Finland Is Again the World’s Happiest Country, Report Finds

Finland, for the fourth consecutive year, topped a list of countries evaluated on the well-being of their inhabitants. “Really?” Finns ask.

#european-union, #finland, #happiness, #income-inequality, #nordic-countries, #politics-and-government, #polls-and-public-opinion, #research, #united-nations, #united-states

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U.N. Panel Is Scathing in Its Criticism of a British Report on Race

The criticism adds to a backlash against findings by the Johnson government that called Britain a “model for other white-majority countries.”

#black-people, #discrimination, #floyd-george-d-2020, #great-britain, #human-rights-and-human-rights-violations, #johnson-boris, #politics-and-government, #race-and-ethnicity, #united-nations, #whites

0

Somalia’s President Extends Term by Two Years, Drawing Condemnation

His four-year term expired, President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed signed a contentious law that critics fear could plunge the fragile country into renewed, possibly violent, turmoil.

#mohamed-mohamed-abdullahi, #shabab, #somalia, #united-nations, #united-states-international-relations

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Reversing Trump, Biden Restores Aid to Palestinians

The move will once again make the United States a leading donor to the United Nations agency that assists about 5.7 million Palestinians in the Middle East.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #blinken-antony-j, #foreign-aid, #palestinian-authority, #palestinians, #state-department, #trump-donald-j, #united-nations, #united-states-international-relations

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Biden Keeps Trump’s Policy Retaining Land Mines in U.S. Arsenal, for Now

On the campaign trail, Joseph R. Biden Jr. had pledged to reverse his predecessor’s land mine policy. A Pentagon spokesman said the matter was under review.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #civilian-casualties, #defense-department, #human-rights-and-human-rights-violations, #leahy-patrick-j, #mines-explosive, #obama-barack, #politics-and-government, #presidential-election-of-2020, #trump-donald-j, #united-nations, #united-states, #united-states-defense-and-military-forces, #united-states-politics-and-government

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‘They Told Us Not to Resist’: Sexual Violence Pervades Ethiopia’s War

Rape is being used as a weapon as fighting rages in remote parts of Tigray region. “Even if we had shouted,” one woman said, “there was no one to listen.”

#ahmed-abiy, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #doctors-without-borders, #refugees-and-displaced-persons, #sex-crimes, #tigray-ethiopia, #tigray-peoples-liberation-front, #united-nations, #war-and-armed-conflicts, #war-crimes-genocide-and-crimes-against-humanity, #women-and-girls

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Famine Stalks Yemen, as War Drags On and Foreign Aid Wanes

For the second time in three years, the threat of widespread famine hangs over the war-torn country, where millions are displaced and struggle daily to find food.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #famine, #houthis, #refugees-and-displaced-persons, #saudi-arabia, #united-nations, #yemen

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A Wedding, an Airstrike, and Outrage at the French Military

The French Army says it killed terrorists in Mali, with no collateral damage. A new United Nations report says almost all of the dead were civilians.

#civilian-casualties, #defense-and-military-forces, #france, #mali, #united-nations, #weddings-and-engagements

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To improve accountability, Norrsken VC ties partner compensation to its portfolio’s sustainable successes

With the close of its latest investment fund, Norrsken VC is is taking an unprecedented step in tying the compensation of its partners to the positive changes the firm’s portfolio companies have on the world — and not just their financial returns.

The firm, which released its impact assessment for 2020 last week, has invested in companies that address seven of the United Nations’ seventeen sustainable development goals, and is benchmarking its performance on goals that range from the tightly monitored to the slightly tautological.

In some instances, the goals are simply customer metrics (with the assumption that the more customers on a product, the better they’re doing). To be fair, these are in areas like education and healthcare where the true impact of a company’s services are harder to measure.

The firm’s portfolio has much more tangible progress in the climate change mitigation and sustainability space. Here, emissions avoided or increases in energy efficiency can be measured quite easily.  And those energy efficiency gains and emissions reductions, along with lower waste associated with the firm’s food and agtech businesses are where the firm has seen its best performance.

When they exit, this performance will matter a great deal to the partners at Norrsken, because their compensation is directly affected by it.

“For each investment that we make, we set targets pre-investment for what we want to see in terms of impact,” said Tove Larsson, a general partner with Norrsken VC. “We do that together with some of our key LPs in the fund. We need to get the advisory committee’s approval of the targets. We set thsoe targets for an individual year and then on an annual basis.”

