Tuesday, June 18

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Crisis in the Middle East: Blinken defines some Hamas changes to the ceasefire proposal as “unacceptable”.
News

Crisis in the Middle East: Blinken defines some Hamas changes to the ceasefire proposal as “unacceptable”.

A United Nations commission investigating the October 7 attacks on Israel and the resulting conflict in Gaza accused both Palestinian armed groups and Israel of committing war crimes, and the commission said Israel's conduct of the war included crimes against humanity.In a report released on Wednesday, the three-person commission – led by Navi Pillay, a former UN human rights chief – provided the UN's most detailed examination yet of the events since 7 October. The report itself does not entail any sanctions. , but presents a legal analysis of actions in the Gaza conflict that is likely to be evaluated by the International Court of Justice and other international criminal proceedings. Israel did not cooperate with the investigation and protested the commission's assessment of its behavi...
Health officials tried to circumvent public records laws, lawmakers say
Health

Health officials tried to circumvent public records laws, lawmakers say

In one of those emails, from June 2021, Greg Folkers, Dr. Fauci's former chief of staff, was discussing global biosafety practices and referenced an EcoHealth fact sheet. Folkers rendered the group's name as "Ec~Health," a misspelling that lawmakers said appeared to be a deliberate attempt to prevent the email from being caught in keyword searches to satisfy FOIA requests related to EcoHealth . In a separate email the same month, Folkers rendered the last name of Kristian Andersen, a prominent virologist who has investigated the origins of the pandemic and faced scrutiny from lawmakers, as “anders$n.” Experts on records retention policies said the comments reflect the lax practices of federal government agencies, with officials strategically misspelling words in emails, missing deadlines...
The miniature secrets of championship rings
Sports

The miniature secrets of championship rings

While sports fans enjoy the defining moments of this month's NBA Finals and Stanley Cup, Jason Arasheben studies like a college student before exams. Arasheben, a famous jeweler whose clients include rappers Drake and ASAP Rocky, is investigating the contending teams' history, connections to their hometowns and any other interesting facts that might go into an extravagantly bejeweled ring. He is also examining his personal contacts to find someone who can facilitate a meeting with the wealthy owners of the winning franchises. “You just have to start connecting the dots,” said Arasheben, CEO of the Jason jewelry house in Beverly Hills, near Los Angeles. “Billionaires talk to other billionaires.” In recent years, Arasheben has established itself as the go-to jeweler for title-winning team...
What to know about the open versus closed software debate
Technology

What to know about the open versus closed software debate

What are some examples of open source software? Some of the most popular software systems are open source, such as Linux, the operating system on which Google's Android mobile system was built. Among the best-known open source products is Firefox, the free downloadable Web browser created by the Mozilla Foundation. So, what is the open and closed debate and how does it relate to artificial intelligence? Tech companies like Google, OpenAI, and Anthropic have spent billions of dollars creating “closed,” or proprietary, AI systems. People who don't work for these companies can't see or tinker with the underlying source code, nor can customers who pay to use it. For a long time this was not the norm. Most of these companies have open-sourced their AI research so that other engineers can st...
Global hotspots target overtourism
News

Global hotspots target overtourism

Hotel taxes and other taxes have increased Hotel taxes, also known as lodging or tourist taxes, are widespread in the United States and Europe, where they had been rising for a decade before the pandemic. As tourism has recovered to pre-pandemic levels, several destinations have increased or adjusted taxes to increase revenue. Like Hawaii, Greece – which suffered severe wildfires last summer – is trying to prepare for climate disasters, and the government wants tourists to help foot the bill. Greece calls this tax a “climate crisis resilience tax” and will be collected from housing providers. The tax will be highest from March to October, when it will reach 10 euros per night in five-star hotels. The rate drops from November to February and for hotels with fewer stars. The rate repla...
US expands sanctions against Russia during G7 leaders’ meeting
Politics

