From Twitter telling employees to stop tattling to doggo DNA – Here's your December 12 news briefing

To start off, we're looking into: Are tech giants silencing let-go employees? – In 2021, Apple was accused of stopping a departed employee from discussing why she left the company strict NDAs.

From Twitter telling employees to stop tattling to doggo DNA – Here's your December 12 news briefing

To start off, we're looking into:

Are tech giants silencing let-go employees?

In 2021, Apple was accused of stopping a departed employee from discussing why she left the company strict NDAs. Soon after, US officials called for an investigation to see if Apple used NDAs to silence mistreated employees.

In October, Twitter CEO Elon Musk took over the company with US$44 billion, and it's already facing a few lawsuits from Twitter's ex-employees. They're accusing the company of unfair practices, including gender and disability discrimination.

Now, Apple has come out to say staff have the right to speak freely about workplace conditions, including discrimination and abuse.  Meanwhile, it seems Musk has threatened to sue whoever is leaking information to the press.  Ironically, someone leaked the email of Musk telling his staff not to leak information to the press – to the press.

Is being vulnerable at work a good thing?

Stress at work is unavoidable – but did you know Hong Kong’s employees are the most stressed in East Asia? According to a report, Hong Kong has the highest stress index compared to other countries.

Have you ever tried not to cry at work? Everyone has a different trigger point. Some might break down from stress, while others will tough it up. Even though about 30% of people score high for being sensitive, society still sees crying at work as unprofessional and a sign of weakness. But, the truth is sensitive people tend to be high performers because it gives you the gift to flourish in innovation and leadership.

For example, sensitive people excel at deep thinking, understanding emotions, empathy and attention to detail. So, if you are a sensitive person– own it and use it to thrive in the workplace.

Oil tankers stuck in the Black Sea

Oil tankers sail along Nakhodka Bay near the port city of Nakhodka, Russia August 12, 2022. REUTERS/Tatiana Meel

The G7 and the EU have executed price caps on Russian oil imports. For ships carrying Russian oil, this means that they can’t get insurance unless that oil is bought for US$60 a barrel or less.

Now, Turkey is worried about accidents and oil spills involving uninsured ships. So, authorities haven’t been letting ships go through Turkish waters without showing that they’re insured. As a result, the Black Sea is getting kind of jammed with oil tankers. If ships continue to be stuck, global supply would get all messed up and energy prices could go crazy.

But, on Monday, four tankers are supposed to be allowed to pass through, and five tankers have been removed. One shipping official said ships were beginning to pass through, suggesting Turkey has worked out any issues with documentation. Sunday showed 19 tankers still waiting to pass.

To end, we'll look into:

The “Rosetta Stone” of dinosaurs

Who doesn't love dinosaurs? Human beings are so curious about them that we have, like, a billion Jurassic Park movies. Most of them aren't even good, but they keep getting made because everyone wants to see tons of dinosaurs go bananas. It's just a fact.

Well, paleontologists make new discoveries all the time about these big lizard-bird things. Even though dinos went extinct 65 million years ago, we're learning more about them every day. And paleontologists aren't the only ones digging for pieces of the past. Some people treat fossil hunting as a fun, educational hobby. Some amateur fossil hunters have even found some of the most valuable relics from prehistoric times. In fact, "Sue the T. rex," the most complete dino skeleton found to date, was discovered by an amateur paleontologist.

This past August, amateur fossil finders in Australia discovered a true game-changer: the skeletal remains of a giant 100 million-year-old plesiosaur. The three women who found made this discovery call themselves the "Rock Chicks." They are Cassandra Prince, her sister Cynthia Prince and their cousin Sally, who doesn't use a last name.

Now, researchers have realized how important this find really is. Dr Espen Knutsen, a paleontology curator for the Queensland Museum, explains, "We were extremely excited when we saw this fossil– it is like the Rosetta Stone of marine paleontology as it may hold the key to unraveling the diversity and evolution of long-necked plesiosaurs in Cretaceous Australia. We have never found a body and a head together and this could hold the key to future research in this field.

