Dear Friends, for 24 days the NB have not been published because I decided to travel 320 km of the Camino de Santiago, in Spain. It’s not a race, it’s not a trekking route but being alone with your thoughts. Everyone does the pilgrimage for a different reason, but all who have done it agree that it’s a life-altering event. Doing the Camino will give you an opportunity to get out of your daily grind and engaging with the world on new terms.
- The number of news and information websites generated by AI — and operating with little to no human oversight — has more than doubled in two weeks, a NewsGuard analysis has found.
- The European Union is exporting about 90% of its used clothes and textile waste to Africa and Asia, a trend that is having a dire ecological impact, the European Environment Agency (EEA) has warned. The EEA has ranked textile waste as the fourth-highest source of environmental pressure resulting from EU consumption. The bloc’s countries generate approximately 5.8 million metric tons of textile waste per year, with only a quarter of this being recycled due to limited “reuse and recycling capacities.” The majority is shipped, in some cases as a donation, to Africa and Asia. “The perception of used clothing donations as generous gifts to people in need does not fully match reality,” the EEA said in a recent report.
- Chinese-owned social media platform TikTok will “soon” allow its US partner Oracle Corp. complete access to its source code, algorithms and content moderation data. Oracle will soon begin monitoring access to the “secure environment” set up on its servers to host TikTok’s US data as well, the statement said. The projected moves are part of the social media behemoth’s strategy to compartmentalize its US operations under US control in order to defuse accusations of Chinese spying on its millions of American users, a plan known as Project Texas.
- Claims by the US government that it pursues the promotion of democracy abroad are simply “fake,” Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said Tuesday. “The United States and [some] Western countries are not after democracy, but domination and plundering of other countries’ wealth,” Raisi said during an official visit to Indonesia, according to Iranian media. “With the rise of emerging powers, the era of US domination has come to an end, said Iran’s chief executive,” media summarized.
- Buckingham Palace has reportedly rejected a request to repatriate the remains of Prince Alemayehu, an Ethiopian royal who was brought to the UK as a child in the 19th century and is buried in the catacombs of St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. Prince Alemayehu was allegedly abducted and taken to England at the age of seven as an orphan after British soldiers looted his father’s imperial citadel and seized royal treasures following the Battle of Maqdala in 1868. He was cared for by Queen Victoria, who arranged for his education and his burial after his death at the age of 18.
- Mainstream media is vilifying Hungary’s popular president once again after he explained why he declined to authorize another half billion in weapons for the Kiev regime. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is facing more pushback from Western media after pointing out that Ukraine has “no chance” of beating Russia while rejecting the latest attempt by Brussels to send more weapons to Ukraine. In an interview at the Qatar Economic Forum, Orban told a US business journal “it’s obvious that the battlefield solution does not work.”
- The sun has released an almost non-stop barrage of solar flares, including nine powerful M-class flares. At least seven of the powerful M-flares have all been attributed to the same giant sunspot region known as AR3311 as it slowly turns to face Earth. AR3311 is joined by another huge sunspot — AR3310 — which was responsible for the colossal solar flare on May 16 that caused widespread radio blackouts. The volatile pair are slowly rotating into view and will be directly facing us by the weekend.
- DeSantis and Musk will host an event on Twitter Spaces, the site’s platform for lectures and live audio discussions, Fox News confirmed on Tuesday. DeSantis’ campaign will release a video after the event, and the governor will begin visiting early voting states in June, NBC News reported shortly afterwards.
- US retailer Target is facing public backlash, including criticism from Senator Tom Cotton, over an LGBTQ+ merchandising campaign that allegedly targets children and features a “satanist” brand. Target held an emergency meeting to deal with the backlash, reportedly to address safety concerns and avoid a devastating boycott like the one targeting Bud Light beer over a promotion featuring transgender activist Dylan Mulvaney. The company ordered some managers to move Pride merchandise away from the front of their stores and remove large signage.
- Zoo Miami issued a formal apology to New Zealand on Wednesday after footage of visitors to the zoo manhandling its only kiwi – the country’s beloved national bird – triggered an avalanche of complaints and an inquiry from Wellington’s Department of Conservation.The zoo “made a huge mistake” in offering visitors a hands-on ‘Kiwi Encounter’ with Paora the kiwi for $25, spokesman Ron Magill confessed in an interview with Radio New Zealand, acknowledging the outrage and admitting “we have offended a nation.”
