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satellite

Former Disney Star Bridget Mendler Is Launching A Satellite Data Startup 

Former Disney star Bridget Mendler, known for appearing in programs like “Good Luck Charlie,” “The Clique,” “Lemonade Mouth,” and more, is not embarking on a new venture that will change how satellite data moves from space back down to Earth. 

Mendler has spent the past several years gaining various degrees and studying at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as well as Harvard Law School. Mendler spoke to CNBC about her new career in the space industry as CEO of Northwood Space, a startup based in El Segundo, California. She began this journey after “falling in love with Space law” throughout her educational journey. 

“The vision is a data highway between Earth and space. Space is getting easier along so many different dimensions but still the actual exercise of sending data to and from space is difficult. You have difficulty finding an access point for contacting your satellite.”

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According to Mendler, Northwood will mass produce ground stations, which are normally large with circular antennas that connect to satellites in space. 

Northwood is also already attracting high-profile venture investors with around $6 million in initial funding. Some of these investors include the Founders Fund. Andreessen Horowitz, and Also Capital. 

Besides Mendler, Northwood has two other co-founders, the startups Chief Technology Officer, and her husband Griffin Cleverly, as well as head of software Shaurya Luthra. 

Mendler told CNBC that the name “Northwood” comes from a lake in New Hampshire, where she was with her family during the Covid-19 pandemic when the idea for the company came to her. 

“While everybody else was making their sourdough starters, we were building antennas out of random crap we could find at Home Depot … and receiving data from [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] satellites.”

“For me, why the ground-side matters is because it actually is about bringing the impacts of space home to people,” Mendler said.

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Cleverly told the news outlet that the general growth of the space industry proves that there is a “colossal” amount of data currently trying to travel back to Earth from various satellites. 

“We need an approach so that those companies can get the data down reliably in the quantities that they need,” Cleverly said. 

Northwood is working to start their initial operations quickly. They want to build ground stations with fast production and deployment flexibility as the priority, according to Luthra, who also said that they want to deliver these ground stations “within days, not months.” Luthra explained that this will make it easier for current satellite operators to avoid reconfiguring their networks. 

“If you want a detected antenna, you have to wait 18 months to get the antenna delivered, installed, and built out for you,” said Luthra. 

Northwood will also be reaching out to services who don’t want to spend the money to build their own ground station networks. 

“Traditionally, when I wanted an antenna or site to use, I would first have to ask, ‘Do you have availability, or is it already rented out to everyone else in the world?’ A lot of times very key sites were already rented out,” Luthra said.

Northwood is aiming to conduct their first connection test with a spacecraft currently in orbit later this year.

npr

NPR Quits Twitter After Being Labeled ‘State-Affiliated Media’

NPR will no longer post on its 52 Twitter accounts after Musk categorized the private news organization as “U.S. state-affiliated media.” The move equated NPR, which receives less than 1% of its funding from the government, with Russia’s RT and China’s Xinhua propaganda outlets.

NPR, which stands for “National Public Radio,” issued a statement on Wednesday saying the mislabeling damages the media organization’s credibility with readers.

“NPR’s organizational accounts will no longer be active on Twitter because the platform is taking actions that undermine our credibility by falsely implying that we are not editorially independent. We are not putting our journalism on platforms that have demonstrated an interest in undermining our credibility and the public’s understanding of our editorial independence.”

In a letter to staff on Wednesday, NPR CEO John Lansing commented on the risks posed by Twitter’s decision.

“Actions by Twitter or other social media companies to tarnish the independence of any public media institution are exceptionally harmful and set a dangerous precedent.”

After being questioned by NPR tech reporter Bobby Allyn on how NPR functioned, Musk, who acquired Twitter for $44 billion last fall, admitted that he may have gotten it wrong. The Twitter account for NPR was then recategorized as “government-funded media.”

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The news organization asserted that this new label was still misleading since NPR is a private, nonprofit company with editorial independence. Less than 1% of its $300 million annual budget comes from the federally funded Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Musk also applied the “government-funded media” label to the BBC Twitter account. Later, in an interview with the broadcaster, he shared that he may change the label to “publicly funded” media.

Right-wing and conservative commentators have long claimed that NPR and its affiliates’ content is biased toward the left and more progressive ideologies. Meanwhile, Musk has also been accused of allowing the proliferation of far-right extremists on Twitter.

Musk, who describes himself as a free-speech absolutist, removed the New York Times’ blue check mark earlier this month after the paper refused to pay for one.

