Economic Insider

Wheat Prices Surge Following Russia’s Cancellation of Grain Export Agreement

The global commodities market saw huge wheat and corn prices rise after Russia’s withdrawal from the grain export deal.

The agreement allowed grain exports from Ukraine to other countries to transport via the Black Sea. It continued to function despite the ongoing discord between Russia and Ukraine. However, Russia withdrew from the agreement unprecedentedly, distorting Ukraine’s essential grain and wheat exports.

According to the Chicago Board of Trade, wheat prices could soar by 5.5% to $8.74 per bushel. Meanwhile, corn per bushel could climb by 2.3% to $6.96. Meanwhile, Malaysia may feel the effects of the new arrangement, with palm oil prices possibly rising.

“Taking into account the act of terrorism committed by the Kyiv regime with the participation of British experts on October 29 this year against the ships of the Black Sea Fleet and civil vessels involved in the security of the ‘grain corridor,’ the Russian side suspends its participation in the implementation of the agreements on the export of agricultural products from the Ukrainian ports,” said the Russian defense ministry.

Read Also: Airline Demand and Airfares Soar as the Holidays Draw Near

The international community takes steps

Stephane Dujarric, the UN spokesman, said, “We’ve seen the reports from the Russian Federation regarding the suspension of their participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative following an attack on the Russian Black Sea Fleet. We are in touch with the Russian authorities on this matter.”

Meanwhile, the World Food Programme warned that the crisis would result in widespread hunger. According to the organization, if Russia persists in using food as a weapon in its invasion, many people will suffer. Senior Western officials quickly expressed their displeasure with Russia’s handling of the Ukraine conflict.

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Affecting the network of global grain supply

According to agricultural data firm Gro Intelligence, Russia and Ukraine account for more than a third of global wheat exports. Meanwhile, the countries are top worldwide for maize, rapeseed oil, sunflower oil, and barley exports. Taking these two countries out of the formula means dispossessing the global market of these products, which will influence the supply chain.

Russia canceled the agreement following a purported drone attack by Ukraine on its Black Sea Fleet. However, Ukraine dismissed the accusations, claiming that Russia sabotaged its own forces to find a reason to terminate the agreement. And put more pressure on nearby Ukrainian forces.

The International Rescue Committee added that Russia’s drawdown from the grain deal would be horrendous for impoverished countries. The situation exacerbates the already acute hunger in these countries.

“We underline the urgency of doing so to contribute to food security across the world and to cushion the suffering that this global cost-of-living crisis is inflicting on billions of people,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Photo Credit: Elena Larina

Source: CNN

UK PM Liz Truss says Administration will Push Through with Plan Amid Criticisms

Prime Minister Liz Truss claims she will push through the project, addressing all the objections various private and public groups have rolled at her, despite the controversy surrounding the UK government’s proposal to promote economic growth.

In an effort to relieve the burden businesses are now under in the wake of the energy crisis, the government would drastically reduce the taxes that firms pay under the program.

Additionally, to pay for the subsidy programs it will offer to companies and individuals, limiting energy costs within six months or more, the UK government will raise its borrowing amounts.

To address the issue, particularly with regard to pension funds, the Bank of England recently took action.

But even as the government was subjected to scrutiny, Truss largely pointed the blame at the crisis in Ukraine and Russia. She said this was responsible for the sharp rise in global inflation.

“We had to take urgent action to get our economy growing, get Britain moving, and also deal with inflation, and of course, that means taking controversial and difficult decisions,” said Truss during an interview.

“But I’m prepared to do that as prime minister because what’s important to me is that we get our economy moving.”

Prior to attaining the position of prime minister on September 6 of last year, Truss, 47, was the UK’s foreign minister.

She succeeded Boris Johnson and became the fourth prime minister in barely six years in British politics.

The financial instability that the UK is experiencing, which was made worse by a number of problems like the pandemic, inflation, energy crisis, and climate disaster, can be blamed for the country’s frequent change of leadership.

Read Also: UK Government Spending Plan ‘suggests incompetence’ says Billionaire Ray Dalio

The confidence of people in the government

The finance minister’s plan put the Truss-led administration’s optimistic outlook in jeopardy.

Several domestic and foreign organizations are questioning the competency of Truss in addition to the falling value of the pound and the deteriorating international economic climate.

“The mini-budget was absolutely essential in resetting the debate around growth and focusing us on delivering much better growth outcomes,” explained finance minister Kwasi Kwarteng.

The Labour party outperformed the Conservatives by 33 points in a recent YouGov survey, which suggests a decrease in support for the Truss administration.

This week’s poll reveals that 21% of respondents favor the Conservatives, while 54% prefer the Labour party.

Due to this, US millionaire Ken Griffin began to worry about the harm it may cause to Britain’s image in international markets.

“It represents the first time we’ve seen a major developed market, in a very long time, lose confidence from investors,” he said.

Adding to the conversation, another billionaire, Ray Dalio, said: “It doesn’t stimulate the economy; productivity is what stimulates the economy over the long run. I would think there would be an understanding of the mechanics of that by the government, and that’s why it’s concerning.”

“Due to the recognition that the big supply of debt that will have to be sold by the government is much too much for the demand. That makes people want to get out of debt and currency. I can’t understand how those who were behind this move didn’t understand that. It suggests incompetence.”

Read Also: As Feds Hike Interest Rates, Senior Citizens Struggle to Keep Up with Prices

The right plan for the government

According to Truss, the government won’t veer from its course because she is confident in the strategy.

If the unfunded tax cuts are adopted, among other things, they should overhaul the childcare, immigration, and financial regulating industries.

The UK Treasury said that on November 23, the government would provide a more thorough explanation for its borrowing and expenditure strategy.

“This is the right plan,” Truss concluded.

Photo Credit: Adrian Dennis

Source: Reuters

NASA’s Dart Mission Successfully Crashes into Asteroid

Many films have featured a brave group of astronauts on a journey that might mean the difference between life and death; asteroids are usually their nemesis.

These movies include Deep Impact and Armageddon, to name just a few. In the movies, viewers witness how the heroes use a nuclear bomb to prevent the asteroid from striking the Earth.

Contrary to common belief, scientists do not believe it is possible to entirely disintegrate a massive quantity of rock traveling at a speed of 1,000 kilometers per hour or more towards space.

The solution, according to experts, is to simply use a tiny spaceship to gently and safely knock a piece of space rock off track.

And this week, NASA did just that when one of its spacecraft crashed with an asteroid. Before the asteroid destroyed the machine, its photographs were captured and relayed to the headquarters.

Then, the robotic arm of NASA made contact with the asteroid Dimorphos.

The crew believed that the strategy had been effective and that it would only be a matter of months before it was known whether or not the asteroid had been successfully pushed off course.

However, Elena Adams, the mission’s systems engineer, claimed that when the vessel ultimately collided with Dimorphos, the party that was oblivious to the incident was overcome with fear and elation.

The project is a component of the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), which NASA launched seven years ago.

In November of last year, the spacecraft was sent into orbit as part of a $300 million mission to execute a move that would determine humanity’s ability to defend the Earth from space debris headed for a collision with the planet.

Before the team would get the outcomes they were hoping for, scientists predicted it would take two months. If the asteroid is deflected, the mission is successful.

If it follows the same course, though, NASA will need to come up with another strategy.

“This really is about asteroid deflection, not disruption. This isn’t going to blow up the asteroid,” Nancy Chabot said, the coordination lead of DART.

Read Also: Scientists Found Stable Areas on the Moon Where Astronauts Could Stay Longer

Deflecting the asteroid’s orbit

Since Dimorphos is 7 million kilometers from Earth, it does not endanger life in any manner. The asteroid, which is roughly 525 feet wide, is fascinating because it orbits another, bigger asteroid.

NASA further said that the changes brought about by DART would not be sufficient to harm Earthly life.

“There is no scenario in which one or the other body can become a threat to the Earth. It’s just not scientifically possible, just because of momentum conservation and other things,” Thomas Zurbuchen from the NASA science mission directorate said.

DART’s objective is to shorten the time required for Dimorphos to complete an orbit around the larger asteroid. According to data, the smaller asteroid does one circle in around 11 hours and 55 minutes.

Dimorphos should now be performing a complete orbit every 11 hours and 45 minutes if the DART mission is successful.

“The bottom line is, it’s a great thing. Someday, we are going to find an asteroid which has a high probability of hitting the Earth, and we are going to want to deflect it. When that happens, we should have, in advance, some experience knowing that this would work,” stated Ed Lu, Asteroid Institute executive director.

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More work for NASA

NASA DART scientists put forth more effort to advance the research since they are aware of how important their work is.

“We’re moving an asteroid. We are changing the motion of a natural celestial body in space. Humanity has never done that before. This is stuff of science fiction books and really corny episodes of Star Trek from when I was a kid, and now it’s real. And that’s kind of astonishing that we are actually doing that, and what that bodes for the future of what we can do,” explained Tom Statler, a DART program scientist.

“It’s something that we need to get done so that we know what’s out there and know what’s coming and have adequate time to prepare for it,” added Planetary Defense Officer at NASA, Lindley Johnson.

Photo Credit: NASA

Source: NPR

Experts Share Tips to Get Through the Christmas Shopping Season

Even though December is still months away, American retailers have already begun advertising their Christmas promotions.

Businesses are already decking out their businesses with Christmas trees, playing holiday music, and advertising bargains that will run from now until January next year.

Leading companies in the market have already started to provide Christmas deals and bundles that should persuade customers to buy their goods.

With all these deals available, customers may find it challenging to navigate. Target has its “Deal Days,” Walmart has “Rollbacks and More,” Best Buys has “Flash Sale,” and Amazon has “Prime Day Event.” Planning and making an accurate evaluation are the only ways to navigate the complex Christmas market.

In addition, businesses have enough to offer clients because of additional inventory that has stayed unsold due to the pandemic and the current economic depression the nation is going through.

As a result, economists predict that there will be more bundles, discounts, and deals in the future, making it harder for customers to decide what to buy and what not to.

Moreover, because of inflation, shoppers are even more drawn to discounts.

Customers will be pleased to hear Adobe’s announcement that a third of online items will be put on sale. What are typical consumers supposed to do when presented with various offers?

Read Also: As Hurricane Ian Pummelled Through Florida, Thousands are at Risk of Losing their Jobs

Checking the price history

The pricing history should always be checked before making a purchase. When making any purchases, this rule should be maintained. People tend to ignore this during promotion and assume there has been a significant price cut.

Instead of waiting for the regular price, they act quickly and purchase. Prior to advertising a product as “on sale,” retailers typically hike its price.

“Just because it’s a sale doesn’t mean it’s a good sale,” said Edgar Dworsky, a consumer advocate.

In order to view the past prices of things on Amazon, Dworsky urges customers to use internet tools like Camel Camel Camel and Honey.

Customers could utilize the tools to create price drop notifications, enabling them to identify products with genuine price drops.

Wait for better offers on clothing

According to Ashok Lalwani, garment prices drop as the holiday shopping season arrives. As a result, if you can wait to buy a jacket now, you’ll probably be able to get one for cheaper later on.

Also, as the season progresses, prices for winter goods often decrease.

Lalwani says that the price decrease is the result of businesses wanting to get rid of their excess inventory at the end of the calendar year so they may start the next with a fresh selection of apparel because fashion trends shift.

 “We expect the broader marketplace to be more promotional through the end of the holiday season,” said a finance chief.

Read Also: Three Economists Awarded with the Nobel Prize in Economics

Black Friday electronics and toys are cheaper

According to analysts, the ideal time to buy toys and gadgets will be on Black Friday. Salespeople will probably stick to this because they are already used to customers expecting huge price reductions on Black Friday.

If they don’t, they run the danger of losing the repeat business of shoppers who frequent the shops during that time in search of cheaper products.

“Consumers will no longer expect those deals in future years (and retailers will struggle to) entice consumers to their stores on future Black Fridays,” added Lalwani.

Photo Credit: Mark Makela 

Source: CNN

Climate Change Leads to Frequent, Stronger Hurricanes says Scientists

When it pounded the Florida regions this week, Hurricane Ian almost reached Category 5. The hurricane’s winds were strong enough to uproot trees, produce significant storm surges, and completely obliterate homes. The hurricane’s highest sustained winds were in the range of 155 miles per hour.

Streets quickly overflowed, and people rushed to find better shelter from the hurricane’s powerful winds and rainfall. Within a few hours, the streets were completely submerged.

A few days ago, the hurricane’s landfall in Cuba was recorded with images resembling these. Then, with gusts strong enough to seriously harm the country’s electrical infrastructure, Hurricane Ian propelled itself at the Cuban shore, rendering the island without energy.

Four Category 5 hurricanes have been reported to have made landfall in the US, according to the US weather agencies.

Storms like Ian will, however, likely grow more common and powerful as the climate issue progresses. Hurricanes are becoming more powerful and larger faster due to human-induced global warming.

This phenomenon is mostly caused by heat. If the temperature rises enough, cloud formations may become storms and acquire strength.

Furthermore, when nations burn fossil fuels to provide electricity for homes and infrastructures, large amounts of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases are discharged into the air, resulting in increased global temperatures.

The warmth promotes the growth of any minor storm that develops over the Atlantic. Ian experienced the same scenario. As long as it made landfall, the storm would only be able to cause little damage because it was still in its early stages.

But it was quickly strengthened and able to grow in size due to the intense heat of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.

Read Also: Patagonia Founder Will Use all of the Company’s Revenue to Fight Climate Change

Stronger storms are caused by climate change

In addition to making hurricanes more prevalent, heat encourages the swift intensification of weaker storms into greater ones.

As an illustration, it took only 24 hours for hurricane Ian to evolve from a tropical storm. The storm damaged Cuba before it even reached the island after intensifying.

As it moved into Florida, it subsequently increased power and nearly reached Category 5.

Particularly with typhoons passing over the US Gulf Coast, the quick strengthening of hurricanes is becoming increasingly typical.

Ida, Harvey, Irma, and Michael are just a few instances of hurricanes that quickly got stronger as they approached the country’s shore.

The rapid strengthening of hurricanes, especially those that develop over the Atlantic Ocean, is said to be largely influenced by heat.

Other elements, too, such as wind speed and the existence of other weather systems, must be considered as well.

But due to the current pattern, researchers are now carefully monitoring how global warming directly affects storm intensity.

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Flooding will be more ubiquitous

The capacity of the atmosphere to store moisture increases as the environment warms. The result will be an increase in storms that, when they reach land, dump huge quantities of water.

This only indicates that when hurricanes bring in significant amounts of precipitation, flooding will occur more often.

The behavior of Hurricane Harvey has already allowed scientists to illustrate that climate change dramatically increases the amount of water carried by hurricanes.

Additionally, the likelihood of stronger storm surges increases with storm size, making communities—particularly those in low-lying areas—more vulnerable.

Photo Credit: NASA

Source: NPR

IEA Warns of Looming Recession Due to OPEC+’s Decision

The world economy is moving closer to a recession, according to a warning from the International Energy Agency following the dramatic reduction in oil output by OPEC+ members.

The oil-producing countries of OPEC+ shocked the world, notably the United States, by announcing a 2 million barrel per day reduction in output. The reduction is the organization’s sharpest output decline since the pandemic’s inception.

“With unrelenting inflationary pressures and interest rate hikes taking their toll, higher oil prices may prove the tipping point for a global economy already on the brink of recession,” said the IEA.

The IEA cut its forecast for the increase of global oil consumption by 20% starting next year as a result of the OPEC+ agreement. Additionally, the agency anticipates a decline in growth projections, especially for important institutions.

The International Monetary Fund predicts that in 2023, people will start to notice the evident impacts of the recession. As a result, they have lowered their projections for GDP growth from 3.2% to 2.7%.

Oil prices will remain high until there is a large revival of oil production as a result of Saudi Arabia and other oil-exporting nations’ production curbs, which will significantly reduce the amount of oil available globally.

“The massive cut in OPEC+ oil supply increases energy security risks worldwide,” said the IEA.

Read Also: McDonald’s Collaborates with Streetwear Brand for an Adult Happy Meal

The US is affected

The cutbacks announced by Saudi Arabia and the other OPEC+ members have disturbed the whole world. Moreover, gas prices will diminish the sway of Democrats, who have been anchored on the promise of relieving inflationary pressures on the country’s inhabitants, as the US midterm elections approach.

Thus, none is more outraged than the US, which condemned the move as “shortsighted.”

“OPEC is trying to shock and awe with a big production cut number that is going to get people’s attention. And they’re trying to support prices to keep them from falling further,” said Yasser Elguidi from Energy Aspects.

“I am in the process; when the House and Senate come back, there’s going to be some consequences for what they’ve done with Russia,” said president Biden in an interview.

Read Also: OPEC Production Cuts Prompt US President Biden to Rethink its Relationship with Saudi Arabia

The price increase

The IEA predicts that the reduction will result in an increase in oil prices. According to estimates, OPEC will cut the output by 2 million barrels per day. However, the IEA predicts that the reduction will only amount to 1 million barrels per day because Russia may not agree with the organization’s decision. Oil prices will eventually reach an average of $100 per barrel as a result of countries failing to fulfill their production targets and the current OPEC output cuts. And if things become worse, this rate may go up.

The IEA continues by stating that this development would encourage non-OPEC nations that produce oil to maximize their operations and produce more than their daily average. However, the issue is the nation’s rising inflation as well as its limited capacity for investment and financial assistance.

Photo Credit: IEA

Source: CNN

Fortnite and Epic CEO Tim Sweeney Reveals His Concern for the Metaverse

Fortnite has been around on computers and consoles for some time and has been one of the most popular games in recent times. But its popularity grew even more as people realized it was the closest thing they had to the metaverse.

When news started to circulate late last year that the dream of virtual reality was closer than people anticipated, the metaverse became the hottest subject online. A virtual reality space, the metaverse shares many similar features that Fortnite already provides. However, some key differences include new experiences, as the metaverse will bring virtual concerts, talk shows, and hangouts to a whole new level.

Although people are excited to jump into the metaverse, Fortnite CEO Tim Sweeney has his mind on other things regarding the virtual space.

Financial Times

Sitting down with Financial Times, Sweeney described how fearful he was that monopolies might continue into the metaverse. Among the names that came to mind were Google, Android, and Apple. Also the latter of which he had issues with not too long ago.

As the owner of Epic Games, Sweeney was involved in launching a lawsuit against Apple. Reason for its unfair and monopolistic practice on the App Store, taking a 30% cut of all apps. So the event stayed on his mind when he explained his fears.

“I’m terribly afraid the current monopolies will use their power to become the next monopolies on new generations of platforms. Continue to use that power to exclude all competition,” said Sweeney. “If these practices continue on smartphones, they’re not only going to dominate digital commerce. Digital goods on smartphones, they’re ultimately going to dominate the metaverse. They’re going to dominate all physical commerce taking place in virtual and augmented reality.”

Regarding Meta, Sweeney was not as aggressive as it had no direct effect on Epic’s business. Instead, he is impressed with the degree of investment it’s making in developing a future hardware platform.

White House Summit Aims to Eliminate Hate-Based Violence

Photo Credit: Evan Vucci

US President Joe Biden announced a conference at the White House to discuss hate-related violence.

Biden will invite specialists, crime survivors, and other local leaders to the Summit, which the White House said will be named the “United We Stand Summit,” so they can address the subject in depth. The Summit will allow the country to spotlight those who have been the victims of hate crimes.

For instance, the Summit will pay tribute to mass shootings that have already occurred, such as the massacres at the El Paso Walmart in 2019 and the Orlando gay nightclub in 2016. People who had been the victims of prejudice have died as a result of these incidents. Black people and Mexicans are among the casualties.

During the Summit, Vice President Kamala Harris will also be there and will also speak out against the violence committed by racists and other people. There will also be a presentation that provides data on hate-related violence in the US. In addition, a former neo-Nazi will also take the platform and start a discussion on the subject. Lastly, Biden will address the audience and go through the whole Summit and its goals.

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The Summit and its purpose

The goal of Biden’s administration has always been harmony. Biden promises to bring together individuals of all ages, backgrounds, and socioeconomic statuses under his direction. Many continue to question whether the current president can succeed in his mission.

A few weeks after Biden’s address warning radical Republicans who he views as risks to democracy, the event was also publicized.

“America must choose: to move forward or to move backward. To build the future or obsess about the past. To be a nation of hope and unity and optimism, or a nation of fear, division, and of darkness,” the president said.

“MAGA Republicans have made their choice. They embrace anger. They thrive on chaos. They live not in the light of truth but in the shadow of lies,” he added.

The Summit, according to White House officials, is not politically motivated but instead addresses a problem that must be brought to everyone’s attention since it impacts the entire country. The authorities also said that before highlighting the significance of the Summit, Biden would address the country and underline his message of unity.

Biden believes that a unified nation is preferable to a divided one. This could only mean that violence that aims to divide individuals into groups and propagate hatred across races and origins must be totally destroyed rather than tolerated. Violence motivated by hatred has no place in the US.

Read Also: European Companies Fear Worsening Gas Crisis as Russian Gas Supply Cuts Continue

Identity of America is under threat

Deborah Lipstadt, a special envoy for the Biden administration, claims that a significant portion of Americans believe that the nation’s identity is in danger. Lipstadt collaborates with the White House to track and fight antisemitism.

“Whether they read it online, whether they hear it in the media, whether they hear it from certain politicians – but they believe it. People have to recognize that it’s this panoply of hatreds that constitute this threat to our democracy and threat to our country and to national security and foreign countries as well,” said Lipstadt.

The White House has also strongly urged internet firms to control and keep an eye on hate-based violence in the meantime. In its effort against hate-based violence, the government has partnered with media corporations, including Twitch, Microsoft, YouTube, and Meta. A top White House official also emphasized the significance and impact of social media businesses in resolving a number of problems that the US is now facing.

“Every tech company should be thinking about what they can do,” he said.

Source: NPR

Woman in Pink: Pelosi and Her Attire During Taiwan Visit Conveys a Message

Photo Credit: Famer Rohen/Malaysian Department of Information

Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan was sudden. The House Speaker’s plane landed safely at Taipei Songshan Airport on a Tuesday night, free of the usual bustle of people in the island nation. However, Pelosi’s arrival in the country was significant for its citizens.

Among the monotonous suits is the pink jumpsuit Pelosi wore as she walked through the airport in front of Taiwanese luminaries and the media. While Pelosi’s trip has been viewed through a highly political lens, her outfit represents more than her agenda when she made the journey to Taiwan.

Pelosi proclaimed, as was reported that the United States would assist Taiwan as it pursues economic prosperity and market opening internationally. However, her pink outfit’s political message has significance in the event.

Pelosi didn’t change her outfit between flights. In fact, the House Speaker wore the same outfit to Malaysia before going to Taiwan. Her suit is complemented by US politicians’ usual heels and pearls.

Pelosi could have changed her clothes while going to Taiwan, but she didn’t. This simply means that Pelosi intended to wear the pink outfit to convey a specific message.

The suit conveyed confidence and power, but it did not evoke any threats. Instead, it appeared that wearing pink in the presence of Taiwanese officials was a gesture of friendship rather than a protest against China, which has since suspected the speaker of maliciously visiting to worsen conflicts between the two countries.

Read Also: Many Afghan Women Deal with Hunger Every Day

 

Pelosi reminds the public of another strong woman

Many individuals believe that her clothing choices were intended to mimic a woman who was an epitome for many Americans: Hillary Clinton.

Clinton wore a pink outfit to the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995. ‘Women’s rights are human rights,’ said the then-first lady, a statement that has become firmly entrenched in the fabric of many societies around the world.

Clinton then castigated nations, including China, for threatening women and stated that the cycle of violence and prejudice must be shaken. This type of protest against China is similar to what Pelosi did after her trip to Taiwan when she enraged China.

Clinton’s speech was censored in China. However, Pelosi appears in the same pink outfit as if to inform China that women are willing to stand up to a superpower.

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Pink outfits for Speaker Pelosi

The senior US official has been seen wearing pink clothing on various occasions. She wore a pink suit to an interview on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” pink pumps to a photo op with House Committee Chairs, and a Fuschia dress to the 166th Congress’s inauguration. Pelosi can also be seen wearing a pink blazer on her Twitter profile.

Pelosi, like many other female politicians, rarely replies to inquiries about her clothing choices. However, we can be certain that the House Speaker appreciates the power of clothing projects to the public, including color choice.

Pelosi clearly radiates feminine power whenever she wears pink. This spirit is also demonstrated by a number of women in the political landscape, including Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who wears red lipstick as “war paint,” and Vice President Kamala Harris, who decided to wear an all-white suit to accept her election as the country’s first female Vice President.

Tsai Chi-chang, the deputy speaker of the Taiwan legislature, wore a pink tie when he met with Pelosi the morning after her arrival, indicating how important wardrobe colors are to the public and even politicians.

Pelosi’s choice of a color that denotes feminine power was a clever use of symbolism in clothing, which effectively conveyed her message.

Source: CNN

 

McDonald’s Collaborates with Streetwear Brand for an Adult Happy Meal

McDonald’s, the leading fast food restaurant, intends to appeal to older consumers with their new adult Happy Meal. A free toy is also included in the bundle.

McDonald’s said it would provide goods geared toward adults while retaining the whimsical aspect of the Happy Meal, which is generally sold in red cardboard boxes, as the company tries to add some twists to its typical offers. McDonald’s is not the only company taking the initiative, of course.

On October 3, all participating locations will be able to sell the Cactus Plant Flea Market Box bundle, which is a project between McDonald’s and a well-known streetwear brand.

“We’re taking one of the most nostalgic McDonald’s experiences and literally repackaging it in a new way that’s hyper-relevant for our adult fans,” said the Chief Marketing Officer of McDonald’s USA, Tariq Hassan.

“I can’t wait to give fans a unique piece of art and culture as we dive headfirst into the dynamic world of Cactus Plant Flea Market together next week. With menu favorites like the Big Mac and McNuggets at the center of this collab, this is another way we’re reigniting a new generation’s love for our food and the brand.”

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In a press release, McDonald’s stated:

The Cactus Plant Flea Market Box, a first-of-its-kind collaboration made exclusively for McDonald’s fans by one of the most important brands in culture. 

It all starts with the box, which has been totally redesigned in Cactus Plant Flea Market’s signature style alongside McD’s iconic Golden Arches. 

The box will be available in-restaurant, in the drive-thru, by delivery or on the McDonald’s App starting October 3, while supplies last.

It differs from the Happy Meal

Smaller menus were included in the original Happy Meal for kids to eat. However, given that the adult Happy Meal is meant for older customers, McDonald’s chose to include more food in the box, such as a Big Mac or ten McNuggets. In addition, fries and drinks are served with the main dish.

The collectibles are, of course, the pièce de résistance of every Happy Meal. There is one of four figurines that collectors will want to amass within each Cactus Plant Flea Market Box. For this edition, McDonald’s has also included the mascots Hamburglar, Birdie, Grimace, and Cactus Body.

Read Also: TikTok Vows to Address Issues Concerning National Security

The present agreement is the company’s first foray into working with brands, despite McDonald’s reputation for bold and ambitious collaborations. For example, one may remember the company’s partnership with the famed K-Pop boy band BTS. McDonald’s raised billions of dollars thanks to the artists for its Famous Orders marketing campaign.

McDonald’s debuted a menu influenced by rapper Travis Scott two years prior. A lot of McDonald’s stores ran out of the box since it was so well-liked by music fans.

As part of the partnership, McDonald’s will also sell clothing and accessories from Cactus Plant Flea Market, its current partner.

Photo Credit: McDonald’s

Source: CNBC

Scientists Found Stable Areas on the Moon Where Astronauts Could Stay Longer

Photo Credit: NASA

Caves provided a safe haven for prehistoric humans. The structures protect them from harmful elements in the environment and serve as group homes. The same structure could now provide the same haven to astronauts on the Moon. Temperatures similar to those on Earth can be found within the cave-like structures found on the surface of the Moon.

According to research, moon pits have areas that consistently have temperatures around 63 degrees Fahrenheit, or about 17 degrees Celsius. This is a range that humans can consider stable. Last July, the findings were published in Geophysical Research Letters.

The pit craters might offer explorers a place to dwell for longer periods of time. Making lunar exploration safer than it currently is. The locations are suitable for constructing thermally stable camps for scientists.

We live on the moon

“Humans evolved living in caves, and to caves, we may return when we live on the moon. David Paige of planetary science at the University of California, Los Angeles. Paige also serves as one of the heads leading NASA’s Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment.

The new findings on the conditions of the pits and their thermal stability will lead scientists to look forward. Conceptualizing a permanent workplace in these areas found in several lunar regions.

A doctoral student at UCLA’s planetary science department. Tyler Horvath, said: “We could be able to establish a long-term presence on the moon. Sooner than may have otherwise been possible.”

Moon’s surface

The Moon’s surface is largely subject to extremely volatile conditions. With daytime highs of 127 degrees Celsius and nighttime lows of minus 173 degrees Celsius. In contrast to these locations, the temperature is constant across the Mare Tranquillitatis region.

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The Apollo 11 mission’s landing site in the Mare Tranquillitatis area marked the arrival of humans on the Moon. Its flat terrain led to the area’s selection.

Briony Horgan from Purdue University said. These (pits) are right at the resolution limit of the cameras that they’re trying to use.

“The fact that they are able to pull that data out and show that it was pretty convincing. I think it’s a big step forward in looking at the moon,” added Horgan.

The head of NASA’s Planetary Geology, Geophysics and Geochemistry Laboratory. Noah Petro, is pleased with the discovery. They says it could be a prime vantage point for understanding the behavior of other regions on the Moon. NASA’s Artemis program is now in the polar regions of the Moon for exploration.

“Artemis has the goal of sending humans to the region around the South Pole. Where we know there are some very cold places,” the chief said. “Fortunately, we have a large amount of data for the south pole region where Artemis will visit.”

Astronauts might now stay longer on the Moon

New avenues for lunar exploration have been made possible by recent scientific discoveries. The Moon’s surface has always been extremely hot, making it extremely challenging for NASA to build long-term facilities there. However, now that these areas with steady weather have been found. NASA might not need to develop more advanced technologies to endure the Moon’s alleged erratic climate.

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“About 16 of the more than 200 pits are probably collapsed lava tubes,” added Horvath.

