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- Bel Trew
Up to 20 killed as Saudi-led coalition strikes back against Yemen’s Houthis

The attack was in response to a drone strike on the UAE 24 hours earlier

- Rachel Sharp
Ghislaine Maxwell: What accusers Carolyn, Jane, Kate and Annie Farmer said at her sex-trafficking trial

Four witnesses took the stand for the prosecution to testify about the alleged abuse they suffered at the hands of Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein. Here’s what they said, Rachel Sharp writes

- Thomas Kingsley
Anders Breivik: Norwegian mass killer gives Nazi salute at parole hearing

He also carried signs that said ‘stop your genocide against our white nations’ and ‘Nazi-Civil-War’

- Jade Bremner
Elon Musk asks fans to stop tweeting his location as it’s ‘a security risk’ to him and his family

The Tesla CEO denied he would be visiting the Tesla’s Gigafactory in Berlin

- Justin Vallejo
Why some QAnon believers think JFK Jr is still alive – and about to become vice president

A theory considered too far-fetched even for most followers of the Q conspiracy could still be a cause for concern, write Justin Vallejo and Phil Thomas

- Gino Spocchia
Woman goes viral for company headshot showing off her tattoos

Accountant was ‘honestly shocked’ after boss told her to be ‘loud and proud’

- Tom Fenton
Mike Lindell hires reporter fired by Newsmax for saying Covid vaccine has satanic marker

The conspiracy theorist and Trump ally is hiring Emerald Robinson to work for his ‘Frank Speech’ network

- Nathan Place
Hawaii considers requiring booster shots for tourists

‘We want to see a booster shot for those who are fully vaccinated within five or six months of completing their vaccination regimen,’ says Governor David Ige

- Arpan Rai
Murder probe as Florida gay rights activist and brother of former Miami mayor found dead in landfill

Cause of death has not yet been ascertained

- Io Dodds
Jeffrey Epstein’s island: What really happened there?

Accusers say billionaire’s private paradise of Little St James in US Virgin Islands was centre of international sex trafficking ring

- Rachel Sharp
Prince Andrew case: Will he face trial over Virginia Giuffre’s claims of sex abuse?

A New York judge has paved the way for a lawsuit accusing Prince Andrew of having sex with an teenage girl to go to trial. So what happens now?

- Rory Sullivan
Prince Andrew news - live: Royal intimate with Maxwell, documentary alleges as Duke of York race to be renamed

Report comes weeks after Maxwell was convicted for sex trafficking

- Graeme Massie
How Ghislaine Maxwell met Jeffrey Epstein

British socialite faces decades behind bars

- Bevan Hurley
What were Prince Andrew’s ties to Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein?

Duke of York may have hoped to avoid further embarrassment during socialite’s trial but a single image reminded the world of his intimate ties to the scandal embroiling him

- Luc Cohen and Megan Sheets
Ghislaine Maxwell verdict, full charge list and sentencing date

British socialite’s trial underway in New York

- Gustaf Kilander
Biden mocked again for 2020 comments comparing deaths of MLK and George Floyd

White House pushes voting rights legislation as president is criticized for 2020 campaign comments

- Gustaf Kilander
Michelle Go: Family of NYC subway attack victim speak out

Sister of suspect says he has been ‘in and out of mental hospitals’ for ‘at least 20 years’

- Oliver O’Connell
What time is President Joe Biden’s press conference?

President will take formal questions from media for 10th time since taking office

- Oliver O'Connell
Why didn’t Virginia Giuffre testify at Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex-trafficking trial?

Could her presence have overcomplicated the case against the socialite?

- Gustaf Kilander
Mexican TV anchor wins legions of fans for screaming at anti-vaxxers on air

‘Stop with your bulls*** and at least put on a goddamned face mask and stop hitting the brakes for the entire world!’

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- Emilia Shovelin
Mum ‘who stabbed son, 2, to death and dumped body on Lidl checkout counter’ could DODGE jail

A MUM accused of killing her two-year-old son and leaving his stabbed corpse on a Lidl checkout counter could escape jail time.

Katalin Erzsebet Bradacs, 44, who was arrested after the death of her son, Alex Juhasz, in October is currently undergoing a psychiatric evaluation, which could see her spared a lengthy jail sentence after her trial.

NewsflashKatalin Erzsebet Bradacs was arrested after her two-year-old son Alex was stabbed to death[/caption] NewsflashBradacs reportedly entered the supermarket shouting for help as she placed her son’s bloodied body on top of a Lidl checkout counter[/caption]

Bradacs reportedly entered the supermarket shouting for help as she placed her son’s bloodied body on top of a Lidl checkout counter in Citta della Pieve, Italy.

The tot was pronounced dead, as a result of the nine stab wounds found on his body, to his chest and neck areas.

Bradacs was arrested by the police after a knife was found in her handbag.

A number of items including the youngster’s bloodied t-shirt, which was punctured with nine holes, and the woman’s jumper were found later that night at a nearby disused building.

The police believe she killed her son on purpose to get revenge against the child’s father, Norbert Juhasz, who had been disputing custody.

The father, who lives in Hungary, alerted the authorities after he received a horrifying photo of his dying son from Bradacs, shortly before she took his body into the supermarket.

Bradacs denied the accusations against her, telling the police repeatedly: “I did not kill my son,” but reportedly gave three contradictory versions of events to the police.

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She had been living in Chiusi Scalo with her former nightclub boss, after she reportedly fled to Italy with Alex in September 2021 after a Hungarian court granted custody of the youngster to the father.

Witnesses also reported seeing the mum mistreating her young toddler the day before his tragic death.

Bradacs was taken into custody at a prison in the nearby city of Perugia and the trial is now underway.

The defendant is undergoing a psychiatric evaluation at the end of the month, where she may be deemed to be unfit to stand trial and receive involuntary psychiatric treatment instead.

According to the Hungarian news site, Bors, Bradacs will first be interviewed by an expert psychiatrist before undergoing multiple tests to determine if she is of sound mind.

Meanwhile, Bradac’s parents, Gyorgy and Erzsebet, have said they will continue to support their daughter despite expressing their concerns that she may kill herself if she doesn’t receive treatment.

Her father said: “I hope they can cure her and she will realise what she has done.”

The ex-porn actress reportedly dumped her tot's body on a checkout counter at a Lidl storeNewsflashBradacs denied the accusations against her, telling the police repeatedly: “I did not kill my son,”[/caption]
- Katie Davis
Heartbreaking story of Azalea the chain-smoking chimp who puffed 40-a-DAY before kicking habit

SMOKING has long been pinned as an unattractive, unhealthy trait but for one chimp it was a habit forced upon her for the sake of amusing zoo guests.

Chain-smoking chimp Azalea, now 25, was trained to light up and puff a staggering 40 cigarettes a day in a bid to entertain visitors to North Korea’s infamous Pyongyang zoo.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.Azalea would smoke up to 40 cigarettes a day to entertain zoo visitors[/caption] Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.She was able to light them herself using a lighter or lit cigarette[/caption]

In a move that rattled animal rights activists, Azalea – whose Korean name is Dallae – would fascinate families by sparking up cigarettes using a lighter or one already lit – egged on by her trainer.

She can also be prompted to touch her nose, bow thank you and do a simple dance.

Azalea became the zoo’s star attraction in 2016 after the park was renovated following orders from leader Kim Jong-un for efforts to be made to modernise leisure centres around the capital and make them more impressive.

The zoo, located in the secretive state’s capital, is said to be a pet project of the despot – and, unsurprisingly, over the years many tales have emerged about bizarre and spectacular exhibits.

They reportedly include basketball-playing monkeys, a parrot that can recite an ode to former tyrant Kim Il Sung, and dogs that can appear to count using abacuses.

But while the unusual sight of Azalea puffing her way through a pack drew in awe-struck crowds, it also attracted outrage from campaigners who slammed the spectacle as “cruel”.

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Ingrid Newkirk, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, stated it was “cruel to willfully addict a chimpanzee to tobacco for human amusement”.

Keepers at the zoo, however, insisted she did not inhale as they made their case against activists.

After a series of complaints and advice to cut the gimmick, Azalea finally kicked her 40-a-day habit.

Swedish zoo expert Jonas Walhstrom was among those who were adamant that the smoking had to stop immediately.

Jonas, who is the managing director of a wildlife park in Stockholm, has completed more than two dozen trips to the zoo over the past 30 years to assist staff – but was infuriated when he saw Azalea lighting up a cigarette.

“I strongly told them that it’s absolutely not possible to do that,” he previously told the Sun Online.

“That’s what you could see in European zoos 30 years ago.

“Luckily they’ve stopped it, now, at least they’ve told me they have.”

Jonas’ trips to the country started more than 30 years ago when zoo officials invited him to help advise staff.


He has since returned numerous times, and over the years gifted the zoo dozens of smaller animals, including galagos, fish, baby crocodiles, rattlesnakes, boa constrictors, turtles and meerkats.

“It’s a co-operation with the zoo in Pyongyang,” he said in 2017.

“They are quite isolated – I have quite a few contacts outside of work so I’ve been able to help them, to teach them a lot of good things so they can take care of the animals.

“I’m trying hard to teach them the importance of enrichment. I try to get them to bring in trees for the chimpanzees exhibits. It’s a bit slow, but finally they’ve listened to what I’m trying to say.

“Being in the far east, the zoo is good. Like some old cages where they’re keeping big cats but overall the exhibits, trainers – they’ve really turned it around.

“But of course they’ve had a lot of help from the Leader, as they say.”

The Leader is the title given locally to dictator Kim Jong-un, who Jonas said takes a personal interest in the success of the zoo.

“They have quite a lot (of animals) because of the Great Leader and the Dear Leader – they are after animal gifts,” he added.

“Mao Zedong gave them giant pandas, Ho Chi Minh gave them elephants, Mugabe gave them rhinos and Gadaffi gave them camels. So beside every exhibit is a sign saying they are a gift from Ho Chi Minh, or whatever.

“Everything is officially gifts to the Leader and then he gives them to the zoo. I’m not necessarily happy with it, but that’s the system.”

Jonas described his work with the zoo as apolitical and said his motivation was to ensure the quality of life for animals in the zoo and the well-being of local species.

Jonas WahlstromVisitors would crowd around to watch Azalea smoke[/caption] Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.Azalea kicked her 40-a-day habit[/caption] AlamySwedish zoo expert Jonas Walhstrom told keepers to stop giving her cigarettes[/caption] Jonas WahlstromThe park in Pyongyang re-opened in 2016 after being renovated[/caption]
- Katie Davis
I was dirt poor after being switched at birth while the other kid was rich – I resented mum for not swapping me back

A SOUTH African man who was switched at birth has revealed he resents his mum for not swapping him back because he grew up dirt poor while the other kid was rich.

Robin was raised by Sandy Dawkins, a single mum struggling to make ends meet living on the outskirts of Johannesburg, while Gavin was raised by wealthier parent Megs Clinton Parker in Pietermaritzburg, after they were switched at birth in 1989.

Gavin, left, was raised by a wealthier parent while Robin, right, was brought up by a less well off parent Gavin said he was ‘happy’ with the life he landed accidentally Robin now says he understands why Megs and Sandy chose not to swap the pair back

The error was discovered in 1991 after a dispute over Gavin’s paternity led to a DNA test that showed Megs was not his birth mother.

A check of hospital records then revealed Megs’ biological son, Robin, was actually being raised by Sandy.

But confronted with the possibility of swapping their birth sons back, Megs and Sandy chose instead to keep the kids they had raised since birth, reports 60 Minutes Australia.

Robin has told how he wishes Megs had fought to swap him back, describing his meagre life with Sandy as “not easy” and saying he would not wish the ordeal on his “worst enemy”.

Speaking at age 15, Robin told the programme he resented that Gavin “gets things easy”.

“If I’ve ever wanted anything, I’ve had to work towards it, I’ve never just had it come towards me,” he added.

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Robin and Gavin were the only two children born in Nigel Hospital in Johannesburg on the day in summer 1989 and were accidentally given to the wrong mothers by the nurse.

After discovering the error in 1991 but deciding against swapping the kids back, Sandy and Megs embraced each other like sisters.

Gavin at the time said he was “happy” with the life he landed accidentally and that he did not feel sorry for Robin.

“Saying I thank my lucky stars every day would be wrong but at the same time I was given a life which I’ve now lived and I’m still living and I don’t regret anything,” he said.

But Megs was missing her biological son and in 2004, encouraged him to move halfway across the country into her home with Gavin – leaving Sandy without a child.

“I just want to know she’s really happy with what she’s achieved,” Sandy said at the time.

“I mean she’s ruined people’s lives, there’s just no other way to look at it… she’s ruined mine for starters.”


Megs said she “could understand that” and would have been “devastated” if the same thing happened to her, but added: “I’m not sending him back because she’s sore.

“I’m not going to be sorry because I won. I’m damn glad I won.”

But the image of one happy family soon started to breakdown because of Robin’s attitude to his new school and Megs’ high expectations of him, turning the house into a “war zone”.

Robin said the high pressure environment turned “me into a dragon”.

“It’s not who I am,” he said.

“It was like I was in a bottle and the lid was closed… For me to try and change in two, three years to suit Meg or to keep her happy, I tried and I thought I could do it, but I couldn’t.”

At 18, Robin dropped out of school and hit the road, moving to Louis Trichardt in northern South Africa where he found a job building safari rigs.

The move devastated Megs, breaking apart the already fractious family.

“When he left, I almost died. I can’t tell how it hurts, because I worked so hard for it and I wanted it so much. Then when it failed, it never occurred to me that it failed,” she said.

When he left, I almost died. I can’t tell how it hurts, because I worked so hard for it and I wanted it so much.

Megs Clinton Parker

“When you wanted all the right things for all the right reasons but they just didn’t fit into place.

“When he left, I just stopped living for a while.”

Meanwhile Gavin said the sudden abandonment made him want to “kill” Robin.

“It’s the fact that he hurt Megs. I mean she felt extremely betrayed and really hurt when he walked out,” he said.

“She had given him a home for three to four years, she was looking after him, providing for him. And he walked out just throwing everything back at us.”

Years later, the family have finally reunited with Robin, his wife Liesel and their son James, and are starting to rebuild their relationship.

And Robin now says he understands why Megs and Sandy chose not to swap the babies back.

“If I was to find out he wasn’t mine, there’s no way I’d give him back,” he said.

“I would make the decision that I’m not getting to know the other child because what I’ve got is good and keep it that way.

“I wouldn’t want him to know, I would keep it a secret and just leave it that way.”

Gavin and Robin were the only two children born in Nigel Hospital in Johannesburg on the day in summer 1989
- Fiona Connor
I found ‘huge alien base on Mars’ that NASA doesn’t want you to know about – and I have ‘proof’, claims UFO hunter

A UFO hunter claims to have proof a huge alien base exists on Mars that NASA doesn’t want you to know about.

Extraterritorial enthusiast Scott C. Waring discussed the “mind-blowing” discovery of the 25 kilometre “facility” on Mars in a video posted on his YouTube channel UFO Sightings Daily today.

YouTubeOn his screen, Scott C. Waring narrates changing the colours on a photo editor until he gets the desired result[/caption] YouTubeThe image was taken from an elevation map Scott says he thought would be “interesting” to go through which he zoomed into[/caption]

In the bizarre clip, he greets fans with: “Hey guys, I got something kind of interesting for you – it’s a 25 kilometre facility on the planet Mars”.

Scott, who is best known for making the eccentric claim he saw a 10,000 year old alien face carved on Mars, makes a number of unverified statements about what he thinks he can see on the photo blown up on the screen.

“You can’t see it,” he says, “but I can on my photo programme.”

He claims to have gone through tens of thousands of photos and over 3 – 4 dozen indexes that he “didn’t even know existed”.

Scott explains he can see other less detailed structures that have been intentionally all blurred out , leaving just one.

He believes the photo was left to show just the one structure “on purpose”.

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He said: “I believe the person editing this photo, this particular photo, missed it on purpose because there are less detailed structures all around it that are blurred out.”

Using bewildered intonation, he claims that the base is located near Sulci Gordii and later estimates the ‘structure’ could be as long as 40km.

The area is made up of subparallel furrows and ridges in the Tharsis quadrangle of Mars which could simply be why the map appears as it does.

He stated: “NASA doesn’t want you to know about it… They’re hiding it from us.”

Conspiracy theorists were quick to back up his outrageous theories, with many commenting in support.


One person said: “What the hell does Elon Musk know about Mars that we don’t? Whose buildings are those? How old are those structures? Great video my dude, very interesting.”

Another wrote: “Absolutely amazing so many structures to see looked like of buildings with tall ones and a square looking door way, was the first one like a truck going along tracks?”

While another made the sweeping accusation: “I think NASA is leaving some of the pictures unedited for the public to see, their doing a soft disclosure, if they let everybody see everything all at once it would shock the world, so their doing it slowly.”

Another couldn’t agree more, writing: “NASA has gotten elaborate with their obfuscation, but they still leave ways for you to see the the structures.”


Scott says he started his YouTube channel in 2007, and launched his website ‘UFO Sightings Daily’ in 2010 with the intention of saving those who claim to to have seen UFOs from ridicule.

His videos have clocked up close to 30 million videos after making a number of wild claims over the years.

Footage of a large “cube” hovering above the ocean has sparked a number of fresh UFO chatter in October.

Scott believes he saw an odd shaped UFO while watching livestreams from the International Space Station (ISS).

A month earlier, he claimed to have spotted a 100,000-year-old alien face that looks like Mount Rushmore carved onto the Martian mountainside.

The author made the alleged discovery from his home in Taiwan, saying the face proves that an intelligent life form once roamed around the Red Planet. 

Waring once claimed to have spotted an “archway on Mars” and said it’s proof that empire of midget Martians once ruled the Red Planet.

He also said Nasa had accidentally captured images of a crashed alien spacecraft and even a woman’s body on Mars.

YouTubeThe red circle highlights where Scott believes in can see a 25km structure, which he later estimates could be as long as 40km[/caption]

- Adrian Zorzut
Prince Andrew’s ex Lady Victoria Hervey says Ghislaine Maxwell used her as ‘bait to fish’ for girls for Epstein to abuse

PRINCE Andrew’s ex Lady Victoria Hervey claims that Ghislaine Maxwell used her as “bait to fish” for girls for paedo Jeffrey Epstein to abuse.

The 44-year-old socialite said Maxwell used her as “bait” to entertain Epstein’s friends and said the convicted paedo “kind of sat back and sort of waited for her to sort of go fishing” for girls.

ITVLady Victoria Harvey claims she was used as ‘bait’ to entertain Jeffrey Epstein’s friends[/caption] Getty Images - GettyLady Victoria and convicted pimp Ghislaine Maxwell in California in 2004[/caption]

Lady Victoria – who is the daughter of the 6th marquess of Bristol – told an ITV documentary that she met the pair 20 years ago and said she was “really young and naïve” at the time.

In a clip released to the MailOnline ahead of tonight’s airing of the “Ghislaine, Prince Andrew and the Paedophile” documentary, Lady Victoria said Maxwell and Epstein were like “Batman and Robin” and were a “double act”.

She said: “Jeffrey was really the frontman and Ghislaine was the accomplice. It was kind of like a Batman and Robin, and they were a double act.

“I don’t think Jeffrey could have done any of it without Ghislaine.”

Presenter Ranvir Singh said: “And Ghislaine was crucial to getting those girls, was she, do you think to those dinners?”

Lady Vic responded: “I think he just kind of sat back and sort of waited for her to sort of go fishing and go find however many girls were needed, you know, to entertain his friends. I think I was pretty much used as bait.

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“You know, looking back at, you know I was really young and naïve, and she’s entertaining these, you know, big businessmen. So I didn’t realise it of course at the time, but looking back…”

The revelation comes as a hotly-anticipated documentary on the Prince’s relationship with Epstein and Maxwell is set to air tonight on ITV at 9pm.

And it follows news the Prince will now face his sex abuse accuser Virginia Giuffre in a New York court later this year.

Andrew also had his royal title and his honorary military titles stripped by the Queen on Thursday.

Speaking with ITV’s Lorraine, Lady Vic claimed Maxwell had become Epstein’s “victim”.

She told the show: “She is a scapegoat right now, so unfortunately for her, she is being taken down for what he has done as well. Some might argue is not quite as fair as it could be.

“I think Ghislaine was a victim and is a victim. 

“She was a victim that then became the accomplice as her role changed in that relationship when they were no longer together. She kind of switched sides. I do see her as a victim as well.”

Maxwell, 60, was convicted of facilitating the sexual abuse of minors for her former lover, Epstein, in December and could face up to 65 years behind bars.

At one point in the documentary, Singh rifles through Epstein’s “black book” of contacts and finds Prince Andrew’s mobile number and tried calling it – only to hit the Prince’s voicemail.

It comes as a close pal of Maxwell and the Duke said the pair had an “easy warmth” around each other and may have been dating.

New York-based Brit investment banker Euan Rellie suspected the pair “had probably been girlfriend and boyfriend” in the past.

According to reports in The Telegraph, Rellie said: “She described Andrew as being her friend, not Jeffrey’s.

“I got the sense that Prince Andrew and Ghislaine had probably been girlfriend and boyfriend in the past. They had an easy warmth around each other.”

Former Royals bodyguard Paul Page has also weighed in, saying he suspected Andrew and Maxwell were lovers and claimed she came and went from Buckingham Palace “at will”.

Page claimed in the same ITV programme that Maxwell visited up to four times in one day.

The pair are known to have been close friends, but have not been linked as lovers.

Page, who was jailed for fraud in 2009, has previously claimed Prince Andrew’s female friends, including Ghislaine, rarely signed in.

He told the same ITV programme: “From the way she was allowed to enter and exit the palace at will, we suspected that she may have had an intimate relationship with Prince Andrew.

“She kept coming in and out, in and out.”

A spokesman for the Prince declined to comment.

Maxwell faces 65 years behind bars after being convicted of facilitating sex with minors Rex FeaturesPrince Andrew with Lady Vic at a Chinese New Years Party in London, 2002[/caption] Picture by Andrew Parsons / Parsons MediaPrince Andrew was stripped of his royal title and military honours by the Queen[/caption]

- Tariq Tahir
ALL homes destroyed on Tonga island as ‘unprecedented disaster’ kills 3 and chilling new pics reveal total devastation

TONGA has suffered an “unprecedented disaster” with all homes on one island destroyed, the government has said.

Chilling new pictures show the devastation caused when a volcano erupted, resulting in a tsunami that has so far killed three people, including a British charity worker.

EPAPictures showing parts of Tonga before and after the eruption and tsunami[/caption] EPAThe extent of the devastation is slowly beginning to emerge[/caption]

As the scale of the disaster begins to emerge, the government has revealed all homes on the island of Mango have been destroyed.

Satellite photographs show once lush green parts of Tonga turned brown and houses flattened.

Fears are also rising the death toll could begin to climb as communications begin to be restored and more news emerges.

The government of Tonga has described the nation as suffering an “unprecedented disaster” in its first statement.

New Zealand air force images also show areas blanketed with ash and damaged buildings.

Tongan diplomat Curtis Tu’ihalangingie described the damage as “alarming” and said he feared more deaths.

“Possibly there will be more deaths and we just pray that is not the case,” he said.

Video has also emerged showing the powerful tsunami waves washing ashore, tearing down fences as people flee for their lives.

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According to the Tonga government around 50 people live on Mango and so far 65-year-old woman living there has been confirmed dead.

It comes as the body of the missing British charity worker Angela Glover, 50, was discovered by her husband James.

An operation is underway to clear Tonga’s airport runway of volcanic ash so relief flights carrying vital supplies such as sanitation kits can be delivered.

Australia’s Minister for the Pacific Zed Seselja said its police had visited beaches and reported significant damage with “houses thrown around”.

