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Conflict

How to Avoid Conflict in DR Congo's Mineral Mining Heartland

"To create economic opportunities for artisanal miners, the DRC government should create artisanal mining zones and remove impediments to industrial subcontracting of artisanal miners. Mining companies should meet their legal obligations to support community development, and standard-setting organisations should make clear that they see industrial-artisanal cooperation as responsible corporate behaviour."

crisisgroup (LINK)

Post-COVID

Global Fund COVID-19 Report: Deaths from HIV, TB and Malaria Could Almost Double in 12 Months Unless Urgent Action is Taken

The Global Fund estimates that countries affected by HIV, tuberculosis and malaria urgently need US$28.5 billion to protect the progress achieved in the past two decades.

theglobalfund (LINK)

Climate

Soil Scientist Wins $250K Prize for Helping Farmers and Fighting the Climate Crisis

Rattan Lal, a professor of soil science and the director of the Carbon Management and Sequestration Center at The Ohio State University, has pioneered farming techniques that prevent soil from losing vital nutrients and even put nutrients back into soil.

ecowatch (LINK)

Economy

World Economic Forum Releases Toolkit for Leaders to Improve Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in post-COVID-19 Workplace

For example, new systems can review job applications at scale in far greater detail than a typically resourced people and culture department. These systems can identify and reduce bias, introduce greater transparency and visibility, and provide timely analytics.

New methods of analysing employee interactions, such as organizational network analysis and tools for immersive learning using augmented and virtual reality, can all play a role in improving outcomes, while cloud-based communication and visualization platforms will be fundamental to most tools.

"Technology alone cannot create fair, equitable and diverse workplaces; it requires an integrated strategy that blends new technological tools with human-centric approaches."

weforum (LINK)

Trump

U.S.-Iran standoff: rare cooperation

Iran's Chabahar port spared from US sanctions in rare cooperation. Despite escalating tensions, both countries see Iran's Chabahar port as key to stabilising neighbouring Afghanistan.

aljazeera (LINK)

W.H.O.

Inside the Trump Administration's Decision to Leave the World Health Organization

Despite Trump's declared exit from the WHO, officials continued working toward reforms and to prevent withdrawal. The White House gave little direction on what to do next. The American ambassador in Geneva, Andrew Bremberg, kept negotiating with the WHO director general on the reforms demanded by the president, including an independent inquiry into the WHO's response to the pandemic. Dozens of scientists, doctors and public health specialists detailed from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention kept working at their posts at the WHO's Geneva headquarters and in the field, fighting Ebola and other diseases in Africa and elsewhere.

propublica (LINK)

Media

Coronavirus misinformation, and how scientists can help to fight it

As a result of the pandemic, [a study found] 67% of those surveyed are watching more news coverage, and that half of that subset are spending significantly more time doing so.

A University of Washington data scientist has co-created Calling Bullshit, a course on how to spot and counter false appeals to scientific and statistical evidence. In December, he co-founded and became director of his university's new Center for an Informed Public, whose core aims include researching rumours and misinformation during crises.

nature (LINK)

Crytocurrencies / Crime

500 Estonian Crypto Companies Lose Permits After $220B Scandal

Europe's biggest money laundering scandal: hundreds of billions of dollars of dirty money was detected in the Estonian unit of Denmark's largest lender Danske Bank A/S. More than 500 companies — about a third of the total — which had failed to start operations in Estonia within six months of being licensed, have seen their permits withdrawn.

cointelegraph (LINK)

COVID-19

What the W.H.O. Actually Said About Asymptomatic People Spreading the Coronavirus

[Maria Van Kerkhove, an American epidemiologist who is the W.H.O team's lead technical consultant] noted that there is a distinction between truly asymptomatic infected people, who never experience any effects, and presymptomatic infected people, who eventually feel something. Then, without quite clarifying which kind of asymptomatic person she was talking about, she brought up some "reports" from unnamed W.H.O. member countries that have engaged in "detailed contact tracing" of asymptomatic people and are "not finding secondary transmission onward"; however, much of that information was unpublished, she said, and thus neither peer-reviewed nor publicly available, and the W.H.O. was "trying to get more information from countries to truly answer this question". In that very preliminary, narrow context, she said, it "still appears to be rare that an asymptomatic individual transmits onward". But, as she said in the Facebook event, she did not mean that this applied "globally". She was talking only about "a small subset of studies"; like [Michael Ryan, an Irish epidemiologist ... who is leading the W.H.O.'s response to COVID-19], she noted that asymptomatic people can transmit the disease.