The caves form as a result of collapsing lava tubes beneath the Moon’s surface. The collapsed tubes form a pit, eventually opening up the rest of the cave. The newly formed caves are stable because they are shielded from the heat of the sun. Other potentially hazardous debris on the Moon’s surface.

“Continuing to map the temperature of the lunar surface is a high priority for LRO. As we’ll be able to use that information not only to better understand the environment future missions to the surface will experience,” added Petro.

“But we can also learn about how different types of surface material. Respond to the changing lighting conditions at the lunar surface.”

Source: CNN

Hurricane Alert: Florida, Cuba, on the Lookout as Hurricane Ian Heads Toward Land

Photo Credit: Luis Santana

Tropical Storm Ian is currently moving toward the western section of the island, and Cuban authorities have taken the appropriate precautions. Due to the imminent threat of destructive winds and torrential rain, classes have been canceled in the province of Pinar del Rio.

In addition to Pinar del Rio, Artemisa, and Isla de Juventud, weather offices have issued storm warnings for several regions in Cuba. Since Hurricane Ian is getting closer to shore, Grand Cayman is also under a hurricane warning. Per the hurricane’s path, the far-western region of Cuba may see the hurricane make landfall by Monday or Tuesday, according to the United States National Hurricane Center.

The path that Hurricane Ian took may have brought it close to Cuba’s famed tobacco crops, where it may cause damage. According to further forecasts, Hurricane Ian can become stronger on Tuesday.

In particular, evacuations will start in the western provinces, which include Pinar del Rio, according to Granma, a branch of the official Cuban media. In advance of the major evacuation, classes had already been halted.

On Sunday night at 11 PM, Hurricane Ian was estimated to be 140 miles south of Grand Cayman and heading northwest at a pace of 13 mph based on all available data. The hurricane’s top sustained winds were 65 miles per hour. A warning was also sent to Florida residents about the potential damage that Hurricane Ian, which is now barreling over the Caribbean Sea, might do to the state.

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State of emergency declared by authorities

Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, moved decisively and proclaimed a state of emergency across the entire state. In light of the threat’s potential to bring forth severe winds, torrential rain, and rising sea levels, he recommended residents take precautions. These variables might harm homes, and lives could be in danger.

Forecasters do not have a specific spot where Hurricane Ian may make landfall because anything might change with the hurricane’s course. However, the west coast of Florida or neighboring areas will be impacted by the hurricane if its present course is followed without major deviations.

“We’re going to keep monitoring the track of this storm. But it really is important to stress the degree of uncertainty that still exists. Even if you’re not necessarily right in the eye of the path of the storm, there’s going to be pretty broad impacts throughout the state,” said DeSantis during a news conference.

Authorities in Florida, particularly in the Florida Keys and the Florida peninsula, where flash floods and urban flooding are possible, have issued an alert. Additionally, the state’s northern region is predicted to have significant precipitation. The southwestern and panhandle regions are also forecast to experience heavy precipitation in the later half of the week.

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The US government is alert

On Sunday, the meteorological office also issued a tropical storm watch for the Florida Keys and disseminated emergency plans in case the hurricane seriously harmed the region.

At the same time, President Joe Biden ordered a number of organizations to keep an eye out for Hurricane Ian and authorized the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Homeland Security to partner with local authorities to organize recovery efforts and any rescue operations. The president will also visit Florida on September 27 to see how the state is doing.

John Cangialosi, a hurricane expert in Miami, advised citizens to be prepared because officials have not determined Hurricane Ian’s exact position. Because of this, locals should make all necessary preparations to secure their safety when the hurricane makes landfall.

“It’s a hard thing to say stay tuned, but that’s the right message right now. But for those in Florida, it’s still time to prepare. I’m not telling you to put up your shutters yet or do anything like that, but it’s still time to get your supplies,” Cangialosi said.

As a sign that inhabitants are preparing for the hurricane, Florida’s media has reported a rise in transactions of a number of goods, including water, generators, and other things in numerous areas.

Source: NPR

Ayman al-Zawahiri, World’s Most Wanted Terrorist, Dead After US Orders Drone Strike

Image Source: NY Times

Under the directive of President Joe Biden, the US government assassinated Ayman al-Zawahiri. Who was regarded as the world’s most wanted terrorist. Al Qaeda’s commander Zawahiri was a key player in planning the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

US officials said the military operation did not go easy. Months of planning had to be done to kill their target through a zone strike. While Zawahiri was staying on his balcony in Kabul. Biden admitted that the move was secret. That only a few of his top advisers were aware of the plan.

Zawahiri’s safe house in Kabul

The people involved in the plan had to create models of Zawahiri’s safe house in Kabul. Which was essential to Biden’s final decision to execute the drone strike.

According to Biden, he was concerned that the drone strike could harm nearby civilians as well. The President declared. He did not want the operation to be similar to the drone strike. They had been carried out 11 months earlier. In which unsuspecting civilians had been included in the blast.

As the plan unfolded, Biden repeatedly directed his officials to ensure that no other civilians, including Zawahiri’s family, were killed. According to reports, the mission only took out Zawahiri.

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Biden administration wins

On Monday, Biden announced the feat on the White House balcony. Where he is currently isolated, after testing positive for Covid-19. The President was also there while the drone attack was being discussed and approved.

This is a significant accomplishment for Biden’s administration, given his government’s low approval ratings.

In a statement while in the White House’s Blue Room Balcony, Biden said. People around the world no longer need to fear the vicious and determined killer. The United States continues to demonstrate our resolve. Our capacity to defend the American people against those who seek to do us harm.”

The process

According to intelligence reports, Zawahiri was seen frequenting his safe house in Kabul last April. While Zawahiri’s actions were being closely monitored, Biden was briefed by his officials. The intelligence considered the terrorist leader’s support groups, as well as his wife and children’s visits, on a regular basis.

While analyzing Zawahiri’s behavior and activity patterns, officials also determined the building’s structural layout.

Other occupants were also identified because the safety of civilians. During the drone strike was paramount to Biden and his officials.

Another difficulty was the location of the safe house, which is surrounded by residential homes. According to the operatives working on the plans. All factors had to be considered before sending the strike options to Biden. Leaks were avoided because authorities stated that only a “very small and select group” was informed of the plan.

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Authorities also took the two-year hostage situation involving Mark Frerich. Within Afghan territory into consideration as the strike was being planned.

The President said

The President said, “Going forward with the Taliban, we will continue to hold them accountable for their actions. And we have made clear to them in the intervening days. That we also expect them to take no action that would harm Mark Frerichs. As we were involved in the effort to secure his release after his long detention and captivity.”

 The plans were nearly completed as the months passed. Following that, high-ranking officials convened for a classified meeting. Bill Burns, CIA Director, Avril Haines, Liz Sherwood Randall. Homeland Security Adviser, Director of National Intelligence Jake Sullivan. National Security Adviser and deputy Jon Finer, all met with Biden.

On July 25, Biden self-isolated due to Covid-19, but the plan was implemented, and approval was granted.

Two Hellfire missiles were allowed to hit the region on July 30. And authorities reported that the strike killed Zawahiri without causing any collateral damage.

Source: CNN

Harris Slams Supreme Court Over Decision to Overturn Roe v. Wade

Photo Credit: Jacquelyn Martin

United States Vice President Kamala Harris clarified her disagreement to the Supreme Court after overturning the Roe v. Wade decision three months ago. The senior official called the Court an “activist court.”

“We had an established right for almost half a century, which is the right of women to make decisions about their own body as an extension of what we have decided to be, the privacy rights to which all people are entitled. And this Court took that constitutional right away, and we are suffering as a nation because of it,” said Harris in an interview.

The Vice President made the remarks amid the criticism the White House is receiving after the Justices outlawed the landmark case. Harris has been vocal about her condemnation of the SC’s decision. With the new decision, the federal right of women to abortion was struck down. According to Harris, the decision only caused harm to several stakeholders, most especially women, who are now deprived of their right to choose.

Ever since the Supreme Court overruled the 1973 ruling, Harris has been traveling across the United States, where she sat down with agencies and groups to discuss the effects of the recent decision with different stakeholders.

“[It has caused me] great concern about the integrity of the court overall, especially as someone who my life was inspired by people like Thurgood Marshall, the work on that court of Earl Warren,” added Harris.

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Harris has since fought for abortion rights

Back when Harris was vying for the Vice Presidential position, she always expressed her support for abortion rights. Furthermore, when Harris was nominated for the Democratic presidential position three years ago, it was part of her campaign to effectuate change into states imposing strict laws against abortion rights.

“We cannot tolerate a perspective that is about going backward and not understanding women have agency,” Harris said.

Harris also told the media months ago about her distrust of several justices whom then-president Donald Trump put into position.

The overturn of Roe v. Wade

When the Supreme Court reopened the landmark case challenging the 1973 ruling of Roe v. Wade, many were alarmed of possible attacks against the federal right to abortion. Indeed, the ruling was overruled by a vote of 5-4 in the Supreme Court, triggering pro-choice and pro-life advocates into a frenzy.

Many took to the streets after the decision was announced, denouncing the SC’s position on the matter. Among the officials who expressed their disagreement were President Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Vice President Kamala Harris.

“It’s a sad day for the Court and for the country. It was three justices named by one president, Donald Trump, who were the core of today’s decision to upend the scales of justice and eliminate a fundamental right for women in this country. Make no mistake, this decision is a culmination of a deliberate effort over decades to upset the balance of our law,” said Biden in a media address.

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“The Court has done what it’s never done before, expressly take away a constitutional right that is so fundamental to so many Americans that had already been recognized. The Court’s decision to do so will have real and immediate consequences,” the president added.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told the media that the ruling is “such an insult, a slap in the face to women.”

“There’s no point in saying good morning, because it certainly is not one. This morning the radical Supreme Court is eviscerating women’s rights and endangering their health and safety,” Pelosi added.

However, the majority of the Court stood by their vote and said: “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division.”

Source: CNN

Samsung to Shut Down LCD Manufacturing Earlier Than Planned

Image Source: Tom’s Hardware

The display industry has been fluctuating between LCD and OLED for years now. But with Samsung Display’s plans to shutter in 2020 it threw a major wrench in those who prefer the latter. However after some delays on when they would fully stop production of their current type (LCD) screens. It was originally set forth as happening next year before being postponed indefinitely. The company announced that it would be pushing plans six months earlier, according to GSM Arena.

The world was shocked when Samsung Display announced they would be shutting down their LCD production at the end of June. The company had previously planned on closing back towards the end of the year. But after seeing how competitive it got with other companies’ prices for displays. Especially those who were selling them below cost price-they decided not to wait any longer and ended all manufacturing immediately instead.

In 2020, the price of LCD panels was rising. This led to Samsung announcing that they would be shutting down production at the end of 2022. Due in part from these high costs and fierce competition.

The global pandemic has forced Samsung to postpone their LCD shutdown. They were due for an extended production period. But the need for affordable devices at home prompted them instead- all because one company wants what’s best for others too!

LCD prices have been 36.6% lower than they were at their peak production period, and this is due in part to the competition between China’s BOE ( Bureau Of European Trade). As well as Taiwan based AU Optronics who offered discounts on behalf of clients trying desperately not only save money. They also time by shopping early before companies release large numbers into circulation.

Samsung

Samsung representatives were not available for comment, but according to GSM Arena the information will be made apparent once. The second quarter concludes and earnings reports come out in late July.

The company will instead shift its workforce and focus on manufacturing OLED and QD panels, bringing employees into the QD business.

Patagonia Founder Will Use all of the Company’s Revenue to Fight Climate Change

Photo Credit: New York Times

The creator of Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard, declared that he would donate every penny of the business’ profits to the campaign to tackle the climate crisis. According to the announcement, the Chouinard family will not benefit financially from the business. Instead, the money made by Patagonia would be donated to groups and causes that support environmental initiatives, land preservation, and biodiversity.

The Chouinard family created Patagonia fifty years ago, and ever since, the company has provided clothing to a variety of outlets. The corporation is worth $3 billion, based on a report by the New York Times.

The corporation has issued a statement stating that regular business activities and employee pay rates would continue as usual. Partner businesses and organizations would get the funds that were not reinvested as well as from operational costs for maintenance and other expenditures. As an illustration, Patagonia established the Holdfast Collective and Patagonia Purpose Trust, two nonprofit organizations and trusts focused on specific causes.

Holdfast Collective currently holds 98% of the non-voting stock, while Patagonia Purpose Trust controls all voting stock or 2% of the total shares.

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Capitalism, reimagined

It is critical that society and businesses reinvent capitalism, according to a message published by Patagonia on its website.

“While we’re doing our best to address the environmental crisis, it’s not enough. We needed to find a way to put more money into fighting the crisis while keeping the company’s values intact. One option was to sell Patagonia and donate all the money. But we couldn’t be sure a new owner would maintain our values or keep our team of people around the world employed.”

Another path was to take the company public. What a disaster that would have been. Even public companies with good intentions are under too much pressure to create short-term gain at the expense of long-term vitality and responsibility.

Truth be told, there were no good options available. So, we created our own.”

Patagonia anticipates making more than $100 million in revenue and charitable contributions yearly once everything is in place. Additionally, this number will change based on how well the business does and customer buying patterns.

Gear for outdoor pursuits, including camping, fishing, and rock climbing, is one of the many goods offered by Patagonia. Other outdoor clothing is also available for purchase from the brand, along with food and drinks made using ecological materials.

The brand will still be competitive

According to Patagonia CEO Ryan Gellert, the company’s aim could only be accomplished if the business continued to behave in the same way as previously and continued to generate income, potentially even more aggressively.

“I think what people fail to understand about Patagonia, both the past and today and the future, is that we are unapologetically a for-profit business,” stated Gellert.

“We are extremely competitive. The Chouinards are extremely competitive about the business. We focus on making high-quality products, standing behind that product for the usable life of it. We compete with every other company in our space, aggressively. I don’t think we have lost that instinct.”

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The family didn’t decide to declare their intentions for several years, according to Gellert. He continued by stating that while the owners intended to devote the business to noble causes fully, there was also a focus on establishing a structure that would uphold and maybe even strengthen Patagonia’s fiscal performance.

According to Gellert, despite the recently-enacted deal, Patagonia continues to pay its taxes.

“We are a company that very much believes in that. We are a company that has avoided complex structures both in the U.S. and globally to sidestep taxes. We are actually one of the few companies that have lobbied consistently and publicly for higher taxes, particularly in support of climate legislation,” Gellert explained.

Patagonia is one of the few corporations taking the initial steps toward rethinking what capitalism means as the globe struggles to combat the impacts of the climate crisis. The business changed its website’s tagline to read, “Earth is now our only shareholder.”

Source: CNBC

Burger King Reveals Revival Plan with $400 Investment on Store Upgrades, Advertisement

Photo Credit: Burger King

Fast food chain Burger King announced that the company would spend over $400 million in the next two years for its renovation and advertisements. The decision follows the report of the company revealing low revenues in the United States.

Burger King management convened in Las Vegas to discuss the company’s turnaround mission for its US-based chains. The fast food chain’s parent company, Restaurant Brands International, gathered its brands during the annual franchisee convention to finalize the plan and envisions the planned investment to generate revenue for the company by 2025.

During the second quarter, Burger King reported stagnant sales. The fast food chain trails behind McDonald’s and Wendy’s, only proving that the company lacks a boost in its sales. The CEO of Restaurant Brands, Jose Cil, said he was concerned regarding Burger King’s performance.

As the company executive, Cil has been keen on making investments to increase the sales of its brands, including the revival of Tim Hortons, a sister chain of Burger King. Meanwhile, Cil also assigned Tom Curtis, the former executive of Domino’s Pizza, to become president of Burger King in the US and Canada. With Curtis on deck, Cil ordered several changes in the company’s drive-thru features and encouraged their customers to use the Burger King mobile application.

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More changes for Burger King

Burger King is slated for dynamic changes within the next years. The company will spend $200 million to rehabilitate and improve around 800+ locations across the United States. In addition, enhancements of technology, kitchen equipment, and other related changes have been allocated around $50 million. Burger King has over 7,000 locations in the country, and the management looks to make changes in most chains.

Burger King is confident that more revenue will start coming with the new changes. According to reports by the company, remodeled chains bring in a 12% increase in sales during the first year and eventually outperform other chains in the long run. That is why the company is gearing to remodel strategic locations so it can maximize profit.

“We might see remodels start to hit the market mid-2023 and going forward. It should really be a gradual ramp of the business over the course of the couple of years. We expect that to start having an impact on sales over the next quarter,” Cil said in an interview.

Apart from physical changes, Burger King will also amp up its advertisement department by 30%, spending around $120 million more in the next two years. The additional funding for its ads would take effect in the latter part of this year.

Moreover, $30 million would be poured into mobile application improvements. This would radically encourage many customers to frequently use its mobile app, a feature that many fast food chains are currently looking into.

Changes to the company’s menu are also on their way, as Burger King will start developing new flavors and ingredients for its Whoppers, Chicken Sandwich, and other menus. The additional funding will be directed to training employees to produce the best and most delicious menu.

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The plan receives thumbs up from franchisee

When Restaurant Brands International presented its strategy, 93% of its franchisees expressed support. As an effort to put the vision into effect, operators will counterpart some of the funds that would be allocated to renovations and employee training.

The franchisees will receive the fund from Burger King so they can start implementing the program presented by Restaurant Brands. In addition, the operators will be presented with a revamped incentive model slightly different from the usual structure it has adapted throughout the years.

“There were many long nights and plane rides,” said the US and Canada Burger King president.

Source: CNBC

TikTok Vows to Address Issues Concerning National Security

Photo Credit: Stefani Reynolds

TikTok has stated in the Senate that it will not halt the transfer of user data from the United States to China. Opponents have slammed TikTok after evidence suggests that data from US-based users were routinely accessed from China. Instead, the Senate was guaranteed by the short-form video application that it would address all national security issues mentioned at the session.

TikTok Chief Operating Officer Vanessa Pappas spoke before the Senate and exchanged viewpoints with politicians, notably Senator Rob Portman, who asked about TikTok’s present structure.

“Will TikTok commit to cutting off all data and data flows to China, China-based TikTok employees, ByteDance employees, or any other party in China that might have the capability to access information on US users?” Senator Portman asked.

Portman’s query arises from his fear that the Chinese government may gain access to sensitive information about US customers. Since then, lawmakers have raised concerns about how these data may be utilized in campaigns, operations, and other activities that could damage the country.

The Senate has previously summoned TikTok. However, the problem was resolved many weeks later. It was then reignited after BuzzFeed published a video of a TikTok employee indicating that employees in China had access to US-based users.

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The issue will be addressed by TikTok

Pappas noted that TikTok does not operate in China, despite the fact that a Chinese corporation owns it.

“Again, we take this incredibly seriously in terms of upholding trust with US citizens and ensuring the safety of US user data. As it relates to access and controls, we are going to be going above and beyond in leading initiative efforts with our partner, Oracle, and also to the satisfaction of the US government through our work with [the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States], which we do hope to share more information on,” Pappas added.

Portman then questioned Pappas about the mysterious ‘Master Admin,’ who was referenced in the video. According to the BuzzFeed piece, the employee in question had complete access to everything. Pappas refuted the assertion, claiming that the ‘Master Admin’ identity does not exist in the system.

Pappas confirmed that Chinese staff has access to US users’ data, but she underscored that “under no circumstances [would] they give that data to China.” However, the CEO remained tight-lipped about alleged Chinese government control over ByteDance, TikTok’s parent organization.

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Threatening national security in the US

Several parties have hotly debated the concerns surrounding TikTok, frequently emphasizing the risks it may cause to national security.

“The fact that the Chinese government, if it really wants to, can make any company in its borders comply with data access requests, I think, is really at the root of a lot of these concerns about TikTok,” stated a Cyber Statecraft Initiative of the Atlantic Council fellow, Justin Sherman.

“There are real national security questions being asked. But if all you’re doing is writing letters about specific companies and not actually writing and testing laws and regulations to control for risks, in the long run, nothing’s really going to change too much,” Sherman explained.

Meanwhile, TikTok responded to these charges and stated weeks ago that TikTok “consistently maintained that our engineers in locations outside of the US, including China, can be granted access to US user data on an as-needed basis under those strict controls.”

Source: CNN

Angelina Jolie Makes a Trip to Pakistan Following Devastating Floods

Photo Credit: Guillermo Legaria

Angelina Jolie, a Hollywood actress and activist, traveled to Pakistan to offer assistance to the flood victims and survivors there. According to the International Rescue Committee (IRC), Jolie’s visit is an effort to raise awareness of the country’s ongoing humanitarian catastrophe.

According to experts, the harsh weather the country has been experiencing has already caused about a third of the country’s territory to be flooded. In addition, there has been a significant increase in water levels around the nation due to the record rainfall and melting glaciers in Northern Pakistan.

Due to the phenomenon, which has killed 1,500 individuals and affected more than 33 million people, Pakistan has suffered tremendously. In addition, the rains and floods have ruined crops and cattle and swept away infrastructure, including houses, railroads, and roads.

Authorities in Pakistan are worried that the worst-affected areas may continue to experience flooding for another six months. However, health professionals swiftly noted that the danger for waterborne illnesses like dengue and cholera might rise should flooding persist for extended periods of time.

UNICEF has been informed about the situation in Pakistan and stated that it needs “immediate, lifesaving support,” particularly for the estimated 3.4 million children impacted by the problem.

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Jolie visiting is important

“[Jolie] is visiting to witness and gain an understanding of the situation and to hear from people affected directly about their needs and steps to prevent such suffering in the future,” said the IRC.

According to the group, the actress would aid those working in the local IRC-managed organizations and response operations.

“The IRC hopes her visit will shed light on this issue and prompt the international community – particularly states contributing the most to carbon emissions – to act and provide urgent support to countries bearing the brunt of the climate crisis,” added the statement.

Jolie has earlier visited the nation after natural disasters hit several sections in 2005 and 2010. The organization added that it will also help the actress comprehend that many innocent men, women, and children are afflicted by a catastrophe “they did not cause.”

Climate Change is the root of the problem

United Nations Secretary Antonio Guterres and the government of Pakistan both agree that, if anything, climate change is to blame for the severe monsoon rains. The effects of the catastrophe brought on by climate change are visible to both the UN and the Pakistani government.

In addition to the continuing rains, Pakistan is now in danger of a food catastrophe as supply shortages loom. The floodwaters obliterated corn and rice with an estimated 70% overall destruction. Estimates indicate that the disaster’s losses will now rise to $30 billion.

According to Sherry Rehman, the country’s minister for climate change, this is the biggest humanitarian catastrophe to hit Pakistan in a decade. The minister also requested assistance from the international community, noting the need for tents, food, and medications.

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“Karachi is seeing an outbreak of dengue as hundreds and thousands of patients are reporting daily at government and private hospitals. The dengue cases this year are 50% higher than last year. With 584,246 people in camps throughout the country, the health crisis could wreak havoc if it will go unchecked,” said Rehman.

Although nations like the United Kingdom have already offered assistance, analysts think that it is insufficient.

“The kind of assistance that’s coming in right now is a pittance. A number of Western economies have argued that they’re suffering their own crises, because of the war in Ukraine and various other issues,” said a geographer from the University of Cambridge, Ayesha Siddiqi.

“The big global news [in 2010] was all about ‘We must help Pakistan, or the Islamists will win. And this time around, of course, we don’t have the same geopolitical imperative to help Pakistan, and so the aid has really been a pittance,” she added.

Source: CNN

Poland Procures Defense Machineries from South Korea

Photo Credit: Photo Credit: PAP/Leszek Szymanski

The Ministry of Defense in Poland has announced that they will be purchasing 1,000 tanks. 600 units of artillery and several fighter jets from South Korea. It is part of the country’s intention to replenish its arsenal after donating them earlier. This year when fighting broke out between Ukraine and Russia.

The Polish government has arranged to buy 648 self-propelled howitzers. 960 tanks that are based on the model of South Korea’s K2 and 48 FA-50 fighter jets from their ally. The deal is set to be publicized in Poland later this week. Following extensive negotiations with officials over price paid per unit as well other logistics such as shipping arrangements.

The Defense Ministry is refusing to disclose the price they paid for these new military equipments.

The first batch of K2 tanks is set to arrive this year. The 180 units manufactured by Hyundai Rotem, which have 120mm guns on them. The upgraded tanks will be available starting 2026, where they will be manufactured in Poland.

K9 howitzers arrive to Poland

The K9 howitzers will also arrive to Poland this year. 600 more are promised for delivery in 2024, while there are already 48 howitzers delivered – produced by Hanwha Defense.  In 2025, the machines will be produced in Poland.

The ministry announced that they had made an important purchase to replace the Soviet-era tanks that they relinquished. Then given to Ukraine to aid the country in its war against Russian forces.

Poland’s deal between the South Koreans would “significantly increase Poland’s security. The strength of the Polish Army,” said the Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak in a Tweet.

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The recent closed deal would be Seoul’s largest arms deal to date, said a South Korean retired general, Chun In-Bum. He added that the artilleries that Poland plans to purchase would be great additions to the Polish military force. “The K9 (howitzer)… is probably the best artillery system in the world, rivaled only by the German system. The FA-50 is a combat version of the T-50. Which has gained a reputation for being the best trainer in the world inventory. The K2 tank in its latest version will be better than anything South Korea has to date,” Chun said.

Visit from last May prompted the purchase

The defense minister of Poland has come to the conclusion that his country needs more arms from South Korea after he visited the country last May.

“We talked about accelerating the deliveries of these weapons to the Polish Army. Why is it important? Because of the war on our eastern border. It is important for the Polish Armed Forces to be equipped with modern equipment, proven equipment, and such is the equipment produced by Korea,” he said after seeing the potency of South Korean weaponry.

Poland and Korea had a lot in common, including the need for strong defense. This similarity, according to the defense minister, is what made him conclude that Poland needs to acquire the weaponry from South Korea.

“Why is Korean equipment proven? Because Korea has the challenge of its northern neighbor, who also conducts an aggressive policy, so our task is to equip the Polish Armed Forces with modern equipment. Equipment that will deter the aggressor. Such equipment is undoubtedly … produced in Korea,” Blaszczak said.

Not the right fit for the European setting

Experts are questioning if the purchased items are the right fit for Poland, with some saying that what they need can’t be found in South Korea and others arguing that there is a gap between the advancements of South Korea and the neighboring countries of Poland.  

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For instance, the K2 tank from South Korea is weaker than Germany’s Leopard 2 battle tanks, said defense analyst Nicholas Drummond.

“Same gun. Same engine and gearbox. But overall less sophisticated with inferior electronic architecture. Not a bad tank. But not class of the field,” added the retired British Army officer.

The production of the planned armories may be affected by the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which has caused supply chain disruptions in the Asia Pacific region.

“It is right that Asian countries buy from Korea as these customers can easily be supported in time of war. But supporting European customers in an emergency is likely to be more challenging,” Drummond stated.

Source: CNN

TikTok is a Music Industry Trendsetter, Helping New Artists

TikTok has had an undeniable positive impact on the music industry. On-the-rise artists and choreographers have risen to prominence as a result of a single video that captured the attention of TikTok users all over the world.

For example, Zoi Lerma, a bagel shop employee in Los Angeles, choreographed Benee’s “Supalonely.” She then shared her video on TikTok, where it received positive feedback from users. The video has since garnered over 45 million views on TikTok, propelling Benee to global fame.

Content makers and users have uploaded over 5.7 million videos of Benee’s “Supalonely.” In addition, Benee received nominations and prizes for the song’s success, including New Artist of the 2020 People’s Choice Awards, as well as sales of over 1 million copies and 2.1 billion streams across all platforms. Benee also played two sold-out concerts in New Zealand.

“When it started trending on TikTok and picking up on TikTok, I would hear it on the radio or, you know, hear it in stores. I would hear it everywhere,” said Lerma.

Read Also: Apple is Set to Unveil New Devices this September

TikTok has generated revenue for the music industry

TikTok’s ubiquity is what makes it one of the most prolific hitmakers of the twenty-first century. The program, which is owned by China’s ByteDance, provides a platform for artists and content producers to express and present their abilities in short films. A user might submit anything, including animals, personal life, hobbies, ASMR, singing, dancing, and many other things.

The videos, for the most part, capture the attention of many people and quickly go viral within hours of being posted. As a result, TikTok is a trendsetter, even regaining the popularity of previously successful songs. For example, Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” hit the charts two years ago after a viral video featuring the song was released. Furthermore, TikTok has evolved into a revenue-generating platform for music labels and artists.

An analyst and consultant at Midia Research, Tatiana Cirisano, said, “If a song is going viral on TikTok, and the artist is unsigned, and as a result, it’s getting a million streams on Spotify, the labels are scrambling to sign that song or that artist. They’re obsessed with expanding their market share and making sure they don’t lose any market share to independent artists.”

“With hundreds of songs generating over 1 billion video views and dozens of artists signing record deals as a result of success on the platform, TikTok starts trends that reverberate throughout the culture, the industry, and the charts,” stated TikTok in a release.

Additionally, teenagers have begun using TikTok frequently. According to a poll taken, TikTok is used by around 67% of youths in the nation, with 16% of them claiming to use it more often. The format of TikTok is thus imitated by various social media platforms. As an illustration, Facebook’s Reels, which are modeled after TikTok’s interface, were recently introduced by Meta.

TikTok had more than 1 billion users globally a year ago, and this number is growing.

Read Also: Quiet Quitting is Becoming a Trend Among Employees, Managers Should Know About it

Allegations made against TikTok

While TikTok is burgeoning, U.S. authorities are becoming concerned about the danger that the company may cause its users. A little more than two months ago, Congress ordered that TikTok answer questions about suspected access to user information in the United States.

“In light of this new report, we ask that your agency immediately initiate a Section 5 investigation on the basis of apparent deception by TikTok and coordinate this work with any national security or counter-intelligence investigation that may be initiated by the U.S. Department of Justice,” the lawmakers stated.

The statement was made in reply to a BuzzFeed story revealing that ByteDance, TikTok’s parent firm, routinely accessed the information of many of its users, particularly those in the United States. TikTok, on the other hand, was eager to dispute the charges.

“[TikTok has] consistently maintained that our engineers in locations outside of the U.S., including China, can be granted access to U.S. user data on an as-needed basis.”

