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How Google’s balloons are bringing internet to new parts of Kenya

How Google’s balloons are bringing internet to new parts of Kenya

There are nearly 4 billion people on earth who have no access to the internet and there are a multitude of reasons why this is the case, including any combination of the cost of infrastructure, remote dwellers, difficult terrains, the sheer limits of technology and many more.Hundreds of millions of those people without access to an internet connection (and in some cases also lacking electricity) are found across Africa. It’s why two of Silicon Valley’s biggest tech firms, Google and Facebook have taken on a major infrastructure project to get to Africa. In the recent past Facebook has...

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Yinka Adegoke
2d ago
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Hong Kong’s protest movement keeps getting stymied by Apple

Hong Kong’s protest movement keeps getting stymied by Apple

Hong Kong’s protesters have a tortured relationship with Apple. While the has helped protesters spread messages quickly in crowded situations, the US tech giant has also thrown obstacles in their way, most notably when it from its app store last year.Now, the city’s democracy activists fear that Apple is again actively hindering the protest movement.Over the weekend, in the opposition’s primaries, an unofficial election that also served as a protest against the city’s national security law imposed last month by Beijing. The city will hold legislative elections in September. The primary...

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Mary Hui
2d ago
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China’s national security law for Hong Kong covers everyone on Earth

China’s national security law for Hong Kong covers everyone on Earth

Hong Kong’s sweeping new national security law, by China and taking effect hours later, is ostensibly meant to restore “prosperity” and “stability” to a city rocked by months-long protests. It criminalizes a , and is written vaguely enough that any criticism of the Chinese Communist Party could plausibly be deemed in violation of the law.  The new law is also expansive in another unprecedented way, even by the standards of China’s opaque legal system: it covers not just Hong Kong residents, but also anyone living abroad. That means foreign nationals, the Hong Kong diaspora, and Hong Kongers...

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Mary Hui
Jul 1
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An ex-Cigna exec says he spread lies about Canada’s health system—and it hurt Americans

An ex-Cigna exec says he spread lies about Canada’s health system—and it hurt Americans

Last week, former health insurance executive tweeted before disappearing again into the news cycle ether. But his mea culpa deserves more attention.Potter, who left Cigna where he was a vice-president of communications in 2008, wrote that in his previous career, he was among those in the health insurance industry who spent huge sums to convince Americans that Canada’s single-payer system was “awful.”The industry and its lobbying group, American Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), manipulated data and found the rare case stories they needed to spread suggesting that Canadians have long waits for...

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Lila MacLellan
Jun 29
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An Egyptian cyber attack on Ethiopia by hackers is the latest strike over the Grand Dam

An Egyptian cyber attack on Ethiopia by hackers is the latest strike over the Grand Dam

In an extension of a bilateral dispute between Ethiopia and Egypt over the $4.8 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam being built on the Nile River, Egyptian hackers launched a cyber attack on a number of Ethiopian government websites over the course of the past week.The two countries have been at loggerheads with each other for years over Ethiopia’s construction of the massive hydroelectric dam on the Nile—Egypt’s sole water source for irrigation farming and in general for its 100 million-strong population.. But as the source of 85% of the Nile’s waters, Ethiopia, which maintains that...

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Zecharias Zelalem
Jun 27
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Black bookstores are overwhelmed by orders for anti-racism titles

Black bookstores are overwhelmed by orders for anti-racism titles

Black booksellers were worried about coronavirus shutdowns hurting their business. Now they’re being deluged with orders of anti-racist titles following protests against police brutality around the world.The movement sparked by the in Minneapolis last month is generating a spike in interest for books about racism. There’s suddenly a huge demand from readers questioning their own racial biases, or looking to understand how racial relations in the US have made everyday life difficult for Black Americans. It did not help that a slew of by news outlets, libraries, and on social media often...