The Haatafu Beach Resort, on the Hihifo peninsula, 13 miles west of the capital Nukualofa, was completely wiped out, the owners said on Facebook.


The family that manages the resort had run for their lives through the bush to escape the tsunami, it said.

The whole western coastline has been completely destroyed along with Kanukupolu village, the resort said.

Other before and after images show the island of Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai has completely disappeared following the volcanic eruption.

The main island Tongatapu has been heavily affected, with water damage being visible to the northern and southern sides.

The volcano which last erupted in 2014, has also caused damage to the islands of Uoleva and Nomuka.

Early data suggests the eruption was the biggest since Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines 30 years ago, New Zealand-based volcanologist Shane Cronin told Radio New Zealand.


“Further volcanic activity cannot be ruled out,” the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in the update today.

It added that the official assessments have not been released yet as the communications have been badly hit.

Two more people have drowned at the coast of Peru after the tsunami sparked high waves.

The impact of the eruption was felt as far away as Fiji, New Zealand, the United States and Japan.

Aid workers have warned 80,000 of Tonga’s residents could be affected.

The Red Cross said it was mobilising its network to respond to what it called the worst volcanic eruption the Pacific has experienced in decades.

UNOSATAn image taken on December 8, compared to one taken on January 16, shows the damage caused by the eruption[/caption] UNOSATA satellite image taken in April 2020 and an image taken after the volcano eruption shows the area covered in volcanic ash[/caption] UNOSATThe island of Tongatapu has been severely damaged[/caption] UNOSATThe volcano last erupted in 2014[/caption] The effects of the Tongan blast were felt as far away as the USA Tonga Meteorological Services, Government of TongaDramatic official aerial maps showed the eruption cloud over Tonga[/caption] Smoking Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano on Jan 7Smoking Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano on Jan 7 Brit charity worker Angela Glover was confirmed dead
- Katie Davis
I suffered burns in New Zealand volcano blast that killed dad & sis – but people still ask the same disgusting question

A SURVIVOR of a volcano blast that killed two members of her family has revealed the insulting question people still insist on asking.

Stephanie Browitt, 25, lost her dad Paul and 21-year-old sister Krystal when the White Island volcano in New Zealand erupted while they were on a day trip from a cruise ship on December 9, 2019.


Re answering so people understand ❤ #survivor #burnssurvivor #eruptionsurvivor #burns #recovery #qna #askstephy#whiteislanderuption

♬ original sound – Stephanie Coral Browitt InstagramStephanie suffered horror injuries in a volcano eruption in 2019[/caption] Refer to CaptionStephanie before the horror volcano explosion in December 2019[/caption] TikTok/ @stephaniecoral96Stephanie showed her followers where her group were standing on the island[/caption]

After suffering horror burns to 70 per cent of her body in the tragedy that claimed the lives of 22 people, Stephanie – from Melbourne, Australia – has bravely been documenting her road to recovery.

But she has now told how people still constantly ask why she and her family “couldn’t jump in the water if it’s an island”.

Speaking on TikTok, Stephanie decided to address the ignorant question by showing her followers where she and her family were on the island when the eruption happened.

“A common question I get as a survivor of the White Island eruption is ‘why couldn’t you jump in the water if it’s an island’,” she said.

“Well as you can see, that’s us, circled, on the island that day, at 2.10pm. And the walls are extremely high up, and we are only surrounded by rock. We are nowhere near the jetty, and nowhere near the ocean.

“We are as inland as you can get and under 140-metres from the crater. So my family and I were at the back of that line, and it was only about a two-minute walk, we had only just started walking back to the jetty.

“This is the same camera only 40 seconds to a minute apart, and as you can see the island was already engulfed in ash and dust.

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“So we were never, ever, ever going to make it to water. There was literally no chance for the group of 21 people I was with.”

Stephanie’s mum Marie had stayed behind on the Ovation of the Seas cruise ship and watched on in terror as the volcano erupted.

The family were unable to escape the deadly blast, and Stephanie was stuck on the island in agony waiting for rescue teams to find her.

Tragically, her younger sister died and, one month into his battle to survive, Paul also lost his life on January 12, 2020.

Stephanie suffered horrendous burns to 70 per cent of her body, lost parts of her fingers, and was forced to spend six months in hospital undergoing gruelling operations and skin grafts.

She’s since courageously taken to social media to share updates from her recovery, from the moment she was reunited with her mum at home, to ongoing procedures.

We were never, ever, ever going to make it to water. There was literally no chance for the group of 21 people I was with.

Stephanie Browitt

Taking to Instagram on the two year anniversary of the disaster last month, she wrote: “Today’s not only the day I survived the unimaginable, it’s the day I lost my dad, Paul and sister, Krystal. It’s the day that they were taken from us.

“My accomplishments mean nothing to me knowing they aren’t shared with my sister and dad by my side.

“Everyday I question why we couldn’t have gone through this extremely hard journey together, why they couldn’t be here also.

“So when I think about today, it’s filled with very mixed emotions. I’m extremely grateful that I was able to make it back home to my mum, but I’m also heartbroken that only I made it back. We are a family of four, not two.

“My heart hurts when I remember what I felt that day, but it hurts more not knowing what my dad and sister felt, that I wasn’t next to them during their last moments.”

Stephanie’ dad and sister were killed in the blast as her mum Marie watched on in horror from the cruise ship ReutersThe White Island volcano eruption in New Zealand killed 22 people[/caption] Universal News And Sport (Europe)Krystal Browitt, 21, tragically died in the blast[/caption] InstagramStephanie suffered horror burns to 70 per cent of her body[/caption] InstragramThe 25-year-old has bravely documented her road to recovery[/caption]
- Tariq Tahir
Top-secret US nuclear sub seen for first time in DECADES in chilling show of strength to China and North Korea

A US Navy nuclear armed submarine has been spotted for the first time in decades, in a show of strength to North Korea and China.

The rare appearance of the top secret USS Nevada at the Guam naval base comes after missile tests by Kim Jong-un’s regime and rising tensions with Beijing.

US NavyThe USS Nevada surfaced at the Guam naval base[/caption] US NavyIts deployment sends a ‘message’ to North Korea and China, said one expert[/caption]

The submarine is an Ohio class vessel – nicknamed boomers in the Navy – which are armed with 20 Trident nuclear missiles and normally lurk in the ocean on secret patrols.

Thomas Shugart, a former US Navy submarine captain and now an analyst at the Center for a New American Security said the Nevada’s presence sends a “message”.

“We can park 100-odd nuclear warheads on your doorstep and you won’t even know it or be able to do much about it,” he told CNN.

Its deployment comes in the wake of a series of missiles tests by North Korea, the latest of which was of two tactical guided missiles.

New pictures released by North Korea show the missiles being fired from mobile launchers.

The tests come after Pyongyang test also recently fired a hypersonic missile capable of speeds Mach 10.

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In response, US has called on the secretive regime to “cease its unlawful and destabilising” tests.

Nevada’s mission also comes amid tensions with China over Taiwan and Beijing’s development of its own fleet of nuclear armed submarines.

The movements of the 14 boomers are a closely guarded secret and their patrols usually last for 77 days, before they return for maintenance and replenishment.

It is extremely rare for one to be photographed outside their home ports of Bangor, Washington, and Kings Bay, Georgia. 

Alessio Patalano, professor of war and strategy at King’s College in London, said the deployment of such vessels is likely to be more frequent.

“The presence of this type of boat, especially in training and exercise, adds an important opportunity to learn how to hunt those of other actors in the region,” he said.

We can park 100-odd nuclear warheads on your doorstep and you won’t even know it or be able to do much about it

Former US Navy captain Thomas Shugart

In a statement the Navy said the visit “reflects the United States’ commitment to the Indo-Pacific region”.

The vessel’s presence “complements the many exercises, operations, training and military co-operation activities conducted by strategic forces to ensure they are available and ready to operate around the globe at any time”.

It comes as China’s president Xi Jinping warned against a new Cold-War mentality in a speech widely seen as aimed at the United States.

“We need to discard Cold-War mentality and seek peaceful coexistence, and win-win outcomes,” he said in a speech to the World Economic Forum.

“Our world today is far from being tranquil – rhetoric that stokes hatred and prejudice abound.

“Acts of containment, suppression or confrontation arising thereof do all harm, not the least good, to world peace and security.”

TwitterNorth Korea has released pictures of its latest missile test[/caption] AFPThe USS Nevada’s presence in the Pacific comes as tensions with China rise[/caption]

- Tariq Tahir
Anti-vaxxer parents ‘murdered’ eight-year-old daughter after ‘stopping life-saving medication & PRAYED instead’

THE anti-vaxxer parents of a diabetic eight-year-old girl have been accused of her murder after refusing her life-saving medication.

Elizabeth Rose Struhs’ lifeless body was found in the family’s home – which doubled as a cult church – and it’s alleged her parents had instead prayed for her to be cured.

Elizabeth Rose Struhs’ lifeless body was found in the family’s home 7newsJason Struhs and his wife Kerrie have been charged with Elizabeth’s murder[/caption]

She was found on January 11 at the property in Queensland but cops believe she actually died four days earlier.

And it’s feared she may even have stopped receiving treatment for diabetes from as early as January 2, reports.

Parents Jason Struhs, 50, and 46-year-old Kerrie have both been charged with one count of murder, torture and failure to provide necessities of life.

Police allege Elizabeth was taken off her insulin medication in an attempt for her illness to be healed by God, the Courier Mail reports.

The couple ran a home-based church in the town of Toowoomba and reportedly believe that God cures illness rather than medicine.

They allegedly believed that their daughter was suffering from “worms” and God had “100 per cent promised healing”.

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Elizabeth’s older sister Jayde is now seeking to become the legal guardian of the five of her remaining siblings who are under 18.

“No other family should have to hear or experience what we have had to endure in this past week,” she wrote on GoFundMe.

“We may never know the full extent of what took place.


“Elizabeth Rose Struhs was taken from us far too soon, and a lifetime of memories that we never got to have with her was gone in a moment.

“The loss of our sister is unbearable; they have had their entire worlds turned upside down.”

Jayde said the money donated would go to ensure the children remain in a “safe, secure and loving home”.

A neighbour told the Toowoomba Chronicle said two families who would visit the Struhs’ family home, which doubled up as a church, every weekend.

The neighbour said on the day police found Elizabeth, the house was attended by many people.

“The cars lined the street, and there was a big group of people in formal clothes,” said the anonymous neighbour.

“They were there in the morning, and they came back again at night.”

Jayde Struhs is seeking to become legal guardian of her siblings 7newsThe family doubled up as a church[/caption]
- Katie Davis
Inside world’s most expensive home as Playboy Princess & stepsons feud over £400m mansion with a stunning secret inside

THIS glorious mansion worth £400million that houses the world’s only Caravaggio mural is set to go under the hammer after becoming the subject of a feud between an ex-Playboy model and her stepkids.

Princess Rita Boncompagni Ludovisi, 72, has been embroiled in a bitter inheritance battle with her three stepsons over the estate’s future since the death of her husband Prince Nicolò Boncompagni Ludovisi in 2018.

ReutersThe stunning mansion in Rome is set to be sold at auction and could fetch more than £400million[/caption] Princess Rita with Prince Nicolò Boncompagni Ludovisi, who died in 2018 GettyPrincess Rita Boncompagni Ludovisi – who once appeared on the cover of Playboy, has been locked in a feud with her stepsons over the property[/caption]

Perched on a hilltop site in the heart of Rome, the Villa Aurora – also known as Villa Ludovisi – has been in their family since 1621.

Sprawling across six levels, the stunning 30,000sqft mansion is described by the auction site as “among the most prestigious architectural and landscape beauties of pre-unification Rome”.

It boasts a “splendid garden with arboreal essences and tall trees” as well as three garages, two roof terraces, around 11 bedrooms and 10 bathrooms.

Despite a series of tasty attributes, the mansion’s greatest gift is a spectaculaqr ceiling mural by Italian baroque artist Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio – the only one known to exist in the world.

Commissioned by the estate’s first owner Cardinal Francesco Maria Del Monte, in 1597, the beautiful piece is tucked in a small room on the first floor he decided to use as his alchemy laboratory.

Measuring more than nine-foot across, the mural was oil painting was done straight on the plaster, and depicts an allegorical scene with the gods Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto representing the transformation of lead into gold.

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Caravaggio painted his own face and body on each of the three figurines. 

Enough to take any art collector’s breath away, the rare painting is worth more than £250million itself.

The villa owes its name to a fresco by another baroque artist, Il Guercino, which adorns the huge ceiling of the entrance hall and depicts Aurora, goddess of dawn, riding her chariot.

It is also filled with sculptures, antiques and statues, including one of Pan attributed to Renaissance master Michelangelo.

Although it features a number of fascinating features, the villa doesn’t come setback-free, as the auctioneer warns it needs renovation works that’ll leave its new owner will a bill of more than £9million.

The historic villa has been at the centre of a drawn-out feud following the death of its owner Prince Nicolò Boncompagni Ludovisi.


His third wife Princess Rita has been pitted against his sons from a previous marriage – Francesco, Ignazio, and Bante – over the property’s fate.

The Texas-born widow is now set to be kicked out of her home after a judge ruled Villa Aurora should be sold at auction, with the proceeds split.

It will go under the hammer this afternoon with the starting bid pegged at £393million – though it is estimated to be worth an eye-watering £449million.

“I just pray and hope that whoever buys it will love it as much as we have,” Princess Rita told Reuters as she revealed Windows founder Bill Gates was once interested in the mansion.

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Princess Rita was educated at Harvard before marrying congressman John Jenrette, who was jailed after taking a bribe worth £36,000 in an FBI sting that became known as the Abscam scandal.

After divorcing Jenrette, she appeared in Playboy magazine with a tell-all interview – in which she claimed she and her former husband “made love on the marble steps that overlook the monuments” in front of the US Capitol.

Princess Rita, centre, gave an interview to Playboy after splitting from husband John Jenrette RexThe room of the countries, with the side panels painted by Guercino, Paul Bril, Domenichino, Gian Battista Viola[/caption] AFPThe villa was built in the 16th century[/caption] RexVilla Aurora is also filled with sculptures, antiques and statues[/caption]

- Cheyenne R. Ubiera
I was scammed by a $70m lottery jackpot scheme when trying to fix my roof but a Good Samaritan still gave me the money

A PERSON claimed to be the winner of the largest lottery prize ever given in British Columbia. An investigation into the claim led to a scam on social media.

Christine Lauzon actually won $70million in the lottery back in October, however, a Facebook page under her name promised to send out money to people in need.

GettyA person had assumed the identity of Christine Lauzon, who won $70million in the British Columbia lotto and attempted to scam people out of their money[/caption] AFP or licensorsA woman in Fiji nearly fell to the scheme went she sought help to have her roof repaired because of rainwater getting inside her house[/caption]

An investigation into the situation resulted in the British Columbia Lottery Corporation reaching out to Lauzon, who confirmed that the account using her name and photo was fake.

A post on the fake page claimed that they had “voluntarily decided to help people financially,”

One woman in Fiji responded to the post asking for $1,000 to fix her roof. She asked to not be identified to protect her privacy.

“When there’s heavy rain, the water always enters the house. Like half the house it enters inside,” the woman said.

The scammer offered to send the woman $100,000 if she sent $300 in Bitcoin first. The potential victim was attempting to raise the money when she was contacted by CTV News, who told her that it was a scam.

“I was really happy because nobody has ever offered me that amount of money before,” she said, saying the thought of receiving that much money would be life-changing

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The BCLC said it is “unfortunate” that someone would target an individual in that way.

“BCLC cares deeply about our players and we encourage them to contact us if they have any questions or concerns. Where there is suspected criminal activity, we advise them to contact police.”

Once Facebook was contacted about the incident, immediate action was taken.

“Thanks for reaching out. Upon review of this account, we’ve removed it for violating our Community Standards for misrepresentation,” Facebook said in a statement.

Travis Shawcross, CEO of Pioneer Health Care in Ontario, heard about the almost scam and wanted to help the woman in Fiji, who still didn’t have money for her house repairs.

“I said, ‘Well, you know, it’s a thousand bus. If that’s going to fix her roof and she’s going to be happy, I’ll be more than happy to do it.’ So, that’s what I did,” he said.

The woman was grateful for Shawcross’s donation, saying that the money will be put towards the upgrades to her home.

“He helped me. He already sent me the money. A thousand dollars to help rebuild my house,” the woman said. “And I’m so glad and happy for Travis’s help.”

Shawcross said he can relate to the feeling of needing a little help, which is why he decided to help a complete stranger on the other side of the world.

“I’ve had nothing before. I know what it’s like to have nothing. In 2005, I was in a shelter in Surrey. I lived there for a month because I had nothing and I was trying to get back on my feet,” he said.

“Through whatever decisions I’ve made over the last 18 years, I’ve become successful. I’ve been very blessed and now it’s time for me to give back.”

AFPThe woman was contacted by a Canadian news outlet, who informed her that it was a scam[/caption] GettyTravis Shawcross, CEO of Pioneer Health Care in Ontario, heard about the incident and offered to help pay the woman to fix her roof[/caption]
- Sarah Grealish
Missing boy, 4, found dead five days after being ‘kidnapped by babysitter, 34, who was jailed for killing another child’

A TODDLER has been found dead five days after he was allegedly kidnapped by his babysitter who was jailed for killing another child.

The body of four-year-old Dean Verberckmoes was found in the southern Dutch Zeeland province – after his disappearance sparked a massive search spanning two countries.

Dean Verberckmoes was last with his family on Wednesday Dutch PoliceDutch police arrested 34-year-old Belgian man Dave de K.[/caption] EPAPolice investigate the scene at Neeltje Jans in Zeeland, the Netherlands[/caption]

Cops say was discovered at Neeltje Jans, an island that forms part of the Oosterschelde flood barrier and is popular with Dutch tourists.

Police had sent out a so-called Amber Alert – issued in child abduction cases – with the description of the toddler and a picture.

The alert came after police arrested a 34-year-old Belgian man in the town of Meerkerk, south of Utrecht, about 60 miles northeast of Neeltje Jans.

The tot was last seen in the Belgian city of Sint Niklaas near Antwerp on Wednesday in the company of the man, only identified as Dave De K.

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He was previously sentenced to ten years in prison in 2010 for acts of child abuse which led to the death of a two-year-old toddler, according to local media.

De K. regularly minded Dean and his younger sister, the toddler’s mother told the Belga news agency.

The man was supposed to take the child to his grandparents on Thursday and when that did not happen the mother reported him missing.

Dutch police launched a massive search after at became known that De K. and the toddler may be in the Netherlands.

“The police investigation pointed to a possible crime scene on Monday evening… and a police helicopter also joined the search,” Dutch police said.

“Around 10.00 pm (2100 GMT) the lifeless body of a child was found,” police said.

They added: “We thank everybody who helped and are sending condolences to his family.”

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- Jacob Bentley-York
French girl, 14, who was kidnapped, beaten and gang raped is rescued after police used Snapchat to find her GPS location

A MISSING 14-year-old girl who was locked up, kidnapped, beaten and gang-raped by two men has been rescued.

Police officers were able to trace the teen’s phone using Snapchat’s GPS to a residence in the Cabucelle district of Marseille, France on Friday evening.

The 14-year-old had been locked in a tiny apartment in the Cabucelle district of Marseille Officers used the GPS on Snapchat in order to locate her

The young girl, who has not been named, was reportedly lured into the tiny apartment by a 26-year-old man who had offered to host her after she ran away from home last week.

But she was reportedly made to smoke cannabis before the suspect and another 64-year-old man allegedly took turns in raping her.

The teen, who later told police she was forced to give oral sex, was taken to hospital for treatment before she was later returned home to her family. 

The two men have since been arrested and charged on Sunday with kidnapping and rape of a minor, but have maintained the sex was consensual. 

Cops were first alerted to the kidnapping by the girl’s parents early on Friday morning when she sent messages over Instagram as her captors slept.

She explained that she had been kidnapped and beaten but was too disorientated to specify where she had been taken.  

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The girl was soon asked to turn on her location on Snapchat to allow police to track her down. 

From there, she reportedly kept in touch with officers via messaging apps – fearing that speaking would wake her kidnappers.

Once police found the apartment building, they began knocking on each of the doors until the teen texted “yes” to confirm they had the correct flat.

And as they stormed the tiny apartment, cops allegedly discovered one of the suspects trying to delete evidence from his phone as he was taken into custody.   

An assessment found that the victim had been under the influence of drugs as she was hospitalised for emergency treatment.

She later underwent a medical examination, which confirmed she had signs of “anal lesions,” according to local media.

After the arrest, a policewoman at the Information and Command Centre in Marseille was praised for her innovative method of tracking down the victim, as she later described the case as “rare” and “unique.”

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“This rescue took place thanks to Snapchat, but above all took place thanks to the excellent idea of ​​the young assistant policewoman from the Information and Command Center (CIC), without whom nothing would have been possible,” department secretary, Rudy Manna, said. 

“Snapchat alone would not have allowed the arrest of these individuals,” he added.  

Police confirmed that the investigation is ongoing.

- Aliki Kraterou
Skier, 40, charged with manslaughter of five-year-old British girl in crash on the slopes at French Alps resort

A SKIER has been charged with the manslaughter of a five-year-old British girl in a deadly crash on the slopes at a resort in the Alps.

The girl, named locally as Ophélie, was in a lesson on the slopes when an adult is said to have crashed into her at high speed.

AlamyA 40-year-old man has been charged with the manslaughter of the little girl at the Flaine resort in the Alps[/caption] AlamyThe little girl was in a lesson on the slopes when the man is said to have crashed into her (stock image)[/caption]

The little girl was airlifted to the hospital but tragically died before she arrived while still in the helicopter.

The horrific accident happened on Saturday at around 11 am in the ski resort of Flaine in France’s eastern Haute-Savoie department.

The 40-year-old suspect, who has not been identified, has been in custody in Bonnevile, eastern France.

Witnesses said they watched him skiing “at high speed” over “a slight bump” and then colliding with the child.

The five-year-old was taking a lesson on a Blue beginners’ slope in the resort.

An investigating source said: “The skier involved in the death has been indicted for manslaughter. 

“He has been placed under judicial control and is specifically accused of a deliberate violation of safety obligations.”

The crime is punishable with up to five years in prison, and a fine equivalent to £62,000.

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Karline Bouisset, the public prosecutor in Bonneville, confirmed that the man, a volunteer firefighter, had been “skiing at high speed”.

She added that a dozen people, including direct witnesses to the tragedy, have been interviewed “at length” since Saturday. 

Ms Bouisset said: “The child was in a single file behind the group and was about to make a right turn when she was very violently hit by the skier arriving at high speed who tried in vain to avoid her.”

The skier tried to administer first-aid to the child, who had been skiing with four other girls and boys, but she never recovered consciousness and died on her way to the hospital at about 1 pm.

Ophélie lived with her British parents in Geneva, and they also own a holiday home in Les Carroz, another Alpine ski resort. 

The children were on the Serpentine Blue run, and in a group lesson run by France’s ESF national ski school. 

Jean-Paul Constant, the Mayor of nearb Arâches, said: “We are actively looking for a psychologist who speaks English for the family, who have returned to Geneva.

“They are suffering from extreme shock, as are many others involved in this tragedy.”

The criminal suspect comes from Saint-Jeoire, and he is offering his full cooperation to the authorities. 

A post-mortem was due to take place on Monday to determine the cause of death, but the results had not been released.

AlamyThe accident happened on Saturday at the ski resort of Flaine[/caption]
- Phoenix Cronin
Man who betrayed Anne Frank to Nazis in bid to save own family is finally revealed

IT is one of the saddest and most enduring cold cases of the 20th century – who told the Nazis where Anne Frank was hiding?

But now the 77-year mystery has been solved by a crack team of investigators, claims a new book on the wartime teenage diarist whose family were betrayed to the Gestapo.