Formerly, the badges indicated that Twitter had confirmed the identity of a news outlet, government agency or public figure. They are now available for a subscription fee once a month.

“We aren’t planning to pay the monthly fee for check mark status for our institutional Twitter accounts,” the New York Times said in a statement. “We also will not reimburse reporters for Twitter Blue for personal accounts, except in rare instances where this status would be essential for reporting purposes.”

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In his new interview with the BBC, Musk said he hoped to make information on Twitter as accurate as possible but acknowledged that media companies are often critical of him.

“I’ve been under constant attack. It’s not like I have a stone-cold heart or anything. If you’re under constant criticism or attack and that gets fed to you, including through Twitter – it’s rough, you know.”

BBC also asked Musk if he was concerned about the spread of misinformation due to longstanding media organizations, such as the New York Times, being stripped of their verification badges.

“I must confess to some delight in removing the verification badge from the New York Times,” Musk said. “Anyway, they’re still alive and well so they’re doing well.”

NPR is the first major news organization to stop using the platform. In an email to NPR employees, Lansing stated that it was ultimately up to them to decide if they would like to keep using Twitter on their personal accounts.

“It would be a disservice to the serious work you all do here to continue to share it on a platform that is associating the federal charter for public media with an abandoning of editorial independence or standards.”

flood

As Floods Hit Pakistan, Millions Are In Search For Help

In over a decade, millions of Pakistanis are fighting for their lives and searching for aid as they are overwhelmed by the scale of the disaster. 

Many authorities have claimed that this recent disaster and the scale of it could be considered a “serious climate catastrophe.”

With the recent flash flood on Friday, it destroyed at least 10 bridges, over a dozen buildings and killed nearly 75 people. 

“We’ve had to deploy the navy for the first time to operate in Indo-Pakistan, because much of it resembles a small ocean,” said Climate change minister Sherry Rehman.

The monsoon ended up affecting all four provinces of Pakistan. Almost a million homes have been destroyed or severely damaged, numerous roads can no longer be traveled on and electricity outages are everywhere.

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These damages have affected at least 33 million people throughout the entire country. 

According to the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA), the fatalities of this disaster have also continued to increase since mid-June up to at least 1,061 people and the fear continues to rise as more death follows.

“By the time this is over, we could well have one quarter or one third of Pakistan under water,” said Rehman. 

According to CNN, Foreign Minister Bilawal Butto-Zardari stated this past Sunday that this year’s monsoons in Pakistan have been “absoultely devastating.”

“I haven’t seen any destruction or devastation of this scale. I find it very difficult to put into words the phraseologies that we are used to, whether it’s monsoon rains or flooding, doesn’t quite seem to encapsulate the ongoing devastation and disaster that we are still witnessing.”

Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has joined in to help for relief efforts by dropping off supplies via helicopter in areas that have been hard to reach either by boat or on foot.

“Visiting flood affected areas and meeting people. The magnitude of the calamity is bigger than estimated. Times demand that we come together as one nation in support of our people facing this calamity. Let us rise above our differences and stand by our people who need us today,” Sharif recently tweeted.

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The International Rescue Committee profit group reached out on Monday and stated that more than 30 million people were in “urgent need” because of the monsoons. 

The United States and United Kingdom governments have stated that they will pledge around $1 million in emergency relief and that the first wave of foreign aid will start to come into Pakistan on Monday to help citizens find some relief from the disastrous floods.

flight

Domestic Airfare To Drop 40% In Fall Months After Pricey And Demanding Summer Travel

After a summer that saw airline prices, staffing shortages, and flight cancellations abound, domestic travelers will get some much-needed relief this fall according to a new report by Hopper, the travel booking data platform.

According to Hopper, domestic airfare will drop to $286 in August, down 25% compared to May’s airfare and over 10% from July’s. Meanwhile, September and October will see drops of about 40% ($238 for a domestic round-trip) from the peak summer months.

Though that estimated price doesn’t match September 2021’s average domestic airfare of $225, it does beat out October of last year’s $240. Hopper noted this year’s August to October drop is abnormally large because of those high prices and earlier-than-usual travel demand peaks.

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International round-trip airfare, meanwhile, will decrease 19% ($179) to an average of $754 in September and October. It’s a massive drop, but unfortunately nowhere close to September ($641) and October ($706) of 2021.

Those prices are also helped by the fact that airlines are attempting to combat the slow season by offering better deals for travelers as a way to “incentivize travelers to plan one more trip before the holiday season,” Hopper explained.

