Death of James Le Mesurier – White Helmets founder raises questions

By: Joseph Lyttleton

Reading Time: 3 minutes James Le Mesurier, co-founder of the White Helmets – a humanitarian organization operating in Syria – was found dead on the street outside his apartment in Istanbul, Turkey on November 11. The former British Army captain was discovered with fractures to his head and legs.

Le Mesurier was reported to be under considerable stress as a result of his humanitarian work and a barrage of attacks from a disinformation campaign. The cause of death is being officially investigated as a suicide. However, due to the nature of Le Mesurier’s work, there have been calls for a more thorough investigation into the details surrounding his death.

Go beyond the headlines…

– Who was James Le Mesurier?
– Who are the White Helmets?

Leonardo DiCaprio responds to Brazil President Bolsanaro about the Amazon Fires

By: Andrew Stafford

Reading Time: 3 minutes On Friday, November 29, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro accused Hollywood actor Leondardo DiCaprio of financing fires set in the Amazon rainforest earlier this year. Bolsonaro claimed DiCaprio gave “money to set the Amazon on fire.”

According to the New York Times, President Bolsonaro’s remarks are his latest attempt to shift blame for the Amazon fires onto environmental groups operating in Brazil.

Go beyond the headlines…

– What was DiCaprio’s response?
– What was the WWF’s response?
– What are Bolsonaro’s past views?

Press pressed for freedom – Chinese journalist tops ‘10 Most Urgent’ Press Freedom Cases

By: Dhipa Palani

Reading Time: 3 minutes China’s crackdown on press freedom has earned itself a high ranking on the list of countries known to imprison their journalists, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF) – the international non-profit specializing in issues related to freedom of information and the press.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), China is now the second-leading country to imprison journalists in its efforts to curb freedom of the press, with Turkey taking the number one position.

Go beyond the headlines…

– Who is Sophia Huang Xueqin?
– What are the other recent public detention cases in mainland China?

China makes facial recognition scans mandatory for mobile phone users

By: Joseph Lyttleton

Reading Time: 3 minutes On Sunday, December 1, China’s new facial recognition law came into effect. The law requires that anyone who registers a subscriber identification module (SIM) card must submit to a facial recognition scan. The law, which was passed in September this year, has ignited a debate regarding privacy and consumer rights. It also raises questions about how the technology could potentially be used.

Go beyond the headlines…

– What warnings have been issued by human rights advocates?
– What are China’s intentions?
– How is facial recognition technology used in the US?

Bloomberg News reveals role it will play during co-founder’s presidential campaign

By: Brendan Monroe

Reading Time: 2 minutes Billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s announcement that he is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination has left many wondering what role his media corporation, Bloomberg L.P., might play in the race. Bloomberg told an Iowa radio host last year that he would sell his media company were he to run, explaining that in a situation such as this, a media company “can’t be independent and nobody’s going to believe that you’re independent.”

However, to date, Bloomberg has maintained his stake in Bloomberg L.P. and doesn’t appear likely to sell anytime soon.

Go beyond the headlines…

– What position has the company taken?
– How has the Trump campaign responded?

TikTok seeks to distance itself from ByteDance amidst US security inquiry

By: Joseph Lyttleton

Reading Time: 3 minutes The popular social media video app, TikTok, is seeking to distance itself from its parent company in the wake of a United States security inquiry. ByteDance, the China-based tech company that owns TikTok, is being investigated to determine if the user data it collects is stored securely. Critics have raised concerns that the data could be shared with the Chinese authorities.

Go beyond the headlines…

– How has TikTok grown over the past year?
– How does TikTok’s growth compare to other popular social media applications, such as Instagram?
– Who is ByteDance?
– Why does ByteDance wish to separate TikTok?

Facebook adds fake news correction notice following Singapore request

By: Andrew Stafford

Reading Time: 3 minutes On November 30, after receiving instruction from the Singapore government, Facebook added a “correction notice” to an article posted by the States Times Review. Lawmakers from the city-state requested the correction notice after alleging the article contained false information. The note issued by Facebook and embedded in the article said the social media site “is legally required to tell you that the Singapore government says this post has false information.”

Go beyond the headlines…

– What is Singapore’s recent fake news law?
– What are some criticisms against the new law?
– What was the Singaporean government’s response?

Black Friday sparks criticism, protests and record-breaking sales

By: Dhipa Palani

Reading Time: 3 minutes Pope Francis has defined consumerism as “a virus.” Speaking during a service held in Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City on Sunday, December 1, he warned people about the dangers of overindulging, saying “it makes us believe that life depends only on what we have.”

This sermon comes amid a time when overconsumption and accumulation are soaring in the United States, with Black Friday sales reaching $7.4 billion – compared to last year’s $6.22 billion. Tech and gaming toys are the most sought-after items on Black Friday.

Go beyond the headlines…

– What predictions do researchers have for Cyber Monday?

North Korea believed to be planning on a bigger rocket launch, following two projectiles launched on Thanksgiving Day

By: The Millennial Source

Reading Time: 3 minutes The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), North Korea, said on Friday, November 29 the latest test-firing of its “super-large” multiple rocket launcher was a final review of the weapon’s combat application, suggesting that the country is preparing to deploy the new weapons system soon.

This test is North Korea’s thirteenth this year and comes amid a continued diplomatic stalemate between Pyongyang and Washington, D.C. over North Korea’s nuclear program.

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– What are the details about the launch?
– What were the reactions from neighboring countries?

US Attorney General blames ‘perfect storm of screw-ups’ for Epstein’s death

By: Andrew Stafford

Reading Time: 3 minutes Speaking to reporters on November 22, U.S. Attorney General William Barr said that despite having initial suspicions about the circumstances surrounding Jeffrey Epstein’s death, he concluded that the billionaire financier accused of sex trafficking and sexually abusing young girls died following “a perfect storm of screw-ups.”

In an interview with the Associated Press, Barr said that he initially had concerns about Epstein’s death. He said irregularities at the jail where he was being held provoked this concern.

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– What were the prison irregularities reported in Epstein’s death?

Climate activists disrupt Harvard-Yale Football game to protest fossil fuel investments

By: Andrew Stafford

Reading Time: 4 minutes Hundreds of students and alumni from Harvard and Yale disrupted the annual football game between the two universities on Saturday, November 23 to protest the school’s investments in the fossil fuel industry. The protest began during the game’s half-time show when 70 protestors took to the field. At its peak, the protest included up to 500 people. The disruption delayed the game for roughly an hour.

Calling on Harvard and Yale to divest fossil fuel investments, protesters held up banners that read “Nobody wins. Yale and Harvard are complicit in climate injustice.”

Go beyond the headlines…

– Why were students and alumni protesting?
– How did Harvard and Yale respond?

Amazon sues the Pentagon over $10 billion cloud computing contract

By: Chi Ngo

Reading Time: 3 minutes Amazon filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Federal Court on November 22 to overturn the U.S. Defense Department’s decision to award a $10 billion cloud computing contract to rival bidder Microsoft. Federal Times first reported the news.

Amazon’s cloud computing subsidiary, Amazon Web Services, claimed that the company selection process for the government Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud contract “contained clear deficiencies, errors, and unmistakable bias.”

Go beyond the headlines…

– What is the basis of Amazon’s claims?