million since 2019, U.N. says:
In 2022, an estimated 900 million people – or 11.3% of the global population – were suffering from severe food insecurity, defined as when a person has run out of food or has gone an entire day without eating during the year.
Nearly one in three people – 2.4 billion, or 29.6% of the world’s population – did not have constant access to food, the report found.
Millions of children continue to be malnourished: in 2022, 45 million children under five were suffering from wasting, the deadliest form of malnutrition, and 148 million children of the same age had stunted growth and development.
- Europe’s summer 2022 heatwaves killed 61,000 people, study shows.
- Deadly flooding is hitting several countries at once:
Although destructive flooding in India, Japan, China, Turkey and the United States might seem like distant events, atmospheric scientists say they have this in common: Storms are forming in a warmer atmosphere, making extreme rainfall a more frequent reality now. The additional warming that scientists predict is coming will only make it worse.
- Google says it will scrape everything users post online for A.I.
- Toxic “forever chemicals” taint nearly half of U.S. tap water, study estimates.
- More than 100 migrants died from heat near U.S.–Mexico border this year.
- U.K. immigration minister orders removal of cartoon murals at children’s asylum centre:
The murals were painted over because he thought they were too welcoming and sent the wrong message.
- Half of tech executives reported heavy drinking in a new survey. 45% reported using painkillers.
- The planet saw its hottest day on record:
This week’s records are probably the warmest in “at least 100,000 years,” Jennifer Francis, a senior scientist at Woodwell Climate Research Center, told CNN, calling the records “a huge thing.”
- F.B.I. hired social media surveillance firm that labeled Black Lives Matter organisers “threat actors” requiring “continuous monitoring” in 2015.
- Maternal deaths in the U.S. more than doubled over two decades.
- Female workers in Kenya made to strip over used sanitary pad:
A manager at Brown’s Food Company assembled female workers to find out who had thrown a used sanitary towel in an incorrect bin, an official said.
She made the women strip after attempts to get a confession were unsuccessful.
- In Spain, the number of people working past retirement in 2022 lept 49% compared to 2008.
- France set to allow police to secretly activate phone cameras, microphones, and GPS to spy on citizens.
- China floods kill 15, forced 85,000 to be evacuated amid heavy rains.
- Illegal Australian welfare hunt drove people to despair:
Known locally as “Robodebt”, it was an automated government scheme which incorrectly demanded welfare recipients pay back benefits.
People received letters saying they owed thousands of dollars in debt, based off an incorrect algorithm.
More than half a million Australians were affected by the policy.
The scheme ran from 2016 until it was ruled illegal by a court in 2019. It had forced some of the country’s poorest people to pay off false debts.
Many were forced into worse financial circumstances – taking out loans, selling their cars or using savings to pay off a debt they were told they had to pay within weeks.
The inquiry found there were at least three known suicides as a result of Robodebt policy […].
- At least 50 people drowned or disappeared in the past weeks crossing from West Africa to the Canary Islands as Spain and Morocco attract criticism for slow sea rescues.
- U.K. had its hottest June on record in 2023.
- British merchants are increasingly using facial recognition to combat shoplifting:
Use of facial recognition technology by the police has been heavily scrutinized in recent years, but its application by private businesses has received less attention. Now, as the technology improves and its cost falls, the systems are reaching further into people’s lives. No longer just the purview of government agencies, facial recognition is increasingly being deployed to identify shoplifters, problematic customers and legal adversaries.
- Apple is now the first public company to be valued at $3 trillion.
- Eighty Afghan civilians may have been summarily killed by British SAS:
One of the elite soldiers is believed to have “personally killed” 35 Afghans on a single six-month tour of duty as part of an alleged policy to terminate “all fighting-age males” in homes raided, “regardless of the threat they posed”.
- Police in England and Wales now have powers to move protesters who disrupt transport, while offenders could face three years in jail for tunnelling.
- California student commutes by plane to avoid high rental costs:
A California graduate student has made headlines this week after revealing he commuted by plane every day between Los Angeles and San Francisco while attending the University of California, Berkeley, to avoid paying rent in the Bay Area.
- World’s oldest national newspaper prints final edition after 320 years:
Wiener Zeitung, a Vienna-based daily newspaper, will no longer print daily editions after a recent law change meant it had ceased to be profitable as a print product.
- After riots in France, Macron partially blames video games on violence.
- 4,000 arrested in France riots:
An estimated 1,105 public and private buildings have been burned or looted nationwide, and cars and buses torched from the start of rioting […].
Some 269 police stations and gendarmeries – seen as symbols of the state – have been attacked.
Around 60 schools have suffered major damage, 10 of which were completely or partially destroyed, according to the Ministry of Education.
Some 5,892 vehicles were set on fire across France […], the Interior Ministry said.
- France engulfed in unrest across major cities including Paris, Marseille, Lyon, Toulouse and Lille:
[…] France deployed nearly 40,000 officers Thursday and sent its elite police force, the RAID, to the cities of Bordeaux, Lyon, Roubaix, Marseille and Lille to help contain the protests, which saw 875 people arrested across the country, the Interior Ministry announced Friday morning. Officials said 249 police officers and gendarmes were injured.
Almost 200 government buildings were vandalized on Thursday night including 79 police and paramilitary stations, 34 town halls and 28 schools, according to the French Interior Ministry.
A mall in central Paris was also damaged, while several other suburbs were rocked by violence, including Montreuil and Aubervilliers, where 12 city buses were charred in a parking lot.
Protesters threw fireworks at police officers in the southern city of Marseille, […] while footage from the northern city of Lille showed fires burning on streets and riot police officers running.
Authorities in Marseille banned protests Friday citing a “risk for public order.” People who ignore the order can be subject to arrest.
In Britain, authorities issued a travel warning due to “violent” riots targeting “shops, public buildings and parked cars.” They also cautioned disruptions to road travel, local transportation and the implementation of curfews.
- France to deploy 40,000 police to quell violence over teen killing:
Police initially reported that an officer had shot the teenager because he was driving at him, but this was contradicted by a video circulating on social media.
Last year, 13 people were killed after refusing to stop for police traffic checks, with a law change in 2017 that gave officers greater powers to use their weapons now under scrutiny.
France is haunted by the prospect of a repeat of 2005 riots sparked by the death of two black boys during a police chase. Those protests resulted in around 6,000 people arrested.
- Heat wave in Mexico leaves at least 100 dead.
- Estimated 15.7 million people hit by postal delays in U.K. in a single month.
- Microscopic Louis Vuitton handbag sells for over $63,000 at auction.
- Oil funded think tank “helped us draft” crackdown on climate protests, U.K. prime minister says:
Rishi Sunak has confirmed that a fossil fuel-funded think tank helped to draft his government’s laws targeting climate protests.
- Only V.I.P.s will be allowed to drink alcohol inside Paris 2024 Olympics venues.
- Global deforestation surges despite pledges:
An area of tropical forest the size of Switzerland was lost last year as tree losses surged, according to new research.
It means that a political pledge to end deforestation made at COP26 by world leaders is well off track.
- Rising corporate profits account for almost half the increase in Europe’s inflation over the past two years as companies increased prices by more than spiking costs of imported energy.
- Guantanamo detainees suffer “cruel, inhumane” treatment, U.N. investigator found:
At one point, almost 800 people had been jailed at the detention center in Cuba. Currently 30 men continue to remain incarcerated there.
Aolain expressed concern that 19 of the 30 men, some of whom have been locked up for 20 years, have never been charged with a single crime.
- Philippine job agencies cheating women with illegal fees and crippling loans.
- Canada wildfire carbon emissions hit record high in first six months of 2023.
- Smoke from Canadian wildfires reaches France.
- Canada experiences worst fire season in modern history.
- Number of homeless people in London soaring:
Rough sleeping is soaring in London, with over 1,700 more people on the streets than last year – a 21% rise, according to figures from the Greater London Authority (GLA).
- U.S. pedestrian deaths reach a 40-year high:
Pedestrian deaths have been climbing since 2010 because of unsafe infrastructure and the prevalence of SUVs, which tend to be more deadly for pedestrians than smaller cars […].
- Fossil fuel consumption steady despite record growth in renewable energy.
- Extreme temperatures have killed at least 133 people in two populous Indian states.
- During an extreme Texas heat wave, governor ended local rules requiring water breaks for workers.
- The world’s empty office buildings have become a debt time bomb:
A tipping point is coming: In the US alone, about $1.4 trillion of commercial real estate loans are due this year and next, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
- A messaging app startup that raised $200 million from SoftBank and others is shutting down because 95% of its users were fake.
- Montana bridge collapses causing train carrying toxic materials to fall into river:
The train cars were carrying hot asphalt and molten sulfur, Stillwater county disaster and emergency services said. Officials shut down drinking water intakes downstream while they evaluated the danger after the 6am accident.
- Videos smuggled out of Los Angeles jails reveal violence, neglect:
Several of the clips recently reviewed by The Times show stabbings and fist fights. One shows an inmate trying to kill himself, and another shows several jailers punching a man in the head as they try to subdue him. Still another shows a woman giving birth in the middle of a hallway, where her newborn falls out onto the jail floor in a puddle of blood.
- Italy’s Maire wins petrochemicals contracts for $2 billion in Saudi Arabia.
- France’s TotalEnergies, Saudi Aramco sign contracts for $11 billion petrocomplex.