When the fund reaches the end of its cycle, the firm will look at the aggregated outcome of all of the impact KPIs and will weight the results of each company’s impact based o the amount we invested in each company. Based on that, the firm decides whether the team gets any carried interest or not.

If the portfolio companies hit sixty percent of the impact targets that have been set by the firm and its advisory board members, then they receive half of the carried interest, with the rest donated to charity. “There’s a linear escalation up to 100 percent. And if we don’t achieve that then the carried interest will be paid out to a charity organization or an NGO,” said Larsson.

Image Credit: Norrsken VC

The partners at Norrsken see their novel compensation structure as a point of differentiation, especially as the number of firms focused on themes related to the UN’s sustainable development goals continues to increase dramatically.

“We we started to invest, we were one of the first — four years ago. Then the market evolved so quickly where we got questions around how do you stand out and how do you know whether you’re truly an impact player,” said Agate Freimane, a general partner at the firm.

“This is a core part of the DNA. We need to do better and show that we can walk the talk,” Freimane said. So the firm took a page from the European Investment Fund, whose operations impose similar restrictions on compensation, she said. “When we heard about this way of doing it, we said tis make 100 percent sense, and why doesn’t everyone do it?”

So far, the team hasn’t had any problems hitting the target it had set. “We’re at 119 percent of the 2020 targets,” Freimane said. Still that’s only 12 percent of the long term targets. “At the moment, we’v e done one tenth of what we need to do over the lifetime of the fund.”

Even if some of the targets may be… imprecise… the steps that the firm’s portfolio companies have taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and food waste, and improving energy efficiency are having a real, measurable imapct. Whether that’s the reduction of data center energy demand by 10 Gigawatt hours thanks to the deployment of Submer technologies; reducing 11,000 tons of food waste through operations at Karma, Whywaste, Matsmart or Olio; saving 4 million liters of water from carwashes using Woshapp; or the development of 38 megawatts of solar projects thanks to the work of Alight.

Image Credit: Norrsken VC

“What we’re most proud of is that we’re actually doing this now,” said Larsson. “It’s not perfect, what we have delivered now, But we really think we need to start somewhere and it is key that the industry needs to become more transparent. The first thing we mentioned is that we think it is an achievement that we are tracking it and making it public.”

#energy-efficiency, #european-investment-fund, #finance, #food, #general-partner, #healthcare, #norrsken-vc, #tc, #united-nations

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Eritrea Agrees to Withdraw Troops from Tigray, Ethiopia Says

The announcement comes amid mounting international condemnation of atrocities in Tigray, and days after an American presidential envoy visited Ethiopia’s prime minister.

#afwerki-isaias, #ahmed-abiy, #amnesty-international, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #civilian-casualties, #doctors-without-borders, #eritrea, #human-rights-and-human-rights-violations, #tigray-ethiopia, #tigray-peoples-liberation-front, #tigrayans-ethnic-group, #united-nations, #war-and-armed-conflicts, #war-crimes-genocide-and-crimes-against-humanity

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How Illicit Oil Is Smuggled Into North Korea With China’s Help

New satellite images obtained by The New York Times show that China has allowed tankers to use its infrastructure and territorial waters to deliver oil to North Korea.

#china, #embargoes-and-sanctions, #north-korea, #oil-petroleum-and-gasoline, #satellites, #security-council-un, #ships-and-shipping, #smuggling, #united-nations, #united-states, #your-feed-visual-investigations

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Saudi Arabia Offers Cease-Fire in Yemen and Lifting of Blockade

The Saudis described the proposal as a plan to end a nearly six-year-old war. The kingdom faces growing pressure to break the stalemate as millions of Yemenis verge on famine.

#civilian-casualties, #famine, #houthis, #saudi-arabia, #united-nations, #world-food-program, #yemen

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What We Learned From Our Investigation into Covert Oil Deliveries to North Korea

We uncovered how one ship helped North Korea get oil despite sanctions. Here are five takeaways from the investigation.

#center-for-advanced-defense-studies, #china, #embargoes-and-sanctions, #ships-and-shipping, #smuggling, #united-nations

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A Tanker and a Maze of Companies: One Way Illicit Oil Reaches North Korea

We spent months reviewing ship-tracking data, corporate records and satellite imagery to uncover one way North Korea evades strict international sanctions.