Source: CNBC

The iPhone 14 Models Are Set to Receive Major Upgrades with the iOS 16

Image Source: MacRumors

The next generation of iPhones is always highly-anticipated. This year’s leaks of the iPhone 14 series are accompanied by the exciting news of the iOS 16’s latest features. The next update will see Apple devices upgrade their lock screen, messaging, and health features.

Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference or WWDC is set to launch within a week. Piquing the interest of fans of the company’s products. They will see Apple’s software strategy for the next year, including the iOS 16.

In a report from Bloomberg, the new software is a significant upgrade with changes across the operating system. Affecting the updates and notifications, iPad’s multitasking, and the messages and health apps. Additionally, the makeover will finally address the lock screen interface. 

Apple is planning significant upgrades for the lock screen, including wallpapers with widget-like capabilities. IOS 16 will also build future support for an always-on lock screen, a concept initially planned for the iPhone 13. The new lock screen feature allows the iPhone to turn down the frame rate significantly on the lock screen. There display so users can quickly check some new information, a feature that has been seen in the latest Apple Watches. 

Although fans will quickly jump on the hype, if the feature does get the green light. The always-on mode will be reportedly exclusive to the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max Models. Other iPhone 14 Pro features include a new front-facing camera, Face ID cutout, an A16 bionic chip, and a 48 MP back camera.

iPhone 14 Models

The iPhone 14 models are all expected to pair the OLED screen with a 120Hz refresh rate. But also use Low-Temperature Polycrystalline Oxide (LTPO) backplane technology. This allows AMOLED displays at higher rates in areas. This is needed and lower rates for static information to conserve power. In addition, the new iOS 16 update also hints. Apple will be building support into the iPad’s web browsing framework for better windowing support.

WWDC 2022 is set to launch between June 6 to 11, and Apple will showcase other new features coming to major OS platforms like iOS, iPadOS, macOS, and watchOS, to name a few. Rumors have also suggested that a hardware announcement is set to occur, with many speculating it will be the all-new redesigned MacBook Air.

A Difficult Time for Containers Shipment as Maersk Reports Loss in Revenue

Photo Credit: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

The demand for shipping containers has also been adversely impacted by the global economic slump, according to AP Moller-Maersk, which disclosed this on Wednesday after reporting a substantial loss in demand. In addition, the deterioration of customer confidence and the disruption of the supply chain make this worse.

The Danish shipping and logistics business, which is regarded as a barometer for world trade, compared its second quarter statistics from last year and discovered a 7.4% decrease in loaded container ships this year. The finding forced Maersk management to alter its predictions for this year’s performance in the container business area.

Maersk said, “Geopolitical uncertainty and higher inflation via higher energy prices continued to weigh on consumer sentiment and growth expectations.”

“Given this background, in 2022, global container demand is now expected to be at the lower end of the -1% to +1% forecasted range,” the company added.

The worsening inflation and disruptions in the energy supply bring about the range that Maersk is anticipating.

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CEO Soren Skou released a statement that said:

“The result was driven by strong contract rates in Ocean, rapid, profitable growth in Logistics and continued solid performance in Terminals. Volumes in Ocean were softer as congestion continued, and the war in Ukraine weighed on consumer confidence, particularly in Europe. However, in Logistics, we grew volumes above the market as our Ocean customers continued to buy into our value proposition, resulting in organic revenue growth of 36pct., notching up the 6th quarter in a row of more than 30pct. organic growth.”

Shipment congestion is the main catalyst of the decline

The sector is starting to feel the effects of the Covid-19 lockout and the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Maersk claims that the decline in container shipments was particularly noticeable in Europe, where port inventories had grown primarily as a result of blockades and shipping restrictions.

“In Europe, supply chain congestion remained as retailers. Manufacturers kept containers in ports and warehouses due to weak final demand. In addition, port lockdowns in China due to the Covid-19 zero-tolerance policy. Consequences from the war in Ukraine also caused strains in key areas of the logistics network, added Maersk in its statement.

Maersk reported that they exceeded their freight department’s expectations during the second quarter. Due to reduced worldwide freight prices brought on by trade congestion, the freight industry is doing well. According to Maersk, “exceptional market conditions” have led to an increase in earnings for the logistics industry.

“Continued congestion and dislocation of supply. Demand fundamentals in the logistics industry increases the uncertainty surrounding the outlook for freight rates,” Maersk said.

During the second quarter

According to current figures, Maersk’s earnings rose by 52 percent year over year to $21.7 billion. While operational profits doubled to $8.9 billion.

Higher freight rates translate into significant financial gains for the container shipping sector. To compensate for market interruptions. Transport their goods to their intended locations in the current environment, businesses must now use shipping services.

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In the first half of the year, the average freight prices are expected to increase by 80%. According to Hapag-Lloyd AG, a shipping company.

Maersk claims that although freight prices have lately decreased, they are still above normal and are certain to break records. As new elements emerge, prices will inevitably change, according to the company.

“We delivered an exceptionally strong result for the second quarter. Consequently recorded the 15th quarter in a row with year-on-year earnings improvements. We are pleased with our performance across the business in the first half of 2022. Which clearly demonstrates the progress and great work by the entire Maersk team. Transforming the company towards becoming a global, integrated logistics company,” concluded Soren Skou, the CEO of AP Moller Maersk.

Source: CNBC

More Polio Vaccinations Needed as Virus May be Silently Spreading, says Experts

Photo Credit: IStock

Following the diagnosis of a case of polio in New York last month, many health officials expressed concern about a potential resurgence of the disease. The reported case is “just the very, very tip of the iceberg,” a senior official from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told reporters, adding that hundreds more may have already been infected.

Rockland County was where the initial case was discovered. There are not many people in the county who have received their polio shots. People with the polio virus do not exhibit any symptoms, so the virus might already be spreading covertly in the community, claims Dr. Jose Romero, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases department.

“There are a number of individuals in the community that have been infected with poliovirus. They are shedding the virus. The spread is always a possibility because the spread is going to be silent,” said Dr. Romero.

Disease investigators from the CDC’s Atlanta headquarters made the trip to Rockland County to further their investigation. They were all concerned that the polio epidemic “could quickly spiral out of control and turn into a crisis.”

A person with polio is at risk for paralysis and death. Often, there is no cure for the paralysis. However, the battle to eradicate polio has already begun. In actuality, polio was declared eradicated in the US forty years ago. Many people are therefore immune to the virus.

Read Also: Monkeypox is Now a Global Health Emergency Following Declaration from WHO

Even though this is the case, many people still have incomplete or no vaccinations. Even though the national vaccination rate in the US is 93%, the CDC team warns that Rockland County only has a rate of 60%, and this is where the first recurrence of the poliovirus was confirmed.

The CDC is currently developing potential interventions to stop the polio virus from spreading. Now, additional vaccinations are being given to both adults and children. This is what the health department of the nation is doing in London as well.

The problem with the current polio virus

The polio case in Rockland County is the first known instance of the virus in decades, per CDC data. Additionally, the virus that has been genetically linked to the strain of the Rockland County patient has made its way into both the county’s and Orange County’s sewage systems. Thankfully, health authorities have not found the virus outside of these places.

The poliovirus might not show any symptoms. In fact, according to the CDC, 3 out of every 4 infected people don’t exhibit overt symptoms of having the virus. Polio-positive people who do so might experience headache and sore throat. However, given that these are typical signs of other illnesses, some people may decide against getting checked at all.

The infection causes paralysis in one out of every 200 infected people. Since their respiratory systems are impaired, the majority of these people pass away.

Read Also: President Joe Biden is Positive for Covid-19, White House announced

Citizens need to know the basics about polio

According to a vaccine educator, the CDC needs to find alternative ways to inform the public about polio, particularly those without internet access. The educator said, “We spoke about the need for messaging that resonates, and a press release is not going to cut it.”

Many people continue to refute the notion of vaccination, even as the necessity of immunizing and educating becomes clear. However, according to Dr. Mary Leahy, CEO of Bon Secours Charity Health System, there are strategies to convince people to get the vaccine for themselves and their kids.

“I turn to the grandparents and the great-grandparents who actually lived through the days of polio in the ’40s and ’50s. I grew up in Mexico. I saw this disease, the complications. I went to school with children that had braces.”

“I think most of the American public has never seen a case of polio. People have lost that fear, if you will, of the disease.”

Source: CNN

Shell CEO to Step Down From Post, New CEO named by Selection Board

Photo Credit: Shell

Ben van Beurden, the current CEO of the oil corporation Shell, has announced that he will step down from his position at the end of the year. Beurden has been working as the CEO of the business for about ten years. Wael Sawan, who now serves as the department’s director of integrated gas, renewable energy, and energy solutions, will take over on January 1 of the following year.

The information was released in response to suspicions that Shell planned to change its leadership. The change is verified by the announcement. The changes won’t happen right now, though, because the corporation will still be run for at least three more months by van Beurden, the present CEO.

The Shell Board Succession Committee reportedly met frequently recently to plan van Beurden’s retirement. According to sources, the committee has also talked about his potential replacement.

Read Also: Job Market is Robust in August Report Exceeding Economists’ Expectations

The new leadership

Wael Sawan has been employed by Shell for more than 25 years and will take over as the next business leader in 2023. The Lebanese-Canadian national has experience in departments that deal especially with downstream retail and commercial developments.

“I’m looking forward to channeling the pioneering spirit and passion of our incredible people to rise to the immense challenges and grasp the opportunities presented by the energy transition,” Sawan said.

He went on to say that it is an honor to succeed van Beurden as the company’s CEO and that he will work hard to take it to new heights.

“We will be disciplined and value-focused as we work with our customers and partners to deliver the reliable, affordable and cleaner energy the world needs,” he said.

The retiring CEO

Recently, Shell’s stock increased 0.7%, contributing to the 40% increase in the company’s share price since the year’s commencement.

Van Beurden, now 64, started working for the firm in 1983 and has since contributed significantly. He was appointed CEO in 2014. He served as a director in several Shell divisions before his executive appointment, including the department of chemicals and refining.

Read Also: TikTok is a Music Industry Trendsetter, Helping New Artists

After negotiating a $53 billion acquisition transaction with major rival BG Group under his direction, Shell made the largest acquisition of the corporation in 2016. Nevertheless, Van Beurden continued to operate his cool despite the epidemic’s difficulties.

“It has been a privilege and an honor to have served Shell for nearly four decades and to lead the company for the past nine years,” said the CEO.

“I am very proud of what we have achieved together. I have great confidence in Wael as my successor. He is a smart, principled and dynamic leader, who I know will continue to serve Shell with conviction and dedication.”

Van Beurden might continue to serve as a Board advisor for the organization through June 2023, according to Shell. He will no longer be an employee of the firm after that time.

Source: CNBC

Pope Francis will Fight Abuse by Priests, Clergy, ‘Zero Tolerance’ will be Shown

Photo Credit: Reuters

Pope Francis, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, declared that he is focused on completely abolishing the abuse cases surrounding the Roman Catholic priests.

The Pontiff continued, saying that he is in charge of carrying out this mission because he leads the Church, which does not promptly punish those who abuse children and other individuals. Now, the Pope wants to have “zero tolerance” for violence. Francis stated that an abuser could not continue to serve as a priest.

Priestly sex abuse and how the Roman Catholic Church reacts to it have been a major topic of discussion since his election as Pope of the largest religion in the world by number. Francis admits that every case he discovers “hurts” him because it makes him seriously question how someone who put on the mask of service to the community and God could perpetrate such vile acts.

Since Francis became Pope in 2013, numerous instances and reports of priests abusing children sexually have already occurred. Systemic flaws, carelessness, and cover-ups, however, go hand in hand with it and not only strike fear in Catholics but also damage Francis’ admirable position as Pope of the Church.

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Eradicating the abuse by church officials

For his responses to cases of sexual abuse, Francis has already drawn criticism on several occasions. An alleged cover-up of a sex scandal by a Chilean bishop, for instance, in 2018 raised many red flags. Many people who have long hated the institutionalized defense of abusers within a powerful institution were outraged when Pope Francis stood up for the accused.

However, Francis later expressed disappointment for his “grave error” in front of the public and made system-wide changes to ensure it didn’t occur again. The Pope subsequently abrogated the Vatican’s rules that require secrecy in cases of sexual abuse. He also made improvements to the system that allow quicker resolution of such cases.

A high-ranking church official hadn’t taken such a risk in forty years when Francis made another audacious move two years after the revision. According to an order from Pope Francis, bishops are to act swiftly and fairly when dealing with clergy who abuse minors and adults. Francis also emphasized in the order the importance of punishing cases of fraud and ordaining women.

“I don’t deny the abuse. Even if it was only one [case], it is monstrous. Because you, priest, you, nun, have to take that boy, that girl to God, and with this, you destroy their lives. It’s monstrous. It is destroying lives. And then they come to you with questions. Could it be that celibacy is to blame]? It’s not about celibacy,” Pope Francis said.

“This is one thing about abuse; it is a destructive thing, humanly diabolical.”

“In families, there is no celibacy and all that, and, sometimes, it happens. So, it is simply the monstrosity of a man or woman of the Church who is psychologically ill or evil and uses their position for their personal satisfaction.”

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The Pontiff’s take on the Ukraine and Russia war

According to the Pope, in a media interview, he received calls from Russia and Ukraine. Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, spoke with Francis over the phone. The Pope, however, withheld their topic of discussion.

“I had a dialogue with both of them. They both visited me here before the war. And I always believe that in dialogue, we always move forward,” claimed the Pope. “You know who doesn’t know how to talk? Animals. They are pure instinct.”

The world treats the Pope with great respect, so when he stated that the death of Russian political pundit Darya Dugina was one of the “innocent” victims of war, Kyiv was perturbed.

In order to voice their displeasure with Francis’ claim, which “equates the aggressor and the victim,” the Foreign Ministry called the Apostolic Nuncio to Ukraine, Archbishop Visvaldas Kulbokas.

In order to assist the leaders in finding a diplomatic resolution to their conflict, the Pope implied that he might meet with Moscow and Kyiv. Francis will make history if he visits Moscow as the first pope and the first to visit Kyiv in more than 20 years.

Source: CNN

Highland Park Shooter Received License at 19, Father Claims Not to Be Involved with Plans of the Shooting

Independence Day in Highland Park, Illinois, ended on a bleak note when a gunman opened fire during the parade.

The shooting left 31 victims injured while seven were reported dead in Highland Park

A manhunt followed, leading to the arrest of a 21-year-old suspect who was arrested and charged with seven first-degree killings. The Lake County state attorney also shared that the shooter could face a “dozen more” indictments.

Robert Crimo Jr, the suspect’s father, said he and his son were discussing another mass shooting the day before. The shooting at a shopping mall in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The Copenhagen shooting they discussed occurred on June 3 when a 22-year-old Dane killed three people and injured many more.

“He goes, ‘Yeah, that guy is an idiot,'” recalled the father. “That’s what he said.”

Robert Crimo III, the Independence Day shooter, also said. The people who commit mass shootings give people more reasons to call for stricter gun policies.

People are criticizing the father for sponsoring Crimo’s firearms owner’s ID card when the killer was 19, according to officials. However, the father insists he was not involved in the mass shooting. 

It is also unclear whether the suspect would have needed to renew his license when he turned 21.

In a lawsuit against the gunman, Crimo’s parents sought the help of attorney Steve Greenberg. Infamous for defending R&B singer and sexual predator R. Kelly.

“I don’t know how much worse it could get then you wake up in the morning and a few hours. You realize that someone that you’ve loved. Nurtured all their lives has done such a terrorific act. Done It to people that you love and respect,” Greenberg told ABC7 on Wednesday.

“This isn’t the parent’s fault. This is the fault of the young man. Who was allowed by the system that’s out there to buy military-grade assault rifles.”

The lawyer also discussed an incident in 2019. Wherein the police were called to investigate a possible threat from Crimo. They involved the seizure of a collection of knives.

“The police investigated. They didn’t perceive there was any great threat . They returned these knives to the family just a few hours later,” said Greenberg. “And there were no other incidents. So we’re three years later now.”

Powell says Feds will Carry on with their Task of Thwarting Inflation

Photo Credit: Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

Jerome Powell, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, reaffirmed his commitment to fighting inflation at a conference held on Thursday. He pledged to use aggressive policy implementation and mitigation measures to minimize the consequences of the nation’s economic downturn.

Experts and other government representatives came together to analyze fiscal issues of crucial national relevance at the Cato Institute’s 40th Annual Monetary Conference.

During the conference, Powell aanounced, “The Fed has, and accepts, responsibility for price stability. We need to act right now — forthrightly, strongly.”

Since then, Powell has made known the strong actions the Fed will undertake while he is Chairman. The Federal Reserve is preparing the public for the expected rise in commodity prices, which might change individuals’ spending, income, and investment patterns. He made this announcement in a speech at the Jackson Hole annual conference last month.

According to Powell, the general population could believe that increased inflation in the nation is the norm. He argued that the ineffective attempts by the government to regulate market pricing may have contributed to this mentality. Powell concludes that the Fed’s delay and resistance to enact more substantial restrictions that would have halted the nation’s spiraling prices are to blame.

Vice Chairwoman of the Federal Reserve Lael Brainard concurs with Powell’s assertion that consumers already view inflation as a common occurrence. “It is especially important to guard against the risk that households and businesses could start to expect inflation to remain above 2% in the longer run,” Brainard said.

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Rate hikes most likely

A rise in the basis points that the Fed will set during its policy meeting this month is already anticipated by many investors. Their forecast is for a basis increase of at least 75 points. Moreover, the rise is most likely to occur even if the upcoming releases of the Producer Price Index and Consumer Price Index are better than what was forecasted.

“Their message is that we should expect them to remain in restrictive policy mode even after we start to see inflation data head in the right direction,” He went to pretty extensive lengths to dispel assumptions of any pivot coming forward soon,” Globalt Investments portfolio manager Keith Buchanan said.

The Fed has already been criticized for underplaying the impending inflation months ago. However, senior agency staff members have apologized to the public and stated that they have learned from their blunder and will work to mitigate its repercussions.

“It would be sufficient for them to acknowledge that the near-term rate is trending in the right direction, but, definitely, they should not allow that to [influence] their trajectory. The real dilemma is, how much good data do they need in hand before they pause?” said deputy chief investment officer from Hirtle Callaghan Brad Conger.

Read Also: TikTok is a Music Industry Trendsetter, Helping New Artists

 More work is needed from the Fed

The potential of low unemployment seems to worsen the central bank’s existing problems, aside from the other ones it is currently facing. The United States now has its lowest jobless rate in fifty years. In addition, Loretta Mester, president of the Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank, stated that the country’s main economic concern right now is inflation.

“Given current rates of inflation, I believe that the Fed has more work to do in order to get inflation under control. This will entail further rate increases to tighten financial conditions,” Mester stated.

Powell highlighted the need to take these factors into account during the conference last month.

“Our responsibility to deliver price stability is unconditional. While higher interest rates, slower growth, and softer labor market conditions will bring down inflation, they will also bring some pain to households and businesses,” the Chairman said.

“The longer the current bout of high inflation continues, the greater the chance that expectations of higher inflation will become entrenched.”

Source: CNN

Quiet Quitting is Becoming a Trend Among Employees, Managers Should Know About it

Photo Credit: TIME

The pandemic has worried many businesses and undeniably caused harm to executives and workers for more than two years. This led to the rise of the latest trend on TikTok, the quiet quitting, which can be attributed to long work hours, stress, and understaffed businesses.

The phrase has been interpreted a lot of times incorrectly. Others believe it simply refers to quitting a job or to employees doing the bare minimum at their current positions. But according to leadership coach Kathy Caprino, it is neither.

“It’s about stopping doing work that people think is beyond what they were hired to do and not getting compensated for,” she said.

Employees should still perform the task for which they are compensated to a high standard, but they should refrain from taking on tasks outside their position’s scope because doing so will only increase long-term stress.

“While I was in my 9-to-5 job, I was still working my 40 hours a week. I was still fulfilling my job duties. I was just taking away that feeling of stress I had,” a consultant said.

Read Also: Ford Motor said it Will Reduce Company Costs by Removing 3,000 Individuals from its Workforce

A drastic shift during the pandemic

The pandemic has increased the frequency of employees accepting tasks for which they are not paid. In addition, many business executives gave their remaining employees new responsibilities due to the massive layoffs and unexpected changes in the environment brought on by the lockdown.

Chris Edmonds, CEO of The Purposeful Culture Group, claimed that the employers’ insistence on going back to the in-person system also caused the employees to become frustrated. According to a survey conducted in March 2022, only 24% of American employees believe their managers are concerned about their wellbeing.

“It’s on [managers] to genuinely and authentically understand where people are coming from. One of the things [supporting] innovation is … radical prioritization by employees and managers and leaders,” Simone Ahuja said, a Fortune 500 strategic consultant.

What is quiet quitting

Quiet qutting basically means letting go of the extra tasks that were never part of your original job description. Although there is no justification for people to be ‘quitting quietly,’ most employees believe that given the current circumstances, pandemic-related burnout might be the issue driving the trend.

According to Ashley Herd, the creator of ManagerMethod.com, employees find it difficult to open up and inform managers that they are exhausted from their jobs. Herd added that managers typically say they will act, but nothing actually happens. Consequently, employees decide to ‘quietly quit.’

“[Quiet quitting may be an employee’s way of] taking control and having boundaries. However, managers should be concerned if their expectation is for people to go above and beyond constantly. It doesn’t serve anyone if you burn out,” Herd said.

It might also imply that workers have established new priorities outside of work. It wouldn’t necessarily mean that the worker would stop performing well. Ahuja continued by saying that many people seek an identity more than the job they are paid to do. Again, this results from the pandemic-caused desire to live life to the fullest.

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What managers should do

Although there isn’t a single solution to an employee quitting quietly, it’s crucial to understand what your team is contemplating. Ahuja recommended that managers have a clear understanding of each employee’s objectives both inside and outside the workplace.

“Have a genuine inquiry — people feel cared about when they’re invited into a co-design process. Ultimately, we all want to be in a sandbox that’s fun to play in.”

“If you don’t understand the internal state of your employees, things are going to happen that you’re going to be blindsided by. We have to show that we are committed as leaders, that we’re involved and that we’re invested.”

Edmonds continued by saying that managers should interact with staff members and foster a sense of community. “The responsibility of employers is to find out what people perceive as fair, then don’t do anything less than that.”

Source: CNN

The Eco-Friendly Alternative of Avocado, the ‘Ecovocado’

Photo Credit: Arina Shokouhi

One of the most traded foods today is avocado, sometimes known as “green gold” by the global market. The numerous uses of its components have led to a growth in its appeal. According to the World Economic Forum, consumers purchase more than eleven billion pounds of avocados annually.

This shows that the avocado market is doing well. However, although the market for avocados is booming, the environment is being badly impacted. One drawback of cultivating avocados is this: Avocado growers need to consume at least 2,000 liters of water to produce one kilogram of avocados. In addition, as demand rises, businesses must concurrently destroy forests to make room for avocado farms. These two reasons have persuaded a London-based researcher to come up with a novel strategy for reducing the need for avocado production.

Researcher and designer Arina Shokouhi created an environmentally friendly variant of avocado. With her new invention, which she named the “Ecovocado,” Shokouhi intends to persuade consumers to forego purchasing “genuine avocadoes” from the market, given the damaging effects that their cultivation has on the environment.

“It can be actually a positive solution, and we should just embrace it because we know that we can’t carry on living like this,” Shokouhi said.

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The Ecovocado

At first appearance, customers find it challenging to recognize the Ecovocado as a model of the real one. Beeswax and natural food coloring created from spinach and charcoal powders, which mimic the appearance of avocado skin, is used to create the product.

The Ecovocado’s meat is meticulously chosen to replicate the flavor and appearance of an authentic avocado. The Ecovocado meat, according to the manufacturer, contains broad beans, apples, cold-pressed rapeseed oil, and a hazelnut garnish. Shokouhi utilized a whole chestnut or hazelnut for the pit.

The end outcome of Shokouhi’s master’s program in Material Futures at Central Saint Martins art school is the Ecovocado. She worked with University of Nottingham food scientist Jack Wallman. Wallman assisted Shokouhi in completing the Ecovocado after studying the molecular characteristics of avocados. The method was laborious, according to the researchers, and it took them close to eight months to finish the recipe.

“(The) choice of ingredients was very limited, to begin with, because I want it to be 100% local. That was my first priority,” she added.

Garden peas and broccoli were previous recipe considerations. Nevertheless, she had to abandon it because the ingredients’ taste did not turn out nicely. Shokouhi’s idea to employ locally produced commodities as the primary ingredients were taken into account. Since broad beans are simple to grow and are produced in large quantities in the UK each year (740,000 metric tons are harvested annually), broad beans were chosen as their basic ingredient.

The outcome initially had a bitter flavor. But balancing the elements took a while. According to Wallman and Shokouhi, developing the ideal substitute for avocados is difficult.

Read Also: Temperatures in Europe Reach Records High Prompting Authorities to Declare Heat Signals, Warnings

Ecovocado might not equate to the real one

The Ecovocado is a product that shows promise. Others in the field, though, find a drawback to the product. The Ecovocado might not succeed as a substitute for an actual avocado, according to Dr. Wayne Martindale, an associate professor of food insights and sustainability at the University of Lincoln in the UK.

Dr. Martindale examines the qualities of avocado byproducts that can be used to make cutlery, lubricants, and other useful goods. Furthermore, he added that authorities’ moderation should be the main concern in the environmental debate over the avocado trade rather than the method of production.

Shokouhi hopes that despite this, people would think and consider supporting the Ecovocado.

“The taste maybe is not 100% exactly like avocado, but that doesn’t matter as an alternative as long as you can have it on your sourdough, and it tastes good, and it looks the same, and it’s healthy,” she said.

Source: CNN

Many Afghan Women Deal with Hunger Every Day

Photo Credit: CNN

Shakeela Rahmati is one of many women who painstakingly take daily trips in search of alms. Shakeela lives in a neighborhood situated on the hills above the province of Kabul.

She takes a long walk with other women for three hours to the nearest city. With each trip, the women hope for the best – that they can feed themselves and their children when they return home.

The guarantee of Shakeela and her other companion getting what they hope for is left for chance as it relies on the customers who frequent the bakery where the women station themselves. The bakery is only one of few in Kabul where women are allowed to ask for alms from buyers.

“Sometimes we eat dinner, sometimes we don’t. The situation has been bad for three years, but this last year was the worst. My husband tried to go to Iran to work, but he was deported,” said Shakeela.

Half of Afghanistan faces acute hunger, reported the United Nations. In a report done last May by the International Rescue Committee (IRC), 43% of the country only eats one meal per day, while 90% of the population of Afghanistan listed food as their primal need. According to Afghans, the dismal conditions of the country can be traced back to the initial effects of the Taliban rule, which caused the country significant damage to the economy and government.

The Taliban froze over $9 billion of funds from the central bank, as well as imposed sanctions on trade and foreign affairs. Eighty percent of Afghanistan’s yearly budget comes from the aid of foreign countries, and under Taliban rule, these aids were blocked.

The isolation of Afghanistan under the Taliban rule

“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan wants positive and peaceful relationships with the world,” said the Taliban government in one of its declarations. However, many think that the promise made by the governing Taliban party is not being fulfilled as the current conditions of the country show the opposite.

One year after the Taliban governed the country, much of the funds coming from foreign countries are still frozen. Moreover, the Afghan government is under pressure because of its policies that have marginalized women and minorities. For instance, the government has banned secondary education for girls.

The government has promised to repeal the policy, but until now, it has not been honored yet. To add more salt to injury, Haibatullah Akhundzada, the supreme leader of the Taliban, said that they would make their own rules. According to experts, this is pushing back on international relations.

“The fact of the matter remains that the United States is trying to find moral justifications for the collective punishment of the people of Afghanistan, by freezing the assets and by levying sanctions on Afghanistan as a whole,” said Abdul Qahar, the foreign ministry spokesperson told the reporters.

“I do not believe that, that any conditions should be stipulated on the release of funds that do not belong to me, that did not belong to the previous administration, that did not belong to the governments before it. This is the collective money of the people of Afghanistan,” he added.

What the US has to say

Even with the clear reluctance of the Afghan government to receive aid from foreign countries, the US still sent $1 bn worth of aid through the World Bank.

“That’s an example of an area where we’re going to want to continue to have pragmatic dialogue with the Taliban. “We’re going to talk to them about humanitarian aid access, about measures that we believe can enhance the country’s macroeconomic stability,” said a senior State Department official.

The funding and continued commitment of the US to help Afghanistan should help its communities. However, many economists and experts say that it is not enough because of the policies imposed by the Taliban, freezing its funds and foreign aid.

“These policies are putting women at risk here. In the name of feminist policies, we are seeing women die of hunger,” said the International Rescue Committee director in Afghanistan, Vicki Aken.

Source: CNN

Netflix Plans to Boost Revenue Through Ads and Crackdown on Password Sharing

Photo Credit: Netflix

Netflix’s subscriber loss in the past months was considered to be their most since inception. Established 25 years ago, Netflix recorded a total of 1 million loss of subscribers, but they managed it and are now gearing up for a better strategy. This will boost sales as well as get more subscribers.

Netflix is doing something that Wall Street has commended – lowering advertising costs and tightening up on password sharing among its subscribers.

Netflix has been struggling with issues that keep them from growing. To compete, they need to crack down on password sharing and address several problems that hinder them from maximizing profit. However, according to analysts, these steps may brush off the company’s promise of the ‘best overall experience.’

A media analyst at MoffettNathanson, said, “They’re going to make it harder for people to share with their family, make it hard for people to watch in multiple locations… If you choose it, have advertising interrupt your content.”

Read Also: Manchin-Schumer Bill to Increase Corporate Tax Rates, Gets Full Support from Biden

“So the original consumer proposition, which was incredibly great value, is now flipping on its head,” the media analyst further added.

Netflix has a great plan to boost their profit, but it’s not what consumers necessarily want.

Ads will now appear on Netflix

“We … are advertising free. That remains a deep part of our brand proposition,” announced the streaming company three years ago.

The company has always been known for its top-notch content. They believe that by staying out of the competition in terms of advertising revenue and focusing more on consumer satisfaction will make them the best choice.  

Just recently, Netflix is getting on board with Microsoft in the creation of its ad tier. The new project will be launched early next year and it’s said that this decision was based off research done by both companies, which showed immense potential for ad revenues.

The new plan will force subscribers to choose between plans that do not show ads and those with them. It’s worth noting, however, that the former option is significantly pricey than its counterpart.