- Paris climate finance summit fails to deliver debt forgiveness plan:
At least 52 countries are currently in debt distress, unable or close to unable to service their debts, driven higher by rising interest rates and a strong dollar.
- Ecological tipping points could occur much sooner than expected, study finds:
Based on these findings, the authors warn that more than a fifth of ecosystems worldwide, including the Amazon rainforest, are at risk of a catastrophic breakdown within a human lifetime.
- Private Military Contractor Wagner Group launches armed rebellion against Russian military.
- Siberia swelters in record-breaking temperatures amid its “worst heat wave in history”, as temperatures climbed above 37.7° Celsius.
- The North Atlantic is experiencing a “totally unprecedented” marine heat wave:
The heatwave is “very exceptional,” said Mika Rantanen, a researcher at the Finnish Meteorological Institute. It is “currently the strongest on Earth,” he told CNN.
Richard Unsworth, an associate professor of biosciences at Swansea University in the UK and a founding director of Project-Seagrass, called the Atlantic heat wave “totally unprecedented.”
It is “way beyond the worst-case predictions for the changing climate of the region. It’s truly frightening how fast this ocean basin is changing,” he told CNN.
- Heatwaves are stressing out power grids all over the world:
Close to 28.8 million people are under heat alerts today in the US. Texas grid operator ERCOT broke its June record for electricity demand […] after issuing a “weather watch” for June 15th through 21st and asking residents to voluntarily conserve energy. In Texas and across the border in Mexico, temperatures soared above 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degrees Celsius). A state of emergency was briefly declared Tuesday by Mexico’s National Center for Energy Control as electricity supplies dipped to their lowest levels since a 2021 cold snap.
India and China have been suffering through extreme heatwaves since April. Power outages in India this week have also robbed people of air conditioning and running water. Recently, the heat has killed scores of people in northern India, flooding hospitals and morgues. Beijing shattered a June temperature record today of around 106 degrees Fahrenheit (41 degrees Celsius).
- Half of Americans have faced “extreme” weather in the last six weeks.
- Public records data broker LexisNexis is providing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement with predictive policing tools:
LexisNexis is known for its vast trove of public records and commercial data, a constantly updating archive that includes information ranging from boating licenses and DMV filings to voter registrations and cellphone subscriber rolls. In the aggregate, these data points create a vivid mosaic of a person’s entire life, interests, professional activities, criminal run-ins no matter how minor, and far more.
[…] LexisNexis has turned the mammoth pool of personal data into a lucrative revenue stream by selling it to law enforcement clients like ICE, who use the company’s many data points on over 280 million different people to not only determine whether someone constitutes a “risk,” but also to locate and apprehend them.
- The E.U. and U.K. exported 1,000 tonnes of a banned pesticide to poorer countries.
- German sea captain faces 20 years in jail for helping to rescue more than 1,000 migrants at risk of drowning in the Mediterranean Sea.
- Britons turn to microwave meals as prices soar:
People are increasingly cooking with their microwaves to save money as food prices soar, research suggests.
Nearly 70% of households say they are “extremely” or “very” worried about rising food prices, it added.
- Harvard dishonesty expert accused of dishonesty.
- The math and reading performance of 13-year-olds in the United States has hit the lowest level in decades.
- Guards at Del Monte pineapple farm in Kenya accused of killings.
- At least 35 people are feared to have drowned after an inflatable boat carrying up to 60 migrants and refugees sank while en route to the Canary Islands.
- Hundreds of refugees and migrants die in capsize off Greece in one of the worst disasters of its kind:
The International Organization for Migration and the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) said […] that while the number of people on the boat was unclear, various testimonies put the figure between 400 and 750.
In the first three months of 2023, more than 400 refugees drowned in the central Mediterranean, according to rescue agencies.
In a report released in April, the UNHCR said that figure made it the deadliest quarter since 2017 on the world’s most dangerous refugee crossing. It said the figure is potentially an undercount.
- French government outlaws climate activist group.
- Himalayan glaciers could lose up to 80% of their ice by 2100 as temperatures rise, report warns:
The report found that glaciers in the Hindu Kush and Himalaya mountain range region melted 65% faster in the 2010s compared with the previous decade, which suggests higher temperatures are already having an impact.
About 240 million people live in the Hindu Kush Himalaya region, many of their cultures dating back thousands of years, and another the 1.65 billion live downstream.
- Rents in U.K. outpace incomes. Figures in May marked the 19th month in a row that rental price growth outstripped incomes.
- Nearly one in 10 jobs could be replaced by A.I. within decade, O.E.C.D. says.
- California restaurant used fake priest to get workers to confess “sins”:
A restaurant chain in California enlisted a fake priest to take confession from workers, with the supposed father urging them to “get the sins out” by telling him if they’d been late for work or had stolen from their employer, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
The alleged priest also asked workers if they harbored “bad intentions” toward their employer or if they’d done anything to harm the company, said the agency, which called it one of the “most shameless” scams that labor regulator had ever seen.
- Germany provides €10 billion in subsidies for Intel chip plant.
- Taliban is selling tickets to ruins of Buddhas it blew up.
- Eviction filings are 50% higher than they were pre-pandemic in some U.S. cities as rents rise:
Eviction filings are more than 50% higher than the pre-pandemic average in some cities, according to the Eviction Lab, which tracks filings in nearly three dozen cities and 10 states. Landlords file around 3.6 million eviction cases every year.
The latest data mirrors trends that started last year, with the Eviction Lab finding nearly 970,000 evictions filed in locations it tracks — a 78.6% increase compared to 2021 […].
- A record 110 million people have been displaced around the world, U.N.H.C.R. says.
- U.S. spy agencies buy vast quantities of Americans’ personal data.
- Homeless encampments are growing again in Toronto, as the city faces a surging crisis:
Across Toronto, more than 10,500 people are known to be homeless, according to the city’s latest data from April — six per cent more than the count one year earlier. In the same month, an average of 143.7 people per day were turned away from shelters for lack of space.
- Italian police accused of torturing migrants and homeless people:
In one episode, two of the suspects are accused of forcing a person in custody for identification purposes to urinate on the floor and then using him as a “mop to clean up”, according to case documents in the pre-trial detention order.
Investigators said migrants were in some cases pepper-sprayed in the eyes and kicked in the head until they passed out.
- Immigration police in Spain granted days off for arrests on French border:
If officers didn’t arrest anyone during the weekend, the ordinary two days off would be granted. If they arrested one person, they would get three days off. Two arrests would be equivalent to four days and, those who reached ten arrests, could have up to five days off.
- Eurozone sinks into recession.
- More than 16 million people affected by conflict and climate change in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger need humanitarian aid, according to N.G.O.
- New York City residents urged to stay indoors as unhealty air quality from Canadian wildfires persist.
- Private equity is now dominating the U.S. hospice system:
As of 2020, over 72 percent of hospices are for-profit and approximately 24 percent are nonprofit. Less than 3 percent are publicly owned.
Over 70 percent of hospice agencies acquired between 2011 and 2019 were previously nonprofit, and private equity ownership of hospices has doubled since 2011.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services have provided a hospice benefit to Medicare and Medicaid recipients since 1983, and from 2000 to 2017, Medicare outlays to hospice providers ballooned from $2.8 billion to $17.7 billion.
Researchers have found that Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in for-profit hospice agencies are “more likely to receive a narrower range of services” than beneficiaries getting care from nonprofit agencies.
- U.S. police are selling seized phones with personal data still on them.
- Climate protest in Netherlands ends with 1,500 arrested.
- More than 800 million people live in hunger:
As many as 828 million people – or 10 percent of the world’s population – go to bed hungry each night, 46 million more than the previous year, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
- Refugees seriously injured on razor-wire fence at E.U. border.
- Eating disorder helpline fires staff, transitions to chatbot after unionisation.
- Child poverty reaches record high of 21.3 percent in Germany.
- 20 of the world’s richest economies, including the U.S., fuel forced labour, report says:
The report released this week by Walk Free, an international human rights group, found that countries belonging to the Group of 20 major economies helped fuel forced labor through global supply chains and state-imposed forced labor. Between the 20 countries, they imported $468 billion worth of products possibly made by forced labor, with the U.S. making up nearly $170 billion of that, the report said.
- Chevron’s carbon offsets are mostly junk and some may harm, research says:
New research by Corporate Accountability, a non-profit, transnational corporate watchdog, found that 93% of the offsets Chevron bought and counted towards its climate targets from voluntary carbon markets between 2020 and 2022 were too environmentally problematic to be classified as anything other than worthless or junk.
- San Francisco Police Department obtained live access to business camera network in anticipation of protest following a police killing.
- Ice loss from Greenland and Antarctica hits new record.
- More than 27 million unemployed or underemployed in the E.U. in 2022.
- 95-year-old woman Tasered by police in Australia dies:
[…] [P]olice said she was “armed” with a steak knife. On Friday, they confirmed that she required a walking frame to move and the officer discharged his Taser after she began approaching “at a slow pace”.
Mrs Nowland is believed to have suffered a fractured skull and a serious brain bleed after falling and hitting her head during the incident.
- Los Angeles approves $278,000 robot police dog.
- 50 million people trapped in “modern slavery”, report says:
An estimated 50 million people were "living in situations of modern slavery" in 2021, according to the Global Slavery Index released by the human rights organization Walk Free.
That represents an increase of 10 million since a previous estimate five years ago.