#china, #embargoes-and-sanctions, #kim-jong-un, #north-korea, #taiwan, #united-nations

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Insiders Jockey for Whittled-Down Ambassadorship Slots

Hundreds of donors and former lawmakers, who have not been Foreign Service officers but are close to the president, are said to be clamoring for about 35 ambassadorship slots available.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #blinken-antony-j, #clinton-hillary-rodham, #diplomatic-service-embassies-and-consulates, #obama-barack, #state-department, #thomas-greenfield-linda, #trump-donald-j, #united-nations, #united-states-international-relations, #white-house-office-of-presidential-personnel

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Fear and Hostility Simmer as Ethiopia’s Military Keeps Hold on Tigray

Accounts of atrocities keep coming in as the wounded flee to the regional capital, Mekelle, where Tigrayans say they are being winnowed for their leaders’ rebellion.

#ahmed-abiy, #american-red-cross, #amnesty-international, #blinken-antony-j, #human-rights-and-human-rights-violations, #mekelle-ethiopia, #tigray-ethiopia, #tigray-peoples-liberation-front, #tigrayans-ethnic-group, #united-nations, #war-and-armed-conflicts, #war-crimes-genocide-and-crimes-against-humanity

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North Korea Cuts Diplomatic Ties with Malaysia Over U.S. Extradition

The extradition is part of Washington’s efforts to crack down on what it has called widespread sanctions-evading activities by North Korean businessmen and diplomats around the world.

#defectors-political, #diplomatic-service-embassies-and-consulates, #embargoes-and-sanctions, #extradition, #malaysia, #north-korea, #nuclear-tests, #united-nations, #united-states-international-relations

0

Edward C. Luck, Architect of U.N. Code on Genocide, Dies at 72

He transformed vague ideals into a strategy on when the world should collectively intervene to stop mass atrocities.

#deaths-obituaries, #luck-edward-c, #united-nations, #war-and-armed-conflicts, #war-crimes-genocide-and-crimes-against-humanity

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Biden Grants Protections for Venezuelans to Remain in U.S.

Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans can temporarily continue to live and work in the United States as the administration considers its next steps in the effort to force out Venezuela’s president.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #homeland-security-department, #immigration-and-emigration, #maduro-nicolas, #mayorkas-alejandro, #trump-donald-j, #united-nations, #united-states-international-relations, #united-states-politics-and-government, #venezuela

0

Myanmar Military Storms Universities and Hospitals, Revokes Press Licenses

The military said the public had requested that the generals take more control “for the benefit of the people.” At least three protesters were killed in further crackdowns.

#civilian-casualties, #coups-detat-and-attempted-coups-detat, #myanmar, #politics-and-government, #tatmadaw-myanmar, #united-nations, #war-crimes-genocide-and-crimes-against-humanity

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U.S. Pushes U.N.-Led Peace Conference in Letter to Afghan Leader

In blunt terms, Secretary of State Antony Blinken seeks to jump-start stalled negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

#blinken-antony-j, #ghani-ashraf, #kabul-afghanistan, #khalilzad-zalmay, #peace-process, #shariah-islamic-law, #taliban, #united-nations, #united-states-international-relations

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After Coup in Myanmar, a Career Diplomat Takes a Stand

At the United Nations, U Kyaw Moe Tun declared his new military masters illegitimate. They fired him, but he has no intention of leaving.

#coups-detat-and-attempted-coups-detat, #demonstrations-protests-and-riots, #diplomatic-service-embassies-and-consulates, #general-assembly-un, #myanmar, #u-kyaw-moe-tun, #united-nations

0

Smugglers Throw Migrants Overboard; at Least 20 Are Feared Drowned

Several times in recent years, migrants trying to cross between Djibouti and Yemen have been thrown into the sea.

#djibouti, #drownings, #horn-of-africa, #international-organization-for-migration, #migrants, #smuggling, #united-nations, #yemen

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Possible Showdown Over Myanmar Ambassador Looms at U.N.

The military junta in Myanmar wants to replace its United Nations’ envoy, but he isn’t leaving. “We’re in a very unique situation,” the U.N. spokesman said.

