Cassidy Slockett

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Coronavirus

How Crime Is Mutating To Cash In On The Pandemic

Across the globe, mafia syndicates, white-collar criminals, hackers and scammers are finding novel ways to profit from the ongoing health crisis.

Nothing will be the same as before. For everyone, the pandemic is disrupting lives. But for a few, it also offers an opportunity for profit.

This new criminal market has sprung up to siphon earnings off the virus, and it is spreading just as quickly as COVID-19. With the urgent necessities of this health emergency, mob bosses and entrepreneurs have teamed up, leading to a mutation of our idea of "criminal association" that knows no boundaries.

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Coronavirus

Restaurant, Mon Amour: A French Reflection On Lockdown Choices

By closing bars and restaurants, we are not only depriving the sharing of meals but also the real exchange of ideas.

-Essay-

PARIS — Everywhere in the world, but perhaps especially in France, pandemic management has been characterized by its inconsistencies. How can we justify closing theaters and cinemas when metros and trains are still running? How can we explain why universities are shut when primary schools are still open? And how can we accept that grocery stores are closed at the 7 p.m. curfew, which, for most people is the only time they can do their shopping? One day, all these questions will need to be answered.

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Geopolitics

Waste Trafficking: A Dirty Italian Affair Poisons The Balkans

Thousands of tons of trash are sent from Italy to Bulgaria illegally each year. Between poor controls and political complicity, wealth-hungry entrepreneurs — and the mafia — and local oligarchs earn millions as Eastern Europe turns into a rubbish dump.

SOFIA — Italians aren't just exporting fashion, food, and soccer to Bulgaria. The Made in Italy label is also attached to mountains and mountains of garbage as Bulgaria has become a giant trash can for Italian waste traffickers. The Bulgarian judiciary have discovered this through recent major investigations, leading to the discovery of dozens of illegal dumps around this Balkan country.

The criminal web is intentionally complex, with overlapping trails, mediators, front men and shell corporations, but in the end, the common thread weaved between business and suspects led to Italy, as discovered by the investigation carried out by L'Espresso and the journalistic consortium EIC (European Investigative Collaborations).

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Geopolitics

Damage Done: AstraZeneca Overcaution Was A Death Sentence

The official announcement came Thursday evening from European Union health officials, but it simply confirmed what we already knew: the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe. And most European countries will recommence distributing the jab, as the vaccination campaigns continue to be far slower than promised. For Guy Vallancien, a member of the French Academy of Medicine, even the temporary suspension, is an example of public health policy at its weakest.

Hans Jonas, the inventor of the concept of the "precautionary principle," has left us with the worst of bad ideas, and politicians have eaten it up to protect themselves against lawsuits. Even if it has since been lifted, how can we not protest the French state's decision to temporarily suspend the vaccine developed and tested by scientists at Oxford and AstraZeneca?

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Tampa Bay Times

Florida Woman Busted As Fake Plastic Surgeon After Awful Nose Job

In our digital era, having a pretty face is more important than ever. We spend our workdays staring at ourselves on Zoom cameras, and our off-time watching TikTok and Instagram videos.

Applying online face filters for slimming noses, tucking cheeks, perfecting skin is always an option. Of course, there are also more, well, permanent effects available on the market. Please, just be careful ...

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Society

Biomimicry: Learning From Nature To Create New Technology

Can nature save capitalism? Biomimicry is thought-provoking because it provides many sources of inspiration to calibrate production models to nature, and thus continue to grow while respecting our environment.

PARIS — It's a childlike wonder to discover how plants and animals are not just potatoes and cattle, but geniuses. The silk spun by a spider is 10 times stronger than Kevlar, yet fantastically stretchy. A lotus leaf is designed for rain and dirt to slide off so that photosynthesis can take place. The Morpho butterfly absorbs the sun's rays, and the bear hibernates without losing muscle.