- A mental-health crisis is gripping science, research shows:
The results, published in March 2018, represented the largest survey of its kind at the time. It revealed a global problem: 41% of respondents reported moderate to severe anxiety and 39% had moderate to severe depression. Those levels are six times greater than in the general population […].
The Wellcome study found that 70% of respondents felt stressed on the average workday, and 34% had sought professional help for mental-health issues. Beyond harassment, many participants blamed funders and institutes that emphasize quantity over quality in terms of publishing and obtaining grants — all of which contribute to a poor work–life balance.
In a 2020 survey of 5,247 graduate students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics from 9 institutions across the United States, 38% reported symptoms consistent with anxiety and 35% had depression. These proportions represented large jumps from what the same team found in 2019. The number of students with depression doubled, and the prevalence of anxiety rose by 50%.
Even if scientists land permanent positions, the competition never ends. In 2020, a survey designed by Cactus Communications, a science communication and technology company headquartered in Mumbai, India, analysed the opinions of 13,000 researchers in more than 160 countries. It found, for example, that 65% of respondents were under tremendous pressure to publish papers, secure grants and complete projects to maintain their reputation in the research community.
- French government plans to encourage thousands of homeless people and asylum seekers to leave the Paris area before next year’s Olympic Games.
- F.B.I. abused spy law but only like 280,000 times in a year.
- Ghana forced to turn to I.M.F. loans:
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a three-year, $3 billion loan on May 17 to get the West African country out of its worst economic crisis in decades.
According to the World Bank, Ghana is one of the most indebted countries on the continent, with a debt of $58 billion representing 105% of its GDP.
After raising VAT by 2.5%, freezing civil service recruitment and reducing state expenditures, the government has now committed to raising taxes. Other painful reforms are also expected to be implemented.
According to a 2022 United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report, more than 54 low- and middle-income countries are critically over-indebted and need urgent debt relief to transform their economies and adapt to climate change. Chad, Ethiopia and Zambia, which is currently in negotiations with the IMF, are just some of the many countries suffering from severe debt problems.
- One million Britons cancel broadband as living costs rise.
- German police stage nationwide raids against climate activists:
[…] 170 police officers took part in the raids, which targeted 15 properties in seven German states, including Bavaria and Berlin.
On a police directive, the homepage of the group was shut down and possessions belonging to members were seized. There were no arrests.
The seven individuals are accused of setting up a donation campaign with funds of €1.4m (£1.22m) to finance the group’s future legal battles, in order to allow the campaigners to continue their protests, including gluing themselves to roadways and bridges, more recently to vehicles, and holding up traffic, as well as throwing substances at paintings in art galleries and other activities.
Among their demands are a 100km/h speed limit on German autobahns as well as a permanent offer of a €9 a month ticket to use public transport.
- More than 36,000 people displaced by northern Italy floods:
Violent downpours earlier this week killed 14 people, transforming streets in the cities and towns of the Emilia Romagna region into rivers.
The floods have caused over 305 landslides and damaged or closed over 500 roads in the region.
- Asylum seekers forcibly expelled from Greece:
The refugees, described as Somalis, Eritreans and Ethiopians, are shown being driven in an “unmarked” white van to a remote spot on the Aegean island before being forced into a high-speed inflatable boat by men whose facial features are concealed by balaclavas. The dinghy then transfers them to a Hellenic coast guard vessel, which proceeds to abandon them on a raft in the middle of the Aegean Sea. There they are left adrift before being picked up by the Turkish coast guard.
- British telecoms giant BT to cut 55,000 jobs with up to a fifth replaced by A.I.
- U.S. depression rates reach new highs:
The percentage of U.S. adults who report having been diagnosed with depression at some point in their lifetime has reached 29.0%, nearly 10 percentage points higher than in 2015.
- Surveillance cameras, face recognition used to monitor, evict public housing residents in U.S.:
In public housing facilities across America, local officials are installing a new generation of powerful and pervasive surveillance systems, imposing an outsize level of scrutiny on some of the nation’s poorest citizens. Housing agencies have been purchasing the tools — some equipped with facial recognition and other artificial intelligence capabilities — with no guidance or limits on their use, though the risks are poorly understood and little evidence exists that they make communities safer.
In D.C., one woman and her son were arrested in 2018 after trying to stop housing officials from entering her apartment to install a camera power box in her bedroom. In a lawsuit filed against the city, the woman claims a security officer who arrested her said she “did not have any rights as a public housing resident and that she could not stop the worker from installing the cameras.”
- Nearly 20% of office spaces are currently empty across the United States:
An unraveling of the office sector spells trouble not only for banks that are owed an estimated $1.2 trillion in outstanding office loan debt, but also for countless small businesses that depend on white-collar customers as well as cities that benefit from the property taxes tied to office buildings.
- Desperate U.K. parents are stealing baby formula to keep their children fed:
New data from First Steps Nutrition shows that the cost of the cheapest brand of formula milk has risen by 45% in the past two years.
Other brands have risen between 17% and 31% in that time period.
- 90% of Australian teachers can’t afford to live where they teach, study finds:
The study […] analyzed quarterly house sales and rental reports in New South Wales (NSW) and found more than 90% of teaching positions across the state—around 50,000 full-time roles—are located in Local Government Areas (LGAs) where housing is unaffordable on a teacher’s salary.
The situation is particularly dire for new teachers. There are 675 schools—nearly 23,000 full-time teaching positions—where the median rent for a one-bedroom place is unaffordable on a graduate teacher’s salary.
- Intensive farming “is biggest threat” to European birds, study shows:
Overall, the statistics show that in the 40-year period of the survey, farmland bird species fared the worst, declining by almost 60 per cent.
- U.K. gambling firm allegedly paid blogs to link new mothers to its online games.
- Hostel fire puts spotlight on dire state of New Zealand housing:
At least six people have been confirmed dead, and eleven remain missing after the fire ripped through the hostel in the early hours of Tuesday morning. The complex had more than 90 rooms, each equipped with the barest of facilities: a bed, a heater, a desk.
New Zealand’s housing crisis – caused by unaffordable property prices, a chronic shortage of state housing, and sky-high rents in major cities – has created waitlists for emergency housing almost 30,000 people long. The government’s policy has been to place people in motels and hostels, but what began as a temporary stopgap has become a long-term solution, with families’ time in these facilities stretching out to months or years.
- Vodafone plans 11,000 job cuts.
- World likely to breach 1.5 °C climate threshold by 2027, scientists warn:
The report […] found there was a 66% likelihood of exceeding the 1.5C threshold in at least one year between 2023 and 2027.
New record temperatures have been set in many areas around the world in the heatwaves of the past year, but those highs may only be the beginning, according to the report, as climate breakdown and the impact of a developing El Niño weather system combine to create heatwaves across the globe.
- U.S. drug shortages near an all-time high, leading to rationing:
Hundreds of drugs are on the list of medications in short supply in the United States, as officials grapple with an opaque and sometimes interrupted supply chain, quality and financial issues that are leading to manufacturing shutdowns.
The scarcity of generic forms of chemotherapy to treat lung, breast, bladder and ovarian cancers has only heightened concerns.
The American Cancer Society […] warned that delays caused by the shortages could result in worse outcomes for patients.
- Majority of U.K. gig economy workers are earning below minimum wage, research reveals.
- PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) used government secrets to help clients in Australia and the U.S. avoid tax.
- Drought-struck Spain is running out of water:
The month of April was the driest month on record, and several Spanish cities registered their highest April temperatures yet. In Cordoba, the mercury rose to 38.7°C (almost 102°F) at one point, and in the province of Seville in Andalusia to 37.8°C.
The United Nations has already sounded the alarm on Spain’s growing water scarcity, estimating that almost 75 percent of the country is already in the process of desertification.
- Societal cost of “forever chemicals” about $17.5 trillion across global economy, report says.
- Plugging old wells in Gulf of Mexico may cost $30 billion, study says:
Ever since the first offshore platforms went up off Louisiana 85 years ago, the Gulf of Mexico has been an oil and gas juggernaut. But decades of drilling has left behind more than 14,000 old, unplugged wells at risk of springing dangerous leaks and spills that may cost more than $30 billion to plug, a new study has found. […]
The researchers also found that, in federal waters, nearly 90 percent of the old wells were owned at some point in the past by giant oil companies known as the “supermajors,” including BP, Shell, Chevron and Exxon.
- Three companies supplied millions of fake public comments to influence a 2017 proceeding by the Federal Communications Commission (F.C.C.) to repeal net neutrality rules.
- Half of U.S. mothers have no retirement savings.
- Unaccompanied migrant child dies in U.S. custody, the second death in 2 months.
- Massive increase in unhoused people dying in Los Angeles is called a daily tragedy by health officials:
A jarring new report finds a sharp and significant increase in unhoused people dying in Los Angeles County — up 70% between just 2019 and 2021, according to county health officials.
That number of deaths marks a new record high and the first time L.A. County has had more than 2,000 people experiencing homelessness die in a single year.
- A.I. is already writing books, websites and online recipes:
Experts say those books are likely just the tip of a fast-growing iceberg of AI-written content spreading across the web as new language software allows anyone to rapidly generate reams of prose on almost any topic. From product reviews to recipes to blog posts and press releases, human authorship of online material is on track to become the exception rather than the norm.
- Ice cream stand set up on land outside Auschwitz “Death Gate”.