#coups-detat-and-attempted-coups-detat, #demonstrations-protests-and-riots, #general-assembly-un, #guterres-antonio, #myanmar, #security-council-un, #thomas-greenfield-linda, #united-nations

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How to Help Endangered and Impoverished Peoples

Séverine Autessere’s “The Frontlines of Peace” is a biting account of the humanitarian aid industry by a worker who was on the ground.

#autesserre-severine, #books-and-literature, #congo-democratic-republic-of-congo-kinshasa, #foreign-aid, #humanitarian-aid, #peace-process, #politics-and-government, #somaliland, #the-frontlines-of-peace-an-insiders-guide-to-changing-the-world-book, #united-nations

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‘Your Personality Deforms’: Navalny Sent to Notoriously Harsh Prison

Convicts in the isolation unit at Penal Colony No. 2 are forced to stand for hours with their hands clasped behind their backs, forbidden to make eye contact with the guards.

#european-union, #human-rights-and-human-rights-violations, #navalny-aleksei-a, #political-prisoners, #russia, #united-nations

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Myanmar Military Fires U.N. Envoy Who Spoke Against Its Coup

The regime fired the ambassador, U Kyaw Moe Tun, who called for international help in restoring democracy and gave the three-finger salute of the protest movement.

#aung-san-suu-kyi, #coups-detat-and-attempted-coups-detat, #general-assembly-un, #myanmar, #national-league-for-democracy-myanmar, #retno-marsudi, #united-nations, #wunna-maung-lwin, #yangon-myanmar

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‘Guernica’ Tapestry Is Taken Back From U.N. by a Rockefeller

The replica of Picasso’s famed painting depicting the horrors of war had hung outside the Security Council chamber since 1985, on loan from the Rockefeller family.

#art, #guterres-antonio, #picasso-pablo, #rockefeller-nelson-aldrich, #spanish-civil-war-1936-39, #united-nations

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Who is Arora Akanksha, the 34-Year-Old Running for U.N. Secretary General?

The United Nations auditor, with no diplomatic experience, has declared her candidacy for secretary general — an audacious bid to shake up an organization that she says badly needs it.

#canada, #content-type-personal-profile, #guterres-antonio, #haryana-india, #millennial-generation, #refugees-and-displaced-persons, #united-nations, #women-and-girls, #workplace-environment

0

Facing Roadblocks, Vast Global Vaccination Effort Gets Underway

An operation to supply billions of coronavirus vaccine doses to poorer countries has started. But as rich countries buy most of the available supply, stark inequalities remain.

#accra-ghana, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #tedros-adhanom-ghebreyesus, #third-world-and-developing-countries, #united-nations, #united-nations-childrens-fund, #world-health-organization

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Afghan Civilian Casualties Soared After Peace Talks’ Start

Fighting intensified in the last quarter of 2020, after talks between the Afghan government and Taliban began. Before then, it had been a less deadly year than before.

#afghanistan, #afghanistan-war-2001, #islamic-state-in-iraq-and-syria-isis, #peace-process, #taliban, #united-nations

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Italian Ambassador Among Three Killed in Attack on U.N. Convoy in Congo

The attack, on a World Food Program convoy headed to a school in North Kivu Province, left the ambassador, Luca Attanasio, an Italian embassy official and a driver dead.

#attanasio-luca, #congo-democratic-republic-of-congo-kinshasa, #deaths-fatalities, #diplomatic-service-embassies-and-consulates, #goma-congo-democratic-republic-of, #italy, #tshisekedi-felix, #united-nations

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Erik Prince, Trump Ally, Violated Libya Arms Embargo, U.N. Report Says

Mr. Prince offered to supply weapons, drones and mercenaries to a Libyan militia commander seeking to overthrow the government, according to U.N. investigators.

#abdullah-ii-king-of-jordan, #embargoes-and-sanctions, #hifter-khalifa, #libya, #mercenaries-and-private-military-contractors, #prince-erik-d, #united-arab-emirates, #united-nations

0

Biden Administration Formally Offers to Restart Nuclear Talks With Iran

President Biden campaigned on restoring an accord limiting Iran’s nuclear program. It remains unclear if Tehran, which is demanding that sanctions be lifted, will accept the offer to talk.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #embargoes-and-sanctions, #iran, #nuclear-weapons, #state-department, #united-nations, #united-states-international-relations, #united-states-politics-and-government

0

After a Decade of Chaos, Can a Splintered Libya Be Made Whole?

