8 photo stories that will challenge your worldview

This week has been another sobering look at the effects of climate change around the world. We saw China flooding and the monstrous forest fires continued in the Pacific Northwest. The photograph Marina Vitaglione used an old photographic technique to produce otherworldly images of London’s air pollution, while Eva Marie Uzcátegui took a peek at a sandbar in Miami that has become a local hangout popular and about to be destroyed.

Many media outlets have paid tribute to the Indian photographer Danish Siddiqui, who was killed while working in Afghanistan. His work had taken him around the world for stories, and his reporting on the Rohingya refugee crisis won a Pulitzer Prize in 2018. The Delta variant of COVID-19 is on the rise, raising fears of another lockdown. Todd heisler and David González of the New York Times profiled 115 workers who kept the city afloat during the pandemic, even when some of them found themselves unemployed.

Despite the ongoing pandemic, the Olympics began this week after a year of delay, which means all eyes are on the celebrations in Tokyo. And just for fun, we took one last look at France and the celebs out in force in Cannes.

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USA team hoops face tough first test against France

It doesn’t seem like a confidence start for the US men’s basketball team.

The exhibition problems encountered by Team USA will be immediately put to the test. Its first opponent at the Tokyo Olympics, France, won the last meeting between the two countries, in the quarter-finals of the FIBA ​​World Cup two years ago.

The France squad has a roster that includes NBA Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert, quality shooters Nicolas Batum and Evan Fournier, as well as Frank Ntilikina of the Knicks and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot des Filets.

“Everyone wants to beat us,” Nets star Kevin Durant told reporters at Team USA. “Everyone wants to see us lose, so every game has a little more pressure. A lot of guys gave up. Lots of circumstances. I’m sure other teams have seen us lose and feel confident for the tournament. But, we understand what we’re getting into and [we’re] looking forward to the challenge.

Follow all the action of the 2020 Olympics

The United States comes into the Group A action largely a work in progress while chasing a fourth straight gold medal. Star guard Bradley Beal did not make the trip to Japan due to COVID-19 issues. Kevin Love withdrew due to a calf injury that had not healed as expected. Unannounced players Keldon Johnson and Javale McGee replaced them.

The Bucks ‘Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton and the Suns’ Devin Booker were still busy with the NBA Finals, so they weren’t available for all four exhibition games, including two lost by America, to Nigeria and Australia. . Gregg Popovich, the American head coach, said he has no idea how to use them at the moment, although they are available to play on Sunday.

Jerami Grant and Zach LaVine ran out of time due to COVID-19 protocols. The team that will take court on Sunday have had virtually no time together, pale compared to the countries the United States will face.

“It’s one of the interesting things about international basketball, is that our team changes every year and the teams we play against stay the same, and that’s the big challenge,” said Warriors coach and USA team assistant Steve Kerr.

Exposure losses led to concern about a repeat of the dismal performance of the 2004 Athens Games, when the United States settled for a bronze medal. While there is plenty of power in this year’s squad, from Durant to Booker to Damian Lillard, the United States lacks experience – only Durant and Draymond Green were part of the medal winning squad. gold in 2016 – and lack many of the best in the NBA. players. LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, James Harden, Anthony Davis, Stephen Curry and Kyrie Irving have chosen not to play for various reasons.

Starting Sunday against France, the United States can take one of two directions: prove those worries were insane or draw more comparisons to 2004 in Athens.

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Major protests against health passes hit France for a 2d

More than 160,000 demonstrators took to the streets in France on Saturday to protest the government’s Covid-19 health pass policy, with brief clashes between largely unmasked demonstrators and police in Paris followed by bursts of tear gas reminiscent of the turmoil of the yellow vests of several years ago.

Likewise, in cities in Italy, thousands of people have protested against the government’s demand that, as of August 6, they present a so-called green pass, an extension of the Covid digital certificate of the European Union, to enter many places.

And in Australia, 3,500 people, mostly without masks, protesting Sydney month-long lockdown clashed with police officers on Saturday, raising fears of a large-scale event that could add to the city’s growing workload. There have also been protests in Melbourne and Adelaide, which are stranded, and Brisbane, where there are no restrictions.

The protests against the lockdowns are not new, but the European protests had a new element. They targeted France and Italy new semi-coercive strategy to speed up vaccinations and control a recent upsurge in infections: Make social life unpleasant for those who refuse to be vaccinated, while avoiding making vaccines compulsory.

In France, the presentation of the health passport – paper or digital proof of a complete vaccination, a recent negative test or a recent recovery from Covid-19 – is mandatory to attend major events in stadiums and concert halls , and to enter the cultural places of the country, including cinemas, museums and theaters.