- Turkey is going through an immense housing crisis, amid hyperinflation and an economic downturn:
According to data from Turkey’s central bank, property prices across the country in February recorded […] an annual increase of 141.5 percent in Turkish liras. Property prices have increased about 75 percent in US dollars during the same period.
The cost of renting a property across Turkey was also up in March, 157 percent year-on-year […].
Meanwhile, official data showed annual inflation at 50.5 percent in March, down from a high of 85.6 percent in October, while the Inflation Research Group (ENAG), an independent group of experts, recorded March inflation as 112.5 percent […].
- Food workers in U.K. going hungry:
The survey by the Bakers Food & Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) revealed nearly one in five food workers rely on a food bank, while just under half have skipped meals because they don’t have enough money.
The number of people eating less went from 35% to 57% compared to 2021, while 55% were worried about running out of food and 80% were eating cheaper, unhealthier meals.
- E.U. diverts road-building funds into £1.7 billion Ukraine ammunition plan. Central budget resources usually set aside for infrastructure projects in poorer countries will now boost arms production.
- Southern France region to declare “crisis” drought level:
40 “departments” in France, nearly half the country, are officially at “alert” or “vigilance” levels of drought. The Pyrenees-Orientales is the fourth district to declare a “crisis” drought level.
- Methane leaks alone from Turkmenistan’s two main fossil fuel fields caused more global heating in 2022 than the entire carbon emissions of the U.K., satellite data has revealed.
- Downtown San Francisco has 18.4 million square feet of empty office space:
Downtown San Francisco is experiencing its worst office vacancy crisis on record, with 31% of space available for lease or sublease. In the heart of the city, an astounding 18.4 million square feet of real estate is available — enough space to house 92,000 employees and the equivalent of 13 Salesforce Towers.
- Spain and Portugal experience hottest April ever recorded.
- Vietnam records highest ever temperature of 44.1 °C.
- Starting salaries of U.K. university graduates are no match for the cost-of-living crisis.
- Corporate giants buy up U.S. primary care practices at rapid pace:
The growing privatization of Medicare, the federal health insurance program for older Americans, means that more than half its 60 million beneficiaries have signed up for policies with private insurers under the Medicare Advantage program. The federal government is now paying those insurers $400 billion a year.
The absorption of doctor practices is part of a vast, accelerating consolidation of medical care, leaving patients in the hands of a shrinking number of giant companies or hospital groups. Many already were the patients’ insurers and controlled the distribution of medicines through ownership of drugstore chains or pharmacy benefit managers.
- Congo flooding kills more than 400 people.
- Ocean-surface temperatures are breaking records.
- Anti-monarchist protesters arrested in U.K.
- Nestle faces mineral water problems in drought-hit France.
- Bank turmoil is paving the way for even bigger “shadow banks”:
For the last decade, these institutions and others like them have aggressively scooped up and extended loans, helping to grow the private credit industry sixfold since 2013, to $850 billion, according to the financial data provider Preqin.
Institutions that make loans but aren’t banks are known (much to their chagrin) as “shadow banks.” They include pension funds, money market funds and asset managers.
Direct lending may get another boost as regional banks pull back, particularly in commercial real estate like office buildings, where landlords may be looking to refinance at least $1.5 trillion in mortgage contracts over the next two years, Morgan Stanley analysts estimate. America’s regional banks have accounted for about three quarters of these kinds of loans, Morgan Stanley’s research shows.
Direct lending at this scale has never been tested: Nearly all its decade-long growth has happened amid cheap money and outside the pressures of a recession. The industry’s opacity means it’s nearly impossible to know what fault lines exist before they break.
But problems at private funds have in the past caused pain beyond the firm, like when Long Term Capital Management collapsed in 1998, bringing down markets across the globe. The more shadow banks lend to each other, the more interconnected they become, augmenting the risk of a cascading effect that could ripple into the broader economy.
- Catalonia struggles with drought, locals pray for rain.
- I.B.M. to freeze hiring as C.E.O. expects A.I. to replace 7,800 jobs.
- McDonald’s franchisee employed 10-year-old children, U.S. Department of Labor investigators find.
- World hunger worsened in 2022, U.N. data shows:
A major new report released today paints a disturbing picture of the state of global hunger, with millions of people still facing dire insecurity and numerous countries struggling to escape from long-running disasters.
The number of people living in “stressed” food conditions has more than trebled in the last six years, meaning that around 253 million people worldwide are now at a point where another global or local shock could push them into far more serious circumstances.
A high proportion of people living in the worst conditions of food insecurity reside in the same handful of countries that have led the FAO’s report for several years. Among the world’s hungriest people, fully 40% live in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Yemen. Also telling is that across the report’s seven annual issues, a total of 38 countries have been consistently recorded as in food crisis.
- Private jet sales likely to reach highest ever level this year, report says.
- Emergency room visits have risen sharply for young people in mental distress in U.S.:
The research, drawn from data from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, looked at the annual number of mental health-related E.R. visits by people 6 to 24 years old. From 2011 to 2020, the figure rose from 4.8 million to 7.5 million, the team found, a period in which the overall number of pediatric E.R. visits fell. In effect, the proportion of E.R. visits for mental health-related issues roughly doubled, from 7.7 percent to 13.1 percent.
- Dust storms have killed hundreds and are a growing problem in parts of the U.S.
- Floods in western Rwanda kill at least 127 people.
- Three of the four largest-ever bank failures have happened since March:
First Republic Bank was seized by federal regulators early Monday and sold to JPMorgan Chase Bank. The San Francisco-based bank became the third to fail this year, joining Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, that collapsed in March.
- ExxonMobil reports record first-quarter profits of $11.4 billion.
- Scale of the banking crisis in U.S. may be much broader than previously assumed:
According to the chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), there were $620 billion of such unrealized (or paper) losses sitting on U.S. bank balance sheets in early March. Further, some experts believe the figure is understated, with two recent estimates suggesting the outstanding losses could be as much as $1.7 trillion.
In October 2008, the month after Lehman Brothers collapsed, the Fed loaned out a then-record $110 billion to banks in one week […]. That amount is roughly equal to $153.8 billion in today’s money.
By comparison, in the week ended March 15, the Fed lent $152 billion at the discount window and another nearly $12 billion under an emergency lending program announced last week, following the SVB failure.
According to recent data, the Federal Home Loan Bank System (FHLB) issued nearly $250 billion of debt during the second week of March to provide liquidity to regional and community banks.
- 39% of Americans say they’ve skipped meals to make housing payments, report says.
- France under fire at U.N. for police violence, racial and religious discrimination:
France must “take measures to, in a transparent manner, address allegations regarding excessive use of force by police and gendarmerie against protestors during demonstrations,” Sweden’s representative told the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Other countries raised similar concerns, including Denmark, Liechtenstein and Norway, but also Russia, Venezuela and Iran – three countries that themselves regularly face accusations of police violence and other serious and widespread human rights violations.
The criticism came as France braced for up to 1.5 million protesters to fill its streets to mark the May 1 workers day, even as President Emmanuel Macron tries to steer the country on from a divisive pension law that has sparked anger, pan-bashing and social unrest.
- Italy cuts anti-poverty subsidies.
- 50% of vinyl buyers in the U.S. don’t own a record player, data shows.
- Terrorised Haiti communities carry out wave of lynchings against gang members:
Armed civilians dragging bodies through the streets. Smouldering corpses. Young men with machetes chasing suspected gangsters they planned to kill.
“I’ve seen enough dead people for many lifetimes,” said the Haitian human rights activist. “Since Monday, if you get killed, you get burned. It’s kill, burn, kill, burn … It’s nothing I would want anyone else to witness. It stays with you … It’s hell, you know?”
María Isabel Salvador told the UN security council that March had seen Haiti’s highest number of reports of murders, rapes, kidnappings and lynchings since 2005. Children had been shot in classrooms and snatched at school gates. Snipers had indiscriminately targeted civilians. Women had been terrorised by “multiple-perpetrator” rape.
- Tunisian cemeteries fill up as hundreds of dead refugees wash up on coast. Hospitals, morgues and burial grounds under pressure, with more than 300 bodies found this year in just one region
- Vulnerable U.K. women forced into “sex for rent” by cost of living crisis.
- U.K. coastguard allegedly left Channel migrants adrift in lead-up to mass drowning:
Hundreds of vulnerable migrants were abandoned to their fates after the UK coastguard “effectively ignored” reports of small boats in distress during the days leading up to the worst Channel disaster in 30 years when at least 27 people died, an Observer investigation suggests.
Around 440 people appear to have been left adrift after the coastguard sent no rescue vessels to 19 reported boats carrying migrants in UK waters, according to an analysis of internal records and marine data seen by the Observer and Liberty Investigates.
- 13 people die of heatstroke in India after attending government award ceremony.
- Amazon, Inc. posts $3.2 billion profit as it goes through multiple rounds of layoffs.
- Global corporate defaults highest since the pandemic in 2020:
More companies around the world defaulted on their debts in the first three months of this year than in any quarter since late 2020, when businesses were still hamstrung by restrictions to stop the spread of Covid.
[…] [C]redit rating agency Moody’s said 33 of the corporations it rates defaulted on their debts in the first quarter, the highest level since the last quarter of 2020 when 47 companies defaulted. Almost half, or 15 companies, defaulted last month — the highest monthly count since December 2020.
- U.K. inflation stays at 10% as bread rises at record pace.