An interim government promises peace, unity and democratic elections. Skeptical Libyans say they’ve heard this promise before.

#central-bank-of-libya, #libya, #russia, #tripoli-libya, #turkey, #united-arab-emirates, #united-nations

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Biden’s Pick for Iran Envoy Resurrects Bitter Nuclear Deal Debate

Robert Malley, the son of a leftist, Jewish, Egyptian-born journalist, is the focal point for opening salvos over President Biden’s approach to the Middle East, and the value of a new deal with Iran.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #blinken-antony-j, #hamas, #islamic-state-in-iraq-and-syria-isis, #kerry-john, #malley-robert, #miller-aaron-david, #nuclear-weapons, #obama-barack, #palestinians, #state-department, #trump-donald-j, #united-nations, #united-states-international-relations

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Biden’s Pick for Iran Envoy Resurrects Bitter Debate Over Nuclear Deal

Robert Malley, the son of a leftist, Jewish, Egyptian-born journalist, is the focal point for opening salvos over President Biden’s approach to the Middle East, and the value of a new deal with Iran.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #blinken-antony-j, #hamas, #islamic-state-in-iraq-and-syria-isis, #kerry-john, #malley-robert, #miller-aaron-david, #nuclear-weapons, #obama-barack, #palestinians, #state-department, #trump-donald-j, #united-nations, #united-states-international-relations

0

Biden Wants More Stable Diplomacy. An Abortion Fight Is a Test.

U.S. funding for overseas health providers that offer abortion services has vacillated with the changing of administrations for decades. Congress is debating whether to settle the policy by law.

#abortion, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #birth-control-and-family-planning, #democratic-party, #foreign-aid, #law-and-legislation, #republican-party, #united-nations, #united-states-international-relations, #united-states-politics-and-government, #women-and-girls

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Tesla’s Bitcoin investment could be bad for the company’s climate reputation and its bottom line

Tesla’s $1.5 billion investment in Bitcoin may be good for Elon Musk, but it’s definitely risky for the company that made him the world’s richest man, according to investors, analysts and money managers at some of the country’s largest banks.

As a standard bearer for the consumer electric vehicle industry and the broader climate tech movement rallying around it, Tesla’s bet to go all in on crypto could damage its climate bonafides and its reputation with customers even as other automakers pour in to the EV market.

Given Bitcoin’s current environmental footprint, the deal flies in the face of Tesla’s purported interest in moving the world to cleaner sources of energy and commerce.

Until the energy grid decarbonizes in places like Russia and China, mining bitcoin remains a pretty dirty business (from an energy perspective), according to some energy investors who declined to be identified because they were not authorized to speak about Musk’s plans.

We were talking about people doing this in Russia back in 2018 and how they were tapping coal power to run their mining operations,” one investor said. “The cost per transaction from an energy intensity standpoint has only gotten more intense. I don’t see how those things coalesce, climate and crypto.”

The stake makes Tesla one of the largest corporate hodlers of Bitcoin but represents a massive portion of the company’s $19 billion in cash and cash equivalents on hand.

“Given the size of their treasury it feels irresponsible, IMO,” wrote one investor whose firm backed Tesla from its earliest days. The company’s move could be seen as another example of the absurdity of U.S. capital markets in today’s investment climate — and the underlying cynicism of some of its biggest beneficiaries.

Meanwhile, Bitcoin investors welcomed the move, which sent the value of their holdings rocketing up by roughly 18% over the course of the day.

“The announcement that Tesla has diversified its treasury through the addition of bitcoin is not surprising, nor is the assuredness implied by an 8% allocation of cash-on-hand. Equal to Tesla’s R&D expenditure for 2020, this investment is significant to the Company and shows a commitment to maximizing shareholder returns,” wrote Stillmark founding partner Alyse Killeen. “Elon Musk has a long history of operating at the precipice of what’s possible technically and setting the trend of what’s to later become common operationally. I suspect the same will be true here, and that Tesla is the first of a larger cohort of publicly-traded companies that will aim to optimize the returns of their cash via bitcoin.”

Industry observers on Wall Street also criticized the company’s big bet on Bitcoin.

