💼 NewsNeat #14

$5 Billion Fine, Trump Loves Putin, Jupiters 79 Moons

Ia orana from Tahiti. Here’s some interesting stories from the last 7 days! Enjoy your week.


Googles $5.1 billion fine

The European Union has adopted a more aggressive approach than American regulatory agencies have toward U.S. tech giants. The European Union fined Google $5.1 billion (USD) for requiring that phone manufacturers favour its software (such as the Chrome browser) over competitive software on phones that use Google's Android operating system.

Last year, the EU fined Google $2.8 billion for favouring its own services in its search results. In both cases, the EU views the practices as unfair uses of Google's market power.


President Trump met with Russian President Vladimir Putin

The meeting took place in Finland three days after the Justice Department announced the new data-theft charges against Russian military employees. Trump praised Putin and criticized the investigation into Russian interference in the election. Trump suggested that he believed Putin's denials more than the assertions of the FBI and CIA, which have stated that Putin personally directed government employees to interfere in the election with the goal of electing Trump instead of Clinton.

Two days later, Trump reversed some of his comments, saying that he believed the conclusions of the American law-enforcement and intelligence agencies.


In brief

  • President Trump met with British Prime Minister Theresa May and Queen Elizabeth in the U.K., prior to his meeting with Putin in Finland. He criticised May's moderate approach to negotiations for leaving the European Union, siding with the more-conservative politicians who recently quit their cabinet jobs in protest of May's strategy.

  • The prime minister of Haiti resigned. Earlier this month, he announced a change to fuel subsidies that would have caused gas prices to increase. The announcement triggered violent protests that shut down the capital city for days. The price change has been delayed.

  • The U.S. government charged a Russian woman with failing to register as a foreign political agent. She was in the country on a student visa. The FBI says she was working in concert with the Russian government to influence conservative political groups.

  • In Pakistan, more than 150 people have been killed in bombings intended to intimidate political groups in advance of the July 25 national election.


Fun stuff

Astronomers discovered 12 new moons orbiting Jupiter, bringing the planet's total number of known satellites to 79.

💼 NewsNeat Read #13

Un-Secret Services, U.S. versus Russia, Power of Social Campaigns

Good Weekend! Here’s an interesting quote from reporter Sara Fisher at Axios:

Should we be giving them (our readers) something that they might not necessarily want to consume but we think is good for them to consume, should we be giving them something that we know that they want to consume but might not be the best thing for them to be an informed citizen?

As a reader of the news how do you feel about the news you digest? Do you have a balance? Do you feel like the stories are the same-old, same-old rhetoric? Do you feel like you are a fully informed citizen? Let me know hi@zoom.sx


Military Secret Service & Intelligence Staff Addresses Found Using Free Fitness GPS App

Fascinating article that reveals the not so secret activities of ‘Secret Service” personnel worldwide. See below a number of tracks of identified military personal around the U.S. Fort Meade Army Base & National Security Agency headquarters.

Using fitness watches such as Garmin, Polar & Fitbit and their associated partner website platforms such as Strava, Connect & MyFitness Pal this team of journalists was able to positive identity many secret service, military and top secret staff.

On paper, the NSA is America’s most secretive agency, nicknamed No Such Agency. But at its Fort Meade complex in Maryland, we strike informational gold. We identify multiple people and their home addresses, including:

  • a USCYBERCOM  officer, responsible for planning cyberspace operations;

  • a Belgian military officer, apparently visiting the US, whose tasks include securing the Belgian army’s online networks. We also see him working out at a Secret Service training center;

  • several foreign military personnel from Norway and New Zealand;

  • a security coordinator for the US Navy;

  • the head of medical planning and logistics for the US Air Force;

  • and an interpreter.

In total the journalists exposed 6,460 users.

They only agency they could track? Check in the article here to find your favourite spot or just log-in to your Strava account.


U.S. Government Goes After Suspected Russian Cyber Warfare Team

A U.S federal grand jury has made up it’s mind about who is responsible for the co-ordinated cyber attack on the U.S during the last election that Trump came out the winner. The U.S. federal grand jury has indicted 12 Russian military officers working for the Russian intelligence directorate — known as the GRU — for running an active cyber operation in 2016 to steal and disseminate information with the intent to interfere in the U.S. election. Here they are:

Note: these are the first charges from the Mueller probe that directly accuse the Russian government of meddling in the 2016 election, and come just days before President Trump is set to have a one-on-one with Russian President Vladimir Putin. These indictments are unlikely to ever put Russians in U.S. prisons, but they will up the political pressure and could mean frozen assets for those with money overseas.


