From Elon Musk’s 9 children to Japan stamping out online bullying – Here’s your July 8 news briefing
To start off, we’re looking into:
The end of the circuit breaker mechanism
Hong Kong had a circuit breaker mechanism that essentially banned individual flights if they carried someone with COVID on the plane because it caused the city too much “unnecessary trouble.” This year, 100 flights have been banned, and the measure is one of the city’s most controversial, often leading to chaos for travelers.
Now the recently sworn-in Lee government has announced that starting Thursday, it will remove this mechanism and increase testing instead, which officials said would be more effective at catching COVID cases than a flight ban. Including the pre-departure test, travelers will need to take six PCR tests across two weeks.
Elon Musk’s 9 children
Tesla, SpaceX and Neuralink founder and CEO Elon Musk has been a big advocate for increasing the world population, saying that the dwindling global headcount is a threat to humanity. He himself has been married three times and has seven children – five with his first wife and two with singer Grimes. More recently, Musk’s 18-year-old daughter legally changed her last name from Musk and her gender marker.
Now, Business Insider has reported that Musk had twins in November of 2021 with an exec of Neuralink, Shivon Zilis, with the duo moving to have the children’s names changed to “have their father’s last name” and Zilis as their middle name. It’s also reported that the twins were born a few weeks before Musk and Grimes had their second child via surrogacy. The addition of the two children now makes Musk a father of nine.
BoJo steps down
Since November of last year, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has endured challenge after challenge to his political wellbeing. He survived some hearings, police penalties and a vote of no confidence by his own party.
But on Thursday, after a new swath of resignations from his cabinet and governing coalition, Johnson resigned. Giving a speech in front of 10 Downing Street, Johnson said that he’d be stepping down as prime minister just as soon as a new one was appointed, effectively turning him into a government caretaker for the next little while.
This isn’t totally shocking, even if it is a little sudden – other conservative PMs who have survived things like votes of no confidence, as Johnson did, haven’t lasted that long after either, and analysts were expecting him to have difficulty politically surviving through this period. It turns out that the man who defies political gravity ends up getting pulled down every once in a while.
Now the question on everyone’s mind is clear: who comes next?
To end, we’ll look into:
Japan is throwing the book at online bullies
Cyberbullying, hate, trolling; whatever you want to call it, we can probably all agree it isn’t the best thing to have come from the internet. And in plenty of places, the emphasis has been to pressure social media companies to reign in these kinds of harmful speech on their platforms.
But platforms, arguably, haven’t been doing enough to regulate this negativity, so some governments are beginning to take it into their own hands. And the Japanese, a crew known for the stereotype of being polite and courteous, are leading the charge.
A recently revised law will allow Japanese authorities to slap people with a 300,000 yen (about US$2,200) penalty and up to a year in jail for public abuse on social media platforms. This is up from the previous penalty of 10,000 yen and 29 days in jail. The change comes after the suicide of a 22-year-old professional wrestler and reality TV star who was harassed online.
“It’s important to try to stamp out the kind of vicious insults that have sometimes even driven people to die,” said Justice Minister Yoshihisa Furukawa to reporters on Tuesday. “The revision to the law doesn’t unjustly limit freedom of expression.”
Some, including Japan’s Federation of Bar Associations, opposed the shift, saying it constituted a crackdown on free expression. But Japan’s Justice Ministry said in a Q&A that the new penalties would not be enforced on speech against politicians and that it was keeping its definition of public abuse, “showing contempt for someone, without basis in fact, in a way that could come to the notice of unspecified or large numbers of people.”
In other news …
📈Stocks, oil and Bitcoin: MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 1.57%, with US equities rising as investors hope that the economic consequences of the Fed’s rate hike program won’t lead to any dire economic consequences. This comes as a Fed official called the recession fears “overblown."
With that, investors started focusing on the tight supply of oil again, with prices increasing sharply after two sessions of struggling to stay at US$100 a barrel. US crude is at US$102.73 (up 4.26%), and Brent is at US$104.65 (up 3.93%).
👛Bitcoin is at around US$21,608.
😷Shanghai’s COVID: Shanghai has reported the most virus infections since late May, which may potentially take the city back into lockdown. Over 50 cases were reported on Wednesday, two of which were outside quarantine.
💵Price cap speculation: There has been a lot of chatter on how the West will try to cap the price of Russian oil and pipeline gas to decrease the nation’s ability to finance the war in Ukraine. Now some people familiar with the talks have said that the cap will be between US$40 and US$60 a barrel.
💉A fourth shot in Australia: COVID variants BA.4 and BA.5 are spreading throughout Australia, with Victoria saying that they have become the dominant strains in the state. With that, the country is set to roll out the fourth dose of COVID vaccines, with sources saying that people above age 30 can get the boost soon.
💻“No more favorites": Earlier this week, the EU passed a regulation called the Digital Markets Act that aims to stop tech giants from playing favorites with their own products, so essentially, Apple apps on the app store. It will take a lot to make these tech conglomerates comply, though, including going up against their lawyers.
🤝Australia and China aim to hit reset: Foreign ministers of Australia and China will be meeting for the first time since mid-2019 in person at the G20 meeting in Bali to try and reset ties.
👩⚖️The Theranos saga: Bringing the Theranos saga to an end, Ramesh “Sunny" Balwani, the company’s former COO and the founder Elizabeth Holmes’ ex, has been found guilty of all 12 criminal fraud charges. Legal experts expect his defense lawyers to appeal.
⌚New Apple Watches: New Apple Watches are being planned by the tech giant, with one larger-screened version with a rugged metal casing designed for extreme athletes. The extreme sports model will have around 7% more screen area than the largest Apple Watch right now.
🕹Video game sales fall: According to Ampere Analysis data, sales of video games have grown every year since 2015, but with recession fears looming, this year’s video game sales are set to decline annually for the first time by 1.2% to US$188 billion.
Written and put together by Jake Shropshire, Christine Dulion and Krystal Lai