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World News Daily(2024-06-12) : Global Conflict Deaths Reach 30-Year High Amid Complex Conflicts

Global Conflict Deaths Reach 30-Year High Amid Complex Conflicts

Global Conflict Deaths Reach 30-Year High Amid Complex Conflicts

Deaths from global conflicts have surged to a 30-year high since 2021, according to the Peace Research Institute Oslo. The spike is largely attributed to conflicts in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, Ukraine, and Gaza. Although there was a slight decrease in battlefield deaths last year, 2023 has seen 122,000 conflict-related fatalities, with significant numbers in Ukraine and Gaza.

The report underscores a growing complexity in global conflicts, with 59 conflict zones in 34 countries, many of which are experiencing multiple conflicts simultaneously. This complexity is further exacerbated by the expansion of groups like Islamic State and other armed Islamist factions across Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.

Africa leads in state-based conflicts, with 28 zones, while the Americas now host the most non-state conflicts, with Mexico being the most violent. The escalation in violence and the emergence of new, extremely violent conflicts pose significant challenges for aid and civil society organizations.

The world is a battlefield, more so now than in recent memory. The intertwining of local and global interests, the spread of extremist ideologies, and the fragmentation of conflict landscapes make peace a distant hope. The cost is measured in lives, the currency of despair.



Unexpected Candidates Win in European Parliament Elections

In the European Parliament elections, unexpected candidates emerged victorious, capitalizing on social media and unconventional platforms. Fidias Panayiotou, a Cypriot YouTuber with no prior political experience, secured a seat, indicating a shift in voter sentiment away from traditional parties. Similarly, in Spain, far-right influencer Alvise Perez won three seats through his anti-immigrant stance, underscoring the influence of digital platforms in politics.

In Germany, Maximilian Krah, despite being expelled from his party due to scandals, was elected, highlighting the tension between party loyalty and individual popularity. Greece witnessed a jailed politician, Fredi Beleris, winning a seat, which raised concerns about the integrity of the electoral process.

These results reflect a growing disenchantment with conventional politics and a readiness among voters to consider alternative voices, frequently discovered online. Social media's role as a political equalizer is clear, posing challenges to the established political order.


Chiquita Ordered to Pay $38m for Role in Colombian Death Squad Killings

Chiquita Ordered to Pay $38m for Role in Colombian Death Squad Killings

Chiquita Brands International, an American banana giant, has been ordered by a Florida court to pay $38 million to the families of eight Colombian men killed by a paramilitary death squad. The company had financed the United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (AUC) from 1997 to 2004, a group notorious for human rights violations and drug trafficking.

This landmark ruling, after 17 years of legal battles, marks the first time Chiquita compensates Colombian victims and sets a precedent for corporate liability in international human rights abuses. Chiquita's defense that payments were extorted to protect employees from armed Marxists was undermined by evidence showing continued support to the AUC even after its terrorist designation in 2001.

The verdict not only provides some justice to the families of trade unionists, banana workers, and activists targeted by the AUC but also sends a stark warning to multinational corporations: profiting from human rights abuses carries severe consequences.


ICC Prosecutor Seeks Evidence of Atrocities in Sudan Amidst Escalating Conflict

In Sudan, the ICC's Karim Khan is actively seeking evidence of atrocities as the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) launch an attack on a hospital in Darfur. The RSF, a paramilitary group, has escalated its conflict with the Sudanese army, resulting in over 120 fatalities in recent weeks.

The ongoing conflict in Sudan, which began in April of the previous year, has led to the loss of over 14,000 lives and the displacement of 10 million people. The United Nations has issued a warning of impending famine in the region if aid is not permitted to enter.

Khan's investigation has uncovered credible allegations of attacks on civilians, extensive sexual violence, and ethnically motivated assaults, with a particular focus on the Masalit community. The ICC, which is already investigating past atrocities in Sudan, is determined to prevent Darfur from being overlooked as another atrocity.