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Karen Ho
Jun 23
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The Ivy League's dark history shows it is not easy to reject charity that involves dirty money

The Ivy League's dark history shows it is not easy to reject charity that involves dirty money

One of the oldest British buildings in India is St. Mary’s Church in the southern city of Chennai. Constructed between 1678 and 1680, it is perhaps the oldest Anglican Church east of Suez.Interestingly, records of baptism, marriage, and death are preserved at the church right from the beginning. The registered here (old records are in Fort Museum) was between one Elihu Yale and Catherine Hynmers. Yale would later offer a donation to build a college named after him. It subsequently became Yale University. While in India, Elihu Yale was also a notorious slave-trader.In the 1680s, Elihu Yale...

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Yugank Goyal
Feb 17
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After George Floyd, Ghana’s simple message to African Americans: “Come home”

After George Floyd, Ghana’s simple message to African Americans: “Come home”

As a series of protests and events to mark the life of George Floyd began in Minneapolis earlier this month, a memorial was being held 10,000 kilometers away in Ghana’s capital, Accra.Attended by government representatives and a small socially-distanced group of African Americans living in Ghana, the memorial was held in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and Floyd, who died on May 25 after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes during an arrest.Ghana has of enslaved Africans to “return home” as tourists or to permanently resettle. Leading African...

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Kwasi Gyamfi Asiedu
Jun 20
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Data show Americans are afraid to quit their jobs right now

Data show Americans are afraid to quit their jobs right now

Over 3.4 million people in the US quit their jobs in February. They might be regretting it.Since that month, the US lost , and the unemployment rate rose from 3.5% to . Without much of a possibility of greener pastures, an unusually low number of Americans, 1.8 million, quit their jobs in April, according to recently released data from the . It was the fewest quits in any month since July 2010. The overall share of employed people who quit their job fell from 2.3% in February to 1.4% in April.It might seem counterintuitive, but a low quit rate is very bad news. Quit rates are a of the...

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Dan Kopf
Jun 10
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Scientists say satellite imagery and machine learning advances will boost African consumer data

Scientists say satellite imagery and machine learning advances will boost African consumer data

Last month, the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS) published a consumer spending which is meant to be published every three to five years. But the previous one was published 10 years ago.Of a population of 198 million people only 22,110 households where covered. The data was collected via door-to-door surveys requiring visits to rural communities which in many parts of the country are often difficult to access and sometimes not safe for researchers unfamiliar with the terrain.This highlights the challenges with consumer data collection and availability in many African countries. leading to...

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Uwagbale Edward
Jun 12
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NASA will set a price on lunar ice. Why?

NASA will set a price on lunar ice. Why?

The urge to voyage beyond what we know is at the heart of the human experience. Often, this is driven by some rare commodity—spices and silks, gold, or oil.How about water?The analogy may sound insane, since water is fairly plentiful here on the ground. But the unique physics of space travel means that going to the moon to get water might actually boost the space economy.The  for plans to send a new wave of robotic and eventually human explorers back to the moon. That ice is one of the first real resources that humans can use in space—for drinking water, for hydroponic agriculture, and once...

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Tim Fernholz
Jun 11
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European companies are walking a political tightrope to do business in China

European companies are walking a political tightrope to do business in China

In 2016, French cosmetics brand Lancôme organized a free promotional concert in Hong Kong. A few days later, confronted with mass online criticism, : The artist meant to perform, , had met with the Dalai Lama and campaigned for democracy in Hong Kong, two causes antithetical to . In the face of calls for a boycott, the luxury brand backed down.The incident is illustrative of a broader problem that foreign companies face when doing business in China: The need to bend to Beijing’s political will in order to retain market access. Other recent examples include German car manufacturer Daimler,...

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Annabelle Timsit
Jun 11
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Black engineers see both pride and exclusion in the return of human spaceflight

Black engineers see both pride and exclusion in the return of human spaceflight

It could have been a better day for Isaac Mensah.A Black robotics engineer at NASA’s Johnson Space Center and a former astronaut trainer, Mensah and his wife watched eagerly on May 30 as Americans flew to orbit from the US for the first time since 2011. It wasn’t just a , but the first launch witnessed by Mensah’s young son.“Of course, being 16-months old, his attention was held for about three minutes before he was off to play with one of his toys, but it was still a special moment for me!” Mensah told Quartz. “However, I can’t say I was able to completely celebrate it. My mind kept...