In Brief:

In Japan, floods have killed 179 people and forced millions to evacuate. Flooding and landslides caused by extreme rainfall have forced 8 million people to evacuate their homes. Tens of thousands of homes are without electricity, and hundreds of thousands of homes are without clean water. About half the country – the southern and western portion – has been affected. Japan is about the size of California; its population is three times that of California.

The U.S. government reunited about half of the 102 children under age 5 who’d been separated from their parents at the border this year. A judge set a July 26 deadline for the remainder of the more than 2,000 children to be reunited with their families. (The government missed its first deadline, Tuesday of this week, for the reunification of all children under 5.)

In Haiti, violent protests erupted over a government decision to increase fuel prices; the prime minister has now postponed the changes. Airlines cancelled all flights from the United States to the country as a result of the violence in the capital city.

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was convicted of financial corruption and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

In Thailand, 12 boys and their soccer coach were rescued after being trapped in a cave for 17 days. They had hiked into the cave voluntarily but were trapped by flooding caused by monsoon rains.

The Tour de France started this week and runs through July 29.

Croatia will face France in the World Cup final on Sunday (tomorrow). Belgium and England will compete for third place.


New Generation of Social Media Politics

A new era of young politicians who are using social media to successfully drive engagement – both online and at the polls are tipping the balance of power in the U.S. election.

Meet Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez:

This hip, young, Latino woman beat Joseph Crowley in the democratic primary in New York’s 14th District. She didn’t have any coverage in traditional news outlets and after her win the mainstream media were asking, who is she? 

Many believed Crowley, the Democratic Caucus Chair, was a shoo-in for the spot. Even after Ocasio-Cortez declared her candidacy, she was overlooked by most traditional news outlets and rarely mentioned by name. So, how did she gain engagement in media and rise to popularity?

This graphs shows that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez outranked her competitor on social. The win also reveals the real power of social media to influence large groups of people into action. Might social media be the tipping-point again for the next elections worldwide?

💼 NewsNeat Read #12

Tracking Refugees, Psychosis, Combating Fake News, Tips for Survival

Here are a bunch of stories that inspired or raised awareness last week. Ed - Kingi 😃


Refugee Movements

Some interesting statistics on refugee movements from 2017 from Nexo Journal (Brazil Portugese language). You can probably discern the countries, e.g. Siria = Syria.


People Who Believe Fake News

Is there a certain kind of person who is more likely to believe fake news? Yes. People who are delusional, dogmatic, or religious fundamentalists. In some more extreme cases this is Often referred to as ‘psychosis’, being an abnormal condition of the mind that results in difficulties telling what is real and what is not

People suffering from mild psychosis are more likely to believe fake news says latest research from Yale University presented at the recent Schizophrenia International Research Conference.

Two studies with over 1,000 participants suggested that individuals who endorse delusion-like ideas (e.g., thinking that people can communicate telepathically), as well as dogmatic individuals and religious fundamentalists, are more likely to believe fake news.

These studies also suggested that two related forms of thinking may protect against belief in fake news: The first, actively open-minded thinking, involves the search for alternative explanations and the use of evidence to revise beliefs. The second, analytic thinking, involves deliberate thought processes that consume memory resources.

Reduced engagement in these forms of thinking partially explained the increased belief in fake news among individuals who endorsed delusion-like ideas, and fully explained increased belief in fake news among dogmatic individuals and religious fundamentalists. These results imply that existing interventions designed to increase actively open-minded and analytic thinking might be leveraged to help prevent the deleterious effects of belief in fake news.

Hilariously, “Women over 65 years write very rude things on the internet.” 🤬 Access the hardcore research here.


Tracking The Fake News Phenomenon

Researchers at Indiana University have created “Osome” a set of learning tools that helps identify the spread of fake news. Check out Osome the Observatory on Social Media at Indiana University and it’s tools to help you become aware of these biases and protect yourself from outside influences designed to exploit you. Power-up now 💪and save your brain from the bad stuff.


In brief:

  • In Annapolis, Maryland, a man killed five journalists at a newspaper office. Police said the suspect had filed a defamation suit against the newspaper.