The RSF, formerly known as Janjaweed, was involved in previous genocidal acts during the tenure of former President Omar al-Bashir. Khan's appeal highlights the urgency of preventing a repeat of history in Darfur.



Dongfang Zhenxuan's Douyin Sub-Accounts Drive Sales Surge in May

Summary: Despite initial concerns over declining sales, data reveals that in May, the main account of Dongfang Zhenxuan on Douyin experienced a slowdown, yet its two sub-accounts saw significant growth, propelling total sales to surpass 1.2 billion yuan, marking a substantial year-over-year increase.

Insights: The robust performance of sales through sub-accounts highlights the adaptability of digital strategies in response to algorithmic shifts. This dynamic underscores the critical role of platform diversification and content strategy in maintaining growth within the digital marketplace.


Mastercard Aims to Eliminate Manual Card Entry for Online Payments in Europe by 2030

Mastercard Aims to Eliminate Manual Card Entry for Online Payments in Europe by 2030

Mastercard plans to eliminate manual card entry for online payments in Europe by 2030, transitioning to tokenization. This method replaces traditional card numbers with unique, randomly-generated tokens, aiming to enhance security, reduce fraud, and streamline payments with one-click transactions and biometric authentication such as thumbprints.

Already securing about 25% of global e-commerce transactions, tokenization is poised for rapid growth, potentially mitigating fraud losses forecasted to surpass $91 billion by 2028. Mastercard's initiative underscores a broader shift in payment innovations, steering towards more secure and convenient digital transactions.

This evolution in online payments mirrors past milestones like the introduction of credit cards and the adoption of contactless payments. Mastercard envisions a future where payment processes seamlessly integrate into daily life, from smartwatches to cars, enhancing both security and user convenience.


Thailand to Connect Railway System with Laos-China High-Speed Network

Thailand to Connect Railway System with Laos-China High-Speed Network

Thailand is set to integrate its railway system with the Laos-China high-speed network, aiming to boost regional trade and tourism. The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) has partnered with the Lao National Railway Authority to prepare for the July launch of the Thai-Lao rail link. This connection, originating from Bangkok's Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Station, will traverse through Udon Thani and Nong Khai, eventually connecting with Laos' Khamsawath Station in Vientiane.

This integration is anticipated to streamline logistics, expedite customs processes, and enhance exports, especially for perishable items like durian, which saw over 700,000 tonnes exported to China in 2022. The rail link will significantly reduce transit times to China, from two days by road to just 15 hours.

Economic projections indicate a 17% rise in Thai exports to China via this rail route, potentially reaching 250 billion baht this year. This development positions Thailand as a key logistics hub in the region, capitalizing on seamless transport connectivity with China, despite the absence of direct borders between the two countries.


Volkswagen Partners with Xpeng to Accelerate EV Development in China

Volkswagen Partners with Xpeng to Accelerate EV Development in China

Volkswagen, struggling to keep up with China's electric vehicle boom, has partnered with Xpeng to accelerate innovation. This year, as it celebrates 40 years with SAIC Motor, there is a shift where Chinese technology takes the lead. CEO Oliver Blume stresses the importance of integrating into China's tech ecosystem to quickly meet local customer expectations.

In 2023, Volkswagen acquired a 4.99% stake in Xpeng for $700 million, with the goal of co-developing two EVs by 2026. These vehicles will cater to local tastes, including features like karaoke and gaming, leveraging Xpeng's software to optimize electrical architecture and set the stage for future autonomous driving capabilities.

Volkswagen's R&D center in Hefei will expedite development, aiming for a 36-month cycle instead of 50. By 2030, the plan is to introduce 30 new EV models. Chinese automakers typically develop new vehicles within two years, a pace that Volkswagen is striving to match.

By collaborating with local suppliers such as Gotion High-tech and ThunderSoft, Volkswagen aims to enhance efficiency and speed, making all product decisions locally. Chinese brands currently hold over 60% of passenger vehicle market shares, while German and Japanese automakers face challenges with just 10%.

Other European automakers, including Renault and BMW, are also seeking Chinese partnerships for EV development, acknowledging the benefits in terms of cost and speed.