In Italy, the green pass will be compulsory in the same types of places.

“Freedom!” and “Down with the dictatorship! chanted demonstrators waving flags from Naples in the south to Turin in the north, Agence-France Presse reported. Rain-soaked protesters in Milan shouted, “No green pass!

A bill currently under consideration by the French Senate and which should be adopted in the coming days will extend the obligation to produce a health pass to cafes, bars, restaurants and gymnasiums, adding fines for establishments that do not respect the rule. A valid health subscription will also be required for non-emergency visits to hospitals or retirement homes and long-distance journeys by train and bus.

The bill will also require health workers, firefighters and others – mainly those caring for the sick or the elderly – to be vaccinated by September 15 or face penalties up to and including dismissal. . And the current version of the legislation, which can still be changed by lawmakers, mandates isolation for 10 days after testing positive for the virus.

French television showed some protesters were wearing the branded reflective jackets of the yellow vests movement which rocked France in 2018 and 2019. The movement was rooted in anger over economic inequalities but also espoused anti-elite rhetoric and deep mistrust of government, directing much of his vitriol directly to President Emmanuel Macron.

The same spirit has animated the nascent anti-health passes movement in France, raising fears that a radical fringe of violent protesters will gather in the weeks to come. However, there is not the same level of public sympathy that the yellow vest movement commanded. Polls show a majority of the country approves of Mr Macron’s strategy, and a record increase in vaccinations shows it appears to be working.

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Multi-billion dollar asset management company buys Bitcoin as price drops below $ 30,000: Bitcoin

A community dedicated to Bitcoin, the Internet currency. Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency, distributed around the world. Bitcoins are issued and managed without any central authority: there is no government, company or bank in charge of Bitcoin. You might be interested in Bitcoin if you are into cryptography, distributed peer-to-peer systems, or economics. A large percentage of Bitcoin enthusiasts are libertarians, although people of all political philosophies are welcome.

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Robinhood abandons IPO traditions again

Robinhood Markets Inc. has reshaped the way small traders buy and sell stocks. Now he’s trying to get them to invest in companies that go public, including his own stocks.

The company that popularized free trade made its case to investors of all kinds in a presentation that aired live on Saturday. While this type of event, known as a roadshow, is typically limited to hedge funds and other institutions before an initial public offering, Robinhood has taken the unusual step of making its presentation accessible to everyone.


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It’s the latest way Robinhood defies convention as it advances to a public debut not quite like the others. The company reserves up to 35% of its shares for its own app traders, who would normally wait until they start trading on an exchange to buy them – potentially at a price higher than the current target range of $ 38 to $ 42. . The company is expected to start trading on the Nasdaq stock market on July 29, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

“We expect this to be one of the largest retail allocations ever made,” said Vlad Tenev, CEO of Robinhood, sitting together on a white sofa with the company’s management team as they answered questions. customers on its business model and how it plans to grow. “It’s a very special moment and we are touched.”

Tenev added that Robinhood was open to the idea of ​​offering retirement accounts such as IRAs and Roth IRAs.

“We want to turn new investors into long-term investors,” he said.

Jason Warnick, the company’s chief financial officer, discussed payment for order flow – a practice in which brokerages send client orders to trading companies like Citadel Securities to be executed and receive payments. in return. Robinhood derives the majority of its income from these payments, which are common but controversial because they raise questions about conflicts of interest.

“If a ban or other limitations were to be imposed, we believe Robinhood and the industry would adapt,” Warnick said.

Robinhood’s debut will test its investor-centric message of “democratizing finance”. If stocks soar, it would enrich its traders and generate goodwill after repeated run-ins with regulators. Anything less could be another headache for a company that has convinced young investors to get into stock trading.

Right now, the Menlo Park, California-based brokerage is striving to achieve a valuation of up to $ 35 billion. The company is looking to raise around $ 2 billion and will trade under the symbol HOOD.

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Supposedly shadow of smoke from other wildfires helps crews fight America’s biggest blaze By Reuters

By Rich McKay

(Reuters) – Dozens of wildfires raging through the forest and brush of the western United States have spewed so much smoke they’re helping an army of firefighters gain ground in the biggest blaze across the country, the Bootleg fire in Oregon, blocking sunlight, officials said on Saturday.

The National Weather Service and Oregon Department of Forestry officials said smoke in the lower atmosphere from California wildfires floated above the Bootleg fire, which burned more than 401 000 acres in Oregon about 250 miles (402 km) south of Portland.