Anne Frank, pictured, was betrayed to the NazisGetty

The culprit is surprisingly not a power-hungry Nazi but tragically, like the Franks, a Jewish victim of the regime who was simply trying to save his own family.

Arnold van den Bergh was a notary, or legal clerk, who is now believed to have told the SS the address of the Franks’ Amsterdam hideaway, Prinsengracht-263.

Rosemary Sullivan, author of The Betrayal Of Anne Frank, said: “Arnold van den Bergh was a person put into a devil’s dilemma by circumstances for which he was not to blame, and under pressure, he may have failed to understand fully the consequences of his actions.

“He did not turn over information out of wickedness or for self-enrichment, as so many others had. Like Otto Frank’s, his goal was simple — to save his family.

“That he succeeded while Otto failed is a terrible fact of history.”

With their home city of Amsterdam under Nazi rule, 13-year-old Anne, her parents Otto and Edith and sister Margot went into hiding in 1942.

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Along with family friends the van Pels and dentist Fritz Pfeffer, for two years they hid in a concealed room behind the office of Otto’s spice business.

Their location was known only by Otto’s employees, Victor Kugler, Johannes Kleiman, Miep Gies and Bep Voskuijl, who risked their lives to bring them food.

In 1944 German police stormed the offices and the Franks, van Pels and Pfeffer were sent to Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland.

Anne, Margot and Edith were sent on to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, where they reportedly contracted typhoid and died in 1945.

Otto, the family’s sole survivor, returned to Amsterdam after the war and published Anne’s heart-rending diary of their time in hiding in 1947.

In the 1940s and 1960s there had been two unsuccessful investigations into who had betrayed the Franks, then in 2016 a 22-strong team led by Vincent Pankoke, a former FBI cold case specialist, began another probe.

The team studied reports from 29 archives in Holland and Allied countries and used a Microsoft AI programme to analyse them.


Then when Vincent was leafing through a 1963 report on Otto Frank he found a copy of an anonymous note given to Otto in 1945 which claimed to know who had handed them in.

It read: “Your hideout in Amsterdam was reported at the time to the Jüdische Auswanderung [Jewish Emigration] in Amsterdam, Euterpestraat by A van den Bergh, a resident at the time at Vondelpark, O Nassaulaan.

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“At the JA was a whole list of addresses he submitted.”

Arnold van den Bergh had been one of seven Jewish notaries in Amsterdam before the war. His firm had been successful, with Arnold presiding over high-value sales and living in a lavish mansion in the city.

He and wife Auguste had twin daughters, Emma and Esther, and a younger daughter Anne Marie — who was the same age as Anne Frank.

Author Rosemary continued: “He seemed to be a quiet but confident man.

“His wife loved to entertain guests at their home, and he had a passion for fine 17th and 18th-century paintings, a luxury that his income afforded him.”

Arnold van den Bergh was a notary, or legal clerk, who is now believed to have told the SS the address of the Franks’ Amsterdam hideaway, Prinsengracht-263CBS

When the Nazis embarked on their mass murder of Jews across Europe, van den Bergh decided to do whatever it took to keep his family safe.

In 1941, a year after Germany invaded Amsterdam, he became a founding member of the Jewish Council.

The council — reviled after the war — had the devastating task of deciding which Jews would be deported and held weekly meetings with the intelligence arm of the SS, the SD.

In return, van den Bergh and his family were among 1,500 Dutch Jews given a “sperre”, or immunity from deportation.

But when the council was disbanded in 1943, members were sent to concentration camps — meaning van de Bergh was no longer safe.

To the cold case team the timings didn’t make sense. Why would van den Bergh hand over the Franks’ address in 1944 but not in 1943, when the lives of his family were in the most danger?


Checking records, the team found no evidence that van den Bergh or his young family were ever held captive in concentration camps.

Instead, van den Bergh’s next move was to apply for Calmeyer status — an SS classification meaning non-Jewish — on the basis that one of his grandparents was a Gentile, meaning that he and his family should instead be identified as Aryan, or non-Jewish.

In September 1943, his request was granted, and the whole family had the J — for Jüdisch, or Jewish — on their identity cards scrubbed.

That should have guaranteed their safety — if it hadn’t been for an argument with the wrong man. Around this time, van den Bergh’s business had been taken off him and given to an Ayran notary, JWA Schepers.

Perhaps infuriated by this humiliation, van den Bergh took steps to internally sabotage the business so that by the time Schepers took over, it was effectively inoperable.

This turned out to be a grave mistake. Schepers was so furious that he successfully lobbied the SS to reverse the decision on van den Bergh’s Calmeyer status.

Anne Frank gained fame posthumously with the 1947 publication of The Diary of a Young Girl, in which she documented her life in hiding from 1942 to 1944Getty

Van den Bergh’s Aryan identity was erased and he fled Amsterdam as a bounty was placed on his head.

Rosemary said: “The surreal absurdity of those bureaucratic musical chairs, when a man’s life and the lives of his family were at stake, is a brutal example of the Nazi method of murder by small bureaucratic cuts.”

The Dutch Resistance found homes for Van den Bergh’s twins in Scharwoude and homed 13-year-old Anne Marie in Amsterdam.

But Anne Marie, whose own daughter Esther Kizio — a pseudonym— spoke to the cold case team, fled Amsterdam after being starved, forced to work and sexually assaulted.

She was promptly arrested in Rotterdam by the Nazis. But the van den Bergh family had one more card to play.

During her interrogation, Anne Marie mentioned her father’s German client, Alois Miedl, and was promptly released.


Miedl was a Catholic art collector who despite having a Jewish wife, was good friends with high-ranking Nazis and had been quietly working for German military intelligence.

After Jewish collectors were forced to sell their art during the Nazi persecution, Miedl had arranged the sale of certain works to Hitler’s second in command, Hermann Goring.

The art had previously belonged to Jewish collector Jacques Goudstikker. And the notary who was involved in the sale was none other than Arnold van den Bergh. He must have realised that Miedl could be a powerful ally.

So when Miedl, who secretly sympathised with the Jews, asked van den Bergh to take in Goudstikker’s mother Emilie for the duration of the war, he agreed.

By now in Miedl’s good books, van den Bergh hoped his relationship with the Nazi party would keep his family safe in hiding.

But in 1944 as the Germans started to lose the war, Miedl fled to fascist Spain. It seems that by this stage, van den Bergh was out of options.

Arnold van den Bergh, circled, in a meeting of the Amsterdam Jewish CouncilThe Jewish Cultural Quarter of Amsterdam

In a last-ditch attempt to save himself and his family, he handed over a list of Jewish safe houses which he would have had as a member of the Jewish Council.

When his granddaughter Esther discovered this, she struggled to come to terms with the news.

Rosemary said: “If indeed her grandfather gave up the Prinsengracht 263 address, it was probably just an address on an impersonal list — he didn’t know who was living there.

“If in fact he had done it, she said finally, she knew it could have been for only one reason — because he was forced to, because he had to save his family’s lives.”

In 1948 an Amsterdam Jewish Honor Court — a tribunal set up to deal with Jewish suspected Nazi collaborators — found van den Bergh guilty in absentia of assisting in anti-Jewish measures.

Shortly after, he was diagnosed with throat cancer and he died in London in 1950. But one question remains — why did Otto Frank keep van den Bergh’s name to himself?


At the time of van den Bergh’s trial Otto told Dutch newspaper Het Parool: “We were betrayed by Jews.”

And years later Miep Gies let slip to a student at a University of Michigan event that the betrayer had died “before 1960”. But Otto kept the name to himself until his death aged 91 in 1980.

Rosemary wrote: “Perhaps Otto’s lack of interest in exposing his betrayer can be put down, in part, to van den Bergh’s death.

“What would be the point in pursuing a dead man? Otto always said he didn’t want to harm the man’s children.

“He also may have concluded that van den Bergh would become a convenient scapegoat for Jew haters.”

 The Betrayal Of Anne Frank, by Rosemary Sullivan, is published today by William Collins, an imprint of Harper-Collins UK, in hardback, ebook and audio. The house where Anne Frank’s family hid for two yearsAFP The anonymous note given to Otto Frank incriminating van den Bergh60 MInutes/CBS
- Aliki Kraterou
Shocking before and after satellite photos reveal full scale of Tonga tsunami’s devastation which is visible from SPACE

SHOCKING before and after satellite photos have revealed the full scale of the devastation caused by the catastrophic tsunami in Tonga which is even visible from space.

According to images taken around 12 hours later, the island of Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai has completely disappeared following the volcanic eruption.

UNOSATAn image taken on December 8, compared to one taken on January 16, shows the damage caused by the eruption[/caption] UNOSATA satellite image taken in April 2020 and an image taken after the volcano eruption shows the area covered in volcanic ash[/caption] UNOSATThe island of Tongatapu has been severely damaged[/caption] UNOSATThe volcano last erupted in 2014[/caption]

The main island Tongatapu has been heavily affected, with water damage being visible to the northern and southern sides.

The volcano which last erupted in 2014, has also caused damage to the islands of Uoleva and Nomuka.

While Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai has erupted regularly over the past few decades, early data suggests the eruption was the biggest since Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines 30 years ago, New Zealand-based volcanologist Shane Cronin told Radio New Zealand.

He said: “This is an eruption best witnessed from space.”

While initial reports do not suggest mass casualties, two people have been reported missing.

“Further volcanic activity cannot be ruled out,” the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in the update today.

It added that the official assessments have not been released yet as the communications have been badly hit.

Concern has been mounting for the inhabitants of two small low-lying islands- Fonoi and Mango -after a distress beacon was detected.

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According to the Tonga government, 36 people live on Mango and 69 on Fonoi.

It comes as the body of the missing British charity worker Angela Glover, 50, was discovered by her husband James earlier today.

Two more people have drowned at the coast of Peru after the tsunami sparked high waves.

The impact of the eruption was felt as far away as Fiji, New Zealand, the United States and Japan.

Aid workers have warned 80,000 of Tonga’s residents could be affected.

Meanwhile, Australia and New Zealand have sent surveillance flights today to assess the damage.

Australia’s Minister for the Pacific Zed Seselja said Australian police had visited beaches and reported significant damage with “houses thrown around”.

Tonga’s deputy head of mission in Australia, Curtis Tu’ihalangingie, said Tonga was concerned about the risk of aid deliveries spreading COVID-19 to the island, which is COVID-free.

“We don’t want to bring in another wave – a tsunami of COVID-19,” Tu’ihalangingie told Reuters by telephone.

The Haatafu Beach Resort, on the Hihifo peninsula, 13 miles west of the capital Nukualofa, was completely wiped out, the owners said on Facebook.

The family that manages the resort had run for their lives through the bush to escape the tsunami, it said. The whole western coastline has been completely destroyed along with Kanukupolu village, the resort said.

The Red Cross said it was mobilising its network to respond to what it called the worst volcanic eruption the Pacific has experienced in decades.

Alexander Matheou, the federation’s Asia Pacific regional director, said water purification, providing shelter, and reuniting families were the priorities – but they had yet to establish direct contact with colleagues on the ground and were relying on estimates based on previous such disasters.

The effects of the Tongan blast were felt as far away as the USA Tonga Meteorological Services, Government of TongaDramatic official aerial maps showed the eruption cloud over Tonga[/caption] Smoking Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano on Jan 7Smoking Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano on Jan 7 Brit charity worker Angela Glover was confirmed dead
- Imogen Braddick
‘Child rapist’ cornered up a TREE by ‘victim’s’ hero brother-in-law who chased him with a baseball bat through snow

A “CHILD rapist” was cornered up a tree by the alleged victim’s hero brother-in-law who chased him with a baseball bat through the snow.

Cops surrounded suspect Roman Shchukin, 38, and handcuffed him when he eventually climbed down the tree after sitting in the branches for three hours in -19C temperatures in Omsk, Russia.

East2WestRoman Shchukin, 38, is suspected of raping a teenage girl[/caption] East2WestA video showed Shchukin hiding in the treetops, while his brother-in-law stood guard at the bottom[/caption] East2WestCops detained the rape suspect after he eventually climbed down from the tree[/caption]

The man is accused of raping a 15-year-old girl.

The alleged victim raised the alarm by running to her sister’s house before she was rushed to hospital for emergency surgery after suffering serious internal injuries. 

Wielding a baseball bat, the girl’s brother-in-law chased the suspected paedophile through the snow.

Shchukin, a foundry worker who has previous criminal convictions, decided to climb a tree to escape the ambush.

A video showed Shchukin hiding in the treetops, while the alleged victim’s hero brother-in-law stood guard at the bottom.

The suspected rape came after the girl’s mum had gone to work. 

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The Russian Investigative Committee in a statement: “Officers arrived and found the suspect in an inadequate condition sitting in a tree on nearby 19th Partsyezd Street.

“The suspect, a 38-year-old man previously convicted eight times for the theft of property, has been detained.

“The victim is in hospital.”

It comes as Russia is expected to toughen its paedophile laws later this month. 

Proposed changes include automatic life sentences for repeat child sex attackers, and improved monitoring of convicts after they are released from jail.

East2WestShchukin, a foundry worker who has previous criminal convictions, decided to climb a tree to escape the ambush[/caption] East2WestHe is accused of raping a 15-year-old girl[/caption] East2WestRoman Shchukin being arrested by police after the alleged rape[/caption]
- Tariq Tahir
Traumatised husband of Brit charity worker killed by Tonga tsunami found her body as hunt for her missing dogs continues

THE body of a British charity worker who vanished after the Tonga tsunami was discovered by her devastated husband.

Angela Glover, 50, was last seen clinging to floating debris with her dogs as a huge swell of water rushed back out to sea.

pixel8000The body of British animal charity worker Angela Glover was found by her husband James following the Tonga tsunami[/caption] EnterpriseAngela was with at least five dogs when she was knocked off her feet and dragged out to sea. One of the animals has been found[/caption] She posted this haunting last picture of a sunset after the volcano erupted APThe centre of the volcanic island vanished in the eruption[/caption] A satellite image shows a plume rise over Tonga when the underwater volcano erupted

Brother Nick Eleini has now confirmed her husband James was the one to find her after a huge search along the coastline.

Angela’s body had been washed into scrubland.

One of the pups with Angela when she vanished has since been found alive – but up to four others are still missing.

The brave aid worker was parted from James when a 4ft high wall of water poured through the home where they were staying.

He was able to cling to a tree but Angela was swept out to sea with the dogs.

Paying tribute to his “adored” sister, Nick said the family was “devastated”.

“This is just such a terrible shock. We’re ordinary people, stuff like this just doesn’t happen to people like us but then it does,” he said.


“She would just walk into a room and lighten the room up and she loved her life, both when she was working in London and then she when achieved her life’s dream of going to work in the south Pacific.”

Heartbroken Nick said Angela and tattoo artist James moved to Tonga to start a new life and she worked with the Tonga Animal Welfare Society.

“I understand that this terrible accident happened as they tried to rescue their dogs,” he said.

“She loved animals and dogs particularly. The uglier the dog, the more she loved it.

“We would laugh at her when she sent us these photos on Facebook of dogs she had rescued. She was a lovely girl and she was the centre of our family. We’re just broken.”

He added: “From a little girl it was always Angela’s dream to swim with whales and it was Tonga that gave her the opportunity that allowed her to fulfil these dreams.”

Nick had earlier said he feared worst and that was a case of “body retrieval” rather than finding her alive.

“James was able to hold on to a tree for quite some period of time,”  he told New Zealand’s 1News.


“I don’t know if Angela was swept away immediately or whether she was swept away afterwards.”

Nick told The Guardian his sister had been washed away with four or five dogs who she was walking at the time.

Her and her husband were housesitting at a home on the west coast of the island when the tsunami struck.

“It’s excruciating. I can’t even believe the words are coming out of my mouth, to be honest,” he said.

Earlier Angela, who moved from London to Veitongo five years ago, posted a haunting last picture on Instagram.

The image shows an ominous red sunset over Tonga in the wake of the volcanic eruption that led to the tsunami.

“We’ve been under tsunami warnings today…everything’s fine… a few swells ….a few eerie silences,” she wrote.

The Foreign Office confirmed it was helping a number of Brits following the massive undersea volcanic eruption.


The effects of the blast, captured by satellite, were felt as far away as California where waves swept inland, causing floods.

Power was out across Tonga as officials worked to assess casualty figures and damage.

New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern said contact had still not been established with coastal areas beyond the capital, Nuku’alofa, which was “covered in thick plumes of volcanic dust”.

Foreign Office minister Lord Tariq Ahmad, meanwhile, tweeted: “The UK stands ready to help and support our Tongan friends.”

Meanwhile, a distress signal has been detected in an isolated, low-lying group of islands in the Tonga archipelago today, the United Nations said.

There has been no contact from the Haapai group of islands and there was “particular concern” about two small low-lying islands – Fonoi and Mango, where an active distress beacon had been detected.

According to the Tonga government, 36 people live on Mango and 69 on Fonoi.

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“Further volcanic activity cannot be ruled out,” the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in the update.

The uninhabited volcanic island of Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai all but disappeared following the blast, according to satellite images from around 12 hours later.

The Pacific archipelago was blanketed in ash and volcanic ash clouds spread to countries thousands of kilometres to the west.

Angela was swept out to see with up to five of her dogs Nick Eleini said Angela Glover’s family ‘adored’ her TwitterFootage on social media showed large waves crashing ashore in coastal areas of Tonga[/caption] APSmoking Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano on Jan 7[/caption] RexThe eruption of an underwater volcano off Tonga, which triggered a tsunami warning[/caption] Dramatic official aerial maps showed the eruption cloud over Tonga The effects of the Tongan blast were felt as far away as the USA
- Adrian Zorzut
‘Bodybuilder boy’ Amir the Hulk dubbed the NEW ‘Mini Hercules’ as Instagram vid shows toddler parading his huge muscles

“BODYBUILDER boy” Amir the Hulk has been dubbed the new “Mini Hercules” after an Instagram video shows the toddler parading around with his huge muscles.

The tanked tot reportedly suffers from a condition that means he cannot stop piling on the muscle.

YouTubeAmir the Hulk parading around home with his huge muscles[/caption] YouTubeThe youngster is already being compared to former bodybuilding protégé the Mini Hercules[/caption]

In a clip shared online by his uncle before going viral among bodybuilding enthusiasts on YouTube, the youngster parades around the home flexing his muscles.

At one point, Amir is asked tense and shows off his abs, chiselled biceps and shoulders and his ripped back.

Bodybuilding enthusiast Xavier Wills says little Amir is already being compared to Mini Hercules Richard Sandrak, who, at eight years old, had a complete six-pack.

Richard also used his incredible flexibility to master of karate and bend his body into unfeasibly contorted positions.

At one point he was reported to have one per cent body fat, which is potentially fatally low.

Xavier cited a post by Amir’s uncle explaining the toddler suffered from Berardinelli Seip and a lack of Myostatin.

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Berardinelli Seip is a rare genetic disorder that is characterized by the near total loss of body fat and extreme muscularity at birth. Whatever fat Amir has is instead stored in the organs, liver, and muscles, which is why he has such a slender physical appearance.

Myostatin is a vital protein that stops us from developing too much muscle mass. A lack of it can lead to muscle over-development.

Amir isn’t the only kid to hit the headlines for their impeccable physique.

Tristyn Lee became famous when followers began noticing his gladiator-like build in videos he uploaded online.

The youngster had hoped the clips of him showing off his impressive football skills at 15 would get the attention of scouters.

Instead, he was flooded with comments about becoming a professional bodybuilder and has since built quite a presence on Instagram where he’s amassed some 2 million followers.

The American teen has even posted workouts with some big names in the bodybuilding industry such as Bradley Martyn, Simeon Panda and Larry Wheels.

Then there is Gage Gregurich who was the star of a 2016 documentary Baby Bodybuilders on TLC which profiled the young athletes taking part in competitions.

The ripped youngster was able to lift “more than any other kid who is 12 and under and weighs 66lb in this universe or any other universe,” he boasted.

He went on to say he started powerlifting when he was nine “as my dad was going to the gym and I wanted to go too”.

And then there is Giuliano Stroe from Romania, who became a global sensation after he was entered into the Guinness World Records at the age of five.

In a picture shared to Facebook, Giuliano, now 17, is all grown up holding a picture of himself when he set his first record in 2009 when he was just five years old.

Wearing a weighted ball on his legs, the boy set a new record for the fastest 33-foot hand-walk.

The little bodybuilder performed the stunt in front of a live audience on Italian television.

Astonishingly a year later, he set the world record for the most 90-degree push-ups.

Amir is reported to have a rare condition that means he can’t stop growing muscle Richard Sandark was dubbed ‘Little Hercules’ and became a celebrity at the age of eight

- Patrick Knox
I make £10,000 a month pumping my breast milk for perverts on Onlyfans … now I’ve banished ALL my debt

A MUM-OF-THREE has revealed she is making up to £10,000 a month by flogging videos of herself pumping milk on OnlyFans.

Alice Lovegood, 27, from Devon, was even offered a whopping £100k to breastfeed a fan.

News Dog MediaAlice Lovegood is making a fortune online by selling videos of her own breastmilk[/caption] News Dog MediaShe was even offered an eye-watering £100,000 to breastfeed a fan[/caption]

Alice started doing this line of work after she fell pregnant with her youngest child and now receives thousands of paid-for requests for videos of her lactating breasts. 

Alice – who has an eight-year-old and three-year-old son and a seven-month daughter with her husband – said: “Before I started doing this last year, our life was very different.

“We were in over £15k of debt, I worked all the time including weekends and we had never been on a family holiday.

“Now I can put my kids into a good school if I choose to and I can spend quality time with them.

“I know some people think posting videos of my breastmilk is disgusting but it’s natural and I don’t care what people say. 

“I’m proud of what I’ve achieved and I love the confidence it’s given me.”

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Now she is considering selling her breast milk to fans for over £300 a pop.

She says: “People want to see me squirt the milk out of your boobs, drink my breast milk and pump milk out of my boobs dressed like a cow.

“A lot of my followers say my content is actually quite wholesome! My fans sometimes just like the sound of pumping milk or the visual of me wearing a nursing bra.

“At one point, I was open to selling my breastmilk for £300 for 100ml because I was getting so many requests for it. But with the pandemic, I decided it wasn’t safe.

“One of my followers offered me £100k to breastmilk him. It was an eye-watering sum but I declined it.”

Alice was working as a cash-strapped family assessment worker when she unexpectedly fell pregnant with her youngest child in August 2020.

People want to see me squirt the milk out of your boobs, drink my breast milk and pump milk out of my boobs dressed like a cow

Alice LovegoodOnlyFans model

Alice explains: “My husband and I weren’t planning on having another child so it was a complete shock when we got pregnant.

“With a third baby on the way, there was a lot more pressure on us financially. I had always been a very sexual person and I knew pregnancy was a fetish so I thought I could make some extra money to help us out.”

So, in February last year, she started online posting pics of her pregnant belly on OnlyFans, initially with my face hidden.

By April, she was making content full-time.

Alice says that X-rated lactating content is getting more popular especially after the Channel 4 documentary Breastfeeding my Boyfriend.

Alice says she’ll breastfeed her youngest daughter for as long as she wants but will continue expressing milk for her fans.