  • In Poland, the government forced 27 of the country’s 72 Supreme Court justices to retire. The rule is based on the premise of forcing retirement at age 65; however, it removed liberal justices (including the chief justice) from office, which increases the power of the president’s conservative party. The government also created a new department that has new authority to discipline judges.

  • Malaysia’s former prime minister has been charged with financial corruption. The new prime minister took office last month and had promised to prosecute the outgoing prime minister. The outgoing prime minister tried to leave the country after the election, but police prevented him from doing so.

  • Germany plans to tighten its border controls, which means fewer people seeking asylum will gain entry to the country. The change is a compromise between Chancellor Angela Merkel (who supports the status quo of more open borders) and the more conservative members of her governing coalition (whose votes she needs to retain a majority).

  • In Australia, a Catholic archbishop was sentenced to a year in jail or home detention for concealing sexual abuse of children. He is the highest-ranking church official to be convicted of crimes related to child sexual abuse.


🆘 Tips for the Week Ahead

Here’s some tips to help you navigate a world of information overload:

1. Focus on the author or source, not the headline

Research shows people are very affected by the emotional connotations of a headline, even though that’s not a good indicator of an article’s accuracy. Much more important is who wrote the piece. Focus on the author or source.

2. Connect with a long lost friend

Research shows our own social circles “echo chambers” are ripe for manipulation, either consciously or unintentionally. How we select our online friends influences the information we see. Reach out and connect with someone new or some place new - go to a play, ballet, street art or cultural festival that is outside your norm. Just hang and see what happens.

3. Explore something totally different

If we click on Facebook or YouTube link from a particular source, Facebook or YouTube will tend to show more of that site’s content. This so-called “filter bubble” effect may isolate us from diverse perspectives and strengthening our bia. We need to expose ourselves to a more diverse set of sources, that means getting off Facebook, YouTube and going to the library or reading something totally different.

The main thing is, as humans we are complex and we are vulnerable. How we interact with each other and our information sources defines us. ⚕️Tools like these can help us evaluate our online relationships with social networks, friends and sources:

  1. Botometer

  2. Hoaxy

  3. Fakey

💼 NewsNeat Weekend Read #11

Supreme Court Backs Trump, Instagram TV Launches, Uber is Back in London

Welcome to NewsNeat for Saturday 30 June. U.S. news is just plain depressing, have sincere worries about the gun-violence problem, latest in Maryland. Decided to omit it from this weeks story coverage and dial in on the immigration ban. Ed: - Kingi


The Supreme Court ruled that President Trump's travel ban is legal

These judges ruled that the executive order banning travellers from six countries (five of which are majority-Muslim) is within the legal boundaries of presidential power. Lower courts had ruled that the order was discriminatory, in part because of Trump’s public calls to ban Muslims from entering the country.

The bans affect citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. The law previously banned travellers from Chad (but that ban ended in April 2018). The law bans travel from North Korea; however, 61 visas for North Koreans were issued in 2016, compared to 23,000 Iranian tourist visas in the same period. The order also bans some visas for government officials from Venezuela.

The rationale behind the order is that travelers from these countries pose a security risk, in part due to a lack of passport security and reliable background checks. Two of the countries (Syria and Yemen) are incapacitated because of civil wars.

The Court decision solidifies presidential power over specific immigration policies.


Instagram Launched a YouTube Competitor

Facebook owned ‘IGTV’ is a new app for watching long-form, vertical video from your favourite Instagram creators. IGTV showed off some examples LaurDIY posting her newest project or King Bach sharing his latest comedy skit. There’s a stand-alone IGTV app and you’ll also be able to watch from within the regular Instagram app.

IGTV is different - videos are full screen and vertical. Also, unlike on Instagram, videos aren’t limited to one minute. Instead, each video can be up to an hour long.

The big question is how Facebook (sorry I mean Instagram) will integrate advertising into the IGTV experience.


In Brief:

  • 18 state attorneys general are suing the Trump administration over its family separation policy and calling for the reunification of the migrant families who were affected. 

  • Uber regained its license to operate in London for the next 15 months. The city's transportation authority had declined to renew the license in September.


Q. How do you know what you know?

Did you ever pause when reading an article and ask yourself, “How do I know this is real?” or “Where can I point to observation of facts that support his article?” Or “Am I interpreting the facts correctly?”