“For travelers who held off on summer trips given the soaring airfares, this lower demand season can mean lower fares and less crowded tourist destinations!”

Among the most trending fall domestic destinations include Seattle ($419 average round-trip), Asheville, North Carolina ($313), Jackson, Wyoming ($460), Hilton Head, South Carolina ($315), and all cities in Hawaii ($500 and under).

As for international destinations, Sydney, Australia ($1,394), Tokyo, Japan ($1,333), Bali, Indonesia ($1,951), and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam ($1,085) are all trending with flyers looking to explore the world while capitalizing on a deal.

Unfortunately, flyers don’t have much time to take advantage. October and November will see slow rises before airfare takes a gigantic boost to $368 in December, with last-minute holiday bookings sitting at $390.

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Travelers have had to bear the burden of airline shortcomings after the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged the air travel industry. According to the Bureau of Transportation, 88,161 flights have been canceled already this year, over 55,000 more than in 2021.

While the number won’t come close to 2020’s 263,941 canceled flights, it already ranks higher than any yearly total from 2013 to 2019. Toward late July, Hopper reported travel delays had risen to 25% of departures, equaling more than 5,000 flights a day. They aren’t likely to subside anytime soon.

Of course, the high prices experienced just aren’t due to the multitude of airline struggles, but inflation as a whole. Airfare has suffered the second-worst 12-month price change with 27.7%, second behind gasoline (44.0%).

Even with the potential problems, taking advantage of decreased savings before they — and the tourists paying them — begin to ramp up again in the winter could be intriguing if you’ve been itching to add one more pin to your map of America or the world.

disney+

Sorry, Streamers: Disney+ Subscription Cost To Rise 38% In December

For many, multiple streaming subscriptions have become the norm – and unfortunately for you and your wallet, that might soon become challenging.

Disney has announced it will be raising the monthly ad-free subscription price of Disney+ to $10.99, a 38% increase, on Dec. 8th. To keep the same price, users will have to opt into an ad-based tier, which will launch on the same day.

In an analyst conference call, CFO Christine McCarthy voiced her confidence the increases won’t be a dealbreaker for subscribers. “We expect the ad tier to be popular and we expect some people to want to stay with ad-free,” she said.

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Disney also noted Hulu will see its price raised by $2 to $14.99 on Oct. 10th, while the ad-based tier will see a $1 increase, from $6.99 to $7.99. The entertainment giant offers a bundle of ad-free Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ for $13.99 a month, which will also raise $1 to $14.99. Like the other increases, you can opt to keep the price the same, but all subscriptions will come with ads.

The company had previously upped Disney+’s ad-free tier from $6.99 to $7.99 back in 2021 after bursting out onto the streaming screen in November 2019, passing the number of expected subscribers within its first year.

That torrent pace — fueled by shows like “The Mandalorian” — continues to see ups, with Disney+ scoring over 14.4 million more subscribers than expected this past quarter, bringing it to 152 million total (a 31% year-over-year change).

The long-term forecast isn’t as pleasant. Disney now expects the service to reach around 215 million to a maximum of 245 million subscribers by the end of fiscal 2024, a lowered estimate that was originally pegged around 230 million to 260 million two years ago.

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Disney and CEO Bob Chapek’s reasoning for the increase is that it’s a necessary evil to match their increased content, which includes “Star Wars” and Marvel. “We believe, because of that increase in investment over the past two-and-a-half years relative to a very good price point, that we have plenty of room on price value,” Chapek said at an earnings call Wednesday.

Disney+ is also adding further content thanks to the acquisition of Fox studio, which will see R-rated movies like “Logan” and “Deadpool” hit the screens. It’s certainly a change of pace for both the service and company, both of which emphasize their family-friendly brand.

Chapek previously admitted it was a surprise to see how many adult-only households have a Disney+ subscription.

“We knew that we had interest in those general entertainment offerings, but didn’t really realize how important they could be towards our overall proposition, if you will.”

However, the price tick is also Disney attempting to compensate for the financial losses that continue to pile up. Direct-to-consumer operating income losses for the third quarter soared to $1.1 billion, up from $293 million a year ago.

Despite the subpar revenues and hits, Disney now ranks over main rival Netflix in terms of total subscribers across all their platforms by 400,000 with 221.1 million. Subscription tiers also remain lower than Netflix’s, which cost $9.99 for ad-supported streaming and $15.49 for HD, ad-free streaming.

trump

Donald Trump Pleads The Fifth, Won’t Answer New York Attorney General’s Questions

In a statement, former President Donald Trump invoked the Fifth Amendment and will not answer any questions under oath in New York Attorney General Letitia James’ civil investigation.