News Dog MediaShe is now considering selling her breast milk[/caption] News Dog MediaMaking content is now her full-time job[/caption] News Dog MediaShe says she can make up to £10K a year[/caption]
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Inflation isn't just an economic headache — it's become a political blame game that will almost certainly define this year's midterm election campaigns.
US cities are losing 36 million trees a year. Here's why it matters
If you're looking for a reason to care about tree loss, the nation's latest heat wave might be it. Trees can lower summer daytime temperatures by as much as 10 degrees Fahrenheit, according to a recent study.
How rich people could help save the planet from the climate crisis
Rich people don't just have bigger bank balances and more lavish lifestyles than the rest of us -- they also have bigger carbon footprints.
Quilty pleasure: Why your grandmother's blanket is today's luxury fashion staple
When A$AP Rocky arrived at the Met Gala in September, he managed what few others could: going toe-to-toe with Rihanna on the red carpet.
LA 'gigamansion' could become the US' most expensive house
A 105,000-square-foot mansion in Bel Air, dubbed "The One," could become the most expensive property to sell in the United States when it hits the auction block next month.
Powerful photos show autism in a new light
Although Mary Berridge's son displayed signs of autism from birth -- including motor skill and speech delays, difficulty with change and sensory sensitivity -- it took over seven years for him to be formally diagnosed.
Hong Kong's statues are disappearing, but their symbolism may prove harder to erase
Depicting a heap of screaming faces and contorted torsos, the "Pillar of Shame" was not just a reminder of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre -- it was, for many, an emblem of free speech in Hong Kong.
Intimate photos show lives of the rich and beautiful
Slim Aarons built a career documenting the lives of the rich and beautiful.
When Concorde was the most glamorous way to travel
In March 1969, just months before Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, Concorde made its maiden flight. The supersonic plane embodied a vision of the future as daring as that of Apollo 11 -- but far better looking.
'Like the 1950s': Inside a community frozen in time
Homesteads dotting a pastoral landscape, families living by lamplight and men in straw hats riding horse-drawn carriages -- the scenes in Jake Michaels' photographs could easily depict bygone times in the American Midwest. But not only do his pictures hail from the digital age, they were taken hundreds of miles away in Belize.
The 'Caspian Sea Monster' rises from the grave
Beached for over a year on the western shores of the Caspian Sea, it looks like a colossal aquatic beast -- something bizarre perhaps more at home beneath the water than in the air. It certainly doesn't look like something that could ever fly.
- By Annabelle Timsit
Antisemitic tropes cited by the Texas synagogue hostage-taker have deep roots
Experts have long said the pervasiveness of antisemitic beliefs in society can fuel violence against Jewish people.
- By Rachel Pannett, Michael E. Miller and Frances Vinall
Tonga races to prevent a ‘tsunami of covid’ as rescue efforts begin after underwater volcano disaster
Tonga said the “unprecedented disaster” had generated tsunami waves of up to 49 feet and destroyed all of the houses on Mango island.
- By Shibani Mahtani and Theodora Yu
Hong Kong to kill 2,000 hamsters because of suspected animal-to-human coronavirus transmission
After nearly a dozen hamsters tested positive for the coronavirus at a pet store, authorities say they may have infected the employees.
- By Amy Cheng
Far-right Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik gives Nazi salute at parole hearing
Prosecutors are opposing the parole request by Breivik, who has used court appearances to showcase his neo-Nazi sympathies.
- By William Booth, Matt Zapotosky and Jennifer Hassan
Texas synagogue attacker was previously known to British security services
Questions remain about how the hostage-taker was able to enter the United States and purchase a weapon.
- By Siobhán O'Grady
About a dozen killed in airstrikes on Yemeni capital in retaliation for Houthi attack on UAE
The United Arab Emirates said it would hold accountable the perpetrators of a strike on its port that killed three.
- By Shira Rubin
Israeli police accused of using Pegasus spyware on domestic opponents of Netanyahu
Police have denied the allegations after an investigation by an Israeli news outlet found that the military-grade spy software is being used against the country's citizens.
- By Pamela Constable
Afghanistan desperately needs aid. One technocrat from the former government is key to the Taliban’s efforts.
This week, after lengthy legal and technical negotiations, the floodgates of foreign relief aid began to open.
- By Chico Harlan and Stefano Pitrelli
When being unvaccinated means being locked out of public life
Two cellists tell how they packed up their things after life became impossible in Venice.
- By David L. Stern
Former Ukrainian president Poroshenko returns home to face treason charges amid tensions with Russia
Poroshenko's return comes at a particularly difficult moment for Ukraine as it braces for a possible invasion by Russian forces massed on its borders.
- By Kareem Fahim and Siobhán O'Grady
Three killed in UAE capital in suspected drone attack claimed by Yemen rebels
A Pakistani and two Indian nationals were killed in the attack, according to Abu Dhabi police.
- By Dan Simmons, Steve Hendrix and Miriam Berger
Family of elderly Palestinian American who died after Israeli detention demands international inquiry
New details emerged suggesting Omar Assad lost consciousness while still being held by Israeli soldiers.
- By Siobhán O'Grady
Who are the Houthis and why did they attack Abu Dhabi?
The rebels took over the Yemeni capital of Sanaa in 2015.
- By Rick Noack
Far-right French presidential candidate Éric Zemmour found guilty of inciting racial hatred
The verdict adds another obstacle to a presidential bid that has lost momentum in recent weeks but may leave a lasting mark on French politics.
- By Eva Dou and Pei Lin Wu
China halts Winter Olympics ticket sales as omicron arrives in Beijing
China had gone to extraordinary lengths to prevent the spread of the highly transmissible new variant in recent weeks, locking down entire cities.
- By Annabelle Timsit
U.K. government’s reported plan to freeze BBC funding source stirs controversy
The publicly funded British Broadcasting Corp. is one of the most trusted sources of news and a producer of some of the most popular television entertainment in the country.
- By Natalie Compton
How to find a coronavirus test while traveling in Mexico
If you’re not staying at a hotel, where can you get a test? One reporter found out on a recent trip to the Yucatan.
- By Michael E. Miller
With Novak Djokovic deported, Australian Open begins under omicron cloud
The tournament the unvaccinated Serb had been favored to win was finally underway without him — but the mood was a little dour.
- By Terrence McCoy
More enslaved Africans came to the Americas through this port than anywhere else. Why have so few heard of it?
The Valongo Wharf in Rio de Janeiro has been called the most important site associated with the arrival of enslaved Africans to the Americas. Prosecutors in Brazil accuse the government of neglecting its responsibility to preserve and develop it.
- By Rachel Pannett
What you need to know about the Tonga volcano and the Pacific’s ‘Ring of Fire’
The weekend's eruption and tsunami may have just been a warm-up, volcanologists say.
Paul Workman: Return to Afghanistan amid Taliban rule
A heavy snowfall and a 6-hour flight delay. Dogs on the runway. Armed Taliban gatekeepers. Two angry men fighting over baggage. That was my return to Kabul after more than a decade, CTV National News’ London Bureau Chief Paul Workman reports from Afghanistan in a piece for
Russia moves more troops westward amid Ukraine tensions
Russia is sending troops from the country's far east to Belarus for major war games, officials said Tuesday, a deployment that will further beef up Russian military assets near Ukraine amid Western fears of a planned invasion.
Texas synagogue hostage-taker had stayed in area shelters
An armed man who took four people hostage during a 10-hour standoff at a Texas synagogue had spent time in area homeless shelters in the two weeks leading up to the attack, and was dropped off at one by someone he appeared to know.
Satellite photos show aftermath of Abu Dhabi oil site attack
Satellite photos obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday appear to show the aftermath of a fatal attack on an oil facility in the capital of the United Arab Emirates claimed by Yemen's Houthi rebels.
Blinken to visit Ukraine as U.S.-Russia tensions escalate
Secretary of State Antony Blinken will visit Ukraine this week and meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky as tensions between the U.S. and Russia escalate over a possible Russian invasion of its neighbour, the U.S. State Department said Tuesday.
North Korean missile tests signal return to brinkmanship
Grappling with pandemic difficulties and U.S.-led sanctions over his nuclear ambitions, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un could be reviving his 2017 playbook of nuclear and missile brinkmanship to wrest concessions from Washington and his neighbours.
Under-fire Boris Johnson denies lying over lockdown parties
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday denied misleading Parliament about lockdown-breaching parties, as senior government ministers said he would have to resign if he was proven to have lied.
Cold case investigation leads to surprise suspect in Anne Frank betrayal
A six-year cold case investigation into the betrayal of Anne Frank has identified a surprising suspect in the mystery of how the Nazis found the hiding place of the famous diarist in 1944.
Sweden's spy agency probes drones over 3 nuclear plants
Sweden's domestic security agency said Monday it has taken over the preliminary investigation into drones that last week were seen hovering over or near the country's three nuclear power plants.
Russia shortens COVID-19 isolation to 7 days as cases surge
Russian authorities are shortening the required isolation period for people infected with COVID-19 from 14 to seven days as the country faces another surge of COVID-19 cases, this time driven by the highly contagious Omicron variant.
Live: Senegal take on Malawi as they fight for Group B first place
Tipped as one of the Africa Cup of Nations favourites, Senegal have had a slow start to the tournament after an uninspired win against Zimbabwe and a surprise draw against Guinea. But a win against Malawi could redeem the Teranga Lions by catapulting them to the top of Group B. Follow the action on FRANCE 24's liveblog.
- David RICH
Mali’s junta seeks review of ‘unbalanced’ defence deal with France
Amid heightened tensions between Mali and France, Mali’s transitional authorities have asked for a review of the 2013 bilateral defence accords between Paris and Bamako. FRANCE 24 examines some of the details of the agreement and the likely impact of the latest development on the ground. 
Moscow demands answers on security guarantees as US top diplomat Blinken heads to Kyiv
Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday in Geneva in hopes of securing a "diplomatic off-ramp" to the Ukraine crisis, a US official said. Hours earlier, Moscow rejected fresh talks on Ukraine unless the West responds to its demands, as the US and NATO try to avert a possible Russian invasion of its pro-Western neighbour.
Aerial photos show ‘alarming’ destruction in Tonga after volcanic eruption, deadly tsunami
Tonga's small outer islands suffered extensive damage from a massive volcanic eruption and tsunami, with an entire village destroyed and many buildings missing, a Tongan diplomat said on Tuesday.
Oil prices hit seven-year highs amid geopolitical instability
Benchmark oil prices climbed to their highest since 2014 on Tuesday as possible supply disruption after attacks in the Mideast Gulf added to an already tight supply outlook.
555.55 carats: World's largest cut diamond on display for first time
The largest known cut diamond in the world, a rare black diamond called the Enigma, has gone on public display for the first time this week in Dubai ahead of its sale at auction, where it is expected to fetch $5 million.
Sadr bloc vies for control in Iraq political negotiations
Three months after Iraq’s parliamentary elections, the Sadrist movement is seeking to leverage its plurality of votes into one-party control. But its political rivals are keen to prevent this outcome, and negotiations could last months.
Malta’s Roberta Metsola elected EU Parliament's third woman president
Centre-right Maltese lawmaker Roberta Metsola, chosen Tuesday as only the third woman to head the European Parliament, is viewed as a political moderate despite controversy over her anti-abortion stance.
Man suspected of betraying Anne Frank to Nazis identified after 77 years
A six-year cold case investigation into the betrayal of Anne Frank has identified a surprising suspect in the mystery of how the Nazis found the hiding place of the famous diarist in 1944.
Kazakhstan FM vows to share 'proof' that 'foreign terrorists' were involved in protests
Kazakhstan's Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tileuberdi granted an interview to FRANCE 24. Earlier this month, peaceful protests against a hike in energy prices in Kazakhstan sparked a brutal crackdown, backed up by military support from Russian-led troops. The official death toll stands at 225, but human rights groups believe it to be much higher. Tileuberdi said the Kazakhstani authorities were ready to share "proof" with the international community that there were foreign terrorists among the "armed militants". So far, witnesses on the ground have not backed up this claim.
Watch out for these false videos after the Tonga volcano eruption
Shocking images of the eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano off the coast of the Tonga Islands have been flooding social networks since January 15. But several fake videos have crept in among the authentic footage, coming from near the Kampar River in Indonesia.
Biden enters second year looking to fight after signature legislation stalls
Joe Biden 1.0 was a calming, grandfatherly figure, a low-key veteran coming out of retirement in 2020 to heal a nation deeply divided by Donald Trump. A year later, meet Biden 2.0 -- the frustrated, angry fighter.
Rabbi recounts ‘terrifying’ escape from Texas synagogue hostage-taker
The rabbi of a Texas synagogue that was the scene of a hostage stand-off recounted Monday how he threw a chair at the gunman, allowing those being held to escape.
Mexican photojournalist shot dead outside Tijuana home in second journalist killing of 2022
A photojournalist was shot dead Monday in Mexico’s crime-plagued city of Tijuana bordering the United States, authorities said—the latest such murder in one of the world’s deadliest countries for reporters.
Saudi-led coalition air strikes target Yemen’s Houthi rebels after Abu Dhabi attack
The Saudi-led coalition fighting Yemen's Houthi insurgents said Monday it had launched air strikes targeting the rebel-held capital Sanaa following a deadly attack against Abu Dhabi that killed three and was claimed by the rebels.
Sudanese security forces shoot dead seven protesters in fresh anti-coup rallies
Security forces shot and killed seven protesters Monday during rallies against last year's military coup, medics said, ahead of a visit by US diplomats seeking to revive a transition to civilian rule.
- Catherine BENNETT
France celebrates 25th unicorn in strong start to 2022 for tech sector
France triumphantly announced the country’s 25th unicorn on Monday, after the industrial company Exotec revealed that it had raised $335 million in funding to give it a valuation of $2 billion.
Major US airlines warn 5G expansion could cause ‘chaos’ for US flights
The chief executives of major U.S. passenger and cargo carriers on Monday warned of an impending “catastrophic” aviation crisis in less than 36 hours, when AT&T and Verizon are set to deploy new 5G service.
‘Give us the ballot’: Martin Luther King’s family joins march for voting rights
Members of Martin Luther King Jr’s family joined marchers Monday in Washington urging Congress to pass voting rights reform as the United States marked the holiday commemorating the slain civil rights leader.
French far-right presidential candidate Zemmour convicted for racist hate speech
A French court on Monday found far-right presidential candidate Eric Zemmour guilty of racist hate speech for a televised tirade against unaccompanied child migrants.
US reportedly orders WhatsApp to track some Chinese users
The US has been secretly tracking a group of Chinese users of the popular messaging service WhatsApp since November, possibly in an effort to halt illegal opioid sales, Forbes has reported.The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) ordered WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, to track seven users based in China and Macau, a move authorised by the Pen Register Act, which allows such tracing without an explanation of the reasons for the monitoring, according to the report, which was posted…
More than 11,000 people sign petition calling on Hong Kong to drop cull of hamsters over Covid-19 fears
More than 11,000 people have signed a petition calling on authorities to stop a cull of hamsters launched after evidence emerged of the first possible animal-to-human transmission of Covid-19 in Hong Kong.The surprise announcement on Tuesday also left some residents scrambling to buy enough food for their animals after some pet shops closed early for deep cleaning, while an animal welfare group said it had been flooded with calls asking for information about getting rid of hamsters.Authorities…
China ‘not interested’ in becoming world’s No 1 economy or global hegemony, says vice foreign minister
China should pay more attention to surpassing the United States in terms of improving people’s lives and contributing positively to the world, rather than pursuing the goal of becoming the world’s No 1 economy, said the country’s vice foreign minister on Tuesday.Le Yucheng made the comments a day after China published its 2021 gross domestic product (GDP) growth figure of 8.1 per cent, beating expectations and moving its economy closer to the size of that of the US.“Exceeding the US in GDP, we…
Thailand to drop jail terms and fines as it decriminalises marijuana
Thailand plans to decriminalise marijuana, moving a step closer to clearing its use for recreation, after becoming the first country in Southeast Asia to legalise medical cannabis and its use in food and cosmetics.The nation’s Food and Drug Administration is set to propose the removal of marijuana from a list of controlled drugs to the narcotics control board on Wednesday. Once cleared by the board, the proposal will need to be approved by Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul before it becomes…
Microsoft buys Activision Blizzard for US$69 billion in its biggest acquisition to create the world’s third-largest gaming company
Microsoft said it’s buying Activision Blizzard in a US$68.7 billion deal, uniting two of the biggest forces in video games to create the world’s third-biggest gaming company.In its largest purchase ever, Microsoft will pay US$95 A share in cash for one of the most legendary gaming publishers, known for titles like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft but which is also grappling with a cultural upheaval over its treatment of women.Activision Chief Executive Officer Bobby Kotick will continue to…
South China Sea: US Navy moves suggest new approach in likely Taiwan flashpoint
The US Navy’s aircraft carrier strike groups have not only increased South China Sea transits since last year, but their routes and drill patterns are becoming more complicated and unpredictable, according to a recent study.Defence experts said the changes could indicate new countermeasures devised by the strike groups to face any contingencies in the region, such as a potential attack on Taiwan by Beijing’s People’s Liberation Army, or over South China Sea territorial disputes.Beijing sees…
Hong Kong protests: fitness trainer becomes first person to be sentenced for violating ban on online material inciting violence
A fitness trainer in Hong Kong has been given a suspended jail term for encouraging the killing of police officers during the 2019 civil unrest in the city, becoming the first person to be sentenced for flouting a court ban on online content that could incite violence.The High Court on Tuesday sentenced personal trainer Edward Sung Ho-tak, 35, to 21 days in prison, but suspended the term for 12 months, after he admitted to posting two inflammatory messages on Facebook in November 2019. He was…
Whaleshark, mysterious collector of 400,000 NFTs, sees Hong Kong as a hub for the digital token that is gaining fans
WhaleShark, one of the most mysterious and active non-fungible token (NFT) collectors in the world with a portfolio of more than 400,000 items, sees Hong Kong as a hub for the blockchain-enabled digital asset when it comes to both money and art.In an exclusive interview with the South China Morning Post, WhaleShark, a British-born Chinese man who uses the pseudonym to maintain anonymity, said Hong Kong “is going to become a hub for NFTs, not only given their financial use case, but also for…
As China’s population nears ‘normalised phase of decline’, experts assess pace and severity
China’s population level could fluctuate around the point of growth stagnation in the coming years before it starts to decline, analysts say in light of new data showing the mainland’s overall population increased by just 480,000 people in 2021.The official numbers, released on Monday, are fuelling concerns about China’s demographic crisis, including worries that its population size may have peaked last year or will do so in the near future.“In the next 10 to 20 years, China’s natural…
Xi Jinping tells disciplinary watchdog to take ‘zero tolerance’ approach to corruption
President Xi Jinping has told the Communist Party’s top disciplinary watchdog to take a “zero tolerance” approach to corruption and make sure cadres closely follow Beijing’s policy decisions.Xi made the remarks at a meeting of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) in Beijing on Tuesday, according to state news agency Xinhua.The gathering – setting the direction of the watchdog’s work this year – was attended by all members of the policymaking Politburo Standing Committee.The…
Coronavirus is infecting people via mail and frozen food? There’s no evidence to prove it
A claim by Beijing health officials that the Omicron variant arrived in the Chinese capital via a letter from Canada has been met with a collective shrug by most scientists.The coronavirus has been around for two years now, and a lot of research has been done on how it is transmitted.That includes infection from contaminated surfaces – known as fomite transmission. Most scientists agree that there is a very slim chance of this happening, given that the virus cannot survive for too long on…
Tesla Autopilot and other mainstream assisted driving systems far from reliable, Chinese study finds
Automated driving is still far from a reality in China, according to a new study of assisted driving systems of mainstream electric vehicles sold in the country, pouring cold water on a domestic investment frenzy in the technology.A recent test conducted by Tianjin-based China Automotive Technology and Research Centre (CATRC), a state-owned car research facility, found that the average assisted-driving performance score of six popular EV models was 67.2 out of 100. Researchers concluded that …
Roberta Metsola: Maltese politician becomes new chief of European parliament
Centre-right Maltese lawmaker Roberta Metsola, chosen on Tuesday as only the third woman to head the European Parliament, is viewed as a political moderate despite controversy over her anti-abortion stance.Elected on the day she turns 43, the politician from the European Union’s smallest nation becomes the youngest president ever to run the chamber.She takes over at a time of mourning for the legislature as it marks the sudden death last week of its speaker David Sassoli.EU parliament president…
As Indonesia names its new US$34 billion capital ‘Nusantara’, historically minded critics say it’s ‘hard to see the idea’
The construction of Indonesia’s US$34 billion new capital is moving ahead, with lawmakers on Tuesday passing into law the bill governing the administrative centre, which will be named Nusantara.The name Nusantara (literally, “archipelago”) was chosen by President Joko Widodo to underline the country’s motto of “unity in diversity”.Minister of National Development Planning Suharso Monoarfa told parliament on Monday that the president wanted the new capital to showcase the diversity Indonesia –…
Hong Kong activist ‘Grandma Wong’ jailed for 4 days for refusing to give police ID card during protest
A veteran Hong Kong opposition activist popularly known by her Cantonese nickname “Wong Po Po” or “Grandma Wong” has been jailed for four days over her refusal to present her identity card to police officers during a protest in January last year.Alexandra Wong Fung-yiu, 65, was sentenced at Kwun Tong Court on Tuesday after being found guilty of obstructing a police officer in the execution of his duties.Wong has long been a familiar sight at protests and outside court buildings, where she can…
Extremist Anders Breivik makes Nazi salute as he seeks parole 10 years after Norway massacre
Right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik made a Nazi salute and held up racist messages on Tuesday as he asked for parole, a request widely expected to be denied just 10 years after carrying out Norway’s deadliest peacetime attack.Wearing a black suit, white shirt and beige tie, Breivik, 42, appeared before the district court in the southern region of Telemark, convened for security reasons in the gymnasium of the Skien prison where he is incarcerated.He lifted his arm in a Nazi salute to…
The Sandbox developer Animoca Brands sees private valuation surge to US$5 billion amid metaverse, NFT frenzy
Hong Kong-based blockchain gaming company Animoca Brands, best known for championing non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in video games, saw its valuation soar to US$5 billion on Tuesday as investors continue to bet on the potential of NFTs and the metaverse.Animoca Brands said on Tuesday it had completed a fundraising for US$358.89 million, giving it a private valuation of US$5 billion. Animoca Brands has garnered increasing interest with its popular, open-world game The Sandbox, and its valuation is…
Coronavirus: ‘extremely low’ risk of infection from handling mail, Health Canada says
It is extremely unlikely for Covid-19 to spread via contaminated post, Canada’s health authorities said, after their Chinese counterparts suggested this may be the source of an Omicron case found in Beijing over the weekend.The Beijing Centre for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday said traces of the Omicron variant had been found on a letter mailed from Toronto and received by the person, and suggested that the letter could have been the source of the infection.On Tuesday, the Beijing CDC…
Coronavirus: latest Hong Kong unemployment rate drops to 3.9 per cent, but labour chief warns extended social-distancing curbs could lead to joblessness rising again
Hong Kong’s unemployment rate dropped to 3.9 per cent in the final three months of last year, but the city’s labour secretary has warned that extended Covid-19 social-distancing measures could lead to a rise again in joblessness.The rolling figure was down 0.2 percentage points from the period between September and November, the Census and Statistics Department revealed on Tuesday. It was the lowest mark since early 2020, after unemployment hit 7.2 per cent in the three months ending in…
Hong Kong leader promises ‘fairness and truth’ in probes into alleged rule breaches by Cathay Pacific, officials in birthday party fiasco
Hong Kong’s leader has promised that her administration will seek “fairness and truth” in its investigations into whether the city’s flagship carrier and officials who attended an infamous birthday party had breached pandemic rules.Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said on Tuesday while the government had not yet completed the investigations, they would not be “left unsettled”. She assured the public that the inquiries were not a means to procrastinate.“I can guarantee that these…
Texas synagogue hostage taker spent time in area shelters before armed standoff
The FBI on Sunday night issued a statement calling the standoff at the Texas synagogue "a terrorism-related matter, in which the Jewish community was targeted."
Boris Johnson denies lying over ‘bring your own booze’ lockdown parties
“Nobody told me that what we were doing was against the rules,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson told British broadcasters on Tuesday.
Hong Kong killing 2K small animals after hamsters catch COVID-19
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, animals do not appear to play a significant role in spreading the coronavirus.
Microsoft to buy ‘Call of Duty’ maker Activision Blizzard for US$68.7B
Microsoft's deal to purchase Activision Blizzard is the largest in the sector, making the Xbox maker the third-largest gaming company by revenue.
Norwegian mass killer pins white supremacist messages to suit at parole hearing
A decade ago, the Norwegian mass killer was sentenced to 21 years in prison for a bombing in Oslo and an armed rampage on the island of Utøya.
Australia reports deadliest day of COVID-19 pandemic as hospitalizations break record
A total of 77 deaths was recorded, exceeding the previous national high of 57 last Thursday, official data showed, as the Omicron variant rips through the country.
North Korea’s latest missile tests a return to provocation, but experts see desperation
The tests may reflect a growing urgent need for outside relief after the country's economy decayed further under severe sanctions and pandemic border closures, experts say.
Aid to Tonga after volcanic eruption, tsunami delayed by thick ash on airport runway
New Zealand's military is sending much-needed drinking water and other supplies, but said the ash on the runway will delay the flight at least a day.
U.S. court sends Texas abortion law back to state, dealing blow to opponents
The U.S. appeals court sent the case to the Texas Supreme Court, which is entirely controlled by nine Republican justices and has previously upheld the restrictive law.
- Saba Aziz
Reality check: Could mail from Canada to China spread Omicron?
Chinese health authorities claim the Omicron variant of COVID-19 may have travelled via international mail from Canada, but experts says its “implausible”.
£393m Rome villa with Caravaggio ceiling fails to sell in court-ordered auction
The house, built in 1570, has been in the Ludovisi family since the early 1600s, and has become the subject of an inheritance dispute.
‘I was pretty much used as bait’ says socialite befriended by Ghislaine Maxwell
Lady Victoria Hervey was a staple in the diary columns of newspapers and magazines in the early 2000s.
York racecourse seeks to rename Duke of York Stakes to distance from Andrew
The race was actually named in 1895 in tribute to another Duke of York who went on to become King George V.
Russia moves more troops westwards amid Ukraine tensions
The Kremlin said the drills are intended to practice a joint response to external threats by the alliance of Russia and Belarus.
Goldman Sachs fourth-quarter profits fall 13% as compensation costs soar
It is the latest sign that wages are increasing sharply, particularly on Wall Street.
Johnson denies lying about parties to parliament after Cummings’ claim
The British prime minister insisted that ‘nobody told me that what we were doing was against the rules’.
Microsoft buys gaming firm Activision Blizzard for £50bn
The all-cash deal will let Microsoft accelerate mobile gaming and provide building blocks for the metaverse.
Kazakhstan’s ex-leader denies fleeing abroad amid protests
It is the first time that Nursultan Nazarbayev has spoken publicly about the protests.
Hong Kong to cull 2,000 animals after hamsters get Covid-19
Customers who bought the rodents in Hong Kong from December 22 will be subject to mandatory testing.
Jeremy Hunt says his ambition for Conservative leadership has not ‘completely vanished’
The former British foreign and health secretary’s remarks come as Boris Johnson faces a possible challenge over party allegations.
- 247 News Around The World

