Timeframe: 16th July – 22nd July 2021
Sabyasachi Karmaker, Musarrat Sarwar Chowdhury, Mansib Khan, and Farhan Uddin Ahmed.
1. Economics & Business
Seagate-led Northern Ireland consortium wins £42m grant
The Northern Ireland consortium, which specializes in nanotechnology, has received £42 million from the government to develop new technologies for medical devices, communications, and data storage. The Smart Nano NI consortium won a £42.4 million award through the UK’s Research and Innovation (UKRI) Strength in Places Fund.
Pegasus: NSO clients spying disclosures prompt political rows across the world
Revelations about the use of spying tools sold to governments by NSO Group sparked furious political rows across the world on Monday after evidence emerged to suggest the surveillance firm’s clients may have sought to target their political opponents. Amid growing concern over the apparent abuse of NSO’s powerful phone-hacking spyware, Pegasus, Amazon confirmed it had already cut some of its ties to the Israeli surveillance company. The stock price of Apple dipped amid worries about the privacy and security of its handsets.
Source: The Guardian
3. Significant Corona Update
Pandemic deaths modeled to be much greater than reported amidst 3.71 billion covid shots administered worldwide
A furor erupted when a junior health minister in India claimed on a technicality that the summer oxygen deficit did not claim lives – amidst research modeling as many as 5 million Indians dying from the effects of the COVID-19 wave. The covid vaccination drives continue with 3.71 billion shots administered worldwide – an impressive number discounted by the inequity in distribution with 339 million doses administered in the United States alone. East Asia continues to drive daily new case numbers with Sydney and major cities in Australia locked down while the US and Europe open up.
4. Science & Technology
Microsoft Exchange hack caused by China, US and allies say
The Biden administration and Western allies formally blamed China on Monday for a massive hack of Microsoft Exchange email server software and asserted that criminal hackers associated with the Chinese government have carried out ransomware and other illicit cyber operations. The broad range of cyber threats from Beijing disclosed on Monday included a ransomware attack from government-affiliated hackers that targeted victims — including in the U.S. — with demands for millions of dollars.
Source: Associated Press
5. RMG/ Agriculture
Israel shakes up agriculture sector to cut production costs
Israel’s government on Wednesday unveiled a plan to lower fresh produce costs by cutting customs duties and opening the sector to competition, potentially ending years of prices far above Western averages.
The plan, which includes an aid package of direct and other support to Israeli farmers, is expected to save consumers 2.7 billion shekels ($820 million) a year, the finance and agriculture ministries said in a joint statement.
6. Social and Education
A Women’s Beach Handball Team Is Fined For Not Wanting To Wear Bikini Bottoms
Athletes on the Norwegian women’s beach handball team are being punished for wearing shorts rather than bikini bottoms during a recent game, with the European Handball Federation leveling fines over “a case of improper clothing.” The Norwegian team said the bikini bottoms aren’t practical in a sport that constantly sees players diving into the sand. Some have also said the requirements are simply degrading to women.
The world’s biggest miner mulling an exit from fossil fuels
BHP Group plans to review its fossil fuel business potentially worth $15 billion in an effort to transition is seen as a harbinger across the industry. This is a reflection of both the company trying to exit while prices are favorable and a rising effort to commit to climate change goals in a Biden administration where John Kerry, the climate change czar, accused China of not doing enough as its emissions exceed that of the G7 states.
8. Expert Opinion
Space Billionaires, Please Read the Room- Shannon Stirone
Billionaires Sir Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos separately flew to space this week. The Atlantic’s Shannon Stirone asks if there could be a worse time for two über-rich rocket owners to take a quick jaunt toward the dark? Especially when the climate crisis is now actually starting to feel like a crisis.
Source: The Atlantic
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