“Tesla buying $1.5 billion in BTC is interesting. Am assuming they haven’t hedged it, so they will either be cash rich in the future or have a hole in the balance sheet. Elon Musk stays wild,” wrote one capital planning executive at a major Wall Street bank who declined to be identified because they were not authorized to speak to the press. “[It’s] not dissimilar from a large company throwing cash into a wildly volatile emerging market currency.”

Still, in the short term, the deal is showing dividends. The price of Bitcoin has risen nearly $8,000, or 18.73%, over the course of the day since Tesla made its announcement.

But the investment represents the equivalent of the company’s entire research and development budget, as Killeen noted. That’s… something. There’s also the question is whether any regulator will step in to punish Musk.

Musk has been tweeting his support for Bitcoin and other, more arcane (or useless) cryptocurrencies like Dogecoin for the past several weeks, in what seems to be a violation of his agreement with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The world’s richest man has previously been fined by regulatory agencies for his tweeting habits. Back in 2018, the SEC charged Musk with fraud for tweets about privatizing the electric vehicle company at $420 per share.

Musk eventually settled with the SEC, at the price of his role as chairman of Tesla’s board and a $20 million personal fine — with Tesla paying out another $20 million to the SEC.

The volatility of the cryptocurrency could impact more than just Tesla’s bottom line, but also hit its customers should they use the currency to buy cars.

“Bitcoin jumped over 15% to a new high of $44,000 on Monday. This sort of hype-based price power should be worrying to investors and consumers alike – especially if this is to be used as medium of exchange,” wrote GlobalData analyst Danyaal Rashid, Head of Thematic Research at GlobalData.

“If Elon Musk can help dictate the price of this asset with a tweet or large order, the same could happen to send the price back down. The task of purchasing a vehicle should not be speculative. Consumers who may have thought of buying bitcoin to use as a substitute for fiat – could very easily end up with more or less than they bargained for.”

 

#bank, #bitcoin, #chairman, #china, #corporate-buyers, #corporate-governance, #cryptocurrencies, #elon, #elon-musk, #energy, #mining, #musk, #russia, #securities-and-exchange-commission, #tc, #tesla, #united-nations

0

Margaret C. Snyder, the U.N.’s ‘First Feminist,’ Dies at 91

Inspired by her liberal Roman Catholic upbringing, she refocused the organization’s development efforts to include women’s empowerment.

#africa, #deaths-obituaries, #economic-conditions-and-trends, #humanitarian-aid, #snyder-margaret-c, #united-nations, #women-and-girls, #womens-rights

0

U.N. Delays Salvage of Yemen Oil Tanker Amid Fears of Major Spill

The United Nations had planned to start a maritime salvage operation to prevent leaks from a dilapidated tanker holding four times the oil that spilled in the Exxon Valdez disaster. But Houthi insurgents have failed to provide a written security guarantee, the U.N. said.

#houthis, #oil-petroleum-and-gasoline, #oil-spills, #united-nations, #yemen

0

Biden Wants to Return to the Iran Deal. He Can Start Here.

There is a window now to restore America’s credibility and bring more stability to the Middle East.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #embargoes-and-sanctions, #iran, #middle-east, #nuclear-weapons, #security-council-un, #united-nations, #united-states-international-relations, #united-states-politics-and-government, #zarif-mohammad-javad

0

Biden Will Restore U.S. Relations With Palestinians, Reversing Trump Cutoff

Despite the move, analysts believe the prospects for an Israeli-Palestinian agreement remain distant.

#abbas-mahmoud, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #diplomatic-service-embassies-and-consulates, #international-relations, #israel, #israeli-settlements, #netanyahu-benjamin, #palestinian-authority, #palestinians, #peace-process, #trump-donald-j, #united-nations, #west-bank

0

U.S. Blacklisting of Yemen’s Houthis May Cause ‘Large-Scale Famine,’ U.N. Warns

U.N. officials say that the designation of the Houthis as a terrorist organization could choke food deliveries to Yemen, where millions face starvation.

#famine, #houthis, #humanitarian-aid, #security-council-un, #united-nations, #united-states-politics-and-government, #yemen

0

Kim Jong-un Vows to Boost North Korea’s Nuclear Capability as Leverage With Biden

But as he pledged to advance the country’s weaponry, the North Korean leader also said he did “not rule out diplomacy.”

