Cramm for 7/19/21


Govs have been using this thing called Pegasus to spy on journalists, dissidents, and opposition politicians. 



Meet NSO Group. Aka an Israeli cyber-surveillance biz that has a software called Pegasus. It hacks phones, giving spies the ability to access hard drives, pictures, videos, emails, get the idea. Oh, and it also lets spies record conversations made on or near that phone, use its camera, and figure out the user’s location. 



Pegasus has been on the world’s radar for years. See: the software was apparently used against rights activists in the United Arab Emirates and journalists in Mexico. But recently, an international alliance of news outlets reported that govs have been using Pegasus to target waaaaay more journalists, dissidents, and opposition politicians than previously thought. Like, 50,000. Not a typo. 



How does everyone know this? Amnesty International and Forbidden Stories (as in the free speech group) got hold of a leaked list of 50,000 mobile numbers from more than 50 countries that looked to be proposed surveillance targets for NSO’s clients. Those numbers belong to people like a Mexican reporter who was gunned down, two women close to Jamal Khashoggi (who was assassinated by Saudi operatives), and investigative reporters from all kinds of news outlets. 



All of the above are raising concerns about privacy in the digital age. TBD, TBD, TBD. 


WORLD: All eyes are on Western Europe. Reminder: last week, the region was hit with heavy rains that caused dangerous flash floods - in some places, the worst in decades. At least 188 people have been killed. And rescue teams are continuing to search for survivors. Now, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is pledging financial aid - and saying govs need to do more to combat climate change. In other news, US health officials have some bad news about the delta variant: it’s so contagious, people who haven’t already gotten vaccinated or infected will likely get it. This comes as teenage tennis star Coco Gauff tested positive for the virus and was forced to drop out of the Olympics, just days before they kicked off. 


HUMAN RIGHTS: Say hello to Wi Spa, which is in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Koreatown. The biz has a policy that lets trans women use women’s bathrooms - angering some people on the right. Case in point: lately, anti-transgender protesters have been targeting the spa. The situation has turned violent as police have clashed with the protesters, leading to dozens of arrests. Meanwhile, a jury just found that Walmart violated the Americans With Disabilities Act after it fired a woman with Down syndrome in 2015. The jury says the retail biz failed to provide the woman with the reasonable accommodation she needed. And in other news, Germany’s Olympic football team just walked off the pitch during a friendly match with Honduras. The why: a Black player for Germany reportedly faced racial abuse.  


DISASTERS: Recently, a fuel tanker collided with another vehicle, flipped over, and caught fire in western Kenya, killing at least 13 people. 24 people - including kids - have been hospitalized with serious burns. Investigators are continuing to search the scene in an effort to identify any other deaths. In other news, dozens of people were taken to a hospital after experiencing burning skin and respiratory problems - apparently due to a chemical leak at Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Splashtown in Texas. And meanwhile, over the weekend, a shooting took place outside Nationals Park in Washington, DC, forcing a Washington Nationals game to come to a halt and sending players and fans running. 3 people were injured. Stay tuned. 


Gray hair:” what can apparently be reversed by de-stressing. That’s a nice thought. 


“The world’s very first 3D-printed bridge is open in Amsterdam” - an actual headline. Hoi, future. 

ICYMI, Cramm This Book is coming on February 15, 2022! Cramm This Book is a dive into the history that’s shaped the world as it is today, looking at the wars, the movements, the disasters, and more. Pre-order your copy today through Penguin Random HouseAmazonBarnes & NobleIndieBoundWalmart
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