Douyin Cracks Down on Internet Trolls to Maintain Platform Order

Summary: Since May 2024, Douyin has intensified its crackdown on internet trolls, removing over ten thousand non-compliant videos and penalizing more than 1.33 million accounts. The focus has been on combating rumor-mongering and privacy invasion, utilizing technological means to identify and address non-compliant content.

Insight: Internet trolls, akin to a spreading plague, erode authenticity and trust. Douyin's actions, though belated, are necessary. To purify the online environment, sustained effort and wisdom must go hand in hand.


Bird Flu Impact on Poultry and Dairy Industries: Challenges and Solutions

Bird flu, primarily a scourge for birds, has claimed 100 million lives in the poultry industry. Its spread to dairy cows and humans has complicated the situation. The egg industry, hit early, has tightened biosecurity measures: workers shower before and after shifts, trucks are washed, and lasers deter wild birds. This rigor has slowed the virus but has not eradicated it.

Dairy farms face unique challenges. Cows, unlike chickens, are not typically killed by bird flu but can suffer from secondary infections. Hygiene is more challenging with large, messy animals. Pasteurization ensures milk safety, but preventing barn contamination is difficult.

The USDA plans a vaccine trial for calves, and the egg industry seeks a poultry vaccine that is easy to administer. These efforts are crucial as the virus evolves, threatening both animals and humans. The lesson is clear: adapt and invest in prevention, or face escalating costs.



Apple Introduces Cross-Platform Password Manager App at WWDC

Apple unveils a new password manager app designed to sync seamlessly across iPhone, iPad, Mac, Vision Pro, and Windows devices. Announced at WWDC, this tool aims to streamline digital security across platforms.


Voodoo Acquires BeReal for €500M, Aiming to Enhance Social Media Authenticity

Voodoo, a French mobile games publisher, acquired BeReal for €500 million. Despite having 40 million users, BeReal, which is known for its authentic, unfiltered social sharing, faced challenges in scaling its growth. Voodoo plans to utilize its expertise to accelerate BeReal's expansion and introduce new features. Alexis Barreyat, BeReal's founder, will step down after a transitional period, allowing Aymeric Roffé, the current CEO of Voodoo's Wizz, to take the helm at BeReal.

This acquisition highlights a growing trend towards authenticity in social media, offering a refreshing alternative to the polished, performative standards of platforms like Instagram. Voodoo's strategy could reshape how social networks interact with users, prioritizing genuine connections over curated content.


TikTok Introduces Image Search in TikTok Shop, Competing with Google and Amazon

TikTok, having conquered social media, now eyes Google's search throne. The platform is testing an image search feature in TikTok Shop, allowing users to snap or upload photos to find similar products. This tool, initially available in the U.S. and Southeast Asia, mimics Google Lens and Amazon's visual search capabilities.

TikTok's move is strategic, aiming to divert product searches from Google and Amazon to its own platform, where users can directly purchase items. With over 15 million sellers globally, TikTok Shop is positioned as a significant revenue stream. Despite political challenges, including a potential U.S. ban, TikTok aggressively expands its e-commerce features, betting on user engagement and sales through its app.

This shift underscores TikTok's ambition to dominate not just in entertainment but also in online shopping, challenging established tech giants on multiple fronts.


Apple Introduces New Calculator App for iPad with Enhanced Features

Apple Introduces New Calculator App for iPad with Enhanced Features Apple Introduces New Calculator App for iPad with Enhanced Features

Apple unveils a new Calculator app for iPad, set to debut with iPadOS 18. Initially codenamed Project GreyParrot, this app leverages the iPad's expansive screen with a tailored layout, harmonizing visually across iPhone, iPad, and Mac with round buttons in black and orange.

Key enhancements include a history tape sidebar and an improved unit conversion system, streamlining information management and eliminating the need to switch apps for calculation checks. Math Notes, accessible via a dedicated button, allows users to write complex expressions with an Apple Pencil, auto-completing them and adjusting results dynamically.