Magid Vice President Zak Shaik, said, “The concern I have over an ad-funded model is whether ad revenue can cover the loss in premium subscriber revenue, as a portion of the current subs will likely downgrade to the cheaper ad option.”

Shaikh then posed questions to Netflix. “Will ads have an impact on content standards and the supposedly ‘artist-friendly’ environment of Netflix?”

“Will advertisers expect Netflix to censor certain content that right now Netflix has not had to be concerned about?”

Password sharing will be cracked down

The company has been seeing an increase in the number of subscribers who share their passwords. They’re considering cracking down on this, but it might have some negative consequences for the company.

The streaming company is in its “early stages of working to monetize the [more than] 100 million households that are currently enjoying, but not directly paying for, Netflix.” This means that password sharing would mean higher costs for the subscribers.

Read Also: Poland Procures Defense Machineries from South Korea

Subscribers who have been sharing their accounts with friends, families and acquaintances would find it difficult to continue doing so. “We know this will be a change for our members,” the company said in a statement.

Netflix has been tolerant of password sharing for years. This is because of the company’s needs of subscribers to pay, if only as a means of keeping operations afloat and maintaining its profitability, did they start on cracking down on password sharing.  

“What I worry about is that the goodwill that they’ve built over the years … dissipates over time when they do things that should be more consumer-unfriendly. All the incredible value and goodwill that they built is at risk of being jeopardized,” a media analyst said.

Source: CNN

Apple is Set to Unveil New Devices this September

Photo Credit: Apple Inc.

Apple declared that it would introduce new products on September 7 at its California headquarters. As Apple prepares to release another batch of iPhones, tech-savvy people are on the lookout. Every September since 2012, the company has released new smartphone models, and this year is no exception.

Apple has been releasing prerecorded videos for its device announcements due to the pandemic. This year would be different, though, as the business gets ready for a physical setup. A large number of tech enthusiasts and members of the media would be invited to the headquarters for the launch, while others could watch it online via YouTube or the Apple website.

The world has always paid attention to Apple during this time. A signature Apple event, the company’s September event draws at least millions of people. The leading technology company’s event, which generated a lot of hype, is what drives its yearly increase in revenue in the final three months.

Apple’s chosen tagline is “Far out.” There are many different ideas about what this entails. Others think it might be a reference to the updated camera from the company that has features for taking clearer photographs of the night sky.

Apple Watches and iPhones are typically released once a year. A month later, new versions of the iPad and Mac will be released. Tech enthusiasts have therefore been on the lookout for any potential surprises that Apple may have in store for its prospective customers as August draws to a close.

Read Also: Ford Motor said it Will Reduce Company Costs by Removing 3,000 Individuals from its Workforce

New versions of the iPhone

Apple is anticipated to introduce a new line of smartphones, the iPhone 14, following the 2021 iPhone 13. Analysts speculate that the company may have abandoned the “mini” models in favor of the 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch screens that are common among Apple’s iPhone Pro and Pro Max models.

The Pro and Pro Max models would cost more than their other equivalent. However, according to Bloomberg News and Apple Watchers, the upcoming models will reportedly include newer features.

The FaceID sensor and camera are located in the notch that is present on later models of the iPhone. Apple may eliminate the space this year, allowing for a larger screen and nearly bezel-less screen. The iPhone 14 Pro models might also come with the A16 processor and cameras with bigger bumps.

The always-on display that shows the time and weather is an even more recent feature, though it is not new to Android phones. Given that Apple appears to have tested adding a new widget to its display, the iPhone 14 may very well include this.

The price range for iPhones will continue to be between $699 and $1099 in the interim. Of course, since Apple hasn’t disclosed the prices of its devices for the September launch, this range could change.

Read Also: Quiet Quitting is Becoming a Trend Among Employees, Managers Should Know About it

The new iOS

The iOS 16 version of Apple’s operating system would be released. The company tested the system in June of last year, and over the summer, it underwent system checks and improvements. Updates will still be provided for older iPhone models.

Users of iOS 16 can take advantage of new features like the ability to customize the iPhone lock, which enables owners to choose which widgets, including the weather, calendar, appointments, and other data, will appear on the screen. For the first time, users had the option to alter the clock’s font.

Additionally, iMessages can now be edited and unsent. For those who consistently mess up when sending an important message or a love confession, this is convenient.

The release of the new iPads and Macs won’t take place at the same time as the iPhones and Apple Watch, as Apple stated that the iOS for their iPads would arrive after the September event. As they have already hinted at a potential Mac Pro in the spring, the company is accelerating the completion of its other products.

Source: CNBC

Ford Motor said it Will Reduce Company Costs by Removing 3,000 Individuals from its Workforce

Photo Credit: Getty Images

As part of its restructuring process, Ford Motor Company confirmed that it would remove over 3,000 individuals from its global workforce. It was made public by CEO Jim Farley.

On Monday, the business began attempting to inform its workers of the need to reduce some of their workforces. According to a message from Bill Ford, the company’s chairman, two thousand salaried positions and 1,000 agency workers from the United States, Canada, and India would be subject to the massive layoff.

“Building this future requires changing and reshaping virtually all aspects of the way we have operated for more than a century. It requires focus, clarity and speed. And, as we have discussed in recent months, it means redeploying resources and addressing our cost structure, which is uncompetitive versus traditional and new competitors,” the message read.

Ford made this decision in connection to the inevitable economic crisis being felt by nations around the world. Only by making these difficult but necessary choices will the company be able to continue operating. The company will have to cut costs and reduce the number of employees. At its peak, the recession is pushing to shatter all previous records in over 40 years.

Ford declared that it had a surplus of employees prior to the announcement. In addition, Ford has been restructuring, as seen in the separation of its internal combustion and electric departments.

A Ford spokesperson said, “There are opportunities to be more efficient and more effective in all the business units and all the functions that support them.”

Read Also: The Eco-Friendly Alternative of Avocado, the ‘Ecovocado’

The total workforce of Ford

Ford employs roughly 31,000 salaried personnel in just North America. The company currently employs 186,769 people worldwide. 90,873, or 48.7% of those numbers, are based in the United States.

Ford implemented its Ford+ reorganization when Farley became CEO in October 2020. Around $3 billion in structural spending would be reduced as a result of the program, which would then be reallocated as funds to the commercial and electric vehicles departments.

“We worked differently than in the past, examining each team’s shifting work statement connected to our Ford+ plan. We are eliminating work, as well as reorganizing and simplifying functions throughout the business,” the company message added.

Adding to the overall 27% share decline this year alone, Ford’s stocks fell by 5% on Monday.

Read Also: Factories in China Shut Operations Amid Worst Heat Wave in Decades

The tourism and technology industries have suffered

The business environment following the pandemic has changed significantly, according to Julia Pollak, the chief economist at ZipRecruiter. The number of businesses that have consistently changed how they approach hiring, marketing, and restructuring is evidence of this. Numerous employers are currently attempting to undo their previous actions.

According to Pollak, “The pandemic created very unique, once-in-a-lifetime conditions in many different industries that caused a dramatic reallocation of capital. Many of those conditions no longer apply so you’re seeing a reallocation of capital back to more normal patterns.”

Executives are doubtful about the state of the economy because inflation has reached a 40-year high. The Feds have taken all reasonable steps to lessen the difficulties; however, recent happenings in politics, the weather, and international conflict have added to the already pressing issues brought on by the pandemic.

The company executive of Alphabet, Sunday Pichai, said, “It’s clear we are facing a challenging macro environment with more uncertainty ahead. We should think about how we can minimize distractions and really raise the bar on both product excellence and productivity.”

Joseph Fuller, professor of management at the Harvard Business School, said, “When we look at labor shortages related to travel, you can’t just flip a switch and suddenly have more baggage handlers that have passed security checks or pilots. We’re still seeing people not opt-in to come back because they don’t like what their employers are dictating in terms of working conditions in a post-lethal pandemic world.”

Source: CNBC

The Netflix Effect: A Reason Why More Western Women are Traveling to South Korea

Photo Credit: The Korean Herald

Min Joo Lee is a researcher who studies gender and race politics in Korea. Lee is currently having her postdoctoral at Indiana University Bloomington, where she aims to understand the rise of Korean pop culture and its influence on tourism.

At first, Lee observed that many Western women stay indoors and spend most of their time there, as opposed to other women of different origins who take a massive interest in taking tours across the spots in South Korea. However, Lee said that Asian counterparts of these women maximize their time roaming the cities and corners of South Korea if only to experience the picturesque areas that South Korea has to offer.

Most of the days, Western women in South Korea, Lee said, stay inside their hotels and watch Korean TV shows. They only come outside at night. The behavior piqued Lee’s interest, so she interviewed several of these women to find out why they acted as they did.

After coming across 123 women living in 8 different hostels, mostly North Americans and Europeans, Lee has concluded that these women came to South Korea because of the “Netflix effect.”

What is the Netflix effect?

Over the years, South Korean dramas have grown in popularity. The entertainment industry of the country has penetrated the global populace. Many South Korean personalities and productions have gained traction in the United States, earning nominations and awards for performances, movies, and music. The Korean pop culture’s influence has become even more potent because of streaming giants gaining access to dramas like “Crash Landing on You” and “Goblin.”

According to Lee, these dramas have sold more than the men of South Korea, their beautiful faces or their striking bodies. The dramas have depicted the country as a place where romantic, patient, and soft men reside. The characteristics of the men in South Korea, as projected in much of South Korean dramas, are opposite of the sex-driven dating culture of the West.

Because Europeans and Americans gain access to these shows via Netflix, Lee has termed this phenomenon the “Netflix effect.”

Read Also: South Korea’s SK Group to Invest $22 Billion to US

What the women think of South Korean men

When Lee interviewed the women, most of them often told of their fascination with the characteristics of South Korean men. According to them, the men in South Korea tend to express their emotions and are willing to ’embrace their effeminate sides.’ These are characteristics that are not often found among Western men, says the interviewees.

For instance, Grace Thornton, a 25-year-old gardener from the UK, went to Seoul last year after she finished the K-drama “Crash Landing on You” on Netflix. She noted that when she arrived in Seoul, men did not catcall her on the street. However, when compared to her home country, men would have jeered at her if she walked across a group of men, Thornton said.

Thornton added that South Korean men are “gentlemen, polite, charming, romantic, fairytale-like, chivalrous, respectful.” She is also amazed at how these men dress.

“(English men, in comparison) are half drunk, holding a beer, holding a dead fish,” Thornton said, referring to men using photos of themselves holding fish on a British dating site.

“In England, I’m very common looking and sound the same as everyone else. In Korea, I’m different, exciting and foreign. People pay attention to me. I felt special.”

Read Also: Italy’s Prime Minister Relinquishes Post, Parliamentary Dissolved

Temporary pleasure?

While many women think positively of South Korean men, some have come to understand that countries have both bad and good ones.

Mina, a student from Morocco, said that South Korean men depicted in the dramas were “respectful, good-looking, rich men who are protective of you.” However, that is entirely not the ones she came across during her travel to Busan in 2021.

“We are a temporary pleasure. Men are men; humans are alike everywhere,” she remarked. Mina recalled that when she went out, she was molested in a bar and sexually harassed by men in the street.

“They clearly see that not all Korean men are (perfect), but they just need an alternative to the disappointing dating market back in their home countries,” Lee said.

“They can’t really let go of it because they hope that the ideal dating relationships exist somewhere in the world.”

Source: CNN

Prices of US Homes Increase, Sales are Decreasing

Photo Credits: Daily Sabah

Last June, home prices in the US broke all previous records. Despite decreased sales of homes across the nation, the elevated home prices are still in place.

Due to buyers’ inability to afford the rising prices, home sales have been steadily declining for the past five months.

The average price rose by $416,000 over the previous month. The National Association of Realtors reports that the amount is 13.4% higher than the price from the previous year, marking the home price growth that has lasted for decades.

Sales have decreased while prices have gone up. In June of last year, fewer single-family homes, condos, co-ops, and townhomes were purchased. Sales were also at their lowest level since 2020 during that month. This makes sense given how the pandemic is affecting the economy.

The chief economist of the National Association of Realtors, Lawrence Yun, said, “Falling housing affordability continues to take a toll on potential homebuyers. Both mortgage rates and home prices have risen too sharply in a short span of time.”

The number of homes on the market increased, though, by 9.6% at the end of June.

“Finally, there are more homes on the market,” Yun said. “Homes priced right are selling very quickly, but homes priced too high are deterring prospective buyers.”

Read Also: China Reeling from the effects of Intense Heat

Affordability and Availability

The median home price in Miami increased the most from a year ago, by 40.1%, according to the NAR report. Nashville had a price increase of the same percentage (30.6%) as Orlando within a year.

It’s interesting to note that regions with the highest prices also saw a rise in the number of homes with lower prices. The most people were in Austin, then Phoenix, then Las Vegas.

Although the supply of homes has increased in many cities, prices should still be reduced, buyers are now being restrained by rising mortgage rates. Mortgage rates and rising inventory both influence the pace of home sales, according to Danielle Hale, chief economist at Realtor.com, but it’s unclear which factor has a greater influence.

“I expect affordability to be the bigger driver than availability moving forward,” Hale stated.

“Home shoppers continue to leverage workplace flexibility in looking for ways to reduce their housing costs — enacting their own, personal inflation-fighting plans. As mortgage rates and prices of other goods and services continue to climb, home shoppers are likely to become even more budget conscious. This is especially true if concerns about the strength of the job market — which has so far remained resilient – grow,” added Hale.

Read Also: South Korea’s SK Group to Invest $22 Billion to US

Swift market despite increase in prices

Even with these components, the market for purchases is still brisk. Within 14 days of being listed on the market, a property enters into a contract. The average duration last year was 17 days, but some people experienced 30 days.

“Whenever homes are listed, they are attracting buyers,” Yun said.

Yun hypothesizes that buyers may be taking advantage of the locked-in interest rate, which would explaine why buyers secure a property on the market more quickly.

“Mortgage rates have been trending higher,” Yun added. “Maybe buyers are trying to take advantage of a lower locked-in rate. That period is coming to an end quickly. They want to sign the contract and close the deal quickly.”

But according to Yun, the market’s quickness would only last a short while. Yun added that the housing shortage would become more evident in the future, despite the rising trend in inventory. This is as a result of builders’ declining interest in creating single-family homes and their preference for multifamily structures.

“I don’t foresee any oversupply coming, even as sales retreat,” Yun concluded.

Source: CNN

Companies have Rebranded their Skin-Whitening Products in the West, but Only in the West

Photo Credit: Adam Jones

Many skincare giants, including Pond’s, L’Oreal, Unilever, and Niea, have decided to stop using the terms “fairness” and “whitening” in their advertisements in response to the Black Lives Matter movement. Many businesses in the West have delivered on the promise. However, there are still many parts of the world where skin-whitening products are marketed with the idea that being white makes one beautiful.

Many businesses echoed the call when the Black Lives Matter movement gained traction in 2020. They quickly became the topic of conversation in the sector, with many well-known individuals and social scientists endorsing the developments.

Multinational corporations swiftly issued statements expressing their support for the movement in response to the call. However, customers have noticed contradictions between what the companies have said and their ongoing marketing strategy for skin-whitening products. Although customers contacted these businesses, corporate executives promised to change their branding.

In Asia and the Middle East, for instance, Johnson & Johnson informed the public that it would no longer sell skin-whitening products. L’Oreal announced that it would stop using the terms “fair” and “whitening” in relation to its products. In response to this change, Unilever renamed its product “Fair & Lovely” to “Glow & Lovely.”

Nivea’s owner, Beiersdorf AG, promised to deviate from the terms as well. The company stated in an interview that it would review its current product offerings and marketing plans in light of its commitment to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Despite their modest size, these actions represent the first steps taken by large corporations to lead the transformation of social perceptions of beauty. Whiteness or fairness has long been associated with success, happiness, and beauty.

In the US and Europe, these commitments are clear. In contrast, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia are a different story.

Read Also: Starbucks Employees Call for Extended Benefits

What persists in other countries

L’Oreal Singapore frequently promotes creams and serums with “powerful whitening” abilities. While its clients in India continue to market L’Oreal’s “White Activ” moisturizer.

The same thing happens in China and Japan, where several businesses use the words “white” and “beautiful” interchangeably in their product advertisements.

Additionally, it has been noted that Unilever’s website contains errors. Many have praised the US-based website for not using the word “whitening.” Unilever’s Spanish-language website still prominently displays “whitening,” though. This means that many skincare companies only changed the names of their products in the US, not elsewhere, especially in nations where the majority of the population has naturally tanned skin.

Even after changing its name from Fair & Lovely to Glow & Lovely, Unilever’s product still primarily uses light-skinned models for its advertising. The underlying message is still that white skin is more attractive than other skin tones. While promoting itself as a sunblock in the Philippines, Block & White still brags about its “5-in-1 Whitening Essentials.”

Read Also: Netflix Plans to Boost Revenue Through Ads and Crackdown on Password Sharing

Why the continued thrust in the Indo-Pacific region

According to Carlton University sociology professor Amina Mire, the desire to maximize profit is what prevents many skincare industry titans from altering their marketing approaches. Mire has been researching the skin-whitening market for more than 20 years, and she is aware that non-Western markets are “too lucrative” for these Western businesses to support the Black Lives Matter movement.

She said that Western markets would “not make any concessions — or at least very little concession — in the Asian market. They are cleaning up their websites … but on billboards and in their marketing, they know who their consumers are.”

The company’s hesitation frequently results from its knowledge that the majority of customers in the non-Western market are interested in skin-whitening products. According to Nivea, “Nivea products with whitening ingredients remain our biggest sellers throughout Asia.” This statement holds true for many other businesses that market to tan-skinned women in Southeast Asia and other Indo-Pacific regions.

Source: CNN

Matthew McConaughey speaks at the White House, calls for stricter gun laws

Image Source: Win McNamee/Getty Images

In light of the recent shootings across the United States. Actor Matthew McConaughey addresses the public in an emotional speech calling for enhanced gun relations. The recent shooting in Uvalde, Texas, is where McConaughey comes from.

The 22-minute speech features the actor teary-eyed and talking to the public. About how he had to see grieving families from his hometown while they prepared for the burial of their children.

“We heard from so many people: Families of the deceased, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, Texas Rangers, hunters, border patrol and responsible gun owners who won’t give up their Second Amendment rights. They all said, ‘We want secure and safe schools. We want gun laws that won’t make it so easy for the bad guys to get these damn guns.’”

The actor told the country’s lawmakers that they should draft a law increasing the age of individuals who can purchase guns from 18 to 21. He also said that the process should include background checks and other provisions.

McConaughey

McConaughey is well-known for his acting roles like “The Wedding Planner” and the Oscar-winning piece “Dallas Buyers Club.” But more than his primal acting prowess, McConaughey has also been vocal about the matter. He wrote an op-ed to The Austin American-Statesman, titling it “It’s Time to Act on Gun Responsibility.”

“I believe that responsible, law-abiding Americans have a Second Amendment right, enshrined by our founders, to bear arms. I also believe we have a cultural obligation to take steps toward slowing down the senseless killing of our children,” he said in the op-ed.

“There is no constitutional barrier to gun responsibility,” McConaughey added in the writeup. “Keeping firearms out of the hands of dangerous people is not only the responsible thing to do. It is the best way to protect the Second Amendment. We can do both.”

Meanwhile, president Joe Biden has since notified Congress to immediately create laws that would control and gatekeep gun ownership and use in the country.

Other politicians, including Sen. Chris Murphy, a well-known advocate on the matter, are working with Sen John Cornyn to push for tighter gun laws and to strengthen security inside schools.

Source: CNBC

Uber Gains Revenue Amid Worsening Inflation

Photo Credit: Damian Dovarganes

Uber posted higher revenues even with worsening inflation and gas supply disruptions. While much of the world is still recovering from the pandemic and facing the effects of the war between Ukraine and Russia, Uber is not showing signs of slowing down.

The company said Tuesday that the company’s revenue reached $ 8.1 million within three months to June. The figure is double the sales recorded a year earlier. According to Uber, this is mainly due to the fact that people. Now prefer to use travel services rather than public transport.

The number of users and drivers of the transport platform, according to Uber, are “at all-time highs. The firm reported approximately 122 million monthly users in its quarterly earnings report. In comparison to last year, this is an increase of 21%.

Furthermore, the company announced that it has now achieved positive cash flow. This means that the money coming into the company is greater than the money going out. Excluding capital expenditures such as property and physical assets. During the most recent quarter, the company received $382 million in cash flow.

However, Uber’s other investments turned out to be unsuccessful. According to records, the business lost $2.6 million on investments made in Grab and Didi and other travel-related businesses. Didi has suffered enormous losses as a result of the Chinese government’s. Incredibly tight regulations, which are imposed on it since it predominantly operates in China.

Read Also: Starbucks Employees Call for Extended Benefits

What happened during the pandemic

As the pandemic hit major cities, Uber became the best travel option for many commuters. However, the closure of many businesses. The enforcement of housework regulations have led to a drop in consumer demand for travel service providers. In contrast, online food delivery services have grown in popularity. This condition reduced demand for Uber’s Rides business and catapulted its Eats business.

Because of the growing popularity of online food delivery, Uber’s delivery service is constantly being updated. Indeed, the company announced its new grocery ordering services last month. While this is also a feature of Uber Eats. The new and improved service allows users to do advanced delivery scheduling, order tracking, and product replacement.

Dara Khosrowshahi, the CEO of Uber, said that the company “delivered balanced growth on a platform that’s larger than ever. With the number of consumers and earners using Uber now both at all-time highs.”

“No one wishes for a tough economic environment or elevated inflation that’s affecting so many of us. Including Uber drivers,” Khosrowshahi added. According to the company executive, Uber’s recent market position allows it to capitalize on its strengths.

This past Tuesday, shares of Uber increased by 15%.

Read Also: Gas Supply Shortage Lead European Governments to Invest in Drilling Gas

Economic crisis heavily affecting tech companies

Many companies in the technology industry have taken steps to cut costs. During the economic downturn, such as layoffs and hiring freezes.

Uber has also attempted to alter its strategy to fit the present economic climate.

“When we look at the competitive environment. This is the strongest we felt competitively globally since Nelson and I probably started here,” Khosrowshahi explained. Nelson Chai is Uber’s current CFO.

“Right now, the machine is working,” the CEO said. Citing the company’s success in enforcing discipline on its drivers so they can better serve their customers.

Uber recently revealed significant upgrades to its Upfront Fares function. Including an increase in the number of cities where it is available. This will provide Uber drivers with more knowledge about the locations of customers. Its drivers most frequently seek this option, according to Khosroshahi.

Source: CNN

Prices of a Pint of Beer in the UK Rises at Staggering Rates

Photo Credit: Daniel Leal-Olivas | AFP Getty Images

Customers have reacted as a result of the staggering 70 percent increase in the price of a pint of beer since 2018 in the UK. The rise in the commodity’s price is ahead of the global inflation that is currently being seen by other nations.

According to a survey by the consultancy CGA, the average price of a pint of beer increased from £2.30 in 2019 to £3.95 in 2022. However, prices may differ depending on where you are. Between 2021 and 2022, the average cost per print increased by 15 pence, representing a nearly 4-percent rise and the largest yearly price increase since 2008.

In one of the pubs in London, the CGA reported the highest price for a pint at £8.06. The northwest English county of Lancashire has the lowest national average, which comes in at £1.79 and is from a local retailer in the area.

Many UK countries are currently experiencing the effects of inflation. Inflation in the UK hit a record high of 9.4% in June, the highest level in more than 40 years. The condition has a significant impact on domestic food and service prices. This compelled the England Bank to increase interest rates last Thursday, making it the biggest increase since 1995.

Within the next two months, the inflation rate is expected to worsen and fluctuate around 13 percent. Business executives are worried about the present market and price volatility because most of them expect customers would decide to stay at home and save money for the impending economic crisis.

Read Also: Flight Attendants Say Summer Travel is the Worst Crisis

Consumers and suppliers are under pressure as the economy continues to deteriorate. Paul Bolton, a client director at GBA, claims that a number of things are to blame for the economy’s catastrophic situation. For instance, it has been challenging for businesses to survive due to a lack of staff, supply disruptions, debts associated with the pandemic, and inflation.

Supply is affected by poor supply

“The barley price has gone up and has doubled since 2021. There are two reasons for that: one is that the harvest in North America was really poor, driven by a poor climate, so there was not much inventory to start with – and then, of course, we had the Black Sea region conflict,” said a senior beverage analyst from Rabobank, Francois Sonneville.

When grain prices rise, farmers often grow additional crops the next year, according to Sonneville. This time, however, it turned out to be challenging because of the inflation,. Which caused the prices of farming resources to rise as well.

“Where our normal inflation is running at 8, 9%, (agricultural) inflation for our businesses is running somewhere over 22, 23%. That’s a function of obviously oil prices, fuel – our tractor diesel has gone up more than three times in price. Which is a lot more, relatively, than road fuel has gone up. A farm owner found in Suffolk, Richard Hirst, explained.

Hirst added, “Fertilizer costs will have tripled for next year. We’re buying fertilizer now three times what it was last year. Our chemical inputs are going up, and just the cost of running machinery. Whether it’s spare parts or actually just the cost of buying machinery itself. All that has gone up an awful lot more than the 9 or 10% of normal inflation.”

Read Also: Taiwan is not scared of China’s threats, Foreign Minister Says After Chinese Military Drills Continues

Consumer behavior is changing

According to Andy Wood, the CEO of a brewery and hotel business. There have been significant changes in consumer behavior as a result of the price changes.

“We’re certainly seeing people come out earlier in the evening. It having their drinks, having their dinner, and then they’re going back home,” Wood added.

“We’re seeing people perhaps having two courses rather than three courses. Perhaps having a glass of wine rather than a bottle of wine. So we are seeing some changes in consumer behavior, there is no doubt about that.”

Source: CNBC

Gas Supply Shortage Lead European Governments to Invest in Drilling Gas

Photo Credit: Stuart Conway/ Photographic Services

An island called Schiermonnikoog, located in the Netherlands is home to various species and rich sports beaches. The 10-mile-long island is known to be home to more than 300 species of birds, attracting millions of tourists every year. Due to its breathtaking scenery, it is considered as one of the most beautiful places in the country.

A new initiative, though, is currently underway and has the island’s authorities worried. The governments of Germany and the Netherlands joined together to develop gas fields 12 miles off Schiermonninkoog’s coastlines.

Mayor Ineke van Gent said to reporters after news of the project came out, “We are very concerned that the gas drilling will damage the area. We also believe that there is no need to drill [for] new gas at all and that we should invest much more in renewable energy.”

Shortage of gas

The project is yet another effort made by European nations to address the issue of the shortage of gas supplies following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Gas field developments will cover the German-Dutch territory.

The action highlights Europe’s desperate attempts to safeguard its gas supplies in the absence of supplies from Moscow. Despite the EU’s pledge to cut gas use by 15% by March 2023, the plan was implemented.

Possible price increases could result from a significant drop in supply and an uptick in demand. Further, this can result in expensive bills and outages.

Read Also: First Grain Export Since the Start of Ukraine-Russia War Out to Ease Supply Disruption

But scientists and environmentalists are dubious about the proposal. They claimed that the conflict between Ukraine and Russia is only a political ruse used by governments to launch initiatives that would ultimately make winters difficult and exacerbate the impacts of climate change.

Gas License

The gas field will begin producing gas in 2024, and the license will be valid until 2042. This would result in increased environmental damage.

Han Dolman of the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research said, “In principle, we need to get rid of all the fossil fuels, and we need to get rid of them very fast.”

“It’s not an immediate solution to anything [related to] the Russian gas crisis,” the director added.

ONE-Dyas, a company leading the project, justified that its research team has done enough research and consulted experts and stakeholders since 2018. They said that locally produced gas has a lower footprint than gas that is imported from abroad.

More gas supply needed

Russia has authoritatively implemented supply limits, while European nations showed their support for Ukraine during the conflict. The supply has been reduced by 20% of daily capacity by the state-owned gas company Gazprom.

Faith Birol, the executive director of the International Energy Agency, called the situation “perilous.” She told both companies and citizens that this year could see a long and difficult winter.

The IEA further stated that even if European nations filled 90% of their gas reserves, a supply issue would still exist next year if Russia continues to stop its exports.

Countries have been compelled by the situation to develop remedies by identifying alternate fuel sources and practicing supply management.

The government was forced to support the gas industry just to generate gas supplies despite its zero-carbon emission claims independently. Simply put, the circumstances demanded that extreme measures be employed.

Read Also: Starbucks Employees Call for Extended Benefits

“We’re turbocharging renewables and nuclear, but we are also realistic about our energy needs now. Said the secretary of the UK Business and Energy, Kwasi Kwarteng.

The initiative, however, is opposed by some. According to Tara Connolly, a campaigner with Global Witness in Brussels, the projects won’t be needed once they’re finished.

“Just before Ukraine, there was really a sense that Europe had enough gas infrastructure. Even in the event of a significant disruption,” Connolly said. “Now it’s really a different picture.”

The mayor of Schiermonnikoog stated that because the region is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is her responsibility to conserve it.

“My main concern is [the] sinking of the soil, which means that we also have problems with living on the water.”

Source: CNN

China Reeling from the effects of Intense Heat

Photo Credit: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

China is also suffering from the effects of the climate crisis. Frequent flooding and heavy rains causing landslides, and heatstroke, among others, are now what hardens the problem of the Chinese economy.

Weather emergencies have been frequenting one of the world’s most populous countries. It has been the call among the scientific community, and currently, China is feeling its effects.

The rainy season starting in May has brought many heavy downpours across several areas in China, causing floods and landslides. These have killed people and livestock and caused damage to property, amounting to billions of yuan.

In the Fujian province, weather bureaus have seen record-breaking rainfall, as well as in some parts of Guangdong and Guangxi provinces. Meanwhile, in the northern part of China, heat waves have started to develop, causing temperatures to rise up to 40 degrees Celsius.

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Over 64% of the Chinese population, of more than 900 million people, are feeling the effects of the extreme heat. In the northeastern region of China, only two provinces have not issued high-temperature warnings – the rest have declared warnings. Last Wednesday, 84 cities put down the highest-level red alerts.

