News Burst 18 September 2021
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News Burst 18 September 2021 – Featured News
- No longer content to just go after bots and trolls, Facebook has established a new category of “social harm” posted by genuine users, starting with purging pages and Instagram accounts of the German anti-lockdown group Querdenken. Facebook’s head of security policy Nathaniel Gleicher announced the action on Thursday, saying that his team has been working for months to “expand our network disruption efforts so we can address threats that come from groups of authentic accounts coordinating on our platform to cause social harm.”
- Italy makes Covid-19 health pass mandatory for all workers & anyone without it faces suspension with NO PAY. The Italian government has approved a plan to make its Covid ‘Green Pass’ certificate mandatory for all workers. The plan, which would see those without the pass put on leave without pay, is set to be implemented next month. The plan, approved by the country’s government on Thursday, is set to be put into motion on October 15. The Italian Senate overwhelmingly supported the measure, with 189 voting for it, with only 32 against and two abstentions. The plan will remain in force until at least the end of this year.
- Officials on the Spanish island La Palma have warned of a potential volcanic eruption, after an ‘earthquake swarm’ of 4,222 tremors was detected near the Teneguía volcano by the country’s National Geographic Institute (IGN). The regional government in the Canary Islands issued a yellow alert on Tuesday – the second in a four-level system warning of a potential earthquake. On Thursday, officials updated their assessment to state that, while they don’t believe an immediate eruption is about to occur, the situation could change quickly, with “more intense earthquakes” expected “in the coming days.”
- Russia’s State Duma has threatened to increase penalties for IT companies if they continue to ignore the injunctions of the country’s media watchdog Roskomnadzor. In recent weeks, Google, Facebook and Twitter have all been fined. According to Vasily Piskarev, chairman of the Duma Commission for Investigation of Foreign Interference in Russia’s Internal Affairs, the idea to strengthen the punishment was triggered primarily by the behavior of Google, which has repeatedly refused to pay fines handed down by the authorities.
- The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week that low winds in the North Sea were creating a major headache for energy networks. “The sudden slowdown in wind-driven electricity production off the coast of the UK in recent weeks whipsawed through regional energy markets. Gas and coal-fired electricity plants were called in to make up the shortfall from wind.”
- As the collapse of Evergrande reverberates throughout the Chinese economy, pissed off retail investors have gone from storming the company’s headquarters to taking management hostage, according to the Straits Times, citing posts ‘making the rounds’ on social media. What we know so far: over 70,000 retail investors forked over vast sums of money, in some cases their entire life savings, after the country’s second largest, ‘too big to fail’ property developer wooed them with promises of 10%+ annual returns. Enraged Evergrande investors go full pitchfork, hold management hostage in company offices.
- Last week, the British media reported that Prince Andrew was confident that he would brush off the allegations of sex abuse against him, but this week The Daily Mirror writes that the second son of Queen Elizabeth II, said to be her favourite, is now “worried” about his future. According to the outlet, citing an anonymous source, the royal now fears that the case could drag on for years and cost him millions of dollars. Lawyers for Virginia Giuffre, who filed a civil lawsuit against the Duke of York on 9 August in the US, have argued that the royal has been hiding in his mansion, preventing them from serving papers on him. His legal team have argued that the Duke of York can’t be served with the lawsuit as Virginia Giuffre’s lawyer David Boies is not a “judicial, consular, or diplomatic officer” of the US.
- When the Taliban seized Afghanistan’s capital city of Kabul, many, including female athletes, decided to leave the war-ravaged country out of a fear of reprisals from the group, which is known for its negative attitude towards things such as women’s sports. Some sports activities, however, are not simply allowed, on the other hand, but cherished. The newly created government wants Afghans to improve their football and swimming skills.
- La Francophonie (OIF), an organisation of French-speaking countries, has suspended Guinea’s membership due to the military takeover and called for the release of President Alpha Conde, who was captured during the coup. On 16 September, the OIF held an extraordinary session in Paris to discuss the situation in Guinea. “In a resolution adopted unanimously, the CPF [Permanent Council of La Francophonie] strongly condemned these events [in Guinea] and decided, under the provisions of the Bamako Declaration, to suspend the Republic of Guinea from La Francophonie. The organisation praised the regional and international efforts, particularly, that of the Economic Community of West African States, to restore stability in Guinea.
- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres noted it was critical to create mechanisms to inject cash into Afghanistan’s economy to prevent it from collapsing and causing a massive outflow of refugees that could destabilise the entire region. “It is absolutely essential to create mechanisms to inject some cash within the Afghan economy to prevent the collapse of the Afghan economy that could cause tremendous suffering for the Afghan people and could trigger massive outflow that, of course, soon be a destabilising factor for the countries of the region”, Guterres said.
- The remarks by Indian Foreign Minister S Jaishankar come two days after India’s Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat remarked that there was some “jointmanship” between “Sinic” and “Islamic civilisations” to counter western civilisation, making a reference to Samuel Huntington’s seminal “Clash of Civilisations” thesis. “India had never subscribed to any clash of civilisations theory. He (Jaishankar) said that India and China had to deal with each other on merits and establish a relationship based on mutual respect”, an Indian Foreign Ministry release said. “Asian solidarity will depend on the example set by India-China relations”, India’s top diplomat told Yi during the meeting.
- Every year, about 300,000 tonnes of human hair is generated as waste in India, as per media reports. Although it is biodegradable, uncontrolled disposal can lead to clogging and other serious environmental issues. “India generates a huge amount of human hair, poultry feather waste, and wool waste each year. These wastes are dumped, buried, used for landfilling, or incinerated, increasing environmental hazards, pollution, and threat to public health and increasing greenhouse gas emissions. These wastes are inexpensive sources of amino acids and protein, underlining their potential to be used as animal feed and fertilizer,” the Indian Ministry of Science and Technology said in a statement on Thursday. A team of Indian scientists led by Professor A. B. Pandit, Vice-Chancellor, Institute of Chemical Technology Mumbai, used advanced oxidation and converted the waste to marketable fertilisers and animal feed. The most important part of the whole process is the pre-treatment followed by hydrolysis of keratin using a technique called Hydrodynamic Cavitation.
- Hamid Nouri is accused of committing war crimes and helping to execute thousands of young Iranians, who dared to go against the authorities in Tehran. His verdict is expected in April 2022. A court in Sweden’s capital Stockholm continues to listen to the testimonies of witnesses in the trial of Hamid Nouri, an Iranian man in his 60s, accused of murdering between 5,000 to 7,000 detainees at the Gohardasht prison next to Tehran in 1988. Kaveh Moussavi, an international arbitrator on the International Court of Arbitration, who initiated and is leading the case, says he’s collected many testimonies that implicate the man. “Nouri is charged with committing war crimes. He was the one, who came to pick up prisoners and then take them to their execution. I am sure he will get at least 20 years in prison”. In the 1980s, during the bloody Iran-Iraq war, groups of Iranians, who opposed the then-Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini, were believed to have cooperated with the government in Baghdad. One such group was the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran, or the Mujahedin-e-Khalq, a militant organisation that wished to overthrow Khomeini and establish their own government in Iran.
- UK Chief of Defence Intelligence Lieutenant General Jim Hockenhull has said that the British military is “actively recruiting” new spies to be rapidly deployed in the Asian region as Washington, London, and Canberra heat up tensions with China amid a newly-announced security pact viewed by many as a counter to Beijing. “We are deploying defence intelligence personnel and we have started into a range of locations around Europe and we are currently recruiting for those that will go further east”, Hockenhull said, as cited by the Daily Mail.
- Finland plans to lift all its restrictions when the vaccination rate reaches 80 percent. To convince the holdouts, numbering hundreds of thousands, to take the shot, COVID passports to be requested in all public places are being pondered. Given the current state of vaccination in Finland, the country’s Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) has warned that the situation may escalate into an “epidemic of the unvaccinated”. As of today, there are an estimated 780,000 Finns over the age 12 who are yet to receive even a single dose of a COVID vaccine, resulting in a vaccination rate of about 60 percent. Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin earlier said that the coronavirus restrictions will not be lifted until 80 percent of the 12-and-over population is fully vaccinated against the virus. This begs the question of how the authorities plan to deal with the unvaccinated. For instance, fellow Nordic nation Denmark agreed to offer people a choice of vaccine in a bid to boost vaccination rates.
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News Burst 18 September 2021 – Earthquakes
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