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Tim Fernholz
Jun 10
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Ethiopia will plant 5 billion trees this year to tackle climate change, but for a steep price

Ethiopia will plant 5 billion trees this year to tackle climate change, but for a steep price

Ethiopia is working on planting five billion trees this year, part of an ambitious plan to plant 20 billion seedlings by 2024 to help build a green climate resistant economy. The initiative, started by prime minister Abiy Ahmed, follows the Green Legacy Challenge project that claimed to on a single day, and a total of 4 billion last year.But it comes as Ethiopia faces a ballooning budget deficit and a growing government expenditure with dwindling foreign investment in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.The new expenditure is budgeted to cost the country over 4 billion Birr, ($117 million)...

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Samuel Getachew
Jun 10
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A new study shows Trump’s anti-immigration policies will end up hurting the US

A new study shows Trump’s anti-immigration policies will end up hurting the US

The Donald Trump administration’s planned measures to help American graduates find jobs during the Covid-19 pandemic may backfire in the long term.Over the past couple of months, the US government has proposed several restrictions on foreign skilled workers, which it believes will open up opportunities for locals. However, a recent (pdf) has said immigrant rights enhance the lives and livelihoods of native workers in many ways such as improvement in incomes, sparking innovation, reducing crime and increasing tax revenues.“We find there are several areas where strengthening migrant worker...

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Ananya Bhattacharya
Jun 8
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Signal app downloads spike as US protesters seek message encryption

Signal app downloads spike as US protesters seek message encryption

In the past week, US protesters have staged large-scale demonstrations against racism and police brutality across all 50 states. Over the same period, daily US downloads of the encrypted messaging app Signal have tripled, according to data from the mobile app analytics firm SensorTower.The spike in downloads coincides with calls from  and privacy-focused organizations like , urging American protesters to communicate with each other with encrypted apps like Signal. Encryption jumbles the content of a message while it’s being transmitted from the sender to the recipient, allowing users to...

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Nicolas Rivero
Jun 4
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Why US teens on TikTok are making “I love China” videos

Why US teens on TikTok are making “I love China” videos

TikTok is trying hard to shape its image as an international app. But a satirical meme that took off around April revolves around poking fun at the app’s Chinese roots—and at China itself. “praising” China and its president Xi Jinping have been posted on the app by users mainly in the US and Europe, set to the tune of the Chinese national anthem. With the Chinese national flag and an image of Xi in the background, the teens pretend to interact with the Chinese leader, giving him a kiss on the cheek or raising a toast together.Some of the users say that they’re making these over-the-top...

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Jane Li
May 28
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The US supports Hong Kong, and undermines its fight for freedom

The US supports Hong Kong, and undermines its fight for freedom

In the United States, the fight against coronavirus has not stopped black people from dying unjustly. On May 25, George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis, begging for his life with a police officer’s knee on his neck. On March 13, EMT Breonna Taylor was shot to death by police officers who burst into the wrong apartment. In February, jogger Ahmaud Arbery was killed by two vigilantes. This week, anti-racist demonstrators around the US took to the streets, and Minneapolis arrested one of the men responsible for Floyd’s death.Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, as Beijing moves to end the territory’s...

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Tim Fernholz
May 30
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Science says your “gut feeling” isn’t a metaphor

Science says your “gut feeling” isn’t a metaphor

The brain’s powers are a little overrated. To keep your body going, you don’t need a functioning brain, but you do need something to provide energy. Enter the gut.We may not give it much thought—because, literally, it happens without conscious thought—but the process of extracting energy from food is an intricate one. It involves hundreds of millions of neurons that aren’t in your brain. Those neurons are found in the outer layers of your gut, and the enteric nervous system they form is so powerful that it can work without any direct input from the brain.The actions this nervous system...

