- At least 27 heavily armoured military vehicles have been left in Afghanistan during Denmark’s evacuation from the war-torn country amid the US-led coalition’s speedy withdrawal, Danish Radio has reported citing internal documents. The MRAP-type vehicles (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) were leased from the US in 2014 to provide mobility, protection and combat power for the Danish mission in Afghanistan. The vehicles are specially developed to deal with counter-insurgencies in cities and are resistant against roadside bombs. The cars also feature a protected, rotating tower on the roof, where a machine gun can be mounted. According to Danish Radio, a single MRAP costs up to DKK 6 million ($930,000). Denmark may thus have left equipment to the tune of DKK 162 million ($25 million).
- In a 1,300-word Facebook post, Zuckerberg outlines how many of the allegations surrounding Facebook, as a result of whistleblower Frances Haugen’s testimony, are false. The tech CEO even went so far as saying that the “disheartening” claims “don’t make any sense.” Zuckerberg claims Facebook cares deeply about issues such as safety, well-being and mental health. This is in direct contradiction to the testimony of Haugen, who stated, “I believe Facebook’s products harm children, stoke division and weaken our democracy.”
- Actor Elijah Wood, who famously portrayed Frodo Baggins in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, spilled a little Middle-Earth tea on Harvey Weinstein during a recent appearance on Dax Shepard’s “Armchair Expert” podcast. Wood detailed that actor Sean Astin, who played Samwise Gamgee in the Peter Jackson-directed film trilogy, had learned from Hobbit actors Dom Monaghan and Bill Boyd that one of the orc masks was designed after the notorious Hollywood producer. “He had seen these orc masks. And one of the orc masks – and I remember this vividly – was designed to look like Harvey Weinstein as a sort of a ‘f**k you,’” Wood recounted.
- Pope Francis learned ‘with great sorrow’ of the findings in a report on sexual abuse of minors by members and affiliates of the French Catholic Church, head of the Vatican press office, Matteo Bruni, said on Tuesday. Earlier on Tuesday, an independent commission published a report which revealed that at least 216,000 minors had been victims of sexual abuse by the French clergy between 1950 and 2020. The same report uncovered that between 2,900 and 3,200 people in the French Catholic Church had committed those abuses since the 1950s.
- The Nord Stream 2 AG has appealed against the Dusseldorf court decision not to exempt the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from the European Union’s gas directive, the operator said on Tuesday. Nord Stream 2 is a joint venture of Gazprom, Royal Dutch Shell, OMV, Engie, Uniper, and Wintershall. The project is designed to carry natural gas from Russia to Germany beneath the Baltic Sea. On 10 September, Russia’s Gazprom announced that the construction of the pipeline was completed. The pipeline is expected to supply up to 1.9 trillion cubic feet of gas per year from Russia to Germany. The United States has opposed the project, promoting its liquefied natural gas in Europe.
- Encrypted messenger platform Telegram gained more than 70 million new sign-ups in a single day as Facebook and its subsidiaries Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger all went dark for six hours, plunging users into existential crisis. Telegram founder Pavel Durov took to the platform on Tuesday to congratulate his employees on a job well done, noting that not only had Telegram “welcomed over 70 million refugees from other platforms in one day” but that the platform had worked “flawlessly for the vast majority of our users” during that time, despite the unusually heavy traffic.
- Mali has summoned the French ambassador following “unfriendly and derogatory” remarks by the French president, who said Mali’s government lacks the legitimacy to criticize the withdrawal of French troops from the country. A diplomatic row raging between France and Mali deepened further on Tuesday after the Malian Foreign Ministry summoned the French envoy to express “indignation and disapproval” over French President Emmanuel Macron’s recent remarks suggesting that the current Malian government has no right to question France’s military maneuvers in the Sahel region, where Paris has long kept a presence.
- Canadian PM Justin Trudeau sparked an online storm after he used an obscure acronym, 2SLGBTQQIA+, while commemorating missing and murdered members of ethnic and sexual minorities, prompting a collective head scratching. The message, however, appeared to be lost on a sizeable portion of netizens who struggled to decipher the cumbersome and seldom-used acronym – which stands for: Two Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, and Asexual people, with a plus-sign added for good measure to cover any potentially overlooked groups.
- The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has announced that NASA has its sights set on visiting a mysterious giant asteroid –about 173 miles (280 kilometers) at its widest point–a mystery object about the size of Massachusetts named Psyche that may be the frozen remains of the molten core of a world long gone –the only known object of its kind in the solar system. The asteroid was found in 1852 by Italian astronomer Annibale de Gasparis, who named it for the Greek mythological figure Psyche. Using data gathered from Earth-based radar and optical telescopes, scientists believe that Psyche is a relic made largely of metal that could be part or all of the iron-rich interior of an early planetary building block that was stripped of its outer rocky shell as it repeatedly collided with other large bodies during the early formation of the solar system.
- Three months after Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in a Manhattan jail cell, a trio of crisis professionals announced plans for a fund to help pay restitution to Epstein’s victims. The “distinguished” experts, a press release announcing the fund said, would give victims an opportunity for money and closure through a “confidential, non-adversarial alternative to litigation.” After Epstein’s death, his estate hired Feinberg and Biros to establish a victims compensation fund administered by Jordana Feldman. The operation soon set about taking applicants and received more than 200 claims from women claiming to be victims of Epstein’s abuse before it came to a halt this March. But something happened that some of Epstein’s alleged victims say they did not expect: While the compensation fund doled out roughly $125 million overall, it offered small settlements or no money at all to some women who anticipated receiving it, creating concern among some applicants and their lawyers that the fund was falling short on its stated mission to help victims.
News Burst 7 October 2021