US expands sanctions against Russia during G7 leaders’ meeting

While the measures expand the scope of the U.S. sanctions program, the Biden administration has so far refrained from imposing sanctions on Chinese or European banks it believes are helping Russia. The new measures do not prevent banks from facilitating transactions related to Russia's energy exports, which the Biden administration has allowed to continue out of fear that restricting them could stoke inflation. Announcing the sanctions, Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen said in a statement that “Russia's war economy is deeply isolated from the international financial system, leaving the Kremlin's military desperate for access to the outside world.” At the heart of the measures is an expansion of “secondary” sanctions that give the United States the power to blacklist any bank in the wor...
ConocoPhillips will acquire Marathon Oil in a $22.5 billion all-stock deal
Business

ConocoPhillips will acquire Marathon Oil in a $22.5 billion all-stock deal

The oil industry in the United States, the world's largest producer of crude oil, is made up of many small and medium-sized oil companies, ranging from family businesses with a few wells in one state to global giants like Exxon Mobil. Wall Street values ​​ConocoPhillips at about $140 billion, or about 10 times larger than Marathon Oil but about a quarter of Exxon. Oil companies have completed some of the largest acquisitions in the past year despite regulatory scrutiny from the Biden administration and oil market volatility. U.S. giants have capitalized on record profits, giving them the firepower to acquire smaller companies with operations in oil-rich regions such as the Permian Basin in New Mexico and Texas and the Gulf of Mexico. Among the drivers of consolidation is that companies ...
Biden joins fight for Ukraine with allied efforts on D-Day
News

Biden joins fight for Ukraine with allied efforts on D-Day

Mr. Biden was accompanied by the first lady, Jill Biden, who flew separately to France to join him after attending the trial of her son Hunter Biden in Wilmington, Del., on federal firearms charges. Wearing his aviator sunglasses, the president held Dr. Biden's hand as they marched across a blue carpet to the ceremony with the Macrons as military planes zoomed overhead. Addressing the crowd first, Macron hailed what he called “a bond of blood shed for freedom” between the United States and France. He directly addressed some of the veterans on stage, individually and by name, thanking them for coming to France's rescue 80 years earlier. “You came here to liberate the continent,” he said, “and you came here with the strength that allows you to withstand 171 days of fighting against the en...
Christophe Deloire, who fought for threatened journalists, has died at the age of 53
Politics

Christophe Deloire, who fought for threatened journalists, has died at the age of 53

Christophe Deloire, whose nonpartisan organization to protect journalists saved dissidents from prison and championed a diversity of viewpoints in the profession around the world, died Saturday in Paris. He was 53 years old. The cause would be complications due to brain cancer, according to Reporters Without Borders, the media group of which he has been general secretary for 12 years. Deloire, who was himself a journalist and author, lobbied publicly and worked behind the scenes to promote a free press in countries that muzzled journalists. He helped negotiate freedom for those who had been threatened with arrest, imprisoned or held hostage. In 2023, Reporters Without Borders, known by its French initials RSF, coordinated the clandestine escape of Marina Ovsyannikova, a former Rus...
Sony Pictures Acquires Alamo Drafthouse in Lifeline to Cinema Chain
Business

Sony Pictures Acquires Alamo Drafthouse in Lifeline to Cinema Chain

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Sony bought Alamo from Altamont Capital Partners and Fortress Investment Group, as well as the chain's founder, Tim League. Mr League said the cinema chain was “more than thrilled” with the deal. This comes at a time of financial difficulty for the Alamo and the film industry as a whole. Many of Alamo's franchised locations filed for bankruptcy and closed this month, making Sony's move a potential lifeline for the struggling chain. Alamo filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2021 before a private equity firm intervened. The theaters will continue to operate under the Alamo Drafthouse brand, Sony said, although they will be operated by a newly formed division at Sony led by Michael Kustermann, Alamo's chief executive. “Alamo Drafthouse has always held...