- The FBI has again refused to turn over documents subpoenaed by Congress regarding allegations of a bribery scheme allegedly perpetrated by then-Vice President Joe Biden, escalating a row with House Republicans over the agency’s handling of the case. The latest refusal to comply with the subpoena came during an FBI briefing of the US House Oversight Committee on Monday. At issue is a so-called FD-1023 form, which details accusations that President Biden accepted foreign bribes in exchange for policy favors when he was vice president under President Barack Obama. FBI officials previously missed a May 10 deadline to provide the requested materials to Congress.
- A new study finds OpenAI’s latest version of ChatGPT shows human-like reasoning. GPT-4, used to power Microsoft’s Bing Chat feature, was prompted to ‘stack a book, nine eggs, a laptop, a bottle and a nail in a stable manner.’ The system arranged the items so the eggs would not break, detailing how each should be placed on the other – starting with the book and ending with the nail.
- The Los Angeles city council has authorized the use of a robotic “dog” by Boston Dynamics device by the local police department, despite protests from residents and some dissenting council members. City lawmakers voted 8-4 on Tuesday to approve a donation of a “Quadruped Unmanned Ground Vehicle” to the LAPD from the non-profit Los Angeles Police Foundation, which supplied the $277,000-robot to the force free of charge.
- BBC “disinformation correspondent” Marianna Spring revealed she had set up multiple “undercover accounts” on Twitter for the BBC’s America broadcast, each one representing different political views so as to better “interrogate” the viewpoints of the network’s target audience. While the deception was portrayed as an attempt to “understand polarization online” by observing a cross-section of what kind of content social media platforms are recommending to different demographics, all three “characters” were white women. Emma, a 25-year-old atheist graphic designer with a “live-in partner” based in New York City, hails from the “progressive left.” Britney, a recently-divorced 50-year-old mother of three living in Houston, comes from the “populist right” and works as a school secretary. Gabriela, 44, a married mother of three who moonlights as a nanny, is cast as a “stressed sideliner.”
- US Democrat presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has broken ranks with his party by arguing that the FBI was politicized to take down Donald Trump – both before and after he was elected president in 2016 – making a “mockery” of the US political process. “This is no partisan skirmish,” Kennedy said on Monday in a Twitter post. “It is about the political weaponization of the FBI to destroy a candidate and then a sitting president. It’s about a matrix of lies so elaborate as to make a mockery of the democratic ideal of an informed citizenry.”
- Elon Musk has shown off progress on his Terminator-like Tesla-bot. The humanoid Optimus robot was showcased walking and performing basic tasks. The tech company says it now has “multiple fully Tesla-made bots now walking around and learning about the real world”. Scenes showed robots strolling around office and factory environments, as well as picking up and moving objects. The long-awaited Tesla Cybertruck can be glimpsed in the background of some scenes. Tesla has said the machines are set to be “a general purpose, bi-pedal, autonomous humanoid robot capable of performing unsafe, repetitive or boring tasks”.
- US podcast hosts Jeremy Corbell and George Knapp have obtained video clips and a still image to show a massive unidentified flying object (UFO) that hovered over a California military base in April 2021 before quickly disappearing from view of the 50 Marines who reportedly witnessed the incident. The object was black and triangular and had five red lights along its edges, according to Tuesday’s episode of the ‘Weaponized’ podcast. It hovered for about 10 minutes over Camp Wilson, the world’s largest US Marine Corps training base, then vanished without a trace after troops began shooting flares into the sky to illuminate the alleged craft. Marines were “baffled” by the UFO, which “appeared out of nowhere,” one of the witnesses told Corbell. “With the picture I took with a black triangular shape underneath the lights, it’s definitely not any type of flare thing or illumination rounds,” he added.
- Norwegian fertility rates have seen a decade-long plunge, pushing the Nordic country to increasingly rely on Europe’s current demographic fix-it plan – immigration – to make up for the population loss. Norway’s Minister for Children and Families, Kjersti Toppe, has asked her fellow Norwegian women to dramatically boost births in the Scandinavian country. In order to speed up the birth rate, the minister has put forward the following measures: strengthening the finances of students and others who receive one-off benefits, offering tax relief to families with more than two children, increasing child benefits and expanding the right to a nursery place. Toppe, herself a mother of six, recalled the years when her children were small, as “busy and strained financially,” yet “the richest years” of her life.
- Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP), also referred to as UFOs, are starting to fascinate the minds of US academia, so much so that 37% would not mind conducting research into the mysterious sightings, research revealed. A team of scientists, including from the University of Louisville, sent out a survey in 2022 to 39,984 academics: professors, associate professors and assistant professors from 144 US universities across 14 different disciplines.
News Burst 25 May 2023