NSO Group, a private Israeli firm that sells surveillance technology to governments worldwide, insists that its Pegasus spyware is used only to “investigate terrorism and crime.” Leaked data, however, reveals that the company’s hacking tool “has been used to facilitate human rights violations around the world on a massive scale.” That’s according to an investigative report published Sunday by the Pegasus Project, a media consortium of more than 80 journalists from 17 news outlets in 10 countries. The collaborative endeavor was coordinated by Forbidden Stories, a Paris-based media nonprofit, with technical assistance from Amnesty International, which conducted “cutting-edge forensic tests” on smartphones to identify traces of the military-grade spyware.
Earlier this month, a Honduran court found David Castillo, a U.S.-trained former Army intelligence officer and the head of an internationally financed hydroelectric company, guilty of the 2016 murder of celebrated Indigenous activist Berta Cáceres. His company was building a dam that threatened the traditional lands and water sources of the Indigenous Lenca people. For years, Cáceres and her organization, the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, or COPINH, had led the struggle to halt that project. It turned out, however, that Cáceres’s international recognition — she won the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize in 2015 — couldn’t protect her from becoming one of the dozens of Latin American Indigenous and environmental activists killed annually.
It isn’t often that we see a New York Times paragraph so freighted with syrup and honeyed goo, but there it was on Sunday afternoon, like something you’d order at IHOP to beat back a hangover: “Soaring more than 50 miles into the hot, glaringly bright skies above New Mexico, Richard Branson at last fulfilled a dream that took decades to realize: He can now call himself an astronaut.” Better lede: “Fulfilling his desire to beat a fellow billionaire into the lowest verge of space, notorious tax cheat Richard Branson burned some of the money he owes his home country in order to fling himself past the troposphere so he could experience weightlessness for as much time as it takes to make a decent bowel movement. An achievement that will go down in corporate history, Branson now holds bragging rights over the guy whose monopolies are eating the economy alive.” Not what I’d call the right stuff.
At a concession stand at Staples Center in Los Angeles, Adelaide Avila was pingponging between pouring beers, wiping down counters and taking out the trash. Her Los Angeles Lakers were playing their hometown rival, the Clippers, but Avila was working too hard to follow the March 2019 game. When she filed taxes for her previous year’s labors at the arena and her second job driving for Uber, the 50-year-old Avila reported making $44,810. The federal government took a 14.1% cut.
When it comes to resistance to receiving the COVID vaccine, you’ve probably heard about the conspiracy theories — the wild assertions that vaccines contain microchip tracking devices, that they can alter your DNA, that they can “shed” or spread from person to person, or even the claim by some that the vaccine makes you magnetic. Much of the discourse around vaccine hesitancy is centered around these bogus conspiracy theories, and as a result, they’ve often been discussed in connection with the U.S. failure to meet the Biden administration’s goal of vaccinating 70 percent of American adults by July 4. But there’s a much less discussed factor when it comes to vaccine hesitancy — and it has nothing to do with conspiracies.
In an upset reminiscent of the 2018 victory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, socialist underdog India Walton has bested a powerful Democratic insider in the primary race for the mayor of Buffalo, New York. With the Democratic nomination secured, and in the absence of any Republican challenger, the path to the inauguration of a socialist mayor, a vanishingly rare event in major U.S. cities, seems clear.
A new analysis of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) shows that the Republican-Democrat divide in COVID vaccination rates is stark — and growing. In April, according to the analysis, counties that voted for Donald Trump in the 2020 election had a 20.6 percent vaccination rate while counties that voted for Joe Biden had a 22.8 percent vaccination rate. By May, the red counties had a 28.5 percent rate of vaccination while the blue counties had a 35.0 percent rate.
With the latest term of the Supreme Court having come to a close last week, Democrats appear anxious to know whether the Court’s current oldest justice, Stephen Breyer, plans to step down, a move that would allow them to confirm a replacement named by President Joe Biden in the near future. The anxiety is perhaps warranted, as Democrats do not want to see yet another Supreme Court seat fall to a judge nominated by a Republican president, especially after the death last fall of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg enabled former President Donald Trump the opportunity to further cement the right-wing ideological composition of the High Court.
The largest drug companies are far more interested in enriching themselves and investors than in developing new drugs, according to a House committee report released Thursday that argues the industry can afford to charge Medicare less for prescriptions. The report by the House Oversight and Reform Committee says that contrary to pharmaceutical industry arguments that large profits fund extensive research and innovation, the major drug companies plow more of their billions in earnings back into their own stocks, dividends and executive compensation.
The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) suspended runner Sha’Carri Richardson after she failed a marijuana test. Richardson was set to represent the U.S. in the 100 meter dash in the upcoming...