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Akshat Rathi
Aug 10
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China’s health scores for citizens won’t go away when coronavirus does

China’s health scores for citizens won’t go away when coronavirus does

A government app that used digital bar codes to control citizen movements at the peak of the coronavirus outbreak in China is likely to become a fixture in people’s daily lives.Hangzhou, a southern Chinese city home to tech giants like Alibaba, (May 23, link in Chinese) that it plans to “normalize” the use of the app, which was rolled out in February,  and turn it into a “‘firewall’ to enhance people’s health and immunity” after the pandemic recedes.Developed and social media giant Tencent, and soon made mandatory, the feature was added to Alipay, Ant’s digital payment wallet, as well as...

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Jane Li
May 25
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China’s health scores for citizens won’t go away when coronavirus does

China’s health scores for citizens won’t go away when coronavirus does

A government app that used digital bar codes to control citizen movements at the peak of the coronavirus outbreak in China is likely to become a fixture in people’s daily lives.Hangzhou, a southern Chinese city home to tech giants like Alibaba, (May 23, link in Chinese) that it plans to “normalize” the use of the app, which was rolled out in February,  and turn it into a “‘firewall’ to enhance people’s health and immunity” after the pandemic recedes.Developed and social media giant Tencent, and soon made mandatory, the feature was added to Alipay, Ant’s digital payment wallet, as well as...

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Jane Li
May 25
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A Taiwanese semiconductor titan is at the heart of the US-China tech fight

A Taiwanese semiconductor titan is at the heart of the US-China tech fight

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has, since its founding in 1987, set out to be a global “committed corporate citizen” serving clients worldwide instead of focusing only on one region.It succeeded. The contract chip maker is today the world’s largest semiconductor foundry. But now TMSC has been drawn into the increasingly fierce tech feud between the United States and China.Two incidents last week helped to illustrate the Taiwanese company’s awkward situation.Firstly, TMSC, last Thursday, announced a plan to build in Arizona, which has been seen as a political win for the...

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Jane Li
May 23
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“Suspiciously stable”: How China’s unemployment rate is calculated

“Suspiciously stable”: How China’s unemployment rate is calculated

The most politically sensitive number in China right now arguably isn’t its coronavirus case count, but its unemployment rate.In a sign of just how much of a hot potato job numbers are for the Communist Party, a Chinese brokerage firm was last month an analyst report that estimated the country’s unemployment rate at over 20%—multiple times higher than the official count. A few days later, the nationalistic tabloid Global Times for the purposes of “debunking” foreign allegations that China’s unemployment data is unreliable.As China’s National People’s Congress gathers tomorrow for its annual...

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Mary Hui
May 21
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450 free Ivy League university courses you can take online

450 free Ivy League university courses you can take online

This is an updated version of a story Quartz .The eight Ivy League schools are among the most prestigious colleges in the world. They include Brown, Harvard, Cornell, Princeton, Dartmouth, Yale, and Columbia universities, and the University of Pennsylvania.These Ivy League schools are highly selective and extremely hard to get into. But the good news is that all these universities now offer free online courses across multiple online course platforms.Here’s a collection of all of them, split into courses in the following subjects: Computer Science, Data Science, Programming, Humanities,...

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Dhawal Shah
Mar 19
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While the world wasn’t looking, Beijing re-wrote the rules in Hong Kong at startling speed

While the world wasn’t looking, Beijing re-wrote the rules in Hong Kong at startling speed

Compared to last year, the streets of Hong Kong over the past few months have been largely quiet. Gone are the massive protests, as people stayed home to stave off the pandemic. But away from the global spotlight, drastic changes have unfurled at remarkable speed in the city.Just 10 days after authorities , the city at the center of the outbreak, China turned its attention to Hong Kong and dialled up the pressure while the rest of the world was preoccupied with the pandemic.Beijing fired its opening salvo on April 17, when its liaison office in Hong Kong effectively dismantled over two...

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Mary Hui
May 15
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