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Facebook Is Having The Worst Week Ever, While Venezuela's Week Has Just Begun
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September 2, 2016
 
 

 

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Venezuela: Day 1 Of The Takeover Of Caracas

Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators marched through the streets of Caracas yesterday to call for the removal of President Nicolas Maduro, but of course Maduro was “unimpressed.” Protestors blame Maduro for Venezuela’s recent downward spiral into food shortages, street violence and general economic panic. Sure his inadequacy led to the country’s “hunger, crime, inflation and corruption” as the protesters reminded him, but at least he never misses a birthday party.

Rather than taking heed to the voices of the people, Maduro chastised the opposition, saying they failed to attract the one million people they were expecting in their march. Indeed, some of the people present consisted of Maduro supporters, there to protest the protestors. Venezuelan police reportedly used tear gas to disperse small crowds of government opponents gathered on a highway, but the opposition insists they’ll be back. There are plans for two more street protests, including one on September 14, which will coincide with the arrival of heads of state from around the world for a summit of the Non-Aligned Movement. 

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Apple Realizes It's Not Safe To Leave Valuables Out

This week Apple learned that in a world of tightened government budgets and endless austerity, nothing is more tempting than a $215 billion cash pile just ripe for the taking. Following the European Commission’s ruling that Apple owed Ireland $14.5 billion in back taxes, the company decided to bring back to the US a large chunk of its foreign domiciled cash next year, acknowledging that it would have to pay a high tax rate on it. The company uses a complex structure that allows it to exploit tax law inconsistencies and pay a low tax rate on its profits, provided they never move the money back into the US. Apple tried holding off on repatriating the money until it could strike a deal with the US government to pay a lower tax rate. Eventually the lure of so much cash was too strong for the EU to resist and they made a grab for it instead. It sounds like Apple would rather pay taxes to Washington than Brussels. An accidental win for America?

Shady Read: How Apple Set Up Its ‘Double Irish’ Tax Structure

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Hacker Goes To Prison For Making Us Talk About Hillary's Emails

Marcel Lazar, the Romanian hacker known as “Guccifer” was sentenced to 52 months in prison, after pleading guilty on charges of aggravated identity theft and unauthorized access of a computer. You might recognize Guccifer by hacks such as Secretary of State Colin Powell and the Bush family, but his real claim to fame was inadvertently uncovering Hillary Clinton’s private email account back in 2013, after hacking the account of her former political adviser, Sidney Blumenthal. We can’t say Guccifer is the sole reason the media still has to discuss Hillary’s emails on a regular basis, but he certainly didn’t help. He hasn’t even begun his sentence and there is already a “Guccifer 2.0” on the loose, the supposed hacker behind the Democratic National Committee’s data breach. 

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Facebook Is Having The Worst Week Ever

Facebook’s first attempt at connecting the entire world to the internet (or at least to Facebook) went down in flames yesterday, creating a perfect metaphor for Mark Zuckerberg’s week. The SpaceX rocket was supposed to send a satellite up into orbit so that it could beam internet to sub-Saharan Africa, potentially opening Facebook up to larger connectivity projects involving solar-powered drones. Instead, it exploded during a pre-launch test at Cape Canaveral, Florida. It’s a poetic end to an already dismal week, which kicked off with Mark Zuckerberg firing his entire Trending News editorial staff, only to watch the algorithm that replaced them promote fake news and hate speech. Don’t worry, Zuck. It doesn’t take a satellite to know that Mercury is in retrograde.

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Georgetown Tries To Grapple With An Evil Past

In this summer’s Democratic Convention, Michelle Obama brought tears to the audience’s eyes when she spoke about her experience waking up every morning in the White House, a house built by slaves. But the White House wasn’t the only institution that profited from the evils of slavery. Georgetown University published a report yesterday on how the Jesuit Institution used slaves, focusing on the sale of 272 slaves in 1838 for $3.3 million in 2016 dollars that the university used to pay off its debts. In an attempt to make amends, the University gave a formal apology and announced that it would offer an admission boost to the descendants of people whom Georgetown enslaved, treating them the same way they treat the children of alumni or faculty. They also announced the naming of one of its halls after Isaac, one of the people sold in 1838. The question remains though: is that enough?

Good Read: The Case For Reparations By Ta-Nehisi Coats

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KEEPING OUR EYE ON

 

Gabon: President Ali Bongo was declared the winner of the presidential election by a margin of less than 6,000 votes. The news was met with angry clashes and street protests, resulting in the bombing of the opposition’s headquarters. It’s believed that the presidential guard was the group that actually carried out the bombing that killed 10 people and wounded dozens more. “Democracy is difficult,” Bongo understated in a press conference.

Turkey: Another 543 judges and prosecutors have been sacked in Turkey, bringing President Erdogan’s post-coup firing fest to an all-time high. At least 35,000 people have been detained since the coup attempt in July, at least 3,000 of which are judges and prosecutors. 

 
 

LOOSE NUTS: FOR YOUR ENJOYMENT

JetBlue Flies The Wrong Children To Terrified Parents

JetBlue knows how to make strangers feel like they’re in good hands. Unfortunately for one mother, that meant picking up a strange child from the airport that happened to be carrying her son’s passport. Maribel Martinez was horrified when she went to collect her five-year-old son from a New York City airport only to watch JetBlue present her with the wrong child. Her actual son was ushered onto the wrong plane in the Dominican Republic. Meanwhile, the boy that did arrive in New York was trying to get to Boston, where his parents were also panicking. The switch was eventually corrected and families were reunited, but the families intend to sue.

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