newyorker (LINK)

Economy

Trump Administration Refuses To Disclose Which Businesses Received $500 Billion In Government Bailout

The move will prevent oversight of 4.5 million businesses that took a government Paycheck Protection Program loan. One critic called it "unconscionable, jaw-dropping corruption".

huffpost (LINK)

Politics / Aid

USAID staff demand action from agency leaders over 'systemic racism'

"USAID's credibility and effectiveness abroad are undermined by systemic racism and injustice at home."

nbcnews (LINK)

U.N.

Trump targets International Criminal Court for sanctions over war crimes probe

President Trump signed an executive order authorizing economic sanctions and travel restrictions against workers from the International Criminal Court who are investigating American troops and intelligence officials for alleged war crimes in Afghanistan.

axios (LINK)

500 Estonian Crypto Companies Lose Permits After $220Bn Scandal

(LINK)

Economy

The U.S. Fed Keeps Denying Its Role in Increasing Inequality

The Federal Reserve expects low inflation, says rates will stay close to zero through 2022 and keeps lying about the role of central banks in increasing inequality.

Net inflation stats gloss over specifics, including food prices that have been rising at an annual rate of 17.5%.

The Fed [plays a] pronounced role in exacerbating inequality by propping up artificially high asset prices, effectively locking low and middle income households out of the mechanism for economic advancement.

coindesk (LINK)

COVID-19

No 'patient zero' for U.K.: Covid-19 came into UK at least 1,300 times

Study prompts further criticism that chances to suppress infection early in outbreak were missed

theguardian (LINK)

Rights / China

HSBC publicly supports Hong Kong security law after pressure from former Governor

qz.com (LINK)

Economy

Hong Kong most expensive city to be an expat

Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, jumped five spots to steal second place, in part due to currency fluctuations. Japan's capital Tokyo rounded out third place in a top 10 list dominated by Asian cities, including Singapore (5th) and Chinese megacities like Shanghai (7th) and Beijing (10th). Zurich was 4th, Bern 8th, Geneva 9th.

cnbc (LINK)

Environment

More than 1,000 metric tons of microplastics rain down on US parks and wilderness

A survey of 11 remote western locations found that, over a year, the fragments had traveled through the atmosphere like rain or water particles.

theguardian (LINK)

Politics

Commonwealth leaders reject second term for Baroness Scotland after corruption allegations

Earlier this year the British government suspended its funding of the Commonwealth Secretariat, the body that runs the international organisation from London.

UK diplomats told Lady Scotland that Britain's annual £4.7m voluntary contribution would be withheld until her secretariat improved its financial procedures.

The secretariat insisted it was implementing recommendations made by external auditors. The UK decision came after Lady Scotland was criticised by auditors for "circumventing" usual competitive tendering rules when she awarded a lucrative consultancy contract to a company run by a friend.

The auditors also discovered that procurement rules had been waived by the secretariat on no fewer than 50 occasions over three years.

bbc (LINK)

Rights

Zoom admits it complied with Chinese government to suspend activist users

Video conferencing software company Zoom has admitted that it suspended the accounts of users in the United States and Hong Kong at the request of the Chinese government, and that it intends to add the ability to block or remove meeting participants from mainland China.

digitaltrends (LINK)

COVID-19 / Thailand

Thailand's sex workers face uncertain future as coronavirus lockdown continues

There are an estimated 100,000 sex workers in Thailand, mostly working in the red light areas of Bangkok and Pattaya. Many face extreme hardship now that their bars and nightclubs are closed by coronavirus restrictions.

nbcnews (LINK to video)

US facial recognition technology likely illegal in Europe

The European Data Protection Board said that "the use of a service such as Clearview AI by law enforcement authorities in the European Union would, as it stands, likely not be consistent with the EU data protection regime."

politico (LINK)

