From Italy’s president rejecting the prime minister’s resignation to hundreds of women suing Uber – Here’s your July 15 news briefing

From Italy’s president rejecting the prime minister’s resignation to hundreds of women suing Uber – Here’s your July 15 news briefing
FILE PHOTO: Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa presents his national statement as a part of the World Leaders’ Summit at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, Britain November 1, 2021. Andy Buchanan/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

To start off, we’re looking into:

Sri Lanka’s Rajapaksa resigns

Sri Lanka has been widely reported on this week as President Rajapaksa said he’d resign and then fled the country after protestors stormed government buildings two times this week demanding that those responsible for the island’s economic collapse resign. After being suspected to be in the Maldives after he and his wife were evacuated by a military jet, Rajapaksa boarded a 788 Saudi Arabian Airlines flight for Singapore. This flight was tracked by thousands, according to, and Singapore has clarified that it’s a private visit and the former president hasn’t sought or been granted asylum. Some have said that Rajapaksa would travel onward to Saudi Arabia.

On Thursday, upon landing in Singapore, Rajapaksa submitted his letter of resignation, triggering a celebration back home. “We never thought we would get this country free from them,” cheered activist Damitha Abeyrathne, referring to the Rajapaksa family who dominated politics for two decades.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe has been elected by Rajapaksa as acting president, and he has promised that he will resign when there’s a new government. Sri Lanka will elect a new president on July 20 who will serve the rest of Rajapaksa’s original term to 2024.

500 women in the US sue Uber

Uber lawsuit
FILE PHOTO: A screen displays the company logo for Uber Technologies Inc at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., May 10, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermi/File Photo

Earlier this week, The Guardian published the Uber files, which contained over 124,000 confidential documents, which outlined how Uber broke the law, tricked law enforcement, secretly lobbied governments around the world and even put its drivers in danger for the sake of its own growth.

Now, a lawsuit involving around 550 women across the US was filed against Uber on Wednesday. The women say that they were sexually assaulted by drivers on the ride-hailing platform, and their legal counsel says another 150 claims are still being investigated. This lawsuit comes two weeks after the company released its second safety report for 2019 and 2020, which said that compared to its first safety report looking at incidents in 2017 and 2018, reported sexual assaults reduced by 38%. But 2020 was also the year of the pandemic, so it’s not known whether the reduction was because of a decrease in rides. Still, Uber maintains in lawsuits that it can’t be held responsible for what drivers on its platforms do because, to Uber, these individuals are contractors not employees.

Italy’s president won’t let the PM quit

Mario Draghi
FILE PHOTO: Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi attends a news conference during a European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium June 24, 2022. REUTERS/Johanna Geron/File Photo

Mario Draghi, Italy’s prime minister and chief executive, tendered his resignation to the Italian president on Thursday. But, it was declined, with President Sergio Mattarella saying that it was up to Draghi to address the Italian Parliament to give a clear picture of the situation that led to his resignation.

Italy’s government can be formed by either a party in the majority or, in Draghi’s case, when there’s a coalition among minority parties. And that coalition had been collapsing for a little while, with a recent vote on economic aid for families clarifying that divide. Five Star, one of the largest parties in the coalition government, refused to back Draghi’s version of the economic aid package. Even though the confidence vote sailed through anyways, Draghi said it was a sign that the coalition had collapsed.

Five Star has been accused by its former members of looking to take down the Draghi administration to bolster its own support while at the same time, leading the country into some pretty bad places both socially and economically.

To end, we’ll look into:

Park in Thailand gets two elephants with one hole

Thailand elephants
Rescue workers use a crane to lift up a mather elephant after it fell into a manhole in Khao Yai National Park, Nakhon Nayok province, Thailand, July 13, 2022. REUTERS/Taanruuamchon

One day, an elephant and its baby were walking down a path when the baby fell into a hole.

No, that’s not a setup for a bad joke, nor the start of a heartfelt story. In a Thailand park, a baby elephant literally fell down into a hole, with the mother anxiously standing guard over the calf.

But then veterinarians and park staff showed up and sedated the mother so that they could pull the baby out. But because of the sedation, the mother fell into the hole, too.

Now consider what you’d do. Maybe it would help to know that the year-old elephant would likely weigh around 500 kilograms, and a fully grown one would weigh almost 4,000 kilograms. The point is – a rope isn’t exactly going to cut it.

So wildlife rescuers turned to the next best thing – a truck-mounted boom lift and a digger machine. They got the mother out first, needing to perform CPR on her as they cleared a path out of the hole for the calf to climb out and be reunited with her.

Park authorities say that they think the pair belong to a herd of elephants that was traveling through the jungle nearby and that they safely returned to the jungle after the rescue.

In other news …

📉Stocks, oil and Bitcoin: Global equity markets edged lower on Thursday, with MSCI’s gauge of global stocks falling 0.82% after the US recorded 9.1% inflation, setting the scene for an aggressive Fed hike. Some investors speculate that this will lead to a historic 100-basis-point increase at the July Fed meeting. Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan all posted weaker-than-expected earnings.

🛢Oil prices fell with the possibility of the rate hike lowering crude oil demand. US crude fell to US$96.23 per barrel. Brent was up to US$99.63.

Bitcoin rose 1.33% to around US$20,486.

📱Hong Kong’s COVID app: Four days ago, Hong Kong’s new health chief proposed requiring residents to register for the city’s COVID app using their real names. Now, citing privacy concerns, the government has specified that the app will remain unchanged.

💸Celsius goes bankrupt: On Wednesday, Celsius became the third crypto firm to declare bankruptcy in two weeks after plunging in value amid the crypto market downturn.

Crypto winter job slash: NFT marketplace OpenSea announced on Thursday that it would slash 20% of its staff amid the economic and market downturn.

🏠China’s property sector woes: Chinese state media reported that China’s banking and insurance regulator would keep on financing the real estate sector in a stable and orderly manner after some homebuyers threatened to stop paying for mortgage payments until developers resume production.

🤝Netflix and Microsoft partner: Netflix is looking to introduce a cheaper subscription tier that also includes ads after years of fighting the move. And on Wednesday, it announced that it had chosen Microsoft as its ad partner. To try and increase subscribers, Netflix put more money into original content. But to fund that original programming, it hiked subscription prices, which contributed to the platform losing 600,000 or so users in North America.

💵Barclays is going to China: According to Reuters, anonymous sources have said that Barclays is on the lookout for a Chinese banking partner to set up an asset management joint venture to try to tap into the US$4.3 trillion market.

🛫Heathrow Airport drama: Earlier this week, London Heathrow Airport asked airlines to stop selling summer tickets until mid-September to try and cut down on long queues and flight cancellations. The airport put a cap of a max of 100,000 passengers departing per day. Now, Emirates Airline’s bigwig has come out to say no, adding that it’s “entirely unreasonable and unacceptable.”

Written and put together by Jake Shropshire, Christine Dulion and Krystal Lai