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #defense-and-military-forces, #embargoes-and-sanctions, #kim-jong-un, #missiles-and-missile-defense-systems, #north-korea, #nuclear-tests, #trump-donald-j, #united-nations, #united-states-international-relations

0

Court in Pakistan Bans ‘Virginity Tests’ in Sexual Violence Cases

The Lahore High Court said the practice was humiliating and casts suspicion on victims rather than the accused.

#lahore-pakistan, #pakistan, #sex-crimes, #united-nations, #women-and-girls, #womens-rights

0

Brian Urquhart, Troubleshooter for the U.N., Dies at 101

He was best known for creating and directing the U.N.’s peacekeeping operations in conflict-filled areas around the world.

#deaths-obituaries, #defense-and-military-forces, #politics-and-government, #united-nations, #urquhart-brian

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He Calmed Gaza, Aided Israel’s Arab Ties and Preserved Hopes for Peace

After six years of quiet diplomacy as the U.N.’s Middle East envoy, Nickolay Mladenov leaves his post to a chorus of praise from an unlikely choir.

#international-relations, #israel, #middle-east, #mladenov-nickolay-e, #palestinians, #peace-process, #united-nations

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Yayzy app automatically calculates the environmental impact of your spending

Ahead of the turning of the New Year, many people are wishing they could do something about the environment. Now, a UK startup hopes to make our environmental impact more personal.

Yayzy has now launched an iOS app (but Android is coming) which literally links to your bank account to work out the environmental impact of what you buy. It uses payment data via Open Banking standards to automatically calculate the carbon footprint of each purchase a user makes, giving them a picture of their total monthly carbon emissions. This makes the carbon footprint calculated more accurate and bespoke to the individual, allowing them to immediately connect their spending to its impact on the planet.

Yayzy has secured £900,000 in backing from Antler Venture Capital, Seedrs (a crowdfunding round) and the CoreAngels Impact Fund. As the user sees what the carbon footprint is of their purchase, they can choose to offset it right then and there on the app via the carbon offsetter Ecosphere Plus. In the app, users can also find tips to reduce their carbon footprint, eco-friendly retailers near them or insights into lifestyle choices that have the highest environmental impact.

Their competitors are people like CoGo, a real-time Carbon Footprint tracker, and and Doconomy and the soon to launch Tred.

But Yayzy is taking a different approach. It brings together all of a user’s spending and shows them item by item as they spend, what the carbon footprint of that spend is. So far – it claims – its competitors don’t do that.

Yaysy app

This can be done ad hoc, item by item, or by signing up to a monthly subscription to either carbon offsetting projects or the user’s own unique climate portfolio. This portfolio would bundle multiple projects together for a more ‘holistic’ impact. Yayzy says all of these projects have been carefully selected based on strict criteria, and also advance the UN Sustainable development goals.

For its underlying carbon data, Yayzy is using Vital Metrics https://www.vitalmetricsgroup.com/
as used by Google, Microsoft and both the UK and US governments, among others.

Mankaran Ahluwalia, cofounder and CEO of Yayzy said in a statement: “While emissions have gradually risen as lockdown eases, YAYZY wants to put us all in the driver’s seat to control our own environmental impact… It is clear from a plethora of surveys that the majority of people want to address climate change before it is too late, but that a huge intention/action gap blocks much of it. Our solution with Yayzy is to make environmental impact ‘up close and personal’ and the action to tackle it super easy, all via your phone.”

Ahluwalia, was as a technology analyst with Infosys and built a lending platform for alternate credit. Cofounder Cristian Dan, CTO, previously built a discounts platform and cofounder Pedro Cabrero, CFO was in equity sales and trading for UBS and Citigroup, and co-founded the a leading online pharmacy in Mexico.

#android, #articles, #carbon-footprint, #cfo, #citigroup, #cofounder, #cto, #driver, #energy, #europe, #google, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #mexico, #microsoft, #new-years-day, #online-pharmacy, #renewable-energy, #seedrs, #tc, #ubs, #united-kingdom, #united-nations, #united-states

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Hezbollah Member Sentenced in Absentia in Hariri Assassination

A United Nations-backed tribunal in The Hague handed down the symbolic life sentence in connection with the 2005 assassination of Rafik Hariri.

#ayyash-salim, #beirut-lebanon, #defense-and-military-forces, #hariri-rafik, #hezbollah, #lebanon, #terrorism, #united-nations

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