71 weather stations in China have recorded temperatures that break former records. The National Climate Center registered temperatures reaching 44 degrees Celsius in four cities – one in Yunnan and three in the province of Hebei.

Heat makes Covid response even harder

The upsurge in the cases of Covid in the country is a pain in itself; the excruciating heat only exacerbates that problem of the citizens. Testing centers, jam-packed with people who want to get tested, are having a hard time accommodating individuals.

 At the same time, health workers equipped with full paraphernalia for their PPE suffer the most, especially since they are required to stay outdoors for a long time to cater to the queue.

 Many videos are circulating online showing frontliners collapsing due to the heat.

Power grids are also suffering from the effects of heat waves. Power shortages are also becoming more common. This has caused crop production to worsen, leading to an impending rise in food prices.

Yao Wenguang, an official from the Ministry of Water Resources, said that the problem is far from over.

“It is predicted that from July to August, there will be more extreme weather events in China, and regional flood conditions and drought conditions will be heavier than usual,” he said in a media interview.

Last August, the China Meteorological Administration published the latest Blue Book on Climate Change. The report revealed that China’s temperature is increasing faster than the global average.

From 1980 to 2020, the sea levels of China escalated faster than the global average. At the same time, the surface temperature of the country increases by 0.26 degrees Celsius every decade.

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Emeritus professor at the City University of Hong Kong, Johnny Chan, said, “We should be really concerned because these extreme weather events actually affect the most underprivileged, disadvantaged and vulnerable parts of the population — those in the rural areas, or those who don’t have air conditioning or live in very crowded conditions.”

Putting the damage in figures

Every year, natural disasters like cyclones, floods, and droughts incur damage to Chinese communities totaling $238 billion. According to the World Meteorological Organization, the figure is the highest in the Asia Pacific. Moreover, it is almost thrice the damage recorded by Japan or India annually.

Deaths caused by heat waves have significantly increased. Within just three decades, from 1990-2019, the mortality rate quadrupled. In 2019, the death toll of heat wave-related deaths reached 26,800.

Flooding in cities and other parts of the country raised alarms among scientists and the government. Greenpeace East Asia climate and energy project leader Liu Junyan said, “The central government and local governments started to be aware that climate change is such an enormous threat to society and its sustainable development.”

“Local governments still need to develop more detailed and tangible plans to implement this grand strategy,” Liu added.

Source: CNN

Continuation of Abortion Rights Decided Through Popular Vote in Kansas

Photo Credit: Today

Kansas is now the first state in America to use direct democracy for abortion legislation. After it announced its decision on Tuesday.

The Roe v. Wade decision has been a point of division in the country for many years. With people on opposite sides of the issue fighting hard to preserve their beliefs and principles. After the Supreme Court ruled out the provisions of the landmark case. Which serve as the basis of the federal law that legalizes abortion, the country was divided in factions.

Kansas is the first state to allow its citizens an opportunity for direct democracy. In which they will be able vote on whether or not the recent Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade trump state legislation. This voting also gives authorities insight into what Kansans think of the decision.

The result of the voting could be material to the mid-term elections. It benefits parties, most especially Democrats, who want to tap on the emotional leanings of the populace.

Kansas is one of several states where people from surrounding areas like Missouri. Oklahoma and Texas have traveled in order to access abortion services despite heavy pressure from Republicans. Now, the fate of pregnant women from these states are left to Kansan voters who will be asked. Whether they want to amend their state legislation in accordance to the overturned decision on Roe v. Wade.

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According to the government: “Because Kansans value both women and children. The constitution of the state of Kansas does not require government funding of abortion. It does not create or secure a right to abortion. To the extent permitted by the constitution of the United States. The people, through their elected state representatives and state senators. May pass laws regarding abortion, including, but not limited to, laws that account for circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest, or circumstances of necessity to save the life of the mother.”

“Yes” vote win

If the win will go to the “Yes” faction. It means that the Kansan majority has agreed that the state should amend its constitution legalizing abortion. It “does not require government funding of abortion and does not create or secure a right to abortion.”

Abortion will not be totally banned immediately after. However, a “Yes” win would force state legislation to pass laws that prohibit abortion in all phases of pregnancy. Moreover, to challenge the legislation would be more difficult as the law has the confidence of the majority.

“The amendment that is on the ballot will mandate government control over our private medical decisions. Ultimately pave the way for a total ban on abortion,” said a member of the Kansans for Constitutional Freedom. Ashley All, that supports abortion rights.

“No” vote win

If the “No” vote wins, abortion processes within the state will remain legal up until 22 weeks. However, even with a victory, it’s possible that legislation could still pass. Restrict access or impose penalties for accessing abortion process – only under tighter scrutiny than before.

Meanwhile, state courts in Kansas currently acknowledge abortion to be legal. Back in 2015, there was a campaign initiated by several lawmakers that bans; however, it was blocked by the courts.

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Section 1 of the Kansas Constitution’s Bill of Rights provides that. All men are possessed of equal and inalienable natural rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” This was the precedent which urged the Kansas state Supreme Court to rule in favor of abortion three years ago.

Against abortion

It is already given that many people across the US want to favor the legality. However, there are several coalitions like Value Them Both, led by Kansans for Life. The Kansas Catholic Conference and Kansas Family Voice that believes abortion should be banned.

“Kansans want to ensure that moms and babies are protected. So, Kansans are very concerned about this push to make us an unlimited destination,” said Brittany Jones.

According to Jones it took years to prepare the recent amendment to abortion rights.

Source: CNN

Starbucks Employees Call for Extended Benefits

Photo Credit: Jason Redmond/AFP via Getty Images

The corporation increased its pay as a result of Starbucks employees’ recent unionization efforts. Meanwhile, labor leaders are calling for expanded benefits as the salary raise is officially slated to take effect this coming Monday. They believe that no bargain should be struck.

Last May, Starbucks announced it would raise workers’ wages after its workers organized into unions. The company also said that in addition to the pay rise, there would be additional perks such as credit card tips. However, a Seattle-based Starbucks chain said it would not extend benefits because it would first have to go through a negotiation process.

The union leaders wrote to Starbucks -Teo Howard Shultz that the advantages could be offered to employees of the union company without negotiations. The letter continues to take note of other advantages, such as faster sick time accrual and reimbursement of medical trips, especially for those looking for abortion and gender care.

The letter read, “Workers United refuses to stand by while Starbucks cynically promises new benefits only to non-unionized workers and withholds them from our members.” It was signed by Lynne Fox, the president of Workers United.

Of the 9,000 Starbucks locations, 200 stores are already unionized. 40 is still being voted on, data from the National Labor Relations Board reveals.

To answer these demands, Starbucks stated in a fact sheet, “The law is clear: once a store unionizes, no changes to benefits are allowed without good faith collective bargaining.”

The website says that if employees have access to the benefits that were available when they submitted the petition, they are allowed to negotiate regarding later adjustments to working conditions, benefits, and wages.

According to legal counsel, the case may be heard by an administrative law judge of the National Labor Relations Board.

Read Also: New Zealand Opens its Borders after Years of Strict Lockdown Protocols

“Once a union has been certified, an employer is obligated to bargain with that union before making any changes to terms and conditions of employment,” Stephen Holroyd said, a lawyer at Jennings Sigmond. Holroyd is famous for his in-depth knowledge of labor unions. He has also worked for the NLRB.

Holroyd went on to say that the union’s decision could mean that Starbucks is doing what it does only because of union efforts.

More benefits due to unionization?

According to Daniel Sobol, a lawyer at Stevens & Lee, the federal courts and the NLRB have opposing views on the issue.

“If [ benefit enhancements are] done solely to chill unionizing, that could be an issue,” Sobol stated. Furthermore, he justified that Starbucks may not be obligated to impose an increase on unionized employees due to inflation.

Starbucks Workers United’s attorney stated that two cases had been assigned to the docket. He went on to say that the benefits that Starbucks is currently providing are clearly in response to its employees’ unionization efforts.

“If the union says they have no objection, then the employer can absolutely give them that benefit,” said Catherine Creighton, director of the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University in Buffalo, New York. According to her, the law provides that companies must inform the union and give them the opportunity to bargain.

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According to Starbucks, it is paying over $ 1 billion for employee pay increases, as well as store training and innovations, during the second half of the fiscal year 2022. Starbucks’ CEO canceled the company’s buy-back program so that it could give its resources to improving Starbucks’ stores and increasing the benefits of its workers.

The salary increase will take place this week. Employees with at least 2 years of experience will receive a 5% salary increase. Employees with more than 7 years of experience will see a 7 or 10 percent increase over the market rate.

Source: CNBC

Flight Attendants Say Summer Travel is the Worst Crisis

Photo Credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images

The aviation industry has had its fair share of ups and downs. British flight attendant Kris Major has been serving for the industry in over two decades. Within those years, he witnessed how flight companies struggled in times of crisis such as the Covid-19 pandemic, SARS breakout, and the foot-and-mouth disease.

However, according to Major, the aviation industry is yet to see the worst crisis it will face in decades: the summer chaos of 2022. According to Major, flight crew of many companies are struggling. As the chair of the European Transport Workers Federation’s Joint Aircrew Committee, he understands very well the plight of his fellow crew.

“It’s completely unsustainable as a job,” he said to the media.

Now that travel restrictions have eased in the wake of countries addressing the pandemic, airports across the globe are now trying to keep up with the increasing demand for travel; and according to Major, it is in shambles.

Read Also: New Zealand Opens its Borders after Years of Strict Lockdown Protocols

It’s “absolutely shambolic,” he said. Numerous flights have been cancelled, many mislaid luggage and the likes – these have caused travelers to lose their confidence on the aviation industry.

Others agree with Major

“The lack of staff, delays, cancellations, no baggage — I think it’s a very difficult situation for everybody,” said flight attendant Daniel Kassa Mbuambi of the Lufthansa Germany.

US flight attendant Allie Malis said, “There’s some kind of breakdown happening that I believe should be preventable.”

When the pandemic struck the tourism industry two years ago. Many companies laid off their staff to cope with the immense plunge in demand. However, now that the travel demand is back on track – and dramatically increasing every week. Companies are having a hard time catching up.

Alli Malis, who also serves as the government affairs representative of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants. Said that the situation makes them “uncomfortable.” Several crews had to ‘sprint’ to their next job because of the preceding delayed flight.

“Sometimes the passengers are cheering that you’re arriving because it means their plane’s going to go. Or even that they’re upset — they think it’s your fault. The flight has been delayed when you can’t work two flights at once. Although I’m sure the airlines wish we could,” Malis said.

According to Malis, not only does the situation affect their physical being, but also their mental health.

“Sickness levels have gone through the roof, fatigue levels have gone through the roof, not because [flight attendants are] rejecting or they’re protesting in any way. It’s just that they can’t cope — they just can’t cope with the constant changes,” adds Major.

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Many airlines say that the cause of the condition is due to absenteeism among staff. Malis disagrees with this.

“It’s kind of offensive that we’re being blamed for any type of labor shortage or operational mismanagement. Because the airlines have failed to adequately plan,” she stated.

“Flight attendants are being maxed out, working the longest days we’ve had. With the shortest rest periods overnight that we’ve had and that does get you sick. That does lead to exhaustion and fatigue and weakens your immune system.”

What travelers should do

From a flight attendant to travelers, Malis shares some tips to her travelers. How to best handle the current situation of the travel industry:

  • Pack your patience

It should be expected that frequent delays will happen. She said, “I think that at least would put your expectations in the right place.”

  • Pack snacks

During delays, it is advisable to you have your own food to eat while waiting for your flight. Along with the snacks, should be an empty water bottle that passengers can fill after clearing security checks. For instance, when the flight is grounded or if there’s a long queue in front of your. It is best that you have prepared so you can rehydrate and fill your stomach.

 “If the weather’s bad, if it’s really bumpy. There’s no guarantee that we’re going to be able to safely perform a beverage service,” she said.

  • Book early morning flights

Early flights are usually undisrupted, so it would be best to resort to these schedules, says Malis.

  • Leave buffer time

Travelers should leave a day ahead or two if there are important occasions. Like wedding since delays and cancellations could happen anytime.

Source: CNN

Starbucks’ Updated Benefits Fail to Mention the Inclusion of Union Workers, Confuses the Organized Stores

In response to recent events, Starbucks updated their medical coverage so that it will now cover travels to attain some health care services after the Supreme Court decided to overturn Roe v. Wade.

The update was not enough to keep everyone happy. Some employees were angry that Starbucks made no indication about whether or not unionized locations would be able to use the new benefits.

Sara Kelly, acting executive vice president of Starbucks’ Partner Resources, stated that federal labor laws require collective bargaining to determine the wage and benefits for unionized workers.

“This means it cannot make promises about any benefits for workers currently represented by unions,” she explained.

Read also: Apple Store in Maryland to Push for a Union Group

Barista Maggie Carter is still unsure about the availability of the update benefit in her unionized store in Knoxville, Tennessee.

It’s been a month since Starbucks announced their plan to update its benefits. Carter is still waiting for an answer from her manager after inquiring about it.

It was revealed that Carter believes Starbucks’ ambivalence is an effort to confuse and intimidate their unionized employees.

“This shows what Starbucks is willing to leverage in this fight,” said the barista. “It makes me feel disgusted that they’d dangle abortion over people’s heads. As if it’s a cat toy when women are literally losing their rights to bodily autonomy. It just feels dystopian.”

Starbucks Confirmation

Starbucks sent a spokesperson to confirmed that all workers in stores with unions will be eligible for this benefit.

“Because this is an expansion of existing benefits, if you are a Starbucks partner with Starbucks healthcare benefits. The travel expense cost for these kinds of medical procedures is covered, regardless of union status,” the spokesperson said.

It needs to clarify their statement for unionized employees, according to Rebecca Givan. Ph.D., an associate professor of labor studies and employment relations at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

“I think they’re trying to burnish their progressive reputation. While scaring their employees away from unionizing by suggesting that none of their benefits are secure,” said Givan. Who is not associated with the company’s unionization process.

Labor unions are on the rise in America, with more companies witnessing their employees rally and organize.

Several executives from Starbucks have been very vocal against these efforts, suggesting that employees should speak directly with them instead.

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President Joe Biden is Positive for Covid-19, White House announced

Photo Credit: Drew Angerer via Getty Images 

According to a press release from the White House, President Joe Biden has tested positive for Covid-19.

Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told the press that President Biden is experiencing only “very mild symptoms” due to his healthy lifestyle and vaccination history. The 79-year-old chief executive has already received two booster shots from the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine.

Read the official statement from the White House below:

This morning, President Biden tested positive for COVID-19. He is fully vaccinated and twice boosted and experiencing very mild symptoms. He has begun taking Paxlovid. Consistent with CDC guidelines, he will isolate at the White House and will continue to carry out all of his duties fully during that time.

He has been in contact with members of the White House staff by phone this morning and will participate in his planned meetings at the White House this morning via phone and Zoom from the residence.

Consistent with White House protocol for positive COVID cases, which goes above and beyond CDC guidance, he will continue to work in isolation until he tests negative. Once he tests negative, he will return to in-person work.

The president has assured the Americans that he is doing well and that he will continue executing his responsibilities as president. He posted a photo on Twitter with the caption, “Folks, I’m doing great. Thanks for your concern.”

The president posted a video of himself standing on the balcony of the White House, saying, “Keep the faith, it’s going to be okay.”

Read Also: China Reeling from the effects of Intense Heat

The president has been taking a drug from Pfizer, called Paxlovid, to prevent worsening infection and illness. The press secretary said that he is on the medication regularly, and the pill decreases the risk of the president for hospitalization.

President Joe Biden has been experiencing some minor symptoms of respiratory illness at the moment. His physician, Kevin O’Connor, says that he experiences dry cough and runny nose along with fatigue. But he assures the public, “I anticipate that he will respond favorably, as most maximally protected patients do.”

Meanwhile, Jill Biden, the president’s wife, guarantees the Americans that despite testing positive for Covid, the president is “feeling good.”

“I talked to him just a few minutes ago; he’s doing fine,” said Jill. While being in close contact with the president, Jill came out negative of the virus, which was cause for gladness.

The president will be isolated until an authorized medical official declares him clean of Covid-19. All meetings are denied for now, but he plans on working on other matters that need attention.

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The statement from the White House continued:

Out of an abundance of transparency, the White House will provide a daily update on the president’s status as he continues to carry out the full duties of the office while in isolation.

Per standard protocol for any positive case at the White House, the White House Medical Unit will inform all close contacts of the president during the day today, including any Members of Congress and any members of the press who interacted with the president during yesterday’s travel. The president’s last previous test for COVID was Tuesday, when he had a negative test result.

What the president did before testing positive

President Joe Biden traveled to Massachusetts, where he attended an event addressing climate change. Along with Biden were lawmakers and official. Including Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Market, as well as climate advisors John Kerry and Gina McCarthy. 

However, under guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is unsure if the people with Biden during the event can be considered close contact.

Source: CNN

American States Afflicted by Intense Heat Forecasted to Continue Over the Summer

Photo Credit: logoboom/Shutterstock

The searing heat affecting America for many weeks is now reaching its peak in California and the Plains. While Tuesday saw temperatures rise 10-15 degrees above normal. This trend may continue as we head into next week. With records expected to be broken across most states by then.

“Dangerous heat will continue to impact much of the central and parts of southwestern US today. Said the Weather Prediction Center in a statement.

The states of Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas, as well as Montana and Dakotas, are all currently under heat advisory status. Forecasters have warned that this summer’s excessive temperatures will break high-temperature records for America.

The heat index is a measure of what you feel when taking into account both temperature and humidity. And this figure could be as high as 111 degrees in parts of South Dakota, Oklahoma and Texas.

Experts predict that some parts’ temperatures may reach up to 90 or 100 degrees Fahrenheit this summer.

Read Also: China Reeling from the effects of Intense Heat

As the summer heat wave continues, experts warn that it could reach 108 degrees. Fahrenheit in San Joaquin Valley, breaking former records.

Forecasters say that over 60 million people or about 20% of the population in America. Will experience temperatures with three digits into an already unusually warm summer month ahead.

Forecasters are predicting that the Southern Plains will experience one of their hottest weeks this summer. Experts say the heat will affect these areas, with high temperatures reaching into triple digits Fahrenheit degrees. Including Kansas, Texas, and Oklahoma.

July is a painful month for many Americans as they have to up. Their air conditioning systems to deal with the heat outside.

States clamor due to intense heat

As the summer heat wave continues, power outages are a serious concern for Texas residents. In addition, power providers in many areas might be maxed-out due to an increase in demand for electricity.

Meanwhile, the heat is getting too much for some people in Dallas. Especially at night when temperatures don’t drop below 80 degrees. From the morning to the late afternoon, temperatures have reached a record-high 110 degrees, the highest since 1980.

The high temperatures in South Dakota are predicted to reach triple-digit levels. With an increase of 15 degrees above the normal range.

Heat in Rapid City has been intense, with a temperature reaching 104 degrees. As a result, the National Weather Service advises citizens not to frequent outside. Especially during periods when it is expected to increase even more.

North Platte weather service office told citizens, “With the heat, low relative humidity. Gusty southerly winds; critical fire weather conditions are likely this afternoon into the early evening hours.”

“There is also a threat for high based, dry thunderstorms which may produce lightning and gusty. Erratic winds in the vicinity of thunderstorms,” they added.

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The announcement was made after North Platte is forecasted to reach scorching hot conditions affecting Nebraska and Scottsbluff this week.

The authorities recommend that people stay indoors and drink lots of fluids. They also advise checking up on family members to ensure they’re doing okay. Especially if they are old, pregnant, or have illnesses.

The heat in the Southwest US is adding to existing drought conditions. Over 60% of California has raised extreme levels of drought. With San Joaquin Valley declaring a 4 out of 4 level.

According to a weather service, “The combination of breezy conditions, intense heat, plentiful sun, and dry vegetation will create a heightened threat for wildfires on Wednesday.”

As the summer heat continues to rise, there is a risk of wildfires and other disasters. The Weather Service in Ft. Worth warns citizens about potential risks that can come with this type of weather condition because it could cause fires or other destructive events. Texas has placed a burn ban to prevent this from happening.

Source: CNN

Tesla’s Gigafactory Berlin to Hold Operations for Two Weeks to Improve Facilities

Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk is faced with a surprising dilemma as the company’s vehicles. They have become more in-demand, presenting him with production problems.

To meet the high-demand, he is putting productions at Gigafactory Berlin on hold to expand the factory’s space and add an extra shift.

The surge in Tesla’s consumers can be attributed to people seeking alternatives to gas-fueled vehicles.

As a result, Elon Musk is putting production as the company’s highest priority to meet the demand.

While he has factories throughout the United States, Gigafactory Berlin and Gigafactory Texas. They have some of the most significant ramps despite having only recently started production.

The factory in Berlin has shown positive progress thanks to its 2170 cells. It enables a battery infrastructure that the company has grown accustomed to. Additionally, Gigafactory Berlin reports an astounding production rate of 1,000 Model vehicles per month in June.

Gigafactory Texas has been unable to reach the same numbers due to several factors. It including ramping up production of the 4680 battery cell and structural battery pack. 

However, the last week of June saw a surge in production. Tesla shifting to building Model Y Long Range with 2170 cells at the plant.

Musk and Tesla’s Expectation

Musk and Tesla are expecting Berlin to catch up. They will be shutting down the factory for two weeks to give the space an upgrade and to achieve their goal,

A German publication Bild was reported the company would be putting all operations on hold until the facilities are improved.

“Tesla therefore wants to interrupt operation for two weeks starting next Monday,” wrote Bild. “It is unclear that how many of the 4,500 employees will be sent on vacation and how many technicians will remain to convert production.”

The publication also revealed that Tesla will be adding a third shift, holding electric motor productions in Berlin. Gigafactory Shanghai having imported.

“According to employees, after the break-in production. “

The publication work should be carried out in three instead of two shifts,” . “In addition, Tesla could then start manufacturing the drive in a neighboring hall.”

While the improvements may help, Gigafactory faces the challenge of finding employees.

In the past couple of months, Tesla has been dealing with the challenge of hiring and retaining employees. Salaries are reported to be the problem and local union, IG Metall, was rumored to get involved. However, Musk defused the situation with a 6% salary increase.

Apple Store in Maryland to Push for a Union Group

The fight for fair treatment has seen some major victories in recent days. After Amazon and Starbucks employees formed unions. It seems that Apple witnessed a crack with workers at a Maryland store voting to organize one of their own.

The employees of Apple are set to vote on Wednesday for a union election in Towson, Maryland. The voting will occur at their store located in a vacant store in the center where their store is located.

The polls will be open for voting between Wednesday and Saturday at selected times, with the count happening on Saturday evening.

In an effort to show solidarity, union organizers have created a new organization called AppleCORE (Apple Coalition of Organized Retail Employees). The union also has the support from both the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers trade union.

The AppleCore organizers are not the first ones to try and get a union vote. In Atlanta, they pulled their petition in April. But there’s hope for employees at Grand Central Terminal Station at New York

AppleCORE Group

In a bold move that surprised many, the AppleCORE group wrote an open letter to CEO Tim Cook in May. Detailing their decision was about them as workers gaining access rights they currently don’t have.

A worker-organizer told the Washington Post that he had been working at this Towson store. They work seven years and wanted to unionize so they could have a seat at their table.

“More money is nice,” he said. “But it’s really about agency.”

Meanwhile, Apple has reemphasized the benefits and compensation it offers retail workers in a statement.

“We are fortunate to have incredible retail team members and deeply value everything they bring to Apple,” the statement wrote. “We are pleased to offer very strong compensation and benefits for full time and part time employees. Also including health care,tuition reimbursement, new parental leave, paid family leave, annual stock grants, and many other benefits.”

Apple also announced that it will be raising the minimum wage for workers in America to $22 per hour.

Cosmetic Entity Revlon Left with No Choice But to File Bankruptcy

One of the most iconic and long-running brands in the cosmetic industry. Revlon neared over a century’s production but was forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Thursday. 

It was revealed that Revlon was struggling because of “macro-economic issues,”. Like legacy debt and supply-chain disruptions.

The beauty brand is set to receive $575 million in financing. They help maintain Revlon’s day-to-day operations.

“Today’s filing will allow Revlon to offer our consumers the iconic products we have delivered for decades while providing a clearer path for our future growth,” said Revlon President and CEO Debra Perelman in a company statement. “Consumer demand for our products remains strong – people love our brands, and we continue to have a healthy market position.”

The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on Revlon, save the positive first quarter of 2022. Despite solid earnings, the pandemic left the company far too overwhelmed to mitigate its effects.

The Report Of Revlon

The reports show that it hit its highest first-quarter operating income in six years. It has $479.6 million dollars – a 7.8% year-over-year increase.

The CEO of Revlon has admitted that their supply chain challenges are still affecting the company. They blame it on an aggressive digital strategy. As a result they lost $67 million in the first quarter.

In 2016, Revlon was acquired by former rival brand Elizabeth Arden in a deal reported to be around $870 million. The purchase left the company forward-facing and on NYSE as the ticker symbol.

“We expect to benefit from greater scale, an expanded global footprint and a significant presence across all major beauty categories and channels,” said Revlon in 2016. “As a combined organization with net sales of approximately $3 billion. This acquisition will help to further accelerate our growth trajectory, position us among the top beauty players and unlock far greater upside than either company would have realized on a stand-alone basis.”

When three men, brothers Charles and Joseph Reussen along with their friend Charles Lachman came up with the idea for a beauty company in 1932. They didn’t know what kind of legacy it would create. Fast forward decades later and Revlon has been behind many famous faces, including those from the entertainment world.

Communities in the U.K. will be forced to move elsewhere as sea level rises

Image Source: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

The Environment Agency in the U.K has sounded an alarm for coastal areas. Warning that they may be forced to relocate because of sea-level rise and erosion.

“Some of our communities, both in this country and around the world. They cannot stay where they are,” said James Bevan, the chief executive of the agency.

“That’s because while we can come back safely and build back better after most river flooding. There is no coming back for land that coastal erosion has simply taken away. A rising sea level has put permanently, or frequently, underwater,” the executive explained.

The chief said “that the relocation would be challenging as communities have gotten used to where they’re currently situated”.

Read Also: Shortage of lettuce force KFC Australia to substitute with other ingredient

Sea levels are rising this poses a significant problem for many countries around the world. Also more particularly on the islands in the Indo-Pacific regions.

The Maldives

The Maldives, for example, has been hit hard by sea-level rise. The President of the country expressed his concern for how these changes will affect coastal communities.

“Our islands are slowly being inundated by the sea, one by one. If we do not reverse this trend, the Maldives will cease to exist by the end of this century,” said Mohamed Solih.

According to the agency, it’s inevitable that communities will move around with the way that the climate is acting.

The World Meteorological Organization said that the global mean sea level “reached a new record high in 2021. It rising an average of 4.5 mm per year over the period 2013–2021.”

The U.K. released the Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy Roadmap. A guide that will help the government make easy the transition of the community to another area.

Read Also: ‘Recession is hard to avoid,’ World Bank tells countries

“I think that, with the right interventions over the coming years. We can achieve that for most of the coastal communities in this country as far ahead as any of us can reasonably foresee,” Bevan explained.

However, Bevan confirmed that the talks and research are still going on to identify. They identify what specific communities will be moved.

“No one should be forced from their homes against their will,” he said. “But — and there is a but — we do need to start the conversation about all this now.”

Source: CNBC

Political Crisis May Be Possible Following Economic Hurricane

The world is currently facing two major global economic crises. But the pandemic has not completely loosened its grip on us. Russia’s war in Ukraine continues to pose a significant risk for humanity as well.

The economy remains fragile due both conflicts that continue exporting more violence around globe. While also putting pressure domestically with high unemployment rates among other things

CEO of JP Morgan Chase

“The hurricane is right down the road coming our way,” said Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase. “We just don’t know if it’s a minor one or Superstorm Sandy. You better brace yourself.”

Economic Of The Country

When the economy of a country grows shaky and poverty rates increase, it’s not hard to see how political systems could crumble. This has happened in several developing nations during recent years with worrying consequences for their citizens. Who may suddenly find themselves without access to food programs. Other essentials due an economic crisis that would likely get worse before getting better again.

Jamie Dimon, the head of JP Morgan, comments on America’s economy and how it has been impacted by Federal Reserve efforts to slow down inflation. However, the pandemic outbreaks and Ukraine war have also contributed to the situation.

The current administration has been heavily criticized for its handling of the economy, but it’s not just America that is going through these troubles. All over the world, gas and food prices have increased as well. Businesses are short on staff because there aren’t enough people available to work them at full capacity. This includes restaurants who can no longer affordably operate during peak times with limited crew sizes.

The world is changing at an alarming rate, and countries are struggling to keep up. For example: Colombia has seen huge changes in recent years with citizens hoping for a change in their government. While Sri Lanka continues their own crisis from bad decisions prior to the pandemic, running out of money all together. The Middle East could suffer another political instability if prices continue rising as they have been lately.

The World Food Program has noted that a “seismic hunger crisis” is currently devastating the world. Potentially bringing nearly 50 million people to starvation – which would be more than COVID-19 victims. The magnitude of poverty and hunger can cause great migrations leading political instability into an impending economic hurricane. This looming threat lurks over every country dealing with these problems differently. But all are equally concerned about its potential consequences on their stability as well as how they will respond if necessary or inevitable.

Parents of Victim Lexi Rubio Refused to Meet Texas Governor Greg Abbott

Image Source: CHRON

The parents of the girl who was shot and killed at Uvalde High School in Texas didn’t want to meet with Governor Abbott. They cited his policies as a key reason for declining, but it seems that there may be more going on here than just dislike towards him – it was something their daughter would not have wanted.

The parents of Alexandria “Lexi” Rubio, Felix and Kimberly sit down for an interview with ABC News. They reveal they had no interest in meeting Abbott, believing that Lexi would not have accepted the invitation.

“It’s not what Lexi would have wanted,” she emphasized . Kimberly Rubio also revealed that Lexi echoed their stance towards guard control. “There’s no reason for just an average citizen to have these types of weapons. What for? What do you need them for? Is it worth my kid? These kids?”