247 News Around The World 247 News Around The World

Rupert Grint recently told London’s The Times that he likens his relationship to “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling to that of an “auntie,” saying, “I don’t necessarily agree with everything my auntie says, but she’s still my auntie. It’s a tricky one.” Rowling has been the subject of controversy due to her controversial gender beliefs and a series of anti-transgender tweets posted in 2020. Rowling argued at the time that discussing gender identity negates biological sex. Several of Grint’s “Harry Potter” co-stars have spoken out against Rowling for her beliefs, including Daniel Radcliffe.

“Transgender women are women,” Radcliffe wrote in a letter published on The Trevor Project’s website in June 2020.  “Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional health care associations who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either Jo or I.”

“To all the people who now feel that their experience of the [‘Harry Potter’] books has been tarnished or diminished, I am deeply sorry for the pain these comments have caused you,” Radcliffe added. “I really hope that you don’t entirely lose what was valuable in these stories to you…if they taught you that strength is found in diversity, and that dogmatic ideas of pureness lead to the oppression of vulnerable groups; if you believe that a particular character is trans, nonbinary, or gender fluid, or that they are gay or bisexual; if you found anything in these stories that resonated with you and helped you at any time in your life — then that is between you and the book that you read, and it is sacred. And in my opinion nobody can touch that.”

U.S. and U.K. associations devoted to the “Harry Potter” sport quidditch recently announced they would be changing the sport’s name. Rowling’s trans comments and the fact that the name “quidditch” is trademarked by Warner Bros. led to this decision. The leagues will conduct a series of surveys over the next few months to arrive at a new name for the sport.

“As the game has grown, the name ‘quidditch,’ which is trademarked by Warner Bros., has limited the sport’s expansion, including but not limited to sponsorship and broadcast opportunities. Both leagues expect that this name change will allow for new and exciting developments for our players, fans and volunteers as the sport continues to grow,” U.S. Quidditch and Major League Quidditch said in a joint statement. “Additionally, the leagues are hoping a name change can help them continue to distance themselves from the works of J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter book series, who has increasingly come under scrutiny for her anti-trans positions in recent years.”

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Felony charges are 1st in a fatal crash involving Autopilot

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DETROIT – California prosecutors have filed two counts of vehicular manslaughter against the driver of a Tesla on Autopilot who ran a red light, slammed into another car and killed two people in 2019.

The defendant appears to be the first person to be charged with a felony in the United States for a fatal crash involving a motorist who was using a partially automated driving system. Los Angeles County prosecutors filed the charges in October, but they came to light only last week.

The driver, Kevin George Aziz Riad, 27, has pleaded not guilty. Riad, a limousine service driver, is free on bail while the case is pending.

The misuse of Autopilot, which can control steering, speed and braking, has occurred on numerous occasions and is the subject of investigations by two federal agencies. The filing of charges in the California crash could serve notice to drivers who use systems like Autopilot that they cannot rely on them to control vehicles.


The criminal charges aren’t the first involving an automated driving system, but they are the first to involve a widely used driver technology. Authorities in Arizona filed a charge of negligent homicide in 2020 against a driver Uber had hired to take part in the testing of a fully autonomous vehicle on public roads. The Uber vehicle, an SUV with the human backup driver on board, struck and killed a pedestrian.

By contrast, Autopilot and other driver-assist systems are widely used on roads across the world. An estimated 765,000 Tesla vehicles are equipped with it in the United States alone.

In the Tesla crash, police said a Model S was moving at a high speed when it left a freeway and ran a red light in the Los Angeles suburb of Gardena and struck a Honda Civic at an intersection on Dec. 29, 2019. Two people who were in the Civic, Gilberto Alcazar Lopez and Maria Guadalupe Nieves-Lopez died at the scene. Riad and a woman in the Tesla were hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries.


Criminal charging documents do not mention Autopilot. But the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which sent investigators to the crash, confirmed last week that Autopilot was in use in the Tesla at the time of the crash.

Riad’s defense attorney did not respond to requests for comment last week, and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office declined to discuss the case. Riad’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for Feb. 23.

NHTSA and the National Transportation Safety Board have been reviewing the widespread misuse of Autopilot by drivers, whose overconfidence and inattention have been blamed for multiple crashes, including fatal ones. In one crash report, the NTSB referred to its misuse as “automation complacency.”

The agency said that in a 2018 crash in Culver City, California, in which a Tesla hit a firetruck, the design of the Autopilot system had “permitted the driver to disengage from the driving task.” No one was hurt in that crash.


Last May, a California man was arrested after officers noticed his Tesla moving down a freeway with the man in the back seat and no one behind the steering wheel.

Teslas that have had Autopilot in use also have hit a highway barrier or tractor-trailers that were crossing roads. NHTSA has sent investigation teams to 26 crashes involving Autopilot since 2016, involving at least 11 deaths.

Messages have been left seeking comment from Tesla, which has disbanded its media relations department. Since the Autopilot crashes began, Tesla has updated the software to try to make it harder for drivers to abuse it. It’s also tried to improve Autopilot’s ability to detect emergency vehicles.

The company has said that Autopilot and a more sophisticated “Full Self-Driving” system cannot drive themselves and that drivers must pay attention and be ready to react at anytime. “Full Self-Driving” is being tested by hundreds of Tesla owners on public roads in the U.S.


Bryant Walker Smith, a law professor at the University of South Carolina who studies automated vehicles, said this is the first U.S. case to his knowledge in which serious criminal charges were filed in a fatal crash involving a partially automated driver-assist system. Tesla, he said, could be “criminally, civilly or morally culpable” if it is found to have put a dangerous technology on the road.

Donald Slavik, a Colorado lawyer who has served as a consultant in automotive technology lawsuits, including many against Tesla, said he, too, is unaware of any previous felony charges being filed against a U.S. driver who was using partially automated driver technology involved in a fatal crash.

The families of Lopez and Nieves-Lopez have sued Tesla and Riad in separate lawsuits. They have alleged negligence by Riad and have accused Tesla of selling defective vehicles that can accelerate suddenly and that lack an effective automatic emergency braking system. A joint trial is scheduled for mid-2023.


Lopez’s family, in court documents, alleges that the car “suddenly and unintentionally accelerated to an excessive, unsafe and uncontrollable speed.” Nieves-Lopez’s family further asserts that Riad was an unsafe driver, with multiple moving infractions on his record, and couldn’t handle the high-performance Tesla.

Separately, NHTSA is investigating a dozen crashes in which a Tesla on Autopilot ran into several parked emergency vehicles. In the crashes under investigation, at least 17 people were injured and one person was killed.

Asked about the manslaughter charges against Riad, the agency issued a statement saying there is no vehicle on sale that can drive itself. And whether or not a car is using a partially automated system, the agency said, “every vehicle requires the human driver to be in control at all times.”

NHTSA added that all state laws hold human drivers responsible for operation of their vehicles. Though automated systems can help drivers avoid crashes, the agency said, the technology must be used responsibly.


Rafaela Vasquez, the driver in the Uber autonomous test vehicle, was charged in 2020 with negligent homicide after the SUV fatally struck a pedestrian in suburban Phoenix in 2018. Vasquez has pleaded not guilty. Arizona prosecutors declined to file criminal charges against Uber.


Dazio reported from Los Angeles. AP News Researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York contributed to this report.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Post source: News 4jax

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Transverse myelitis – what to look for

Transverse myelitis is an inflammation of both sides of one section of the spinal cord. This neurological disorder often damages the insulating material covering nerve cell fibres (myelin).

According to the Mayo Clinic, signs and symptoms of transverse myelitis usually develop over a few hours to a few days and may sometimes progress gradually over several weeks.

“Transverse myelitis usually affects both sides of the body below the affected area of the spinal cord, but sometimes there are symptoms on just one side of the body,” explains the health body.

Typical signs and symptoms include:

Pain. Transverse myelitis pain may begin suddenly in your lower back. Sharp pain may shoot down your legs or arms or around your chest or abdomen. Pain symptoms vary based on the part of your spinal cord that’s affected Abnormal sensations. Some people with transverse myelitis report sensations of numbness, tingling, coldness or burning. Some are especially sensitive to the light touch of clothing or to extreme heat or cold. You may feel as if something is tightly wrapping the skin of your chest, abdomen or legs Weakness in your arms or legs. Some people notice heaviness in the legs, or that they’re stumbling or dragging one foot. Others may develop severe weakness or even total paralysis. Bladder and bowel problems. This may include needing to urinate more frequently, urinary incontinence, difficulty urinating and constipation.

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A commercial aircraft approaches to land at San Diego International Airport as U.S. telecom companies, airlines and the FAA continue to discuss the potential impact of 5G wireless services on aircraft electronics in San Diego, California, U.S., January 6, 2022.

Mike Blake | Reuters

The White House said it working with airlines, wireless providers and federal agencies on a solution to a dispute over the rollout of 5G service, scheduled to begin Wednesday, that airlines say may interfere with navigation systems and could force them to cancel flights.

“The administration is actively engaged with the FAA, FCC, wireless carriers, airlines, and aviation equipment manufacturers to reach a solution that maximizes 5G deployment while protecting air safety and minimizing disruptions to passenger travel, cargo operations, and our economic recovery,” said a White House official.

Aviation industry executives have for weeks warned about potential flight disruptions stemming from the new service and repeatedly urged the White House to step in. Some flight cancellations could be announced as early as Tuesday, people familiar with the airlines’ plans said. Most recently, on Monday, CEOs from passenger and cargo carriers wrote to Biden administration officials urging them to block the rollout of the service within 2 miles of airport runways.

The Federal Aviation Administration had warned that the fifth generation C-band service could interfere with certain airline equipment like radio altimeters, which are used for low-visibility landings. The spectrum, which AT&T and Verizon would use, sits next to the frequency band, used by aircraft.

It was not immediately clear if a potential agreement would prevent flight disruptions. The FAA over the weekend cleared 45% of the country’s commercial fleet to fly after 5G is deployed.

In a letter to the White House and heads of the FAA, FCC and Transportation Department, airline CEOs on Monday said that modern aircraft use radio altimeters for a variety of safety systems and that those planes “will be deemed unusable” and could be grounded.

“In addition to the chaos caused domestically, this lack of usable widebody aircraft could potentially strand tens of thousands of Americans overseas,” said the letter, which was signed by CEOs of Delta, United, Southwest, American and the heads of the aviation arms of UPS and FedEx.

United said 15,000 flights a year could be affected and warned about delays at major hubs like Houston, Newark, New Jersey and Chicago.

“We implore the Biden administration to act quickly and apply the same common sense solutions here that have clearly worked so well around the world,” United said late Monday.

“It’s unclear if any agreement can be reached to modify the 5G rollout, so we must prepare for the worst,” JetBlue Airways CEO Robin Hayes wrote to staff on Monday.

AT&T declined to comment. Verizon didn’t immediately comment.

Post source: cnbc

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Lindsay Hubbard Suffered a Miscarriage With Costar’s Child

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Summer House's Lindsay Hubbard Suffered Miscarriage Just One Day After Learning She Was Pregnant With First Child, Reveals Winter House's Jason Cameron as Dad

Summer House's Lindsay Hubbard Suffered Miscarriage Just One Day After Learning She Was Pregnant With First Child, Reveals Winter House's Jason Cameron as Dad

Lindsay Hubbard opened up about a past miscarriage on the season six premiere of Summer House on Monday night.

While sitting in her room with now-boyfriend Carl Radke following a tiff the previous evening, Lindsay revealed that after conceiving her first child with Winter House flame Jason Cameron, who she was never officially dating, she tragically lost the baby.

“Remember I was talking to you like a month ago, where I was like, ‘Something’s up with my body. I don’t know, it’s either this COVID vaccine’s really f-cked my hormones or I’m pregnant?’” Lindsay asked Carl after confirming that things between her and Jason had become “really complicated” in recent months.

“The next day I went to the gynecologist and found out I was pregnant. Six weeks pregnant,” she continued.

After Carl, understandably, expressed shock, Lindsay explained the heartbreak she endured.

“So I found out on a Monday I was pregnant and by Tuesday night I was having a miscarriage,” she revealed. “And by Wednesday I was in the emergency room for five hours.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?” Carl wondered.

“I wanted to tell you but at that time, I wasn’t ready. I didn’t want to put that on you anyway,” Lindsay replied. “It all happened so quickly that I wasn’t able to even emotionally wrap my mind around the pregnancy portion of it before I was having a miscarriage.”

As for the father, Lindsay said she told Jason “immediately.” However, because their relationship was so new, she made it clear that she wasn’t trying to get pregnant.

Then, in a confessional scene, Lindsay couldn’t hold back the tears while recalling the loss.

“I absolutely would have had this child,” she said. “That was cool to feel that. And I never thought that it would happen like that for me because it’s something I’ve always wanted my entire life, to have a family. Jason was absolutely wonderful but I also just needed to get through it on my own.”

Summer House season six airs Mondays at 9/8c on Bravo.

Photos Credit: Zack DeZon/Bravo

Post source: RB

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Chrissy Teigen’s acne frustration

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Chrissy Teigen is not happy with how long her acne is taking to clear up.

Chrissy Teigen's acne is taking 'forever' to heal

Chrissy Teigen’s acne is taking ‘forever’ to heal

The 36-year-old model shared her dissatisfaction about the “three angry little b*******” on her face that won’t budge on her Instagram Story on Monday (17.01.22).

The mother-of-two – who has Luna, five, and Miles three, with ‘All of Me’ hitmaker husband John Legend – captioned a close-up selfie: “I had 3 angry little b******* and they’re taking forever to heallll. (sic)”

Chrissy’s acne complaint comes after she recently documented her eyebrow transplant with her 36.6 million followers.

The author heaped praise on the procedure, which involves putting hair from the “back of your head” to the brows to create a fuller look, after years of overplucking the facial feature as a teen.

She wrote: “I never wear makeup if I can avoid it so I was so excited for this eyebrow transplant surgery where they take hairs from the back of your head!! (sic).”

And she later gave an update on the progress in a clip showing off the new hairs that sprouted.

She captioned the video: “welcome, new brow hairs!!!! (sic)”

Many fans commented on how glowing the brunette beauty’s skin was looking, with Hollywood actress Octavia Spencer asking for her skincare secrets.

Not everyone was a fan of the brow procedure, though, with the star being mocked for the move.

Responding to the haters on her Instagram Story alongside a screenshot of an article about it, she wrote: “WHY are peoples so f****** riled up over any little thing I do? You’re gonna give yourselves a heart attack. (sic)”

In a previous clip, Chrissy had said: “They look so cool. He did hairs up here to even them out. Crazy.”

The ‘Cravings’ writer added: “a little dark from the pencil it’s so cool to have brows again!”

She went out to issue a warning: “Teens: do not pluck them all off like I did. (sic)”

Post source: Female First

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Joyce Enscoe’s passing on Sunday, January 16, 2022 has been publicly announced by Jefferson Memorial Funeral Home, Inc. in Pittsburgh, PA.

Legacy invites you to offer condolences and share memories of Joyce in the Guest Book below.

The most recent obituary and service information is available at the Jefferson Memorial Funeral Home, Inc. website.

Published by Legacy on Jan. 18, 2022. reports daily on death announcements in local communities nationwide. Visit our funeral home directory for more local information, or see our FAQ page for help with finding obituaries and sending sympathy.

Post source: Legacy>

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Young Dolph Murder Suspect Is A Registered Sex Offender

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Justin Johnson, one of the men accused of killing Young Dolph, is a registered sex offender.

According to WLBT, in 2015, Johnson was convicted of aggravated rape. He is required to report every March, June, September and December to the Memphis Police department. He did not report to MPD in December 2021 and is in violation of the sex offender tracking and verification act of 2004.

Johnson has been charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder (for shooting at Young Dolph’s brother who was with the rapper when he was killed), being a felon in possession of a firearm, employment of a firearm during a dangerous felony and theft over $10,000.


He has also been charged for failure of a Tennessee sexual offender to timely report or register.

During Johnson’s arrest, police also found 27-year-old Shundale Barnett, who was wanted as an accessory to murder in the killing of Young Dolph. A third man, Cornelius Smith, was already being held on an auto theft charge involving the white Mercedes allegedly used as a getaway car in the shooting.

Post source: MTO

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Blondie Went By This Before Settling On Their Final Name

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In the 1960s, Blondie’s Debbie Harry juggled an assortment of jobs after graduating college, including secretary, waitress, and Playboy Bunny (per L’Officiel). It wasn’t until she joined the girl rock group The Stilettos, that the early inklings of her career as front woman began to materialize. In this same uncomfortable-shoe-inspired group Harry met and fell in love with Chris Stein, who joined The Stilettos as a guitarist.

Their connection was instant and the two eventually split off to form their own band, bringing in a drummer, keyboardist and bassist. According to Far Out Magazine, the group only played twice as “Angel and The Snake,” but Harry said she didn’t think that name was memorable enough. 

Debbie Harry told the New York Post, “​​Chris and I tried out a few [band] names. One was Angel and the Snake, but I wasn’t sure it was easy to remember. One day, I was walking across Houston Street and someone yelled ‘blondie’ at me. I thought, ‘Jeez, that’s quite easy to remember.'”  

The relatively straightforward name’s origin story might sound familiar to any woman reading this; especially if that woman has ever walked city streets while rocking bottle blonde hair.

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Anthony Jolson Blamed the Devil After Murdering His Father: Cops

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Anthony Jolson appears in a mugshot taken by the Hennepin Co., Minn. Sheriff

Anthony Jolson appears in a mugshot taken by the Hennepin Co., Minn. Sheriff’s Office.

A Minnesota man is due to appear in court on Tuesday afternoon to face second-degree murder charges in connection with the alleged murder of his father.

According to court records, Anthony Ryan Jolson, 33, of Minneapolis killed his father by beating him over the head with a hammer and stabbing him to death with a kitchen knife in a “sneak” attack inside the home they shared. The incident occurred after Jolson engaged in an obsession about the devil, the occult, and COVID-19 vaccines, his brother told the police. The attack was so violent that blood spatter was seemingly everywhere; pieces of the father’s skull were located by investigators in two separate rooms of the house.

According to Hennepin County jail records, Jolson is charged with second-degree murder in connection with the slaying. Jolson was booked at 2:03 a.m. on Jan. 14, 2022, after being arrested by the Minneapolis Police Department. He’s being held on a $1 million bond. Second-degree murder in Minnesota is an alleged murder which occurred with intent but without premeditation. According to court records, the charge also carries a modifier because the defendant allegedly used at least one deadly weapon.

According to a probable cause statement, police officers responded to a house on Elliot Avenue just south of East 47th Street in Minneapolis at about 9:00 p.m. on Jan. 13, 2022. The call was for “unknown trouble.”

When the police arrived at the two-story Tudor-style dwelling, the defendant approached the responding officers at the front door. The defendant was “unwilling to cooperate” and refused to open the front door.

The defendant’s brother, who is referred to only by the initials T.M.J., then appeared and told the officers that his father, a 58-year-old man referred to only by the initials D.L.J., “was on the couch” and “injured” — specifically, that the father had been “hit in the head with a hammer.”

The police forced their way into the house “and eventually detained” the defendant “after some resistance.”

Inside, officers found the father on the living room couch.

“There was a large amount of blood,” and the father’s “face was heavily swollen and lacerated,” the probable cause statement indicates.

The brother said only he, the defendant, and their father lived at the home along with two dogs. The brother reported that he had gone ice skating on the day of the killing. When he returned home, the defendant met him at the door. Specks of blood were on the defendant’s forehead, according to the court document.

“I did something really bad,” the defendant allegedly told his brother.

“[I]t’s my nightmare,” he also reportedly said. “[T]he devil made me do it.”

The brother told the police he tried to remain calm and tried to keep the defendant calm.

The defendant then told his brother he had met his father with a “surprise” or “sneak” attack by hitting the father with a hammer and stabbing him.

The brother relayed to the police that the defendant “had been recently acting paranoid and had been talking about the devil, occults, and how the COVID vaccine was a part of this.” The brother said the defendant had also been calling both of his familial housemates the “devil.”

The documents do not further expound upon the defendant’s alleged theories.

The brother fled the home because he was scared. He called a relative and hid outside until the relative arrived to help him.

The police then learned that the defendant had placed two phone calls to a neighbor — one at 9:17 p.m., the other at 9:24 p.m. — to report that he needed help. The defendant summoned the neighbor to the crime scene but “was talking slowly and not making much sense,” according to the neighbor’s re-telling of the situation. It is unclear from the records what actions the neighbor took — other than to relay the information to the police.

