SPOTLIGHT: FACEBOOK, POWER + HEAT
By virtually any measure, Facebook appears to be an unstoppable force of both business and culture dominance. Not only has quarterly income nearly tripled to $1.5 billion, but Mark Zuckerbergâ€™s company can now boast that its record 1.65 billion users spend an average of 50 minutes a day on the network. Meanwhile Facebook Live promises to take over video streaming, as the FB-owned WhatsApp and Instagram networks continue to explode.
But with power comes responsibility. This past week has seen an outcry over reports that Facebook workers were routinely asked to filter out conservative-leaning news from usersâ€™ feeds. If the company that so dominates our attention is imposing its slant on what we see (and not left, as weâ€™ve been told, to the neutral whims of an algorithm), fundamental issues concerning democracy and the concentration of power are at stake. As the Internet changes the way information is produced and delivered, The Atlantic notes, Facebook now effectively serves the functions of both media and public utility. Zuckerberg (and friends) continue to preach their social gospel of radical sharing and global connections â€" and, by now, itâ€™s hard to see how the force of this particular network effect might ever slow down. But there was another story told this week that might offer a possible answer. Rahul Bhatia looked back at what The Guardian calls â€œFacebookâ€™s biggest setback,â€ the attempt by Zuckerbergâ€™s company to bring what it hailed as â€œfree Internetâ€ to millions of people who could not afford it in India. But the â€œFree Basicsâ€ program, which included only a FB-dominated portion of the Internet, ultimately ran into perhaps the one force that stands in the way of the social network: state power. Itâ€™s worth a read â€" and sharing with your friends.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY (& WEEKEND)
- US President Barack Obama welcomes leaders from Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway, and Iceland to discuss, among other things, the Nordic model on social welfare and innovation
- French President Francois Hollande will meet African leaders at a Nigeria summit on Saturday to discuss a response to militant groups in the region
APPLE POURS $1 BILLION INTO UBER RIVAL IN CHINA
The smartphone giant passed over Uber in favor of rival Didi Chuxing, the top ride-hailing service in China, a country where Apple has otherwise struggled. Company chief Tim Cook told Reuters that the move would help Apple better understand the Chinese market.
BRAZILâ€™S NEW GOVERNMENT OPEN FOR BUSINESS
Brazilâ€™s interim president Michel Temer, who replaced suspended Dilma Rousseff, moved quickly to steer Latin Americaâ€™s biggest country toward more market-friendly policies. He trimmed down the cabinet, which Folha de S. Paulo noted is the first in decades in Brazil to include no women.
â€" ON THIS DAY Pope John Paul II and Formula 1 made news on May 13 in the past. See our 57 seconds of history.
TRUMP MAKES NICE WITH GOP
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump was on his best behavior on a trip to Capitol Hill to make Republicans back his bid for the White House. But Politico reports that a deep rift remains between Trump and the GOP, and they still have to agree to a joint fundraising deal.
SOUTHEAST TURKEY ERUPTS IN VIOLENCE
Eight Turkish soldiers and 22 Kurdish militants have been killed in clashes over the last two days in the largely Kurdish southeast of the country, a region that has seen some of its worst fighting in recent decades after a ceasefire collapsed between the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the Turkish government last July.
In our latest â€œRue Amelotâ€ essay series, Paris-based writer Moira Molly Chambers asks why, with the advances of the feminist movement, housework and child care has remained so firmly in the hands of women. â€œPerhaps it is because the feminist agenda has covered and continues to cover so much territory that so few people focus on the inequity surrounding both paid and unpaid domestic work. The subject simply lacks the urgency of issues such as female genital mutilation, rape, domestic violence, abortion, sexual harassment, prostitution or the gender pay gap. It's not so much a civil rights issue needing legislation, but more like an ancient custom that must be collectively unlearned. Read the full article: Domestic Work, That Insidious Worldwide Bastion Of Sexism
â€" MORE STORIES, EXCLUSIVELY IN ENGLISH BY WORLDCRUNCH
- Chinaâ€™s Robot Industry And The Trap Of State Subsidies - ECONOMIC OBSERVER
- Panama Papers Show Traces Of Gaddafi's Missing Treasure - SUDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG
- Luxembourg, From Tax Shelter to Animal Haven - LE QUOTIDIEN
A child swallows a battery every three hours. Gulp. Now thereâ€™s a solution for this common problem: A pill-sized origami robot to remove them.
â€" Crunched by Sruthi Gottipati
Welcome to Monday, where the UK pays homage to slain MP David Amess, Myanmar frees thousands of prisoners, and Facebook gets ready to build its "metaverse." Please fasten your seatbelts: Worldcrunch also takes stock of the long-lasting effects — good and bad — the pandemic has had on the air travel industry.
[*Azeri - Azerbaijan]
🌎 7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW
• Myanmar to free political prisoners: Myanmar's junta chief Min Aung Hlaing has announced the release of 5,636 prisoners who had been jailed for protesting the coup that ousted the civilian government in February 2021.
• Powerful Haiti gang behind the kidnapping of U.S. missionaries: The notorious 400 Mawozo gang is believed to be behind the kidnapping in Haiti of a group of Christian missionaries, including 16 U.S. citizens and one Canadian. The brazen kidnapping on Saturday comes as crime is spiking since the killing of President Jovenel Moise in July.