“I once asked, ‘If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?’ Now I know the answer to that question,” Trump explained.

“When your family, your company, and all the people in your orbit have become the targets of an unfounded politically motivated Witch Hunt supported by lawyers, prosecutors and the Fake News Media, you have no choice.”

Trump was seen leaving Trump Tower in New York City Wednesday morning, with his motorcade arriving at the attorney general’s office shortly after. Pleading the fifth means that Trump will not have to give a testimony in his own case, one that could be potentially damning.

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The decision comes days after Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence was raided by the FBI, which he referenced. “If there was any question in my mind, the raid of my home, Mar-a-Lago… wiped out any uncertainty,” the statement read.

Trump’s lengthy statement directed numerous attacks on James, who he claimed has made a career of “maliciously attacking me and my business.”  “James now realizes I built a great company with tremendous value, and her case is a ‘Scam,'” Trump said. “Which is why for years, they haven’t been able to file a single charge.”

“Criminals are running rampant, shooting, slashing, and hurting people on the sidewalks of New York, while she and her Office spend a big percentage of their time and money on their ‘Trump’ vendatta.”

James’ civil investigation sprouts from claims that the Trump Organization misstated the value of assets like skyscrapers and golf courses in order to get better insurance and loan rates. Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg was charged with tax fraud last summer, to which he pleaded not guilty.

In May, James’ office stated the investigation was nearing its end, and that they had collected a substantial amount of evidence – enough to support a lawsuit against Trump, his company, or both parties.

Trump has made numerous attempts to impede the investigation, from refusing to comply with OAG subpoenas to issuing now-dismissed lawsuits. “No one in this country can pick and choose how the law applies to them, and Donald Trump is no exception,” James said.

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Trump’s children, Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric have both previously testified, with Eric invoking the Fifth more than 500 times during his 2020 deposition. Both Donald Jr. and Ivanka have testified recently, though it’s unknown whether either invoked the Fifth.

Meanwhile, it remains to be seen whether the Mar-a-Lago probe — which focused on whether Trump took any classified records from his time in the White House — is a predecessor to criminal charges. What specific documents agents were looking for is unknown.

However, Mar-a-Lago isn’t a new hotspot for legal trouble for Trump. The National Archives and Records Administration had previously confirmed to the Department of Justice in February that classified information had been found in 15 boxes at Trump’s Florida home.

monkeypox

U.S. Declares Monkeypox A Public Health Emergency

On Thursday, the federal government declared the ongoing monkeypox outbreak — which has now affected 7,012 Americans — a public health emergency in an attempt to help strengthen responses. With that declaration, additional money will be directed toward resources for the virus.

“Ending the monkeypox outbreak is a critical priority for the Biden-Harris Administration,” Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra explained in a release.

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“With today’s declaration we can further strengthen and accelerate our response further,” Becerra said. “We urge every American to take monkeypox seriously and to take responsibility to help us tackle this virus.”

White House National Monkeypox Response Coordinator Robert Fenton emphasized the strategies being deployed against monkeypox are helped by prior learning experiences with outbreaks, such as COVID-19.

“We are applying lessons learned from the battles we’ve fought – from COVID response to wildfires to measles, and will tackle this outbreak with the urgency this moment demands.”

HHS is now able to utilize emergency funds and hire or assign staff to deal with the outbreak. The department also noted work being done in concert with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that will help to provide the Jynneos monkeypox vaccinations across the country.

The partnership plans to utilize a “new dose-sparing approach that could increase the number of doses available, up to five-fold.” This sparsing would be accomplished through a shallower injection than the one recommended for Jynneos.

However, the approach would need approval from regulators and another declaration from the federal government altering guidelines on vaccine administration.

The announcement comes as vaccines are seeing struggles with availability. Minnesota has just 3,000 of the 90,000 vaccines needed to help those most at-risk, while California has received just around 37,000 of the 800,000 requested.

Health officials also have concerns that should the shortage not be addressed immediately and effectively, the virus could become far more widespread, marking it as the second public health disaster in a span of over two years.

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HHS has shipped over 602,000 doses of the vaccine, a number that’s up 266,000 from last week, bringing the total amount of allocated vaccines to 1.1 million. The department also announced it’s ordered an additional 150,000 vaccines, which are expected to arrive in September. Similar to most COVID-19 vaccines, Jynneos requires two doses, 28 days apart.

