Welcome to Friday, where an Israeli-Hamas ceasefire is holding, we find out what Obama really thinks of Trump and cows help Thailand's vaccination drive. Also, Les Echos takes an inside visit to the remote "mines' turning out bitcoin cryptocurrency in China.
• Israel-Gaza ceasefire holding: An Egyptian-mediated truce between Israel and Hamas began late Friday after 11 days of the worst violence in years, which killed 232 Palestinians and 12 Israelis. By early afternoon local time in the Middle East, there were no reports of violations of the ceasefire.
• Biden signs bill to stop Asian hate: U.S. President Joe Biden signs a bill aimed at stemming the rising number of anti-Asian crimes, increasingly related to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to associations, more than 6,600 cases of anti-Asian violence were reported within the past year.
• African Union demands "democratic transition" in Chad: The African Union has called for a "democratic transition" within 18 months in Chad, where a military government has been in power after former President Idriss Deby was killed by rebels on the frontline in April.
• Prince William accuses BBC over controversial interview: Britain's Duke of Cambridge has blamed the BBC for deceiving his late mother, Princess Diana, and poisoning her relationship with Prince Charles.
• Europe wants to build GPS-like system for the Moon: The European Space Agency has proposed that the same type of navigation system used on Earth be deployed at the Moon, to enable astronauts and spacecraft to precisely know where they are and where to land.
• Farewell to Internet Explorer: Microsoft's Internet Explorer will be retired next year after more than 26 years of service. It will be replaced by the newer, faster and more secure Microsoft Edge browser.
• Cattle for raffle to boost Thai vaccination: In a northern district of Thailand, a raffle campaign for vaccinated residents to win a live cow per week for the rest of the year to boost COVID-19 vaccination drive.
Weekly magazine India Today is asking "when will the devastation end?" as the country set a grim global record for daily coronavirus deaths this week, driving the overall death toll to more than 283,000.
Inside the Himalayan hideaway of Chinese bitcoin mines
In remote — sometimes unmapped — regions of China, thousands of computers are "mining" Bitcoin, the queen of virtual currencies. The country may boast all the right conditions to dominate the cryptocurrency market today, but will its mining boom last? asks Frédéric Schaeffer in French daily Les Echos.
While any individual in the world can theoretically participate in this vast global mining operation, China has turned it into an industry. Just by itself, the country accounts for two thirds of mining activity. Its recipe: one of the cheapest electricity systems in the world combined with low taxes, a crucial asset for extremely energy-intensive "mining." Another advantage is that Chinese miners have close relationships with the world's leading mining equipment manufacturers, who are also Chinese: Bitmain, Canaan Creative and Ebang.
Four years ago, Jin Xilai, who ran an internet cafe for video game fans, noticed that graphics cards were becoming increasingly scarce. "When it was explained to me that they were being used to create cryptocurrency, I became interested in the subject and wanted to get started! " he says. At 28, he then gathered 5 million yuan (650,000 euros) with other investors to open the mine. "I didn't receive any public support, but I found the land through my connections," he says.
For years, China has had an ambiguous relationship with Bitcoin, and Chinese miners are not immune to changes in regulations. Beijing initially allowed the industry to grow. But the tide turned in 2017 when the government increased regulations, banning, for example, all cryptocurrency fundraising activity — an operation labeled as an "illegal and unauthorized public funding channel" — and tightening the monitoring of transactions. The new rules banned bitcoin trading but not possession, and mining was encouraged by some local authorities who saw it as a way to attract investment and create jobs in less hospitable areas.
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وقف إطلاق النار
Arabic for "ceasefire" (waqf "iitlaq alnnar) as an Egyptian-mediated truce between Israel and Hamas began on Friday night, ending 11 days of deadly violence.
U.S. Federal officials have seized 68 big cats belonging to Jeff and Lauren Lowe, stars of the 2020 hit Netflix show Tiger King. The owners of the Tiger King Park in Oklahoma were repeatedly cited for failing to properly take care of the exotic animals and were both accused of violating U.S. laws on endangering species and animal welfare.
A racist, sexist pig.
— According to an upcoming book by The Atlantic writer Edward-Isaac Dovere, Barack Obama didn't mince words when referring to then-President Donald Trump in conversations with donors and advisors. He also reportedly called Trump a "madman", a "f***ing lunatic" and a "corrupt motherf***er."
✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet, Emma Flacard & Bertrand Hauger