Emergency medical services personnel declared the father dead at the scene. The probable cause statement explains his injuries:

Victim was seated on the couch, slumped over with obvious signs of trauma to his head and neck area. There was a large amount of blood on Victim’s head, neck, and chest. Evidence of blood cast-off was seen around the room and on the ceiling. Fragments of Victim’s skull were located on the floor of the living and dining room areas. A hammer with blood-like substance was located in the living room, and a kitchen knife with blood-like substance was located on an end table in the living room.

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office later confirmed “many injuries” to the father, including stab wounds to the neck and upper chest; the father “also had visible fractures to the front and top of his head.”

The charging instruments are below. Jolson is due in court at 1:30 Central time on Tuesday for an initial appearance.

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After two years, hospitals thought they had a handle on treating COVID-19. But Omicron has hit them harder than ever.

- Meg James
'Rust' armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed sues weapons provider on Alec Baldwin film

The lawsuit alleges Seth Kenney and his PDQ Arm & Prop provided "Rust" crew members on the film with a box labeled "dummies" that contained live ammunition. Kenney has said he did not provide live ammo.

- Anumita Kaur, Chris Megerian
'They underestimated this virus.' Omicron cuts through U.S. defenses despite Biden's efforts

President Biden plans to speak about the COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday as he faces rising criticism during the Omicron wave.

- Eli Stokols
President Biden urges filibuster changes to protect voting rights

President Biden calls for changing filibuster rules to protect voting rights. But he still lacks the Senate votes to follow through.

- David Pierson
Myanmar teak shipments imported to U.S. despite sanctions, group says

The prized tropical hardwood used in building luxury yachts helps fund Myanmar's military dictatorship and has long ties to crime syndicates.

- Chad de Guzman
Asia Has Kept COVID-19 at Bay for 2 Years. Omicron Could Change That

When the Omicron variant of COVID-19 emerged this fall, governments across East and Southeast Asia returned to a tried-and-true strategy to stop it: They doubled down on border restrictions. Japan banned entry for nearly all foreigners—including students who had already been admitted to universities. The Philippines barred foreign nationals arriving from countries with local Omicron cases. Thailand ended programs that allowed tourists to enter without quarantine.

But border closures did not stop the arrival of the Omicron variant. Multiple countries across Asia are reporting spiking infections. Japan’s COVID-19 cases hit 20,000 a day, approaching the record tallies caused by the Delta variant in August. In the Philippines, daily case totals hit nearly 37,000—almost double previous highs in September. COVID-19 cases in Singapore and Indonesia have begun to rise, though they are not yet surging. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”]

In the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, borders across the region remain heavily restricted. But many experts question whether continuing to stay closed to tourists, students and business travelers is an effective strategy for reducing COVID-19 now that Omicron has taken over—given the evidence that it is more contagious, though potentially with less severe symptoms.

“There’s very little [effect] that border closure and all that would have in terms of the impact in preventing the introduction of Omicron into various countries,” says Dr. Ooi Eng Eong, an infectious disease expert from the Duke-National University of Singapore Medical School. “This is how a very infectious virus will spread, but there’s actually very little that we can do to prevent it, except for vaccinating populations.”

Why Asia was successful Asia travel restrictions map Lon Tweeten/TIMEAs the COVID-19 pandemic enters its third year, most of East and Southeast Asia remains closed to travelers. Border restrictions helped the region fend off COVID-19 at the start of the pandemic, but they are not stopping the arrival of the Omicron variant.

Asia’s COVID-19 strategies—border closures, quarantine requirements, a pervasive mask-wearing culture, coupled with vaccination campaigns—have worked extremely well so far. Japan, which struggled with a wave of the Delta variant following the Tokyo Olympics, has recorded 15 deaths per 100,000 people, while South Korea has had 12 deaths per 100,000. Hong Kong, which has continued to pursue a “zero COVID” strategy of eliminating all infections, has reported fewer than 13,000 cases across its 7.5 million people, and its death rate is 3 per 100,000 people. In mainland China, where COVID-19 was first detected, just 4,600 deaths have been reported among 1.4 billion people—a death rate close to zero. In contrast, 259 people have died per 100,000 in the U.S. The death rate in Germany, which has won praise among large European nations for its handling of COVID-19, is 139.

In countries with high vaccination rates—like Japan, where nearly 80% of the population is fully vaccinated—experts expect deaths to remain low during the Omicron wave, even if infections spike significantly higher than in previous waves. “The number of infections per capita in Japan remains low compared to Europe and the United States—this may be evidence of the effectiveness of vaccines, masks, and social distancing,” Dr. Taro Yamamoto, a professor of international health at Nagasaki University, says.

However, Hong Kong is taking no chances. The city’s COVID-19 entry restrictions were already some of the tightest in the world, including mandatory 21-day quarantine for most travelers. It took just a handful of Omicron infections in the community—believed to have originated from two Cathay Pacific Airways flight attendants who were later fired and then arrested—for borders to close even tighter. The financial hub, which once boasted one of the world’s 10 busiest airports, has now banned all flights from eight countries including the U.S. and the U.K. and also barred travelers from more than 150 countries and territories from taking connecting flights through the city.

Fewer than 100 cases of Omicron have been found in the city to date. Yet just five days into 2022, Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced social distancing restrictions reminiscent of those imposed in 2020—the closure of gyms, spas and other businesses that require close contact between customers and providers; strict limits on the number of people who can gather in public; and a 6 p.m. curfew for restaurant dining. Some 3,000 travelers and close contacts of infected people are being held at a government quarantine center outside Hong Kong Disneyland.

Weighing the costs of border closures Asia quarantine and deaths graphic Lon Tweeten/TIMECOVID-19 death rates across Asia have been dramatically lower than the rates seen in the U.S. and Europe.

The Chinese territory’s zero tolerance for COVID-19 cases is motivated at least in part by Beijing’s requirements for reopening the border with mainland China—which has itself enacted aggressive lockdowns, testing and tracking to keep out COVID-19.

But these border closures came at a cost. For Hong Kong, the three-week quarantine crippled its status as a global tourist destination and travel hub. International tourism is a major contributor to Thailand’s economy, which shrank by 6% in 2020, according to the World Bank, and was estimated to increase by only 1% in 2021. Tourism-dependent businesses across Asia took the hit. Lee Kyusung, a bar owner from Seoul in South Korea, said he saw less of his expatriate customers, who made up at least 40% of his usual crowd.

While some places, like Singapore, have reopened borders for vaccinated travelers from other countries, most have imposed restrictions on travelers regardless of vaccination status. That’s because growing evidence shows that current vaccines are less effective at stopping the spread of Omicron than of previous variants. Even so, they remain effective at preventing severe COVID-19 and death.

The good—and bad—news about vaccines

Complicating matters, a small-scale study suggests one of the most common vaccines in the region could be especially ineffective at stopping Omicron’s transmission. The lab study by Hong Kong University and the Chinese University of Hong Kong scientists in November analyzed blood samples from 25 patients vaccinated with two shots of CoronaVac—an inactivated vaccine made by China’s Sinovac. It found none of the samples produced enough neutralizing antibodies to stop the Omicron variant. For the Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA vaccine, only five out of 25 samples produced enough antibodies. (More neutralizing antibody levels are thought to provide more protection against symptomatic COVID-19.)

Sinovac’s shot is one of the two vaccines widely used in China, where 2.9 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered. It is also the most used vaccine in Indonesia. The Philippines received more than 50 million doses of the vaccine from China.

But Leo Poon, of the University of Hong Kong, says that policymakers should take into account data from other countries, which shows Omicron surges are likely to put less stress on health care systems if the population is highly vaccinated. “I think that that is good news, and this is the most important message,” he says. “Everyone has to understand that.”

For countries with high vaccination rates, like Japan, many infectious disease experts are saying it’s time for politicians to drop tough restrictions on international travel. “Japan’s approach to border control—shutting down borders—does not make sense any more,” says Kenji Shibuya, Research Director of the Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research. “I think that it is a political gesture.”

Not every country has that luxury. Indonesia, the fourth most populous country in the world, has fully vaccinated just 43% of its 274 million people, according to World Health Organization data. The Philippines has a vaccination rate of 47%. In conflict-ridden Myanmar the rate is 30%.

“We need to try to help these people,” Poon says. He appeals to countries with surplus jabs to do more: “If you have vaccines, then please make them available to other people.”

- Chad de Guzman

Authorities in Hong Kong have ordered the deaths of some 2,000 hamsters and other small rodent pets after health officials said they may be responsible for infecting a pet shop worker with COVID-19.

Eleven samples from hamsters at the Little Boss pet shop in the Chinese territory have tested positive for the Delta variant of COVID-19. Official suspicion fell on the tiny creatures after a 23-year-old worker at the pet shop tested positive for COVID-19.

While authorities agreed Tuesday there was no evidence to date that pets can transmit the SARS-CoV-2 virus to humans, customers who went to the store after Jan. 7 will be subjected to quarantine. Pet owners who bought hamsters beginning Dec. 22 were advised to turn their pets over to authorities to be tested for the virus. If the animals test positive, the owners will have to undergo quarantine. Regardless of the test result, the hamster will be put down. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”]

All stores selling hamsters were also ordered to cease operations.

However, Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post newspaper quoted an unnamed source as saying that health authorities believe “it’s very likely that the transmission this time is from animals to humans.” Genome sequencing of the virus found in the animals, imported from the Netherlands, shows it is the same as the virus present in the pet shop worker.

“We don’t want to cull all the animals,” conservation official Thomas Sit told reporters. “But we need to protect public health and animal health. We have no choice. We have to make a firm decision.”

It’s the latest dramatic measure Hong Kong officials have taken as part of the city’s “zero COVID” approach. After a cluster of fewer than 100 infections of the Omicron variant broke out in the city of 7.5 million, officials imposed 2020-style social distancing restrictions, including closing bars and gyms and ordering restaurants to stop dine-in service at 6 p.m. All flights from eight countries, including the U.S. and U.K., have been banned, and officials have barred air passengers from 150 countries from traveling through Hong Kong–once a global transit hub. Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 is admitted to the hospital and their close contacts are tracked down and committed to a government facility for 14 days of quarantine. More than 3,000 people, including international travelers, are currently being held—most at the Penny’s Bay Quarantine Center near Hong Kong Disneyland.

The policy—which has seen the city record fewer than 13,000 cases and 213 COVID-19 deaths—mirrors similar vigilance by mainland China, which has worked to stamp out all traces of infection at any cost. Hong Kong is hoping that Beijing will allow a resumption of quarantine-free travel between the city and the mainland—which is critical to many businesses and families in Hong Kong.

It’s not the first time Hong Kong linked a human’s COVID-19 infection to a pet. At the onset of the pandemic in 2020, a 17-year-old Pomeranian tested positive for the virus. But in that case, health authorities confirmed the dog contracted the infection from its owner.

Some of the city’s residents took to Twitter to question the mass destruction of the hamsters—including the government’s promise to deal with them “humanely.”


Mad Billy, (HK PR, no need to cull him!) is livid! His recently ordered mail order bride, will be culled before they even run around the wheel in the dead of night together! He and many others here, not all of them hamsters, are seriously wondering what insanity is next ? 🤦‍♂️

— Peter Dampier (@DampierPeter) January 18, 2022

Hamsters driving to HK airport with fake passports be like.

— David Roe🍷🍕🇭🇰 (@davidroe147) January 18, 2022

But what if they are wrong and the transmission is human to hamster? Will the hamsters deal with pet owners “hamsterly”?

— Bahou (@brassoubrassou) January 18, 2022

The virus behind COVID-19 is thought to have jumped from an animal to a human, but animal-to-human transmission of COVID-19 disease has yet to be scientifically substantiated. Authorities advised city residents not to abandon their pets on the streets, and instead call conservation officials to handle the hamsters, or bring them directly to their offices.

Read more: China’s Coronavirus Lockdown Sees Surge in Abandoned Pets

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says dogs, cats and other animals can be infected with COVID-19, but the risk of animal-to-human transmission is low.

- Time
Don Cheadle, Kristalina Georgieva and 6 More Global Leaders Share the Most Powerful Collaborations in Their Lives

Kyodo/AP Kristalina Georgieva

Managing Director, IMF

In August 2021, the 190 member countries of the International Monetary Fund—working together to tackle the pandemic, a crisis like no other—delivered an achievement like no other: a historic $650 billion injection of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) to help the global economy, and especially nations that are suffocating amid COVID-19 lockdowns.

SDRs are an economic asset created by the IMF to strengthen countries’ foreign-exchange reserves. A new allocation of them is rare; the last one, in 2009, was aimed at recovery from the global financial crisis. Most people don’t know what SDRs are, but millions benefit from their existence. Put simply, the IMF distributes additional reserves to its members because it relies on their collective strength. Reflecting the unprecedented crisis, 2021’s was the largest allocation of SDRs ever. Countries are using the funds to help meet vital needs in this pandemic, from Senegal increasing vaccine production capacity to Haiti financing critical imports.

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So how did we make it happen? First, we worked with all our members. With so many countries, agreement requires intensive dialogue and diplomacy. It is a tribute to the spirit of cooperation that we all concluded this was the right thing to do at the right time to help the entire world.

Second, we worked with other international institutions. This includes development banks like the African Development Bank with the regional expertise and capacity to help ensure the SDRs “hit the ground most effectively,” as its president, Akinwumi Adesina, has said.

Third, we worked with wealthier members to amplify the benefits of the SDRs, which are allocated by countries’ shares in the IMF. While about $275 billion went to emerging and developing nations—with new SDRs amounting to as much as 6% of GDP for some—the most vulnerable need more. That’s why we urge members with strong reserves to voluntarily channel SDRs to poorer countries. IMF members also established a trust through which SDRs can help vulnerable countries not only recover but also build forward better, addressing crucial challenges like climate change.

This SDR allocation is a historic example of global collaboration at its best: countries coming together to help each other-—and to help people—in a time of need.

Fabrice Coffrini—AFP/Getty Images Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Director-General, World Health Organization

At its heart, the pandemic is a crisis of solidarity and sharing of data and information, biological samples, and resources and tools. COVID-19 has shown the importance of rapid and broad sharing of information about pathogens for effective surveillance and the timely development of medical-response products such as diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines.

A great deal of pathogen sharing is done on an ad hoc basis and bilaterally, which risks leaving out some countries and may mean that dangerous emerging pathogens are missed. That’s why we set up two new hubs: one to allow our 194 member states to voluntarily share novel biological materials, and another to detect new events with pandemic potential and monitor disease-control measures in real time. Both hubs will be key to preparing for and responding to future epidemics and pandemics.

Once a signal is detected, as well as responding to curtail spread, it’s important to develop critical health tools and share them effectively.

In April 2020, WHO, the European Commission, France, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation formed the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator to speed up the development and production of COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines, and ensure equitable access to them. Raising billions of dollars, it has helped improve access to new health tools globally.

But narrow nationalism and hoarding by some countries have undermined equity and created the ideal conditions for the Omicron variant to emerge.

In 2022, it’s critical that nations work together even more closely to vaccinate the world and equitably share all health tools. One way to increase production of lifesaving tools is to pool technology.

WHO’s mRNA technology-transfer hub in South Africa will enable the development of a more affordable mRNA vaccine. Recently, the COVID-19 Technology Access Pool and the Medicines Patent Pool finalized their first licensing deal with the Spanish National Research Council, a transparent, global and nonexclusive license for a serological antibody test. I hope it’s the first of many.

With talks about to begin for a binding accord among nations on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response, it’s important that world leaders seize this once-in-a-generation opportunity to strengthen the global health architecture to protect and promote the well-being of all people.

Business Wire/AP Christiana Figueres

Founding Partner, Global Optimism, and Former Executive Secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change

Way back in 2015, the 196 national governments that adopted the historic Paris Agreement on climate change did so in part because they realized that their enlightened self-interest coincided in a decarbonized global economy that staved off the worst climate impacts. But the agreement was also made possible because of the vast network of stakeholders that coalesced around those governments to encourage them in the right direction.

Known to only a few insiders, the covert effort, code-named Groundswell, was organized by the secretariat of the U.N. climate-change convention. Its goal was to create a “surround sound” effect around national governments so that no matter where they looked, they would find enthusiastic support for an ambitious, legally binding agreement that would guide the evolution of the global economy toward carbon neutrality.

Climate scientists were of course central to the effort. But Groundswell also included sub-national governments, corporate leaders, captains of finance, women’s groups, youth, Indigenous authorities, farmers, spiritual leaders, academics and NGOs of all stripes and sizes. The stakeholder groups had their own particular expectations, but rather than being asked to relinquish those interests, they were invited to bring their viewpoints into a shared initiative to prod national governments toward and support them in achieving the overarching legal framework.

Six years later, the community has grown immensely and no longer needs to operate covertly, as national governments have realized they cannot address climate change on their own. At the recent COP26 climate-change meeting in Glasgow, the Race to Zero campaign brought together hundreds of cities, regions, businesses and investors, all of whom are committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest. Collectively, these actors cover nearly 25% of global CO² emissions and over 50% of GDP, and they manage financial portfolios worth $130 trillion. The objective of the Race to Zero campaign was to build further momentum around the shift to a decarbonized economy so that national governments could strengthen their formal contributions to the Paris Agreement goals, creating a more inclusive and resilient global economy.

The collaborative architecture that has been built around climate-change efforts will continue to grow, and the “walls” that used to separate it from the work of national governments will continue to soften. Ultimately, the effective and timely reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions depends precisely on an all-in approach, in which public and private sectors in every country align efforts in order to maximize their capacities and increase their response speed. Climate change is the definitive test of collaboration.

Abdulhamid Hosbas—Anadolu Agency/Getty Images Margrethe Vestager

Executive Vice President for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age and Competition, European Commission

Europe and the U.S. have come together before to protect democracy. Today, our liberal institutions are imperiled not by the blazing sound of bombs, but by the harmful silence of technology.

Everywhere, we see democracy fragmented into bubbles, driven by profit-making algorithms. To different extents, the rioters of the U.S. Capitol and the terrorists of the Paris and Brussels attacks were indoctrinated on social media before they took their plans offline. And if these events were wake-up calls, the revelations of Frances Haugen are a call to action.

That’s how the E.U.-U.S. Trade and Technology Council was born a few months ago. Don’t get me wrong: the road remains long before we come up with tangible solutions. But we have already agreed on a common approach to limit the risks of artificial intelligence, combat unlawful surveillance and ensure tech markets remain fair.

It has been said that “the U.S. innovates and Europe regulates.” This conversation is changing: now we are joining forces. And when two such determined partners shift the rudder together, it’s likely the ship will eventually turn.

Mandel Ngan—AFP/Getty Images Rose Marcario

Venture Partner, Regen Ventures, and Former CEO, Patagonia

These days, some of my richest collaborations are with fungal networks—and with human organizations with the curiosity and vision to leverage fungi’s power. Suffice to say we have plenty to learn from fungi: the interconnectedness of their systems; the resilience, the diversity, the distributed power, the infinitely adaptable networks. Under our feet is a vast fungal network 450 quadrillion km long, and it sequesters 5 billion tons of CO² per year, while also providing nutrient pathways to soils and plants. These networks are for the most part invisible, and are just beginning to be explored with the help of a new NGO called the Society for the Protection of Underground Networks, which is taking up the task of mapping these crucial networks across the globe to help fight the climate and nature crisis.

Mycelium, an important part of fungus, has plenty of other interesting applications too. Properly fermented, it can create a nutrient-dense protein, capable of feeding the world; a brilliant young founder in Colorado named Tyler Huggins started Meati Foods to do just that. Because it can be used to make packaging material, mycelium might just solve our plastic problem. Psilocybin botanicals also show much promise as treatments for mental-health and neurological disorders; AJNA BioSciences, a new pharmaceutical company, is working toward using earth-regenerating agriculture techniques to produce psilocybin-based medications. The possibilities are as endless as fungi’s weblike networks.

Whether we want to accept it or not, our world has been irrevocably changed by our human ignorance and inaction; we’ve fouled our own nest so inexorably that we face a troubled and uncertain future. We have hastened the destruction of our own life-support systems. To get out of this mess will require all of us to do our part, and these days I put my trust and optimism in collaborations with natural systems, and their ability to restore and regenerate our planet. But to do so, they’ll need stewardship from brilliant entrepreneurs, scientists who put their research into action, citizens and activists, and anyone who gives a damn about our future.

Though I spent much of the past decade as a retail CEO, I don’t believe in just selling stuff anymore. We have enough stuff in the world. Buy used. Unless the stuff makes the world better and eradicates some old, bad polluting system, what’s the point? The next-generation customer is too world-weary and smart to be won over by fake, overprocessed food that is laden with pesticides and has no nutritional value; or by mea culpa commercials or rebrands à la Facebook, or Monsanto after its merger with Bayer.

The good news is there is a whole new cohort of brilliant entrepreneurs who understand the need for new economies that respect, consider and revitalize our planet. Those are the entrepreneurs I’m betting on.

The Yomiuri Shimbun/AP Masatsugu Asakawa

President, Asian Development Bank

At COP26 in Glasgow, I had a brief exchange with a young university student. She described how climate change is affecting her country and our planet, and shared her ideas about fighting it. Just a few hours later, I spoke at an event alongside Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati. What struck me was the similarity of their views: a feeling of real concern but also of optimism that we can solve this crisis.

Climate change is the critical issue of our lifetimes. Many millions of people in Asia and the Pacific are living with its impacts right now. It is threatening the viability of agriculture in Tajikistan. It is upending critical ecosystems in the Philippines and Vietnam. In the low-lying atoll countries of Kiribati and Tuvalu, it is a threat to their very existence.

COP26 may go down as the moment a diverse group of actors—from farmer to fund manager to finance minister—all converged on the realization that this challenge requires a global response, a consensus that opens up space for groundbreaking collaborations. Recognizing this, we are leveraging the reservoir of trust that the Asian Development Bank (ADB) enjoys to create high-impact collaborative platforms for climate action.

For example, we have joined with Goldman Sachs and Bloomberg Philanthropies with the goal of using grant capital to unlock low-carbon investment for South and Southeast Asia. We are partnering with HSBC, Temasek and Clifford Capital Holdings to invest in sustainable infrastructure in Southeast Asia. And we are spearheading a new Energy Transition Mechanism (ETM), an innovative funding vehicle that leverages public, private and philanthropic financing to accelerate the retirement of coal-fired power stations and their replacement with clean, renewable energy.

ETM has the potential to be one of the world’s biggest carbon-reduction programs, but it would not be possible without the political will of countries, the capital of the private sector, the concern of philanthropies and the knowledge of organizations such as ADB.

My hope is that one day, if we build on these concrete collaborations, students like the young woman I met in Glasgow will be able to focus on their studies rather than worrying about the future of our planet.

Daniel Garzon Herazo—NurPhoto/Getty Images Claudia López Hernández

Mayor of Bogotá

Colombia is a vibrant and diverse country and our capital city, Bogotá, has become home to thousands of Colombians who have moved to the city from regions across the nation. They bring with them diversity of ethnicity, culture, social and political beliefs as well as labor skills.

With 15% of the national population, Bogotá is responsible for 26% of the country’s gross domestic product. But it is sometimes said to be everyone’s city, and also nobody’s.

Most of Bogotá’s residents are perceived to have a greater affinity for their home regions than to the metropolis that has become their new home. But this perception can be seen as both a myth and reality. It’s a myth because, when asked, most residents love the city that changed their lives. Anyone who lives in Bogotá is considered to be Bogotano. It’s also a reality because living in a big city like ours has its challenges. Reaching citywide agreements on strategic and long-term issues can be difficult.

But that reality is changing. And the people of Bogotá play an important role.

It is only with the support of citizens that current and former mayors have been able to set aside differences to plan the construction of a multimodal transport network, based on a metro network and regional trains.

The COVID-19 pandemic has provided another opportunity for collaboration. It has brought a sense of urgency to our efforts to focus on what unites us. Bogotá tripled its capacity for hospital care during the pandemic, and our vaccination efforts have brought protection to 80% of the population, in a joint effort between the national government and my office. Together, we have achieved this despite being at opposite ends of the ideological spectrum, and even partisan competitors.