Media literacy is important. Zoom tries it’s best to provide a variety of news sources each week, to absorb different ideas and angles. If you think we have missed something important or have something really interesting please let us know, e-mail hi@zoom.sx


China’s Pollution

China’s air quality has been an issue for many years. Recent attempts to curb the use of coal as an energy source have gone some way to alleviate the problem, but there is still work to be done. Check out this awesome infographic led story (click the image below):

💼 NewsNeat Weekend Read #10

Immigration Trauma Continues, North Korean News, Baby Time!

Apologies for the delay, I was at a funeral last week for my cousin Talei Roimata Morrison. Moe mai e te whanaunga rangatira (sleep well my fond cousin). This is a two-week edition, covering events since June 10. Ed: - Kingi


The American government separated 1,995 children from their parents at the Mexican border in 6 weeks

​​​​​​​The family separations are the result of a new, stricter policy put in place by President Trump in April. On Wednesday, he changed the policy to allow families detained in the future to stay together. Both decisions were executive action; Congress hasn’t changed any laws.

When the border patrol catches an adult crossing illegally, there are generally three potential courses of action:

  1. The person can be deported without criminal charges. 

  2. The person can be charged with a misdemeanor but remain free on parole until trial (allowing them to stay with any family members who accompanied them).

  3. The person can be charged with a misdemeanor and jailed until their trial (and separated from their children) unless they post bail. 

Under Bush, Obama and Trump’s previous policy, most people with children experienced one of the first two options, which allowed them to continue to care for their children. In April, President Trump and the Justice Department chose to use a stricter interpretation of the existing law, which meant almost all adults were jailed after being captured. When adults are jailed, their children go into temporary government custody, usually in detention facilities in repurposed warehouse buildings with chain-link-fence enclosures that resemble cages or jail cells.

The severity of the mis-demeanor charge for first-time improper entry is roughly equivalent to driving while intoxicated or possessing marijuana in Texas. Defendants generally plead guilty and are deported without additional jail time; this legal process is usually performed with dozens of defendants appearing before one judge for a few minutes.

Last year, border police arrested 310,000 people attempting to cross the Mexican border. Border arrests have been trending downward over the past 18 years (there were five times more arrests in 2000 than in 2017) and are now at a 46-year low.
​​​


President Trump met North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore

Instead of routine U.S. media coverage, for a totally different spin, I thought you might like to check out some of the North Korean news coverage from SBS.

It’s the first time sitting leaders of the two countries have met in person. Both sides agreed to pursue nuclear disarmament of North Korea, and American and South Korean leaders said the meeting would result in a reduction of the threat posed by the North.

North and South Korea have been in a tense armistice since 1953, when fighting ended in the Korean War. In the past few years, North Korea has made breakthroughs in its nuclear weapons research and produced missiles that could strike the U.S., Europe and Australia. Kim Jong-un is a hereditary dictator, and although there’s very limited access to the country, it’s generally agreed that its isolation has resulted in food shortages, widespread poverty and reduced life expectancy among its population.


On the Radar:

Paul Manafort, the chairman of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, is in jail. 

A judge revoked his bail after prosecutors said he attempted to influence witness testimony in his upcoming trial for financial crimes.

FBI Under Scrutiny

The Justice Department published the results of its investigation into how the FBI handled the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation during the 2016 campaign. The report said that the FBI’s decision not to charge Clinton with a crime was not politically motivated. It also said that the behavior of the FBI director (who made public statements about the investigation that influenced the election) and the attorney general (who met with Bill Clinton during the investigation) was inappropriate but not illegal. 

Violence in Yemen's Civil War Increased

An international military coalition led by Saudi Arabia attacked a city held by Yemeni rebels. The war has killed about 10,000 people since 2015 and, like the Syrian civil war, has become a proxy for the regional conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Soccer World Cup Started

The World Cup is underway in Russia. 

NBA Champs

In basketball, the Golden State Warriors (from Oakland, California) won the NBA Finals. It’s their third championship in four years. 


Last Words: Baby Time!

The prime minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, gave birth to her first child. She’s the second head of state to give birth while in office; the first was the prime minister of Pakistan in 1990. Jacinda Ardern will take six weeks off before handing the day to day childcare to her partner Clarke Gayford.

Ed Opinion: Super courageous woman (and family) to endure the prying eyes of the press and public in a time usually sacred to the family.

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