The ongoing debate over gun control has left many parents in an emotional state. Now, following the tragic school shooting that took place near Houston last week and killed nineteen students plus two  teachers, invaluable lives; they’re calling on legislators to ban AR-15 style weapons. However Florida Executive County Sheriff Felix Rubio believes his department will go against him if he supports restrictions regarding guns which configure lockout law or stand your ground Law

Award Ceremonies

The family of four from Robb Elementary School was attending two award ceremonies, one at 8 am and the other 10:30 am. When they heard about a shooting on campus their first response was to rush back home as quickly as possible so that they could be present when police arrived in order to investigate what happened first-hand.

The shooter, Salvador Ramos, was in the classroom for 77 minutes before officers entered and killed him. During this time period he discharged 315 rounds of ammunition with over 200 shots being fired within just four minute.

Kimberly said that she bore responsibility for not bringing Lexi home after the ceremony and it’s a decision which has weighed heavily on her mind.

“I have enough ‘what ifs’ on my end, so I am not interested in reading about someone else’s mistakes, because I already have to live with my own,” said Kimberly. “It wasn’t done on purpose, but it’s still a mistake because I made it, otherwise she’d be home with me. I left my baby at the school.”

Lexi Rubio always had a passion for softball and her dream was to become an attorney. She wanted to be able to make a difference. “She wanted to make a difference. And I want that for her now. She still can,” said Kimberly Rubio. “As far as, like, bringing my kids back to school next year, yes, we’re terrified. We’re terrified because we didn’t think it would happen here.”

Survey Shows Developing Countries Have More Excitement for the Metaverse Than Richer Countries

Since it was revealed that the metaverse brought the virtual reality concept closer to real-life than expected. It became the hottest subject online. The hype persevered a couple of months later, sparking Ipsos’ curiosity. 

Ipsos is a Paris-based market research firm. The excitement of the metaverse prompted it to create a survey on behalf of the inter-governmental body World Economic Forum. This is currently hosting its annual Davos conference in Switzerland. The subject of the this proved to be an inescapable topic, even among panelists.

The survey revealed that the metaverse is widely recognized as 52% of more than 21,000 adults across 29 countries. This shared that they were familiar with the metaverse. In addition, 50% of them had positive feelings about engaging with it in daily life.

Feeling About Metaverse

Five countries stood at as two-thirds or more of the respondents had positive feelings about the metaverse. Everyone asked about using this daily. Then the countries that scored the highest were China, India, Peru, Saudi Arabia, and Colombia. China scored the highest with 78% expressing positive feelings toward the metaverse, while India followed at 75%.

In a surprising twist, countries that boasted the highest incomes scored the lowest scores. Only one-third of respondents sharing China’s sentiments. Japan had the lowest score with 22%, while the United Kingdom (26%), Belgium (30%), France (31%), and Germany (31%) followed. The countries were also less familiar with the metaverse.

Regarding familiarity, Turkey led at 88%, showing that most of the country had ties with the metaverse. India followed at 80% in front of China (73%) and higher-income country, South Korea (71%). Poland scored the lowest with 27%.

Developing countries like South Africa, China, and India also echoed the same sentiments. When surveyed on areas of life they believe the metaverse would most impact. Virtual learning, entertainment, digital socializing, and applications like remote surgery were tipped to make a significant impact. On the other side of the poll, Japan, Belgium, and France had the lowest percentages.

A report in April from cryptocurrency exchange Gemini showed that developing countries. This show more enthusiastic about crypto and blockchain. Pointing out that half the respondents in India, Brazil, and the Asia Pacific region purchased their first cryptocurrency last year.

As Monkeypox reach 29 countries, CDC declare Alert Level 2

Image Source: Dado Ruvic/REUTERS

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning Americans to be on guard after an increase in Monkeypox cases that has led them to widen calls for precaution. The virus has now affected over 1,000 people worldwide, prompting experts around the world. It including those at CDC, to recommend steps and guidance to the general public.

The CDC has told travelers to wear facemasks and follow strict guidelines so the virus won’t proliferate.

Alert Level 2 was raised by the CDC to encourage people to practice against Monkeypox

The nonessential travel will be disallowed when alert level should be upped. As of now, the virus has spread to 29 nonendemic countries.

Experts at the CDC are still on high alert even when the risk of the virus is low. They further told the sick people or those who have skin lesions avoid coming in close contact.

Individuals who experience flu-like symptoms should immediately contact their health provider for help.

Monkeypox

Monkeypox is a viral disease that can be contracted through close contact with infected animals or humans. It is endemic in Central and West Africa, but there have been reports of recent outbreaks in North America. It also outbreak in Australia and Europe, which alarmed many health organizations.

The virus can cause a series of symptoms, including fever, headaches, rashes, muscle aches, back pain, and swelling.

Twenty-nine countries confirm a total of 1,019 cases of Monkeypox, both confirmed and suspected.

The U.K. recorded the highest cases with 302. Spain, Portugal, and Canada followed with 198, 153, and 80 cases, respectively. 

Eyal Leshem, a professor and infectious disease specialist at Sheba Medical Center in Israel. He said that “Diseases that were locally spread are now able to make their way across countries and continents much more easily.”

“Meanwhile, interaction between humans and animals has also amplified. Climate change has forced some animals into closer contact with humans. You will see more of these types of diseases.”

Thirty-six thousand doses of vaccines against Monkeypox will be shipped to high-risk individuals says U.S. authorities.

Source: CNBC

Uvalde Police Inaction Led to Massacre and Catastrophic Consequences

Image Source: CNN. The Uvalde school shooting continues to be widely discussed, and with good reason. With nineteen students and two teachers dead, many people still wonder where the Police were. Why it took so long to subdue the shooter.

As Salvador Ramos ran rampant in his act of indescribably evil. A group of nineteen law enforcement officers stood outside the classroom in the school for over 50 minutes. Also waiting for room keys and tactical equipment. Meanwhile, 911 was flooding with children calling and begging for help.

Col. Steven McCraw from the Texas Department acknowledged the errors in the police response. However, the on-scene commander and Uvalde school district police chief was said to believe that the situation transitioned from an active shooter to a barricaded subject.

McCraw said

McCraw said “It was the wrong decision. Period,” regarding the supervisor’s decision not to confront Ramos. “There’s no excuse for that.”

Executive director of the National Tactical Officers Association or NTAO Thor Eells said the commander’s determination was 100% flawed. He also noted that the delayed police response contradicted the commonly taught active shooter protocol born out of the Columbine tragedy in 1999.

Before the Columbine shooting, law enforcement was trained for a tactic called ICE (isolate the suspect, contain the suspect. Evacuate the scene), but the event forced law enforcement to reprioritize their focus in responding to active shooter situations.

Although active shooter protocols are widely recognized, the fundamental issue is the decentralized nature of police standards. At the local, state, and federal levels, as noted by Maria Haberfeld, a professor of Police Science at John Jay College.

“The way the Uvalde officers responded aligned with the fact that they likely did not have proper training,” said Haberfeld.

All law enforcement officers in Texas are trained to follow guidelines for handling school shooters. Earlier in March, the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District hosted active shooter training for Uvalde-area law enforcement, according to its Facebook page.

Improve Your Stamina in Running By Applying These Tips

Photo: www.runtastic.com. Stamina is essential for athletes as they can determine how far they push their bodies, especially for long-distance runners. While most people are under the impression that all it takes is to just run and not stop, building one’s stamina is a necessity that should not be ignored. 

Below are some simple but often overlooked tips on how you can improve your stamina and endure on the road even longer.

Tips To Improve Stamina

Prepare by warming up

Some people tend to lace up their shoes and shoot off into a sprint, but completing a warm-up with a couple of stretching exercises can help by a long mile. Warm-ups typically prepare the body and help increase blood flow in your muscles. It also improves muscle elasticity and lowers the chances of muscles getting sore, reducing injury risks.

Quick exercises like hip rotations, ankle rotations, and jumping jacks should help get you ready for the long run.

Breathing exercises

While it may seem simple, breathing exercises are often quickly forgotten once the legs get moving. Some people have a tendency to hold their breath or forget to increase it once the running gets hard. The former can lead to fatigue, cutting the run or exercise shorter than planned, while breaths will have to increase once you pick up your pace. 

It’s also a good tip to breathe in through your nose and exhale through your mouth to help regulate your oxygen.

Take things slow

Maintaining the same speed throughout the run is usually impossible unless you’re a professional. So always aim to go slow in your routine, whether at the beginning, the middle, or towards the end. Taking things slow is good as it helps avoid injuries or burnout.

Although it’s advisable to take things slow, never make an abrupt stop. Insert some walking instead, especially towards the end. Walking can help build strength and lung capacity while burning some extra calories.

Use the right gear

When running, make sure that you use the proper shoes. While training shoes share similar designs with running shoes, the soles are often flat and lack the cushion needed, which will make the run uncomfortable as you go along.

Incorporate training

Most athletes in other sports like basketball and soccer often hit the gym, improving their overall fitness. Even though you’ll mainly focus on running, it’s best to go into cross-training and pick up either swimming, outdoor biking, or elliptical training.

Cooldown

Like a warm-up, cooldowns should be done once you complete your run. It gives you time to recover a regular heart rate and blood pressure. The cooldown should have slower, gentle movements with stretching exercises.

Versace partners with Cher for Pride Month, launches new line ‘Chersace’

Image Source: Versace

The LGBTQIA+ communities are honored all over the world by fashion brands that incorporate the rainbow with their products. The rainbow is a symbol for the community, which represents the variety of gender non-conforming people.

Wanting to achieve the same goal. The Hollywood artists are now showing their support for the community by working together to create a safer space where the LGBTQIA+ community will prosper.

Hollywood and the fashion industry have come out in support of Rainbow Month, with two of the biggest names from the industry echoing a similar goal. Oscar-winning actress Cher and Donatella Versace have both spoken about their duo’s initiative to show their support for the LGBTQIA+ community.

The duo hopes that the project will help support gender-diverse youth in the country and their associated communities.

The new “Chersace” collection will include socks, caps, and T-shirts. They feature the Versace brand and logos like the company’s Medusa that are imbued with the colors of the rainbow.

The price of the stunning pieces can vary depending on the product. Prices will vary from $425 to $3,000.

Cher Said

Cher said, “Donatella and I have been dear friends for a lifetime. It just felt right for our very first collaboration to be one about LGBTQ Pride. We celebrating a community that means so incredibly much to both of us.”

The pop star and LGBT rights advocate Cher has been an ‘ally’ for the LGBTQIA+ community for a long time.

Read Also: Matthew McConaughey speaks at the White House, calls for stricter gun laws

“One day, I came home, and there were these two men in my living room with my mom and my aunt. They were doing their hair and talking. I was thinking, ‘Why haven’t we ever had these kind of guys around? Because these guys are the coolest,” Cher recalls.

“That was my (introduction to) the gay world,” the actress further said. “Gay people don’t feel like they fit in, and I never felt like I fit in.”

The funds raised from this project will go to an organization dedicated to supporting and protecting the welfare of gender-nonconforming children and teenagers.

Source: CNN

The Power of Being Politically Aware and Socially Informed

Image source: fairobserver.com. Over the years, among the controversial topics that have become an integral part of people’s conversations are those relating to Politic. As a matter of fact, gone are the days when only those who are associated with or directly involved.  The public office are willing to participate in addressing political issues. In this day and age, being politically aware is not only desirable but imperative.

In retrospect, politics has always been at the forefront of many changes, developments, and breakthroughs in society. Together with only a few other social constructs and branches. It has transformed the lives of millions of people from across the globe. Whether a person likes to admit it or not, their views. Decisions are molded and dictated by courses of action taken by elected representatives. In light of recent happenings, every person must stay informed or at least aware of recent advances in the political world.

Due to the diverse nature of multiple sectors in society, citizens share and perceive their political views differently. As time goes by, public governance tends to impact lives more substantially than ever. This is because the representatives and officials chosen by the people will always have a bearing on the payment of taxes, handling of finances, and putting up infrastructure.

Contrary to what most people think, staying apolitical does more harm than good to society. In a way, those who choose not to get involved in political topics and discussions are sleeping on their rights to advocate for positive change and create a difference. In other words, it is highly encouraged that citizens be more proactive when it comes to political matters. At the end of the day, political awareness is not only about politicians but is also about each and every member of society.

Right to Vote

Out of the available tools in a democratic country, the right to vote is deemed to be the most important of them all. However, exercising this right also entails upholding the duty and responsibility of staying updated with Politically developments and other public issues. There is no better way of choosing public officials and representatives than by keeping abreast of politics.

Through political awareness, one can have more knowledge about what is happening in the world. In fact, this knowledge does not only pertain to issues in the realm of politics but in others as well. By being informed, one is more capable of making better decisions for themselves and the rest of the community members.

For others, politics may appear to be a complicated field to engage in. Moreover, a lot of people may also feel powerless about it and believe that their opinions will not matter. However, there are numerous ways that one can make their voices be heard. Through the collective efforts of individuals from around the world, small changes can very well make a significant impact on a global scale. Therefore, one should not underestimate the power of Politically awareness and involvement. Much of society’s problems can be overcome when everyone carries their fair share of responsibility as private citizens.

References:

https://studybreaks.com/thoughts/5-reasons-political-aware/

https://picante.today/politics/2020/01/29/130817/political-awareness-and-its-importance/

Shortage of lettuce force KFC Australia to substitute with other ingredient

Image Source: Burgess Rawson

KFC is facing a lettuce shortage following the recent torrential rains in Australia. The fast-food chain announced that it would be replacing all of its supply with cabbage until further notice.

“We’re using a lettuce and cabbage blend on all products containing lettuce until further notice,” the company said. Further, they explained that the floods in New South Wales and Queensland destroyed the crops.

The lettuce shortage will have a significant impact on KFC’s business in Australia, particularly the branches in Victoria, Australian Capital Territory, and Tasmania. The fast-food chain promised to make up for it by using other ingredients in their dishes. They say that they can still provide customers what they love about its Zinger Burgeons and Crunch Twister Wraps albeit not with lettuce this time around.

However, if the customer does not want cabbage added to their food, then they can ask for it not to be included.

KFC Australia Face Food Shortage

Food shortages are becoming common as countries around the world continue to be affected by Russia and Ukraine’s conflict, as well as the pandemic.

In addition, the export restrictions from many countries, especially those that produce agriculture. The essential products like wheat, rice, oil, and gas, primarily contributed to an eventual global shortage.

Not only are there human-induced disasters, but climate change has also made things more difficult for countries. India, for example, had been exporting wheat until the intense heat caused crop productivity problems. It caused governments to ban their wheat exports.

The heavy rains in Australia have brought about a shortage of lettuce, which is one of the essential ingredients for KFC’s signature dishes. The company was also met with difficulties earlier this year when it experienced a chicken shortage.

Also, Japan’s KFC chains have had to temporarily stop selling its fires because of a delay in shipments of potatoes.

KFC in the U.K. has also been experiencing a shortage of their popular menu items this summer. Such as milkshakes because they cannot get enough supplies through normal channels.

The company is not alone in its hardship. Other companies like Taco Bell and Chick-fil-A, and Nando’s have all experienced shortages because of the pandemic. As well as a stricter export policy from different nations.

Source: CNN

Anti-Abuse Campaign on Social Media in Singapore Calls for Solidarity with KFC Staff

In Singapore, KFC has received a number of reports that revealed. How customers are treating its staff, with many going as far as verbal and physical abuse

The events have sparked a social media campaign called “Let Kindness Fly,”. Wherein KFC customers can use a series of customized Instagram stickers to stand in solidarity with the restaurant’s staff. According to the company, the abuse has become a frequent occurrence. For example, there was an incident in the Bedok Town Square branch, where customers threw food at the staff.

“We are thankful for our employees who have been working tirelessly. While often bearing the brunt of customers’ frustration,” said KFC Singapore director of operations Jonathan Liew. “Their safety and well-being remain our utmost priority. We would like to urge the public to further extend their understanding to our employees. Who are trying their best to serve you.”

KFC Movements

KFC’s movements encourages the gesture of holding hands up to resemble wings in pictures. Adding the hashtag #LetKindnessFly on social media posts as a showing of support and solidarity.

While social media may have a significant impact on the movement. KFC Singapore also gained the backing of the Restaurant Association of Singapore (RAS). The Food Drinks and Allied Workers Union (FDAWU).

“RAS supports the movement to promote kindness and respect toward service staff in the food industry. As no one should have to work under the fear of hostility and abuse,” said a spokesperson for the RAS. “We have a duty to care for and protect our front-line workers. To ensure that they are treated with respect. As members of a better society, we should work toward protecting the safety and mental welfare of our service workers.

General secretary of the FDAWU echoed the sentiments when he said, “Every act of kindness to our members is appreciated. Do not kill the passion to serve.”

Lynette Lee, KFC Singapore general manager, said she hoped the social movement would show unwavering support for the serving staff. “KFC is well-positioned to champion this movement to inspire consumers to be more gracious,” she said. “We hope to highlight the stark reality and spark a ripple effect by encouraging everyone. We have a more appreciative attitude toward food service staff.”

McDonald’s Franchise Undergoes Sale and Revamp in Russia

Image Source: www.restaurantbusinessonline.com

The popularity of McDonald’s in Russia is undeniable. The fast food chain opened three decades ago, and it has been loved by millions. Since then due to its addictive foods like the Big Mac or McNuggets with some sauce on top. This year, the Russian invasion on Ukraine prompted the higher-ups to suspend operations in the country.

Despite the temporary suspension, McDonald’s continued to compensate its Russian employees. However keeping corporate and franchise owned locations became too risky. So they announced that this will be a permanent decision with no going back.

“We have a commitment to our global community and must remain steadfast in our values,” said CEO Chris Kempczinski. “Our commitment to our values means that we can no longer keep the Arches shining there.”

CFO for McDonald’s

Kevin Ozan, CFO for McDonald’s Russia said that they were expecting the move to cost them $50 million monthly. It is based on multiple sources like Reuters and CNBC. The company has been put up for sale but CNN reported it had actually just been purchased by Alexander Govor. Who operates 25 restaurants in addition running his own catering business as well! He plans on keeping all 850+ new locations open while still providing Russian consumers with American fast food. Only now under a different name.

With the help of his team, Govor plans on re-opening both locations by June. While keeping previous jobs and relationships with suppliers in Russia. 

The Russian fast food giant, McDonald’s has been Trademarked in Russia. They have no plans on giving up the name. The current owner is still deciding what he will choose for his new business venture. But so far it has been narrowed down to Fun & Tasty, The Same One, Just Like That, and Open Checkout.

McDonald’s has closed over 100 locations in the Ukraine, which accounts for 2% of its sale and 9%. American Cafe Starbucks also joined the exit from the Russian market, marking an end of 15 years of operation. The global coffee chain will be paying employees during their transition into new opportunities outside of Stabucks.

Eleven and Stranger Things Make Their Triumphant Return Amid Netflix’s Declining Subscribers

In the past couple of years, Netflix’s solidified its status as the premier streaming platform. Started producing some of the most memorable movies and series in recent memory. Among the most popular productions to come from the streaming service is Stranger Things. The beloved series made its debut over six years ago and is currently on its fourth season. However, over time, it was not just the cast that changed but also Netflix.

In 2016, Netflix cost $8, but now its price tripled. As a result, the streaming service lost hundreds of thousands of subscribers. It has been tipped to lose even more as millions are projected to remove their subscriptions. Stock value has also fallen by more than 20%. Rumors have also circulated that Netflix will be inserting advertisements, something it had previously said it would never do.

Netflix continues to produce shows like Archive 81 and The Baby-Sitters Club. But the two shows were recently axed before they had the chance to shine. Additionally, it is faced with major competition as Disney+, Amazon, and HBO will be releasing titles like Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ms. Marvel, The Lord of the Rings, and Westworld, adding more competition to the streaming service.

Netflix’s loss of subscribers

The loss of subscribers and the incoming wave of new shows from other platforms. They have provided Netflix with a mountain to climb. Fortunately, Stranger Things is finally returning with its fourth season following a three-year break due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While Ozark had provided enough grounds to keep up with the competition. The timely arrival of Millie Bobby Brown’s Eleven and her friends can give Netflix some space to breathe.

The third season of Stranger Things had become Netflix’s most viewed show when it premiered on October 19, generating more than 64 million views in its first four weeks and more than 582 million views since then. During its absence, the two seasons of Bridgerton broke those records. However, season four is almost guaranteed to reclaim the title of the top show.

This season, Stranger Things expanded its cast, but will a larger ensemble be able to help put the once infallible streaming platform bounce back from its losses?

Price Hike in Fuel Provides Little Obstacle to People Taking to the Road

With the recent increase in fuel prices, many people are wondering if they will continue to climb at this rate. It seems like it’s only a matter of time before more records are broken.

With gasoline prices breaking $4.61 for the first time in 4 years. Many Americans have felt a strain on their wallets. But as Memorial Day weekend approaches more than 35 million people are expected. They are ready to take off into summer driving season with an average price of gas. At just over five dollars per gallon–it’s not too hard to see. Why so many folks decided this was worth fighting through these economic uncertainties.

The post-pandemic freedom is leading to an increase in road traffic this holiday season. With 5% more people than last year. Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis at Oil Price Information Service. Predicts that there will be significant increases on weekends as well.

“I think it’s all systems go this weekend,” he said. “There’s an attitude among the public where it’s like: ‘I deserve this’.”

High prices are cutting into people’s day-to-day spending and anticipation of the summertime wind has diminished. Motorists may be forced to cut back on months’ worth or vacationing, but they still plan on taking family trips this season.

“We’re starting to see that term ‘demand destruction’ return,” said Kloza.

The past two years have seen a rapid increase in fuel prices as the US economy steadily recovers and demand outnumbers supply. In February, it was Russia’s invasion that accelerated this trend, shaking crude markets to make them Heightened.

The price of gas has increased by more than 50% since last year, with the average national cost at $4.61 per gallon showing that diesel is also expensive despite being marketed as an affordable fuel source for cars and trucks on our roads today.

The cost of fuel is driving Americans to rethink their car usage. With an average family burning through 90 gallons every month, that translates into a whopping $414 at current prices.

The recent hikes in fuel prices have created a serious problem for President Joe Biden, who is being targeted by voters despite his limited abilities to influence them.

Doctor Strange Multiverse of Madness Inches Closer to $1 Billion Territory

Sam Raimi is no stranger to the box office. He has previously raked in millions for Marvel with his Spider-Man movies in the 2000s. He was able to do the same, if not elevate. His success when he took the helm for Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness. The MCU film topped the box office for the third consecutive weekend, racking up $804 million in global receipts.

When the film was released, it was touted to be an underperforming addition to the Marvel films. Still, reality proved those claims wrong as it is on an unstoppable run that will inevitably top $900 million. Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness may even have a chance to reach $1 billion.

The movie doesn’t have to reach the billion-dollar box office bar. It already established itself as a blockbuster and will likely generate a more elite-tier final cume. However, there were skeptical discussions regarding its performance only a week ago. The MCU is currently the only franchise. It has been able to hit the billion-dollar territory since the onset of the global pandemic. Since 2018, Disney has been the only studio to consistently generate over $1 billion. The only exception to this achievement was Warner Bros. DC film Joker in 2019.

Although 2022 is still halfway through, Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness. It is already the highest-grossing movie worldwide and throughout the pandemic era. With a rating of 74% on Rotten Tomatoes, the Sam Raimi MCU film sits just behind Joss Whedon’s Avengers. Age of Ultron in the critical reception. However, the Cinemascore of B+ is below the MCU’s typical A-grade range.

Next weekend, Top Gun: Maverick seems to be positioned to replace Multiverse of Madness. But the repositioning will not be enough to deny the sorcerer supreme his next big box office milestone.

Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness is projected to sit around $850+/- million. Once by close of business next weekend. From there, the film will take modest amounts for the coming weeks. Until it crosses the $900 million before ending its theatrical run.

2021 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Releases Inductees for the Year

Source: NME

For its 37th year, the annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has proudly announced. Its most diverse set of inductees by far. The iconic induction ceremony is set to take place On October 31st at the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland

As is customary, the inductees were chosen by an international voting body of over 1,200 individuals such as artists. Current living inductees, historians, and other vital music industry members. This year, there are a total of six inductees who have made it into the Hall of Fame.

“What’s Love Got to Do with It” singer. Beloved Queen of Rock’ n’ Roll Tina Turner is among the six impressive music acts who have made the cut. Joining her is Carole King, who is hailed as the most celebrated and iconic singer-songwriter of all time.

Hip-hop icon Shawn Carter, popularly known as Jay-Z, American multi-instrumentalist Todd Rundgren. Rock bands The Go-Go’s, and Foo Fighters will also be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Three notable acts will be given the Early Influence Award as recognition for their groundbreakin. Innovative contributions to the music industry. The first one is the German band Kraftwerk, which is considered as the pioneers of electronic music. Alongside the late musician and poet Gil Scott-Heron.

Rock & Roll Hall

Grammy Award-winning rapper LL Cool J, R&B singer Billy Preston. They heavy metal guitarist Randy Rhoads will all receive the Musical Excellence Award.

Finally, music executive and film producer Clarence Avant has been chosen as the recipient of the Ahmet Ertegun Award. They given to non-performing professionals who have made significant contributions to the industry.

The upcoming induction ceremony is creating a buzz as it returns to its live format this year. That will be attended by A-list celebrities, including the biggest names in the music industry.

Legendary artists such as Paul McCartney, Lionel Richie, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Hudson. Actors Drew Barrymore and Angela Bassett will be part of the ceremony as presenters. In addition, Christina Aguilera, Mickey Guyton, H.E.R., and Bryan Adams will also appear on the show. Performing the hits of newly inducted Hall of Famer Tina Turner.

People both from outside and within the music scene have lauded this year’s inductees. As well as praised the selection committee. At the same time, many are hopeful that this year’s inductees will set a precedent for a more inclusive. Diverse future in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Chairman of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, John Sykes. He confidently echoed the same sentiments and said, “This diverse class of talented Inductees reflects the Rock Hall’s. Ongoing commitment to honor artists whose music created the sound of youth culture. It will make for an unforgettable live celebration of music in October at this year’s Induction Ceremony in Cleveland.”

Stephanie Grisham’s Tell-All Book Reveals Trump’s Terrifying Temper

Source: Stephanie Grisham’s official Instagram account. Former Trump Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham is set to release her much talked about and controversial book titled I’ll Take Your Questions Now: What I Saw in the Trump White House this coming October 5, 2021The book reveals her personal perspective of the former president during her stint as Press Secretary. As can be expected, the release of the book has been met with much criticism from the Trump camp, accusing Grisham of attempting to make money.

The New York Times obtained a copy of the manuscript and quoted a portion of the book where Grisham wrote, “When I began to see how his temper wasn’t just for shock value or the cameras. I began to regret my decision to go to the West Wing.”

White House counsel Pat Cipollone

In the manuscript, Grisham also wrote that White House counsel Pat Cipollone was always the target of Trump’s frequent anger. “He didn’t like them telling him that things he wanted to do were unethical or illegal. So he’d scream at them. But then he’d usually listen. And then yell at them again later,” Grisham wrote in the manuscript.

“I should have spoken up more,” Grisham added in what she wrote. After some time, all the members of Trump’s team “eventually wore out their welcome with the president,” she added. “We were bottles of milk with expiration dates.”

Some time in her stint as press secretary, Grisham also shared that Trump asked her to investigate permanently evicting press from the White House briefing room. As a response to the instructions, she looks for other places where members of the press can stay other than the designated briefing room. “Each time the president asked me about my progress on the matter, I let him know I was still working on options,” Grisham added in her manuscript.

Stephanie Grisham’s upcoming book

Following the release of excerpts from Grisham’s upcoming book, Trump released a statement saying, “Stephanie didn’t have what it takes, and that was obvious from the beginning,” Trump said in a statement last Tuesday. He accused her of becoming “very angry and bitter” after a breakup. Trump was referring to Grishma’s relationship with former Trump aide, Max Miller.

“She had big problems, and we felt that she should work out those problems for herself. Now, like everyone else, she gets paid by a radical left-leaning publisher to say bad and untrue things,” the former president added.

“Too bad that sleaze bag publishers continue to report this very boring garbage,” he said in his statement. “We and the MAGA movement are totally used to it. And someday in the not too distant future, we will have our voice back and be treated fairly by the press.”

The office of Melanie Trump also released a statement on Grisham’s upcoming book. It said, “The intent behind this book is obvious. It is an attempt to redeem herself after a poor performance as press secretary, failed personal relationships, and unprofessional behavior in the White House. Through mistruth and betrayal, she seeks to gain relevance and money at the expense of Mrs. Trump.”

Despite the harsh statements from the Trump camp, Grisham remains focused on the release of her book. She wrote, “This is not, by the way, a book where you need to like me.”

REFERENCES:

  1. https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/574235-stephanie-grisham-describes-trump-anger-toward-her-and-others-as
  2. https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/trump-s-terrifying-temper-taste-for-show-tunes-and-call-to-defend-the-size-of-his-penis-1.4686601
  3. https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/stephanie-grisham-book/2021/09/27/6589e23c-1cf1-11ec-8380-5fbadbc43ef8_story.html
  4. https://www.politico.com/newsletters/playbook/2021/09/13/grisham-dishes-on-melania-494293

Sheryl Sandberg Resigns as the Chief Operating Officer for Meta

For more than a decade, Facebook has dominated the social media space. They are responsible for an estimated 2 billion people worldwide being connected to one another. Through their suites of apps and sites that they own, including Instagram. While Mark Zuckerberg is usually the most associated with Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg has also played an essential role. However, it was reported that she would be leaving. After 14 years of service, the chief operating officer of Meta decided to resign her post.

“The debate around social media has changed beyond recognition since those early days. To say it hasn’t always been easy is an understatement,” Sandberg wrote in a statement. “But it should be hard. The products we make have a huge impact. So we have the responsibility to build them in a way that protects privacy and keeps people safe.”

Mark Zuckerberg Announced About Meta

Mark Zuckerberg announced that Sheryl Sandberg will continue serving on the Meta company’s. She become a board of directors, but in a different capacity. Javier Olvan will be taking over the role with a more traditional COO approach.

Before Facebook, Sheryl was once Google’s vice president of global online sales and operations. She also held senior roles at the World Bank as well as working for the Treasury Department before joining Facebook.

Sandberg’s partnership with Facebook began in 2007. Helping the company grow from $150 million to more than 3 billion within four years. She also earned the moniker of being one of the most influential women in tech. Before starting the Lean In movement.

