RationalWiki:What is going on in the world?

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Icon wigo world alt tilted.svg Keep up to date with all the interesting world news and current events that relate to RationalWiki's mission here. The most popular entries are found at Best of the world and the older entries are found in the archives.

Voting is meant to reflect the quality and relevance of a news item — not whether said item brings good or bad news.

What is going on?

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May 2024

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4United StatesNew Hampshire. Trans flag.svg New Hampshire has passed a bill revoking many previously-established discrimination protections for transgender people.
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7United StatesCalifornia. The Tech Baron Seeking to Purge San Francisco of “Blues”: If Balaji Srinivasan is any guide, then the Silicon Valley plutocrats are definitely not OK.
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11Philippinesthe World ‘A catastrophe’: Greenpeace blocks planting of ‘lifesaving’ Golden Rice: Thousands of children could die after court backs campaign group over GM crop in Philippines, scientists warn
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8HungaryUkraineRussia Orbán holds up Ukraine arms funding from frozen Russian assets
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10United StatesNew York. Film-maker Morgan Spurlock, who created the film Super Size Me has died aged 53 from complications of cancer.
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13United StatesLouisiana. Governor of Louisiana signs a law that restricts two medications used to induce abortions as "controlled and dangerous substances". (See: RU-486.)
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19the World Google's new AI-driven search results sometimes spread conspiracy theories, encourage people to eat rocks, or suggest glue as a pizza ingredient. Apparently this is because it will occasionally prioritize sources as trustworthy as The Onion or random Reddit shitposters named "fucksmith". Google insists the feature has undergone "extensive testing" despite this but will continue to improve.
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18Japan Kabosu, the Shiba Inu dog that was behind all those Doge memes has died in her home in Sakura, Japan, aged 18.
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16Italy A row has erupted in Italy, after a teacher in Treviso allowed two Muslim students to be exempted from learning Dante's Divine Comedy. The reason is there is a section in the poem that places the Prophet Muhammed in Hell.
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13RussiaFinlandLithuaniaNATO Baltic concerns over Russian plan to move sea borders. Russia wants to unilaterally change Baltic sea borders, but deleted its draft text about it. Apparently Russia plans to draw a map of the proposal and release a new statement later. This may be a provocation aimed at NATO, which the other countries concerned are members of.
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20United KingdomRwanda The British government admits that flights of asylum seekers to Rwanda for processing are unlikely to happen due to the election.
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22United Kingdom Inquiry finds the UK's NHS knowingly infected tens of thousands of people with contaminated blood from the 1970s–1990s. This killed about 3,000 people and sickened more, then multiple governments covered it up.
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21Germany Maximilian Krah is banned from campaigning for the AfD due to his 'not all members of the SS were bad people' comments. during the European elections.
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36IrelandNorwaySpainPalestine Ireland, Norway and Spain have announced they are recognising the State of Palestine.
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27United KingdomScotland New census figures reveal that for the first time, over half of Scots, 51.1% are irreligious. Biggest change are those over-65s, with those saying they are irreligious have more then doubled.
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33United KingdomScotlandTrans flag.svg The Church of Scotland has said in its annual General Assembly that transgender people are made in the image of God, worthy of our respect and love and part of the Church.
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25United StatesSaudi Arabia New 9/11 Evidence Points to Deep Saudi Complicity: Two decades of U.S. policy appear to be rooted in a mistaken understanding of what happened that day.
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17United KingdomUnited States WikiLeaks founder Assange wins right to appeal against US extradition.
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29PeruTrans flag.svg Peru protesters slam new insurance law that deems transgender people mentally ill
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49IsraelPalestine The International Criminal Court (ICC) issues an arrest warrant for Israeli PM Bibi Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Hamas leaders Ismail Haniyeh, Mohammed Deif and Yahya Sinwar.
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31Iran A helicopter carrying Ebrahim Raisi has crashed amidst massive fog in Iran. Raisi's status is currently unknown. Update: Raisi has been found dead.
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16United StatesIsrael In an excellent example of Foucault's boomerang, an Israeli company is hawking "self-launching" drones to US police departments.