- Luxury goods giant LVMH becomes the first European company to surpass $500 billion in market value:
The parent company of Louis Vuitton, Moët & Chandon and Hennessy as well as brands including Givenchy, Bulgari and Sephora stores, reported a 17% rise in first-quarter sales earlier this month, more than double analyst expectations.
- Spain braces for scorching summer temperatures in spring:
Spain has seen 36 consecutive months of below-average rainfall. Reservoirs at 50% of their capacity – slightly higher than last year, but below the average of the last decade.
- The U.S. in 2022 saw highest number of “active shooter” casualties of the past 5 years:
The report tallied 50 active shooter incidents in 2022 that left 313 casualties, including 100 people killed, not including the shooters. Casualty counts include both deaths and injuries.
- Sweden’s biggest pension fund apologises after $2 billion loss.
- Heat wave in Thailand prompts warning to stay indoors:
Saturday’s highest heat index – which measures what the temperature feels like due to humidity – was forecast to be 53.8 C (129 F) in the eastern province of Chonburi. On Sunday, the southern resort island of Phuket could feel hotter than 54 C.
- One homeless person dies every 6.5 hours in U.K., latest figures show:
More than 4000 people have died while homeless in the last four years in the UK, according to new figures, which means a death every 6.5 hours in 2022.
The statistics, published by the charity Museum of Homelessness, recorded 1313 homeless deaths in 2022 across the UK – an 85% increase compared to 2019.
Despite slight decreases in deaths in Wales and Northern Ireland, homeless fatalities overall grew by more than 20% in England and Wales compared to 2021.
- Lake Garda just over a third full as Italy braces for second year of drought.
- Global military spending hits record:
Military spending rose by 3.7% to a record high of $2.24 trillion in 2022, according to data released Monday by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, a think tank known as Sipri. The figures mark the eighth consecutive year of spending growth.
- Book bans are on the rise in U.S. schools:
In a report published Thursday by PEN America, the nonprofit free speech organization cited 1,477 instances of books being prohibited during the first half of the 2022–23 academic year, up 28.5% from 1,149 cases in the previous semester. Overall, the organization has recorded more than 4,000 instances of banned books since it started tracking cases in July 2021.
- TikTok’s algorithm keeps pushing suicide to vulnerable kids.
- No chance of saving global glaciers, U.N. report says:
The last eight years have been the warmest ever recorded, while concentrations of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide hit new highs in the global atmosphere, the UN’s World Meteorological Organisation said.
Sea levels are also at a record high, having risen by an average of 4.62 millimetres per year between 2013 and 2022, double the rate of rise between 1993 and 2002.
“We have already lost the melting of the glaciers game, because we already have such a high concentration of CO2,” WMO chief Petteri Taalas told AFP in an interview.
- Panamanian tribe to be relocated from coastal island due to climate change.
- Hungary food prices spike most in E.U.:
Food prices have risen dramatically across Europe in recent months, jumping 19.6% in March from a year earlier and becoming the main driver of inflation as energy costs have fallen. But in Hungary, food prices have surged more than 45% over the year, according to EU statistics office Eurostat, far surpassing the next highest figure of just over 29% in Slovakia.
Some types of food in Hungary have nearly doubled in price in the past year. Staples like eggs, milk, butter and bread cost 72% to 80% more, pinching pocketbooks in a country where the median net wage is just over $900 per month.
- The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are now losing more than three times as much ice a year as they were 30 years ago:
Greenland’s average annual melt from 2017 to 2020 was 20% more a year than at the beginning of the decade and more than seven times higher than its annual shrinkage in the early 1990s.
- C.E.O. of startup praised employee who sold dog to comply with back-to-work policy.
- U.K. climate activists jailed for bridge protest:
Two Just Stop Oil protesters who scaled a bridge on the Dartford Crossing, forcing police to close it to traffic, have been sentenced to more than two and a half years each for causing a public nuisance.
Spokespeople from the activist group said these were the longest sentences for peaceful climate protest in British history.
- At least 78 people have been killed in a stampede in Yemen over handouts of $9 from a merchant.
- Millions of Kenyans indebted to mobile app lenders:
A recent government survey reveals that more than 80% of Kenya’s adult population uses mobile money providers. […]
The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) revealed that, as of November 2022, about 14 million accounts had been listed for defaulting on digital lending apps. […]
The lending apps use debt shaming to retrieve their loans and interests. When a person defaults, their family and social circles also receive regular phone calls informing them about the debt.
- U.S. workers are laid off by Big Tech, then recruited for contract work at the same place:
There’s a catch. Those offers, from third-party recruiters eager to place workers at the companies they just left, are for contract positions rather than staff positions. They would come with an end date, a lower salary, no benefits and no stock options.
- Frozen driverless cars are delaying San Francisco’s buses.
- Farmers “crippled” by satellite failure as GPS-guided tractors grind to a halt:
Tractors have ground to a halt in paddocks across Australia and New Zealand because of a signal failure in the satellite farmers use to guide their GPS-enabled machinery, stopping them from planting their winter crop.
- 12-year-olds pick tobacco on U.S. farms:
For children 12 and older in the United States, difficult, low-paying and dangerous work in tobacco fields for unlimited hours is legal, as long as it’s outside school hours. Child labor laws are more lenient in agriculture than in other industries, and efforts to change that have repeatedly failed, leaving growers and companies to decide whether to set the bar higher than what’s legally required of them. In the meantime, kids work, often trying to help their families make ends meet.
All the while, nicotine — a substance he’s barely old enough to legally purchase now — seeped into his skin. For all tobacco workers, but especially kids, that can cause nicotine poisoning, or green tobacco sickness, whose symptoms include nausea, vomiting, headaches and dizziness.
- Fort Lauderdale experienced the rainiest day in its history, a 1-in-1,000-year rainfall event.
- U.K. teenager took his own life after “losing hope over climate change”.
- Carbon dioxide hits highest sustained rate ever recorded:
NOAA’s latest report […] looked at atmospheric levels of the three most significant contributors to climate change – carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide – in 2022. All of them, the agency said, continued to have “historically high rates of growth.”
- N.Y.P.D. plans to deploy surveillance bots for patrolling New York City.
- 70% of Americans are feeling financially stressed, survey finds.
- Inmate at Atlanta jail was allegedly “eaten alive” by bed bugs:
Jail records show that medical staff and detention noticed Thompson was deteriorating, but they didn’t help him, the attorney said. “They literally watched his health decline until he died,” said Harper. “When his body was found one of the detention officers refused to administer CPR because in her words she ‘freaked out.’”
Harper shared disturbing photos he said were from Thompson’s jail cell that show him apparently covered in bugs and the cell’s dirty conditions […]. Harper said the cell was “not fit for a diseased animal.”
Last year, Fulton County Sheriff Patrick Labat raised concerns with extreme overcrowding at the jail and the need for funding, according to CBS Atlanta.
- Italy declares state of emergency in response to a rise in migrant numbers crossing the Mediterranean from North Africa.
- At least 457 people arrested, 441 security forces injured in violent French pension protests:
[T]here had been 903 fires lit in the streets of Paris during by far the most violent day of protests since they began in January.
Elsewhere on Thursday, the entrance to Bordeaux city hall was set on fire during clashes in the southwestern wine-exporting hub.
- France to boost military budget to €413 billion over next seven years.
- Violent protests in France over pension reform:
The unrest – which began last Thursday after Macron used special executive powers to ram his pension reform through parliament – has seen security forces fight running battles with protesters late into the night even as firefighters race to extinguish hundreds of blazes.
Even before Thursday’s escalation, the rising violence had prompted Amnesty International, France’s human rights ombudswoman, Claire Hédon, and even the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Association, Clément Voule, to each voice their concern about the heavy-handed policing as well as restrictions on people’s right to protest. On Friday, the Council of Europe became the latest body to condemn police’s “excessive use of force”.
Over the past week, the interior minister has counted around 400 daily “protest actions” across the country, ranging from spontaneous marches to the occupation of motorways, fuel depots and train stations.
Claims of arbitrary or “preventive” arrests – a tactic widely deployed at the height of the Yellow Vest insurgency – have drawn particular scrutiny, with lawyers, magistrates and opposition parties accusing the authorities of “hijacking” the judiciary to repress the protest movement.
- Massive food company profits are making groceries more expensive in U.S.:
Conagra Brands—one of the largest consumer packaged goods companies in the U.S.—announced that it had posted a nearly 60% year-over-year profit increase between December 2022 and February 2023. The Chicago-based company, which makes a long list of grocery staples […], reported a net income of $342 million, up from $219 million in the same quarter a year prior.
At Kraft-Heinz […] profits for the quarter ending at the end of 2022 were up nearly 450%, compared to the prior year, at $887 million. Tyson Foods, the largest meat company in the U.S., more than doubled its profits between the first quarters of 2021 and 2022. And General Mills […] saw its fourth quarter profits last year rise 97% compared to the previous quarter. General Mills has raised prices five times since 2021 and indicated last month that another price hike could be coming soon.
- Credit Suisse to borrow up to $54 billion from central bank after shares plunge.
- U.S. Supreme Court Justice secretly accepted luxury trips from G.O.P. donor:
If [Justice Clarence] Thomas had chartered the plane and the 162-foot yacht himself, the total cost of the trip could have exceeded $500,000. Fortunately for him, that wasn’t necessary: He was on vacation with real estate magnate and Republican megadonor Harlan Crow, who owned the jet — and the yacht, too.
