First thing: Facebook’s global outage adds to its many recent woes | US News



Facebook had a terrible day on Monday. The social media company suffered one of the worst outages in its history, leaving users around the world unable to access its platforms, including Instagram and WhatsApp, for several hours.

As of Monday evening, services were slowly coming back online, with the company apologizing for the prolonged disruption.

The global blackout adds to Facebook’s many recent woes. Over the past month, the social media empire has faced headaches ranging from accusations of putting profit over public good to calls for its dismantling.

Later today, a former Facebook employee who accused the company of putting profit before security will bring her damning accusations to Washington when she testifies before U.S. senators. Frances Haugen, 37, stepped forward as a whistleblower on Sunday behind a series of damaging reports in the Wall Street Journal that increased political pressure on the tech company.

  • What did Mark Zuckerberg say about the blackout? He apologized on Facebook after the website was brought back online, but did not provide an explanation, adding: “I know how much you rely on our services to stay in touch with the people you care about. . “

  • Has Facebook been hacked? There was no evidence that the issue was caused by malicious activity, the Associated Press reported, and the problem could only have been with the company. Facebook said it had no evidence that user data was compromised.

  • What will Haugen say to senators? She is expected to say that Facebook faces little oversight and will urge Congress to take action. “As long as Facebook is operating in the dark, it is accountable to no one,” she said in her written testimony.

Pfizer Covid jab ‘90% effective against hospitalization for at least six months’

The results underscore the vital importance of improving vaccination rates against Covid around the world. Photograph: Dado Ruvić / Reuters

Two doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech Covid vaccine are “very effective” in preventing hospitalizations for at least six months, according to a large-scale study, but protection against infection drops to almost half over the same period.

Efficacy against all Covid infections increased from 88% within one month of two doses being given to 47% after six months, according to research. However, the efficacy against hospitalizations remained high, at 90% overall, and most importantly in all variants, including Delta.

The findings, published in The Lancet, are consistent with preliminary reports from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Israel’s Ministry of Health which suggest protection against the virus wears off within six months.

The results underscore the vital importance of improving vaccination rates against Covid around the world, the researchers said.

  • The researchers analyzed the health records of 3 million people between December 2020 and August 2021. During the study period, 5.4% of people were infected with Sars-CoV-2. Among those infected, 6.6% were hospitalized. The average time since full vaccination was between three and four months.

  • “Our study confirms that vaccines are an essential tool to control the pandemic and remain very effective in preventing serious diseases”, said lead author of the study, Dr Sara Tartof.

Pandora Diaries Reveal South Dakota’s Role As $ 367 Billion Tax Haven

Records suggest midwestern state now rivals other famous tax havens as a favorite haunt for wealthy internationals
Records suggest that the state of the US Midwest now rivals other famous tax havens as a favorite haunt for wealthy internationals. Illustration: Guardian design

South Dakota is home to billions of dollars in wealth, some tied to individuals and businesses charged with financial crimes or serious wrongdoing, according to documents published in Pandora newspapers.

Records suggest the US Midwestern state now rivals Switzerland, Panama, the Cayman Islands and other notorious tax havens as a favorite haunt for wealthy internationals seeking to protect their assets from local taxes or authorities. .

Wealthy foreigners and their families transfer millions of dollars to South Dakota trust funds, which enjoy some of the world’s most powerful legal protections against taxes, creditors, and prying eyes.

The United States has already faced international criticism of the ease with which shell companies – which can be used to commit tax evasion and financial crimes – can be incorporated in the state of Delaware.

  • What are Pandora papers? Pandora Journals are the largest trove of leaked data revealing the secrets of tax havens in history. They provide a rare window into the hidden world of offshore finance, shedding light on the financial secrets of some of the richest people in the world.

  • Where do Pandora documents come from? The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, a Washington DC-based nonprofit journalism organization, does not identify the source of the leaked documents.

In other news …

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said he would do “whatever it takes to defend himself” against an increasingly assertive Beijing. Photograph: Ann Wang / Reuters

Statistics of the day: only 31% of pregnant Americans are fully vaccinated

Pregnant woman receives Covid vaccine in Schwenksville, Pennsylvania
Pregnant woman receives Covid vaccine in Schwenksville, Pennsylvania. Photograph: Hannah Beier / Reuters

We now know that contracting Covid-19 is much riskier for pregnant women and their fetuses than the average person. But with only 31% of pregnant American women fully vaccinated as of Sept. 18, compared to about 52% of the average population – and with much lower rates among black and Hispanic women – it seems a long history of incomplete science and Fear-motivated medical advice on prenatal decisions broke trust, leaving many mothers to rely on anecdotes and misinformation.

Don’t miss this: the world according to Stevie Van Zandt

Bruce Springsteen and Stevie Van Zandt
Bruce Springsteen’s loyal sideman says he saw something in the Boss that “no one else has seen”. Photograph: Bill Kostroun / AP

Stevie Van Zandt has an extraordinary life. The mere fact of having been the right-hand man – consigliere, as he says – of Bruce Springsteen from 1975 to 1984, and then again since 1999, would be enough to secure his status. Add to that her lead roles in The Sopranos and Lilyhammer. Then factor in training, writing, arranging, and producing Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, and his own solo career with Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul. And don’t forget his relentless rock’n’roll cheerleaders as a broadcaster for nearly 20 years, and his music education campaign work. It is tiring just to read about it.

Climate balance: can hydroelectric panels bring water to parched communities?

Aquatic farm in Dubai
A range of Source hydroelectric panels in Dubai. Photograph: Source

Over 2 billion people lack adequate access to water and half the world will live in areas of water stress by 2025. As the climate crisis accelerates – causing droughts to intensify, melting glaciers and depletion of freshwater sources – water shortages are predicted. become more acute. Source is one of many companies that claim they can offer a solution to the problem of water scarcity through a technology called Atmospheric Water Generation (AWG): the process of removing clean water from the air. .

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Last thing: dozens of Korean words added to the Oxford English Dictionary

Girl group Blackpink perform in 2019
Girl group Blackpink performs in 2019. Photograph: Chung Sung-Jun / Getty Images

The wave of Korean culture has swept through the editorial offices of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), which added more than 20 words of Korean origin to its latest edition. The “Definitive English Language Record” included words hinting at the worldwide popularity of the country’s music and cuisine, plus one or two whose roots in the Korean language may be less obvious. “Lexical innovation is no longer confined to traditional English centers in the UK and US,” OED said.

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