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14Singapore Lee Hsien Loong has stepped down as Prime Minister of Singapore after nearly 20 years in the position. Lawrence Wong will succeed him.
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18European UnionGay Pride Flag.svg LGBT+ think tank ILGA Europe releases its Rainbow Map for 2024. Top five countries are; Malta, Iceland, Belgium, Spain & Denmark. Bottom five are; Russia, Azerbaijan, Türkiye, Armenia & Belarus. Ireland came 15th and the UK came 16th out of 49 countries.
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24PalestineIsrael Israeli protesters arrested after attacking Gaza aid trucks
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19Sweden Swedish government coalition ‘undermined’ by far-right troll farm scandal. After ally Sweden Democrats revealed last week to have been doing it for years, going after even their coalition partners online.
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23PalestineIsraelUnited States Pentagon intelligence officer has quit in protest of continued unconditional support of the Israeli war effort
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19Slovakia Slovakia’s Prime Minister, Robert Fico, is in a life threatening condition following an assassination attempt.
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20United KingdomLGBTQ+ rainbow flag Quasar "Progress" variant.svg Section 28 part deux? Education secretary Gillian Keegan has said there will be new sex education guidelines on what teachers can say to primary school pupils. Notably mentioned is guidance in relation to trans and non-binary people.
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18Indonesia Mt. Ibu erupts in Indonesia, spewing ash and dark clouds into atmosphere.
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57United Kingdom UK toddler has hearing restored in world first gene therapy trial
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34United StatesFlorida. A MAGA Floridian has discovered, despite living in the U.S. for over 60 years, he is an illegal immigrant when he tried to collect his Social Security.
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28Fiji The former prime minister of Fiji, Frank Bainimarama, has been sentenced to one year in prison for attempting to stop the police from investigating former staff members at a university.
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42PolandGay Pride Flag.svg The mayor of Poland's second city Kraków has said he would march with others in the city's equality march [gay pride] next week, the first time the mayor has marched in the city’s equality march.
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32United States In exchange for Speaker Johnson’s help in passing foreign aid for Ukraine, Democrats overwhelmingly vote against Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s abrupt motion to vacate his position.
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26United Kingdom Conservative MP Natalie Elphicke defects to Labour Party. This is notable because Ms Elphicke was one of the most right-wing MPs in the Commons, making her 'crossing the floor' equivalent to a member of the US Freedom Caucus joining the Democratic Party (so cue the WTF?! comments aimed towards Starmer).
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26Afghanistan The Taliban announces that they’ll reinstate public flogging and death by stoning as punishments for women found guilty of adultery.
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15the World Vaxzevria, the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine has been voluntarily withdrawn from sale, because the manufacturers believe there are better vaccines available to cope with the current strains.
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10United KingdomScotland John Swinney will become the next First Minister of Scotland after securing the SNP leadership.
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28Israel In a move described by the Foreign Press Association in Israel as "a dark day for democracy", Netanyahu's government has shut down Al Jazeera in Israel, and raided their Jerusalem press office.
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14United Kingdom UKGov proposes new law to mandate separate male/female toilets in new buildings excepting private homes. No, it's really about dealing with 'the complaints of elderly and disabled people' and not at all about doubling-down on the 'bathroom wars' shite in the vain hope to shore up a Conservative Party which just got whipped in local elections and is cruising into a huge electoral defeat within six months.
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27ArgentinaFalkland IslandsUnited Kingdom Javier Milei said in an interview for the BBC, that he accepts that the Islas Malvinas/Falkland Islands are under British management. A complete reversal of Argentine policy, which says that the islands are under the sovereignty of Argentina.
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13United StatesTexas. Democratic Representative Henry Cuellar and his wife have been charged with bribery, among other crimes.
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13United StatesSouth Carolina. Trans flag.svg Ignoring the recent 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision that recognises bans on gender-affirming care are unconstitutional, South Carolina has banned gender-affirming care for minors, among other abhorrent rules.
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25United StatesTrans flag.svg The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that state bans on gender-affirming care are unconstitutional.