• UK to pay tribute to David Amess: British lawmakers will pay homage in parliament to colleague David Amess, who was stabbed to death Friday in what was described by the police as a "terrorist incident." Officers arrested a 25-year-old suspect whose father, Harbi Ali Kullane, worked as a media adviser to a former prime minister of Somalia.
• COVID update: Russia has registered more than 34,000 cases of new infections in the past 24 hours, a new record since the start of the pandemic. Meanwhile, police in the northeast Italian city of Trieste used water cannons to clear striking dockworkers protesting Italy's new requirements that all employees be vaccinated.
• At least 26 killed in floods in India: Torrential rain has triggered floods and landslides in India's southern coastal state of Kerala, killing at least 26 people.
• Facebook to hire 10,000 in EU to develop "metaverse": The U.S. social media giant plans to hire 10,000 workers in the European Union over the next five years to build a "metaverse," a virtual reality version of the internet that the company touts as the future.
• Punishing parents for children's bad behavior: After limiting gaming hours for minors, China is now considering legislation to reprimand parents if their children exhibit "very bad behavior" or commit crimes.
🗞️ FRONT PAGE
Colombian daily El Espectador dedicates its front page to Alex Saab, "owner of the secrets" of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. The Colombian businessman, wanted by U.S. authorities for allegedly laundering money on behalf of Venezuela's government, has been extradited from Cape Verde to the U.S. where he is scheduled to appear in court today.
#️⃣ BY THE NUMBERS
China's economy registered its slowest pace in a year as the country faces a looming energy crisis with power shortages and increasing pressure on its property sector. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the period between July-September rose 4.9%, the weakest numbers since the third quarter of 2020 and significantly lower than forecasts. The world's second-largest economy faces a debt crisis linked to the China Evergrande Group debt crisis, while energy shortfalls have dropped factory output to its weakest since early 2020, when heavy COVID-19 curbs were in place.
📰 STORY OF THE DAY
7 ways the pandemic may change the airline industry for good
Will flying be greener? More comfortable? Less frequent? As the world eyes a post-COVID reality, we look at ways the airline industry has been changing through a pandemic that has devastated air travel.
⛽ Cleaner aviation fuel: With air travel responsible for roughly 12% of all CO2 emissions from transport, and stricter international regulation on the horizon, the industry is increasingly seeking sustainable alternatives to petroleum-based fuel. In Germany, state broadcaster Deutsche Welle reports that the world's first factory producing CO2-neutral kerosene recently started operations in the town of Wertle, in Lower Saxony. The plant, for which Lufthansa is set to become the pilot customer, will produce CO2-neutral kerosene through a circular production cycle incorporating sustainable and green energy sources and raw materials
.🛃 Smoother check-in: The pandemic has also accelerated the shift towards contactless traveling, with more airports harnessing the power of biometrics — such as facial recognition or fever screening — to reduce touchpoints and human contact. Similar technology can also be used to more efficiently scan physical objects, such as explosive detection. Ultimately, passengers will be able to "check-in" and go through a security screening anywhere at the airports, removing queues and bottlenecks.
✈️ The billion-dollar question: Will we fly less? At the end of the day, even with all these (mostly positive) changes that we've seen take shape over the past 18 months, the industry faces major uncertainty about whether air travel will ever return to the pre-COVID levels. Not only are people wary about being in crowded and closed airplanes, but the worth of long-distance business travel, in particular, is being questioned as many have seen that meetings can function remotely, via Zoom and other online apps.
➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com
"The crimes committed that night are unforgivable for the Republic."
— Emmanuel Macron became the first French president to commemorate the killing of as many as 200 Algerian independence protesters by Parisian police in 1961. For 40 years, French officials ignored the massacre, which took place a year before Algeria gained its independence from France after an eight-year war. In 2012, French President François Hollande acknowledged the killings for the first time on a visit to Algeria, and Macron took it further by attending Sunday's commemoration at the site where the events happened in the French capital. Still, many had hoped the French President would go further and take responsibility for a "state massacre," for a crime many historians consider the most violent repression of a peaceful demonstration in post-War Europe.
📈💥 IN OTHER NEWS
Low trust, high risk: The global rise of violence targeting politicians
The deadly stabbing of British Parliament Member David Amess confirms an ongoing study on trust and governance in democracies around the world: It's bad. In The Conversation, James Weinberg — the study's author and a lecturer in Political Behavior at the University of Sheffield — writes:
⏪ The assassination of Amess, who was stabbed to death in his constituency on Friday, is a tragic moment for democracy. What makes it even more devastating is that such a catastrophic failure is not without precedent or predictability. Labour MP Jo Cox was shot at her constituency surgery in 2016. Before her, another Labour MP, Stephen Timms, survived a stabbing in 2010. And Andrew Pennington, a Gloucestershire county councilor, died in a frenzied attack in 2001 while trying to protect local Liberal Democrat MP Nigel Jones.
☝️ Beyond these critical junctures in the public debate about politicians' safety, elected representatives must live with an increasingly insidious level of popular cynicism that threatens violence on an almost daily basis.
🇬🇧🇳🇿🇿🇦 Not only are these experiences of abuse or threats of physical violence felt across both sides of the political aisle in the UK — they also appear to be growing more common in other democratic contexts where the climate of politics has been presumed to be both calmer and more volatile, from New Zealand to South Africa.
Read the full piece from The Conversation, now on Worldcrunch.com
✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger
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