For more than two decades, Thomas has accepted luxury trips virtually every year from the Dallas businessman without disclosing them, documents and interviews show. A public servant who has a salary of $285,000, he has vacationed on Crow’s superyacht around the globe.
- Tesla workers shared sensitive images recorded by customer cars:
[B]etween 2019 and 2022, groups of Tesla employees privately shared via an internal messaging system sometimes highly invasive videos and images recorded by customers’ car cameras, according to interviews by Reuters with nine former employees.
- Clearview A.I. scraped 30 billion images from Facebook and other social media sites and gave them to U.S. police.
- Inflation is pushing more Americans into side jobs:
Nearly half of American workers today have a side hustle to earn extra cash, showing the toll inflation has taken on working people, according to a new report.
- Syphilis cases in babies skyrocket in Canada amid health-care failures:
The number of babies born with syphilis in Canada is rising at a far faster rate than recorded in the United States or Europe, an increase public health experts said is driven by increased methamphetamine use and lack of access to the public health system for Indigenous people.
- Tunisia to cut water supplies to citizens overnight amid drought.
- Kenya police, crowds clash in third wave of price rise protests.
- One in ten Britons have performed dentistry on themselves, half in the last two years:
From extracting teeth to attempting root canals and melting down ‘polybeads’ to use as false teeth, Britons have shared desperate experiences in a survey that gives new insights into the unfolding crisis in dentistry.
A growing number of towns and cities across the country have no access to NHS dentistry for new patients as people linger on lengthy waiting lists, with a new YouGov survey showing one in five Britons (22%) are currently not registered with a dentist.
The results also show that the majority of the unregistered are unable to access, or afford, treatment. More than a third 37% say it’s because they cannot find an NHS dentist to take them on, with a further 5% on a waiting list, while another 23% say they’re not registered because they don’t think they can afford to be treated.
- French woman faces trial for “insulting” Macron on Facebook:
A woman in northern France is to be put on trial on charges of insulting President Emmanuel Macron after describing him as “filth” in a Facebook post, a prosecutor said on Wednesday.
The woman, risks a fine of 12,000 euros but not prison if convicted at the trial due to be held in June.
- France approves algorithmic video surveillance to safeguard Olympics:
Algorithm-driven “smart” cameras capable of detecting crowd surges, fires, abandoned bags, and unusual or risky behaviour are to help ensure the safety of millions of spectators travelling to Paris for the Games.
The government argues the cameras, some of which will be mounted on drones and aircraft, will be able to spot potential dangers in real time, allowing such risks to then be communicated to police or other security services.
- Frontex accused of having violated European law, human rights, maritime law and its own guidelines in recent years:
With thousands of people escaping poverty, hunger, war, domestic abuse, and persecution piling up at the doors of what has been dubbed “Fortress Europe”, Frontex stands accused of violating human rights, intimidating migrants and abusing power.
Frontex has provided the location of migrants and refugees who were intercepted at sea and forcibly transferred to migrant camps in Libya, where “crimes against humanity are taking place”, according to [Omer] Shatz.
“We are looking at about more than 150,000 civilians since 2016 – including thousands of children – that were abducted and possibly transferred to Libyan camps where they were systematically raped, tortured and enslaved,” he told Euronews.
Frontex is supposedly responsible for what Shatz calls “killing by omission” policies in the Mediterranean.
“Frontex … intentionally withdrew its assets from critical areas where asylum seekers are likely to be in distress,” Shatz said. “Removing the assets, changing the mandate of these Frontex operations was made intentionally to increase death rates [in the Central Mediterranean], thinking that this would deter migrants from making the trip.”
Almost 25,000 people have died in the Mediterranean since 2014, according to Human Rights Watch.
The third, and final, example of human rights violations Frontex is accused of is evidence that migrants and asylum seekers were removed from safety and put back in the middle of the sea after reaching European soil.
- Police in England and Wales strip-searched children as young as eight.
- Cargo theft, led by food and beverage, is surging across the U.S.:
According to CargoNet’s latest theft report through February, there was an almost 50% increase year over year in beverage and food cargo theft. January had also posted a 50% increase in this theft category. The average value of the theft is $214,0000 per load.
- U.S. banks are sitting on $1.7 trillion in unrealised losses, research says.
- British man goes to war-torn Ukraine to get his teeth fixed.
- U.K. grocery price inflation hits a record 17.5%, the highest since 1977.
- U.S. students struggle academically, fight in schools amid Adderall shortage.
- U.K. asylum seekers who complain about conditions threatened to be deported to Rwanda:
The report says that on top of being told not to complain about poor conditions or face removal to Rwanda, asylum seekers were also told that if they complained about the quality of food served to them the police would be called. They were also told they were forbidden from taking photos of the food to provide evidence of its quality, the report says.
Three-quarters have reported low quality or inappropriate food and say they are facing hunger or malnutrition. A similar number are facing mental health problems.
- Many U.S. job listings are fake:
In a survey of more than 1,000 hiring managers last summer, 27% reported having job postings up for more than four months. Among those who said they advertised job postings that they weren’t actively trying to fill, close to half said they kept the ads up to give the impression the company was growing […]. One-third of the managers who said they advertised jobs they weren’t trying to fill said they kept the listings up to placate overworked employees.
- Police crack down on water protest in Azerbaijan. Police fired rubber bullets into the crowd protesting the acute water shortages that the president promised to address three years ago.
- Scientists deliver final warning on climate crisis – act now or it’s too late:
In sober language, the IPCC set out the devastation that has already been inflicted on swathes of the world. Extreme weather caused by climate breakdown has led to increased deaths from intensifying heatwaves in all regions, millions of lives and homes destroyed in droughts and floods, millions of people facing hunger, and “increasingly irreversible losses” in vital ecosystems.
More than 3bn people already live in areas that are “highly vulnerable” to climate breakdown, the IPCC found, and half of the global population now experiences severe water scarcity for at least part of the year. In many areas, the report warned, we are already reaching the limit to which we can adapt to such severe changes, and weather extremes are “increasingly driving displacement” of people […].
- Amazon, Inc. to lay off 9,000 more workers in addition to earlier 18,000.
- U.K. workers £11,000 worse off after years of wage stagnation.
- Somalia drought blamed for some 43,000 deaths, half of them children.
- Farmers in drought-stricken southwest France turned to their patron Saint-Gaudérique for rain, reviving an old Catholic ritual for the first time in 150 years.
- More Americans say they can’t pay their bills:
About 36% of consumers say it has been “somewhat” to “very difficult” for them to pay their usual bills in the last seven days, according to the Census Bureau’s most recent Household Pulse survey […]. That represents a 25% increase compared with a year earlier, and is higher than even in the early months of the pandemic, when households were buoyed by expanded unemployment aid and stimulus checks.
- 10 million children in Sahel need aid:
Ten million children in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger are in dire need of humanitarian assistance as a result of the spiralling conflict.
In a report published on Friday, the United Nations children’s agency said nearly four million more children are at risk in neighbouring countries as hostilities between armed groups and national security forces spill across borders.
- Britons warned to stay away from 83 beaches due to sewage being dumped into nearby waters.
- Spain’s supermarket inflation hits record high.
- Americans lost a record $10.3 billion to online scammers in 2022.
- Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta to lay off another 10,000 employees in a fresh round of job cuts.
- Australian boy, 13, spent six weeks in solitary confinement for minor offenses:
In February, it emerged that another 13-year-old Queensland boy with developmental disabilities spent 78 days confined to a cell for 20 hours per day.
- U.S. Medicare Advantage plans use algorithms to cut off care for seniors in need:
Health insurance companies have rejected medical claims for as long as they’ve been around. But a STAT investigation found artificial intelligence is now driving their denials to new heights in Medicare Advantage, the taxpayer-funded alternative to traditional Medicare that covers more than 31 million people.
Behind the scenes, insurers are using unregulated predictive algorithms, under the guise of scientific rigor, to pinpoint the precise moment when they can plausibly cut off payment for an older patient’s treatment. The denials that follow are setting off heated disputes between doctors and insurers, often delaying treatment of seriously ill patients who are neither aware of the algorithms, nor able to question their calculations.
Older people who spent their lives paying into Medicare, and are now facing amputation, fast-spreading cancers, and other devastating diagnoses, are left to either pay for their care themselves or get by without it.
- Cyber attacks threaten Canada’s food system, with livestock held for ransom:
Farms are now complex technical operations that use networks of remote monitors that measure soil moisture, or robotic milkers that can detect an infection in a single teat, or environmental control systems that maintain the precise indoor temperature and air filtration needs of a poultry barn. All that, theoretically, could be commandeered and held for ransom in a cyberattack. For example, a hacker could gain control of a thermostat and threaten to turn up the heat and kill an entire flock of chickens.
- Online tests suggest I.Q. scores in U.S. dropped for the first time in nearly a century.
- U.S. administration approves massive, controversial oil drilling project in Alaska.
- U.K. announces over $6 billion in major defense spending.
- U.K. prime minister has electricity grid upgraded to heat his private pool:
Rishi Sunak’s new private heated swimming pool uses so much energy that the local electricity network had to be upgraded to meet its power demands […].
While many Britons are facing increased electricity bills – and are trying to limit their energy usage – extra equipment was recently installed in a remote part of North Yorkshire to provide extra capacity from the National Grid to the prime minister’s constituency home.
- Silicon Valley Bank fails in largest bank collapse since 2008 crisis.