The lessons learned in 2020 and 2021 have encouraged us. When an emergency strikes, rivalry becomes insignificant.

These lessons are also applicable at the national level. Colombia will elect a new President and a new Congress this year. Elections often exacerbate differences.

Governing in the midst of humanity’s greatest multisystem crisis forces citizens, leaders and governments to weigh the temptation of polarization against the need to promote collective action to survive. To lead in this century is to have the wisdom and courage not to succumb to the former in order to guarantee the latter.

Neglecting this duty would be not only a failure of government, but also a disaster for our species.

Stephen Lovekin—Shutterstock Don Cheadle

Actor and U.N. Environment Programme goodwill Ambassador

I believe in using fame for good. From serving as a global goodwill ambassador for the U.N. Environment Programme to campaigning against genocide in Darfur, I support people organizing for freedom and justice. But over the years, I’ve learned that systemic change takes more than one person acting alone.

One of my most powerful collaborations started on the sets of the Avengers movies—but it didn’t take place onscreen. After speaking with fellow cast member Mark Ruffalo about activism, I joined him on the Solutions Project’s board to spotlight communities at the front lines of the climate crisis.

Working with Mark and others at the Solutions Project, I’ve seen firsthand how communities of color —often hit first and worst by the climate crisis—are joining forces with neighbors of all races to innovate solutions. I’ve seen Black and Latinx communities fight oil drilling, Indigenous people and white farmers defend their land and water from pipelines, and Asian and Pacific Islanders power affordable housing with solar. These multiracial coalitions coming together around such diverse leadership give me hope—and clarity about what it takes to win.

Take the Solutions Project’s CEO, Gloria Walton. Gloria was a community organizer in South Central Los Angeles, and she brought the values of solidarity—of showing up for others in common purpose—to bear on the Solutions Project’s mission to fund and amplify climate-justice solutions. She leads with relationships and collaboration, and now we’ve got 139 grassroots grantees in communities across the country who can count on dozens of artists, industry leaders and philanthropists to show up for climate justice.

Climate change is the world’s most pressing issue, and it’s happening right now. We need all hands on deck—creatives, entrepreneurs and activists alike—to use our collective power to protect all people and the planet.

- Vivienne Walt
With the State of the World in the Hands of Big Business, Some Executives Think It Can Pay to Do Good

Even by the pandemic’s standards of Zoom fatigue, the hours-long virtual meeting one Sunday in March 2021 was draining. Around 2 a.m., the board members of the global food giant Danone finally wound down their fractious arguments, and announced they had fired the company’s CEO and chairman Emmanuel Faber—a stunningly swift end to his 24 years at the company.

The ouster of an executive at a Paris-based multinational might have been a passing, internal disruption, but for one fact: Faber had become a champion among environmentalists and climate activists for having turned Danone into a company that focused not only on making money and increasing its share price, but also on trying to remake the agricultural business, an industry with a far-reaching impact on the environment. Faber had in 2020 declared Danone—maker of products like Activia and Actimel yogurts, and Evian water—France’s first enterprise à mission, a public company whose goals included targets aimed at bettering the world, akin to an American B Corp. Inserting climate change into Danone’s core strategy, Faber introduced a so-called carbon-adjusted earnings-per-share indicator, measuring the company’s value not only by its profits and revenues—as virtually every business in the world does—but by its environmental footprint too. The slogan he devised: “One planet, one health.”

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His firing was also one sucker punch, which Faber says felt like being cast adrift, or “leaving your family,” as he put it to TIME. The reasons were complex, including the fact that the company’s share price on the stock markets—the financial world’s key measure of success—had risen a minuscule 2.7% in Faber’s six years in charge, compared with the rocketing growth of Danone’s competitors Unilever and Nestlé. Its revenues plummeted during work-from-home lockdowns, too, when items like bottled water were suddenly less relevant. Even so, Faber’s departure provoked a deeper question, one that lingers nearly a year later: Do CEOs risk a backlash from their investors if they make a point of putting the planet’s health above purely financial returns?

Answering that question could hardly be more urgent. An ever growing share of the global economy is in the hands of private business. By 2021, businesses accounted for 72% of the economic output in major industrial countries—triple what they did 60 years before—and, of that, more than one-third of the gross value comes from just 5,000 companies, like Danone, with revenues topping $1 billion, according to a study by the intergovernmental Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the consultancy McKinsey. How those companies succeed in cutting their carbon emissions—or in tackling problems like human-rights abuses, inequality or racial justice—will have a significant impact on the state of the world, for better or worse.

Of the 2,000 companies analyzed by the organization Net Zero Tracker, 682 have declared target dates by which they aim to zero out their carbon emissions. Brands like Coca-Cola and McDonald’s have vowed to cut plastic waste, and automakers like GM and Volkswagen say they aim to end the production of fossil-fuel cars within the near future.

There are holes in all these promises, but one thing is now clear: for companies, it has become a risk not to make them. The actual debate now is whether tackling those issues—“purpose-driven capitalism,” as it is known—is in sync or in conflict with what businesses have always thought was their main job: making money.

Read more: What Kind of Capitalism Do We Want?

“People ask me, ‘Is there a dissonance between profits and purpose?’” says Dan Schulman, PayPal’s president and CEO, who has said he aims to bring his social views to the financial tech giant, where he has hiked pay and cut employees’ health care costs. “My view is that profits and purpose are fully linked together,” he tells TIME from his home in Palo Alto, Calif. “We cannot be about just maximizing our profit next quarter. We need to be part of our societies,” he says. “We need to think about the medium term and the long term, and we need to act accordingly.”

More and more business leaders have begun to echo that opinion. Those voices were especially loud during the months leading up to the COP26 climate talks last fall, when corporate executives and government officials converged in Glasgow for the biggest such negotiations ever. In advance of the gathering, hundreds of companies raced to declare commitments to environmental and social issues, and to set net-zero targets.

Net zero is a mammoth job. Take, for example, the oil major BP, whose CEO Bernard Looney became one of the first fossil-fuel executives, in February 2020, to declare a net-zero goal for the company (its target date is 2050); BP alone adds a huge 415 million metric tons of carbon to the atmosphere each year, all of which, according to Looney, the company intends to zero out with oil-production cuts, ramped-up renewable energy and the use of carbon capture—technology, with still uncertain results, that removes carbon from the air. “We’re reallocating capital, we’re restructuring the company,” Looney told TIME during a November interview in his London office. “We are all in on the transition.”

It is easy to dismiss the proclamations of corporate executives like Looney—and many surely do. After all, their hugely profitable business operations have clashed with environmentalists for decades; in the run-up to COP26, organizers told oil and gas executives, including Looney, that they could play no formal role in the talks because it was “unclear whether their commitments stack up yet.”

Plus, despite all the talk of purpose-driven business, the world has yet to invent any sure way to measure whether companies in fact make good on their environmental commitments. “There is no universally agreed system,” says Ian Goldin, professor of globalization at Oxford University. “The counting relies on self-reporting.” That system is deeply faulty at a time when companies are making promises about limited solutions like carbon capture or committing to planting billions of trees in order to “offset” their emissions. “You say you’re planting a forest, or the airline is offsetting your air miles,” Goldin says. “Is anyone tracking if that forest is there? Has someone also claimed that forest? There is no system in place that has accountability to it.”

Read More: As More Companies Make Net-Zero Pledges, Some Aren’t as Good as They Sound

And yet the fact that so many corporate executives feel compelled to make such statements signals just how drastically the climate crisis and social upheavals have impacted business decisions within a very brief period of time.

The onrush seemed to begin in earnest in January 2020, when Larry Fink, head of BlackRock, the world’s biggest asset-management company, announced in a letter to CEOs that “climate change has become a defining factor in companies’ long-term prospects.” Though that fact seemed obvious to climate activists, the statement was widely regarded in the financial world as a game changer. Fink—whose firm manages close to $10 trillion in assets—was telling companies, and their potential investors, that those without a climate strategy faced a shaky future. “We are on the edge of a fundamental reshaping of finance,” he wrote.

It is no surprise that companies have since rushed to put climate policies in place. “We have seen quite significant commitments made,” says Paul Polman, co-author of the book Net Positive and co-founder of IMAGINE, a sustainability-focused business consultancy based in London. Until three years ago, Polman was CEO of Unilever, the $135 billion consumer-goods behemoth, where he drove a dramatic overhaul of the company, implementing environmental commitments and lobbying officials on issues of poverty and climate.

In a move that was hugely controversial at the time, Polman scrapped Unilever’s quarterly earnings reports—standard for publicly traded companies—on his first day in office in 2009, saying the practice forced CEOs into short-term decisions in order to push up share prices, at the expense of longer-term social issues. Although that angered some investors, Polman told Harvard Business Review, “I figured I couldn’t be fired on the first day.”

Now, principles for which Polman fought a relatively solitary battle for years have been adopted by countless other business leaders. “There has been more progress in the last year and a half than the previous five years,” he tells TIME.

Even Emmanuel Faber still thinks purpose-driven capitalism brings with it more reward than risk. By his telling, his firing had little to do with his environmental commitments. In his mind, it resulted from the intense financial pressure the pandemic brought, which prompted him to impose layoffs and cuts; Danone’s shares sank 27% on the French stock exchange in 2020. Activist shareholders from two funds in London, who together owned less than 4% of Danone, blamed the company’s difficulties on Faber’s management, and they pressed board members to fire him. “The mess in the Danone boardroom is a reminder that distractions from the core goal of making a profit can be dangerous,” the Financial Times opined days after he was fired. Within hours of the meeting, Danone released a statement saying that the board “believes in the necessity of combining high economic performance and the respect of Danone’s unique model of a purpose-driven economy”—perhaps hinting that the high returns were lacking. “A few people saw a window of opportunity at the moment when it was easy to destabilize the governance of the company,” Faber tells TIME, over tea in Paris. “In no way should that discourage progressive CEOs,” he says. “They have, ultimately, the backing of large shareholders.”

Faber presents sales results as CEO of Danone in 2019 Mario Fourmy—Sipa/APFaber presents sales results as CEO of Danone in 2019

To Polman, the saga at Danone brought back memories of the battle he fought five years ago, while he was CEO of Unilever. In February 2017, the U.S. conglomerate Kraft Heinz launched a hostile takeover bid worth about $143 billion against his company. Back then, Polman was spending considerable time traveling the world, meeting government officials and NGOs about issues like mass poverty and clean water. “There is no better way than using companies like this to drive development,” Polman told me then, just weeks before Kraft Heinz made its hostile bid. When I asked Polman whether he was prepared to be fired as CEO, if shareholders finally grew tired of his busy social campaigning, he said, “I never wanted to be a CEO, and I don’t really care about that.”

Kraft Heinz’s 2017 bid collapsed within days, after most shareholders backed Polman. But five years on, Polman is still deeply marked by the episode, which he says crystallized a fraught conflict within the world’s biggest companies. “These were two opposing economic models,” he says. “One focused on a few billionaires; the other focused on serving billions of people.” He believes Kraft Heinz “would have milked the company.”

Both Polman and Faber saw their companies as a means to improve the world, rather than simply profitmaking machines. Yet there were crucial differences between their situations. For one thing, Unilever was able to try save the world while making boatloads of profit; shareholder return was about 290% over Polman’s decade running the company. Danone, by comparison, struggled. That left Faber vulnerable to doubts and hostile challenges, even while he gained fans outside the financial world, and many inside too. Still, not even Polman’s profitable returns at Unilever sheltered him from shareholders growing irked as he focused on campaigning for a better world. British shareholders shot down his plan in 2018 to close Unilever’s London headquarters and consolidate at the company’s other base, the Dutch port of Rotterdam; Polman resigned within months.

Read more: Good Intentions Are Not Enough. We Must Reset for a Fairer Future

Despite the trend toward purpose-driven capitalism, one fundamental truth remains: companies need to be profitable. “If you go bankrupt, or get taken over, you certainly cannot be investing in the long term,” says Goldin, the Oxford professor, whose 2021 book Rescue examined how businesses have weathered the pandemic. “You need to be successful in the short term to think about the long term,” he says.

The optimistic view is that those two needs—short-term profits and long-term vision—might finally be inching closer together, after decades in which the first has dominated the second.

One hint is the steep rise in ESG (environmental, social and governance) investment funds that focus on those issues. Even though the vast majority of regular people have little idea of what harm the companies in their pension funds might wreak on the planet or in communities—and it’s still unclear how quickly that might change—the new money plowed into those funds, which claim to be attracting trillions of dollars, more than doubled from 2019 to 2020.

And increasingly, CEOs realize they can hire top talent and keep customer loyalty if their companies are seen as championing environmental and social issues. “I am beginning to see more and more shareholders embrace that concept,” says PayPal CEO Schulman. He says that major shareholders had told him in a meeting the previous day that they appreciated the company’s diversity and equity program. “We do it regardless, because it is the right thing to do,” he says. “But it is nice it is being noticed.”

—With reporting by Eloise Barry

- Billy Perrigo
Why Timnit Gebru Isn’t Waiting for Big Tech to Fix AI’s Problems

Three hundred and sixty-four days after she lost her job as a co-lead of Google’s ethical artificial intelligence (AI) team, Timnit Gebru is nestled into a couch at an Airbnb rental in Boston, about to embark on a new phase in her career.

Google hired Gebru in 2018 to help ensure that its AI products did not perpetuate racism or other societal inequalities. In her role, Gebru hired prominent researchers of color, published several papers that highlighted biases and ethical risks, and spoke at conferences. She also began raising her voice internally about her experiences of racism and sexism at work. But it was one of her research papers that led to her departure. “I had so many issues at Google,” Gebru tells TIME over a Zoom call. “But the censorship of my paper was the worst instance.”

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In that fateful paper, Gebru and her co-authors questioned the ethics of large language AI models, which seek to understand and reproduce human language. Google is a world leader in AI research, an industry forecast to contribute $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030, according to accounting firm PwC. But Gebru’s paper suggested that, in their rush to build bigger, more powerful language models, companies including Google weren’t stopping to think about the kinds of biases being built into them—biases that could entrench existing inequalities, rather than help solve them. It also raised concerns about the environmental impact of the AIs, which use huge amounts of energy. In the battle for AI dominance, Big Tech companies were seemingly prioritizing profits over safety, the authors suggested, calling for the industry to slow down. “It was like, You built this thing, but mine is even bigger,” Gebru recalls of the atmosphere at the time. “When you have that attitude, you’re obviously not thinking about ethics.”

Gebru’s departure from Google set off a firestorm in the AI world. The company appeared to have forced out one of the world’s most respected ethical AI researchers after she criticized some of its most lucrative work. The backlash was fierce.

The dispute didn’t just raise concerns about whether corporate behemoths like Google’s parent Alphabet could be trusted to ensure this technology benefited humanity and not just their bottom lines. It also brought attention to important questions: If artificial intelligence is trained on data from the real world, who loses out when that data reflects systemic injustices? Were the companies at the forefront of AI really listening to the people they had hired to mitigate those harms? And, in the quest for AI dominance, who gets to decide what kind of collateral damage is acceptable?

For the past decade, AI has been quietly seeping into daily life, from facial recognition to digital assistants like Siri or Alexa. These largely unregulated uses of AI are highly lucrative for those who control them, but are already causing real-world harms to those who are subjected to them: false arrests; health care discrimination; and a rise in pervasive surveillance that, in the case of policing, can disproportionately affect Black people and disadvantaged socioeconomic groups.

Gebru is a leading figure in a constellation of scholars, activists, regulators and technologists collaborating to reshape ideas about what AI is and what it should be. Some of her fellow travelers remain in Big Tech, mobilizing those insights to push companies toward AI that is more ethical. Others, making policy on both sides of the Atlantic, are preparing new rules to set clearer limits on the companies benefiting most from automated abuses of power. Gebru herself is seeking to push the AI world beyond the binary of asking whether systems are biased and to instead focus on power: who’s building AI, who benefits from it, and who gets to decide what its future looks like.

The day after our Zoom call, on the anniversary of her departure from Google, Gebru launched the Distributed AI Research (DAIR) Institute, an independent research group she hopes will grapple with how to make AI work for everyone. “We need to let people who are harmed by technology imagine the future that they want,” she says.

When Gebru was a teenager, war broke out between Ethiopia, where she had lived all her life, and Eritrea, where both of her parents were born. It became unsafe for her to remain in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital. After a “miserable” experience with the U.S. asylum system, Gebru finally made it to Massachusetts as a refugee. Immediately, she began experiencing racism in the American school system, where even as a high-achieving teenager she says some teachers discriminated against her, trying to prevent her taking certain AP classes. Years later, it was a pivotal experience with the police that put her on the path toward ethical technology. She recalls calling the cops after her friend, a Black woman, was assaulted in a bar. When they arrived, the police handcuffed Gebru’s friend and later put her in a cell. The assault was never filed, she says. “It was a blatant example of systemic racism.”

Patrick T. Fallon—The Washington Post/Getty ImagesA discussion of predictive policing in L.A. in 2016

While Gebru was a Ph.D. student at Stanford in the early 2010s, tech companies in Silicon Valley were pouring colossal amounts of money into a previously obscure field of AI called machine learning. The idea was that with enough data and processing power, they could teach computers to perform a wide array of tasks, like speech recognition, identifying a face in a photo or targeting people with ads based on their past behavior. For decades, most AI research had relied on hard-coded rules written by humans, an approach that could never cope with such complex tasks at scale. But by feeding computers enormous amounts of data—now available thanks to the Internet and smartphone revolutions—and by using high-powered machines to spot patterns in those data, tech companies became enamored with the belief that this method could unlock new frontiers in human progress, not to mention billions of dollars in profits.

In many ways, they were right. Machine learning became the basis for many of the most lucrative businesses of the 21st century. It powers Amazon’s recommendation engines and warehouse logistics and underpins Google’s search and assistant functions, as well as its targeted advertising business. It also promises to transform the terrain of the future, offering tantalizing prospects like AI lawyers who could give affordable legal advice or AI doctors who could diagnose patients’ ailments within seconds, or even AI scientists.

Read more: Millions of Americans Have Lost Jobs in the Pandemic—And Robots and AI Are Replacing Them Faster Than Ever

By the time she left Stanford, Gebru knew she wanted to use her new expertise to bring ethics into this field, which was dominated by white men. She says she was influenced by a 2016 ProPublica investigation into predictive policing, which detailed how courtrooms across the U.S. were adopting software that offered to predict the likelihood of defendants reoffending in the future, to advise judges during sentencing. By looking at actual reoffending rates and comparing them with the software’s predictions, ProPublica found that the AI was not only often wrong, but also dangerously biased: it was more likely to rate Black defendants who did not reoffend as “high risk,” and to rate white defendants who went on to reoffend as “low risk.” The results showed that when an AI system is trained on historical data that reflects inequalities—as most data from the real world does—the system will project those inequalities into the future.

When she read the story, Gebru thought about not only her own experience with police, but also the overwhelming lack of diversity in the AI world that she had experienced so far. Shortly after attending a conference in 2015, where she was one of only a few Black attendees, she put her thoughts into words in an article that she never published. “I am very concerned about the future of AI,” she wrote. “Not because of the risk of rogue machines taking over. But because of the homogeneous, one-dimensional group of men who are currently involved in advancing the technology.”

By 2017, Gebru was an AI researcher at Microsoft, where she co-authored a paper called Gender Shades. It demonstrated how facial-recognition systems developed by IBM and Microsoft were almost perfect at detecting images of white people, but not people with darker skin, particularly Black women. The data set that had been used to train the algorithm contained lots of images of white men, but very few of Black women. The research, which Gebru had worked on alongside Joy Buolamwini of MIT Media Lab, forced IBM and Microsoft to update their data sets.

Google hired Gebru shortly after Gender Shades was published, at a time when Big Tech companies were coming under increasing scrutiny over the ethical credentials of their AI research. While Gebru was interviewing, a group of Google employees were protesting the company’s agreement with the Pentagon to build AI systems for weaponized drones. Google eventually canceled the contract, but several employees who were involved in worker activism in the wake of the protests say they were later fired or forced out. Gebru had reservations about joining Google, but believed she could have a positive impact. “I went into Google with my eyes wide open in terms of what I was getting into,” she says. “What I thought was, This company is a huge ship, and I won’t be able to change its course. But maybe I’ll be able to carve out a small space for people in various groups who should be involved in AI, because their voices are super important.”

David Paul Morris—Bloomberg/Getty ImagesA 2020 demonstration of a Google AI that can recognize hands

After a couple of years on the job, Gebru had realized that publishing research papers was more effective at bringing about change than trying to convince her superiors at Google, whom she often found to be intransigent. So when co-workers began asking her questions about the ethics of large language models, she decided to collaborate on a paper about them. In the year leading up to that decision, the hype around large language models had led to a palpable sense of enthusiasm across Silicon Valley. In a stunt a couple of months earlier, the Guardian published an op-ed written by a large language model called GPT-3 from a Microsoft-backed company, OpenAI. A robot wrote this entire article. Are you scared yet, human? asked the headline. Investment was flooding into tech firms’ AI research teams, all of which were competing to build models based on ever bigger data sets.

To Gebru and her colleagues, the enthusiasm around language models was leading the industry in a worrying direction. For starters, they knew that despite appearances, these AIs were nowhere near sentient. The paper compared the systems to “parrots” that were simply very good at repeating combinations of words from their training data. This meant they were especially susceptible to bias. Part of the problem was that in the race to build ever bigger data sets, companies had begun to build programs that could scrape text from the Internet to use as training data. “This means that white supremacist and misogynistic, ageist, etc., views are overrepresented,” Gebru and her colleagues wrote in the paper. At its core was the same maxim that had underpinned Gebru and Buolamwini’s facial-recognition research: if you train an AI on biased data, it will give you biased results.

Read more: Artificial Intelligence Can Now Craft Original Jokes—And That’s No Laughing Matter

The paper that Gebru and her colleagues wrote is now “essentially canon” in the field of responsible AI, according to Rumman Chowdhury, the director of Twitter’s machine-learning ethics, transparency and accountability team. She says it cuts to the core of the questions that ethical AI researchers are attempting to get Big Tech companies to reckon with: “What are we building? Why are we building it? And who is it impacting?”

But Google’s management was not happy. After the paper was submitted for an internal review, Gebru was contacted by a vice president, who told her that the company had issues with it. Gebru says Google initially gave vague objections, including that the paper painted too negative a picture of the technology. (Google would later say the research did not account for safeguards that its teams had built to protect against biases, or its advancements in energy efficiency. The company did not comment further for this story.)

Google asked Gebru to either retract the paper or remove from it her name and those of her Google colleagues. Gebru says she replied in an email saying that she would not retract the paper, and would remove the names only if the company came clean about its objections and who exactly had raised them—otherwise she would resign after tying up loose ends with her team. She then emailed a group of women colleagues in Google’s AI division separately, accusing the company of “silencing marginalized voices.” On Dec. 2, 2020, Google’s response came: it could not agree to her conditions, and would accept her resignation. In fact, the email said, Gebru would be leaving Google immediately because her message to colleagues showed “behavior that is inconsistent with the expectations of a Google manager.” Gebru says she was fired; Google says she resigned.

In an email to staff after Gebru’s departure, Jeff Dean, the head of Google AI, attempted to reassure concerned colleagues that the company was not turning its back on ethical AI. “We are deeply committed to continuing our research on topics that are of particular importance to individual and intellectual diversity,” he wrote. “That work is critical and I want our research programs to deliver more work on these topics—not less.”