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18PalestineIsraelEgyptUnited States Hamas negotiators arrive in Cairo for truce talks. William Burns, the chief of the CIA, is also present.
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29Russia Russian state-owned energy company GazpromWikipedia sees worst loss in decades as European exports collapse
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24United StatesCanada Two far-right news websites, Human Events and The Post Millennial, hacked with a message saying Andy Ngo came out as trans and leaking the personal information of the contributors. Many government-affiliated emails were signed up.
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29United StatesArizona. Arizona repeals an 1864 law that bans abortion. The state's Supreme Court previously ruled that the law should have been enforced.
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6United StatesOklahoma. Oklahoma passes a series of laws. Among other things they ban ranked-choice voting, ban homeless camps on public property, tax-incentivize people to be poll workers, and make the soybean an official state symbol.
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19United States A second Boeing whistleblower has died in a short time span.
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24Georgia Thousands have shown up to protest as the Georgian parliament has advanced the "foreign influence" bill that'd basically allow Georgia to ban and suppress non-governmental organisations and news sources.
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36UkraineUnited StatesRussia US accuses Russia of using chemical weapons in Ukraine
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26United Kingdom The MP for Ipswich Tom Hunt, who has voted to introduce voter ID laws for British elections, is scrambling around for help after he has discovered he has no such ID on him. Updated: Boris Johnson, whose government demanded voter ID, has also revealed that he tried to vote without the appropriate voter ID.

April 2024

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33United StatesKansas. Trans flag.svg Two defections prevented Republicans from overriding Governor Kelly's veto on their bill that would have banned gender-affirming care for minors.
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40United KingdomWales Welsh politicians are considering criminalising lying by politicians.
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16Russia Russia Clones Wikipedia, Censors It, Bans Original
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39United NationsNorth Korea UN investigators said they found remains of North Korean Hwasong-11 ballistic missiles in Kharkiv, Ukraine. This means that Russia has clearly violated North Korean weapons sanctions.
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22United KingdomScotland First Minister Humza Yousaf will resign. He had been facing a no-confidence motion following the collapse of the SNP-Scottish Green coalition deal.
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24Cuba Cuba is now suffering a new shortage, a shortage of physical cash. Due to a growing black market and triple digit inflation of the peso, many banks and ATMs are unable to dispense their customers' savings.
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22United KingdomRussia A Briton has been charged for masterminding an arson attack against an Ukrainian-linked target in London for the benefit of the Russian state. It has been said that he was recruited by the Wagner Group to commit arson in the UK.
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-11IraqGay Pride Flag.svg Iraq has criminalised homosexual activity, with a maximum of 15 years in prison as punishment.
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22RussiaUganda Wagner Group mercenaries are now on the hunt for Joseph Kony.
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56United States The FCC votes to restore net neutrality.
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26United StatesPalestine US military begins construction of a temporary pier to deliver aid to Gaza, including food aid.
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-3United StatesNew York. Harvey Weinstein's rape conviction has been overturned.
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49DominicaGay Pride Flag.svg Homosexual activity in Dominica is now legal, as they've overturned their anti-sodomy laws.
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22United States US Department of Labor attempts to expand eligibility for overtime pay to millions more workers.
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15Burkina Faso "Burkina Faso’s military summarily executed more than 220 civilians, including at least 56 children, in two villages in late February, according to a new report by Human Rights Watch."
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22United StatesNew York. The Secret Service are preparing for the possibility of having to protect Trump while he is in jail.
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17PalestineIsrael Mass graves of Palestinians have been found at the Al-Shifa hospital.
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19United States The Gateway PunditWikipedia files for bankruptcy.
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11Ireland Taoiseach Simon Harris has formally apologised in the Dáil to the families and survivors on the government’s handling and response to the Stardust tragedy,Wikipedia a nightclub fire that killed 48 people in 1981.