US Soccer repeals rule that banned kneeling during anthem

U.S. Soccer's board of directors has voted to repeal a 2017 policy that required national team players to stand during the national anthem, a rule adopted after Megan Rapinoe kneeled in support of Colin Kaepernick.

apnews (LINK)

COVID-19

Parties and funerals blamed for spikes in 21 U.S. states

More than a dozen states and the US territory of Puerto Rico have recorded their highest seven-day average of new cases since the pandemic began. In at least nine states, hospitalisation rates have also seen a steady increase.

nzherald from uk dailytelegraph (LINK)

U.S. coronavirus cases now over 2 million: Reuters tally

Total U.S. coronavirus cases surpassed 2 million on Wednesday, according to a Reuters tally, as health officials urge anyone who took part in massive protests for racial justice to get tested. Nationally, new infections are rising slightly after five weeks of declines, according to a Reuters analysis. Part of the increase is due to more testing.

reuters (LINK)

Education

Is It Safe to Send My Kid Back to School? A risk assessment matrix

The matrices compare the severity of a consequence (from insignificant to catastrophic) to the likelihood of it happening.

fatherly (LINK)

Health

Study shows how face masks could prevent a second wave of Covid-19 — but there's a catch

The catch? There's no way everyone would comply. According to a Gallup poll conducted in April, only 36% of Americans said they always wore a mask while out, with 32% reporting that they sometimes did and 31% saying they never did.

(LINK)

Economy

What's getting more expensive — and cheaper — at U.S. grocery stores

Breakfast cereal prices went up 1.4%. Beef and veal prices rose 10.8%. Pork chops prices went up 8.4%. Fresh whole chickens cost 2% more.

cnn (LINK)

Culture

Trump ‘will not even consider' removing names of Confederate leaders from U.S. bases

Trump's announcement via tweet basically slapped down those Pentagon officials open to discussing the issue, which has emerged as a way of achieving racial reconciliation. In a series of tweets, Trump argued the bases have become part of a "Great American Heritage".

globalnews (LINK)

Columbus statue beheaded in Boston, another toppled in Richmond

Anti-racism protesters in Virginia toppled a Christopher Columbus statue, set it on fire, and then threw into a lake, decrying the explorer as a symbol of genocide. Another Columbus statue was beheaded in Boston.

dw (LINK)

Banksy proposes a new statue to replace torn-down UK monument

"Here's an idea that caters for both those who miss the Colston statue and those who don't. We drag him out the water, put him back on the plinth, tie cable round his neck and commission some life size bronze statues of protestors in the act of pulling him down. Everyone happy. A famous day commemorated."

foxnews (LINK)

Culture

J.K. Rowling defends herself after accusations of making "anti-trans" comments on Twitter

Rowling laments that society today is in the "most misogynistic period I've experienced".

cbsnews (LINK)

Friends Say Elderly Protester Shoved by Buffalo Police Is a Catholic Peace Activist, Not Antifa as claimed by Trump

time (LINK)

Environment

Carbon Dioxide Levels Just Hit 417ppm, Highest In Human History

May 2020 hit a record high, 417 parts per million (ppm) carbon dioxide as measured at the Mauna Loa Observatory, which has continually measured CO2 in the atmosphere since 1958.

forbes (LINK)

Art

13,500-year-old bird figurine discovered in China is a game-changer for prehistoric art

"This discovery identifies an original artistic tradition and pushes back by more than 8,500 years the representation of birds in Chinese art," researchers said in a press release. "The figurine differs technologically and stylistically from other specimens found in Western Europe and Siberia, and it could be the missing link tracing the origin of Chinese statuary back to the Palaeolithic period."

cnn (LINK)

Media

MIT visionaries under 35: includes Camille François: "She uses data science to detect disinformation and harassment campaigns"

Last year, François and colleagues at Oxford used her approach to help the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence better understand Russian activities during and after the 2016 presidential election.

technologyreview (LINK)

Economy

Apple becomes the first $1.5 trillion U.S. company—despite COVID-19

Apple is the first U.S. company to exceed $1.5 trillion in value. (Saudi Aramco is the only other company that has crossed this milestone; it was worth $2 trillion after its first day of trading post-IPO.)

fastcompany (LINK)

U.N.