When she first joined Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg faced several challenges. One of these was misinformation on the platform that led to the 2016 presidential election being influenced. A rift ensued between Sandberg and Zuckerberg during the Trump administration, one that continued to widen through the years. Rumors started to circulate of her resignation, but Zuckerberg assured people in 2018 that Sandberg would maintain her post.

Sheryl Sandberg’s recent departure is yet to be revealed.

The Fed to Implement Higher Interest Rates to Regulate Inflation

Photo: Fox News. The Federal Reserve increased interest rates for the first time since 2018 last month. Currently, there are speculations that the central bank intends to ramp up the extent and pace of its rate increases to slow down soaring consumer prices. 

St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard, among the more hawkish members of the Fed’s regional bank chiefs, said at Monday’s event that the Fed must “expeditiously” increase rates to confine inflation. 

Bullard hinted that the Fed could increase rates by approximately 75 basis points. 

Over the past few weeks, Fed chair Jerome Powell has begun to resonate a lot more like a hawkish member. However, he may not desire to act as invasive as Bullard would like. It is also quite possible that rates are potentially up for a steep climb soon. 

Vice president and head of ETFs

“The Fed should have taken the opportunity to raise rates earlier. There is only so much they can do now; it’s almost already too late,” stated vice president and head of ETFs at AllianzIM, Johan Grahn. “But they have to get ahead of this, and unfortunately the recipe for that is to move more aggressively with rate hikes.” 

As per the broadly viewed federal funds futures trading on the CME, traders are currently pricing in an almost 100% possibility of a half-point rise at the May meeting of the Fed and an over 25% likelihood of an additional 50 basis points rise in June. 

Additionally, investors are pricing in an over 70% chance that the Fed will take rates higher by three-quarters of the percentage point in June. It would leave the key short-term rate of the Fed at 1.5%, a significant increase from the start of the year when rates were still close to zero. 

It is the first since the central bank surged rates by a half-point in May 2000 when Alan Greenspan was Fed chair, briefly following the peak of the dot-com bubble. The previous three-quarter point increase happened under Greenspan as well, in November 1994.

Mark Zuckerberg Accused of Involvement With the 2018 Cambridge Analytica Scandal

Photo: Bitcoin News

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was accused of being involved with the massive Cambridge Analytica data breach In 2018. The case was dismissed; however, this year, Attorney General Karl Racine filed another lawsuit.

“We’re suing Mark Zuckerberg for his role in Facebook’s \isleading privacy practices. Failure to protect millions of users’ data,” said Racine in a statement Monday. “Our investigation shows extensive evidence that Zuckerberg was personally involved in failures that led to the Cambridge Analytica incident.”

The social media platform revealed in 2018 that over 87 million users’ personal information. Might have been “improperly shared” with the data-mining firm which was affiliated with Donald Trump’s successful 2016 presidential campaign. In Racine’s complaint, “this data trove included Facebook users’ ages, interests, pages they’ve liked. Groups they belong to, physical locations, political affiliation, religious affiliation, relationships, and photos; as well as their full names, phone numbers and email addresses.”

Mark Zuckerberg encourage

“In other words, Cambridge Analytica used the Facebook platform – in a way that Facebook and Zuckerberg encouraged. To influence and manipulate the outcome of a United States presidential election.”

According to the Attorney General, the latest suit against Zuckerberg resulted from an existing investigation. Lawsuit his office filed against Facebook after the Cambridge Analytica scandal four years earlier. In addition, Racine claims that because Zuckerberg holds the most significant number of shares of Meta (Facebook’s rebranded name). It has the final say in the company’s operations, he is ultimately responsible for the social platform’s daily operations. As a result, according to Racine, Mark Zuckerberg is also responsible for the events that led to the scandal.

Karl Racine previously attempted to name the CEO personally responsible for the data leak in a 2018 suit. But the judge dismissed the move, reasoning that Racine waited too long to name Zuckerberg in the case. Since then, Facebook has changed its name and rebranded into Meta to focus on the Metaverse. There are suspicions that the name change was meant to distance Facebook from ongoing legal troubles.

6 Things You Should Always Do on a Monday

Monday – From creating a new health plan to investing in the stock market, it is in your best interest to tackle certain activities on the first day of the week.

1. Start a diet On Monday

No matter how tired you are on Monday mornings, you have to admit: the first day of the week offers a refreshing opportunity to start over. This feeling is especially helpful when it comes to starting a healthy diet, according to a report from the University of Pennsylvania. “Some days, called time marks, you have a different view of yourself,” Jason Riis, co-author of the report, told the show TODAY. “You are becoming more forward-looking.” The trick is not to tire your new plan on Wednesday. And if you fall off the wagon, don’t wait until the following Monday to start over. Come back the next morning.

2. Communicate with your colleagues

Monday blues are real, and scientists believe one of the obvious reasons we get them could be traced back to our primitive days. “Humans are social animals, and to feel happy and belongingness, we need to feel comfortable in our place in a ‘tribe,’ so to speak,” writes Mental Floss. “Even after only two days of absence, according to scientists, we have to make sure that our place in our working environment is safe. Gossiping with your coworkers is an integral part of preparing for the workweek, and if you don’t, you may not feel well. “It’s an exciting idea, and at the very least, you’ll appreciate the recovery time. (If that’s not enough, these fun cartoons should get you through the week.)

3. Invest in the stock market

If you’ve invested in the stock market, you already know the key is to buy low and sell high. And it turns out that due to many market factors, stocks tend to fall on Mondays. That’s bad if you’re planning to sell, but if you’re in the market to add to your portfolio, you’re probably running a bargain.

It would be best if you also avoided those financial mistakes that cost you thousands of dollars.

4. Wash your hands

For some reason – and we’re not starting to speculate – Monday is the most common day of the week to call in sick. In fact, according to a British study, more than a third of all sick days occur on the first day of the week. It’s hard to say whether that’s because Monday is the day you’re most likely to get sick, or because an astonishing number of people want a three-day weekend. Whatever it is, we leave you this advice: on Mondays and every day wash your hands.

Make sure to avoid these common handwashing mistakes!

5. Make you sweat

For similar reasons, Monday is a great day to start a new diet, but it’s also the perfect time to reach your fitness goals. A report from Jawbone found Monday to be the most popular day of the week for gym members (in pre-pandemic times, when all gyms were open, that is). Even though your favourite fitness centre is currently banned, you can still increase your heart rate by running or even taking a brisk walk.

Do you need the motivation to start? Here’s what happens when you start walking 10,000 steps a day.

6. Make a feasible and productive to-do list

When it comes to goal setting, what better day of the week for explaining things than Monday? Research published in Psychological Science suggests that we are more likely to accomplish our career goals if we start on a Monday instead of a Thursday. And while there are tons of ways to create the perfect to-do list of your tasks, and we love this goal-setting idea from Peter Gasca. “I make a point of setting myself an aggressive new personal goal for the week, such as trying out a new exercise, reading a book or learning a new song on the guitar,” she writes on Inc. “The goal is to motivate you during your busy week to pursue an interest you enjoy outside of work.”

Chris Pratt Is Set to Voice Garfield in a New Animated Film

Source: Variety

Chris Pratt has been on a roll lately, booking gigs to voice. The world’s most iconic characters in recently announced animated films. In a recent Nintendo Direct, the Guardians Of The Galaxy actor was cast in an upcoming Super Mario Bros. Animated film, alongside  Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Day, Jack Black, Keegan-Michael Key, and many more.

Pratt will play the iconic video game plumber alongside Anya Taylor-Joy as Princess Peach. The film also features Keegan-Michael Key as Toad, Seth Rogen as Donkey Kong. Fred Armisen as Cranky Kong, Kevin Michael Richardson as Kamek, and Sebastian Maniscalco as Spike. 

This time around, Chris Pratt has officially been cast as the titular lasagna-loving. Monday-hating cat in a new film from Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson’s Alcon Entertainment. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the script for Garfield is being written by David Reynolds, famous for writing Finding Nemo. The film will also be directed by Mark Dindal, who directed Chicken Little. The pair previously worked together on Disney’s The Emperor’s New Groove. Garfield creator Jim Davis will also serve as an executive producer, which means this upcoming film is in good hands.

The last time Garfield appeared on the silver screen was back in 2006 in the film Garfield. A Tail of Two Kitties, the sequel to the 2004 film simply entitled Garfield. In both movies, Bill Murray voiced the titular character to great audience reception. As the announcement was officially made, Pratt also shared an image of Garfield on Instagram captioned. “Well, this Monday doesn’t suck.”

Fortunately, Chris Pratt is no stranger to voice roles in animated films. In the last few years, he has starred in Pixar’s Onward voicing Barley Lightfoot. The brother and  deuteragonist to Tom Holland’s Ian Lightfoot.

Pratt also voiced Emmet in The Lego Movie films, which also gained him critical. The audience acclaim for his witty voice work. 

Whatever the film’s story is, it will be brought to life by DNEG Animation, the studio behind Ron’s Gone Wrong. In the meantime, Pratt has been keeping busy with leading live-action roles in The Tomorrow War and Jurassic World: Dominion

Garfield fans have taken to their various social media accounts to display their widely polarized opinions regarding Pratt’s casting. As with the recent Super Mario Bros. casting that was announced.  Pratt himself, however, has said that “it’s a dream come true” to be playing. The part of Mario in the upcoming 2022 film. Remembering his childhood years spent playing the original Super Mario Bros game on an arcade machine.

As for the role of Garfield. it’s clear to see that he’s also a big fan of the lazy orange cat. It’s looking like he’s going to do a mighty fine job in the role. He has shown some promise and talent in the field of voice acting. It’s looking like casting directors are placing a lot of faith in him and his track record.

There is no release date set for Alcon Entertainment and Sony Pictures’ Garfield yet, so make sure to stay tuned for updates as they come in. 

Texas School Shooting Strengthens Concern Over Gun Control

Mass shooting has long been a thorn in the country’s side. The United States has witnessed more than 200 already this year (212 to be exact). The tragedy at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, makes it the second deadliest school shooting on record. It has prompted many to revive the discussion of gun control.

Despite the alarming number of shootings in 2022. Many are under the impression that gun control measures will go nowhere in Congress. They are also becoming increasingly scarce in most states. Apart from some Democratic-controlled states, the majority have not budged on gun control in the past years. Instead, they moved aggressively to expand gun rights.

“Here I am, in a position where I can do something. Sen. Greg Leding said, a Democrat in the GOP-controlled Arkansas Legislature. “I can introduce legislation, and yet, to know that it almost certainly is not going . To go anywhere is a feeling of helplessness. 

Sen. Leding Unsuccessful

Sen. Leding had been unsuccessful in his push for red flag laws that allowed authorities. They remove firearms from people who were deemed a danger to themselves or others.

After the massacre in Texas that took the lives of 19 students and two teachers. Democratic governors and lawmakers across the United States pleaded for the Congress and their legislatures to pass gun restrictions. Republicans called for more effort to address mental health and added security.

Gov. Greg Abbott is among those who have leaned towards mental health struggle talks. Citing the tough gun laws in places like New York and California are ineffective. 

Florida stands out as a Republican-controlled state that took drastic measures after the 2018. Shooting at a high school in Parkland left 14 students and three staff members dead. Lawmakers were prompted to to pass a law with a red flag provision. Lets enforcement officers petition a court to have guns confiscated from people who may be considered a threat.

Democrats are crying to have the law expanded. They allow family members and roommates to make the same requests of the courts. But Republicans have shown little movement to amend the law.

Why You Should Take Up Cycling

Angel City forward Christen Press, left, celebrates with midfielder Savannah McCaskill after scoring against Kansas City on May 21. Angel City will play in two friendlies with Tigres Femenil this year as part of a new partnership with the team.(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

Exercise is excellent for the mind, body, and soul. But it can be hard to decide which to commit to with so many out there. Cycling has become the answer for many in recent times as it provides opportunities and benefits that other exercises can’t. In addition to your benefits, cycling also affects your surroundings. 

If you’re unsure about getting into cycling, below are some good reasons to commit:

Mental health improvement

The past two years have been difficult, and many people have found themselves. Still struggling to shake off the depression and anxiety that the pandemic brought. However, cycling offers the chance to go out and breathe in a whole new environment. After being cooped up in the house for too long, getting on the bike. Setting off on the road can take your mind off those negative thoughts. Bring you to new places, leaving the negativity behind.

Social circle expansion

Cycling opens the door to meeting new people on the road and at bike stops. Socializing with other bikers not only adds to your friends list. It also gives you the opportunity to learn about places to go and how you can improve your cruises. They can also help lift some of the depression that the pandemic brought.

Shed weight

When people are asked why they took up cycling, chances are they’ll reply that they wanted to lose weight. It’s true – cycling can definitely help you burn more calories. But like all exercises, it isn’t an overnight success. You can shed off weight depending on the intensity of your rides. Your diet, and how long you stay on the road.

Build or improve muscles

Athletes take up all kinds of exercises. Cycling has always been one of the most extensive help for runners and soccer players. It can build leg muscles with a focus on glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves. However, you need not be intimidated as anyone can take cycling for many reasons. Leg muscle building is just a bonus.

Improve well-being

Exercises are typically tipped for the muscles and losing weight, but cycling helps raise your heart rate and gets the blood pumping around your body. As a result, many doctors often recommend cycling as a means to reduce the risk of developing major illnesses like heart disease and cancer. In addition, it is a great way to lower mortality rates and physiological risk factors like diabetes, physical inactivity, and high blood pressure.

Britney Spears’ Fiance Announces that They Have a Wedding Date

Image Source: SkyNews

Britney Spears uploaded a photo of a veil she says she will wear on her wedding day. Sam Asghari announced the couple had picked a date for the big day on his social media accounts. Following the end of Spears’ 13-year conservatorship, the couple is getting married and expecting a kid

At the premiere of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood in Los Angeles in July 2019. Britney Spears and Sam Asghari

Engaged in 2019, Britney Spears and Sam Asghari are expecting their first child.

According to Sam Asghari, Britney Spears’ fiance, the rumors that they are already married have been put to rest.

In recent social media posts, Spears has referred to Asghari as her “spouse,”. They has sparked speculation that they may have secretly wed.

Sources say that this is not the case. On Sunday, Asghari posted an Instagram story in honor of Mother’s Day in the United States. They seemed to confirm this.

A picture of Asghari and Spears kissing with Spears holding up her ring finger to show off her engagement ring was captioned, “Our lives [have] been a real-life fairytale.” Thank you for becoming my future queen. ‘Happy Mother’s Day’

Britney Spears Big Day

“The big day has been set!” Asghari, 28, exclaimed to his 2.4 million Twitter followers.

It’s possible that no one will know anything about the wedding until the last minute. When asked if the ceremony will be open to the public, Asghari replied, “No, it won’t be.”

On Sunday, Spears posted a picture of a cat named Wendy laying on top of a white veil. She claimed would be the veil for her wedding dress.

Pop singer Britney Spears’ pregnancy and engagement to Asghari come at a time. When she is celebrating her freedom after 13 years in conservatorship.

In November, a court ruled that the controversial legal agreement that regulated her personal and financial affairs could be terminated.

There was testimony from Britney Spears on how the conservatorship, run in part by her father. Jamie Spears, influenced not only her financial situation but also her decision to marry and have a second kid.

As a pop performer, Spears was recognized for hits like Baby One More Time, Oops… I Did It Again, I’m A Slave 4 U, Toxic, and Womanizer at the height of her stardom.

Although she hasn’t performed in front of a live audience since 2018. She had swore never to do so while her father remained in charge.

Spears already has two children with ex-husband Kevin Federline, Sean and Jayden.

The iPhone 14 Set to Switch Front Camera Manufacturers with a Partnership with LG Innotek

Photo: Apple Insider

Users and tech experts have dubbed the iPhone as one of the phones with the best selfie cameras. But the upcoming iPhone 14 will be bringing in a new experience. Apple is allegedly looking to buy high-end selfie snappers for the next generation of iPhones with Sharp and LG Innotek.

Since it started dominating the smartphone industry. Apple is changing its front-facing camera manufacturer with a Korean company for the first time. The company is reportedly designating self cameras as high-end components moving forward. Rather than the low-end ones they used to be.

LG Innotek’s camera was initially planned to be installed on the iPhone 15. But Apple decided to push the schedule forward following quality problems with Chinese-made cameras, which became apparent during quality testing. So with the iPhone 14 models, the front cameras will be installed with autofocus on the selfie snappers.

The new selfie snappers are expected to have autofocus built into the camera. Moving away from the software tuning that the current models use. The front camera is also tipped to use a wider f/1.9 aperture. Upgrading from the f/2.2 aperture seen on the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro. The wider aperture will allow more light in, giving photos more details and improving nighttime shots. With the upgrade on the selfie cameras, video recording and FaceTime calls are pegged to be brighter. Giving YouTubers, vloggers, and TikTok stars better exposure, figuratively and literally.

iPhone 14 models

The iPhone 14 models are also expected to finally steer away from the notched display that many have complained about. Instead replace them with a new pill and punch-hole cutout for the selfie camera and Face ID tech. However, the iPhone 14s front-facing camera is tipped to remain with the 12MP. At the same time, the iPhone 14 Pro will get a 48MP main camera. Giving users the idea that the megapixels’ focus will remain on the rear camera.

Despite the positive news of a wider aperture and better autofocus. The new camera could also lead to a three-fold increase in camera manufacturing prices, leading to increased iPhone prices. Additionally, Apple is reported to be removing the Mini series after low sales, instead inserting the iPhone Max Model.

The iPhone 14 will be getting a minor upgrade with more RAM while maintaining the A15 Bionic chip. While the iPhone 15 Max is expected to have a larger 6.7-inch display.

Marvel Drops the Second Trailer for Thor: Love and Thunder, Sends Internet Into Excitement

Photo: Heroic Hollywood. Taika Waititi first announced on social media that the second trailer for Thor: Love and Thunder. It would drop during Game 4 of the NBA Eastern Conference finals, and it finally arrived.

The first trailer first dropped in April and prominently featured Thor, Korg, and the Guardians of the Galaxy. It also featured the first appearance of Jane Foster as the Mighty Thor. However, the second trailer expanded the movie’s plot with the revelation of characters like Gorr the God-Butcher and Zeus.

Thor: Love and Thunder’s second trailer starts with Korg (Waititi) sitting to tell the tale of Thor. Odinson’s resolve to go from dad-bod to god-bod, praising him as the God of Thunder. However, he pauses with the arrival of another – Jane Foster’s Mighty Thor. Although surprised by both her return and ability to wield Mjolnir. It has little to no time to process his feelings. The arrival of a new threat prompts the beloved hero to embark on a new quest before all gods fall.

Chris Hemsworth’s Last Appearance

Chris Hemsworth’s last appearance as this was in 2019’s Endgame. Dealing with depression after failing to stop Thanos in Infinity War. This time around, the God of Thunder has shed off the controversial weight. It just in time to run into Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster. The two, joined by Korg and Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson). Set off on a space adventure to prevent the threat of Christian Bale’s Gorr the God-Butcher. Also meeting Russell Crowe’s Zeus along the way.

“The film finds Thor on a journey unlike anything. He’s ever faced – a quest for inner peace,” Marvel’s official synopsis wrote. “But his retirement is interrupted by a galactic killer known as Gorr the God Butcher, who seeks the extinction of the gods. To combat the threat, Thor enlists the help of King Valkyrie, Korg and ex-girlfriend Jane Foster, who – to Thor’s surprise – inexplicably wields his magical hammer, Mjolnir, as the Mighty Thor. Together, they embark upon a harrowing cosmic adventure to uncover the mystery of the God Butcher’s vengeance and stop him before it’s too late.”

Thor: Love and Thunder is set for a theatrical release on July 8.

“Jolene” Singer Declines 2022 Rock Hall Nomination

Photo: Getty Images. Dolly Parton, singer of Grammy Hall of Fame songs “Coat of Many Colors,”. “I Will Always Love You,” and “Jolene,” announced in a statement. She has declined the 2022 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Nomination. Stating that she feels she has not “earned that right.” 

Parton has also previously turned down a Presidential Medal of Freedom from the Trump administration. He has also expressed that she isn’t likely to accept one from the Biden government.

Parton has been inducted into several music halls of fame, such as the 1999 Country Music Hall of Fame. In 2001, she was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Her three songs mentioned above were also featured in the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Among those on the list for the Rock Hall are Eminem, Beck. A Tribe Called Quest, Carly Simon, and Duran Duran. Inductees will be announced in May, and on April 29. Fans can vote for their choice through the Rock Hall website.

Dolly Parton’s full statement can be found below

“Dolly here! Even though I am extremely flattered and grateful to be nominated for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. She don’t feel that I have earned that right. I really do not want votes to be split because of me, so I must respectfully bow out.

She do hope that the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame will understand. Be willing to consider me again – if I’m ever worthy. This has, however, inspired me to put out a hopefully great rock’n’roll album at some point in the future. I have always wanted to do! My husband is a total rock’n’roll freak. She has always encouraged me to do one. I wish all of the nominees good luck and thank you again for the compliment. Good luck!”

The Birth and Evolution of Technology and Software Titan Apple Inc.

No company has made a more significant impact on electronics in the modern era than Apple Inc. Easily recognizable by the logo itself, the company surged in popularity. It has remained on top for more than a decade as their computer software. Also servers, phones, and gadgets have become the go-to brand for several companies and people’s preferences.

Apple Inc. Starting

Apple Inc. started from humble beginnings, originating in the ’70s. With a trio consisting of Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne. Jobs and Wozniak shared an affinity for technology, establishing a partnership. That would result in one of the most famous companies in the world today.

The foundations for the famous mobile phones today were built when Jobs started selling “blue boxes”. They allowed users to make phone calls from long distances without spending a dime. Woz, in turn, shared his intrigue in computers by sharing his work with Jobs. He presented a computer with a typewriter-like keyboard connecting to a regular television acting as the screen. Jobs saw the potential it held as a commercial product.

The duo collaborated with Ronald Wayne, who played the instrumental role of settling their agreement. Outlining their responsibilities and creating the original logo. Wayne joined their project to prove them with “adult supervision” and oversaw the mechanical engineering and documentation.

Steve Wozniak

Steve Wozniak attempted to sell his idea to HP but was met with rejection five times. It was Jobs who convinced Wozniak that they go into business together. Faithful in Woz’s works, Jobs sold his Volkswagen minibus and HP calculator. They cost more back then, to help fund the production. Initially, Wozniak created the Apple I to make a statement and showcase his ability to create with little resources. The computer would later be dubbed as the Apple I, serving as the archetype to the modern-day computer.

Steve Jobs came up with the name for the brand after returning from a farm in Oregon. The name’s origin resonated with Jobs as he thought it carried an aura that emulated “fun, spirited, and not intimidating.”

The duo then arranged to showcase their final product to a chain store. Impressing the owner who ordered fifty on the condition that they arrive fully assembled. Pleased with the arrangement, Jobs ordered the remainder of the parts he needed and worked tirelessly to complete their task. Once the orders arrived punctually. Apple was rewarded for the 200 units they sold, and Wozniak earned a reputation as a master designer.

Tasting Success

Tasting success, Jobs sought new investors, with many of them showing interest but also reluctance. Eventually, Mike Markkula made a heavy investment in Apple, which rewarded him with 1/3rd of Apple’s shares.

Over the years, Apple Inc.’s computers underwent several innovations. The Apple I was followed by the II and III models before introducing the Macintosh. It generated sales on its release before declining as the software felt lacking. With more people on board, Jobs and Wozniak left the company following creative differences. It also frustrations with the company’s direction, respectively.

As the 21st century arrived, Apple started opening up retail stores and producing portable music players. It gradually expanded, innovating the computer and mobile phone industry. Steve Jobs’ return ushered in changes that rocked the world. Although he is gone today, Jobs’ legacy has been cemented as Apple Inc. Continues to reign as one of the most sought-after brands.

References:

https://www.macworld.co.uk/feature/history-of-apple-steve-jobs-mac-3606104/
https://blue-lable.com/the-history-of-apple/

Google Home and Amazon Echo Can Record Your Voice and This Information Can be Used Against You

In the 1999 Disney original, smart house, a teenage boy wins a futuristic home for him. His family and this house was fully equipped with an AI system that served as their assistant/butler. It prepares coffee for them before they wake up in the morning, cleans. Plays with the family dog and plays music specific to the mood at the time. Google Home and Amazon Echo Can Record Your Voice and This Information Can be Used Against You

Welcome to the Amazon Echo and Google Home.

Fast forward 18 years, and what is science fiction in the 90s is now a reality today. Of course, this reality is excluding the ability of the smart house to become self-aware. Try to hold the household hostage. However, the general trends of technology are going towards the AI-powered smart homes that continually learn. What your preferences are over time. Welcome to the Amazon Echo and Google Home.

It will surprise you what these devices can do and perhaps even more surprising is the laws. Surrounding its use and what can be done with the information it collects. Recently a judge ordered Amazon to turn over the recordings. An amazon echo device made in a double homicide case in New Hampshire where two women were stabbed fatally in January of 2017. Prosecutors submitted that the smart home assistants may have recorded the incident. They will be able to shed more light on the murder. Amazon refused to release any information until a valid legal demand was served.

Other Case Popular

There was another case popular in 2015 where amazon echo data was needed in yet another murder investigation where prosecutors believed that the device must have recorded the events leading up to the discovery of the body in a hot tub. The defendant voluntarily turned in the data and the charges were dropped as there wasn’t enough evidence to prosecute.

This begs the question that if smart home devices are always listening, why the data from the 2015 case couldn’t offer any clarity to the investigation. This is a common misconception with the smart devices. They aren’t actively listening to you at all times as many would suggest but rater they are always in a passive listening mode where they only activate at the mention of specific keywords known as wake words. Words such as Alexa, okay google, etc.  All other words that they hear before this wake word is constantly discarded and not uploaded to the cloud.

If you are not so comfortable with the device being able to store information about you, you can request for the option where it listens to you but it permanently deletes all recordings that might have been made. If you’re area Google home user, for instance, you can click on your google account and beneath your profile, click on manage google activity, then go to my activity. You can delete all activity and all stored queries by selecting “Delete activity by” and then select “all time”. This deletes all of the information it has collected over a period of time.

Steve Bannon Surrendered after Being Charged with Contempt of Congress

Source: CNBC

The world turned upside down last year when Democratic President Joe Biden won the elections. beating Donald Trump’s attempt for a second run. The former president did not take the defeat lightly. Refusing to acknowledge the loss and making massive claims of massive fraud despite his lack of evidence. Chaos followed as Trump supporters stormed the Congress building. Several figures were pegged for knowledge of plans, including Steve Bannon.

A one-time top adviser for the former President. Bannon is accused of defying summons to testify his knowledge of plans for the protest on January 6, 2021. According to subpoena documents, Bannon announced on the eve of the riot on his right-wing. War Room podcast that “all hell is going to break loose tomorrow.”

If convicted, he faces up to one year in prison and a $100,000 fine. Bannon was indicted last Friday on one count of refusing to appear for a deposition. One count of refusing to provide subpoenaed documents to a committee investigating the riot. 

On Monday morning, Steve Bannon arrived at the FBI’s Washington Field Office. “This is going to be the misdemeanor from hell,”.  He said outside the office. Bannon appeared in the U.S. District Court in the afternoon and stated. He believed the charges were politically driven, vowing to fight against them. “We’re tired of playing defense,” said Bannon. “We’re going to go on the offense on this.”

Bannon also live-streamed his arrival for his first court appearance. “I want you guys to stay focused, stay on the message,” he urged his followers. “Remember: signal, not noise. This is all noise, that’s signal.”

The former White House chief strategist was released on his own recognizance under some court restriction. Bannon will be required to check in weekly, remain at his listed address. They will have to notify the court if he is to travel domestically in the Washington, D.C., area. He was also prohibited from traveling internationally under the condition of the court’s approval. They having surrendered his passport. Bannon is scheduled to return to court for a virtual hearing on Thursday.

Bannon Spoke to Reporters About Steve

Outside the courthouse, Bannon spoke to reporters, vowing to fight the charges. “What we’re doing is taking on this illegitimate Biden regime,”. He told reporters. Bannon also urged support not to “ever let this noise up here take you off message.”

A private citizen on January 6 and during the run-up to the attack on the capitol. Bannon said Trump directed him not to produce documents or give testimony. Might reveal any information that the former president’s lawyers are trying to legally protect. The indictment alleged that Bannon has “not communicated with the Select Committee in any way. Since accepting service of the subpoena on September 24, 2021.”

Steve Bannon was represented by Alabama- based attorney David Schoen. A member of Trump’s legal team during his second impeachment trial earlier this year. Trump himself was impeached by the House on a single charge of insurrection for his role in the January 6. Assault on the capitol and acquitted by the senate.

SEC Shuts Down $62 Million Cryptocurrency Trading and Mining Scheme, DOJ Indicts Founder

Andrew Kelly / Reuters. A $62 million cryptocurrency trading. US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) shut down Mining enterprise. The suspension Following. The DOJ charged the scheme’s founder. CEO, who faces a maximum sentence of 45 years in prison if convicted on all counts.

A bogus crypto mining and trading scheme. US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) shut down on Friday.

Luiz Carlos Capuci Jr. and Emerson Souza Pires found MCC International – Mining Capital Coin. The SEC charged both founders as well as two other firms. According to the agency, the allegations “are related to the fraudulent marketing of unregistered offerings. Investment plans known as mining packages to thousands of investors.”

According to the information gathered by the securities watchdog. There dates back to 2018,

MCC, Capuci, and Pires sold mining packages to up to 65,535 investors around the world. Promising daily returns. The program claimed 1% weekly returns and profit were guaranteed for investors for up to 52 weeks.

According to the charges, investors in the scheme were guaranteed bitcoin returns. Introduced MCC’s token, capital coin (CPTL), into which investors were needed to withdraw their funds.

In response to the SEC’s efforts, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) issued an indictment against Capuci. The creator and CEO of MCC, a cryptocurrency mining and investment platform. The investment site is accused of being a $62 million global cryptocurrency fraud scam. According to the indictment.

The Department of Justice

The Department of Justice described the platform as fraudulent. Accusing Capuci of recruiting and manipulating investors into MCC’s stated mining packages. He and other conspirators claimed that MCC had a global network of cryptocurrency. It has mining devices capable of providing “guaranteed high returns” to investors.