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10Germany An aide of the AfD politician Maximilian Krah has been arrested. Allegedly, he spied on Chinese opposition members and repeatedly passed on secret information from the European parliament to China. Another member of the far-right party, Petr Bystron, is currently being investigated by the Czech secret service for receiving money from the Russian propaganda channel "Voice of Europe". Krah also received "compensations" for "technical expenditures" from the pro-Russian activist Oleg Woloschyn.
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22United States The FTC has voted to ban non-compete clauses.
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23Australia Prime Minister Albanese has labelled Musk ‘an arrogant billionaire who thinks he is above the law’ in response for not removing video showing the church stabbing.
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13PalestineIsraelUnited Nations An independent probe has found that Israel hasn't provided any evidence for their bullshit UNRWA allegations.
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13United Kingdom Judge throws out Government's case; the accused's crime? To remind jurors at a climate activist trial (with a sign outside the court) that jury nullification is a thing in England & Wales.
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26United States Rolling Stone has revealed that Trump's Save America Super PAC is running out of money, due to Trump's personal legal fees.
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7PalestineUnited StatesUnited Nations Despite claims that the Biden administration supports Palestinian statehood, leaked cables reveal that the US has been exerting diplomatic pressure on Security Council member states to reject a bid for full Palestinian membership in the UN, contradicting these apparently bullshit claims. Ironic how the US keeps advocating for a two state solution yet keeps rejecting the recognition of one state whilst bootlicking the other.
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13RussiaBelarus In discussing the Crocus City Hall terrorist attack, Dmitry Medvedev has proposed reintroducing the death penalty, something that would need a constitutional amendment. While former NRA member and Russian spy, now Duma deputy Maria Butina has proposed extraditing the attackers to Belarus where the death penalty exists.
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31United Kingdom The Future of Humanity Institute shuts down. Among other things it claimed to have a goal of reducing existential risks to humanity (earning it funds from Elon Musk among others), and it was associated with the effective altruism movement.
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23United StatesNew York. A man set himself on fire outside the Trump trial. Before doing so he scattered pamphlets about "a 'hellish fascist dystopia' that includes cryptocurrency, climate change, Covid vaccines, Palantir Technologies founder Peter Thiel, artificial intelligence, and 'The Simpsons' cartoon television show."
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33Switzerland Nestlé shareholders reject proposals to change the company's business model to focus on healthier / more nutritious products. Reason; it would possibly cost them some profit.
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17United Kingdom Rishi Sunak has plans to strip doctors of their ability to issue sick notes. He claims the U.K. has a "sick note culture" and that benefits have become a "lifestyle choice". No, this is totally not a headline grabbing lash-out at benefit scroungers minus any actual productive help for said people merely to tickle the bellies of Mail and Express readers due to fears of Conservative wipeout in the upcoming general election.
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16IsraelIran Israel strikes Iran, possibly at multiple sites.
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21United States Speaker of the House of Representatives Mike Johnson introduced separate aid bills for Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan. This comes with resistance among a few other House Republicans, including Marjorie Taylor Greene (MTG), who threatened an attempt to remove Johnson as Speaker due to the standalone Ukraine aid. MTG proposed an amendment to the Israel aid bill, so that it would also fund a "space laser" targeting migrants at the US-Mexico border.
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12United StatesColorado. Republicans in Colorado's state-level Senate block a measure that would have allowed voters to decide via referendum whether child sex abuse victims can be exempted from the statute of limitations — thus allowing them to sue their abusers. The measure required a supermajority and failed by one vote, with Democrats and Republicans all voting party-line.
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19United StatesMassachusetts. Researchers at MIT demonstrate that LLM chatbots can be used to durably persuade some conspiracy theorists to reconsider their beliefs. (Paper here, currently in preprint.)
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26SwedenTrans flag.svg Sweden's parliament has passed a law that changes the minimum legal age to change your legal gender from 18 to 16. You also no longer require a gender dysphoria diagnosis.
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22United States SCOTUS just effectively abolished the right to mass protest in three states.
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15United States US House of Representatives delivers articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to the Senate. Roll Call suggests he will "almost certainly" not be convicted. Update: The Senate dismissed the articles of impeachment without trial.