World leaders won't gather at UN for first time in 75 years

The president of the U.N. General Assembly said Monday that world leaders will not be coming to New York for their annual gathering in late September for the first time in the 75-year history of the United Nations because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

apnews (LINK)

U.N.

UN staff 'not banned from anti-racist demos'

In a letter to staff that followed public pushback from the UN's own special rapporteur on freedom of assembly, [the Secretary-General] insisted that a memo from its ethics board [late last week] did not mean that staff were required to "remain neutral or impartial in the face of racism".

theguardian (LINK)

Economy

IATA: Airline Industry Losses to Top $84 Billion in 2020

"Airlines are expected to lose $84.3 billion in 2020 for a net profit margin of -20.1%. Revenues will fall 50% to $419 billion from $838 billion in 2019. In 2021, losses are expected to be cut to $15.8 billion as revenues rise to $598 billion. Financially, 2020 will go down as the worst year in the history of aviation."

iata (LINK)

Rights

IBM's CEO said the firm will stop offering facial recognition software and called for 'national dialogue' on the use of the technology in law enforcement

"IBM firmly opposes and will not condone uses of any technology, including facial recognition technology offered by other vendors, for mass surveillance, racial profiling, violations of basic human rights and freedoms," he said in a letter.

businessinsider (LINK)

U.N.

UN guide offers resource for blockchain education

The UN is using a blockchain for land record management in Afghanistan, for a supply chain solution in Africa, for vendor payments via smart contracts in Kazakhstan, and much more.

coingeek (LINK)

COVID-19

The 100 Safest Countries In The World For COVID-19

Switzerland is the safest country in the world right now for COVID-19. South Sudan is, according to a massive 250-page report, the most dangerous nation. The United States? It ranks number 58, just behind Romania, and two places ahead of Russia.

forbes (LINK)

Geneva

Geneva's Jet d'Eau, stopped because of Covid-19, to spout again on 11 June with ceremony

Geneva's famous "Jet d'Eau" is to start up again, after being shut down since 20 March to protect its maintenance workers from Covid-19. It has been gushing for 125 years.

swissinfo (LINK)

Post COVID-19

IATA's Interactive Map To Tell You Which Countries Are Open for Travel

Regularly updated with the latest information, you can click on any country on the map and find out what you need to know about COVID-19-related travel restrictions, what's required to visit, and whether you're eligible to do so.

lifehacker (LINK)

Post-COVID

What The 'Great Reset' means

"The world must act jointly and swiftly to revamp all aspects of our societies and economies, from education to social contracts and working conditions. Every country, from the United States to China, must participate, and every industry, from oil and gas to tech, must be transformed. In short, we need a 'Great Reset' of capitalism."

weforum (LINK)

Politics

2 Buffalo Police Officers Charged With Shoving 75-year-old Protester To Ground, all 57 members of their unit, the Emergency Response Team (ERT), resigned their positions with the team on Friday and sought reassignment within the department.

The severity of the charge, which carries a penalty of up to seven years in prison, is partly because of the age difference between the protester and the men charged.

npr (LINK)

W.H.O.

In reversal of position, WHO tells public to wear masks if unable to distance

World Health Organizations says governments should encourage people to cover their mouths and noses if there is widespread transmission or social distancing is difficult.

"In light of evolving evidence, WHO advises that governments should encourage the general public to wear masks where there is widespread transmission and physical distancing is difficult," said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

In areas with community-level virus transmission, "we advise that people aged 60 years or over, or those with underlying conditions, should wear a medical mask in situations where physical distancing is not possible,"" he added.

afp on timesofisrael (LINK)

Sport

NFL apology over treatment of players' anti-racism protests

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has apologised for the way the United States National Football League has handled players' protests against racial injustice and police brutality. Colin Kaepernick and others began kneeling in 2016 as the national anthem was played.

aljazeera (LINK)

Colin Kaepernick has more support now, still long way to go

The 32-year-old Kaepernick hasn't played in the NFL since 2016. Kaepernick still wants an opportunity to play. A workout in Atlanta last November that was organized by the NFL turned chaotic and resulted in no job offers.

apnews (LINK)

Politics

Biden clinches Democratic nomination, with little of traditional fanfare

Mr. Biden pulled together the 1,991 delegates needed to become the nominee Friday after seven states and the District of Columbia held presidential primaries.

csmonitor (LINK)

W.H.O.

