News Burst 24 August 2022 – Featured News – August 23 post

  • A councillor in Paris has sparked mirth online after suggesting that rats in the city be considered as ‘big field mice’ and celebrated for their contribution to rubbish control. Green councillor Douchka Markovic was speaking at a Conseil de Paris event on July 7, when she was asked about the well-known rat problem in the capital by Paul Hatte (Les Republicains, centre-right-wing). She responded that she prefers to use the term ‘surmulot’ to describe the animals as it has “fewer negative connotations”, she said. The word ‘surmulot’ in French loosely translates as ‘big field mouse’ but is in reality just another kind of rodent. This comment provoked laughter in the crowd, but the rest of her answer also prompted mirth. She said: “[They are] our waste control assistants. We must firstly note the role played by the animals on a daily basis in the sewers, with the evacuation of several hundred tons of waste and the unblocking of pipes.”
  • The government of Kiev with the help of the US and NATO was preparing a massive attack in the territories of the disputed Donbass, rich in gas and oil, at least since 2021. This plan was interrupted only by the military operation launched on February 24, 2022 by Russian President Vladimir Putin after the recognition of independence and protection for the pro-Russian separatist republics of Donetzk and Lugansk after 8 years of a hiccup civil war, due to repeated attacks by the Ukrainian military forces, especially those of the GNU National Guard where the Nazis of the Azov Battalion operate, which violated the Minsk peace accords causing a total of 14 thousand deaths. Some Russian soldiers showed traces of poisoning by a chemical weapon, the type B botulinum toxin that the US had brought to Mariupol already in December 2021, as already reported then by the authorities of the Donbass. ~ gospanews.net
  • Russia has accused Ukrainian “special services” of carrying out a car bombing that killed Darya Dugina, the daughter of an influential Russian ultra-nationalist who has backed Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Kyiv denied involvement in the attack on Monday, with Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak calling the accusation “propaganda”. The FSB said a Ukrainian citizen, Natalya Vovk, carried out the killing and then fled to Estonia. The FSB said Vovk and her 12-year-old daughter arrived in Russia in July and spent a month preparing the attack by renting an apartment in the same housing block and researching Dugina’s lifestyle.
  • Elon Musk, in a new bid to bolster the claim that he has the right to walk away from his $44 billion bid for Twitter, issued a subpoena to Jack Dorsey, co-founder and former CEO of Twitter. Through the subpoena, revealed Monday in a court filing, the world’s richest individual is hoping to turn up evidence Dorsey may possess about how the social company has measured bot and spam accounts. Musk and Twitter are locked in a legal battle, playing out in Delaware Chancery Court, in which Twitter is seeking to hold Musk to the original buyout terms. Musk has argued in legal filings that Twitter has made “false and misleading representations” — including about the extent of fake and spam accounts on the service — which amounted to a material breach negating the pact.
  • The U.S. Department of Labor accused a Korean-owned auto parts maker and supplier of Hyundai of violating federal child labor laws at an Alabama factory, federal court filings reviewed by Reuters show. The revelations come one month after Reuters reported the use of child labor at another Alabama auto parts plant operated by Hyundai subsidiary SMART Alabama.
  • Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal has sent a message to staff this morning about WaPo’s whistleblower story, according to CNN’s Donnie O’Sullivan.
    Following the Washington Post’s story on the Twitter whistleblower complaint, Elon Musk’s legal team said they want to interview the former head of security Peiter Zatko. CNN’s Donnie O’Sullivan tweeted that Musk’s lawyer Alex Spiro wants to speak with the Twitter whistleblower: “We have already issued a subpoena for Mr. Zatko, and we found his exit and that of other key employees curious in light of what we have been finding.” The Washington Post released a new report alleging executives deceived federal regulators and the company’s board about “extreme, egregious deficiencies” to combat hackers. WaPo cited a whistleblower complaint from the former head of security Peiter Zatko who said some of the company’s servers are running out-of-date software, and executives withheld critical information about data breaches. The complaint was filed last month with the SEC, DoJ, and FTC. It said thousands of employees had access to core company software, which led to data breaches and hacks of high-profile users. WaPo said the whistleblower document alleges executives prioritized user growth over reducing spam and rewarded executives cash bonuses up to $10 million to increase the number of daily users.