This feature supports variables and graphing expressions, enabling tasks from simple calculations to complex physics problems, such as calculating the maximum height of a table tennis ball under various conditions. Math Notes reduces reliance on third-party calculators like Calcbot, Soulver 3, or PCalc, appealing to a broad user base, from students to engineers.

The revamped Calculator app is universal, slated for release on iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia.



Ubisoft releases next-generation Monopoly game, available on September 12th.

Ubisoft releases next-generation Monopoly game, available on September 12th. Ubisoft releases next-generation Monopoly game, available on September 12th. Ubisoft releases next-generation Monopoly game, available on September 12th.

Ubisoft has announced the release of a next-generation version of the classic board game Monopoly, set to launch on September 12. The new edition features upgraded graphics and gameplay, allowing players to experience the city's transformation from dawn to dusk, exploring and discovering hidden elements. The game supports both online multiplayer and local battles, offering a variety of customization options and game modes.

Personal Insight: This update seamlessly blends traditional board gaming with modern technology, enriching the interactive experience for players. Through digitalization, Monopoly expands its global reach while maintaining its classic appeal.


Netflix Expands Gaming Library with 14 New Titles Including a Hobbit-Themed Game

Netflix expands its gaming roster, adding 14 titles to its mobile library. Among these, a slice-of-life game set in Tolkien's Shire as a hobbit stands out. Subscribers can access these games without ads or in-app purchases, enhancing the value of the $7 monthly subscription.

Titles like "The Case of the Golden Idol" offer a deep dive into detective work across 12 murders, while "Hearts" brings the classic card game to mobile devices. "Cozy Grove: Camp Spirit" and "Too Hot to Handle 3" promise immersive experiences in mysterious islands and reality TV drama, respectively.

"The Dragon Prince: Xadia" extends the popular animated series into a cooperative RPG, and "Arranger: A Role-Puzzling Adventure" introduces innovative grid-based movement mechanics. "Don't Starve Together" and "Harmonium: The Musical" further diversify the lineup with survival and musical genres, respectively.

"Lab Rat" and "Netflix Stories: Emily in Paris" satirize AI and Parisian life, while "Netflix Stories: Selling Sunset" immerses players in high-stakes real estate. This expansion underscores Netflix's commitment to gaming, blending popular culture with interactive entertainment.


Netflix Unveils 'Bridgerton' Season 3, Part 2 Clip and Industry Updates

Netflix Unveils 'Bridgerton' Season 3, Part 2 Clip and Industry Updates Netflix Unveils 'Bridgerton' Season 3, Part 2 Clip and Industry Updates Netflix Unveils 'Bridgerton' Season 3, Part 2 Clip and Industry Updates

Netflix has released the first four minutes of 'Bridgerton' Season 3, Part 2, heightening anticipation among viewers. The series, celebrated for its opulent period settings and complex character relationships, continues to enthrall with its mix of romance and drama.

Simultaneously, 'Doctor Who' surpasses 'Bridgerton' in terms of queer romance with the storyline featuring Ncuti Gatwa and Jonathan Groff in "Rogue." This narrative pivot not only widens the show's appeal but also deepens its thematic richness.

In the streaming sphere, Disney+ Hotstar has introduced flexible subscription plans, improving viewer convenience. This strategic decision mirrors a wider industry trend towards catering to varied consumer preferences.

In various sectors, initiatives such as Endeavor's MatchCAP Asia 2024 and BJAK's road tax relief in Malaysia highlight a dedication to promoting economic and digital advancement. These diverse efforts collectively aim to empower communities and drive progress.

Overall, the media landscape continues to transform, influenced by both innovative storytelling and strategic business moves, each impacting the other in intricate and dynamic ways.



AI Tool Enhances Lung Cancer Diagnosis and Prognosis

A new AI tool, self-taught, now diagnoses and predicts the severity of common lung cancer. This advancement, a product of machine learning, offers a precise prognosis, aiding doctors in treatment decisions.