MCC’s native cryptocurrency token, according to the conspirators. It is a decentralized autonomous organization supported by revenue. The world’s largest cryptocurrency mining operation.

“However, Capuci did not employ investor cash to create new cryptocurrencies,” the DOJ added. His investment scheme was deceptive.  He moved all investor monies to his own cryptocurrency accounts. Capuci promoted some trading bots under MCC’s products. As an alternative investment mechanism to help investors earn in the bitcoin market, according to the indictment.

Promoters MCC in a pyramid scheme. Ownership of the investment profits through the use of multiple cryptocurrency exchanges.

A review of the platform also reveal. The combination of MCC’s $50 monthly membership charge. Its steep 3% withdrawal fee meant that investors were unlikely to make a profit unless. They recommended other investors. He called such a referral approach “, especially concerning” because it was similar to previous crypto scams.

Capuci faces charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to engage in international money laundering. Conspiracy to commit securities fraud, according to the DOJ. He faces a possible total prison sentence of 45 years. If convicted on all counts. The inquiry is still ongoing, and all will be revealed in due time.

Also Read: Squid Game Cryptocurrency Crashes to $0 as Creators Pull the Rug on the Apparent Scam

The White House Announces New Internet Initiative for Low-income American Families

Image Source: TheGuardian. It was reported on Monday by the Biden administration at white house. Twenty internet service providers have agreed to provide subsidized service to low-income customers. A move that would enable millions of homes to get access for free thanks to an existing federal subsidy.

The Affordable Connectivity Program, which gives $30 monthly subsidies ($75 in tribal regions) on internet connection to millions. It was received $14.2 billion of that total.

About 48 million households will be eligible for $30 monthly plans for 100 megabits per second. Higher speed service thanks to the new commitment from internet providers. They making internet service fully paid for with the government subsidy. If they sign up with one of the providers participating in the program.

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Joe Biden prioritized expanding rural running for president. Low-income areas’ access to high-speed internet as part of his infrastructure plan. As the coronavirus pandemic raged on, he frequently spoke out about the difficulties faced by low-income families.The children could participate in remote learning and finish homework assignments with In accessing dependable wifi.

President Obama Remarks

President Obama remarks at a White House event that if we didn’t know it before, we do now. They honoring the National Teacher of the Year

According to the White House, 80 percent of the US population. Including 50 percent of the rural population, is served by the 20 internet firms. They have agreed to decrease their rates for eligible users. Services provided by participating enterprises on tribal territory are priced at $75 a month. They is the same as the subsidy provided by the federal government.

As part of the initiative to increase access to high-speed internet for low-income households. Vice President Kamala Harris will meet with telecom executives, members of Congress, and other stakeholders on Monday.

Providers include Allo Communications, AltaFiber, Altice USA (Optimum and Suddenlink), Att, Breezeline. Cox Communications Frontier IdeaTek Cox Communications Jackson Energy Authority MLGC Spectrum (Charter Communications) Starry. Verizon (Fios only), Vermont Telephone Co Vexus Fiber and Wow! Internet, Cable and TV.

People in the United States who have incomes of up to or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Who are beneficiaries of any of several government assistance programs the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA), or Veterans Pension and Survivors. Benefit may be eligible for subsidies through the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).

Bonuses for Wall Street Staffers Set to Be the Highest Since 2009

Photo by lo lo on Unsplash. As the year winds down and 2021 comes to a close. The talks of year-end bonuses are inevitably coming about. Wall Street staffers are in for the highest bonuses since 2009. It has been a busy year for business compared to last year’s lackluster performance. Where professionals saw a decline in awards. Compensation firm Johnson Associates Inc said on Tuesday that Investment bankers and equities traders are in line for the biggest bonuses

Overall, it’s been a good year for business, with incentives seeing a significant spike compared to last year. These incentives include cash bonuses and equity awards which declined in the previous year as well. The awards reflect record levels of deal-making and trading activity. Government stimulus measures helped propel global stock markets to all-time highs.

Investment banking underwriters are projected to see a jump. Bonuses by as much as 30%-35% this year compared to the prior year. While investment banking advisers and equities sales. Trading professionals can expect to see awards increase by 20%-30%, as research dictates.

“This year’s bonus season on Wall Street should be one for the record books,” said Alan Johnson. managing director of Johnson Associates Inc. “Virtually all financial services industry segments, including investment banking, asset management and alternative investments, are performing at record levels. This, in turn, will translate into incentive award increases we haven’t seen in the industry since before the Great Recession.”

Double-digit Increases

Workers at private equity and asset management firms are projected double-digit increases. Hedge funds, and those in management and staff positions. Retail and commercial banking workers. However, the study shows the projected to receive payments that will increase a more modest 5%. 

Payments for fixed income sales professionals and traders are projected to be similar or slightly less compared with last year. The profitable 2021 is often attributed to booming deal activity. A hot IPO market and climbing equities which means bankers.

However, given this year’s tremendous business activity, Wall Street professionals have seen an increase in unprecedented workloads. This also translates to a more competitive job market as companies. They prepare to shell out a premium to retain top talent and nab new hires. Firms are “very concerned about turnover. Even though the pay is going to be up significantly,” Johnson Associates managing director Alan Johnson told CNBC.

Johnson Associates used public data from banks and asset management firms, along with proprietary insights from clients. To calculate the projected year-end incentives on a head-count-adjusted basis. Some investment banks, including Goldman Sachs, disclose how much management has set aside for employee compensation in quarterly earnings reports. Johnson Associates also predicts bonuses for private equity, asset management and hedge fund roles will see double-digit increases. 

Mercedes Auctioned a $142 Million Car, The World’s Most Expensive

Photo: Spam Chronicles. For $142 million, a unique 1955 Mercedes-Benz SLR coupe was sold to an anonymous private owner, confirmed Mercedes. The car has been preserved in the luxury auto manufacturer’s collection. 

Hagerty, a firm that keeps tabs on collector car values. Claimed that the price hails it as the most expensive car known ever to be sold. 

The proceeds from this sale will launch a new scholarship fund – Mercedes-Benz Fund – that gives opportunities to students worldwide. 

The previous record price for the most expensive car was $70 million. This 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO is said to have been purchased in 2018.

The sold Mercedes vehicle was among the only two 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe models. The cars, 67 years old, were named after Mercedes’ then-chief engineer. Rudolf Uhlenhaut, and are said to have the highest speed of 186 mph. 

The model was sold at an exclusive invitation-only auction at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart on May 5. The auction was organized in partnership with the auto auction firm RM Sotheby’s. 

Mercedes Has announced

Mercedes has announced that they will be keeping the last Uhlenhaut Coupe in their collection.

“Their racing cars from the 1930s and 1950s are rare. Most are still owned by the factory, so any that come to market are highly sought after. Stated vice president of automotive intelligence at Hagerty, Brian Rabold. 

Models, such as the “Gullwing” SLRs – dubbed due to their doors that hang in the air. Curved wings – are deemed to be one of the most desirable vehicles in the world. And several varieties of unique and racing versions are particularly valuable. 

The SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe was a hard-top version of Mercedes’ highly-coveted open-topped SLR racing car. Powered by a 300-horsepower eight-cylinder engine. The deliberation was that a closed car would protect drivers better from wind. Weather at top speeds, and the closed roof would also upgrade aerodynamics. 

Mercedes-Benz effectively stopped all motorsports activities after creating these vehicles. As a result, they were never used in competition.

The company didn’t identify the car’s new owner. However, British classic car dealer Simon Kidston said in a press release. They have put a winning bid at the behest of a customer.

Microsoft Finally Gives Users the Feature They Want With Windows 11 Updates Only Coming Annually

Source: Getty Images

Software updates have become the norm, regardless of the gadget. While the pop-up ads asking for updates can be a nuisance, these updates are integral in keeping your cyber security. Microsoft has made a habit of forcing users to update at least twice a yea. But recently the company has decided to shift its business by quelling users’ frustrations with the updates. 

Last month, Microsoft released their latest operating system, Windows 11. Shortly after the release, the company announced that Windows will be releasing one annual update to Windows 10. Removing the need to update twice a year. Windows 11 will also be following a similar schedule.

The company’s decision to halve the number of updates falls in line with the industry standard. Apple releases one new version of MacOS annually while the iOS also gets an annual update. Google’s Android operating system also follows a similar framework to a lesser degree. Issuing full updates to Chrome OS roughly every four weeks.

Throughout the years, Windows has been an integral part of Microsoft, generating over 13% of the company’s revenue. Research firm Gartner recorded that Windows contributed to 83% market share by unit shipments while Google Chrome OS. Apple Mac OS only generated 10% and 7% respectively in 2020.

Windows 10 was released in 2015 and has required an update twice a year. Causing a nuisance to users who have been vocal about their disdain towards the additional configuration work. Four years later, Microsoft changed its framework. Rolling out one significant update a year with new features while smaller updates focus on performance and reliability.

With the latest operating system, Microsoft has finally listened to customer input, scrapping the double update annually. Users who are not yet ready to upgrade their system are free to use Windows 10; however. The company has announced that the system will only be available until October 2025. Earlier this week, Microsoft released a Windows 10 update called version 21H2.

John Cable, vice president of program management for Windows servicing and delivery addressed the change, writing in a blog post. We continue to listen to customer feedback to adapt Windows. They try to meet your needs as part of our ongoing support Windows 10. They have scoped the November 2021 Update to focus on productivity, management, and security.”

The Windows 11 release has been progressing faster than the company initially anticipated. Cable followed up on his post by sharing updates. The company is making the Windows 11 upgrade more broadly available to eligible Windows 10 devices.

The Windows 11 update will include several upgrade features, including stronger security to protect devices from attacks while connecting to Wi-Fi networks. The upgraded Universal Print feature in Windows 10 Enterprise will be able to handle print jobs that can handle over one gigabyte. Users also have access to utilize the Azure Virtual Desktop service to provision apps to cloud-based Windows 10. Additionally, users can check the availability now by opening the settings app and navigating to Update & Security, where the Windows Update icon can be found. They can check for updates, and if the device is ready, a Download and Install button will be available.

Rouble Surges Against Euro Due to EU Getting Ready for Tax Payments

Photo: Reuters

It’s no surprise that the Russian rouble is bucket-listing again. Since June 2015 and March 2018, it has been steadily climbing to its highs against the euro and dollar. The major factors that analysts say contribute to the strengthening. EU nations getting ready to pay Russia for gas as well as capital retaliation measures implemented by Moscow.

Russia says that half of Gazprom’s 54 customers have opened accounts with the company. As several European firms are all entering payments for their gas supplies quickly before deadlines hit.

Opening those accounts is attainable following EU executives enabling member states to continue purchasing Russian gas. Without violating multiple sanctions they have jointly implemented against Russia for what Moscow describes as its “special military operation”. In Ukraine that began on February 24. 

One of the critical grounds for the rouble upturn is the shift to roubles from euros. It will occur in European payments for Russian gas. As per a statement from Yuri Popov, a strategist at SberCIB Investment Research. A hub of Russia’s No. 1 lender Sberbank.

The rouble has been trading at 61.10 – 5% high – against the euro in recent hours from attaining 59.02. Its firmest since June 2015. 

Meanwhile, against the dollar, it firmed over 4% on the day to 59.10 after touching 57.0750. A strong level not experienced since March 2018. 

With a 30% raise this year, the rouble has been one of the best-performing currencies. This is despite an economic decline inside their country. Due to the sanctions placed on Moscow for its attack on Ukraine in late February. 

Russia’s appreciation of the rouble is primarily thanks to export companies. They have converted their profits since Western sanctions froze almost half of Russia’s gold and forex reserves.

“Exporters are forced to sell (foreign currency), and there is no one to buy it,”. Said a trader at an investment firm in Moscow. 

This past week, the rouble has been strengthening against the dollar and euro due to arrangements made for end-of-the-month taxes. Still, demand for the dollar and euro remains low because of Russia’s import disruptions. Bans on pulling out foreign currency from bank accounts and transferring it outside Russia. 

“The key question is whether the central bank will step in as the excessive. Rouble firming is not in the finance ministry’s and budget plans,” said an analyst at CentroCreditBank, Evgeny Suvorov. 

On Friday, the head of the central bank’s monetary policy department, Kirill Tremasov, said the rouble continues to be a free-floating currency, according to the RIA news network. 

The central bank has not given any sentiment on the rouble rate.

Russia Shuts Down Facebook, While Other International Companies Temporarily Stop Operations

Photo: Reuters

In response to the economic penalties imposed by many countries and companies. Russia has counter-imposed its own set of sanctions against these countries and companies. They Shuts Down Facebook, While Other International Companies Temporarily Stop Operations

Russia Announced Shuts Down Facebook

They announced they are cutting off Facebook over its exclusion of state-backed media. In response to this new law against “fake news” in Russia. Many international news companies like CNN have said their intention to stop broadcasting in the country. 

Russia is continuing its invasion of Ukraine, and there are growing signs that it may be affecting global business. On Friday, an increase in the ongoing tension led to Russia shutting off multiple media companies. As well as new giant corporations saying they were suspending Russian sales. Including Microsoft Corp and Electronic Arts Inc., a video game developer. 

The government of Russia has ordered that Facebook, Twitter, and other sites be shut down. What it calls untrue information about the crisis in Ukraine. The BBC websites, Deutsche Welle, and Voice of America were also banned. 

BBC has Announced

BBC has announced that it will be temporarily shutting down operations in Russia. Following a new law that could put anyone behind bars for willfully spreading “fake” news.

CNN by AT&T Inc, according to a spokesperson, is suspending broadcasts. “evaluate the situation and our next steps moving forward.” 

Head of global affairs at Meta, Nick Clegg, stated. They are doing everything in their power to bring back service.

“Soon, millions of ordinary Russians will find themselves cut off from reliable information. Deprived of their everyday ways of connecting with family and friends. Silenced from speaking out,” said Clegg in a statement on Twitter. 

The wave of leading Western companies from different industries has withdrawn their business into Russia. Several popular brands have condemned Moscow for its assault on Ukraine. Including the luxury brand LVMH announcing Friday that they will temporarily close 124 shops in response to this crisis.

Canadian Tire has shut down 41 Russian stores; Bombardier is canceling business negotiations with clients from that country as well.

Canada Eases Restrictions for Vaccinated Travelers

Photo: Getty Images

Canada will no longer require a molecular COVID-19 test as the cheaper. Faster antigen tests will suffice for vaccinated international travelers.

The government has also dropped the travel advisory that urged Canadians to avoid international travel.

This is a result of the drop in COVID-19 cases in the country.

Canada’s top doctor said earlier this month. The country had already surpassed the peak of its latest wave caused by the highly transmissible omicron variant.

Cases in Canada began to rise in December. Then the numbers stabilized at a low point in the last days of January.

The relaxed entry rules will be reassessed in the following weeks. Testing requirements for fully vaccinated Canadians making trips of less than 72 hours may be dropped.

Testing a negative rapid antigen test one day before traveling. A molecular test within 72 hours of their departure are now options for vaccinated travelers. Random testing may occur upon arrival, but quarantine is no longer required while waiting for the results.

On the other hand, a rapid test is required before boarding the plane for unvaccinated Canadians. They will also need a molecular test upon landing and another molecular test eight days after. Plus an isolation period of two weeks.

Around 80% of Canadians are fully vaccinated, while more than 40% have been vaccinated with a booster shot.

Alberta, Saskatchewan, Quebec and the country’s most populous province. Ontario, are among the several provinces that have recently announced a loosening of restrictions as COVID-19 cases steadily declined. 

Protests in Ottawa and several border crossings were launched for weeks to oppose the restrictions. Which disrupted trade and paralyzed the downtown core of Canada’s capital.

Earlier this month, after a tense stand-off with police, demonstrators were cleared from Ottawa.

Barr Says His View on Election Fraud Is ‘Common Sense’ and ‘Logic’

Photo: BBC. The former attorney general’s comments on vote-by-mail are controversial. He has also openly condemned former President Donald Trump. He over baseless post-election claims that the 2020 race had been stolen from him. 

“I stand by all of that,” said Barr in an interview. “My view is that in such as closely divided country with so much at stake. We have to keep strong protections against fraud and protect the integrity of the election. I think when they are diluted and reduced—which they were.

Then people are not going to have confidence in this, whether or not fraud occurs.”

Barr remarked many unsupported statements moments before this that amplified Trump’s scare tactics about voter fraud before his loss. 

Barr repeatedly cautioned that foreign countries would widely imitate mail-in ballots with no proof. When asked for evidence of this claim, he responded that his statements were based on “common sense” and “logic.” 

After Barr’s prior statement was proven false. The Department of Justice had to clear up confusion about 1,700 fraudulent votes in Texas.

Experts have thoroughly debunked the idea that vote-by-mail is subject to a wide range of fraud.

On Friday, the former attorney general stated. He has no obligation to those who think mass fraud would happen in the election. 

Following the election. Barr privately rebuked Trump’s allegations of a rigged election. As per an extract from his memoir One Damn Thing After Another. Moreover, Barr said he publicly condemned Trump’s untrue statements of widespread election fraud two times after the election.

World Bank Foresees “Human Catastrophe” Food Crisis

Photo: BBC

The world experienced a “human catastrophe” from a food crisis. brought about by the Ukraine-Russia conflict, said World Bank president David Malpass. He stated in an interview with BBC that food price hikes would thrust hundreds of millions of people into poverty and nutrition deficiency if the crisis continues. 

The World Bank estimates there might be a “huge” 37% surge in food prices. And it would strike the poor more severely. who will “eat less and have less money for anything else such as schooling.” 

Malpass, who forefronts the organization. It handles the global poverty alleviation, told BBC economics editor Faisal Islam. The effect on the poor made it “an unfair kind of crisis … that was true also of COVID.” 

“It’s a human catastrophe, meaning nutrition goes down. But then it also becomes a political challenge for governments. who can’t do anything about it, they didn’t cause it. they see the prices going up,” he stated at IMF-World Bank meetings in Washington. 

The price hikes are wide and steep; he added: “It’s affecting food of all different kinds. oils, grains, and then it gets into other crops, corn crops because they go up when wheat goes up.” 

According to Malpass, there was sufficient food in the world to feed everybody. worldwide supplies are massive by historical standards. However, there must be a sharing or trading process to deliver the food to where it is essentially demanded. 

He also urged countries against capitalizing on production or prices. Rather, the attention should be laid on rising supplies of fertilizers. food globally, along with objectives of assistance for the lower-income sectors. 

Additionally, the World Bank chief cautioned of a tap on “crisis within crisis” . Brought about by the lack of ability of developing countries. To help their huge pandemic debts in the middle of hiking food and energy prices. 

“This is a very real prospect. It’s happening for some countries; we don’t know how far it’ll go. As many as 60% of the poorest countries right now. Either in debt distress or at high risk of being in debt distress,” he stated. 

“We have to be worried about a debt crisis. The best thing to do is to start early to act early on finding ways to reduce. That are on have unsustainable debt; the longer you put it off, the worse it is,” he further said.

UK Prime Minister Encourages a ‘Step-by-Step’ Plan to Ease Reliance on Russian Energy

Photo: BBC

In a move to reduce Russia’s influence over Europe. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged to implement a “step-by-step” plan. It will help ease reliance on Russian oil and gas. Johnson has proposed that countries team up to find alternatives following his meeting with the Canadian and Dutch prime ministers.

But Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has advised against immediately pressing a boycott, as it will have “enormous consequences.”

Germany’s Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, has issued a warning against blocking Russian oil and gas. He said in a statement that Europe has “deliberately exempted”. Moscow from economic sanctions due to their inability at this time to find alternative supplies of fuel sources.

Additionally, Russia has announced that it will be raising prices on oil to $300 per barrel. warned they might close the main gas pipeline to Germany. if America stops importing energy due to their conflict with Ukraine.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said, “Foregoing Russian oil will have catastrophic consequences for the world market.” 

When asked about speculations that the West was in talks with European countries about boycotting Russian oil imports. Johnson remarked Western allies are “moving very, very fast,”. discussions that would have been ruled out weeks ago are “now very much on the table.” 

Johnson stated that he would set out a new energy supply strategy. saying that the UK will use more of its own fossil fuels. But he remarked that the UK would not leave its adherence to reducing carbon emissions unattended. 

Russia supplies under 5% of UK gas; however, the number would be around 40% for EU nations. 

In the news conference, Rutte said the shift would have to be “diligent and not overnight,” along with a quicker penetration of renewable energy. An on-the-spot shift would “basically undermine supply chains over the world, particularly in Europe,” he continued, adding: “It would also have an impact on Ukraine itself.”

Johnson revealed an additional £175 million of funds from the UK to Ukraine, and Trudeau stated that Canada would place sanctions on ten additional Russian oligarchs and officials.

Recent Drops in Yen ‘Sharp’

Photo: Reuters. On Friday, Japanese Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki said that recent drops in the yen were ‘sharp’. agreed with his US counterpart Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to communicate closely on currency moves.

With the central bank continuing to defend its ultra-low rate policy in contrast with heightening chances of aggressive rate. hikes by the US Federal Reserve, the yen ‘sharp’ has plunged to two-decade lows against the dollar.

Suzuki mentioned he referred to the currency’s rapid moves as part of his briefing on the state of Japan’s economy. but did not directly voice concern over yen moves in the meeting with Yellen.

“We confirmed that currency authorities of both countries will communicate closely, aligning with the exchange-rate principles agreed among the G7 and G20 members,” Suzuki told reporters after the meeting with Yellen in Washington D.C. on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund gatherings.

When asked about the chance of Japan intervening in the currency market to stem further yen falls, he declined to comment.

However, he stressed Tokyo’s readiness to take action by describing recent yen moves as undesirable.

“The government has said rapid currency moves were undesirable. What we’re seeing now with the yen are rapid moves, so we’ll monitor moves closely with a sense of urgency,” Suzuki said.

OPEC to IMF: Oil Prices Due to Ukraine Crisis

Photo: Reuters

On Thursday, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) told the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF). steering committee that the rise of oil prices was largely due to the Ukraine crisis. the latest signal that the group would not take further action to add supply.

OPEC, in a statement to the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC). said that the price of global benchmark Brent crude had been set at an average of $98. a barrel in the first quarter, which increased about $18 from the last three months of 2021.

Oil prices have been on the rise

“Oil prices have been on the rise, particularly in March this year. mainly due to the escalating geopolitical tensions in Eastern Europe. concerns this might result in large oil supply shortages, amid trade dislocations,” OPEC told the IMFC.

The IMFC is part of the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). the World Bank’s Board of Governors.

Despite taking part in a meeting of the IMFC last year, OPEC has been resisting suggestions by the United States. the European Union to pump more oil to cool prices. The price had reached a 14-year peak above $139 last month after Washington. Brussel implemented sanctions on Moscow over the Ukraine invasion.

OPEC+ will raise output by about 432,000 barrels per day in May. As part of a gradual unwinding of output cuts. They were made during the worst of the pandemic.

OPEC+ consists of OPEC and other producers like Russia.

OPEC+ had shown its commitment to ensuring that oil supply and demand fundamentals were in balance. during the Ukraine crisis to support the global economy, OPEC said.

OPEC also highlighted the negative short-term impact of the Ukraine crisis and the ongoing pandemic, adding: “The strong rise in commodity prices, in combination with ongoing supply chain bottlenecks and COVID-19-related logistical constraints are fuelling already high global inflation.”

Retail Sales Drop Due to Rising Cost of Living

Photo: Getty Images. Retail sales have dropped by 2.1 percent in the past year. A new report from IBISWorld points to rising costs of living as the primary culprit. The rising cost of living is attributed to things like high gas prices because of droughts in California. This has led consumers to make changes in their spending habits so that they don’t feel as much of a financial crunch.

Official data shows that UK retail sales fell by 1.4% in March after the rising cost of living began to affect consumer spending.

Hit particularly hard was online sales, according to the Office for National Statistics.

People also cut non-essential travel amid record petrol and diesel prices, leading to a drop in fuel sales.

However, the ONS added that overall retail sales were still 2.2% higher than pre-COVID levels.

With inflation at 7%, its highest in 30 years, and surges in fuel, energy, and food prices, the crisis in the cost of living is prevailing.

Darren Morgan, ONS director of economic statistics, said, “Retail sales fell back notably in March with rises in the cost of living hitting consumers’ spending.”

He said that along with declines in online and fuel sales, food sales also continued to fall, dropping for the fifth consecutive month.

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Lyondell Basell to Close Houston Oil Refinery in Exit from Refining

Photo: Reuters. Chemical maker Lyondell Basell Industries announced on Thursday. it will permanently close its Houston crude oil refinery by the end of 2023.

This decision follows the closing of five US refineries in the last two years. after two failed attempts to sell the plant. Recently, refining has been afflicted by high costs and low margins.

Ken Lane Said

“After thoroughly analyzing our options. we have determined that exiting the refining business by the end of next year. It is the best strategic and financial path forward,” said Ken Lane, interim chief executive.

The refinery, which makes gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. It will remain in operation and the company will continue to seek potential transactions. alternatives for the roughly 700-acre site on the Houston Ship Channel.

The company had previously taken a $264 million impairment charge as part of its decision to quit the refinery. Lyondell has twice mounted efforts to sell the 263,776 barrel-per-day refinery in the last 10 years. But failed to conclude a deal.

John Auers, executive vice president of Turner, Mason & Co. a Dallas-based energy consultancy, said Thursday’s announcement. “there will definitely be people knocking on the door” to look at the refinery.

“The refinery could sell for a significant amount,” Auers said. “I certainly don’t expect it to close given this statement.”

Lyondell said the refinery no longer fits with its global petrochemical production. It had once been the anchor of its supply chain as a regional chemical company.

Shutting the refinery provides opportunities for the company, Lane said.

“While this was a difficult decision, our exit of the refining business advances the company’s decarbonization goals. the site’s prime location gives us more options for advancing our future strategic objectives, including circularity,” Lane said.

Circularity refers to efforts by plastics manufacturers to increase spare finished plastics from landfills. return them to the supply chain for chemical plants.

Mask Mandates, Other COVID Restrictions Lifted in Greece as Summer Tourism Season Approaches

Photo: Reuters. On Wednesday, Greece declared that COVID restrictions such as mask Mandates indoors. COVID certificates will be lifted for the summer tourism period. The restrictions may be reinstated by September, authorities said.

Authorities recorded 15,000 infections and 54 deaths on Tuesday as coronavirus cases eased in the last few weeks. Around 72% of the population is fully vaccinated.

Greece has a total population of 11 million.

Greece’s summer tourism season usually begins after the Orthodox Easter, which falls on April 24 this year. As a result, Greece expects many visitors. with officials predicting revenues reach 80% of 2019 levels before the pandemic affected travel.

Health Minister Thanos Plevris said the decision to ease restrictions was “based on the epidemiological data and suggestions from experts.”

The public will not be required to present coronavirus vaccination. illness certificates to enter public establishments like restaurants starting May 1 until August 31. Additionally, Greek officials are also considering lifting the requirement of presenting an EU digital COVID certificate to enter their borders.

As of June 1, indoor mask-wearing will no longer be mandatory. Students will also be able to return to class. the Easter break without being required to present negative self-tests regularly.

All measures will be re-evaluated in September, Plevris said.

One of southern Europe’s most popular summer tourism destinations, Greece attracted more than 33 million visitors in 2019. mainly from Britain and Germany. The industry accounts for about a fifth of the economy and employs one in five people.

Food Giant Nestle Cautions about Continuous Price Hikes

Photo: Yahoo

Multinational food behemoth Nestle has cautioned. it may further increase the prices of its products due to the soaring costs of food. The Swiss company, the KitKat and Nesquik cereal manufacturer. raised prices by over 5% in the first three months of the year. 

The recent price hike aided Nestle in reaching sales growth of 7.6% in the latest period. 

With the cost continuing to hike, CEO Mark Schneider stated. “further pricing and mitigating actions over the course of the year” will be necessary. “We stepped up pricing in a responsible manner and saw sustained consumer demand,” he added. 

The UN Food price index said global food prices are at their steepest climb since records started 60 years previously. 

In the UK, the living costs are increasing at their most accelerated rate over the past 30 years. with energy, fuel, and food prices further rising and aggregating the pressure on household budgets. 

According to analysts, Nestle’s price hike of 5.2% aided its sales to grow over the expected figure. 

Hiking prices Nestle

“Hiking prices to keep things moving in the right direction . The wake of input cost inflation certainly won’t be a course of action management. It want to have to take,” stated an analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, Matt Britzman. 

“But nonetheless, it’s the position Nestle finds itself in. doesn’t look likely to go away anytime soon,” he further stated. 

A month ago, the behemoth stated it would merely sell essential products like baby formula and medical nutrition in Russia. It halted sales of brands like KitKat and Nesquik. suspended investment in the country following several Western companies. suspending operations there to pressure Russia amid its ongoing invasion of Ukraine. 

The food and beverage industry is not the only sector to implement price hikes as most raw materials are increasing in price, not fully recovering from the aftermath of the pandemic and now the war between Russia and Ukraine.

Inflation Could Hit Revenue Growth —Snap, Inc.

Photo: Reuters. On Thursday, Snap, Inc. forecast increased user growth on its Snapchat app. But said supply-chain disruptions and inflation may continue to hurt advertising demand.

Immediately after the results, shares of Snap fell as much as 10%. But pared losses later on as investors digested the mixed results.

Above Wall Street estimates of 340 million, Snap forecast second-quarter daily active users between 343 million and 345 million. 

However, the company warned that revenue may be pressured by inflation, labor shortages, and other economic challenges. It predicts second-quarter revenue growth between 20% and 25% over the previous year. So far, the growth rate in the current quarter has been 30%.

The Santa Monica-based company is the first of the major tech apps to report first-quarter earnings. The results could cast a shadow over Facebook owner Meta Platforms Inc and Twitter Inc. They also earn revenue by selling digital advertising. They will report results next week.

In the days following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February many advertisers paused their ad campaigns. According to Snap Chief Financial Officer Derek Andersen in prepared remarks released before an earnings call with analysts.

He added that while most advertisers resumed their campaigns, many remained concerned about inflation and continuing geopolitical risk.

For the first quarter ended March 31, revenue was reported at $1.06 billion. An increase of 38% from the prior-year quarter. According to IBES data from Refinitiv, the figure missed analyst expectations of $1.07 billion.

Daily active users on Snapchat rose 18% year-over-year to 332 million, contrasting consensus estimates of 329.7 million users.