  • ‘Lazy doctor’ investigated after examining ten patients at once. The hospital in the city of Yakutsk in Russia’s Far East is reviewing a viral video that allegedly shows the mass consultation. The video shows ten people crowding inside what is claimed to be the consultation room of a neurologist. She is seen asking the patients to do the simple finger-to-nose test – which can help diagnose issues with proprioception. The doctor then asks the cameraperson to close the door and wait outside. The footage was published on Wednesday on local social media in Yakutsk and went viral nationwide. Some news outlets called the neurologist “the laziest doctor ever.”
  • Russian state energy giant Rosatom has filed six lawsuits totaling $3 billion against Finnish company Fennovoima over the termination of a contract for the construction of a nuclear power plant on Finland’s Hanhikivi peninsula, Interfax news agency reported on Tuesday, citing Rosatom representatives. The report came after Fennovoima CEO Joachim Specht told Helsingin Sanomat news outlet on Monday that his company had started arbitration proceedings against Rosatom. The Finnish company is demanding the return of funds allocated for the nuclear power plant project due to delays in construction, for which Fennovoima blames the Russian firm. The Finnish side wants €2 billion (almost $2 billion) in compensation from Rosatom, of which €800 million would cover the advance payment made by Fennovoima to RAOS Project (Rosatom’s Finnish subsidiary), Specht said.
  • Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky is concerned he is being taken advantage of by someone close to him, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, citing their conversation during the meeting in Lviv on Thursday. Asked by a farmer about the Ukrainian leader’s “situation” on Monday during a visit to local vineyards, Erdogan claimed Zelensky was “very worried. There are people around him who deceive him a lot.” Erdogan had not mentioned this confession during earlier public statements about the negotiations in western Ukraine, and he did not elaborate further on who Zelensky believed was deceiving him.
  • Billionaire philanthropist George Soros has contributed a sizeable amount of money to a super PAC aligned with US Democratic Party member and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Fox News reports. According to the media outlet, Soros’ Democracy PAC sent some $2.5 million to the Senate Majority PAC in July, which made Soros, together with hedge fund billionaire James Simons, who contributed an identical amount, the committee’s biggest donors last month. So far, Soros has reportedly contributed a total of $10 million to the Senate Majority PAC for of the 2022 midterm elections, making him one of the committee’s largest contributors. The media outlet points out that this is not the first time Soros emerges as the Senate Majority’s most prominent donor, as during the 2020 elections, his Democracy PAC provided some $11.5 million to the committee.
  • Beer in Finland is getting more expensive because of the soaring price of raw materials. To offset spiraling production costs, the brewers’ association is lobbying to have lower alcohol taxes, which traditionally have been used as a health safeguard in the Nordic country. The price of a glass of beer in Finland is likely to rocket, the Federation of the Brewing and Soft Drinks Industry has warned, referring to the soaring costs of ingredients and production. “It will inevitably be passed on to prices at some point,” federation spokeswoman Tuula Loikkanen told national broadcaster Yle.
  • Science writers have rushed to downplay evidence in images from NASA’s new space telescope that call the “Big Bang” theory into question. The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which began its mission of imaging the cosmos in July this year, has already produced astounding images. But just as Galileo Galilei’s first telescope helped overturn medieval concepts of cosmology, the JWST has also observed very distant galaxies that appear to be older than the theorized birth date of the universe. “It worries me slightly that we find these monsters in the first few images,” Sky and Telescope quoted University College London astrophysics Professor Richard Ellis as saying earlier this month. The 90-year-old theory that the universe began in a “hot, dense state” nearly 14 billion years ago before rapidly expanding in the biggest explosion ever has captured imaginations. Tech news website CNET rushed to debunk the debunking of the cherished theory. Its science editor Jackson Ryan claimed the story began with an August 11 article by veteran dissident physicist Eric J. Lerner — author of the 1992 book The Big Bang Never Happened. “To everyone who sees them, the new James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) images of the cosmos are beautifully awe-inspiring,” Lerner wrote. “But to most professional astronomers and cosmologists, they are also extremely surprising — not at all what was predicted by theory.” “In the flood of technical astronomical papers published online since July 12, the authors report again and again that the images show surprisingly many galaxies, galaxies that are surprisingly smooth, surprisingly small and surprisingly old. Lots of surprises, and not necessarily pleasant ones.”

News Burst 24 August 2022

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