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13United KingdomUnited StatesIranIsrael David Cameron, the UK's current foreign minister, says during his visit to Israel: "It's clear the Israelis are making a decision to act", i.e. to retaliate against Iran. The US, UK, and others are likely to impose economic sanctions on Iran in the hopes these "will help persuade Israel to limit the scope of its retaliation."
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22United StatesNew York. Trump on trial in Manhattan for a hush money case. On the second day of the trial, jury selection continued, and many were disqualified because they posted memes mocking Trump online.
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10United StatesFlorida. Florida bans city and county governments from mandating heat protections for outdoor laborers beyond state and federal protections.
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15United Kingdom Muslim pupil loses High Court challenge to pray at school. The school fought this case on the reason they are strictly secular. However, the headteacher is also the 'Tiger Teacher' who is rigid, authoritarian, treats resistance like a steam-roller does grass and is geared solely towards exams and obedience.
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12United Kingdom Eternal ban on purchasing cigarettes for those born on or after 2009 in the UK passed in the Commons. As the opposition Labour Party is also in favour, it is highly unlikely to be scrapped after the upcoming elections (like in New Zealand), making it the first country to potentially have a 'smoke free' generation (unless they take up pipes or cigars).
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11Belgium 'National Conservatism' conference 'closed' by Brussels police. Cue wails of anguish, 'censorship' and 'thought police' from attendees such as everyone's fave Brits Nigel Farage and Suella Braverman. Closing the thing (if indeed it is closed) could be courting the Streisand effect as reports state attendence was rather low (~250 with a capacity for ~850). A court has now overturned the closure.
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13United States US CDC study finds no link between COVID-19 vaccines and deaths among young people due to heart problems. The analysis looked into death certificates in the state of Oregon, and it also found that of thirty people killed by COVID-19 in the same sample, a majority were unvaccinated.
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20Australia 6 dead in Australian knife attack. Police officer manages to kill offender (who was actually armed and a danger to all!) using only 2-3 bullets. UPDATE: The perpetrator has been identified, but not before the usual reactionaries and pro-Putin trolls on social media (particularly Twitter) circulated several false claims attributing the attack to either a Jewish individual or a Muslim.
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30United StatesKansas. Kansas governor Laura Kelly has vetoed a proposed ban on gender-affirming care for minors, a measure to require more reporting from abortion providers, and what she called a "vague" bill making it a crime to coerce someone into having an abortion. The GOP has narrow supermajorities in both chambers of the state legislature.
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36IsraelIran Israel and the United States prepare for a possibly imminent direct military retaliation from Iran, weeks after Israel bombed the Iranian embassy in Damascus. (Update: they've done it.)
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26the World Global monthly heat record broken for a tenth consecutive month, "with the past 12 months being 1.58 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels."
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18Switzerland Members of the Swiss far-right SVP have put together a referendum proposal which would effectively end Swiss sanctions on Russia and China, stating that such actions would break the country's strict neutrality.
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35the World Global poverty and inequality have declined dramatically between 1980 and 2019, with both declines accelerating over time. By using a poverty line of $6.85 a day, poverty rates have declined from 60-70% to 50% of the global population.
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47United States O. J. Simpson dies at age 76.
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32United Kingdom Sky News has revealed that millionaire hedge fund manager Sir Paul Marshall, who is the biggest owner of GB News, is quitting as a member of the channel’s executive board.
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43United StatesRussiaUkraine Russian troll factories are supplying Republicans such as Marjorie Taylor Greene with talking points against Ukraine.
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37United StatesArizona. The Supreme Court of Arizona has banned abortion in all cases. Gov. Katie Hobbs has denounced the decision. Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes has has said she won't enforce the law. In fact, this is so bad even Kari Lake denounced the decision.
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7New Zealand It's a newsroom bloodbath in Aotearoa with Newshub, which does the news for TV channel Three and various commercial radio stations, saying it is closing down in July. On the same day, public broadcaster TVNZ said a number of news programmes including Midday, Sunday and Fair Go, are to be cut due to budget issues.
