Friday, May 20, 2022

BIG Wrap

Russian mining magnate will need to rebrand iconic burger joints without golden arches

Alexander Govor, the McDonald’s Corp. franchisee who has bought the chain’s entire business in Russia, will have to create a new brand to replace the “golden arches” that came to symbolize his country’s embrace of capitalism during the Soviet Union’s collapse, Bloomberg reports. McDonald’s agreed this week to sell its network of 850 restaurants to the former Siberian coal mine owner, saying it would “de-arch” Russia’s largest fast-food chain after it decided to leave the...

Canada to ban China’s Huawei and ZTE from 5G networks

Canada says it will ban two of China's biggest telecoms equipment makers from working on its 5G phone networks. The restrictions against Huawei and ZTE were announced by the country's industry minister on Thursday. Francois-Philippe Champagne says the move will improve Canada's mobile internet services and "protect the safety and security of Canadians." But Huawei Canada said it was "disappointed" by the decision, which it said was "political," the BBC reports. "This is an unfortunate political decision that...

Solar Orbiter delivers spectacular images of the Sun

Powerful flares, breathtaking views across the solar poles, and a curious solar "hedgehog" are among the haul of spectacular images, movies, and data returned by Solar Orbiter from its first close approach to the Sun. Although the analysis of the new dataset has only just started, it is clear that the ESA-led mission is providing the most extraordinary insights into the sun's magnetic behaviour and the way this shapes space weather. Solar Orbiter's closest approach...

UN says Ukraine invasion could help cause lengthy global food crisis

Russia's invasion of Ukraine could soon cause a global food crisis that may last for years, the UN has warned. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the war has worsened food insecurity in poorer nations due to rising prices, the BBC reports. Some countries could face long-term famines if Ukraine's exports are not restored to pre-war levels, he added. The conflict has cut off supplies from Ukraine's ports, which once exported vast amounts of cooking oil as well...

EU reveals plan to stop using Russian gas

The European Commission has given more details on how it plans to end Europe's dependence on Russian fossil fuels. Russia supplies 40% of the EU's natural gas and 27% of its imported oil. The EU sends the country roughly $420 billion a year in return. Now, the EU plans to speed its shift to green energy, but says it must also invest in pipelines in other countries. It has been accused of helping fund the war in...

Social platforms’ response to Buffalo shooting called inadequate

Social media sites are facing criticism for the spread of graphic and far-right material from Saturday's attack in Buffalo, New York, the BBC reports. Campaign group Hope Not Hate called the response "wholly inadequate." The gunman livestreamed the fatal shooting of 10 people at a Buffalo supermarket on Twitch. Twitch quickly took down the livesuffaltream on Saturday – but Meta and Twitter's moderation remains under scrutiny. The platforms say footage from the attack and links to the shooter's manifesto are...

Turkey threatens to block Finland and Sweden NATO bids

Turkey's president has restated his opposition to Finland and Sweden joining NATO - just hours after they said they would seek membership. Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the two Nordic nations should not bother sending delegations to convince Turkey, a key NATO member, of their bids, the BBC reports. He says he is angered by what he sees as their willingness to host Kurdish militants. Without the support of all NATO members, Sweden and Finland cannot join the...

U.S. internet users’ data shared 747 times daily, says report

Data about every internet user is shared hundreds of times each day as companies bid for online advertising slots, a report suggests. The study, by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL), found that the average European user's data is shared 376 times per day. The figure rises to 747 times daily for U.S.-based users, the report claims. Revenue from digital advertisements is what keeps most internet services free to use. The ICCL is currently engaged in legal action...

Swiss switch to ‘presumed consent’ on organ donations

Switzerland voted Sunday to boost the availability of transplant organs by making everyone a potential donor after death unless they have expressly objected, reports Medical Xpress. The legal change, approved by 60% of voters in a referendum, marks a dramatic shift from the current system. Under the existing laws, transplants are only possible if the deceased person consented while alive – and their wishes are often unknown. In such cases, the decision is left up to relatives, who...

Research highlights potency of COVID-19 antibody J08

Last year, scientists at Scripps Research and Toscana Life Sciences studied the blood of 14 COVID-19 survivors to find the most potent antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. One of the leading molecules that emerged – now in stage II/III trials in Italy – was an antibody dubbed J08, which seemed to be capable of both preventing and treating COVID-19. Now, the same group – a collaboration between scientists at Scripps Research and in Italy and France –...