1. Coming soon: will the flood toll transform the German elections?
As of Friday evening, the death toll had exceeded 125 and 1,300 people were missing after Thursday’s flood in northwestern Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. The devastation has hit Germany hardest, where some 850 federal troops have been deployed to assist with rescue and recovery from floods that a meteorologist said may have been the worst in a millennium. And although there is a political truce as officials coordinate relief efforts, many expect the disaster to reverberate in September’s national elections. Although accusations of academic plagiarism have weakened the environmentally-focused Green Party chancellor candidate, the flooding may prompt all parties to put climate action at the top of their agendas. (Sources: DW, NYT, Der Spiegel)
What do you think? Will climate change policies determine your vote? Respond to our PDB survey, then see how others react.
2. Biden: disinformation on social media “kills people”
They have blood on their hands. This is the message the White House has been pushing this week on social media and its failure to control misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines. “They are killing people,” President Joe Biden said on Friday, responding to a question about the effect of social media on vaccination attitudes, adding, “the only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated.” Facebook said his comments were “not supported by the facts” and that millions of Americans were using the platform to find vaccination centers. Critics went further, accusing Biden of trying to convince platforms to remove posts and start individual users he disagrees with. (Sources: The hill, Politics, New York Post)
3. Story of the week: South Africa explodes
It was “planned and coordinated”. It was South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s assessment of the violence that exploded in his country this week, which left more than 200 dead. The unrest began after former President Jacob Zuma was jailed for refusing to appear before a corruption investigation. Amid widespread looting and 2,500 arrests, there were also attacks on a water treatment plant and media offices, OZY Reports, as well as hampering pandemic recovery efforts by ransacking immunization clinics. “These acts sought to provoke a popular uprising,” Ramaphosa said, swearing that those responsible “will be brought to justice.” (Sources: PA, BBC, Al Jazeera)
4. Police indict two in Democratic office bomb plot
Yesterday, a San Francisco grand jury indicted two men in an alleged conspiracy to bomb a Democratic Party office building in Sacramento. Authorities say they have confiscated machine guns and bombs among 49 weapons linked to two residents of northern California accused of conspiracy to destroy a building, possession of weapons and obstruction of justice. Prosecutors claimed that the two supporters former President Donald Trump hoped the bombing would spark a “movement,” and one said that “after January 20, when Trump stepped down,” we go to war. If found guilty, the two men face maximum sentences of 20 years in prison. (Sources: Sacramento Bee, NBC)
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1. Papal criticism goes medieval on the Latin mass
It was time to Carpe Diem. Yesterday, Pope Francis made it more difficult for priests to conduct Mass in Latin, which dates back to the Middle Ages and was discouraged by the reforms of Vatican Council II of the 1960s. Pope Benedict XVI, today at the retreat, freed the Mass, unintelligible for most lay people and led by a priest turning his back on them. The current Pope has indicated that those who promote the Mass, as opposed to that of parishioners local language, sowed divisions in the church. From now on, clerics wishing to conduct Mass in Latin will need, among other things, the approval of their bishop before proceeding. (Sources: Washington post, National Catholic journalist)
2. Is the paid space race too extraterrestrial?
Richard Branson’s first space-adjacent jump last Sunday was a giant leap for space tourism, and on Tuesday the world’s richest Earthman will take the next step. Jeff Bezos must bring the world’s oldest (82) and youngest (18) passengers aboard his New Shepard spacecraft to the Atmosphere’s Edge on his (sip!) first crew flight. But can the “tourism” businesses of these billionaires succeed? First, it “doesn’t make sense,” according to marketing professor Scott Galloway, who notes in the Pivot podcast that some of Branson’s top investors – himself included – downplayed their stakes, not to mention the 600 people on his waiting list couldn’t fill half of Galloway’s boardroom. (Sources: Atlantic, Spy)
Lily OZY Sunday Magazine exploration of the commercial stages of humanity in the cosmos.
3. Google Exec resigns after line of anti-Semitism
He had become a “lover of the Jews”. This statement in a 10,000 word screed on Israeli– The Palestinian relations of Amr Awadallah, vice president of developer relations at Google Cloud, apparently precipitated his departure on Thursday. The Egyptian-born American admitted on LinkedIn that he “hated all Jews” but changed his mind and wanted to promote peace and understanding. Google employees gathered this week to express their discomfort working with him. The delay in his departure is likely to raise questions about how Google is handling these issues, especially as lower-level employees complain of serious consequences for much more innocuous posts. (Sources: The edge, CNBC)
4. Why Facebook won’t steal a lot of YouTube stars
The vault creaks open. Facebook has pledged $ 1 billion to attract independent content creators for its 2.9 billion users. This is a big step in a medium built on free user shares. But Recode reports that this is not enough. That’s because Mark Zuckerberg’s social network separates creator ads from its much more lucrative ad revenue, while Alphabet’s YouTube pays talent 55% on the bulk of ads seen with their clips. So in three years, the video platform says, it paid $ 30 billion. But Facebook is smart to start paying, as more and more governments around the world demand it.
5. Original basketball retires
There is skin in the game. Albert Spalding made the very first basketball for the inventor of the sport, James Naismith, in 1894, and when the Phoenix Suns host the Milwaukee Bucks tonight in Game 5 of the NBA In the final, they will use a leather-covered Spalding “rock” to decide who is top of the series which is now tied 2-2. But when the trophy is awarded, the league, having failed to agree on a new ball contract, will begin using Wilson-made balls. This means that rap songs that evoke the historic brand will sound slightly nostalgic, like relics from a bygone era. (Sources: The Undefeated, SCS)
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