New evidence suggests Trump was wrong about the WHO and China

When President Trump announced his decision last month to pull the United States out of the World Health Organization in the middle of a global pandemic, he complained that "China has total control" over the agency. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said May 21 that China and the WHO “both tried to cover up what was going on” in the first weeks of the novel coronavirus outbreak. "They knew it; they had information. They knew there was this risk." New evidence has emerged showing that Mr. Trump and Mr. Pompeo are wrong about the actions of the WHO, a United Nations agency.

"In the second week of January, the WHO's chief of emergencies, Michael Ryan, said it was time to 'shift gears' and apply more pressure on China, fearing a repeat of the 2003 SARS outbreak, during which China actively concealed cases. 'This is exactly the same scenario, endlessly trying to get updates from China about what was going on,' he said. 'We need to see the data . . . it's absolutely important at this point.'"

washingtonpost (LINK)

Politics

French forces kill al Qaeda's North Africa chief in Mali, defence minister says

Droukdel was killed on Thursday near the Algerian border, where the group has bases from which it has carried out attacks and abductions of Westerners in the sub-Saharan Sahel zone, the government said.

france24 (LINK)

Media

Cameroon army says missing journalist Wazizi died in custody, denies torture

Cameroon's army on Friday confirmed anglophone journalist Samuel Wazizi died in detention last year, accusing him of associating with terrorists but denying allegations he had been tortured.

The army said Wazizi died "as a result of severe sepsis" on August 17, 2019, 15 days after the press watchdog group RSF says he was arrested. The military's statement — 10 months after the fact — came after Cameroon's journalist union reported that Wazizi died and said the army had tortured him.

Wazizi had worked for the local CMTV channel in one of two regions where anglophone separatists have launched an armed campaign for independence from French-speaking Cameroon. He was arrested in the city of Buea on August 2 and "accused of speaking critically on the air about the authorities and their handling of the crisis," Reporters Without Borders (RSF) says.

newswires on france24 (LINK)

Economy

Dow surges 700 points at open after data surprise shows U.S. economy adding 2.5 million jobs in May

The report showed large gains in jobs at bars and restaurants, retail, construction and manufacturing underscoring that states across the U.S. are lifting restrictions on economic activity as the COVID-19 health crisis abates in parts of the country. The data run counter to other measures of unemployment including, jobless claims numbers released Thursday, which showed the number of workers claiming unemployment has fallen only slightly from its post-pandemic peak.

(LINK)

Environment / Economy

Trump opens Atlantic sanctuary to commercial fishing

Trump also announced he would create a task force to identify international markets for United States seafood.

aljazeera (LINK)

U.N.

Iran stockpiled enriched uranium at nearly 8 times the limit — UN

The UN nuclear watchdog has said the finding violates the terms of Iran's 2015 nuclear deal. Iran has also reportedly continued to enrich uranium to a purity of up to 4.5%, higher than the 3.67% allowed.

dw (LINK)

U.N.

UNECE launches NATURE UNLOCKED photo competition

To take part in the contest, please submit up to 3 of your best photographs and provide the information using the form below by 15 September 2020.

unece (LINK)

World Environment Day in Geneva: 5 June 2020

genevaenvironmentnetwork (LINK)

COVID-19

70% of people infected with the coronavirus did not pass it to anyone, preliminary research shows. Superspreading events account for most transmission.

A group of epidemiologists in Hong Kong found that just 20% of cases studied there were responsible for 80% of all coronavirus transmissions. The researchers also found 70% of people infected with the coronavirus didn't pass it to anyone else and that all superspreading events involved indoor social gatherings.

businessinsider (LINK)

Sweden now has world's highest death rate after it decided to ignore lockdown advice

The title, which was briefly held by the UK late last month, comes after Swedish officials decided to ignore the lockdown advice of countless health experts and kept the country largely open during the pandemic. The number of deaths per capita in Sweden is now more than four times that of its Nordic neighbours.

independent (LINK)

COVID-19

Surgisphere: governments and WHO changed Covid-19 policy based on suspect data from tiny US company

At a press conference, the WHO announced it would resume its global trial of hydroxychloroquine, after its data safety monitoring committee found there was no increased risk of death for Covid patients taking it.

