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The Plastic Free July challenge is here to help you rid your life of single-use plastic waste

  • The Australia-based Plastic Free Foundation is once again recruiting participants to take the Plastic Free July challenge -- that is to go without single-use plastic for one day, one week or the entire month of July.
  • The initiative, now in its ninth year, is spearheaded by the Australia-based Plastic Free Foundation, which aims to one day rid the world of plastic waste.
  • Though the campaign's focus in on July, its push is to make an impact year-round.
  • Over the years, a number of governments around the world, including Canada, the European Union and some US states, have moved to ban various plastic products.
  • The Plastic Free July campaign was started in 2011 by Rebecca Prince-Ruiz in Western Australia who later founded the not-for-profit Plastic Free Foundation Ltd in 2017.

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Baltimore protesters toppled a Christopher Columbus statue and threw it in a harbor

  • Both crowds of demonstrators and local orders have removed other tributes to Columbus, Confederate leaders and other controversial figures representing racist parts of America's history.
  • Baltimore City Council President Brandon Scott said in a statement he had previously suggested the statue be removed, according to WBAL.
  • On Wednesday, the mayor of Richmond, Virginia, invoked his emergency powers to remove multiple Confederate monuments throughout the city, including a statue honoring Confederate Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson.
  • Last month, a judge ordered the removal of a Confederate monument in an Atlanta suburb.
  • In other parts of the country, controversial symbols were toppled by protesters, including a group in Portland, Oregon, who pulled down a statue of George Washington last month and set its head on fire.
  • In Richmond, Virginia, crowds took down the statue Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy, a day after toppling a Columbus statue.

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Strongmen rush to remake the world order as Trump faces potential election defeat

  • London (CNN) - This past week, on US President Donald Trump's watch Russia and China have effectively re-aligned the coming world order.
  • This past week, in a referendum on constitutional revisions so predictable that copies were on sale before the vote, Putin has effectively been made President for life, as Xi has moved equally ruthlessly, taking control of Hong Kong through a new national security law, while telling US allies Canada, Australia and the UK to keep out of China's internal affairs.
  • Tangled in a trade war, he has had to calculate Trump's real intent: on money, human rights issues, such as the Uyghurs or Hong Kong, and simply stopping the rise of the world's next superpower.
  • Hong Kong's new National Security Law, promulgated in Beijing this week and immediately enforced on the territory's streets, is a game changer.

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How K-pop fans are weaponizing the internet for Black Lives Matter

  • After spending days urging social media support for the Black Lives Matter movement, fans around the world went viral and gained mainstream media attention for their use of K-pop fancams to jam police apps.
  • Across the internet, supporters of Black Lives Matter are weaponizing tweets, posts, and hashtags to spread information, protect protesters, and derail racist rhetoric.
  • One of the cleverest ways people are using social media to spread information about the protests and related activity is something like the idea of derailing hashtags to advocate for anti-racism.
  • That basic concept is applicable to many, many things — including luring people into Twitter threads that promise to spill juicy celebrity gossip, only to rickroll them with information about the Black Lives Matter movement.

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Auction listings go lower as pandemic worries linger

  • Auction volumes have fallen and clearance rates remain weak overall as school holidays and the upsurge in coronavirus cases – in Melbourne particularly – weigh heavily on the housing market.
  • The four-bedroom home in Sydney's Birchgrove sold above reserve for $2.91 million.
  • In Melbourne, there were 439 homes taken to auction, returning a preliminary clearance rate of 64.3 per cent, according to CoreLogic.
  • Last week's preliminary clearance figure was 62.7 per cent across 645 auctions, with a final result of 61 per cent.
  • In Sydney, 563 homes were listed for auction, with a preliminary clearance rate of 68.1 per cent.
  • In Melbourne, the action has moved off-market and more properties are exchanging ahead of listed auction dates, according to veteran buyer's agent, David Morrell, of Morrell and Koren.

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Kanye West announces US presidential bid on Twitter

  • It was not immediately clear if West was serious about vying for the presidency four months before the November 3 election or if he had filed any official paperwork to appear on state election ballots.
  • The US President used a weekend dedicated to patriotism to signal that he will spend the final four months of his re-election effort digging deeper into the nation's racial and cultural divides.
  • The average number of daily coronavirus cases in the United States set a record for the 26th straight day as Donald Trump delivered a divisive speech at the foot of Mount Rushmore.
  • Donald Trump's characteristically erratic and narcissistic mishandling of the triple-whammy health, economic, and racial crises means he deserves the defeat he is headed for in November.

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AJ Lucas ready for the long game in British fracking fracas

  • London | Australian-owned British shale gas explorer Cuadrilla is braced for the long game in its bid to clear regulatory hurdles and political resistance to its fracking project in northern England.
  • A British minister last month said "fracking is over", but Cuadrilla chief executive Francis Egan says the ASX-listed mining services company AJ Lucas is still sitting on a valuable resource, and is ready to sit tight until market conditions and the political climate improve.
  • Cuadrilla's Preston New Road site has been shuttered since last August following appreciable seismic tremors in its first year of operation, prompting the British government to slap an indefinite moratorium on fracking in November.
  • Even if the shift in market dynamics prompted the government to rethink the moratorium, Cuadrilla would still need to get the restrictive regulations eased.
  • Cuadrilla CEO Francis Egan says the bet could pay off when the global gas cycle turns.

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Our Intellectual Property Laws Are Out of Control

  • This twist on 1998's Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) has encouraged people to rethink what, exactly, intellectual property laws should protect, and to wonder if they've gone too far.
  • Also, influential companies often get Congress to extend their own patent rights through special legislation.
  • The DMCA's rules make things worse by interfering with the repair or repurposing of electronic goods after they have been sold.
  • John Wiley, where it protected the right to resell books bought overseas.
  • The publisher had argued, essentially, that you might own a book you bought, but the company retained the right to sell it.
  • When you buy a smartphone or an automobile, it should be yours, and companies shouldn't be able to leverage their intellectual property rights in software to keep you from unlocking, repairing, modifying, or reselling it as you see fit.
  • Intellectual property is a good thing, all right.

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Analogue radio in the UK given 10-year stay of execution

  • Analogue radio station licences will be extended for another 10 years, the UK government has said – entirely reversing plans to shut off FM and AM radio stations in favour of DAB digital radio.
  • The move is likely to cause some chagrin at spectrum regulator Ofcom, which only a couple of months ago was brandishing DAB licences at local radio stations in the hope of tempting them off their potentially lucrative FM and AM spectrum.
  • Signal propagation (coverage) can be a problem as well with DAB compared to ye olde analogue's wiggly waves, snaking their way up, down and around hills and valleys, or through short road tunnels.
  • Although the trend seems to be accelerating, extending analogue stations' licences won't achieve the stated aim of freeing up a valuable chunk of spectrum that could be resold by Ofcom for far higher licensing fees than at present improving the radio listening experience through newer technologies.

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