According to the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) case count, as of Thursday, New York continues to lead all states in cases with 1,748. California sits second with 826 cases, while Florida is third with 577. Just two out of the 50 states (Wyoming and Montana) have no reported cases.

California, New York, and Illinois all declared public health emergencies last week, as did the cities of New York City and San Francisco. Despite the rising cases, no Americans have died, though several deaths have been reported in other countries. In recent times, monkeypox fatality rates have ranged from 3% to 6%.

Monkeypox had previously been declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) by the World Health Organization (WHO) in late July following a substantial global increase. Worldwide, over 26,800 cases in more than 70 countries have been confirmed.

roomba

Amazon Acquires Roomba Maker iRobot For $1.7 Billion

On Friday, commerce titan Amazon announced it acquired iRobot, the maker of the Roomba vacuum, for $61 per share in an all-cash transaction that will equal a total of $1.7 billion.

“We know that saving time matters, and chores take precious time that can be better spent doing something that customers love,” Amazon Devices Senior Vice President Dave Limp said in a statement.

“Over many years, the iRobot team has proven its ability to reinvent how people clean with products that are incredibly practical and inventive – from cleaning when and where customers want while avoiding common obstacles in the home, to automatically emptying the collection bin.”

iRobot CEO and chairman Colin Angle, who will hold his position upon completion of the acquisition, explained he couldn’t think of a better way for the company to continue its work than Amazon, which promotes “building thoughtful innovations that empower people to do more at home.”

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iRobot is the latest — and fourth-heftiest price-wise — in a long line of big-money Amazon acquisitions. In 2017, it purchased grocer Whole Foods Market for $13.7 billion, while it acquired film studio MGM for $8.5 billion last year. Last month, the company announced a $3.9 billion deal for One Medical.

The deal will still need approval from regulators and iRobot shareholders in order to go through. Following the news, iRobot’s midday trading rose 19%, while Amazon was down 1.4%.

The circular, self-guiding Roomba became a household name after its debut in the early 2000s, selling more than 40 million units. Thanks to that level of success, iRobot continued to work the market by introducing its robot mop, in addition to other products like purifiers.

The company has planned to expand to lawn work by debuting its robot lawnmower — known as the Terra — though plans for it were canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unfortunately for Roomba and its maker, sales prior to the Amazon deal had been significantly waning due to a variety of issues. Its third-quarter revenue saw a 30% drop to $255.4 million, with a net loss that jumped from 2.8 million a year ago to $43.4 million.

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Meanwhile, the company said it would be cutting 10% — 140 employees — from its workforce in order to combat rising costs.

For Amazon, Roomba adds to their impressive arsenal of smart home appliances that includes voice assistant Alexa and Ring security cameras. Perhaps the best companion for Roomba will be the $1000 Astro home monitoring robot, which Amazon brought into the fold last year.

The Roomba will likely be undergoing major changes in order to better connect with its new electronic relatives and the general smart household infrastructure Amazon has strived to build.

“It is easy to see how Amazon will integrate products like Roomba into the Alexa and Prime ecosystems, so that people have one central point of monitoring and control for many tasks and activities,” GlobalData Managing Director Neil Saunders told CNN.

Still, the deal isn’t free of concerns. With Amazon’s ever-evolving home device collection comes questions on data collection and privacy, especially since so many of their products are used by the daily consumer.  Additionally, the company’s hold over not just the smart home market, but several major commerce industries, has also faced frequent criticism from anti-monopoly advocates.

flag

Following Trip, Nancy Pelosi Offers Support To Taiwan Despite Threats, Criticism

Following a trip to Taiwan that made her the first U.S. Speaker to visit the country in more than 25 years, Nancy Pelosi voiced her and her delegation’s continued support despite the trip heightening tensions between China and the U.S.

While Pelosi didn’t state the U.S. would defend Taiwan militarily, it’s “committed to the security of Taiwan, in order to have Taiwan be able to most effectively defend themselves.” Pelosi also brushed off threats from Beijing, explaining they will not stand in the way of people visiting the self-governing nation.

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Pelosi arrived in Taiwan’s capital of Taipei late Tuesday and was greeted by Taiwan’s foreign minister, amongst other Taiwan and American officials. Among Pelosi’s delegation include Reps. Gregory Meeks, Andy Kim, Mark Takano, and Raja Krishnamoorthi.