"Because these plesiosaurs were two-thirds neck," he continues, "often the head would be separated from the body after death, which makes it very hard to find a fossil preserving both together." The dinosaur has been given the nickname "Little Prince," after its finders. He has his neck and head but is missing a flipper, which could've been bitten off by a kronosaur.

During the Cretaceous period, Queensland, Australia, was underwater. So, the fossils that are found there today belong to marine life.

Editor's Note

A warm hey to all our dedicated daily readers! The holidays are fast approaching, and everyone needs a break from the news now and then – even us. So, we wanted to give you a heads-up that we'll be on hiatus next week to spend some much-needed time relaxing and enjoying friends and family. We hope you do the same!

We'll be back to our regularly scheduled releases on December 26. Happy holidays!

In other news ...

💣Lockerbie bombing suspect in custody: A Pan Am flight over Lockerbie, Scotland, blew up 34 years ago because of a bomb on board, killing 270 people (11 of them on the ground in Lockerbie). Now, a Libyan man suspected of making the bomb is in US custody. He was initially arrested in Libya two years ago but has now been handed over to the US.

👩‍⚖️European parliament Qatar scandal: On Sunday, four people were charged in a corruption scandal involving Qatar bribing the European parliament. They've been charged with "participation in a criminal organisation, money laundering and corruption." Authorities had already seized €600,000 (US$632,000) in cash and arrested six people for this corruption case.

💬DRC M23 rebels: In late November, M23 rebels killed at least 131 civilians in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo as they continued to murder, rape, kidnap and loot in the region, according to the UN. Meanwhile, DRC authorities in Kinshasa had already said that over 270 people were killed in these attacks. But the rebels are saying they're not responsible for this tragedy and that they're only to blame for "stray bullets" causing the deaths of eight civilians.

🤝Biden and the African Union: US President Biden will call for the African Union to become part of the G20, giving African nations more of a say on key economic issues. He'll announce this at the US-Africa Leaders Summit this week.

🚢China and Taiwan alcohol imports: China has stopped importing alcoholic beverages from certain companies in Taiwan. The island's finance ministry has asked China about this decision. In general, it seems China has been rolling back on importing Taiwanese products in multiple sectors.

🎂South Koreans age backward: Last Thursday, South Korea passed a law changing its official age-counting standards. The law will become effective next June and adopts the standardized, international age method. Instead of being considered one at birth and adding another year on January first of each new year, as Koreans have traditionally done, people will now have their age be based on birthday, with the one-year birthday being 365 days after birth.

🔥The UK approves controversial coal mine: The British government has approved the UK's first coal mine in 30 years, which is supposed to create new jobs. It's being condemned as a step backward when it comes to fighting climate change. The mine would be used for the steel industry.

🛢Keystone Pipeline leak: The Keystone Pipeline was shut down after a leak was found in the middle of the continental US on Wednesday. This caused havoc on Thursday's energy market. The leak is being investigated.

😷WHO pandemic accord: There are demands for better accessibility for developing nations (like South Africa, Pakistan and India) to medical treatments after COVID because of unfair access during the pandemic. The WHO is looking to create new health rules to fight pandemics, and these countries are lobbying for more inclusion. The organization has scheduled 18 months of negotiations, but these countries worry they don't have as much negotiating power as wealthier countries.

♥UN humanitarian aid exception: The UN Security Council voted to adopt a new resolution that exempts humanitarian aid from UN sanctions. This means that food, medicine and other aid can get to people in need, even if economic sanctions are in place where that aid needs to go. India abstained from voting.

🍟Japan's "dish of the year": Japan's "dish of the year" has been revealed. Every year, the Gurunavi Research Institute, which runs a website for finding top restaurants in different areas of Japan, crowns a new dish to show how food trends are changing in the country. 2022's winner is "frozen food."

🐶Dog genes: A study from scientists at the National Human Genome Research Institute in the US shows how genes can affect the behaviors of certain dog breeds, like those meant to herd sheep. Called the Dog Genome Project, the overall program was meant to figure out how genetics affects everything about a dog in terms of behavior and body. In their new study, the team figured out how different breed lineages have unique behavioral tendencies that make dogs good at tasks they were originally used for.

Written and put together by Joey Fung, Vanessa Wolosz and Christine Dulion