- Argentina melts in late-summer heat wave as records tumble.
- U.S. schools say American kids are hungry, just as pandemic-era benefit programs have lapsed:
More than 34 million people, including 9 million children, in the United States are food insecure, according to the U. S. Department of Agriculture, meaning they lack consistent access to enough food for every person in their family to be healthy.
- HP adds DRM to printers with firmware update, suddenly bricking third-party ink.
- In 2022, there were more than 1,000 train derailments in the U.S.
- Migrant children work brutal jobs across the U.S.:
Migrant children, who have been coming into the United States without their parents in record numbers, are ending up in some of the most punishing jobs in the country, a New York Times investigation found. This shadow work force extends across industries in every state, flouting child labor laws that have been in place for nearly a century. Twelve-year-old roofers in Florida and Tennessee. Underage slaughterhouse workers in Delaware, Mississippi and North Carolina. Children sawing planks of wood on overnight shifts in South Dakota.
In town after town, children scrub dishes late at night. They run milking machines in Vermont and deliver meals in New York City. They harvest coffee and build lava rock walls around vacation homes in Hawaii. Girls as young as 13 wash hotel sheets in Virginia.
Migrant child labor benefits both under-the-table operations and global corporations, The Times found. In Los Angeles, children stitch “Made in America” tags into J. Crew shirts. They bake dinner rolls sold at Walmart and Target, process milk used in Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and help debone chicken sold at Whole Foods. As recently as the fall, middle-schoolers made Fruit of the Loom socks in Alabama. In Michigan, children make auto parts used by Ford and General Motors.
- Opioids were the most common cause of fatal poisoning of young children in U.S.
- Shell C.E.O. pay up 50% as soaring energy prices boosted profit.
- S.U.V.s emitted more carbon dioxide last year than most countries:
The 330 million sport utility vehicles on the roads produced emissions equivalent to the combined national emissions of the UK and Germany last year. If SUVs were a country, they would rank as the sixth most polluting in the world.
- U.S. Special Forces want to use deepfakes for psy-ops.
- Three non-violent climate activists have been jailed in U.K. for telling juries why they were protesting:
Three Insulate Britain activists are serving jail terms for contempt of court for breaching rulings made by a judge that they were not to mention the climate crisis, fuel poverty or the history of the peaceful civil rights movement to juries.
- South Korean government plan opens up possibility of 80.5-hour work week.
- F.B.I. admitted it bought U.S. location data, rather than obtaining warrants.
- Six out of ten Dutch households have trouble making ends meet:
A new study of Dutch households showed that roughly 60 percent were either financially unhealthy or financially vulnerable. That figure has grown from about 50 percent in 2021, according to a joint study by Deloitte, Nibud, and Leiden University.
- Fisherman facing 4,760 years in Greek prison receives centuries-long sentence:
H. Elfallah was found guilty this week of “smuggling” nearly 500 people from Libya to Greece in November 2022 – including 336 men, 10 women, 128 boys and nine girls – has ended up with a “lesser” sentence of 280 years instead.
Activist groups have condemned the court’s decision, saying that the fisherman – who was one of the migrants aboard the ship but was also steering the vessel – is being used as a scapegoat by Greek authorities.
- Homelessness in England rises by more than a quarter.
- Greek train crash kills 57, sparks angry protests:
At the rally in Syntagma Square, officers fired teargas and stun grenades at protesters who threw stones and molotov cocktails, an AFP reporter said.
A similar number demonstrated in Thessaloniki – Greece’s second largest city – where police had reported clashes on Thursday with people throwing stones and petrol bombs.
For decades, Greece’s 1,580-mile (2,550km) rail network has been plagued by claims of mismanagement, poor maintenance and obsolete equipment.
Safety systems on the line are still not fully automated, five years after the state-owned Greek rail operator TrainOSE was privatised and sold to Italy’s Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane and became Hellenic Train.
- Number of U.K. children in food poverty nearly doubles in a year to 4 million:
According to the Food Foundation thinktank, one in five (22%) of households reported skipping meals, going hungry or not eating for a whole day in January, up from 12% at the equivalent point in 2022.
- A second train derails in Ohio, just over a month after the last derailment.
- U.S. rail workers were told to skip inspections before Ohio train crash, leaks reveal.
- Record number of 2 million people in Germany depend on food banks.
- U.S. lawmakers want to ease child labour to fill jobs:
The laws take aim at the number of hours that children are allowed to work and protect employers from liabilities due to sickness or accidents. In the case of the latter, those employer protections dovetail with the kind of dangerous industries the bills are looking to prop up: construction in Minnesota, and meatpacking plants in Iowa. The bills come as efforts to expand legal working ages in other states have ramped up recently, and as the US has seen an increase in child labor violations since 2015.
- Large parts of Argentina hit by blackout amid heat wave.
- Millions of Americans nearing retirement age with no savings:
According to U.S. Census Bureau data, 50% of women and 47% of men between the ages of 55 and 66 have no retirement savings.
According to AARP, nearly 57 million Americans work for an employer that does not offer a retirement savings plan.
- 60% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck.
- Denmark abolishes public holiday to boost defense spending.
- France goes 31 days without rainfall, unprecedented in winter.
- Antarctic sea ice shrinks to new record low.
- U.K. supermarkets limit sales of tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers due to shortages of fresh produce.
- Common medications including antibiotics and children’s painkillers are in short supply across Europe:
In a survey of groups representing pharmacies in 29 European countries, including EU members as well as Turkey, Kosovo, Norway and North Macedonia, almost a quarter of countries reported more than 600 drugs in short supply, and 20 percent reported 200-300 drug shortages. Three-quarters of the countries said shortages were worse this winter than a year ago. Groups in four countries said that shortages had been linked to deaths.
- Italy detains migrant rescue ship, fines charity.
- Lettuce shortages reported in U.S. following ransomware attack on agricultural giant Dole.
- Rental evictions in England and Wales surge by 98% in a year, while private rents in the U.K. have hit record highs.
- Hundreds of thousands are without power as major winter storm blasts the U.S.
- Mexico’s former public security head is convicted of taking cartel bribes:
García Luna, who headed Mexico’s federal police and became the country’s top public safety official between 2006 and 2012, has been on trial in a federal district court in Brooklyn, N.Y.
He stood accused of taking millions of dollars in bribes from the very drug cartels he was supposed to be cracking down on.
- Australia’s inflation being driven by company profits and not wages, analysis finds:
Company profits, not wages, have driven the soaring inflation in Australia, an analysis from the Australia Institute has found.
The thinktank has released evidence of what it calls a “profit price spiral”, arguing big business earnings account for 69% of the inflation that is above the reserve bank’s target range of 2-3%.
Stanford says the evidence shows the additional billions of dollars in company profits have led the soaring inflation Australia is experiencing.
And that without those profit gains, inflation since the pandemic would have risen much more slowly, at just 2.7%.
- Amazon, Inc. officially becomes a health care provider after closing purchase of One Medical.
- Meta allegedly failed to pay around 870 million euros in value added tax in Italy.
- Meta to pay 40% more for Mark Zuckerberg’s personal security amid job losses:
The rise in security spending for its CEO comes at a difficult time for Meta. It delayed the finalising of budgets to prepare a fresh round of job cuts, according to the Financial Times. The company dismissed 11,000 employees, the equivalent of 13% of its workforce, in November.
- U.S. home prices hit all-time highs in 2022, with the median price increasing by 50% from January 2020.
- Research indicates Gen Z are emerging as the most stressed demographic in the workplace:
According to Cigna International Health’s 2023 survey of almost 12,000 workers around the world, 91% of 18-to-24-year-olds report being stressed – compared to 84% on average.
Economic hardships are monumentally compounding workplace troubles, too. Data from a 2023 report […] shows the cost-of-living crisis is causing 84% of UK workers stress and anxiety. There are similar trends across the globe, including in Ireland, the US and Canada.
Additionally, in data from a 2022 global survey of more than 10,000 workers, […] Gen Z respondents said they were unable to switch off from work at a disproportionately higher rate than previous generations.
- Tesla recalls more than 360,000 vehicles, says Full Self-Driving Beta software may cause crashes.
- Trust in U.S. media is so low that half of Americans now believe that news organisations deliberately mislead them, study finds.
- Exposé unmasks disinformation team that meddled in dozens of elections:
A team of Israeli contractors who claim to have manipulated more than 30 elections around the world using hacking, sabotage and automated disinformation on social media has been exposed in a new investigation.
- Argentina annual inflation hits 99%.
- Women’s underwear is taxed at higher rates in U.S. than men’s.
- Equinor’s profit hits record on gas-price gains:
Equinor posted a record $74.9 billion adjusted operating profit […].
With net profit for the year of $28.7 billion, up from $8.6 billion a year earlier, Equinor joined global oil and gas majors such as ExxonMobil, Shell and BP in reporting record returns for 2022.
- More than 50% of workers in Portugal earned less than 1,000 euros per month in 2022, while in Lisbon alone, rents jumped 37%.
- Asylum-seekers in Greece have had to leave their apartments and move back into refugee camps.
- Fight breaks out at Texas grocery store after free food hoax:
A power outage resulted in a fight over rotten food in Texas. […] When the store disposed of it in a large dumpster, someone falsely posted on social media that “free food” was available. Officials said more than 250 people showed up and started fighting over the discarded food.
- Yale professor suggests elderly Japanese residents should die in mass suicide to help the country deal with its rapidly aging population.
