North Korea Tests Missiles | Wellness Influen-zas?
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Sep 13, 2021
The U.S. and Japan have expressed concern after North Korea tested several long-range cruise missiles over the weekend. Iran and the U.N.’s atomic energy agency have reached a last-minute deal aimed at saving nuclear talks. And online wellness gurus are contributing to dangerous anti-vaccine misinformation.
Not a “Little Rocket Man.” The government of North Korea’s Kim Jong Un said today it had successfully carried out a series of long-range missile tests. State media said the weekend tests included a cruise missile capable of hitting much of Japan, calling it a “strategic weapon of great significance.” It’s been months since the nation, which is suffering food shortages and an economic crisis, conducted tests, and Washington and Tokyo both expressed concern over the news. While cruise missiles aren’t subject to U.N. sanctions like ballistic missiles, one North Korea analyst said it’s Pyongyang’s first one that could possibly carry a nuclear warhead. (Sources: BBC, Al Jazeera)
2 - Iran, IAEA Agreement
Tehran Makes Concessions Amid Stalled Nuclear Deal Talks
From North Korean nukes to the nuclear deal with Iran. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Tehran yesterday reached a last-minute agreement; the bare minimum for the resumption of talks over the 2015 nuclear deal, abandoned by former President Donald Trump. President Joe Biden wants to rejoin the deal, which limits Iran’s ability to enrich uranium in return for the easing of sanctions. Negotiations have been dormant for months, but yesterday Iran conceded that the IAEA could travel to the country to replace its monitoring systems. One nuclear expert estimates Iran is about a month away from having enough material to develop a bomb. (Sources: NYT, AFP)
3 - Packed ICUs
Alabama Man in Cardiac Emergency Couldn’t Get a Bed
Ray DeMonia, who was having a heart attack, was unable to secure an ICU bed in 43 hospitals in three states due to COVID-19 overflow, his family says. The 73-year-old died earlier this month. DeMonia was vaccinated against the virus and his family are urging more Americans to get their shots to free up resources for people with other medical emergencies. Some 2,800 people are currently hospitalized with coronavirus in Alabama, where a large segment of the population remains unvaccinated. Its health department said last week there were 60 more people needing ICU beds than there were beds available. (Sources: Washington Post)
4 - Dine In Problems
Restaurants Weigh Inside Seating Amid Delta Surge
To dine inside or not to dine inside, that is the question facing U.S. customers and restaurateurs as cases of the delta variant soar. Fast Food chains like McDonald’s and Chick-fil-A are slowing down reopening indoor dining areas. Restaurants had seen a welcome boost in sales over the summer, but they’ve dropped again in recent weeks. A survey last month showed nearly a fifth of Americans are no longer dining out and Brinker International Inc., which owns Chili’s, says its shares are down 16% since early June. Bars and restaurants are also struggling to hire enough workers, with some 41,500 jobs lost in August (Sources: WSJ (sub))
5 - Also Important …
The Afghan Taliban have announced women at university must study in female-only classrooms and Islamic dress will be compulsory. A record number of environmental activists were killed globally last year, with some 227 murdered, according to Global Witness. And shares in Chinese tech giant Alibaba have fallen after reports that Beijing regulators want to break up Alipay.
Coronavirus Update: With 70% of its population vaccinated,Denmark has lifted all remaining coronavirus restrictions. And China has imposed new restrictions on southeastern Fujian province amid a fresh outbreak of the delta variant.
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New Age Gurus Promoting Anti-Vax Messages on Social Media
Think it’s mainly conservatives and the right wing who are anti-vaxxers? Think again. A lot of misinformation on vaccines is coming from wellness influencers on social media who push yoga, organic diets and new age treatments over modern medicine. It’s not just since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic either. So-called micro-influencers, with fewer than 50,000 followers, rather than celebrity ones, are believed to have the biggest impact. It’s increasingly hard for Facebook and other platforms to police content that might have a few anti-vaccine messages mixed in with wellness advice on vegan mascara or meditation. (Sources: Washington Post)
2 - Texas Tech
Industry Workers Consider Leaving Amid New Laws
The tech industry has been one of few areas of business to criticize Texas’ new abortion law. App makers like Uber and Lyft came out against the restrictions, not least because their own drivers face legal threats if they drive people to get abortions. Now tech workers are thinking of leaving the state altogether. In recent years cities like Austin have been marketing themselves aggressively to tech giants and startups, with firms like Tesla and Oracle moving to the Lone Star State. But the new law has some tech workers rethinking their move. Texas-based Salesforce is already offering to relocate employees who want to leave. (Sources: NBC, Washington Post)
3 - Downward Dog
Surgery Saves Puppy Born with Upside Down Paws
It gives one paws for thought. A puppy that was born with upside down feet has undergone a complicated but successful operation to correct her two front paws. Siggi was born with a deformity in the bones of her lower elbows, which leaves dogs unable to walk and “at most, they might muster a crawl that seems most uncomfortable,” said animal surgeon Dr. Erik Clary from Oklahoma State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, where the operation was performed. Siggi has been learning to walk, and can now even do typical puppy things like chasing a ball. (Sources: CNN, BI)
Lil Nas X Dominates and Cyndi Lauper Gets Political
“Thank you to the gay agenda.” That was queer-positive rapper Lil Nas X’s shoutout last night at the MTV Video Music Awards after he took home the top prize for “Montero: Call Me By Your Name,” the controversial video which shows the singer giving Satan a lap dance. Other winners at the 40th anniversary awards included Justin Bieber, who took home the prize for artist of the year, Billie Eilish and K-pop boy band BTS. Music industry veterans Madonna and Cyndi Lauper also made an appearance, while rockers Foo Fighters won the Global Icon award. (Sources: CBS, EW)
5 - Tennis: Triumph and Tears
US Open Finals See Radiant Raducanu and Dejected Djokovic
It was a big weekend on the courts. Teenager Emma Raducanu, 18, became the first British woman in 44 years to win a Grand Slam title, beating Canadian Leylah Fernandez 6-4 6-3 in the U.S. Open final. She’s also the youngest women’s champion since Maria Sharapova in 2004. Raducanu, who has a Romanian father and Chinese mother now has a growing fanbase in China. It wasn’t as good a weekend for Novak Djokovic, however, with the Serb’s hopes of a calendar Grand Slam and 21st major dashed. Russia’s Daniil Medvedev, 25, won the men’s final 6-4 6-4 6-4 and plans to celebrate for “the next few days.” (Sources: ESPN, CNN, Sky Sports, The Guardian)
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