The tool's strength lies in its ability to learn from data, refining its accuracy over time. It's a leap forward in medical AI, promising more effective cancer management.

In essence, this AI tool is a digital pathologist, interpreting scans and data to provide a clearer picture of a patient's condition. It's a testament to the power of technology in healthcare, a field where precision can mean the difference between life and death.


Endo Akira, Pioneer of Cholesterol-Lowering Statins, Passes Away at 90

Endo Akira, Pioneer of Cholesterol-Lowering Statins, Passes Away at 90

Endo Akira, a Japanese biochemist, discovered statins—cholesterol-lowering drugs. Born in 1933, he identified statins in 1973, transforming the treatment of heart disease. The first statin drug was introduced to the U.S. market in 1987. Globally recognized, Endo passed away at the age of 90 in Tokyo.

Statins: Drugs that reduce cholesterol, preventing the hardening of arteries.


Advantages of Total Robotic Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Over Conventional Laparoscopy

Advantages of Total Robotic Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Over Conventional Laparoscopy

New studies presented at the ASMBS 2024 Annual Scientific Meeting indicate that total robotic metabolic and bariatric surgery offers significant advantages over conventional laparoscopy. These benefits include shorter operative times, reduced hospital stays, and lower complication rates. Notably, total robotic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy demonstrated improvements in these areas compared to laparoscopic methods.

For patients with severe obesity and type 2 diabetes, robotic surgery also showed lower complication rates, shorter hospital stays, and quicker operative times. The precision and control provided by the robotic platform may result in less tissue trauma and a faster recovery.

Given that obesity affects over 40% of Americans, with associated risks of chronic diseases, the adoption of total robotic surgery in this field could significantly enhance patient outcomes. The trend towards robotic procedures, despite higher initial costs, underscores a shift towards prioritizing patient safety and efficiency in surgery.


Solar Power and Battery Storage Systems Enhance Healthcare Resilience

In Healdsburg, California, the Alliance Medical Center experienced a crisis during the 2017 Tubbs Fire due to power outages that crippled operations and destroyed $30,000 worth of vaccines. Following the disaster, the clinic installed a rooftop solar and battery storage system, funded by Direct Relief's Power for Health initiative. This system guarantees continuous power for critical operations, including electronic health records and medication refrigeration.

Direct Relief, historically a provider of medical aid, redirected its focus after Hurricane Maria underscored the critical need for reliable power in healthcare facilities. Their initiative aids community health centers, which often serve underinsured and uninsured populations, in coping with more frequent power outages caused by extreme weather and grid instability.

The new solar and battery systems not only enhance resilience against outages but also offer potential savings on utility bills, which is vital for nonprofits operating with limited budgets. Additionally, these systems allow clinics to function as community shelters during extreme weather, expanding their role beyond healthcare provision.

This proactive adaptation to contemporary challenges demonstrates a commitment to healthcare infrastructure, ensuring that essential services continue uninterrupted even in the face of natural disasters.



Football Manager Secures Multi-Year Premier League Licensing Deal

Football Manager Secures Multi-Year Premier League Licensing Deal Football Manager Secures Multi-Year Premier League Licensing Deal Football Manager Secures Multi-Year Premier League Licensing Deal

Sports Interactive seals multi-year deal with Premier League. Starting from the 2024/25 season, full licensing for all 20 clubs will be included, featuring official logos, kits, and player images. Fans will have the opportunity to influence club destinies in future editions of Football Manager. Further details will be announced soon.

Premier League: England's top football division. Football Manager: A popular soccer management simulation game.


WNBA Experiences Record-Breaking Attendance and TV Ratings in First Month

The WNBA's first month has seen the highest attendance since 1998, along with record TV ratings. Rookies such as Caitlin Clark have significantly boosted the league's popularity. An average of 1.32 million viewers tuned in, a substantial increase from 462,000. Sellouts have doubled, with 400,000 fans attending games, filling 94% of arena capacity. TV viewership has notably increased among Hispanics and Blacks. Merchandise sales have skyrocketed by 236%.

