August 2021

Syrian oil spill spreads across the Mediterranean

Syrian officials said last week that a tank filled with 15,000 tons of fuel had been leaking since August 23 at a thermal power plant on the Syrian coastal city of Baniyas. They said they had been able to bring it under control. Satellite imagery analysis by Orbital EOS now indicates that the oil spill was larger than originally thought, covering around 800 square kilometres (309 square miles) — an area around the same size as New York City. The company told CNN Tuesday evening that the oil slick was around 7 kilometers (4 miles) from the Cypriot coast. The…


Hostages strapped to cars as robbers target banks in Brazil

The attackers targeted banks in the small city of Aracatuba in the southeastern state of Sao Paulo early Monday. In a bid to distract law enforcement, the robbers positioned bombs all over the city. One man was seriously injured when the devices were detonated, losing both his feet, according to police. During the confusion the heavily armed robbers held up three banks, taking hostages in the process. The hostages were then tied to the roofs and hoods of 10 cars to act as human shields, police said. Three people died in the incidents — two of them victims and one…


Discover it® Cash Back Review

0% intro APR for purchases — The card includes a 0% intro APR for 14 months for purchases. 0% intro APR for balance transfers — The same length 0% intro APR for 14 months applies for balance transfers. Note, the promo APR period extends for 14 months from the first transfer, not from account opening, as is common for balance-transfer credit cards. Cardholders must execute the transfer by a specific date to qualify, but starting the clock from the date of the first transfer does increase the versatility of this card. Earn up to 5% cash back — Cardholders earn…


Discover it® Balance Transfer Review

0% intro APR for balance transfers — Includes a 0% intro APR for 18 months for balance transfers. 0% intro APR for purchases — The 0% intro APR for purchases spans six months. Earn up to 5% cash back — Cardholders earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum of $1,500 on purchases and when you activate. All other purchases earn 1% cash back. Maxing out bonus categories each year is worth $300 cash back. Unlimited Cashback Match…


Tupolev Tu-144 : The Soviets’ doomed rival to Concorde

Read more unknown and curious design origin stories here. When the Soviet rival to Concorde made its first foreign appearance at the Paris Air Show in 1971, everyone was impressed. In the heated race to develop a supersonic passenger jet, it was the USSR who got off to a head start. French President Georges Pompidou, foregoing nationalism, called it “a beautiful plane.” The makers of Concorde itself conceded that it was “quieter and cleaner.” The Tupolev Tu-144 looked very similar to its Anglo-French competitor — which inevitably earned it the nickname “Concordski” — but it was somewhat more exotic and…


Online shopping used to be immune to inflation. Not anymore

Through economic booms and busts, e-commerce has long been virtually immune to inflationary pressures. Average online prices dropped every year between 2015 and 2019. But Covid ended that once-reliable trend. Online prices jumped 3.1% year-over-year in July, according to a report released Thursday by Adobe. Out of 18 categories captured by the Adobe Digital Economy Index, all but six saw price jumps last month. The price gains were most dramatic in July for online clothing, over-the-counter drugs and sporting goods. “Pre-Covid, I don’t think there was any inflation. It was exclusively deflationary,” Austan Goolsbee, the former Obama adviser who helped…


Brexit: UK worker shortages could cancel Christmas

McDonald’s (MCD) has already been forced to take milkshakes off its menu in the United Kingdom and Nando’s has closed 45 restaurants because it was running out of its signature dish peri peri chicken. But suppliers are warning of further disruption that means Brits may have to go without holiday staples such as turkey and pigs in blankets when they celebrate the first Christmas after Brexit took full effect. National chicken production has already been cut back by 10%, according to the British Poultry Council, which says that 16% of industry jobs are not currently filled. Christmas turkey production will…


Thai police questioned after video emerges of drug suspect being tortured and killed

The video, posted by lawyer Sittra Biabungkerd on his Facebook page, showed what appeared to be a man being suffocated by a plastic bag placed over his head while he was pinned down by four men. Five police officers from Nakhon Sawan province were arrested, deputy police spokesman Kissana Phathanacharoen said in a statement, while a “round the clock” hunt was on for two others who later handed themselves in. An official police document showed that the suspect died of a drug overdose on August 5, before the video of the incident went viral on Tuesday. Sittra, who runs a…


Tim Cook sells off more than $750 million in Apple shares

The transactions were revealed in a regulatory filing Thursday, which showed that Cook had acquired and sold more than 5 million shares of the iPhone maker. As head of the world’s most valuable company, Cook has received lofty stock awards in recent years. One of the incentives was tied to Apple’s performance in the S&P 500 over the past three years. The stock award was triggered this week because the firm was one of the index’s top performers, generating shareholder returns of nearly 192% from August 2018 to 2021, it said in a filing. Apple (AAPL) is the world’s most…


Nigeria: Gunmen free scores of young students abducted from school three months ago

The students were released after their parents paid a ransom of $140,000 (70 million naira) and gave motorbikes in ransom to the kidnappers, according to the school headmaster Abubakar Alhassan. While addressing journalists after the children regained freedom, Alhassan said the money was raised after Nigerians from different sectors contributed funds to secure their freedom. “The government contributed, individuals have contributed, the imams, pastors have also contributed. Even I received a call from TB Joshua, he is a Christian, but he contributed,” Alhassan said. However, a spokeswoman for the Niger State government, Mary Noel-Berje, said authorities were not part of…


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