- Prince Andrew’s legal team have been granted access to a copy of the 2009 sealed settlement agreement his accuser, Virginia Giuffre (née Roberts) previously signed with the late Jeffrey Epstein, reported Sky News. The royal’s attorney had argued at the first pre-trial hearing of the case in September that Giuffre had agreed in 2009 not to sue anyone else connected to Epstein when she settled her damages claim against the tycoon, who died in prison in 2019. The next pre-trial hearing set for 3 November.
- The Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, made the policy of compulsory vaccination one of the points of his election programme at the parliamentary elections held in September. Canadian federal employees are obliged to be vaccinated against COVID-19, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Wednesday. According to Trudeau, those who will not be vaccinated by the end of October will be placed on unpaid administrative leave.
- Climate activists from Elokapina, Finland’s arm of the international movement Extincion Rebellion, shut down Pitkäsilta, or the Long Bridge, in central Helsinki to traffic on Wednesday evening, causing delay and disruption, national broadcaster Yle reported. Activists announced the demonstration five minutes in advance via Twitter; the message ended with “We are very sorry about the disturbance”. Ultimately, about two hundred protesters gathered, sitting on the driveway at each side of the bridge and effectively shutting off all traffic. Rescue vehicles, however, were still allowed to pass.
- According to Gunnveig Grødeland of the University of Oslo, two doses grant patients a good and lasting immunological memory response that provides protection to them, despite the fact that the antibody levels go down over time. As Norwegian authorities have recommended administering everyone over the age of 65 a third dose of the COVID vaccine, referred to as “refresher”, Immunologist Gunnveig Grødeland of the University of Oslo countered that healthy Norwegians don’t need a third dose. Instead, she argued, it would be more preventive against serious illness to send the spare vaccine doses to Africa. Grødeland emphasised that while the most vulnerable and the risk groups including the very oldest will benefit from a third dose, for the rest of society it is “bad news”.
- So-called “keyword warrants” allow authorities to slurp up the Google user data and IP addresses of anyone who so much as types a suspicious term into a search engine. While a handful of such warrants surfaced in the media in the past several years, Forbes reported on Monday about what it described as one of the “most contentious” warrants. As part of a 2019 investigation into the trafficking and sexual abuse of a young Wisconsin woman who claimed she’d been kidnapped, federal authorities ordered Google to serve up detailed private information regarding anyone who’d searched for information about her – including her name, two separate spellings of her mother’s name, and her address – across a 16-day period, Forbes reported, citing a warrant that was “accidentally unsealed” in September. The warrant, which since then was sealed again, revealed that Google dutifully served up the information in mid-2020, including the Google accounts and IP addresses of the users who conducted the offending searches.
- Social media algorithms, and virtually every algorithm used by large tech companies, are designed to increase user engagement however they can. This is because these companies make money through advertisers by keeping users engaged, and thus increasing the likelihood of engaging with advertised content. Not only this, but algorithms can gather more data through user engagement to actually maneuver their consumers’ behaviors. Tech companies like Facebook and Google contract some of the greatest scientists in the world to study user behavior and hone their algorithms to actually influence this behavior in the real world. Algorithms have evolved to the point of not simply predicting human behavior – but actually inducing it.
- As a whistleblower lays bare the ‘profits before people’ mentality of Silicon Valley’s social media behemoths and their disregard for the social discord sown on their platforms, China is showing how these issues should be handled. The draft regulations published by China’s cybersecurity watchdog, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), they don’t just include limitations on data usage or allow users the “right to be forgotten,” but actually limit the power of algorithms by enabling users to opt out or omit keywords.
- The UK’s High Court has found that ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum ordered the hacking of his ex-wife’s phone, as well as those of her lawyers, using Pegasus spyware and interfered in British justice. On Wednesday, the High Court said that Princess Haya of Jordan’s phone had been hacked on the orders of Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum during their divorce custody case. In a statement on Wednesday, the court branded the hacking “serial breaches of (UK) domestic criminal law” which interfered “with the process of this court and the mother’s access to justice.” The move was also labelled an “abuse of power” by a head of government.
- The president of the fishing committee for the northern Hauts-de-France region, Olivier Lepretre, stated that one option being considered to pressure the UK over the fishing licence row is a Christmas blockade at the port of Calais, prohibiting exports into Britain during the Christmas period. The UK and France have been at odds following Britain’s departure from the European Union over the issue of fishing rights, with the latest dispute centring on the granting of fishing licence applications by the British government.
- Until recently, many of us earthlings were blissfully unaware that our planet had gained a second moon. But now 2020 CD3 has become such a superstar, we’re using giant telescopes just to catch a glimpse of it. “We expect to find a population of these objects once the Rubin Observatory is operational,” said Grigori Fedorets, the lead astronomer for the Gemini observations, referencing the Vera C. Rubin Observatory, whose sole purpose will be to scan the skies for similar, previously unknown, objects.
- After more than 30 Years Of Development that scientists at GlaxoSmithKline started developing it, a malaria vaccine was finally approved Wednesday by the WHO. The vaccine is formulated for inoculating young children as well as adults.
News Burst 8 October 2021