Insight: The WNBA's surge underscores a long-awaited validation of the demand for women's sports. Rookies are pivotal catalysts, attracting diverse and engaged audiences.


Florida Panthers' Defensive Strategy Dominates in Stanley Cup Final

The Florida Panthers excel in lockdown hockey, stifling opponents late in games. Their strategy, honed over two years under Coach Paul Maurice, emphasizes defense to preserve leads. In the Stanley Cup Final, they've dominated the Edmonton Oilers, leading for 73 minutes and outscoring them 28-11 in the third period. This approach, described as tenacious and aggressive, involves continuous pressure rather than defensive shelling. New additions like Vladimir Tarasenko and Kyle Okposo have adapted quickly, reinforcing the Panthers' identity as a team that wears down opponents through relentless play. As the series moves to Edmonton, the Panthers' method appears to be a winning formula, showcasing their readiness for a potential first championship.


Sprinters Nearing Flo-Jo's Historic Sprint Records

Flo-Jo's 1988 sprint records—10.49 in the 100m and 21.34 in the 200m—remain unbroken. However, as the Paris Games draw near, these times appear increasingly attainable. Sprinters such as Shericka Jackson and Elaine Thompson-Herah are rapidly closing the gap, with Jackson's 21.41 in the 200m and Thompson-Herah's 10.54 in the 100m representing significant progress. Al Joyner, Flo-Jo's widower, supports the quest to break these records, reflecting Flo-Jo's own belief that records are meant to be surpassed. The current generation of sprinters, undeterred by the historic benchmarks, embody a spirit of boundless potential, mirroring Flo-Jo's own philosophy. As the records stand on the precipice of being eclipsed, Flo-Jo's legacy—both her athletic achievements and her encouragement of future athletes—continues to thrive.



Taiwan's Taichung Offers Controversial 'Female Body Sushi' Experience, Medical Experts Warn of Health Risks

Taiwan's Taichung Offers Controversial 'Female Body Sushi' Experience, Medical Experts Warn of Health Risks

In Taiwan, a private venue in Taichung has stirred controversy by offering a Japanese-inspired "Nyotaimori" experience, also known as "female body sushi." This involves serving sushi and sashimi on a nude female model, a practice that traces back to Japan's Edo period. The service, priced at NT$20,000, is available upon request and features local Taiwanese models.

Medical professionals caution about significant health risks, pointing to potential bacterial and viral infections from human skin, which can carry pathogens such as Staphylococcus aureus and Norovirus. The human body's temperature, which is not ideal for preserving raw seafood, further increases the risk of food spoilage and associated health issues.

Despite these concerns, the practice has been featured by a prominent YouTuber, underscoring a cultural divide between traditional food safety norms and emerging, albeit controversial, dining trends.


Bolivia's Coca-Infused Beer: A Cultural Staple Seeking Global Acceptance

In La Paz, Bolivia, El Viejo Roble distillery crafts beer infused with coca leaves, a traditional ingredient stigmatized by its association with cocaine. Bolivia, a major coca producer, is striving for global acceptance of coca-based products, ranging from beer to toothpaste. The recent decision by the World Health Organization to review coca's non-narcotic benefits has ignited hope among Bolivian coca farmers and producers.

Coca, deeply ingrained in indigenous rituals and daily life, provides mild stimulation and is believed to offer health benefits. Despite its acceptance domestically, international markets remain cautious due to UN narcotics classifications. The Bolivian government is committed to destigmatizing coca, advocating for its legal export and presence in the global market.

The WHO's forthcoming study could potentially redefine coca's legal status by examining its medicinal and nutritional properties. For Bolivian coca farmers, this could signify economic salvation, as they grapple with dwindling foreign reserves and limited crop alternatives.

The U.S. and other Western nations are skeptical of coca cultivation, often linking it to drug trafficking. Bolivia's efforts to legitimize coca underscore a larger conflict between preserving cultural heritage and adhering to international drug policies. The outcome of the WHO study has the potential to not only reshape Bolivia's economy but also alter global perceptions of coca.