“It’s called ‘smoke shading’ and it basically puts a lid on the lower atmosphere for now, blocking out sunlight and creating cooler, more stable surface conditions,” he said. said Eric Schoening, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City.

The phenomenon is unpredictable and the region is still the subject of red flag warnings this weekend from the NWS, which said the Pacific Northwest could experience high temperatures and gusts of wind that can fan the flames and spread sparks and hot embers.

Schoening said the weather is a “mixed bag” in terms of helping firefighters.

Marcus Kauffman, spokesman for the Oregon Department of Forestry, said the downside to the “smoke shadow” is that it makes it more difficult to fly airplanes and helicopters that drop air. water and even chemical fire extinguishers “while helping the ground crew.”

An army of more than 2,000 firefighters and support teams had contained about 42% of the blaze on Saturday, although the blaze had passed through containment lines the night before, he said.

“We lost 1,600 acres last night,” Kauffman said.

The Bootleg Fire is one of more than 80 large active wildfires in 13 states that have charred about 1.3 million acres (526,090 hectares) in recent weeks, an area larger than Delaware, according to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) in Boise, Idaho. .

The smoke, while helping Oregon firefighters, has recently been carried by the jet stream and other air currents to the northeastern cities of New York and Boston, where some residents felt the air contamination in their eyes, noses and lungs.

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Beware of the Internet computer: Bitcoin

A community dedicated to Bitcoin, the Internet currency. Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency, distributed around the world. Bitcoins are issued and managed without any central authority: there is no government, company or bank in charge of Bitcoin. You might be interested in Bitcoin if you are into cryptography, distributed peer-to-peer systems, or economics. A large percentage of Bitcoin enthusiasts are libertarians, although people of all political philosophies are welcome.

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Three U.S. States Tackle BlockFi Amid Regulatory Crackdown

New Jersey, Texas and Alabama have individual state regulators who are concerned that New Jersey-based DeFi company BlockFi may offer unregistered titles. Regulators seem particularly to point the finger at BlockFi’s Interest Account (BIA), which offers rates consumers are now accustomed to in DeFi – but which blew up traditional bank rates.

The “Three Insolites”

Crypto, in its relatively early emergence in regulatory discussions and broader adoption, has been widely seen as a somewhat bipartisan subject. Which makes the three states chasing BlockFi a particularly unusual trio. New Jersey, the home state of the company and traditionally a very democratic state, is arguably the most aggressive of the three states making claims against the company. New Jersey ordered BlockFi to stop offering its BIA product to state residents by July 29, according to a recent cease and desist of the State Securities Office.

Texas, a state traditionally ruled by Republicans, has also issued a cease and desist with a hearing date currently set for October. The document also cites BIAs as a concern, stating that BlockFi “partially illegally finances its lending and proprietary trading through the sale of unregistered securities in the form of cryptocurrency-paid accounts.”

Finally, we have another Republican-led state in Alabama that issues a ‘Display the cause of the order‘at BlockFi last week. The company now has less than 30 days to show the state’s securities commission why it shouldn’t be issued a ban on selling unregistered securities. The supporting document suggests that BIAs should be registered with the applicable securities regulatory authorities.

It’s becoming pretty clear, at least in the case of BlockFi recently, that regulatory hurdles don’t live on one particular side of the political aisle.

Bitcoin's can be deposited into BlockFi's BIA product to yield substantial interest-bearing returns.  | Source: BTC-USD on TradingView.com

Related reading | Uniswap limits access to certain tokens, which could mean for the DeFi industry

Is DeFi in trouble?

BlockFi released a recent response statement in a tweet who said the company wholeheartedly believes its BIAs are “legal and appropriate for participants in the crypto market,” adding that the company welcomes “discussions with regulators and believes appropriate regulation of this industry is the key to its future success ”.

It is difficult to say the impacts at such an early stage of aggressive regulatory attacks on DeFi, especially since among the major players in the yield-generating space, only BlockFi is highlighted here. Will other states join these three and will BlockFi’s main competitors start to face challenges as well? Or are these state regulators just cracking a proverbial whip – or are there enough substantial differences in the way BlockFi’s competitors, such as Nexo or Celsius, fund their interest-bearing accounts that allow them to ‘absorb less regulatory risk? Either way, it becomes very clear that the relatively rapid success of crypto, coupled with slow federal decision-making, will leave emerging companies – but hopefully forward-thinking consumers – with some inherent challenges. .

Related reading | Tether to audit to deny transparency claims

Featured image from Pixabay, Charts from TradingView.com

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