Meeting with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, Pelosi explained America’s solidarity with Taiwain is more important than ever as the world faces a choice “between democracy and autocracy.”

“America’s determination to preserve democracy, here in Taiwan and around the world, remains ironclad.”

While members of Congress have visited Taiwan in recent years, Pelosi’s high standing in the government has added further fuel to a conflict centered around China’s belief it controls Taiwan as its territory while discouraging Taiwanese foreign relations with other countries.

Pelosi went deeper into China’s grip on Tawainese global relations. “Sadly, Taiwan has been prevented from participating in global meetings, most recently the World Health Organization, because of objections by the Chinese Communist Party,” she stated.

In response to Pelosi’s visit, China announced military exercises around the island and in Taiwan waters that sit 12 miles from the shore. Not only will they disrupt supply and airplane routes, but some of those exercises are also set to include live fire, which experts explained can sometimes be seen as an act of war.

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The People’s Liberation Army air force flew 21 airplanes toward Taiwan the night of Pelosi’s arrival, while an additional 27 crafts were flown Wednesday night. “Facing deliberately heightened military threats, Taiwan will not back down,” Tsai stated in regards to Bejing’s intimidation.

“We will firmly uphold our nation’s sovereignty and continue to hold the line of defense for democracy.”

Despite Pelosi’s expressed commitment, the U.S. will continue to abide by the long-standing “one-China policy,” which maintains that Taiwan is a part of China. However, the policy also allows unofficial relations with Taipei.

Though having cautioned against the notable visit, the Biden Administration stated Pelosi’s trip — and Tawainese comments — are consistent with U.S. policies, while China will now be watched carefully after Pelosi’s visit.

For the U.S., the China-Taiwan tensions are just one of several continuing global conflicts the country finds itself in the heart of. Russia’s defense ministry claimed the U.S. is “directly involved” in the Ukraine conflict due to American spies coordinating and approving Ukraine missile strikes.

Following stops at Singapore, Malaysia, and Taiwan, Pelosi then flew to a South Korean military base Wednesday before meeting with officials and leaders in Seoul. She plans to then visit Japan as part of her Indo-Pacific region trip that is focusing on the “mutual security, economic partnership and democratic governance” of the region.

amazon

Illinois Amazon Warehouse Employees Allege Racially Hostile Work Environment 

Employees at an Amazon warehouse in Joliet, Illinois have filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against the company. The employees are alleging that they’ve experienced corporate abuse, racial discrimination, and retaliation. 

According to the official complaint, which was filed Tuesday, a group of Black employees have cited confederate imagery on coworkers clothing, racist death threats written in bathroom stalls, and an overall lack of security/accountability from management to combat the issue. The employees are stating that they’ve been in a racially hostile work environment since late 2021. 

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Tamra Holder is the institutional abuse and women’s rights attorney representing the group. Holder stated that the group is now seeking monetary compensation for emotional duress caused by stressful working conditions, in addition to a change in workplace and acknowledgement of the issue at hand. 

“We don’t know what that amount comes to at this point. But I can tell you that after working in a climate where it’s racially hostile, people are experiencing extreme emotional distress,” Holder said to the media. 

“Our message to Amazon is that their behavior after our cases come to light is only increasing our damages because people are becoming more afraid rather than less.”

Holder also explained that employees have become hesitant to speak out any more regarding these claims due to fear of retaliation from management, especially since the case is receiving media attention now. 

“They are allegedly telling their employees that if they speak out, they will be fired because they signed an agreement to remain silent,” Holder said.

Holder says “former MDW2 employee Tori Davis was the first to make contact with [her] about the warehouse’s work environment.”

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Davis claimed that the death threats were dismissed by Amazon, and she was fired earlier this month after raising concern over the racial issues her and other employees have been experiencing. 

“They were trying to sweep it under the rug. The way that this situation was handled, it was strange,” Davis stated. 

A spokesperson for Amazon, Richard Rocha, issued a statement:

“Amazon works hard to protect our employees from any form of discrimination and to provide an environment where employees feel safe. Hate or racism have no place in our society and are certainly not tolerated by Amazon,” the statement read.

Holder said she “plans to do everything in my power to see the complaint through and ensure that my clients’ voices are heard.”

“I think that they had an opportunity here to make it better. And instead they’re taking a very, very different aggressive stance to make it worse. They are not too big for me and they are not too big for the people that I represent…We are not going away,” she exclaimed.