- BP scales back climate targets as profits hit record:
The company’s profits more than doubled to $27.7bn (£23bn) in 2022 […].
Other energy firms have seen similar rises, with Shell reporting record earnings of nearly $40bn last week.
The company […] had previously promised that emissions would be 35-40% lower by the end of this decade.
However, […] it said it was now targeting a 20-30% cut, saying it needed to keep investing in oil and gas to meet current demands.
- Shell posted annual adjusted profits of $40 billion in 2022.
- British military spied on lockdown critics:
Military operatives in the UK’s “information warfare” brigade were part of a sinister operation that targeted politicians and high-profile journalists who raised doubts about the official pandemic response.
- U.K. climate minister received donations from fuel and aviation companies.
- Lithuanian-Belarussian border is littered with the bodies of migrants, who have died trying to enter the E.U., human rights groups have alleged.
- Africa has become “less safe, secure and democratic” in past decade, report finds. Security, rule of law and human rights have deteriorated in more than 30 countries.
- 22% of Canadians say they’re “completely out of money”.
- Economic crisis in Egypt deepens:
Egypt’s currency has devalued by around one-third since late October and inflation currently stands at over 20%. Some economists suspect it’s even worse than that. They put the unofficial rate – which includes Egypt’s huge informal economy – as high as 101%.
- N.H.S. waiting lists hit record high, while A&E departments experienced their worst performance on record. 7.2 million people were waiting to start routine treatment.
- Face recognition tech gets Girl Scout mom booted from Christmas show, due to where she works:
A sign says facial recognition is used as a security measure to ensure safety for guests and employees. Conlon says she posed no threat, but the guards still kicked her out with the explanation that they knew she was an attorney.
Conlon is an associate with the New Jersey based law firm, Davis, Saperstein and Solomon, which for years has been involved in personal injury litigation against a restaurant venue now under the umbrella of MSG Entertainment.
MSG stated that “In this particular situation, only the one attorney who chose to attend was denied entry, and the rest of of her group — including the Girl Scouts — were all able to attend and enjoy the show.”
- Florida teachers told to remove books from classroom libraries or risk felony prosecution.
- U.S. rail companies blocked safety rules before Ohio derailment:
Documents show that when current transportation safety rules were first created, a federal agency sided with industry lobbyists and limited regulations governing the transport of hazardous compounds. The decision effectively exempted many trains hauling dangerous materials — including the one in Ohio — from the “high-hazard” classification and its more stringent safety requirements.
But instead of investing in the safety feature, the seven largest freight railroad companies in the U.S., including Norfolk Southern, spent $191 billion on stock buybacks and shareholder dividends between 2011 and 2021, far more than the $138 billion those firms spent on capital investments in the same time period.
The same companies also slashed their workforces by nearly 30 percent in that timeframe as part of what they called “precision scheduled railroading.” Such staffing cuts are likely contributing to safety issues in freight railways.
- Train carrying vinyl chloride derailed and exploded in Ohio:
Thousands in East Palestine, a town of about 5,000 people, evacuated, and officials warned the controlled burn would create a phosgene and hydrogen chloride plume across the region. Phosgene is a highly toxic gas that can cause vomiting and breathing trouble, and was used as a weapon in the first world war.
- Egypt to sell discounted bread to fight inflation:
Egypt’s government already provides heavily subsidised bread to more than 70 million of its 104 million citizens. Plans to reform the subsidies were postponed as a foreign currency shortage and inflation were exacerbated by the fallout from the war in Ukraine.
Inflation has accelerated to five-year highs, and the currency has lost nearly 50% of its value since March 2021 as the government negotiated a $3 billion financial support package from the International Monetary Fund.
- Tens of millions without power in Pakistan as national grid fails:
Pakistan’s national grid suffered a major breakdown, leaving millions of people without electricity for the second time in three months and highlighting the infrastructural weakness of the heavily indebted nation.
Pakistan has enough installed power capacity to meet demand, but it lacks resources to run its oil-and-gas powered plants – and the sector is so heavily in debt that it cannot afford to invest in infrastructure and power lines.
- The lights have been on at a Massachusetts school for over a year because no one can turn them off:
For nearly a year and a half, a Massachusetts high school has been lit up around the clock because the district can’t turn off the roughly 7,000 lights in the sprawling building.
The lighting system was installed at Minnechaug Regional High School when it was built over a decade ago and was intended to save money and energy. But ever since the software that runs it failed on Aug. 24, 2021, the lights in the Springfield suburbs school have been on continuously, costing taxpayers a small fortune.
- U.S. slaughterhouses use child labour:
Federal investigators are looking into whether 50 children — some as young as 13 — who were allegedly illegally employed cleaning Midwestern slaughterhouses were victims of labor trafficking, three officials from the Department of Homeland Security told NBC News.
The children who worked for PSSI attended school during the day and worked overnight facing dangerous conditions, with some as young as 13 and 14 found to have chemical burns on their hands from exposure to strong cleaning chemicals, according to court documents the government filed in its lawsuit against PSSI and a local police report […].
- Lebanon’s middle class vanishes as economy collapses:
Lebanon’s capital Beirut has turned into a city of contrasts. Expensive cars park before popular restaurants and bars, while people of all ages rummage through bins for something edible.
Following years of massive economic contraction, in combination with a 95% devalution of its currency, the Lebanese middle class has practically vanished.
Meanwhile, talks between the Lebanese government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have led to a staff-level agreement for a program worth about $3 billion over the next 46 months. However, a financial recovery plan to protect the most vulnerable in society, was not included.
- Mass lay-offs spread across U.S. tech sector:
Just this month, there have been at least 48,000 job cuts announced by major companies in the sector.
Just this week, Microsoft announced 10,000 job cuts, or nearly 5% of its workforce. Amazon said this month it is cutting 18,000 jobs, although that’s a fraction of its 1.5 million strong workforce, while business software maker Salesforce is laying off about 8,000 employees, or 10% of the total. Last fall Facebook parent Meta announced it would shed 11,000 positions, or 13% of its workers. Elon Musk slashed jobs at Twitter after after he acquired the social media company last fall.
- Superyachts remain tax-free in E.U. emissions trading.
- War in Tigray may have killed 600,000 people, making it one of the world’s deadliest conflicts of recent times.
- Richest 1% bag two-thirds of $42 trillion in new wealth, report says:
Billionaire fortunes are increasing by $2.7bn a day, while at least 1.7 billion workers now live in countries where inflation is outpacing wages, the report said.
At the same time, half of the world’s billionaires live in countries with no inheritance tax for direct descendants, Oxfam said, putting them on track to pass on $5 trillion to their heirs, more than the gross domestic product (GDP) of Africa.
- Peru declares state of emergency in Lima after weeks of protests.
- Video game studio called “Proletariat” declines to recognise union.
- U.A.E. appoints oil company boss as president of the COP28 climate conference.
- Exxon climate predictions were accurate decades ago:
Researchers at Harvard University and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research analyzed Exxon’s climate studies from 1977 to 2003. The researchers show the company, now called ExxonMobil, produced climate research that was at least as accurate as work by independent academics and governments — and occasionally surpassed it.
- Ghana is battling its worst economic crisis in decades, with inflation hovering at a record 50.3 percent.
- Oceans surged to another record-high temperature in 2022.
- Amtrak train delayed for 37 hours in South Carolina, prompts passengers to call 911 over “hostage” fears.
- Haiti left with no elected government officials as it spirals towards anarchy. Last 10 remaining senators leave office, with gangs controlling much of capital, a malnutrition crisis and a cholera outbreak.
- More than 90% of rainforest carbon offsets by biggest provider are worthless, analysis shows:
The forest carbon offsets approved by the world’s leading provider and used by Disney, Shell, Gucci and other big corporations are largely worthless and could make global heating worse, according to a new investigation.
- Last 8 years warmest on record globally:
Average temperatures across 2022 – which saw a cascade of unprecedented natural disasters made more likely and deadly by climate change – make it the fifth warmest year since records began in the 19th century, according to the Copernicus Climate Change Service.
Pakistan and northern India were scorched by a two-month spring heatwave with sustained temperatures well above 40 degrees Celsius […], followed in Pakistan by flooding that covered a third of the country.
France, Britain, Spain and Italy set new average temperature records for 2022, with Europe as a whole enduring its second hottest year ever, Copernicus said in an annual report.
Heatwaves across the continent were compounded by severe drought conditions.
- Killings by U.S. police reach record high in 2022:
US law enforcement killed at least 1,176 people in 2022, making it the deadliest year on record for police violence since experts first started tracking the killings, a new data analysis reveals.
- Fewer than 40% of New Yorkers earn a living wage.
- Several killed in anti-government clashes in southern Peru:
The latest casualties take the death toll from anti-government clashes with security forces to 34 since the protests began in early December […].
- Elite Swiss ski resort flies snow to the slopes after mild winter:
The resort, which prides itself on sustainability, is one of many that have struggled to keep pistes open, with temperatures in Switzerland hovering around the 20 degrees celsius mark.
Given the dire situation during the festive high season, Gstaad decided to take emergency action just before Christmas by paying for a helicopter to conduct nine “snow lifts” […].
In 2020, some 100 helicopter snow lifts were conducted to ensure that the renowned Labuerhorn in Wengen could take place during the Youth Olympic Games, in Lausanne. Each flight carried just two cubic metres of snow.
“[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