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19RussiaFlag of the Chechen Republic.svg Chechnya bans all music that's not between 80-116 BPM
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16Canada Canada has said it's in talks about joining AUKUS, and it's planning to buy nuclear submarines.
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25EcuadorMexico Ecuadorian police break into the Mexican embassy to arrest former vice president Jorge Glas, who's seeking asylum in Mexico. This is considered a violation of international law. Mexico has ended diplomatic relations with Ecuador over this.
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24New Zealand In New Zealand a "sovereign citizen" is fined for resisting police, having just come from a 21 day jail sentence for contempt of court for disruptive behavior including the usual stuff about not recognizing the authority of the court and similar.
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13Spain The Spanish government has said it is following the lead of other countries and introducing plain packaging for cigarettes by the end of the year.
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26United StatesVermont. Bernie Sanders's office in Vermont targeted by arson. Fortunately, no one was injured.
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7GermanyFlag of Hesse.svg The courts in the state of Hesse have ordered a chain of human-free digital supermarkets to close on Sundays and public holidays, as they violate Sunday trading laws.
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37United StatesIndiana. ‘Severely decreased their sexual intimacy with their husbands’: Indiana appeals court uses Mike Pence’s religious liberty law to block abortion ban
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23Germany Björn Höcke has been charged with using a Nazi slogan, again.
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30United StatesOklahoma. The city of Enid, Oklahoma, has voted out city council commissioner Judd Blevins after it was revealed he was a neo-Nazi who ran a Groyper Twitter account and attended Charlottesville.
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33IsraelPalestine The Israeli army has marked tens of thousands of Gazans as suspects for assassination, using an AI targeting system with little human oversight and a permissive policy for casualties, +972 and Local Call reveal.
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21United StatesMassachusetts. Russia A former Massachusetts city councilor who was charged with possession of child pornography in 2020, has skipped his trial and has been found working for the Russian Army in the War in Ukraine.
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15Italy Italian island offers goats up for adoption.
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18United Kingdom The Guardian reports that the Conservatives planned to create a “True Blue” app to track party members and allow companies to "geo-market" products to users based on their location.
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32United StatesDominica The Guardian reports that Truth Social was nearly bankrupt in 2022, but was saved by loans by a Russian-American who was under criminal investigation and a Dominican bank that is used to evade sanctions.
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29United StatesIndia Amazon is scrapping its “Just Walk Out” feature in its Amazon Go grocery stores, as they revealed that in reality it is just a load of Indian workers watching cameras.
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15Taiwan An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.4 hits the city of Hualien, leaving some buildings to look like the Tower of Pisa. 9 people died and 821 injured and counting.
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14IsraelPalestine The World Central Kitchen has halted its humanitarian work in the Gaza Strip after the IDF struck three of their vehicles, killing seven WCK workers. Bellingcat believes these strikes to have been from low-yield munitions.
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14Ukraine Ukraine lowers military conscription age from 27 to 25.
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20United StatesFlorida. Abortion rights and recreational marijuana legalization will be separately put to the test on Florida ballot initiatives this November. The same day, Florida's supreme court has allowed enforcement of the exact 15-week abortion ban which one of said ballot initiatives could overturn.
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25IsraelQatar Netanyahu has threatened Al Jazeera and other foreign news providers with expulsion by a new security law which will restrict foreign broadcasters.
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25IsraelSyriaIran 6 killed as Israel strikes Iran embassy annex in Damascus
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-31United StatesRussia Unraveling Havana Syndrome: New evidence links the GRU's assassination Unit 29155 to mysterious attacks on U.S. officials and their families. A yearlong investigation by The Insider, in collaboration with 60 Minutes and Der Spiegel, has uncovered evidence suggesting that unexplained anomalous health incidents, also known as Havana Syndrome, may have their origin in the use of directed energy weapons wielded by members of Russian GRU Unit 29155.
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37Germany Cannabis leaf.svg Hochdeutsch (hochdeutsch = high German, 'standard' German) has gained another meaning as Germany has formally legalised cannabis. Germans can now possess up to 25g of pot, or have up to three plants at home.