Today, the idea that AI can encode the biases of human society is not controversial. It is taught in computer science classes and accepted as fact by most AI practitioners, even at Big Tech companies. But to some who are of the same mind as Gebru, it is only the first epiphany in a much broader—and more critical—worldview. The central point of this burgeoning school of thought is that the problem with AI is not only the ingrained biases in individual programs, but also the power dynamics that underpin the entire tech sector. In the context of an economy where founders of platforms like Amazon, Google and Facebook have amassed more wealth than near anybody else in human history, proponents of this belief see AI as just the latest and most powerful in a sequence of tools wielded by capitalist elites to consolidate their wealth, cannibalize new markets, and penetrate ever more deeply into the private human experience in pursuit of data and profit.

David McNew—AFP/Getty ImagesA facial-recognition AI that can identify individuals in a crowd, on show at the 2019 CES convention in Las Vegas

To others in this emerging nexus of resistance, Gebru’s ouster from Google was a sign. “Timnit’s work has pretty unflinchingly pulled back the veil on some of these claims, that are fundamental to these companies’ projections, promises to their boards and also to the way they present themselves in the world,” says Meredith Whittaker, a former researcher at Google who resigned in 2019 after helping lead worker resistance to its cooperation with the Pentagon. “You saw how threatening that work was, in the way that Google treated her.”

Whittaker was recently appointed as a senior adviser on AI to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). “What I am concerned about is the capacity for social control that [AI] gives to a few profit-driven corporations,” says Whittaker, who was not speaking in the capacity of her FTC role. “Their interests are always aligned with the elite, and their harms will almost necessarily be felt most by the people who are subjected to those decisions.”

It’s a viewpoint that Big Tech could not disagree with more, but to which European regulators are also paying attention. The E.U. is currently scrutinizing a wide-ranging draft AI act. If passed, it could restrict forms of AI that lawmakers deem harmful, including real-time facial recognition, although activists say it doesn’t go far enough. Several U.S. cities, including San Francisco, have already implemented facial-recognition bans. Gebru has spoken in favor of regulation that defines what kind of uses of AI are unacceptable, and sets better guardrails for those that remain. She recently told European lawmakers scrutinizing the new bill: “The No. 1 thing that would safeguard us from unsafe uses of AI is curbing the power of the companies who develop it.”

She added that increasing legal protections for tech workers was an essential part of making sure companies did not create harmful AI, because workers are often the first line of defense, as in her case. Progress is being made on this front too. In October 2021, the Silenced No More Act came into force in California, preventing big companies from using NDAs to silence employees who complain about harassment or discrimination. In January 2021, hundreds of Google workers unionized for the first time. In the fall, Facebook whistle-blower Frances Haugen disclosed thousands of pages of internal documents to authorities, seeking whistle-blower protection under federal law.

Read more: Inside Frances Haugen’s Decision to Take on Facebook

Gebru sees her research institute DAIR as another organ within this wider push toward tech that is socially responsible, putting the needs of communities ahead of the profit incentive and everything that comes with it. At DAIR, Gebru will work with researchers around the world across multiple disciplines to examine the outcomes of AI technology, with a particular focus on the African continent and the African diaspora in the U.S. One of DAIR’s first projects will use AI to analyze satellite imagery of townships in South Africa, to better understand legacies of apartheid. DAIR is also working on building an industry-wide standard that could help mitigate bias in data sets, by making it common practice for researchers to write accompanying documentation about how they gathered their data, what its limitations are and how it should (or should not) be used. Gebru says DAIR’s funding model gives it freedom too. DAIR has received $3.7 million from a group of big philanthropists including the Ford, MacArthur and Open Society foundations. It’s a novel way of funding AI research, with few ties to the system of Silicon Valley money and patronage that often decides which areas of research are worthy of pursuit, not only within Big Tech companies, but also within the academic institutions to which they give grants.

Even though DAIR will be able to conduct only a small handful of studies, and its funding pales in comparison with the money Big Tech is prepared to spend on AI development, Gebru is optimistic. She has already demonstrated the power of being part of a collective of engaged collaborators working together to create a future in which AI benefits not just the rich and powerful. They’re still the underdogs, but the impact of their work is increasing. “When you’re constantly trying to convince people of AI harms, you don’t have the space or time to implement your version of the future,” Gebru says. “So we need alternatives.”

—With reporting by Nik Popli

- Edward Felsenthal

In early December, vaccinated and rapid tested, I had the opportunity to catch up in person with Klaus Schwab, chairman of the World Economic Forum, our partner in this special issue. It was his first visit to New York since the pandemic began, and though we covered a wide range of topics, from inflation to climate policy, the theme we kept coming back to is one that has been pervasive for all of us across the past two years: the power and importance of physical connection.

Schwab, of course, is one of the world’s pre-eminent conveners, having been gathering leaders in Davos, Switzerland, and elsewhere for over 50 years. I asked what he made of the endless physical-virtual conundrum we find ourselves in. “To really establish trust in human relationships,” he said, “you need personal contact. You need to have some moments on the side of the video screen.”

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With the rapid spread of the Omicron variant limiting those moments, ongoing barriers to being together are taking a deep toll, not only in global relations—including the now postponed 2022 Davos annual meeting—but in our schools, workplaces and families. As Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai has put it, we’re living on “borrowed time, in terms of working on memories of the relationships you have and the connections you have.” And yet collaboration is more crucial than ever to tackling our many collective problems.

That theme runs through this issue. Leaders in the worlds of policy, business, arts and advocacy share their most powerful partnerships—from former United Nations climate chief Christiana Figueres, who writes about a covert effort code-named Groundswell that helped pave the way for the 2015 Paris Agreement, to actor and activist Don Cheadle, who describes how his personal activism came about on the sets of the Avengers movies. Former PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi makes the case that collaboration is key for creating a much-needed new balance of work and life that will ultimately lead to more productivity and profit. And Yuval Noah Harari, best-selling author of Sapiens, argues that “the price tag of preventing the apocalypse is in the low single digits of annual global GDP.” Harari asks why we aren’t willing to take that step.

TIME’s Billy Perrigo, who has been reporting on the hazardous by-products of Big Tech, profiles Timnit Gebru, one of the world’s leading thinkers on artificial intelligence who—after a fraught departure from Google—is urging restraints on the power of the companies developing it. Veteran TIME contributor Vivienne Walt has a remarkable interview with former Danone CEO Emmanuel Faber. He talks openly—rare for a CEO—about being fired by the global food giant after 24 years, and stands by the purpose-driven focus of his tenure even as some say it cost him his job. “In no way should that discourage progressive CEOs,” he says. “They have, ultimately, the backing of large shareholders.”

Our great appreciation to our partners at SOMPO, who made this special issue possible. We look forward to seeing you—in person—at our annual kickoff event in Davos once Omicron and any successors determine the date! And we wish you health and happiness in this new year.

- Yuval Noah Harari
The Surprisingly Low Price Tag on Preventing Climate Disaster

As the climate crisis worsens, too many people are swinging from denial straight to despair. A few years ago, it was common to hear people deny climate change, downplay the enormousness of the threat, or argue that it is far too soon to worry about it. Now many people say it’s too late. The apocalypse is coming, and there is nothing we can do to prevent it.

Despair is as dangerous as denial. And it is equally false. Humanity has enormous resources under its command, and by applying them wisely, we can still prevent ecological cataclysm. But exactly how much would it cost to stop the apocalypse? If humankind wanted to prevent catastrophic climate change, how big a check would we have to write?

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Naturally enough, no one knows for sure. My team and I have spent weeks poring over various reports and academic papers, living in a cloud of numbers. But while the models behind the numbers are dizzyingly complex, the bottom line should cheer us up. According to the International Energy Agency, achieving a net-zero carbon economy would require us to spend just 2% of annual global GDP over what we already do on our energy system. In a recent poll of climate economists conducted by Reuters, most agreed that getting to net zero would cost only 2% to 3% of annual global GDP. Other estimates put the cost of decarbonizing the economy a bit lower or a bit higher, but they are all in the low single digits of annual global GDP.

These numbers echo the assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which in its landmark 2018 report stated that in order to limit climate change to 1.5°C, annual investments in clean energy needed to increase to around 3% of global GDP. Since humankind already spends about 1% of annual global GDP on clean energy, we just need an extra 2% slice of the pie!

The above calculations focus on the cost of transforming the energy and transportation sectors, which are by far the most important. However, there are other sources of emissions as well, like land use, forestry and agriculture. You know, those infamous cow farts. The good news is that a lot of these emissions can be cut on the cheap through behavioral changes such as reducing meat and dairy consumption and relying more on a plant-based diet. It doesn’t cost anything to eat more veggies, and it can help you (and the rain forests) live longer.

Read more: Why We Must Revolutionize Food Systems to Save Our Planet

We can quibble endlessly about the numbers, tweaking the models this way and that. But we should look at the big picture beyond the math. The crucial news is that the price tag of preventing the apocalypse is in the low single digits of annual global GDP. It is certainly not 50% of annual global GDP, nor is it 15%. Rather, it is somewhere below 5%, perhaps as low as investing an additional 2% of global GDP in the right places.

And note the word investing. We aren’t talking about burning piles of banknotes in some huge sacrifice to the spirits of the earth. We are talking about making investments in new technologies and infrastructure, such as advanced batteries to store solar energy and updated power grids to distribute it. These investments will create numerous new jobs and economic opportunities, and are likely to be economically profitable in the long run in part by reducing health care expenditures and saving millions of people from sickness caused by air pollution. We can protect the most vulnerable populations from climate disasters, become better ancestors to future generations, and create a more prosperous economy in the process.

This wonderful piece of news has somehow been sidelined in the heated debate about climate change. We should bring it into focus, not merely in order to give people hope, but even more so because it can be translated into a concrete political plan of action. We have learned in recent years to define our goal in terms of one number: 1.5°C. We can define the means to do this with another number: 2%. Increase investment in eco-friendly technologies and infrastructure by 2 percentage points above 2020 levels.

Of course, unlike the 1.5°C figure, which is a scientifically robust threshold, the 2% figure represents only a rough guesstimate. It should be understood as a ballpark figure, helpful to frame the kind of political project humanity requires. It tells us that preventing catastrophic climate change is a totally feasible project, even though it would obviously cost a lot of money. Since global GDP is now about $85 trillion USD, 2% currently totals about $1.7 trillion. It means that to save the environment, we don’t need to completely derail the economy or abandon the achievements of modern civilization. We just need to get our priorities right.

Read more: Climate Crises Dominated 2021. But These Innovations Offer Some Hope

Signing a check for 2% of annual global GDP is far from the whole story. It won’t solve all our ecological problems, such as oceans brimming with plastic or the continued loss of biodiversity. And even to prevent catastrophic climate change, we’ll need to make sure that the funds are invested in the right places and that the new investments don’t cause their own negative ecological or social fallout. If we destroy ecosystems to mine for rare metals that are needed for the renewables industry, we might arguably lose as much as we gain. We will also need to change some of our behaviors and ways of thinking, from what we eat to how we travel. None of that will be easy. But that’s exactly why we have politicians—their job is to deal with the hard stuff.

Politicians are actually very skilled at shifting 2% of resources from here to there. It is what they do all the time. The difference between the policies of right-wing and left-wing parties often amount to a few percentage points of GDP. When faced by a major crisis, politicians swiftly shift far more resources to fight it. For example, in 1945, the U.S. spent about 36% of its GDP on winning the Second World War.

During the 2008–09 financial crisis, the U.S. government spent about 3.5% of GDP to save financial institutions deemed “too big to fail.” Maybe humankind should also treat the Amazon rain forest as “too big to fail”? Given the current price of rain-forest land in South America and the size of the Amazon rain forest, buying the whole of it in order to protect local forests, biodiversity and human communities from destructive business interests would cost about $800 billion, or a one-off payment of less than 1% of global GDP.

In just the first nine months of 2020, governments around the world announced stimulus measures worth nearly 14% of global GDP to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. If citizens press them hard enough, politicians can do the same to deal with the ecological crisis. So can investment banks and pension funds. Pension funds hold about $56 trillion USD. What’s the point of having a pension if you don’t have a future?

At present, neither businesses nor governments are willing to make the additional 2% investment necessary to prevent catastrophic climate change. Where does the money go instead?

In 2020, governments expended $2 trillion USD on their militaries—that’s 2.4% of global GDP. Every two years, another 2.4% of global GDP is spent on food that goes to waste. Governments also spend about $500 billion annually on—wait for it—direct subsidies for fossil fuels! Which means that every 3½ years, governments write a nice fat check for an amount equivalent to 2% of annual global GDP, and gift it to the fossil-fuel industry. It gets worse. When you factor in the social and environmental costs that the fossil-fuel industry causes but isn’t asked to pay for, then the value of these subsidies actually reaches a staggering 7% of annual global GDP each year.

Now consider tax evasion. The E.U. estimates that money hidden by the wealthy in tax havens is worth around 10% of global GDP. Every year, another $1.4 trillion in profits is stashed offshore by corporations, which is equal to 1.6% of global GDP. To prevent the apocalypse, we’ll probably need to impose some new taxes. But why not start with collecting the old ones

The money is there. Of course, collecting taxes, cutting military budgets, stopping food wastage and slashing subsidies is easier said than done, especially when faced by some of the most powerful lobbies in the world. But it doesn’t require a miracle. It just requires determined organization.

So we shouldn’t succumb to defeatism. Whenever someone says, “It’s too late! The apocalypse is upon us!,” reply, “Nah, we can stop it with just 2%.” And when COP27 convenes in November 2022 in Egypt, we should tell the assembled leaders that it is not enough to make vague future pledges about 1.5°C. We want them to take out their pens and sign a check for 2% of annual global GDP.

Harari is the author of Sapiens, Homo Deus and Sapiens: A Graphic History. Data sources for this article can be found on

Xi Jinping Rejects ‘Cold War Mentality’ and Calls for Cooperation at World Economic Forum

GENEVA — Chinese President Xi Jinping said Monday that his country will send an additional 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine to other countries, calling for global cooperation to tackle the pandemic and other challenges while urging other powers to discard a “Cold-War mentality” — a veiled swipe at the United States.

Xi touted China’s efforts to share vaccines, fight climate change and promote development in the opening speech of a virtual gathering hosted by the World Economic Forum. The online event is being held after the group put off its annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, because of the coronavirus pandemic. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”]

Efforts to battle the global outbreak that has claimed over 5.5 million lives and upended the world economy and climate change were prominent themes Monday.

In a panel session on the virus, Moderna’s CEO said the vaccine maker was working on a single-shot booster for both COVID-19 and the flu, while U.S. infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci lamented as “very disturbing” the reluctance of many Americans to follow basic measures like mask-wearing and getting vaccinated.

Xi, who hasn’t left China since the coronavirus emerged in early 2020, said his country has exported more than 2 billion doses of its COVID-19 vaccines to over 120 countries and international institutions. He announced plans to provide an additional 1 billion, including a donation of 600 million doses to Africa and an extra 150 million to Southeast Asia.

By comparison, managers of the U.N.-backed COVAX program to ship vaccines to developing countries announced over the weekend that it has now delivered 1 billion vaccine doses.

Xi touched on standard themes from previous international addresses, including responding to trading partners’ complaints by promising to open China’s state-dominated economy wider to private and foreign competition.

His comments come as tensions between the United States and China have simmered on topics like Taiwan, intellectual property, trade, human rights and the South China Sea.

UGANDA-ENTEBBE-COVID-19-CHINESE VACCINE Hajarah Nalwadda/Xinhua via Getty Images A worker transfers the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine at National Medical Stores in Entebbe, Uganda, July 31, 2021.

“We need to discard Cold War mentality and seek peaceful coexistence and win-win outcomes,” Xi said through a translator. “Protectionism and unilateralism can protect no one. … Even worse are the practices of hegemony and bullying, which run counter to the tide of history” — terms Beijing has used to describe U.S. policy and actions.

“A zero-sum approach that enlarges one’s own gain at the expense of others will not help,” he added. “The right way forward for humanity is peaceful development and win-win cooperation.”

Xi said China “stands ready to work with” other governments on climate change but announced no new initiatives and offered no resources. He said it was up to developed countries to provide money and technology.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also took up the environment in his address, pledging his country’s commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2070.

India’s growth in the next 25 years will be “green and clean, and also sustainable and reliable,” he said, stressing its commitment to solar power.

While Xi and Modi touted environmental efforts, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres ratcheted up his concerns about the use of coal — both China and India are big users — in his call for “real climate action in developing countries.”

“Emissions must fall, but they continue to rise,” Guterres said in his address, appealing for debt relief for developing countries needing help weaning off coal.

Guterres pointed to his call for “coalitions” to help foster a clean energy transition, highlighting U.S.-Chinese efforts to provide China with “adequate technologies” to accelerate that shift.

“India doesn’t like the coalition, but India has accepted several bilateral forms of support, and I’ve been in close contact with the U.S., U.K. and several other countries to make sure that there’s a strong project to support India,” he said.

Guterres said the past two years had shown that the world needs to cooperate to halt climate change, achieve global economic recovery and beat the pandemic.

India Remains Reliant On Coal As It Tries To Switch To Renewables Ritesh Shukla/Getty Images A worker sprays water to help settle pollution caused by truck and coal-loading activity at a coal mine on November 23, 2021 in Sonbhadra, Uttar Pradesh India

During a session on COVID-19’s future, Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said he hoped the U.S.-based company would have a combined vaccine booster ready to test in advanced research in the second quarter, saying a best-case scenario would be if the single shot covering both flu and COVID-19 would be ready for use next year.

“I don’t think it would happen in every country, but we believe it’s possible to happen in some countries next year,” Bancel said.

Moderna has been criticized for prioritizing distribution of its COVID-19 vaccines to rich countries; only a fraction of its supply has gone to poor countries via COVAX. He said the company aimed to make about 2 to 3 billion doses this year and hopes to have data from a new vaccine tweaked to address the omicron variant in March.

The annual Davos gathering usually takes place in person in the Alpine snows of eastern Switzerland, drawing hundreds of business leaders, cultural elites, academics and government leaders. Leaders of countries like Germany, Colombia and Japan were set to address the gathering that runs through Friday.


Associated Press Business Writer Joe McDonald in Beijing, AP Medical Writer Maria Cheng in Toronto, Sheikh Saaliq in New Delhi, and Frank Jordans in Berlin contributed to this report.

Volcanic Ash Delays Aid to Tonga as Damage Reports Emerge

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Thick ash on an airport runway was delaying aid deliveries to the Pacific island nation of Tonga, where significant damage was being reported days after a huge undersea volcanic eruption and tsunami.

New Zealand’s military is sending much-needed drinking water and other supplies, but said the ash on the runway will delay the flight at least a day. A towering ash cloud since Saturday’s eruption had prevented earlier flights. New Zealand is also sending two navy ships to Tonga that will leave Tuesday and pledged an initial 1 million New Zealand dollars ($680,000) toward recovery efforts. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”]

Communications with Tonga have been extremely limited, but New Zealand and Australia sent military surveillance flights to assess the damage on Monday.

U.N. humanitarian officials and Tonga’s government “report significant infrastructural damage around Tongatapu,” U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

“There has been no contact from the Ha’apai Group of islands, and we are particularly concerned about two small low-lying islands — Mango and Fonoi — following surveillance flights confirming substantial property damage,” Dujarric said.

New Zealand’s High Commission in Tonga also reported “significant damage” along the western coast of the main island of Tongatapu, including to resorts and along the waterfront area.

Satellite images captured the spectacular eruption, with a plume of ash, steam and gas rising like a giant mushroom above the South Pacific. Tsunami waves of about 80 centimeters (2.7 feet) crashed into Tonga’s shoreline, and crossed the Pacific, causing minor damage from New Zealand to Santa Cruz, California. The eruption set off a sonic boom that could be heard as far away as Alaska.

Two people drowned in Peru, which also reported an oil spill after waves moved a ship that was transferring oil at a refinery.

New Zealand’s Acting High Commissioner for Tonga, Peter Lund, said there were unconfirmed reports of up to three fatalities on Tonga so far.

One death has been confirmed by family: British woman Angela Glover, 50, who was swept away by a wave.

Nick Eleini said his sister’s body had been found and that her husband survived. “I understand that this terrible accident came about as they tried to rescue their dogs,” Eleini told Sky News. He said it had been his sister’s life dream” to live in the South Pacific and “she loved her life there.”

The explosion of the Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai volcano, about 64 kilometers (40 miles) north of Nuku’alofa, was the latest in a series of dramatic eruptions. In late 2014 and early 2015, eruptions created a small new island and disrupted air travel to the Pacific archipelago.

New Zealand Tonga Volcano Eruption Dillon Robert Anderson/NZDF via AP In this photo provided by the New Zealand Defense Force, Air Movements personnel stack and secure pallets of disaster relief supplies at an airbase in Auckland, New Zealand, on Monday, Jan. 17, 2022, to be sent to Tonga in the wake of a Tsunami triggered by volcanic eruption.

Earth imaging company Planet Labs PBC had watched the island after a new vent began erupting in late December. Satellite images showed how drastically the volcano had shaped the area, creating a growing island off Tonga.

The U.N. World Food Program is exploring how to bring in relief supplies and more staff and has received a request to restore communication lines in Tonga, Dujarric said.

One complicating factor is that Tonga has managed to avoid outbreaks of COVID-19. New Zealand said its military staff were vaccinated and willing to follow Tonga’s protocols.

New Zealand’s military said it hoped the airfield in Tonga would be opened either Wednesday or Thursday. The military said it had considered an airdrop but that was “not the preference of the Tongan authorities.”

Communications with the island nation is limited because the single underwater fiber-optic cable that connects Tonga to the rest of the world was likely severed in the eruption. The company that owns the cable and repairs could take weeks.

Samiuela Fonua, who chairs the board at Tonga Cable Ltd., said the cable appeared to have been severed about 10 to 15 minutes after the eruption. He said the cable lies atop and within coral reef, which can be sharp.

Fonua said a ship would need to pull up the cable to assess the damage and then crews would need to fix it. A single break might take a week to repair, he said, while multiple breaks could take up to three weeks. He added that it was unclear yet when it would be safe for a ship to venture near the undersea volcano to undertake the work.

A second undersea cable that connects the islands within Tonga also appeared to have been severed, Fonua said. However, a local phone network was working, allowing Tongans to call each other. But he said the lingering ash cloud was continuing to make even satellite phone calls abroad difficult.


Associated Press journalist Jill Lawless in London contributed to this report.

- Associated Press
This Extremely Rare 555.55-Carat Black Diamond Is Coming Up for Auction

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Auction house Sotheby’s Dubai has unveiled a diamond that’s literally from out of this world.

Sotheby’s calls the 555.55-carat black diamond — believed to have come from outer space — “The Enigma.” The rare gem was shown off on Monday to journalists as part of a tour in Dubai and Los Angeles before it is due to be auctioned off in February in London.

Sotheby’s expects the diamond to be sold for at least 5 million British pounds ($6.8 million). The auction house plans to accept cryptocurrency as a possible payment as well. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”]

Sophie Stevens, a jewelry specialist at Sotheby’s Dubai, told The Associated Press that the number five bears an importance significance to the diamond, which has 55 facets as well.

Dubai Sotheby's Black Diamond AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili Pictured on Monday, Jan. 17, 2022, an employee of Sotheby’s Dubai holds the 555.55-carat black diamond known as “The Enigma,” to be auctioned in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

“The shape of the diamond is based on the Middle-Eastern palm symbol of the Khamsa, which stands for strength and it stands for protection,” she said. Khamsa in Arabic means five.

“So there’s a nice theme of the number five running throughout the diamond,” she added.

Stevens also said the black diamond is likely from outer space.

“With the carbonado diamonds, we believe that they were formed through extraterrestrial origins, with meteorites colliding with the Earth and either forming chemical vapor disposition or indeed coming from the meteorites themselves,” she said.

Black diamonds, also known as carbonado, are extremely rare, and are found naturally only in Brazil and Central Africa. The cosmic origin theory is based on their carbon isotopes and high hydrogen content.

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