>

theguardian (LINK)

Economics

How Germany Saved Its Workforce From Unemployment While Spending Less Per Person Than the U.S.

Comparing people who lost the same position in the two countries reveals that the U.S. government is spending more on unemployment — but its citizens are getting less.

Instead of leaving employers to lay off workers en masse during hard times, and then have the workers apply individually for unemployment benefits, the German government subsidizes employers' payrolls directly. Workers at a given firm or business agree to all work fewer hours, to spread what work remains among the whole staff instead of having some people laid off. But through government subsidies, they continue to receive a sizable share of their usual pay, as high as 87%, even if circumstances have them working few hours for the time being. When the economic crisis passes, they return to work full time, without the upheaval of losing a job and filing for unemployment on their own.

propublica (LINK)

COVID-19

How long does the coronavirus last inside the body?

The variety in responses can also make it harder to recommend how long sick people should stay isolated. The U.S. CDC currently recommends COVID-19 cases isolate for 10 days after they start feeling ill, and three days after their fever dissipates. If you never have symptoms, the 10-day window starts after you get a positive result on a COVID-19 test.

Both for vaccine efforts and to better treat patients, [scientists say], "we have to think about the immune response with COVID with more complexity."

nationalgeographic (LINK)

Politics

As Protests Sweep the US, the UN Tweets Platitudes

Amid curfews in New York City, constant marches and protests, sirens from the streets and helicopters whirring above, the United Nations top leader, António Guterres, has not appeared before the media to say anything directly about the convulsions exploding across the five boroughs and far beyond. Instead, he has relied on his spokespeople to provide responses.

PassBlue (LINK)

COVID-19

NYT says CDC fumbled its response on COVID-19

"The technology was old, the data poor, the bureaucracy slow, the guidelines confusing, the administration not in agreement."

nytimes (LINK)

Economy

WTO reports on impact of COVID-19 pandemic on small businesses

Measures introduced include cash flow help, expanding trade opportunities for MSMEs and steps to make them more resilient. According to the report, 44 WTO members had introduced such measures by the end of April 2020.

wto (LINK)

Crime

Prosecutors charge 3 more officers in George Floyd's death, upgrade original charge to second-degree murder

The most serious charge was filed against Derek Chauvin, who was caught on video pressing his knee to Floyd's neck and now must defend himself against an accusation of second-degree murder. The three other officers at the scene were charged for the first time with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

apnews (LINK)

Politics

Former President George W. Bush: 'It is time for America to examine our tragic failures'

Bush did not speak out publicly on police killings during his two terms as president, despite two major cases, according to The New York Times. And he did not refer to policy brutality specifically, instead speaking of racism and saying black Americans "are harassed and threatened in their own country".

nbcnews (LINK)

COVID-19

Face masks may reduce COVID-19 spread by 85%, WHO-backed study suggests

The review found that keeping a distance of at least 3 feet (1 metre) from other people lowered the chances of coronavirus infection or spread by 82%, and keeping a distance of 6 feet (2 m) could be even more effective.

livescience (LINK)

Economy

UN says 75 per cent of 270 destinations still ban international tourist travel

World Tourism Organization says 3 per cent of 270 destinations have taken steps to ease restrictions.The report notes that 100 per cent of all destinations worldwide continue to have some COVID-19 travel restrictions in place; 75 per cent are still completely closed to international tourism. In 37 per cent of all cases, restrictions have been in place for 10 weeks, while 24 per cent have had controls in place for 14 weeks or more.

news.un. (LINK)

Singapore rushes to build housing for 60,000 migrant workers after virus outbreak

The Singapore government is racing to create additional housing for about 60,000 migrant workers by the end of this year, as it seeks to reduce the density in dormitories which have seen mass outbreaks of the coronavirus infection.

The nation of 5.7 million people has more than 35,000 cases, one of the largest numbers in Asia, largely due to infections in cramped, bunk-bed accommodation that house more than 300,000 mostly South Asian workers.

reuters (LINK)

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