These natural wonders so long overlooked by humankind are now being closely observed by a wide range of scientists, engineers, doctors and investors.

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Economy

Roaring 2020s? Here's The Post Pandemic Best-Case Scenario

Could the 2020s be an era of prosperity? The pandemic has paved the way for digital, biological, and ecological revolutions.

PARIS — Within 18 or maybe 20 deadly months, we will all finally be vaccinated. We will want to live like never before. The holidays will be beautiful, the skies will be clear, and artists will be celebrated once more, just like a century ago, in the 1920s, the years nicknamed "crazy" in France, "roaring" in England, and "golden" in Germany.

It may be easier to imagine bleak scenarios. Perhaps by mutating, the coronavirus will escape the vaccines that have already been developed. Perhaps our fragile society will be torn apart, or even collapse. Maybe, by rejecting "business as usual" many companies will go bankrupt and others will be unable to invest in the future. Even worse, maybe banks and governments will run out of money, triggering a severe financial crisis.

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Green Or Gone

The Plastisphere: Ocean Pollution May Trigger Next Pandemic

Plastic pollution has contaminated our oceans to the point where a new ecological niche of anthropic origin has been coined: the 'plastisphere'. The bacteria that proliferate there could lead to the next health crisis.

Study after study, and each more damning than the last.

A study from December 2019 in "Scientific Reports' described how a region of the world as remote as Easter Island (Rapa Nui) could have its coasts littered with plastic debris: marine currents connect it to an intensive fishing zone off the coast of Peru and the densely populated coastal areas of the South American continent.

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Geopolitics

Saving Languages From Extinction, With The Help Of AI

The world's linguistic heritage is facing a crisis just as serious as that of biodiversity. A French project is trying to save what exists in the Pangloss collection, powered by new tools of Artificial Intelligence.

PARIS — Let's begin with a little quiz: Across the earth, there are 7 continents and 197 countries. How many languages are spoken?

The answer is around 7,000, but if this number surprises you, it's because you suffer from the distorted perspective that half of the 7.8 billion inhabitants of the planet express themselves or communicate through only about 20 of them (Arabic, English, Spanish, French, Hindi, Mandarin, Portuguese...), while the other 97% of these 7,000 languages have a total number of speakers that does not exceed 4% of the population.

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WHAT THE WORLD

Top Milan Welfare Official: 'No Rush' To Vaccinate Those Over 80

For Leitizia Moratti, head of welfare policy in the Lombardy region and former Milan Mayor, it wasn't the first outrageous statement on Covid-19.

In the Italian region of Lombardy, hit particularly hard by the pandemic, Leitizia Moratti serves as chief of welfare policy. She's also fast becoming queen of the COVID gaffe.


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eyes on the U.S.

The GameStop Moment: Wall Street's Emperors Have No Clothes

One month after the insurrection on Capitol Hill, here are the rebels of Wall Street, a place of power no less symbolic.

-OpEd-

PARIS — One month after the uprising on Capitol Hill, behold the rebels of Wall Street, a place of power no less symbolic. This latest attack was led by an army of anonymous shareholders, driven by their desire for revenge against big business. Their main targets are hedge funds, especially those who make a profit by predicting downturns. But they are also trying to bring down the trading platforms that try to derail them. And banks — central banks, even — in the context of conspiracy. In the forums where the self-proclaimed "degenerates' or "retards' meet, their anti-establishment rhetoric is barely concealed.

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Society

Aristotle to Anti-Vax: Internet And The Decline Of Reason

The virtues that laid the groundwork for Western civilization's many advances are being eclipsed, it would seem, by an internet-driven rush of irrationality.

-Essay-

PARIS — Prudence, justice, courage and decorum are the four cardinal virtues that define what Cicero called honestum, meaning honor. And it's because of those virtues that Western civilization was able to make such strides in mathematics, law, music and architecture, and develop its systems of democracy, noted German sociologist Max Weber.

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